"There ain't no gettin' offa this train we're on!"
Final Fantasy VII is the seventh entry in the nerve-twistingly popularFinal Fantasy series. It's one of the most famous games of all time, as it helped extend console RPGs into the West's mainstream gamer community and was seen as the PlayStation's Killer App in its battle against Sega and Nintendo.The game's story begins in the industrial metropolis of Midgar. The city's prosperity has soared thanks to the electricity supplied by the Shinra Electric Power Company and their Mako Reactors. A eco-terrorist organisation known as AVALANCHE — who believe Mako Reactors are sucking the very Life Energy from the planet and will eventually bleed the world dry — has launched a violent offensive against the company and the Mako Reactors in an attempt to galvanize the less-fortunate portion of Midgar into action.Cloud Strife, a former member of Shinra's elite private army SOLDIER, has joined AVALANCHE as a mercenary for hire. Alongside AVALANCHE leader Barrett Wallace and childhood friend Tifa Lockhart, Cloud begins to dig into the layers of corruption that permeate Shinra. The group discovers many of Shinra's secrets, including human experimentation and a plot to kidnap Aerith Gainsborough, a young woman believed to be the last of the mysterious Ancients.The fight against Shinra changes completely with the reappearance of Sephiroth, a legendary SOLDIER who has been AWOL for years and is now blazing a trail of death across the entire world. Cloud senses the threat Sephiroth poses, and in an attempt to save the world — as well as get some answers to long-forgotten questions — leads his allies in pursuit of his former comrade.Squaresoft (now Square Enix) published Final Fantasy VII on Sony's PlayStation console after a falling-out with Nintendo over the latter's extreme censorship policies (as well as a reported refusal to move away from the industry-standard ROM cartridge, which severely limited the scope of a game). Sony was more than willing to permit more "mature" content on its systems; coupled with the then-impressive storage capacity of the CD-ROM format, this proved to be much more accommodating to Square's design philosophy than Nintendo's restrictions.Few people completely grasp the plot during the first playthrough; even for a RPG, this game can get extremely complicated. This is not helped by the poor translation, whose errors range from horrific spelling/grammar errors ("This guy are sick") to outright misinformation ("Attack while the tail is up").VII proved successful enough to spawn a fair amount of merchandise, including novellas told from various characters' perspectives and a raft of Spin Offs collectively known as the "Compilation of Final Fantasy VII". These various spinoffs include:
Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, a Japan-only mobile phone game; tells the story of the Turks (mainly new ones, though the ones from the original game appear only as NPCs) as they fight the original incarnation of AVALANCHE, who were more villainous than the one led by Barrett
On The Way To A Smile, an anthology of short stories detailing the events that lead up to Advent Children from the end of the original game, eventually released in book form around the same time as Advent Children Complete was released on Blu-Ray
A popular rumor says Square Enix will eventually do a complete remake of the game, for either a current-generation console or handheld. Final Fantasy VII director Yoshinori Kitase said such a project would be undertaken only if the original team could be reunited to work on the remake, which is incredibly unlikely (as they have since been assigned different projects).The Final Fantasy VII characters got their first cameo shots in the oft-forgotten Fighting GameEhrgeiz.
The original game and the Compilation contain examples of:
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Absurdly Sharp Blade: Sephiroth's Masamune and Cloud's Fusion Sword blades are capable of not only slashing cleanly through massive pieces of concrete building that are far larger than the swords themselves, but setting the edges of the cut concrete ON FIRE. Of course, the swords, despite repeated clashing, never damage each other.
Abusive Parents: Hojo and Lucrecia do genetic experiments on their son while he's still in the womb. Said son turns out... well, let's just say "sociopath" is putting it mildly.
All Love Is Unrequited: Let's see... Tifa loves Cloud, but if he knows she does, he doesn't show it. Johnny has the hots for Tifa too, and ends up running 7th Heaven in her absence because of it. Cloud loves Aerith, but she's still hung up on Zack, so he never makes it past First Base with her. Tseng loves Aerith, but while it was an open secret, he never acted on his feelings. Rude has the hots for Tifa, but every time they encounter one another she either kicks his ass or mouths off to him. Elena loves Tseng, but she's too much of a fangirl to do anything about it. Vincent loved Lucrecia to the point of madness, but she was too busy starfucking Hojo to notice him. Hojo in turn didn't care one wet napkin about Lucrecia. And Shera loved Cid so much she (accidentally) sabotaged his dream rather than let him go through with it and die (they eventually get married after Cid learns her side of the story and he names an airship after her, however).
Midgar seems to be like this, but it's only because of all the smog and fallout from the Mako reactors, and on the world map, it's clearly daytime outside, but the screen and sky become more grey as you're closer to the city. The Cosmo Canyon and Northern Crater areas are also distinct for being set during twilight and at night, respectively.
The Midgar Slums are an even more extreme example, with all sunlight being completely blocked off by the plate suspended 50 meters in the air. Junon suffers the same exact problem, since it's built just like Midgar.
Red XIII's weapon, the Seraph Comb, counts as well. When he gets it, you'll want to use him a lot more, since it's his fourth most powerful weapon in the game, and drastically outclasses all the other weapons your characters have, and will continue to do so until over halfway through disc 2.
Apathetic Citizens: To the point where one NPC in the Wall Market muses that the destruction of an entire sector of Midgar is annoying because the kickup of dust ruined the soup he was cooking outside. Another one goes as far as to state that maybe they should look up to watch for falling debris more than they should look at the ground for loose change.
Spin-off materials reveal Aerith to have done this when she died and entered the Lifestream. Case of the Lifestream and Hoshi wo Meguru Otome depict her as a sort of leader of the spirits within the Lifestream, as well as able to cleanse it and maintain her sense of self within it, while in Advent Children she's able to communicate with and appear to the living to limited degrees. It is implied she has these abilities due to her Cetra heritage.
Sephiroth's technically been "dead" ever since Nibelheim. But because his spirit lives on in the Lifestream, he's able to act from beyond the grave by shapeshifting Jenova's cells into a new body for himself and mentally influencing those that carry those cells. Backstory for Advent Children establish his three remnants being formed from pure spiritual energy with a need for any Jenova cells, though the three are incomplete copies of him without them.
Back from the Dead: Sephiroth in Advent Children. Consistently subverted with Aerith, no matter how much the fans (especially the shippers) want it to happen. And, no, hacking the game to keep her in the party after her death scene doesn't count.
Backtracking: This is the only way to get all the items in the North Cave. If you play it right, you can get more than one of some of the items.
Badass in a Nice Suit: The Turks, with the exception of Reno. While the rest of the Turks wear their blue suits clean, pressed, and neat, Reno wears his like he just woke up from a drunken one-night-stand.
BFS: Cloud and Sephiroth each have one. Sephiroth's is a no-dachi. It's not just any no-dachi, it is six feet long in the game. In other words, almost longer than he is tall (his canonical height is 6'1"). In Crisis Core and Advent Children, the no-dachi gets a downgrade to a much more manageable four feet long (as if that makes it better).
BGM Override: Possibly the most well known example of this trope would be the fight with Jenova-LIFE where Aerith's theme keeps playing through the entire scene from the full-motion segment until the disc change.
Big "NO!": Although not quite clear in the first game due to the relative lack of voice acting, his reaction in regards to Zack's death in a flashback when revisiting the Shinra Mansion lab shortly after Cloud regains himself makes this pretty apparent.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: The abnormally large number of these is said to have prompted Square to create its own localization department.
"This guy are sick" and "To the settling of everything," among other mistakes.
The game says otherwise, but do not "attack while the tail is up" in the first boss battle. The problem here isn't the translation but the phrasing. Had it been "Attack while the tail is up, it'll counter-attack with its laser!" in a single text box, it would have made a lot more sense. Prefixing it with "If you..." would have solved the issue too.
And if you think the English translation is bad, the Spanish translation is a Blind Idiot Translation of the English Blind Idiot Translation. Highlights include Aerith and Yuffie being referred to as men at times, Aerith's mother having two names, "techno" translated as a substantive rather than as a prefix/adjective, in a way that in every case it appears it sounds like they're talking about the musical genre (someone in Corel calls Barrett a "monstruo del tecno", which makes it sound like he's a really badass DJ), and "well" somehow being once translated as "rueda" ("Wheel"), among lots of other "marvels". A Spanish Let's Play concluded Aerith was a hermaphrodite.
The German translation is just as bad. Ignore the random German text, suddenly littered with untranslated English text, with translated German text beneath that, and the sentence fragments repeating themselves two or three times. They also exchanged the Ü for a é (despite having the option to just write ue), making dialogue that includes that vowel hard to understand the first time around.
Body Backup Drive: Cait Sith does this once, although it's unknown if this was a one-time occurrence or if he could do this any time his body was destroyed.
The PC version has a revised script that really isn't bad at all.
Book Ends: Aerith's face in the opening and closing cutscenes of the game. This has led some to theorize the whole game is a vision she's having before any of it takes place. If true, it means she knows she's going to die but goes through with it anyway.
Anti-Climax Boss/Zero-Effort Boss: The final final duel with Sephiroth. He can't kill you, and your attacks automatically kill him. Even if you wait long enough for him to hit you, you automatically counterattack and defeat him anyway.
Cowardly Boss / Get Back Here Boss: Ultimate WEAPON, which runs away after the first, and only mandatory, fight against it in Mideel. The player is then given the option of fighting it again. It must be fought several times with it running away each time after it's taken a certain amount of damage.
Cutscene Boss: Sapphire WEAPON. Diamond WEAPON was this in the original Japanese version, but an actual fight against him was added when the game went international.
Damage-Sponge Boss /Marathon Boss: Ruby and Emerald WEAPON, who have eight hundred thousand and one million hp , respectively, and you are only able to do 9999 at once, typical strategies for beating them involve using the Game Breaker summon a couple dozen times. The fight against Emerald WEAPON takes place underwater; you have to either kill it in 20 minutes, or undergo a simple sidequest to allow you to breathe water. Since that isn't very long against something with as many hp as Emerald WEAPON, most people go for the sidequest.
During the final battle with Sephiroth, you can switch your party members.
The game doesn't tell you this, but it's keeping track of how well you do in the fight against Jenova immediately before you fight Sephiroth. If you barely scrape by, the game takes pity on you, and you fight Sephiroth with only one party, which makes this a very straightforward boss fight. If you bring the hurt and totally wreck Jenova's stuff, you have to split your equipment and materia three ways; having one team defeat Sephiroth's left arm, one team for the right arm, and one team for his core... which will heal the arms back if you take too long. And if you used the infinity plus one summon on it, the final boss gets a boost to its HP. And what's even worse, the numerous parties need to be properly equipped, but once you beat the boss, your main party goes straight on to the Final Boss battle without giving you a chance to swap equipment in-between.
It's also made worse that if one of your team gets taken down, instant Game Over, even if it's not the team fighting the core (which fights Sephiroth's final form).
Flunky Boss: H0512 fights with three H0512 samples. Rufus fights with Dark Nation. Gi Nattak fights with two Soul Fires. Hojo's first form fights with a Bad Rap Sample and a Poodler Sample.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Schizo, the two headed dragon in the Icicle Cave. This mandatory boss fight was added to the American version of the game for no apparent reason. You can steal a Protect Ring from it, but other than that it has no bearing on the rest of the game whatsoever.
The Red Dragon that attacks the party in the Temple of the Ancients comes out of nowhere as well.
High Altitude Battle: The optional fights against Ultimate Weapon are fought from the deck of the Highwind.
Recurring Boss: Several. Reno has to be fought twice with two optional fights, Rude has to be fought once with two optional fights, JENOVA has to be fought four times in different forms, Ultimate WEAPON has to be fought once and then becomes an optional boss which has to be fought several times to defeat.
Sequential Boss: Hundred Gunner and Heli Gunner in Shinra Tower, Hojo's three forms on the Sister Ray, the Northern Crater platform bosses and JENOVA-Synthesis, and Sephiroth's two forms.
Skippable Boss: The Turks in the sunken Gelnika will not appear if you've already had your final fight with them while stopping Sister Ray, which can also be avoided since it gives you the option not to fight.
Breakout Character: Vincent Valentine, who would go on to star in his own game. Same for Zack.
Breather Episode: Right before the Temple of the Ancients is a lighthearted date scene. The first new location visited on disc two is the rather peaceful Icicle Inn, which is host to a snowboarding minigame.
Broken Aesop: The original game had an environmental message about the Lifestream and humans abusing the planet's natural resources to the point there was the chance Holy would see them as a threat and destroy the species. Materials set after the game, namely On The Way To A Smile, mention that people don't like using Mako anymore because they learned this message. Instead the more "environmentally friendly" fuel of choice people are turning to is ... oil.
But Thou Must: Halfway through the game, you get a MacGuffin and are told to give it to someone else for safekeeping. Everyone but Barret or Red XIII/Nanaki declines to accept it.
Can't Drop the Hero: Both subverted and played straight; at a couple times in the game, you lose Cloud for a while, to be replaced by Tifa and Cid. Outside of this, however, you truly can't drop the hero.
Cat Fight: Between Tifa and Scarlet, on top of a cannon during an attack by a huge monster while your team hijacks an airship.
Referenced directly by Rude in regards to both Rufus and Tseng in Advent Children Complete when Reno hopes that their two missing partners are still alive. "Tseng is just like the president. They're kinda like cats. Nine lives, y'know?"
Cait Sith sacrifices his body so you can get the black materia. His new body shows up again within 20 seconds, complete with his equipment and materia. Bag of Sharing much?
Sephiroth, who first receives a few brief mentions a fair while before his true significance is understood.
The Ancients, or the Cetra, are also mentioned numerous times before their true significance is understood.
Aerith's first boyfriend, first briefly mentioned in the Midgar playground. The connection the events at Nibelheim can be easily missed if the player doesn't stop at Gongaga (or if they do but don't have Aerith in the party) and meet his parents, revealing his actual name.
One of the Shinra grunts in Cloud's flashbacks accompanying him and Sephiroth.
The mysterious voice talking to Cloud while he's unconscious.
The men in Nibelheim in black cloaks.
Reeve, JENOVA, Hojo, Ifalna, Red XIII's grandfather, Professor Gast, Dyne, Red XIII's father, Cait Sith
Clone by Conversion: Cloud and all the other clones of Sephiroth created by the Jenova Project.
Cluster F-Bomb: Barret and Cid have a tendency to launch into these. The harsher curse words are censored, since this game has a "T" rating. Interestingly enough, the PC version was censored more than the PS1 version, with "hell" and "damn" censored too. Strangely, neither censors "shit!"
Combos: Various characters' limits breaks: Cloud's Omnislash, Tifa's entire string, Yuffie's Bloodfest and Doom of the Living, and Cid's Big Brawl.
Colony Drop: Shinra drops the entire plate of Sector 7 onto the slums below to get rid of AVALANCHE.
Comically Small Bribe: Want to get into Junon airport, and don't feel like getting wet while riding the dolphin? TOO BAD, it's off limits, unless you pay the elevator guard. .. 10 gil. You can walk out of town, kill some pansy monsters, and rake in a few hundred.
CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): Featured in a minigame. That has no time limit. That's right, if a person stops breathing for 20 minutes while you go eat a sandwich, then you come back and do CPR for another three, they'll totally be fine.
Aerith takes the prize for a traumatic upbringing. Her father is killed by Shinra while she's a newborn, and she grows up in the prisons of Shinra headquarters for seven years with Tseng as the only person who shows her sympathy. Her mother makes a Heroic Sacrifice to give her freedom, though even after THAT she is still constantly under watch by the Turks.
What about Vincent? The guy fell deeply in love with Lucrecia, only for her to choose Hojo and her work over him, and then was cruelly experimented on, had a total of four bloodthirsty demons shoved into him to share his mind for the rest of his life, and locked in a coffin for thirty years. If that's not dark and troubled, I don't know what is.
A Day in the Limelight: Every playable character has at least part of the game focused exclusively on them, their backstory, character development, and personal growth.
Dead Character Walking: By a glitch with Cloud's flashback sequence. Sephiroth's AI is supposed to revive Cloud should he fall in battle but sometimes Sephiroth will just wail on enemies instead, leaving Cloud down. This becomes extremely funny when Sephiroth separates from Cloud's party, leaving Cloud to walk around town by himself while his HP is at 0. There's no more random encounters once Sephiroth leaves due to plot reasons, so there's no risk of a Game Over.
Defeat Means Friendship: Beating up that Mysterious Ninja allows you to recruit her into your party. But only if you give the right answers to her questions. Failure just means she steals cash from you, but it's a lot of cash! She also tricks you with a fake save point and takes your money if you check it out.
Despair Speech: Dyne delivers one before hurling himself off a canyon. Unlike his first 'death', this one sticks.
Did They or Didn't They?: Shortly before entering the Final Dungeon, the party disbands so that its members can spend the last day before the apocalypse with their families before returning (or simply stay home entirely). Cloud and Tifa remain behind, having no families of their own to go home to, and spend the night together in the shadow of their airship. Cloud and Tifa's dialogue ends with a Fade to Black, possibly intended as a Sexy Discretion Shot.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Cloud does this to Sephiroth in his real memory of Nibelheim. After getting impaled by Sephiroth's sword and lifted up, Cloud actually manages to reverse the move and simply toss Sephiroth aside and into the reactor.
Averted in that the game's first two discs do end with big boss battles, but neither time does the game fool you into thinking the battles are climactic.
Disproportionate Retribution: After going crazy from finding out he's a product of Shinra's experimentation, Sephiroth burns down Nibelheim and kills all the townsfolk. Why? Because he was there when he found out.
Distant Finale: The cut to 500 years later after the credits, which caused some confusion (among other things, it convinced some players that Meteor and Holy wiped out all the humans), but at least showed that Red XIII lived up to his promise to live for 500 years.
The Dragon: JENOVA to Sephiroth. Rufus to President Shinra.
Co-Dragons: Scarlett, Heidegger, and Tseng to President Shinra and later to Rufus.
Dragon-in-Chief: Rufus, who's first the vice-president of Shinra, Inc. but then takes over for his father as president and becomes considerably more powerful.
Dragon with an Agenda: Professor Hojo can be seen as an example, as he actively works against Shinra on many occasions despite arguably being their most valuable executive. He resigns from his post and begrudgingly assists the main party on their search for Sephiroth, only because he wants to see his research come to fruition. Later in the game, while his colleagues are attempting to stop his son from causing the apocalypse, he does everything in his power to speed it along.
Dressing as the Enemy: The Junon infiltration sequence. Apparently dressing is the ONLY requisite part of this trope; no matter how bad of an actor you are in the parade, you still get onto the boat. Red XIII can barely balance on two legs, but he's still wearing a soldier's uniform and making a good try of it anyway.
Dude Looks Like a Lady: Lampshaded early in the game when Cloud has to crossdress to get into Don Corneo's mansion. Depending on how much the player worked, it's even possible for him to be picked over Aerith and Tifa as Corneo's future bride. Foe Yay and Squick don't even begin to describe it.
Dungeon Bypass: You can bypass much of the Shinra Building and its guards by simply taking the stairs as opposed to fighting your way floor by floor. This is, however, incredibly boring, time consuming, and you have to put up with your characters complaining the entire way. There are a few bits of nice loot on the stairs, however.
Eldritch Abomination: Jenova, who really isn't evil so much as hungry and looking for lunch. Unfortunately, that lunch just happens to be the life energy of planets. The whole turning people into monsters and driving them insane and impersonating the native race and turning on them after gaining acceptance is kind of pushing it though.
Electric Jellyfish: The Crown Lance enemy, which casts lightning spells as well as being able to absorb lightning. They're more dangerous for their Deadly Needles attack, though.
Equipment Spoiler: You can find a weapon for Vincent in Kalm, way before you can actually recruit him. Also, weapons for him and Yuffie will appear in shops and chests around the world even if you miss them.
Evil Laugh: Hojo and his "Mwa ha ha." But there's also "Kya ha ha" (Scarlet) and "Gya ha ha" (Heidegger).
Lampshaded by Rufus and Caith Sith. Cait Sith refers to Heideggar and Scarlet as "'Gya ha ha' and 'Kya ha ha'", respectively, while Rufus finds Heideggar's "horse laugh" irritating and constantly tells him to cut it out.
Foreshadowed spectacularly, when you play through a second time, though. Cloud's choppy memories, originally written off as just the fact that it had been, what, 4 years, make much more sense, as well as Tifa's rather noncommittal attitude whenever the subject comes up. Hell, even something that is thought to be a Can't Spit It Out moment for her in, if memory serves, Cosmo Canyon, in retrospect seems like her starting to muster up the nerve to confront Cloud about the inaccuracies.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Cetra, an ancient race of persecuted wanderers who are supposed to be the only ones with access to 'The Promised Land'.
Aerith, the main Cetra in the game, born to a non-Cetra father and a Cetra mother, but treated as completely Cetra, was living undercover in a household run by a non-Cetra, lying about her heritage in order to stop The Empire's agents finding her and taking her to have sadistic experiments done on her.
Cosmo Canyon is based on indigenous American tribes.
Wutai is clearly based on post-World War II Japan; a once great and proud nation with its culture reduced to petty tourism after a humiliating defeat in a war.
Instead of being left for dead after Sephiroth completely devastated them, Zack and Cloud are experimented on for four years by Hojo before Zack manages to break them out. Cloud is left a vegetable from being used as a test subject, and while he got better, his already weak mental state was completely shattered and he had self-induced Amnesia to cope with the events.
Meanwhile, Sephiroth spent five years frozen in Mako, conscious but unable to move.
The Compilation reveals that Jenova cells left Lucrecia unable to die. She went and froze herself in crystal instead, but may still be conscious.
Fist Pump: Barrett repeatedly pumps his fist for his victory pose.
From Bad to Worse: Holy almost doesn't defeat Meteor... but thanks to Aerith's Big Damn Heroes moment, she can power it up with the Lifestream. Then the first cases of Geostigma start appearing.
Gambit Roulette: Arguably, Aerith's calling of the White Materia, since she likely knew Sephiroth would be able to keep it under control. Doesn't actually work, however, since By the time Meteor reaches the planet, it's too powerful for the White Materia alone to stop it.
Gainax Ending: Up until the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII came out and clarified it, this game had an extremely confusing ending sequence that left many people wondering whether the world was destroyed at the end of the game or not. The length of time between the Compilation and the original game's release led to many decrying Square for "retconning" this.
Elena was promoted to the Turks as a replacement for Reno, who was in recovery from the injuries Cloud and his gang gave him on the pillar. Reno couldn't have been injured too badly, since he ran from the battle. Hasn't Shinra heard of potions, and don't they know that a night at the inn fixes everything?
Dyne murders a bunch of people with his gun arm and even makes Barret back up by shooting at him, yet in the boss fight he shoots Barret numerous times.
Didn't anyone in Nibelheim think to cast an Ice or Water spell when the town was on fire?
The Gelnika is a plane that gets shot down after transporting the Huge Materia to Rocket Town, and you can explore the wreckage using the sub. However, if you immediately take the sub back down to the ocean floor once you get it, but before going to Junon, you can actually explore the wreckage of the Gelnika before it gets destroyed, and then go back to the surface and watch it take off.
Gas Chamber: Tifa gets placed into one near the end of Disc 2. Given that it has a control switch to shut off its gas inside the chamber, its design is... suboptimal.
Gateless Ghetto: Midgar. Despite being a massive city with a large amount of buildings, you only explore Slum Sectors Four, Five, Six, and Seven, very little of Eight, a few alleyways on the upper city, the Sector One and Five Reactors, and the Shinra Tower. It's not actually very much when you explore through it.
Genre Shift: There's the snowboarding (which was eventually ported to Cell Phones as Final Fantasy VII snowboarding,) the Submarine combat mission, and the escape from Midgar. Fort Condor has a Real Time Strategy minigame.
A God Am I: Sephiroth's motive: To wound the Planet itself, and absorb the Lifestream energy that the Planet uses to heal. Advent Children expands on his motives: he wasn't just going to blow up the world and call it good, but then use the Lifestream's power to travel to another world and fuck it up. He would do this to the entire galaxy, just like Mother Jenova had done in the past.
Goldfish Poop Gang: The Turks. They oppose Cloud if ordered to, but under other circumstances are perfectly willing to live and let live. By Advent Children they're basically allies, and they get their own game in Before Crisis. And they have an awesome theme tune. They're also pretty tough in their own right. They put up a decent fight most of the time. Elena can also knock Cloud out cold with one punch.
Grand Theft Me: Sephiroth does this to Cloud several times during the game.
Green Aesop: A major plot-point of the game is the conflict between nature and industrialization. Midgar is polluted and dark, and it's surrounded by an expanse of post-apocalyptic style wasteland, Lower Junon had its waters poisoned from the city above, the beautiful forests of Corel became inhospitable deserts after an attack from Shinra, and Gongaga was utterly ruined when one of the Mako reactors blew up. The Shinra leaders themselves are for the most part, disgusting heartless tyrants who will stop at nothing for profit and power, and then there's Hojo, who is more or less responsible for all of the bad things that happen in the game due to his creations and research.
Also, occurs in the end game cut scene but also uses the Highwind airship.
Guest Star Party Member: Sephiroth, during the "Young Cloud" flashback sequence. Invincible, and can chop anything in two with his BFS.
Guide Dang It: Several parts in the main game. Finding the Keystone which unlocks the Temple of the Ancients. The only place that makes any mention of the Keystone is a random house near the Gongaga, which the game fails to mention anything about. Then when you get the Keystone good luck finding the Temple without a guide.
After completing the Temple of the Ancients, the game shows a scene of Aerith in the Sleeping Forest. It fails to tell you where the forest is and that you're supposed to go to Bone Village to get to it (though at that point it's the only place left that you haven't been that's accessible with the Tiny Bronco). On top of that, for some reason the game places you in Gongaga, which is extremely far away from Bone Village.
Finding Cloud in Mideel. The game does not tell you where you're supposed to go after escaping from Junon, though Red XIII does mention that you should talk to Bugenhagen on the Highwind.
Also, happens with the sidequests. It's not apparent at all that you can get a one-of-a-kind materia from the crazed consumer's pet white chocobo.
Hey, did you know you can fight up to 15 battles at Fort Condor? What, you didn't go back and check after every single event in the game, going so far as to huff it on foot lest your car breaks down to make sure that you can backtrack to Fort Condor? Too bad, guess you missed out on a whole lot of free stuff!
Harsher in Hindsight: In-universe. On the Shinra boat, Aerith asks Cloud about the Highwind airship at Junon, and the player is given the option of having Cloud tell her he'll take her to see it someday. Additionally, while in the Temple of the Ancients, Aerith says to Cloud, "Don't worry. Someday we'll look back on these hard times and laugh." Considering what happens shortly afterward...
Holy Is Not Safe: Holy, the White Materia, is the Planet's ultimate defensive measure, meant to wipe away anything it judges as a threat to the Planet. Unfortunately, there's a strong chance that this will include humanity.
Howl of Sorrow: Nanaki (also known as Red XIII) does this for his father Seto.
Humanoid Abomination: After taking a dip in the Lifestream, Sephiroth apparently lost all remnants of his Humanity, and basically completely became Jenova's Heir. Mixing her abilities with his own remaining human intellect, he now embarks on a plan to smash a Meteor into the Planet, then having his own personal Family Barbecue. Just like Mom used to do!
Cait Sith's megaphones and Red XIII's headpieces. They somehow boost attack, though they aren't used directly.
Some characters normally use "serious" weapons, but have a single joke one: One of Cid's weapons is a mop. One of Yuffie's weapons (the Oritsuru) is a giant paper crane. One of Aeris's weapons is an umbrella. One of Cloud's weapons is a bat with a nail in it.
Inevitable Tournament: You're forced to fight in the Gold Saucer's Battle Arena in order to borrow the Keystone from Dio.
Infinity+1 Sword: Every character has an ultimate weapon that has eight linked Materia slots and provides additional combat benefits. For instance, Cloud's Ultima Weapon and Cait Sith's HP Shout gain strength when their HP is high. The downside is that these weapons have zero materia growth, but by the time you get most of them, your Materia won't have much growing left to do anyway. They all have some trick to maxing out damage. Cloud's Ultima Weapon does more damage if his HP is high. Barret's Missing Score does more damage based on how much mastered materia he has equipped on it. Tifa's Premium Heart does more damage if the limit gauge is high. And so on.
Infinity–1 Sword: Since all of the characters' ultimate weapons have some sort of variable that causes them to deal damage, this means that depending on battle conditions, your weapons might suddenly become worthless. As such, the game sees fit to give the characters all weapons that are almost as powerful as their ultimate ones. When the ultimate weapons are fully powered, they are better, but these weapons are usually better in the long run.
Insult of Endearment: Barret continues to call Cloud "Spiky" as a derogatory referral to his hair, but by the end of the game, it has become a term of endearment.
Internal Reformist: Reeve Tuesti starts out as the only member of Shinra's board who isn't a complete psychopath, but largely goes along with their wishes. As he pilots the Cait Sith, which becomes part of your party, he increasingly gets convinced of the rightness of your cause and become a Reverse Mole, helping the party against the threats of both Sephiroth and Shinra.
The first occurs in the same form twice when Aerith meets Cloud in the first game and later revealed to have been the way she met Zack in Crisis Core. She meets them both when they fall through the roof of the church she works in. She nicely lampshades this.
Aerith: "I thought it was just gonna be a normal day. Then some guy falls out of the sky!"
The second form is done by the party when they return to Midgar, commando style by parachuting in.
It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Tseng's name, despite having an E in it, is pronounced "Sung". It's even lampshaded in Crisis Core; Zack finds a camera with T-S-E-N-G engraved on it... but has no idea who it belongs to.
I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Vincent pulls one of these, almost word for word, when Lucrecia chooses Hojo over him. He keeps out of it until he finds out the bit about the horrible experimentation Hojo is doing on a now pregnant with Hojo's child Lucrecia.
Rufus, though he nearly gets killed by Diamond WEAPON, then gets Geostigma, and spends the rest of the Compilation as The Atoner.
Palmer also survives the game, but because he's so inconsequential, he never appears again in either the sequels or prequels.
Reno, though you could argue he was just doing his job. Without any hesitation or guilt. While watching him defend kids in Advent Children made him look heroic, you have to remember he orphaned at least one.
Kavorka Man: Hojo is an amoral, unattractive mad scientist with bad posture, and yet gets more action than anyone in the series.
Killed Off for Real: Most of her dialogue is still there to make it easy on you if you Game Shark her back into your game, but yes, Aerith dies and does not come back.
Aerith has a single piece of unique dialogue after the snowboarding section (as opposed to generic lines any party member would give), where she says "Ugh, I'm sick of this." This and one unused static background of Sephiroth's Materia prison were discovered to be the only remnants of Square's original plan to kill her later- after the big reveal about Sephiroth living on within the Lifestream.
Kleptomaniac Hero Found Underwear: During the Nibelheim flashback, it's possible for Cloud to sneak into Tifa's house and rifle through her drawers and find "orthopaedic underwear." This sequence is happening under the framing device that Cloud is actually narrating everything he does in the flashback to his companions, and Tifa butts in at this point and yells at him for revealing this.
Lamarck Was Right: When breeding your chocobos, you get the best results if you race them to S-level first.
Last Disc Magic: Ultima, Knights of the Round and many level 4 limit breaks can only be accessed starting towards the end of disc 2. More literally, the rather powerful enemy skills Angel Whisper and Pandora's Box can only be found in the Northern Cave.
Supposedly, Red XIII is the last of his species, but he was able to have cubs somehow about 490 years after the game ends. Before Crisis fixes this by introducing his mate, who he presumably meets up with after the events of this game.
Midgar. In all sectors (numbered 0-8), an upper plate separates the ground-level slums from the other districts. This plate also blocks sunlight (what little there is of it) from trickling down into the slums. Agents from Shinra Inc. activate a support structure's Self-Destruct Mechanism between both layers of Sector 7, causing a section of the plate to come loose and crush everyone beneath before sending an earthquake relief force on the plate. Ironically, Reeve later moves the entire population of Midgar into the slums to protect them from METEOR.
An additional secret level, only known as Deepground, is located below both Midgar and the Slums, only accessible via the Sector 0 reactor. (Dirge of Cerberus)
The military port city of Junon also has a small village under it, near the elevator to the city proper.
Some of the Enemy Skills. Trine can only be learned from three enemies- two are bosses, the other is a Mook found in an un-revisitable dungeon. Pandora's Box is used only as a final attack by the first Zombie Dragon in the entire save file.
The Ramuh summon must be picked up while you are in the waiting area for the Chocobo races in Corel Prison.
The entire Bahamut trio of summons can be missed. Bahamut and Neo Bahamut are only found in one-shot locations, while Bahamut Zero is lost if the player didn't get all of the Huge Materia.
Love Hurts: Let's see, Vincent falls in love with Lucrecia and is summarily rejected because of the guilt Lucrecia feels over his father's death, despite the fact that she seems to have returned his feelings. He suffers though I Want My Beloved to Be Happy as she runs off with Hojo, but finally steps in when he finds out about all of the experiments on Lucrecia and an, at the time, unborn Sephiroth. Hojo shoots him, and commences a multitude of body horrors on him For Science!. The aftermath is a large It's All My Fault complex for Vincent, who blames himself for being unable to protect her. The guilt furthers when he finds out Lucrecia is indeed still alive, and unable to die because of the experimentation.
Then there's Aerith and Zack, whom she claims was her first love. She never finds out about his untimely demise. Later she meets Cloud and is smitten with him because of his similarities with Zack, but eventually reveals she wants to get to know the real him. We all know how that turned out. Then there's Tifa, who is obviously crushing hard on Cloud the entire game, but has to deal with him making kissy faces with Aerith, finding out he endured the mother of all Mind Screws, thinking he died and when she finds him alive he's in a brain dead Angst Coma. It does work out for the two of them by the end of the game, but they both certainly went through hell and heartbreak before getting to that point.
Love Triangle: The famous (or infamous?) Aerith/Cloud/Tifa love triangle. The backstory has Hojo/Lucrecia/Vincent, and there was a bit of Tseng/Aerith/Zack and Aerith/Zack/Cissnei in Crisis Core.
Malevolent Architecture: Only an asshole like President Shinra would design a city with built-in self-destruct mechanisms (the "Emergency Plate Release System") tucked away beneath everyone's feet.
The Man Behind the Man: Hojo could be considered this to Sephiroth, even though he's not the Big Bad, and even though Sephiroth is not a Disc One Final Boss. First, he's Sephiroth's father, so he's responsible for him even existing, and more importantly, it was Hojo's experiments that made Sephiroth into what he is.
Masquerade: Yup, Cloud and Tifa's hometown got demolished five years ago. Totally.
The Grangalan outside Costa del Sol can spawn smaller versions of itself known Grangalan Jr. for the second generation and Grangalan Jr. Jr. for the third and smallest generation.
Slightly inverted. The Black Materia Plot Coupon is contained within the Temple of the Ancients. When the party goes in and discovers it, they discover it is actually a replica of the real thing, and the real
Matchmaker Crush: Though competing for Cloud's affection with Aerith, Tifa likes Cloud more when he shows concern for Aerith. Go figure. You can interpret it as Tifa appreciating the fact that Cloud actually cares about anyone at all, and in the Wall Market mission, that he remembered to rescue a girl from getting raped. Aerith, on the other hand, loses affection for Cloud when he shows concern for Tifa if put in the exact same situation.
Meaningful Name: Cloud Strife (he struggles with illusions), Tifa Lockheart (she keeps secrets), Barret (a high caliber sniper rifle) and Cid Highwind (he is a pilot). Aerith's name is similar to earth. Then there's the painfully obvious theme naming (Sephiroth, Jenova = Sephirot, Jehovah). Also Cait Sith, derived from "Cait Sidhe", a panther-like faerie from Celtic mythology. This also explains his Scottish brogue. Also, a place falls under this trope - Nibelheim. In addition to sharing its name with the Norse underworld, its literal meaning is "home of clouds/mist/fog." Guess which character was born there?
Mega Manning: The Enemy Skill materia, this game's equivalent of Blue Magic.
Metal Detector Puzzle: There's a sequence near the end of the first disc where the player has to find an item (the Earth Harp) buried underground by hiring sentries, placing them around the area, and then having them turn to face the general direction of the buried treasure. This minigame can also yield other rewards, including a card key that lets you re-enter the Midgar slums.
A Million Is a Statistic: Barret tries to use this argument when Cait Sith calls him out out on how many innocent people AVALANCHE killed when they blew up the mako reactor in Midgar, but Cait Sith calls him out on this as well, and even Barret doesn't seem fully convinced of his own argument.
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.
The full explanation of what happened in Nibelheim isn't given unless you do things like revisit the Shinra Mansion basement (when you've been given no reason to go there) and find Tifa's ultimate limit break (which is supposed to be a challenge). Good luck making sense of the plot without those cut scenes!
A non-plot related example, also due to translation issues: "Beacause you're a puppet."
There's a little bit of this, considering the next thing you do after Aerith dies is go snowboarding.
'This is my hometown. It used to be prosperous, but it got razed to the ground, my friend and I lost a hand each, lots of people died, Shin-Ra sucks and Sephiroth is getting away from us so he can go kill more people as we speak.' 'Time to PLAY SOME GAMES!' Granted, Barret himself isn't in the mood to go have fun with you.
Cloud getting shot by Yazoo while he reflects on Kadaj's death comes right out of nowhere too. He gets better though, literally two seconds later.
More Dakka: Barret's "Ungarmax" Level 3 Limit Break. There's a few instances where if you don't advance the dialogue, Barret will continue pumping lead into whatever he's supposed to be shooting at forever. Also, what Shinra does to the Mako Cannon near the end of Disc 2.
Mr. Exposition: Professor Hojo often provides information that is critical to understanding the plot. This makes sense considering that he's the one behind all of it.
Mukokuseki: Three of the six playable humanoid chararacters are rather ambiguous race-wise. The other three, going along with this game's recurring pattern of foils, are portrayed in manners almost offensively characteristic of their respective skin pigmentations.
Both Aerith and Sephiroth pull this off, furthering their own objectives by returning to The Lifestream after their deaths. By merging with the Lifestream, Aerith was able to directly control Holy and passively aid her allies (as seen in Advent Children), while Sephiroth was able to reach out and infect people with Geostigma in an effort to eventually corrupt the Lifestream.
Meanwhile, in Dirge of Cerberus, it's revealed that Hojo uploaded himself onto the internet in order to defy death and continue to screw over the world.
My Greatest Failure: Cloud feels regret over several failures. His failure to become a SOLDIER and the death of Zack who died trying to protect him leads to Cloud suffering from psychological disorders like Trauma-Induced Amnesia and Split Personality. He also regrets failing to prevent the death of Aerith, which motivates Cloud to take down Sephiroth.
In the prequel Crisis Core, Zack's failure in capturing Genesis and preventing the death of Angeal also fall into this category.
Negate Your Own Sacrifice: Cait Sith volunteers to stay in the incredible shrinking temple, because he's only a stuffed toy and his controller is elsewhere.
Never My Fault: It turns out Cid's assistant isn't as responsible for his crushed dream as he thought.
New Neo City: Shinra's master plan was the construction of Neo Midgar, a metropolis planned to be 3x the size of the current Midgar, using the resources from the Promised Land. When the Promised Land turns out to be nothing but a lie, the Neo Midgar plans vanish in a puff of smoke... and a giant red fireball.
Cloud tosses Sephiroth into the Nibeliheim reactor, which is what caused him to become as powerful as he did.
Ninja: Yuffie... apparently. Sure, she throws shuriken, and at one point she skillfully hides in the roof and steals a materia right out of your hand, but other than that, her gimmicks make this out to be more of her Informed Attribute. She can't escape from ropes, her hiding (aside from in the roof) involves things like hiding behind a curtain or inside a pot (fidgeting enough to rattle it around). And she isn't ruthless in the least; she could have released poison gas and choked you to death while you were stuck in a cage without your magic, but no, she gleefully makes a pun, explains it, and goes on her merry way.
No Biochemical Barriers: Jenova, an alien lifeform from who-knows-where, can infect humanoids without a problem. Hojo also seems to think that he can breed Aerith and Red XIII, though his concept of "breeding" seems to be "let the big hairy monster claw her to death" if the scene in the game is any indication.
At the time, Hojo thought Red XIII was a dumb beast, which Red knew and was doing that to play to the act. He later apologizes to Aerith for scaring her.
No Fourth Wall: The tutorial room in the weapon shop by Tifa's Bar. Some of these people also show up later in the game, though you should really know most of the stuff you tell them by that point.
No One Could Survive That: Two incidents. The first is Sephiroth getting tossed into the Nibelheim reactor by Cloud in his true memory. The second is Rufus getting hit by a barrage of energy from Diamond Weapon.
No Pronunciation Guide: The E in Reno's name is supposed to be pronounced the same as the E in "cello," but since nobody told people from English-speaking countries, almost everyone (including the people who dubbed Advent Children) wrongly assume it's supposed to be pronounced the same way as Reno, Nevada. Reno's name is written as レノ in Japanese, and "レ" is pronounced somewhat like "reh," not "ree." This is not a problem with players from Spanish-speaking countries and some countries with romance languages like Italian, Portuguese, etc, because they can pronounce "Reno" in the same way as the Japanese players do.
Non Standard Skill Learning: The game averts this at the start, granting characters new Limit Breaks through repeated combat, but to teach a given character their level 4 Limit Break, you'll need a special item. There's also the Enemy Skill materia; see Blue Mages.
Not Me This Time: Sephiroth laughs at your party when you get attacked by a dragon in the temple of the ancients and think that he is responsible for it.
Not Quite Dead: Several individuals supposedly killed in the original game are retconned back to life in the sequels.
Not the Fall That Kills You: Especially if the fall is into Aerith's church. To date, three protagonists have taken the plunge from the upper plate into her flowers, and all three came out of it just fine.
Sephiroth serves as this to Zack and Cloud before he goes crazy.
Older Than They Look: Vincent and Lucrecia are around sixty, but thanks to Body Horror experiments and hibernation, they look as though they're still in their late-twenties, with Lucrecia looking about the same age as her own son. Shelke is the same age as Yuffie, but her body is locked at nine years old after her Super Soldier treatment.
Ominous Latin Chanting: "Estuans interius, ira vehementi, Sephiroth! Noli manere, manere in memoria, nole manere, manere in memoria, Sephiroth!"
Also, no Latin, but the evil chanting in Sephiroth's theme, "Those Chosen By The Planet".
Dyne has reached the point where he simply wants to destroy everything. However, he doesn't get further than the mass murder of a handful of Gold Saucer employees.
Hojo also qualifies even moreso than Dyne or even his son, Sephiroth. For one thing, Sephiroth at least intended to become a god and remake the planet in his image. Hojo, on the other hand, fully intended to destroy the planet and for what? Research, that's what. More specifically, he manipulated Sephiroth into deciding to destroy the planet and become a god in order to also summon Omega, bond with it, and witness the final results of his research (which also explains why he made the extremely stupid decision to inject himself with Jenova's cells in a larger quantity than regular personnel of SOLDIER, with predictable results leading to his demise), and after that failed, he took over Weiss as soon as the World Wide Network was repaired and engineered through Weiss the sending of several uncontaminated people into the planet's core to trigger Omega and then have it leave the planet.
One Nation Under Copyright: The Shinra Electric Power Company. The towns Shin-Ra don't own real estate in are Wutai (but they vacation there), Kalm (although the people that live there tend to like Shin-Ra and buy their products, in addition to using Midgar's power), Bone Village, Mideel, and Cosmo Canyon. They've got large buildings in Midgar and Junon, they legitimately own Fort Condor, Rufus owns a mansion in Nibelheim and a beach house in Costa Del Sol, the Nibelheim, Corel, and Gongaga reactors are Shin-Ra's, the lab in Icicle Inn is theirs (at least, it is now), and Rocket Town exists because of their space program. Even the underwater crashed ship is theirs.
One Time Dungeon: Shinra Building (more accurately a two-time dungeon, and the second visit is completely optional), Corel Prison, the Cave of the Gi, the Temple of the Ancients, Gaea Cliffs, Whirlwind Maze, and much of Midgar.
Only One Name: Many characters have been given last (or first) names by way of Retcon, but a few notable exceptions still remain: Professor Hojo, President Shinra, Scarlet, Heidegger, Palmer, Tseng, Rude, Reno, and Elena.
Outside-the-Box Tactic: The Demi spell is surprisingly effective against Emerald Weapon. Demi is a low-level Gravity spell, that does damage equal to 25% of the target's current HP. On most common enemies, it's a waste of time, and most bosses are immune. But Emerald Weapon is not, and until you whittle his HP down, it can do 9,999 damage to him.
Party in My Pocket: Lampshaded when Cloud tries to stop Cait Sith from joining the party. Actually this is the last game in the series where it is played completely straight, presumably because in the 2-D games one could maintain the illusion that the other members were just obscured by the hero, but in 3-D seeing the other characters walk in and out of Cloud is heavily disconcerting.
Polluted Wasteland: Midgar. A large expanse of polluted wasteland surrounds the city, and the closer you get to the city limits, the greyer and gloomier the sky and colors become. Inside the city, the sky is often incredibly dark and depressing, and this can all be connected to the Mako Reactors and the fallout and smog they generate. Junon isn't much better, as the waters nearby are lifeless, discolored, and dark due to the abundant pollution.
Power-Up Letdown: Kjata. Much more often than not, summoning him will either deal 0 damage, or it will heal the enemy party as they block or absorb one of the four elementals Kjata utilizes (Fire, Ice, Lightning, and Earth).
Prayer Pose: When Aeris/Aerith is killed, she is kneeling with her hands clasped in prayer.
Progressively Prettier: Reno was not originally designed as the prettyboy he is in FFAC and later installations.
Cid Highwind was originally designed as a much more gruff and coarse-looking character; however, he has gotten Progressively Prettier in any of his other Compilation appearances. Just compare his original portrait◊ to his portrait◊ in Before Crisis, or his CG render◊ in Advent Children.
Prophecies Are Always Right: The fortune that Cait Sith reads upon first meeting Cloud that convinces him to join the party, which turns out to be true when they acquire the Black Materia and Aerith dies.
Red Shirts: In the original and Crisis Core, this role is filled by the Shinra army, who wear blue. In Dirge of Cerberus, the white-shirted WRO are the Red Shirts. The officers do however get the nifty red hats.
Refuge in Audacity: Nintendo of America's legendary censorship enforcement led to American releases of this series being much more G-rated. For North American fans that had played the earlier, Bowdlerized entries up to that point, it was quite a shock when 20 minutes into the game, you're a transvestite hooker who visits a gym, whorehouse, bathroom, and dress shop to get your clothing. Cid and Barret curse constantly (though the harshest of it was still censorsed). There's a Gay Option on the one date. And Tifa calls Barret a retard.
Save The World Climax: The game starts with a resistance group known as Avalanche fighting against the Shinra Mega Corp. just to help improve the lives of the citizens that live in the slums. One thing turns to another and eventually they're fighting a psychotic Super Soldier who wants to destroy the world.
Ship Sinking: Word of God, as stated in the FFVII 10th anniversary Ultimania, Crisis Core Ultimania and the Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Ultimania (amongst other places), is that Cloud and Tifa are the official couple.
Ship Tease: The multitude of possible date sequences with Aerith, Tifa, Yuffie... and Barret. The game is pretty conclusive by the end, and reinforces that through later sequels and spin-offs. And yet, there are still people trying to insist on who Cloud really loves, even today.
Shirtless Scene: Sephiroth is shirtless when he is found in the Whirlwind Maze and during the final battle against him.
Shin-Ra Mansion, Vincent, and Lucretia. Someone at Squeenix obviously has a fondness for Edgar Allan Poe. There's a monster with a giant bladed pendulum for a lower body that swings from a chain in the mansion. Both Vincent and Lucretia are essentially Buried Alive and have a bad case of Love Hurts, tropes that Poe was fond of. Vincent was named after Vincent Price, who was in just about every movie ever based on one of Edgar Allen Poe's works.
the Type-D magma-diver equipment in the Gold Saucer trophy room, and channeling an entire city's electrical grid to fire a giant cannon at an autonomous "WEAPON".
Sephiroth's Out of the Inferno scene may well be a tribute to a certain scene from The Usual Suspects. There are certain similarities to both Keyser Söze and Sephiroth in these scenes, since they both end up being really evil afterwards.
Vincent's Hellmasker transformation wears a hockey mask and wields a chainsaw. It's also a developer shoutout to Edgar from FFVI.
One of the larger shout outs is to H. P. Lovecraft. The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward is about a man trying to track a wizard who can inhabit different bodies. The hero finds his hidden lab under a house, complete with crystals called "materia" (which is where he gets his magic) and "garda" (which summon guardians). Another Lovecraft work, At the Mountains of Madness, where cosmic horrors are discovered buried in the Antarctic ice, seems eerily familiar to the part where the party encounters Jenova. Also, despite being female (and that really is not an issue for him), Jenova has similar motivational attributes to Nyarlhathotep, particularly the fact that she deceived the ancients into accepting her only to destroy them all.
The aftermath of the fight with Palmer (where he narrowly evades being chopped to bits by the Tiny Bronco) was almost a re-enactment of the aftermath of the fight between Indiana Jones and a German Mechanic underneath a moving Luftwaffe Flying Wing in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Sephiroth's conversation with Jenova shortly after going berserk echoes that of Norman Bates' conversations with his "mother" in Psycho
Sneaky Departure: Aerith leaving to get killed by Sephiroth. Also, Yuffie leaving with all the materia (right below). Cloud attempts to leave Aerith behind early on, but she's already waiting for him at the town entrance.
Sole Entertainment Option: Strangely it does not have this worldwide entertainment in the largest city, Midgar. Rather, they have an entire amusement park just outside one of the smallest cities in the game. And believe me, nothing spells entertainment better than trying to force Chocobos to go the way you want them to go.
So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: The former Trope Namer. Yuffie runs off to Wutai and not only takes her own equipment but all of your party's materia (along with any additional materia you might find). Well, she did tell you she was a thief.
A more permanent example is Aerith, whose sudden death makes you lose all her equipment. Thank God the creators weren't cruel enough to take away all her materia, too... The fact that her equipment is not returned is especially irritating because there is a unique piece of armour (the Edincoat) in the dungeon just before you lose her that you will quite likely equip on her, since she is a White Magician Girl who is, for that dungeon, a Required Party Member.
At another point later in the game, Cloud and Tifa are both temporarily Put on a Bus and you lose their equipment as well, but you get their stuff back when they rejoin the group.
Luckily this is avoided completely by the important stuff: the Materia. Whenever a party member leaves, they hand over their Materia beforehand. Except for Yuffie's sidequest, of course.
Tseng—slashed open by Sephiroth and left for dead: survived.
Rufus—standing at ground zero as an energy blast from a 500ft tall monster explodes in his face: survived.
Palmer—hit by a truck: survived.
Aerith—impaled on a ridiculously long katana: dead.
President Shinra—impaled on a ridiculously long katana: dead.
Cloud—also impaled on a ridiculously long katana (three times so far), and fell hundreds of feet through the roof of a church: survived. (Partially justified by the SOLDIER procedure making people tougher although if you're weak-willed enough it can SERIOUSLY fuck with your head, Hojo forced Cloud through the procedure, and it worked at the cost of warping his memories and sending him comatose for a while.)
Tifa—slashed across the chest by a ridiculously long katana: survived. She was a young teenager at the time. Plus, her mentor pulled her out of there, and got her immediate medical attention.
Vincent—shot in the face by Hojo: survived...Kind of, the game is kind of vauge on if he died, was experimented on and was brought back, or was stabilized with a special kind of Materia, experimented on, then fully healed.
Scarlet & Heidegger—riding in a stupidly-named Giant Mecha as it blows up: hilariously dead.
Hojo—injected Jenova cells into his body and utterly thrashed by the protagonists: Oh shi-
Sephiroth—pushed into a Mako reservoir by a really pissed off teenager: dead, but can resurrect at will.
You could probably power several continents with the sheer energy spent on debating whether to use "Aeris" or "Aerith". As of recent English releases (such as Crisis Core and Kingdom Hearts) and from the very beginning in Japanese publications, "Aerith" has become the canon spelling, but because people still cling to the "Aeris" spelling from the original US release (and it has yet to be corrected in reprints), even The Other Wiki uses it - but only when referring to Final Fantasy 7 itself.
The Spanish translation of Kingdom Hearts uses Aeris (for Aerith) and Sefirot (for Sephiroth), like in the original translation of FFVII, but they are changed to the canon equivalent in Kingdom Hearts II. Some Spanish players find those unfortunate because Sefirot is the usual transliteration of the Hebrew word, and as such it was about the only thing the Spanish "Blind Idiot" Translation did right.
"Shin-Ra" (in Japan) versus "Shinra" (in translations), which was rather curious because it clearly said "Shin-Ra" in the company's logo, in the English version as well. Japan has adopted the "Shinra" parsing in text, but the logo continues to read "Shin-Ra".
More obscure examples (taken from the old Official Establishment File artbook) include "Yrena" (Elena), "Leno" (Reno), and "Liviathan" (Leviathan).
Split Personality: The protagonist Cloud suffers from a case of split personality, where his Trauma-Induced Amnesia caused by the death of his best friend Zack leads to Cloud subconsciously absorbing Zack's experiences and mixing them with his own, setting up a split personality.
Stalker with a Crush: You learn Cloud was a bit of a stalker to Tifa when they were kids during "Cloud's Subconscious," when Tifa must fix Cloud's memories when they both fall into the Lifestream. For example, Cloud used to look at Tifa's room through the window from outside, and he often watched her with her friends from afar... He didn't like her three friends and thought they were stupid. To top it off, Cloud randomly calls Tifa out to the well, even though they weren't "close" friends. Even Tifa was surprised. Hmm...
There's also Tseng and Aerith. They've known each other since they were kids and Rude flat-out states in Gongaga that Tseng has the hots for her. The stalker part comes from Tseng being assigned by Shinra to keep tabs on Aerith for research purposes. Crisis Core turns it into something of a reverse Bodyguard Crush, as part of Tseng's duties also include keeping her safe (without her knowledge, of course). They seem to be on decent terms in Crisis Core, but then he goes and slaps her across the face during the Sector 7 pillar bombing, but this was before the Turks were Flanderized from an evil The Men in Black-type organization into a Noble DemonQuirky Miniboss Squad in the rest of Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.
Standard Status Effects: Poison, petrify, silence... and then you get decidedly nonstandard status effects like freeze. While bosses and certain higher level mooks are immune to it, no enemy in the game is prepared to deal with it. Attach it to your weapon and have fun.
Starfish Character: Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo each represent different aspects of Sephiroth, and Kadaj ultimately turns into him. The other two have this ability as well, but the producers thought it would be over the top to show three Sephiroths, so only Kadaj was shown achieving it.
The Starscream: Rufus is revealed to have been this to President Shinra in Before Crisis, secretly working against his father in hopes of replacing him, but Sephiroth solved the problem for him.
Sticks to the Back: Cloud's BFS. Advent Children shows quite clearly that he uses a sheath/holster, though in Crisis Core, SOLDIER troops are fitted with magnetic holsters for their swords.
Super Cell Reception: There was a PHS (Party Hensei System, a pun on Personal Handiphone System) which allowed you to summon your comrades from anywhere — in the middle of the desert, on a mountain, in a cave or underneath a giant metal plate. However, it didn't seem so much cellular as Save Point-ular, and only worked when on one.
Take Your Time: Don't worry about that giant, fiery ball in the sky descending to bring about the world's destruction, even after you're told you have seven days before it falls. It will politely wait for you to deal with it whenever you're ready and done with arcade games and chocobo racing.
Oh, and that giant monster that's risen out of the sea and is advancing toward a nearby city? No problem. If it gets there before you do, it's too good mannered to attack the city.
Tech Points: Materia have a separate EXP scale to the characters. To complicate things, some equipment offers double or even triple Materia growth, or none. That's why you use the Infinity–1 Sword when powerleveling.
Holy crap, Denzel. The "On The Way To A Smile" novella and OAV spares him no suffering.
The other novellas for Barret, Yuffie, and Red XIII.
Cloud himself. Up to Eleven. Before the game even starts, he's already: (1) endured a lonely, alienated childhood; (2) been told he's too weak to become a SOLDIER; (3) watched his hero Sephiroth destroy his hometown and nearly murder both his childhood crush Tifa and his good friend Zack; (4) suffered over four years of sadistic experimentation by Hojo; and finally (5) is forced to helplessly watch Zack die in a gutwrenching heroic last stand to protect him.
Treasure Room: The Gelnika contains a lot of very powerful items and materia, including Yuffie's ultimate weapon, Hades (a useful summon), Cid's level 4 limit break, the Double Cut materia, and more. Plus, many of the enemies can be morphed into sources, making it a good place to easily level up your stats.
Tyrant Takes the Helm: His father was certainly no charmer, but Rufus makes it quite clear from his New Era Speech ('The old man ruled through money, I'll rule through fear') that he's going to be worse. Although President Shinra destroyed an entire sector of his city, killing untold numbers, just to wipe out a terrorist hideout. Rufus 'died' defending the same city from WEAPON and then resurfaced alive and repentant, if still manipulative, in Advent Children.
Unholy Nuke: The Meteor spell cast by Sephiroth. Note that in previous games Meteor was far more neutral.
Unreliable Narrator: Cloud Strife seemed to have several retellings on a key event in the past before the game makes you play through his subconscious to figure out what really happened.
Cloud's narration of the events is completely accurate, in terms of events that took place. The only really unreliable aspect is that he told the story as though he was Zack.
Unusable Enemy Equipment: Sephiroth's sword, Masamune, is explicitly stated to be a weapon that only he can use. At one point, the team sees the sword sticking out of the corpse of President Shinra, but they don't take it, presumably for this reason. In the Last Order anime's recreation of the Nibelheim scene, Tifa attempts to use this weapon to slash Sephiroth and fails for this reason, though this was not present in Crisis Core's version of the same scene.
Unrobotic Reveal: A variant: The Reveal that Cait Sith is being operated by radio. Obviously, Reeve neither fits into Cait Sith itself nor into the moogle doll, but we were led to believe that he was just a normal lifeform anyhow.
Vice City: Midgar. The Wall Market is a sleazy red-lights district owned by Don Corneo, wealthy pervert and mafia crime boss, and muggers can be encountered as enemies in Sector 5, who may steal your items and run away from them, taking them forever if you fail to beat them in time. Corel also suffers from having thief enemies.
Villains Out Shopping: The party run into Hojo during his 10-Minute Retirement at the Costa Del Sol, working on his tan (in his lab coat?). He makes it quite clear he's not interested in having it out with them and just wants to enjoy his time off.
Ditto for Turks drinking out during the Wutai sidequest.
Weaponized Offspring: The Grangalan outside Costa del Sol can spawn smaller versions of itself known Grangalan Jr. for the second generation and Grangalan Jr. Jr. for the third and smallest generation.
Welcome Back, Traitor: Yuffie, Cait Sith. The latter is practically the poster child and could have been the Trope Namer were it not for all the other strange characteristics making it impossible to determine just which one we'd be talking about by name drop alone, despite the time span between betrayal and redemption being so short that it might be less "welcome back" and more "actually never even left."
Wham Episode: Hoo boy. After the date scene we get an entire series of wham moments that continue until a little way into the second disc. In this order, Cait Sith's betrayal, the Temple of the Ancients with the black materia and Cait Sith's sacrifice, Sephiroth controlling Cloud and forcing him to hand over the black materia, Aerith leaving, Aerith dying, some trekking, and ultimately the Whirlwind Maze. The events unfolding at the maze include the discovery of Sephiroth's true body, the realization that it was Zack in Nibelheim, not Cloud, Cloud falling into the lifestream, Meteor being summoned, and finally the Weapons being released. Phew.
What the Hell, Hero?: Cloud gets called out on his morally dubious actions more than once during the game. The first occurrence is even 30 minutes into the game. Later, Cait Sith calls out the rest of our heroes for their eco-terrorist bombings at the beginning of the game, which caused a couple hundred deaths according to him. Barret tries to justify it as a few acceptable casualties in the fight to save the planet, but Cait Sith doesn't accept it
Cait Sith: "A few? Whaddya mean 'a few'? What may be a few to y'all is everythin' to them who died…."
Wicked Cultured: President Shinra is seen listening to classical music while the Sector 7 Slums are destroyed.
The Worf Effect: At one point the team comes across a Midgar Zolom, a thirty foot tall cobra snake, which no more than ten minutes before has been played up as the only enemy you do not absolutely want to fight, impaled upon a tree by Sephiroth. One of the characters in your party will say "Our enemy is someone that could do this?".
Would Hit a Girl: Sephiroth proves he has no problems doing this, first when he slashes Tifa with his sword in Nibelheim and later, when he kills Aerith.
He also kills Cloud's mother earlier offscreen.
Advent Children has an actual hitting example, as oppossed to the death by stabbing examples, when Tifa fights Loz.
Disc One, after Cloud is tricked into handing Sephiroth the Black Materia. Cloud realizes what he's done and suddenly flips his lid, giving Aerith a severe, misplaced beating.]
Tseng also backhands Aerith early in Disc One. Poor Aerith seems to get a lot of this. It's made even more tragic/evil in light of the fact that he has a crush on her.