The magic system in Final Fantasy VII hinges on small crystalline orbs called materia. Materia is highly condensed mako, an energetic fluid that courses through the entire FF7 planet. Most of the time, materia is made synthetically in mako (power) plants, but every once in a while it can be found in the wild near a mako fountain.
Types of materia
There are five types of materia in the FF7 world, each corresponding to a type of magic:
- Green: (actual) magic materia. Used in casting spells such as cure or fire3.
- Yellow: command materia. Commands include Double Cut, Enemy Skill, Slash All, Throw/Coin, W-Item, W-Summon, Mime, Steal, Morph, Sense, Death and Manipulate.
- Red: summon materia. When used, a monster of sorts is summoned which attacks some/all enemies on-screen. Some monsters include Shiva, Odin and Knights of the Round.
- Blue: support materia. Support can only be given to green, yellow or red materia. The supporting roles are All, Elemental, Counter, Magic Counter, Final Attack, Quadra Magic, Sneak Attack, HP Absorb, MP Absorb, Steal as Well, Added Cut, Added Effect and MP Turbo.
- Purple: status materia. These materia specifically change a character's status when equipped: HP Plus, MP Plus, Speed Plus, Luck Plus, Magic Plus, Preemptive, Enemy Lure, Enemy Away, HP-MP, Counter Attack and Long Range.
In addition to the 'normal' materia in the green, yellow and red groups, these three have a special materia called 'master' materia. When a master green (magic) materia is equipped, the character will have at his command all the spells available in the game. The same is true of the master red (summon) materia. The master yellow (command) only comes with seven of the commands, but these are plenty.
Yes, materia grows. The rate depends on the weapon or armor it is equipped in (only equipped materia grows). All of the summon materia have five growth levels each, while the other materia groups have no set number of levels, ranging from 2 to 5. All growth is logarithmic in scale: each level requires more than the previous one did. Once a materia reaches its highest level it is said to be 'mastered', and it splits. The mastered materia remains, and a fresh level 1 materia of the same name as the original is generated. With support materia like all and elemental this is a very good thing, because there are few of either to be found in the game.