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Final Fantasy VII
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Final Fantasy VII is the seventh installment of the main Final Fantasy series, and it was originally released for the PlayStation in 1997. The game has its own subseries, the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and a remake for the PlayStation 4, titled Final Fantasy VII Remake. In 2005, the game received an unlicensed Famicom port exclusive to China.
Final Fantasy VII is widely as one of the most influential and greatest video games of all time, as well as the Final Fantasy series. It is credited with providing mass-market appeal to console RPGs outside of Japan. Final Fantasy VII was the first game of the series that used 3D character models on 2D pre-rendered backgrounds and full-motion video sequences. It is the first Final Fantasy game that was released for a Sony console, and several Final Fantasy games would be released as console exclusives for the PlayStation line of systems.
The game's main setting is a dystopia named Midgar, whose areas are divided into eight sectors. The main protagonist and playable character is Cloud Strife, a mercenary and a former first-class SOLDIER official who works with AVALANCHE to stop Shin-Ra Electric Power Company, an evil megacorporation that profits from using the planet's natural resources for an energy source. Barret Wallace, Tifa Lockhart, and Aerith Gainsborough are party members in different parts of the game. The main antagonist is Cloud's nemesis, Sephiroth, who tries to become a demigod after learning about his origin.
The core gameplay is similar to the first six Final Fantasy games, although some new mechanics are introduced, especially since Final Fantasy VII is the first 3D game of the series. Areas can be explored like a 3D environment, but the background for each area is a 2D pre-rendered graphic, therefore creating the illusion of a 3D area. On the contrary, the world map and battle scenes are rendered in 3D. At first, the characters are restricted to Midgar, but the game becomes less linear once the characters can access the world. Progression through the game occurs with scripted sequences or, to a lesser extent, pre-rendered cinematic cutscenes.
The game uses the Active Time Battle system, which first appeared in Final Fantasy IV. Throughout the game, the player can have up to three characters in their party. The game introduces Materia, which are magical orbs that represent the game's skill system. From the "Materia" submenu of the Menu Screen, the player can customize the empty, circular slots with Materia to enhance either the weapon, armor, or accessory of a character; their magic spells, summons, and special abilities are changed accordingly.
In battle, each character has a unique Limit Break, a powerful attack which usually inflicts more damage than normal attacks. The Limit Break is represented by a bar that gradually fills up as the character takes damage in battle. A character can only perform their Limit Break when their bar is filled.
- Main article: List of characters in Final Fantasy VII
There are nine playable characters, two of which are optional characters. All of them are members resistance group, AVALANCHE. Sorted from earliest to latest in-game appearance:
- Aerith Gainsborough - A friendly young woman who sells flowers. Aerith is one of the few survivors of the Cetra race, and is sought after by Shin-Ra, who want to exploit her magical powers to reach the fabled Promised Land.
- Barret Wallace - The brash leader of AVALANCHE and father of Marlene. Barret has a robotic arm that he uses during battle.
- Cloud Strife - The main protagonist of the game, Cloud is a mercenary employed by AVALANCHE. He was formerly a member of Shin-Ra's SOLDIER division.
- Tifa Lockhart - A young woman skilled in martial arts, Tifa is a childhood friend of Cloud. Early in the game, she was the person who convinced Cloud to join AVALANCHE.
- Red XIII - A strong lion-like animal who joins AVALANCHE after being rescued from a Shin-Ra experiment.
- Cait Sith
- Cid Highwind
- Yuffie Kisaragi (optional)
- Vincent Valentine (optional)
Note that during Cloud's flashbacks, Sephiroth (who is at level 50) fights alongside Cloud in some battles, although the player cannot control or equip Sephiroth.
Several of the game's antagonists are employees of Shin-Ra:
- Heidegger - He is in charge of Shin-Ra's "Peace Preservation Department".
- Hojo - A scientist who is in charge of Shin-Ra's "Science Department".
- President Shinra - He was the head of the entire Shin-Ra before Sephiroth killed him.
- Reeve - He is in charge of the "Head of Urban Development" division.
- Rufus - The son of President Shinra. He was formerly Shin-Ra's vice president until his father died, so Rufus inherited the company.
- Scarlet - He is in charge of Shin-Ra's "Head of Weapons Research and Development" division.
- Sephiroth - The overall main antagonist, Sephiroth was a high-ranked member of SOLDIER. At one point, he worked alongside Cloud. Sephiroth became evil after learning that he was artificially created as a result of the Jenova Project.
- Turks - an investigative group of assassins that work on behalf of Shin-Ra. It consists of four members: Elena, Rude, Reno, and its leader Tseng.
- Disk 1
- Guard Scorpion
- Air Buster
- Sample: H0512
- Hundred Gunner
- Rufus Shinra
- Dark Nation
- Motor Ball
- Jenova Birth
- GI Nattack
- Soul Fire
- Lost Number
- Materia Keeper
- Red Dragon
- Demon's Gate
- Jenova Life
- Disk 2
- Jenova Death
- Gas Ductor
- Eagle Gun
- Carry Armor
- Proud Clod
- Poodler Sample
- Bad Rap Sample
- Helletic Hojo
- Lifeform Hojo
- Disk 3
The whole game takes place within a world named The Planet. Like Final Fantasy VI, the technology is more advanced than earlier installments of the franchise. The Planet is made up of three continents, accessed in order from east, west, then north.
- Midgar – An industrial metropolis where both Shin-Ra and AVALANCHE are based, and it is the starting area.
- Sector 7 Slums – This is where most of Midgar's inhabitants lived before the upper plate was destroyed.
- Wall Market – A black market area where Corneo Hall and the Honey Bee Inn are located.
- Shin-Ra Headquarters – A 70-story building that serves as the headquarters for Shin-Ra and their divisions.
- Kalm – A small medieval Europe-inspired town near Midgar.
- Chocobo Farm – A farm used as a breeding area for Chocobos. It is where the group can purchase the Chocobo Lure materia and some greens, both of which are needed to catch a Chocobo.
- Mythril Mine – An abandoned mine and a former mining area for the inhabitants of Kalm.
- Fort Condor – A military fortress dedicated to resistance against Shin-Ra. It is named for the massive breed of Condor that lives there.
- Junon – A heavily-armed Shin-Ra military base that is located above a small fishing town of the same name. It is built upon a plate and houses troop garrisons, an airport, and a seaport.
- Underwater Reactor – The primary Mako reactor for the city of Junon.
- Costa del Sol – A port town that is used for a seaside resort.
- Corel – The hometown of Barret, later destroyed from an attack on its Mako Reactor. Ever since, Corel was turned into a prison site.
- North Corel – A town that the people of Corel have inhabited ever since the original town was destroyed.
- Gold Saucer – An amusement park owned by Shin-Ra that is located in the desert.
- Gongaga – The remains of a town that was destroyed by a reactor explosion. It is where Zack lived.
- Cosmo Canyon – The hometown of Red XIII, Cosmo Canyon is a site for studying natural life. An observatory owned by Bugenhagen is located here.
- Ancient Forest – A very old forest near Cosmo Canyon. Only accessible by a Green, Black, or Gold Chocobo, or after destroying the Ultimate WEAPON completely.
- Nibelheim – The hometown of Cloud and Tifa. It was burned down by Sephiroth when he discovered his origin. The town was later rebuilt by Shin-Ra to cover up the incident.
- Rocket Town – Cid's hometown and the site of Shin-Ra's former space program, where the first rocket launch took place.
- Wutai – It is Yuffie's hometown and formerly an independent nation before Shin-Ra took over and converted it into a tourist resort.
- Bone Village – A excavation site where the Lunar Harp is located.
- Sleeping Forest – Next to Bone Village, it is an enchanted forest that the party can only pass through with Lunar Harp.
- Forgotten City – A lost city of the Ancients and the location where Aerith tried using the White Materia to summon Holy. This is the area where Aerith was killed.
- Icicle Inn – The hometown of Aerith, Icicle Inn is town set in an area where it snows year-round. It hosts a snowboarding minigame, Snow Game.
- Great Glacier – A large glacier to the south of Gaea's Cliffs.
- Gaea's Cliff – A large cliff that leads to the Whirlwind Maze.
- Whirlwind Maze – An area at the bottom of North Crater. A lot of Mako energy is located here.
- Mideel – A tropical town which is situated on an island. It was attacked by Ultimate WEAPON and destroyed by a Lifestream eruption.
- Northern Cave – This is the final area and is where the climax takes place.
- Materia Caves – Caves scattered around the world map where very rare and variable materia can be found. They can only be reached with the help of a Chocobo.
- Temple of the Ancients – A large structure that the Black Materia was turned into to prevent it from being used. The building can only be reverted back to Black Materia if someone solves a series of puzzles to shrink the temple, although this causes the person to die.
References in other games
- Super Smash Bros. series: A stage named Midgar appears in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- 'Dirge of Cerberus' defies expectations, for better and worse. USA Today (archived).
- Official North American website (archived)
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