Video Game: Final Fantasy VII
aka: Final Fantasy 7
"There ain't no gettin' offa this train we're on!"Final Fantasy VII
is the seventh entry
in the nerve-twistingly popular Final 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. In 2013 it was released in downloadable form on Steam.
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"). The PC version corrected almost all of these errors, but also sanitized the game by censoring the most major expletives and having Barret generally speak normal English rather than Ebonics.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:
- Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, a full-length CG animated movie sequel
- Last Order Final Fantasy VII, an OAV version of two flashbacks from the game; well known as the Black Sheep of the Compilation mostly due to its differing art style when compared to the other titles; animated by Mad House (yes, that Mad House)
- Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, a Third-Person Shooter sequel for PS2 set after Advent Children and focusing on Vincent Valentine
- Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, a PSP POV Prequel focusing on Posthumous Character Zack Fair
- 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 Game Ehrgeiz
The original game and the Compilation contain examples of:
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- 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.
- Pietà Plagiarism: When Aerith dies.
- Pivotal Wake-up: Vincent.
- Playing The Player: One of the earliest examples.
- Plot Coupon: The Keystone.
- Plot Coupon That Does Something: The Black Materia.
- Plotline Death: Say it with us: Aerith.
- 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.
- Powerful But Inaccurate: The Deathblow Materia causes a character's attacks to either score a critical hit, or miss completely.
- Powers as Programs: Materia.
- Power Perversion Potential: Materia like Transform, Manipulate, and Time; Sephiroth and Vincent's shapeshifting abilities.
- 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.
- Pre Meeting: Cloud meeting the flower girl.
- 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.
- The Promise: Cloud's childhood promise to Tifa.
Tifa: "Hey, let's make a promise. Umm...if you get really famous...and if I'm ever in a bind...you'll come save me, all right?"
Tifa: "If I'm ever in trouble, my hero will come and rescue me. I want to experience that at least once."
Tifa: "Come on! Promise me!"
Cloud: "All right...I promise."
- Psychopathic Manchild: Kadaj, though he is rather young. And Loz, who fits the description a little better.
- Psycho Prototype: Sephiroth, of course.
- Punch Clock Villains: The Turks, who refuse to capture Cloud and co. in Wutai because they're on vacation.
- Inverted with Elena, though it turns out she would have been better off just relaxing.
- The Purge: Sephiroth plans to do this with Meteor. Holy does its own, not quite as evil, version.
- Quickly Demoted Leader: Though Barret is the leader of AVALANCHE and is giving Cloud orders, circumstances force him under Cloud's leadership instead.
- Redemption Demotion: Rude and Reno, who were actually competent in Final Fantasy VII, are reduced to comic relief in FFAC now that they've had their Heel-Face Turn. Then again, they still put up a good fight against Loz and Yazoo.
- Redemption in the Rain: Kadaj gets this. Loz and Yazoo just get blown up in the rain.
- 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.
- Relationship Upgrade: Cloud and Tifa's night under the Highwind.
- Relationship Values: Though most people either end up with Tifa or Aerith, it's possible to get either Barret or Yuffie to accompany Cloud on the Gold Saucer date.
- Remote Body: Cait Sith, who's really a high ranking member of Shinra, operates a false body apparently operating another false body.
- The Rez: Cosmo Canyon!
- Rule of Drama: The reason why one glaring gameplay mixup during one particularly famous death scene didn't really stop full grown men from openly weeping at their controllers.
- Rule of Symbolism: Zack means "Memory."
- Sad Battle Music: In the battle against JENOVA Life. The music that plays is Aeris' Theme, because Aeris was killed by Sephiroth moments earlier.
- Save Scumming: Chocobo breeding. Even if you've got all the qualities and colors set up right, you've still got a random chance for any of them to have the right gender. Or you would if they would just HAVE SEX ALREADY, DAMMIT!
- 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.
- Scary Black Man: Barret rotates between this and Angry Black Man.
- Scenery Gorn: Welcome to Midgar. It sucks and we're going to spend a lot of time showing you. If it isn't enough for you, check out Corel, too!
- Scripted Battle: The final battle.
- Sdrawkcab Name: AireTam Storm is a move that punishes you for using materia.
- Sentient Cosmic Force: The Lifestream
- Sexy Discretion Shot: Cloud and Tifa under the Highwind. Fade to Black.
- Shark Tunnel: The pathway to the underwater reactor at Junon.
- Shifting Sand Land: Corel Prison. Doubles as The Alcatraz.
- 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.
- "Zenogias" is the Japanese name of Xenogears, and it was changed to "xeno...gears" in the PC release.
- Shrinking Violet: Tifa
- Single-Stroke Battle: Odin.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Barrett and Cid. Especially Cid.
- Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Many a summon, and Sephiroth's solar system shattering attack (which doesn't actually destroy any solar systems, that bit's just there to make it cooler).
- 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.
- Sorting Algorithm of Deadness: Kind of a weird one.
- 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.
- Zack—shot... repeatedly: dead.
- Dyne—falls into a canyon: survived.
- Dyne—throws himself into a canyon: dead.
- 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.
- Sorting Algorithm of Mortality: Catastrophically averted when (got the hint yet?) Aerith Dies.
- Socketed Equipment
- Spell My Name with an "S"
- 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).
- Sphere of Power: In this case, Materia.
- 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.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: Square's first foray into this style of gaming.
- 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 Demon Quirky 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.
- Still The Leader
- Still Wearing The Old Colors
- Cloud still wears his SOLDIER outfit. We later find out that he was never a member of SOLDIER to begin with.
- Also Sephiroth who, despite going rogue, still wears his old SOLDIER uniform despite, among other things, having a massive grudge against his former employer.
- Storming the Castle: The party's raid on Shinra Tower.
- Story Difficulty Setting: The Steam release featured the option to permanently max out all one's characters in order to skip any and all grinding, ostensibly so the player could more easily enjoy the story, unlock every nook and cranny of the game and see the results of every conceivable side-quest.
- 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.
- Swiss Army Appendage: Barret.
- Swiss Army Weapon: Barret and Yuffie, during a couple of their Limit Breaks with certain weapons...
- Take Up My Sword: Cloud does this with the Buster Sword from Zack...
- 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.
- Talking Animal: Red XIII
- 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.
- Technicolor Death
- Technology Porn
- There Are No Therapists: Emotionally disturbed mercenary? Petty thief? Serial bomber? Body Horror victim? Multiple victims of kidnapping and Parental Abandonment? Nope, no problems here!
- 30-Second Blackout: Firing the Sister Ray.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "Sit your ass down in that chair and drink your goddamn TEA!"
- Those Two Guys: Biggs and Wedge of AVALANCHE. Throw Jessie in, and they become Those Two Guys And A Girl. Later, Rude, Reno, and Elena fill that role. Reno and Rude by themselves are a good example in The Movie.
- Tiered by Name: The summon Bahamut comes in 3 increasingly powerful versions, culminating in Bahamut Zero.
- Time Bomb: The one that destroys the pillar in Sector 7.
Cloud: It's not a normal time bomb.
Tseng: That's right. You'll have a hard time disarming that one. It'll blow the second some stupid jerk touches it.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Aerith and Tifa, in an interesting inversion: the White Magician Girl in the pink dress was the boisterous one and the Cute Bruiser in the cropped shirt was secretive and nervous.
- Together in Death: Aerith and Zack. Subverted, Aerith promptly turns down Zack when he playfully flirts with her in the Lifestream.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Aerith.
- Tragic Bromance: Cloud and Zack. Although this is kind of vague, it's elaborated on in the other entries of the franchise such as Last Order Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, and Advent Children.
- Train Escape: Cloud does a Type II shortly after the Sector 1 reactor job. He jumps off a bridge and lands on a speeding train to get away from Shinra troops.
- Transformation Trauma: Vincent.
- Trauma Conga Line
- 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.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: This happened to Cloud prior to the start of the game after an incredible Trauma Conga Line.
- 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.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: The passcode in the rocket on disc 2. 256 possible combinations, 0 advance hints on what it is.
- Triumphant Reprise: The Highwind theme is a triumphant version of the main theme.
- True Companions: AVALANCHE, plus Zack in Cloud's case. Zack has his own True Companions in Crisis Core, ditto the Turks.
- Tykebomb: Sephiroth and Kadaj.
- 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.
"You're sure messed up, Cloud!"