Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My Name is Grahf... the Seeker of Power.

If I could pick a memory most fond out of the four years I went steady with my Sony Playstation, I would have to go with Square's 1998 sci-fi psycho giant robot RPG Xenogears. I played all 30 hours of this game twice: the first in 1999-2000, the second in 2002.

Xenogears is the only game that makes me consider the possibility firing up the ol' Playstation, complete with fire-engine red SD Ultraman stencil. Then I remember better things to do with my spare time. Still… the temptation.... lingers…

Regardless of whether I will ever fire it up again, I think Xenogears was and is (given what I gather to be a recent retro movement in the gaming world in regards to RPGs) a fantastic science fiction RPG.

image from RPGCORNER.
Fei, Billy, & Bart take on two double-tailed blue coyotes.

The story of Xenogears and the world in which it takes place in ("Ignas") can be described as the unique flavor one might get when by taking substantial, Japanese-seasoned portions of wuxia tradition, Frank Herbert's Dune, television's groundbreaking Neon Genesis Evangelion, and a mishmash of other assorted skiffy tropes and devices, put them in a blender together, and hit frappe.

This all comes at your pretty fast and gets the first act off to an interesting start. Things don't get really interesting, for me, at least, until protagonist Fei is in the Aveh desert and a strange Gear (a giant robot) flys up and lands on top of a natural stone pillar.

The cloaked and masked pilot emerges and stands on the shoulder of the Gear and speaketh...

Okay. This is cool. Some nice operatic music goin' in the background. I'm diggin' it. Then he drops this gem:

Whoa! What does that mean? What's going on here? The very second Xenogears drops this "slayer of god" (a phrase actually used a little later on, if I recall) concept into the soup, it essentially drives the rest of the story to the very end.

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