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Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is an entry in the thirst-quenchingly popular Final Fantasy series, and a direct prequel to Final Fantasy VII. It is part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.

Crisis Core follows Zack Fair, a character who had a minor but significant role in the original game, in the events leading up to the introduction to Final Fantasy VII. It also expands on the backstory of fan favorite Sephiroth. Many characters from the original game, such as Cloud, Aerith, and Sephiroth, play roles of various importance in the story.

Although the game is still an RPG, it contains more action elements in combat than its predecessor, and battles are faster-paced. The Materia system returns, if slightly altered.

Crisis Core was widely praised as one of the best entries in the Compilation. Critics and fans enjoyed the story, direction, and gameplay, though they were turned off by the tedium of the 300 practically identical optional missions and the DMW System.


This game contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Sephiroth's sword qualifies because of his special attack Draw Slash that was doing the actual cutting.
  • Adaptational Badass: Zack gets two notable examples, compared to his treatment in Final Fantasy VII.
    • In the original game, Zack is spat back out of the Nibelheim reactor within seconds of running in after Sephiroth. Here, that only happens after a legitimate fight between the two.
    • In the original game, Zack is gunned down by three lone Shin-Ra soldiers. Here, those three soldiers are shown to be all that’s left of a literal army that was waiting for Zack outside Midgar.
  • Alliterative Title: Crisis Core
  • Always Someone Better: Sephiroth proves this to Zack when they square off.
  • Artistic License – Physics: How do you fly with one wing? Less egregious, but humans can't fly no matter the size of the wings.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Enemies may coordinate their attacks such that Zack rolls to avoid one only to be hit by another on recovery.
  • Artistic Age:
    • Cloud doesn't look any different than usual, and is voiced by Takahiro Sakurai and Steve Burton, like always. The only reasons you buy that he's a 14 year old kid as the game tells us is his attitude and that he’s a little bit shorter, if you compare him standing next to Zack and then do the same comparison in Advent Children. His features are a bit softer, too, if you look - though that might be from not frowning all the time.
    • Angeal. He looks like he's pushing forty, and numerous Final Fantasy VII fans speculated pre-release that he was Zack's father. invokedWord of God says he's only about 25 years old, and born after Genesis.
  • Ascended Extra: Zack went from being a Minor Major Character in the original game to being the main character of this game.
  • Back from the Dead: Genesis, probably. It was assumed he died in Modeoheim, but was never fully confirmed. Could've been a case of He's Just Hiding! up until his next appearance.
  • Badass Normal: Cloud.
    • With no special powers, he takes down Sephiroth.
    • In a more "normal" example of his badassery, Cloud kills a monster that snuck up to Zack with a well-timed barrage from his machine gun in a DMW flashback.
  • Badass Longcoat: Sephiroth and Genesis have these.
  • Beach Episode: Chapter 7's intro, Cissnei in a bikini and Zack in swim trunks. Fanservice for players of all demographics!
  • BFS: The Buster Sword and the Masamune.
  • BGM Override: In Shinra Manor, the minor-key, disjointed piano theme continues playing over battles, rather than the buttrock-ish regular combat music.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Angeal to Zack and Zack to Cloud.
  • Birds of a Feather: Zack and Aerith are very similar people. Both are flirty, fun, good-hearted characters but nevertheless hides a strong determination, powerful abilities and deep wisdom. Their date in Wall Market has them mutually flirt with each other while Zack buys her gifts and she leads him around and plays pranks.
  • Bloodless Carnage: With a handful of exceptions, including the ending, expect to play the game seeing plenty of sword fighting and gunfire, and not a drop of blood will be spilled. Goddammn if it isn't averted in the ending, though.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Zack's final stand is Retconned so he faces off against seemingly the entire Shinra army. It has all the hallmarks of a Bolivian Army Ending except that you get to see the inevitable conclusion. The same three guys still take him out though.
  • Bonus Boss: Minerva, the end-boss of a mission chain involving Zack exploring deeper and deeper into a chasm that leads directly to the Lifestream itself (it's implied to be the Northern Cave). In-story, she's the Goddess mentioned in LOVELESS and she shows up at the end to spurn Genesis after his defeat at Zack's hands. As a boss, she's the only enemy capable of removing Raise status with her cutscene attack, and has ten million HP.
  • Bookends:
    • The game opens with Zack riding on the roof of a train and introducing himself as SOLDIER 2nd Class, even with the iconic opening theme playing in the background. The final scene of the game is the opening scene of VII, with Cloud riding on the roof of a train and introducing himself as SOLDIER 1st Class while the iconic theme plays behind him.
    • The first enemy type Zack encounters is the stock Shinra infantry (though they're stated to be Wutai troops in disguise). His last battle is against the same enemy type, just a LOT more of them.
    • The first time Zack meets Sephiroth is in Wutai and is where Sephiroth defends Zack from Ifrit's flames. The last time Zack sees Sephiroth is in the flames of Nibelheim, only this time Zack is on the receiving end of Sephiroth's sword.
  • Bowdlerize: Minor example; the NA version redesigned a statue of "the Goddess" in the lair of the Final Boss to look less like the Virgin Mary.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Heike's Soul, which you certainly no longer need if you managed to beat the Bonus Boss, the hardest fight in the game.
  • Broken Pedestal: Post-Nibelheim incident: Sephiroth, to both Zack and Cloud.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: According to the in-game information, all prominent 1st Class SOLDIERs were often considered to be this, with Genesis being the most extreme case of them all. Then their relatively harmless quirks turned into something much worse...
  • Busman's Holiday: A whole set of missions is dedicated to Zack trying to get a vacation at Costa Del Sol, with predictable results.
  • But Thou Must!: Justified. When Zack is asked by a carpenter to name the bar he's going to build, there are multiple choices, but only one will be accepted. It's the Seventh Heaven, the bar that Tifa owns in the original game.
  • Call-Forward: Sephiroth's first true appearance in the game is rescuing Zack from Ifrit. The way it happens makes the scene look just like the iconic scene of Sephiroth surrounded by flames during the Nibelheim incident.
  • Camera Screw: The camera hugs the walls, to the point where if you're against a wall you can barely see anything. Truly Fake Difficulty, because hugging the walls is the best way to avoid random encounters.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Darkness and Costly Punch, though the latter takes such a tiny fraction of health that you'll barely even notice it, especially if you have Regen status.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: There is a optional spy hunting sequence where Zack has to find Wutai spies in Midgar. When discovered, a chase would ensue and during a 1 second period where they are off camera while running, they will change from civvies to full Wutai soldier Armor.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: After defeating the final boss, it shifts into a more human form for the final showdown. Besides the fact its attacks are much weaker, it only has 99,999 HP in this form so a single Costly Punch will end the battle in five seconds.
  • Combat Breakdown: The final battle pits Zack against the entire Shinra Army. You can try to beat them, and if you've been leveling yourself by doing plenty of sidequests, you may be even able to survive indefinitely. However, as this is a prequel to Final Fantasy VII, Zack is Doomed by Canon to die, thus leading to a climactic showdown between a One-Man Army boasting a massive sword and extremely powerful Limit Breaks and a literal army with thousands of troops eventually devolving into one tired man who can barely swing his sword and the remaining three members of the army.
  • Commonality Connection: In their meeting,Zack and Cloud bond over both being from the sticks.
  • Companion Cube: Cloud for Zack post-Nibelheim. He can't speak or move due to Mako poisoning, but Zack converses with him as if nothing's wrong. Given Zack's attitude, it's likely his discussions with Cloud are an attempt to shake the guy out of his Mako poisoning. Also, possibly, an attempt to stay sane.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Absolute Stop Thread hits you with Stop even if you're immune to stop. Make sense of that.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • The game retcons the designs of SOLDIER uniforms — in VII, 3rd Class wore blue, 2nd wore red, and 1st wore purple. This is why Zack and Cloud had purple uniforms. This game sticks 1st Classes in black instead, and Zack's purple uniform is instead his 2nd Class outfit. Consistency of colors between games aside, this also raises the question of why Zack is the only SOLDIER with a uniform of a different color.
    • Another uniform continuity problem is created with Cloud. In the original game, Zack found the uniform for him, and he wears it throughout the story - its beaten-up appearance was implied to be because it was an older model (probably pre-war) and well-used (Zack comments that it smells bad). In Crisis Core, Cloud is given a standard-issue, good condition black 1st Class uniform, with two shoulder guards... and later appears in the Secret Ending in the same purple uniform with asymmetrical, beaten-up armour he had from the original game. Where'd he get that from?
  • Controllable Helplessness: They made the final showdown playable... the game has a Downer Ending. Do the math.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: The missions, dear God, the missions. If you actually look at the maps in each mission, you'll notice pretty quickly that they're all set in the same eight or nine areas, you just get to explore different parts of them in different missions.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Any mission labeled "Very Easy" is expected to have these.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • The battle against Genesis, Single-Stroke Battle against a Dual Horn-type enemy in a Sephiroth DMW memory, etc.
    • The game opens with Zack jumping out of a helicopter, running across a train, dodging bullets, and pulling off all kinds of Advent Children-style kung fu feats. Nothing in this game's actual battle system even resembles that cutscene. Zack can swing his sword, do a dodge roll, and run around and that is it. He can't even jump. Naturally scenes like this happen throughout the entire game, and the playable battles never stop being any less dull in comparison.
    • Later, Zack cuts a missile aimed at him in half with his sword.
    • Some of the summons cutscenes get improbably outrageous. Bahamut Fury flies in from space and uses the moon to help fire a laser beam that causes an explosion that covers at least 1/10 of the planet.
    • Cloud actually kills a high-level monster with his standard-issue Shinra machine gun. Nowhere else in the entire compilation this gun demonstrates such deadliness.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Cissnei's appearance as a supporting character.
  • Dark Reprise: The music that plays in Shinra Manor is a minor-key, strange-tempo version of the music in Aerith's church.
  • Death Wail: Cloud gives such a scream when Zack dies.
  • Degraded Boss: Several missions do this, particularly the ones where Hojo recreates them.
  • Defector from Decadence: Sephiroth was deeply considering retiring from Shinra and SOLDIER presumably due to growing distrust of the organization shortly before Nibelheim (where Ret Irony kicks in). It's heavily implied that Angeal's defection was also due to this trope.
  • Disney Villain Death: Implied with Genesis during the Modeoheim mission.
  • Disk One Nuke: Though you'll have to do a lot of level grinding to get the gil you need to buy them, and its very difficult to do the missions due to the high level requirement, as early as the beginning of Chapter 3 you can do missions to earn access to a shop that sells Quake Materia, "Hell" spells, Firaga/Blizzaga/Thundaga Blade, and other high-level Materia.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Subverted, in that SOLDIERs seem to overwhelmingly favor swords, but Zack apparently has no issues about using a sniper rifle to eliminate some robotic enemies during the escape from Nibelheim.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Several plot points directly parallel events in Final Fantasy VII.
  • Doomed by Canon: If you've played through Final Fantasy VII, then you will already know how this game ends.
  • Doomed Hometown:
    • Zack's Home town of Gongaga goes up in a mako reactor explosion. However, he never learns this, and it doesn't factor into the plot at all.
    • As in the original game, Nibelheim for Cloud
  • Downer Ending: Zack gets shot down by the Shinra Army before he's able to return to Midgar. Cloud awakens from his coma in time to inherit the Buster Sword and see Zack die, shattering his mind and turning him into the character we initially see in Final Fantasy VII. Aerith sent 89 letters to Zack, to which she received no reply; and senses Zack's passing. Also, if you know the events to Final Fantasy VII, you know things are about to get a whole lot worse.
  • Dramatic Irony: Much of the story is a Foregone Conclusion and the game makes full use of Dramatic Irony for emotional torque. Of note is Zack and Sephiroth treating Nibelheim as a routine mission with Sephiroth mentioning wanting to retire and the agonizing section of Zack running from Shinra only to die outside Midgar.
  • Easter Egg: In the first room of the final dungeon, Emerald Weapon's shoulders can be seen emerging from a crystal formation in the back of the cavern.
  • Empty Room Psych:
    • In most of the missions, there are only one or two chests, while the rest of the level is empty except for the boss.
    • The layout of the missions invoke this a lot, as the rooms all look empty at first, but going to the center of a room would guarantee a random encounter. It can be exploited though by sticking to the walls of the room, avoiding the central part as much as possible.
  • Enemy Scan: The Libra spell, as usual, allows you to see enemy HP and MP. Some items provide it as well.
  • Everything Fades: On death, enemies turn red and fade (though they do have death animations), just like in VII.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: There are plenty of attacks (namely Assault Spiral and any of its derivatives) where Zack spins around to hit enemies.
  • Excuse Plot: The mission briefings. With a couple of exceptions, pretty much every mission boils down to looking for the boss-type enemy visible on the map and kill it to win. AVALANCHE has infiltrated the slums? An shipment of experimental new Shinra robots has gone haywire? The science department wants you to recover rare materials for Materia fusion? They all play exactly the same, the only differences being the kinds of enemy you face.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Sephiroth in a game about the Nibelheim incident. We see it all play out with Genesis also being involved.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner:
    • Zack, facing down half the Shinra army on his own:
      Zack: Boy oh boy, the price of freedom is steep.
    • ... Plus, his war cry of "IRASSHAIMASE!"/"COME AND GET IT!" has the added connotation in Japanese of being shouted out by staff at every shop and restaurant, and would probably be better translated as "COME GET SERVED!"
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The final battle against the army. At this point, especially if you've been completing side missions as they become available, Zack is likely to be able to essentially keep the fight going indefinitely. You could most likely mow down the entire army several times over and the battle would never end, so you'll have to just stand there and let them shoot you in order to actually trigger the ending. The very very last battle where Zack is exhausted is a little better about this since he can barely move, but it can still be frustrating to be forced into such a conclusion.
  • Fake Difficulty: Hard Mode in general. Several early missions quickly leg it into being impossible by virtue of the enemy having a cheap cutscene attack that can't be dodged and will merrily hit you for more HP than you've got, even if you're using accessories for defense against whichever way it hits. The plot will also happily throw one-hit-kill attacks at you too. The only chance you've got for these missions is by exploiting the free Raise in Midgar in the best possible scenario, and in the worst case doing that on top of using at least one Phoenix Down to get another Raise for when you get oneshot again, of which there are very few to be had.
  • Fanservice: The beach scenes at Costa Del Sol. Shirtless Zack AND Cissnei in a bikini.
  • Feather Motif: All over the place, with Genesis and Angeal sprouting one wing from their backs, as a reference to Sephiroth's One Winged Angel form.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The usual triangle exists. Certain enemies also can use all three attack types. Minerva, for instance, has a massive fireball, an ice attack that freezes you where you stand, and a lightning strike from her scepter.
  • First Girl Wins: Subverted. Despite meeting Cissnei a few hours earlier, Zack "ends up" with Aerith.
  • Flaming Sword: Odin's Zantetsuken starts flaming, gets extinguished, then rekindles.
  • For Want of a Nail: The game establishes numerous ways the Foregone Conclusion could be averted. Zack could have been a bit stronger and killed those last three troops, the Turks could have found him before the army did, Cloud could have come to his senses earlier and possibly come to Zack's rescue. Fix Fics where Zack survives the final battle due to one of these factors are practically their own genre in the fandom. Final Fantasy VII Remake references these possibilities when Cloud and co. alter the timeline by defeating the Whisper Harbinger, causing Zack to successfully defeat the whole army by himself.
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • Zack dies. Known to everyone who played FFVII and saw the optional cutscenes.
    • Sephiroth’s Face–Heel Turn & the destruction of Nibelheim are integral to the plot of FFVII.
    • The moment Banora & Modeoheim are introduced, FFVII players will know that both towns' days are numbered considering they’re nowhere to be found in the original game.
  • Foreshadowing: In the beginning of the game's Training "Accident": Zack encounters Sephiroth, who attacks him, making it seem as though he was behind the attack on Midgar. However, this proves to be a simulation. Guess what happens in Nibelheim?
  • Friendship Moment:
    • Almost every scene with Cloud and Zack past the Nibelheim incident when he's helping Cloud along.
    • Zack and Sephiroth get a host of scenes where he's shown to be a caring and kind superior. He ends up being a close friend to Zack. This makes his Face–Heel Turn all the more tragic.
  • Freudian Excuse: Genesis rubs major salt in the wound for Sephiroth during the Nibelheim incident, when he reveals the truth about Sephiroth's birth. Genesis's presence in the Nibelheim reactor is a fairly big Retcon, and it certainly adds to the image of Sephiroth being a tragic figure. The Retcon basically pins most of the blame of Sephiroth's downfall on Genesis's less-than-sensitive revelation, rather than Sephiroth originally coming to that conclusion himself.
  • Fridge Logic: A rare in-universe case. Zack receives missions from Yuffie, and after each one she sends him an email telling him where to go next. Eventually Zack stops and wonders briefly exactly how Yuffie managed to get his email address. The subsequent missions focus on finding out. Turns out when Wutai made peace with Shinra, Godo left something as simple as a phone number list lying around for her to pilfer.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The Digital Mind Wave is a manifestation of Zack's thoughts and emotions, and as such his emotional state can affect its results, and if that emotional state is connected to someone on the reel, they have a higher chance of appearing on the reels for a while. Famously reversed in the ending sequence — as Zack gets weaker and weaker fighting off Shinra's force, the portraits on the reels fade away, the reels begin to glitch up, and the sound and picture get full of static. His life is flashing before his eyes as his mental processes break down—and the last image it gets stuck on is Aerith.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Zack says he swings the Buster Sword with the blunt edge to avoid damaging the bladed edge, and Cloud later comments he doesn't see Zack use it much. Of course, unless you stick to Materia you're definitely going to be using the sword since you can't equip different weapons, and in battle Zack clearly swings it to hit with the bladed edge.
    • Zack is free to take missions from Shinra right up until the final area of the game right outside the chamber of the final boss, even though by that time he's a wanted fugitive being pursued across the world, and a good number of them aren't even available before he's on the run from Shinra.
    • Zack can call Tseng to use Air Strike on Midgar streets, inside of buildings (including Shinra tower), underground, and even inside Hojo's virtual reality simulation and in whatever dimension Zack takes on Ifrit and Bahamut. Not to mention Tseng is completely fine with bombing Shinra troops. It's even more bizarre when Zack is on the run from Shinra and the Turks are trying to find him so them showing up for an Air Strike and leaving makes no plot sense.
  • Gaussian Girl: Some of Cloud's memories of Zack at the end are shown in this manner.
  • Genki Girl: Aerith, although an unusually thoughtful variety.
  • Gratuitous English: Zack says "T(h)ank You" to Cissnei in the Japanese Version, after she helps him and Cloud.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: If you played the original game you already know how bad Shinra is. With the villains meanwhile, Angeal is just trying to do the honorable thing between his childhood friend and his career, Hollander and Lazard want to bring Shinra down due to being overlooked in the hierarchy, and Genesis wants a cure for his genetic degredation and is just growing increasingly desperate.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The boss fight with Sephiroth. You are required to win the fight, but in the cutscene afterwards, Zack is still defeated.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The tutorial characters, such as Kunsel and Angeal in the early missions, give you information on how to use the PSP controls to do certain things.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Zack dies to save Cloud.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Zack has elements of this in his first meeting with Sephiroth, and with Angeal throughout the game. Sephiroth becomes a Broken Pedestal, as does Angeal, who then achieves Redemption Equals Death.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Angeal and Genesis, with Sephiroth joining them later.
  • High-Dive Escape: Genesis after your first fight against him proper.
  • Honor Before Reason: Angeal and his SOLDIER Honor.
  • Hope Spot: A cruel one for Zack (and the player) at the end. The DMW lines up Aerith's picture right at the end of Zack's last battle. As lining up Aerith triggers Healing Wave, a copy of Great Gospel that heals Zack fully and makes him invincible, it seems like Zack might have a Heroic Second Wind. Then the DMW fails and Aerith's memories vanish...
  • HP to 1: Sephiroth's "Heartless Angel" and mooks' "Heartless Jump" and "Heartless Needle" attacks.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: In the boss battle with Hollander, his appropriately named "Dimension Missile" has him reach into his satchel and pull out a missile bigger than he is.
  • Idiosyncrazy: Genesis is not exactly a supervillain, but monomania is a very prominent aspect of his character. If something or someone ever catches his interest, he gets obsessed with it.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Seemingly at the beginning when Zack faces three enemy gunners opening fire with automatic rifles and not one hits him, but we later find out this is just a holographic simulation and thus, even if he was hit it wouldn't matter. Played straight in a later scenes which is nearly identical, this time with real gunners, and Zack still doesn't get hit while holding fairly still.
  • Implacable Man: The sheer amount of abuse Zack takes before getting taken out is mind-boggling. Including a point-blank bullet in the face when he's down.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Zack uses a large beach umbrella to wail on some frogmen Genesis Copies midway through the game, and it has the same attack power as his sword.
  • Informed Equipment: You can change all the equipment you want, but nothing on Zack actually changes.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Actual traffic barriers, in all the missions. And when you're wandering around the Nibel countryside, actual waist-high fences keep you from going into the fields where the Shinra Sentry-bots roam.
  • Interface Spoiler: Provided you know the characters of the original game, with the exception of Cissnei (who is a new character, mostly) you can probably take a good guess as to who's who on the blank DMW portraits - the spiky hair on one such portrait isn't very subtle. Averted with Genesis, who is added to the DMW reels but has no blank portrait as a placeholder in the roulette prior to being acquired, although he does have a placeholder in the DMW menu... in the summons column.
  • Interservice Rivalry: All over Shinra. With pretty much every department fighting for funding while sabotaging others and security forces almost incapable of cooperation, no wonder Shinra was in such disarray during FFVII. Zack can help out the Materia Fusion department until they're able to embarrass Heideggar himself in a board meeting.
  • Irony: When on the run, Zack believes that he and Cloud can probably evade the Shinra army, but not the Turks. Of course, under orders from Tseng, the Turks are probably trying to save Zack. And as for the army, how did that turn out?
  • Just Add Water: It's implied that materia fusion requires complex machinery, but Zack can apparently do it by himself out in the middle of nowhere.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Zack. Justified in both gameplay and story, as story-wise SOLDIER operatives have to be pretty good at everything and gameplay-wise Zack is the only person you have control over.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The game enjoys its lampshades of some of the more questionable or stylistic elements of FFVII and the rest of The 'Verse, as well as other RPG conventions. For example:
    • Angeal (the original owner of the Buster Sword) makes a lot of noise about not wanting to cause unnecessary wear and tear so he avoids using his sword as much as he can (his very poor family spent a lot of money on it, and he sees it as more a personal symbol than a tool). Then in a DMW flashback when Angeal and Zack are surrounded by about a dozen enemies, Zack asks if now might be a good time to use the Buster - Angeal reluctantly admits the sword is "heavy and unwieldy." Cue an exasperated Zack asking why he doesn't just carry something lighter instead.
    • A Wutai spy complains about a huge building like Shinra HQ having only two elevators.
  • Last Stand: Zack versus an endless amount of Shinra troops comprises the game's finale.
  • Large Ham: Hollander chews the scenery like nothing else. Genesis does too, but to a much lesser degree.
  • Limit Break: Controlled by a slot machine. We could write paragraphs about this mechanic, which is not actually random and integrates with surprising grace into both story and gameplay.
  • Loners Are Freaks: During their SOLDIER days, both Sephiroth and Genesis are described as rather aloof and averse to other people's company, making an exception only for each other and Angeal.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Any mission that contains enemies with instant death attacks - remember, you have only one party member. At least until you get a way to protect against it, and you can dodge just about all of them if you're careful.
    • The Magic Pot enemy in a later mission asks you to use four specific attacks on it, the last of which is a DMW attack. Since you have no control over it all you can do is sit there and watch the reels spin, hopping they stop on the attack you need before Magic Pot gets bored and flees. You can equip a certain Materia to boost the odds of getting the attack, but its still random. And of course, appeasing the Pot is the only way to get the Genji Shield.
    • Even levelling up is entirely at random due to how the DMW works. Except... 
  • Marathon Level: The Missions can get really, really long.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Angeal mentors Zack who mentors Cloud. This is shown through the transfer of the Buster Sword as it symbolically holds the dreams and honor of the previous generations.
  • Meaningless Meaningful Words:
    • Nearly everything Genesis says, and he knows it. According to Word of God, Genesis only starts taking LOVELESS as the, well, Word of God somewhere near the end of the game, when both his desperation and insanity hit their peak. Before that his recitings are more of a Madness Mantra.
    • Here's a drinking game - play the game and take a sip every time Angeal says "honor" or "dreams" - and take two shots if he uses them in improper context. You'll be tipsy by the end of the second chapter. Lampshaded by Sephiroth who makes mention of receiving "one of his famous lectures... discipline, honor, dreams, et cetera". Even Genesis mocks him for it.
      Genesis: You'd better do something about those plants in your room.
      Angeal: Those plants represent nature. Some of us converse with nature to hone our spirit and honor.
      Genesis: And some of us are getting bugs in our rooms because of those blasted things.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Angeal later gets white angel wings.
    • Genesis is the name of the first book of the Bible. Genesis is basically responsible for the events in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.
  • Medium Awareness: Zack makes a reference to leveling up in a DMW sequence, and on a mission when he runs into Yuffie she shows him a save point, which Zack remarks he could use in case she steals something from him.
  • Men Don't Cry: Averted a few times, mostly by Zack; after he is forced to kill Angeal, he goes to the church and loses it while Aerith comforts him. He also sobs a bit when he discovers that the last two Angeal copies left (one of which was Lazard) died protecting Cloud from some Shinra troops while Zack was busy with Genesis. We also see Cloud almost avert this as Zack passes away, but he opts for the Death Wail instead.
  • Mood Whiplash: The end of chapter 7. Genesis is apparently killed, Angeal forces Zack to kill him, and passes the Buster Sword onto him in his final moments. The final scenes of the chapter are Aerith comforting Zack in his final moments, and then Zack giving a speech to some infantrymen now bearing the facial scars and haircut he had in VII. It's one of the saddest, most dramatic moments of the game. Begin chapter 8, with Zack on vacation in Costa del Sol. He and Cissnei are hanging out chatting on the beach, then some scuba-gear Genesis Copies rise from the water and Zack fights them off with a beach umbrella.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: You get scenes of Materia creation to battle music. The squatting minigame does the same.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: At the end, Zack's DMW lines up three times as he recalls memories of his closest friends.
  • My Sibling Will Live Through Me: Cloud to Zack in the ending.
  • My Suit Is Also Super:
    • Played straight when Sephiroth gets encased in a firey ball of doom midair and gets out.
    • Inverted when Genesis and Angeal degrade; their clothes degrade with them.
    • Although, when Genesis gets "better", his clothes get better with him.
  • Mythology Gag: Oh so many. To name a few of the more blatant ones: Zack dropping through the Sector 5 Church's roof and offering Aerith a date, the rather familiar vehicles on display in the Shinra museum, Zack doing squats while on a mission in a snowy mountain to keep up his body temperature, and a carpenter in the slums who wants to build a bar managed by "a young girl with a big bosom and long legs". Zack also starts Crisis Core at Level 6, the same level Cloud starts the original game at.
  • New Game+: And the gratuitously-named New Game++ which behaves the same.
  • Nice Guy: Zack is unfailingly nice and chipper to everyone he meets, and a lot of his sidequests involve him going out of his way to help people out. Such as him having the option of building Aerith three different flower carts.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Sephiroth's variety of Octoslash only hits you five times.
  • Not Quite Dead: Genesis. Also, Sephiroth which isn't discovered until Final Fantasy VII.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Angeal battling Genesis in Midgar while Zack fights Bahamut Fury.
  • One-Man Army: Zack.
    • Even setting aside the monsters and enemy troops he slaughters in random encounters, Shinra sends an entire army of soldiers to bring him down in the game's finale. When the battle finally ends, the three of them still standing finish him off.
    • Serial Escalation in the Missions, where one series of missions consists of Zack fighting off hordes of Shinra infanty, culminating with him fighting off 1000 soldiers.
  • One-Winged Angel: How could it be otherwise?
  • Only Sane Man: Angeal, when compared to Sephiroth and Genesis. Made especially obvious during the 1st Class Fun cutscene in which Genesis duels Sephiroth in a mock battle that goes horribly out of hand; by the time Angeal steps in to stop them from blowing up the building they're in, neither of the combatants are holding back. Though you can never really tell with Sephiroth, according to invokedWord of God.
  • Ornamental Weapon: The Buster Sword, when it was in Angeal's possession. Zack makes fun of him for hardly ever using it. Then, later, uses the exact same words as Angeal to explain how he keeps it such good shape, and why he only uses the flat edge of the blade.
  • Overly Long Fighting Animation: The summon movies are actual movies now. No more in-game machinima: pure pre-rendered cutscenes! Luckily, it's possible to skip some all of them. Considering the shortest is twenty seconds, that's a very good thing. If, however, the summon is used against you, well... get some popcorn. Especially when trying to get Bahamut Fury.
  • Palette Swap: And how! It's part of the story as Genesis degrades, but many of his copies feature this as the game advances.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Once you leave for Nibelheim at the end of Chapter 8, pretty much every subquest you can take part in in Midgar, as well as numerous missions triggered by interacting with people in Midgar, cannot be completed. Only for each time you play through the game. Still doubles as a huge Guide Dang It!.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite Sephiroth's air of aloofness and arrogance, it turns out that before the Nibelheim mission, Sephiroth could actually be a pretty nice guy - he has friends that he 'plays' around with, he tries to talk to and/or save Angeal before Shinra could hunt him down, he tried to help Genesis when Genesis is injured during a VR session, he gives permission for Zack to go back to the Midgar Slums to protect Aerith, and he even reassures Zack that they'll meet again. All of which makes Zack's shock and disbelief over Sephiroth's later Face–Heel Turn even more poignant.
  • Point of No Return: The end of chapter eight. But at least you can still run missions for the company trying to hunt you down!
  • Power Degeneration: Genesis' main stake in the game is that the Jenova cells inside of him are slowly degrading and he's afraid of dying. He goes from being his Bishounen self to being a withered man with white skin and hair by the end of the game, but he is restored by Minerva at game's end. Lazard and Hollander end up as Angeal clones, but only Hollander actually dies from the degradation (though a battle with Zack probably helped it along).
  • Power Trio: Sephiroth, Genesis and Angeal. Made clear in a cutscene when Sephiroth's calm, unflappable nature goads Genesis into a massive, destructive battle, forcing Angeal to step in and try to stop them.
  • Punch Clock Villains: Since the game is now from Zack's POV, you find that most Shinra employees, including SOLDIER, are just normal, decent guys with day jobs—they worry about getting promoted, discuss company hotties, and the higher-up members of the infantry are concerned with trying to get their division more funding.
  • Psycho Prototype: Played straight with Genesis, and averted by Angeal.
  • Random Number God: The DMW. While it is possible to influence the results (and character level is eventually guaranteed), the fact that players only have limited control over the process invokes this trope. It gets especially frustrating when you are trying to get the Genji Shield from one particular Magic Pot, who requires you to use Octoslash on it, and your only way of making that happen is to load your Materia with Octoslash+ (outside of the ones needed to meet his other requirements) and just hope you get it.
  • Relationship Values: To a degree, and in two separate ways. Depending on how many bystanders Zack helps after meeting Aerith for the first time dictates how well their date goes, but it's a Foregone Conclusion that they get together anyway. How many people Zack helps while in Midgar also determines how many people end up in his fan club at the end of the game.
  • Retcon: Several:
    • Most notably the nature of Zack's death and how Cloud ends up the way he was in FF7.
    • Most of the iconic scenes at the Nibelheim Reactor were changed, though the end result is the same, and the parts that Cloud sees are left unchanged. Oddly enough, this is the second retcon of the scene; the first happened the cellphone Turk-centric game Before Crisis and was reused in the OVA Last Order. Crisis Core is a compromise of that version and the original game's with Cloud tossing Sephiroth into the mako pit but with the location changed to Jenova's chamber rather than the cat-walk outside.
    • invokedWord of God says that FFVII gave us Cloud's perspective of the scene, Last Order and Before Crisis gave us the scene as reported by the Turks and Crisis Core is what Zack perceived as what happened. The only thing we know for certain is that the Turks got it wrong about Sephiroth jumping into the Lifestream and Tifa waking up when Cloud arrived in the Mako Reactor.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Angeal. Later Lazard.
  • Retirony: Sephiroth is seriously thinking of leaving Shinra and SOLDIER (implied to be out of guilt for the deaths of his friends and growing distrust for the organization) just before the Nibelheim mission (where his madness began).
  • Sad Battle Music: "The Price of Freedom" could be considered this, due to the nature of the event you're fighting to it.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Played straight with Genesis and subverted with Angeal. Angeal was initially believed to have killed his mother, and lets Zack believe it, but it is later revealed shortly before their battle that Angeal's mother actually committed suicide because of the strain of knowing her part in creating Angeal and Genesis.
  • Scenery Gorn: The slums of Midgar.
  • Set Swords to "Stun":
    • Arguably done in the literal way with Zack's second weapon, The Buster Sword, in which he strikes with the blunt part instead of the sharp side.
    • The ability "Power Osmose" most literally works this way. It stuns the enemy without causing any HP damage, only absorbing MP from them.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Sephiroth's delivers one hell of one to Genesis:
    Sephiroth: Whether your words are lies meant to deceive me... or the truth that I have sought all my life... it makes no difference. You will rot.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: One of the Sephiroth DMW memories has Zack do this. When Zack does manage to defeat a monster with one hit, Sephiroth then tells him to try again with a harder target.
  • Skyward Scream: Cloud when he finds Zack's corpse at the end of the game.
  • Stages of Monster Grief: Angeal hates his nature and defies it, while Genesis fully embraced The Dark Side and Sephiroth is inbetween (its hinted that he hates his nature upon finding out, but ends up embracing it anyways).
  • Start of Darkness: The game shows that Sephiroth's mental breakdown was not a sudden out-of-nowhere snap but the result of a series of emotional traumas and betrayals with several days of sleep deprivation in addition to the discovery of a devastating half-truth about his origins being the straws that broke the camel's back. The sleep deprivation part was, however, already there in the original game: "Sephiroth didn't come out of the Shinra Mansion... He continued to read as if he were possessed by something, and not once, did the light in the basement go out..."
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Sephiroth, of all people, is a male version. He is aloof and coldly professional but also cares about his friends, is hurt enough by their loss to consider quitting his job and allows Zack to return to Midgar to check up on his girlfriend, showing that he at least understands the value of these kinds of relationships. This helps to nudge him out of Draco in Leather Pants territory and toward Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • Suicide by Cop: Angeal trying to force Sephiroth (who refuses) and Zack (who actually does it) to kill him.
  • Super Cell Reception: Zack has access to a far better phone as a member of SOLDIER which allows him to recieve e-mail and shop online and — apparently — fuse materia. And it even continues to work as if the game's four year Time Skip never happened even though Zack himself was out of commission.
    • Justified in a bit of Fridge Brilliance: He spent the past 4 years submerged in Mako. Almost everything is powered by Mako. His phone probably has a refillable Mako cartrage as a battery.
    • If anything it's a case of Story and Gameplay Segregation since Zack after he breaks free never uses his phone in cutscenes.
  • Super Soldier: Sephiroth, Genesis, Angeal, Zack, and all the other members of SOLDIER.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Delivering a breaking speech and calling your former best friend "the perfect monster" is not going to get him to do what you want.
    • No matter how badass you are, fighting against an entire army by yourself does not end well.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Wutai troops carry some polearm-gun combination. Then there's the massive Gunblades used by a few Genesis copies.
  • Talk to Everyone: Absolutely necessary if you want to uncover much of the info relating to the world and characters.
  • Talk to the Fist: You can interrupt small enemies' attacks by attacking them first.
  • Take Up My Sword: Angeal passing the Buster Sword to Zack and Zack doing the same to Cloud.
  • Take Your Time: Sure, the director of SOLDIER is waiting for you in his office, but you've got time for another thirty or forty missions first.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Level 5 limit break against a Mook you'd normally kill in one hit? The DMW makes this possible!
  • Time Skip: Happens twice:
    • After Angeal's death, the game skips a year and three months.
    • And after the events in Nibelheim, it skips four years.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Genesis and Sephiroth.
  • True Companions: Zack has this with a lot of his SOLDIER comrades. Kunsel even sends him messages after Zack escapes from Shinra Manor, saying that he will come save him.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Subverted in that it's extremely necessary to dodge attacks, granting you invincibility while rolling. With proper timing, Zack can roll into explosions and spells and the like and not take damage.
  • Uniformity Exception: While riding on a helicopter, Zack bonds with one of the faceless soldiers over being country boys. After the chopper crashes and they have to walk all to Modeoheim, the mook removes his helmet to reveal Cloud; the protagonist of the main FFVII. Naturally he's still just another Shinra grunt for now and spends the rest of the game in his uniform.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Cloud pre-FFVII is a friendly, dorky if slightly shy kid, very different from the Deadpan Snarker Jerk with a Heart of Gold of FFVII or brooding loner in Advent Children.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Averted for once, mainly with Gravity. Due to the way side-missions are structured, it's possible to end up with enemies that have so much health that it's going to take an eternity to beat them to death with your sword. Sure, you can stack ATK to level off the difference to a certain point, but some enemies have cutscene attacks that (especially in Hard Mode) might unavoidably oneshot you unless you stack DEF instead, and at a certain point that stops holding up anyway. The thing is that these enemies don't usually have a Gravity immunity, and with all that health Gravity will do a solid 9999 to them until it doesn't, at which point you can finish the job by just beating them to death. One of the later story bosses also has a Mortal Shock that you can steal, which applies Death to your normal attacks. Considering this means you don't have to try to cast it at the expense of actually attacking, it's an incredibly convenient accessory for passively deleting anything that isn't immune to it.
  • Walking Spoiler: Zack, if you've played Final Fantasy VII. You know how the story ends.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Zack and Angeal. Sephiroth and Genesis too, though Genesis considered Sephiroth more of a rival.
  • Wham Line: The infamous event that was expected to happen sooner or later in the game, yet still delivered by a simple two word sentence that would send chills to the player considering they would likely know full well what's going to happen. Especially with how it's framed at first as just being another dime a dozen mission.
    Zack: By the way, where are we going?
    Sephiroth: To Nibelheim.
  • What Have I Become?: Out of all the Jenova project and it's many variants, only Angeal manages to hold on to not only his sanity but humanity through the whole ordeal. To the point that his copies and monsters went out of their way to help Zack.
    • He nearly lost it early on, it seems, considering some of his words and actions. He must have been using a lot of will power to hang on long enough for Zack to be able to kill him.
    • This is compounded by that fact that, compared to Genesis and Sephiroth, Angeal has two white wings instead of a black one. Zack even says that they're not the wings of a monster, but rather angel wings.
  • Wicked Cultured: Genesis, though really, it's more like Wicked Pretentious.
  • Wife Husbandry: A very minor example of this trope plays when Zack talks to a small girl in the Sector 8 slums. She mentions a kind, rich uncle whom smiled in agreement when the girl said that she wants to marry him. This goes straight into Squick territory when you realise that said Uncle is Don Corneo, the pervert mob boss in the original game.

Alternative Title(s): Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII


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