Final Fantasy 7 is, in my opinion, one of the best games of the series. Final Fantasy, the first one, started it all off, it was an amazing feat in its time, but it's a little old and ragged now. Final Fantasy 3 could be argued to be the best, for it had a fantastic storyline, interesting characters, and a theme song for every damn person in your group (which I loved so much, so very much). But Final Fantasy 7 had so much to offer, that I wanted to put my thoughts down here.

Final Fantasy 7 was the first FF game with really cool looking computer generated cut scenes. Its storyline ran circles around just about everything that had ever been out up to that point, and don't tell me the Ultima series was better because it had more scope, because the stories in that game were often so vague as to be silly. FF got you involved, you were actually a part of the world and it's story, Ultima starts you off as already 'a person from another realm' which always gave me a feeling of detachment from what was going on. On the contrary, the FF games give you characters who know each other, who're helping each other out, and who have their own world at stake, as opposed to saving your good friend, LB, and a crapload of people you don't know and have nothing to do with.

This game had all manner of interesting things in it, the materia system was a lot of fun to just sit around and play with. The different limit breaks and the sheer volume of mini-games gave a person a lot of time to just sit around and goof off. In fact, I remember a certain evening where, with nothing better to do, a few friends and I sat around with the snowboarding minigame and tried to best each other's scores for hours (and I won, if I recall correctly). You had subplot type things that you could hit or miss (a la, the lab at Nibelheim, where you can go back and see another part of your origin, or the weird steam car videos in the Shin-Ra building). You had the chocobo races, you had the special weaponry, the quest to find all the posters for the restaurant who's name I can't remember... and all of these things kicked Triple Triad's ass. You hear that? I said ASS!

The storyline was unpredictable and unprecedented, or maybe it was just me. Who'd have predicted that our protagonist was just a cheap genetic rip-off of the antagonist that... didn't 'take' quite right, and then proceeded to selectively remember his past, and have episodes because of a combination of his own lack of self worth and his bond to his nemesis? Well, I didn't, but it was fantastic to play when I had the chance.

People often say that Kefka was one of the best villains to grace a series, now, don't get me wrong, Kefka was a bad bad guy, but Seph was just downright... evil, he's so bad that he surpasses the common usage of the word. Mainly, I guess, it's the way that they were presented. Kefka kills lots and lots of people that aren't your characters, i.e. He kills off Doma and a lot of townspeople later on. The point is that he doesn't wrong any of the main characters (well, I didn't play Cyan, if you did, then maybe Kefka would've been much higher on your agenda than he was on mine. I think Kefka fell right behind, get more X-Potions on my 'to do' list, whereas Chase Sephiroth like your life depends on it was a top priority.), Sephiroth, on the other hand, kills Aeris (hell, he almost kills her using Cloud), some people said that they cried when he did it. I didn't cry, but I was seriously pissed off. Aeris was the only naturally good magic user that the game presented you with, I mean, Vincent was a second, but he wasn't a close second. So Sephiroth, by virtue of the fact that he takes down a main character's love interest, and a personal favorite character, gives the player more personal adversity than Kefka does. In addition, Seph is powerful in the beggining, he becomes moreso by his own determination, through his own volition. Kefka starts out incredibly weak and annoying, and becomes powerful through deceit to a person in authority. Sephiroth didn't have to resort to trickery, and a villain who's vile and bold faced about it is better to me than someone who hides on a floating island, zapping people from afar.

So... Final Fantasy 7, I played it. I liked it. It certainly beat the everloving crap out of 8, didn't it?

The Shinra Corporation is draining our planet of its life-forces. Cloud Strife, a cold-hearted mercenary, accepts a mission from a group of eco-warriors, unaware that it will lead him on a journey that will change not just his life, but the lives of every soul in the universe... Welcome to Final Fantasy VII - an epic adventure on 3 CDs where sorcery and science collide, where friendships are lost and won and where one man can make a difference that lasts forever!

Well, that's what it says on the back of the box. But you didn't need to come here for me to tell you that, did ya? Besides, games always tell you how good they are, even if they're complete bullshit. So let's look at the facts...

This game is simply the best RPG ever made. Admittedly, the graphics look a little dated compared to Final Fantasy IX and the like, but the storyline is near perfect, and along with balanced gameplay, superb music, and graphics which were top-notch for their time, FFVII is simply a masterpiece.

It begins with a mercenary, Cloud Strife, helping out a group of eco-terrorists known as AVALANCHE. They're fighting the evil megacorporation Shinra, whose Mako Reactors are bleeding the planet of its life energy. Sounds serious? You bet. Barret, the leader of AVALANCHE, plans to destroy the Mako Reactors, to save the world. But of course, they have to be doing this to save the world - it wouldn't make a good RPG if he was just doing it for fun, would it? One of these days, I'd like to see an RPG where the goal of the game is to make a sandwich. Ah well, back to what I was saying.

It starts off simple enough, AVALANCHE fighting Shinra, the obligatory explosions, etc. However, as is to be expected, shit happens and Cloud finds himself getting in the middle of a complicated situation involving the Ancients, a mysterious creature known as Jenova, an ex-Shinra commander known as Sephiroth, and the twisted experiments of Dr. Hojo.

Cloud's memory is sketchy at best, and he frequently gets flashbacks as the game progresses. Piece by piece, the truth of Cloud's past is put together, until the chilling truth is finally revealled. No, I'm not gonna tell you what it is - buy the game and find out yourself! :) Needless to say, the plot is engrossing, and it's one of those games you just can't put down, even if it means losing sleep in the process.

The best bit, in my opinion, is the fact that the game is loaded with secrets. Two secret characters (Vincent Valentine and Yuffie Kisaragi), and to find out what really happened back in Nibelheim, you have to do a lot of searching to find some nifty hidden FMA's. Or you could just breed chocobos, kill monsters, explore strange places...

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea by now. If you haven't done so already, get a copy of FFVII. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. :)

The following is the effects of greens when fed to your chocobos for maturing.
Memit Greens = Speed
Gizzard Greens = Speed & Stamina
Karakka Greens = Intelligence
Tantal Greens = Speed, Stamina & Intelligence
Pasana Greens = Intelligence
Curie Greens = Speed & Stamina
Reagan Greens = All stats
Sylkis Greens = All stats
Each of the greens has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, Tantal boosts Speed, Stamina & Intelligence, but Memit boosts Speed far more than Tantal.
While widely considered to be the real turning point in the RPG genre (as it was one of the first mainstream games to eschew castles and princesses), it still gets a bad rap from a lot of detractors of the genre as a whole (not to name names, but we certainly have a few of those here on E2) as a poster child for interactive movies (which is kind of funny, isn't that what RPGs have always been?). Compared to some latter installments in the Final Fantasy series and other offerings from Square, FF7 is actually quite devoid of FMV. What FMVs there were really weren't that spectacular at all. Yeah, this was 1997, but still. The "FF7 is nothing but a mindless FMV-fest" is really not fair. People who say that definitely have not played the game in its entirety. You'll find few people who have who'll still say it sucked.

The story is just excellent. In a lot of games, the story is just stuck in almost as an afterthought, it would seem. The game designers really don't seem to bother with the fact that their game is a medium to tell a story, and that by ignoring that facet of it, they're missing one of the primary means of entertaining people with their game. FF7 has a story that is extremely complex and recurring, with elements of suspense, surprise, mystery, and moral dilemmas. FF7 is often cited as an example of bad translation. That, also, isn't really realistic. The characterization and dialogue are good, but subtle enough that people who are just looking for an excuse to hate the game will find Cloud's frequent "..." or "I don't care" remarks to be frustrating and annoying, but there's a REASON why he acts all cold and detached, his manner certainly changes, at least a little, towards the end of the game.

Secondly, Square knew what they were doing in terms of the gameplay. FF7 is easy, no denying that. For a game that was marketed both to older teenagers who had played the SNES FF games when they were younger, and also to younger gamers who had never picked up an RPG, it had to be easy. At the same time, though, it appeases "old-school" RPG gamers in that you can spend hours totally godifying your party, or mastering the numerous mini-games like Chocobo breeding. With the right combination of materia, you can basically wipe out any enemy in the game in one fell swoop, but you don't really have to be that powerful to just beat the game. There are no special endings, as per series tradition, so just because you didn't want to spend 90 hours playing the game, doesn't mean you'll miss out on the "good ending".

So, to return to the FMV issue: the densest clustering of FMV in FF7 probably happens in the first half hour of so, before the party leaves Midgar. No coincidence that this is the portion of the game that went on the demo disc. Obviously Square wanted this one to sell big-time, and they got their wish. However, I would estimate that, after the party leaves Midgar (about 5 hours, max., into the game), there are maybe 10 more FMVs, total (which doesn't count FMVs used to animate portions of the background, I mean full-screen FMVs). And, there are, at the most superficial level of play, 40 more hours of gameplay left after leaving Midgar. So, 1 FMV every 4 hours? And each FMV no more than 30 seconds long? Really, it's hard to see how that would be the primary selling point for anyone. Even people who were expecting the whole game to look like that probably weren't disappointed at all, once they realized the focus of the game really wasn't the graphics, but the story.

PC port - 1998, Eidos Interactive. The first FF series game that was ported to PC.

The PC port of the game is fairly interesting, because at the time of release, many games were moving towards full PCM audio or at least Red Book CD sound - and FFVII used good ol' MIDI! FFVII included a pretty nice soft synthetizer program (Yamaha S-YXG70) so that people with FM-synth based sound cards could enjoy the game. I must say that these days, the game indeed sounds mightily bold on my Sound Blaster Live!, even without the soft synth =)

The port had one serious flaw in it, though: The game utilized DirectX (no OpenGL support whatsoever), and absolutely insists on using 8-bit paletted textures. When I got this game I was using 3DFX Voodoo 1, so this was not a problem - cheap textures for a cheap card. Later, I got a new machine with ATI Rage 128, and on that card I needed to specifically set paletted textures on for this game which was pain in the neck. Now, when I wated to play the game on my new GeForce 2 MX, I was having a real difficulty: The card driver said nothing of paletted textures. Even the Eidos' "Riva/TNT" patch didn't help completely - while the thing did work 3D-acceleratedly, some textures were completely missing. The cheap fools at Eidos didn't put in proper texture support; The cheap fools at NVIDIA didn't put in support for cheap game houses... =( Apparently the software rendering isn't "perfect" here either... And, like TBBK said, the FMV sequences were somewhat buggy in PC version. As Seppy's choir might sing, Sic transeunt vegetablia mundi!

Kids: Play through your games before you do a Moore upgrade, because your great games may or may not work on new hardware =)

(And here I'm spewing techno-jargon, while Playstation version owners can still play the game with PS2 without any problems. Hmph.)

Today, the game seems to suffer from the curse that has affected many DOS games - that of backward compatibility. The game will completely lock up when a Chocobo Race is entered if it is running under an unsupported operating system (read: Windows XP); since you must enter a Chocobo race at least ONCE in the game, Windows XP users are SOL(1). The PC port is not without its merits, however - a number of features were added or changed.

  • Since the game saved to the hard drive, a total of 150 save slots were available. Should those save slots ever become full, each savefile was about 64 KB, so the player could easily move the savefile to another folder in order to make room for more.
  • MIDI music. Depending on your computer's sound card, the MIDI music could either sound beautifully composed or remind you of what the Genesis sounded like. Sound Blaster AWE32/64 users were treated with a SoundFont specially designed for the game. Since MIDI has no voices, this meant that One Winged Angel suddenly had a new remix applied to it (Actually, this depends if your card supports SoundFonts or not. A special SoundFont was made for One Winged Angel, which includes the voices. If you load lb2 and play the AWE version of OWA, you will hear the choir singing. Without LB2, the voices just sound like a loud wooden block).
  • 3D acceleration
  • As WWWWolf mentioned in his writeup above, Direct3D was used for 3D acceleration. If the player had a graphics card that could handle this, the player was treated to sharp, crisp models. This had the unfortunate side effect of working too well - the models looked great, but the prerendered backgrounds didn't
  • A "quit" option was added to the subscreen menu.
  • If FF VII was installed to the hard drive, the game loaded battles and areas much faster. It only took up a scant 500 MB.
  • All references to the PSX buttons were replaced with rather unintuitive controls - (START) (MENU) (CANCEL) (TARGET), etc - all centered around the numeric keypad. The game's box supplied a piece of cardboard which fit over the numeric keypad to help you remember
  • Some new dialogue was added to the beginner's hall at the beginning of the game. Cloud now tells the player of all the exciting possibilities that are possible with saving the game (!). You can even e-mail your save files to your friends! If you get angry and want to hit the computer, shut off the computer and give you and your computer a rest.
  • A minimal configuration tool was supplied with the game. This tool ran tests on your 3D hardware to determine if it could handle basic features like gourad shading and such. You could also pick your MIDI synthesizer and primary display driver.

All in all, quite an interesting port, inspiring Squaresoft to do it again with Final Fantasy 8. For some reason, Final Fantasy 9 was never ported to the PC.

Update 6/13/2002: Apparently FFVII references an invalid segment of memory when loading the Chocobo Races. Because Windows XP is an anal-retentive operating system, it will not allow this; a small patch is out to rectify this situation
Final Fantasy VII is a magnificent look into a machine-run world on the Playstation and computer platforms. It excites the imagination and screams reality. It is the best, in my opinion, of the series thus far. I like it for the magic system, diversity of characters, storyline, and theme; although the music could have been better.

The magic system in FF7 is different than any other that I know. Items called materia allow you to cast spells. For example, you would need to equip a character with the Fire materia before he/she could cast Fire. The more you use the materia, the more powerful it becomes untill it eventually a new materia is born. Some materia can be used in conjunction with other materia to produce interesting effects that increase the strategy in the game.

Each character in this installment of the Final Fantasy series is unique. There's the reclusive, mysterious Cloud, the strong, perky Tifa, and the brute, Barret with a soft spot for his daughter. There are numerous other characters that appear later in the game that are really different, including two secret characters. The way they interact is well thought out and often times very humorous. I couldn't write about the characters without mentioning Sephiroth. Of all the characters, Sephiroth is the most intimidating and ominous. Starting around the time you get to control him in a flashback, you are afraid of him. He is the (misunderstood?) antagonist of the story, and numerous cutscenes will have your blood run cold, including one of the most atrocious acts ever shown in a video game.

The story to this game is amazing. One would never expect twists and surprises as they exist in this game. To this day, I still converse with some of my friends about it, and some of it we are still trying to figure out. If a video game can inspire conversation years after it is played, I consider it phenominal.

FF7 is a very dark science fiction. It is my favorite theme of all the Final Fantasy's I've played. It closely matched that of FF8, only it is a bit darker. The theme inspires extremely interesting enviornments, filled with gears, oil, and water vapor.

Sidequests make the game seem less linear. If you're tired of trying to beat a boss, there's almost always a place like the Gold Saucer (an amusement park) or the Chocobo Racing Track that you can go to. These places aren't time-wasters, however, each of them offers many useful rewards.

My only (small) complaint is with the music. There is a whole lot of it-4 CD's full-and there is so much that almost no repition occurs, excepting the obvious battle theme and world map theme. Also, each song perfectly matches the mood at which it is played. The problem is that with so much music comes the need for space. Because there are so many songs, they are all arranged in MIDI format. For those of you who don't know, MIDI music is always extremely small. The downside to it is that it is computer generated music, which is painfully obvious at times.

All in all, Final Fantasy 7 is one of the best video games to my knowledge, if you're into RPGs. Even if you're not, check it out. It might turn you over.

Final Fantasy 7 was the first in the Final Fantasy series to give good rewards for beating seemingly impossible optional bosses found only in the US version of the game, Emerald and Ruby Weapon. These bosses when taken like any other boss can be very difficult, but there are ways of whittling down even their godly 1,000,000 hp.

Emerald Weapon should be your first of the two super-bosses. Things to keep in mind when fighting him:

  • Emerald Weapon does not have extremely high physical or magical defense. Magic and physical attacks do about the same amount of damage.
  • Emerald Weapon is very high level, Yuffie's ultimate weapon (the conformer) will almost always do 9999 damage to him every hit.
  • Emerald Weapon does not cast any spells that cause status effects.
  • Fighting Emerald Weapon normally has a 20-minute timer that he must be killed in or you will die. You can elimate this timer by equipping the Underwater materia. This can be obtained by finding the Guidebook and giving it to the man collecting items in Kalm. This Guidebook can be obtained by morphing a Ghost Ship found either in the tube on the way to the underwater reactor, or in the battle arena in the gold saucer.

Here are 2 main ways of defeating Emerald Weapon. I used a combination of both in my fight.

The first is to use Knights of the Round paired with MP turbo. Then use w-summon to cast it twice in one round. Have your other 2 members use mime to cast it a total of 6 times. This has the ability of doing up to 779,922 damage. That is over 3/4 of Emerald Weapon's total hp! Repeat until he is dead.

The second way is get as many mastered counter-attacks as you possibly can (I used 9). Then equip Yuffie with the conformer which does more damage based on the level of the enemy. Since I assume Emerald Weapon is level 99, and he does not have much physical defense, Yuffie always hit him for 9999 damage. With this setup I use my other characters to keep everyone alive while Yuffie counter-attacks 9 times for 9999 damage each hit (89,991 damage to be exact) every time Emerald Weapon hit her. Don't worry about a cover materia during this battle, all of Emerald Weapon's attacks are uncoverable.

For beating Emerald Weapon you get an Earth Harp which can be turned in to the guy in Kalm for one of each master materia.

Ruby Weapon is the next and sadly the last of the American super-bosses. Here are a few tips when fighting Ruby Weapon:

  • Ruby Weapon will suck away two of your party members at the beginning of the fight, leaving you with only one. This makes the battle a lot tougher. To choose which characters stays, kill the two you don't want before the battle and Ruby will not suck away anybody (unless you revive the others somehow).
  • Ruby Weapon's physical defense is extremely high, much higher than his magic defense. Don't even think about killing Ruby with physical attacks.
  • Casting Knights of the Round on Ruby will prompt him to counter-attack with Ultima.
  • Ruby Weapon likes to confuse your character every once in a while. Use a ribbon to prevent this.
  • A mystile armor will really help you dodge those castings of Ultima. Plus it has 6 linked slots.

Ruby is one tough boss to kill, much harder than Emerald Weapon, but it can be done. Here are 2 ways to beat him.

The first I have done myself and it works. It works on the idea that one cannot counter-attack against a counter-attack. So Ruby cannot counter-attack with Ultima when I counter-attack with Knights of the Round. This way requires a good bit of materia leveling-up. First attach a master summon (the one you got from killing Emerald Weapon) to a hp-absorb materia. Then attach an at least level 2 Knights of the Round to a MP-turbo materia. Finally put as many command counter - mime combinations as you can fit in your materia slots, saving room for a hp plus, a magic plus, and maybe a w-summon (it really helps, but is not necessary). At the beginning of the battle cast Knights of the Round on Ruby's stalks then sit back and watch. Every time Ruby hits you, you should counter-attack with Knights of the Round draining about 8000 life with each casting for each command counter - mime you have (times 2 if you w-summoned Knights of the Round). Ruby should fall after 8 or 9 castings.

The second way I have planned but not actually used. It requires a little more time because you are not casting Knights of the Round but other spells that do not prompt him to retaliate. I would choose either contain or Ultima. Ultima would probably work a little better but is a little harder to level up than contain. First hook an Ultima with quadra magic, then another Ultima with hp-absorb, and another with mp-absorb. An mp-turbo attached to an Ultima would also be helpful. Then stick a magic plus, w-magic, and a few command counter - mimes. Start off by using Ultima on the stalks and when they die start hitting Ruby. Use mime when your character gets a turn so the quadra magic materia doesn't run out. I would also recommend not equipping a mystile since if Ruby misses you, you don't get a counter-attack.

For beating Ruby Weapon you get a Desert Rose which can be turned into the guy in Kalm for a gold chocobo.

Final Fantasy 7 was a great game and I'm glad I finally wrote something on it. Hope these help someone!

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