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This game are sick! Let's Play Final Fantasy VII! Off course!

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
(Thread migrated from old forum, pardon our dust!)


In 1997, Final Fantasy VII took the world by storm. But, do I really need to explain this on this gaming forum? At the time, the game was state of the art and showed off what the Sony PlayStation was capable of, showing off incredible FMVs that were above and beyond what had been seen before. It might have been the seventh game in the series (and the fourth released in the US) but this was THE Final Fantasy that introduced a lot of people to the series. Including me... mostly. I had a copy of The Final Fantasy Legend for my Game Boy, but in an ironic twist of fate, that wasn't even a Final Fantasy game.

My story of how I got into Final Fantasy VII is actually related to not the PlayStation, but the Nintendo 64. In 1998, Ocarina of Time came out, and all that I wanted for Christmas was a Nintendo 64. That year, I got a PlayStation for Christmas instead. And since I couldn't get my coveted Zelda game, I instead picked up what I thought was the closest thing on the PlayStation... Final Fantasy VII. This might seem silly, the two games couldn't be more different! And you're right, they are. I didn't know what I was in for when I snapped that first disc into my console, but I was hooked. Many nights staying up crazy late to finish quests or advance the story. Finding friends with similar interests at school. Getting to know a whole new genre of game and going back to experience some of the older games I'd missed, like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. Oh yes, this game had an effect on me.

Of course, the game had such an effect on a lot more people than just me. There's a reason why the second movie made with the Final Fantasy name was a sequel to Final Fantasy VII, there's a reason that there's been spin off titles, and there's a reason that one of the most highly anticipated PS4 games of all time is a remake of the first part of this game.

And yet, this is a very silly game as well. This is a game in which a giant feline dances around on two legs, a game where a robot cat riding a giant stuffed animal is seen as a perfectly normal companion, a game where if you swing your sword just right during moments of stress you can summon comets to shower your enemies, and a game where sneaking into an enemy base is as simple and riding on a dolphin's back. And of course, a game where you can have three things listed in one text box and every single one is just a little off...


Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Insert Disc 1

The intro to Final Fantasy VII is iconic at this point. Aerith walking down a street in Sector 8 of Midgar as the camera pans out, before showing the backdrop of the city as the logo appears, before zooming in on a nearby train, before fading from FMV into prerendered graphics as your heroes jump off the train. They used it as a tech demo for the PS3, its the first remade 16-bit scene in Final Fantasy Record Keeper, the intro to Final Fantasy XIII is a big homage to it... this scene is a part of gaming history.

So the beginning of the game focuses on AVALANCHE and their mission, their 'Opening ~ Bombing Mission', if you will: a eco-terrorist group bombing a reactor that creates power by draining energy from the Planet itself. This Mako energy is more than just energy, it's the lifeblood of the Planet, and it's a bit more than that as well, though we'll get into that later.

Following this mission in Sector 1, the group heads back to their headquarters, and the next day prepare for a follow-up mission, a second bombing in a different reactor.

Sections of the old thread related to character names and date voting have been trimmed!

#1: Ex-SOLDIER? Don't Trust ya!
Wherein Red has plenty of time, points out the toilet, and shows there is gettin' offa this train we're on.

Names for Cloud, Barret, and Tifa are closed. Aerith will be closed when recording starts for the next video. The other five names are still open!
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Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Today we finish up the bits in Sectors 4 and 5, meet up with a new party member, and then head into Sector 6! And I mess up a bunch in front of the new girl!

Also, we find that one guy. You know the one.

As a bonus, the speedrun by my friend Netara

#2: Don't Step on the Flowers
Wherein Red isn't named Sephiroth, plays around with a bunch of barrels, and fights an evil house.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Wall Market is a fun little minigame of an area in itself. The first time I played the game, I'm certain I did the bare minimum, and Tifa got chosen as the Don's date. Later on, learning that you can get Cloud chosen, pretty much each following playthrough has resulted in getting the 'full' Wall Market experience by getting Cloud so dolled up that the Don decides to make him his date for the night.

...yeah, some parts of Final Fantasy VII are just weird. I remember during my first playthough of the game I spent a lot of time talking with my neighbor about games, and I mentioned to him how I had to dress up like a girl to get further in the game, and he was very confused by this. Imagine this scene being put on the SNES with Ted Woolsey in charge? No way it would have made it intact.

But what I find interesting is just how rigged the game is toward Tifa being the Don's date. She's the baseline choice, and the key items you get affect your 'Attractiveness' score. Get to a certain point, and Aerith is chosen. Get higher than that, and Cloud is chosen... But if you were to go into it with none of this knowledge and pick your choices at random, it's very highly likely Tifa would get chosen.

Unfortunately for Tifa, I'm not really wanting to seduce the Don this time. Sorry! But I did still try to give a full Wall Market experience.

#03: Walk more nicely, like... this.
Wherein Red has a guy always in his way, gets all the cheap ones, and hunts down a special item.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
We left off with the Sector 7 Pillar under attack by Shinra, who was planning destroy the pillar to take out AVALANCHE. While Cloud and Tifa take care of that, Aerith is off doing other stuff... which leads to our next mission. Where we find Barret's favorite wire...

#4: Golden Shiny Wire of Hope
Wherein Red is glad Barret worked on his arm strength, calls out young Aerith, and earns that hashtag first try.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Time to head into Shinra Headquarters. The headquarters is kinda fun because it's made up of a series of different tasks, like a frontal assault, a stealth section, different puzzle types, and even some good rare loot! The game knows that you got Steal available earlier and they made sure there would be some good stuff to get!

#5: Something stinks...
Wherein Red watches a secret car commercial, doesn't find the fake fight, and reminds you when it's time to flush.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Let's finish off the Shinra headquarters, where surely the real villain will be President Shinra for the rest of the game. Nothing will make the plot take a turn here, surely...

Also, you'll get to see what Red XIII's name ends up as.

And with this video done... we're out of Midgar! Yes, there is in fact more to the world than just Midgar.

6: Who you callin' Mr. Barret? That don't sound right!
Wherein Red has a jerk stop by uninvited, ponders what makes Midgar special, and is familiar with the Final Fantasy wiki.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Once you get out of Midgar, one next big story hurdle to get through is a visit to the nearby town of Kalm and listen to Cloud's flashback. It's a big chunk of story with minimal gameplay, and the gameplay doesn't require a ton of input, so it's a rare chunk of the game where you just take in the story. And of course it'll be important later on.

#7: I thought you wanted a briefing?
Wherein Red ignores the town, doesn't jam on the piano, and questions the monster in the tube.

Back in the day I used a Gameshark to put Sephiroth in the party permanently. He still wouldn't let you control him, but you could take all his materia and either sell it off for big money or just power yourself up like crazy.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Today we have a video without much story progression. But instead, we'll be putting some of our tools to good use to pick up some Enemy Skills! Including an infamous one.

So, while on the topic of Enemy Skill, I'd like to discuss something. There are four Enemy Skill Materia hidden in the game. This wouldn't be a big deal, but there's a catch: Trine, one of the Enemy Skills, only drops from a handful of bosses, and one enemy you can only fight during Disc 2. You get the fourth Enemy Skill past the point where you'd fight that enemy.

You can save an optional boss until you have the fourth Materia... but you stop yourself from getting other rewards by doing so.

I'm going to opt for only getting Trine on three Enemy Skills instead.

Now, on to the video!

8: You old folks are out of luck!
Wherein Red doesn't impress the girls, gets a face full of missiles, and learns how snakes work.

If anyone wants to suggest alternate names for Yuffie, now's the time to do so!

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Once again we aren't progressing the main story much here, but we are working on theft and sidequests! Including a bit of luck that a speedrunner would love to have. Netara says I'm required to make Yuffie powerful in response, and that she's never got Yuffie on the first fight during an actual speedrun. A little bit of leveling, and the checking out Fort Condor, which is doing it's best impression of WarCraft II.

I've never done all the Fort Condor battles before, there's a bit to actually doing it and it's kinda interesting to look into, so I'll be doing my best here.

9: You're pretty scared of me, huh?
Wherein Red isn't expecting the first encounter, gets beat up a bunch, and bum rushes the beasts.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
I'm somewhat convinced that Square never expected anyone to do all the Fort Condor battles that you could do, since the process is a bit counter-intuitive. Backtracking through the game at several points.

The best example of this shows up right when you get to Junon, where two separate battles are unlocked which involve traveling on the World Map with only Cloud. No wonder I've never attempted this before!

Oh yeah, and there's a tedious minigame where you give a girl CPR.

#10: Young man, CPR, now!
Wherein Red misreads BestGirl as Baerith, recommends you know what you're doing, and spends some time alone.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
So turns out when a major shake up happens with my schedule it messes up my productivity! Who knew?

Let's explore Junon and gather up some Shinra Betas. Will my television debut be a memorable one?

#11: Stop that stupid horse laugh
Wherein Red sucks at minigames, likes watching tantrums, and is good at standing on two legs.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Work schedule may be getting a bit more normal soon! That'll help productivity! A bit bummed that I didn't get much time to record during my vacation.

However, we have a major boss before we explore a new continent! Let's get into this!

#12: ...the time has.... come...
Wherein Red can't help being stopped, has bathroom concerns, and is excited about doubling his efforts.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Mt. Corel is such a nice spot in the game. Really, there's a lot of variety but I've always been fond of some the simple places. It's not a complicated place and it's not a major spot, just a road you travel, but what a road!

Also on the agenda is the Gold Saucer, but I wouldn't exactly say this is a normal theme park visit. I did show off a little but really we'll get more familiar with this place later on.

#13: We're gonna go play...
Wherein Red finds some baby birds, remembers old toys, and learns how to gamble.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
With the craziness in the world, I wanted to be in the right mindset to record. This might be all the more fitting when we're in a literal prison in the middle of a desert, trying to figure how who killed a bunch of people.

It's a bit deeper than I thought when I played the game in my youth. And not the only deep part in the game. Fortunately, this ends on a high note!

#14: Cause I want to destroy everything...
Wherein Red likes liars, gets lost in the desert, and doesn't get the Ranch.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
With the events at the Gold Saucer finished, we can now take advantage of something major that happened when Cait Sith joined... The Manipulate Materia! With that, it's time to gather more Enemy Skills.

#15: Thinking of being stowaways?
Wherein Red learns to be manipulative, doesn't help with the cargo, and is glad there's nothing terrible in the desert.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Alright, first new FF7 video for the new forum! Took a break on these to focus on the FF5 Four Job Fiesta, and then when I was all set to dive in... the power went out for three days. Yay?

On today's agenda, we have Gongaga and Cosmo Canyon!

#16: The soul too returns to the Planet
Wherein Red finds the junky Materia, doesn't need to pad out the video, and wakes up a sleeping old man.
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Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Cosmo Canyon has a interesting bit of story. Most of the game so far has been focused on Cloud's story, on the story AVALANCHE... We've had Cloud, Barret, Tifa, and Aeris the longest and so far the story has mainly been theirs. We've got Yuffie and Cait Sith tagging along, but their stories haven't really come up yet. But we knew Red XIII's home would be coming, and that he intended to leave us there.

So it's a bit interesting to have this bit of the story come up. For a little bit of the game, we're not worried about chasing Sephiroth, not worried about Shinra... We're learning about the history of Red XIII's family and seeing him grow a bit. And yet despite that, this is all still linked. Cosmo Canyon was the birthplace of AVALANCHE, and Cosmo Canyon is also where you learn exactly what affect on the Planet that Shinra is actually having. And at the end of all, there's still a lot of mystery about Red XIII that isn't quite answered... and some that never will be answered.

#17: This is a strange looking rock...
Wherein Red slides on some oil, fails to stab a spider with a sword, and learns two heads aren't always better than one.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
The first time I played Final Fantasy VII, I didn't know about the optional characters Vincent and Yuffie right away, and in fact didn't recruit Yuffie on my first playthrough until near the end of the first disc.

Vincent, on the other hand, I figured out pretty easily the first half of the process: opening the safe in the Shinra Mansion. But what I wasn't prepared for was how hard a time I had with the boss. So even though on that first playthrough I found how to get into the safe, it wasn't my first trip to Shinra Mansion where I actually succeeded in recruiting Vincent (In fact, I think on my first attempt at the game, Vincent wasn't recruited until midway through Disc 2!)

It's a bit silly saying all this now, because... the boss isn't necessarily that hard? But of course, when you're not used to playing RPGs or learning how to game the system, or all the strategies for the bosses... well, stuff is hard! So in a way, the boss Lost Number will always be remembered by me as 'that one boss' back in the day, and yet, now it's no big deal.

#18: To wake me from the nightmare
Wherein Red takes lots of damage from bubbles, knows how the color purple works, and slides down a bunch of tubes.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
When I was young, I wanted to be an astronaut. I thought the idea of going into space, of going to the moon, of seeing far off worlds, would be amazing. And certainly this young interest was helped by shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation. Of course, becoming an astronaut isn't a job just anyone can do! There's only been a handful of folks who've walked on the moon, and not many more who've been in space besides that. So this will probably forever be a dream. But, it's still a heck of a dream.

As it happens, there is a character in Final Fantasy VII who shares this dream. What's more, he's someone who came closer to that dream than I ever will. Close enough, in fact, that only a last moment decision could crush his chances. Cid may not be the most pleasant man at times, and you can't entirely blame missing out on his dreams to be the cause. And yet, I'm certain that my reaction to this part of the game is different now than when I was an edgy teen.

In time we'll revisit this moment that affected Cid's life so much, and we'll see if his dream was truly held off for the right reasons. And by the end of the day we'll have a new method of travel.... but why do I have this foreboding sense of dread?

#19: And don't forget the lard!
Wherein Red isn't getting a set of four, is pipapopupo years old, and doesn't like the taste of tea.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
So... the Stolen Materia sidequest.

Let's just get this out of the way now: I hate this sidequest from a gameplay standpoint. With all the Materia taken away, all your choice in battle is taken away. The strategy becomes "Attack or drink a potion" and it basically makes the trek across the continent of Wutai a slog... And yet let's think about this. The game has made the played helpless in a way it's mechanics allow. You've never been stuck without any access to Materia, even at the start of the game you had the Lightning and Restore Materia equipped. Losing access to such a core part of the game motivates you... You want to go and get it all back! So suddenly chasing down Yuffie to get everything back feels very important.

I don't actually know if you can abandon this sidequest in the middle, I've never tried to go back to the Tiny Bronco, but I imagine the game would stop you? Ultimately, doing the sidequest opens up several other bits. You can access a special event just for Yuffie. Your encounter in Wutai can influence another boss fight far later in the game. And of course, going to Wutai finally allows you to complete the Turtle's Paradise sidequest.

#20: Don't act so weak
Wherein Red finds a dead end, barges into a stranger's house, and is reunited with an old... friend?

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
The Stolen Materia sidequest finished, we don't actually need to stay in Wutai. But while we're here, we can finish another quest for Yuffie: The Pagoda of the Five Mighty Gods, the sidequest that blocks Yuffie's Level 4 Limit Break as well as the Leviathan Materia. Leviathan is apparently sacred in Wutai and this will come into play again at a later point. This sidquest is also notable became many players opt to not finish the final boss fight until late in the game when they've obtained the 4th Enemy Skill Materia, as the final boss fight with Godo is the final place you can obtain Trine... but I've chosen not to worry about that for this playthough.

#21: What are you doing! OMNI-Change!
Wherein Red climbs a pagoda, crashes the game, and doesn't know how to explore the world.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
With the Gold Saucer date scene coming up, of course, we've worked throughout the game to take the counter-intuitive choice to woo Yuffie. So why do I say that it's counter-intuitive? So many of the minor choices you make in Midgar affect things, even before Yuffie shows up. and even later in the game, there are scenes like Gongaga, where stopping Yuffie from falling behind Tifa and Aerith means ignoring both girls during a moving scene in which Aerith meets the family of her former boyfriend. Yuffie has a few spots that help, such as doing Yuffie's recruitment up to the end and then not completing it earns you points you can repeat (a benefit you might find accidently if you mess up because you don't have a guide). Also doing the Stolen Materia sidequest gives her a little boost.

Aside from how counter-intuitive getting the Yuffie date is, the Barret date is also difficult to obtain. Amusingly enough, there are a lot of sections where the choice for Barret and the choice for Yuffie are near opposites. Neither Barret or Yuffie require a PERFECT run to get their dates, you can mess up parts and still get their dates if you don't give Tifa or Aerith too much of a lead.

And there is a reason I constantly compare Yuffie and Barret's dates to the other two. The game is highly biased towards getting a date with Aerith, and if not her then Tifa. Some places give them huge boosts for seemingly minor things, like taking Aerith with you to confront Dyne in the Desert Prison.

#22: Entertain me!
Wherein Red can't find the right box, goes on a date, and can't find the white guy.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
There are a handful of places in Final Fantasy VII that you can't go back to once you've finished certain places. Thought there are also a lot of places you might not immediately think you can return to but it turns out to be possible in the long run. But in that list of places you can't return to, we have The Temple of the Ancients, which is the home of the Black Materia, source of the ultimate Black Magic: Meteor. But, not all things are as they seem.

#23: So this must be Meteor, right?
Wherein Red retraces some steps, disagrees with the name of an item, and gets excited about a Limit Break.

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran
Far to the north, beyond the Sleeping Forest, there lies a Forgotten City. After the events in the Temple of the Ancients, and the loss of the Black Materia, it is here that the last of Ancients decides she must go... it is here that she will try to take care of Sephiroth, and protect the Planet.

#24: And let me handle Sephiroth
Wherein Red mentions the best wedding ever, ponders the existence of a fish, and mentions a copycat playthrough.

And it is here that a page turns, or perhaps it's better to say, here, the disc stops spinning, as we close out Disc 1 of Final Fantasy VII in the City of the Ancients. And here is a game defining moment. In 1997, this is a moment that caught many off guard. A moment that the story takes a turn that isn't expected. And it's juxtaposed moments earlier with Cait Sith, the game setting up a faux sacrifice that doesn't mean anything, before a second, more emotional one hits. It's a moment that dominated those early days of the internet, where disbelief that this was the path the story was meant to take led to countless theories and fake methods to undo the fate happened. But... this wasn't meant to be a moment you could secretly solve by some obtuse quest. There isn't a way to change how this story plays out here... because this was always meant to be the point of the story. No matter what secret trick you might have heard on some website or forum, no matter how many hoops they said you could jump through... this is part of the story that Final Fantasy VII was meant to tell. In a world where the concept of one's essence rejoining with the Planet, before spreading to become new life, this was always the intent. It's thematic, and it's jarring, but that's by design. And it may be coincidence that this is where file sizes meant that the first disc had to end... but what a place to end it. There's a moment where the game hits you hard, and hopefully it did hit you hard playing it the first time... and then the game gives you a moment to get taken out of the game, a moment to stop and think, and then to continue on, not in spite of the loss, but because of it. And though one chapter comes to an end... another one is just beginning.

~End of Disc 1~

Red Silvers

Pokemon Red w/ 1 Nidoran

The end of Disc 1 hits the player hard, both in story, and gameplay. At the time of my first playthrough, I didn't realize that this wasn't the first character death in a Final Fantasy game, but even with that in mind, I dare say it's an impactful one. Without spoiling other games in the series in the context of this thread, Aerith is very much a missing piece of your party after this point. While Final Fantasy VII doesn't have set jobs or roles in a traditional sense due to how the Materia system works, Aerith is still the closest you have to a White Mage in the game, and while other party members can carry on a similar role, her unique Limit Breaks are gone, while the game itself is taking off the kid gloves with you. There's that aspect of gameplay that makes you feel the loss, and you'll still see an empty space for her when you go to shop for weapons or armor. And of course, story wise, you have new purpose, united by loss and perhaps with a bit of vengeance.

So it's perhaps a bit of a surprise that you get to learn a lot about Aerith's parents and her family history, and more about the Cetra, immediately afterward, as you head into the cold northern continent beyond the Forgotten City. A bit of story that leads into a flashback we saw way back in the beginning part of the game. And yet, the game does try to give us a bit of levity. An amusing encounter with Elena of the Turks, and, because this is still Final Fantasy VII, a new minigame (but sadly one that isn't as fun as the motorcycle one, don't @ me.)

#25: What nerve!
Wherein Red donates money to not fight, sees something horrifying with a monster, and knows it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission.