A limit break is a type of attack from the game Final Fantasy VII. Limit breaks are much more powerful attacks than those characters use as standard, often adding effects such as draining the target's MP.
Limit breaks can be used only when a character's Limit meter is full. This represents their anger having reached its limit; hence, 'limit break'. Limit bars increase whenever a character takes damage from an opponent, with the rate of increase being proportional to the percentage of damage taken from their total HP. (Therefore, a character with 300HP taking 20 damage will have a greater limit increase than a character with 3000HP.)
The rate at which the limit bar increases can also be affected by three other things. If the character is in Fury or Sadness, the rate of increase will be higher or lower (respectively). Furthermore, the higher limit level (see below) the character is at, the longer it will take to fill their bar. Finally, if a character is reduced to 0HP, their limit bar empties completely.
Using Limit Breaks
When a character breaks their limit, several things will happen. First, their filled limit bar will begin flashing with the colours of the rainbow. This is accompanied by the text at the top of the screen, "character name LIMIT BREAK". If the character's time bar is not full, it will fill at twice the regular rate.
When it is that character's turn to choose a command, instead of Attack, the first command will, instead, be Limit (also flashing, like the limit bar). Selecting this brings up a submenu, from which the available attacks can be selected. The player can then select a target (although many limit breaks target all enemies), and the attack will be carried out. It is important to note that limit techniques take priority in battle; therefore, one can quickly fight out of a difficult situation before the opponent can counter-attack, even if their attack would have normally been used first.
There are four levels of limits, each level usually yielding two separate limit breaks. There are, however, two exceptions: Cait Sith and Vincent Valentine. Cait Sith has only two levels, each with just the one limit technique, whereas Vincent has all four levels, but only a single technique in each.
Gaining a limit level requires both limits for the current level have been gained. To gain the second limit in a level, the first break technique must be used 8-10 times. To then gain the first technique in the next level, the character must deliver the finishing blow to 60-100 enemies. (This can be using standard, magical or limit techniques.)
Limit Level 4 is the exception to this rule. Once both level 3 limit breaks have been gained, the 'ultimate' limit technique can be learned; but only by finding the Limit Manual. These are hidden throughout the game, and it is the hallmark of a 'complete' game to have found and used them all.
The Limit Breaks
Warning: The following contains massive spoilers and should be read only if you like that sort of thing.
Braver: Cloud runs towards the enemy, jumps and slashes them.
Cross-Slash: Cloud slashes the enemy in three places, causing greater damage and sometimes casting Stop.
Blade Beam: Cloud swings his sword back, and throws an energy beam towards an enemy. It then diffuses towards all other enemies.
Climhazzard: Cloud impales his target, then jumps upwards, pulling out his sword.
Meteorain: After swirling his sword, Cloud leaps in the air, pelting the enemy with meteors.
Finishing Touch: Cloud again brings his sword back, this time throwing a whirlwind towards the enemy which lifts them up into the air.
Omnislash: 15 high-powered hits to all enemies. Cloud gains this by reading the manual obtained from the Gold Saucer battle arena; he will always have it in the final battle against 'Shirtless Sephiroth', however.
Big Shot: Barret draws a large sphere of energy into his gun-arm, which he fires towards an enemy for massive damage.
Mindblow: Almost identical to Big Shot, only this time Barret drains MP.
Grenade Bomb: Barret lobs a grenade into the enemy ranks, causing explosive damage to all opponents.
Hammer Blow: Charging towards an enemy, Barret attempts to smack them off the screen. Is useless against bosses, sadly.
Satellite Beam: A laser beam is shot down towards the enemy, dealing large damage whilst looking cool doing it.
Ungarmax: Mistranslated (actually supposed to be spelt 'Angermax') but still effective, Barret fires off 18 quick shots. Individually weak, but on one target devastating.
Catastrophe: Barret uses his gun-arm as a jet pack and flies into the air, before firing a massive beam of energy at all targets. The Limit Manual for this can be obtained from a woman in Corel after the Corel Huge Materia quest.
Note: Tifa can use all her limit breaks up to the current level at once, using a 'slot machine' system to determine whether they are used or not. This gives Tifa up to 7 consecutive attacks.
Beat Rush: Tifa rushes towards the enemy and hits them several times...
Somersault: ...then performing a backwards somersault kick...
Waterkick: ...following on with a sweeping kick...
Meteodrive: ...before piledriving an enemy to the floor...
Dolphin Blow: ...then upper-cutting an opponent with a marine friend...
Meteor Strike: ...repeating Meteodrive, but with enhanced damage, before finally...
Final Heaven: ...smashing their face in with a nuclear-powered attack. The limit manual is available from Disc 2 onwards once Cloud has rejoined your party, by playing the Highwind theme on Tifa's piano.
Note: Aeris' Limit Manual can be obtained after her death, in which case it is useless to you.
Healing Wind: Aeris restores half your party's maximum HP.
Seal Evil: If it works, casts Stop and Silence on all opponents.
Breath of Earth: Aeris removes all status ailments from party members (including beneficial ones such as Regen)
Fury Brand: Aeris fills both fellow party member's Limit bars to maximum!
Planet Protector: Aeris will temporarily make your party invincible.
Pulse of Life: Revives KOed allies, restores your party to full HP. Yes.
Great Gospel: Combines Breath of Earth, Planet Protector and Pulse of Life. Possibly the best Limit Break in the game... the Limit Manual can be received by trading the blacksmith (near Gongaga) Mythril.
Sled Fang: Red charges towards the enemy, hitting them with a powerful attack. This can be used even if the enemy is unable to be hit by physical attacks (eg, the escape from Shinra HQ on Disc 1, soon after he joins your party)
Lunatic High: This limit break puts your entire party (including Red) into Haste.
Blood Fang: A more powerful Sled Fang, with the bonus of draining some HP and MP.
Stardust Ray: 10 random hits are dealt between enemies for minor damage.
Howling Moon: Jumping up to the Moon, Red casts Haste and Berserk on himself.
Earth Rave: Red uses an Earth-elemental attack which hits five times.
Cosmo Memory: A very large and very powerful magical blast flies from Red towards the enemy. Nice. The limit manual is received as a reward upon defeating the boss Lost Number, found in a safe in the Shinra Mansion (Nibelheim).
Dice: Cait Sith throws dice, the numbers coming up (multiplied by 100) being the damage. Two of a kind double the damage, which three of a kind triple it.
Slots: Like Tifa's limit breaks, a three-slot machine appears. There are many combinations, ranging from instant victory to instant death!
Cait Sith has no further limit techniques, and thus has no limit manual.
Boost Jump: Cid leaps into the air, before plunging back to spear an enemy for large damage.
Dynamite: Lighting it with his cigarette, Cid tosses the enemies some explosive candy. Firey damage to all enemies.
Hyper Jump: An enhanced Boost Jump, but causing much larger damage and even sometimes causing instant Death.
Dragon: Cid leaps forwards and attacks an enemy, stealing some HP and MP for himself.
Dragon Dive: Cid again leaps forwards, dealing large damage six times to random opponents.
Big Brawl: Another chance for massive damage, this time randomly hitting eight times.
Highwind: Using his radio, Cid calls on the airship crew to bombard the area with some aerial ordinance! The limit manual is available from the sunken Gelnika, sitting in a treasure box.
Note: Yuffie is a secret character. The game can be beaten without her, although for completeness' sake...
Greased Lightning: Yuffie charges an enemy, slashes and jumps back; the enemy takes damage moments later.
Clear Tranquil: Yuffie heals the party for half their maximum HP.
Landscaper: Pounding against the ground, Yuffie deals damage to all enemies.
Bloodfest: Running towards the enemy then seemingly randomly between them, Yuffie causes ten hits between all targets.
Gauntlet: Yuffie deals an attack to all opponents that manages to ignore armour.
Doom of the Living: An enhanced Bloodfest, Yuffie hits 15 times as she runs, splitting hits between all enemies.
All Creation: Yuffie deals a single, massively-powered hit to one enemy. Devastating against bosses. The limit manual is received upon completion of the Wutai Pagoda subquest.
Note: Vincent is also a secret character. His limit techniques cause the player to lose control over him for the duration of the battle.
Galian Beast: Vincent transforms into a werewolf-creature. His HP increases while in this form. He has the attacks 'Berserk Dance' and 'Beast Flare'.
Death Gigas: Vincent becomes a monstrous-looking human. His HP increases significantly, but magic defense drops. His attacks are 'Gigadunk' and 'Livewire'.
Hellmasker: A chainsaw-wielding, hockey mask wearing psycho is Vincent's third transformation. His attacks are the wonderfully named 'Splattercombo' and 'Nightmare'.
Chaos: Vincent becomes the Devil. Attack and Defense are both up, and he is immune to Earth magic. His attacks are 'Chaos Sabre' and 'Satan Slam'. To receive the limit manual, visit Lucrecia's cave on Disc 2 or 3, then return after 10 battles.