Back in 1997 when the game first came out, the intro cinematic by itself was a breathtaking demonstration of the cinematic potential gained from the leap to 3D. It begins with an abstract, wavering camera-pan through outer space set to an ominous droning with vague, echoing voices, then segues into showing off a fully-rendered Aeris; she stands up and slowly walks out of an alley onto a Midgar street, and the camera begins zooming wayyyy out as the music swells, until we see Midgar in its entirety and the game triumphantly displays its title card as the music hits a climactic riff. The tracking shot continues, zooming all the way back in on another portion of the city where a train is arriving at a station platform; as it stops, the game nigh-seamlessly segues from FMV to in-engine as AVALANCHE leaps off the train and begins their assault on the first reactor. Even after almost two decades, it's still awesome.
Our heroes are trapped in the lobby of Shinra HQ, surrounded on all sides with no way out. How ever will they escape? Cue Cloud riding down the stairs on a fucking motorcycle. Everyone else piles into a pickup truck and they all drive straight through the window and into the chase sequence from the opening of Akira. Hell yes!
One of the reasons why Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII is such an Ensemble Darkhorse villain is because of his tendency to pull off a Moment of Awesome with amazing style and finesse. These moments include his famous "fire walk" in Cloud's flashback, finding a monster you would have no chance of defeating at that point in the game without massiveLevel Grinding due to its almost-always lethal Beta attack (though a well-planned strategy can change that) impaled on a tree, and his epic Mind Screw of the main hero, Cloud. However, his realMoment of Awesome to many of his fans was his shishkabobbing murder of Aerith. To her fans, this was his Moral Event Horizon. To others, it's both.
Aerith had a Moment of Awesome, too, when she convinced wannabe-badass mercenary Cloud to dress like a girl, then made fun of him through the entire ensuing segment. Win.
And there's the fact that she saves the entire world even after death, made particularly awesome by the last scene in the game, with her face being the last shot in the game until The Stinger, showing exactly who it was that called forth all that Lifestream that destroyed Meteor.
Cloud himself gets his Moment of Awesome in a flashback (recreated with much better graphics in Crisis Core): After the aforementioned torching of Nibelheim, Cloud stabs Sephiroth in the back with the Buster Sword. Most grunts couldn't even lift the damn Buster sword let alone run sneakily with it. note While Cloud had above average melee skills than most grunts, the Buster is so heavy that two grunts in Last Order couldn't lift it even when working together. Later, when Cloud uses it, it is embedded in solid metal plating and Cloud effortlessly pulls it out. Those two grunts? Couldn't pull the sword out of dirt. Then, after Sephiroth impales him through the chest with his stupidly large Katana, Cloud pulls himself even further onto it so he can use the sword as leverage, and flings Sephiroth into a wall to his death. The fact that he came back five years later doesn't diminish the simple fact that a lowly infantry grunt did what armies couldn't: killed Sephiroth. Arguably more badass than anything Cloud has done since.
He also did it for three reasons: Revenge for his home, to keep his promise with Tifa, and under the orders of his best friend and military superior Zack.
Last Order's version of events changes things up a bit. After Cloud stabs Sephiroth, he helps Tifa and we clearly see his eyes are blue. Cloud then charges Sephiroth to finish him off, when you know what happens. However, just like in the game, Cloud pulls himself further onto the sword and tosses Sephiroth in the wall crumpling it. Sephiroth, now mortally wounded and completely stunned, looks into Cloud's eyes... and they're glowing green as Mako eyes. Cloud never went through Mako treatment (at least not to that extent). He simply unlocked it himself with his anger and lust for revenge.
It gets better than that. Besides Zack getting a better showing this time around, Cloud was impaled not once, but TWICE. And he still takes Sephiroth down. The fact that Sephiroth more or less kills himself in this version doesn't diminish Cloud's achievement.
The best part of this, in the original game, is the music. As soon as the Shinra grunt removes his helmet and reveals himself as Cloud, the first world map theme plays one last time for a Triumphant Reprise and plays over the entire sequence of Cloud overpowering Sephiroth.
"SHUT UP! SIT YOUR ASS DOWN IN THAT CHAIR, AND DRINK YOUR GODDAMN TEA!" Cid hasn't joined the party yet and already he's actually managing to intimidate Cloud! Doubles as a Funny Moment.
Cait Sith's "noble sacrifice", which is of course later negated when another Cait Sith body appears right after he "dies".
Cait Sith gets another awesome moment when he calls out Barret near the end of Disc 2 with a pretty epic "What the Hell, Hero?" speech. He reminds him that when AVALANCHE carried out the terrorist attacks, people actually died just so they could prove a point.
Cait Sith: Doncha worry none, Marlene's in a safe place. She's with Aerith's mama. Barret!! What was that scratching just now!? As long as Marlene is safe, who cares what else happens, right? I been itchin' to say this to ya fer a while now! When ya blew the Midgar No. 1 up, how many folks d'ya think died? Barret: ... That was for the life of the planet. Ya gotta expect a few casualties. Cait Sith: A few? Whaddya mean 'a few'? What may be a few to y'all is everything to them who died...... Protect the planet. Hah! Y'all sure sound good! Ain't no one that'd go against ya. So ya think ya can do whatever y'all want?
It looks like it's all over for Tifa when Scarlet has her stranded on the end of a huge cannon, then a voice tells her to jump. Cue Barret showing up in a huge airship and lowering a rope.
And right before that, Tifa, having taken one too many slaps from Scarlet, gets pissed and yells, "Quit slapping me! You old $*&^%!!!" and starts slapping her back. Scarlet quickly learns that engaging in a slap fight with a master martial artist is a BAD idea.
Cloud's fourth-wall breaking "Shut Up, Hannibal!" to Sephiroth, covering up Sephiroth's text box with his own, simply saying "Shut up."
Rufus's Obi-Wan Moment death scene in the original game was awesome. He faced the cannon blasts from Diamond WEAPON without flinching or blinking. This Moment of Awesome factor was diminished somewhat by the revelation in Advent Children that he survived it... or, for others, it became EVEN MORE AWESOME.
After going through 8 hours of the game where your attacks are doing from 50-300 damage, during the Kalm flashback when Sephiroth is semi-playable, watching him do 3500 damage per attack and taking 0 damage from a dragon that one shot KOs Cloud is stunning.
Say what you want about an innocent flower girl running off to stop a sword-wielding psychopath who can and did slice her to ribbons in one second. And it's been mentioned before, but it must be reiterated; All the heroes did was smack up a Pretty Boy villain. Aerith stopped The End of the World as We Know It. From beyond the grave.
After a full game of the stress, fear, and pain that Sephiroth has caused you, murdering thousands of people, killing Aerith, and sending Meteor to the planet to destroy it, you beat him in the final battle and he pulls you intothe mind fight. Cue Cloud's rage building until he unleashes Omnislash and watch that murdering bastard go down!
Cloud beating Sephiroth at Nibelheim and tossing him into the Mako was one already, but it becomes even more of one in retrospect after learning the truth about Cloud's past. An ordinary Shinra military policeman took on the biggest badass known to this world in a one-on-one match and won!
The idea that a wash-out SOLDIER wannabe just HAPPENED to be on the mission that Sephiroth goes insane and beats him is chilling. That this leads Cloud to becoming perhaps the strongest warrior his planet has ever produced makes it very much a "Right Man in the Wrong Place" scenario.
Defeating the Emerald and Ruby WEAPONs, both nasty-hard Bonus Bosses with large pools of hit points and attacks that can end a seemingly-fine fight in an instant, requiring specialized tactics to defeat.
Obtaining the Final Limit Break for any of the characters and learning them is a huge one in itself, especially some of the harder ones, such as Omnislash.
When the group has to go back to Midgar to stop the Sister Ray from firing a second time, there's an awesome scene of the entire team dashing fearlessly off in a perfect line, moving out like true heroes while triumphant music plays and the airship crew salutes them the entire way.
Well, Advent Children gave us Rufus managing to pull a massive screwjob on Kadaj for the majority of the movie magnificently, and despite having a lethal disease, he jumped headfirst out of a window many floors above ground to blow Jenova's head up without any regard for the safety of his own ass! The fact he managed to bullshit EVERYONE into believing he was totally harmless (including his own allies, based on their reactions), and perform a balls of steel level Moment of Awesome is pretty amazing.
Although it seemed as though the Turks were working towards this goal from the beginning. How else do you explain Tseng and Elena showing up as Rufus is plummeting towards the sidewalk, and they're armed with grappling-hook net-guns that nicely save their still-cool-headed-as-all-hell President? And Reno and Rufus don't see surprised to see the friends they thought were dead.
Let's not forget the awesome way Rufus not only pulled off the sheet hiding his face and the aforementioned massive screwjob on Kadaj, he also had the last word, as well! "A GOOD son would have known," is one of the best lines in the movie.
He knew that the best way to hide was to place in the plain sight. All Kadaj needed to do was lift up the sheet to look at him. Everyone assumed he covered up because he was embarrassed of the way Geostigma deformed his body. Kadaj face when Rufus reveals that he had the head the entire time just says it all.
The kids of Advent Children. Did Marlene just chuck stuff at Loz? After seeing him beat Tifa, of all people, into the ground? (And remember that basically reads: Did Marlene just stand up to Sephiroth?). Neither of those kids like people messing with their adoptive mama, actually; Denzel charges straight at Bahamut SIN, which is decimating the place, screaming "You son of a BITCH!" The Complete version only made this better: Denzel smashing a fire hydrant to Kill It with Water, and the scene where Cloud drops Marlene off at the bar... and she tells him she knows exactly what he's been up to, and proceeds to deliver a Rousing Speech to a man four times her age. (That last one doubles as a Heartwarming Moment.)
Sephiroth's return. A massive Oh, Crap! moment for the heroes, but a positively glorious entrance that reminds you exactly how hardcore he is.
The entire rematch between Cloud and Sephiroth. It's what this movie was made for, and it doesn't disappoint. The two of them use the entire ruined Shinra HQ building as their arena, with black clouds swirling overhead, fighting through the interior of the building, on the side of the building, on falling rubble (as in, standing on it as it falls, only jumping to safety moments before it hits the ground), and ending atop the tower, where Cloud proves once more he's got what it takes to put Sephiroth down - this time, it's the new and improved Omnislash that finishes the One Winged Angel.
Not to mention the soundtrack is a new version of "One-Winged Angel" with a full orchestra, choir, and Nobuo Uematsu's metal band The Black Mages (made up of Square employees) playing. For many fans, this is the definitive version of the song.
Advent Children had quite a few, best described through their accompanying quotes:
This game was the Trope Codifier for Limit Breaks. Admit it: the first time you saw your favorite character, whomever he or she was, launch into a devastating super-powered strike against the bad guy (or in some cases, pull you back from the brink of death with a just-in-the-nick-of-time free heal), you felt a little thrill of pure win course through your veins.
Tifa's arguably stand out among the best of the best. All of her Limit Breaks consist of her launching a combo of pure, unadulterated destruction, and just get more and more powerful as they level up. On top of that, they also allow her to suplex absolutely ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING, resulting in her often suplexing monsters the size of freaking buildings with ease. Land all her slots on "Yeah", and you've got yourself a borderline One-Woman Army.
Cloud's fight with Sephiroth. ALL of Cloud's fights with Sephiroth. Especially the one in Advent Children, Sephiroth drops a building on Cloud and, not only do the two of them fight in mid-air, they cut chunks of concert and rebar in half. Chunks the size of buildings and the friction is so great that the chunks are set on fire by the cuts.
Bonus points for the monologue speaking directly to the players about the '97 game, dropping subtle references to it before outright saying that "At last... The promise (of a HD remake) has been made." June 15, 2015 - The day the gaming world stood in awe.
The trailer itself was so well made that it was the first ever trailer to rate three perfect tens in Gametrailers... Unfortunately... It was also the last...
A few months after the reveal of the remake, fans of Final Fantasy VII received another awesome treat: Cloud Strife will be joining the Super Smash Bros. roster as DLC, completed with Midgar City as a stage. Watch the reveal trailer here.
During Awesome Games Done Quick 2015, speedrunner puwexil powers through the game in 2 hours and 57 minutes. He's able to do this by exploiting a disc-change glitch that jumps straight from the world map, just after leaving Midgar for the first time, directly to the Northern Crater. puwexil confronts the One-Winged Angel with a party consisting of Cloud, Cid, and... Aerith. And, of course, they win.