Before Crisis follows the Turks, who in this game are a larger and more competent organization compared to the Goldfish Poop Gang the players are likely to remember from Final Fantasy VII, and are commanded by a different leader, Veld. The Turks battle the forces of AVALANCHE, the anti-Shinra resistance group led by the young swords-woman Elfé. Contrary to the group of the same name led by Barret years later, this incarnation of AVALANCHE is larger, more violent, more organized, and pose a larger threat to the company. Eventually the Turks find out the AVALANCHE scientist Fuhito is seeking the four support Materia needs to use the ultimate Summon Materia that calls the ultimate monster Zirconiade, "The World Burner," to do exactly that.
The game functions as an RPG but with a simpler system. Materia returned but with a slightly different function, and players could level up and equip armor. Completing certain episodes increased their Turk rank which gave access to stronger equipment and Materia.
Before Crisis is currently a Japan-only release, being released in episodic format on mobile phones. Square-Enix announced plans to release an English version of the game back in 2006, but this never materialized due to the West's comparatively inferior smartphone network at the time. Director Hajime Tabata has said he'd like to remake it for the 3DS, but so far that hasn't come to pass. Thus, Before Crisis remains the only Final Fantasy VII spin-off to not see an English localization, and thanks to its platform of release is one of the most obscure titles in the series.
This game contains examples of:
- Action Girl: All of the female Turks and Elfé.
- All There in the Manual: Since the player character Turks are interchangeable in-game, their character profiles are the only place to gives any details to their individual characteristics and back stories.
- Ascended Extra: "Shuriken (Female)" was given a prominent role in Crisis Core under the alias Cissnei.
- Big Bad: Elfé. Fuhito later reveals she was his Unwitting Pawn and becomes a Dragon Ascendant in the game's final chapters.
- Bonus Boss: The destruction of Zirconiade awakens the seventh Weapon, Jade Weapon, who hunts the Turks on the principle they're too powerful to be allowed to live if they can destroy the ultimate summon.
- Continuity Nod: Certain missions portray the launching of Cid's rocket, the destruction of Corel, the infamous Nibelheim incident, and eventually pursue Zack and Cloud when they escape Hojo. The Turks also run across Azul and Shalua Rui.
- Cutscene Incompetence: What often saves the player Turk from a Curb-Stomp Battle from Elfé is her suddenly growing weak and ordering a withdraw at times. Turns out to be Foreshadowing about the Zirconiade Materia draining her life.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: Played with — the Zirconiade Materia is fully intact, it just isn't strong enough to summon Zirconiade without the four support Materia.
- Establishing Character Moment: Elfé is introduced fighting Sephiroth in Junon, and does a good job defending herself to the point Sephiroth admits he's impressed with her skills. Elfé retreats after questioning Sephiroth's reason for fighting and claiming she has hers.
- A Mother To Her Men: Elfé fights in the heat of battle alongside her troops, and expresses disgust with herself for her bouts of sudden weakness and she's unable to fight with them. Late in the game when the player confronts her, Elfé declares directly she's going to take personal revenge for all the AVALANCHE troops you've killed.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Zirconiade, the monster that will destroy the world and that Fuhito is trying to summon. Manifests partially and is the Final Boss.
- Grey and Gray Morality: As the player knows from Crisis Core especially, while their leaders are corrupt bastards, the rank and file Shinra forces are a varied group of mostly decent people, while AVALANCHE are Well Intentioned Extremists who want to destroy Shinra through violent methods to save the planet. Eventually the Turks turn away from Shinra and try to help Veld, who has gone alone to try and save Elfé from Zirconiade's life draining. Shears leaves AVALANCHE for the same reason and becomes their ally. Heel–Face Turn and Face–Heel Turn are certainly in effect, but it's hard to say for who and which way.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You can name your player character; they have no canon names, however, and are referred by their weapons and gender, such as "Rod (Male)," "Twin Guns (Male)" and "Shuriken (Female)".
- Important Haircut: There is a variant, Tseng wears his hair tied in a ponytail, and lets it down to hang loose at the end of the game when he becomes leader of the Turks, at that point comprised of just him, Reno and Rude, and declares the organization reborn.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Elfé's weapon of choice and, of course, Katana (Male).
- Karma Houdini: When President Shinra finds out Rufus is supplying AVALANCHE with money and company info, his "punishment" is to be shipped off to Junon under "house arrest" so Shinra can save face rather than admit the Vice-President was The Mole in the company.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Elfé's father is Veld.
- Mad Scientist: Fuhito. All you need to know about him can be given in three words: he idolizes Hojo.
- The Mole: Someone in Shinra is leaking AVALANCHE top-secret company information, and someone is funding them a lot of money too. It turns out to be Rufus, helping them to make his father look bad and take over Shinra.
- Mythology Gag: Yet another Shinra employee ends up crashing through the roof of the Sector 5 church and wakes up on the flowerbed. For those keeping score, that's three (that we know of).
- One-Winged Angel: Fuhito offers his own body to Zirconiade to help summon it, transforming in the process.
- Plot Tumor: The original Final Fantasy VII contained a passing reference that the bomb plans used by Barret's AVALANCHE were constructed by another AVALANCHE that existed before Barret resurrected the name. Turns out there was a lot more to it than that.
- Power Degeneration: Elfé has superhuman strength, speed, stamina and the like due to the Zirconiade Materia embedded in her hand. It also happens to be slowing killing her.
- Remember the New Guy?: Funny, VII made no mention of the Turks operating at Nibelheim during the Nibelheim Incident, or really, any of the characters or events of this game.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Zirconiade.
- The Starscream: Rufus is aiding AVALANCHE and later the Turks when they go rogue in an effort to discredit his father's management and seize the company.
- Super Cell Reception: This game lets you use your own cellphone to make materia in the game via snapping pictures. The dominant color determines the element and grade of the materia. For example, a majority yellow picture produces Thunder materia.
- There Is Another: This game finally canonically answers the question of just where the hell Red XIII's kids came from, as it features his mate at one point. She was turned into stone, but there's a time limit on it.
- Villain Protagonists: The Turks are the good guys, AVALANCHE is the enemy. Justified, as this and other spin-offs have established the Turks as literal Punch Clock Villains, while this original incarnation of AVALANCHE is more extreme than the second incarnation led by Barret, bordering Knight Templar behavior at times.
- We Can Rule Together: Surprisingly, Elfé makes this offer to Aerith of all people, asking her to join AVALANCHE since as a Cetra Aerith ought to hate Shinra for hurting the planet. Of course, Aerith refuses; she doesn't like Shinra but she's no terrorist either.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Elfé and the rest of AVALANCHE (except for Fuhito).
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Fuhito's "Ravens" are genetically modified AVALANCHE troops based on SOLDIER and they're completely devoid of humanity for it.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Fuhito pulls this on everyone when appropriate, even Rufus.