Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is an entry in the thirst-quenchingly popularFinal Fantasy series, and a direct prequel to the most well-known entry in the series, Final Fantasy VII. It is part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.Crisis Core follows Zack Fair, a character who had a minor but significant role in the original game, in the events leading up to the introduction to Final Fantasy VII. It also expands on the backstory of fan favoriteSephiroth. Many characters from the original game, such as Cloud, Aerith, and Sephiroth, play roles of various importance in the story.Although the game is still an RPG, it contains more action elements in combat than its predecessor, and battles are faster-paced. The Materia system returns, if slightly altered.Crisis Core was widely praised as pretty much the only entry in the Compilation to be a decent game by itself. Critics and fans enjoyed the story, direction, and gameplay, though they were turned off by the tedium of the 300 practically identical optional missions and the DMW System.
This game contains examples of:
Absurdly Sharp Blade: Sephiroth's sword qualifies because of his special attack Draw Slash that was doing the actual cutting.
Less egregious, but humans can't fly no matter the size of the wings.
Artificial Brilliance: Enemies may coordinate their attacks such that Zack rolls to avoid one only to be hit by another on recovery.
Artistic Age: Cloud doesn't look any different than usual, and is voiced by Takahiro Sakurai and Steve Burton, like always. The only reason you buy that he's a kid is his attitude. And when he first shows up in the game, he's only 14.
And a bit shorter, if you compare him standing next to Zack and then do the same comparison in Advent Children. His features are a bit softer, too, if you look. Though that might be from not frowning all the time.
Also, Angeal. He looks like he's pushing forty, and numerous Final Fantasy VII fans speculated pre-release that he was Zack's father. Word of God says he's only about 25 years old, and born after Genesis.
Bloodless Carnage: With a handful of exceptions, including the ending, expect to play the game seeing plenty of sword fighting and gunfire, and not a drop of blood will be spilled. Goddammn if it isn't averted in the ending, though.
Bolivian Army Ending: Zack's final stand is Retconned so he faces off against seemingly the entire Shinra army. It has all the hallmarks of a Bolivian Army Ending except that you get to see the inevitable conclusion. The same three guys still take him out though.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: According to the in-game information, all prominent 1st Class SOLDIERs were often considered to be this, with Genesis being the most extreme case of them all. Then their relatively harmless quirks turned intosomethingmuchworse...
But Thou Must: Justified. When Zack is asked by a carpenter to name the bar he's going to build, there are multiple choices, but only one will be accepted. It's the Seventh Heaven, the bar that Tifa owns in the original game.
Call Forward: Sephiroth's first true appearance in the game is rescuing Zack from Ifrit. The way it happens makes the scene look just like the iconic scene of Sephiroth surrounded by flames during the Nibelheim incident.
Camera Screw: The camera hugs the walls, to the point where if you're against a wall you can barely see anything. Truly Fake Difficulty, because hugging the walls is the best way to avoid random encounters.
Cast from Hit Points: Darkness and Costly Punch, though the latter takes such a tiny fraction of health that you'll barely even notice it.
Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: There is a optional spy hunting sequence where Zack has to find Wutai spies in Midgar. When discovered, a chase would ensue and during a 1 second period where they are off camera while running, they will change from civvies to full Wutai soldier Armor.
Even more hilarious, although the last spy also changes to a Wutai soldier, his disguised form is a kid much smaller than his true form. That is some disguise.
Clipped Wing Angel: After defeating the final boss, it shifts into a more human form for the final showdown. Besides the fact its attacks are much weaker, it only has 99,999 HP in this form so a single Costly Punch will end the battle in five seconds.
Companion Cube: Cloud for Zack post Nibelheim. He can't speak or move due to Mako poisoning, but Zack converses with him as if nothing's wrong.
Given Zack's attitude, it's likely his discussions with Cloud are an attempt to shake the guy out of his Mako poisoning. Also, possibly, an attempt to stay sane.
Copy And Paste Environments: The missions, dear God, the missions. If you actually look at the maps in each mission, you'll notice pretty quickly that they're all set in the same eight or nine areas, you just get to explore different parts of them in different missions.
The game opens with Zack jumping out of a helicopter, running across a train, dodging bullets, and pulling off all kinds of Advent Children-style kung fu feats. Nothing in this game's actual battle system even resembles that cutscene. Zack can swing his sword, do a dodge roll, and run around and that is it. He can't even jump. Naturally scenes like this happen throughout the entire game, and the playable battles never stop being any less dull in comparison.
Some of the summons cutscenes get improbably outrageous. Bahamut Fury flies in from space and uses the moon to help fire a laser beam that causes an explosion that covers at least 1/10 of the planet.
Development Gag: Angeal's design is based on an early concept for Cloud in the original game.
Defector from Decadence: Sephiroth was deeply considering retiring from Shinra and SOLDIER presumably due to growing distrust of the organization shortly before Nibelheim (where Ret Irony kicks in). It's heavily implied that Angeal's defection was also due to this trope.
Disk One Nuke: Though you'll have to do a lot of level grinding to get the gil you need to buy them, and its very difficult to do the missions due to the high level requirement, as early as the beginning of Chapter 3 you can do missions to earn access to a shop that sells Quake Materia, "Hell" spells, Firaga/Blizzaga/Thundaga Blade, and other high-level Materia.
Doesn't Like Guns: Subverted, in that SOLDIERs seem to overwhelmingly favor swords, but Zack apparently has no issues about using a sniper rifle to eliminate some robotic enemies during the escape from Nibelheim.
Doomed by Canon: If you've played through Final Fantasy VII, then you will already know how this game ends.
Doomed Hometown: Zack's Home town of Gongaga goes up in a mako reactor explosion. However, he never learns this, and it doesn't factor into the plot at all.
As in the original game, Nibelheim for Cloud
Downer Ending: Zack gets shot down by the Shinra Army before he's able to return to Midgar. Cloud awakens from his coma in time to inherit the Buster Sword and see Zack die. Aerith sent 89 letters to Zack, to which she received no reply; and senses Zack's passing. Also, if you know the events to Final Fantasy VII, you know things are about to get a whole lot worse.
Easter Egg: In the first room of the final dungeon, Emerald Weapon's shoulders can be seen emerging from a crystal formation in the back of the cavern.
Empty Room Psych: In most of the missions, there are only one or two chests, while the rest of the level is empty except for the boss.
Excuse Plot: The mission briefings. With a couple of exceptions, pretty much every mission boils down to looking for the boss-type enemy visible on the map and kill it to win. AVALANCHE has infiltrated the slums? An shipment of experimental new Shinra robots has gone haywire? The science department wants you to recover rare materials for Materia fusion? They all play exactly the same.
... Plus, his war cry of 'IRASSHAIMASE!'/COME AND GET IT! has the added connotation in Japanese of being shouted out by staff at every shop and restaurant, and would probably be better translated as 'COME GET SERVED!'
Flaming Sword: Odin's Zantetsuken starts flaming, gets extinguished, then rekindles.
For Want of a Nail: The game establishes numerous ways the Foregone Conclusion could be averted. Zack could have been a bit stronger and killed those last three troops, the Turks could have found him before the army did, Cloud could have come to his senses earlier and possibly come to Zack's rescue.Fix Fics where Zack survives the final battle due to one of these factors are practically their own genre in the fandom.
Friendship Moment: Almost every scene with Cloud and Zack past the Nibelheim incident when he's helping Cloud along.
Freudian Excuse: Genesis rubs major salt in the wound for Sephiroth during the Nibelheim incident, when he reveals the truth about Sephiroth's birth. Genesis's presence in the Nibelheim reactor is a fairly big Retcon, and it certainly adds to the image of Sephiroth being a tragic figure. The Retcon basically pins most of the blame of Sephiroth's downfall on Genesis's less-than-sensitive revelation, rather than Sephiroth originally coming to that conclusion himself.
Foregone Conclusion: Zack dies. Known to everyone who played FFVII and saw the optional cutscenes.
Fore Shadowing/Future Shadowing: In the beginning of the game's Training Accident: Zack encounters Sephiroth, who attacks him, making it seem as though he was behind the attack on Midgar. However, this proves to be a simulation. Guess what happens in Nibelheim?
Fridge Logic: A rare in-universe case. Zack receives missions from Yuffie, and after each one she sends him an email telling him where to go next. Eventually Zack stops and wonders briefly exactly how Yuffie managed to get his email address. The subsequent missions focus on finding out.
Gameplay and Story Integration: The Digital Mind Wave is a manifestation of Zack's thoughts and emotions, and as such his emotional state can affect its results, and if that emotional state is connected to someone on the reel, they have a higher chance of appearing on the reels for a while. Famously reversed in the ending sequence — as Zack gets weaker and weaker fighting off Shinra's force, the portraits on the reels fade away, the reels begin to glitch up, and the sound and picture get full of static. His life is flashing before his eyes as his mental processes break down—and the last image it gets stuck on is Aerith.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Zack says he swings the Buster Sword with the blunt edge to avoid damaging the bladed edge, and Cloud later comments he doesn't see Zack use it much. Of course, unless you stick to Materia you're definitely going to be using the sword since you can't equip different weapons, and in battle Zack clearly swings it to hit with the bladed edge.
Zack is free to take missions from Shinra right up until the final area of the game right outside the chamber of the final boss, even though by that time he's a wanted fugitive being pursued across the world, and a good number of them aren't even available before he's on the run from Shinra.
Gaussian Guy: Some of Cloud's memories of Zack at the end are shown in this manner.
Genki Girl: Aerith, although an unusually thoughtful variety.
Gratuitous English: Zack says "T(h)ank You" to Cissnei in the Japanese Version, after she helps him and Cloud.
Grey and Gray Morality: If you played the original game you already know how bad Shinra is. With the villains meanwhile, Angeal is just trying to do the honorable thing between his childhood friend and his career, Hollander and Lazard want to bring Shinra down due to being overlooked in the hierarchy, and Genesis wants a cure for his genetic degredation and is just growing increasingly desperate.
Hope Spot: A cruel one for Zack (and the player) at the end. The DMW lines up Aerith's picture right at the end of Zack's last battle. As lining up Aerith triggers Healing Wave, a copy of Final Heaven that heals Zack fully and makes them invincible, it seems like Zack might have a Heroic Second Wind. Then the DMV fails and Aerith's memories vanish...
Hyperspace Arsenal: In the boss battle with Hollander, his appropriately named "Dimension Missile" has him reach into his satchel and pull out a missile bigger than he is.
Idiosyncrazy: Genesis is not exactly a supervillain, but monomania is a very prominent aspect of his character. If something or someone ever catches his interest, he gets obsessed with it.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Seemingly at the beginning when Zack faces three enemy gunners opening fire with automatic rifles and not one hits him, but we later find out this is just a holographic simulation and thus, even if he was hit it wouldn't matter. Played straight in a later scenes which is nearly identical, this time with real gunners, and Zack still doesn't get hit while holding fairly still.
Interface Spoiler: Provided you know the characters of the original game, with the exception of Cissnei (who is a new character, mostly) you can probably take a good guess as to who's who on the blank DMW portraits - the spiky hair on one such portrait isn't very subtle. Averted with Genesis, who is added to the DMW reels but has no blank portrait as a placeholder in the roulette prior to being acquired, although he does have a placeholder in the DMW menu... in the summons column.
Interservice Rivalry: All over Shinra. With pretty much every department fighting for funding while sabotaging others and security forces almost incapable of cooperation, no wonder Shinra was in such disarray during FFVII.
Irony: when on the run, Zack believes that he and Cloud can probably evade the Shinra army, but not the Turks. Of course, under orders from Tseng, the Turks are probably trying to save Zack. And as for the army, how did that turn out?
Jack of All Stats: Zack. Justified in both gameplay and story, as story-wise SOLDIER operatives have to be pretty good at everything and gameplay-wise Zack is the only person you have control over.
Lampshade Hanging: The game enjoys its lampshades of some of the more questionable or stylistic elements of FFVII and the rest of The Verse, as well as other RPG conventions. For example, Angeal (the original owner of the Buster Sword) makes a lot of noise about not wanting to cause unnecessary wear and tear so he avoids using his sword as much as he can (his very poor family spent a lot of money on it, and he sees it as more a personal symbol than a tool). Then in a DMW flashback when Angeal and Zack are surrounded by about a dozen enemies, Zack asks if now might be a good time to use the Buster - Angeal reluctantly admits the sword is "heavy and unwieldy." Cue an exasperated Zack asking why he doesn't just carry something lighter instead.
Loners Are Freaks: During their SOLDIER days, both Sephiroth and Genesis are described as rather aloof and averse to other people's company, making an exception only for each other and Angeal.
Lost Forever: Once you leave for Nibelheim at the end of Chapter 8, pretty much every subquest you can take part in in Midgar, as well as numerous missions triggered by interacting with people in Midgar, cannot be completed.
Luck-Based Mission: Any mission that contains enemies with instant death attacks - remember, you have only one party member. At least until you get a way to protect against it, and to be fair, you can dodge just about all of them if you're careful.
The Magic Pot enemy in a later mission asks you to use four specific attacks on it, the last of which is a DMW attack. Since you have no control over it all you can do is sit there and watch the reels spin, hopping they stop on the attack you need before Magic Pot gets bored and flees. You can equip a certain Materia to boost the odds of getting the attack, but its still random. And of course, appeasing the Pot is the only way to get the Genji Shield.
He does and admits it himself. According to the Word of God, Genesis only starts taking LOVELESS as the, well, Word of God somewhere near the end of the game, when both his desperation and insanity hit their peak. Before that his recitings are more of a Madness Mantra.
Here's a drinking game - play the game and take a sip every time Angeal says "honor" or "dreams" - and take two shots if he uses them in improper context. You'll be tipsy by the end of the second chapter.
Lampshaded by Sephiroth who makes mention of receiving "one of his famous lectures... discipline, honor, dreams, et cetera".
Genesis: You'd better do something about those plants in your room. Angeal: Those plants represent nature. Some of us converse with nature to hone our spirit and honor. Genesis: And some of us are getting bugs in our rooms because of those blasted things.
Meaningful Name: Ange(a)l. Genesis is the name of the first book of the Bible. Genesis is basically responsible for the events in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.
Medium Awareness: Zack makes a reference to leveling up in a DMW sequence, and on a mission when he runs into Yuffie she shows him a save point, which Zack remarks he could use in case she steals something from him.
Mood Whiplash: Angeal forces Zack to kill him, and in his final moments, passes the Buster Sword on to him. Zack is seen crying about this in the church in the slums afterward. It is arguably one of the saddest scenes in the game. The next thing that you do is go to Costa Del Sol, watch a short cutscene of Zack in swim trunks and Cissnei in a bikini, and fight some Genesis copies using only a beach umbrella.
My Suit Is Also Super: Played straight when Sephiroth gets encased in a firey ball of doom midair and gets out, inverted when Genesis and Angeal degrade; their clothes degrade with them.
Although, when Genesis gets "better", his clothes get better with him.
Mythology Gag: Oh so many. To name a few of the more blatant ones: Zack dropping through the Sector 5 Church's roof and offering Aerith a date, the rather familiar vehicles on display in the Shinra museum, Zack doing squats while on a mission in a snowy mountain to keep up his body temperature, and a carpenter in the slums who wants to build a bar managed by "a young girl with a big bosom and long legs".
New Game+: and the gratuitously-named New Game++ which behaves the same.
One-Man Army: Zack. Even setting aside the monsters and enemy troops he slaughters in random encounters, Shinra sends an entire army of soldiers to bring him down in the game's finale. When the battle finally ends, the three of them still standing finish him off.
Serial Escalation in the Missions, where one series of missions consists of Zack fighting off hordes of Shinra infanty, culminating with him fighting off 1000 soldiers.
Only Sane Man: Angeal, when compared to Sephiroth and Genesis. Made especially obvious during the 1st Class Fun cutscene in which Genesis duels Sephiroth in a mock battle that goes horribly out of hand; by the time Angeal steps in to stop them from blowing up the building they're in, neither of the combatants are holding back. Though you can never really tell with Sephiroth, according to Word of God.
Then, later, uses the exact same words as Angeal to explain how he keeps it such good shape, and why he only uses the flat edge of the blade.
Overly Long Fighting Animation: the summon movies are actual movies now. No more in-game machinima: pure pre-rendered cutscenes! Luckily, it's possible to skip some all of them. Considering the shortest is twenty seconds, that's a very good thing. If, however, the summon is used against you, well... get some popcorn. Especially when trying to get Bahamut Fury.
Pet the Dog: Despite Sephiroth's air of aloofness and arrogance, it turns out that before the Nibelheim mission, Sephiroth could actually be a pretty nice guy - he has friends that he 'plays' around with, he tries to talk to and/or save Angeal before Shinra could hunt down Angeal, he tried to help Genesis when Genesis is injured during a VR session, he gives permission for Zack to go back to the Midgar Slums to protect Aerith, and he even reassures Zack that they'll meet again. All of which makes Zack's shock and disbelief over Sephiroth's later Face-Heel Turn even more poignant.
Power Trio: Sephiroth, Genesis and Angeal. Made clear in a cutscene when Sephiroth's calm, unflappable nature goads Genesis into a massive, destructive battle, forcing Angeal to step in and try to stop them.
Punch Clock Villains: Since the game is now from Zack's POV, you find that most Shinra employees, including SOLDIER, are just normal, decent guys with day jobs—they worry about getting promoted, discuss company hotties, and the higher-up members of the infantry are concerned with trying to get their division more funding.
Random Number God: The DMW. While it is possible to influence the results (and character level is eventually guaranteed), the fact that players only have limited control over the process invokes this trope.
Retcon: Several, most notably the nature of Zack's death and how Cloud ends up the way he was in FF7.
Most of the iconic scene at the Nibelheim Reactor was changed, though the end result is the same, and the parts that Cloud sees are left unchanged. Oddly enough, this is the second retcon of the scene; the first happened the cellphone Turk-centric game Before Crisis and was reused in the OVA Last Order. Crisis Core is a compromise of that version and the original game's with Cloud tossing Sephiroth into the mako pit but with the location changed to Jenova's chamber rather than the cat-walk outside.
Word of God says that FFVII gave us Cloud's perspective of the scene, Last Order and Before Crisis gave us the scene as reported by the Turks and Crisis Core is what Zack perceived as what happened. The only thing we know for certain is that the Turks got it wrong about Sephiroth jumping into the Lifestream and Tifa waking up when Cloud arrived in the Mako Reactor.
Retirony: Sephiroth is seriously thinking of leaving Shinra and SOLDIER (implied to be out of guilt for the deaths of his friends and growing distrust for the organization) just before the Nibelheim mission (where his madness began).
Sad Battle Music: "The Price of Freedom" could be considered this, due to the nature of the event you're fighting to it.
Self-Made Orphan: Played straight with Genesis and subverted with Angeal. Angeal was initially believed to have killed his mother, and lets Zack believe it, but it is later revealed shortly before their battle that Angeals' mother actually committed suicide because of the strain of knowing her part in creating Angeal and Genesis.
Stages of Monster Grief: Angeal hates his nature and defies it, while Genesis fully embraced The Dark Side and Sephiroth is inbetween (its hinted that he hates his nature upon finding out, but ends up embracing it anyways).
The sleep deprivation part was, however, already there in the original game: "Sephiroth didn't come out of the Shinra Mansion... He continued to read as if he were possessed by something, and not once, did the light in the basement go out..."
Suicide by Cop: Angeal trying to force Sephiroth (who refuses) and Zack (who actually does it) to kill him.
Super Cell Reception: Zack has access to a far better phone as a member of SOLDIER which allows him to recieve e-mail and shop online and — apparently — fuse materia. And it even continues to work as if the game's four year Time Skip never happened even though Zack himself was out of commission.
Justified in a bit of Fridge Brilliance: He spent the past 4 years submerged in Mako. Almost everything is powered by Mako. His phone probably has a refillable Mako cartrage as a battery.
Super Soldier: Sephiroth, Genesis, Angeal, Zack, and all the other members of SOLDIER.
Sugar and Ice Personality: Sephiroth, of all people, is a male version. He is aloof and coldly professional but also cares about his friends, is hurt enough by their loss to consider quitting his job and allows Zack to return to Midgar to check up on his girlfriend, showing that he at least understands the value of these kinds of relationships. This helps to nudge him out of Draco in Leather Pants territory and toward Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
Swiss-Army Weapon: Wutai troops carry some polearm-gun combination. Then there's the massive Gunblades used by a few Genesis copies.
Talk to Everyone: Absolutely necessary if you want to uncover much of the info relating to the world and characters.
Talk to the Fist: You can interrupt small enemies' attacks by attacking them first.
Take Up My Sword: Angeal passing the Buster Sword to Zack and Zack doing the same to Cloud.
Take Your Time: Sure, the director of SOLDIER is waiting for you in his office, but you've got time for another thirty or forty missions first.
True Companions: Zack has this with a lot of his SOLDIER comrades. Kunsel even sends him messages after the Zack escapes from Shinra Manor, saying that he will come save him.
Unnecessary Combat Roll: Subverted in that it's extremely necessary to dodge attacks, granting you invincibility while rolling. With proper timing Zack can roll into explosions and spells and the like and not take damage.
We Used to Be Friends: Zack and Angeal. Sephiroth and Genesis too, though Genesis considered Sephiroth more of a rival.
What Have I Become?: Out of all the Jenova project and it's many variants, only Angeal manages to hold on to not only his sanity but humanity through the whole ordeal. To the point that his copies and monsters went out of their way to help Zack.
He nearly lost it early on, it seems, considering some of his words and actions. He must have been using a lot of will power to hang on long enough for Zack to be able to kill him.
This is compounded by that fact that, compared to Genesis and Sephiroth, Angeal has a white wing instead of a black one. Zack even says that it's not the wing of a monster, but rather the wing of an angel.
Wicked Cultured: Genesis, though really, it's more like Wicked Pretentious.
Wife Husbandry: A very minor example of this trope plays when Zack talks to a small girl in the Sector 8 slums. She mentions a kind, rich uncle whom smiled in agreement when the girl said that she wants to marry him. This goes straight into Squick territory when you realise that said Uncle is Don Corneo, the pervert mob boss in the original game.