The package in which the game arrived looked fairly common and when I open it, I found disk with game on it, along with A4 sized piece of paper, which oddly enough was blank. Well at the time I didn't put much thought on that.
When I picked up the disk contain game, I first noticed it was for Xbox 360 and not PlayStation like I thought. I was pretty happy about that since my brother took PS3 with him when he went to sleepover at his friend's house, leaving me only the 360 behind.
I figured that this means it's the new HD version as I'm not sure if they made normal version for Xbox. In either case, I decided to put the game in and play it. The game started normally with everything as it should. After logos of makers and publishers have disappeared I was surprised at what I saw. On screen it said:
"Zone of the Enders: Demo"
I remember saying, “Well great a demo version” yet I shrug disappointment off as I still did want to play the game, despite being a demo.
When I press start, things however changed briefly before entering. A couple of letters appeared next to "Demo" logo but it happen to fast so I couldn't read it. When I reached the difficulty level, it only had one option to choose, “Akuma no yōna”. I didn't know what that meant, yet I still chose it as was the only available. It was then that "eye" for lack of better word, began to leak black tears.
I decide to check if that might have been due to video cable error, but when I check it, it was just fine. Confused, I return back to playing. It did appear normal. The intro played out and I was in controlling "LEV" unit, which in game is just a tutorial unit. I was following the direction arrow like normally, except that the closer I got by each jump to get closer, I heard Angie saying, “No! Stay away!
Don't approach it!” As I reached that destination the cutscene appeared of LEV jumping and then "Runner", game equivalent to pilot approached the container with Jehuty the Orbital Frame which you control throughout the game.
I decide to skip that and I was in fight with two raptors. Except that this one was different then what I remember when I playing it first time. Normally its colors are blue yellow and black, yet this one, was red and black, with yellow parts covered in slightly different red color, with bright red lights emitting on it where they should be light blue.
Not only have that happen, but the scenery turns reddish too. Since I thought that might be graphical error, I pause it game, and once again check both the screen and video cable. Both appeared fine. At the time I thought that it might have been just a disk error, or there is something wrong with my Xbox video card, as it is used and not new. It’s still a white model.
I resumed the game and proceed to fight. Every time I slashed at enemy, a faint screech was heard, barely heard over the music. When raptor had low health I slashed once again to finish it off. Instead of that, Jehuty grabbed it by its head then put the other hand on raptors arm and proceed to rip it off. This time the scream was louder. It sounded like what you would except to hear, when you see a human limp being torn off in movies. Jehuty then turned the arm around, pointed its blade at the raptor and stuck it into its head.
I was surprised at this whole scene. First there was that whole grabbing and then the screaming thing. While Jehuty is able to grab her opponents and pillars later on, I never did see Jehuty execute opponent like that. Screaming throw me off due to raptors being unmanned units. Somehow I managed to notice that ripped limp was bleeding something black. But I didn't really focus on that as I had to deal with other raptor.
I decided to destroy it with ranged attacks this time. I locked on it and fired homing lasers attack. The lasers were bright red, and when they were launched a strange shriek was heard, completely different from what it should have. I couldn't make out what it said, but it still made me shiver. Raptor was killed easily and I heard agonizing cry when it died.
I expected a cutscene of aircrafts showing up to attack Jehuty, but it didn't appear, instead I was just thrown into battle. ADA, the A.I. from Jehuty calmly suggested using homing laser to take them out, but at the end she sounded different, she begun to spoke deeper and slower. I was confused that she spoke only now, she should have spoke when raptors first appear.
I charged the attacked she suggested and once locked on target I released it. Dingo, runner of Jehuty shriek followed as Jehuty launched her homing lasers, why did Dingo shriek I don't know, after all I did use it before. Attack hit target as expected, and once again, I heard screams coming from destroyed aircrafts, despite the fact they should be unmanned.
After they were all destroyed, I noticed something different about Jehuty. She appear to look different… almost demonic. The wings on her back appeared to be more bat-like, long claws have appeared on her hands and 2 horns replaced ears that Jehuty currently had on her head.
This scared me, as this is not the way Jehuty should be looking she looked normal, minus different colors, just few moments before. After another wave of enemies appeared, Jehuty destroyed them all with a burst attack. The attack was a giant red ball which struck in the middle of the group, obliterating anyone in it, while whoever was survived by not being in middle, was killed by lighting that erupted from ball.
A cutscene appear, showing Dingo inside the Jehuty cockpit, sweat appearing on his forehead, while he himself appears paler then normally. He appeared to be in pain, but I couldn't tell why. This however was pushed aside due to what I saw next.
That attack changed Jehuty appearance again, becoming far more demonic in appearance most notable were a tail another black blade on her left arm and several spikes appearing on her chest. ADA begun to laugh, her voice sending chills down my spine.
The laughter was cold, deep, and all in all evil. At this point I finally tried to shut down the game, I blame my curiosity for not doing that before, but even resetting the Xbox didn't work. All it did, was show Jehuty front, who then raided her arm in front of her, extended one of the fingers and moved it left to right, before ADA spoke.
"Not until we kill Anubis"
I sighed in small relief. Anubis is a strong orbital frame, a twin to Jehuty and when I fought him last time I played the game for first time, he was unbeatable. So perhaps if I lose to him, I will be able to quit the game.
I decided to continue it as it shouldn't be long until I reach him. I moved to the next area where I should be fighting Ardjet the first boss. Boy was I wrong. There stood Anubis, except that he was blue, the only blue thing on the whole cursed screen. I sighed with relief once again, thinking that if he was blue, then that means he must be the hero of this game.
Before the battle started, Anubis runner spoke "You must be stopped; I cannot allow you to claim another soul!"
I shiver at this remark.
"Another soul, this is just a game right?" I spoke that out loud.
ADA laughed again, this time far deeper, with her voice echoing across the room. "This is no game boy" spoke ADA in disturbing voice. Then Jehuty attacked Anubis on her own, my controlled shaking violently. I desperately tried to hinder Jehuty, but not only that I couldn't control her, she has at full strength of "naked" Jehuty from real game, as well as being able to use all of her sub weapons. Poor Anubis never stood a chance. He was defeated in mere seconds.
Then a ship appeared, at first I thought that ship was BAHRAMs, the antagonist of both the first and second game. Instead it was ship on which Dingo and his friends worked. ADA chuckled as Jehuty turned her left arm towards it. "Don't DO IT!" cried out Dingo as his face appeared on screen while Jehuty power up her burst attack "STOP IT!" Jehuty fired her burst attack and destroy the ship.
"NO!" yelled Dingo in anger.
Then ADA appears on screen and spoke without any hint of disappointment or remorse "You are no longer useful to us Dingo" What happen next was Dingo skin begun to melt. His scream of agony being muffled by the cockpit, but every detail of his death was shown. After his organ parts were completely melted, the liquid that remained of Dingo, was somehow absorbed by Jehuty, while her cockpit open and then throw out skeleton of her runner while ADA laughed.
"This energy, should power us for a while"
Jehuty then appear on top of Anubis, stabbing him with her claws. A mouth with sharp teeth appear on Jehuty head, who then proceed to devour the fallen mech. Anubis let out a robotic scream as she ate him while I tried my best to at least lower the volume. But every time I tried to lower it, I did the exact opposite, it increased. I didn’t have any choice but to take off my headsets, otherwise there was a chance I might go deaf.
After Jehuty was done feasting on the fallen orbital frame, she broke the cockpit and pull out a human. I expected Nohram, someone who pilots Anubis in game, instead the one Jehuty pulled out was younger, much younger. I didn't know who that would be as I dint play first version. I did later learn that the pilot was Leo Stenbuck, main hero in first game.
Runner looked up, to Jehuty head and spoke "ADA, please stop this" in response ADA once again laughed, "I have no reason to stop."
Jehuty then somehow emitted fire on the hand that held the human who slowly burned alive.
After the human burned to ashes, Jehuty turned to me and ADA spoke, coldly but not in deep voice like before, "Don't fall asleep Miha"
At this point, the fear got the best of me. I rush to the power cable and pulled it out. Shaking with fear, I put my hand on the forehead to check if it was warm. It was, and I also felt cold sweet coming from it. I couldn't stop thinking about what ADA said, but eventually I had to fall asleep.
As I did, I dream about that game, I was forced to rematch how Jehuty feasted on Anubis while ADA laughed manically. Then Jehuty reached out of the screen and grabbed me. I tried to shake it off but the cold grip the orbital frame had on me was far too strong and I was pulled in. Jehuty held me in her grip tightly, despite being a dream, more a nightmare then a dream I felt pain and bones cracking due to her metallic grip. I was moved to Jehuty head and ADA spoke.
"Your soul belongs to me now, But I'll offer you a choice" ADA spoke that calmly, not coldly or demonic like before but actually soft, completely different then what she was like before. I was surprised and tried to spoke back, all I could do was mumble however. "W... what …k…kind"
Jehuty loosen grip on me, yet I was still slowly crushed under it. ADA continued "The choice I'm giving you is simple” a cold chuckle followed that “YOU can send the disk to someone else, thus saving your should, but that way you will be condemning a innocent soul to me" Jehuty then reveled he teeth, in a motion that appeared like a grin for her.
"If you don't however, your soul will remain with me, but you will be saving another soul." another chuckle come from ADA and Jehuty, who dropped me down, just before I hit the ground I woke up.
My breathing was rapid and my heart was beeping like crazy. Almost as if I just run marathon. I sit on my bed put both hands on my head and begun to think "Could this be real? If it is, why didn't my friend warn me?"
Then I remember the A4 paper that came with it. I decided to check it again. This time it had something written on it. I proceed to read it and shiver as I was done curses were forming in my head.
"Miha, if you're reading this, I'm sorry, I have condemned your soul. I was afraid of her, and I took the cowardly way out. I'm sorry, I hope you can forgive me, I know I will try to make I up as best as I could. Somebody must know how to break this cycle, perhaps the one who send it first and started this knows something. I promise I will do my best to find the original sender"
I shredded the paper in anger, "Would try to make it up" I repeat that with discuss "That bastard cost me my soul" Then however I took several calm breaths and tried to think it thought. "It could be just a prank could it? He is hacker after all, he could have hacked the game"
In the end I decide to keep disk, not to send it to someone else. Nobody else should suffer because of this. And yes, I tried to destroy it by hitting it with a hammer and burning it in fire. Disk hardly had any damage appear on it.
Now, almost a month has passed since that, I lost the will to do anything and my memory had become so weak I could hardly remember if I brush my teeth today or not. The food and drinks appear tasteless to me. And finally, where my heart should be located, I fell nothing but emptiness. And every night so far, I always meet the demonic Jehuty in my dreams, controlled by ADA.
For reason unknown to me, as if I was drawn by it, one day I found myself putting the game back in Xbox. There was only static for a while. Soon however the static cleared itself and image of the demonic Jehuty appeared followed by ADAs cold laugh while full title appear. "Zone of the Enders, Demonic version" bellows it, the Zone of the Enders logo, bleeding black tears.
Perhaps one day …one day, I will be able to reclaim my soul and destroy the cursed disk. Here is to hope, the last thing left in my life. Hope, however, is a fragile thing. For now, I keep the disk locked away, hoping that this way, nobody will be able to play it and experience what I am experiencing right now.
I know what you’re thinking, that I should simply send the disk away and be “saved”, but I cannot bear the thought of knowing that someone lost his or hers soul for price of my freedom. They say Curiosity killed the cat, well my curiosity cost me my soul.