Replaying Final Fantasy VII 01

If you’ve been around here for a while, you’ll know I have a particular love for the Final Fantasy video games. Specifically, I have a fascination with the first ten. Everything’s gone down hill since ten was released. While I loved the first handful of games, the fact that I can’t remember the story lines bothers me. It’s one of the main reasons why I want to replay the games. Maybe I will understand the themes of the story better now that I’m older.

First up is Final Fantasy VII, the spoiled rotten child of the whole series. Don’t get me wrong, I love Final Fantasy VII, but it’s not the best game in the series. Still, we can’t ignore the fact that the game was groundbreaking for its time. Originally released in 1997 on the first Playstation, some called it “the game that sold the Playstation.” Since I picked up the game after already playing newer games with better graphics, the true impact of the game is lost to me. Long story short, the graphics, gameplay, character development and story were amazing and people bought up Playstations just for the chance to play the game.

…and now you can hardly find Final Fantasy merchandise that isn’t Final Fantasy VII themed.

That’s beside the point, though. I’ve chosen to cosplay Tifa Lockhart from this game at my first anime convention this summer. As such, I thought I’d play them game again. I have a working copy, which I can play on my PS2, but I downloaded it on Steam so I could play alongside D (while he plays his own games). In order to keep a solid memory of this game, I’m going to write about what I felt and experienced while playing.

(Spoilers Ahead)

We start off the game with big issues involving acts of terrorism and the conservation of the environment. AVALANCHE is recognized by the government as a terrorist organization. The government, which is a joke really, is sucking all the energy (aka: Mako) from the planet to use as electricity. The members of AVALACHE want to stop the government from sucking the planet dry and killing everyone.

The government is nothing, though. Like I said, it’s a joke. Shinra Inc. is a big company and they basically control the government. They live for profit and could care less about the ramifications of their actions. If polluting the planet will grant them more money and power, that’s what they are going to do.

AVALANCHE succeeds in blowing up one mako reactor at the beginning of the game, but they run into trouble when they attempt a second one. The main character of the game, Cloud Strife, is saved from his fall by a bed of flowers. It is here were he meets Aries (a miss-translation, as her name is supposed to be Aerith). She appears to be on the run from the government as well and Cloud helps her escape.

They eventually team up with Tifa to get information out of a dirty man in a lowly district of the slums. They get in by dressing like whores (even cloud dresses as a girl). After getting close to him in bed, they drop their disguises and demand to know what Shinra’s next plan is. Turns out, they are going to destroy the sector 7 slums in order to smash AVALANCHE.

This has all taken place in a town called Midgar. On the ground, there are various sectors of slums. Above these slums are large plates where the middle class and rich live. It’s like a giant metal pizza. They’re going to destroy the slum by blowing up the supports that hold the sector 7 plate so that it falls on the slums. All this to kill a handful of people.

Cloud, Tifa and the other members of AVALANCHE fight, but fail. They escape just in time only to find that Aries has been kidnapped by Shinra. Turns out she is one of the ‘ancients,’ a race of people who used to thrive on the planet. It is said they could speak to the planet and harness a power that would lead to the promised land. Shinra thought this land would be full of riches and power, so they sought out the last of the ancients. They wanted to run experiments and figure out how to take the promised land for themselves.

Unfortunately, Aries and one other were the only known ancients left and it was thought they would die before experiments could be finished. This other goes by the name Red XIII and he looks like a lion. They were going to try and breed Aries with an animal. Luckily, Cloud and AVALANCHE arrives in time to save her. Red XIII joins the team.

…and then everyone is captured.

That doesn’t last long, though. Soon, Cloud finds his cell mysteriously open and the guards killed. He releases his comrades and they all go to investigate. There is a long of blood around the area where Shinra was trying to breed the ancients. A specimen called JENOVA is missing. The trail starts where she used to be held leads to the top of the tower. Everyone follows the trail and finds, at its end, that the president of Shinra has been murdered. It is revealed that this is Sephiroth’s doing. He’s no longer there, leaving everyone with no other course of action then the flee Midgar. The flight takes a lot of effort, but eventually everyone escapes Shinra’s soldiers.

Everyone meets up in a town called Kalm, where Cloud tells the story of the day Sephiroth snapped.

Sephiroth and Cloud used to work for Shinra as a part of a special combat unit simply named SOLDIER. On this particular mission, Sephiroth and Cloud were going to investigate a mako reactor that was said to be producing ‘brutal monsters.’ As fate would have it, this reactor was located in Cloud’s home town. Tifa, his childhood friend, leads the soldiers to the reactor where they find some crazy stuff. For starters, there is a chamber which is holding JENOVA. There are a bunch of small containers in the room as well, each with a window. Looking inside reveals that these brutal monsters are Shinra’s creation.

JENOVA (source)

That night, Sephiroth did not sleep. He spend the night in a library under an old Shinra mansion reading up on what he’d come to know as The Jenova Project. Turns out the JENOVA covered in wires and contained in a giant tube was his mother. She was a 2000 year old ancient found in a geological structure. I’m not 100% sure if she still lived in the body. What we do know is there were still living cells and those were being used to try and create more ancients. Sephiroth was the product of a successful experiment.A human was in each of the containers and was, through the work of the reactor, being exposed to huge amounts of mako energy. These creatures looked like demons. Sephiroth began to wonder, was he the same. His mother’s name was Jenova. Was it just a coincidence. It was common knowledge that those in SOLDIER were injected with some mako energy, but that was different, right? Or was he different?

In the books at the library, he learned about how the ancients connected with the planet and how he came to be born. As he saw it, the people on the planet who were not ancients built towns and encampments at the expense of the ancients. Now, they flourished and the ancients were nearly extinct.

He went mad with this knowledge, destroying the whole town and ripping JENOVA from her container.

That’s all Cloud remembers. He’s not sure how he survived after challenging Sephiroth gone mad.

….and that’s where I am in Final Fantasy VII so far.

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