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    T \  *              ~~BTB's Final Fantasy VII FAQ~~              *  \ T
    B /\ |                                                           | \/ B
    T \  *                       ~Version 1.0~                       *  \ T
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                            #!*&^%$#@!*&^%$#@!*$!@


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To get where you're going in a hurry, try Quick-Navigate!  Just follow these
five easy steps:

  1. Highlight the name of the section or subsection that you want to go to in
  the table of contents (listed below).

  2. Press ctrl + C.

  3. Press ctrl + F.

  4. Press ctrl + V.

  5. Press Enter.

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--------------------
I. Basic Information
--------------------

A. Author's Note (Read This!)
B. Quick Info
C. Statistics & Probabilities
D. About Limit Breaks
E. The Materia System
F. "Lost-Forevers" (Definitely Read This!)

--------------
II. Characters
--------------

A. Cloud Strife
B. Barret Wallace
C. Tifa Lockhart
D. Aeris Gainsborough
E. Red XIII
F. Cait Sith
G. Cid Highwind
H. Yuffie Kisaragi
I. Vincent Valentine

----------------
III. Walkthrough
----------------

A. The Rebels of Midgar
B. Shinra Co.
C. The Eastern Continent
D. The Western Continent
E. Call of the Ancients
F. Adventures in the Frozen North
G. A World in Despair
H. Reunion & The Final Battles

---------------
IV. Side Quests
---------------

A. Shinra Mansion's Safe
B. Wutai
C. The Ancient Forest
D. The Gelnika
E. WEAPON Battles

-----------------
V. Little Secrets
-----------------

A. Turtle's Paradise Challenge
B. Shinra H.Q., Floor 63
C. The Sleeping Man
D. Enlisting Yuffie
E. Enlisting Vincent
F. Tifa's Piano
G. The Back Room
H. The Costa Del Sol Weapons Dealer
I. Mideel's White Chocobo
J. The Key to Sector Five
K. Lucrecia's Cave
L. Da-Chao Fire Cave
M. Benefits of the Huge Materia
N. Return to Shinra H.Q.
O. Cosmo Canyon Revisited (Again)

------------------
VI. Level-Up Spots
------------------

A. Mideel
B. The Final Cave (Marshy Section)
C. The Gelnika

---------------
VII. Date Night
---------------

A. The Factors
B. The Dates

---------------------
VIII. The Gold Saucer
---------------------

A. Cheap Arcade Games (in the Wonder Square)
B. Motorcycle Chase (in the Wonder Square)
C. Snowboard Game (in the Wonder Square)
D. Torpedo Attack (in the Wonder Square)
E. The Speed Square
F. The Chocobo Square
G. The Battle Square
H. Odds & Ends of the Gold Saucer

-------------------
IX. Chocobo Farmin'
-------------------

A. Catchin' 'Em
B. Feedin' 'Em
C. Trainin' 'Em
D. Breedin' 'Em

--------------------------
X. The Fort Condor Battles
--------------------------

A. The Basics
B. Your Troops
C. Strategy Session
D. The Battles of Fort Condor

--------------------
XI. Limit Break List
--------------------

------------------
XII. Materia Lists
------------------

A. Magic (Green) Materia
B. Support (Blue) Materia
C. Command (Yellow) Materia
D. Independent (Purple) Materia
E. Summon (Red) Materia

---------------------
XIII. Equipment Lists
---------------------

A. Weapons
B. Armor
C. Accessories

--------------
XIV. Item List
--------------

--------------
XV. Spell List
--------------

-----------------
XVI. Summons List
-----------------

----------------------
XVII. Enemy Skill List
----------------------

------------------
XVIII. Other Stuff
------------------

A. Bonus Cinema
B. Tropical Getaway

-------------------
XIX. Hints & Tricks
-------------------

A. All Lucky Sevens
B. Unlimited Rare Items
C. Multiple Support Materia Trick
D. Item Duplication
E. The 3rd Mystile

---------------------------
XX. Unconfirmed Info/Rumors
---------------------------

--------------------------------------------
Version Info, Credits, & Contact Information
--------------------------------------------


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   Thank you for choosing a BTB FAQ.  From the name of the section, "Stuff You
Definitely Should Know Before Playing", a few things should be apparent.  Here,
I shall convey useful information about the game itself which is not readily
apparent to the player.  This is information that would greatly behoove the
player to know and does not reveal anything, either story-wise or anything that
may give you an unfair advantage while playing (for those of you who hate that
sort of thing).  In short, it is highly recommended that you look this section
over before you begin playing.

   The walkthrough is the "meat" of the guide, containing in-depth strategies,
directions, and so on.  The appendices, or in other words all the parts
of the walkthrough that are not the walkthrough, contain supplemental
information that may be often referenced in the walkthrough.  However, take
note that during the walkthrough, I generally assume that my reader possesses
a basic knowledge of the information found within the appendices, so please
keep that in mind when using the walkthrough.

   Lastly, I must stress that in addition to providing help and information with
the game itself in the walkthrough, I also keep a very good running tab on
whatever plot may exist, often adding insight and commentary.  This is meant to
assist you, the reader's understanding of not only the technical aspects of the
game, but also the finer details (namely the plot).  Many people often say that
my various commentary makes the game more enjoyable for them, which is indeed my
intent.  If you do not wish to partake of my commentary, I most certainly
understand, and hope you at least find the answers to your question in the
various non-plot-related parts of my FAQ.  If, however, your distaste for my
writing style leads you to bitch about my "filler-laden" FAQ, then my advice to
you is quite simply to go fuck yourself and find something better to do with
your time.


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   The following list is a quick run-off of general things to bear in mind about
this game:

   ---

      Final Fantasy VII takes place in a 3D world.  Sometimes, especially on the
   more cluttered screens, it may be difficult to see where everything is.  If
   you press the select button, a few things will pop up to aid you, however.
   A finger will hover above your head to show where you are (useful for
   keeping track of yourself when your sight is obstructed by something).
   Green arrows will indicate things that can take you across the screen you
   are on.  For instance, they may point to a vine that you can grab hold of,
   or a ladder.  Red arrows indicate passageways that will take you to another
   screen.

   ---

      While the All materia grants benefits in battle (see section I.E. for more
   on materia), there may be times when you wish to forgo them.  The R or L
   buttons will toggle your "All" spells between affecting one or all
   allies/enemies.  Also note that All's benefits can also be applied outside
   of battle, as well.  For instance, with a Restore materia linked to an All
   materia, access the Cure spell from the menu screen.  As in battle, L or R
   will toggle between the spell targeting one or all of your party.

   ---

      As far as managing your materia is concerned, equipping and unequipping
   them via the menu screen is usually adequate.  However, there are easier
   ways to manage large quantities of materia, which is via the "exchange"
   option (visible on the materia screens).  Here, you can exchange materia via
   any character considered to be a part of your party at the time (note that
   any character that has been removed from the group will have left his/her
   materia behind in your inventory).  You can exchange materia one-by-one, or
   you may exchange the entire weapon's/armor's materia from one to another, by
   clicking on the name of said weapons/armors (the source and destination).
   They will be placed in exactly the order they came, with any overrun staying
   with the original character.  Finally, an entire character's materia
   collection may be transferred from one to another, by clicking on the
   character's names (again, any overrun will stay with the original wearer).

   ---

      On the battlefield, your characters may battle from either the front or
   back row.  Characters in the back row do less damage with their physical
   attacks, but take less damage from physical attacks in return.  Note that
   enemies also have a back row, but it may sometimes be difficult to tell.  If
   you are unsure, press select when over an enemy, and if said enemy is in the
   back row, it will be noted next to the enemy's name on your information bar.
   When no more enemies in the "front row" are left standing, the enemies in
   the back row are moved up to the front (note that this rule does not apply
   to your party).  There is no additional penalty for when a back-row fighter
   attacks another back-row fighter, and long-range weapons and attacks will do
   equal damage from any distance.

   ---

      All status enhancements and status ailments except for death (and two
   others mentioned below) shall only last for the duration of the battle
   (though some status enhancements will wear off during the course of longer
   battles).  These effects will also wear off if a character dies.  Also note
   that any row changes made in battle will also revert at the end of the
   battle.  Lastly, in addition to the "universally recognized" status
   afflictions (poison, paralyzed, sleep, confusion, berserk, darkness, toad,
   mini, stop, slow, haste, petrified, and death sentence), are two new status
   ailments, both of which are exceptions to this rule and shall last until
   whenever you happen to dispel them, or if the character afflicted with them
   dies.  Sadness is a condition that halves the progress of a character's
   limit bar (see section I.D. for more on limit bars).  Fury, conversely,
   doubles the progress of the limit bar, but also handicaps one's Attack
   Percentage.  Still fury can be a beneficial condition if you're more
   concerned with building up your limit bar than in connecting with physical
   attacks.  Aeris, for example can benefit greatly from becoming enraged,
   especially at limit level four.

   ---

      Getting hit in the back really hurts.  Whenever the enemy gets the drop on
   you and attacks from behind or catches you in a deadly pincer attack, watch
   out, as their attacks are going to be more powerful.  On the other hand,
   this can also work to your advantage when you surround an enemy or happen to
   catch them from behind.   Note that when you are caught from behind, your
   characters will not turn around until their either attack, or you tap the R
   & L (run buttons) to turn them around to face their enemies.


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   This is a subject that is mostly limited to RPG's, and deals with the random
probabilities of things happening in the game and the statistics that they are
based upon.  Statistics are important in every RPG, and some other games as
well.  Unfortunately for us, statistics are a far different thing in every game
we have ever played, and they can often be confusing.  Below is listed every
statistic in the game, how we get it (and/or make it bigger), and what it does
(simple enough for ya?):

   ---

      HP & MP are self-explanatory stats.  They increase at each level up, and
   are among the two most common stats that are affected by materia (mentioned
   later in section I.E. of the FAQ).  For this reason, even a character with a
   low MP total can be brought up significantly (albeit usually at the expense
   of stats like Strength and HP).  HP, on the other hand, is one of the stats
   that usually gets shafted through heavy materia usage, though the prevalence
   of the HP Plus materia goes far in helping you to alleviate this problem,
   and will later on help you to give serious HP boosts to your characters.

   ---

      Strength refers to a character's natural strength, and is a factor in a
   character's Attack, which in turn affects damage done by physical attacks.
   Strength goes up with each level up, and may also be raised via the Power
   Source item.  Strength is one of those stats that is more written in stone
   than the others are because there is not much you can do to raise it (though
   a few scattered accessories will raise it a bit).  Furthermore, materia will
   do nothing for this stat except lower it.

   ---

      Vitality is a character's natural resilience to physical attack, and is a
   factor in his or her Defense rating.  It goes up as a character levels up,
   and can also be raised with the Guard Source item.  Like Strength, there is
   not much you can do to raise this stat (except locate an accessory or two,
   one of which will actually pose a significant boost, but is regrettably rare
   and will not surface until late in the game).  Also like Strength, you'll
   find that materia generally has a negative effect on your Vitality.
   Luckily, the effects aren't nearly as bad as they are with Strength, and are
   only present in the more potent magic materia.

   ---

      Dexterity is a character's speed or agility.  Faster characters attack
   first in combat, and can get more attacks in over time.  Dexterity goes up
   with each level up, and it may also be raised with the Speed Source item.
   Other than that, however, not much can be done to alter this stat, in one
   direction or another.  One accessory out there can give you a boost to your
   Dexterity, and the Speed Plus materia and grant you large bonuses later on,
   but that's about it.

   ---

      Magic refers to a character's ability with magic, and has a direct affect
   on a character's Magic Attack.  Magic goes up with each level up, and it may
   also be raised with the Magic Source item.  Magic is like MP: there are a
   gazillion ways you can go about jacking this stat up to ungodly high levels.
   While there is an accessory that will give you a boost in this department,
   the usual method for raising one's Magic stat is just to put on some
   materia, almost all of which you'll find will raise this stat (usually at
   the expense of HP and Strength, mind you). However, even though you have the
   capability to take your worst magician and go far in increasing their
   magical prowess... why would you want to?

   ---

      Spirit means a character's resistance to magical attacks, and thus has an
   impact on Magic Defense.  This goes up at level-ups, and can be permanently
   raised with the Mind Source item.  Spirit, unlike Vitality, is a stat which
   is damn near impossible to alter.  There is one accessory which will give
   you a boost in the Spirit department, and another which will grant you a
   heavy bonus on it, though the latter is very rare and does not surface until
   late in the game.

   ---

      Luck is a quite common stat in RPG's.  It goes up occasionally at level-
   up, and can also be raised with the Luck Source item.  For starters, you
   should notice that the Luck stat should be pretty even straight across the
   board with all of your characters.  Secondly, it's pretty much going to stay
   that way.  Aside from one accessory which will give you a bonus to your
   Luck, the only other way to alter it is with the Luck Plus materia, though
   the Luck Plus materia can eventually be refined to offer a rather big bonus
   to one's Luck.  The exact role of the Luck stat is an enigma, but it is
   known to have an effect on the frequency of critical attacks.  Physical
   attacks which strike critically do twice the normal amount of damage.

   ---

      Attack plays a direct role in how much damage your character deals with a
   physical attack.  The factors that make up a character's Attack stat are
   their Strength stat and also the equipped weapon.

   ---

      Attack Percentage (also known as Hit Rate) is an indicator of how often
   you can expect a character's physical attacks to hit their intended targets.
   Usually, this statistic is very close to and often above 100% (to help
   compensate for the target's Defense Percentage, mentioned below).  Unlike
   Attack, Attack Percentage is a direct result of your equipped weapon

   ---

      Defense indicates how much damage one can expect a character to receive
   from incoming physical attacks.  Defense is a result of a character's
   Vitality and equipped armor.

   ---

      Defense Percentage (or Evade, as it is more commonly known) measures how
   often a character is able to dodge incoming physical attack completely.
   This is usually quite low, and is a result of whatever armor said character
   has equipped.

   ---

      Magic Attack indicates the level of potency a character will use magic,
   either direct attack magic or curative magic, so the name is a bit
   misleading.  This statistic is derived from a character's Magic stat.

   ---

      Magic Defense is a measure of how much damage taken from magical attacks
   will be reduced by.  This is a result of your Spirit stat and your equipped
   armor, and can also further benefit from some of the game's more potent
   materia.

   ---

      Magic Defense Percentage (or Magic Evade) indicates how often your
   character will be able to completely avoid a magical attack altogether.
   This stat is usually extremely low, and is a result of the armor your
   character is wearing.

   ---

   Each character, as well as a breakdown of their particular statistics are
listed in section II. Of the FAQ.  Each statistic will be listed as: Very
High/Good, High/Good, Average, Low/Poor, or Very Low/Very Poor.


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   Limit breaks are a new feature incorporated in Final Fantasy VII (one that
actually was introduced somewhat in Final Fantasy VI).  Basically, each
character in the game has their own unique, powerful "limit breaks", which may
(nay, must) be used in lieu of a normal attack when their "limit bar" fills up.
Every time your character takes damage from an enemy, the limit bar goes up a
little bit (meaning you can't kick your own ass and expect the bar to go up).
The more damage taken, the more the limit bar will fill up.  The bar fills
rather slowly, but it carries over from battle to battle, meaning you can save
that kick-ass limit break for the next battle when you'll really need it.  Do
watch your characters' damage intake, however, as when they die, their limit
bars will be depleted.  On a separate note, when a character's limit bar fills
up, their "time bar" (which determines when their turn will take place) will
fill up immediately.  However, you only get this effect once, meaning that you
can't use their turn to do something else and expect the time bar to shoot right
back up.

   Each character, excepting Cait Sith and Vincent (and I'll mention them a bit
later) has four limit break "levels", with each "level" having two different
limit breaks, excepting the fourth and final level which will contain only that
character's ultimate level break.  Each consecutive level has more powerful
limit breaks, but each level also will result in a vast increase in the amount
of damage that must be taken to bring the limit bar up.  For instance, a
character set at limit level one will see their limit bar fill up much more
quickly than a character whose limit level is set at two.  You can set your
character's limit level on the menu screen to whichever level you desire,
assuming you know at least one limit break in that level.  When your character's
limit bar fills up, and your character happens to know both limit breaks for the
level he or she is on, you may choose between them  The exception to this rule
is Tifa, another special case I'll mention later on.

   Characters start the game with only one limit break to their name (the first
limit break on the first level, obviously).  The rest must be somehow earned
throughout the game.  The system is a fairly simple one, however.  First of all,
to earn the second limit break on each level, you must use the first limit break
on that level approximately 8 times.  After earning your second limit break for
each level, you may learn the first limit break for the next level up when the
character in question deals the killing blow to approximately 80 enemies.
Lastly, the fourth level limit breaks, or the "ultimate" limit breaks for each
character may not be learned through conventional means.  You must hunt down the
item of the same name as their ultimate limit break, and then use it on them
(and this may only be done when the character in question has already learned
all of his or her other limit breaks).  For more information on limit breaks in
general, each character's ultimate limit breaks, and references to other points
in the FAQ as to the locations of the ultimate limit breaks, refer to section
XI. of the FAQ.

   Limit breaks have a lot going for them.  They are generally some of the most
powerful attacks in the game, and this effect is magnified by the fact that they
generally have a very high critical hit rate (the excepting the special cases
Tifa, Vincent, and Cait Sith, for various reasons).  Critical hits, as you
should know, do twice the normal amount of damage, and when you double an
already greatly magnified attack, expect to see some results.  Unless otherwise
noted, all limit breaks deal physical damage rather than magical.  Limit breaks
also all have the advantage of being long-range attacks.

   Lastly, I must mention the special cases.  Vincent, to begin with, has only
one limit break for each level.  In his case, the requirement to use each limit
break 8 times to earn the next limit break is dropped, and his requirements are
solely to kill 80 enemies to attain the next level's limit break.  The way his
limit breaks work are also a lot different.  Rather than presenting themselves
as a single attack, Vincent's limit breaks instead transform him into a
powerful, uncontrollable creature, who will attack the opposition with a
specific set of given attacks.  As an added bonus, when and if he is defeated in
these forms, he will simply revert back to normal rather than dying outright.
Refer to section XI. of the FAQ for more information on Vincent's individual
limit breaks.  Next, Cait Sith.  Cait Sith, like Vincent, has only one limit
break per level, but unlike the other characters, Cait Sith only has two limit
break levels.  What this means is that all Cait Sith must do to attain his
second and final limit break is kill 80 enemies.  Cait Sith is also the only
character that has no ultimate limit break.  Lastly, Tifa has all of the normal
levels and amounts of limit breaks, but she does not use them separately.
Rather, she uses them all together as one big attack that gets bigger and bigger
with each consecutive limit break learned (though the number of attacks she will
utilize are still limited to the current limit break level she is set to).  The
disadvantage to Tifa's attacks are that when you go to use them, the slots will
start spinning.  There will be one slot for each limit break she has, and you
can stop each slot on either "hit", "miss", or "yeah".  Yeah attacks do about
twice the damage of a hit, while missed attacks will not connect at all.  For
more information on Tifa's individual limit breaks, refer to section XI. of the
FAQ.  I must mention, however, that even though she uses all of the attacks at
once, she must still be set to the proper level to earn credit towards her
second limit break for that level (for instance, she must use her level two
limit break 8 times to earn the second limit break for that level as opposed to
using the level three limit break 8 times, even though the level two limit break
would be used in conjunction with it).


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   Materia is another system new to Final Fantasy VII.  Materia, for all
practical purposes, is the heart of the game's battle system.  Without materia,
your battle commands are pretty much limited to fight, item, and limit breaks.
Materia is equipped, just as weapons and armor are.  However, materia is
"equipped" to "slots" in your characters' weapons and armor.  Each weapon and
piece of armor in the game has a certain number of slots that materia may be
equipped to.  In addition to this, the slots may either be "linked" or
"unlinked", and each weapon and piece of armor also has a different "growth
rate" for materia.  These will both be explained momentarily, but first, on to
the basics of materia.

   You see, materia, much like your characters, gain a type of experience,
called "ability points".  Each materia retains its own ability points,
regardless of which character earns them, and may be transferred freely.
Ability points are never lost, but remain only with that materia, just as with
experience for your character.  The character equipped with the materia must
also survive the battle for the ability points to be earned.  In addition, the
piece of weaponry or armor also has an effect on ability points that are applied
to the materia in question.  Specifically, this refers to the equipment's
"growth rate", as mentioned above.  Some weapons and armor, for instance, have a
growth rate of two, meaning that the materia equipped to it will receive twice
the amount of ability points as you earn in battle.  Some extremely rare pieces
even have a growth rate of three, which triples the ability points for equipped
materia.  Conversely, some equipment has a growth rate of zero, meaning that
equipped materia will receive no ability points.  However, the majority of the
game's equipment has a growth rate of one.

   Anyways, when certain levels of mastery (in the form of ability points) are
earned, the materia "gains a level".  These levels are represented by stars on
the materia's information screen.  Each materia has a certain number of "levels"
that is can reach, and has a star for each level.  As materia levels up, it will
generally convey greater benefits to the user.  Furthermore, when a materia
reaches its final level and is considered "mastered", and a brand new materia of
the same type is "born" and placed in your inventory.  "Born" materia are brand
new and have no ability points; mastered materia, having reached their ultimate
level of achievement, no longer gain ability points.  As for the advantages
conveyed by the materia at higher levels, as well as the potential number of
levels for said materia, both are generally dependent on the type of materia you
are using.

   And keep an eye out for them as you travel!  The better half of your magic
materia and a few of your independent materia are purchased in shops (some
command materia is sold, as well, but if you play your cards right, you should
never have to buy any).  Other than that, however, all of the game's materia are
found just lying around, and the vast majority are not in chests (they just lie
around in the open).  As the game further progresses, they are hidden in less
and less conspicuous spots, so keep your eyes peeled.  It is especially
important that you keep a vigilant watch out for materia because, as discussed
in section I.F. of the FAQ, a number of rare materia are also lost-forevers.

   There are five types of materia, and each has different uses and
applications:

   ---

      Magic materia is the first and generally most prevalent form of materia.
   Magic materia is green, and will grant magic spells to the character who
   equips it.  At higher levels of mastery, more potent spells may be unlocked
   from the materia.  For instance, the Ice materia will grant the Ice spell to
   the user at it's initial first level.  When the materia levels up, however,
   it will also grant the Ice 2 spell to that character (in addition to the Ice
   spell).  Magic materia will lower a character's Strength and HP when
   equipped while it raises their MP and Magic stats.  More potent magic
   materia will also raise a character's Magic Defense stat at the expense of
   Vitality.  Magic materia will generally have three or four levels of
   mastery, though some have five.  Note that among those magic materia with
   only three levels of mastery are single-spell materia that will not yield
   their lone spell to the user until the second level of mastery has been
   reached.  Another note is that mastered magic materia will never convey any
   further benefits than an identical magic materia that has reached the next
   highest level before mastery.  Magic materia are discussed in further detail
   in section XII.A. of the FAQ.  The spells they grant you, however, are
   discussed in section XV. of the FAQ.  Note that all magic materia, unless
   otherwise noted, is compatible with the support materia, All.

   ---

      Support materia is also a common form of materia, mainly because a certain
   materia in the group (called All) is pretty much the single most prevalent
   materia in the entire game.  Support materia is blue in color, and does not
   function on its own.  Rather, it conveys its benefits to other materia via
   "linked" slots in your weapons or armor.  "Linked" slots are two materia
   slots that are joined together, and are present in most weapons and armor.
   "Unlinked" slots have nothing joining them together.  For a support materia
   to function, it must be placed in one of the linked slots next to another
   materia.  Linked slots have no effect on two joined materia if neither is a
   support materia.  Also, for obvious reasons, two support materia linked
   together or support materia placed in unlinked materia slots will prove
   quite worthless in battle.  In addition, support materia has no effect on
   independent materia (mentioned later).  Anyways, using support materia is a
   rather simple process.  Simply "link" it to whichever materia you desire.
   For instance, the All materia allows the spells of the magic materia it is
   linked to to affect all enemies or all allies on screen rather than a lone
   target.  When you link an All materia to an Ice materia (which grants you
   the Ice spell), for instance, you will now have the ability to cast Ice on
   all of your enemies.  Conversely, the Restore materia grants you the Cure
   spell, and linking it to an All materia will give you a Cure spell that
   affects all of your allies.  On the negative side of things, support materia
   is usually severely restricted in its uses.  And oftentimes, when you find
   yourself thinking "hey, that would kick so much ass if I linked this to
   this!", it usually won't work.  For more information on the limitations of
   specific support materia, refer to section XII.B. of the FAQ.  Anyhoo,
   support materia will either have two or five levels of mastery.  The lone
   exception to this rule (isn't there always an exception?) is the Elemental
   materia, which has four levels of mastery.  For more information as to the
   bonuses granted by specific support materia, refer to section XII.B. of the
   FAQ.  On a final note, support materia has no effect on a character's
   statistics.

   ---

      Command materia isn't as common as magic or support materia, but there are
   still a number of them to be obtained.  Command materia is yellow, and each
   will grant a different command to your character in battle, such as "Steal"
   or "Manipulate".  At higher levels of mastery, the command will sometimes
   "evolve" into a better command (command materia will only have two or three
   levels, and only those with three levels will "evolve").  Steal, for
   instance, will become Mug at level two.  So, in the end, each command
   materia will grant you only one command (the lone exception to this rule is
   the Throw materia).  Then there's the E. Skill materia, which is a very
   special case in many ways.  Anyways,  command materia shares a
   characteristic with magic materia in that mastered command materia will
   never convey any further benefits than an identical command materia that has
   reached the next highest level before mastery, so command materia that do
   not "evolve" into a better attack, such as Manipulate or Sense, will garner
   no benefits from advancing in level (likewise, "evolved" attacks will never
   get any better than they already are).  Command materia oftentimes will give
   a small boost to a certain stat, but the gains are extremely minimal and are
   more of a nice little bonus than anything.  Specific command materia are
   covered in detail in section XII.C. of the FAQ.

   ---

      Independent materia are more common later in the game than in the earlier
   parts.  Independent materia are purple, and function a bit differently than
   other materia.  They will not give you attacks, commands, spells, et cetera.
   Rather, independent materia will offer large statistical boosts or other
   useful abilities to the user.  For instance, the Long Range materia allows a
   character wielding a short-range weapon to attack as if it were a long-range
   one.  Another example, the HP Plus materia offers an HP boost to the user.
   Independent materia varies widely in the levels of mastery available,
   ranging from two to five (though one special materia has only one).  Any
   independent materia with only two levels of mastery will see no benefits
   gained at level-up, but all others will convey increased bonuses clear up
   until mastery.  For more information concerning the benefits conveyed by
   specific independent materia, refer to section XII.D. of the FAQ.  Lastly,
   as mentioned above, independent materia is for obvious reasons non-
   compatible with support materia.

   ---

      Summon materia, like independent materia, is hard to come by earlier in
   the game, and is generally much more prevalent later on.  Summon materia is
   like magic materia in a way, except that it offers your character a "summon"
   attack that will call the materia's namesake to battle.  The Shiva materia,
   for instance, allows you to summon Shiva.  Summons are generally extremely
   powerful attacks that target all enemies, but take their tolls in high MP
   costs, for the most part.  They are ideal attack to use against large groups
   of enemies, because they are not only powerful, but also will not lose any
   damage to an All materia, as would be the case with most magical attacks.
   But whipping out a summon on just one or two enemies is usually more or less
   a flagrant waste of your MP.  Also, all summon materia have five levels of
   mastery.  And, for each level, you can use said summon command an additional
   time in a given battle (though you should find it quite rare that a single
   summon attack will not quickly bring most normal battles to an end).  Summon
   materia also shares the statistical applications of magic materia (that is,
   it will raise MP, Magic, and possibly Magic Defense at the expense of HP),
   with the exception that they will not affect your Strength or Vitality
   stats, thank God.  Summon materia themselves are discussed in section XII.E.
   of the FAQ, while the summon attacks are detailed in section XVI. of the
   FAQ.


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   In most games, normally RPG's, there are an abundance of things to collect,
acquire, do, find, and see.  While most of these can usually be done at your
leisure, this section is dedicated to helping you find certain things that can
no longer be done after a certain point within a game:

   * The entirety of the events described in section VII. of the FAQ fall into
   the category of lost-forevers.  While not being actual tangible objects that
   you can acquire, you still only get one shot at one of four possible
   outcomes.  This is determined through a series of events scattered
   throughout the early game that are mostly one-shot deals in themselves.

   * The Iron Bangles sold at various shops in Midgar are lost-forevers in a
   sense, as after reaching section III.C. of the walkthrough, you will no
   longer be able to purchase them.

   * The All materia in the Sector Seven Slums is a lost-forever.  You must
   collect it before leaving the Sector Seven Slums.

   * One of the flyers you need to find to win the Turtle's Paradise contest
   (refer to section V.A. of the FAQ for more details) is a lost-forever.  You
   must find flyer #2 while at Shinra H.Q.  If you miss it the first time
   around, you've got one more chance to find it.  Refer to section V.N. of the
   FAQ for more on that.

   * The Elemental materia that you receive from Mayor Domino (on the 62nd
   floor of Shinra H.Q.) is a lost-forever.  Basically, you have one chance to
   get it, as mentioned in the walkthrough.  Failing that, you will not receive
   the materia.

   * The All materia on the 63rd floor Shinra H.Q. is a lost-forever.  The Star
   Pendant and Four Slots armor found here are also  lost-forevers, but may be
   found elsewhere.  At any rate, not only must you collect these during your
   first trip to Shinra H.Q., you're also barred from making further attempts
   to go for other items once you've collected, so you must grab the coupons
   for the items you want on one trip.  For more information, refer to section
   V.B. of the FAQ.

   * The E. Skill materia located on the 68th floor of Shinra H.Q. is another
   lost-forever.  You've gotta grab it before leaving.

   * Though not neccissarily a lost-forever, there are only two Chocobo Lure
   materia, and they do, in fact, come in handy later in the game.  So, for the
   love of God, don't sell the Goddamn thing.  And if for some reason you sell
   the first, don't sell the second one.  Or ingore my advice, I don't care.

   * The battles at Fort Condor are laden with lost-forevers.  For more
   information, refer to section X. of the FAQ, but of worthy mention are the
   items of note that may be lost forever at Fort Condor: the Magic Comb, Peace
   Ring, Megalixir, Vagyrisk Claw, Imperial Guard, Phoenix materia, and finally
   one of the four Huge Materia.  Some of these, namely the Magic Comb and
   Super Ball, actually may be purchased later on, but so late that it's almost
   pointless to buy them.

   * The Shinra Beta armor is a lost-forever.  You can steal as many as you
   want from the Marines on the Shinra Boat, but only while you're still
   aboard.

   * The All materia and Wind Slash, both found on the Shinra Boat, are lost-
   forevers.  Note that if Yuffie has joined you, you will be unable to collect
   the All materia until the party regroups.  Also note that the Wind Slash
   cannot be found until the party regroups, so don't go nuts looking for it
   before then.  Note that you may buy the Wind Slash later on in the game, but
   far too late to be useful to you at that point.   Anyways, you must collect
   both before leaving the boat.

   * The Ifrit materia is a lost-forever.  You must collect it before leaving
   the room where you battled Jenova-BIRTH.

   * The Four Slots sold at Costa Del Sol are lost-forevers, as they will cease
   being sold later in the game.

   * The Wizard Staff at Mt. Corel is a lost-forever.  You must get it during
   one of your three possible falls off of the tracks.  Note that the Star
   Pendant, also found down here, is also a lost-forever, but can be located
   elsewhere.

   * The Parasol is a lost-forever that must be won from the Speed Square at
   the Gold Saucer before going to the Temple of the Ancients (later in the
   game).

   * The Ramuh materia is a lost-forever.  You must collect it before leaving
   the jockey's lounge at the Gold Saucer.

   * The Aqualung enemy skill is a lost-forever, as you may only collect it
   during the first disc when you have access to the enemy who teaches it to
   you.  Also, it may be learned from a boss battle with Jenova LIFE, but that
   too, is a one-time-only shot.

   * Everything at the Gi Cave is a lost-forever.  This includes the Added
   Effect materia and the Black M-Phone.  Get them before you leave.  Although
   the Black M-Phone may be purchased later on, it will be far too late for it
   to be of any use.

   * Tifa's Platinum Fist weapon is not a lost-forever, but will surface again
   far too late in the game to be of any use.  Get it from one of the
   creepazoids at Nibelheim before leaving.

   * The enemy skill Trine is a lost-forever which your have three chances to
   learn.  First, from the Materia Keeper at Mt. Nibel, secondly, from the
   Pagoda of the Five Mighty Gods at Wutai, and lastly, from the Stilve at
   Gaea's Cliff.

   * The Yoshiyuki is a lost-forever.  You must collect it from Rocket Town
   before a certain trigger point in the game far later on (during Disc 2).

   * The Shotguns sold at rocket Town are lost-forvers, as they will stop being
   sold later in the game.

   * The Wutai side quest is a lost-forever in itself.  It is impossible to
   complete past a certain point in the game, however, after examining masses
   of reader feedback, it is my conclusion that this point is different in
   different versions of the game.  So, to be safe, I'd advise you to complete
   the side quest as soon as it becomes available (this is when the game
   programmers intended for you to do it, anyways, so it all should work out).
   Granted, you may still travel to Wutai, three items received as a result of
   it (the HP Absorb, MP absorb, and Leviathan materia) remain lost-forever.

   * Everything at the Temple of the Ancients is a lost-forever.  This list
   includes: the Luck Plus materia, the Morph materia, the Bahamut materia, the
   Princess Guard, Trident, and the Ribbon.  Grab it all before you leave or
   you can never get it!  Also note that certain unique equipment that is
   equipped can also be lost forever at the Temple of the Ancients.  Refer  to
   section III.E. of the walkthrough for more specific information.  On a final
   note, though some of the things mentioned above can be bought later, again,
   the opportunity will arise far too late to be worth your time.

   * The Gigas Armlet, in a way, is a lost-forever.  The game automatically
   grants you one copy, but further copies may be stolen from the Gigas
   creature at the Crater.  However, you must steal all you want before you
   leave.

   * Everything at Gaea's Cliff is a lost-forever, including the Megalixir,
   Fire Armlet, and the Javelin.  The Enahance Sword is here, too, but you can
   buy more later.

   * The MP Turbo and Neo-Bahamut materia are both lost-forevers that you must
   collect before leaving the Crater, as are the Kaiser Knuckle and the Poison
   Ring.

   * The Elemental materia at Nibelheim is a lost-forever.  You must collect it
   during section III.G. of the walkthrough before traveling to Mideel.  For
   more on this, refer to section V.F. of the FAQ.

   * All four Huge Materia you will encounter during your main-line quest are
   lost-forevers.  Basically, for each Huge Materia, you'll get a chance to
   save it.  Failing your mission, you lose the Huge Materia.  An interesting
   collilquary to this rule is that you will always receive the Huge Materia in
   the same order, regardless of which missions (if any) you fail to save a
   particular huge materia.  That order is: green, yellow, red, blue.  In
   short, if you miss one huge materia, you miss out on the blue one.  If you
   miss two, it's blue and red, etc.   For more on the benefits conveyed by the
   Huge Materia, refer to section V.M. of the FAQ.

   * The Warrior Bangle is a lost-forever that must be stolen from the Eagle
   Gun during your fight with it.

   * The Shinra Alpha, Battle Trumpet, Scimitar, and Leviathan Scales are all
   lost-forevers that must be collected before leaving the Underwater Reactor
   at Junon.  Furthermore, the Leviathan Scales must be collected in order to
   obtain two other items, both of which are lost-forevers in this respect.
   Also note that the Shinra Alpha is not actually found, but rather stolen
   from the Underwater MP enemy hanging around the Underwater Reactor.

   * Both of the items inside Da-Chao Fire Cave, the Steal as Well materia and
   the Oritsuru, are both lost-forevers that can only be reached if you managed
   to collect the previously-mentioned Leviathan Scales.

   * The Zeidrich is a lost-forever that can be stolen from Rude during your
   battle with him at Rocket Town.

   * The Zeidrich and the Touph Ring are both lost-forevers that can be stolen
   from Rude and Reno during an optional battle at the Gelnika (the side quest
   detailed in section IV.C. of the FAQ).  While the side quest itself is not a
   lost-forever, the battle with the Turks there is.  Reno and Rude will not
   appear here if you challenged them and Elena to another optional battle (at
   Midgar).  Seeing as that optional battle is a lost-forever of and within
   itself, and also contains stealable lost-forevers, it is probably in your
   best interests to complete the Gelnika side quest as soon as it becomes
   available to you.

   * The Zeidrich, Minerva Band, and Touph Ring are all lost-forevers that can
   only be stolen from Rude, Elena, and Reno (respectively) during an optional
   battle in Midgar (later in the game).  See also the optional fight with the
   Turks (above), in which the Minerva Band, Zeidrich, and Touph Ring may be
   stolen.

   * The Bahamut ZERO materia is a lost-forever that hinges on your ability to
   collect the three prerequisite items to obtain it (all three of which are
   lost-forevers in their own respect).  Those three items are the Bahamut
   materia, the Neo Bahamut materia, and one of the four Huge Materia.

   * The Aegis Bracelet, Mystile, Starlight Phone, and Max Ray are all lost-
   forevers that you must grab while in Midgar later on in the game.  You must
   grab them all before leaving.

   * The Pile Banger, Master Fist, Glow Lance, and HP Shout are all lost-
   forevers that you can only grab during your optional return trip to Shinra
   H.Q.  For more on this, refer to section V.N. of the FAQ.

   * The Missing Score, Barret's ultimate weapon, is a lost-forever you'll find
   while climbing a tower at Midgar (later in the game).  You must collect it
   before leaving Midgar, and while it is easy to notice, it won't appear
   unless Barret is with you.

   * While the game grants you one copy of the Reflect Ring, future copies may
   be stolen from Ultimate WEAPON for as long as it is alive.  Once it dies,
   you lose that chance.

   * The legendary 3rd Mystile is a lost-forever which can be obtained only by
   exploiting a glitch in the game detailed in section XIX.E. of the FAQ.  But,
   you only have one shot at it, and you must take that shot when the party
   splits up at the Final Cave.

   * Depending on your outlook, the Master Magic, Master Command, and Master
   Summon materia are all lost-forevers.  While the game can almost assure you
   one copy of each, subsequent copies are completely reliant on the fact that
   you have managed to not only hunt down copies of all of the other materia
   corresponding to their color (many of which are lost-forevers in their own
   respect), but also have retained the huge materia in question, to boot (also
   lost-forevers).


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    B /\ |                      II. Characters                       | \/ B
    T \  *                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                       *  \ T
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* HP----------Average
* Strength----Very High
* Vitality----High
* Dexterity---Average
* MP----------High
* Magic-------High
* Spirit------Average
* Luck--------Average

  Our spikey-headed hero is looked upon by the others as the unofficial team
captain for a reason.  And it sure as hell isn't for his leadership skills,
charming personality, or sanity (all of which he completely lacks).  It's
because he kicks ass.  And that's a good thing, given that you are never allowed
to get him out of the traveling party.  For starters, Cloud is the strongest
member of the group, and his magical skills are second only to those of Aeris
and Cait Sith, which is a winning combination already.  Add to that the HP and
Vitality to hold his own in a battle, and top it off with some of the game's
most damaging limit breaks (including, of course, the infamous Omnislash), and
you have pretty much the best character in the game on your hands.  As an added
bonus, realize that all of these statistics are going to be amplified by the
fact that since Cloud is never allowed to leave the group, he is usually going
to be a few levels ahead of everybody else.  And for God's sakes, look at the
size of that Goddamn sword!  You think he's compensating for something?


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 _\  /_ |                                       ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                      B. Barret Wallace                      | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                      | / /\ \
 _\  /_________________________                                       | ¯/  \¯
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* HP----------Very High
* Strength----High
* Vitality----Very High
* Dexterity---Very Low
* MP----------Very Low
* Magic-------Very Low
* Spirit------Low
* Luck--------Average

   Barret is the founder of the rebel group known as AVALANCHE, which opposes
the Shinra Corporation at all costs.  He is a big, angry black man with an arm
that has been surgically replaced with a gun and a personality that is conducive
to him often firing that gun at things, usually at whatever makes the mistake of
being anywhere near him when he feels like killing something.  His stats tend to
skew in a very extreme direction, making him an ideal fighter, but not so much
of a non-fighter.  His Strength is solid, and his extremely high HP and Vitality
ratings make him a walking tank, a fact which is amplified by the wide selection
of long-range weapons for him, meaning you can significantly increase his
durability by sticking him in the back row.  On the negative side of things,
Barret isn't too fond of things that don't involve shooting someone, and this is
reflected by his Magic and MP ratings, both of which are notably the lowest in
the game.  You also can't expect too much maneuverability from a guy whose limbs
are bigger than most other people's bodies, so don't be surprised at the rock-
bottom Dexterity score, either.  And lastly, his limit breaks in the early game
are passable, but are trumped by those of the other characters.  They do get
better later in the game, however, with limits like Satellite Beam, Anger Max,
and the doomsday blast known as Catastrophe.


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 _\  /_ |                                       ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                      C. Tifa Lockhart                       | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                       | / /\ \
 _\  /_________________________                                       | ¯/  \¯
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* HP----------Low
* Strength----High
* Vitality----Low
* Dexterity---High
* MP----------Average
* Magic-------Low
* Spirit------Average
* Luck--------Average

   Cloud's childhood friend and every teenage boy's wet dream, Tifa is just the
hottest thing on two very long, voluptuous legs.  She's a sweet person, but the
makers of the game spent far more time making her breasts big than they did in
trying to create a personality for her.  She kicks a lot more ass than you'd
expect from a girl in a skirt shorter than a quick sneeze, and after maybe half
an hour or so of staring at her, you will eventually find that she does, in
fact, have fists, and is rather fond of hitting things with them.  She's got the
Strength to match Barret's, and is one of the game's speedier characters to boot
(insert your own dirty joke here).  However, unlike Barret, she suffers in the
HP and Vitality departments, and things are just made worse by the fact that
Tifa is ideally a fighter and therefore should be placed on the front lines.
Her limit breaks are a bit of a wildcard, as well (see section I.D. for more
information on Tifa's limit breaks).  But bearing in mind that the full damage
potential for Tifa's ultimate combo at any given point in the game is as high if
not higher than the other limit breaks of the day, a skilled player should be
able to utilize Tifa's ultimate combo with excellent results.  The only downside
is that each successive limit break becomes increasingly difficult to use to its
fullest extent.


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 _\  /_ |                                       ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                    D. Aeris Gainsborough                    | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                    | / /\ \
 _\  /_________________________                                       | ¯/  \¯
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* HP----------Very Low
* Strength----Very Low
* Vitality----Low
* Dexterity---Low
* MP----------Very High
* Magic-------Very High
* Spirit------High
* Luck--------Average

   The sweet, innocent, helpless flower girl from the slums with a very special
characteristic, which you will discover not too long after meeting her.  She's
just the sweetest, nicest, cutest thing you'll ever meet, which naturally means
that bad guys and villains really hate her.  Her stats, like Barret's, tend to
fall into an extreme category.  She is probably the best character you can hand
your materia to and see amazing results, as she boasts the highest MP and Magic
stats around.  On that same token, don't be expecting her to do much damage with
that bonk branch of hers, and you'll find that it's also not too difficult for
her to get her frail little ass beaten in battle, especially given that you've
likely gone and piled her up with materia, effectively worsening these stats.
At the very least you can stick her in the back row and hope she doesn't get
wailed on too badly.  Another good point is her strong Spirit, notably the best
in the game, which at least cuts down damage intake in the magical department.
Plus, there's also Aeris's limit breaks...  They all are defensive-type limit
breaks, which can be very beneficial to the party but are desperately lacking in
the field of direct damage.  Her more advanced limit breaks kick an ungodly
amount of ass, but on that same note are severely constrained by Aeris's single
most detrimental attribute, which will rear its ugly head about halfway through
the game.  Read all about it in section III.E. of the FAQ, and don't say you
weren't warned.


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 _\  /_ |                                       ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                         E. Red XIII                         | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                         ~~~~~~~~~~~                         | / /\ \
 _\  /_________________________                                       | ¯/  \¯
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* HP----------High
* Strength----High
* Vitality----Average
* Dexterity---Very High
* MP----------Average
* Magic-------High
* Spirit------Low
* Luck--------Average

  It walks, it talks, it makes various wise and scholarly comments.  Calm,
quiet, peaceful, and reserved, and is also what appears to be some kind of a
dog, which makes the previous statements stand out a bit more, I suppose.
Granted, you eventually discover Red XIII's real name, but you prefer to instead
still call him by the repulsive name granted to him by the asswipe that
kidnapped him and performed various scientific experiments on him.
Statistically speaking, Red XIII has a lot going for him.  He's a solid fighter
with notably good magical abilities, to boot.  In addition to that, he's got a
good HP base, giving him the resources to function effectively as either a
fighter or a magician, though preferably some sort of happy medium between them.
And as a final bonus, Red XIII is the speediest bastard in the whole game.  The
only possible flaw Red XIII possesses is his limit breaks. Early in the game,
Red XIII's limit breaks are about as good as those of the other characters.
However, later in the game, they really begin to lose something to the more
powerful limit breaks that begin to surface around him, culminating with his
lackluster ultimate limit break, Cosmo Memory.


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 _\  /_ |                                       ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                        F. Cait Sith                         | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~                         | / /\ \
 _\  /_________________________                                       | ¯/  \¯
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* HP----------Very High
* Strength----Low
* Vitality----Very Low
* Dexterity---Low
* MP----------Average
* Magic-------Very High
* Spirit------Average
* Luck--------Average

   No, you're not hallucinating.  It's a cat riding a giant stuffed animal.  And
nobody else on the team apparently sees anything even remotely strange or
unusual about this.  Cait Sith claims to be a fortune-telling device, but you
can only expect so much psychic ability from someone that's 90% stuffing.  And
he doesn't make up for it with a good personality, either.  Even for a house
pet, Cait Sith is Goddamn stupid.  He is, however, the best magic user you've
got besides Aeris, clocking in with an extremely high Magic rating.   To make
things interesting, he also has a lot of HP to back that magic prowess up with.
Granted on the negative side of things, he doesn't have very much Vitality to go
will all that HP.  He's not much of a fighter, but that shouldn't really matter,
as you'll probably want to put him in the back and load him up with materia,
anyways.  But then, there's Cait Sith's limit breaks.  He's only got two of
them, and both are very high-risk attacks.  If you know what you're doing, they
can prove useful even late into the game, and then even have the advantage of
being low-level limit breaks (thus they become available for use far more often
than the higher-level limit breaks).  But damage-wise, Cait Sith's limit breaks
really can't hold a candle to any of the more powerful level three or four limit
breaks, let alone doomsday attacks like Omnislash, Catastrophe, and Highwind.


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 _\  /_ |                                       ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                       G. Cid Highwind                       | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                       | / /\ \
 _\  /_________________________                                       | ¯/  \¯
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* HP----------High
* Strength----Average
* Vitality----High
* Dexterity---Very Low
* MP----------Low
* Magic-------Average
* Spirit------Average
* Luck--------Average

   A grizzled, hardened pilot with a bad attitude and a mouth that makes even
Barret blush, Cid (referred to by everyone else as "Captain") was slated to be
the first man in space, but an accident prevented his dream from coming true,
and the Shinra has been denying him the chance ever since.  And he's pissed,
Goddammit.  He's a decent fighter and has some magical skills, making him an
effective character in either role.  He's also got a healthy supply of HP and
Vitality to see him through the trials ahead.  Aside from that, Cid's more or
less a pretty average character, with no real weaknesses except that he has
grown very slow with age (and I guess the 100+ cigarettes he consumes on average
every day aren't helping too much, either).  His limit breaks also stand out as
some of the most damaging ones available throughout the entire game, clear until
the end when he picks up the Armageddon blast called Highwind.


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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                     H. Yuffie Kisaragi                      | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                      | / /\ \
 _\  /_________________________                                       | ¯/  \¯
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* HP----------Low
* Strength----Average
* Vitality----Low
* Dexterity---High
* MP----------Low
* Magic-------Average
* Spirit------Low
* Luck--------Average

   A perky, though somewhat brash teenage girl, Yuffie also happens to be a
member of a distant clan of ninja.  Of course, the only ninja-related skill she
appears to have really mastered is the art of theft.  Silent and shadowy she
ain't, instead preferring to shoot off her mouth at any given opportunity.  Like
Cid, she has decent skills in both the fields of Strength and Magic, making her
generally effective as both a warrior and a magician.  She's also really fast,
which fits well with the fact that she is a ninja.  On the downside of things,
she is one of the more fragile members of the party, with low HP and Vitality
ratings, but this problem can be somewhat lessened by the fact that you can keep
her in the back row (all of Yuffie's weapons are long-range).  She's got solid
limit breaks throughout the early and late game, but it sort of saddens me to
see it all fall apart with her ultimate limit break, All Creation, which proves
to be one of the weakest ultimate limit breaks in the game (right up there with
Red XIII's Cosmo Memory).   By the way, Yuffie is one of the game's hidden
characters, and will not join up with you one her own.  For more information on
how to get Yuffie to join you, refer to section V.D. of the FAQ.

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 _\  /_ |                                       ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                    I. Vincent Valentine                     | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                     | / /\ \
 _\  /_________________________                                       | ¯/  \¯
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* HP----------Low
* Strength----Low
* Vitality----Low
* Dexterity---Low
* MP----------High
* Magic-------Average
* Spirit------Average
* Luck--------Average

   A mysterious man with an even more mysterious past, the only apparent thing
about Vincent is that he is one of the creepiest people you've ever met.
Despite his looks, he is actually rather intelligent, and has learned and
experienced much through his past.  At times, it seems that he and Red XIII are
the only two on the team with any common sense at all, which is rather sad given
that both of them are biological test subjects.  Vincent's stats are actually
rather unimpressive.  He is a poor fighter with low HP and Vitality ratings and
really nothing to redeem himself except for a mediocre Magic rating and a vast
array of surprisingly accurate long-range weapons (which, used in conjunction
with the Deathblow materia can make up for his poor fighting ability).  Given
his poor fighting ability and long-range weapons, Vincent is first and foremost
a prime candidate for the back row.  Secondly, his true strength lies in his
limit breaks.  Granted, Vincent's limit breaks are a bit unpredictable (as are
just about any transformation brought about as a result of scientific
experimentation), but they generally result in a massive increase to Vincent's
overall offensive and defensive capabilities.  The downside is that you lose
control over him when he transforms.  For more information on Vincent's limit
breaks, refer to section I.D. of the FAQ, and to learn how to make Vincent a
part of your team, check out section V.E. of the FAQ.


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 _\  /_ |                  A. The Rebels of Midgar                    | ¯/  \¯
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 _\  /___________________________                                     | ¯/  \¯
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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Mako Reactor #1


   The game begins with a lovely CG movie sequence.  A flower girl walks out of
a dark alley into a busy street.  The camera zooms out, further and further, to
reveal the large megalopolis surrounding her.  This is the city of Midgar.
"Final Fantasy VII" flashes on the screen, and then the camera begins to zoom in
again, this time on a rapidly approaching train.  It reaches its destination and
slows to a stop.  Several people jump off the train and disable the guards
standing around.  One of the people, a big black man with a gun for an arm,
motions for the spikey-haired fellow in the back to follow him.  Then, the rest
of the group takes off into the distance while you take control of the spikey-
haired one.  You don't get a name for now; he is described simply as Ex-SOLDIER.
When you try to move, a fight will begin with two of the guards there.

   This fight is ridiculously easy, and serves mainly to get you acclimated to
the game's battle system.  Expect all fights on this mission to reflect the ease
of this fight.  Your character has the Bolt and Ice spells, but for the moment
they serve as little more than more spectacular ways to kill your enemies in a
single hit.  Actually, I take that back.  One enemy here that you can't kill in
a single hit is the Sweeper, which you'll meet a little later.  Of course, your
magic will make short work of them.

   After the fight, you might want to examine all three of the fallen soldiers
(the ones that your comrades knocked out earlier).  Each is carrying a Potion
and, from the looks of things, they won't be needing them.  Head around the bend
ahead of you and meet up with the rest of the group.  The group is a small bunch
of rebels calling themselves AVALANCHE.  You are ex-member of an elite group
known as SOLDIER.  You introduce yourself as Cloud.  When everyone else beings
to introduce themselves, you coldly stop them, saying that you don't care.
You're here for the mission and then you're gone.  So you're a mercenary now.
Then, the big black guy shows back up (he's their leader).  He voices his
distrust in Cloud (the ex-SOLDIER), and then takes off into the building.
Follow the group into the building (heading right at the fork, then going up and
finally heading left to the exit).

   You enter a catwalk suspended high above a deep abyss below.  Head out onto
the catwalk until it forks.  Ahead of you, you'll see the fat guy in the group
(named Wedge) standing guard at the exit.  He would continue on with the rest of
you guys, but he has a stick of butter that he needs to eat, so the rest of the
group heads up along the catwalk and into what appears to be a gigantic reactor
of sorts.  Head on inside and talk with the rest of the group.  The big black
man begins his tantrum.  He whines about how the evil Shinra corporation is
sucking the life out of the Earth (called "mako") with these reactors.  Your
emotionally detached response displeases him for some reason, and he joins you.
Meet Barret.

   When he joins you, by the way, you would be advised to enter the menu screen
and move Barret to the back row to take advantage of his long-range weapon.
Barret is almost as strong as Cloud, but not quite.  In addition to the
Sweepers, it will also take Barret more than one hit to dispatch the enemy
known as Grunts.  On the positive side of things, he can hit all the stuff in
the back row for maximum damage, so use this knowledge to your benefit.

   Anyways, talk to the other two members, Biggs and Jesse.  They'll open up the
doors ahead of you and lead you to a large room.  If you head all the way to the
bottom-right corner, you'll discover a chest with some Phoenix Down in it.  The
door to the elevator  is just ahead of you.  You'll step inside the elevator and
descend into the reactor, Barret whining at you non-stop the whole way down
(this guy really needs to learn how to shut up once in a while, don't you
think?)  You exit in this gigantic room atop a huge structure.  A set of stairs
spirals around the structure, and will take you to the bottom.  The door to the
next room is directly in front of those stairs.  You'll continue along a very
straightforward path from there until you reach a save point.  If you've ever
played a Final Fantasy game before, you should be familiar with these things.
You shouldn't have to rest up, but you may want to go ahead and save.  That
being done, continue along the path towards the reactor's core.

   As you step along, you should notice a Restore materia along the path.  It's
big, shiny, and obvious, but you'll still have to stop and pick it up or else
pass it by.  Nab it, but realize that all of the other materia in this game
isn't quite this obvious.  Then again, this couldn't be more obvious if it had a
giant flashing neon sign that said "free materia" pointed at it.  Anyways, step
up to the core and Barret will ask you to plant the bomb.  Cloud has some sort
of weird memory lapse, but then continues to set the bomb as if nothing out of
the ordinary had just happened.  Then the timer starts. But, don't worry- you
get more than enough time.  But, it does count down during battles, so don't
dawdle.

   The Guard Scorpion arrives.  If you've ever battled Mist (Final Fantasy
II/IV) or Whelk (Final Fantasy III/VI), you should know exactly what you're up
against.  Basically, it's a stronger enemy that you are free to battle for
awhile.  However, at certain times during the fight, the Guard Scorpion will
raise its tail into the air.  Do not attack it at this time unless you would
like to receive a big can of Whup-Ass.  Other than it's retaliation in that
mode, Tail Laser, which'll do big damage to both of your characters, the Guard
Scorpion basically just has a couple of moderately powerful single-person
attacks.  Just keep your HP up (with all those Potions in your inventory) and
you'll be fine.  And since you have nothing better to do but wait when it's tail
is up, that makes an excellent time to use your Potions.  Anyways, Barret can't
do much else besides attack, but Cloud's Bolt spell will take a nice chunk out
of the Guard Scorpion.  Your limit breaks also make excellent attacks when
applicable.  Win the fight, and you get the Assault Gun for Barret, which should
be immediately equipped.  Now get the hell out of here.

   As you crawl back up the stairs, stop to help Jesse, who's foot has been
caught in the grating.  Whether or not you want to help her is moot, because
she's the only person that can get you past the security doors on the level
above.  Continue out of the reactor the same way you came back to where Wedge
was standing (you know, the fatass?)  Then exit through that door.  Outside the
reactor, Barret commands the team to split up, and that you'll all meet at the
train station.  You should exit the screen via the only exit (press Select if
you can't see it).

   You emerge on the city streets.  The flower girl (you know, the one you saw
in the opening sequence), approaches you and asks you what's going on.  This
seemingly meaningless conversation actually will have some degree of effect on
the game later, however (refer to section VII.A. of the FAQ for more
information.)  You've been warned.  Following that conversation, head south
through the city streets.  If you've got good eyes, you'll spot a Potion lying
on the ground on the screen below this one.  Yup.  As advanced as the Final
Fantasy series is, your characters have still yet to adapt the "Don't Drink
Things you Find Lying in the Middle of the Street" trait yet.  For God's sakes,
I know hobos with more common sense than that.  On the next screen down, you're
approached by a couple of soldiers.  You can either fight or run, it doesn't
matter really, because more lemmings, I mean, soldiers will just come in to
replace the ones you kill.  You eventually find yourself surrounded by things
you could easily kill with one swipe of your huge-ass blade.  Nope.  You opt for
the daring escape, instead.  In another dramatic movie sequence (not a full CG
movie sequence this time, but one of those cutscenes where your characters still
look like claymation action figures), Cloud hops off of the bridge onto the
moving train below, and the disappears with it into the tunnel.

   The scene cuts to the inside of the train, where Barret and the rest of the
team wonder what could have happened to you.  That's when Cloud busts in through
the door from atop the train.  Barret gets pissed off at you (you'll soon learn
that it doesn't take too much to piss Barret off).  And then the team heads
towards the front of the train (with Jesse stopping to wipe your face clean
before she leaves).  In the front of the train, Barret talks to you some more.
This time, they discuss Midgar.  Midgar is a gigantic, round city that is
divided into eight sectors that closely resemble slices of a pizza (the word
"pizza" is actually used in reference to Midgar several times throughout the
game.  Mmm... pizza...).  Furthermore, the majority of the city is built on a
humongous plate that sits high above the ground (this would be the "pizza" the
game references).  The plate, like the city, is divided into eight sections.  I
know the idea of a floating city sounds really cool (actually, it doesn't
necessarily "float", as you'll find out here in a minute), but you really never
get to visit it.  Nope.  Because you spend all your time at Midgar underneath
the plate, where there's somewhat of a separate, scummier city that makes Harlem
seem like Beverly Hills.  I mean, really.  What can you expect the land value to
be for a polluted hellhole built underneath a Goddamn floating city?  This is
one of the things Barret takes offense to, actually.  For once, you can kind of
understand why he's angry.  Because he has to live in said hellhole.  Cloud asks
why everyone doesn't move onto the plate, but that's sorta like saying "why
doesn't everyone have a million dollars?", no matter what kind of misguided
response Barret gives you.

   Anyways, you can talk to the rest of the team now (and the greasy hobo who
lives in the back of the car), but the person you have to talk to to advance in
the game is Jesse, who's standing at the front of the car.  As you might have
guessed, until you talk to her, this train is never going to get to where it's
going for some odd reason.  Anyways, Jesse shows you the computer screen that
she's looking at, which shows you a cool little diagram of Midgar.  It then
shows you the course that the train is on.  You were on the plate a minute ago,
and now the train is taking you down below to the slums.  The track spirals
around a gigantic pillar, one of the eight total pillars that hold the plate up
in the air (I told you it didn't float).  And when I say gigantic, I mean it.
The pillar is a tower unto itself.  Anyways, at about this point in the
conversation, you pass through a security checkpoint.  Since this is the future,
the lights just flash red for a few seconds, some mysterious force scans the
ID's of everyone in the train, and then everything goes back to normal.  Jesse
tells you that you guys are all, obviously, using fake ID's.  She then asks you
a question, and your response is another seemingly harmless one that will have
some sort of impact on the game later (again, see section VII.A. of the FAQ for
more details).

   Anyways, the train comes to a stop at a train station in Sector Seven.
Welcome to the Sector Seven Slums.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Sector Seven Slums


   The team departs the train and everyone heads off to the left (towards the
slums).  You'll want to follow them.  On the next screen to the left, there is a
save point at the top of the screen that you may wish to use.  There's also a
guy standing next to it, and if you talk to him, he'll point at the gigantically
obvious structure in front of you.  The camera will zoom out, and give you a
pretty good idea of just how big the pillar is (that is, the pillar that holds
the plate up).  At the bottom of the screen is the path to Sector Six, but it's
blocked by a couple of soldiers.  You know, the ones you can kill really easily
if they try and attack you?  Well, these ones just prefer making snide remarks,
so there's really not much you can do with them at the moment.  Exit the screen
to the left and enter the slums.

   Now, when I say slums, I mean it.  Look at this place.  It's horrible.  I
know hobos with a higher standard of living than this.  Houses are constructed
out of spare machinery parts and topped with sheet metal, for God's sakes (OK,
maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but it gets worse later on).  And as if that
wasn't scummy enough, there's a bar you'll be wanting to go to.  It's at the
bottom of the screen and shouldn't be too hard to spot, because you'll see
Barret running inside and throwing everybody out (I guess nobody's going to
argue with a man who's hand is a gigantic gun).  Barret then calmly waits
outside for you to show up.

   The bar is called "Tifa's Seventh Heaven", and is about as run-down as
everything else around here.  Take note of the sign in the corner that says
"Texas", a state which obviously does not exist in this game (something I've
always found amusing, anyways).  At any rate, walk inside the bar, and you are
greeted by the bar's owner, Tifa, who congratulates you on a job well-done.  If
you bought a flower from the flower girl earlier, you've now got the option to
give it away.  This is another of those decisions that has an effect on the game
later, as mentioned in section VII.A. of the FAQ.  After a brief chitchat, Cloud
says that he just wants to get his money so that he can leave.  Try to exit the
bar, and Barret comes barging in.  He yells that the "meeting" is about to
start, and then walks over to the pinball machine.  The pinball machine is
actually an elevator which descends into the basement, which is kinda neat.  The
rest of the team hops into the hole after him, leaving you and Tifa alone.  Once
again, what you do now will have some sort of impact on the game later as
referenced in section VII.A. of the FAQ.  When you're done, hop down into the
basement and chat with Barret and the gang.

   Barret asks Cloud if anyone from SOLDIER was there during the mission.  Cloud
replies that if anyone from SOLDIER was there, Barret wouldn't be standing here
right now.  Barret gets pissed off.  But as I've said before: walls, table
lamps, and cereal bowls piss Barret off.  Anyhoo, instead of taking out his
aggression on Cloud, Barret kicks Biggs's ass for no good reason (well, he
shouldn't have been standing there!)  Tifa comes down and calms Barret down
before he destroys the whole damn place, however.  Then you go back upstairs to
discuss your money.  As you head for the door, Tifa comes back upstairs and asks
you to please join AVALANCHE.  When you refuse, Tifa yells at you and accuses
you of walking out on your childhood friend.  This is another response that
affects the game later (see section VII.A. of the FAQ).

   Either way, the scene flashes back to the promise Cloud made to Tifa as a
child.  Cloud and Tifa were sitting atop the village well when Cloud said that
he was leaving for Midgar to join SOLDIER.  Tifa had asked him that if Cloud
joined SOLDIER and became famous and if she was ever in a bind, that Cloud would
come to rescue her.  Of course, Cloud is currently neither famous nor in
SOLDIER, but when Barret comes to pay him, Cloud has an apparent change of heart
and offers to go along for the next mission.

   You wake up the next morning in the basement.  Head back upstairs to the bar
and Tifa asks you how you slept.  Again, your response affects the game later
(again, see section VII.A. of the FAQ for more info).  You also discover that
Tifa is coming with your group for the next mission.  Barret comes on inside and
asks you about the materia you found the other day.  Accept his tutorial if you
need to know more (your decision here, despite what you might think, has no
effect on the game later on, as mentioned in section VII.A. of the FAQ), but
what this really means is that you can now manage your materia through the menu.
You also gain control of the party, and Tifa mentions to you that the owner of
the weapon shop wanted to talk to you before you leave.

   Anyways, before you leave there are a few things you can/should do.  A little
shopping never hurt anyone, but remember that you only have so much money right
now.  Still, some new armor might be in order, and the item shop also sells
(besides items, which you may buy a few of) materia.  Buy whatever you want, but
you probably won't have enough money for more than two pieces of materia, so
choose wisely.  Also, above the weapon shop (take the stairs inside), there's
another room.  This is a "training room", meant to get you acclimated to the
various aspects of the game.  It's worth visiting no matter how well you know
the game, however, because there's an All materia and an Ether to be found
here.  Both, namely the All materia, are lost-forevers, as mentioned in section
I.F. of the FAQ.

   As for the All materia, you've got two options here.  You can link it to a
Restore materia for a Cure-all spell, or link it to one of the other materia for
an attack-all spell.  If you do this, you should probably know that many of the
enemies that you are about to face are weak against lightning magic, so the
Lightning materia is a good candidate for this.  And even though Barret has the
linked slots in his weapon, Cloud is far better with magic than Barret is, and
would wield an attack spell with far better results.  Anyways, one you've got
your gear in order and your head on straight, head for the train station (and
you might want to save your game at the save point before leaving, as well).

   Hop on the train, and Barret will make yet another show of just how much of
A jerk he can be.  He harasses the hapless employee for no apparent reason.
The employee cowers, saying that he's scared enough because AVALANCHE had
proclaimed that there will be more bombings and that only the most dedicated
employees would go to work today.  This pisses Barret off.  Go figure.  Anyhoo,
the train ride begins, and Tifa heads to go look at the computer screen (the one
Jesse showed you the other day).  Well, just as she begins to say something that
sounds somewhat sexually suggestive, you pass through the security checkpoint.
Oh, and guess what?  You're fake ID's don't work this time around.  The train
enters security lockdown mode.

   Well, the security check starts with the back car and moves forward, so
you've just got to run to the front car.  But it isn't as easy as you think,
however.  You see, the timer is running, and you've only got so long to get to
the next car.  If you don't make it, then that's where you get off, my friend.
And the further you make it, the less you have to walk.  Also, how far you make
it in the car has an affect on the game later on, as mentioned in section VII.A.
of the FAQ.  Along the way, a few things can happen, by the way.  On the first
car (the one you start on), if you speak with the bum in the back, he hands you
a Phoenix Down.  In the second car, if you speak with guy near the front of the
car, he gives you a Hi-Potion.  In the third car, a guy may run by and steal
something from you.  If you want the item back, you have to go after him and
threaten him, but it may take too much time to be worth doing.

   Anyways, when and if you make it to the front car, that's where you hop off
the train in daring fashion and land in a tunnel below.  From here on out,
you're on foot, my friend.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Mako Reactor #5


   Well, technically, you're still in the connecting tunnels adjacent to the
reactor, but close enough, eh'?  Here're the enemies you can expect to battle
down here...  First, there's the Blugu.  It's a little pain-in-the-ass creature
that can put your characters to sleep with it's Hell Bubbles attack.  They fall
prey to lightning magic very easily, however.  Then there's a creature called
the Rocket Launcher, which, as you might expect, has some pretty powerful
physical attacks.  Again, lightning magic makes very short work of them.  Once
you reach the reactor, you'll meet a few more generic enemies (SP. Combatant,
Blood Taste), who are quite weak and can be taken care of extremely easily.  Be
warned that the Smogger, another more or less generic enemy, can poison your
characters, however.  The Smogger may also occasionally drop the Deadly Waste
item after battle, which produces an attack far stronger than anything you can
get at this point in the game, so you may want to fight around a bit and collect
a few of those.  Lastly, there's the Proto Machinegun.  Their attacks aren't
that strong, but they can take a bit of punishment.  Still, lightning magic will
shut them down very quickly.

   Anyways, you're in the tunnel now.  The direction you're headed is up, and
the earlier you got tossed off the train, the further you have to walk.  On the
tunnel's southern end (this is where you'll land if you got thrown off in the
first car), there's a station with an infinite supply of Sp. Combatants.  Of
course, they are extremely nice and won't attack you unless you attack them
first.  You can kill as many of them as you'd like without causing a panic,
interestingly enough.  It's just that for every one you kill, another will be
sent to take their place.  It seems like you could decimate the entire Shinra
army base through this manner, but the steady stream of replacements is
seemingly endless.  It's like the Shinra has more people than the Chinese do...
Oh, and don't worry: the soldiers will not do anything smart like alert the army
to your presence, or even try to attack you unless you talk to them first.
Anyways, once you've had your fun, head to the tunnel's north end.

   Well, it seems that the tunnel is blocked off by giant, painfully obvious,
flashing, neon security beams, so you've got to crawl through that clearly-
marked "intruder's entrance" hatch to your left.  It's a tight fit, but I
wouldn't expect the Shinra to be too accommodating to people trying to break
into their reactors.  Just be glad that it's big enough for Barret to fit into.
Follow the path (and be sure to grab the Ether lying on the ground along the
way) to a ledge above the rest of the reactor (there's a ladder leading down
here, but it's kind of hard to see without pressing Select).  Climbing down that
ladder, you'll end up downstairs on a sprawling catwalk.  There are two ladders
down here, but both will take you to the same room leading to the reactor.
You'll also meet up with Biggs and Wedge down here.  In the next room, you'll
meet up with Jesse, who whines about her fake ID's botching the whole mission
up.  Ignore her whining, grab the Potion lying on the ground, and crawl down
the ladder in the lower-left corner of the room.  This takes you to another
catwalk, where you'll find an Ether and a save point, as well as a ladder
leading into the reactor itself.

   You emerge in a very large room that should look extremely familiar.  The
only difference is that you took a different way in.  Head to the door at the
foot of the stairs and descend into the reactor.  You'll end up at the reactor's
core, and Cloud will be asked to set up the bomb.  But first, however, you are
treated to another of Cloud's memory spasms.  This time, Cloud flashes back to a
scene in another mako reactor.  You see a younger version of Tifa kneeling next
to her injured father, swearing vengeance on the Shinra.  I guess this would
explain why Tifa supports Barret's cause, though exactly what happened remains a
mystery...

   Anyways, Cloud snaps out of it, again seeing nothing unusual about what just
happened, and nonchalantly sets up the bomb.  Now, it's time to get the hell out
of here.  Head back upstairs to the giant room.  You can't go out the way you
came, you're going to have to leave the reactor as you did the first one you
were in.  Head up the stairs and you'll eventually end up in a room similar to
the one where Biggs and Jesse had to open the doors for you.  Well, this time
you get to do it yourself.  Cloud, Barret, and Tifa must all hit their
respective buttons simultaneously to open the door.  The computer takes control
of Barret and Tifa, and you've got to hit the button when they do.  No matter
how many times you screw up, though, you can still do it.  It's actually
relatively easy if you just count to three or something, but I think it's kinda
neat how Tifa and Barret move at the same consistent pace.  After watching them
for a few minutes, you'll start to think that they missed their calling as
synchronized swimmers.

   By the way, you're almost at a boss fight, so a little preparation is in
order.  You'll have no need for an attack-all spell, but a Cure-all spell might
come in sort of handy during the upcoming battle.  Also, Cloud's attacks will do
a nice amount of damage, but the same cannot be said for Barret or Tifa, for
some strange reason.  Both of them will do more damage with magic (and the boss
in question is especially weak against Bolt).  For this reason, you may also
want to move Tifa to the back row for the upcoming fight.  Oh, and you might
want to heal yourself up, if at all possible.  You'll want to enter this fight
with the fullest possible advantage.  Once you're happy with the way you have
the team set up, head on out.

   Make your way towards the exit, where you'll be greeted by an entrouge of
Shinra soldiers.  Then, a helicopter approaches...  It's none other than
President Shinra.  Cloud seems surprisingly nonchalant about it, but something
tells me that the world coming to an end wouldn't startle him too much.
President Shinra recognizes Cloud as an ex-SOLDIER because of the result that
mako exposure had had on his eyes.  He doesn't recognize Cloud, though, saying
that he'd have to have been another Sephiroth to earn his recognition.
Sephiroth, of course, being the greatest SOLDIER to have ever existed.  Anyways,
Barret gets a little pissed watching Cloud and President Shinra chit-chat, and
angrily yells at the President.  In his evil manner, President Shinra just
shrugs Barret off and hops back onto his helicopter.  Instead of ordering his
endless legions of troops down your throat, however, he just leaves you with a
little "playmate" and just assumes that it will take care of the job for him.
To quote Dr. Evil, "I'll just place them in an easily escapable situation
involving an overly elaborate and exotic death."  And there's little else more
elaborate and exotic than getting you ass kicked by a gigantic robot, no?  It's
time to fight Air Buster.

   First of all, you have Air Buster surrounded.  This is actually more of a
blessing than a curse (though it does prevent you from using a Cure-all spell
too effectively).  As you should probably know, it will really hurt this thing
when you hit it in the back.  Even though Tifa and Barret will still do more
damage to the Air Buster with magic (see above), Cloud can really damage this
thing if he slices it from behind.  Also, you may want to save your characters'
limit breaks until you have the opportunity to hit Air Buster in the back with
them, as any limit break striking Air Buster in the back (especially Braver) is
going to kick its ass very badly.  However, you've still got to watch yourself.
Air Buster has a couple of powerful attacks.  One will do a considerable amount
of damage to everyone he's facing (so he'll only nail Tifa and Barret with it on
occasion).  It's also got an attack that does big damage to a lone target, so he
will be able to wipe out one of your characters if you don't keep a vigilant
watch over your HP.  Anyways, when you kick Air Buster's ass, you win a Titan
Bangle.

   Air Buster, well, explodes.  And it takes a good chunk of the catwalk with
it.  This wouldn't be so bad except that it damages the part of the catwalk that
Cloud was standing on, leaving him dangling from the edge of the destroyed
catwalk.  Barret calls out to you, and you can respond any way you'd like
(another response that affects the game later as mentioned in section VII.A. of
the FAQ), but your only real option is to dangle helplessly.  I suppose Barret
and Tifa would do something to help you out, but if you'll recall, you did plant
a bomb in the reactor several minutes ago.  And it goes off right about... now.
Tifa reaches out for Cloud, but Barret grabs her and flees.  Cloud, meanwhile,
plummets.  Gee, wasn't that fun?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Sector Five


   When we last left our hapless hero, he had plummeted several stories into
God-knows-what below.  We now join him as he is having a vague and, to be
perfectly honest, rather disturbing conversation with the voices in his head.
And yes, this weird behavior continues throughout the majority of the game.  The
voices tell him that he used to be able to get by with scraped knees.  It makes
really no sense, but when you plunge a gazillion stories into nothingness, I
guess I wouldn't be that coherent, either.  However, a third voice begins to
break into the conversation.  Cloud's eyes slowly open and he finds himself in a
church.  Standing next to him, trying to wake him up is the flower girl that you
met earlier.  She says that she was just standing there when you came crashing
through the roof.  Furthermore, you appear to have landed on a bed of flowers
that she was growing in here.  A giant bed of flowers... in the middle of the
church?  Okay...  Anyways, Cloud is still kind of groggy, what with the
plummeting hundreds of stories and all, but hops back to his feet and brushes
himself off as if he had just bumped his knee on a table or something.

   You talk for a bit with the flower girl.  Have fun with the conversation-
nothing you say has any impact on the game later on.  Anyways, she introduces
herself as Aeris.  You banter about materia for a minute.  She claims to have a
materia that doesn't do anything.  Her mother gave it to her, she says, and she
keeps it with her wherever she goes.  Keep talking to her, and as you do, a very
creepy man will walk into the church and just stand there.  You can attempt to
talk to him, but he just says not to mind him.  Rather, if you talk to Aeris
again, she asks you if you'd be interested in being her bodyguard.  I know a lot
of people would reply with some snide remark like "I'd guard her body...", but
if you haven't figured it out by this point, Cloud has the emotional responses
of a brick.  He agrees to do it, and Aeris offers to pay him with a date.
Again, Cloud does not react to this in any way.  However, it becomes quickly
apparent that the creepy guy in the church has something to do with this when
Aeris quickly whisks you away and asks you to get her home safely.  You'll see
the creepy man walk towards the back of the church, accompanied by several
Shinra soldiers.  The creepy man is Reno.  He's an asshole, but we really don't
know much more than that about him this point.  The soldiers are expendable and
meaningless.

   Anyways, the scene shifts back to Cloud and Aeris as they make their way
through the back of the church.  You might as well go ahead and take time to
equip Aeris right now.  Especially considering that unless you know what you're
doing, Aeris is going to be doing some fighting in a minute.  Hand her some
materia (Barret and Tifa apparently gave their materia to Cloud before he fell),
and   you may also choose to give her the Titan Bangle you won from Air Buster,
given both her horrible survivalability and her proficiency with magic.  It
doesn't really matter what you give her, so long as you hand her something that
she can do some damage with (in case you haven't noticed, that stick she's
carrying isn't the most effective weapon in the world).

   Head along upstairs until you reach a gap in the floor.  Cloud jumps it with
no problem, but as Aeris is jumping, the Shinra soldiers arrive and, with a
hearty cry of, "stop the Ancient!" shoot at her...  She misses the jump and
falls to the floor below.  I'm sorry, but when your job involves you shooting
flower girls in churches, you might as well slaughter a bunch of nuns and
kittens while you're at it, because your job as inhumanly evil as possible.
You've now got an interesting notion, here.  Instead of going downstairs and
slaughtering the soldiers below, Cloud decides that he's going to have a little
fun with them by dropping things from the rafters on them.

   A few things to keep in mind: first and foremost, your performance here does
have an affect on the game later, as mentioned in section VII.A. of the FAQ.
Secondly, if you want to do it right, you're going to have to work fast.  Not
only do you have a limited amount of time to make it to the appropriate barrel
and push (I'm not even mentioning how long it takes to think about which barrel
is the right one to push), but you also get into battles up here, as well.
You'll fight things that are laughably easy to kill, but they still slow you
down.  The easy way out is just to keep telling Aeris to run.  She'll only have
to fight one soldier, and will be able to easily blow him away with any form of
attack magic materia that you've handed her.  But still, there's something to be
said for doing things right.  Here's what you've got to do: first, tell Aeris to
"wait".  Then, run upstairs and push the barrel on the left.  Next, push the one
in the far back.  Finally, push the one on the right.  This will see you both
through the threat.

   Anyways, Cloud and Aeris end up atop the church, and you traverse the city by
jumping between huge piles of junk.  Honestly, you're running along gigantic
piles of spare machinery and garbage.  And who says that this isn't the slums?
Anyways, Cloud hops along the piles with ease, leaving Aeris in the dust.  He
then teases her as she tries to catch back up.  Take note of this- it's the
first sign Cloud has shown this far of any spark of humanity.  He mentions that
the guy (Reno) who was after Aeris was a member of the Turks.  They work for the
Shinra, but aren't necessarily a military unit.  They're more of a slimeball
unit.  No task too sleazy for them, according to Cloud.  For a real-life
comparison, think of the Turks as an evil (well, eviler) version of the CIA.
Anyways, it seems that the Turks have been after her for quite some time, for
some-odd reason.  What business they have with her, I can't say.  Maybe it's
just part of their "evil" quota, I don't know.  But, anyways, you end up outside
the church along the path to Sector Five.  If you head south from here, you'll
end up back at the church (and further south, actually, to get a lovely outside
view of Midgar).  However, the direction you're headed in is up.

   There's enemies along the road, by the way.  First, there's the Hedgehog
Pie.  This is the thing that you met back at the church.  They're easy to kill,
but are capable of casting the Fire spell (thankfully not with very good
results).  The Whole Eater is harder to kill than the Hedgehog Pie, but is
mentionless otherwise.  Watch out for the guy called Vice, however.  These guys
are exactly what they look like- thieves, and they can make off with one of your
items if you let them (note that if you kill them shortly after they've stolen
from you, you'll still get the item back).

   Anyways, it's a relatively short walk to civilization.  Head north along the
road, and make a right (going left leads to the road to Sector Six).  You'll
enter the slums of Sector Five.  And, as you can clearly see, the standard of
living here isn't much better than it was back in Sector Seven.  As a matter of
fact, there's one guy here living in a pipe.  Yes, he's living in a Goddamn
pipe!  Go visit him, actually, and Aeris will blurt out one of the game's most
hilarious typos: "this guy are sick!"  Anyways, the guy are a real head case,
who just sits there and spews out gibberish and nonsense.  You do notice that he
has the number two tattooed on his hand, which is not at all interesting, to say
the least.  Anyways, feel free to look around the slums.  You may choose to do a
bit of shopping here, you may not.  It's up to you.  Also, one of the flyers
mentioned in section V.A. of the FAQ is here in Sector Five, so you may want to
check that out, as well.  Also, if you decide to further explore people's
houses, you may talk to a kid in his sleep and hear him mutter abut his hidden
drawer.  In it, you'll find 5 gil.  You can either rob him now, or come back
later in the game and he'll give you a Turbo Either that he bought with the
money.  Of course, if you rob him, he won't buy the Turbo Ether.  Anyways, when
you're done looking around, head to the northeastern corner of town to Aeris's
house.

   Now, let me take a minute to explain something here.  One of the things that
flowers generally require to grow is light.  Another would be a relatively
pollution-free environment, but we'll let that one slide for a minute.  I can
understand how the flowers might grow inside the church, what with the light
shining in from outside Midgar and all, but Aeris's home garden is a different
story altogether.  She has somehow managed to grow a thriving garden in this
God-forsaken barren wasteland.  It's as if she missed her calling as a
horticulturist.  Wait a minute, no she didn't...  Anyways, scope out the garden-
there's an Ether here, as well as the Cover materia.  Then go inside her
house.

   Aeris's mother, Elmyra, greets you.  The disturbing thing is that she doesn't
seem to be in the least bit surprised that the Shinra is hunting her daughter
down.  She thanks you properly, and you mention that you'd like to head back to
Sector Seven to see Tifa.  Aeris asks you who Tifa is, and your response will
obviously have a bit of an impact on the game later on (see section VII.A. of
the FAQ).  Anyways, Aeris offers to take you to Sector Seven (via Sector Six),
and really doesn't seem to want to take "no" for an answer.  Cloud seems awfully
chauvinistic about it, but somehow I'd imagine that he'd react pretty much in
the same way if it was Barret offering to take him back.  Anyways, Elmyra asks
you to stay the night and leave in the morning.  Not approving of her daughter
running off, she discreetly asks you to leave without Aeris.  Cloud is only too
happy to oblige (but don't worry, he doesn't succeed).

   Cloud drifts off to sleep and has another lovely conversation with the voices
in his head.  If by this point in the game you haven't started to think that
Cloud is a complete nut job, I can't even begin to understand why.  This time,
Cloud flashes back to the last time he slept in a bed.  It was when he was
visiting his home in Nibelheim.  In his flashback, he lays on the bed while his
mother yells at him about not having a girlfriend.  Sad.  You'll wake up in a
room next to Aeris's.  First, grab the care package on the floor (it's got a
few curative items inside), and then exit the room.  Now, you need to get out of
here without alerting Aeris, so walk, don't run, to the stairs.  Go downstairs,
exit, and head to the outskirts of town.  Remember where you turned right to
enter the Sector Five Slums?  The left path was the road to Sector Seven (that
goes through Sector Six).  Interestingly enough, however, Aeris seems to have
magically teleported out here (don't ask me how).  Again, she ain't taking "no"
for an answer.  Head to Sector Six.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Sector Six


   You'll make it to a road leading through Sector Six.  And I use the term
"road" very loosely, because it's not so much a road as it is a huge pile of
crap that used to be a road that you need to crawl past to make it to Sector
Seven.  And expect your journey to be monster-packed.  You'll see the same
enemies from Sector Five, plus a new creature called the Hell House.  It's...
um... a house... that attacks you... um...  yeah...  And we all thought that
Earthbound was strange.  Anyways, the Hell House has a strong physical attack,
and also has an attack called Hell Bomber that nails your entire party at once.
In addition, the Hell House takes a lot of punishment (heavy doses of any kind
of magic is recommended).  The Hell House is easily the most dangerous opponent
in Sector Six, but all in all isn't too much of a threat.  Just watch your HP,
and you'll live.

  Making it through the pile of junk is a different story, however.  It can be
awfully difficult to tell what you can and can't crawl on without the aid of
select.  Here's the path you need to take: crawl up the remains of a wooden
bridge to a high section of the road, then, to your right, walk along the long,
thin sheet of metal something or rather (that has a lot of holes in it) to
another high section of road, go up and around to the right a bit and crawl down
what looks like it was once a tower or something to a lower section of road,
then go up and around to the left and crawl up a long... log, it looks like, to
a higher section of road, and finally, head up and crawl down another wooden
bridge to your right, landing you at the other side of the road.

   Head up to the next screen and you find... a playground?  You've now got the
option of continuing to Sector Seven, or taking Aeris home.  Your decision does
affect the game later on, as mentioned in section VII.A. of the FAQ, but neither
response will result in you actually having to take Aeris anywhere.  Anyways,
Aeris rushes up to the playground, saying that she can't believe that this place
is still standing.  She hops atop the slide and asks Cloud to join her.  Cloud
and Aeris start to chat for a bit again.  She asks Cloud what rank he was in
SOLDIER.  Cloud has one of his memory lapses, and then responds.  Apparently,
Cloud held the same rank as Aeris's first boyfriend... how nice.

   At about this time, you see the gates to Sector Seven open, and a chocobo-
driven cart passes through it headed towards the Sector Six Slums, otherwise
known as Wall Market.  Cloud leaps up and notices one of the passengers on the
cart... it's Tifa!  Aeris runs after the cart, and Cloud runs after her.  A few
feet away (was the cart really necessary to make it all the way here?), you'll
find yourself in Wall Market...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Wall Market (Sector Six Slums)


   Let me begin by saying that you are about to enter one of the most disturbing
points in the entire game.  Believe me when I say that you will question your
own sanity at least once before this whole ordeal is over.  This place is loaded
with strange sexual references and things that will scar you for many years to
come, so you have been duly warned.

   Anyways, first things first.  You might want to do a bit of shopping here at
the local weapon shop.  Remember that Tifa will be joining you shortly, so take
her into consideration when you shop.  Then, it's off to find out what happened
to Tifa.

   Well, ask around town and see what's going on.  There's a place called the
Honey Bee Inn in the southeastern section of town.  A guy hanging around just
outside says that Tifa is one of the "new girls".  And, as per custom around
here, she was taken to see "The Don".  "The Don" would be Don Corneo, a guy who
makes President Shinra seem straight.  He lives in that big-ass house on the
northern end of town, so why not pay it a visit?  By the way, you must talk to
the guy at the Honey Bee Inn first to trigger the appropriate response at the
Don's place.  The guy at the Don's is, well, not very receptive to Cloud, Cloud
being a guy and all.  Aeris has a little better luck.  But, Cloud's not about to
let her go in by herself.  That's when the plan is hatched...  Why not dress
Cloud up like a woman?  Yes, you heard me right.  Cloud gets to have a little
adventure in cross-dressing!  Aeris tells the guy that she'll be right back with
a cute friend of hers.  Now, you're off to dress pretty.

   Let me begin by saying that the eventual outcome of all of this will have
some sort of impact later in the game, as mentioned in section VII.A. of the
FAQ.  That being said, you now get to go dress yourself up to the best of your
ability.  Basically, there's three types of each item you can get.  Also, you've
only got one shot at getting each item, so might I recommended saving your game
beforehand in case you screw it up?  Anyways, depending on how lady-like Cloud
looks when he shows up, one of three different things can happen.  Of course,
likely the most amusing outcome is when Cloud is fully dressed up.  But, hey,
that's just my opinion, and I have been known to occasionally confuse "amusing"
with "oh my God, somebody stab my eyes out, this is horrible".  Let's get
started.

   Your first stop should be the local dress shop.  It's at the top part of the
lower section of town.  Well, the girl there says that her father stopped making
dresses and is currently getting plastered at the bar.  Aeris and Cloud agree to
help out, mainly because they need a dress.  Head to the bar (it's on the left
side of the upper portion of town), but again, you're not going to get the
response you need until you've talked to the girl at the dress shop first.
Cloud will approach the guy at the bar rather bluntly, and again isn't going to
get very far with him.  Cloud doesn't necessarily have the best people skills,
y'know.  I've seen rocks more personable than he is.  But again, Aeris takes the
guy aside and wins him over, talking about how Cloud wants to dress up all
pretty and whatnot.  She hits some sort of weird/perverted note in the guy's
mind, and he agrees to make the dress.  He asks you what kind of dress you want
him to make.  This is the first step in determining how well you've done.  Get
the best dress (the Satin Dress) by saying that you want something "soft" that
"shimmers".  The next-best dress (Silk Dress) is "soft" and "is shiny".  The
worst dress (Cotton Dress) is what you get when you ask for something that
feels "clean".  Anyways, the guy sits back and starts to think for a bit.

   Hey, you want to see something amazing?  Head back to the dress shop.  He's
already done with the dress!  Holy crap, that was fast!  But, you're still not
done.  Cloud's spiky hair is still a bit of an issue, seeing as the 80's is long
since passed.  You'll be needing a wig.  Well, your dress-maker friend is there
to help.  He says that in addition to making the dress in the three seconds it
took you to walk down here, he also spoke with a cross-dressing friend of his
down at the gym.  At about this point, Cloud begins to feel really insulted and
asks Aeris just what exactly she had said to the dress-maker.

   It's off to the gym with ya!  It's the first building you see when you enter
the upper section of town.  A guy there looks at you and asks if you're the guy
that wants to look pretty.  Sure.  It's not like you've got any self-esteem left
in you at this point, so now you've got to challenge Big Bro for a wig.  In yet
another sexually-slanted joke, you challenge Big Bro to a squatting contest to
win a wig from him.  Luckily for you, the game lets you practice a bit
beforehand.  It's quite easy, and if you've got the rhythm, you should have no
problem beating him.  Anyways, if you win the contest, you get the Blonde Wig
(the best).  Tie him and you get a Wig.  Lose...  Lose, and you get the Dyed
Wig.  And let's not even discuss where he's been keeping it.

   Awright, now you've got the dress and the wig.  These are the only two items
that you really need to head to the Don's.  And if you're really not trying to
dress Cloud all the way up, I suggest that you quit now and head to the Don's
with what you've got now (remember that first you need to head to the dress shop
and get dressed).  On the other hand, if you're up to it, there are a few other
items that you may be wanting.  Let's start with some cologne.  It's kind of a
roundabout way to going to get it, and you have to start at the local eatery
(not the bar).  It's located in the lower section of town.  Head there and order
something to eat.  After eating it, say something complimentary (note that "I've
had better dog food," is generally not accepted as a compliment), and you win
free Pharmacy Coupons, which really makes you question the food you just ate.
Head south a bit to the pharmacy.  The pharmacy and the local item shop,
actually, are one and the same, and it is just south a little bit from the
eatery.  Go there and exchange your coupons for one of three items.  The
Digestive ultimately gets you the best cologne, the Deodorant gets you the
second-best cologne, and the Disinfectant gets you the worst.  Take your item
and head to the bar this time, and head towards the bathroom, where there's
someone that's been in there for quite some time.  Give him whatever item you
got from the pharmacy, and you get the cologne in return (from best to worst,
the: Sexy Cologne, Flower Cologne, or Cologne).  Strange, I know, but at
least you got what you wanted.

   Next, the tiara.  There's a shop around here (in the eastern part of the
lower section of town) that really doesn't sell anything.  That's because the
owner is casually lounging on the counter, not really trying to do anything like
run a business or any other thing else of the bothersome sort.  He asks Cloud to
do him a favor.  Apparently, the guy at the inn has a vending machine, and he
wants to know what's in it.  He can't go back to the inn because there was
some... unpleasantness.  Anyways, before you head to the inn, make sure that
you've got some money.  The best item (that gets you the best tiara) is 200 gil,
plus you'll also need 10 gil to stay the night at the inn (because you
apparently can't use the machine unless you spend the night).  The inn's really
easy to spot- it's the first place you see when you enter town.  Then, return to
the guy with the item.  The 200 gil item gets you the Diamond Tiara (the best),
the 100 gil item gets you the Ruby Tiara (the second best), and the 50 gil item
gets you the Glass Tiara (the worst).

   Ok...  Now for the creepy part.  You'll also be wanting some... um...
underwear.  There's a guy walking around the southeastern section of town (not
by the Honey Bee Inn, but close to the path to it).  If you talked to him
earlier, you'd have discovered that he was in a frenzy of indecisiveness.  Well,
talk to him now and he just gives you his Membership Card to the Honey Bee Inn
because he can't make up his mind.  Now, head to the Honey Bee Inn.  Cloud will
step inside, while Aeris waits for him outside.  First off, what you're probably
expect to happen here, won't.  In fact, it'll be much, much worse.  A girl in a
bee suit greets you and asks you to pick a room.  There are five rooms.  The two
on the right are both occupied, but you can spy on the occupants through the
oversized novelty keyhole.  Your reactions to the goings on in these rooms
should range from slightly amused to downright disturbed.  The room on the top
is the dressing room, and therefore isn't available.  This narrows down your
choice to two different rooms.  The Group Room and the @#$! room.  Choose your
poison.  Both are horribly painful experiences, but the Group Room does leave
you with the better set of undergarments (the Bikini Briefs).  The @#$! room,
on the other hand, leaves you with the Lingerie.

   Um...  I really can't even describe what goes on in the @#$! room, but you do
wake up with a man in a speedo sitting on top of you and slapping you in the
face.  And if you thought that that was bad, try the Group Room.  It's exactly
what it sounds like.  You get to take a bath with about eight or nine other
oily, muscle-bound men, and their leader, Mukki (this is actually the guy that
will slap you in the face if you go to the @#$! room, so Mukki is sadly
unavoidable).  The game programmers went out of their way to make this scene as
disturbing as humanly possible, and Cloud really doesn't sound like he's having
a good time, either.  You do walk away from the whole experience with the Bikini
Briefs and scarred for life, however.  God, somebody help me!  Mukki is after
me!  I don't want to become Mukki's girlfriend!

   Anyways, before you leave the Honey Bee Inn (if you haven't already run
screaming from the place, that is), stop by the dressing room and ask one of the
girls to apply some Make-up to you.  This helps Cloud look as pretty as he can.

   Now that you've got all the times that you'll be needing, head back to the
dress shop.  Cloud will gussie himself up the best he can, and he emerges...
as... um, Cloudette?  I dunno.  Aeris grabs herself a dress, and the two of you
head for Corneo's.  At Corneo's, there's a guy who tells you to stay where you
are and wait for him in the lobby.  Blatantly disregarding him, head upstairs
and go all the way to the left to a door leading down to the basement.  Down in
the basement, you'll meet up with Tifa.  What follows is a rather amusing
scene...  Cloud doesn't talk to Tifa, but rather Aeris does.  Only after a
minute or so does Tifa realize that the other "girl" is Cloud.  Anyways, it's
time for the question of the hour: why is Tifa here?  Well, when she and Barret
returned from the reactor, Barret decided that he'd beat the crap out of
somebody to see if he could find any information.  The guy in question fingered
the Don as somebody who might know somebody.  And, against Barret's advice, Tifa
decided that she'd come and hear the story straight from Don Corneo himself.  At
about this time, a guy walks into the basement and yells at you to get your
asses to the Don.  "Women..." he mutters to himself as he walks away.  Resist
the burning desire to bury your sword in his back- it just wouldn't be ladylike.

   Now, the three of you head to see the Don.  The Don picks his date for the
night and throws the other two to the wolves (his henchmen, that is).  Whom he
picks is based on how well you've dressed Cloud up.  He must be delusioned,
because I wouldn't pick Cloud over Tifa or Aeris no matter how cute he looked as
a lady (then again, maybe he knows that Cloud isn't really a lady...)  If Tifa
or Aeris is picked, you've first got to kill, spindle, and mutilate the henchmen
that are trying to have sex with you, go rescue the other one that didn't get
chosen, and the head to see the Don.  If Cloud gets picked, then it's going to
be Don Corneo who's going to be trying to have his way with your ass.  No matter
who gets picked, however, you'll be facing a choice that affects the game later
on, as mentioned in section VII.A. of the FAQ.  Ok, ready, and...  Go!

   The scene ultimately ends up with Aeris, Tifa, and Cloud all standing over a
half-naked Don Corneo threatening his life and his genitals.  It's as if they
missed their calling as torture experts...  Anyways, Corneo divulges that
someone to find "the man with the gun-arm".  After some more... threatening, he
says that that someone was Heidegger.  Besides being an asshole, Heidegger is
also the head of the Public Safety Department of Shinra.  And, in case you
haven't figured it out, "head of public safety" is just a nice way of saying
"war minister".  Anyways, after Tifa threatens to smash (!!!!) Corneo's little
guys, he reveals the rest of the plot.  Apparently, Shinra is going to destroy
the pillar at Sector Seven.  Now, for those of you that know you're physics,
what happens when the only thing that is holding something up is destroyed?
Yup.  Shinra wants to crush Sector Seven...  What's the matter, did they run out
of orphanages to bomb?

   Anyways, you've got to act fast, seeing as Shinra is already on the move (oh,
and before you leave, you might want to check behind Corneo's bed where you'll
find a Hyper, which goes pretty far in explaining why he's acting like this).
But, Corneo isn't done with you yet...  As you're leaving, he asks you a
seemingly harmless riddle.  Regardless of your response, he springs a trap door
underneath you and you plummet to the sewers below.  A trap door, for God's
sakes...  Could he be any more generic?

   The scene shifts to Shinra Co.  President Shinra is in a meeting with
Heidegger and Reeve.  Reeve, the head of the Urban Development Department, is
the one here who has at least a shred of decency in him, and as such is regarded
by the rest of the Shinra as a pussy.  Anyways, Heidegger laughs and says that
he's assigned the Turks to deal with Sector Seven.  Reeve steps in and voices
his opposal to the idea, and also that of the mayor.  Of course, much like the
real world, the mayor (Domino is his name) is a figurehead with no real power to
speak of.  Heidegger and President Shinra cackle and laugh over their evil
plans.  President Shinra plans to blame the whole incident on AVALANCHE, and
then save the day by sending federal aid to the survivors.  That evil...  And
it's up to you to stop him!  (Dramatic music as scene fades out)...


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mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Sector Six Sewers


   The party comes to in the sewers below Sector Six.  Well, Cloud comes to, at
any rate.  Tifa and Aeris are still lying around here somewhere.  A few things
to keep in mind before you do anything: first, whomever you help first does have
a slight effect on the game at a later point (refer to section VII.A. of the FAQ
for more details).  Secondly, you're not going to enter any battles until you
help both of them up, so go ahead and take this time to hop onto that ledge to
your left and grab the Potion sitting up there.  Three, once you get Aeris and
Tifa up, you're going to go straight to a boss fight, so also take this time to
equip your characters.  The boss in question is weak versus fire, so keep that
in mind.  Also note that attacking with magic is going to be generally more
effective than any physical attack against it.  Lastly, you may want to set up a
Cure-all spell, because said boss had a pretty powerful attack that nails your
whole party at once.  When everything's all a go, wake up Aeris and Tifa, and
the fight begins.

   APS is the unfortunate result of water pollution here at Midgar.  I'm not
quite sure what it is, but whatever the hell it is, it's going to kick your ass
if you don't watch yourself.  It's normal attacks are nothing special, but it's
Tidal Wave hurts like a motha.  The good news is that it'll hurt APS, too.  Note
that the direction of the wave plays a big role in how much damage it will do.
When  it hits him in the back it's going to really mess him up.  Likewise, when
it hits you in the back, you'd better be prepared to heal up.  The wave will
alternate in its direction, so you will always know what to expect.  As for
attacking?  As I've already mentioned, any sort of magic is going to do more
damage than a physical attack, and APS has a weakness to fire.  Oh, and expect
the Tidal Wave to push you to a couple of limit breaks, while you're at it.

   The fight won, you've now got to hurry up and make it back to Sector Seven
before squishy time.  You may want to stop and heal up/rearrange your materia
before moving on out, however.  You'll run into two different enemies down here.
The Sahagin is moderately powerful and is the more durable of the two, but not
by much.  However, it will probably be the one that takes longer to kill, as not
only does it have no weaknesses, but they also have a very annoying tendency to
use their shells to prevent any and all damage done by physical attacks.
Granted, they won't think to do this until after you've popped them in the ass a
few times, but you're still probably going to have to resort to magical means to
finish them off.  The other enemy is called Caesar, and ice magic will rip it
up in no time.

   Anyways, you should see a ladder that will led you hop up onto the ledge on
your right.  Follow the ledge around to the other end and crawl down the ladder
there back into the sewage.  Head towards the bottom of the screen and crawl up
the ladder you find there to get onto the opposite ledge, and then head back
towards the right.  Oh, and you should pick up the Steal materia along the way
for many reasons.  First, it'll let you nab some kick-ass equipment from certain
enemies that you cannot come back to steal from, so you'd behoove to have the
Steal materia handy now.  Secondly, I really don't think you feel like shelling
out 1,000 gil for one later on.  Head on downstairs.  Down below, it's a very
straightforward path to a set of steps leading back to the surface.  Hurry
along, now.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Train Graveyard


   You'll emerge in a Train Graveyard adjacent to Sector Seven.  You're almost
there but you need to get past all this wreckage, which has been inconveniently
placed in your way first.  Again, you might want to rearrange your materia
before moving out, because there're new enemies out here.  The Ghost is a
little pain in the ass that can drain large amounts of HP from you with its
Drain attack.  Furthermore, it disappears whenever you hit it, meaning that your
next attack will miss (and then it will re-appear).  The good news is that fire
magic will toast them with little trouble.  And not only that, but the Ghost is
also weak versus holy-based attacks, meaning that the curative magic may also be
used as an offensive attack against them if need be.  The Cripshay is of little
mention, and is probably the easiest thing here to kill.  Its attacks are still
fairly powerful, though, and it can cast Fire.  Also, there's the Deenglow.  It
has a high resilience to magic, and absorbs ice magic, but is a pushover with
physical attacks.  Still, if you're up against several, a Fire-all or Bolt-all
spell is still the most efficient attack (especially if you're Aeris).  In
addition, it knows the Ice and Demi spells.  Lastly, there's Eligor (a creature
you'll probably only meet in the second portion of the Train Graveyard).
Eligor is a rare creature with moderately powerful attacks and can also put you
to sleep.  In addition, he can take an awful lot of punishment.  Luckily, Eligor
has no weaknesses, so blast away with everything that you've got.  Also, feel
free to utilize your Steal materia versus Eligor, and snatch the Striking
Staff, an excellent weapon for Aeris.

   Anyways, from where you begin, you'll see a car in front of you that you can
hop on.  Do so, and make your way along it, picking up a Hi-Potion along the
way.  At the end of this car, you can  jump off to the left real quick to nab
another Hi-Potion, or continue along until you reach a big-ass steel girder
(which you can hop on).  If you go left, it'll take you to a small corner where
you can grab an Echo Screen.  Furthermore, from there, you'll be able to go
back down a bit, make a right, and head down until you see a part of the car
that you can enter to grab a Potion.  Go right on the girder, on the other
hand, and it takes you to an adjacent car.  Head south on this one until you
reach a point where you can jump off to the right.  Use a nearby ladder to crawl
onto the car to your right, run up to the next ladder, and then crawl back down.
Head up some more until you see a section where you can enter the car to your
right.  Enter it, go up to the top of the screen, and then exit.  From here, you
can head up to the next screen.

   On the next screen, hurry up to the rest of the wreckage.  From here, you can
head to the left parts of the screen for a Potion and an Ether if you'd like,
but you've still got to get past these train cars.  Hop in the car blocking your
way to move it forward a bit (it will ram another car out of its way).  Then,
hop back in to move it back.  This creates a path for you to make your way
towards a second car (oh, and there's also a Hi-Potion sitting atop of another
car to the right).  Hop in the second car to move it forward a bit.  This
creates a bridge, of sorts.  Hop on top of the second car and run across it.
When you get off, keep heading towards the left.  You'll end up back at the
train station at Sector Seven.  You made it!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Pillar


   Waste little time in getting to the pillar, where you'll discover a battle
going on.  Just what the hell is happening here?  The sounds of gunfire are
coming from the pillar, and before you can react, a body flies off the top and
lands on the ground in front of you.  It's Wedge...  I would make fun of him,
but...  I feel sorry for the poor guy.  Basically, what's going on is that
AVALANCHE is duking it out against the Shinra, who've come to bomb the pillar.
Wedge tells you that Barret is at the top, and to go after him.  Before you take
off, Tifa remembers that Marlene is still at the bar.  She asks Aeris to go get
her and take her someplace safe.  Tifa and Cloud continue along to the top of
the pillar.

   First of all, you may wish to save.  Don't worry about your health- you just
got a free HP/MP refill.  Organize your materia and get moving.  The one and
only enemy you'll meet on the pillar is called Propeller.  It's not a very
strong creature, but they can take quite a bit of damage.  The good news is that
once you do a sufficient amount of damage to them, their propeller is destroyed
and they become grounded.  This decimates their defenses and makes them
extremely easy to kill following that.  Anyways, hurry along.  Near the base of
the tower, you'll meet up with Biggs, who is severely wounded.  About halfway
up, you'll see Jesse, who isn't in that great a shape herself.  Hurry along to
the top, where you'll see Barret valiantly staving off the Shinra encroachment.
Actually, he's just shooting at anything that gets near him.  He is pretty happy
to see you, however.  Take a minute to equip Barret, because you've got a boss
battle coming up.

   Anyways, the helicopter approaches the pillar and Reno steps off of it.  You
remember Reno, right?  The asshole?  Anyways, Reno walks right onto the pillar.
Barret, for some reason, doesn't shoot him, instead letting him walk up to the
pillar's main support structure and set a bomb.  Well, that was just lovely.
Furthermore, Reno deems your party a threat to his evilness, so he decides he's
just going to have to kill you, as well.

   The Reno fight isn't too difficult if you know what you're doing.  Fire and
Ice both work quite well, but you'll find that a physical attack will deal about
as much damage as Bolt will, so it's really not worth it.  Reno attacks you with
what appears to be a huge tazer, but it isn't horribly powerful.  His really
annoying attack is the Pyramid, which traps the affected character inside a
giant pyramid.  That character can't move until the pyramid is destroyed.  To
destroy the pyramid, just attack the afflicted character (don't worry, it wont
hurt them).  And then, continue to wail on Reno's ass.  Keep fighting and the
fight should be over before you know it.  Instead of doing the noble thing and
fighting you to the death, Reno instead does the sleazy, degenerate thing (to
fit in with his lifestyle), and flees when he's about dead.

   With Reno gone, your team attempts to disarm the bomb.  Of course, you can't.
As is that weren't bad enough, a helicopter approaches.  Inside is Tseng,
another member of the Turks.  Barret sees nothing wrong with firing at him, but
he stops when Tseng starts using Aeris as a human shield.  Yes, Tseng has gone
and captured Aeris.  The most amusing thing is that she avoided the Turks for
all these years on her own with nothing more than a twig to defend herself with,
but once she finally gets an ass-kicking bodyguard, she's captured within a day.
How sad is that?  Anyways, Tseng reveals that the Shinra wants Aeris because she
is the last surviving person of her race, the "Ancients".  Aeris calls out to
Tifa, "don't worry, she's all right!"  Tseng then slaps her.  I'm sorry, but if
anything should piss Barret off enough to make him start blindly firing, it
should be that.  It doesn't, though, and the helicopter vanishes into the air.
By the way, did you realize that you're standing atop a huge tower that's about
to blow up?  Might I suggest you leave?

   The team frantically looks around for a way to escape.  Barret finds a
gigantic wire conveniently hanging near the edge of the tower.  It's long enough
that it should be able to swing you guys to safety.  The entire team grabs a
hold of the wire, and makes a daring escape, complete with a lovely rendered
movie sequence.  Enjoy.  Actually, seeing as Sector Seven is being completely
destroyed and crushed before your eyes, maybe "enjoy" isn't exactly the word I
should be using....

   You'll land back at the playground at Sector Six.  Behind you, Sector Seven
lies in ruin.  Barret...  Well, to say the least, he's quite pissed.  He runs up
to the wreckage and starts yelling for the rest of his team.  He then starts
angrily firing off his gun, and finally just breaks down in a mess of rage and
despair.  Tifa cheers him up a bit by mentioning that Aeris probably got Marlene
to safety.  Barret, obviously, wants to go see her.  Cloud, on the other hand,
is increasingly curious about the Ancients.  By the way, the voices in his head
start talking to him again.  It mentions weird things, like about how it is an
Ancient and is the rightful heir to this planet.  Cloud's response to this is,
"Sephiroth?"  Cloud ain't the sharpest pencil in the box, as you can see.
Anyways, Cloud takes off for Sector Five, Tifa and Barret behind him.

   First things first, you probably saw the materia lying around back at the
playground.  You can't go back for it just yet.  Start to walk towards Sector
Five until Tifa and Barret come running up behind you.  Now you may return to
the playground and nab the Sense materia.  That done, you should head back
towards Aeris's house at Sector Five.  See ya there!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Sector Five (Again)


   Back at Aeris's place, speak with Elmyra.  She gets right to the point.
Basically, Aeris is the last surviving Ancient.  And, obviously, Elmyra isn't
Aeris's real mother.  Then, she begins to tell you much more of the story than
you'd care to know.  You see, back in the day, Elmyra's husband went off to war.
She got a notice one day saying that he was going to be returning home on leave.
She went to the train station every day, but he never showed.  But one day, she
happened upon a dying woman and her child.  The woman's last words were to
Elmyra, asking her to take care of Aeris.  In Elmyra's own words, "I was
probably lonely, so I decided to take her home with me."  I can only pray that
this was a mistake in the translation processes, because just the idea of
someone imagining that they were "probably lonely" at one point is enough to
make my head explode.  I also find it amusing that her motives for doing this
were purely because she had no one to keep her company.

   Moving on, Elmyra details Aeris's childhood.  She was a weird kid, to say the
least.  Not like that kid in class that eats paste, but still weird.  She told
Elmyra that she and her mother had escaped from a lab somewhere and that her
mother had "returned to the planet".  Of course, the clincher was when Aeris one
day went up to Elmyra and told her that someone she knew had just died.  Sure
enough, Elmyra got word a few days later that her husband had, in fact, died.  I
tell ya, if my kid ever did something like that, I'd be freaked.  I mean, "call
the priest and get some holy water" freaked.  Either that, or I'd think that we
had another messiah on our hands, at least.  Elmyra took it all in stride,
however.  Apparently, when you live in a city powered by crap you're sucking out
of the planet with giant reactors in a floating city above you, you become
somewhat desensitized to things out of the ordinary.

   Of course, it wasn't long before the Turks became interested.  You see Tseng
talking to Elmyra about Aeris.  He says things like "the Ancients will lead us
to a land of happiness", and blah, blah, blah...  Like we really believe him.
Aeris stoutly denied being special in any way, and Elmyra just pretended not to
notice anything unusual.  And I'm sorry, when you've got a kid that talks to the
planet, you're going to have to try awful hard to act like you don't notice.

   Anyways, here's what went down: Tseng caught Aeris on her way back here.  She
agreed to go along with him in exchange for Marlene's safety.  So Marlene is
here and safe.  Barret thanks Elmyra profusely, and Elmyra conversely yells at
Barret about leaving the girl alone.  This... doesn't piss Barret off.  Barret,
you'll realize, has a soft side (which, as you should know by now, is tied
entirely to Marlene).  Anyways, he rushes upstairs to see Marlene.  Follow him.
Head into the room and talk to Barret, and then try to leave.  Marlene asks you
a question now that has an impact on the game later on (see section VII.A. of
the FAQ).  Barret, on the other hand, is really mad that Aeris got captured
because of Marlene.  He offers to come along and help you.  Go downstairs.

   Downstairs, the plan is discussed.  Cloud, wanting to know more about what is
going on, really sees no other option than to head to Shinra H.Q. and free Aeris
himself (or maybe it's just because he feels like the world's worst bodyguard
right about now).  As I've already mentioned, Barret is coming along because he
feels guilty that Aeris got caught because of Marlene.  Tifa comes along, as
well, saying that she has to "push herself to the limit" right now and that
she's going to go crazy if she just sits around and does nothing.  Well, that
and her bar got crushed and she really has nowhere left to go.  Barret asks
Elmyra to take care or Marlene for awhile, and also advises her to get out of
the city.  Elmyra agrees, but makes Barret promise that he'll come back alive.

   Anyways, leave Aeris's house.  You're now about to storm Shinra H.Q., to
which I say "it's about Goddamn time!"  Believe me when I say that this will be
no easy task, and you should be duly prepared beforehand.  The question also
still remains, "how are you going to get there?"  Ain't no train running there
anymore.  Tifa suggests that the team head for Wall Market, and maybe you can
find something out there.  In video game terms, this means that you will find
something out there.  See ya at Wall Market!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Wall Market (Again) & The Road of Junk


   Well, first things first, then.  You may wish to avoid doing any last-minute
shopping, because as we've already discussed, you're going to have the
opportunity to steal infinite amounts of the powerful Carbon Bangle when you
arrive at Shinra H.Q..  That being said, buy what you need.  Also, talk with the
man at the weapon shop.  He scavenged the wreckage of Sector Seven, found a few
old Batteries, and fixed them up.  He seems to sense through some unknown means
that you're headed for Shinra H.Q., and implies that you'll be needing the
Batteries.  Cloud is a bit wary of buying garbage that some guy found and fixed
up, but I for one would not argue with someone whose psychic abilities far
outweigh my own.  And indeed, you will be needing the Batteries, so purchase
them and move on out.

   Head up to the north end of town, and you'll see a bunch of kids running
towards the northeast section.  Follow them.  You'll end up next to the gigantic
wall that used to separate Sector Six from Sector Seven.  It now separates
Sector Six from a garbage heap.  Anyways, amongst the wreckage that came
crashing down is a long wire that drapes over the wall, conveniently allowing
someone to climb up it.  Barret is more than ecstatic, and proclaims it to be a
"golden, shiny wire of hope".  Climb up the golden, shiny wire of hope to the
top of the wall.  Also note the graffiti on the wall, and how disturbingly high
in the air some of it is.  Apparently, Wall Market's scumbags and hoodlums
either have jetpacks or can fly.

   You reach the top, where you'll see a couple of kids sitting on the wall and
surveying the wreckage in the distance.  Pretty heavy stuff, man...  However,
there's a great deal of wreckage hanging above you, and what you need to do now
is crawl along said pile of rubbish to the top of the city.  Or, as I like to
call it, "The Road of Junk".  Hurry along, then.

   The Road of Junk is fairly straightforward and enemy-free.  Early on , you'll
have to place one of the Batteries to make a propeller move.  The Battery dies
very quickly, but the propeller will stop in such a position that you can crawl
on it to the next pile of junk.  That is one magic battery!  The next Battery
you must place moves an "arm" into a position that you can crawl along.  You'll
end up at a swinging bar that you've got to jump onto to make it to the next
screen.  All in all, it's fairly easy to do, but it does require good timing.
Miss, and you've got to crawl back up and try again.  Make it, and you can make
your way to the next screen.

   On the next screen, you'll have the option of hopping down to the pile of
junk below.  Your reward is a chest containing an Ether (you'll need to use
your third and final Battery to open the chest).  The downside is that you've
got to crawl down to the screen below and make the "bar jump" again.  Anyways,
from this screen, it's a fairly short trek to the top...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Shinra H.Q. (Part One)


   You emerge at the foot of the hugest building you've ever seen...  This is
Shinra H.Q., the heart of the beast.  It's 70 stories tall, but every floor over
the 60th is special and difficult to get to, even for employees.  Oh, guess
where you get to go?  You've got two options, now.  One is to bust in with guns
blazing.  The other is to sneak in quietly.  This decision actually won't have
as big an impact on your mission as you might believe.  You are asked to make a
decision now, but you won't be forced to stick with it.  Rather, say what you'd
like, and then take advantage of that save point over there.  Your game saved
and your head clear, decide what you'd like to do.  Busting in (just walk in
through the front door) obviously treats you to a nice wave of battles.
Sneaking in (go around the building to a loooooong set of stairs), conversely,
results in no battles.  Note, however, that if you decide to bust in, you still
may want to save first and try sneaking in, if not just to hear the amusing
comments your team makes on the way up.

   Anyways, there're a lot of new enemies here for you to play with.  Enemies
that you become very quickly acquainted with if you decide to break in.  The
Grenade Combatant, just like the SP Combatant, is really nothing to speak of.
They lob grenades at you, which really don't hurt as badly as you'd think, and
that's about it.  The Mighty Grunt is a very durable enemy, and kind of like
the Propellers, will have their armor destroyed once you do enough damage to
them.  From there, it's easy pickin's.  And all in all, all this really means is
that you'll spend twice as long trying to kill them.  The Hammer Blaster is
another durable creature.  In addition to that, it can burrow underground for a
short while (meaning that your attacks cannot hit it), and it also has attacks
that can confuse your party members.  The good news is that lightning magic rips
it up in no time.  Also note that battles with the Hammer Blaster will sometimes
reap the Loco Weed, which is a joke opportunity even I'm not going to touch.
It's a useful item, though, especially since you don't have the Mystify materia
yet.  Also, there's the Sword Dance.  It's another generic enemy and an easy
kill, but watch out for an attack which can infuriate (e.g., inflict fury upon)
your characters.

   Later on at Shinra H.Q., you'll meet three more enemies.  The Warning
Board... um...  I dunno.  It really doesn't do anything except sit there and let
you kick its ass, which kind of worries me, but at least it's a free kill.  The
Moth Slasher is something you'll want to watch out for, as you can steal the
very kick-ass Carbon Bangle from them.  In addition, they're pretty tough to
kill, but lightning rips them up very quickly.  The SOLDIER 3rd, conversely,
carries the Hardedge, a kickass weapon that you can steal and give to Cloud.
Like the Moth Slasher, they can be difficult to kill, but do possess a weakness
to fire.

   Now, for a couple of things to watch out for.  If you're busting in, take a
minute to look around the first floor for a minute.  Behind the stairs on the
1st floor, posted on one of the bulletin boards, is one of the flyers mentioned
in section V.A. of the FAQ.  In addition, this flyer is one of the lost-forevers
mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  In addition, on the 2nd floor (just take
the stairs in the lobby), there is an item shop.  Seeing as you've just busted
in and shot everybody, the shopkeeper is understandably scared of you.  Barret
calms the guy down, and he agrees to sell you items (that you may or may not
want/need).  There are two treasure boxes here, as well.  If you try to open
them, however, the shopkeeper's spine grows three sizes and he tells you that
you can't open them.  And, I'm sorry, but you can't have what's in them right
now.  Refer to section V.N. of the FAQ for more on these treasure chests, and
also note that they, too, are lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the
FAQ.  Oh, and if you're so inclined, check out the monitor to see a small FMV
sequence that has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to the plot.

   On the other hand, the only thing you should watch out for while sneaking in
is an Elixir about halfway up the stairs.

   At the 59th floor, you'll battle a group of guards and steal the Keycard 60
from them, a key item that will grant you access to any floor up to and
including the 60th.  Now, you can use the elevator to return to any floor you'd
wish, including the 1st.  If you sneaked in via the stairs, you may wish to head
down there now for all the reasons previously mentioned.  However, if you chose
to bust in, you may probably deem it "not worth it" to down all those stairs
(located at the top of the 60th floor) just to find the Ether there.  When
you're ready and set, take the elevator up to the 60th floor.

   Now, here's the cool thing: no matter how big of a stir you created on the
bottom 59 floors (remember, even if you sneaked in, you still ended up kicking a
couple of guards' asses and stealing their Keycard), no one up here really
realizes that Shinra H.Q. has been infiltrated.  Really.  The communications
around here are that horrible.  Even more hilarious is the fact that no one
(well, almost no one) will seem to catch on to the fact that you are the people
who broke into the building.  Think about it for a minute.  Your team consists
of a huge man with a gun for an arm and a guy holding a sword that's bigger than
he is (which is likely drenched in blood from mercilessly stabbing someone to
death), and it doesn't dawn on anybody here that maybe you're up to something.
Christ, how low is the bar when you're trying to get a job here?  And these are
the higher-ups of Shinra, no less!  Good lord...

   Anyways, on the 60th floor, watch as your team sneaks past the "security
guard" and into the sixtieth floor.  Ahead of you and to the left is a small
room.  There is a path leading from this room to a room on the right side of the
screen, which is where you need to go.  But, there are guards patrolling
outside.  Now, I did mention before the people up here generally will not
realize that you are trying to break in, but that notion excludes monsters and
guards (yes, there's monsters roaming around on some of these floors for some
unknown reason).  As for the set of guards that currently hinder your progress
(you'll see them patrolling along the top of the screen)?  You must make Cloud
move along the screen when they're not looking, (he can hide behind the posts).
Every time you press the confirmation button, whatever it may be, he will move
to the next post.  When he gets halfway through, he will stop to motion when
it's safe for Barret, and then Tifa to cross.  And then you repeat this for the
second half of the room.  First let me say that I feel awful sorry for those
guards.  Their seemingly eternal patrol routine must really suck.  Secondly, if
you screw up and are seen, the guards will attack, and then politely let you try
again.  However, you can only screw up so many times, before the game just hands
it to you and you get to continue nonetheless.  In the small room on the other
side of the screen is a set of stairs to the next floor.

   You emerge on the 61st floor.  You may continue up the stairs, but will be
unable to exit the stairwell unless you have the necessary card.  Luckily for
you, the door to the 61st floor is standing wide open, so waltz on inside.
Basically, the 61st floor is just a big lobby for important bigwigs.  Walk
around and talk to a few folks (again, it's not like anyone is going to catch on
that you broke in here).  One guy actually gives you the Keycard 62, thinking
that you're the repair men.  Yeah, moron, that's what we do with these deadly
weapons: fix things.  Friggin' moron...

   Anyways, head on up to the 62nd floor (you can use the stairs or the
elevator).  This is actually where Mayor Domino resides (look in the room on the
left side of the screen).  Don't worry, though.  He's about as fond of the
Shinra as you are.  He'll help you, but not without a catch.  You've got to
guess his password, first.  He even says that if you guess it right the first
time, you'll get a bonus prize.  This "bonus" is the Elemental materia, and is
one of the game's lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  This
generally means that you'll probably want to try your best to get it right the
first time.  But, you see, the password is different every time, so I can't give
you a straight answer.  The guard outside the mayor's office offers to help
you... for a price.  But, since I'm helping you for free, punch him in the
stomach and head to the library.  Here's how it works... You've probably noticed
that there are four very large libraries on this floor.  The four libraries
correspond to the four divisions of the Shinra: Space, Science, Urban
Development, and Public Safety (War).  In each library, you will find books
relating to their branches  But, each library has one misplaced book.  That is,
one book has been placed in there that doesn't belong.  You need to find all
four of those books.  Then, take note of the numbers at the beginning of each
book.  They tell you which letter to look at.  That is, if the number was 9,
then you would look at the 9th letter in the title of the book.  From this
research, you should gleam four letters.  From there, it's a simple unscrambling
process to find out the password.  Return to Mayor Domino with the password to
get your Elemental materia and his Keycard 65.  Yup, you can go to the 65th
floor now!  Let's get moving, now shall we?

   The 63rd floor is optional, but you can get some kick-ass stuff for your
trouble.  Check out section V.B. of the FAQ for more information.

   The 64th floor is again optional.  But it's a bit different than the 63rd
floor.  The 64th floor is a lounge for the Shinra employees.  There's a sauna
here, a gym, and a rest area (and such nice accommodations the Shinra provides
for its employees, no?).  So, let's forget for a second that you're stopping in
the middle of breaking into a building to take a nap, because that's just not
ridiculous-sounding enough...  No, what's really incredulous is that you can
approach the building's head of security as he jogs away on a treadmill and have
a nice chat with him about how well he's protecting the building.  And what
really disturbs me is that by this point, the Shinra obviously has to know that
you're in the building somewhere; they just apparently don't seem to care.
Ugh...  Anyways, after your refreshing nap and a save, head on up to the next
floor.

   Enemies patrol the 65th floor, so be warned.  That said, the 65th floor had a
gigantic room in the center with a big model of Midgar sitting inside it.
However, several parts of the model are missing.  What you need to do is
retrieve the model parts (called Midgar Parts) from a nearby chest, and place
them here where they belong.  This will unlock another chest with more Midgar
Parts in it that you can place here to unlock another chest and... you get the
idea.  The last chest will have the Keycard 66 in it.  Got it?  Good.  Now,
there are two small rooms to the left with a total of four chests in them.
Initially, the only one that will be unlocked is the one on the left side of the
top room.  Take the Midgar Parts and place them in the empty spot of the model
closest to the door.  This unlocks the chest on the left side of the bottom
room.  Take the Midgar parts there and place them one spot counter-clockwise
from the last spot you placed them.  This unlocks the chest on the right side of
the top room, which again contain Midgar Parts.  Place those parts another spot
counter-clockwise.  The next chest opened is on the right side of the bottom
room.  You guessed it, there are some Midgar Parts inside.  Placing them yet
another spot counter-clockwise opens up a chest in a room in the top-right
corner of this floor.  In there, you will find the last set of Midgar Parts.
Placing them in their proper place opens up the chest in the stairwell, which
contains the Keycard 66.  Moving right along, then...

   There's no enemies on the 66th floor, and you're going to be in for a little
recon work when you get here.  Because, you see, the 66th floor is where the
Shinra's big, evil meeting room is.  And guess what?  A big, evil meeting is
about to start.  If you talk around a bit, you'll hear two pieces of information
that you should immediately tie together.  First, it smells really bad in the
meeting room.  Secondly, you can hear distant voices in the bathroom.  In case
you haven't figured it out, the air ducts connect to both the bathroom and to
the meeting room.  And, like in the movies, the air ducts were specifically
built to be large enough for a human being to crawl through with little
difficulty.  Head to the bathroom and crawl into the duct.  Head on over to the
hole that will let you spy on the meeting, which you will conveniently arrive
just in time for.  That is, whenever you decide to show up.  The Shinra may be
evil bastards, but at least they're polite enough to delay the start of a
meeting until you can make it there to spy on them.  How nice!

   So here's what's going down.  Present at the meeting, we have President
Shinra, Heidegger, and Reeve.  Also present is a woman named Scarlet, who has no
real apparent job here at Shinra besides "evil bitch".  Also, you're introduced
to a tub of butter called Palmer, the head of Shinra's Space program.  Sheesh,
another fatso.  Hell, even the game stoops to making fun of him, later on.
Anyways, Reeve begins the meeting by whining to President Shinra about the
damages in Sector Seven, and repots an astronomically high amount of gil to
repair it.  President Shinra just laughs and says that they are not going to be
doing any rebuilding.  Rather, they are going with the Neo-Midgar plan.
Apparently, Aeris is supposed to lead them to the "Promised Land" or something-
rather...  Until then, so sayeth President Shinra, they will just increase mako
production in the seven other reactors.  Following this is some very typical
evil villain pratter.  President Shinra gloats about being the man who saved
Midgar from AVALANCHE...  Barret gets pissed (understandably).  However, that's
when Dr. Hojo arrives.  Hojo is the head of the fourth and final branch of
Shinra: Science.  The first thing you'll notice about Hojo is that the guy is
obviously off his rocker.  He shakes uncontrollably whenever he moves or speaks,
and that's not even taking into account half the fucked up things he says.  Hojo
reports that he is still is comparing Aeris to her mother, Ifalma (to whom Aeris
is inferior, he claims).  He also reports that his research will be nearly
impossible to complete in his own lifespan, or Aeris's, for that matter, so he
is considering breeding her...  And as if that whole speech wasn't creepy
enough, he goes into another one of his uncontrollably shaking spasms.  The
meeting ends shortly thereafter.  Hurry along out of the bathroom and head
back to the lobby.  You'll see Dr. Hojo walking upstairs. Follow him.

   Up on the 67th floor, Barret stops to ask Cloud about Dr. Hojo.  Despite
having been in SOLDIER, Cloud never met Hojo, however.  Walk along the screen,
headed towards the left side of the 67th floor.  There, you'll  watch as Hojo
examines some kind of dog in a giant glass container.  He sits there and cackles
over his "specimen", and asks it to be sent upstairs.  The platform that the...
thing is on rises up to the next floor, and Hojo heads up the stairs in the back
of the room.  When he leaves, the party emerges from their hiding place and
thinks aloud.  What is Hojo up to?  However, while Tifa and Barret are thinking,
Cloud has found his way over to another container.  As he spots what is inside,
he freaks.  I mean, he just freakin' flips out.  Apparently, Jenova is being
kept in that container.  While you're not quite sure who or what Jenova is or
why Cloud is so freaked out by it, Barret glances at it in disgust, saying
something to the effect of "where's its Goddamn head!?"  Leave the headless
marvel behind for the moment and head towards the stairs.  Be sure to nab the
Poison materia out of the chest before you go, however (it's one of the only
times you'll ever find materia in a chest, by the way).  You also might want to
save your progress, as you have a boss battle coming up.

   Speaking of the boss battle...  First of all, the boss in question absorbs
poison magic, but all else will affect it.  Your Poison materia will still do
you a world of good, however, in conjunction with the Elemental materia and
placed in somebody's armor (as the boss in question has poison-based attacks).
The Star Pendant you may have picked up on the 63rd floor is also a good idea
(but is redundant if the wearer already has the Poison/Elemental combo in their
armor).  Aside from the boss possessing poison-based attacks and the fact that
he also has three henchmen, their attacks are of little mention (but you do have
four things attacking you, on the other hand).  The worst part about the lackeys
is that he will continually respawn them, so killing them is worthless.  First
of all, this means that attack-all spells really serve no purpose, but a couple
of Cure-all spells will definitely help out.  This also means that he will be in
the back row for most of the fight, so single target magic attacks are really
the way to go (kill the boss, and the lackeys go with it).  Lastly, of Tifa and
Barret, only one of them will be going into the fight with you while the other
sits out.  You can choose which one you want to take, however.  Keep this in
mind when equipping your materia, but also realize that who you decide to take
with you does have an impact on the game later on, as mentioned in section
VII.A. of the FAQ.

   Up on the 68th floor, things go down.  You'll see Hojo up here with his glass
tube.  Inside the tube you'll see Aeris and that dog thing.  The party
approaches Hojo and he explains that inside the tube are two species on the
verge of extinction (I didn't know that dogs were going extinct).  He had
mentioned breeding Aeris, but...?  No...  That's just nasty...  Your party seems
to agree with you, and Barret puts his gun-arm to good use by blasting open the
tube.  The dog leaps from the machine and begins to rip Hojo's throat out (or
something else horribly violent).  Then, the dog stops to... talk to you?  Um...
It talks?  "Lady, I'll talk all you want later," it responds.  He tells you that
they called him Red XIII here at the lab, and that you can call him anything you
want.  In order to continue the insult, you all just call him Red XIII.  And,
judging from the way he talks, Red XIII is what Yoda would be if he were a
talking dog instead of a little green puppet.  Hojo, understandably angry from
having been brutally attacked, transmogrifies into some horrible, disgusting
creature (though not as horrible and disgusting as Pauly Shore).  Before
fighting him, however, you've got to choose someone, either Tifa or Barret, to
get Aeris out of here (remember, this decision affects the game later, as
mentioned in section VII.A. of the FAQ).  That done, the fight with HO512
begins, and goes down pretty much as explained in the above paragraph.  When you
win the fight, you'll get a Talisman.

   The fight over, you'll find that Aeris and whomever you told to get her out
of here made it a good three or four feet while you were fighting.  Anyways,
since you've accomplished pretty much what you came here for, the party now
agrees to get the hell out of here.  You should know that RPG's ban characters
from traveling in large groups, so you decide to split up into two groups and
head downstairs.  Keep in mind that the group you choose affects the game later
on (see section VII.A. of the FAQ).  Once you've got your group chosen, move
along now.  First, you might wanna grab the E. Skill materia inside the glass
tube, and then  harass Hojo's lab assistant for his Keycard 68.  That done,
leave quickly.

   Be warned, however, that on your trip downstairs, you will be attacked by
Warning Boards, Moth Slashers and SOLDIER 3rd's, as described earlier in this
section.  You may very well wish to take the time right now to steal some Carbon
Bangles from the Moth Slashers, as well as a Hardedge from a SOLDIER 3rd,
because not only are they both very kick-ass pieces of equipment, this is the
only chance you will have to steal them (in short, once you make it back to the
elevator, you will lose this wonderful opportunity).  And remember, you're
headed for the elevator on the 66th floor, because the elevator does not go to
the 67th or 68th floors.

   Your party steps into the big, glass elevator with a sense of pride and
accomplishment.  You just took on the Shinra- and won!  Nothing, I repeat,
nothing can go wrong now!  Well, except for maybe the Turks capturing your party
as soon as you enter the elevator.  Damn.

   The entire party, save Aeris, is taken to President Shinra's office on the
70th floor. President Shinra explains that Aeris as an Ancient, or, as they
called themselves, the Cetra.  Aeris, he says, will show him the way to the
promised land.  Red XIII says that the Promised Land was only a legend.  Legend
or no, says President Shinra, the Promised Land is too valuable to pass up.  You
see, the Promised Land is supposedly very fertile.  Fertile land has lots of...
mako!  Mako, my friend!  That would be the answer!  And the Neo-Midgar plan
would be the one that involves sucking all of that precious mako out of the
Promised Land.  Why, that evil...  He follows this with a hard-hitting quote:
"these days, all it takes for your dreams to come true is money and power".
Then, he has the Turks haul your party off to jail.  So much for challenging the
Shinra and winning...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Shinra H.Q. (Part Two)


   You'll wake up a bit later in one of the Shinra's detainment cells.  You may
or may not have seen these on the 67th floor as you passed by.  Cloud and Tifa
occupy the cell in the middle, and are flanked by cells containing Aeris (on the
left), Barret and Red XIII (both on the right).  First off, your following
actions will have a significant impact on the game later on.  See section VII.A.
of the FAQ for more details.  That being said, I know it is standard for all
heroes who are captured by villains and thrown in jail to make a daring escape,
especially considering that the Shinra left you with your weapons and materia...
However, despite what you may think, your only real option is to sit here and
stew for a bit.  You can talk to Tifa, and also see what's happening with Aeris,
Barret, and Red XIII (by the way, these would be the decisions mentioned in
section VII.A. of the FAQ that have an impact on the game later on).

   Aeris and Cloud begin to talk through the wall.  Aeris mentions the date that
they had agreed to, which noticeably pisses Tifa off.  Tifa asks Aeris about the
Promised Land, but there's truly little that Aeris really knows.  People go to
the planet when they die, she says, and she does "talk" to the planet in a way,
but she really can't understand what it's saying.  It's kind of like when
someone comes up to talk to you, but doesn't speak any English.  Despite all the
stuff they prattle off that you can't understand, you can still make some form
of communication through exaggerated gestures, facial expressions, and lots of
pointing.  Aeris's conversations with the planet are kind of like that, only
completely different.  I dunno, I can't explain it very well because I'm not a
Cetra and I've never spoken with the planet before.  Well, unless you count the
time I asked a tree stump for directions.  It didn't respond, but at least it
was more helpful than some of the locals.  But, I digress...  Despite the
Promised Land being a legend, Aeris's mother promised her that one day she would
find it, so we're going to have to be content with that for now.  After a bit of
conversation, you fall asleep.

   That when the creepy crap happens.  You wake up to chilling music, which
should be more than enough to alert you that something is wrong.  Also note that
the door of your cell is wide open and the guard is lying on the ground having
been brutally murdered a few feet away.  Hurry back to your cell, get Tifa, and
let out the rest of the team...  Red XIII goes on ahead to see what's wrong.
Not necessarily the smartest thing to do, considering that whatever did this was
obviously superhuman, but, whatever.  Barret, on the other hand, says that he's
going to stay back here and clean up.  Again, not necessarily the smartest thing
to do, given the large-scale spook factor of the current situation, but let him
do what he wants.  I learned a long time ago not to argue with people who's arms
have been surgically replaced with guns.  This leaves Aeris and Tifa to
accompany Cloud.  Equip them properly, based on the new wave of creature
features that you'll find roaming around the place (as mentioned below).

   First off, the Elemental/Poison combo in someone's armor is still helpful, as
two of the three new enemies you'll meet are level-three bio-hazards.  The
Brain Pod is an enemy that has a strong attack that will poison your character
(hence my suggestion of the Elemental/Poison combo).  In addition, it can also
put your characters to sleep.  It absorbs poison magic, obviously, but all other
magic works quite well against it.  For the Zenene, take everything I said
about the Brain Pod and stick it here, with a few differences.  One, it cannot
put your characters to sleep.  Two, it's physical attacks are considerably more
powerful.  Three, they are weak to the effects of holy magic, meaning that the
Cure spell can be used in a pinch as a decent offensive attack.  Lastly, we have
the Vagrid Police.  You'll probably do more laughing than fighting when you
battle them, seeing as their attacks almost never hit you.  And when they do,
they'll take out all of one damage point.   There's a catch, though.  They turn
somewhat suicidal when their HP is low, and explode themselves in your face for
a considerable amount of damage.  Of course, if you kill them quickly, you need
not worry about that.  Physical attacks and magic do good damage, but the best
way to rid yourself of these things is with the Bio spell, which should do
considerably more damage than anything else that you can scrounge up at the
time.

   Anyways, with your party outfitted, move along.  There will be a trail of
blood on the floor which you should follow, because your party obviously has a
death-wish to meet up with whatever evil incarnation mercilessly slaughtered
everyone in the damn building.  The trail will lead to the left side of the 67th
floor (where you saw Hojo earlier).  Take note that the machine that had Jenova
in it has been destroyed and Jenova is now missing.  Hmm...  Interesting.
Anyways, follow the trail back up to the 68th floor, though you may wish to stop
and save first.  Anyways, head on up to the 68th floor and keep following the
ominous trail of fresh blood.  You'll head up past the uneventful 69th floor to
the 70th floor of Shinra H.Q., where you discover President Shinra... dead.
Stabbed in the back and slumped over his desk, the evil President Shinra is no
more.  Barret and Red XIII both arrive, and Barret, for one, couldn't be
happier.

   As the party speculates, Cloud spots something out of the corner of his eye.
It's fat man Palmer!  Still alive, at that!  Palmer rushes from his hiding spot
at a speedy quarter of a mile an hour, and Cloud, easily enough, apprehends him.
The team grills him for answers.  Palmer frightenedly replies that the massacre
was at the hands of Sephiroth.  He claims that Sephiroth arrived and said that
he wasn't about to let the Shinra have the Promised Land, so he slaughtered the
whole lot of 'em.  Again, Barret is quite pleased, but Cloud stops him.
Sephiroth may have wasted the Shinra, but he isn't necessarily a good guy
because of it, Cloud says.  Having pumped him for all the information he knows,
Palmer wrestles away from you and hurriedly leaves in search of butter.

   Anyways, just as Barret is about to pour some champagne and have a party, the
team hears the sound of a helicopter outside.  It's Rufus, the son of President
Shinra!  The party rushes outside to deal with him.  On the rooftop, Rufus turns
around to see the party headed towards him, and greets you in his villainous
manner.  Your characters introduce yourselves to them, attempting to sound cool,
but that trails off by about the time it reaches Aeris.  The interesting note
here is that it is at about this time that your characters really begin to view
themselves as a "team".  Pretty neat, huh?  At any rate, Rufus begins making a
long-winded and evil speech about how he aspires to be even eviler than his
father was...  It's kind of like an Austin Powers sketch gone horribly wrong.
Cloud puts an end to the bullcrap for the moment and commands the rest of the
team to get the hell out of here.  Barret being to stop him, but Cloud again
commands him to go, amending this with, "this is the real crisis for the
planet!"  That's all it takes for Barret to herd the rest of the group back
downstairs.

   They make it to the 69th floor when they begin to worry about Cloud.  Tifa
stays behind to wait, and you are left with a team of Aeris, Barret, and Red
XIII.  Equip them properly for the upcoming boss fight.  As soon as your party
steps into the main elevator (it didn't go to the 67th or 68th floor, but it
does reach up here to the 69th floor, so it's a very short walk), a battle will
ensue with the Hundred Gunner, which attacks you from the elevator opposite you
as you ride down.  This will be a long-range fight, so take heed.  Barret is the
only character who will be able to attack physically (though he will still be
able to do more damage with magic, if he has any).  Red XIII and Aeris will be
able to attack only with magic, limit breaks, or items.  Hundred Gunner is
especially weak against lightning, and the Bolt spell with do lovely damage to
it.  Conversely, poison magic has no effect on it (but, as always, the
Poison/Elemental combo in someone's armor couldn't hurt, as mentioned below).
Lastly, the Hundred Gunner, despite the "Hundred" part of its name, is a lone
attacker.  Point in case, All paired with attack magic is worthless.  On the
other hand, Cure-all spells should be a great asset to you during this fight,
because you can't rely entirely on Healing Wind.  Keep all this in mind when
outfitting your party.  Now, the Hundred Gunner's attacks are weak and of very
little mention, but when you kick it's ass, the real enemy arrives.

   The Heli Gunner's attacks are considerably stronger than those of the
Hundred Gunner.  It has an attack that does big damage to a single target, and
it can poison your teammates with wanton disregard.  This is the reason I
suggested the Poison/Elemental combo in your armor earlier.  Lastly, the Heli
Gunner had a powerful attack that will do big damage to your team, but it takes
a turn to charge its gun up, thus giving you ample opportunity to heal yourself
prior to taking the blow.  Anyways, when you win the fight, you'll win an
antiquated Mythril Armlet, and the scene will switch back to Cloud.

   Calling upon all of his abilities to manipulate this continuum that we call
time and space, Cloud can mysteriously take any of the materia that you've given
to Barret, Aeris, and/or Red XIII, so go nuts.  He'll be preparing himself for a
quick fight with Rufus and his hound, Dark Nation.  This will follow a brief
speech by Rufus, in which he informs you that Sephiroth is also an Ancient, so
he obviously is laying claim to the Promised Land.  But for now, let's prepare
for the fight.

   Obviously, a Restore materia would be a pretty good thing to have handy.
Secondly, Dark Nation, despite being a canine, has a powerful Bolt spell that
may make you consider putting the Lightning/Elemental combo in Cloud's armor.
However, Dark Nation is probably going to be the first of the two that you'll
want to take out for two reasons.  One, Dark Nation can cast Barrier, seriously
hampering your progress.  Two, if you give Cloud the Poison materia, Bio will
take him out in one fell swoop (at higher levels, other magic materia or even a
physical attack may produce the same effect, but I mention Bio simply because it
is the strongest attack of the lot).  So, in this respect, you may not
necessarily need the Elemental/Lightning combo in his armor.  But, if you've got
the space, you might as well put something there to take advantage of the AP
you'll earn from this fight.  As for Rufus, once you take care of Dark Nation,
the fight will degenerate pretty much into Cloud and Rufus trading blows.  His
pathetic little shotgun does far less damage than you'd expect a shotgun to do
at point-blank range.  On the other hand, the Bio spell that you used to kick
Dark Nation's ass in one hit will also do a very nice job on Rufus himself.
Failing that, other attack magic or even just wildly slashing at him will get
the job done fairly quickly.  When Rufus is damaged enough, he escapes on his
helicopter.  Cloud for some reason refrains from frying him with a Bolt spell or
something like that and hurries off, taking with him the spoils of the battle (a
Protect Vest and a Guard Source).  Cloud heads down to the 69th floor and meets
up with Tifa, and the scene switches back to the others.

   Barret, Aeris, and Red XIII head for the front door.  Now, seeing as a
massive slaughter has taken place here at Shinra H.Q., you are correct in
assuming that a swarm of Shinra soldiers have arrived and await outside.  Barret
rushes to the door and tries to clear them out, but it's really no use.  If he
were alone it wouldn't be a big deal, he says, but he has to keep Aeris safe, as
well.  Tifa arrives downstairs without Cloud, which obviously confuses the rest
of the team.  She says not to worry and herds the team outside.  You are treated
to a very lovely CG movie sequence, where you'll see Tifa and the others headed
towards a truck and hopping on.  Meanwhile, Cloud comes roaring downstairs on a
bitchin' hog.  He then speeds out of Shinra H.Q., flies into the air, and lands
on the highway just behind the truck.  I'm sorry, but Cloud does not at any
point in the game kick more ass than he does in this scene.  By the way, you're
not out of the woods yet.  It's time for the chase scene...

   First and foremost, you'll need to form a party.  Do so, and realize that
you've got yet another boss fight, so prepare yourselves adequately.  The boss
in question is weak against lightning, unaffected by poison, and resistant to
fire.  It also attack with powerful fire-based attacks, so the Elemental/Fire
combo in someone's armor is recommended.  Lastly, it is a lone attacker, so your
All materia will be best used to create a couple of Cure-all spells.  When you
have your party created, take a moment to learn exactly what you will be doing.
Basically, you will ride down the highway along side the truck and fend off the
attacking Shinra troops with your big-ass sword.  The motorcycle troops will
attempt to ram the truck, which causes damage to your teammates.  And since it
is in your best interests to keep them healthy for the upcoming boss fight,
you'll want to vigilantly defend them.  This game is identical to a game you'll
play later at the Gold Saucer, so for more in-depth strategy on this game, refer
to section VIII.B. of the FAQ.  And then, the chase will begin...

   The mini game will end when the highway abruptly ends.  You are then
approached by a bad-ass boss called Motor Ball, and the team that you selected
will fight it, whilst the remaining two sit on the sidelines and talk quietly
amongst themselves (hey, get off your sorry asses and help us!)  Motor Ball has
a fairly decent physical attack, but the two attacks that you really need to
watch out for are Rolling Fire and Twin Burner.  First off, both are fire-based,
so the Elemental/Fire combo in your armor really helps in this respect.  Rolling
Fire is a common attack that does a considerable amount of damage to the entire
party.  Twin Burner does huge damage to the entire party, so you really need to
keep yourself healed.  Luckily, Motor Ball doesn't use Twin Burner that often,
and will do so only when in an upright position.  The only magic that proves
useful is ice and lightning magic (as always, lightning magic will rip up on our
metallic friend, here).  Failing that, physical attacks also work quite well.
Anyways, win the fight, and you'll earn a Star Pendant.

   Your team stands on the edge of the highway victorious.  Cloud boldly
proclaims that he is going after Sephiroth.  He has to settle the score, he
says...  Since he had also mentioned that this was the real crisis for the
planet, Barret decides to come along with him.  The team makes their way to the
outskirts of Midgar (which you should recognize if you came this way during your
stay in Sector Five).  You can now walk around and talk to the party as you
wish.  Barret will obviously be coming along to help save the planet.  Tifa, as
you should realize, really has nowhere left to go and will be accompanying you,
as well.  Aeris wants to learn more about the Ancients, so she comes along, as
well.  Red XIII, lastly, says that he will go with you as far as home (the
location of which, by the way, he never really reveals).  Well, this is it.
You're leaving Midgar, and you can't return until much, much later in the game.
Say your goodbyes and shed a tear to the heartfelt music score.  Also, you need
to form a team before leaving.  This is another seemingly minor detail that will
have a big impact on the game later, as detailed in section VII.A. of the FAQ.
Once you've got your team assembled and your wits about you, move on out into
the huge world that awaits you...


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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The World Map & Kalm


   You emerge for the first time into the game's overworld map.  It's a
beautiful place with awesome theme music, so walk around a bit and get the feel
of the land.  You can also laugh at how Godzilla-like you look standing next to
the highly disproportionate Midgar.  Also watch out for a brand-new set of
creature features.  First, there's the Custom Sweeper.  The Custom Sweeper is
probably the toughest creature around here to kill, but at least its weakness to
lightning will prevent the battles from dragging on for too long (and in
addition, it being a machine and all, poison attacks will have no effect on it).
Two things about the Custom Sweeper are of mention, however.  The first is that
you can steal from them a pair of Atomic Scissors, a kick-ass weapon for Barret.
The second is that they possess an attack called Matra Magic, which you can
learn with your E. Skill materia.  It's a powerful attack, especially this early
in the game, that can be a big asset if you pick it up now.  However, as
powerful of an attack as Matra Magic is when you use it, it's just as powerful
when it's being used against you, so watch yourself.  Next up on our monster
list is the Prowler.  In addition to being a very kick-ass Iron Maiden song,
the Prowler is also a guy who hangs around Midgar and steals things from people
who enter into battles with it.  Luckily, they are very easy to kill, and
killing them should generally be a priority if you don't want them to make off
with all of your stuff (note that if they steal stuff, you can still get it back
if you quickly kill them).  Also, we have the Devil Ride, a very weird creature
riding a very kick-ass hog.  They're moderately difficult to kill, though not so
much as the Custom Sweeper.  On the other hand, however, they have no
weaknesses, so expect longer fights.  Lastly, there's the Kalm Fang, an enemy
which, as you might expect, generally won't appear until you begin to near Kalm.
They're among the easy-to-kill breed of monster, luckily enough.  They possess
no weaknesses, but Bio, Quake, or Matra Magic will pretty much off them in a
single hit.

   Anyways, I spoke earlier of a town called Kalm.  It's a small village to the
east of Midgar, and it's where you should be headed to sooner or later.  First
off, you'll probably want to save before entering town, because once you enter,
there's going to be a long sequence that will not let you save for quite some
time.  Anyways, when you arrive in town, your party heads straight to the inn
only to discover that the other two team members have beaten you here.  You
teammates both head to the inn, and you are free to wander about the town if you
so please.  You may wish to head to the northern part of town and do a bit of
shopping (the Heal and Earth materia may both be of interest to you).  You may
also choose to raid a local home and steal the gun out of their treasure chest
(the Peacemaker).  You cannot use this now, but do hold onto it, as you may
find a use for it later.  By the way, you may opt not to speak to a few of the
townspeople not just yet, and instead wait until your party is back with you
(for reasons why, refer to section VII.A. of the FAQ).  However, all the
information you can gleam from this town will be listed at the end of the next
subsection of the walkthrough (--- Welcome to: The Flashback).  Anyways, on that
note, why not head to the inn and get things started?

   You'll find the party waiting for you at the only room at the inn (gee, I
hope that nobody else wanted to stay here tonight).  There, the questions begin
to arise...  Thus begins the flashback.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Flashback


   Cloud explains his relationship with Sephiroth in a rather long flashback
sequence that begins now.  He explains that after Cloud joined SOLDIER and
worked a few missions with Sephiroth, they became friends.  And then, one day,
they went off on another mission...  The scene switches to a couple of soldiers
sitting in the back of a van.  One of them is Sephiroth, who sits calmly on a
box.  Another is a very young Cloud, who excitedly runs around the van talking
to all of the soldiers.  Sephiroth finally breaks in and tells Cloud to calm
down and shut up.  Cloud goes on about how he joined SOLDIER so that he could be
just like Sephiroth, but that the war was over by the time he made first class.

   Anyways, Sephiroth lays the mission down to Cloud.  There is a mako reactor
that has been spitting out monsters as of late.  Their first mission is to find
these... monsters... and kill them.  Next, they have to find the source of these
monsters and neutralize it.  The reactor in question, in case you were curious,
is located in Nibelheim: Cloud and Tifa's hometown.  At about this time, the
monster in question arrives and attacks the truck.  Cloud and Sephiroth leap out
to fight it.  Now...  This fight...  Let us first point and laugh at how
absolutely pathetic, weak, and infantile Cloud is in this fight.  Suffice it to
say that he's come a long way in the five years since all this happened.  If it
was only Cloud in this fight, you might as well go ahead and throw out the
controller now, but there's also Sephiroth.  He's controlled by the computer, so
you really have no say in what he does.  However, he does end the fight fairly
quickly by expeditiously kicking the monster's ass into last year.  Even Cloud
comments on how insanely strong Sephiroth is.

   Anyways, the team arrives at Nibelheim.  Sephiroth asks Cloud what it's like
to be home.  He wouldn't know, he says, because he has no parents or hometown.
His mother was Jenova, and died in childbirth, and his father...  He explains
everything with a stern look on that one, pretty much.  After this, the game
relinquishes control of Cloud to you.  As you head on into town, Barret astutely
points out that Jenova was that "damn headless spook" living in the Shinra
building.  That is, it was before it mysteriously disappeared.

   Cloud says that the town was quiet.  Everyone was inside their homes,
possibly scared of the monsters.  "Or maybe they were just scared of us..."
Cloud surmises.  No, Cloud, they're scared of Sephiroth.  You have the
intimidation powers of a stapler, and nobody is scared of your weak, pathetic,
little pansy ass except possibly other staplers.  Anyways, Sephiroth heads
towards the inn, leaving Cloud free to wander about the town.

   There are two places to head.  They are clearly obvious, because they are the
only other two houses in town, just about.  The first house would be Cloud's
(it's the one on the right).  When you enter, you have the option of telling the
story to the team, or quickly exiting without a word.  If you are displeased
with the text-heavy, non-smashie-smashie flashback and wish for it to quickly
end, choose the latter and move on to the next paragraph.  However, if you
decide to delve into the story, Cloud begins by talking about his mother.  She
lived alone for most of her life, and inexplicably died a few days after Cloud
visited.  But, when Cloud saw her that day, she looked fine...  You'll then see
the scene where Cloud returns home and talks to his mother.  Of course, the
entire memory is completely glitched, and Cloud doesn't really appear to
remember a damn thing.  The scene does segue into the scene you saw earlier,
though, where he's lying in bed and his mother yells at him about not having a
girlfriend.  Maybe, Cloud, just maybe, your dear, sweet mother died of... a
broken heart?  Meh.  The scene ends, and Cloud exits again to the streets of
Nibelheim.

   Head along now to the house next door (to the left), which happens to be
Tifa's house.  Like Cloud's house, you've got the option of just not telling the
story and leaving, or continuing inside.  The difference is that inside, nothing
really happens.  You can continue upstairs and into Tifa's room.  In her room,
there's lots of fun things that you can do.  You can play her piano, steal her
underwear, and read a letter on her desk (and despite what you may think, none
of your responses will affect the way Tifa feels about you).  The letter is from
the son of the clerk at the item shop, and it details his trip to Midgar and
other uninteresting details.  Apparently, everyone from Nibelheim (except Cloud)
was there to meet him.  He goes on to comment about how Cloud wasn't close to
them, anyways, and probably wouldn't have come even if they found him.  It's
kind of sad, really, and gives you kind of a bit of insight into Cloud's past.
You can stop or continue reading the letter, but the rest is mostly boring
drivel.  By the way, none of your actions here really effect the game later on
(as mentioned in section VII.A. of the FAQ), so go nuts.

   Anyways, head back to the inn.  There's a guy there looking for Sephiroth so
he can take a picture of him.  Cloud offers to let the guy take a picture of
him, instead.  The guy replies that he doesn't want a picture of a nobody.
Comments like that I suppose would explain Cloud's self-esteem problem, at any
rate.  You'll also meet Tifa's martial arts teacher, named Zangan.  Anyways,
upstairs, you'll discover that the bedroom is one bed short for your team.  Go
talk to Sephiroth (he's standing by the window).  He'll first comment on the
scenery, but when you talk to him again, you're given the option to go to sleep
for the night.  And you do, though you never do find out how the bed situation
worked out.  Then again, if they fought for the beds, something tells me that it
was Cloud who slept on the floor that night...

   The next morning, your team stands ready on the north side of Nibelheim.
Talk to Sephiroth, who says that you're leaving as soon as your guide gets here.
The guide, by the way, is Tifa.  Cloud is a bit shocked, not wanting to drag her
into this.  Sephiroth just tells Cloud to protect her, and she'll be fine.
Though, given about how powerful Cloud was at the time, I'd say that Tifa would
have been better off if he had just handed her a butter knife for protection.
Before you leave, Tifa's father gets a snapshot of Tifa, Cloud, and Sephiroth.
There's a memento for the ages, if I do say so myself.  Anyways, the team heads
towards Mt. Nibel, which would be the gigantic mountain resting behind Nibelheim
where the reactor is located.

   Well, upon entering Mt. Nibel, the team heads directly onto the rickety rope
bridge of death.  How cliché...  After the inevitable and predictable breaking
of said bridge, the party wakes up on a ledge below, sans one expendable
soldier.  Since he really wasn't that important to the plot, and nobody had even
bothered to ask the guy's name anyways, the team continues along nonchalantly.
As you walk along the very linear path, you may enter into a battle or two.
However, while Cloud may get in a pathetic slash at anything that happens by
(doing little to no damage to it in the process), Sephiroth will effortlessly
toast anything that dares cross his path.  At the end of the path, you'll enter
a cave.

   Inside the cave, stick to the right and walk along that path until you reach
the very back of it.  There, you'll discover a mako fountain, spewing out pure,
unspoiled mako.  In the middle of it, you'll find a chunk of materia in it's raw
form.  Materia, you see, is little more than condensed mako.  See, you learn
something new every day!  Sephiroth goes on to explain how materia contains the
knowledge of the ancients and with it you are able to use the powers of the land
with it.  Or, in other words, magic.  Cloud mentions the phrase "mysterious
power", which makes Sephiroth laugh.  He says that a man once told him never to
use such an unscientific term, and that that man was Dr. Hojo.  You see, five
years ago, Dr. Hojo wasn't the respected lunatic that he is today.  He was just
an inexperienced young lunatic assigned to take over the work of another
scientist, Dr. Gast (who's file you may have seen back at Shinra H.Q.).  The
party continues on after this.

   You arrive at the reactor with little trouble.  Cloud and Sephiroth continue
inside, leaving Private What's-his-Name to stay outside and make sure Tifa
doesn't run off.  Follow Sephiroth into the back of the reactor where Sephiroth
will quickly and effortlessly fix the problem, but that's not all of it.
Sephiroth looks around and explains to you just why all the monsters were
appearing.  You may notice that the room you're standing in is full of very odd-
looking pods.  Well, have you ever seen a pod be used for anything besides
creating monsters?  Sephiroth explains that "normal members of SOLIDER" are
exposed to mako to enhance their strength, kind of like steroids.  But that they
remain human.  The things thrown into these pods are being exposed to uber-high
amounts of mako, so much to the point that they are literally becoming monsters.
And, of course, wouldn't you guess that Dr. Hojo was behind it all?

   Hojo's insanities are actually the least of your worries right now.  You see,
Sephiroth had used the term, "normal members of SOLDIER" to refer to everyone
except himself whom, as we've already established, kicks very much more ass than
they do.  Then again, brains must not have been his strong point, because this
is the kind of thing it takes for it to finally dawn on Sephiroth that just
maybe... this is how he came to be?  He was... created?  Of course not,
Sephiroth, you were just naturally born like that.  And if that's what you've
believed for all these years, I've got a bridge to sell you while I'm at it.
Needless to say, Sephiroth flips out, while Cloud leaves him to his insanity.

   You are given the option to save your game at this point, which you may or
may not take Cloud up on.  More insanity to come!

   Following this little incident, Sephiroth returned to Nibelheim and confined
himself inside the friendly neighborhood haunted house, dubbed the "Shinra
Mansion" by the villagers because people who worked for Shinra used to live
there.  Rather than populating it or at least tearing the Goddamn thing down
and/or looting the place, they just left it as it was.  Anyways, Cloud decides
to go after Sephiroth.  Head up to the second floor and to the right.  There's a
soldier standing outside a room that Sephiroth entered but never left.  Inside
this room, you'll find a door to a giant spiraling staircase that in turn will
take you to the basement.  Here in the basement, there's a gigantic library
where you'll find Sephiroth doing his research.  And in the world of Final
Fantasy VII, a little knowledge is a very dangerous thing.

   Sephiroth reads that Professor Gast, a long time ago, discovered an
apparently dead organism in an ancient geological stratum.  He named the
organism Jenova, and soon discovered that Jenova was an ancient.  Following that
began the "Jenova Project"...  Amazingly enough, it is at about this moment that
Sephiroth begins to grasp the concept that his mother, Jenova, and Dr. Gast's
pet project may possibly be related.  Again, brains were quite obviously not one
of Sephiroth's strong points.  Attempt to converse with him to no avail, and
then leave him to his madness.

   Sephiroth continues to stew in the basement for quite some time...  And then,
one day, Cloud wakes up in the Shinra Mansion to some very ominous music, which
alone should tip you off to something.  Head back down into the basement to find
Sephiroth, quite obviously gone mad.  He calls you a traitor, and then explains
why.  The Cetra, or the Ancients, were a nomadic race (and in case you haven't
gotten it through your skull by now, Sephiroth is a member of said race).  They
would travel from planet to planet, populate it, and move on.  At the end of
their long journey, they were to discover the Promised Land.  However, a faction
disliked the nomadic life and instead opted to settle down and live the easy
life.  They took and took from the Cetra without giving a damn thing back.  They
would be the ancestors of the norms.

   Long ago, a great cataclysm rocked the planet.  The norms survived by hiding
out.  The Cetra sacrificed themselves to save the planet, after which the norms
flourished.  So, apparently, their only real crime was surviving (and I guess
being a bunch of deadbeats).  This is apparently enough to send Sephiroth off
the edge, though.  Well, he also finally appears to have come to the realization
that he is the result of the Jenova Project...  On that note, he strides towards
Mt. Nibel to find Jenova.  Follow him.

   As Cloud exits the mansion, he finds that in the couple of moments that
Sephiroth was outside, he has managed to set the entire village on fire, which,
I have to admit, is quite a feat.  Zangan sees you coming out of the mansion and
calls to you, "hey, you're still sane, aren't you?"  Well, "sane" isn't usually
a word I would use to describe Cloud, but, for the moment and relatively
speaking, he is.  He leaps over the flames and assists Zangan in scavenging the
village for survivors.  Actually, come to think of it... this may be how Cloud's
mother died...  Anyways, Cloud looks over to the north and spots Sephiroth
walking away from the village in a very kick-ass CG movie sequence.

   Cloud chases Sephiroth to the reactor at Mt. Nibel.  Heading into the
reactor, you'll see Tifa and her father...  You should actually recognize this
sequence from earlier in the game.  Tifa is kneeling beside her wounded father
swearing vengeance on the Shinra and Sephiroth... sound familiar?  Well, now for
the part that you didn't see.  Tifa, in an understandable rage, grabs
Sephiroth's long-ass sword which he for some reason left lying next to the guy
he mercilessly stabbed to death and runs into the back room.  Tifa then charges
Sephiroth at full speed wildly brandishing said long-ass sword.  In retrospect,
that was probably about the dumbest idea since the First Annual Broken Glass-
Eating Contest, but you can sort of understand why she might not be thinking
clearly at the moment.  You can sort of imagine what happens next: Sephiroth
effortlessly snatches the sword away from the enraged girl and slashes the hell
out of her with it.  She flies backwards through the air, sickeningly bouncing
on the steps on her way down, finally coming to rest at the bottom.  Ouch.

   Cloud enters the back room in shock.  Your first job should be to help Tifa
out.  For the moment, Cloud will carry Tifa out of harm's way.  He's really too
much of a dumbass to do anything helpful like or stop the bleeding or dress up
her wound, so for the moment she's just going to have to lie there quietly and
try not to stain the floor.  It's actually a very sad and touching scene.
Really.  Cloud should then confront Sephiroth.

   You'll find Sephiroth in the back room talking to Jenova.  This is kind of
odd, because Jenova has actually been dead for quite some time now.  Anyways,
this doesn't stop Sephiroth from happily elaborating how he and her are going to
take the planet back form themselves.  He then grabs the oddly-shaped life form
and begins to make off with it.  Cloud, as you might imagine, is rather
indignant with the senseless destruction of his hometown and angrily chides
Sephiroth as he tries to leave.  The intensity rises...  Sephiroth on a binge of
destruction...  Only Cloud remains to stand against him...  Too bad that at this
moment, Cloud's brain performs an illegal operation and must be shut down.
Seriously, of all the parts of the story that he could have forgotten, this
would be the one part that I kind of assumed that he'd remember.  Then again,
maybe Sephiroth kicked his ass to the point of brain damage, which would go far
in explaining Cloud's personality today.

   Anyways, there're several holes in Cloud's story that for the lack of a
better source of information you're going to have to let slide for the moment.
The greatest of these, obviously, is the fact that Cloud challenged Sephiroth
and lived to tell the tale.  I guess a close second would be how Tifa managed to
survive without so much as a scar.  Also, there's Sephiroth.  Y'see, official
records state that Sephiroth is dead.  But then again, Shinra Inc. has a bit of
a monopoly on things of the official sort, so it's not like you could trust the
information, anyways.  But on the other hand, if Sephiroth truly is alive, and
had Jenova with him when he left Mt. Nibel, how did Jenova end up at Shinra
H.Q.?  Cloud says that it was transported there following the whole incident,
but if you'll recall, Jenova was missing from the Shinra building after the
massacre... there's obviously something missing from the puzzle here.  And at
about this time, it all becomes too much for Barret, who's brain goes into
complete overload.  Please note that other things that cause Barret to become
completely and totally confused include: thinking, conversation, opening doors,
and other non-killing-related activities.

   The whole scene ends on a touching note, when Tifa asks Cloud how badly she
was cut up back at the reactor.  Cloud replies that she was pretty bad, and that
he didn't think that she was going to make it.  And I've got to hand it to Tifa,
surviving an attack like that took something that I don't even think Bruce
Willis could muster.  Then again, Cloud challenged Sephiroth and he still seems
to be fine.  "Fine" is determined quite loosely here, though, seeing as this is
the same guy who has more people in his head to talk to than in real life and
who's memory has more holes in it than my underwear, so I'll let you come to
your own conclusions on that one.

   The next morning, head on downstairs.  Barret hands you the PHS, which is
basically what you will be using to switch out your party members.  You'll
recall the ban on traveling in groups greater than three, so this glorified cell
phone actually comes in quite handy despite its inability to be used indoors or
within a fifty-foot radius of civilization of any sort.  I mean, without it, you
wouldn't see half of your team ever again.  You are now left with the party that
you had originally created back at Midgar.  You are free to leave town, though
first you may stop to converse with a few of the citizens (for an effect on the
game later on, no less, as mentioned in section VII.A. of the FAQ)  You don't
find much else out here, though.  The main news here seems to be that everyone
is happy because the nearby city of Midgar has introduced to them a novelty
known as mako power.  Also, you'll find a lot of unemployed miners at the bar.
They used to work in the Mythril Mines to the east, but have been out of work
ever since hideous monsters started patrolling the area.  Monsters!  Heh!  When
I was a kid, I walked to school everyday barefoot in the snow fighting off
hordes of the bastards and it didn't bother me one bit!  In fact, I rather liked
it!  What else?  Oh, yes.  According to Shinra, AVALANCHE has disappeared...
Which is interesting, really, because considering that their headquarters was
recently massacred by a homicidal madman, PR really shouldn't be on their list
of top concerns for the moment.  Lastly, there's a guy here who saw Sephiroth
heading east.

   Anyways, take care of any other business that you may have around Kalm and
then continue east.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Chocobo Ranch


   Continue east along the continent into the deep boonies.  You'll know you're
headed in the right direction when all of a sudden you have a burning desire to
wear overalls and watch Hee-Haw.  There're also lots of farm-themed animals out
here that, despite what you may think, want to kill you.  The Levikron is an
ostrich-like creature that is fairly easy to kill, but has a nasty tendency to
enrage you with its attacks.  The Elfadunk is an elephant, if that helps.  It
also has an attack which can make your characters sad, so be wary of that, as
well.  The Mandragona has very high magic defense, and it takes quite a bit of
magical effort to put them down.  As you might imagine, physical attacks are
generally a better route to go.  It will not attack you unless you attack it.
It is also a weed.  A weed which has somehow sprung to life to attack random
passersby.  Pollution-much?  Lastly, let's look at the Mu.  It's one of those
rare occurrences around here, but it's an enemy that you should seek out, if
nothing more for the fact that it uses the Lv. 4 Suicide attack, which you can
learn with your E. Skill materia.  Needless to say, it's also a rather powerful
attack when used against you, so be careful.  Aside from the Lv. 4 Suicide
attack, they also have another powerful attack called Sewer, which will do a
very large amount of damage to one of your characters, so you'd be wise not to
let these little bastards live for too long, no matter how ridiculously cute
they may look.

   Anyways, grab yer wife an' kids, hop in da pickup, and head on down to dat
dere dun Chocobo Ranch.  Ya can't miss it- it's a giant farm in the middle of
nowhere.  And I'm talking "kid with no teeth sitting on the front porch playing
a banjo" backwoods middle-of-nowhere, here.  You'll arrive at a very pleasant-
looking ranch.  The Chocobo Ranch: home of inbreeding and 75% of the world's
illiterate.  You'll see a bunch of chocobos hanging around out front, whom you
can talk to.  If you say, "wark", they get really happy and do a little dance
and reward you with the Choco/Mog materia, so it's at the very least worth your
time.  Now, head to the house and speak with the head farmer here, Chocobo Bill.
He tells you that the Midgar Zolom patrols the swamp to the south.  This is
important because you must cross said swamp to reach the Mythril Mines and
therefore continue on your journey.  He suggests that you acquire a chocobo to
safely cross the swamp and refers you to his son in the stables for more
information on that matter.  Now, get out of here before he begins to talk about
the UFO ride he took last week.

   Head to the stables and talk to Chocobo Bill's son, Billy.  I think his full
name is Billy Bubba Bo Bob Brain, but I really don't think that that would fit
in the text box, so Billy it is.  He informs you that there are no chocobos
available for rent, so you're gonna have to go rustle up your own.  Of course,
you're going to need some Chocobo Lure first, which interestingly comes in
materia form.  Materia is like Lunchables, I suppose, in that just about
anything can be made into it.  He does gouge you quite a bit for it, however.
Now it is possible to cross the marsh without a chocobo (see below), but if
you've got the gil, I would still recommend you pick it up while you're here.
But, it's your call.  Secondly, if you're going to have any chances of catching
one, you may need a green.  Pay no heed to Billy's relentless price gouging and
just grab the cheapest crap he has- it's likely all you'll need, and this way
you save more of your gil.

   And, though not neccissarily a lost-forever, the Chocobo Lure is mentionied
in section I.F. of the FAQ.  There's only one of them, or at least until one of
my rumors at the end of the FAQ is confirmed, anyways.  Don't sell this thing,
lest you make Baby Jesus cry.  Or at least don't whine about it after you do.

   Now, it's time for the Chocobo catchin'.  Even if you don't want to use one
to cross the marsh (see below), you still may want to enter into a battle with
one for two reasons.  One, when you enter a battle with them, the battle music
changes into an odd rendition of "Wipeout", which I find very odd given the
Hicksville, USA motif of the area.  Secondly, they use an attack called
Chocobuckle, which you can learn with the E. Skill materia.  However, they only
use this attack when you use the Lv. 4 Suicide attack (learned from the Mu) on
them.  Anyways, now for the catchin'.  You've got to defeat all of the enemies
in the battle without harming the Chocobo (lest it freak out and run away).  It
actually has a tendency to freak out and run away without you ever actually
touching it, hence the reason you bought the greens.  You see, if you toss it
the green during battle, it will just much away, completely unaware of its
surroundings.  Kind of like Palmer, y'know.  That fatass wouldn't notice if he
was on fire so long as you stuck something delicious in his mouth.  The more
expensive green you feed it, the longer it will take it to finish it, and the
more time it will buy you.  Of course, if you are at any kind of a decent level
of experience and skill, these battles should progress fairly easily, and as I
mentioned before, the cheapest crap that Chocobo Billy had should be more than
sufficient in this respect.

   Anyways, as I have made it a point to mention before, it is more than
possible to cross the swamp without using a chocobo.  It's just sort of hard to
do without becoming a Midgar Zolom's bitch.  Basically, once you set foot in the
swamp, that thing will start coming for you.  It is virtually impossible to make
it across without it hitting you, though it can be done.  When it catches you
(if you're on foot, that is), you'll enter a battle with it.  If you win the
battle, you may continue as you were (though a new Zolom will appear, so you
must hurry on).  Lose the battle (quite likely), and you are ejected from the
swamp.  For those interested in doing battle with the Midgar Zolom, details are
listed below.  The rest of you, just skip to the next paragraph.

   Wanna tangle with a Midgar Zolom, do you?  First off, you're going to need
Barret with you.  Without Mind blow, you might as well just bend over and kiss
your ass goodbye.  You may also want to stick most if not all of your characters
in the back row, as the Midgar Zolom has an uber-powerful attack.  On a positive
note, this does mean that you'll get lots of limit break opportunities.  Again,
use Mindblow early in the fight (you'll find out why later).  Keep pounding away
at it with all you've got.  Magic attacks are the most effective (Bio really
helps, as it may poison the Zolom), as are your frequent limit breaks.  You'll
want to vigilantly watch over your HP, however.  Aeris can be an asset here with
her Healing Wind, but you'll still need the aid of one or two good Restore
materia-bearing characters.  Hi-Potions and Phoenix Down in your inventory is
also good to have.  Anyways, after you do enough damage to it, it will "stand
up", sort of.  Its attacks don't change much, but it is a sign that if you
haven't used Mindblow/Seal Evil yet, do so expeditiously.  After more of an ass-
whipping, the Zolom quite literally knocks one of your characters through the
air, removing it from the battle (this will be the character that last attacked
him).  It's comical in a way, but it does serve a purpose.  You see, at this
point, the Zolom will begin using an attack called Beta, which will completely
waste your characters.  With one of them removed from the battle, you still
lose, but at least it's not game over.  But here's the catch: Beta is a magic
attack.  Mindblow will prevent it from using Beta, therefore allowing you to win
the battle if you keep your wits about you.  You really don't get much
experience or AP for the effort, but you do get a nice feeling of satisfaction
and accomplishment.

   Anyways, I need to stress a point about Beta, the attack used by the Midgar
Zolom.  Wasn't Beta such a kick-ass attack?  You bet your ass, it was!  There's
some good news and bad news here.  The good news is that you can, in fact, learn
Beta with your E, Skill materia.  The bad news, however, is that surviving the
attack is sadly a prerequisite for learning attack.  And, as you may or may not
have discovered if Beta has had its way with your ass, there is no way in hell
you're going to survive it at the moment.  Do make it a point, however, to come
back here as soon as you can to learn this most kick-ass attack.  This may not
be much longer into the game (you'll discover a Fire Ring before too long), but
there is one final tip I will hand out to players making a return trip: there is
an enemy skill called Laser which will easily be the most effective attack
versus the Zolom in the early game.  Its HP is at 4,000, and Laser will chop it
in half.  Use Laser again for 1,000 points of damage.  Past this, however, you
may wish to switch to other attacks, as once the Zolom gets to 500 HP, it will
knock the person that last attacked it out of battle, and you don't want him
ejecting the person carrying the E. Skill materia from the fight, now do you?
Of course, Demi 2 may also be used in place of Laser, but this note is meant
more for people coming back way too late in the game to have many attacks that
won't kill the Zolom outright.

   As you near the Mythril Mines, you are treated to a rather morbid scene.
You'll find a Midgar Zolom impaled on the remains of what looks like it was once
a tree.  Lightning flashes in the shrouded sky in the background, making for a
quite awesome scene.  However, you might sit back and think for a moment that
this was the work of Sephiroth.  The person you are chasing...  You're after a
man that is capable of this, and you think for some reason that you're going to
be able to stop him.  Forget what I said earlier about Sephiroth's lack of
brains, because it appears that your team is no smarter than he is.  Either
that, or they've got the courage of Bruce Willis.  Proceed into the Mythril
Mines.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Mythril Mines


   The Mythril Mine is actually rather small, and your trip to the other side
should be relatively short.  However, there are several enemies in here that you
would be wise to be aware of.  The first would be a creature called Castanets.
They are weak, pathetic fighters with a weakness against fire.  So jes torch
their highly-flammable asses to get rid of them quickly.  Next, we have the
Crawler.  The Crawler is a small snake-like creature that has a tendency to
attack in very large numbers.  Then again, they are even weaker fighters than
the castanets.  To get rid of them uber-quickly, prey on their weakness to earth
magic.  We also have the Madouge, a ball and chain wielding maniac.  I know it
seems like a metaphor for being married, but again, don't expect them to put up
much of a fight.  You should make it a point to steal a Grand Glove from one of
them, however.  Lastly, we have the Ark Dragon, which would be another on of
those rarer occurrences.  The Ark Dragon looks something like a dragonfly on
growth hormones, and is probably the most dangerous creature here.  You're
advised to track one of these things down, because they use the Flame Thrower
attack, which you can learn with the E. Skill materia.  However, be careful, as
the Flame Thrower attack is somewhat of a striking contrast to the weak,
pathetic attacks used by all of the other enemies.  In addition to this, the Ark
Dragon has considerably more HP than any of the other enemies here.  The bad
news is that since they are flying creatures, earth magic obviously will have no
effect on them.  In addition, they also absorb fire-based attacks.  However,
they do fall prey to wind-based attacks, so you may want to stick the Choco/Mog
materia with the Elemental materia into the weapon of one of your characters and
use that character to inflict massive damage to any Ark Dragon that dares defy
you.

   Anyways, as you step into the Mythril Mines, you can either head right or
left.  If you head right, you'll head to a room in the northeastern corner of
the Mythril Mine, where you'll find several treasures for the taking.  First and
foremost, there is a vine growing on a ledge near the room's entrance.  Climb up
this vine to the top of the ledge and take the Long Range materia you'll find
atop it.  Also in this room (up and to the right of the entrance) is a Tent and
an Ether free for the taking.  Anyways, back at the entrance to the mine, the
left path will take you to another fork in the road.  There, going right will
take you to a chest containing a Mind Source, whilst going left takes you to
another fork in the road.  From there, going up is only a dead end, and going
left continues to the next room.

   In the next room, you'll meet up with none other than Rude of the Turks.  You
may remember him as the guy who threw your ass in jail back at Shinra H.Q..
Well, for the moment old Rude really doesn't seem to be that interested in you.
He tries to be cool about things, but that's when Elena shows up.  You see,
after you kicked Reno's ass hardcore, the Turks sorta needed to hire a
replacement for him.  And judging by who they hired to fill his spot, it seems
that the only other applicants for the job were a little girl with heavy brain
damage that speaks no English or any other coherent language, and a slightly
below-average mango.  Elena is the most pathetic attempt at a professional
badass I've ever seen.  She goes on and on (making very little sense in the
process) about how they're after Sephiroth and how they've got to stop you along
the way, or maybe that it's you who's stopping them.  We'll never know the
truth, really, because Elena has been taking all of her orders from a Magic 8-
Ball for the past three weeks.

   Anyways, before Elena has a chance to make an even bigger ass of herself,
Tseng arrives and makes her shut up.  However, even he can't stop her from
arbitrarily blurting out, "Rude and I will go after Sephiroth, who is headed for
Junon Harbor!"  Christ, Elena!  Why don't you just get a giant flashing neon
sign and broadcast your orders to the rest of the world?  It's like Pinky and
the Brain meets the morals of a Latin-American dictatorship.  Anyways, Tseng has
a few final words with you, which will be different depending on whether or not
Aeris is with you, and then leaves with baldy and the dumbass.  Oh, well.  At
least the Turks really don't seem to care much about you, anymore.

   Near the back of the room you are standing in, you'll find another path,
which will lead to a another room, where you will find a Hi-Potion and an
Elixir.  When you're ready, exit the Mythril Mine through the exit Rude and
Tseng took (you'll have to crawl onto the ledge via a vine that grows alongside
it).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Fort Condor Area


   You'll emerge in a beautiful countryside upon exiting the Mythril Mines.
This area is rather large, and is filled with forests, sprawling plains, and
rivers.  You may want to use the map to ensure that you don't get lost.
Anyways, standing not too far from the exit to the Mythril Mines is a large
hill, atop of which sits the infamous Fort Condor.  Going there is completely
optional at this point, but recommended.  At the very least, I suggest that you
at least go there once and fight the first battle, if nothing more than to get a
feel for how the place works (as you are forced to do battle here later on).
Another worthy note that the Battles of Fort Condor and their respective prizes
are all lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  For more
information on Fort Condor, refer to section X of the FAQ, and also take note
that your actions taken during your first trip there will have some degree of
effect on your game later, as mentioned in section VII.A. of the FAQ.  Also, one
thing you may want to do right now is recruit one of the game's hidden
characters.  Instructions for this are detailed in section V.D. of the FAQ.

   Anyways, let's also take a moment to examine the local monster activity.  The
Zemelett is a... very odd creature, to say the least.  It's normal attacks
aren't that bad, but it does have a very powerful Thunderbolt attack, which can
rip up one of your characters pretty good.  But, it really doesn't use
Thunderbolt that often, and likely only will if you take too long to kill it.
It also has an attack called White Wind, which you may learn with the E. Skill
materia, but it will never use it.  You must return to this area later on when
you obtain the Manipulate materia.  Lastly, the Zemelett is weak versus wind-
based attacks, so the Choco/Mog and Elemental combo in someone's weapon will
help you make quick work of it.  Next on our list of monsters is the
Neurosufferoth.  It has a rather powerful fire-based attack called Heatwing
which does good damage to one target, but thankfully the attack is used
sparingly.  There's also the Formula, which is a bird-like creature and likely
the toughest creatures in the area.  But they appear mostly in the forests, so
you can go far in avoiding them by simply not venturing through any.  Their main
attack is called Blue Impulse, which is a powerful attack against the whole
party.  In addition to this, their normal attacks are powerful, as well.  Both
attacks are also long-range, putting your back-row members at risk.  They are
invulnerable to earth-based attacks and weak versus wind.  However, since the
Formula is by far the most dangerous creature you'll meet out here, you'll
probably be more interested in attacks that will rid you of them quickly, such
as Matra Magic, Fire/Ice/Lit/Bio-All spells, and the admittedly non-wind-based
Choco/Mog summon.  Lastly, there is a very good weapon they carry called the
Boomerang which you might want to steal (if you've recruited Yuffie, that is).
Truth be told, you might actually want to swipe multiple copies, as they make
excellent projectiles for the Throw materia (which Yuffie brings into the
party), as well.  Next, there's the Capparwire.  This is the one enemy that
appears only in forests, and is probably the next strongest thing you'll face
besides the Formula.  Their main advantage is their ability to attack in very
large numbers.  Aside from that, they also have powerful regular attacks, and an
attack called Grand Spark, which is like a regular attack, only a bit stronger.
They have no weaknesses, but conversely, no strengths.  Again, attacks that
target all enemies are the way to go, especially considering that since they
attack in groups, they inevitably have low HP (but probably not as low as you'd
expect).  Lastly, galloping across the plains, you may encounter the Hell Rider
VR2.  It has a mean normal attack and in addition, is rather durable and
difficult to finish off, especially given that it has no weaknesses.  It always
travels alone, though, and just about everything will do good damage to it.

   Anyways, you'll eventually want to head north to the port town of Junon.  It
can be difficult to spot, as it is built into the side of a cliff which faces
away from you.  It is at the northern edge of the mountain range, however, and
is located near a very small, oblong bay.  As you travel, you may wish to stick
to the plains whilst avoiding the forests.  As we've already established, the
forests are populated entirely by the two most powerful creatures around here,
while on the plains it's easy pickin's for the most part, though you may happen
across a couple of Formulas.  Anyways, see you at Junon!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Junon


   You'll ultimately arrive at a festering crap-hole called Junon.  The place
used to be a cozy little fishing town, y'see,  but that was before the Shinra
moved in and built a division of their company down here.  Keeping in with their
"screw the lower class" motif, they built a city on top of the town you see now,
and the result is pollution and a general hatred of the Shinra abound.  An old
lady through some mystical force realizes that you're headed west (we are?), but
says that the only way to do so is via a Shinra Boat.  Look around town, but
refrain from heading to the coast (in the lower-left section of town) before
your party is prepared for the upcoming boss battle.  Anyways, the shops here
are crappy, and sell mostly bottom-rung garbage.  There's no inn at which to
rest, meaning that you'll have to step outside town and use a Tent instead.
Which sucks.

   Go ahead and arrange your materia for the upcoming battle.  While magic, as
always, is the best attack you can use, in this case it may prove to be the only
attack you can use, as the boss battle in question is a long-range fight.  So,
unless your characters are packing long-range heat, the best way to go is with
magic.  Lighting magic will be especially useful in the upcoming battle, while
earth magic will prove ineffective.  Also, for reasons mentioned later, you may
also wish to attach an attack materia to an All materia.  Restore, needless to
say, will be helpful.  Anyways, get your team revved up, and then head for the
coast (again, located in the southwestern corner of town).

   You'll see a little girl named Priscilla playing with a dolphin by the beach.
You approach her, but she seems to believe that you're working for the Shinra.
Why, I have no idea.  You sure as hell don't look it, that's for damn sure.
But, maybe it's just something she's saying to try and piss you off, like
calling you a booger head, or saying that your mother wears army boots.
Anyways, the argument doesn't last very long until an unfortunate side effect of
the water pollution comes flying towards you at a high velocity.  Priscilla
stupidly runs toward it.  Your team, always ready and willing to save the
stupid, runs after her and engages in combat with Bottomswell.

   Bottomswell's main attack is called Big Wave, which will do a good amount of
damage to the entire team.  It uses this attack often, but no so often as to
pose too much of a threat with it (though be warned it does use Big Wave as its
dying attack, which if it catches you off-guard can wipe you out).  Just keep
your HP up and there shouldn't be much of a problem.  The other attack you need
to watch out for is its Bubble attack, which functions exactly like Reno's
Pyramid attack did with two notable differences.  One, the Bubble can only be
broken with magic (hence my suggestion of an attack materia paired with All).
Two, the Bubble, aside from completely preventing whomever is inside from
moving, will also drain that character's HP.  Meaning, you'll probably want to
hurry up and get rid of it.  As we've already established, lightning magic is
going to be your best bet here, while earth magic is going to have no effect
whatsoever.  Also remember that this is a long-range battle, so you're probably
going to have to stick with magical attacks for the most part.  Anyways, just
keep your HP up, and the fight will be over in no time.  You'll receive a Power
Wrist for winning this battle.

   After the battle, you'll find Priscilla lying on the beach, unconscious.
Before you can react, a man runs up from the village and demands that you
perform CPR on her.  Why you?  Because you're the one holding the controller,
silly.  This little task can be a big pain in the ass if you're not quite sure
what you're doing.  Press the button to make him start breathing in, and press
the same button to make him breathe into her.  You'll have to hit it at just the
right moment, though.  The precise moment you need to hit the button is a split
second after the bar reaches maximum height.  You may want to let the bar run
all the way up first without pressing the button to see exactly what level
maximum height is (it's kinda tricky).  And don't worry, she isn't going to die,
no matter how badly you screw it up.  Hell, it took me the better part of an
hour my first time, so take it easy.  Anyways, once you've brought her back, the
old man carries her off, and you're left alone on the beach.

   Return to town and talk to an old lady hanging around the village's entrance.
She congratulates you on protecting Priscilla, and offers to let you sleep in
her home.  Go ahead and take her up on her offer.  Never mind that the whole
place is made out of gingerbread...  Anyways, at your command, the team will
camp out for the night, and you all go to sleep.

   And now, yet another interlude from the creepy voices in Cloud's head.
Today's topic, like everything else that is ever discussed in the nether-regions
of Cloud's mind, is complete insanity.  This time, the voice makes references to
that day five years ago and to Tifa.  The voice gets very prodding, with
questions like, "where was Tifa other than that?" and "why couldn't you see Tifa
alone?"  Cloud, being the dumbass he is, cannot provide an acceptable response
to these questions (which may be mainly because the questions don't make any
sense to begin with...)  In response to this, the voice suggests that you ask
Tifa if she remembers anything.  While I'd be a bit reluctant to bring up a
discussion I had with the voices in my head to anybody other than a licensed
therapist, it does have kind of a point.  Maybe Tifa can remember something that
your hopelessly damaged brain can't?  The voice then commands you to wake up,
which you do.  Tifa is standing over you, and there appears to be loud parade
music playing in the background.  On an unfortunate note, Tifa's memory appears
to be just as bad as Cloud's is, so that's one more question unanswered for the
moment.  For now, lets go outside and figure out just what the hell is going on?

   The entire team is gathered outside Priscilla's house.  Try to enter
Priscilla's house, and she will come out.  In thank you for helping her, she
hands you the Shiva materia.  And I tell you, that's a hell of a lot more useful
that a drawing of you that looks more like a misshapen green dog turd with three
eyes.  Anyways, Priscilla explains to you that the whole parade music is to
welcome the new president of Shinra.  That would be Rufus, by the way.
Priscilla tells you how much she hates the Shinra, and how they moved in and
polluted her city.  Anyways, the team comes to the presumptuous conclusion that
Sephiroth has already crossed the ocean and that Rufus is here to give chase.
Well, the only way you're going to get to Upper Junon is by climbing a dangerous
and deadly high-voltage tower.  Guess who among you gets volunteered to do that?
Follow Priscilla down to the beach now.

   Arriving at the beach, Priscilla explains that maybe Mr. Dolphin will be able
to help you climb the tower.  She hands you a whistle that will make Mr. Dolphin
come to you whenever you blow it.  Barret shows up right about now to take the
PHS away from you, saying that it'll break if it gets wet.  He apparently
doesn't seem to notice or care that Cloud will break if he comes into contact
with that high-voltage tower, but...  Anyways, there's a spot on the tower that
you can safely walk across.  The idea is to position yourself I such a way that
when Mr. Dolphin launches you into the air, you'll land right on it.  This isn't
very hard at all: from the spot where you begin, blow the whistle and let Mr.
Dolphin launch you into the air.  From where you land, blow the whistle again,
and you'll land right on top.  Easy, wasn't it?  You're now well on your way to
Upper Junon

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Upper Junon


   As you climb up to the top, you'll get a spectacular view of the Highwind,
the world's premiere airship.  Of course, it belongs to the Shinra, and is
currently undergoing repairs, so it's off limits to you now.  From where you
are, head south to a giant platform.  Press a button on that platform to lower
it, and enter the building near the bottom of the screen.  As you step inside,
you will be immediately mistaken for a Shinra soldier, and this is where the fun
begins.  Your drill sergeant corrals you into a back room and makes you get
dressed.  He then calls upon two of his lackeys to show you what you'll be
doing.  You, my friend, are going to be marching in Rufus's welcoming parade.
Take heed of the controls and commands you learn here, and then follow them out
of the building when you are finished.

   Well... you'll exit the building somewhat late for the parade.  It seems that
while you were being an idiot and being mistaken for a soldier and all, they
decided to start the parade without you.  Following yet another berating from
your drill sergeant, one of the soldiers with you gets the bright idea to sneak
through the alleyways and inconspicuously join the parade.  This is what you'll
be doing.  Watch as the soldiers in front of you sneak in and keep in step with
the soldiers around them, and do exactly as they do.  You can tell when it gets
to Cloud, because he is the one who shrugs at the drill sergeant.  Now, I know
it all seems asinine, but the live TV ratings will be tied directly to your
performance here.  And the people out there aren't the kind who enjoy tuning in
to see soldiers screw up.  Nosiree...  The slightest misstep has absolutely
horrible effects on the ratings.  It's like ratings system is run by Hitler, for
God's sakes.  Anyways, the TV producer is pretty much ignoring everyone else and
keeping an eye squarely on you, as well.  If you perform well (ratings at 50% or
higher), the station thoughtfully sends you 5,000 gil as a reward (whilst
ignoring the other thousand soldiers who also marched flawlessly).  The next
step down (40-49%) would be six Ethers, and below that (30-39%) six Potions.
However, if you, like me, perform exceptionally horribly at this (29% or lower),
not only have you disgraced the Shinra army, but you've also gotten some poor TV
producer fired.  His boss angrily demands that he send you a bomb for this
insult, and you will receive instead a Grenade.  It's a nice thought, though I
seriously doubt that that's what his boss had in mind.

   Anyways, following that little incident, you'll see Heidegger and Rufus in
another section of Junon.  They discuss issues of transportation.  Apparently
the Highwind (that giant airship you saw on the way here) is not ready for
flight at the moment, nor is the Shinra Gelnika.  So, it appears that they will
be crossing the ocean via boat, instead.  That's right, Shinra Boat.  Anyways,
Rufus takes some time to make it clear that he thinks Heidegger is obnoxious
before he leaves (an insult which Heidegger will rather violently take out on
you once Rufus leaves).  When both Heidegger and Rufus leave, the soldiers
mention that Sephiroth was supposedly seen roaming the city.  Apparently, he
showed up, killed a few soldiers, and then vanished.  Following that, your drill
sergeant dismisses the entire group of soldiers.  Before you have a chance to
move, however, he comes up to you and begins berating you.  No matter how you
respond, he's going to drag you back to the torture room for more "training".

   Apparently, your next mission is to perform the send-off ceremony for
Heidegger and Rufus.  And to assist you in this mission are the same two
miserable jackasses from before.  Then, the drill sergeant proceeds to show you
all of the basic moves of the send-off ceremony (though at the ceremony he will
be delivering commands entirely at random).  You can screw up all you'd like
now, and can even do the same at the ceremony, if you'd like (though you may
think twice about doing it).  Anyways, following this horrid little training
session, your drill sergeant will set you loose in the streets.

   First and foremost, you may wish to save at that save point which has
materialized out of nowhere right over there.  Secondly, there are to exits to
the building that you are in.  One is the one that you already know will take
you to the streets.  The other is in the lower right corner of the room and is
an elevator which will take you back down to lower Junon.  Though you cannot use
it now, it would behoove you to remember that it is there.  Anyways, head on out
to the streets and see what you can accomplish.  Notice that all of the
buildings are lined up on one side of the street for easy access.  Also note
that what you see now is just half of the city- the other half can be found by
continuing south along the street, past the hallway that leads to the Underwater
Reactor (to which you cannot go at this time), and finally to the other side of
Junon.  Junon can be sort of difficult to navigate because the damn camera angle
keeps changing, but once you realize that it's all just one straight path,
you'll be fine.

   Well, for starters, as you emerge on the street, you may happen to catch a
glance of Rude of the Turks heading into one of his favorite bars.  You can
follow him and even converse with him once you get there, if you'd like, but it
really doesn't do much.  Above the bar, however, is an excellent weapon shop
(though you may already posses the entire inventory through freelance theft).
You'll actually find the rest of the Turks in another bar on the other side of
town (interesting how Rude doesn't like to hang out with them).  Anyways, take
some time to do any shopping you need to get done (the Seal and Revive materia
are both available in one of the better shops here).  The guy who runs the
crappier materia shop has hired some nice girls to invite people into his store,
however, so it's worth a look if not just for that.   Also note that your
supplies going into the next part of the game may have an effect on the game
later on, as detailed in section VII.A. of the FAQ).  There's also a "training
room" hidden here in Junon if you know where to look for it (in the basement of
someone's house).  It's an advanced version of the one you saw back at the now-
decimated Sector Seven.  Again, you probably already know what these ass-rammers
have to say, but stop in anyways to pick up the E. Skill materia.  Also, don't
place yourself above theft.  A lot can be gained from walking into people's
houses here at Junon and just blatantly taking things.  Among the items you can
acquire here are: a Power Source, Mind Source, Speed Source, Guard Source,
Luck Source, and two  1/35 Soldiers.

   Once you're through raping and pillaging the town, continue to the other end
of Junon (just keep following the path you're on until you reach the docks).
Here, you'll meet up with Rufus and Heidegger again.  Of course, they're too
busy squabbling pettily to notice their arch-nemesis standing right next to
them.  The send-off ceremony is about to begin, but keep something in mind
before you begin.  How you perform during the send-off will affect the reward
you'll receive upon completion (and again, you, for some reason are the only one
who seems to be getting any kind of a reward).  The president has a "mood"
rating, which will go up by 10 points every time you do something right, and
will not be affected at all if you screw up.  However, at the end of the send
off, it will inevitably go up ten points because Cloud will automatically do
that part right (again, Rufus doesn't even appear to catch on to his rival's
trademark stance).  Anyways, the rewards for the ceremony are as follows: a
Force Stealer for a mood of 100 or higher, an HP Plus materia for a mood of
60-90, and Silver Sunglasses for anything below that.  You would be wise to
know that the HP Plus has higher monetary value than the Force Stealer, and also
is not available for purchase until later in the game than the Force Stealer is.
You may also notice during the send-off, something red and furry poking up from
behind a crate in the boat...  Hmm...

   Anyways, after the send-off ceremony, Heidegger presents you with your
reward.  Rufus mentions that he expects AVALANCHE to show up...  Hmm... they
might even be... right... here...  Anyways Rufus and Heidegger leave (not
without yet another violent outburst from the latter), and the soldiers sit down
to discuss what an asshole Heidegger has been lately (as if he normally wasn't
one).  Apparently, he's been on edge ever since Dr. Hojo vanished, leaving a
letter of resignation.  Apparently having his throat ripped open by Red XIII
really didn't leave him in much of a condition to be working.  Anyways, it
appears now that the whole Sephiroth investigation has been placed squarely in
the hands of Heidegger.  Sephiroth, in case you haven't been paying attention,
was the one who mercilessly slaughtered the majority of the population at the
Shinra building, so you'd kind of understand why Heidegger is a little edgy...
After this whole discussion, the troops take off towards the barracks, leaving
you alone at the ship.

   Again, you may have noticed earlier that Red XIII had managed to make it on
board...  You can either follow suit and get on the boat, or try to leave.  If
you try to leave, Red XIII will yell at you from the ship and make you get on,
anyways.  Either way, it's bon voyage for AVALANCHE!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Shinra Boat


   About halfway across the sea, Cloud decides that just standing in the cargo
hold like a putz isn't such a bright idea, and he begins to move around.  Walk
around the ship and talk to everybody.  Roughly 50% of the crew are AVALANCHE
members in disguise, however.  Do be warned that several of your responses
aboard the Shinra Boat will have an effect on the game later on, as mentioned in
section VII.A. of the FAQ.  There's an Ether in a chest in the cargo hold, as
well as an All materia.  However, if Yuffie is amongst your numbers, she will
be standing in the way, so you're just going to have to make it a point to come
back for it after the team regroups.  Also note that on the deck there's a
sailor who's running a small business, though it's not apparent at first.  If
you tell him you're tired, he sells you a ludicrously overpriced energy drink
that functions as an inn, and he also has some meager supplies to sell if you
tell him that "something's missing".

   Anyways, you'll meet up with Tifa and Red XIII (who is disguised, apparently,
as a complete jackass) here on the deck.  You saw Aeris and Yuffie back in the
cargo hold...  So where's Barret?  If you haven't already, go talk to Aeris
twice.  The second time you talk to her, she asks you where Barret is and says
that she hopes he's not doing anything stupid.  Well, of course he's off doing
something stupid.  It's Barret, for God's sakes.  You also must talk to Tifa,
Yuffie (if she's with you), and Red XIII to trigger the next event.  What
happens, is that there is path on the deck that leads to the bow, or the front
of the ship.  And once you've talked to everybody, the idiot sailor who was
standing in your way decides to move so you can get past.  At the front of the
ship, you'll see Barret spying on Rufus and Heidegger.  Barret is, as you can
probably imagine, very pissed.  He's about to just give in and go kick their
asses, when all of a sudden the klaxons begin to blare.  Apparently, a
suspicious person has been spotted on the ship...  Have you been found out?

   Barret and Cloud run back to the stern, where the rest of the team regroups.
Everyone's here, meaning that the suspicious person must be... Sephiroth!
Select a team to go investigate the matter further, but realize that you've got
a huge boss battle on the way, so choose wisely.  If Red XIII knows Lunatic
High, you may choose to bring him along for this fight due to that alone, but
all in all, it's really a matter of personal preference.  With your team
selected, you can wisely choose to save your game at a nearby save point (God,
those things are everywhere!), and you may also talk to the sailor-turned-
salesman who still has no qualms about selling you things or in any other way
aiding you.

   As for your materia set-up?  The only ineffective magic in the next battle
will be poison magic.  Quake and Flame Thrower are both good attacks to use, but
are trumped by Ice 2, Fire 2, and/or Bolt 2, if they are available to you.
Shiva and Choco/Mog will both help out in a pinch, but only as single attacks.
Throw, by the way, is the most powerful materia available to you at the time,
but only if you have projectiles on hand (and are willing to use them).
Truthfully, it would be a better idea to just have the Throw materia handy and
resort to using it only if you have to.  And I probably shouldn't have to tell
you this, but you're going to need some serious healage on hand.  The
Restore/All combo is by all means recommended for this fight, and you may even
consider taking Aeris along for her Healing Wind (or Yuffie, if she already
knows Clear Tranquil).

   Anyways, proceed down into the cargo area, where you'll notice that there are
now monsters on board the ship.  First and foremost is the Marine.  And the
main thing concerning them that you should be aware of is that you can steal the
most excellent Shinra Beta from them.  In addition to being kick-ass armor,
it's also one of the game's lost-forevers, mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.
Take your time and steal as many as you like from them, because these guys are
seemingly endless.  In combat, they are really nothing to speak of.  They have
an annoying tendency to put your characters to sleep, but that's about it.  Also
on the ship is an enemy called Scruitin Eye, which is a lot more dangerous than
the Marine.  They can cast both Fire 2 and Ice 2, so you've got to stay on guard
around them.  They have no weaknesses, and they are invulnerable to earth magic.

   Anyways, you may want to fight around in the Cargo Bay for a minute or so
whilst you collect some Shinra Beta.  If you haven't already collected the All
materia down here, you may also be wanting to do that right about now (the All
materia here being one of the lost-forevers mentioned in section I.F. of the
FAQ).  You might also want to build up your limit meters in preparation for the
upcoming boss battle (especially Red XIII's, if he's with you and knows Lunatic
High, that is).  When you're ready, proceed through the door in the cargo bay
into the next room.  Just inside the next room, you'll see a ladder to your
left.  You can crawl atop it to the catwalk above and follow it to a chest
containing the Wind Slash, a weapon for Yuffie and yet another of the game's
lost-forevers (mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ)  At the from end of this
room, you'll see a sailor standing quietly against the wall.  When you try to
talk to him, he collapses at your feet... dead.

   That's when Sephiroth appears.  And by "appears", I really mean "rises up
creepily from the floor beneath you".  I'm sorry, but this is just getting just
a tad bit creepy.  Cloud tries to yell at Sephiroth, but he doesn't even give
Cloud so much as the time of day.  Instead, he just floats into the air, and
then... launches himself into the air at an incredibly high velocity.  You're
left with no time at all to ponder exactly how weird, strange, unsettling,
unusual, creepy, or disturbing that may have been, because a fight will
immediately begin with a little playmate that Sephiroth has left behind for you.
Say hello to Jenova-BIRTH.

   Jenova-BIRTH's attacks aren't horribly powerful, but you'll find that it is
atrociously fast, and that it's attacks often occur in tandem, thus giving you
reason enough to worry.  It's regular attack does a considerable amount of
damage, and it also has its Tail Laser, which is a fairly powerful attack
against the entire team.  To make things worse, Jenova-BIRTH can make use of the
Stop spell.  And, unfortunately, neither Mindblow nor Seal Evil can prevent this
attack.  So, really, you've got no defense against it.  The best thing you can
do for yourself (besides quickly using Lunatic High, if applicable), if to just
wail on its ass with all of the attacks that you've prepared yourself with (see
four paragraphs above this one).  And, perhaps most importantly, keep an eye on
your HP during this battle.

   After you've killed it, it's arm sits there on the floor and continues to
creepily flop about as though still alive and completely independent from the
rest of its body...  God, it's creepy.  Cloud at this point has the option of
giving a brief synopsis of the story.  And by brief, I do mean very brief.  His
story pretty much begins and ends with: "Sephiroth killed a bunch of people and
now we're after him".  Thanks, Cloud, because I'm a complete retard and was
unable to figure that out for myself.  Why don't you go have another
conversation with those voices in your head and leave the thinking to us, all
right?

   Shortly afterwards, the ship docks, and the party arrives in Costa Del Sol...


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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Costa Del Sol


   Let me begin by saying that absolutely no decision you make here will have
any impact on the game later, as discussed in section VII.A. of the FAQ, so have
fun.  The team disembarks the ship as it docks and talk quietly amongst
themselves.  Comments are made about Barret's cute sailor outfit.  And I'm
sorry, but no amount of Staypuff Marshmallow Man jokes are going to do that suit
justice.  After some meaningless banter, the team splits up (with whomever is in
your group staying with you).  You can leave the screen via the stairs up to the
rest of town on your bottom right.

   As you leave the screen, you'll see Rufus and Heidegger stepping off of the
ship.  Rufus gets very angry at Heidegger after he learns that not only was
Sephiroth on board the ship, but you were, as well.  Gee, imagine how mad Rufus
is going to be when he finds out that Sephiroth annihilated 90% of the crew...
Anyways, Rufus leaves in his chopper, and Heidegger takes out his frustrations
by running up to a couple of locals and kicking their asses.  Good lord,
Heidegger!  It looks like someone could use a little anger-management therapy.
I'm not even saying he's got to calm down, but just refrain from randomly
injuring innocent bystanders whenever his boss yells at him.

   The scene switches back to you, standing near the entrance to Costa Del Sol.
You see that giant archway you're standing on top of?  If you head left, it'll
take you back to the docks.  Beyond the archway and into the distance is the
town's exit... you don't want to go there, yet.  Do yourself a favor and hang
around town.  The materia shopping here is the same as it was back in upper
Junon, but you may find yourself wanting to do some armor shopping (there's a
guy at the bar selling it).  The Four Slots sold here is a lost-forever, as
mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ, but odds are you could care less.  Far
more importantly, be warned that hanging around inside the bar is Mukki and his
entourage of creepy, muscle-bound, oily speedo men.  Running as far away from
Mukki and his creepy, muscle-bound, oily speedo men as possible, also make it a
point to visit the "tropical getaway" mentioned in section XVIII.B. of the FAQ.
While you'd have to be some kind of an idiot to buy the place (a rich one, at
that), you'd be wise to loot the basement of its valuable contents, which
include the Motor Drive, a Fire Ring, and a Power Source.  Lastly, the item
shop is of worthy mention in this town.  The owner recommends that you buy a
Soft as a memento of your stay.  As idiotic as the idea of selling tenderizer to
tourists is, there is a reason that it has become their number one commercial
item.  However, before you buy, realize one thing: there is only one enemy up
ahead than can stone your characters.  Furthermore, it is a slow stone (it takes
30 seconds to take effect), and even if you haven't managed to end the battle by
that point, the condition will not last past the end of the battle.

   You'll also find your team hanging around town in various places (excluding
the ones who are with you, of course).  Barret has commandeered the bathroom at
the local inn and appears to be having some difficulty getting out of his sailor
outfit.  Tifa has located an old childhood friend and is chatting with him (a
fact which would make Cloud jealous if he were capable of human emotion).
Yuffie has found a part-time job at the local materia shop from a man whom she
later intends to rob blind (Yuffie's not a very considerate person, you'll soon
learn).  Red XIII is napping on the sidewalk near several children playing
soccer.  More than likely,  you'll find yourself giving in to the urge to run up
to the ball and kick it at Red XIII, possibly repeatedly.

   Lastly, Aeris is at the beach (accessible from the lower right corner of
town).  As you enter the beach area, Aeris will spot Dr. Hojo lying on the
beach, surrounded by beautiful women.  Never have I wanted more to be a flaky
psychopath than I do now.  The team approaches Dr. Hojo with an inquisitive
mind.  Of course, there's only so much information you can hope to glean from
someone who speaks mostly to himself and entirely in indecipherable gibberish.
He begins another one of his orgasmic seizures and pratters on about something
calling you or that there's some place you feel like you have to visit.  You
know, sane things.  Even Cloud, who has frequent discussions with voices in his
head can't relate to this level of insanity, and replies that the team is after
Sephiroth.  After a little more questioning from the team, Hojo begins mumbling
more nonsense, but thankfully manages to splice "head west" somewhere into it.
Following this, you cease wasting your time with the lunatic and head back into
town.

   You'll probably want to take a nap at the inn (where your dreams will be
accompanied by the soothing sound of the ocean waves), after which your team
will "regroup".  By regroup, I mean that the ones that were hanging around town
have since left.  Take the time to point and laugh at the materia shop owner who
was grifted by Yuffie (interestingly enough, he still has the same selection of
wares as he did before).  And to answer a question that I myself had at one
point: your team never sees a dime from Yuffie's thieving escapades.  Even more
weirdly, you can bring Yuffie back to the shop owner and neither of them will
say a word to each other.  Anyways, having accomplished all that need be done in
town, say goodbye to the tropical paradise of Costa Del Sol and head westward.

   In the fields, you will run into only one enemy in the local area.  This
enemy is known as the Garagalan, and is what appears to be a gigantic floating
barrel.  If that wasn't ridiculous enough, once you damage it enough, it can
generate a smaller version of itself called the Garangalan Jr.  The Garangalan
Jr., in turn, having reached sufficient levels of damage, can spit out three
very tiny, very cute Garangalan Jr. Jr's.  Essentially, this is the kind of
enemy that one would think up after about nine or ten hits off the crack pipe.
To further substantiate my theory that the Costa Del Sol area monster activity
was developed by a bunch of programmers in the span of about five minutes after
two months of heavy narcotics use is the fact that the Garangalan and its spawn
have only one attack.  It's called Silver Wheel, launches a shiny metal sprocket
directly towards your face, and despite how painful it looks is a relatively
harmless physical attack towards one of your characters.  As far as fighting
them goes, they have no strengths or weaknesses to speak of.  The Garangalan can
take a lot of damage, however, but thankfully will only spawn a Garangalan Jr.
when it is near death.  The Garangalan Jr. can take a lot of damage, but not
nearly as much as the Garangalan.  It, too, when near death will respawn.  The
miniature Garangalan Jr. Jr.'s are very easy to kill and will likely fall in a
single hit.  When you kill a Garangalan creature, everything that it spawned
will die with it, meaning that battles can easily be brought to an end by just
wiping the floor with the original Garangalan.  However, you will only get AP
and experience for the creatures that you killed directly.  So, if you're not in
any kind of a hurry, you might want to stop and pick up a little experience by
killing them all.  Oh, and did I mention that the Garangalan(s) are immune to
earth magic?

   By the way, there actually is one other creature around here, but you will
not encounter it unless you go down to the beach.  And the term "ridiculously
easy to kill" does not do the Beachplug justice.  It is a weak, pathetic
creature in every way.  However, they do have an attack called Big Guard which
you may learn with the E. Skill materia.  They will never use it, however, so
you're just going to have to remember to collect it once you pick up the
Manipulate materia.

   Anyways, head westward and follow the path through the mountains to the base
of Mt. Corel.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Mt. Corel


   It's kind of misleading at first, because the base of Mt. Corel is a cave for
some unknown reason.  It's one of those flukes in video game physics.  So just
don't be surprised that after stepping into the cave you find yourself at the
bottom of a rocky mountain path.  A guy conveniently loitering around here will
mention having recently seen Sephiroth pass by here.  And Sephiroth must've been
in a good mood, because this man is noticeably not hacked up into tiny little
pieces.  Hot on Sephy's trail, head on down the mountain path.

   Before we go over the local monster activity, let's go over one detail right
quick.  Now, I know you're just dying to use your Shiva and Ifrit materia to
nail and lay waste to all who dare oppose you...  But, realize that by
overusing those two materia, your MP will nosedive.  However, realize that the
Choco/Mog materia at this point is equally effective in annihilating all of your
enemies, and at a much cheaper MP cost.

   That being said, wouldn't you know that there's monsters here?  Let's go over
them now.  The Bagnarada, first and foremost, is mentioned in section XIX.B. of
the FAQ.  They are large creatures with an immunity to fire magic and a weakness
to ice magic.  Their attacks are weak, but they will occasionally use a powerful
Poison Breath magical attack which will do quite bit of damage to one of your
characters in addition to poisoning them.  They are quite durable in comparison
to the rest of the creatures around here, as well.  Lastly, if you are so
inclined, you may wish to steal a Diamond Pin from one.  Next, we have the
Boatfloat.  The Boatloat is a little flying creature that is both very weak and
easy to kill.  They have a powerful attack called Spiky Hell, but it is used
only as a clutch attack.  Being an airborne creature, they have a natural
resistance to earth magic.  They fall prey to wind-based attacks, but unless
you've got the Elemental/Choco/Mog combo in someone's weapon, this isn't going
to be a fact you can exploit.  Either way, they're still easy to kill.  Next up,
we have the Cockatolis.  The Cockatolis is a giant bird that you will meet upon
emerging on the old railroad tracks.  They are weak creatures, and their only
point worthy of mention is their Petrify Smog attack which, you should be aware
of, is the reason that guy back in Costa Del Sol was trying to pawn off a bunch
of Softs on you.  However, it takes 30 seconds for the petrification to set in,
and if the battle isn't already over at that point, the effects won't even carry
over to the next battle, so there's really little point in being worried.  At
the main section of the railroad tracks, you'll meet the Needle Kiss, an evil
little bastard.  It's a bird with a powerful lightning-based magical attack
called Thunder Kiss.  Lucky for you, they're at least easy to kill, but they are
immune to both lightning and earth magic.  The Search Crown (also mentioned in
section XIX.B. of the FAQ) is an enemy you will be introduced to on the other
side of the tracks.  They are small and very easy to kill.  However, they have a
tendency to show up in numbers, and can show up in very large numbers at times.
Their attacks are of moderate strength, but they also have a more powerful
attack called Four Lasers.  But again, what makes them most dangerous is their
numbers.  They are at least easy to kill, as I have already mentioned, but avoid
using fire magic, as they will absorb the damage rather than take it.  The last
enemy you meet at Mt. Corel arrives at the bridge, and is a giant, floating
Bomb.  Against better instincts, you are to attack the volatile floating Bomb,
which will, as you might imagine, anger it.  It has 600 HP in all.  One you deal
past 450 damage to it, it blows up in your stupid-ass face.  As you can imagine,
this hurts quite a bit.  The idea is to avoid bringing its HP down to 150, and
then dealing 150+ damage to destroy it before it has a chance to blow up.  It's
normal attack is not horribly bad, but it does have a powerful fire-based attack
called, get this, Fireball.  It also gets stronger and stronger as it takes
damage and grows in size like an evil blowfish.  Hehe... blowfish...

   Anyways, as you head up the path, you'll soon find yourself on a long bridge
leading towards a mako reactor built into the mountain.  Head towards the
reactor, and from there, head south to the next screen.  There, you'll emerge on
an old set of railroad tracks.  You'll see a set of stairs to your left which
you can use to disembark the tracks, but they really won't take you anywhere
(you can go underneath the tracks and up the stairs near the top of the screen,
but the only thing you'll get from it is a nice view of the reactor).  Staying
on the tracks, head to the bottom right corner of the screen to advance to the
next screen.

   You find yourself atop the sprawling railroad tracks leading through the
mountains.  Before you advance any further, there is something that you should
be aware of.  In three spots on these tracks, the tracks are rotted.  And when
you step onto them, they will give way.  You can press a button to avoid this,
but keep in mind that you will only have three chances to fall off the side of
the tracks, and there are two items that you can find down there that are for
this reason considered to be lost forevers.  That is, once you've stepped on all
three sections of track, there's no way for you to get back down there.  The two
items are the Wizard Staff (on the left) and the Star Pendant (on the right).
You can only collect one item at a time, as you can only climb vertically on the
tracks.  Thus, you must make at least two trips down here to collect both items.
To collect them, wait until the track gives way when Cloud steps on it and you
fall.  Hold left or right as you repeatedly mash the appropriate button (the
game will tell you which button to mash).  If you did it right, you'll grab a
hold of the tracks near the bottom on either the left or right side.  If you did
it wrong, then you will grab on in the middle of the tracks and will thus be
able to collect neither item on this trip down.  Lastly, keep in mind that when
the tracks give way, they will create obvious holes in your path, but you can
just hop over them.

   As for the tracks themselves, continue on until the track splits into upper
and lower sections.  For starters, not matter which path you take, there's going
to be a rotted section of track just past the fork (you can tell which parts are
rotted by the way they look).  Anyways, going up takes you to a treasure chest
that is for some reason lying on the railroad tracks.  Inside is the W Machine
Gun.  The tracks also end with the W Machine Gun, as the gap is too large to
jump.  Back at the fork, the bottom set of tracks will take you to the section
of track where the upper and lower paths meet.  If you go backwards along the
upper path, you'll find a Turbo Ether, followed by the third rotted section,
followed by a Transform materia.  People leave such useful things lying on
railroad tracks, don't they?  Anyways, where the upper and lower tracks meet,
the tracks again split into upper and lower paths.  The lower path will lead to
an area where the remainder or your team has converged.  Their progress is
currently stymied by a raised drawbridge.  Rather than lowering it themselves,
they thought they'd wait for you to show up and do it for them.  If you'd like
to change the members in your party, do so by taking the lower path and speaking
with the team.  If not, then take the high road.

   As you continue along the high road, you'll spot the rest of your team on the
tracks below as you hurry across the bridge.  At the other end of the bridge,
you'll see a small shack.  Enter the shack and pull the lever.  This lowers the
bridge, thus allowing your teammates to cross it.  You may also return to that
spot and cross it. But first you may wish to follow the track that you are
currently on as it twists around the corner.  From there, you can scale the
cliff to a small bird's nest.  If you'd like, you can pilfer 10 Phoenix Down
from said nest (at somewhat of an expense to the baby birds, mind you).  In
choosing this, you'll also have to fight the mother (a Cockatolis).  By the way,
your decision here has no effect on your teammates' feelings towards you (as
discussed in section VII.A. of the FAQ), so go ahead and pilfer away if you so
choose, you evil, heartless bastard.

   So, return to the bottom and cross the bridge.  Continue along the tracks
until they fork.  One path goes left to a seeming dead-end.  However, if you
walk across the path of junk and turn right underneath the tracks, you'll enter
a small alcove where you can find a Tent, a Mind Source, a Power Source, and
a lazy worker.  Keep in mind that an arrow to the entrance will not appear even
if you use the select button, so you'll have to find it on your own.  Anyways,
back at the fork, the right path takes you to the next screen.

   The next screen is the longest rope bridge you've ever seen in your life.
Now, I know your party has had negative experiences with rickety rope bridges in
the past, but you really have no choice but to cross it.  Miraculously, the
bridge does not collapse into nothingness as you cross it.  Someone must be
watching over you...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: North Corel


   Anyways, just at the other end of the bridge, you'll emerge in a quaint
little town called North Corel.  And by quaint, I mean "barren, deserted trash
heap".  A couple of scruffy-looking guys approach Barret and begin to
relentlessly trash-talk him.  Before you duck and cover to prepare for the
expected bloodbath, realize that Barret is... taking it?  The guys prod and
antagonize him feverishly, calling him a traitor and blaming the current
condition of their trash pile, I mean, town on him.  Barret's only response is
"I'm sorry..." before the guys just give up and walk away.  Approach Barret and
talk to him, but he just runs off, presumably to shoot something.

   Take a look around through the filth and talk with the local residents.  Like
every other normal citizen of the world, they despise the Shinra.  Of course,
for some unknown reason, they despise Barret equally.  There's a guy here who's
considering getting a tattoo and asks your advice.  If you reply that you
haven't a clue what he's talking about, he responds that he saw someone matching
Sephiroth's description passing through here, and also that he had a "1"
tattooed on his hand.  Hmm...  Anyways,  seeing as the town is little more than
"Jonestown: the Morning After", the shopping, as you might expect, isn't
horribly great.  Of course, there are a few decent buys at the weapon shop if
you're at all interested and/or haven't already picked these items up yet.  The
item shop also sells meager supplies.  When you're done scrounging through this
hell hole, head to the trolley station in the far west area of town (and you
might also want to get a tetanus shot...)

   You'll find Barret at the trolley station, and at this point the team
questions him.  Barret explains that his hometown used to be around here.  By
"used to be around here", he means that the place wasn't always a landfill.  It
was once a cozy little mining town that, for some reason, nobody has bothered to
begin rebuilding over all these years.  One day, the Shinra came to said cozy
mining town and asked them permission to build a mako reactor.  At a village
meeting, everyone in the town, even Barret, supports the idea, except for a man
named Dyne.  Dyne is the one that isn't about to throw away his ancestor's coal
mines for the technology of the future.  Also present at this meeting are a few
Shinra troops led by evil bitch, Scarlet.  Scarlet makes a few empty promises,
and ultimately, Dyne is overridden and the reactor is built.

   Barret and Dyne were good friends, you see.  And one day, while they were off
visiting the reactor, something happened.  Barret and Dyne returned to North
Corel only to discover that the Shinra had firebombed the place.  Apparently,
there was an explosion at the reactor which Shinra blamed on a rebel faction.  I
have to admit, in a way, Shinra's method for dealing with crime is very harsh to
say the least.  They decimate an entire city because someone in it pissed them
off.  Sure, it's effective, but it's just that if they keep it up, they're not
going to have any cities left.   Anyways, Barret blames himself for the whole
incident, even though his only real crime was trusting the Shinra.  He feels
even worse because the fire killed his wife, Myrna.  This, by the way, is why he
feels so attached to Marlene: she's all he's got left.

   The trolley is about to leave, and you should go ahead and get on.  Barret
steps onto the trolley, dejected.  Your team follows him on, making all sorts of
comments on the way.  The only one who does not sympathize with him is Yuffie,
who really isn't capable of such a non-evil emotion, anyways.  The trolley takes
off, and your team heads for the Gold Saucer.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Gold Saucer


   The first time you go to the Gold Saucer, you are treated to a lovely, kick-
ass CG movie sequence.  The Gold Saucer is the coolest thing that ever was and
the most kick-ass place in the entire game.  You arrive just outside the Gold
Saucer and a guy standing up front will charge you for a ticket.  The price of a
one day ticket is 3,000 gil, and a lifetime ticket is 30,000 gil.  Keep in mind
that you will want a lifetime ticket as soon as you can afford one, but you
probably won't be able to afford one now.  If you can, then by all means go for
it.  If not, just be sure to have all of your fun before you leave.

   The team steps inside the Gold Saucer and splits up.  Barret, obviously, is
still pissed.  And no amount of cheering up from Aeris will work.  He eventually
breaks off and heads off on his own.  You at this point can choose one of your
teammates to accompany you through the Gold Saucer.  This decision will have an
effect on the game later, as mentioned in section VII.A. of the FAQ.  Note that
if you try to leave without taking anyone, you'll receive a random teammate by
default.  Truth be told, I believe that this "random" teammate may be decided by
which character is the most fond of you at the time, but I really have no way of
proving it.

   Have some fun at the Gold Saucer, now.  Most attractions here cost gil, but
some will cost you GP (which can be acquired through various means).  You may
also want to stop by the Ghost Square to check out one of the flyers mentioned
in section V.A. of the FAQ.  For more information on the fun and attractions
here at the Gold Saucer, refer to section VIII. of the FAQ.  However, do not
head to the Battle Square, as it will trigger an event which will end your stay
at the Gold Saucer (though the event will not be triggered until you have
triggered a previous event at the Wonder Square, meaning that if you'd like to
visit the Battle Square, do so before going to the Wonder Square).  You'll see
some Shinra soldiers at the Chocobo Square, and at the Speed Square, you'll meet
Dio, the owner and proprietor of said kick-ass place.  Dio, if you didn't know
any better, looks like one of Mukki's followers.  He's a creepy, oily muscle-man
in a speedo that keeps calling you "boy".  He asks you if you've ever seen a
"black materia", saying that Sephiroth came by looking for it, and reaffirms
what the idiot back at North Corel said by stating that Sephiroth had a "1"
tattooed on his hand.  Dio then leaves you to your devices and heads off to the
Battle Square, presumably to participate in some speedo-related activity.

   I also mentioned a triggered event at the Wonder Square.  As you arrive, you
are approached by a gigantic stuffed animal.  Its name is Cait Sith, and it is
the worst fortune-telling machine the world has ever known.  Cloud takes the
bait and asks it where he can find Sephiroth.  The response you get from it is
both non-sequitor and blatantly wrong.  Miss Cleo could give better advice by
reading fortune cookies than this thing could.  But he tries, dammit.  He really
tries.  And at the end, he seems so pathetic as to need a hug just for trying.
The last fortune he spits out is rather ominous, however: "what you seek will be
yours, but you will lose something dear".  Of course, he wants to know what the
hell it means, so he decides to come with you.  And he isn't taking no for an
answer.  Welcome Cait Sith to the party.  He comes with a Transform materia
(with 7,000 AP already on it, to boot) and the Manipulate materia.  Joy.

   With Cait Sith in your party, head on over to the Battle Square.  You should
be quite familiar with the sight of bloody massacres by this point, and that's
exactly what you see here.  There's a twist to this one, however.  The people
here were all shot.  Sephiroth would never use a gun...  One of the dying people
fingers "a man with a gun on his arm" as the cause of all the slayings.  Dammit,
Barret!  What have we told you about killing people!?  Bad, bad Barret!  No
cookies for you!  Dio arrives at about this time, and you party does the
absolute stupidest thing imaginable: they run.  Of course, they are easily
caught.  Your punishment?  You will pay for your crimes "down below"...  Before
you can derive anything sexual from that remark, a couple of gigantic machines
grab your characters and skydive out of the Gold Saucer.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Corel Desert Prison


   You find yourself in a ratty hellhole that almost makes North Corel look
livable.  Cait Sith mentions that this is a desert prison, where people are sent
to rot, pretty much.  In one special case, a man was set free, but since it
would fall into the category of actual helpful advice, Cait Sith can't tell you
much more about it.  At the bottom of the screen, your party sees Barret.
Approach him and speak with him, but don't expect to get much out of him.  He
pretty much just tells you to leave him alone and runs off again.  Barret
doesn't like to be bothered after his killin', you see.  However, your party,
not being ones to follow common sense, unwisely should continue after the
enraged man with a gun grafted into his arm.

   Before you go any further, you should probably note that enemies wander the
streets, and you're more than likely to get into a fight before going too far.
You'll meet a lot of scum out here, beginning with the Bandit.  If there's any
place you can expect to do battle with things that will steal from you, it's
here.  As always, be wary of them and dispense with them quickly to avoid theft.
They possess no weaknesses, but thankfully no strengths, either, and are
relatively easy to kill.  In addition, the Bandit is also mentioned in section
XIX.B. of the FAQ.  In addition to also being mentioned in section XIX.B. of the
FAQ, the Bull Motor is a more viable opponent than the Bandit.  While it cannot
steal from you, does have the powerful Matra Magic attack (which you can take
the time to learn with the E. Skill materia if you haven't already).  Next on
the list is the Death Claw.  Again, there's not much to talk about here.  It's
a fairly tough opponent with no strengths or weaknesses to speak of.  It does,
however, use the fairly detrimental Laser attack, which is yet another worthy
addition to your E. Skill materia, so you might want to take the time to learn
it (you may also choose to utilize the Manipulate materia to speed the process
up some).  The 2-Faced is another... strange thing.  It's a bouncing,
spinning... thing.  There's really not much to talk about with these things, but
don't be surprised if you find them doing strange things like healing you or
committing hara-kiri halfway through the fight.  Lastly, we have an enemy that
you will not encounter until your dumb ass wanders out into the desert (which,
sadly, you'll have to do).  The Land Worm has an insanely high amount of HP
(making Laser a very good attack to use against it).  Fire magic will only do
half damage, so isn't really a good idea.  In addition, the Land Worm is immune
to earth magic, but is weak versus ice magic.  More good news is that the Land
Worm always travels alone.  Do watch out for its attacks, however, as they are
fairly powerful and do target the whole party.

   Anyways, with that out of the way, follow Barret to the southern end of
"town".  You'll find him in a small, nondescript house somewhere on the right.
You'll enter and attempt to talk to him.  He turns around and... shoots at you.
Seriously.  Actually, when the dust clears, a man who was hiding behind the
couch appears and collapses to the ground.  I'm not quite sure why Barret shot
him, but I'm fairly certain that his reasons were something along the lines of
"he needed killin'."  Barret just turns around and says that he doesn't want any
of you to get involved.  Well, dumbass, you went around and shot everybody and
got us sent to prison, I'd call that pretty involved.  The rest of the team
arrives and it is Red XIII who finally brings up the massive slaughter to
Barret.  Barret denies having anything to do with it, saying that there is
another man with a gun-arm...  It seems just a little too far-fetched to
swallow, but Barret provides proof in the form of a flashback sequence.

   The scene begins right where the last one left off: with Barret and Dyne
rushing through the mountains to help North Corel which, as you will recall, was
being attacked by the Shinra.  And when I say "attacked", I mean it.  This
wasn't just a routine city-bombing.  An elderly old man comes hobbling the
mountain path to warn Barret and Dyne of the disaster in the village and is shot
in the back by a Shinra soldier.  Christ, Shinra!  When you are shooting elderly
men in the back as they are slowly but surely fleeing your evil ass, you can no
longer use "trying to crush a rebel faction" as an excuse for your actions,
because at this point you are just blatantly committing genocide.  Barret and
Dyne now run for their lives from the firing Shinra soldiers.  They probably
would have gotten away, too, except that Scarlet, everyone's favorite evil
bitch, shows up at this point and begins yelling at the soldiers for their
horrible aim.  She kicks one of the soldier's asses, takes his gun, and begins
firing.  And I've got to hand it to Scarlet: that woman is the best shot I've
ever seen in my life.  Dyne trips over the edge of the cliff and Barret grabs
his arm.  As Dyne dangles over the edge, a bullet (presumably fired by Scarlet)
hits them directly where their hands met, thus severely damaging both mens'
hands, and causing Dyne to plummet into the abyss below.  Barret never does
explain how he managed to escape the situation with his life, though at this
point I would not rule out divine intervention.

   Anyways, Barret was an angry amputee for quite some time following.  He
finally decided to have a gun grafted into his arm, thus becoming an angry
amputee with a gun.  That's when he set out to mess the Shinra's world up.  He
mentions that the doctor who performed the operation on him (yes, Barret was
through some strange means able to find a doctor willing to do this) said that
another man had had the same operation, except that the other man had damaged
the other arm.  Barret can only assume that this man was Dyne.  Again, we really
don't get any explanation as to how Dyne could have survived that huge drop, but
thus is the mysteries of life.

   Cloud and the teammate of your choice will now accompany Barret to locate
Dyne (because stupid things like "trying to get out of this hellhole" can wait).
Again, whomever you choose will affect the game later on, as discussed in
section VII.A. of the FAQ.  The rest of your team will hole up in this God-awful
shack, and you can return to switch out your teammate whenever you wish.  The
rest of the houses around here aren't much help, either, and are populated
entirely by scumbags and sleazebuckets.  There is a meager item shop in the far
southeast corner of town, but that's about it.  Do take note, however, of a
cargo truck almost directly west of the building where your team is.  Mr.
Coates, the owner and proprietor of said hellhole is hanging around inside in
his green leisure suit and has for some strange reason yet to be shot to death
by a local ruffian.  It may have something to do with the fact that he alone is
in charge of the elevator that leads back up to the Gold Saucer.  Nobody goes
back up to earn a chance at their freedom without his go-ahead.  And he, of
course, says that you ain't going nowhere until you speak with "the boss".  And
for those of you who have never taken remedial plot-mongering 101, "the boss" is
none other than Dyne.

   To hunt down Dyne, head back up to the northern section of town from whence
you originally came.  Head north through the town and exit this screen on the
right side of the fence you see.  You should emerge on the right side of a fence
in the middle of the desert (and your progress north should be halted by a
gigantic chasm ahead of you).  From here, just keep heading east through the
desert.  If you for some reason manage to mess up and get lost in the middle of
the desert, a passing chocobo cart will pick you up and dump you back off at the
beginning.  But, it shouldn't be very hard to follow the directions "go east",
should it?

   You'll find yourself at yet another scrapheap.  Before you advance much
further, do take note that Barret is about to fight a boss battle alone, so you
might want to go ahead and outfit him with the appropriate materia.  Restore
helps immensely.  Poison might also be an asset, as the poison will help you out
some.  Then again, it's just going to come down to a shooting match, anyways, so
your selection of offense is of very little concern.  Anyways, continue north to
the end of the scrapheap to meet up with Dyne.

   Dyne...  Well, he isn't the nice guy he used to be.  He's actually sort of
lost his mind and wants to kill everybody and everything.  This becomes readily
apparent when he fires a few bullets into Barret.  They really don't hurt him as
much as you'd expect them to.  Your party tries to intervene at this point, but
Barret insists that this is a fight that he must fight alone.  Actually, no
Barret, we just wanted to get our materia back before you dumb ass dies of
multiple gunshot wounds.  And the fight with Dyne begins...  As I said above,
it'll really just come down a to a firing match, but do have Barret cure himself
if his HP gets low.  Dyne has an attack called S-Mine which is deadly in the
sense that it can be used in tandem with a normal attack, thus doing twice the
damage.  At the very least, Barret'll get a few good limit breaks off.  All in
all, the fight should be over fairly soon.

   Anyways, Dyne at this point decides to end his life by jumping off the edge
of the cliff, which really isn't too bright of an idea when you consider that
the last time this happened, he sustained no notable injuries of any sort.  At
the very least, before he goes, he tosses a pendant to Barret, telling him to
give it to Marlene.  It ends as yet another one of those touching scenes that
shows that Barret has a heart after all.

   Of course, Barret makes up for his rare show of emotion in the next scene.
The party approaches Mr. Coates and demands to be sent back above.  Mr. Coates
sees the pendant that Barret is carrying and immediately understands the whole
story.  He explains that one person at a time can be sent above for a chance to
set the party free.  And then, just for good measure, Barret roughs Mr. Coates
up a little, because he ain't no pussy!  Now, I know you're probably expecting
to have to fight for your freedom by explaining to some form of judicial body
what really happened.  No.  That is antiquated bullcrap.  Here, you fight for
your freedom by winning a chocobo race.  Maybe this is just my opinion, but
racing is generally a very poor measure of a person's innocence.  If anything,
winning the race is an indicator that said person will have a higher than
average chance to outrun the authorities after committing their next heinous
crime.  But, at least it's an easy way out for you guys, at any rate.
Naturally, Cloud is the one person selected to go up above and fight for the
team's freedom.

   You are accompanied by Esther, a chocobo manager who heard of your plight and
wishes to help you out.  She'll explain to you on the way up how to properly
ride a chocobo and all that, and then you arrive in the Jockey's Lounge.  There,
you'll meet Joe, one of the top riders.  He says that he looks forward to seeing
you again, though past this moment, you never will see him again.   Esther
hurries off to prepare a chocobo for you, leaving you in the lounge with all of
the scary jockeys.  The bell rings for the race to begin, and the jockeys, like
zombies almost, hop up and file out of the room.  After they have all left,
Esther shows back up at the door.  You can talk to her to begin the race, though
before you do, I strongly urge you to grab that Ramuh materia someone left
lying in the corner.  The Ramuh materia is, as we all know, a lost-forever, as
mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ, so you'd be very wise to nab it while you
can.

   As for the chocobo race itself, this is something you'll probably become far
more familiar with later in the game, but I'll go over the quick basics you'll
need to win right now.  From the outset of the race, just take off.  Dash as far
as you can until just before your chocobo's stamina runs out (if it runs out,
your pace will slow to a crawl), and then let up on the acceleration.  At this
point in the race, you should be so far away from the rest of the pack that your
win is in the bag.  If you fail to win the race, you are sent back into the
Jockey Lounge to relive the past five minutes of your life all over again until
the end of eternity or until you finally win.

   The above information should really be all you need to win, but if you still
find yourself having difficulties, do yourself a favor and hold down the R1 and
R2 buttons throughout the entire race.  This will slowly refill your chocobo's
stamina bar as you race, meaning that near the end of the track, you'll have
enough stamina for a second wind.

   Anyways, when the race is over, Esther hands you a letter from Dio.  In it,
Dio goes on and on with a lengthy apology, stating that how sorry he is and that
you are obviously not guilty if you possessed the skill to ride a Goddamned
chocobo (which makes as much sense as assuming that one is a good chef because
he or she wears puffy pants).  And yes, he calls you "boy" throughout the whole
letter.  Goddammit, Dio...  Anyways, as a further sign of his apology, he
mentions that he has delivered a "gift" to you.  Before your dirty mind can
become frightened at that last remark, you get a call from Aeris on the PHS
saying that Dio has given your party a buggy.  A special buggy that can cross
rivers and deserts, at that.  Esther bids you farewell, saying that if you ever
get a chocobo of your own to come back and she'll be your manager.  And yes, you
should be seeing more of Esther later on.  See you later, Esther...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: North Corel Area


   The game will tell you at this point how to operate the buggy you are
currently driving.  It's exactly like walking, except that you can now cross
rivers and deserts.  Also note that if you drive into Costa Del Sol with it, you
can stow away on one of the boats at the dock to head back to Junon.  There are
several good reasons to do this.  For starters, with that Fire Ring you found in
Costa Del Sol, you can now return for a final showdown with the Midgar Zolom and
learn the most kick-ass Beta attack.  In addition, with the Manipulate materia
on hand, you can also learn White Wind from the Zemzelett.  You can also keep
up-to-date with the Battles of Fort Condor, which are detailed in section X. of
the FAQ.  You can also visit the Sleeping Man, who is described in detail in
section V.C. of the FAQ.  You'll probably wish to return to the Costa Del Sol
area and learn the Big Guard skill from the Beachplugs, now that you have the
Manipulate materia, as well.  You can also learn the Aqualung attack from the
Chimeras around the desert (I talk more about them below), which you are now
free to drive about in.  This is a good idea, namely because the Aqualung enemy
skill is a lost-forever, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  Oh, and by
the way, back at Junon, feel absolutely free to head to the hallway leading to
the underwater reactor (located at Upper Junon, between the two streets) and set
off the alarm there.  The only response the alarm will yield will be tough
enemies appearing there in random encounters, making it a relatively good place
to level up at this point in the game if you feel you need it.

   Hmm... did the words lost-forever stand out enough in the above paragraph?
Oh, well, I bet they do now.

   I also should mention that this is the first time you will be exposed to the
area surrounding North Corel.  Let's examine the local monster activity, shall
we?  The first enemy is a badass called the Joker, who attacks you with
surprisingly painful playing cards.  The Spade is a physical attack, and the
Diamond is a much weaker physical attack.  The Heart, as a matter of fact,
actually heals your character, which is pretty sweet.  Club is more detrimental,
as it casts Quake on a character.  The worst card, however, is the Joker.  The
Joker is, as you may have guessed, instant death.  Ouch.  Thankfully, it's
rather rare.  The Jokers, lastly, are immune to earth magic, but weak versus
wind-based attacks.  Moving along, then, to the Flapbeat.  The Flapbeat is a
bird with a quite powerful long-range attack called Flying Sickle that it uses
quite often.  Lucky for you, they are easy to kill.  Again, they are immune to
earth magic, but fall prey to wind-based attacks.  The Spencer is a completely
generic enemy in every way, and had no attacks, strengths, or weaknesses to
mention.  They are also very easy to kill.  Lastly, we move on to an enemy that
you will only meet while driving in the desert: the Chimera.  It has an attack
which can poison you (it does no damage, thankfully), but that's not what you
should watch out for.  It also uses an attack called Aqualung which, you may
know, is equal in power to Beta.  I also mentioned in the paragraph above how it
is a lost-forever, so take note, young one.  Now the good news is that the
Chimera's magical capabilities aren't quite that of the Midgar Zolom, so it is
possible to survive a shot of Aqualung (and also to learn it with E. Skill).
Still, expect this attack to do several hundred HP of damage to each character,
and be thoroughly prepared to kick its ass following your recovery from said
attack.  In the field of HP, the Chimera also possesses a lot of resilience,
which is accented by its lack of a weak point.  If you know Laser, it makes a
good opening attack, by the way.  The good news?  Well, the Chimera always
travels alone, so at least you'll only have to put up with one at a time.

   Anyways, you may wish to spend some time cruising around, fighting and
earning money (because you've probably gone and developed some sort of addiction
to one of the games at the Gold Saucer by now).  If not, then proceed west
across the river into the Gongaga area.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Gongaga


   As you head west across the river, you'll enter some very thickly-wooded
terrain.  Welcome to the Jungle, baby!  And now for a quick overview of the
monster activity this side of the Mississippi.  First, we have the Gagighandi,
a creature who is of very little mention.  They have a Stone Stare attack, but
that just means you have half of eternity to end the battle lest you be turned
to stone.  There's also something called Grand Horn, which again merits very
little mention.  They have an attack called Grand Punch, which casts Quake on
one of your characters, but that's about it.  And lastly, I've seen some very
poorly named enemies in the history of video games, but nothing could prepare me
for the Touch Me.  That's right: Touch Me.  Finally, an enemy that sounds more
like a bad 80's song than a bad guy.  They are tiny little frogs with two very
annoying attacks.  One, called Frog Jab, will transform whatever it hits into a
frog (or, if the target is already frogged, back to normal).  You'll probably
want to kill them before they have a chance to piss you off with it too much.
However, their other attack is called Frog Song.  Despite the fact that Frog
Song is far more annoying and debilitating than Frog Jab, do be aware that this
is something you can pick up with the E. Skill materia.  To make things easier
on yourself, you might want to utilize the Manipulate materia to achieve the
desired end in this respect.

   Anyways, you may spot a giant piece of junk nestled in the middle of one of
the smaller forests in the area.  Naturally, you must investigate.  Hop out of
your buggy and have a look-see, but first stop and make sure that your party is
prepared for an upcoming boss fight.  There are no real red flags you should be
aware of, but keep in mind that powerful attacks like Beta, Ramuh, Bio 2, et
cetera, will help end said boss fight very quickly.  Also, the boss fight in
question will feature two targets, so any attack magic materia you plan on using
should be attached to an All materia where applicable.  Throw is also a powerful
attack, but with so many other powerful attacks (and the fact that Throw cannot
be made to target all), there's really little point in wasting your hard-earned
projectiles.  On a final note, the characters you choose to bring with you may
or may not have an effect on the game later on, as described in section VII.A.
of the FAQ.

   Entering the area, you'll emerge on a quiet forest path... well, quiet except
for the two people you spy on the path ahead of you.  It's Reno and Rude of the
Turks!  And the two of them are, of all things, gossiping.  Apparently Rude has
a thing for Tifa, Elena likes shiny things and also Tseng, but Tseng likes
Aeris.  Before they begin to discuss Tifa's cup size, however, Elena comes
walking along the path behind you and begins to talk to you about how stupid
Reno and Rude are being.  "It's so stupid!" Elena whinees.  Yes, Elena, but
apparently not as stupid as talking to people for twenty seconds before you
realize who you're talking to.  Indeed, after a few moments, she shuts up and
stares blankly at you.  She then runs screaming towards Reno and Rude, yelling,
"they're here, they're really here!"   Good work, Elena.  Listen, we're going to
be reassigning you to our "retard" division, ok?

   Anyways, after some meaningless banter, Elena splits and Reno and Rude
decide to throw down with you.  But, as we've already established, a few
castings of your ultra-powerful magics will introduce them to painful new ways
to die.  Laser, by the way, being a gravity-based attack, will not work.
Neither of them have attacks that are too horribly powerful, but for what it's
worth, Rude is the one with the Cure spell,  so his ass needs to be the one to
go first.  But, most of your good attacks should be targeting both Rude and
Reno, anyways, so this should not even be an issue.  Once you've sufficiently
dominated the two, they will turn tail and run.  Actually, Reno is the one who
runs.  Rude just looks at his watch and casually meanders off... he's so cool.
Anyways, your reward for kicking their asses is an X-Potion and the Fairy Tale.

   Following the battle, Cloud voices his suspicion of the Turks.  How did they
know that you were coming this way?  Was it a spy?  Granted, it was just a
matter of simple deduction, but when a group's main source of intelligence is
someone like Elena, you become suspicious if they're so much as able to
distinguish you from the buggy you rode in on.  However, Cloud steadfastly
expresses his trust in everyone in the group and pretty much drops the subject.

   Before you go much further, might I remind you that you are currently in an
enemy-infested jungle.  While some of the creatures here are recycled garbage
from the outside, expect to see a few new faces here.  For starters, we have the
Flower Prong.  Its attacks aren't horribly powerful, but it does cast Bio 2,
which you should probably be very familiar with.  As you might expect, they
absorb poison-based attacks, so they are not a very good idea.  On the other
hand, fire and earth-based attacks will mess them up pretty badly.  There's also
the Kimarma Bug, who has a most annoying tendency to hit you with its Stop Web.
As you might expect, this will, well, stop you.  Since they travel alone, it
won't be too bad unless it has the time to afflict your entire party, but even
then, you'll survive.  However, it has a bit more HP than most of the other
enemies around, so it can take a bit more time to get rid of.  The last enemy is
one you will not see until a tad bit later, and is called the Heavy Tank.  The
Heavy Tank has an extremely high amount of HP and takes a bit of time to kill,
especially given their resilience to gravity based attacks.  It's attacks are
powerful, and it also has an attack called Big Spiral that will target your
entire party for a decent amount of damage.  The good news is that the Heavy
Tank always travels alone, and is generally a greater test of your patience than
your strategical skills.

   By the by, you are currently standing at a fork in the road.  It doesn't
really matter, but we're going to be heading left first.  Go left to a new
screen and another fork in the road.  First things first, grab that Deathblow
materia you see lying on the ground.  Secondly, the left path here will take you
back to the world map, so go right.

   You'll emerge in a quiet little forest town.  The first thing Cloud notices
is that exploded reactor in the distance.  Seeing that, guess what just about
every Goddamned person in this town is going to talk to you about?  Here's a
hint: it has something to do with that exploded reactor back there.  The huts in
this village are set up in an unusual fashion, as you can only access the second
floor of each via strangely out-of-place fireman's poles built into each one.
Scope out the town and the shops here, as well.  Interestingly enough, from
every shopkeeper in town, you have the option of buying from them, or asking to
hear a story.  This really would have been a fun and interesting feature if not
for one fatal flaw: everyone tells the same Goddamned story.  And the story goes
pretty much like this: "The Shinra built a reactor here.  It blew up.  The end."
Thanks, shopkeeper.  Because I couldn't derive that myself from taking a look at
that gigantic blown-up Shinra reactor back there.  Y'know, the Shinra just might
have work for all of you in their special "retard" division.  And say "hi" to
Elena for us while you're down there.  As for the actual shopping, at any rate,
the weapon selection is the equivalent to the stuff back at Junon.  Even if you
might be interested in making a purchase, for one reason or another, do realize
that another equipment upgrade is just around the corner, so you're advised to
save your money at this point.  However, you should definitely make it a point
to raid a man's hut and steal his White M-Phone, because it is a good weapon
for Cait Sith, but more importantly, it is also free.  Lastly, you might also
want to stop by the accessory shop and look around.  The accessory shop is also
the town's materia shop, by the way.  Among the materia available here are the
Time and Mystify, both of which you may choose to get while you're here (because
in passing on either, you're going to have to wait awhile for the next
opportunity).

   Lastly, there's also Zach's house.  Zach was a guy from this village (who, as
we'll later discover, looked startlingly like Cloud) who left to join SOLDIER.
Zach's parents quickly peg Cloud as an ex-soldier and begin barraging him with
questions about Zach.  Apparently, they haven't heard from Zach in 10 or so
years, so you can kind of understand their excitement.  But, lo and behold,
Cloud knows nothing.  If Aeris is with you, they mention that Zach had mentioned
getting a girlfriend, and if Aeris happened to be it.  Granted, the only thing
they have to go on is the fact that Aeris is a girl, but it's worth a shot.
Aeris and/or Tifa (whomever is with you) will leave in a huff.  Your actions
following this will have an effect on the game later, as mentioned in section
VII.A. of the FAQ, but here's the basic gist of things.  First of all, Zach was
indeed Aeris's first boyfriend.  He was also a SOLDIER 1st class, which makes
things even weirder.  Since 1st class is a fairly elite ranking, it seems very
odd that Cloud and Zach had never heard of each other, not to mention the other
creepy similarities between the two.  Anyways, Aeris had heard that Zach had
gone missing after leaving on a mission some five years ago and never returning.
Aeris thinks that Zach, being a real ladies' man, had found someone else.
Psychologically, this might explain her attraction to Cloud (who is obviously
not a ladies' man).  Anyways, as for Tifa, she was just pissed at the whole
idea.  She, like most other sane people, saw too many startling similarities
between Zach's story and Cloud, which brought up the memory of Cloud ditching
Nibelheim.  Accomplish what you want to accomplish here, and then return to the
original fork in the road (back where you entered from the world map).


   Taking a right at the original fork in the road, you'll head towards that
busted-up reactor.  As you enter the shell of the reactor, a helicopter
approaches in the distance, and the party runs to hide.  Off the helicopter
steps Tseng and the evil bitch.  Cloud finally reveals that Scarlet is the head
of Weapons Development at Shinra, but "evil bitch" still seems to be a far more
appropriate title.  She comes to inspect the reactor for materia, it seems, and
comments disdainfully on the poor selection here.  She says that she's looking
for "huge" materia to make "the most powerful weapon ever".  Which, when you
think about it, doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense, seeing as the Shinra
technically owns 90% of the world, anyways, and wins the rest by sphere of
influence.  The only remaining nation for the Shinra to attack is itself
(though, as we have clearly seen in the past, the Shinra apparently has no
problem with laying waste to its own cities...)  It kind of reminds me of a kid
who builds a sand castle just so he can knock it down...  Anyways, following
this, Scarlet zings Tseng a good one about his boss being Heidegger.  And that
hurts.  Because it's Heidegger, for God's sakes.  Heidegger.  Sure, Scarlet may
be an evil bitch, but at least she doesn't have to answer to someone who gets
angry and begins randomly assaulting people every time his boss hurts his
feelings.

   Anyways, after the two leave, examine the reactor for the Titan materia, and
then blow this popsicle stand.  In case you've forgotten, you're still after
Sephiroth.  And he's not here.  Hop in your buggy and continue east across the
river and through the mountains...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Cosmo Canyon


   First of all, with the new land, comes a new set of enemies.  First, we have
the Desert Sahagin.  If you'll remember the original Sahagin from Sector Five,
you'll recall their annoying tendency to severely reduce damage dealt by
incoming physical attacks (but again will only think to do so after you've hit
them a couple of times with physical attacks).  But, unlike their brethren, ice
magic will ruin their day in no time.  Just refrain from using fire magic, which
has only half effect, and water magic, which it will absorb.  Next, we have the
Griffin.  They are among the more difficult-to-kill monsters in the area, and
can be very annoying when they utilize an attack called Peacock, which will
drain lots of MP from each character on the team.  There's also the Skeeskee.
Besides having a name that's really fun to say, they are surprisingly strong,
having more powerful attacks than the other enemies in the area.  They also have
a very powerful attack called Rage Bomber, which can cause rage upon your
characters.  Lastly, we have the Golem.  The Golem, for starters, boasts more
HP than any of the enemies in the area, and is by far the most durable.  It's
attacks, while slightly more powerful than those of some of the other creatures,
are thankfully not horribly powerful, a fact which will be amplified by the
tendency of the Golem to travel alone.  The Golem is also mentioned in section
XIX.B. of the FAQ.

   Anyways, as you drive through the mountain trail, the sun begins to set in
the distance.  It's supposed to look cool and go with the flow, but if you keep
driving back and forth along the foot of the mountain, you can recreate an old
Simpsons gag by making the sun go quickly down then back up again and back down
and up until you get very bored from doing so or too tired to stay awake any
longer.  Sun goes up, sun goes down, sun goes up, sun goes down, up, down, up
down, up, down...  With this out of your system, keep driving until you begin to
experience what we in the biz like to call a "mechanical breakdown".  Goddammit,
Cloud, I told you to put gas in this thing!  Now Barret's going to get mad and
start shooting people again!  And, for future reference, when you start to hear
your vehicle make a funny noise, turning up the radio to drown the funny noise
out is generally not the best solution to the problem.  At any rate, just be
thankful that you conveniently broke down three feet away from a town.  Let's
head on inside, shall we?

   Welcome to Cosmo Canyon, a tribal village built into the side of a cliff.
Now, in the world of Final Fantasy VII, even a tribal village such as Cosmo
Canyon is technologically advanced, but they are more or less the only village
on the planet that is not affiliated with Shinra, Inc.  You see, Cosmo Canyon,
as the guy at the gate will proudly hail, is the home of the study of the life
of the planet, so you can sort of imagine why nobody here wants the Shinra
involved in their business.  Before you even get to the gate, however, Red XIII
bolts ahead of you and is promptly welcomed home by Gate Guy, who refers to him
as "Nanaki".  Nanaki, of course, being Red XIII's real name.  A bit of confusion
follows, and as you might expect, you can see a pretty hilarious conversation
occur here if you had the foresight to name Red XIII Nanaki when you first met
him.  Gate Guy is about to toss your ass back out onto the streets (I'd be wary
of letting someone with a sword that big into my town, too), but Red XIII has a
few words with Gate Guy, who'll then happily let you in, because helping Red XII
was apparently a "horse of a different color" or something-rather.

   Speak with the people around town, and you'll basically hear that you are in
Cosmo Canyon, home to the study of the planet.  Well, I already told you that,
didn't I?  You do meet a really nice guy who offers to fix your car, but talking
to him isn't required for the car to get fixed.  Interestingly enough, however,
you can try to talk to him a bit later on (after he has already fixed the car),
and even offer to pay him.  You'll practically have to cram the 1,000 gil down
his throat, and all you really get in return is him telling you that there is an
Elixir underneath the couch upstairs at the inn.

    Anyways, you'll see Red XIII hanging around the stairs on the west edge of
town.  He tells you that this place is the home of him and his tribe, but that
he is the last of his kind (just in case you were getting your hopes up of
seeing more talking dogs).  His mother was a brave warrior and died fighting
here, whilst his father, the coward, fled.  He also says that his mission is now
to protect the village, and that his journey will end here.   Following this, he
turns and heads upstairs.  Follow him.  You'll make your way through a couple of
shops (I'll go over the shopping detail in just a few, so for now head to the
top of Cosmo Canyon).  On your way up, take note of the giant sealed door you'll
see... it's important.

   At the top of Cosmo Canyon, you may already have noticed, is a gigantic
observatory.  Inside said gigantic observatory, you'll meet Red XIII, and his
grandfather, Bugenhagen.  You should probably realize that grandpa is an
honorary and not hereditary title from the fact that he is noticeably not a
talking dog, but rather he looks like one of the guys from ZZ Top.  He thanks
you properly from bringing Red XIII back home, and then proceeds to reveal that
Red XIII is really only a child, relatively speaking.  Because of his tribe's
incredible longevity, his 48 years of age are something more like a human that
is only 15 or 16.  Bugenhagen finds it amusing that you thought Red XIII was an
adult, but the truth of the matter is that when you meet a talking dog, its age
is going to be pretty far down on the list of things you're curious about.  But,
seeing as Red XIII is both the oldest and youngest character in your party, you
can really perceive him as either/or.

   Following this begins Bugenhagen's speech on when the planet will die.  It
could be tomorrow, or a hundred years away...  More or less, take the prophecy
of Armageddon and remove any trace of organized religion from it, and that's
what he's talking about.  He says that he can hear the cries of the planet, you
see.  He's not an Ancient or anything, he's just got some kick-ass equipment
that can hear it for him.  Planets are born and planets die, he'll say, but
you'll get a more thorough lesson shortly.  Red XIII mentions the fact that you
are on a quest to save the planet.  We are?  Damn, I thought we were after
Sephiroth to stop him from killing people (a mission we also seem to be failing
quite miserably at).  Well, I suppose we also hate the Shinra, too, but who
doesn't?  Either way, Bugenhagen finds it amusing that you're trying to save the
planet, but he agrees to show you his observatory, anyways.

   A man walks in, saying that several odd-looking people have arrived in the
village.  And when your team consists of a man with a gun grafted into his arm
and a cat riding a giant stuffed animal, it really doesn't take much more than
common sense to figure out that he's talking about your team.  Red XIII tells
you that only three people can fit inside the machine at once, and then leaves.
Now, what you must do, obviously, is go back to the base of Cosmo Canyon and
assemble a party to go inside the observatory.  And no, Bugenhagen isn't nice
enough to show it to the entire team- only three of you get to see it.  And,
despite what you may think, your choices will not affect the game later on, as
detailed in section VII.A. of the FAQ, so just go back to the foot of Cosmo
Canyon, scrounge around until you find one of your teammates (excepting Red
XIII, who has seen the machine more times than he cares to deliberate), and
speak with him/her to bring up the PHS screen.  The head back to Bugenhagen's
Observatory for one of the most kick-ass movie sequences in the game.

   Granted, your characters will still look the same, the observatory itself is
still a sight to behold.  First, your party will take in the beauty of their
surroundings, and then Bugenhagen will get down to business and explain the Gaia
theory to you.  Except for in this game, it's not a theory, it's a fact written
in stone.  Basically, the spirits and souls of every living thing are all part
of one collective force known as the Lifestream.  When something is born, it
takes "spirit energy" from the Lifestream, and when they die, it goes back into
it.  He then gives you a really neat visual.  Bugenhagen further deliberates
that it is spirit energy that makes it possible for planets to be planets.
Without spirit energy (and you'll get a visual on this one, too), the planet
will crumble and die.  This, by the way, would explain just how badly the Shinra
is messing the planet up with their mako reactors.  So, basically, unless you
stop the Shinra, the world is screwed.  But, for some reason, Sephiroth remains
to be Cloud's top priority (which really makes one wish that Sephiroth and the
Shinra would have just taken care of each other back at Shinra H.Q.)

   Following your little lesson, head back down through Cosmo Canyon.  For
further instruction, you can speak with the two elders hanging around town.  One
of them will talk about the Promised Land.  More or less, the Promised Land was
something that existed only for the nomadic Cetra, and it was basically the
eternal happiness that they achieved when they died and returned to the
Lifestream.  So the Promised Land, essentially, is that which is all around us.
This also means that the people at the Shinra are a bunch of friggin' idiots who
are wasting their time looking for something that they already have.  You'll
find the other elder getting plastered at the bar.  He's got a far more
intriguing tale to tell.   He talks about Dr. Gast, who, as we all know, was a
well-respected biologist.  He used to come to Cosmo Canyon back in the day, and
the people here would never have believed that his ass had anything to do with
the Shinra.  The elder recalls the day he heard that Dr. Gast had discovered the
body of an Ancient, subsequently naming it Jenova.  But then, one day, Dr. Gast
showed back up at Cosmo Canyon, mumbling some nonsense about Jenova not being an
Ancient.  Shortly thereafter, Dr. Gast disappeared, never to be seen again.
Take this story any way you'd like, but either way, it does raise a few
questions.

   Oh, yeah, there's also shopping to be done here.  The Tiger Lily Arms shop,
first off, contains one of the flyers mentioned in V.A. of the FAQ.  Secondly,
you can buy some better equipment here than has been available elsewhere.  You
might want to save some gil for the materia shop (located further towards the
top of Cosmo Canyon), because there are a few materia available there that you
might be interested in purchasing.  Of note are the now-available HP Plus and MP
Plus materia.  The item shop (located on the east edge of town), lastly, will
have anything you need to further round out your inventory.

   When you've had your fill of shopping and talking to creepy old men, you'll
find the rest of your team sitting around that eternal bonfire they've got going
at the base of the village (something that either or both of the elders would
have made a point of telling you if you spoke with them).  Walk around the
campfire and speak with your teammates, listening to the interesting things they
have to say.  Barret gives an inspired speech about how this was the place that
AVALANCHE was born (which explains the name AVALANCHE, at any rate).  But,
sadly, Biggs, Wedge, and Jesse are all dead, having given their lives to their
cause.  But that don't matter to him, because he's gonna keep fighting!
Fighting until he's gone and saved the planet!  And, even though he doesn't
really say it, he has an epiphany at this point.  Granted, the original
AVALANCHE is no more, but take a good look around you, Barret.  What do you see?
A guy with a huge-ass sword, a big-breasted hottie who kicks more ass than Jean-
Claude Van Damme, a girl who has an intimate connection with the planet, an
incredibly wise talking dog, a thieving little whore (if you got Yuffie, that
is), and... er, a cat riding a giant stuffed animal.  Don't you see, Barret?
That's right, AVALANCHE is reborn!

   Tifa just stares thoughtfully into the bonfire and begins to bring up that
day five years ago to you, but then stops herself.  She says that she feels like
Cloud is going really far away, and then asks if Cloud is really himself.
Granted, this is a very weird question that would not merit a response from
anybody, but Cloud more than likely doesn't answer on the grounds that all of
the voices in his head are giving conflicting responses.  Aeris, on the other
hand, is feeling very sad.  She spend a lot of time talking to the elders and
learning of the Ancients.  And it's just started to hit her hard that she's the
last of her race alive, making her feel like she's alone in the world.  Cloud
tries to cheer her up, saying that he and the rest of the team are there for
her.  But, it's really no use.  Though, I have to give Cloud credit for the
unexpected and uncharacteristic show of affection.

   As for the rest of the team?  Since you can't really expect much from a cat
on a giant stuffed animal I guess you can't really blame Cait Sith for not
having much to say.  In a nutshell, he sucks at fortune-telling, and he sucks at
conversation, too.  And Yuffie, if she's with you, is far more concerned with
future stealing opportunities than she is with whatever the hell it is that your
party is up to (you said you were trying to save a plant or something, right?)

   Talk to Red XIII last.  He'll begin to talk about his father and how much of
a coward he was, but that's when Bugenhagen shows up and asks why Red XIII can't
forgive his father.  Red XIII stalwartly proclaims that while his mother fought
bravely to defend Cosmo Canyon, his father turned tail and fled like a coward,
leaving Cosmo Canyon and its people for dead.  Bugenhagen, in lieu of a
response, just asks Red XIII to come with him.  Saying that the trip will be
dangerous, he requests that Cloud also come along with the teammate of his
choice.  Sure, Bugenhagen, we have time to take a break from saving the world
from Sephiroth and the Shinra to deal with your crap.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Gi Cave


   Before we move on, let me take a minute to state that everything found inside
the Gi Cave is a lost-forever, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  That
being said, let's go.

   You may recall seeing the giant sealed door of doom.  Well, Bugenhagen has
decided to crack it open and show everybody what's inside.  Bugenhagen will join
your group before you venture inside the Gi Cave, but don't be expecting any
help from him.  No, no, he prefers to sit quietly on the sidelines and watch.
Though, I suppose there's not much you can expect from a man whom you'll later
discover is 129 years old.  You do get some rather interesting commentary from
him at rather inappropriate intervals, however.  By the way, he was right when
he said the place was loaded with baddies, so do yourself a favor and set up
your equipment and materia properly before venturing inside.

   The monsters here all carry a fun undead theme with them, though only a few
carry the trait of the undead (a weakness to holy-based attacks).  First,
there's the Gi Spector, which looks suspiciously like Slash from Guns N' Roses.
Their attacks are of little mention except that they can cast Death Sentence,
and the only reason I mention that attack is because you can pick it up with the
E. Skill materia.  You need not worry about Death Sentence unless it takes you
more than 60 seconds to end a battle, in which case I pity you and your lack of
mental competence.  The Gi Specter isn't horribly difficult to kill, but fire
magic makes your job much easier, as does their susceptibility to holy magic
(meaning that curative magic is also an effective attack against them).  The
Sneaky Step is another enemy that has no real attacks of note, except for again
Death Sentence.  They are a bit more difficult to kill, however, and have no
weaknesses as do the Gi Specters.  Next on the list is the Heg, a snake creature
that has the capability to show up in large groups.  Their vice is the ability
to normally poison you with their attacks, which can be annoying.  Take
advantage of their weakness to ice-based attacks to rid yourself of them in a
hurry, but avoid using poison magic, which they absorb.  Finally, we have an
enemy called the Stinger.  You will not encounter them randomly, but there are a
few places where you will fight them in the third room.  Expect a tough fight,
as they have more powerful regular attacks than the other creatures here and are
much, much harder to kill, as well.  In addition to powerful regular attacks,
they also boast the Rabbit Food attack, which is twice as powerful, as well as
the Sting Bomber, which is a maliciously powerful attack which can very well
kill a weakened character, so keeps your HP up.

   Just behind the door, there's a long path leading to the cave below.  Make
your way down via the ropes as you hear the sounds of Cosmo Canyon fading
further and further into the background, until you at last reach the entrance to
the Gi Cave.

   In the first room, you'll see a little path, and a total of four small
alcoves scattered throughout the room.  Kudos to you if you also see the very
large, obvious materia lying near the top of the room, but you cannot yet reach
it, so be patient.  Anyways, of the four alcoves, each has a rock inside.  Each
rock is described with a different non-sequitor adjective.  The one you're
looking for is the rock inside the alcove on the upper-left.  Break that rock
open, and the door to the next room opens.  Break any of the others open, and
you are instead treated to no progress of any sort, and also a random battle.
As you exit the room, Bugenhagen will stop to talk a bit about the cave, saying
that all of the monsters here are the fallen spirits of the Gi tribe, who all
perished in a certain battle.  That must have been a big Goddamn battle, given
that there are an infinite amount of spirits abound.

   Moving along to the next room, you'll quickly hit a fork in the road.  The
left path will take you to that materia you saw earlier (which, by the way, is
the Added Effect materia).  On the way, however, beware that strange liquid on
the floor that you really don't want to touch but have to because it's right in
your way and your characters never learned how to jump.  Walk slowly across it,
because if you run, you'll slip and the walls will react somehow by skewering
your ass with a bunch of pointy spikes.  From the strange goo, you can go down
to the materia, but the path leading up is a dead-end.  Back at the original
fork, continue up to another fork in the road.  And since going up is a dead-
end, go left until you reach some stairs and a path leading up.  While the path
leading up will take you to the next room, the stairs ultimately will take you
to two treasure chests.  If you go down the stairs and continue down, you'll
reach a chest containing the Black M-Phone.  However, if you go down the stairs
and go right, you come to another fork in the road.  Going down, as you might
have seen already, is an ultimate dead-end, but you can go up to a chest
containing an Ether.  Hurry on to the next room now, stopping to listen to
Bugenhagen pratter on a bit more about how lucky Cosmo Canyon was to have not
had the Gi attack right through this cave.

   In the next room, you'll see five separate passageways standing before you.
To make things easier the only two worthy of mention are the second and fourth
from the left.  Both paths, for starters, are obstructed by gigantic webs.  When
you touch these webs, you will battle the aforementioned Stingers, so be
prepared for that.  Moving on, the fourth passageway from the left will take you
to two treasure chests.  One, in the upper-right corner of the room, contains an
X-Potion.  The other is accessible by going left when the path forks and
underneath the intersecting walkway to it, which contains a Turbo Ether.  The
second path from the left will take you to the next room, but you might make it
a point to deviate from the path, heading left and then down towards the bottom
of the screen.  If you emerge from a small cave (shaped like one of the original
five passageways), you went too far down.  Rather, go up a bit from there, and
take a turn right, going behind a giant boulder to a treasure chest containing a
Fairy Ring.

   Before advancing to the next room, prepare yourself for an upcoming boss
battle.  The boss in question has no weaknesses except for holy-based attacks,
and is unaffected by earth and, quite obviously, gravity-based attacks.  Prepare
your most powerful attacks (which at the time should be probably contained
within the Throw and E. Skill materia).  Also note that you'll be taking quite a
bit of fire-based damage in this fight, so your Elemental materia paired with
Fire in someone's armor, as well as the Fire Ring, which you might still have,
can help in this respect.  If you know the Big Guard attack, you may or may not
want to bust it out during the next fight, as it will be a prolonged one against
powerful opponents.  In opting not to, you might at least want to take along a
Haste-all spell to help you out.  As you head towards the last room, Bugenhagen
mentions that the Gi tribe was defeated here, but before Red XIII can get any
ideas, you continue to the next room.

   Meet the Gi Nattack and his two pet Soul Fires.  Those of you who have ever
battled Wrexsoul from Final Fantasy III/VI may know what to expect, but this
fight plays just a bit differently than it.  The Soul Fires will periodically
"possess" a member of your party, but the only real detrimental effect this will
have is that they will occasionally cause fire damage to that character.  On the
field, they are a nuisance, mainly because of their many resistances.  They are
immune to earth, poison, water, and gravity damage and in addition, they absorb
fire damage (which is why they will constantly cast fire on themselves to heal
up).  They fall weak against wind and holy damage, meaning that if you really
want to take them out, you might as well just Cure the whole lot of them.  If
not, then just concentrate your efforts on the Gi Nattack.  Gi Nattack has quite
a bit of HP, and has a nasty tendency to steal your HP and MP, so be prepared to
bust out a couple of Ethers and Turbo Ethers in this fight.  Physical attacks
are decent, but any applicable magic attack is preferable in this fight,
especially given the high HP of Gi Nattack.  Throw, if you have any projectiles
on hand, is a powerful attack to consider unleashing on the Gi Nattack.  Also,
if you're not really concerned about the Soul Fires, a good move you can bust
out on Gi Nattack is Beta, which, combined with other good attacks, can have him
dead in a few turns or even less.

   Of course, if you wanna be a pansy and end the fight immediately by using an
X-Potion or Phoenix Down on Gi Nattack, go right ahead.  I, however, do not
condone or endorse this behavior in the least.

   Following the battle, Bugenhagen explains that this is why the cave was
sealed.  You continue to the back of the canyon, where the party is shown an
imposing figure in the distance...  It is Seto, Red XIII's father.  His stoned
body stands atop the canyon, long defeated from his battle with the Gi tribe.
Bugenhagen, after getting rid of the rest of the team, explains that Seto left
the village to fight off the invading Gi tribe, and succeeded.  Because of
Seto's brave actions, the invasion was fought off, and Seto did not stop
fighting even when the poisoned arrows turned him to stone (yeah, notice the
fifty gazillion or so arrows sticking out of the stone statue... creepy).
Before Seto left, he and Red XIII's mother made Bugenhagen seal the cave forever
and promise never to tell anyone about it.  And it's nice to see how well he's
upheld that promise, isn't it?  I guess the important thing is that Red XIII no
longer thinks poorly of his father, and the asses of the dangerous things
roaming the cave have now become thoroughly acquainted with your foot.  As a
final bonus, the statue begins to cry, and the teardrops form a most kick-ass
weapon for Red XIII (the Seraph Comb).  Red XIII hops atop the rock and howls at
the moon, now proud of his father.  Bugenhagen tells Red XIII to continue on his
quest with the group.  He says, in so many words, that your cause is hopeless
and that you are fighting a losing battle against the inevitable, but you've got
to try, anyways.  Thanks for the encouragement, old man.

   Your party, back at Cosmo Canyon, is informed that the buggy is fixed and
you're ready to go.  Red XIII isn't around, and the team expresses their
feelings before packing up to leave.  You'll make it to the entrance of Cosmo
Canyon when Red XIII comes bolting down the stairs towards your group saying
that he's coming too.  "I think I grew up a little!" he excitedly shouts.
Goddammit, Red XIII, just because Bugenhagen called you a kid doesn't mean you
have to act like one.  He's 130 years old for God's sakes! Dick Clark is a kid
to this guy...  With Yoda having rejoined the group, pack into your buggy and
move out.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Nibelheim/The Shinra Mansion


   It's a short drive to where the canyon ends, and you'll cross another river
at this point.  And a new area means new enemies abound.  The Nibel Wolf and
the Volron are both very simple, generic, run-of-the-mill monsters, and are
very easy to deal with.  The Nibel Wolf is considerably easier to kill than the
Volron, and the Volron may put up the occasional M-Barrier, but that's about it.
If you happen to meander down to the beaches, however, you will meet a third
enemy, the Crown Lance.  They aren't too hard too kill, especially given their
weakness to fire-based attacks.  Just refrain from using earth magic, which they
are immune to, and lightning magic, which they will absorb.  Their attacks are
nothing to worry about, but as a general rule, you are going to want to kill
them outright in a single blow.  This is mainly because they will retaliate to
any form of attack by instantly stoning the caster.

   Anyways, not too far into the distance, you'll spot a small town nestled into
the mountains.  It's Nibelheim, Cloud and Tifa's hometown.  However, when you
enter Nibelheim, Cloud stops to note how the village is noticeably not
incinerated to a crisp as he remembers seeing it last.  Well, Cloud, even though
those bastards over at North Corel don't believe in it, it's a little something
called rebuilding...  But, alas, Cloud may have a point after all, as the
village is completely identical to the condition it was in before Sephiroth's
inferno.  And as if that weren't eerie enough, start talking to the people
around town.  The normal citizens all seem to have collective amnesia, and no
one seems to remember that little incident that happened five years ago.  For
that matter, nobody seems to know who the hell Cloud and Tifa are, and react
rather violently when you try to talk sense into them.

   Their credibility is pretty much destroyed, however, by the fact that they
are coexisting with about a dozen or so creepy midgets in black cloaks who
wander aimlessly about town chanting "Se...phi...roth..." and "Re...un...ion..."
And that's creepy on a scale I can't even begin to fathom.  Cloud will notice,
upon speaking with them, that each one has a number tattooed on them.  Even
though the spikey-headed idiot boy doesn't quite grasp the concept at the time,
you might already be drawing a few parallels between Sephiroth's "number one"
tattoo, the retarded dumbass living in the pipe back at Sector Five, and these
creepazoids.  Despite the overwhelming unsettling feeling it may give you, it's
still a good idea to talk to the Sand People, because they are so completely out
of it that Cloud can steal their personal effects from them while they go on
about their Goddamned reunion.  Among the loot you can get by speaking with the
local cultists are: 2 Luck Sources, an Elixir, Turbo Ether, and the Platinum
Fist.  Take heed that all of these items, namely the Platinum Fist, are lost-
forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ, by the way.

   The psychopaths hanging around the Shinra Mansion actually have the most
useful information of the bunch.  They utter that "Sephiroth... is near..."
He's inside the Shinra Mansion!  We all know what that means.  It's time to go
stupidly face off with him.  The Shinra Mansion is kind of a pain to get
through, but only if you've decided to take up the optional side quest of
cracking open the safe here (highly recommended).  In that case, you've got a
big boss fight ahead of you and you'd best be prepared (refer to section IV.A.
for more details).  Regardless of your decision, you still get to put up with
the obnoxious enemies hanging around the Shinra Mansion, however.

   Keeping in step with the extremely eerie and creepy theme of the entire town,
the monsters here achieve a 9.8 on the creepazoid scale.  The Ghiorofelgo, for
starters, is a man swinging on a giant anchor that is the most disturbing thing
you've ever fought.  He's not horribly powerful, but he's a pain to kill (lots
of HP there).  In addition, he's got a pretty high resistance to magic, and is
completely immune to earth magic.  Physical attacks work so-so, but he has an
Achille's Heel that makes him the easiest creature here to deal with, especially
given that he always travels alone.  Gravity magic is twice as effective against
him, meaning that Demi will slice his HP in half, and Laser or Demi 2 will kill
him outright.  Moving right along, we also have the Judge.  The Judge is
holding a scale, which will periodically tip.  On one side of the scale, they
are affected only by magical attacks, whereas on the other only physical
attacks.  They begin the fight with it on the physical side, later switching to
the magical side.  You can tell which side they are currently on by their
attacks.  Physical attacks on the physical side, and they switch to using
powerful magic attacks on the magical side.  This means that you'll probably
want to off them before they have a chance to tip the scales.  Their HP
thankfully isn't as high as that of the creepy anchor man.  Two things are of
special note about the Judge, however.  The first is that they use an attack
called ????, which you may learn with the E. Skill materia.  Don't worry: this
attack is usually completely ineffective against you, but you can use it with
better results.  Secondly, the Judge is mentioned in section XIX.A. of the FAQ.
Next on the list is the Dorky Face, probably the most common enemy you'll meet
here.  The Dorky face is a huge pain in the ass and has two attacks that you
should be aware of.  One will confuse the entire party, while the other will
silence one member of the party.  Both are very annoying, but at least the
silence helps to lessen the severity of the confusion.  In preparation, you
might want to put the Added Effect/Mystify combo in the armor of your strongest
character, as you'll find that attacks from some of them can really hurt.
Secondly, even though these are battles you'll want to end quickly, refrain from
using doomsday attacks like Beta.  Cause guess what happens if you get confused
before you can use it?  That's right.  However, summons make excellent attacks,
because even if your character gets confused, the summon still affects the right
party.  Just set up your fastest character with a summon like Shiva or Ifrit
(due to their thankfully low HP, anything higher than Choco/Mog should be enough
to kill them in one fell swoop), and end these battles before they even begin.
If you don't feel like wasting the MP on a summon, however, you might try
setting up your fastest character with a good Sleep-all spell, or something like
it.  Since every status ailment will affect the Dorky Face, just pick your
favorite thing to shut them up long enough for you to kill them without worry.

   As you move into the Shinra Mansion's basement, you'll meet an even creepier
creature known as Ying Yang.  Ying Yang is a single enemy that exists as two,
but always travels alone.  Ying has a very high resistance to physical attack,
whilst Yang is difficult to hit with magical damage.  You've got to kill them
both to get rid of it for good, so both physical and magical attacks are needed.
They have a mean physical attack, and some pretty nasty spells (Bolt 2 and Ice
2), but that isn't what is going to really piss you off about them.  It's that
every five seconds, the battle pauses so that you can watch them eerily writhe.
It's enough to make you want to stick something sharp and pointy through your
TV, and if there was some kind of "delay of game" penalty you could lay down on
this asswipe, you would in spades.  To make things even more annoying, they have
quite a bit of HP each, and are unaffected by gravity magic.  And sadly, you
can't even put them or sleep or stop them, or anything else like that... you
just get to watch them writhe... and then show them the true meaning of pain.
The last enemy is really more of a nuisance than anything.  It's the Giant Bat
that also hangs around in the basement.  Their attacks are laughably weak and do
nothing but steal a little HP from your characters.  They are more resilient
than you'd expect from a bat, and are naturally immune to the effects of earth
magic, but it shouldn't take much effort to shut these flying little bastards
out.

   Well, as I've already mentioned, the meat of the Shinra Mansion is the fun
little sidequest detailed in section IV.A. of the FAQ.  Even if you don't decide
to go through with it right now, realize that there are a host of other items to
be found scattered throughout the mansion- items that won't be horribly useful
if you come back too much later to pick them up.  Since collecting most of these
items involve traveling all around the mansion, the very least you could do for
yourself at the moment is figure out the combination to the safe (details in
section IV.A. of the FAQ), which also involves quite a bit of running around and
to pretty much the same places.  Without further ado, the following items can be
found lying around the Shinra Mansion: the Silver M-Phone in the room just
right of the entrance, the Twin Viper found by going into the back hall from
the entrance, hanging a right, and going into the back room, the Enemy Launcher
in the chest in the room with all of the plants in it (found in the left wing
upstairs), and lastly a Magic Source found in the back room in the right wing
upstairs (the room just behind the stairs leading down to the basement).

   With that out of your way, the path to Sephiroth is very short and
straightforward.  In case your stupid ass forgot where the stairs to the
basement were located, just go upstairs and head to the right wing.  Head down
the stairs, into the basement, and towards the library.  Guess who's been
sitting here waiting for someone to come and yell at him for killing people?
Sephiroth gets right to the point, asking Cloud if he is going to be at the
"Reunion".  Cloud, in an attempt to sound badass, angrily replies, "I don't even
know what a reunion is!"  Nice one, Cloud.  But I suppose I should just be happy
that Cloud knows enough to discern what is and isn't ok to stab to death.  In a
possible attempt to make Cloud jealous, Sephiroth deliberates how Jenova will be
at the Reunion, and refers to her as a "calamity from the skies", a fact which
intrigues Cloud.  Sephiroth proclaims that he is heading north, past Mt. Nibel,
and that if you wish to learn more, you should follow him.  Sephiroth then hurls
a materia at you, and then does that creepy crap where he flies away like
Superman.  And you decide to follow him.  Why, I do not know, because as Cloud
has again proven, confronting Sephiroth is doing you absolutely no good.  You
just bullcrap with him for a few minutes before he flies away.  At this rate,
the planet is going to be pretty screwed in a hurry.  But, well, you've got to
try, I suppose.  Pick up the Destruct materia, which is oddly enough undamaged
from being used as a projectile, and get the hell out of here.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Mt. Nibel


   Parts of this place may seem very familiar if you were lucky enough to
maintain consciousness through the flashback at Kalm.  You'll find yourself at
the base of daunting Mt. Nibel.  It's not much bigger than some of the other
places you've been to, but there's an assload of baddies to worry about here.
We first have the Zuu, a giant flying bird with a mean long-range physical
attack.  It may also use the Great Gale, which damages the entire team, but
thankfully not for too much damage.  It is also one of the rare enemies that is
a long-range venture to you, meaning only characters with long-range
capabilities may damage it physically.  The Zuu is immune to the effects of
gravity and earth, and has quite a bit of HP to sustain itself.  The only
weakness to speak of is wind, but at the very least the Zuu always travels
alone.  Next up, we have the Sonic Speed, a birdie that seems strangely
reminiscent of the Formula from Junon.  However, they are nowhere near as
obnoxious.  They just have a regular physical attack, and the ability to somehow
fire a Harrier cannon at you, which will do twice the damage of a normal attack.
Both attacks are long-range.  The Sonic Speed is immune to earth magic and weak
to nothing, as well.  Next up, the return of the ball and chain man, the
Screamer.  Nothing to speak of here except an immunity to gravity magic.  Then
there's the Kyuvildens, an enemy supposedly named by mashing random letters on
a keyboard.  They are tiny insect creatures with a mean attack called Lay Flat,
in which they more or less physically assault you with the entirety of their
tiny, insect-like bodies.  Fire magic should toast their ass in a hurry, though.
The Twin Brain is a very obnoxious creature with an attack called Stare Down,
which paralyzes your characters.  They always begin the fight with this attack,
and then resort to their Absorb attack, which isn't so much powerful as it is
annoying, because you're likely to paralyzed to retaliate.  Thankfully, they
have no resistances and are very easy to kill.  Lastly, there's the Dragon.
The Dragon is an enemy not to be taken lightly, and is easily the strongest
creature at Mt. Nibel.  They have an insanely high amount of HP, almost as much
as some bosses.  They attack you constantly with Flame Thrower (an attack which
you likely know with E. Skill), and their physical attacks are just nasty (much
more powerful than Flame Thrower).  To make things worse, they absorb fire-based
attacks and are immune to gravity magic.  Not much else I can say except go kick
some ass here, but if you have the patience, you can steal the Gold Armlet from
them- the best armor available at this point in the game (and free of cost,
too).

   Moving right along, then.  The path up the mountain as you see it is more or
less straightforward.  There are two deviations in the path, however.  The first
is a fork in the road that splits left and right.  The right path spirals up a
path leading to the Rune Blade, whilst the left path continues on.  The second
deviation in the path is very hard to spot, and is a path leading up shortly
after the area where you jump down a ledge in the path (just before you continue
left off of the screen).  This is a very long path, which takes you back to the
right a bit and finally spirals up to a chest containing the Plus Barrette.

   Continue left to an area where you'll see five numbered chutes.  Before going
down any of them, however, you might want to go down those stairs in front of
you and lower the ladder on the left side of the screen.  This ensures that
you'll be able to get back up here without going all the way around (I'll go
into that shortly).  Back to the chutes, however.  Chute 2 will take you to a
chest containing the Powersoul, whilst Chute 4 will take you to a chest
containing the All materia.  From either landing space, you can hop down to the
bottom of the room.  Chutes 1, 3, and 5 all take you to various spots in the
room unworthy of mention that will also see you to the bottom of the room.

   From the bottom of the room, you have several options.  One is to go back up
to the ladder which you may or may not have let down so you can go down another
chute to collect more treasure.  There's also a save point down here which you
may wish to utilize.  Oh, and you see that giant fire-breathing dragon standing
over there?  Don't touch it, or it'll attack.  As long as you don't touch it,
however, you can maneuver all around it.  Since it's guarding the exit, you're
going to have to fight it, however, so be prepared when you do.   However, you
might first want to take the long path around Mt. Nibel, as there is lots of
treasure to be found here.  Those impatient bastards who wish to skip this part
and go straight to the boss fight should skip the next few paragraphs and also
know that they are impatient bastards.

   The rest of Mt. Nibel is one long, circular path, which can be accessed from
two locations in this room.  The first is right near where you let the ladder
down at the top of the screen, and the second is on the bottom of the screen
near the dragon.  And since the second you step foot outside the bottom path,
you hop down a ledge which you can get back up, you are advised to go this route
rather than starting up at the top.  And since we're going to assume that you
were a dummy and forgot to lower the ladder before taking a chute ride, I guess
you really don't have much of a choice (seeing as this is the only way for you
to get back up there without the ladder).  The exit at the bottom of this room
takes you back outside to the mountain.  Remember, once you hop onto the ledge
below, there's no turning back.  You'll land in front of a cave, and also see a
path leading down.  The path leads nowhere, so enter the cave instead.

   This cave should look very familiar, as it is the same one you went inside so
many years ago.  As you take the path towards the back, however, there is a
treasure chest to be found along the way.  You just can't reach it.  Beyond the
chest, however, you will see a small tunnel which you can access.  Enter that
tunnel and go left, then down, then right to the treasure chest, which contains
an Elixir.  Then continue to the back of this cave to the old mako fountain.
Your reward for searching the mako fountain is an Elemental materia which has
appeared there over the years, so be sure to grab it before continuing on.

   In the back of the room with the mako fountain is a path leading to another
room.  There are a lot of stalactites blocking your way around this room, but it
isn't too hard to get around.  There is a Sniper CR located in a chest near the
top of the room, which you can access by going left from the start, or by going
right and taking the first left you see.  To reach the exit, go all the way
right for the start, and then head towards the lower right corner of the room.

   Exiting this room, you find yourself again outside Mt. Nibel.  You'll see two
paths, leading left and right.  Since the right one is a dead-end, go left and
up the long and winding road that takes you to the top of the mountain itself.
At the top, you'll find the old mako reactor sitting there, being a mako reactor
and not much else.  You can go inside the reactor, if you'd like, but only if
you want to stare at the pretty machinery and generally waste your time.  Once
you've had your fill, run beyond the mako reactor to that door on the right side
of the screen.  On the other side of that door is the room with all the chutes
in it.  You made it!

   Though I start to talk about preparing for the boss battle in the paragraph
below, I'd just like yo stop and take this time to make extra certain to point
out that you may learn the enemy skill Trine from it, which is a lost-forever,
as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.

   Before attempting to provoke the dragon (named Materia Keeper) that wants to
kill you, you'd be wise to prepare for the battle.  For starters, there's the
save point you would be wise to utilize.  Secondly, equip materia appropriate
for the battle.  Gravity magic, as always, has no effect, and fire magic also
will prove inefficient, as it heals this boss.  Anything and everything else
works, though (including poison, which, as always, helps to take a good chunk
out of said boss when cast early in the battle).  Throw, as always, is your most
powerful attack, but only if you possess and are willing to use the needed
projectiles.  Big Guard, again, is an attack which you might want to utilize in
this fight, but you should at least carry along a Haste-all spell failing that.
It (the boss) has some pretty mean physical attacks, but are overall not much to
worry about so long as you take the proper measures to protect yourself.  What
you really need to watch out for is Trine, an attack strangely reminiscent of
Beta that this boss will occasionally bust out with.  That's the bad news.  The
good news, and there always is some, is that Trine isn't as bad as Beta was.
Secondly, you can further protect yourself with the Elemental/Lightning and
Elemental/Ramuh combos in your armor.  Lastly, you'll definitely be wanting to
take your E. Skill materia along, not only for the powerful Aqualung attack
(probably the strongest attack you can use against this boss), but also to learn
Trine (I mentioned this in the paragraph above, if you'll remember correctly).
Anyways, with all the preparation complete, approach and do battle with the
Materia Keeper.  So long as you're properly prepared for the battle, you
shouldn't have too much difficulty.  Proceed to kick its ass; you'll know when
its nearing death because it starts to cast Cure 2 on itself.  But so long as
you're piling on the big damage, it will be too little too late for the Materia
Keeper.  You'll win a Jem Ring when the fight is over, and also be sure to
snatch up the Counter Attack materia it drops.

   With the Materia Keeper gone, the back exit to Mt. Nibel stands ahead of
you...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Rocket Town


   Exiting Mt. Nibel, you find yourself in a big field.  And wouldn't you know
it, but there's a lot of new enemies for you to face around here!  For starters,
the Nibel Wolf from Nibelheim is back.  There's also a creature called the
Velcher Task, a big ugly thing, but thankfully not overly powerful.  It's
attacks are moderate in strength, and it occasionally blows out poison clouds
onto the party, but that's about it.  Avoid using poison-based attacks, which it
absorbs, but anything else goes.  And if you so desire, you may also want to
take the time to steal from them a Remedy, an item which you will not have the
opportunity to buy until later in the game (and it's expensive, too).  The other
two enemies around here can be found only in forested areas.  The first is the
Bahba Velamyu.  And is it me, or were the game's creators really running out of
enemy names at this point?  Anyways, it's really hard to describe this small
little piece of crap, but its attacks thankfully are not horribly powerful.
Other than that, they are nothing to speak of.  Lastly, there is the Battery
Cap, another enemy which may seem familiar to you.  Their favorite attack, Seed
Shot, does no damage at all, but their other attack, Four Lasers, is rather
powerful and strangely familiar.  And when you consider that they travel in very
large numbers, expect to have it used against you once or twice in any given
battle.  Anyways, no weaknesses or strengths to speak of here, so have fun.

   Anyways, you should see a small town in the distance, which you should at
some point mosey on over towards.  Why?  Because it's there.  As you enter town,
Cloud looks up and sees a giant, rusted out rocket in the distance and comments,
"I wonder what they'd make something that huge for."  To go into space, dumbass.
And someone who carries around a sword as big as Cloud's has no room to make
comments like that in the first place.

   Anyways, first things first.  Let's go shopping!  The item shop here has all
of your item needs covered, and also offers for the first time available the
Barrier and Exit materia.  The local weapon store has a few good buys, which you
should at least peruse (one of which, the Shotgun, is a lost-forever, as
mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ).  If you look at the completely loaded gun
rack at the weapon shop, Cloud comments that the owner of this store must be a
real gun fanatic.  Notice how he makes this comment under his breath, likely
because the owner of this store (the aforementioned gun fanatic) is sitting
right there behind the counter, discussing with every customer how much he loves
his guns and how he uses them to blow the heads off of non-gun-lovers.  It seems
to me that Barret has a new friend.  Also remember that you are not too good to
walk into people's homes and steal from them, and that you may obtain a Power
Source and a Drill Arm from doing so.  Lastly, there is an old man in town that
asks you to look at the rocket with him, and will give you the Yoshiyuki out of
gratitude.  The Yoshiyuki is notable as it is also one of the game's lost-
forevers mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.

   Everyone around town keeps talking about a guy named Captain.  You find a few
things out, like this place was the original site of a rocket that was to be
launched into outer space (oh, that's what that thing is for... I thought it was
a decorative piece), but that the plan was scrapped and the Captain just spends
his days working on the rocket.  How fun.  But, you'll find the most out in one
of the houses on the right side of town.  Go out into the backyard, where you'll
see an aircraft known as the Tiny Bronco.  It's a small plane bearing the Shinra
logo, and, as Cloud so succinctly puts it, "is cool".  Seeing as it has Shinra
written all over it, your party's first thought it to steal the damn thing, but
just as you're getting warmed up, a woman walks out into the backyard and asks
you just what you're thinking of doing.  Um... we were... uh, looking at it.
Yeah, that's it.  She directs you to go speak with the Captain if you want
permission to borrow the Tiny Bronco, and indicates that he is more than likely
inside the rocket.

   Slither over to the launch pad and head into the rocket.  Sure enough, you'll
find a man inside, and are given the option of asking him several questions.
First off, his response to your request to borrow his airplane is, surprisingly
enough, a resounding "hell no".  Secondly, he assures you that Rufus is indeed
on his way here.  But you'll find out the most information by asking him to just
tell you about the rocket.  The Captain laughs and begins his long-winded
speech, first introducing himself as Cid.  He then explains that this rocket was
originally to be sent into outer space, and he was slated as the man to do the
job.  But because of a mistake made by Shera (the girl you met back at Cid's
house), the whole project went to hell.  Furthermore, the Shinra soon discovered
that they could make a profit from mako power, and gave their space department
the financial shaft following that.  And since Palmer, the head of the space
division of the Shinra, is far more interested in Twinkies and the possibility
of more Twinkies than he is in asking for more funding to his department, you
can sort of understand Cid's despair.  This rocket has been sitting here ever
since that day, and Cid has been wasting his life away.  In a way, he just wants
to leave this God-forsaken place behind him, but he has a new hope that the
space plan will be renewed when Rufus comes to visit a little later on.  He then
hangs his head and you won't be able to get much more out of him.  If you want
to ask him any more questions past this point, you'll have to exit the rocket
and come back.  But, I'm assuming you've already found out all you need to know,
so head back to Cid's house.

   Speak with Shera again, who admits that it was her fault that Cid's dream
never came true.  Cid then returns home and gets hella pissed.  Apparently, it's
some sort of blasphemous and heinous crime that Shera has guests and has yet to
serve them tea.  And before your party can voice any objection to this, Cid
replies with one of the coolest lines ever in a video game: "Shut up!  Sit your
ass down in that chair, and drink your Goddamn tea!"  Such hospitality there,
Cid.  I'd hate to see how you'd treat us if you didn't like us.  Cid then
meanders into the backyard to tinker on the Tiny Bronco and wait for Rufus to
show up.

   Your party, understandably, is just a little curious as to why Cid has this
immense hatred for Shera and the entire world around him.  Shera sighs and tells
the story of that one day many years ago.  Cid stands in the bowels of the
rocket awaiting the launch.  Shera, being the meticulous type, is doing some
final checks on the oxygen tanks.  Cid yells at her, saying that there is
absolutely nothing wrong with them.  Then, we switch to the scene where Cid
triumphantly steps aboard the ship and takes to the controls.  The door locks
behind him and the countdown begins.  However, it seems that his negligent crew
has forgotten that Shera was still in the bowels of the ship, doing some final
checks.  Cid brings her up on the radio and yells at her to get the hell out of
there, lest she be incinerated to a fine crisp.  She replies that the results of
the previous tests were not satisfactory, and that she is checking the tanks one
last time for Cid's safety.  Apparently, she doesn't realize that when the
rocket takes off, there won't be enough of her left to scrape off the launch
pad, but I guess that's besides the point.  As the countdown reaches closer and
closer to zero, and Cid becomes increasingly and increasingly worried he finally
aborts the launch to save Shera's life.  The rocket sputters and rises a bit,
and then lands back on the pad with a crash, slowly tilting to the position it
rests in now.  So this, Shera says, is why she doesn't mind how poorly Cid
treats her.  He saved her life, so she will live her life for him.

   Cid comes back inside at this point, infuriated that you have yet to be
served your tea, and proceeds to bitch Shera out yet again.  Then, just for good
measure, he yells at you, too.  He sits down and impatiently awaits the arrival
of Rufus.  Instead, however, who should come walking through the door than fat
pile of goo, Palmer, whom Cid has a few choice words for.  Palmer informs Cid
that Rufus is outside, and Cid leaves, making sure to berate Palmer on his way
out.  Palmer goes up to Shera and requests a pile of lard, quite possibly with
some tea floating around it.  Sure, Palmer.  We wouldn't want you to, you know,
lose some weight or anything.  He's actually so infatuated with the promise of
food that he doesn't even seem to recognize you as the same group of people who
marched into his office and started killing people a short while back.

   Back outside, an interesting conversation takes place between Cid and Rufus.
Rufus has no intentions of restarting the space program, but rather wants to
borrow the Tiny Bronco so that he may give chase to Sephiroth.  Cid, as you
might expect, isn't too happy with this request.  Rather, he is blinded with
rage.  And I'm sure he would proceed to introduce Rufus to the stabbidy death if
he just had something sharp and pointy on hand, but something else appears to be
going on right now.  Shera approaches you and mentions that she believes that
Palmer is out back attempting to steal the Tiny Bronco.  This is a good thing, I
suppose, because your party can really only take so much of dealing with the
Shinra before they get so frustrated that they have to kill something.  Now,
let's go kill Palmer.

   This isn't what you would consider to be a hard battle or anything.  Not like
the Materia Keeper or Gi Nattack, where you actually had to, you know, try.
Fighting with Palmer is more like a personal challenge to see how long it takes
to make the battlefield explode into a mess of butter and shrapnel.  Palmer
stands on one side of the screen, wiggling his fat body about in a presumed
attempt to move, or perhaps communicate.  Occasionally, he pulls out a gun and
fires it at you.  But since he went and ate all the bullets, thinking them to be
Pez, the thing is running on a combination of materia and AAA batteries, and
instead mimics the effects of Bolt 2, Fire 2 and Ice 2.  But, he is susceptible
to the effects of Stop, meaning that if you've got Seal Evil or some other
equivalent on hand, he won't even be able to get an attack off.  If you don't
paralyze him, it's no big deal, but be warned that Palmer will periodically lean
over and slap his ass in an attempt to be provocative, but ends up disgusting
you more than anything.  Kick his ass to high hell, unloading everything you've
got onto the chubby guy.  The only thing that will not affect him is gravity-
based attacks, quite possibly because a body as large as his tends to produce a
gravitational force far stronger than anything you could ever conjure up.
Anyways, once you've hurt Palmer badly enough, the Tiny Bronco begins to move.
Palmer will turn tail and hobble his fat ass along, trying to catch the vehicle
that he is attempting to steal.  At this point, the game rewards your patience
by hitting Palmer with a truck.  To add insult to said injury, your team steals
his armor (the Edincoat) before leaving him to bleed rich and creamily.

   Well, the Tiny Bronco is starting to move, and there's not much your team can
do to stop it, so everybody hops on board.  Despite the fact that the only
aeronautical training Cloud has ever had was that paper airplane he made back in
the third grade, he takes the controls to the Tiny Bronco and expertly navigates
it across the skies.  In a moment of thought, he swings back down in front of
Cid's house to get him before he makes a mess of Rufus's innards all over his
front lawn.  Cid hops onto the Tiny Bronco as you pass by, but you should
realize the tendency of the Shinra by now to destroy anything that displeases
them.  Indeed, the troops accompanying Rufus begin to fire at your ass and the
Tiny Bronco takes a hit to the tail before it gets very far away from town.

   The good news is that you escape Rocket Town relatively unharmed, and also
since the Tiny Bronco has been destroyed, Rufus no longer has any interest in
dealing with you and leaves without any further incident (of course, this may
also possibly be due to the fact that your team now consists of seven to nine
people who want to make him intimately familiar with what his insides look
like).  The bad news is that the Tiny Bronco crash-lands in the water and,
according to Cid, is not going to be able to fly anymore.  Cloud, rather that
expressing sympathy for Cid's loss, asks him if the Tiny Bronco could be used as
a boat.  Cid just tells you to do whatever the hell you want.  His plane is
wrecked and his life is pretty much a ruin, but at the very least he left that
town and is never going back.  Rather, Cid decides to go with you so he can slit
a few Shinra throats.  You see, like Barret, Cid is fighting a hopeless battle
he almost knows he can't win, but at the very least he'll feel better so long as
he gets to kill something.


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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Coast of the Western Continent


   Cid had mentioned that Rufus was headed towards the Temple of the Ancients to
chase after Sephiroth, but hold your horses for a second there, Sparky.  You've
reached a bit of a turning point in the game, and you might want to slow down
and take care of some business first off.  For starters, the game teaches you
how to use the Tiny Bronco, but it's of worthy mention that the Tiny Bronco can
sail across the rivers just as it can the shallows, meaning that you can cut
across the large western continent via the river that divides it in half.  Also,
the next leg of your quest is going to force you to use Aeris, so if you've been
neglecting to use her up to this point, you might want to level her up a bit
and/or acquire some of her higher-level limit breaks.  Next up, leveling-up
and/or gaining a few more limit breaks might not be such a bad idea if you've
been neglecting it for awhile, especially given that you now have the entire
team on your hands.  This should hold especially true if you have meandered over
to the large island off the west coast, because it is there that you may
participate in the game's major sidequest, which is detailed in section V.B. of
the FAQ.  Bear in mind that not only will you benefit greatly from getting it
done, but also that it will have an effect on the game later on as detailed in
section VII.A. of the FAQ.  In addition to that, the side quest and its
subsequent rewards are lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.
That being said, you might finally also want to traverse the known world and get
any shopping done you've been neglecting to do or any missed E. Skills, items,
etc.

   Anyways, you at this point are more or less meant to wander the coast
aimlessly.  As you come up along the coast of Gongaga, you may notice a small
house (which you might have even visited before, as it is mentioned in section
V.C. of the FAQ).  Since you really have nothing better to do, dock at the
conveniently-placed beach and meander inside the guy's home.  Talk to him, and
he gets right to the point, telling you that the Keystone is no longer
available.  Before you can ask him what the hell he's talking about (look,
asshole, we just wanted directions), he says that the Keystone is the supposed
"key" to the Temple of the Ancients, which can be found to the east of here.
However, as he already mentioned, the Keystone has sort of already been
purchased by Dio, the owner of the Gold Saucer.  Well, mayhaps you can go reason
with him?  I mean, all you really have to do is explain to him that the Keystone
is in no way related to speedos, and methinks he'll just fork it right over.
Let's go see what we can do.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Gold Saucer (Again)


   You should be familiar with this place by now.  Skeddadle over to the Battle
Square and head to see Dio's trophy room, which you might have remembered from
his shameless plug about it earlier on had you not been too busy at the time
expressing your disgust with his speedo.  Just inside the battle arena, take a
right and head on over to Dio's trophy room.  Now, I know that you're probably
expecting to see, well, trophies here.  But that's not quite it.  Dio's trophy
room is not so much a trophy room, you see, as it is a bunch of cheap crap.  And
prominently on display in this collection of cheap crap is the Keystone.  As you
are examining it, and more than likely contemplating stealing it (where's Yuffie
when you need her?), world-renowned speedo man, Dio, approaches Cloud and
strikes up a conversation.  And I swear to God, if he calls me "boy" one more
time, I'm going to knock his damn block off.  Also note that the entire
conversation has a "look at my speedo" subtext.  Anyways, Cloud asks Dio for
permission to have the Keystone, and Dio agrees, but on one condition: you must
"entertain" him.  Oh, my God, not that!  Keep it in your Speedo, Dio!  Oh, no...
that doesn't fit in there!  Arrrgh!  Actually, all he wants you to do is fight
in his battle arena for a few rounds.

   You may wish to deny his request at first so you can enter the menu and
properly equip Cloud (the person who must fight alone in the arena) with some
good materia.  He'll be fighting alone, but the battles are all very easy, as
all eight battles shall be against normal, everyday enemies.  Which enemies, I
cannot say, as they are presented at random, so prepare yourself with a variety
of different attacks.  Bear in mind that you can get your ass beaten and still
earn the Keystone, but if you choose to and succeed in winning all eight fights,
you'll also pick up a Protect Vest and a Choco Feather, which is a nifty
bonus, to say the least.

   Anyways, with this short and speedo-filled chore out of your way, you are
free to leave and head on over to the Temple of the Ancients... or are you?
Apparently for some plot-related purpose, the tram leading back to North Corel
is out of service, trapping you inside paradise for the moment.  Cait Sith hops
his stuffed ass over to where you are about to kick the repair man's ass and
mentions to you that he knows most of the crew here at the Gold Saucer and can
get you guys a free night at the inn.  Wow, Cait Sith, you saved us a whopping
100 gil.  Oh, well, at least we can still use him for a pillow.

   Over at the Ghost Square, the entire party meets in the hotel lobby and
begins to talk amongst themselves.  Cait Sith comments that the group never
really gets a chance to sit down and hang around like this.  Unless you count
the fact that you have all been journeying together for quite some time now
(it's just that nobody ever feels like hanging out with Cait Sith's stuffed
ass).  The group newbies, Cait Sith, Cid, and possibly Vincent, lobby for an
explanation of just what the hell is going on.  Barret dismissively comments
that he's been around since the beginning and he still has no clue as to the
current situation.  Well, Barret, maybe if you'd take a break from killing
things once and a while to stop and pay attention, maybe you'd know.  Despite
what option you choose, Cloud attempts (poorly) to retell the story.  Aeris,
sensing Cloud's complete lack of storytelling skills, breaks in and starts
talking about the Cetra and the Ancients.  Barret replies with a classic Barret
line: "Cetra?  Ain't that some kind of disease?"  And you have to know that
Barret has heard the word "Cetra" clearly defined at least ten or twenty times
by now, which makes that line even more hilarious.  Let's just hope that being a
frighteningly dumb ass isn't contagious, Barret.  The group also notes that in
addition to searching for the Promised Land, Sephiroth also appears to be
searching for the "Black Materia", which is something that no one in your group
has apparently ever heard of.  The discussion then turns to those numbered
freaks back at Nibelheim.  Red XIII looks down at the tattoo Hojo branded on him
(the tattoo being, not surprisingly, the number XIII), noting that there must be
at least twelve others.  Aeris  ponders the possibility of some involvement of
Hojo in the predicament of the twelve caped freaks of nature, and then runs off
to bed, followed by Yuffie and Barret.  Red XIII asks Cloud if he's going to be
the next one to lose it, given his number.  Tifa walks over to Red XIII and
tells him to be strong in an interestingly touching dialogue between the two.
Shortly thereafter, the group adjourns to their respective rooms.

   That night... Cloud stews in his room, perhaps ready to have another
discussion with the voices in his head.  But he is interrupted by someone
barging into his room.  That someone will be entirely dependent on your actions
during the game thus far, as described in section VII.A. of the FAQ.  But
whomever that someone is, they ask Cloud to come on out into the Gold Saucer
with them and hang out for awhile, and have a little bit of fun.  So take a
break, relax, and enjoy whatever scene you've earned.  Though the scenes are
described in detail in section VII.B. of the FAQ, there's nothing there you
really need to know.

   Your date is brought to an end, however, when you spot Cait Sith hopping his
miserable ass through the Gold Saucer carrying the Keystone.  When he sees you,
he hops away.  You are to give chase, but you will suffer more or less the same
problems you have with chasing Sephiroth in that even when you catch up with
him, there's not much you can actually do to him except politely wait for him to
get away again.  You'll end up outside the arena at the Chocobo Square, and a
helicopter approaches in the distance, piloted by none other than Tseng of the
Turks.  Cait Sith tosses the Keystone to Tseng, and Tseng flies evilly away in
his helicopter of evil.

   Time for the ass-kicking now.  Cloud and his date approach Cait Sith fully
intent to spread his insides around the Chocobo Square, but Cait Sith starts to
weasel out of it.  He says that he was simply doing what he was ordered to do by
the Shinra, and that he really has been thinking about things since he has
joined your group.  Apparently, you have given him a new outlook on things,
though not convincing enough to make him shun his evil duty.  But perhaps his
most compelling argument is that the cat and the giant stuffed animal are both
inanimate and replaceable, and are being controlled by someone back at the
Shinra building.  He pleads with you to just let him travel with you so that he
may learn more of your ways and also continue to spy on you, even though you
appear to be getting ready to thoroughly introduce his stuffed ass to your foot.
That's when he pulls out his trump card: he relays a message to you form
Marlene, who has been captured by the Shinra and is being held at the Shinra
building.  And admit it, you saw this coming ever since you left her in the
hands of Elmyra.  Cait Sith gets to come along with your team once more, but
this little stunt more or less cements his role as the team's bitch.

   Before leaving Cloud's room the next morning, search the dresser in his room
for an Elixir, and then head out to the lobby to form your team.  Aeris is
coming with you no matter what, so it's all a matter of choosing a third
companion before heading on out.  With your team revved up and ready to go,
leave the Gold Saucer and head eastward.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Temple of the Ancients


   Before we get into things, I'd just like to note is that all of the items
from this point forward (until the end of the Temple of the Ancients sub-
section) are lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ, so be sure
to grab what you want.

   Between the eastern and western landmasses, there is a small island to the
south where the Temple of the Ancients lies.  If you happen to get into a battle
during your short trip from the beach to the Temple nestled within the forest,
be aware that the area is populated almost entirely by flying little bastards
called Slaps.  They are tiny clouds of wasps whose main attack does almost no
damage, but will berserk your characters.  In retrospect, this is probably the
least wisest attack in their arsenal to be using as a main attack.  They also
have stings which can paralyze or poison you, but they rarely use them (though
if they show up in large numbers, don't be surprised to see them bust out with
them on occasion).  But, again, the damage done is minimal, and your berserked
characters will more than likely make short work of the Slaps, and that their
resistance to earth magic and weakness to wind-based attacks should mean very
little to you.  There's also a creature wandering around called the Kelzmelzer,
which is really not worthy of mention at all.  It can poison you, but that's
about it.

   Anyways, as you approach the temple, Aeris runs off ahead of you and begins
talking to the planet in nonsensical sentence fragments.  As she is doing this,
you've got a good eye if you happen to spot one of the creepy cloaked men at the
top of the stairs leading inside the temple.  Aeris says that she wants to go
inside, and rejoins the group.  Head to the top of the stairs and, after
watching creepy insane tattooed guy number nine die a mysterious and meaningless
death, head inside.

   Tseng of the Turks lies just inside, and he looks as if he's had a recent and
intimate encounter with Sephiroth's blade.  He's still alive, but barely.  He
says that it's not the promised land that Sephiroth was searching for.  He might
have been more informative in this respect, but he instead gets into an argument
with Aeris.  Finally, he hands you the Keystone, telling you to place it on the
altar to enter the temple.  Do just that, but be aware that once you advance
past this point, it's a long road ahead with no turning back.   When you feel
ready, place the Keystone on the altar and watch the altar react.  You then sink
into the floor.

   Before you can say, "Holy crap, I've died and gone to an Escher painting!",
you emerge in the middle of a gigantic maze of stairs and dead-ends.  Before we
advance any further, let's delve into the local monster activity.  The
Doorbull, for starters, has a lot of HP and can take quite a bit of punishment.
Add to this its immunity to gravity magic and the ability to absorb fire magic.
The good news is that amongst its repertoire of attacks, none of them are very
powerful.  And also, the Doorbull always travels alone, so don't expect too much
difficulty here.  The Toxic Frog is a different story, however.  It may be weak
and easy to kill, but those little bastards, like the infamous Touch Me, utilize
two very annoying attacks: Frog Jab and Frog Song.  Both, needless to say,
result in you becoming frogged.  With these bastards, it's a "kill them before
they have a chance to piss you off" deal.  They are weak to ice magic, and given
their low HP, can likely be taken out with a well-placed Ice-all spell.  I'd
advise you to set up whomever performs this action with some sort of protection
against transformation, however (Added Effect/Transform in the armor works well
enough).  The Under Lizard is the considerably more powerful friend of the
Toxic Frog, but their only real power is the ability to petrify you.  This may
prove to be your downfall only if you've let the transformation inflicted by the
Toxic Frog's debilitate your offense (especially given that the Under Lizard has
around three times as much HP as the Toxic Frog does...)  But, again, it's
attacks beyond that aren't too much to worry about.

   There are three more enemies at the Temple of the Ancients, but all three are
enemies are completely avoidable.  The only one you may end up fighting is the
Ancient Dragon, as two of them will be guarding the Nail Bat (an item you'll
find later).  They are immune to earth and water magic, but weak versus wind and
gravity.  Pay special attention to that gravity part, as you can have them down
in no time flat with two Laser or Demi 2 spells (they surround you, sadly,
preventing you from nailing both at once).  Failing gravity magic, they have
quite the supply of HP, so expect a bit of a fight, at least.  In addition to
having a strong physical attack, they also have an uber-powerful ice spell
called Southern Cross, so watch out for that.  Moving right along to the
Jemnezmy.  The Jemnezmy's greatest asset is the fact that you will likely spend
more time staring at her than you will fighting her.  They've got an ice spell
called Cold Breath which does a considerable amount of ice damage to one of your
characters, and also possess the ability to confuse one of your party members.
Luckily, their HP is somewhat low, and they are easy to kill.  They are immune
to ice magic, but poison magic is their kryptonite.  Lastly, we have the 8-
Eye... which is a creepy blob-like creature that just must die.  Though it's
Absorb attack will siphon an ungodly amount of HP from its target, don't be
fooled, the HP max of the 8-Eye is actually quite low.  It is immune to gravity
magic, but poison magic again is the key here.  Their HP is low enough that a
simple Bio spell would kill it instantly, but please note that poison magic of
any sort is an automatic deathblow to the 8-Eye.

   From your starting point, head right to the first fork in the road.  There
are some stairs to your right, and path to the left.  The stairs lead to a dead-
end, so go left.  The left path circles you around and takes you down a level,
where you will see a small archway to your right, and a path leading down.  The
path is a dead-end, so head through the archway and crawl down the vines on the
other side.  Below, it may not be apparent which way to head, but do you see
that treasure chest on the other side of the overhanging stairway?  Go towards
it (and also collect the Trident inside of it).  From here, the path forks.
The path leading up will take you to some stairs, and subsequently, a dead-end.
The path leading right takes you to a huge wall, which you can scale via the
overhanging vine.  The doorway at the top of it is sealed for some reason, but
you can continue up the stairs to your left.  From here, there is an archway to
your to your lower left, and some overhanging vines on the wall next to you.

   First, you'll likely want to scale the wall.  At the top, you can take some
stairs down to a doorway to your left (making sure to nab the Mind Source along
the way).  Just inside the doorway is the hideout of that adorably cute bearded
midget you might have seen running around the maze.  According to Aeris, they
are the embodied spirits of Ancients who have protected the Temple of the
Ancients for years, but in that time appear to have lost the ability to talk.
Aeris attempts to and fails to engage in basic communication with him, but Cloud
can make various transactions with the guy, such as purchasing various items,
asking to rest in his home, and saving the game.  Admit it, at least one time
during your stay here, you started thinking about taxi drivers.  Oh, and be sure
to steal the Silver Rifle from his treasure chest before leaving.

   Going back to the archway, head through it, picking up the Turbo Ether on the
other side.  From here, take a long stairway leading towards the lower left
corner of the maze.  At the bottom, there is an archway to your left leading to
another set of stairs heading in the same direction.  From there, head down and
left a bit further until you get to the chest containing the Rocket Punch.
Follow the path to a set of vines, which you can scale to the top of a short
wall.  You see that little guy who just took off into that doorway to the left?
That will take you to the next room.  However, you may wish to first head up the
stairs above you, go through the doorway, go down the stairs to the right, climb
up the vines on the side of the wall at the foot of those stairs, and walk along
the top of the wall to grab the Luck Plus materia.

   Anyways, in the next room, you'll see a hallway leading to the right.  The
problem is that giant U-shaped rocks are constantly rolling down it.  And guess
what happens when you get hit by one?  Actually, it doesn't hurt, but it does
squish Cloud in a cartoonish manner and sends him back to the beginning.  It's
as if the rocks should have ACME stamped on the side of them.  Anyways, head
down the hallway, making sure to stand where the U-cut will not make squishies
out of your team.  Halfway down the hallway, you may notice how the path
deviates to a small pool of eerily-glowing liquid.  There is a Morph materia
lying in front of it, which you should grab.  Heeding the general law of common
sense that you should avoid any an all things that glow eerily, your team does
not mess with the pool and continues down the path.  Once you reach the end, the
boulders stop, but Aeris decides she's going to go screw with that pool in the
middle of the room.

   The pool, as all mystical pools tend to, shows you an image.  You'll see
Elena and Tseng walking through a room with a lot of writing on the walls (a
fact which Cloud will later note).  Tseng asks Elena out on a date, and then
shoos her away.  That's when Sephiroth appears.  Never mind the fact that
Sephiroth splits into two images during the conversation, or that the second
image does nothing but stand off to the side and glow eerily...  It serves no
purpose except to make you think that your Playstation just broke.  Sephiroth
describes how he plans to become one with the planet, blah, blah, blah.  He's
not really making since at this point, because in a roundabout way all he's
trying to tell us is that he'd really like to die.  The then does something to
Tseng that you've likely been wanting to do for the majority of the game: he
stabs him.  Cloud at this point rallies the team to find that room, and that he
is through dealing with Sephiroth.  He decides that it's going to end here, and
that he's going to take Sephiroth out.  Sure, Cloud, we believe you...  Anyways,
talk to the little guy at the end of the hallway, if you'd like, to restore your
HP/MP and/or save the game, and then continue to the next room.

   The next room is a gigantic clock, with the hands forming walkways and doors
at the end of each one.  The game describes how to rotate the hands, but you can
only rotate them once per visit to the room (meaning you have to leave and then
come back if you screw up.  Also beware the second hand, as it will knock your
ass off if it hits you.  You might want to let this happen at least once, as you
do get the Nail Bat for your trouble.  You'll have to make your way back here
from the sealed door back at the maze, however.  Anyways, without further ado,
happy door hunting!

   The door at one o' clock is a dead-end which also leads to an enemy
encounter.  You are advised to avoid it.

   The door at two o' clock is also a dead-end, but with no enemy encounter.

   The door at three o' clock, like the door at one o' clock, leads to a dead-
end and an enemy encounter.

   The door at four o' clock leads to the Princess Guard, an excellent weapon
for Aeris.

   The door at five o' clock leads back out to the maze, and onto a ledge where
you can collect the Ribbon.

   The door at six o' clock takes you to the "door maze", which in turn will
take you to the room with the mural on the walls.  Don't come here until you
have collected everything you want from all of the other rooms first.  For
details on the door maze, see below.

   The door at seven o' clock leads to the Trumpet Shell.

   The door at eight o' clock leads to a Megalixir.

   The door at nine o' clock leads to a dead-end.

   The door at ten o' clock should be an easy one.  It's the door you came in
from.

   The door at eleven o' clock is also a dead-end.

   The door at twelve o' clock is the exit to the Temple of the Ancients.  Come
here after visiting the door at six o' clock.

   Once you've collected the desired treasure, it's time to visit the door at
six o' clock.  This takes you to a maze of doors, and you'll also see another
one of those cute midget guys hopping around.  What he does now is move in a
predictable pattern through all of these doors.  The game explains to you that
you can hop down to the ledge below if need be, but so long as you know the
mechanics of the doors, it shouldn't take more than one try to capture this guy.
You see, he will go into one door, and emerge out of another.  You need to go
into the door that he would have emerged from.  Which door that would be is
dependent on which door he went into.

  There are 11 doors in all, but only 9 are part of the maze.  The one on the
right on the top floor leads back to the clock room, and the one in the middle
(that looks different from all of the others) leads to the room with the murals.
Thus, the door on the left side of the top floor shall be door number 1.  The
doors on the second floor, from left to right, shall be numbered 2-5.  The doors
on the bottom floor, from left to right, shall be numbers 6-9.

   If he enters door 1, he will emerge from door 9.

   If he enters door 2, he will emerge from door 4.

   If he enters door 3, he will emerge from door 6.

   If he enters door 4, he will emerge from door 1.

   If he enters door 5, he will emerge from door 8.

   If he enters door 6, he will emerge from door 5.

   If he enters door 7, he will emerge from door 2.

   If he enters door 8, he will emerge from door 7.

   If he enters door 9, he will emerge from door 3.

   Oh, and you might want to get the Work Glove out of that chest on the bottom
floor.

   Anyways, when you catch him, the door to the mural room opens, and you may
enter.  But you might first want to prepare for the upcoming boss battle.  This
won't be a very difficult boss battle, as the boss in question doesn't have too
much HP to back itself up.  It has a pretty nasty physical attack which it uses
quite often, and also a fairly powerful fire breath attack that will nail the
whole party, but that's really all you need to worry about.  The boss is immune
to gravity magic, and will absorb fire magic.  Everything else is game, however.

   Inside the mural room, you will come face to face with Sephiroth.  Sephiroth
starts flashing eerily and self-replicating like nobody's business, all the
while jabbering on about becoming one with the planet.  When he finally stops
with all of the flashy flying crap, he stops to explain his sinister plan to
you, as do all evil villains with a sinister plan.  It's as if the first lesson
at evil villain college is "how to never keep your mouth shut".  Anyways,
Sephiroth explains that when the planet is damaged, spirit energy is gathered to
heal that wound.  But what if there were a gigantic wound that threatened the
very life of the planet?  Lots of spirit energy would be gathered, and Sephiroth
plans to merge with that spirit energy and become God.  And to inflict that
wound, he plans to utilize the ultimate destructive magic, Meteor.  Otherwise
known as the black materia.  What he fails to mention is that the power of
Meteor will be enough to knock the Earth out of orbit and annihilate it
completely, but meh.  Petty details.

   Sephiroth leaves you, and Cloud begins to freak out.  And this isn't one of
his normal freak-outs, either.  This time, it looks like one of his
personalities is trying to break free from the rest of his body.  He completely
loses it, spouting off random gibberish, until he pulls himself together.  And
then he goes on as if nothing out of the ordinary had just happened, as does the
rest of the team.  Ok, then...  As the team discusses amongst themselves, the
Red Dragon appears to do battle with the team.

   The Red Dragon, as I've already mentioned, isn't much of a difficult fight
due to the comparably low HP it possesses.  Spells like Big Guard, Slow, and
Regen can all help, but given the possible short length of the fight, may not be
entirely necessary.  Poison helps to do some good damage to him if cast early
enough in the battle, as well.  On a final note, go nuts with your MP, because
you get a free refill after the fight.  With those facts in mind, this fight
should be over pretty quick.  You'll earn a Dragon Armlet for your victory.

   Following your squeaky-clean battle, the first thing you'll probably notice
is the Bahamut materia left behind by the Red Dragon.  After collecting it,
head on over to the right side of the room and take a look at the little scale
model of the temple itself.  You are given several options of things to do with
it, but any attempt you make to mess with it results in failure.  Aeris gets the
idea to ask the planet how to operate the damn thing.  Interestingly enough, the
planet responds to her.  It seems that the Temple of the Ancients itself is the
black materia.  The little model of the temple contains several puzzles, and
with each puzzle you solve, the Temple of the Ancients gets smaller and smaller,
until it is big enough to fit into the palm of your hand.  The catch?  The
puzzles can only be done from inside the temple itself, meaning that whoever
goes about solving said puzzles will find himself unable to use the black
materia due to the fact that he will be made to be somewhat squished by it.

   So the black materia is safe here, right?  Not according to Cloud.  Cloud's
idea involves releasing the black materia from the deadly trap so that you guys
can hang onto it and keep it away from Sephiroth.  This is probably the dumbest
idea any human being in the history of mankind has ever had.  Cloud does mention
that Sephiroth has a gazillion flunkies which he would not think twice about
sacrificing to obtain the black materia.  This is true, indeed.  But, what he
neglects to mention is that most of Sephiroth's lackeys also lack the
intelligence to chew without outside assistance, let alone solve ancient
riddles, so I stand by my earlier comment that this is the stupidest idea ever.

   Anyways, that's when the solution to your problem will present itself.  Cait
Sith will speak up (or call you on the PHS if he is not with you), saying that
he does not mind in the least sacrificing his inanimate body for the good of
mankind.  And to make a long story short, you really have no option but to let
him get himself killed, though I cannot see why you'd have any objection to
this.  I mean, sure, you're unleashing hell on Earth as we know it, but you're
getting rid of that little bastard, Cait Sith, in the process.  I think the
latter outweighs the former, personally.

   Now, you've got to get the hell out of here.  Heading back to the door maze
room, take the time to stop and chat with the little midget guy, because he will
offer you rest and the chance to save up.  Back in the clock room, the hands
stand ready to allow you access to the exit, but you might first want to stop
and prepare for a difficult boss battle.  The boss in question has a couple of
very nasty physical attacks, one which will do big damage to the whole party,
and the other doing huge damage to a single character.  Big Guard (or Barrier,
at the very least), will prove to be a very big asset in this battle.  Also
expect the occasionally petrification attack, which under most circumstances
wouldn't be so bad, except that the prolonged length of this battle will
necessitate you have some way to counter it.  Is you do not know the Esuna
spell, I hope you've got a few Softs or Remedies handy.  Now, in utilizing Big
Guard, a Haste-all spell is not needed, but the Time materia can still shine in
the upcoming fight.   If you have unlocked Slow, you would be wise to use it, as
this will be a surprisingly speedy boss (which is a bad thing to be combined
with powerful attacks).  Finally, this boss will be immune to the effects of
poison and gravity magic, and will be resistant to earth magic.

   On a side note, there are potential lost-forevers here to be aware of (you
know, what I talk about in section I.F. of the FAQ?)  That would be Aeris's
equipment.  Make sure she's not wearing anything you really like.

   Once equipped, step into the door at twelve o' clock and prepare to do battle
with Demon's Gate.  Demon's Gate, as we've established already, is a powerful
boss to take on.  Unload the most powerful attacks you have into it (expect to
see a bit o' limit break action in this fight), while keeping your HP up.  Other
than that, I think I covered everything you need to know in the above paragraph.

   After your battle, Cait Sith announces just a little too cheerfully that he's
here and ready to help.  Aeris tries to comfort him and make him feel better by
asking Cait Sith to read y'all's fortunes one last time.  This is a surprisingly
emotional scene, given that Cait Sith is an inanimate object which is not
particularly governed by the laws of life and death.  Also, you hate Cait Sith.
Aeris asks Cait Sith to predict the compatibility of herself and Cloud.  He does
so, and notes that the two are a perfect match.  Of course, as has been proven
several times in the past, Cait Sith isn't necessarily the most reliable source
of psychic information.  With this out of the way, the party leaves and Cait
Sith heads towards the mural room for his last hurrah.

   Despite the fact that he is not alive, the game does it's absolute best to
make you feel sorry for the poor kitty.  You'll see the stuffed animal trip, and
then the kitty landing on his poor little kitty head, finally hopping back onto
the stuffed animal and continuing towards the puzzle.  And as if that weren't
sappy enough, Cait Sith then starts talking like a bad episode of Sesame Street
(who he's talking to, I don't know, as the rest of the team obviously cannot
hear him), stating that, "There may be lots of stuffed bodies like mine, but
there's only one me!"  Good.  That means we'll be rid of your backstabbing ass
when you get crushed to death.  Now get to work!

   The Temple of the Ancients vanishes after Cait Sith reduces it to the black
materia.  You'll see a giant crater where the temple used to be, and the black
materia lying in the middle of it.  Cloud walks over to it and picks it up,
proudly proclaiming that as long as you are in possession of it, then Sephiroth
cannot have it.  And anyone who has ever watched a movie before can tell you
that you should never say things like that, because they will inevitably be
followed by something very bad.  Cloud then hopefully asks if anyone on the team
can use it, somehow not realizing that it might not be a good idea to trigger
Armageddon.  Aeris mentions that the user of Meteor must have a lot of spirit
energy, and the spirit energy of one person is not sufficient to use it.  You'd
need a lot of spirit energy...  Like, the amount you might find at the Promised
Land, which, as we've already discovered, does not exist.  Well, at least not to
non-ancients like Sephiroth (huh?  Since when was Sephiroth not an ancient?  Did
I miss something here?)  Anyways, Sephiroth shows up at this point and boldly
proclaims that he is better than the ancients, as he is now a "traveler of the
Lifestream itself", which at the very least explains that freaky flying-flashy-
self-replication crap he's been doing lately.  Just how he accomplished this,
however, remains a mystery.  He warps over to Cloud, supposedly to stab him.
But he doesn't even have to do that.  He just politely asks Cloud, and Cloud
walks over to Sephiroth and forks over the black materia (and while he does
this, you control Cloud's subconscious, but all you can really do is run around
frantically while Cloud's body is busy sentencing the world to utter
destruction).

   Nice going, Cloud, you just doomed the entire planet.  Sephiroth, pleased
with himself, flashes off into the sky, leaving Cloud to his insanity.  Aeris
tries to comfort Cloud, telling him that it wasn't his fault.  Really?  Cloud
walked over to Sephiroth and handed Sephiroth the key to destroying the world;
now please tell me how this wasn't his fault.  At this highly inappropriate
time, Cait Sith's unrequested and unwanted replacement shows up.  And seeing as
he looks and acts just like the original, the only thing that has really changed
in your life is that everybody is about to die because Cloud had to be an idiot
and get us all killed.

   Following some uber-insanity from Cloud, the screen goes white.  You wake up
in the middle of some forest (later identified as the Sleeping Forest), where
you see Aeris running around calling out to you (Cloud).  She tells Cloud that
she's going to take care of Sephiroth herself, and that Cloud should take it
easy so that he doesn't have a breakdown.  Of course, if this is the sort of
crap Cloud is seeing, I'd say he's way past the point of a mental breakdown.
She says that she, being an Ancient, is the only person that can protect the
planet from Cloud's stupidity, I mean, Sephiroth.  Aeris then leaves to go to
the City of the Ancients, where she claims she will be able to stop Sephiroth.
Cloud tries to stop her, but obviously cannot, given that this is just a
psychopathic dream and all.  Sephiroth arrives and does his creepy Sephiroth
crap.  He seems angry at the possible interference of Aeris and appears to want
to stop her by any means possible.

   About this time, Cloud wakes up with Tifa and Barret standing around him.
They mention that Aeris appears to have vanished, and that the rest of the team
has left to look for her.  Cloud details that Aeris is headed to the City of the
Ancients to stop Sephiroth, and that Sephiroth is after her.  Even though he may
be right, I find it somewhat sad that we have resorted to taking advice from
Cloud's random fits of insanity.  Tifa and Barret get a little scared, and say
that you've got to go help Aeris... and fast.  Cloud, coming to the slow
realization that he is a psychopath, begins to doubt that he should, saying that
if he gets near Sephiroth again he may lose it.  Well, Cloud, look at it this
way: you already doomed the entire planet; what more harm could you possibly do?
Barret at this time has a few choice words for the dumbass that condemned the
Earth (spouting off his soon-to-be-famous quote: "there ain't no gettin' offa
this train we're on"), but at least Tifa seems to support you.

   Follow them outside the building you were in to find yourself back at Gongaga
village.  Barret and Tifa encourage Cloud to come along (though Barret's promise
comes in the form of the assurance that he's going to kick Cloud's ass if he
goes crazy on them again), and Cloud reluctantly agrees.  Get your crap together
and move out.  You'll find the Tiny Bronco parked just off the coast of Gongaga.

   Under most circumstances, you'd be forced to guess where to head next.  But
seeing as only one unexplored landmass remains in this world, it should be
rather obvious that the Sleeping Forest, and subsequently the City of the
Ancients can be found on the northern continent.  Getting there can be a pain,
as you can't reach it from the middle sea.  Try approaching it from the west.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Bone Village


   Disembarking on the only non-frozen edge of the northern continent, you find
yourself in a peaceful valley.  And when I say "peaceful", I do mean it.  The
forests around here contain no enemies, and only rarely on the plains will you
get into a fight.  In that case, expect to do battle with a Trickplay, which is
more or less a revamped version of the Mu.  Sewer, as always, is kind of a nasty
attack, but not too horrible.  Lv. 4 Suicide, if it catches you off-guard, will
waste you, however (and, of course, can be learned with the E. Skill materia).
Sinking appears to now mimic the effects of Quake 3, but still does about as
much damage as a Quake spell would.  But, to even things out, they also have an
attack that heals you.

  Anyways, that little village nestled in the forest is called Bone Village, and
is where you should head if you are interested in advancing in the game.  Bone
Village claims itself to be a village "for nature lovers".  You can tell this,
because the entire village is built into the fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur.
Damn yuppies.  Anyways, first things first, you'll probably want to be getting
you some shopping done here.  The item shop offers a fine selection of armors
from which you can choose, though I do find it extremely odd that these
backwoods yuppie bastards have somehow acquired better military defense
technology than the Shinra has.

   The people in the village mention having seen a girl running into the
Sleeping Forest, followed by a man in a black cape.  The other thing they talk
about is the Lunar Harp, a treasure around here that they are trying to
excavate.  The usefulness of said treasure will become readily apparent if you
try to enter the Sleeping Forest (accessible from the back of the town).  You
see, if you don't have the Lunar Harp to "wake the forest up", you get to run in
aimless circles around the forest for all of eternity.  It doesn't make much
sense, but you'll be needing the Lunar Harp.

   It shouldn't be too hard to acquire the Lunar Harp, however.  Talk to the
foreman of the excavation site (he's the guy at the front of the village) and he
asks you if you'll be wanting to dig.  You are given the option to search for
"normal treasure", "good treasure", or the "Lunar Harp".  Normal treasure will
yield garbage, mostly.  Good Treasure, if you have your wits about you, will
give you the most excellent Buntline, so you might want to take a break from
saving the world and such and devote some time to finding that.  And, naturally,
opting to search for the Lunar Harp just might leave you with the Lunar Harp.

   Do be aware that this'll be costin' ya money, because apparently these
jackasses were just here screwing off waiting for some random passerby to come
pay them to do their jobs.  Walk around and dictate where you would like workers
to be.  Each worker you place will set a bomb, follow the tremors, and then face
in the exact direction of the selected treasure.  Though you can place five,
common sense would dictate that you'd only need two.  But given their extremely
cheap cost (hmm... must be illegal immigrants), you'll probably want to hire all
five since you don't know where the damn thing is, and there are two levels to
Bone Village, anyways.

  By the way, the Lunar Harp is the one treasure here whose location is set.  It
is on the top level of the village to the left of the tent.  Just put two guys
up there, pinpoint the location, and order the dig.  I should note that
unfortunately, this fact only holds true for the PSX version of the game, so
you're pretty much on your own if you're playing the PC version.

   The next morning, the results of the dig are placed in a treasure chest next
to the foreman's hut.  Assuming you've gone and obtained the Lunar Harp (and
perhaps also the Buntline), there is nothing more for you here.  Now make haste
to the Sleeping Forest.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Sleeping Forest/Corral Valley


   This place oughta look familiar.  It's also a very short area.  Despite the
peacefulness, of the place, there are a few enemies running around.  The odds of
you running into them are virtually nil, however.  But for what it's worth, the
Boundfat is a little creature that is not worthy of much mention.  It
occasionally casts Ice 2, and absorbs ice attacks in return.  But it's pretty
easy to kill, anyways.  The most important thing about the Malldancer is its
mention in section XIX.B. of the FAQ.  It is also immune to poison and water
magic, but that is pretty much all that can be said about this relatively easy
to kill monster.  Lastly, the Hungry is a funny little guy that likes to cast
Mini, but can't really fight worth a damn besides that.  He does have assloads
of HP, but that's about it.

   As you trot up the forest path, the Lunar Harp reacts and "wakes" the forest
up.  It really doesn't change things much, but it does look all green and glowy
for a second, there.  Those of you with good eyes will spot the Kjata materia
to the left of the path.  As you go to pick it up, however, you'll notice that
it is moving.  Chase that damn thing down!  Or, if it gets away from you, just
walk away and then come back to try again.

   The next portion of the Sleeping Forest is a bit rockier.  It's also where
the enemies start to appear.  From where you start, you might first want to take
the right fork to a treasure chest containing a Water Ring.  The Water Ring is
important mainly because it will render you invincible during the next boos
fight.  Anyways, there's small ledge to the left of where you started that you
can climb.  From there, cross the fallen log across the chasm and out the other
side of the Sleeping Forest.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Forgotten City (City of the Ancients)


   You find yourself in the middle of a great valley.  And experts agree that
there's something very... unusual about this valley.  The ground is oddly
colored and everything around you has a strange glow to it.  Not to far in the
distance appears the Forgotten City, or the City of the Ancients.  Go there now.

   The game strikes an ominous chord as you step into the city, with an
unsettling and foreboding score and a barren, desolate ruin of what was once a
great city lying ahead of you.  There are no enemies here, so take your time as
you explore.  As you advance towards the city, you'll see path's branch out to
the left and to the right, and the final path will lead directly towards the
center of the city.  You're probably going to want to check out the side paths
first.

   Down the left path, you'll eventually come to the ruins of an old home,
inside of which you will find a Magic Source.  There is also a save point in
this house for your saving pleasure,  If you continue along the path as it
circles around behind the city, you'll find an eerie machine set in the middle
of a large chasm.  Though you cannot use or even understand the machine, you can
very well liberate an Aurora Armlet from a nearby chest.

   Going down the right path, you'll come across two more ruined homes (there
are two path's beyond them, but you cannot traverse wither at this point in
time).  Inside one home, you'll find a chest containing a Guard Source.  Inside
the other, you'll discover an Elixir and an E. Skill materia.  There are also
some beds here, and you are presented with the option to rest.  And if there was
ever a place or time where taking a nap probably wouldn't be the smartest idea
in the world, this is it.  Still, you'll probably want to rest up, if not for
the upcoming boss fight, then to simply add to the mood.  Cloud will wake up
later that night, telling the team that he can sense something...  Aeris and
Sephiroth are both here somewhere.  The group moves out, and you'll notice that
a gloomy night has fallen over the Forgotten City.

   Before advancing any further, you might want to pause and prepare yourself
for the upcoming boss battle.  The boss in question is a water-based enemy, and
has attacks that are all water-based.  Thus, anyone wearing the Water Ring will
be invincible during this fight.  As further insurance, you might put the
Leviathan/Elemental combo in someone's armor.  Gravity magic, as always, will
prove ineffective, and water magic will be absorbed.  Earth magic, on the other
hand, will work quite well.  However, as this boss also likes to cast Reflect,
making Destruct a good materia to take with you into this battle.  Also note
that one of the three attacks used by this boss is the deadly Aqualung, and
you're probably going to want to be prepared for that.  If you haven't already
learned Aqualung with your E. Skill materia, shame on you.  Aqualung is used
rarely, but the other two attacks are still quite powerful, as well.  But, with
ample protection from water magic, you really have nothing to worry about.

   Head straight towards the center of the city, where you'll find yourself
inside yet another ruined home.  There is a large spiral staircase, at the top
of which you'll discover the Comet materia.  About halfway up the staircase,
however, you'll notice a stairway deviating from the original staircase, leading
down.  As you walk down that stairway, you'll find yourself approaching a
beautiful crystalline city below.  In all honesty, words cannot convey the raw
beauty and celestial purity of what you behold.

   At the bottom of the crystalline stairway (admit it, you started humming
Stairway to Heaven when you were going down them), you'll find yourself in the
heart of the City of the Ancients.  And kneeling at the altar at the center of
the city is Aeris, silently locked in prayer.  You'll probably want to make use
of that save point over there before heading down the stairs below you, which
will in turn take you to a series of raised steps resting in the pool beneath
you.  These steps lead to the altar at the center of the city.  The team begins
to walk towards the pylons, but Cloud stops them, insisting he go it alone from
here.  Make your way over to where Aeris is.

   When you reach Aeris, Cloud has another one of his freak-outs.  Who woulda
thunk it?  You can walk around and everything, but talking accomplishes nothing,
and every time you attempt to make Cloud take some sort of action, he just ends
up doing something stupid.  For instance, first he draws his sword, then he
stands behind Aeris, and then begins to draw his sword back.  Mysteriously,
Aeris does not even flinch.  Luckily for her, the rest of the team starts
yelling at the Goddamned psychopath to put his sword away.

   And that's when it happens.  Out of nowhere, Sephiroth drops from the sky
with his sword drawn, impaling Aeris as he lands.  Her eyes thrust open as she
goes sickeningly limp on Sephiroth's sword, and the force of the blow jostles
her ribbon loose.  Her cherished "useless" materia falls from her hair and
gently bounces over the ledge and into the pool below, sinking into eternal
nothingness.  For Christs's sakes, this is a girl that could withstand a nuclear
blast in the midst of a heated battle, and Sephiroth here takes her out with one
sword thrust to the abdomen.  Video game logic...  Sephiroth seems just a little
too pleased with himself, as if he is awaiting for the judges to award him a
perfect "10" in the "spilling the blood of the innocent" category.

   Cloud pretty much loses it at this point, rushing over to Aeris's body and
holding her, frantically crying out in anguish.  It's actually a very startling
contrast to his usual indifferent attitude, and it just goes to show that when
you show no emotion of any sort at any time, it's all going to come out at some
time.  Sephiroth spouts off some more garbage about becoming one with the
planet, but Cloud tells his ass to shut up and starts yelling at him for killing
Aeris.  As mad as Cloud is, he still for some reason does not see it fit to
attack Sephiorth in any way, instead allowing Sephiroth to calmly explain that
he is heading "north past the snowy fields" to become one with the planet.
Sephiroth then flies off as he always does, leaving you to do battle with Jenova
LIFE.

   The battle with Jenova LIFE has a very solemn note to it, as Aeris's sad
theme continues playing as you fight.  You can almost feel Cloud's anguish with
every slash of his sword.  As for the battle strategy itself, it was more or
less covered a few paragraphs ago when I was detailing the preparations for the
battle.  But to recap: water and gravity attacks are bad, earth attacks rock,
and if you're wearing the Water Ring, don't even bother with strategy because
you're not going to die, anyways.

   When the fight is over, a solemn Cloud takes Aeris out to the middle of the
pool and says his final goodbyes.  He then lets go, and watches as Aeris's body
descends into the water, never to be seen again...


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 \ \/ /|Section III: Walkthrough|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Corral Valley Cave


   Well, the good news is that the game is going to stop trying to make you cry
for now.  The bad news is that Sephiroth is still out there and still needs his
ass kicked.  Though Cloud has repeatedly proven in the past that he is in no way
up to this task, he decides to set off, anyways, but not without giving an
uninspiring pep talk to his teammates.  This is mainly because his pep talk
consists mainly of "please come with me and make sure I don't do anything
stupid", as if chasing Sephiroth wasn't something innately stupid to begin with.
The good news is that Cloud appears to be tapping into his psychic powers, and
is able to determine which direction Sephiroth headed (which would be down the
path leading east from here).  I'd insert a bad joke about Cait Sith right here,
but I'm too lazy, so make up your own.

   Head down the path until you see a gigantic conch shell.  For starters, you
may encounter an enemy here, in which case it's going to be something from the
Sleeping Forest.  Secondly, before you climb up the conch shell, you might want
to first go around it (on the left side), and circle around to the treasure
chest over there, as it does contain the Viper Halberd.  With that done, crawl
up the conch shell and circle around to the top.  At the top, begin to circle
back down in the opposite direction, only to be dumped off at the entrance to
the Corral Valley Cave (note: completely different than Corel Valley).

   Inside the Corral Valley Cave, expect to see a bit o' monster activity.  The
place is populated mostly by little midget soldiers called Grimguards, who
carry around shields that are bigger than they are.  Their main attack consists
of futilely spinning the shield around, accomplishing absolutely nothing in the
process.  They may occasionally bust out with a Bolt 2 or Ice 2 spell, or that's
it.  They are immune to the effects of ice and lightning magic, as well, but
aren't horribly difficult to deal with.  The Acrophies is a different story
altogether.  It is a large dragon-like creature that has a healthy supply of HP
behind it.  It's attacks are not that bad, but it does have a particularly nasty
Tidal Wave attack.  Since it always travels alone, it's usually possible to rip
it to shreds before it has much of a chance to attack, though.  Expect water
magic to be ineffective, and it also absorbs wind-based attacks for some reason.

   Anyways, the Corral Valley Cave is more or less one giant wall you need to
scale.  You accomplish this by shimmying up the cracks in the wall there they
are narrow enough to do so.  The first one you see upon entering the cave is too
wide, so you'll have to go up that one on the left, instead.  Climb up, and then
hop off to the left.  Head left to another gap you can shimmy up.  At the top,
you can either go left or right.  If you co left, you can pilfer the chest on
the ledge above you for the Bolt Armlet inside (the same can be accomplished by
crawling up to the ledge where the chest is, but it is not necessary).  Head
over towards the right side of the screen now to another gap.  First, you might
want to head down to the treasure chest below and nab the Hypnocrown.  From
there, head back up to the top of this gab and hop off to the left.  Continue
left to another gap, and crawl to the top of it.  Again disembarking on the
left, head in that direction until you reach a vertical railing that spans the
height of the entire cave.  At the bottom of it, you will find the Magic Plus
materia.  At the top, you will find a ledge which leads right and to the exit.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Icicle Inn


   You'll emerge from the Corral Valley Cave in a snowy field.  And with a new
area comes a new set of enemies.  But, like most enemies as of late, they ain't
much to worry about.  The Bandersnatch sounds more like a bad porn title than
an enemy, but what are ya gonna do?  There's not much to mention here except a
weakness to fire magic.  The Hopping, is a cute little snowshoe bunny that hops
up and down on the battlefield,  If you can take it upon yourself to harm these
adorably cute and relatively harmless creatures, note that physical attacks tend
to miss more often than they should, but the problem isn't too detrimental.
Still, magic is the easier way to get rid of them, even though they have no
weaknesses.  The final enemy is one that can only be encountered on the few
small, unfrozen tips of the land.  Still, you'll likely want to go out of your
way to face the Vlakrodos, for several reasons.  For starters, they are
mentioned in section XIX.B. of the FAQ.  They can also be very important to
chocobo breeding (for more on that whole mess, check out section X. of the FAQ).
But the fight itself isn't quite so easy.  Consider yourself lucky that the
Vlakrodos has very weak attacks, because it's a pain to kill.  It's HP is
astronomical, and despite only being half-effective, gravity attacks are still
the way to go in this fight (you'll probably want to start off with a shot of
Demi 2 or Laser, and then go with Demi 3 for the rest of the fight).  The Sense
materia, sadly, does not work on them, but I'll give you a little heads-up and
inform you that their HP max is 33,333.  That's more HP than most bosses.

   Anyways, from the exit to the Corral Valley Cave, just keep heading straight
until you see the mountains jutting further out towards the left.  Go around
them, and then start wrapping around to the right (you should spot one of those
unfrozen tips of the land in the distance).  As you keep wrapping around to the
right, you'll eventually make it to a small village called Icicle Inn.

   I'll go over shopping detail and other things shortly, but for now, we're
going straight to the meaty part of things.

   Probably the most interesting aspect of this peaceful little retreat, is that
it happens to be the area that Professor Gast retired to after his little
breakdown with the folks over at Shinra.  It was here (well, we assume, at any
rate) that he met a woman named Ifalna.  This name should sound really familiar,
because Ifalna was Aeris's mother, if you'll recall.  A lot transpired here, and
lucky for us, the professor was smart enough to capture most of it on videotape.
You can view these tapes at Professor Gast's home (you can't miss it- it's the
one with all of the computer equipment in it).  Scroll through his personal
video collection (which sadly does not contain any porn), and scope out the rare
footage.

   In the first tape, Ifalna talks about the original disaster (the disaster
that Sephiroth spoke of earlier in the game).  A great calamity fell from the
sky and injured the planet.  The site of the injury came to be known as
Knowlespole, was located in this general area.  The Cetra gathered at
Knowlespole and began to read the planet.  They did their best to cultivate the
land and summon spirit energy to heal the wound, but due to the massiveness of
the wound, it could only be healed over the span of several thousand years.  But
that's when "it" appeared.  "It" being the calamity that fell from the skies.
It appeared to the Cetra as a friend at first, but oh, how they were deceived.
It spread a virus to the Cetra gathered at Knowlespole, killing them off like
flies.  It then traveled the world, wiping out the other Cetra clans with wanton
disregard.  At this point in her descriptions, Ifalna begins to get sad, and
Professor Gast cuts off the taping.

   The second tape picks up where the first one left off, beginning with Ifalna
confirming what you have probably already guessed.  That calamity which fell
form the skies, that "it" that killed off her people was indeed Jenova, the
organism that had once been mistaken for an Ancient.  Professor Gast, judging by
those comments he made to the elders at Cosmo Canyon, knew this already.  This
also, by the way, finally explains to us how Sephiroth is not a member of the
Cetra race.  Anyways, Ifalna goes on to talk about Weapon.  Weapon was created
by the planet when it realized that as long as Jenova existed, then it could
never heal.  Jenova was ultimately defeated and contained by a small group of
surviving Cetra, but Weapon did not cease to exist.  Rather, Weapon lay dormant
somewhere on the planet, watching over Jenova and awaiting further instruction.
You see, Jenova had been contained, but was by no means dead.  The planet seemed
to know this, and kept Weapon around, awaiting the day that Jenova would rise
again.  This does raise the question: why has Weapon not yet gone after
Sephiroth?  But, alas, your question goes unanswered, and the tape cuts off.

   The final two tapes are the ones labeled "private".  They were taken after
the marriage of Professor Gast and Ifalna, and concern their baby: Aeris.
That's right, Aeris is (was) Professor Gast's daughter.  But all was not
happiness and sunshine, as only 20 days following the birth of Aeris, Professor
Gast received a surprise visit... from Hojo!  A surprisingly young-looking Hojo
bursts into Professor Gast's home, accompanied by Shinra soldiers.  A very
touching, though horribly cliché, scene follows, in which Professor Gast
attempts (and fails) to defend Ifalna and Aeris.  Ifalna offers herself in
exchange for Aeris's safety.  Hojo, however, is fully intent on using both
Ifalna and Aeris for his twisted experiments.  Before anything else happens, one
of the soldiers turns to shoot out the camera, so all that is left for the
ensuing struggle is audio.  Professor Gast, sadly, died in the struggle.  Ifalna
and Aeris, as you should know, were taken back to Shinra H.Q., but were
ultimately able to escape the clutches of the evil Shinra, and, well, you know
the rest of the story.

   With that revelation out of the way, you're free to explore the rest of
Icicle Inn (except the back, which is currently off-limits to you).  For
starters, you can take the Turbo Ether that Professor Gast was keeping in his
basement.  Other items that can be stolen from  people's houses around here
involve a Hero Drink, Vaccine, and an X-Potion.  The weapon and item shop
here are one and the same, and is run by a geezerly old man who needs to be
woken up by his daughter when customers arrive.  It seems like such a rustic,
backwoods operation, but the weapons offered here are anything but.  Go nuts,
and buy what you need, but don't blow a hole in your wallet, either.

   One thing you need to do is stop by the old house of a man who left to climb
the Great Glacier.  His wife tells you that he is there somewhere, and that if
you are going that way, to seek his aid.  You'll also hear that there is no
chance in hell you cannot make the trip without a map.  While you probably can,
the Glacier Map is a key item that the game requires you to get.  Just tear it
down from the wall and move along.

   As you try to exit through the back of Icicle Inn, the guy back there stops
you and tells you that the slope takes a steep drop from there, and that to
advance any further is dangerous.  As you are busy ignoring his advice, a
familiar figure enters Icicle Inn: Elena, of the Turks!  And furthermore, she
appears to be here without any supervision.  This may explain why she's still
wearing her bib.  Anyways, she and a couple of troops charge up towards you, and
Cloud demands to know what she is doing here.  Elena replies by saying it's a
"Se-cr-et".  Honestly, she spells it out for you.  And she seems so damn proud
of herself that you almost want to give her a gold star sticker (though I
suppose someone should have told her that "se" isn't a letter).  But then she
begins to wildly accuse you of killing Tseng.  Cloud explains to her that
Sephiroth was the one who killed Tseng, but Elena does not listen and goes right
on with her obviously rehearsed speech.  Never ceasing to amaze me with her
idiocy, Elena spends the next three sentences or so telegraphing the punch she
is about to throw at Cloud.  This is a bad idea, because I've found that
physical assault is often much more ineffective when the target has been warned
minutes in advance of the incoming attack.  You can press the directional
buttons to step off to the side if you'd like, but the only real consequence you
suffer for getting hit is the embarrassment of being knocked out cold in one
punch from someone who still needs training wheels.  Assuming she misses, the
weight of her enormous, retarded head sends her off-balance, and Elena more or
less rolls right out of Icicle Inn.  And who said this girl wasn't a complete
dumbass?

   Anyways, there is one final task you must accomplish before heading down to
the Great Glacier.  You're not allowed to just walk down the hill: you've got to
shred down it.  So, instead of making it to the bottom with a few cuts and
scrapes, you'll now be making that trip in several pieces, and quite possibly
wrapped around a tree.  There's a house here with a kid who got injured from
snowboarding a while back.  You can't miss it: he's the only kid in two with a
Snowboard.  Anyways, go talk to him and he starts to tell you how he got injured
on his Snowboard.  Then he just looks at you and says you can have it.  He gives
you no indication as to why he's doing this, and you had made no mention of even
wanting it.  It's as if he was just sitting here waiting to hand his Snowboard
to any random stranger that wandered into his room and began talking to him.
Meh.  Grab his Snowboard (after politely asking first, at least) and head off
to the exit at the back of the town.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Great Glacier


   The Great Glacier begins with a most excellent mini-game that entails
snowboarding and not getting your ass beaten by it.  This mini-game will be
mimicked by the snowboarding game at the Gold Saucer, so you might refer to
section VIII.C. of the FAQ for more information.  However, there are not time or
technique penalties for screwing up, and the balloons that appear throughout the
course here are entirely meaningless except for possibly a cheap thrill.  This
is good, because it is impossible to collect every balloon on this course,
anyways.  Also note that the Great Glacier course is different and much longer
than the three located at the Gold Saucer (as opposed to the G-Bike, which was
identical to the Shinra chase).  The one point that needs to be stressed,
however, is that the path will fork twice near the end of the course, and which
direction you go at those forks will affect your starting point at the Great
Glacier.

   Going left at both forks lands you in Area 3 to begin with.

   Going left then right takes you to Area 1 to begin with.

   Going right and then left will start you off in Area 9.

   Going right at both forks will place you in Area 5 to start off.

   Anyways, a conventional walkthrough for the Great Glacier just isn't going to
cut it.  There are various paths you can take, in addition to different starting
points.  But, to make a long story short, the Great Glacier is broken up into
thirteen different "areas", as labeled on the map.  These thirteen areas are the
main sections of the Great Glacier, but they are separated by numerous side
paths that run between them all.  Your ultimate destination is the base of
Gaea's Cliff, located just north of Area 12, but there are several items to be
found at the Great Glacier, as well.

   Do be aware that you are racing against the clock, however, and that spending
too much time out here will result in your party succumbing to the sub-zero
temperatures,  Granted, all that will happen is that you will be rescued and
taken to the base of Gaea's Cliff, it can still be a pain in the ass if you
happened to be far away from Area 12.  It is virtually impossible to collect all
of the items at the Great Glacier on one trip through, though, so you can more
or less expect collapse sooner or later.  The good news is that if you're too
lazy to navigate the Great Glacier, all you need to do is wander around until
you pass out.

   Before we get started, let's kick off with the local monster activity.  The
Bandersnatch, which you may or may not remember from just outside Icicle Inn,
is back with a vengeance.  There's the Frozen Nail, which is an enemy that
can't have a whole lot said about it.  Accompanying it is usually the Shred,
which has a few noteworthy attacks.  The Crazy Claw has been known to berserk
its target, and the Shred also knows the Cure 3 spell (which it rarely casts,
thankfully).  Fire and wind are the Shred's weak points, but it is immune to the
effects of ice, earth, and water magic.  Next up is the Ice Golem.  It is an
adorably cute enemy, because it is about 1/8 your size.  It's main attack is
called Cold Snap, and is a magical attack of the icy property.  Thankfully, its
no more powerful than its normal attack (which again isn't too powerful).  It
can take a lot of punishment, and also absorbs ice-based attacks.  Everything
else works, though.  Finally, we have the Magnade.  The Magnade is extremely
evasive of physical attacks, so magical means are suggested to kill them off.
All magic attacks work, but fire and gravity magic are its weak points and work
especially well.  But, like everything else around here, the Magnade really
doesn't have any horribly powerful attacks to watch out for.  The final enemy is
the Snow, which is a lot like the Jemnezmy from the Temple of the Ancients.
Snow is an extremely rare encounter, but odds are you'll meet her at least one.
This is because you will meet one at Area 13, if you venture out there.  She can
confuse you, and also has a Cold Breath attack which does a moderate amount of
magical damage to one of your characters.  She can take quite a bit of
punishment, but given the "boss battle" motif, is horribly easy to kill.  Prey
on her weakness to fire, and she's out for the count in no time.  Just avoid ice
magic, which she absorbs.  Oh, and one last thing, you can steal the Circlet, a
kickass accessory from her, so don't forget to bring the Steal materia along.

   Area 1 would be the entrance to the Great Glacier.  If you head south from
here, you can go back to Icicle Inn.  You can also make this your starting point
by going left then right at the snowboard course.  This is the best starting
point to choose if you'd like to back off, save, and take your time going
through the Great Glacier.  There are no items or other things of interest to be
found here, but from here, you may head west to Area 2, north to Area 3, or east
to Area 5.

   Area 2 is located quite some distance northwest of Area 1.  Like Area 1,
there is nothing to do or see here at Area 2 except advance to other areas.  The
path leading south from here will take you to Area 1, the east path goes to Area
3, and the path leading north heads to Area 6.

   Area 3 is a maze of trees directly north of Area 1.  It's where you'll land
if you chose to go left twice back at the snowboarding course, and there's also
a Mind Source lying around here somewhere.  From here, you can travel south to
Area 1, west to Area 2, or east to Area 4.

   Area 4 is nestled in between Area 3 and Area 5, and is more or less northeast
from the entrance to the Great Glacier.  Area 4 rather large, as well.  The lake
at the Great Glacier borders Area 4 on its northwestern side, but a large slab
of ice grows on it, allowing you to cross.  For starters, you can pick up the
Potion located on the slab.  Secondly, if you exit the screen on the
northwestern side (where the slab is), you are taken to an ice cube maze.  You
have probably seen these kinds of puzzles before, where you can only jump on the
overturned cubes, but when you jump onto one, the status of all cubes adjacent
is reversed?  Your reward for making it to the other side is the Safety Bit.
Anyways, back at the main section of Area 4, you can exit the screen on the left
side (heading west or south) to go to Area 3, on the right side (going east or
south) to go to Area 5, or head north (along that thing ridge) to Area 9.

   Area 5 is located east of the entrance to the Great Glacier, and rests at the
base of the large mountain on the eastern side of the area.  There is a cave
here at Area 5, but there is nothing in it.  Rather, it is a very long ice slide
that will eject you from the Great Glacier if needed (though, personally, I
think that the escape route would have been a lot more effective had it been
located further from the entrance).  You might also have landed here if you
chose to go right at both forks back at the snowboard course.  Other than that,
the paths on the northern edge of Area 5 fork.  The left path goes to Area 4,
and the right to Area 10.  You can also head south from here to go to Area 1.

   Area 6 is located on the western edge of the Great Glacier, and lies some
distance northwest of Area 2.  There is a small cave here (which has two
entrances, as you might see), that contains an Elixir.  You can also travel
south to Area 2, east to Area 7, and both paths leading north will take you to
Area 11.

   Area 7 is probably as close to the center of the Great Glacier as you are
going to get.  It lies just north of where the lake spawns a river, and consists
mainly of a log bridge crossing that river.  Other than that, there are really
only two places you can head from here.  Exiting Area 7 on the left side of the
chasm takes you to Area 6, while exiting on the right goes to Area 9.

   Area 8 lies almost directly north of Area 9, but the only path that runs
through it connects to Areas 10 and 12.  Area 8 is an important stop on the map
if you're headed towards Area 13.  Since you'll probably end up coming this way,
anyways (unless you're approaching from the west), you'll likely want to stop
and touch the Hot Springs here.  Touching the Hot Springs has no visible effect
on your character, but is helpful in acquiring something from the crazy lady at
Area 13.  From here, head northwest to Area 12, or southeast to Area 10.

   Area 9 is more or less a featureless terrain that borders the eastern edge of
the lake at the Great Glacier.  There is a lone tree here (which also appears on
the map, mind you), but that's about it.  This is also the furthest into the
Great Glacier as can be chosen as a starting point , and can be reached by
taking a right and then a left back at the snowboarding course.  From here, you
can head south along the edge of the lake to Area 4, east and up the mountain to
Area 10, or west to Area 7.  Note that going north, rather than taking you to
Area 8, will also take you to Area 7.

   Area 10 is located in the heart of the large mountain on the eastern edge of
the Great Glacier.  Several paths converge here, as well.  The southern path
leads to Area 5.  The lower left path heads to Area 9, and the higher left path
takes you to Area 8.  The northern path should take you to Area 13, but does not
(even though you can take a path from Area 13 to area 10, it's more or less a
one-way trip).  This path will instead take you to Area 8, but it is important
to note that when traversing this path (from Area 10 to Area 8 rather than Area
13), that you can find the Added Cut materia lying along the northern edge of
the path (on the second screen of the two-screen path).  It blends in very well
with its surroundings and can be very hard to spot, so keep your eyes peeled.

   Area 11 is a quiet, lonely place that rests along the northwestern mountain.
It is located near where the river flowing north form the lake turns right.
From here, you may head west to Area 6, south to Area 7, or east to Area 12
(these routes may look a tad different if you happen to be looking at them on
the map you blatantly stole from Icicle Inn, though).

   Area 12 is a God-forsaken blizzard-ridden snowfield located on the northern
edge of the Great Glacier.  Take special note as to which direction you are
facing when you enter Area 12, because the game does its absolute best to
disorient you.  You are allowed to place markers as you move, and do so with
wanton disregard (you have an infinite amount).  You're best advised to move
slowly, placing markers as you move.  When the camera begins to spin, wait for
it to stop before moving on.  Also, there is a small cave located in the direct
center of area 12, which helps to serve as a mark, as well as containing an All
materia.  Remember that the entrance to the cave faces south.  The western exit
of Area 12 leads to Area 11, the southern exit leads to Area 8, and the eastern
exit is the only way to access Area 13.  The northern exit, lastly, takes you to
the base of Gaea's Cliff.  Go there last.

   Area 13 is the far northeastern corner of the map, deep within the mountains.
The creepy snow lady lives here, and if you speak to her after touching the Hot
Springs at Area 8, she freaks out and goes psycho on your ass.  The snow lady
would be the one and only occurrence of the Snow creature mentioned in the enemy
activity paragraph, and will indeed reap the Alexander materia when killed.
Back outside her cave, you can head north back to Area 12, or south to Area 10
(though be aware that the path to Area 10 is a one-way trip, because for some
reason you will not be allowed to take the same path back to Area 13).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Gaea's Cliff


   Before we set off, I'd just like to make note that everything at Gaea's Cliff
is indeed a lost-forever, as discussed in section I.F. of the FAQ.  This
includes not only the items, bit several enemy skills, as well.  Not all of the
enemy skills here are lost-forevers, mind you (only Trine is), but this is still
the last chance until the end of the game you'll have to pick up Magic Breath
and Bad Breath.  Take heed, and then let's get moving.

   One of two possible events will land you at the base of Gaea's Cliff.  The
first would be actually traveling here from Area 12 of the Great Glacier.  The
second, and most likely method is having passed out back at the Great Glacier,
and through some miracle were discovered by this guy who just happened to be
passing by (which is even more amazing when you consider that this is a guy who
never leaves his cabin).  Anyways, he introduces himself as Holzoff, a fellow
rock climber who has been living here at the base of Gaea's Cliff for the last
20 years.  Hey, asshole, maybe you should go back and visit your wife back at
Icicle Inn every once in a while 'eh?  Anyways, despite any effort you make to
not hear his boring old man story, he is going to force you to sit down and
listen to it, anyways (honestly, I clearly and specifically told him "no", and
he still went on with the story.  Unreal.)

   Anyways, him and his climbing buddy (someone named "Yakuza", or some other
unpronounceable name), were scaling the cliff.  Needless to say, it was colder
than Hillary Clinton on a bad day.  And, well, the other guy couldn't handle it
anymore, so he cut his rope and plummeted to his death.  Holzoff didn't notice
until it was too late, sadly.  He now resides at the foot of the cliff giving
unsolicited advice and stories to passing climbers.  He does give you two
seemingly vital pieces of information, however.  The first is to always "check
your route" as you climb.  Don't try to make any sense of it, because I was
thinking on that one for the better half of an hour.  That isn't a tactic which
is limited to rock climbing, dumbass.  Anyways, the second, and more useful
piece of information is that you must periodically stop and "warm yourself up".
What you do is rapidly press the appropriate button to rub your body against
itself to generate heat.  This idea really makes you want to take Tifa along,
doesn't it?  Before leaving Holzoff's cabin, finally, you can and should both
rest and save.

   Outside the cabin, the rest of the team has gathered.  Barret starts to get
really philosophical at this point, because at this point he is literally
struggling against the planet he is trying to save.  If you talk to Cait Sith,
he also lets you in on the fact that Rufus is headed out this way, as well.  On
a final interesting note, nobody on the team really seems to appear to be that
cold, except for Yuffie.  Tifa, especially, worries me.  Given what she's
wearing, she should be freezing her pretty little ass off.  Either that, or
she's a robot.  Anyways, from here, you can either form your party and move out
to Gaea's Cliff, or head back into the Great Glacier for missed items.
Amazingly, no matter how many times you go back to the Great Glacier and pass
your stupid frozen ass out, Holzoff will rescue you.  It's like he's stalking
you or something.  So get what you need done, and then let's advance

   You'll find yourself at the base of Gaea's Cliff.  Climbing it isn't horribly
difficult, as Cloud ascends without the assistance of tools of any sort.  He
just grabs ahold of the ledge and up he goes.  Note the red flags along the way
that mark the ledges, but they are really of little importance.  Just keep
climbing, and Cloud more or less goes in the direction he needs to go.  Be wary,
however, of your temperature.  If it drops below 26, you pass out and Holzoff
has to come rescue your frozen ass.  As a general rule of thumb, you'll probably
want to stop and warm yourself up if your temperature hits or drops below 30
degrees or so.  But what's really amazing is the extremely low temperature your
bodies can survive being at for some odd reason.  The average human can't drop
far below the average body temperature of 98.6 degrees, while Cloud and company
have no problem with their body temperature at 30 degrees (which, by the way, is
enough for their blood to have frozen over) and lower, even. Abolutely amazing.
Anyways, at the top of the edge is the entrance to the caverns of Gaea's Cliff.

   By the by, I've probably received more e-mail concerning the above paragraph
than the rest of the contents of this FAQ combined.  Many people felt the need
to let me know that in the parts of the world that aren't America, there's this
strange method of gauging temperatue known as Celcius, and in Celcius, the
numbers listed above actually make sense and wouldn't result in your blood
becoming a non-tasty popsicle treat.  But this is Texas.  And down here in the
state where we're lucky to have electricity and running water, we still found it
biblically screwed up to see Cloud prancing about in temperatures lower than
Hilary Clinton.  Frankly, I blame the translators.  Lazy bastards.  Anyways, on
with the dungeon.

   You need not worry about the temperature in here, but there are some enemies
you should be aware of.  The Evilhead is more of a pain in the ass than
anything.  It's attacks are not that powerful, but Ultrasound also silences you
and Blood Suck heals them in the process (but is thankfully so weak that it
really wouldn't matter one way or another).  They have no weaknesses, but are
really easy to kill regardless.  The Zolkalter is also of little mention.  It
can poison you with its Toxic Barf, but is overall a very weak and easy to kill
monster.  Simply avoid poison magic, which it absorbs.  The Head Bomber is a
bit tougher than the first two enemies, but is still not of too much concern.
It can enrage your characters with its Extreme Bomber, possess semi-powerful
physical attacks, and can take a moderate amount of punishment, to boot.  Moving
on, then, to the Stilva.  The Stilva is a badass that will more than likely
introduce you to its Magic Breath attack.  And if you're not keeping that HP
up, Magic Breath is enough to wipe out your entire team in one blast alone.
However, you can use its own attack against it by learning Magic Breath with
your E. Skill materia.  It is also capable of casting Trine (another attack you
can learn with E. Skill), but rarely does.  In addition, its physical attacks
are just nasty.  Thankfully, its HP isn't too high (2,000 HP, to be exact),
meaning that it won't have the chance to damage you too badly if you lay on the
big damage right from the outset of the battle (though you should still be
warned that Magic Breath is usually the Stilva's opening attack).  If not, then
by all means beware the Magic Breath.  The Malboro is another odd enemy.
You'll only meet it at some of the "outdoor" areas of Gaea's Cliff, and it
always travels alone.  Nine times out of ten, it attacks with its Frozen Beam, a
powerful ice magic against any one character on your team.  Its other attack, it
uses rarely, but it can completely ruin your day if you're not prepared for it.
Still, you might want to whip out the Ribbon to prepare yourself for the effects
of Bad Breath, because you can indeed utilize the attack for yourself with the
E. Skill materia.  The final enemy here is not a random encounter, but an enemy
you'll have to fight a few times to advance at a certain point.  I don't suppose
you could call the Icicle an enemy, as it is an inanimate object, but you are
required to fight them, and they do retaliate with a slightly damaging physical
attack every time you hit them.  They always appear in the company of Evilheads,
but here's a hint: kill the Icicle, and the battle is over.  The Icicle absorbs
ice, but has several weaknesses, including fire, earth, and gravity magic.
Failing all else, Demi 2 or Laser is an instant deathblow to the Icicle, and
ends the battle immediately.

   Anyways, you'll find yourself inside an ice-filled cavern.  Begin by heading
into the back of the first room, and you will emerge on a small ledge.  You
can't advance very far into this room, as the pathway is blocked with
stalagmites.  And as we all know, your team is completely incapable of melting
them, or just kicking them or something...  Noooooo, we have to go it the hard
way.  To the left of the way you came in, you'll notice a second path leading
back to the room you came from.  Take that pathway, and follow it (it is linear,
but be sure to nab the Javelin from a chest along the way).  It wraps around
and leads back to the top of the room with the stalagmites.  You'll see a
boulder at the top of the path which you can push.  It moves excruciatingly
slow, given the supposed amount of inertia is should possess.  It does do a good
job of taking out the stalagmites, though.  Return to that room and cross the
newfound path.  From there, the exit is close by.

   You'll emerge on the cliffside once more.  It really doesn't matter which
path you take at the forks, because all of the routes merge eventually, so go
nuts.  Just keep moving up (movin' on up... to the east side).  Again, stop to
warm up if your temperature drops, cause you really don't need to be going back
to the start.

   Inside the next cavern, you'll find yourself unable to reach the exit because
a small puddle of water is resting between the exit and the rest of the room.
You're not allowed to jump it or wade through it or anything... nooooo...
because again, we have to do things the hard way.  Also note that treasure chest
in the corner that you can't get to right now because video games just suck like
that.  What you're going to have to do is exit through that door to the right.

   You'll find yourself in the middle of a narrow valley, on the right one of
two paths wrapping around their respective mountains, separated by a very narrow
chasm.  And no, you aren't allowed to jump the damn thing... gotta do things the
hard way...  Follow the path until it wraps around the ledge and up to a new
room.  In this room, there will be four Icicle battles.  After each battle, you
are given to option to jump down to the room below, but you're going to want to
fight all four battles before doing that.  Also, before jumping down, you might
also want to empty the two treasure chests in this room.  They contain a Fire
Armlet and a Last Elixir.  Why it is called "Last Elixir" is beyond me, but it
is in reality a Megalixir.  Anyways, if you have already chopped down all four
icicles, just exit the room, come back in, and walk over to the ledge.  The game
should ask you if you want to jump down or not.  Unless you want to stick around
up here and look at the pretty colors, hop on down.

   Back on the bottom floor, you'll find that the Icicles whose asses you kicked
dropped down to form a convenient bridge to the exit.  Before leaving, you might
also want to nab that Speed Source before moving on to the next room.  The
icicle bridge leads you, of course, to the other side of the great chasm.  And
by "great chasm", I mean that three inch gap that you were too much of a pussy
to jump over.  First, grab the Enhance Sword from the chest to your left, and
then follow this path to the third cliffside area.

   If you managed to scale the first two cliffsides, then the third should be no
problem to you.  Again pay no mind to which way you are going, so long as you
travel upwards, you'll make it.  And do mind to keep yourself warm, cause it's a
long way back from here, and you really don't want to make Holzoff come all of
the way out here to rescue your frozen ass.

   Just inside the next cave, there's a save point and a pool which will restore
your HP/MP.  Methinks there's a boss fight pending?  Indeedy-do.  Let's prepare.
The next boss is actually two targets in one, making things doubly dangerous.
You also need to kill both of them for the thing to finally die.  The left
target is ice-based, and thus absorbs ice magic.  The right side is fire-based
and thus absorbs fire magic.  Both are immune to gravity magic, and neither
possesses any weaknesses.  Depending on the side attacking, they will attack
with either a powerful Ice Breath or Fire Breath attack, which does some pretty
nasty elemental damage to each opponent.  But be the most wary of the capacity
of both sides to cast Quake 3 on the entire party.  Also note that both sides
get Quake 3 as a dying attack, meaning that if you don't keep your HP up, it's
going to take you down with it.  First and foremost, you may wish to equip
weapons, accessories, and/or materia that will protect you from the
affortmentioned attacks.  That being said, you probably should still take other
measures to defend yourself.  Big Guard will be a major asset in this fight,
obviously.  If you find yourself having to recast your barriers (possibly using
a Barrier materia attached to an All materia), M-Barrier tops Barrier in this
fight, for obvious reasons.  You should hopefully have Regen by this point, and
it should also help to keep your ass alive more so in this fight than many
others.  Other than what I've already mentioned, bring along anything you feel
comfortable using (except for sex toys- they never help in a battle).

   Heading down the hallway on the next screen, you won't get very far until you
are attacked by Schizo.  Schizo is a gigantic, two-headed dragon, and each head
is a target.  The battle itself is more or less covered in the previous
paragraph, so check back there for more details.

   With Schizo defeated, step out onto the ledge of Gaea's cliff and scale the
peak.  Just over the horizon, you'll see it in  all it's glory...  It's
Knowlespole, otherwise known as the Crater.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Crater (AKA "The Whirlwind Maze")


   The team emerges on the edge of a gigantic Crater, glowing with an enormous
amount of spirit energy from within.  This truly is a special place...  Well,
it's also home to a host of new baddies, so let's go over them now.  The Gigas,
for starters, is about ten trillion times the size of everyone else in your
group.  But don't be fooled into thinking that that fact alone makes him any
stronger than you or harder to kill.  In fact, he's actually a huge pussy.  He's
got quite a bit of life, but other than that, don't expect this lone attacker to
put up much of a fight.  If it catches your fancy, you might could steal you a
Gigas Armlet or two, but this opportunity is a lost-forever, as detailed in
section I.F. of the FAQ.  Moving along, then, there's not much I can say about
the Gremlin, except that he looks like he wants some freakin' Honeycomb.
Seriously, he looks like that little freakazoid from the commercials.  But, he
has no real powers to speak of.  The Sculpture is an odd enemy... because it is
what appears to be a walking bed.  That attacks you.  And your team sees nothing
strange about this.  Its physical attacks are not bad, but is does have a more
powerful attack called Fire Shell.  Next is the Killbin, another very odd
creature.  It's a box, which attacks you with either a physical attack, Fire 2,
Ice 2, or Bolt 2.  Granted, it almost always goes with the physical attack,
which is considerably weaker than the magic.  No weakness or strengths to speak
of, sadly.  Lastly, there's the Wind Wing.  You are only made to fight them as
punishment for being knocked on your ass by one of the windy sections of the
Crater.  Its attacks are not that bad, though it may choose to bust out on your
ass with a devastating Aero 3 attack.  Thankfully, this is rare.  It also knows
White Wind, but never uses it.  You may choose to manipulate it to learn White
Wind with your E. Skill materia, if you don't know it already.  But, again, no
strengths or weaknesses at all.

   Another point that needs to be made is that all of the items to be found at
the Crater are lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.

   That being said, the Crater's path is very linear.  Just mosey on inside,
picking up the Neo Bahamut materia along the path.  You don't get very far
inside, however, before Cloud spots something approaching in the distance...
it's the Highwind!

   Cut to the bridge of the Highwind.  Rufus stands at the front, accompanied by
Heidegger and Scarlet, the evil bitch.  Rufus gloats that he has finally found
the Promised Land.  In the back of the cockpit, you see Rude chilling with Hojo,
who states that this is indeed not the Promised Land, but where the "Reunion"
will take place...

   Back to Cloud.  Continue down the path until you reach an area where the wind
blows.  You need to cross when the wind is calm, lest you be knocked on your ass
and be forced to battle a Wind Wing.  Oh, and you might want to pick up the Hi-
Potion and Ether over there, too.  Anyways, past that is a long and winding
road, where you'll also find a chest containing the Kaiser Knuckle.  You'll
then come to another windy area, but with a twist.  In addition to just being
windy, green energy waves move through at predictable intervals.  Avoid being
hit by those, as well.

   Before advancing any further, you may wish to stop to prepare for the
upcoming boss battle.  Not much can be said in the way of preparation, except
that this boss likes to use a lot of fire magic, so choose your materia and
accessories appropriately.  This boss can also cast Silence, so prepare for
that, as well.  Obviously gravity magic will have no effect, but everything else
works.

   Just ahead, you'll see Sephiroth using a couple of his flunkies for target
practice, slashing them up and sending them into the abyss below.  Jesus,
Sephiroth, lay off!  Good flunkies are hard to come by nowadays...  And then he
does his little vanishing act.  Your team, for once, is surprised.  Some
weirdness ensues, going on about the black materia and the cells of Jenova and
such.  Don't try to make any sense of it.  What eventually happens is that
Sephiroth flies through the air and knocks out your entire team.  When they wake
up, they get to face Jenova DEATH.

   Jenova DEATH has a few powerful fire attacks, but nothing too damaging.  If
you prepared yourself, you'll be fine, as it attacks almost exclusively with
fire magic (as Jenova LIFE did with water magic).  Jenova DEATH occasionally
casts Silence, which is something that can be a pain in the ass if you're not
prepared for it.  Other than that, just wail away on its ass to get this fight
the hell over with.

   After the fight, the entire team converges where the fight took place
(there's also a save point here for your saving needs).  You now have the black
materia in your possession, but it's probably not the wisest idea in the world
to hold onto it.  Hand it to one of the characters not in your group (it really
doesn't matter who, because the eventual outcome here is inevitable), and then
move on down the path (Tifa, by the way, comes with you at this point if she
isn't already with you, so be sure to equip her properly).

   From here, note the save point just a little further down the path for all of
your saving needs.  Do so with wanton disregard, and also be sure to nab the MP
Turbo materia and the Poison Ring lying around here.  Other than that, it's a
relatively short journey from here.  You will encounter yet another windy path,
and this time you not only have wind and green energy waves to deal with, but
lightening strikes the path at regular intervals, as well.  Jesus!  Just wait
for an opening, and then take it.

   As you near Sephiroth, the scenery begins to change... to Nibelheim?  Yes,
friends, it's Nibelheim.  And according to Cloud, Sephiroth is trying to psyche
them out by showing them false images.  No, Cloud, if Sephiroth wanted to psyche
you out, he'd show you a picture of your ass just before he kicked it to high
hell.  What you first see is Sephiroth entering Nibelheim that day five years
ago... and behind him is not Cloud, but a soldier who will later be identified
as Zach.  Cloud laughs at the stupidity of all of this, and if you talk to Tifa,
she just tells you it's an illusion and not to worry about it.  Despite her own
words, Tifa seems pretty freaked out, if you ask me.  Also note how Cloud
becomes increasingly defensive.

   The next scene plays, again switching out Cloud for Zach.  This time it's the
day where Sephiroth barbecued the whole village.  Cloud and Tifa talk to each
other right now literally like a couple of kids who are being picked on and are
trying (poorly) to act like it doesn't bother them.  Cloud calls out to
Sephiroth, saying that he knows that Sephiroth is trying to make it look like
Cloud was not at Nibelheim five years ago.  That's when the real Sephiroth
appears, glad that Cloud has finally realized this.  Cloud replies with a, "what
you are trying to say is that you want to confuse me, right?"  Sephiroth replies
with a few words of his own, but this whole discussion can more or less be
translated into: "you're a poop-head," and "I know you are, but what am I?"

   Sephiroth does have a point though, as he more or less elaborates on.  Plus,
he delivers one of the coolest lines in the game: "what I have shown you is
reality.  What you remember, that is the illusion."  Walk up to Sephiroth and
talk to him, and Cloud will ask him why he is doing this.  Sephiroth explains
that this is Cloud's true self, and that he never imagined that a "failed
experiment" would turn out so useful.  He stops beating around the bush at this
point, and openly tells Cloud that he is nothing more than a clone of Sephiroth
himself, constructed by Hojo after the incident at Nibelheim.  Furthermore, he
was the "failed" clone, that wasn't even given a number.  And when you take a
look at the freaks walking around that actually got numbers, that's probably the
biggest insult thrown Cloud's way thus far.  Sure, Cloud may be a mental case,
but at least he can still kick your ass once he's done freaking out.  These
Goddamned caped freaks don't even have the capacity to wipe themselves after
going to the bathroom.

   The scene gets more pathetic when Cloud talks to Tifa.  She tells him not to
listen, and Cloud assures her that he's not.  This could not get any more
childish if Cloud were to suddenly burst out with, "I am rubber, you are glue!"
But the interesting thing is that the both of them really are bothered here.
Tifa claims that she has known Cloud since childhood, and that they have many
memories together.  Thus, there is no way Cloud could have been created after
the fact.  Sephiroth then threatens to make an image out of what if currently on
Tifa's mind, and that shuts her up pretty quick, though.  Hmm... interesting...

   Talk to Tifa again.  Cloud goes about ten minutes too far in trying to defend
the fact that he is actually who he claims to be.  Why he is explaining this to
the one person that actually believes him, I do not know, but then again, Tifa
seems to be a little confused herself.  It almost seems like she's starting to
believe what Sephiroth is saying, given her withdrawn reply.  Sephiroth comes to
explain that the cells of Jenova inside of Cloud have merged with Tifa's
memories to create the memories they have together, which may have included a
childhood friend named Cloud.  This is probably one of the most screwed up
explanations for anything I have ever heard, but sadly, it's the least screwed
up explanation we have so far.  Tifa at this point just tells Cloud to stop
thinking, as if that was going to help at all.

   Some more banter between Sephiroth and Cloud ensues.  Sephiroth, tiring of
this, decides to pull out his trump card, which would be the photo that was
taken of the team before they ascended Mt. Nibel.  Indeed, Cloud is absent from
the photo, having been again replaced with Zach.  Cloud gets a little more
defensive at this point, spouting off every single action he took from the
moment he set foot in Nibelheim that day five years ago.  "Well first, I put my
finger in my nose, like this, and then I dug around a little, like this, and
then..."  That is, until he gets to the part about him being in SOLDIER.
Suddenly, his memory gets hazy.  This is not an unusual occurrence for Cloud, by
any means, but this time, it really seems to bother him.  He cannot recall when
or how he ever joined SOLDIER, freaks out a little bit, and then goes completely
and eerily silent.  The screen goes dark, and you hear Tifa call out to Cloud.
Cloud announces that they should be moving out, and that he is all right.  And
of all the adjectives I would choose to describe Cloud right now, "all right" is
definitely not one of them.  And where are you going?  You saw Sephiroth; you
had your damn chance.  Might I suggest that when you encounter Sephiroth next
time that you kick his ass rather than argue with him?

   The scene switches to the friendly Shinra folk.  Rufus, Scarlet, and Hojo
make their way deep into the Crater, discovering a beautiful, untouched
geological stratum that is not only a sight to behold, but also laden with raw
materia.  Rich, flavorful mako on the outside, and abundant, crispy materia on
the inside?  No, it's not Rufus's favorite breakfast cereal, but he does claim
that this place is the Promised Land.  Hojo, as always, is around to tell Rufus
that he is a Goddamned moron who has no clue what he's talking about.  True, but
at least Rufus can go five minutes without spasming violently, you creepy little
man.  Rufus doesn't particularly enjoy having his parade rained on, and falls
back to more or less calling Hojo an idiot in response (for lack of anything
intelligent to say).  The cavern begins to shake, and Scarlet sees something
inside the wall moving.  A gigantic eyeball flashes open, and Hojo immediately
recognizes this thing as Weapon.  Hojo calmly explains that Weapon was created
by the planet to destroy everything in sight whenever the planet was in danger,
or so it was stated in Professor Gast's report.  I would expect Scarlet and
Rufus to at least be a little freaked out at the threat of certain doom.  They
don't even have to scream and panic, just a startled gasp would be good enough.
Rufus's response?  "You sure keep a lot of things to yourself."  You seriously
have to admire that level of blatant stoicism.

   Cut back to the rest of your team, who is waiting somewhere else in the
crater.  It probably would have been a good idea for them to, you know, get the
black materia the hell out of there, but alas, they did not.  The person holding
the black materia talks to the rest of the team, before the rest of the team
vanishes before their very eyes.  As that character runs about aimlessly and
confusedly, Tifa appears to them.  Tifa says that the rest of the team is
waiting just up ahead, and to hurry along that way.  As that teammate heads off,
Tifa takes off her disguise, revealing the face of Sephiroth, who then chuckles
and says in an evil voice: "and don't forget the black materia!".  And I suppose
this should probably go without saying, but I just know that if I don't say it
then some idiot is going to be really confused: that was not Tifa; it was
Sephiroth disguised as Tifa.  Tifa is not a traitor.  Tifa also has large
breasts.  I like Tifa's large breasts very much.

   Back with the Shinra folk, Scarlet is the first to express some, if any
concern with the fact that they are all about to be eaten alive, saying that she
has a bad feeling about this place.  Well, I would have a bad feeling too, if
something five hundred times bigger than me was slowly waking up next to me and
was intent on killing me.  Rufus calmly explains that they should be getting
back to their ship (you know, before they were all brutally dismembered or
something), but that's when Cloud and the team are magically transported into
the room.  Scarlet angrily asks where you guys came from.  Though I'd be tempted
to respond with a smart-assed response involving the stork, given the situation
on hand, I suppose a more appropriate answer would be "Hojo made me."  Cloud
says to the Shinra folk that they'd better clear out, because things are going
to get rough.  This place is where the Reunion is going to happen, and that is
going to be a supposedly bloody event for all involved.  Rufus responds with a
dismissive laugh, as if to say, "oh goody, we're all going to die.  Who wants
pie, then?"

   Whichever teammate was holding the black materia arrives at this point.
Cloud walks over to that character, stopping every few seconds to spasm.
Finally reaching that character, Cloud asks for the black materia, saying that
he's going to take things from here.  You've gotta be joking.  The last time
Cloud had the black materia, it took all of thirty seconds for it to become the
property of Sephiroth.  And that was back when he was still semi-sane.  You'd
have to be some kind of a dumbass to hand him the key to destroying the world
now that Cloud has completely lost his mind.  And then your teammate does the
stupidest thing imaginable: they hand it over.  They give Cloud the Goddamn
black materia!  Arrrgh!  Does not anybody on this team have an inkling of common
sense!?

   Cloud, standing in the middle of the room, tells everybody that he's sorry.
He says it four times.  Seriously, he's really sorry that he has to bring death
and destruction to us all.  As a final benediction, he tells Tifa that he hopes
that she one day meets the "real" Cloud, which I imagine would be kinda hard to
do once the planet has been reduced assorted wreckage and debris drifting
aimlessly through outer space.  But, some of them aren't necessarily unhappy
what with the impending doom.  Hojo, actually, is thrilled that something he
built actually works.  He eagerly asks Cloud what number he is.  Cloud sadly
replies that he was never given a number, and asks Hojo to please give him one.
Hojo, upset at this turn of events, calls Cloud a miserable failure.
Meanwhile, that tiny voice of reason inside your head is probably saying
something to the effect of, "hello?  You're all about to friggin' die!  Get the
hell out of there!"  Cloud, downtrodden and depressed, floats up into the air
with the black materia in hand as the screen goes white.

   Hojo begins with his long-winded explanation (as an alternative to escaping
this place before he is burned alive, I suppose).  Cloud is a clone created
after the real Sephiroth died five years ago.  Using a combination of Jenova's
cells, mako, and spare parts dug up by his assistant, Igor, he created Cloud
(it's just too bad that his budget ran out and he wasn't able to provide Cloud
with a brain).  In practice, Hojo completely failed to clone Sephiroth, as Cloud
noticeably looks and acts nothing like the original.  However, this did help to
prove Hojo's Jenova Reunion theory.  This theory stated that even if Jenova's
body was dismembered, it would become one again.  And seeing as Hojo had to be
an idiot and distribute Jenova's cells all over the place, that is why we are
seeing this mass convergence of failed Sephiroth clones meeting here at the
Crater.  He had originally thought that they would all converge at Midgar, where
Jenova's body was stored, but he was wrong.  Jenova literally began to move
(with the help of Sephiroth, of course).

   I suppose that the Sephiroth thing merits an explanation, as well, given that
he is supposedly dead.  In case you haven't figured it out, what you've been
dealing with thus far is not the original Sephiroth.  It's the only Sephiroth
clone that ended up looking like him (hence the number one tattooed on his
hand).  According to Hojo, Sephiroth himself is manipulating the clones from
beyond the grave.  How exactly he is doing this, I am not sure, but the best
explanation I can come up with is this: Jenova is an abomination that is not of
this planet.  Sephiroth was made from Jenova, thus when he was not entirely able
(or willing) to merge with the planet's lifestream.  This at least explains how
he was able to become a "traveler" of the lifestream, at any rate.  From there,
I suppose he would somehow be able to control clones of himself, at least.  This
is all purely speculation, but I defy anyone to come up with a better
explanation.

   Hojo and Rufus continue to banter.  Hojo explains that he had been wondering
where all of the clones were heading, but that he was never able to figure it
out.  All that he knew was that they were ultimately going to end up back where
the original Sephiroth was.  Meanwhile, Cloud is somewhere up near the ceiling
summoning Armageddon.  Cloud, taking note of the Jenova inside him, notes that
he was not pursuing Sephiroth.  Rather, he was being summoned by him.  This is
when Cloud realizes his duty, which is to deliver the black materia to
Sephiroth.  And as Cloud walks along the... stuff growing on the ceiling,
Sephiroth's body, preserved entirely in mako, drops into plain view.  And Hojo
couldn't be more ecstatic.  "Did you see it!?  It's Sephiroth!  So he IS here!
This is perfect!  Both Jenova's Reunion and Sephiroth's Will!"  He might also
want to throw "Destruction of the Planet" in there somewhere, too.

   I suppose this is another thing that merits some explanation.  The Jenova
theory indeed stated that Jenova would become one again if dismembered.  Hojo
just thought that everything would converge at Jenova's body, which it didn't.
Rather, they all went for Sephiroth, instead, for it was his will commanding
them.  The only way I can begin to explain this is that Sephiroth's will is
simply Jenova's will that lives on through him, so in essence, the clones are
returning to Jenova, and they are taking Jenova's body with them.

   Hojo pratters on about how cool it's going to be that instead of diffusing
into the lifestream, all of the spirit energy will instead be gathered here.
Tifa is the first one to point out to Hojo and the rest of the idiots around
here that certain doom is not something that Hojo or anyone else should be
getting happy about.  Rufus, also, at this point gets it through his thick skull
that you should probably be getting the hell out of here, and nonchalantly
invites the team back to the Highwind, saying that he'd like to hear the full
story about what's going on.  Sure, it seems like we can trust you, you evil
prick.

   Well, Cloud is too busy floating around to listen to the rest of the team, so
everybody leaves without him, as disaster is closely imminent.  In a kick-ass CG
movie sequence, you'll see Cloud placing the black materia inside Sephiroth's
encasing of mako or spirit energy, or whatever the hell it is.  Meanwhile,
everybody else is busy fleeing in the Highwind.  But because it took you dumb
asses so long to get out of there, guess who is close behind on your tail?  A
gigantic hellbeast comes crawling out of the Crater right behind you... it's
Weapon!  It begins to start charging up or doing something... and then it blasts
off into space, nearly missing the Highwind.  The force of the sonic boom in its
wake is enough to knock Tifa, who is standing on the deck of the Highwind, onto
her pretty little ass.  A reader of mine pointed out the extreme jiggliness of
her boobies at this precise moment, which is something I most certainly would
not know anything about, as I am not the kind of pervert who would sit there and
ogle a video game character.  But I did go back and watch the CGI movie a few
hundred times, you know, just to make sure I was reporting accurate information.
Anyways, with all hell unleashed upon Earth, and certain doom impending, your
job here is complete, and the Highwind flies off into the distance.


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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Shinra Building (at Junon)


   Following the disastrous events of the Jenova Reunion, you are thrust into a
mysterious intermission.  You should be used to seeing Cloud argue with himself,
but this time it's Tifa's mind that we have delved into.  The scene flashes back
to one day, where Tifa happens upon Cloud lying on the ground at the train
station at Sector Seven.  He seems really out of it, more so than usual.  A
nearby bystander sees Cloud lying on the ground moaning, and then leaves
indifferently.  Tifa rushes up to him and helps him to his feet.  Discussion as
to exactly how he ended up there is nonexistent, but rather, they almost
immediately recognize each other.  Tifa asks him a few questions, but each one
is met with one of Cloud's classic memory spasms.  Cloud mentions that it had
been five years since he saw Tifa... referring to the incident at Nibelheim.
But he was wrong.  According to Tifa, it had actually been seven years.  Tifa
does not come out and say it, but what she is hinting at is that Cloud really
wasn't at Nibelheim five years ago.  From what she could tell, Cloud had got his
wish, joined SOLDIER, and quit after the incident at Nibelheim.  For those five
years, he had become a mercenary.  But something seemed odd to Tifa then.  Cloud
did not remember things that he should have remembered, and knew things that he
shouldn't have.  And that's when Tifa heard of Cloud's plan to leave... to go
somewhere far away.  Tifa didn't want that.  She wanted to keep an eye on him,
to learn more about him.  So she told him about the AVALANCHE job so he would
stick around.  And so the truth comes out.  Could this all mean, then... that
Sephiroth was right all along?  That this was not Cloud, but the workings of the
cells of Jenova, which somehow merged with Tifa's own childhood memory and
transformed the image of this... experiment to that of the boy named Cloud?
Alas, you really have bigger problems than that to worry about right now.

   Tifa wakes up on a table in some strange room.  Barret is standing in the
corner, and seems kidna happy to see her wake up.  The first part of their
conversation makes literally no sense, but they end up on the subject of Cloud
somehow.  Barret explains that nobody has any clue what happened to him or if me
made it out of the Crater alive.  Tifa asks how long she's been asleep, and
Barret mentions that she's been out for an entire week.  He neglects to mention
the important details, such as where in the hell you are right now, or what
happened to the rest of the team.

   But that's when Barret begins with the bad news.  For starters, Sephiroth
remains at the Crater, which is now protected by a completely impenetrable
barrier of light.  There's really nothing that anyone can do, except wait for
old Sephiroth to wake up.  On top of that, Weapon has been going around
destroying things left and right.  Weapon's motives are unclear at this point,
but I think that  "death and destruction" is pretty high on its "to do" list.
Currently, Rufus is trying to battle Weapon, which makes even Barret admit that
the man has balls.  But when you think about it another way, Barret, it's not
really like Rufus has any alternative to fighting Weapon, seeing as his is the
only nation on Earth, so he really doesn't deserve any credit for not just
bending over and kissing his own ass goodbye.  Barret mentions that AVALANCHE
should have been the ones to take out Weapon, because everyone knows that a
small, ragtag team of vigilantes can accomplish what endless legions of soldiers
cannot (this is true for any video game, actually).  But, again, that's when he
points out that you've seriously got bigger things to worry about.  Barret walks
over to the window and opens the blinds.  There, looming in the sky, is Meteor.
Well, that just sucks.  Kinda puts a damper on your day, doesn't it?

   Rufus enters the room (heralded for some reason by the Turk's theme song),
wondering aloud why Cloud has yet to show up and "rescue" you.  I guess this
sort of means that Tifa and Barret are being held captive by the Shinra somehow.
After a brief discussion about Cloud, Rufus more or less openly admits that the
world is screwed.  What he has decided to do now is to publicly execute Tifa and
Barret and blame the whole mess on them.  "People are ignorant," he says.
"They'll feel better as long as someone is punished."  The hell!?  A
maliciously evil hellbeast is rampaging the Earth, destroying everything in its
path, Sephiroth sleeps in the Crater, awaiting the day of mass destruction, and
a giant Goddamned Meteor is going to reduce our entire planet to rubble, and
your biggest concern is PR!?  Isn't there some way we can impeach your stupid
ass?

   You gain control of Barret after Heidegger ties his arms up.  A soldier
personally escorts Tifa down to the execution chamber, but Barret is more or
less left alone.  I guess they just sort of assumed that the gigantic, angry man
with a gun for an arm would politely follow to his certain and untimely demise
without being instructed to do so.  Alas, there is really not much Barret can do
but follow, and also make use of that save point you see on your way down.

   You might want to stop right now and give Barret some materia (yes, despite
being tied up and away from the rest of the team, he still mysteriously can
access their materia).  It really doesn't matter what the hell you give him,
just so much as your battle options aren't limited to "fight" and "item", you
should be all right.

   Down in the press room, Scarlet, the evil bitch, does her absolute best to
demonize your team to the media.  Granted, she has absolutely no proof or even
evidence that your team has done anything wrong, but don't think that that's
going to stop her.  Scarlet explains that with all of the chaos abound, that
Shinra desperately needs to rally public support (an area in which, I admit,
they are currently desperately lacking).  So, someone, anyone, needs to be
punished severely.  I can think of far better candidates than the ones who are
taking the fall, it's just that I doubt that Rufus would want to execute his own
employees.  Evil Bitch makes a pretty good point when she notes that even though
no one will admit it, people love this kinda stuff.  And when Tifa is taken to
the gas chamber and Barret angrily yells that if anybody is going to be executed
first, it might as well be him, Scarlet reaches a new low in demanding that the
camera's get a good close-up shot of Barret's "tearful goodbye".  Good lord,
Scarlet... that's evil even for your evil bitch ass.

   Scarlet leads Tifa into her "special gas chamber", accompanied by a generous
amount of shoving.  As Tifa is thrown into the chair and strapped in, Scarlet
looks at Tifa disdainfully, calls her a "stuck-up bitch", and slaps her.  I
don't even know where to begin picking this one apart, but I think what it comes
down to is that while Tifa's personality was sacrificed in order to make her
extremely attractive, Scarlet's was instead sacrificed to make her unfathomably
evil.  And I honestly think that Scarlet is jealous because Tifa is so damn hot
(plus, well, her being unfathomably evil and all).  Eat that, Scarlet.  Scarlet
and the soldier walk out of the gas chamber, making extra sure to drop the key
to Tifa's shackles as they leave.

   Klaxons blare as Scarlet exits the gas chamber, announcing that Weapon is
rapidly approaching Junon.  And in case you haven't figured it out by now,
you're at the Junon branch of Shinra H.Q..  Everyone files out of the room
except for that ugly Cait Sith-shaped reporter, who walks up to Scarlet and
says, "How does it feel now, Scarlet?"  Before she can respond, he knocks her
out with sleeping gas and takes off his disguise, revealing Cait Sith
underneath.  The soldiers that were accompanying Barret attack you, but battling
them will probably be the hardest thing you've had to do since tying your shoes
this morning.  After the battle, Barret rushes up to the door and tries to open
it, but to no avail.  This is bad...

   Cut to Heidegger, who rushes into Rufus's office.  Rufus, of course, is not
in the least bit concerned that Weapon is approaching the city at a high
velocity intent on destroying it.  He calmly tells Heidegger that he knows his
orders, and Heidegger orders his troops to give Weapon a blast from the giant
canon.  For once, I guess we should be happy for the Shirna's technological
advancement.  I don't know if you ever noticed the giant cannon before, but it's
that huge thing built into Junon that's about as big as the city itself.  Jesus!

   And the cannon fires.  Unfortunately, whoever fired the damn thing forgot to
aim it at something, and the blast flies a gazillion feet through the air and
finally just crashes into the water, damaging nothing but the reputation of the
Shinra.  Rufus, having seen this, in a presumed attempt to be funny, goes, "did
we get 'em?"  Well, Rufus, unless we were looking to blast a hole in the water,
no, we didn't get him.  You bastard.

   A few minutes following the dead silence, the klaxons roar back to life, and
Weapon rushes towards the city.  Heidegger seems shocked at this, because he for
some reason thought that you had hit Weapon dead-on.  If by "dead-on", you mean
"missed completely", yeah, I suppose you're right.  Also, you are a jackass.  As
for the current situation, Weapon is barreling towards the city, and the cannon
will take some time to reload.  In the meantime, it appears that the Shinra will
be resorting to conventional firepower.  They might as well be using rocks and
pointy sticks, because the one or two percent of the ensuing shots that actually
come into contact with Weapon don't appear to be slowing it down in the least.
Weapon rams the city head-on, not doing much initial damage, but jostling it
about quite a bit.

   The scene cuts to Tifa, who feels the chamber shake from the impact of
Weapon.  And that's when the gas starts pouring out.  Barret yells through the
door for Tifa to hold her breath and that he'll find some way to get her out of
there.  Sure, Barret.  There's nothing that you can do here, because it seems
that the door to the gas chamber is kept locked from a different room.  Barret
and Cait Sith rush out into the hallway, only to have the door to the previous
room lock behind them.  Inside, they can hear Scarlet cackling that they'll
never save Tifa now.  Barret is a bit pissed, but Cait Sith says that he may
have an idea, and that the team needs to head to the airport.  Barret is a bit
untrusting, but there's not much else you can do at this point except go along
with it.  The path is fairly linear, and Cait Sith will direct you in the proper
direction you need to go.  Any fight you get into will be ridiculously easy, and
over with in a hurry, though I do find it amusing that there are soldiers who
care enough about the escaping prisoners that recapturing them will take
priority over doing battle with the thing that is about to eat their city.
You'll see a TV reporter on your way to the airport that turns out to be Yuffie,
who will also accompany you to the airport.  Just over the horizon, you will see
Weapon slowly rising, seemingly intent on doing something very painful in a
minute.  You should waste little time in hurrying to the Airport at this time.
As the team reaches the airport, a brief dialog ensues between Barret and Cait
Sith.  It ends with Barret grabbing his gun/arm and saying to Cait Sith, "Yo,
you better watch my back till the end... partner."  It's kind of touching how
even Barret knows the power of forgiveness... even if it is a slimy,
backstabbing traitor like Cait Sith.

   Cut back to Tifa.  Despite all of the commotion outside, it is deathly silent
on her gas chamber.  She at this point gets it through her head that there isn't
anything Barret can do to help, so she needs to get that key for herself.  It's
really easy to do (and I'm really curious as to why she didn't think of this
sooner): just grab the key with her legs, transfer the key to her mouth by
pressing both buttons at the same time, and then transfer the  key to one of her
hands.  In freeing that hand, transfer the key to the other hand.  And take your
time: that poisonous gas has no visible effect on Tifa whatsoever.  You're still
going to want to shut off the switch when Tifa finally frees herself, though.
But, as you try to open the door, it's really no use, as you are sealed in.

   Help is on the way, though.  Outside, Weapon is preparing an extensively
painful blast for the city of Junon.  He charges it up, and then lets it rip.
Now, I know you were expecting some nuclear-concussive blast or something, but
such is really not the case.  Rather, is just makes a small incision in the wall
of one of the buildings, conveniently enough located right next to the gas
chamber.  And maybe its me, but that's just a little too ridiculous to swallow.
At about this time, the giant cannon (located a good two or so meters away from
Weapon's face), fires again, resulting in an almost cartoonish explosion.
Weapon looks at the giant cannon strangely, and then slowly leaves for the time
being.  Lovely.  The strongest weapon in the world was enough to confusedly stun
Weapon.  We're doomed.

   And, well, according to a couple thousand e-mails I've received, it turns out
that what I said in the above paragraph was false.  Apparently, I just wasn't
watching close enough and didn't see that the shot did indeed blow Weapon's head
right open, killing it in a quite gruesome fashion.  Of course, if you were
paying good enough attention during the CGI sequence back at the Crater, you'll
know that there's still more Weapons (or WEAPONS) left to deal with, so there's
really no cause to celebrate quite yet.  On another note, of all the WEAPONS,
this poor bastard is the only one who was not given a name by the game
programmers, quite possibly due to the fact that the programmers were lazy
pricks.  Final Fantasy VII fanatics jumped at this opportunity, and seem to have
unanimously bestowed upon him/her/it the name Sapphire WEAPON.  I have decided
to break with tradition, however, and shall call him Gus.

   Anyways, Tifa at this point takes full advantage of her new escape route and
crawls out of the hole blasted into the wall, then begins to scale down the
building, pursued by Scarlet and a few expendable troops who were never taught
how to climb, and thus plunge immediately to their deaths upon attempting to
give chase.  Tifa scales the building and runs along the top of the giant cannon
(note the name "Sister Ray" is etched onto the side of the giant cannon, as this
is its proper name).  But, alas, she reaches the end of the line when she runs
out onto the barrel of the cannon, which rests hundreds of feet above the ocean.
Scarlet approaches Tifa and a cold standoff ensues.  Scarlet, still on her
"stuck-up" kick, slaps Tifa again.  And here's where things get fun.  You get to
slap back.  So have some fun, slap that bitch, and enjoy watching the catfight
of the century.  Meee-ow!

   Needless to say, Scarlet will probably lose.  Being the sore loser she is (no
pun intended), she calls in her troops to finish Tifa off.  That's when you hear
a voice calling out for Tifa to run to the end of the cannon.  Don't think, just
run.  And as you near the end of the cannon, something begins to rise in the
distance... it's the Highwind!  Barret throws a rope over the edge for Tifa to
grab onto, and she leaps towards it.  A suspenseful note is hit when the rope
sways away from her and she falls, only to barely grab onto the rope at the
bottom as it snaps back towards her.  Following this, the Highwind turns and
flies off into the sunset, leaving Junon behind them and making for a fitting
end to this daring escape.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: the Highwind


   Before I go any further, I'd just like to say that I hope there was some
brilliant part of Cait Sith's plan that he neglected to mention.  Tifa escaped
mainly as a result of her own skill and luck, and as far as I can tell, Cait
Sith's plan more or less consisted of escaping in the Highwind and leaving Tifa
to die.  Maybe he planned to do more or less the same thing that Weapon
accomplished with one anti-climatic blast, it's just that this part seriously
bugs me, is all.

   Anyways, Barret appears glad enough to see Tifa.  Cait Sith is here, as well.
He says he'll fill you in on all of the details later, but to make a long story
short, the Highwind now belongs to you.  Sweet!  He hops off into the cabin,
followed by Barret, leaving you to explore and snoop around for yourself.  Do
so, because the Highwind will be from here on out your base of operations, so it
would behoove you to become familiar with it.  There's an operations room just
inside (there'll be more you can do in there later), and also even a room to
store a chocobo (which, again, becomes more useful once you have a chocobo to
fill that room with).

   Down in the main hallway (just inside the cabin), you can speak with the lone
crewman that is trying to look like he's working.  He'll give you instructions
on how to fly the airship if you ask, but if you choose the "chew the fat"
option, he will kindly explain to you exactly how you came into the ownership of
the Highwind.

   You must first understand that the crew of this ship was already disgruntled,
given that they worked under Heidegger.  Heidegger, if you'll recall, has a
little anger management problem.  Rufus periodically makes fun of Heidegger, who
then takes out his anger on the first living thing he sees.  The crew of the
Highwind got it pretty bad, and most (if not all) were literally beaten by
Heidegger on a routine basis.  The crew put up with it, but only because their
only alternative was to quit their job.  But then came their chance for mutiny,
which is a chance they took.

   It all started a week ago, back at the Crater.  It was during their escape
that everyone came rushing back onto the Highwind.  That is when, the crewman
notes, that he met Cid, the legendary pilot.  If you'll recall, Cid was the
original pilot for the Highwind, so he began looking around the Highwind all
nostalgic-like.  The crewman says that Cid even talked to him, and was "every
bit as warmhearted as (he'd) ever heard."  Cid?  Warmhearted?  Those are two
words that just don't seem like they belong together, if you ask me.  Like
"Oprah" and "tolerable".  Anyways, Cid noted the horrible conditions that the
crew had to work under, and commented that things would be different if it were
him running things again.

   And, well, that was all it took.  Once the ship returned to Junon, the crew
rebelled and the ship was placed in the hands of your team.  Unfortunately, Tifa
and Barret were captured during the process (exactly what happened, I'm not
sure).  So, the rest of the team waited and plotted, waiting for the perfect
chance to strike.  And strike they did.

   Anyways, on the bridge leading to the cockpit, you'll see Barret talking to
Cait Sith.  Barret is still kind of a bit overwhelmed, an emotion which he
obviously will express with anger.  "Dammit!  Why didn't you tell me you could
fly an airship!?  I thought Tifa was gone for good..."  Aww... how poignant.
Cait Sith apologizes for the confusion and hops off to the cockpit, followed by
Barret

   Tifa happily exclaims "Everyone?  Everyone's here!?", and hurries into the
cockpit herself.

   Stepping inside the cockpit, she is greeted by Cid, who welcomes Tifa to his
airship.  Cid is excited as hell, but Tifa isn't.  She walks into middle of the
room, and looks around disappointedly.  Cid seems curious why, but Red XIII
steps in and just gives him a look, which Cid seems to understand.  Tifa is sad
because Cloud is missing...

   Talk to Red XIII, who asks Tifa if the team is going to be strong enough
without Cloud around.  Surely, the team will be able to stop Meteor without
Cloud's help.  Tifa shakes her head and takes in the situation around her.  The
whole world is screwed right now, and she doesn't know what the hell to do.
Barret comes up behind her and tells her to get ahold of herself, and then
throws in his "there ain't no getting' offa this train we're on" quote in there
for good measure, but it's no use.  Tifa sighs.  If only Cloud were here, he'd
know what to do...  If only Cloud were here, he could handle things...  If only
Cloud were here, we could play a game of ring toss on his head...  Barret gets
kinda mad at Tifa for being such a wimp, but Red XIII may have a point, after
all.  He doesn't come right out and say it, but something in his voice suggests
that Cloud may be the only one who can take on Sephiroth.  Sure, there, Red,
because Cloud's shown us numerous times in the past just how capable he is of
killing Sephiroth.  Wait, no , he hasn't.

   Finally, talk to Cid.  He gives a short speech about how Cloud was kind of a
cool guy, despite all of those dumbassed things he did.  He says that if you can
find out where he ended up, then the Highwind can get you there in no time.  Red
XIII mentions that Cloud is still buried deep within the Crater, but that he is
more than likely in the Lifestream, itself.  At a certain point on the Earth,
the Lifestream gushes up to the Earth's surface, but he is not quite sure where.
And just let me say that there's something incredibly frightening about that
notion, Red XIII.  The Lifestream is not something that any jackass needs to
have access to.

   Anyways, before moving out, there is something that first needs to be done.
While Cid "teaches this moron how to fly the ship" (and these are the people
that think Cid is a warmhearted guy, by the way), you need to head to the
operation room and form a team.  The team will be Cloud-less, but I think you
can manage.  With that out of the way, speak with the trainee on the bridge
whose skill level appears to be going up every time you talk to him, and it's
time to make tracks.

   Well, if you fly around and ask people from the various towns in the world,
you are more or less pointed in the same direction.  Because there's really only
one town left that you haven't visited, and that is obviously where you need to
go.  Make a course for the southeastern islands.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Mideel


   Actually, before you head down to Mideel, there is probably some business
you'll want to take care of first.  Screw finding Cloud- his ass can wait.  For
starters, you might want to knock sections V.F., V.G., V.H., and V.I. of the FAQ
off of your list of things to do.  V.F. is the important one here, because the
reward here is one of the gamers lost-forevers mentioned in section I.F. of the
FAQ.  V.G. and V.H. can more or less be done at your leisure, but V.I. will
pretty much go hand in hand with your trip to Mideel, anyways.  There's a new
battle taking place at Fort Condor right now, too, by the way.  But other than
that, there's not too much left for you to do.  Dio had to be an ass and close
down the Gold Saucer for the time being, so you'll eventually meander over to
Mideel for lack of anything better to do with your time.

   I suppose I should go over the enemies you will encounter around this region.
But I'm going to start off by saying that this place, overall, makes for one of
the better places in the game to level-up, and is thus mentioned in section
VI.A. of the FAQ.  Furthermore, the only time you would really ever find
yourself dealing with them is if you find yourself choosing to level up in this
region.  That being said, let's delve into the local monster activity.   The
Head Hunter and the Crysales are both very nondescript enemies who hang around
the jungles surrounding Mideel.  The Crysales has an annoying tendency to put
your characters to sleep, but that is the only noteworthy aspect concerning the
offensive abilities of either.  For more on the benefits of fighting them for
the purposes of leveling-up, refer to section VI.A. of the FAQ.  Moving right
along, the Spiral is another generic creature that can be found hanging around
the plains outside the jungle.  Their only notable aspect is their mention in
section XIX.B. of the FAQ.  Lastly, around the beaches of Mideel you may run
into a big-ass creature called the Sea Worm.  It's big and menacing, and has a
lot of HP, but should pose little to no threat to you at all at this point in
the game.  Ice is a weakness, while fire and gravity are ineffective.  Earth is
also absorbed.  On a final note, the Sea Worm always travels alone.

   Enter Mideel, a quiet, peaceful hot springs town.  There ain't a whole lotta
much going on, but you'll probably want to do some shopping here.  There's
nothing that you haven't seen before at the materia shop, but the weapon shop
has some powerful new buys.  Note that every store is simultaneously populated
by the same psychopathic lady who is stocking up on supplies for the big strike.
As if having 99 swords on hand when Meteor strikes is really going to make a
lick of difference one way or another.  Instead of being dead, she'll be dead
and stupid.  That's about it.  Oh, and the adorably cute white chocobo
referenced in section V.I. of the FAQ is hanging out in the item shop, too.

   Anyways, as Tifa heads into the main section of town, she sees a puppy crying
in the middle of the street.  As she goes to console the poor animal, she
overhears a couple of men talking about a "poor pokey-headed guy" who washed
ashore a few days ago.  Tifa springs to life, suddenly forgetting about the
puppy, and asks them for more details.  One of the men says that he was
discovered maybe seven days ago washed ashore near the edge of town, and that he
is currently in the hospital.  Elated, Tifa runs to the doctor's office.

   She bursts inside, happy as a lark, and speaks with the doctor.  The doctor
tells Tifa that Cloud is indeed here, and is over in the next room, but he has
sustained major mako poisoning and...  Well, Tifa isn't really listening to him
at this point.  She runs into the next room to see Cloud.  He's there, but when
she talks to him...  What the hell?  Cloud is here, in one way or another.  His
body sits in the wheelchair in front of Tifa, but his mind is a million miles
away.  His head rocks back and forth aimlessly; he is literally a human
wasteland.  And Tifa is crushed, to say the least.  The doctor walks in at this
point, explaining that Cloud has been exposed to an incredibly high amount of
mako energy, and that it's a wonder he's even alive.  I really don't think
Tifa's listening, though.  The doctor senses this, and shoos everybody out of
the office, leaving Tifa and what remains of Cloud alone together.  And Tifa
deserves an Oscar for the following scene, where she pours her heart out to the
shell of a man, asking him to please just show her some sign that he can hear
her.  "This is too cruel!" she finally explodes.

   Back outside, the doctor speaks with the rest of the team.  It is again
restated that Cloud has mako poisoning.  The case is so bad that no normal human
should have been able to survive it.  And just to clarify the amount of mako he
was exposed to: he was carried halfway across the planet by the Lifestream
itself.  That is the literal equivalent to jumping into a nuclear reactor core.
And then the doctor explains to you that the only real thing you can cling on to
is hope.  That is, if that crazy shopper hasn't gone and bought up all of the
hope already.

   Tifa walks out of the office, a little flustered, but ok.  She explains to
the rest of the team that she no longer cares about anyone or anything but Cloud
right now, and that she is going to remain here by his side.  The team
understands, and heads back to the Highwind.

   Back in the Highwind, a solemn mood prevails.  Barret, at the head of the
bridge is completely lost.  What is the team going to do now?  What can the team
do now?  Cait Sith steps forward and makes himself useful, for once, allowing
the team to eavesdrop on a Shinra meeting.  Good work, Cait Sith!  And we were
just about to chop you up and make pillows out of you!  This little act of
espionage may have just saved your life!

   The Shinra staff sits around the table in the now-infamous meeting room.  It
is still not apparent exactly who is pulling Cait Sith's strings, but I suppose
you can be pretty sure of a few people who are not.  Rufus marches into the room
and announces his top two priorities.  One is to eliminate Meteor, and the
second is to remove the barrier surrounding the Crater and defeat Sephiroth.  He
neglects to mention Weapon, but I'm pretty sure that it's somewhere there on his
list of priorities.  Heidegger and Scarlet explain their plan to collect huge
materia and ram it into the Meteor.  Huge materia is kind of like regular
materia, only, well, huge.  The only two huge materia still to be collected are
those from North Corel and Fort Condor.  Troops are currently on their way to
North Corel.

   Barret is kind of pissed off about the strike against his former home town.
He vows not to let the Shinra have the huge materia.  Well hell, Barret, they're
just trying to save the world from complete and utter destruction with it!  And
until you can think of a better way to prevent Meteor from killing us all, I say
let them do what they hell they want with it.  Red XIII also mentions that the
huge materia should have some reaction with your regular materia when they are
placed near each other.  Barret hits a sentimental note when he says that Cloud
is gonna freak when he comes back and sees the huge materia.  Cait Sith notes
that even though Barret is always picking on Cloud, he really does miss him and
wants him to come back.  Barret, at the risk of showing any kind of emotion,
responds by yelling at Cait Sith.

   And then the issue of leadership comes up.  Barret admits that he isn't cut
out to be a leader, so he instead wakes up Cid and tells him that he's the new
leader, instead.  Cid's reaction?  "Pain in the ass.  Forget it."  Barret
yells at Cid, saying that Cid's the captain of the ship, so he should have to
be the damn leader.  He strikes a chord with Cid on that one, and he finally
agrees to take the job.  This makes Cid the third team captain you've had in the
last week.  Hell, and I thought Latin American governments were unstable.

   Anyways, form a team, get you some materia equipped, and then it's time to
head out to North Corel.  Speak with the pilot on the bridge, as always, to move
out.  Despite now being a level six pilot, he still can't take off without
screaming like a maniac.  Good lord, maybe we should stop promoting his ass
every five minutes until he can at least get that part right.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: North Corel/Mt. Corel (Again)


   First things first, you'll probably want to save your game before heading
back to North Corel.  The huge materia you may or may not earn from this mission
is indeed one of the game's lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the
FAQ, and thus if you screw this mission up, it is gone for good.  There is
another lost-forever in this mission, which is something that must be stolen
from one of the bosses you will fight, so bear that in mind.  That being said,
head on back to North Corel, and speak with a couple of the local villagers
there.  They all claim that the Shinra has been poking its head around there,
looking to take the huge materia from the reactor up in Mt. Corel.  And it's up
to you to stop them.

   As far as preparations go, you're really not in for the most difficult
battles in the world, but a couple of things that it couldn't possibly hurt to
have on hand would be water, lightning and gravity magic.  If you want to nab
the afformentioned lost-forever, you'll also want to bring along the Steal
materia.  Also, bear in mind that you have a time limit for the upcoming
battles, so you'll want to set your team up to strike hard and strike fast.

   Reaching the reactor should be notably easy, mainly because the enemies here
are the same Goddamned ones you fought during Section III.D. of the walkthrough.
This means that you will reach the reactor without too many hassles, and will be
scraping the remains of your enemies off the bottom of your shoe when the couple
of guards standing just outside the reactor recognize you and attack.  They
begin by turning their backs to you politely so that you may dismember them in a
quick and convenient manner.  Such service!

   After the battle, the train begins to move.  I don't know how they fit such a
gigantic train inside the reactor, but when your team moves out of the way,
you'd be surprised by what comes out of that sucker.  After your team watches
the train slowly pass by without at all attempting to stop it, that's when Cid
decides he's going to give chase (kinda makes you wish Cloud was still around).
Head into the reactor, and you'll come out riding a small train engine.  And the
chase is on.

   You've got ten minutes in all to stop the train.  There are several penalties
to failing to stop the train in time (see below), so get your asses in gear and
move out.

   Controlling the train engine shouldn't be too difficult.  Just work the
levers back and forth, establishing a steady rhythm.  If you try and pump them
too fast, you'll screw up, guaranteed.  But, assuming you're not a complete
idiot, you should find yourself gaining on the Shinra's train in no time.
That's when Cid tells they team that you're going to jump.  And when I say jump,
I mean it.   Your party flies across the tracks at a high velocity in a daring
jump that Evil Kenivel wouldn't even think of trying.

   On the train ahead of you, you need to hop from car to car.  On each car, you
will fight a different battle, starting with the Gas Ducter on the first one.
The Gas Ducter is a fairly tame enemy, to say the least.  It's attacks are
really little to worry about, and Smog Alert (it's most powerful attack) does
only moderate damage at best.  For a regular enemy, the Gas Ducter has quite a
bit of HP, but you can still take it out in a couple of attacks.  Just avoid
using poison magic, which it absorbs.

   On the second car, you fight two Gas Ducters.  Oh, joy!

   On the third car, you battle this... thing called Wolfmeister.  It's a big,
hairy creature carrying a gigantic sword that puts Cloud's to shame.  This is
why it strikes me as kind of odd that his main attack is to punch you, because I
sure know that if I had a sword twice as large as my opponent, I would sure as
hell use it.  Strangely, his sword doesn't do that much more damage than his
normal attack when he does use it, and in the end, both of his attacks end up
moderately powerful at best, and not much to worry about.  What you should take
not of, however, is his very high HP (10,000, to be exact).  And since you're on
a time limit, you'll want to get rid of him as fast as possible.  Water is his
weakness, but you might want to soften him up with some gravity magic, first.

   On the fourth car, Eagle Gun arrives to do battle with you.  It's a cool-
looking flying shooting thingy, who's attacks don't really seem to hurt much at
all.  It does have an insane amount of HP (17,000), and is immune to water and
earth magic.  Lightning is its weakness, but again, gravity magic will help to
soften it up for the slaughter (cast at the beginning of the fight, even Demi
will do 4,250 damage, and Demi 2 an impressive 8,500).  Oh, and you can steal
the Warrior Bangle from Eagle Gun, as well, which is the above mentioned lost-
forever, as again discussed in section I.F. of the FAQ.

   Making your way to the fifth, car, you have your very anti-climatic battle
with the engineer, whom you should bend over and make your wife in no time.
But when he's gone, you've still got to stop the train.

   If you've got a large enough amount of time left, you probably shouldn't
worry about it too much, as it seems almost inevitable that the train will stop.
What you've gotta do, is work both levers up, then both down, and keep it going,
to stop the train.  It's actually a bit harder than it looks, so don't be
surprised if it takes you a minute or so to get it down.  Thankfully, the effort
required to stop the train is minimal.

   And finally, for the grand finale!  Assuming that you stopped the runaway
train, you will approach North Corel at a high velocity, but the train will come
to a screeching halt at the last second.  Disembark the train, taking the huge
materia with you, and go to speak with the villagers, who are just thrilled with
your team right now.  They praise you to no end, and will even reconcile with
Barret, if he is with you.  They heartily shout that they are miners, and
they'll just dig tunnels and hide form Meteor.  Yeah, sure, let us know how that
works out, you idiots.  Furthermore, you'll receive the Ultima materia for your
troubles, and also a free night at the inn.

   Conversely, if you failed to stop the train, you'll again see the train
approaching North Corel at a high velocity.  The only catch is that it doesn't
stop before entering North Corel.  Rather, it plows through people's shanties
and destroys things, and causes about a million or so gil worth of improvements
to the craphole.  I'm not sure what exactly does stop the train, but I think it
may be that villager caught in between the wheels.  Suffice it to say that the
villagers are not at all pleased with you, and the huge materia is gone for
good.  Furthermore, if you want the Ultima materia, you'll have to speak with
the kid who fished it out of the well and pay him 50,000 gil for it.  And I'm
sorry, but I think that his little materia racket puts a 25 cent lemonade stand
to shame.

   Anyways, regardless of your level of success in this barren wasteland, you
can still speak with a lady in one of the houses around here and collect
Catastrophe from her.  With that out of the way, make your way to the other
place that the Shinra was planning to steal huge materia from (Fort Condor, in
case you forgot).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Fort Condor


   Seeing as the entirety of Fort Condor strategy is covered in section X. of
the FAQ, there is really not much I can say about this mission.  Again, you're
going to want to save your game, because you've only got one shot at getting
several rare items during this battle (the huge materia, the Imperial Guard, and
the Phoenix materia), and they are all lost-forevers, as mentioned in section
I.F. of the FAQ.  Furthermore, if you screw this battle up, you are ejected from
Fort Condor for good (cause we don't tolerate failure 'round here!), meaning
that the All materia sold in the item shops here is also a lost-forever in that
respect.

   I mentioned the All materia currently being sold at the materia shop, which
is a purchase you might consider making, as well as perhaps one of the other
rare materia now available here.

   Anyways, you should be familiar with this place by now (or not, if you, like
me, ignored this place for the majority of the game).  Walk up and talk to
Headband Guy only to find that the Shinra is making its last stand.  And thus
the final battle begins.  Scope out section X. of the FAQ for the details.

   Following the battle, something starts to happen to the Condor atop the
mountain.  In a kick-ass FMV, it does a little flash of light thingy (I don't
know, you become desensitized to things glowing eerily when it's all your team
ever sees), and then it just... dies.  Jesus, then what in the hell have we been
fighting for!?  But wait, the egg is starting to crack open!  And it's a cute
widdle birdie!  Aww...  Headband Guy tells you to go outside onto the mountain
and check, and that's where you'll find the Phoenix materia.  Also, before
leaving, you're going to want to talk to that guy downstairs (Headband Guy's
father).

   Father of Headband Guy hands you the huge materia, because through some
psychic ability of his, he was able to sense that you wanted it.  He tells you
that he stole it out of the reactor a long time ago, knowing that this day would
come.  He admits that you weren't fighting to protect the reactor, but the
condor sitting atop it.  He says this as if this was a fact that you were not
already aware of.  Well, Cid seems surprised, at least.

   Back in the Highwind, your team realizes that the only huge materia left to
collect is the one from the Underwater Reactor at Junon.  However, they also
come to the brilliant notion that the Shinra is more than likely on full alert
since you always seem to be messing with them.  Well, since when has that ever
stopped us in the past?  Regardless, your team decides to go check up on Tifa
and Cloud back in Mideel before carrying through with their mission to save the
world (because Meteor can just wait until we're good and Goddamn ready to stop
it).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Mideel (Again)


   You sense that tension in the air?  You feel it?  You know what it means?
There's a boss fight headed your way.  And it's a tough one, you you'd best get
your ass prepared.  The boss in question uses magical attacks that are enough to
knock the entire team on its ass in a few turns flat, so protection against them
is a must.  Of the two attacks, one is Quake 2 versus the entire team (which
does big damage, despite what you may think), but the more powerful of the two
is non-elemental.  This means that protection from earth can help out, but Big
Guard or an M-Barrier is still recommended.  Regen also seriously increases your
chances of survival.  Attack-wise, bring along your best, and lay off the
gravity magic, which we should all know by now isn't going to get you anywhere.
Limit breaks will be a big factor in this fight, however, so bring along the
most damaging ones you've got.  On a final note, if you find that your
characters are at low levels (and therefore low HP totals), you might consider
bringing Vincent along for the HP bonus conferred by his transformations.

   Anyways, head on back to Mideel and go to the doctor's office.  Tifa is,
well, not happy.  Cloud doesn't seem to know who he is or what is going on, and
she's worried that he may never recover from his predicament.  And as if that
weren't bad enough, the ground starts to shake beneath you.  Cid and the rest of
the team rushes outside to see what's going on, telling Tifa to stay inside.

   Outside, you discover that the cause of the tremors in the ground are due to
the Lifestream rushing up to the surface.  Exactly how Cid comes to this
startling realization is beyond me, but it means that he just passed up Cait
Sith in the field of psychic ability (which isn't saying much, I suppose, given
that my jockstrap has accomplished pretty much the same thing).  Tifa comes
outside and asks what's wrong, and Cid tells her to get back inside and let him
handle it.  He then, for some unknown reason, yells "Ok, here I go!" and runs to
the center of the village.  Apparently, he would like to be at the dead center
of the impending earthquake.

   But that's when something flies up from the distance.  Your team identifies
it as Weapon, but those of you with good enough eyes will recognize that this is
a different Weapon than the one that attacked Junon.  That and, as I was forced
to acknowledge earlier, the one back at Junon is sorta dead, so it's at the very
elast somewhat doubtful you'll be fighting it again.  This one is Ultimate
WEAPON, and it descends upon your team with the utmost fury.

   You're not going to kill Ultimate WEAPON, but you do have to damage it
enough so that it turns tail and run away.  Surviving this fight is tough,
especially given its powerful attacks.  Hope you brought protection.  Other than
that, just wail away at it, and use your limit breaks often.  The fight should
be over before too long, but things are not looking good, given that you barely
put a dent in the thing.

   After the battle, things are calm.  Or are they?  The ground starts to shake
violently again, and there's no stopping it this time.  Cid yells at the team to
get out of there, and then he shouts at Tifa to get herself and Cloud the hell
out of the village.  Tifa stalls for an unreasonable amount of time, which isn't
the brightest idea in the world.  Finally, accepting the idea that taking refuge
in a wide open space might be a good idea after all, she grabs Cloud's
wheelchair and tries to get them both out of Mideel.

   In the following cutscene, Tifa runs through the village with Cloud, as the
ground is cracking and being destroyed behind them.  It almost looks as if
they're going to make it, but a gigantic crack opens in the ground ahead of
them, and Tifa can't hold on to Cloud.  The two of them plummet downwards and
into the Lifestream, which actually looks like strangely glowing toxic sewer
water than anything else.  It might also help to explain the poisoning, too.

   Tifa and Cloud are now lost in the Lifestream... what will become of them?
Stay tuned to find out!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Flashback, Part II


   Tifa appears in a world of complete blackness.  Strangeness ensues, but we
are to get the gist that Tifa is lost, alone, confused, and scared.
Furthermore, Cloud seems to be missing.

   You then find yourself in the middle of some strange, mystical world.  Three
paths branch off from where Tifa is standing, and an embodiment of Cloud is
sitting a short distance down each path.  Furthermore, a gigantic illusion of
Cloud looms over the sky above, and appears to be having some sort of fit of
insanity.  Tifa looks around and comes to the almost immediate realization that
she is somewhere within Cloud's subconsciousness.  She doesn't seem the least
bit shocked that she is currently inside someone's mind, and shouts out to Cloud
that she's going to help get the "real (Cloud) back".  This, I'm assuming, is my
punishment for referring to Cloud as a retard for roughly 100% of the game.

   Start with the path at the top of the screen.  Cross over some floating
platforms and talk to the Cloud sitting there.  He points forward to the
illusion of Nibelheim ahead and correctly identifies them as such.  This is
where it all began, according to him, and Tifa thinks it's a good idea to start
out here, then.  She gently reassures Cloud that even though things will be
hard, she'll be right there by his side throughout the whole ordeal.  Tifa then
runs into Nibelheim and starts randomly pointing out landmarks, and ends by
calling the place "our Nibelheim".  Tifa's a bit off on that one, as she seems
to have forgotten that the Shinra technically owns every city in the world.

   Talk to Cloud, and Tifa will ask Cloud to show her what happened five years
ago.  The original scene, with Sephiroth and Cloud entering Nibelheim plays
back, but with Tifa's added commentary.  She explains how she finally met
Sephiroth so many years ago, but that she thought him to be cold, and felt a
foreboding feeling about his presence.  And then, she comes out with the truth.
"Cloud was not at Nibelheim five years ago", she says to Cloud.  She speaks to
Cloud in the third person for some reason which evades me at the time.  But she
explains how she waited and waited, but Cloud never showed up.  Tifa tells Cloud
that she didn't say anything about this before because she felt that something
bad would happen.  As if any bad could come from telling Cloud that he's full of
crap.  But the most eerie thing about this moment is the fact that Tifa is
having to explain Cloud's own memories to him.  Tifa wraps up her conversation
with Cloud #1, and tells him that he needs to find the answer for himself.  Hey!
What the hell ever happened to "I'll be right there by your side," you whore?

   For those of you keeping score, we have just learned that Cloud never showed
up at Nibelheim five years ago, and we are either continuing on our quest to
learn more, or rapidly pushing buttons in a vain attempt to end this Goddamn
flashback sequence and get on with the Goddamn game already.  Your next target
is the path off to the left of the screen.  Approach the Cloud sitting on that
path, and he refers to that starry night at the well and the promise he made
that night.  You know, how he'd come and rescue Tifa if she was ever in trouble?
It's ironic, because she's spent the last few parts of the game rescuing Cloud's
sorry ass.  But what if...  What if the memory was just a lie?  Things get more
interesting at this point, because Tifa's own memories are at stake here, too.
Tifa calmly reassures Cloud, and the camera zooms into the starry sky above.

   Taking it from the beginning, as Tifa states, you'll see Cloud and Tifa as
kids sitting down at the well.  That's when Tifa begins with her explanation
(and yes, she actually starts to make sense near the end).  She claims that
Sephiroth once said that he made up his memories by listening to Tifa's stories.
Ergo, Cloud may not have really remembered any of this at all.  But did he
imagine the events of that night?  No, he remembered them.  The stars in the sky
and the promise he made...  But Tifa says that these memories are not enough.
Memories are things that have to be subconsciously recalled, so there is no
knowing whether or not they might be real.  They are different, she says, then
feelings that are locked up in one's heart.  So rather than her explaining her
memories of Cloud to him, she asks Cloud to explain one of his memories of her.
And when she thinks back and remembers what he is talking about, it becomes
"their memory", and she will be assured that this is indeed the Cloud she grew
up with.  This makes a lot of sense, as it allows the one sane person here
become the mental anchor.  But then again, she is going to great lengths to
achieve that which a vigorous blow to the head could just as easily accomplish.

   And then she starts to think... why did Cloud join SOLDIER in the first
place?  It seemed like such a sudden decision to her, but that's when things
start to make sense.  Cloud isn't necessary the poster child for full
disclosure, but he pretty much makes it bluntly clear that the only reason he
joined SOLDIER was to get Tifa's attention.  He says that if only he could get
stronger, then maybe someone would recognize him.  That someone was Tifa.  Tifa
seems a little shocked about this, and you might, too, seeing as Cloud gets so
much Goddamned attention from Tifa that it's unreal, and he really doesn't seem
to care much about that attention in the least.  But Cloud #2 looks at her and
asks her if she forgot about "those days".  Tifa doesn't appear to have a clue
what Cloud is talking about, and mentions this to both Cloud #2 and Cloud #1.
Cloud #1 hops over, saying that Tifa can be forgiven for not noticing him back
then, that she was to wrapped up in her own problems.  Whatever he's alluding
to, we seem to be progressing further and further towards a horribly clichéd
story, here.  He mentions to Tifa that the memory to which he refers is very
important, and if she'd like to see it.  Well, of course she'd like to see it ,
you dumbass!  Why else would she be asking to see it?

   Walk over and talk to Cloud #3 (you know, the only one you haven't talked to
yet), who refers to a sealed up memory of his.  My, my.  No, we appear to
actually be getting somewhere.  Cloud #1 will join you for this next part of the
story, as well.  Walk over and talk to him, and he shows you a window.  Cloud #1
is standing by a window, and when you talk to him, he asks you to look inside.
The camera then sweeps over and takes you through the window and into Tifa's old
room.

   Cloud mentions that it was the first time he had ever been inside her room.
The scene cuts to Tifa sitting in the corner with her head between her knees,
and a guy nearby who is notably not Cloud.  The guy mentions that he sees Cloud
coming down the path, and wonders if he wants to come inside.  Tifa looks up,
and then puts her head back between her knees without a word.  Real-life Tifa at
this point starts to make a few assessments of her own memories.  She had known
Cloud since they were kids, and had always thought they were close, but now that
she stops to think, she can't even remember him being in her room.  Cloud #1
just nods and points to the three guys that are hanging around with Tifa in her
room, saying that she was always hanging around instead with that "three-some".
Jesus, Cloud, you could have picked a better word than "three-some".  Because
believe me, three guys hanging around with a teen-aged Tifa alone in her room is
suggestive-sounding enough.

   Cloud gets a bit pissy at this point.  He talks about how he used to think
that Tifa and her group were so childish and immature.  Tifa takes a bit of
offense to this, and points out that they, as children, had a prerogative to be
childish and immature.  Cloud admits that he was the stupid one.  But you know
how it goes; you've seen this same tired story a million times.  Boy wants to be
with rest of group.  Group rejects boy.  Boy harbors feelings of resentment for
the group and starts to feel that he is better than them.  He admits that he
started to feel like he was different from everybody else... and then came that
night when he called Tifa out to the well.  He thought that she hated him and
that she would never come.  Tifa, searching through her memory, now admits that
she was a bit surprised the day Cloud asked her to meet him at the well.  She
redeems herself by admitting that after Cloud left town, she thought about him a
lot, and even started to read the papers hoping to see an article about him
(though she never does mention whether or not she was looking for mention of
Cloud in the obituaries).  Cloud #1 tells Tifa to mention that to real-life
Cloud when and if she ever escapes this nightmare, and that it'll make him
happy.

   Tifa tries to get back on subject at this point.  "What happened on this
day?" she asks.  "Was it a special day?"  I mean, there was obviously some
reason that Cloud's memory took her back to this one specific point in time.  I
don't know whether or not we should call it "special", but this happened to be
the day that Tifa's mom died.  Cut back to childhood Tifa with her head between
her knees.  She looks up and says that she wants to go see her mother, then runs
off.

   The group of children emerge at the foot of Mt. Nibel, with a guitar
strumming soulfully in the background.  One of the kids mentions that Mt. Nibel
is scary, and that nobody crosses it alive.  That thought gives Tifa the bright
idea that just maybe her mother is on the other side of Mt. Nibel.  Tifa runs
off, followed by two of her friends.  The third flees in terror, and passes
Cloud, who is coming up the mountain path behind them.  Off in the distance,
Tifa nears that infamous rope bridge.  And experiences with rope bridges in
movies in video games rarely, if ever, turn out positive.  The two friends
following her at this point leave, and the screen slowly fades to black.

   You'll see childhood Cloud and Tifa lying on the ground.  Real-life Cloud and
Tifa stand over them, and for some strange reason, a silhouette of Cloud is also
present.  It really has no business here, if you ask me.  Talk to the
silhouette, and the story is explained.  Tifa, crossing the bridge, missed her
step.  Cloud tried to save her, but missed and both of them ended up flat on the
ground.  Tifa was hurt pretty badly, but Cloud managed to get by with only a
couple of scraped knees.  And if you think back to one of Cloud's earlier
psychopathic fits (after he plummeted from the mako reactor), you may recall the
voices in his head telling him something about scraped knees.  This is the
incident to which the voices were referring.  At this point, a couple of adults
show up and see the two kids lying on the ground.  Cloud, being the less injured
one and all, gets a bit of a chewing out from the adults, and is more or less
blamed for bringing Tifa to Mt. Nibel.  The adults carry Tifa away, but seem
strangely uninterested in Cloud.  This may be because Tifa would spend the next
seven days in a coma.  Nobody thought she would pull through, but she did.  In
fact, this may be what toughened her enough to survive a brutal onslaught from
Sephiroth (see later).

   Anyways, Cloud's childhood was more or less messed up by this one little
incident.  He felt like Tifa blamed him somehow for the whole incident, and he
was mad at himself for not having been able to save her.  He became very
violent, starting fights for no reason, and spiraled completely out of control.
That's when he heard about Sephiroth...  If only he could become strong like
Sephiroth, then maybe Tifa would notice him.  Just maybe, huh?

   You find yourself back in the mystical world again now.  Tifa apologizes for
conveniently not remembering how much of a bitch she had been as a child, and
Cloud more or less forgives her.  A question still looms in the air, but Tifa
reaches an epiphany at this moment.  She refers back to a time when the two were
eight years old, and says that she remembers clearly now.  Cloud wasn't created
five years ago, she says.  And now she has proof.  Tifa tells Cloud to hang in
there just a little while longer, and that she has almost found the "real" him.
Then, she and one of the Cloud clones (I forgot at this point which one was
which, as more and more clones appeared to be randomly and spontaneously
generating out of nowhere) run towards Nibelheim for the thrilling climax.

   Tifa and Cloud end back up at the reactor five years ago.  And here's a scene
you should all remember: it's Tifa getting the crap slashed out of her by
Sephiroth.  Poor Tifa, she can't go five minutes in this game without getting
her ass kicked.  But, then again, she always seems to be fine (unlike some other
girl in this game I could mention).  But it wasn't Cloud who came running up to
her when she landed.  It was Zach.  Or was it?  Zach runs past Tifa, trampling
over her slashed and bleeding body as he rushes up to face Sephiroth.  And,
well, you can more or less imagine what happens next.  Zach is royally nailed
by Sephiroth and ejected from the back room in a timely fashion.

   But, then, how do we explain Cloud having remembered the entire situation?
Well, that's cause he was there.  A mysterious figure runs past Tifa and grabs
Zach's sword.  This figure runs into the back room, and skips right past the
yelling and and gets right to the stabbing Sephiroth part.  And as the figure,
one of the bottom-rung guards that came along to assist Sephiroth and Zach,
walks down the steps, he removes his mask, revealing Cloud underneath it all.
He then returns to make good on his promise by coming to Tifa's aid in her time
of need.

   And the truth shall set us all free from this Goddamned nightmare.  Cloud was
at Nibelheim five years ago, just not in all of the glory of his original story.
He was there the whole time, keeping an eye on things, but he was too
embarrassed to let anyone, especially Tifa, know that he had failed to become a
member of SOLDIER and instead ended up serving as a member of an army filled
with retards.  This also makes sense of the scene where Sephiroth is entering
Nibelheim.  He indeed had turned and asked if this was the first time Cloud had
been back in his hometown (this was, of course, after Tifa had left thinking
that Cloud was not there).  This was something that would not have made a whole
lot of sense had Cloud not been there, of course, seeing as Zach was from
Gongaga.

   The scene goes back to Cloud and Tifa inside the reactor.  Sephiroth lurches
from the back room, in an obvious state of pain, but other than that strangely
unaffected by the gaping stab wound in his chest.  He walks out of the room with
an angry glance, and Zach, who is currently lying in some contorted position on
the other side of the room, asks Cloud to kill Sephiroth.  Well, crap, Zach, I
already stabbed him, for God's sakes!  What else can I do!?  And Cloud must be
feeling cocky by now, because this time, he goes after Sephiroth unarmed.  He
approaches Sephiroth as he is limping down the suspended walkway.  Sephiroth
gets a bit pissy and impales Cloud with his own long-ass sword.  But an amazing
thing happens.  Cloud grabs the sword, which is still sticking through his
chest, mind you, removes it, and tosses it and Sephiroth off the side of the
catwalk and into the abyss below.  The game does neglect to mention how Cloud
mysteriously survived being stabbed, but I guess it may go far in explaining how
he ended up as Hojo's test subject.

   Anyways, back in the mystical world, the nightmare draws to an end.  All of
the Cloud clones merge into one singular being, and the giant floating image of
Cloud floats down and merges with them all to create what appears to be beef
jerky.  Have Tifa talk to the beef jerky to make it flash and other weird crap,
until it finally becomes Cloud.  Cloud is a bit groggy and confused, but Tifa
wastes little time in yelling at him, calling him a jerk and telling him how
worried everyone was about him.  Cloud just collapses to the ground again,
talking about the voices and crap.  It finally starts to dawn on Tifa at this
point that the two are floating around in the highly-toxic lifestream, and that
it might be in their best interests to get out of it.  Through some miracle of
willpower, Tifa transports the two of you out of the Lifestream and back into
the real world.

  Tifa and Cloud end up washed ashore near the wreckage that was one point
Mideel, surrounded by the rest of the team.  Tifa sort of snaps out of it, and
talks to Barret for a minute before passing out again.

   You end back up in the operation room of the Highwind.  Cloud apologizes to
the team and admits that he made up the stories he told of what happened five
years ago.  As opposed to retelling the entire story of how he had actually been
at Nibelhiem five years ago and such, Cloud just says to the team that he had
heard the entire story from his friend, Zach and then tried to pass himself off
as a member of SOLDIER, doing so to the point that he actually started to
believe the lie.  And the deception was fairly easy for him to do, because he is
built just like a member of SOLDIER.  You see, Hojo's plan to clone Sephiroth
wasn't much different than the process it took to make a SOLDIER out of someone.
Members of SOLDIER were not just exposed to mako; they were actually injected
with Jenova cells.  In his own words, he was created more or less as a result of
Jenova's cells, Sephiroth's will, and his own weaknesses.

   In summary, the entire team before this point already had a good idea as to
why Cloud was able to be manipulated by Sephiroth.  Cloud is just trying to
apologize to them for lying about his past, the truth behind which would have
explained so much earlier on exactly how Sephiroth was controlling him.

   What is left unexplained, of course, is exactly what parts of Cloud's stories
were lies, and which of Cloud's problems stemmed as a result of other problems.
You'll recall Tifa finding Cloud pretty messed up on the ground at the train
station at Sector Seven, and that wasn't too long before the outset of the game.
More than likely, that event would have directly followed Hojo's experiments,
which then must have been a five-year venture.  This means that Cloud's claim to
have spent the past five years as a mercenary are false, and what really
happened was that Hojo's experimentation had left him so screwed up and
vulnerable that his memories became skewed and distorted, and in his mind he
ultimately became what he wanted to be instead of who he really was.  Thus, his
original lies to Tifa that day, the constant jibber-jabber of the voices in his
head trying to tell him that he was deluding himself, and the rest of the story
up to this point.

   Cloud vows to quit living the lie at this point, and Tifa becomes the first
to say what we have all been thinking for the entire game up to this point:
"Wow, you're pretty messed up."  And Barret just whines that not a damn thing
is different now than before.  Cait Sith, getting to more important matters,
asks Cloud what he's going to do now.  Well, it is Cloud's fault that a giant
Meteor is threatening to destroy the planet, so I suppose that it should be his
prerogative to try and stop it.  The meeting then adjourns with a hearty, "there
ain't no getting' offa this train we're on!"

   Speak with the crewman, who congratulates Cloud on his pep talk before asking
you to form a team.  And then, it's off to Junon!


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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Underwater Reactor (at Junon)


   With Cloud back in your party, several options and side quests open up to
you.  For starters, the Gold Saucer has reopened, meaning that the Snowboard
Game is for the first time available to you (though the Torpedo Attack game is
still under repair).  It also means that you can also begin with your chocobo
breeding, if so desired (chocobo breeding reaps many powerful rewards, and is
discussed in full detail in section IX of the FAQ).  Breeding a gold chocobo is
subsequently one of the two ways to open up the Ancient Forest side quest, as
mentioned in section IV.C. of the FAQ.  It will also give you access to section
V.K. of the FAQ.  You might want to take a look at section V.J. of the FAQ, and
also return to section V.F., as well.  Lastly, for a fun little bonus, check out
section XVIII.A. of the FAQ.

   Whew!  That was a pantload!  With the important issues, such as gambling and
inbreeding, out of the way, let us return to trying to save the world.  Take
your team to Junon and head to the upper city.  However, you can't use Mr.
Dolphin, anymore... because Mr. Dolphin is dead!  Ok, I just wanted to make the
little kiddies cry.  He's not dead, but he sure as hell isn't around Junon
anymore.  Talk to the guard standing by the elevator, whom you will have to
bribe with 10 gil for passage.  And if you don't have 10 gil lying around, you
spent way too much Goddamned time at the Gold Saucer.

   Up on the city above, snoop around.  There are a couple of soldiers at the
airport who, when talked to, begin discussing Shinra's inside secrets with each
other as if you were not standing right there listening to them blab on and on.
Apparently, the Shinra uses military service as a means of weeding out its
stupider citizens.  At any rate, they divulge that the Shinra is currently
collecting the huge materia from the Underwater Reactor here at Junon (how
polite of them to wait for you, wasn't it?), and that it will be transported to
Rocket Town by means of Gelnika.  Jesus!  I sure hope these guys get demoted or
killed or something.

   Oh, and since Meteor has been summoned, the shops here have since been
upgraded.  But the crap they're selling is so damn antiquated, it's a wonder
they even bothered.  It is a good way to pick up a lot of the weapons that were
considered to be lost-forevers, but the sad fact is that although they might
have almost been useful about a disc and a half ago, they're beyond laughable
now.  These shops are only useful if you're the kind of anal retentive freak
that wants a copy of every damn weapon in the game but inexplicably missed one
earlier, if you needed an extra weapon with double the materia growth for
leveling-up purposes, or if you just want some dumbasses to laugh at.  And as if
you needed any greater indication that whoever came up with these shops was
diseased, you can buy a Mop in one of the shops, which is the final weapon in
the series of the weapons that lacked materia slots but were still somewhat
powerful.  You know, the ones that stopped being useful after all your normal
weapons outclassed them?  Need I even comment on the fact that they're selling
some of your characters initial equipment!  I guess Junon must be where all
things you sell in RPG's eventually end up, which in turn answers a question
that has plagued RPG experts for centuries.

   In case you forgot, the path to the Underwater Reactor is about halfway down
the city path.  As you race down the street towards the Underwater Reactor,
however, Cloud stops and asks the group, "I may be wrong, but doesn't it feel
like there's something missing?"  Well, Cloud, if I had to take a guess, I'd say
that what you are missing is sanity.  The party then continues as if nothing out
of the ordinary had just happened.

  You'll emerge at the path to the Underwater Reactor.  But, as you might
expect, there're monsters in them thar' dunes.  The Death Machine is an enemy
that will only appear on the top floor, and won't show up unless you're stupid
enough to trip the alarm sitting there on the wall (which in turn triggers
random encounters in the area).  It is an enemy that, for this point in the
game, possesses weak to moderately powerful attacks.  It always travels alone,
however, which minimizes the threat.  The Slalom is a very weak enemy with weak
attacks that is easy to kill.  Do avoid poison magic, which it absorbs, however.
The Underwater MP is the generic baddie around here.  It's easy to kill and has
weak attacks, for the most part (though they may bust out with a Grenade, which
is moderately powerful).  The most notable thing about them is that you can
steal the Shinra Alpha from them.  So get them while you can, as they are one
of the game's lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  Next up,
we have the Ghost Ship.  The Ghost Ship is, well, an eerie skeleton paddling a
boat across dry land.  You'll meet it in the underwater tunnel, and if crap like
is just randomly hanging around the Shinra's power plants, you'd think that they
would have done something about it by now.  I mean, exorcize the bastards or
something.  Snide comments aside, it has a lot of HP, but this is offset by its
weak attacks and tendency to travel entirely alone (as if anything wanted to
hang out with a Goddamn ghost and his paddle boat).  Gravity and earth magic is
ineffective against the Ghost Ship, and water magic is only half as effective.
The weakness of the Ghost Ship is holy magic, but before you go and try to kill
it outright, note the most important aspect of the Ghost Ship, which is the fact
that they can be morphed into the Guide Book.  The Guide Book, aside from being
a lost-forever as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ, is also an important
quest item, the use of which will present itself in section IV.E. of the FAQ.
Also in the underwater tunnel is the Corvette, which rather than a sports car,
is a strange serpent-type enemy reminiscent of the Sword Dance.  The Corvette
has weak to moderately powerful attacks, is resistant to water magic, and immune
to earth magic.  The Diver Nest, also found in the underwater tunnel, would be
more of a threat if it ever used its powerful wind and water attacks, but it
usually just decides to give you a weak tap instead.  Because it cares.  Kick
its ass anyways, but avoid water and earth magic, which they are resistant and
immune to, respectfully.  The Hard Attacker appears inside the Underwater
Reactor itself, and is a fairly weak opponent of almost no mention at all except
that it resists ice and water magic.  Deeper inside, expect to meet the
Guardian, a creature that somewhat resembles the Hard Attack, but looks much
stronger.  The keyword is "looks".  They, again, are very weak, though a bit
tougher to kill.  All kinds of magic work, however, so go nuts.  Finally, the
Senior Grunt is more or less the commanding officer in a group of Underwater
MP's.  And given the intelligence of those things, it doesn't take too much
intelligence to become the leader.  They're not horribly powerful, either, but
they do resist water magic.

   Whew!  Anyways, when you show up at the Underwater Reactor, you'll see the
same troops that have been training there since you last saw them during Disc 1.
Their cruel boss finally dismisses them, and they scatter down into the reactor.
Coincidentally, that's also where you're headed.  Step into the elevator leading
down to the Underwater Reactor, where you will promptly be recognized by two of
the soldiers.  They start talking cockily amongst themselves, which should fuel
your desire them to impale them in a timely fashion.  After the battle, the lady
who operates the controls to the elevator is, well, mortified.  I'd probably
piss my pants if a couple of guys walked into my place of business and brutally
murdered the security guards right in front of my eyes, too.  She is very
cooperative, however, and takes you down into the reactor.

   Expect several more fights from many more weak Underwater MPs as you advance
through the reactor.  Before long, you will begin to think of them as lemmings,
suicidally launching themselves at you in a vain attempt to halt your progress.
The path is very linear, and does not merit much of a description.  You'll
notice a door blocked by a dog just as you exit the elevator, but you will not
be able to enter it.  Rather, continue down the series of hallways until you
reach the underwater tunnel.  The underwater tunnel is a gigantic glass tunnel
that connects the city of Junon to the Underwater Reactor.  It is a very
beautiful sight, to see the ocean around you and such.  It would also be
peaceful, if not for the random battles that for some reason occur here.

   Continuing into the Underwater Reactor itself, there is a save point just
inside.  You may wish to use it, as there are several upcoming lost-forevers
(namely the Huge Materia) as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ, and you might
want some insurance on getting those.  You also may want to prepare for the
upcoming boss battle.  Today's boss is unaffected by poison or gravity magic,
and is weak versus lightning magic.  Other than that, take along the same stuff
that always helps you out during a boss battle.

   Continuing on into the Underwater Reactor, expect many more fights from many
more lemmings.  Again, the path is linear, and is easy to follow.  When you
reach the reactor core, your team spots the huge materia being extracted from it
and being transported to the loading docks.  Hurry along after it.  But, when
you emerge at the docks, you'll meet up with none other than Reno, of the Turks!
Your team threatens him in their usual fashion, but Reno is too smart to sit
here and get his ass pummeled by you.  So, he leaves a boss to do his dirty work
as he flees.  You, being the idiot you are, choose to battle the boss rather
than chase Reno.

   Carry Armor consists of three parts: the body, and two arms.  Kill the body,
and the rest of the thing dies with it, so that's definitely where you'll want
to focus your attacks.  Its physical attacks are fairly powerful, but what
really hurts is when it occasionally busts out with its Lapis Laser, a spell
which nails your entire party for huge damage.  Luckily, Lapis Laser is used
sparingly, but you should still remain on guard.  That being said, take the
necessary precautions to defend yourself, and then wail away.  To repeat myself,
earth and poison magic shall be ineffective, while lightning magic shall work
very well.  After winning the battle, you'll receive God's Hand.

   Following the fight, you'll see the submarine you're after taking off.  What
choice do you have except to pursue them in another submarine?  Well, just
forget for a second that you have zero submarine-driving experience?  Still
doesn't sound like a good idea?  Well, this is a video game, dammit.  So get
ready to steal that enemy sub at the far end of the docks.  First, you may want
to head left from where you are standing and get the Battle Trumpet out of the
chest over there.  Then, head back to the farthest dock, making sure to collect
the Scimitar along the way.  Finally, before boarding the sub, head all the way
over to the left towards the end of the docks and grab the Leviathan Scales
from that chest.  All three items are lost-forevers, as mentioned in section
I.F. of the FAQ, so it would be in your best interests to grab them while you
can.

   With that out of the way, board the ship, laying waste to any soldier stupid
enough to try and stop you.  You make it to the cockpit with minimal difficulty,
and are given the option to slaughter the remaining crew, or to take them
hostage.  Even if you do take them hostage, you'll still be confident enough in
your own piloting capabilities to steer the damn thing yourself, so only choose
to do this if you're feeling merciful or just don't feel like fighting another
battle.

   And now for the mission itself.  The red submarine, which is carrying the
huge materia, is to be guarded by every other submarine in the fleet, which are
coincidentally all yellow (except for the one you highjacked, oddly enough.  It
must've been getting repainted.)  However, you should take this to mean, "kill
the red sub".  Cloud sits down and tries to pilot the thing, and you're well-
advised to read the instruction manual, which gives you all of the controls,
before attempting to operate the submarine.  Once you at least have an inkling
as to what to do, let the game begin.

   The ensuing mini-game is similar to the one re-created in the Torpedo Attack
game at the Gold Saucer, meaning that more in-depth strategy can be found in
section VIII.D. of the FAQ.  However, this mission is painfully simple, given
that you know what to do.  With ten minutes to find one submarine and blast it
out of the water, time is definitely on your side.  Destroying enemy subs is a
very simple process, especially given that they seem very reluctant to fight
back or escape.  Simply pull up behind them, unload about five or six torpedoes,
and that bastard is gone.  Toasting yellow subs can be a fun venture, and can
help reduce the amount of hostility you encounter whilst you search for the red
sub, but the only requirement to end this mission is to kill the red sub.  The
only real danger you're up against in the end is your own navigational ability.
In case you haven't noticed, there are depth charges planted in literally every
last corner of the ocean, and you're going to want to do your best to avoid
hitting those, cause your mission is over if you sustain too much damage.  Do be
careful, however, as your prize for winning this battle (the Huge Materia) is
one of the game's lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.

   Following the battle, Cloud intercepts an order for the crew of your new
submarine.  Yup, that thing is yours now.  But don't worry, no matter how many
vehicles you manage to steal from the Shinra, they don't seem to be the least
bit interested in taking them back from you.  Anyways, the orders detail for the
troops to return to Junon at once.  But Cloud has a better agenda to attend to,
and it involves that Huge Materia.  And I'm not talking about the one that as in
the red submarine, I'm talking about the one that's still back at Junon and
about to be transported to Rocket Town by means of Gelnika.  The team decides
that time is of the essence at the moment, and that you don't have thirty
seconds to stop and collect the Huge Materia form the sub you just shot down.
Rather, you need to get back to Junon, and quick.

   It really doesn't matter how long it takes you to get back to the airport at
Junon, because guess what you will inevitable arrive just in time to see?  Yes,
it's the Gelnika, taking off for Rocket Town with the Huge Materia payload.  And
it's up to you to put an end to the Shinra's attempt to save the world, so hop
into the Highwind and head over to Rocket Town as fast as you can!  Actually,
take your time.  The Shinra again will politely wait for you to arrive and
intervene, so sit back, have a smoke, and relax for awhile.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Rocket Town (Again)


   The citizens of Rocket Town are all focused on the rocket when you arrive.
The Shinra has arrived, and they've hurriedly fixed the rocket up to be in
enough shape to launch towards Meteor.  So this is it, I guess.  Two things are
worthy of note before you go any further, by the way.  One is that you've got a
very easy boss battle coming up, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to have some sort
of protection from the lightning element.  You may also with to have the Steal
materia handy, as something carried by the upcoming boss is a lost-forever, as
mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  The other is that, as you might have
expected, you will be required to have Cid with you for the next portion of the
game.

   As you approach the rocket, expect more battles from more suicidal soldiers.
At this point, notice how they now officially recognize the team as
"terrorists".  Terrorists?  No, we're just trying to stop the Shinra from
blowing up Meteor and saving the planet is all.  How does that make us
terrorists?  Anyways, as for the boss, you will encounter Rude of the Turks on
your way up.  Rude, unlike Reno, isn't a pussy and has no qualms about taking
you on himself.

   Rude isn't horribly difficult to defeat.  You might want to first take out
the two soldiers accompanying him, as they are easy to kill and may put you to
sleep otherwise.  With that out of the way, wail away on Rude.  His attacks are
fairly strong, but his two lightning-based attacks are considerably more
powerful.  Guard Spark and Bolt 2 deal a good amount of physical and magical
damage, respectively, and may be something you'll want to guard against.
However, this may or may not be entirely necessary, given Rude's low HP.  With a
couple of powerful attacks, this fight could be over with in a hurry.  Rude will
start to cast Cure 2 when his HP gets low, but at this point in the game, that
shouldn't be much of a problem.  If it in any way is, then I must first say that
your extremely low levels are a substantial danger to the trials ahead, and then
say that the Reflect spell cast on Rude may help you out in this respect.  Oh,
and on a final note, you might want to steal the Zeidrich from him before you
kill him, seeing as it is one of the game's lost-forevers, as mentioned in
section I.F. of the FAQ.

   With that fight out of the way, break into the rocket, and Cid asks the crew
just what the hell is going on.  The Shinra, obviously, has set the crew to
fixing up the ship so that it can be launched into Meteor.  It is carrying a
materia bomb on board, and essentially is going to save the planet.  One small
problem is that the auto-pilot device is malfunctioning, meaning that someone
actually has to navigate the ship manually into Meteor.  Well, it looks like
Cid's dream is going to come true, after all.

   After shooing everybody except the rest of the team off of his ship, Cid
heads into the cockpit.  An argument ensues between Cid and Cloud concerning the
Huge Materia.  Cid, really, could care less about it, while Cloud goes on about
how the knowledge of the Ancients should be saved and all.  The argument really
gets you nowhere, and what eventually happens is that Shera, who was working on
the ship, finished what she was doing, so that dumbass Palmer just went ahead
and hit the launch button without bothering to check if anyone was on the ship.
You'll hear him warbling nonsensically over the radio, and I'll be damned if I
didn't want to reach through that radio and kick his fatty ass until he died
five times over.

   And thus it happens.  We cut to a CG movie sequence, and the rocket's engines
fire up.  The countdown begins, and the tension builds.  Then, as the countdown
reaches zero, the rocket fires, creating high-speed winds in its wake that tear
through the neighboring village.  And then... you find yourself in outer space.

   Well, Cid got what he wanted.  But there's the small issue of your team
blowing up with the ship when you hit Meteor.  Not to worry, because Cid keeps
an escape pod on the rocket.  But before you leave, there's also the Huge
Materia to worry about.  Cloud really doesn't want to leave it behind, and Cid
really has no objection to this.  So head up the ladder to your right and into
the room with the Huge Materia in it.

   Well, the catch is that you need a password.  And furthermore, you don't know
that password.  You've also only got three minutes to figure it out.  The only
real solution is a combination of guessing randomly and listening to Cid's
advice.  However, be mindful that the Huge Materia is a lost-forever, as
mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  And if you really don't want to risk
losing it, I've listed the solution to the password puzzle in the next
paragraph.

   Assuming that you are playing the Playstation version of Final Fantasy VII,
the password is: circle, square, X, X.  I do not know for sure the exact
combination for the PC version of the game, but it's the general command
equivalent.

   With the Huge Materia in hand, it's time to make tracks.  Return to the
cockpit and head down from there.  You'll find yourself running through the room
filled with oxygen tanks when something very bad happens.  Tank #8 explodes,
trapping Cid underneath a large piece of wreckage.  Realizing that it was indeed
Tank #8 that malfunctioned, Cid suddenly finds himself with a renewed respect
for Shera, as she had been right about it all along.  This doesn't solve the
problem that Cid is currently trapped and you're all about to die, however.

   Cid commands the team to leave without him, but Cloud refuses.  The team
attempts and fails to free Cid from the wreckage, all the while Cid is cursing
at you something fierce to get the hell out of the rocket while you still can.
But help is on the way, and Shera comes walking into the room.  She says that
she trailed along to help, and with her help, you are finally able to free Cid
from the wreckage.  He swears a bit more, but ultimately makes amends with Shera
about their past.  With that taken care of, hurry along to the escape pod.

   The escape pod jettisons from the rocket moments before the climatic CG-
rendered collision with Meteor.  The comparably tiny rocket approaches the
gigantic Meteor hurling through outer space and nails it head-on, causing a huge
explosion.  This is actually incredibly amazing, given that outer space lacks
the oxygen necessary to create an explosion of any sort, meaning that whatever
kind of bomb was on that ship must've been one hell of a bomb.  You'll cut to
the citizens of the Earth cheering for the rocket, and also to Bugenhagen, who
witnesses the explosion hands-on at his observatory.  By the way, don't feel bad
for having removed the main component of the bomb, because Huge Materia or no,
it seems that the bomb has the same effect either way.

   A large chunk of Meteor is damaged, but the vast majority of it remains
intact.  Furthermore, the Meteor begins to draw some sort of mystical energy and
slowly pieces itself back together.  And, well, the Earth's citizens are not
very happy about this, seeing as this rocket was their last hope and all.  Oh,
boo hoo.  So, you're all going to die.  Cheer up!

   You'll end up back aboard the Highwind, and a somber mood prevails over the
team.  Tifa tells the team not to worry, but to think.  It is finally Cid who
steps forward and gives a very inspiring speech.  He says that Tifa's right, and
that once you start worrying, there ain't no stopping it.  It just gets worse
and worse until it drives you crazy.  Cid says that he's been thinking about
things ever since the escape pod landed.  He had used to think that the Earth
was such a big place, but he sees now just how small the world truly is.  To
him, the Earth is still a fledgling planet.  And it, like a small child, needs
to be protected.  And he'll be damned if it ain't AVALANCHE that isn't going to
step in and make sure that the planet is all right.  His speech moves the entire
team, including Barret, who then asks Cid what his plan of action is.  That
shuts Cid up pretty damn fast, though.

   A loud, pained sound can be heard in the distance.  In effect, you've just
heard the planet scream.  Cloud is confused, seeing as only the Ancients can
hear this sort of thing.  Something bad must be happening, and there is nothing
that you apparently can do to stop it.  Red XIII at this point directs you back
to Bugenhagen's observatory, where Bugenhagen, hopefully, can give you some clue
as to what you can do next.  So head on over to Cosmo Canyon.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Cosmo Canyon (Again)


   Back at Cosmo Canyon, head on up to see old Bugenhagen.  Your party asks him
for advice, and you get more or less the same advice you'd expect to get from an
old man who floats around wherever he goes.  He tells you took look into your
heart... to "remember" something.  Naturally, you all come up dry, and even
after the entire team is summoned to Bugenhagen's chambers, you have really not
come up with anything.  Someone mentions Aeris, and Cloud says that Aeris had
told him that she was the only one who could stop Sephiroth.  This was right
before she headed off to the City of the Ancients, and it is Bugenhagen who
finally suggests that you take him there.

   Before you leave, Cloud will ask Bugenhagen to hold on to that Huge Materia
you've been lugging around.  So he stashes it in his observatory.  And when you
see the size of these things, you will be amazed as to how your team has been
lugging that crap around.  They do serve a purpose besides just sitting there
and looking pretty, however, which is detailed in section V.M. of the FAQ.

   Moving right along, then, cut to Bugenhagen aboard the Highwind.  He quite
literally floats around, checking the thing out.  He is amazed with the
machinery and such, though what's more amazing is the fact that Bugenhagen can
fly better than the Highwind can.  He then floats up to the deck and waits for
you to take him to the City of the Ancients.  And again, this is one of those
times where it really doesn't matter how much you procrastinate doing it, so
long as you one day get it done, it will suffice.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Forgotten City (Again)


  Returning to City of the Ancients, head towards the back of the city (where
that strange machine is).  When you enter the area, Bugenhagen floats over
towards it and starts examining it all over.  He also talks to the planet or
something.  But what you gleam from this is that a great crisis is impeding
(well no crap, Sherlock), and at times of great crisis, Holy shall arise to
battle Meteor.  Holy is, of course, the ultimate white magic (to counter the
ultimate black magic).  Anyways, when a soul seeking holy reaches the planet,
the holy materia will glow a pale green, and at that point is activated.  Cloud
notes that Aeris is dead, and seeing as she is the only one who could have
accomplished this, he then jumps to the conclusion that the whole world is more
or less screwed.

   Bugenhagen takes note of the writing on the machine.  Granted, he is entirely
unable to decipher the Ancients' writing, he is at least able to make out the
scrawled words of a dying scientist at the bottom of the machine.  "Key in magic
box".  Bugenhagen notes that the scientist probably used his last breath to
scratch out those two words.  Two, Bugenhagen?  I count four.  New math?
Anyways, what happens next is more or less dependent on whether or not you
actually have the key.  The more ambitious amongst you probably already have it,
in which case skip to the next paragraph.  But, running under the assumption
that you don't, the party has reached somewhat of a roadblock.  You have
searched the world over, but have found no key.  If that's the case, then maybe
it's time to search underneath the world, hmm?  Bugenhagen stays here at the
City of the Ancients while your team runs off to find a needle in a gigantic
haystack.

   Anyways, hop into your submarine and cruise the depths of the sea.  Assuming
this is your first trip down under, there are a few things to make note of.  One
is that there is a creature wandering around down here named Emerald WEAPON, and
that if you come into contact with it, you will get into a battle with it.
Unless you have a burning desire to become intimately familiar with what your
insides look like, do not approach Emerald WEAPON.  If you find that it is
chasing you, just surface and then go right back down; it should be gone.
Anyways, there are three things to do down here.  First, you might want to check
out section IV.D. of the FAQ, as a small portion of it is a lost-forever, as
mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ. Besides, it's not like Bugenhagen can't
wait for you or anything.  It's not like the entire planet is riding on your
actions right now... oh, wait, it is.  Secondly, assuming that you have not done
so already, you might want to go loot the remains of the Shinra sub for the
fourth and final Huge Materia.  It can be found in the southeastern corner of
the sea.  Anyways, the third and final thing you need to do is find that damned
key.  You'll find it in a small cave along the northern edge of the inner sea.
How it got there is beyond me, but there it is, just floating all around,
waiting for someone to come by and pick it up.  As you approach it, your
submarine's analyzation equipment goes to work and looks the currently
unidentified object over.  While your submarine is unable to identify the item,
it does estimate that it is several thousand years old.  This means that it may
likely have once belonged to Dick Clark.  But, anyways, head on back over to the
City of the Ancients for now.

   Back at the City of the Ancients (or, if you never left), Bugenhagen floats
over to a small contraption on the far side of the room and jams the key inside
it.  Water begins cascading down all around the platform in the center of the
area, right where your team is standing.  In the midst of this watery
enclosement, your team looks around in confusion- what just happened here?  But
then it becomes apparent that the streaming waterfall is what the Ancients used
as a projection screen, which seriously kicks ass.  The image of Aeris dying
appears on the water, and then you'll see her materia falling from her ribbon.
You see it falling into the water and slowly sinking to the bottom, and yes, I
do believe it is glowing a pale green.  Cloud realizes that thus is the gift
Aeris left for you, after all.  Before anyone else caught on, she realized what
she had to do, and came to the City of the Ancients to do just that.  And she
ended up paying for that gift with her life.  But the question still remains:
why isn't Holy already activated?  Well, it seems that something is stopping the
spirit of Aeris from returning to the planet.  And that something, of course, is
Sephiroth.  So, to make a long story short, kill Sephiroth and all of your
problems will die with him.

   Anyways, your party sets off to leave about now, but they don't get very far
before hearing from Cait Sith.  He asks you if you remembered when the Junon
cannon disappeared.  Actually, for those of you who were very astute, you may
have figured out that the canon is what Cloud was referring to when he said that
it felt like something was missing.  But, more likely, you're just now finding
this out.  But, according to Cait Sith, it didn't disappear; it was moved.  You
see, Rufus, with his enormously huge balls, decided he was going to take out
Sephiroth.  The Junon canon ran off of huge materia, but since your team had to
go and steal it all, the canon was moved to a place where materia, no, mako is
gathered.  That's right, before you can even jump to your own conclusions, the
scene cuts to several helicopters flying through the air.  The camera
dramatically zooms out, revealing the Junon canon in its full splendor, resting
dauntingly across the vast majority of Midgar.  Hmm, I wonder if we should be
worried about this?

   Cut to Rufus, Scarlet, Heidegger, and Reeve hanging around Shinra H.Q. and
feeling quite pleased with themselves.  Apparently, Shinra H.Q. plans on
dispelling the barrier protecting Sephiroth's cave by giving it a direct blast
from the Junon canon.  A blast so powerful, it can manage to nail its target
located on the far end of another continent.  Rufus informs Reeve that it will
be his job to up the mako production to run the canon, and Heidegger just sits
and laughs about how all of their problems are going to be solved.  Scarlet is
far more interested in her own ego and points out that first and foremost, this
was her idea and hers alone.  And then, she dictates that the Junon canon is to
be referred to as the "Sister Ray".  This kinda makes since, seeing as it
happens to be the actual name of the canon and all.

   Anyone who has resorted to using chocobos as a main method of travel may be
quite lost for the next portion of the game, due to what happens next.  As you
exit the City of the Ancients and (presumably) get on the Highwind, something
happens.  Weapon rises from the sea and begins to march towards Midgar.  Aboard
the Highwind, Barret begins to worry about Marlene, but Cait Sith assures him
that she and Elmyra are both safe somewhere.  Then, the two of them get into it
after Cait Sith brings up how Barret never cared about how many people he killed
when he blew up the Sector One reactor.  Tifa shuts the two of them up, pointing
out that there are indeed bigger things to worry about right now.  The team
decides to do what you've probably been wanting to do for quite some time now:
take on Weapon alone.  It may seem just a little ludicrous, but it really makes
sense that the penultimate force in the word (read: a small, ragtag group of
vigilantes) should be what stops Weapon from killing everybody.

   Anyways, attempting to ram Weapon results in little more than a chewing out
from Cid.  You're going to have to wait for Weapon to reach the shores of Midgar
and then fight it on the ground.  What this means is that you get to fly around
for a few minutes and casually wait Weapon to reach the shores of Midgar.
Interestingly enough, once Weapon reaches Midgar, it will just stand there and
politely wait for you to come up and kick its ass.  I have seriously gone and
done a couple of side quests, came back, and found Weapon still standing right
where I left it.  One reason I would recommend you take a break now is that you
get to fly around while listening to Cid's most kick-ass theme as you traverse
the world map.  And it's funny that people in Midgar are staring at a gigantic
thing waiting to kill them all while you're at the Gold Saucer trying to nail a
top score at Torpedo Attack.

   Another good reason to wait, at least for a minute or two, is that you're
gonna have to properly prepare yourself for the fight.  Weapon (more
specifically, Diamond WEAPON) is immune to any and all physical damage.  Meaning
that you're going to have to take it on through magical means alone.  What's
this mean?  You want your strongest magical attacks at full command (Ultima,
Contain, and Comet all come to mind).  You're also going to be wanting a good
supply of Ethers, lest you run out of MP and find yourself screwed.  This also
means that a more magically-oriented party should be in order.  Cait Sith, with
his high HP and good magical skills, can prove to be an asset.  Another thing to
take along is some method of protecting yourself from the effects of silence,
lest your party be screwed royally.  A Ribbon, or an Added Effect/Seal combo in
someone's armor will suffice, preferably with a Heal/All combo also on that
character.  And, of course, you should bring along what you would always bring
along to a boss fight, anyways (healing magic, Big Guard, etc.)  Also note that
it is preferable to place your curative magic in the hands of a character who is
protected entirely from the effects of silence, as this character should always
be available to heal when needed.  If you have Knights of the Round, you can
quite literally end this fight before it even begins, but you will have top live
with the fact that you are a complete pussy for doing so.  Anyways, get what you
need in order, and engage in combat with Diamond WEAPON!

   Diamond WEAPON is a large and very imposing boss, but he's not as horribly
difficult as you'd expect a doomsday creature to be.  It's attacks are quite
powerful, but Big Guard (more specifically, the M-Barrier) can reduce the
severity.  The only thing you really need to be aware of is its Diamond Flash
attack, which does major damage to your characters and mutes the survivors.   It
also sounds like something I watched American Gladiators for ten years waiting
to see.  Lucky for you, it telegraphs this move far in advance, giving you
plenty of time to prepare.  Regen seriously helps bring your characters back up
following the attack, but you should also want to hit them with other curative
magic as soon as possible.  And, of course, there's the silence issue.  But
there's no time limit on the fight, so take your time and you shall emerge
victorious.

   Following the battle, Diamond WEAPON is stunned, but not defeated.  As your
team stands on the shores of Midgar, an eerily silent and cold wind blows, and
Diamond WEAPON starts to come back to its senses.  Cloud says, "It senses...
murder".  Right, Cloud... but I do think that you should all be getting out of
here before Diamond WEAPON destroys everything.  Cait Sith tells you that crap
is about to go down, and you seriously need to get out of there.  The team
hightails it back to the Highwind as Diamond WEAPON slowly advances towards
Midgar.

   And then it happens.  Zoom to Midgar, and the eight reactors fire up, one
after another (hey... isn't that the reactor we blew up over there?)  Each
reactor sends large amounts of mako pulsing through the city towards the canon,
which warms up and readies fire.  Then, with an Earth-shattering blast, it
fires, rattling Midgar, and drowning the city in a hail of broken glass shards
that were once the windows of Shinra H.Q.  Cut to Diamond WEAPON, standing along
the shores of Midgar.  Sensing the blast coming its way, it unleashes a salvo of
blasts of its own, which race towards Midgar at a high velocity.  The view
sweeps past Diamond WEAPON's blasts as they barrel towards the city, but not
halfway there they are met with the blast of Sister Ray, which tears past them
and streaks towards Diamond WEAPON with incredible force.  The canon's blast
blazes through the countryside and rips through Diamond WEAPON so fast it has no
idea what even hit it.  Diamond WEAPON is knocked flat on its ass, and perishes
on the shores of Midgar.  Meanwhile, the Sister Ray's blast cruises across the
ocean with the trajectory of a ballistic missile and rapidly nears the Crater.
The blast strikes the barrier head-on, and a mystical glow shines brightly.  The
barrier absorbs the blast, then disappears.  You know what this means?  Rufus
actually managed to do something right for a change.

   And Rufus couldn't be happier.  He stands alone in his office, extremely
pleased with himself, and blissfully unaware of the deadly barrage headed in his
direction.  Rufus stands and casually watches the salvo unleashed by Diamond
WEAPON streak towards Midgar, as if to openly mock death.  Well, he's not
getting away this time.  Fire rains into Midgar, and the top floor of Shinra
H.Q. takes a direct hit.  A wholly satisfying close-up ensues of Rufus dying in
a fiery explosion, and then the vast majority of the shots fired by Diamond
WEAPON sail harmlessly past Midgar.

   With all of that out of your way, your team decides it's time to take out
Sephiroth once and for all.  Take the Highwind towards the Crater, fully intent
to kick some Sephiroth ass.  But, as you are making your approach, Cait Sith has
to butt in again with more "news" from Midgar.  Only this time, it's quite
serious.

   Cait Sith is talking to Scarlet and Heidegger, and it becomes very quickly
apparent that Cait Sith is none other than Reeve (as if you haven't already
guessed that).  Anyways, all contact with the president has been cut off, and
furthermore, the reactors appear to be still pumping out large quantities of
mako energy.  Some idiot has switched the canon's controls over to manual and is
overworking the reactors, and that idiot is Hojo.  Apparently, he's going to
push some buttons and overload the reactors and blah, blah, blah, big explosion.
And Heidegger and Scarlet really don't seem to care.  So, it looks like your
team gets to stop it, instead.  Reeve informs Heidegger and Scarlet that you are
on your way, and that they should stay out of your way.  Reeve is then promptly
escorted from the building by guards.  Well, that was really smart, you dumbass.
On another interesting note, Reeve is still able to control Cait Sith, which
raises the question: "how in the hell is he doing it?"  This question, like so
many others, never gets answered.

   So, you're off to Midgar.  And again, take as long as you want.  It's not
like Hojo is actually going to accomplish anything that he wouldn't have
accomplished already if it took you all of three seconds to make it there.  So
take your time (just refrain from flying anywhere near Midgar until you're sure
you're ready).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Midgar (Again)


   Before we get this section underway. Let me stop and take a minute to mention
that everything you can find in Midgar is a lost-forever, as mentioned in
section I.F. of the FAQ.  Three of these lost-forevers in particular must be
stolen during an optional boss fight, so make sure you have your Steal materia
handy if that is important to you.  That being said, let's move on.

   As the Highwind approaches Midgar airspace, the scene cuts to the Highwind
cockpit.  Barret speculates as to how exactly the team is going to get into
Midgar.  You see, the city is sort of under martial law, so storming it by land
isn't going to work.  It's not to say that you couldn't effortlessly kick the
asses of every last soldier in the city, but there's the little issue of the
rule of RPG's that states that you are not allowed to kill things unless they
engage in combat with you.  Anyways, Cid is the one who brilliantly points out
that an approach by air is not only possible, but also a good idea.  With that,
the team rushes gung-ho from the cockpit off to the deck of the Highwind.  Once
there, the game asks you if you'd like to change your party members, but since
you will land directly next to a save point, the question is rather pointless.
With that, the team leaps off the side of the Highwind and into Midgar.

   A kick-ass CG scene follows of your team dropping out of the dark sky.  They
fall in an almost circular pattern over the city, and one by one, parachutes pop
open above each character.  And I seriously am curious as to exactly how Red
XIII was able to pull his own cord, not having opposable thumbs and all (Cait
Sith is a close second in this thought process).

   Cloud lands on the streets of Midgar, and Cait Sith comes immediately hopping
up to him, telling him that Heidegger and Scarlet are after you and that
traveling on the streets is a bad idea.  So, he pulls the team into an alleyway
and suggests you travel underground.  Despite how much you'd rather take your
chances with Heidegger and avoid traveling in the sewer, there's really no
arguing with him.  Then again, I suppose you should just be happy that sewers in
RPG's are not really as disgusting as the ones in real life, and more resemble
the clean, spacious, and well-lit sewers present in old Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles cartoons.

   The team gathers in a an alley next to a manhole and a save point.  Now is an
excellent time to prepare yourself for the trials ahead, and I suppose that
means we should go into the local monster activity.  There's not a whole lot to
worry about at this point in the game, and there's a good chance you seriously
outclass the local enemies.  But, for what it's worth, the Crazysaw has a
tendency to confuse you.  This is something that can be very detrimental to
powerful parties, and is something you would be well-advised to protect against.
Though they are relatively easy to deal with, lightning magic is especially
effective against them.  The Cromwell is an adorably cute little tank which
attacks very quickly (which is odd, given that tanks are supposedly slow).
However, they are still not overly powerful, and can still be easily dealt with.
Lightning magic will make your job easier, though.  Moving right along, we have
the Manhole.  The Manhole is ridiculously weak and easy to kill, and its only
advantages is that wherever it goes, it carries with it three manholes from
which to attack.  It appears in only one of them at once, and changes positions
quite frequently.  Worse yet, your party is often too stupid to not attack the
noticeably unoccupied manhole.  The best way to get around this is to use
attacks that target all enemies.  The Grosspanzer and Shadow Maker are two
more enemies of negligible mention, except that the latter is very easy to kill.
Both suffer weaknesses to lightning magic, which can make your quest even
easier, however.  Lastly, we've got the Behemoth, an enemy which for some
reason is roaming the sewers.  It is significantly stronger and harder to kill
than the rest of the enemies around here, but conversely always travels alone.
It has no weaknesses, but shouldn't be too difficult to deal with.

   You will crawl down a very long ladder into the "sewers".  Well, technically,
these really aren't sewers.  It's a bunch of scaffolding spread out across a
gigantic subterranean space, but since the game still would like to call them
"sewers", who am I to argue?  At the bottom of the ladder, you'll see a very
long staircase near the bottom of the screen, which will take you to another
ladder, which in turn takes you to the next screen.

   At the bottom of the stairs, you are given the option to go either left or
right.  Going right takes you to a "point of no return", so, if you're at all
interested in what lies at the end of the path, you are advised to go left
first.  Going left takes you towards the back of the screen and towards yet
another ladder, this one leading back up the way you came.  This ladder is very
tall, taking you to a ledge resting high above the majority of the area.  On the
ledge is a chest containing the Aegis Armlet.

   Back at the original fork, let's head right.  You won't get very far before
the floor drops out from underneath you, landing you on another ledge below.
From here, head left and climb up those ladders conveniently placed along the
pipes.  After much climbing, you'll emerge on a ledge back in the upper area of
the "sewers".  Follow the ledge to the other side, where you'll see a dust chute
that has for some reason been placed here.  It's as if the Shinra knew you'd be
coming this way and wanted to make your journey as convenient as possible.

   You'll emerge on a ledge in the eastern section of the area.  From here, you
can either take some stairs to the upper area, or a ladder leading down to the
ledge below.  But first of all, you'll probably want to check out the contents
of the two chests on either side of the ledge you are standing on.  Your rewards
are the Starlight Phone (from the chest on the left) and an Elixir (from the
one on the right).

   In choosing to head to the ledge below, you'll find another dust chute at the
very edge, which will lead you to another ledge in the upper section.  There
will be a ladder at the end of that ledge which will take you to the topmost
ledge in the entire area, at the end of which is a chest containing the Max
Ray.

   Back to the original fork, the path which will advance your progress involves
taking that very large set of stairs to the area above.  You will emerge at a
ledge containing a save point and a small hole in the wall which leads to a
tunnel that will take you to the next area of the "sewers".

   Before going any further, you may want to prepare for the optional upcoming
boss fight.  Even if you aren't planning on fighting it out, it will be followed
by a mandatory boss fight soon afterwards in which you would be best advised to
have the Destruct materia handy (in addition, of course, to the materia you'd
usually carry into a boss fight).  In this fight (the optional one, that is),
there will be three targets.  And while it should be expected that they are all
immune to gravity magic, note that each also absorbs an attack from a specific
element.  One absorbs lightning magic, one absorbs fire magic, and one absorbs
ice magic.  Ergo, avoid any of those three elemental attacks that target all
enemies.  Poison can be a triple asset in this fight if paired with an All
materia, as it will drain from all three targets at once.  Elemental protection
from lightning and fire magic can also help, with lightning more than likely
taking preference.  Finally, you'll definitely be wanting to take along the
Steal materia to take advantage of some of the lovely prizes that can be grifted
from your enemies.   Oh, and I need also mention that the fight in question is
the fight mentioned above in which three lost-forevers (discussed in section
I.F. of the FAQ) may be stolen.

   Crawling through the hole, you'll emerge in the actual "sewer" part of this
area.  From here, you can go north or south.  Going south is entirely optional,
but in going that route, you will find a Power Source, a Guard Source, a
Magic Source, and a Mind Source.  You'll also discover a teammate or two to
inform you that north is where you should head.  The tunnel leading south ends
with the W-Item materia and a save point.

   As you begin to head north, however, you are hastily approached by Elena of
the Turks.  She wonders aloud what she should do, and then Reno and Rude show
up, chastising her for some reason about being weak (as opposed to getting on
her about being a profoundly dumb ass).  To make a long story short, the Turks
have orders to kill you, and even with the impending disaster in the city, they
are willing to follow those orders to the very end.  Ultimately, the decision
rests with you as to whether or not you wish to fight them, but realize that if
you choose to fight them, you will have the opportunity to steal several
potentially useful items from them.  Also realize that they are not too
difficult to face, even though they are considerably more powerful this time
around than any time before you have faced them.

   Reno, Rude, and Elena, should you choose to do battle with them, will
attack you en-masse.  While Reno and Rude both have powerful attacks (most of
them are lightning-based), Elena's are probably the worst, because not only can
she attack the whole party (with her own fire-based attack), she can also
confuse your teammates.  I mentioned earlier that each also absorbs an attack
from a specific element.  That is to say Reno absorbs lightning magic, Rude
absorbs fire magic, and Elena absorbs ice magic.  They all have much more HP
than ever before, but you should still be quick in stealing from them any item
you desire.  This includes the Zeidrich from Rude (God, he must have a stash of
those somewhere), the Touph Ring from Reno, and the Minerva Band from Elena.

   Moving on north, you'll hit a fork in the road, and whatever teammate you see
hanging around the area isn't going to be of much help to you in deciding which
way to go.  Heading right will take you to another fork, from which you can head
left to check out section V.N. of the FAQ (which is highly recommended).  Taking
a right from said second fork is a dead-end and thus is a waste of time.  Back
at the original fork, however, head left and keep moving to find yourself back
on the streets of Midgar.

   You won't get very far on the streets before you are approached by a gigantic
robotic killing machine.  It stops directly in front of you and hold out its
hand, upon which stands Scarlet and Heidegger.  Their obnoxious laughs sound in
unison to create the audio equivalent of a rake screeching across a chalkboard
in a room full of starving cats.  They also laugh at how you've treated them
like crap for all this time, and now how they will finally have their revenge.
You have gotten in their way before, "but let's see how you fare against anti-
Weapon artillery!" Scarlet laughs before engaging you in combat.  Granted, in
real life, you would have a rather difficult time attacking a building-sized
tank with little more than your bare fists and a handful of melee weapons, but
don't think that it's going to stop our intrepid warriors from reducing the
whole thing to a pile of smoldering rubble.

   The Proud Clod is what Scarlet has affectionately named this walking tank of
death you are battling on the city streets (odd how none of the local citizens
see anything unusual about this).  It consists of two parts: the body and the
armor.  So long as the armor exists, any and all attacks you make to the body
will only do half damage (also note that attacks to the armor, naturally, will
also only do half damage).  Given the stamina of the body, it is probably in
your best interests to off the armor first.  Big Guard, as you might expect, can
come in very handy during this fight, as the Proud Clod boasts an assortment of
powerful attacks, both physical and magical.  Another attack to watch out for is
Rainbow Ray, which casts Reflect on a member of your party.  This poses no
immediate detrimental effects, but as you can imagine, it makes healing rather
difficult.  You are advised to cast De-Barrier on said character with the utmost
of haste.  Other than that, you should be nigh familiar with the workings of
boss battles by now, so get to it!  When you decimate the Proud Clod, you will
receive the Ragnarok for Cloud.  Cloud, of course, has little to no difficulty
wielding the oversized weapon.

   Oh, and another thing.  Don't be surprised when after the battle is over, the
gigantic weapon explodes following Scarlet's and Heidegger's lamentations.  And
not only does the explosion not damage anything nearby, it also leaves
absolutely no visible trace at all.  No remains, no rubble, no wreckage...
nothing.  Video games are like that.  But, you've little time to worry about
that, for you've almost reached Hojo!  Just north of here is a save point, at
which you are advised to put Barret in your party if he is not there already.
This is because just a little further ahead, you will discover Barret's Missing
Score, but it will only appear if he is in the party with you.  And need I again
mention that the Missing Score is, like everything else here, a lost-forever as
mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ?  I thought not.  Now, move along.

   Oh, and hey, you might also want to equip someone in your party with a
Ribbon.  And have that person equipped with the Heal materia, so that he or she
can keep his or her teammates free of status effects in the upcoming boss
battle.

   Anyways, tension hangs in the air as your team climbs the tower to the north.
The wind blows cold, and you can sense that Hojo is near.  As you approach the
Sister Ray, the last of your teammates will appear to wish you luck.  Climb up
the tower quickly, making extra-sure to pick up the Missing Score.

   As the team approaches Hojo, he turns around and says, "oh, the failure."
Cloud, a little pissy, says that Hojo could at least remember his name.  Enough
with the semantics, already, Cloud!  Hojo gets even madder because even though
Cloud was labeled as a failure, it's according to him that Cloud was the only
one that succeeded as a Sephiroth clone.  This is nonsense, of course, taking
into consideration Sephiroth clone number one.  This is also curious because
Cloud looks nothing like Sephiroth.  What this does allude to is the fact that
Cloud is possibly the only person that can take Sephiroth out.  Anyways, Cloud
bluntly tells Hojo to shut the hell up and quit with the nonsense already.
Hojo, being insane and all, doesn't listen.  He just says that his "son" needs a
hand.  Sephiroth, it seems, is Hojo's son, which is horribly ironic when you
consider that Sephiroth thought that Hojo was a complete idiot.  Now, this part
may not have been as shocking had you already gone to section V.K. of the FAQ,
but you do gleam from this that Sephiroth would very well have been born a
normal child had he not been injected with Jenova cells while still in the womb.
Goddamn Hojo, this is all his fault.  So, naturally, your team takes their
frustrations out on him by kicking his ass five ways from Sunday.  Well, that
and the fact that he's going to blow up the city if you don't stop his crazy
ass.

   Battling Hojo probably isn't the hardest thing you've ever had to do, given
the point in the game you have reached, but it's still a boss fight, and a boss
fight is a boss fight, after all.  Hojo begins the fight by standing there in
his creepy manner, looking to be in somewhat of a daze and not apparently aware
that there are three people about to kill him.  Just wail away on him, and do
ignore the minions he pulls out of his pants.  They just respawn if you kill
them, and he's got a million of them in there, anyways.  The only problem with
Hojo is that when he dies, he doesn't quite get the idea that perhaps he should
remain dead, and he comes back from the grave with somewhat of a vengeance.

   In Hojo's seconds form, he is a body with two arms that act as separate
entities.  Granted, this is a monumentally weird thing to witness in real life,
but it's actually a rather common theme in video games.  All you really need to
know is that when the Body dies, everything else dies with it.  The Right Arm
is actually very easy to kill.  And since it's attacks are worse that those of
the other two targets, offing it with the quickness may prove to be a wise
investment.  Even if it does regenerate later, it's not as if the thing was hard
to kill.  The Left Arm has almost as much HP as the body does, so killing it is
really more of a waste of time than anything.  Other than that, just rip up on
the body.  There is really nothing to watch out for, except the occasional
Sleepel spell (oh, my!  Not that!  Whatever will we do!?)

   In the spirit of things that just don't know when to die (see: Mega Man,
Survivor, Police Academy, Pauly Shore), Hojo comes back at you again, looking
as if he has just had a radioactive waste bath.  The only real notable thing
about this single-target battle is that Hojo has graduated to biological
warfare, and now can nail your ass with status ailments.  Of course, if you're
prepared for them, then it shouldn't be much of an issue at all.  Just wail away
on him with everything you've got (except for gravity which, as you should know
by now, will get you nowhere).

   Following the battle with Hojo, the team returns to the Highwind, where Cait
Sith announces that the Shinra is done for.  We never do figure out exactly what
happened to Reeve, though.  Anyways, Red XIII states that Meteor has seven days
left until it falls, and that's when Cloud gets one of his bright ideas.  He
asks Red XIII if he wants to see Cosmo Canyon again, to which Red XIII replies
"yes".  He asks Barret if he wants to see Marlene again, and then segues into a
horribly uninspiring speech about how if you fail this mission, then everyone is
going to die, and that if Sephiroth kills you, then you'll just go faster than
everyone else.  Way to rally the team up, Cloud.  What's next, do we get to
watch some kittens die?  Anyways, he points out that everyone on the team needs
something to fight for, and must understand what that something is.  He, for
instance, intends only on kicking Sephiroth's ass, and saving the planet is just
collateral damage that comes with the territory.  Way to prioritize, Cloud.
Barret shamefully admits that even though he is trying to save the planet, he's
killed a hell of a lot of its inhabitants in the process.  At first, he says, he
was just out to mess the Shinra's world up.  But now... now he is trying to make
the world a better place for Marlene.  By killing everyone.  Smart, Barret.
Anyways, Cloud demands that everyone disembark the Highwind and go find that one
thing they're fighting for, because something like saving the world from Meteor
can take a backseat to this inspirational bullcrap.  Someone should tell this
guy that it's ok to put off a book report that isn't due for a week, but saving
the world is something that you really should not procrastinate in doing.  I do
like how Cid is the first to point out how nobody may come back, and Cloud
admits that he wouldn't hold it against any of them that didn't, because you
can't fight without a reason.  I dunno, I see high school kids do that all the
time.

   Anyways, everyone except Cloud and Tifa get off the Highwind.  Tifa, of
course, has nowhere to go, so she stays on the Highwind with Cloud.  Methinks
all of that inspirational crap was just an excuse for Cloud to be alone with
Tifa for a couple of days.  The two of them sit on a quiet, grassy hill just
outside the Highwind as the bright dusk sky looms over the horizon.  The two
stand there, wondering if anyone is going to come back.  Tifa happily mentions
that with Cloud by her side, she'll never give up.  Aw, how sweet.  The
conversation gets even more sappy when Tifa says that no matter how close you
are now, not too long ago you were very far apart, and that when she was alone
in the Lifestream, surrounded by pain, misery, and despair, she heard Cloud
calling out to her.  Cloud admits that he heard her voice calling out to him, as
well.  A little more mindless babble ensues, before Cloud breaks out with the
standard line of how he had been wanting to talk to Tifa for so long, but now
that the two are alone, he has nothing to say.  Tifa looks at him and sweetly
says that words aren't the only thing that can express what a person is
thinking.

   The scene cuts to Tifa and Cloud sleeping together on the hillside.  Cloud
looks up into the sky and says to Tifa that it is almost dawn.  Tifa, still
tired, asks Cloud to let her sleep a little longer.  She says that she wants to
at least have this moment, because this day will never come again.  Cloud
replies with the affirmation that this may be the last time they ever have
together with each other.  Way to make her feel comfortable, you jerk.

   That morning, the two stand near the Highwind, surveying the horizon.  Cloud
says that y'all need to get going, even though nobody has returned.  Tifa starts
to protest, but Cloud says that even she said yesterday that with Cloud by her
side she'd be all right.  I hate to have to be the one to tell you this Cloud,
but people say stuff like that all the time.  They don't necessarily mean it.

   Anyways, the two stand on the bridge alone in the Highwind, and it is deathly
silent.  Cloud says that he'll make enough ruckus for everyone, and besides,
he's the pilot (really?  Since when did this happen?)  And besides, you don't
have time to feel lonely, what with the impending Armageddon and all.  "No more
flying around casually like before", he says.  However, feel free to completely
disregard his advice and fly around casually, because the complete and utter
destruction of the Earth will delay itself while you head on over to the Gold
Saucer for a quick game of G-Bike.  However, as the two of you talk, the ship
begins to move.

   Tifa and Cloud run into the cockpit, passing up Cait Sith (whom Tifa and
Cloud entirely ignore), and see Barret and Cid standing around the controls to
the ship.  Barret says in a rather sarcastic tone, "Oh, is it all ok with you?"
Red XIII arrives and starts to butt in, but Cid shuts him up, mostly because he
wants to hear what Tifa has to say.  Tifa comes to the rather quick realization
that everyone saw Tifa and Cloud, um, doing whatever it was that they were doing
on the hill and decided to leave them alone.  Judging from her reaction, I'm
going to venture to say they did a bit more than just talk to each other.
Vincent is the next one to show back up, which rather surprises Cloud.  Cloud
has always thought Vincent to be cold and distant, and this surprises Vincent.
Vincent just shrugs it off and says that maybe that's the way he comes off.  He
then leaps into the air and returns to his designated waiting area.  It is at
this time someone (Barret) finally notices Cait Sith standing near the entrance
to the cockpit, and he seems at least a little bit happy to see him.  Reeve says
that he wanted to be there in person, which probably wouldn't have been such a
great idea given how much of a pussy Reeve is in real life.  I mean, he couldn't
even take out two bottom-rung Shinra soldiers!  Your team could slaughter an
entire army of them without getting winded.  Anyways, he happily proclaims that
he will devote his stuffed body to the cause.  Wow, what a sacrifice, what with
the rest of us are giving our actual bodies to the cause.  Anyways, everyone is
accounted for now except Yuffie, whom nobody assumes is going to return.  She
flies into the cockpit and seems rather angry at this remark, saying that she's
not missing out on the final action after coming this far.  Then she storms out
and returns to her position on the bridge.

   Cloud thanks the team for coming back, but Barret cuts through the
inspirational crap by making it very clear that "we didn't come back for your
spikey-headed ass!"  He came back for Marlene, and, uh, he sort of trails off
because the subject he's discussing doesn't involve killing something.  Red XIII
notes that Aeris left the team a shining ray of hope, and that it would be a sin
not to use that hope.  "Aeris... she was smiling to the end," Cloud notes.  He
says that Aeris should have returned to the planet by now, but it seems that she
hasn't.  It seems that even though she should have already returned to the
planet, something (Sephiroth) is stopping her.  And you have to kill Sephiroth
to rectify the situation.  Granted, this is coming from someone that is in no
way qualified to make this sort of assessment, but you take what you can get, I
suppose.  And killing Sephiroth, in any event, is a good idea.

   Cloud orders Cid to move out, and Cid moves over to a couple of the levers on
the ship that he says have been bothering him for quite some time.  Cloud, in
the meantime, is going on and on about the mission, but Cid's mind is firmly on
the levers.  He has no idea what they do, and being the idiot he is, he flips
them.  Instead of sending the Highwind nose-diving into the ocean (which would
be hilarious, come to think of it), Cid inadvertently discovers the "haul-ass"
button.  Cut to a CG of the Highwind, where you see the propellers being ejected
into the sea and a jet exhaust flaring out in their place.  And interestingly
enough, the Highwind appears to carry a lifetime supply of fuel on-board.

   Though the Highwind doesn't seem to be moving already faster across the world
map (I suppose you can't ask for much more than the ability to circumnavigate
the globe in ten seconds), the effect is quite more noticeable in the cockpit.
Cid is clinging onto the controls for dear life while everyone else stands
around, sipping tea, and mocking him in their minds.  That's when the crew
members come rushing into the cockpit and run towards Cid.  Cid, naturally,
yells at them.  They hold him down and help him steer the Highwind, so I suppose
they're at least good for something (and maybe Cid should lay off the cigarettes
while he's clinging onto the controls of the ship for dear life at least, hmm?)

   And the Highwind travels towards the North Cave...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Final Cave (The Crater... Again)


   The camera pans down the Highwind, parked just inside the great northern
Crater (note the sexy lady painted on the side of the ship).  Granted, you can
just up and leave right now and come back at your leisure, which is recommended
if you still have any side quests or such to knock off your to-do list (section
V.O. of the FAQ, for instance, is now available to you).  Furthermore, a  return
visit to section V.K. should now be in order.  Do note, however, that a few
materia are located in the Crater, and all are located before the "point of no
return".  These materia should all come in very handy if you decide to tackle
section IV.E. of the FAQ, and also at the Battle Square at the Gold Saucer.
They're also somewhat necessary in reference to section V.M. of the FAQ.
Finally, even though you can come back to the Crater as much as you want to,
there is one opportunity here which is a lost-forever, as mentioned in section
I.F. of the FAQ.  It will be discussed later, but consider yourself warned at
the moment.

   Anyways, assuming that you're ready to head on in, let's take a moment to go
over the extensive bestiary of the Crater.  Being the final stage in the game,
expect a very wide assortment of baddies to be found here.  In the first area,
expect to deal with Gargoyles, which can be obnoxious despite how easy they are
to kill.  This is because they will begin the fight completely invincible in
their stone state, an all you can do is wait them out.  When they break free,
they are very easy to kill and have no powerful attacks to speak of except that
they use L4 Death as a dying attack, so be mindful of this.  Next us, we have
the Dark Dragon.  Its attacks are fairly powerful and it has quite a bit of HP,
but this is negated by the fact that it tends to travel alone.  It knows both
Laser and Dark Force, skills which you may learn with the E. Skill materia,
but it will use neither without outside assistance from the Manipulate materia.
The Parasite is next.  Its got a lot more HP than you'd expect of something its
size, but it's not horribly powerful.  Their main attack does induce sadness,
which can get very annoying.  They also know L5 Death and Magic Breath, two
more attacks you may learn with your E. Skill materia, but only if you have the
Manipulate materia on hand (I suppose you should be thankful that they would
never actually use such attacks against you, lest they actually be challenging).
You may prey on their weaknesses to wind or holy magic, if you wish, but do
avoid earth magic, which will not affect them at all.  The Scissors is what
kind of horror that might spawn if you somehow cross-bred Jason with Edward
Scissorhands.  It's funny-looking and not very powerful, but it is capable of
instant-death attacks.  Master Tonberry is a creature of worthy note, as he is
one of the most dangerous things you will face.  He advances towards you slowly,
and every attack he strikes with has the possibility of being an instant death
strike.  If not, then it is still very powerful. In addition, Master Tonberry
has an insane amount of HP.  And by "insane", I mean, Knights of the Round-
worthy.  It takes a lot of effort to put this thing down, and the fact that it
absorbs gravity attacks doesn't make your job any easier.  But once you become
accustomed to dealing with him, then you might check out section XIX.B. of the
FAQ, in which he is mentioned... twice.  At the very least, the game makes him
easier to deal with by ensuring that he always travels alone.

   As you move on to other areas, the creature activity will begin to shift.
More specifically, there is a fork in the road, and depending on which path you
choose, you will deal with different enemies.  The following are enemies which
appear only on the right path.  The Death Dealer is a more advanced version of
an enemy you may or may not remember from North Corel.  In addition to having a
mention in section XIX.B. of the FAQ, it suffers more or less the same problem
as all of the other enemies here in that the one deadly attack it possesses it
doesn't ever seem to want to use.  This means that you'll again be needing the
Manipulate materia to learn Roulette with your E. Skill materia.  The same can
be said for the Pollensalita, who would be a real nuisance if it actually ever
used the useful Angel Whisper spell, which you can again pick up with your E.
Skill materia.  The Pollensalita can induce confusion, however, so do be aware
of this and take some measures to defend against it.  Moving right along, the
Dragon Zombie is a particularly rare creature along the right path, but also
one of the far more dangerous ones.  It's got a pretty nasty regular attack,
which is actually the worst of your worries.  It has two extremely powerful
attacks called Shadow Flare and Pandora's Box, which it thankfully never uses.
But if you want to learn them with E. Skill, you're going to have to manipulate
him and actually use them on your party.  Do not underestimate their power, or
you will find your entire party wiped out in one fell swoop.  At the very least
the Dragon Zombie always travels alone, and is also weak versus holy-based
attacks.  In addition to the aforementioned enemies, the right path also
contains Parasites (from earlier in the North Cave) and Marlboros (a creature
you may remember from Gaea's Cliff).

   The left fork is actually two separate paths.  Though a few enemies are
common to them both, they have for the most part entirely separate enemy
activities.  We'll begin with the upper path, which is first and foremost a
popular hotspot for leveling-up later in the game.  For more information on
leveling-up in this area, refer to section VI.B. of the FAQ.  That being said,
the Magic Pot would be the primary reason why people enjoy leveling up here.
These creatures reap 1000 AP when destroyed, as well as a wealth of experience.
The downside is that they begin the fight invincible, and can only be made
vulnerable by feeding it an Elixir.  Ergo, if you do not have one to spare, then
simply run from the fight.  And don't worry, until you feed it, it really has no
attack besides yelling at you.  Even when you do, you should be able to easily
kill it before it gives you much trouble.  The Movers would be the second
reason that leveling up around here is such a good idea.  Granted, the Movers
are rare, but are always welcome when they appear.  For all practical purposes,
they are three small red harmless bouncing dots that are very easy to kill and
reap, above all else, 2,400 AP when killed.  Moving right along to the nuisance
enemies, then, we have Christopher and Gighee.  These are two enemies, one a
demonic young boy, and the other a horse, that always appear together.
Christopher is capable of inducing sadness, whilst the Gighee can infuriate your
characters.  As a pair, they are not much more than irritating, but the Gighee
is mentioned in section XIX.B. of the FAQ.  The Allemange, finally, is a giant
floating eyeball which has no real attacks of any mention except one that causes
sadness.  It is fairly resilient, but not overly difficult to deal with.  Wind
is its weakness, while it is immune to earth magic.  Master Tonberry, mentioned
earlier, also appears out this way.

   Finally, we have the lower path.  The King Behemoth may appear out this way,
and is a somewhat resilient creature, but is quite weak and easy to take out,
especially given that it always travels alone.  Conversely, the Iron Golem is a
much tougher customer, standing as one of the most powerful regular enemies in
the game.  It has a lot of HP and an attack that nails the entire party at once.
However, it thankfully is very slow, and always travels alone.  In addition to
this, the Iron Golem is mentioned in section XIX.B. of the FAQ.  In addition to
these two enemies, you may also find Master Tonberry and the Allemange along
this route.

   As is fitting of the game's final stage, expect a long road ahead,
accompanied by some very blood-pumping music (and a return of a few other
favorite tracks a bit later on).  However, this place really cannot hold a
candle to such classic finale stages as Kefka's Tower (Final Fantasy III/VI),
The Black Omen (Chrono Trigger) or Infinity (Breath of Fire II).  Hell, it
doesn't even stand up to some of the less-intimidating final dungeons.  And if
you've actually taken the time to level up/master your materia/battle Emerald or
Ruby WEAPON, expect the easiest (and frankly, most disappointing) romp you've
ever experienced in your life.

   But, enough whining, let's rock and roll!  As you step onto the edge of the
top of the hill, Cloud will take over and race to the bottom.  You'll emerge at
the top of the very large crater on a ledge that conveniently spirals down
towards the bottom.  Right next to where you land, you'll see a cave, which will
take you back to the top of the hill where the Highwind sits, if you are so
inclined.  Of course, I'm going to assume that since you just came down here,
you're not yet very interested in going back, so let's continue.  Do make extra-
sure to loot the nearby treasure chest for the very important Save Crystal.
You will be glad you have this later on, believe you me.  Other than that, just
continue along the ledge, and don't feel bad when a large portion of the ledge
crumbles underneath your feet.  No matter how big a gap it creates, Cloud will
still be able to effortlessly cross it in a single leap.  So, no worries.  Oh,
and be sure to nab that Guard Source out of a chest on your way down.

   You'll emerge on a series of rocky ledges.  From the top, you can either go
left or right.  To begin with, you'll prolly want to head right first.  Follow
the ledge to a point where you can jump down to the ledge below (of course, the
drop will be so far that you will not be able to jump back up).  On the ledge
below, you'll see a chest containing a Guard Source.  A little bit over, you'll
reach a point where you can make another big jump down to the ledge below, and
to a chest containing a Mind Source.  You're now at the bottom of the small
cliff and may continue on, but you may first wish to go back up the left path
(it's the only way to go back up) and pick up all of the items along the way.
These items include an Elixir, Power Source, and the HP Absorb materia.
These items collected, let's move on.

   The next screen takes you to another series of ledges, along with a set of
caverns you need to deal with.  Oh, joy.  To the left of where you start is a
cave, which will take you to an ultimate dead-end at the bottom.  There is a
Guard Source and a Power Source along the way that you might be interested in,
however.  Two ledges below, you'll notice that a treasure chest (which by the
way contains a Mind Source) stands between you and a second cave.  Oddly
enough, you can't hop over the chest, but you should have little difficulty in
making the much-steeper jump to the ledge above so that you may go around to the
other side and enter the cave, inside of which you will discover a Megalixir.
Back outside, on a small ledge on the right side of the screen (which should be
one level below the last cave I mentioned), you will find a third cave.  This
cave will take you through a small cavern, and you emerge from a cave on the
ledge below.  From here, you will have to hop down a series of ledges to get to
the bottom.  As you hop down, stick to the right.  If you meander to the left,
you will hop down a ledge which you cannot jump back up.  You will then have to
hop down to another cave, which connects with the first cave you saw at the top
of the screen.  However, if you stay to the right, you'll make it to the bottom
of the cliff, and advance to the next screen.

   You are now about halfway through the North Cave.  You'll emerge in a large,
open area where the rest of the team has also gathered.  The path splits up at
this point, and then the game does something seemingly innovative by allowing
your team to split up.  However, there is really little to no point behind this
unless you plan on exploiting a glitch in the game (refer to section XIX.E. for
more details).  Do note that this opportunity is a lost-forever, as mentioned in
section I.F. of the FAQ, so take this opportunity now if you wish to do so.
That aside, the simple fact of the matter is that you will only control whomever
goes with Cloud (until everyone unites at the center).  Your other characters,
when you meet them, will all give you items they found along their respective
paths.  However, since the number of items on each path more or less outnumbers
the characters in your party, this makes just about no sense at all, so if
you're looking to find everything that needs to be found, expect yourself to
personally go trekking down each individual path.  On that note, then, it really
doesn't matter which way you take Cloud at the moment, or where you send
everyone else.  For what it's worth, however, I should mention that both the
right path and the upper left path are one-way only.  The lower left path is the
only one which is traversable both ways, meaning that you can shave off an
extraneous trip by not taking the lower left path on your first run through.

   The right path begins as an ominous trek down a gigantic spiraling stone
ledge, with a familiar tune playing in the background.  This is a very
straightforward path, and there will be both a Mystile and an Elixir along the
way to collect.  At the bottom of the path, you'll emerge on a new screen.
Ahead of you, a barren wasteland lies.  You'll find a Speed Source shortly up
the path.  From there, you can deviate from the path in either direction to find
a Megalixir (located a bit to the north) and a Tetra Elemental (nestled in the
southern area of the screen).  Both can be very hard to spot, however.  Back in
the middle of the area, continue northeast towards the next screen (stopping to
pick up yet another Megalixir along the way).  In the next screen you sill see
before you the skeletal remains of a gigantic dragon.  Hop on, and walk across
the spine of the giant beast to advance.  The tension looms as you make your way
across the bones, for you are nearing the center of the great Crater.  And as
you hop off the end, you will find yourself at the Crater's center.  To
continue, skip the next two paragraphs below.

   The upper-left path takes you to an eerily calm and oddly out-of place swampy
area.  From where you emerge in the first screen, you can move along the bottom
towards the right and collect the Magic Source from that chest in the middle of
the swamp.  To advance, walk out onto the branch and hop over to the ledge along
the upper-left corner of the screen.  Walk over to its edge, and you will jump
into the swamp and "walk" over to the other side, then hop out.  Well, that was
certainly unexpected.  From where you emerge, you may continue east to the next
screen, but you may first wish to grab the Remedy from that chest right over
there.  The next screen is more of the same swampy area, the main feature of
which is a small path encircling more swamp in the middle of the screen.  First
of all, there is a small treasure trove hidden away in the small alcove located
along the upper left corner of the screen.  It contains a Vaccine, Imperial
Guard, and the Shield materia.  There's also a Hero Drink in a chest on the
right side of the screen.  The exit is on the right side of the screen as well.
Reach it via the small path that branches off of the main circular path leading
towards the ledge on the upper right corner of the screen.  As you enter the
next screen, you will begin to sense the center of the Crater rapidly
approaching as you find yourself in the midst of a mysterious forest bordering a
small crater with a bright mako fountain shining in the center of it.  Before
leaving this area, there are two things you should stop to pick up.  You'll find
the W-Magic materia very well-hidden along the edge of the trees directly north
of the center of the crater, and the Counter materia is located at the dead-
center of the glow.  It is invisible to the naked eye, but Cloud should have no
difficulty in finding it if you place him right near the glow and make him look
around.  Having collected what you wanted, please exit this area stage-left,
where you will find yourself at the Crater's center.  To continue, skip the next
paragraph below.

   The lower-left path is a series of rocky ledges leading directly towards the
Crater's center.  This path is fairly straightforward, though in the first
screen there are a few points in which you can hop over to other ledges to
collect a couple of items.  In the first screen, the items to be found include a
Remedy and an X-Potion.  Other than that, just hop along the rocky ledges to
the next screen below.  On the screen below, continue along the narrowing stone
ledge until it ends as a large, flat-topped stalagmite in the middle of an
encircling narrow stone ledge.  Hop down below, and you might also want to grab
the Remedy from the nearby chest.  Then, continue along the straightforward
ledge, picking up the Vaccine located in a chest along the way.  As you walk
along the path, pay extra-special attention to when you begin to near the
waterfall along the left side of the screen, for it is a little-known fact that
the waterfall's glow masks a Magic Counter materia lying along the narrow ledge
you are standing on.  Anyways, continue along to the next screen.  As you emerge
on the next screen, you'll find an X-Potion in a nearby chest.  From there,
continue along the narrow pathway suspended high above the abyss below, with the
waterfall glowing eerily in the background and the excellent Crater theme still
playing in the background.  At the bottom of the screen, a series of rocky
ledges lead to a clearing where you'll discover a Turbo Ether in a nearby
treasure chest.  Before continuing, you may wish to hop over to that ledge over
on the left side of the screen where a Speed Source lies in a chest.  Also note
that the Mega All materia lies on the very small stone ledge you must hop
across to make it over there, but if you do not press the command button as
Cloud lands on the ledge, he will hop right past it without picking it up.
Anyways, when you are ready, exit this screen at the bottom and you will emerge
at the Crater's center.

   The party unites at the deathly-silent circular ledge overhanging the direct
center of the Great Northern Crater.  Speak with everyone to hear their thoughts
on the situation, and also to receive an item that they picked up.  From here,
you may continue on, but do not move on unless you are absolutely sure you wish
to move out, for this is the point of no return.  On that token, if you haven't
yet used the Save Crystal, this is a better place than ever to use it.  Not
really so much for the camp-out, but for the convenience.  If you are interested
in getting everything, you will be coming out this way quite a few times.  And,
again, this is the closest point to the end of the game without breaching the
"point of no return".

   Before moving out, take the time to prepare your team for the final battles.
Obviously, you need only prepare your initial team of three, but it would also
be in your interests to give the other members some materia, as well, as there
is a chance you may be utilizing them briefly during the final battles.  As for
what materia you'll be wanting to take along, this is it.  You'll want both
materia that can do big damage to multiple targets as well as materia which can
do cumulative damage to a single target.  Destruct will also be very useful in
the final battle.  This is in addition to everything which I should not even
have to tell you will come in handy (Restore, Big Guard, etc.)  The Ribbon is a
very useful accessory to have around, and for additional protection, the Heal
materia (with Esuna/Resist) can come in handy in a pinch.  Oh, and if you happen
to have the Knights of the Round materia handy, you can win the game without
even trying, you bastard.

   When you are ready, move on out.  Rather than doing the wise thing and
assaulting Sephiroth en masse, your team agrees that only three of you will
suffice as the initial wave.  Which is very stupid, but at least complies with
RPG regulations.  Select your team and move deep into the crater itself.  Pure
lifestream energy shines all around you as you heroically tread across a series
of suspended ledges conveniently leading towards the crater's direct center.
Along the way, expect to fight the most powerful regular enemies in the game:
the Iron Man and Dragon Zombie.

   At the center of the crater, you will meet the final form of Jenova: Jenova
SYNTHESIS.  Jenova SYNTHESIS is a creature with five separate targets.  That's
three parts torso, two parts arms, and all parts pure, unadulterated evil.  The
arms are fairly weak and fall easily, but it's the torso that must be taken out
to put Jenova down for good.  In this battle, whip out your power attacks,
focusing on your multiple-target ones (Ultima, summons, Coin, etc.)  A proper
defense (Regen, Big Guard, and the like) can be very helpful, especially for
Jenova's countdown attack.  When Jenova hits 0 on the counter, it lets loose
with Ultima, which hurts to say the least.  If your party is powerful enough,
you should have little difficulty in ending the fight before this happens, but
in the event that's not a guaranteed thing, your defenses should be of the
utmost priority.

   Depending on how you performed during the Jenova SYNTHESIS battle, you will
be prompted to split your party into one, two, or three teams.  Which of the
three occurs depends on how poorly you fared against Jenova SYNTHESIS.  The
better you did, the fewer the teams enter the next battle.  The only thing you
need to keep in mind when forming your party(s) is that the first party will be
the one to move on to the final battle following the upcoming one.  Other than
that, any and all teams on the battlefield will be needed to at least some
extent, so do not make any one team too weak to handle itself.  This next boss
fight also introduces the concept of status ailments, so that's something else
to keep in mind whilst forming your parties.  Yet another thing to keep in mind
is that during the next battle (which only your first party will advance
towards), status ailments will be an even bigger problem.

   Bizarro Sephiroth would be the gigantic creature which appears before your
party(s).  This is also a creature in five parts, but there are only two that
should be of interest to you: the torso and the core.  The torso is what you
must kill to make the entire creature fall.  The core is what you must destroy
to have any hopes of damaging the torso.  The other three targets (head, right
magic, left magic) are all easy to take out, but are just as easily revived.
The addition of a second or third party to the mix complicates matters in that
for every additional team, there is an additional "side" to the core which must
be destroyed.  Each team will have access to their own side of the core, and
only that side.  Thus, it takes the cooperative efforts of each team to
dismantle the core.  Then, anyone can go for the torso.  You will begin the
battle as the first team, and you are from there given the opportunity to switch
to the next team in line every time a part of Bizarro Sephiroth is destroyed.
There are two attacks you should be aware of.  One is called Fallen Angel, and
will reduce the HP of one of your characters to 1.  This makes Regen a great
spell to have handy.  The other attack, utilized by the core, does a lot of
damage and also inflicts several negative status ailments.

   And when the dust clears, the first party advances to do battle with Safer
Sephiroth.  Being a lone target, now is the time to let loose with everything
you got, especially attacks such as Comet 2 and 4x Cut, which will do cumulative
damage to said lone target.  As for Sephiroth himself, expect some powerful
attacks, capable of doing moderate to extensive damage to the entire group, and
near-fatal damage to a single target.  Another attack is a fairly weak shot
against one member of the group, but it nails them with a myriad of status
ailments.  More so than the previous two fights, establishing your defenses
should be a high priority in this fight.  On a final note, Sephiroth
occasionally likes to use Barrier on himself, which can be easily broken through
with that Destruct materia you might be carrying (I told you that thing would
come in handy one of these days).  Aside from that, good luck, and may the Force
be with you.  Then again, if you were man enough to take on Emerald and Ruby
WEAPON, you're going to walk all over Sephiroth's ass.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Ending


   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.


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   In deciding to crack open the safe at Shinra Mansion, you are subjecting
yourself to a little game created by some obviously disturbed mad scientist.
This side quest, as you should have already guessed, takes place at the Shinra
Mansion at Nibelheim, and details on the monster activity there can be found at
the appropriate subsection of the walkthrough, section III.D.  You are also
going to have to prepare for a difficult boss battle, especially if you are
opening the safe on your first trip through the mansion (though the fight is not
impossible at this point in the game, it is still a good challenge).  In
preparation, you will obviously want some good curative materia handy, and a
host of your best attacks.  While there are no resistances or weaknesses to
mention (besides a resistance to gravity magic, obviously), bear in mind that
the Poison materia may come in handy during this fight.  You should also have
the Time materia at this point in the game, and the Haste-all spell will be a
welcome addition.  You may also wish to take Aeris along for her Seal Evil limit
break, which makes the fight much easier.  The Choco/Mog materia and/or the
Added Effect materia combo in one's weapon also work, but are far less reliable
than Aeris's Seal Evil attack.  Keep that in mind.  Another point is that you
might also want to take along someone who is a relatively decent physical
fighter, as well, because you will more than likely be doing quite a bit of
hand-to-hand in the next battle.  And before you get carried away, a point I
should make is that Mindblow will be ineffective in the upcoming battle, so
brining Barret along for that sole reason is inadvisable.  The main magical
attack used by this boss is Bolt 2, so the Lightning/Elemental combo in
someone's armor will offer you some much-needed protection.  And on a final note
concerning protection, if you have learned the Big Guard skill on your E. Skill
materia, you might also want to bring it along, as well.

   Upon entering the Shinra Mansion, you may notice a pile of notes lying on the
floor just left of the entrance.  They detail the same mad scientist pratter
you'd expect from anyone living in this hellhole.  "Anyone who gets in my way...
they will never stop me...!  Hahaha!"  That sort of garbage.  They do make
reference to a man from the Turks, who has been scientifically altered and
locked up in the basement, however, which should be more than enough to
titillate your curiosity.  That being said, you are pointed in the direction of
the safe upstairs.  There are four numbers needed to open it, and each is hidden
somewhere in the mansion.  Clues for each number are offered on the last page of
the pile of notes.

   ---

      The first clue refers to the lid of the box with the most oxygen.  Oxygen,
   as you might know, is what is produced by plants.  Where are there a lot of
   plants in the Shinra Mansion?  That's right.  Check the lid of the treasure
   chest where you found the Enemy Launcher to find the first number in the
   combination.

   ---

      The second clue is hidden at the "ivory's short of tea and ray".  This is
   actually probably the hardest one to figure out.  Don't waste your time
   looking for a kitchen, because that's not the right idea.  Ivory, you see,
   is the main component in many different things... like piano keys.  And if
   you've ever had the opportunity to play the piano here at the Shinra Mansion,
   you may have noticed something unusual about it: the keys for ti and re
   ("tea and ray") do not work.  Now we're getting somewhere.  Look on the
   floor behind the piano for the second number in the combination.

   ---

      The third clue is located five steps left, nine steps up, left two more
   steps, and finally up six last steps from the creek in the floor near the
   chair.  The only hard part is finding the starting point.  The floors won't
   squeak as you walk across them, you've got to actually examine the area as
   you walk past.  And if you look around, you'll find the squeaky floorboard in
   question in the room with the stairs leading down to the basement.  Find the
   squeaky floorboard, and follow the directions from there to the third number
   in the combination.

   ---

      The fourth clue, as you may have probably realized, does not exist on the
   list of clues.  However, if you move your cursor down to where the fourth
   clue should be, and click, Cloud will discover the fourth and final number
   in the combination written in invisible ink.  Because apparently, Cloud has
   x-ray vision and can read invisible writing without the aid of special
   lighting.

   ---

   With the full combination in hand, head to the safe upstairs (you'll find it
in the back room in the left wing).  You'll have 20 seconds to operate the
digital lock on the safe.  Press right or left on the controller to bring the
counter to the appropriate number, and then press the confirm button to enter
that number.  However, so not go past any number or the combination will not
work (for instance, going any further right than 36 for the first number will
result in failure, even if you don't punch any of those numbers in).  And in
case you forgot the combination already, move right to 36, left to 10, right to
59, and finally right to 97.

   All hell breaks loose when you open the safe, and you enter a battle with a
creature called Lost Number.  Lost Number attacks with fairly powerful physical
attacks, and much more powerful magical attacks.  If you've got the Haste-all
spell handy, cast it as soon as possible to get the drop in the speed
department.  It would also behoove you to poison Lost Number as early in the
fight as you can, as the damage it deals over time can really begin to add up.
You should be able to paralyze it for the first half of the fight (preferably
using Seal Evil, as it is the most reliable means of doing so), but you should
still be on guard.  Because, you see, the first half of the fight is the easy
part.  About halfway through the fight, half of Lost Number will die.  This will
depend on which type of attack was last used on it.  If the last attack was a
magical attack, the physical side dies, leaving you to face the magical (red)
side.  However, if the last attack was a physical blow, the magical side will
die, leaving the physical (purple) side behind.  No matter which way you slice
it, both sides on their own are menacing opponents.  The magical attacks of the
red side are far more powerful than before, and the physical attacks of the
purple side are almost directly on par with them.  However, the purple side also
has a special attack, which does an extraordinary amount of damage, and is
enough to kill one of your weaker characters in a single blow.

   For several reasons, the red side is probably the easier side to deal with.
For starters, the red side has powerful attacks, but at least does a consistent
amount of damage (unlike the purple side, which will occasionally bust out with
its badass attack).  Secondly, you at least have some means of protecting
yourself from the magical attacks of the red side (Elemental/Lightning), whereas
your only defense from the purple side is to move all of your characters into
the back row (which doesn't help as much as you'd think).

  On a final note, your methods of attacking must change.  The red side has a
very high resistance to magic attacks, and the purple side can nary be hurt
through physical means.  Both sides are very strong, and will be pushing you
constantly to limit breaks.  And your limit breaks are, you guessed it, physical
attacks, meaning that you'll likely want to be up against the red side.  Also,
by this point in the battle, you will probably be wanting to conserve your MP
for healing purposes, anyways.  If you have the E. Skill materia on hand, you
might also want to bust out Big Guard at this point in the battle, especially if
you're up against the purple side.  Whichever side you are facing, Aeris's Seal
Evil limit break, thankfully, will still hold them at bay and let you pull off a
cheap victory.  Again, Choco/Mog or some combination placed in your weapon with
Added Effect will still work, but not consistently like Seal Evil will.

   When the fight is over, you will earn Red XIII's Cosmo Memory limit break.
Though you probably won't be able to use it at this point in the game, just hold
onto it until later.  You might also want to pick up the Odin materia that flew
out of the safe as you opened it, and finally look inside the safe itself for
the Key to the Basement.  For instructions on what to do with the key, see
section V.E. of the FAQ.  As for the Shinra Mansion Safe side quest, it ends
here, with the death of Lost Number.  Congratulations.


wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                          B. Wutai                           | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                          ~~~~~~~~                           | / /\ \
 _\  /__________________________                                      | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section IV: Side Quests|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Western Islands


   Wutai is the side quest of Final Fantasy VII.  It is the longest and most
intricate, and becomes available as soon as your party gets ahold of the Tiny
Bronco.  Another prerequisite is that you must have recruited Yuffie to the
team.  To find out how to do that, refer to section V.D. of the FAQ.  A point
that must be stressed is that you need to go through with this side quest as
soon as it becomes available, because it will be the only chance you are going
to get.  The Wutai side quest and its subsequent rewards are all lost-forevers,
as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  That being said, at about the time you
get the Tiny Bronco, either curiosity or lack of navigational ability will more
than likely drive you towards the gigantic island to the west that bears a
striking resemblance to Japan.  Don't just rush headlong into the island,
however, because once you embark upon this quest, there is no turning back.  And
furthermore, Wutai can be a huge pain in the ass if you are at a low level, so
consider yourself duly warned.

   When you consider yourself ready, disembark at the lower tip of the western
islands (the only place on the whole island currently accessible by beach).
Head north along the island, and also take note of the various monsters that
appear here.  We'll begin with the Tail Vault, a badass-looking armadillo thing
that is not worthy of mention in any way, shape, or form.  The Edgehead is,
well, a bug with a couple of giant pincers on its head.  It, like the Tail
Vault, is not really worth of mention, but it does have a magical attack called
Electric Burst, which is more powerful than its regular attack.  We'll move on
to the Thunderbird: not the car, but the enemy.  It has a powerful lightning
spell that nails the whole party, so do watch out for that.  They absorb
lightning magic, but are strangely not immune to the effects of earth magic.
The Bizarre Bug is a fun enemy with another attack to watch out for, called
Toxic Powder.  It is a poison-based attack that strikes the whole party, and is
again something you need to watch out for.  But aside from that, again there is
not much to talk about.  The Razor Weed is a rarer occurrence, but is something
you should definitely seek out.  They have two attacks you should be aware of.
The first, Spaz Voice, will enrage the recipient.  The second is called Magic
Hammer, and would be a pain in the ass if they ever used it.  Thankfully, they
never do.  But what this does mean is that you will have to manipulate them to
learn it with your E. Skill materia.  Another worthy fact about them is that
unlike their cousins down at the Chocobo Ranch, their magical defense is no
higher than that of anything else in the area.  And since they have no real
strengths or weaknesses, nail them with the attack of your choice.  Lastly,
there is a creature that hangs out only on the beaches of this area (and is the
only creature that hangs out along them).  It is known as the Adamantaimai,
every spell-checker's worst nightmare.  It has quite a bit of HP, more so than
any other creature in the area, and this fact shall be amplified by not only its
immunity to gravity magic, but also its tendency to cast Barrier and M-Barrier.
Luckily, its attacks are weak and it always travels alone, so expect nothing
more than a slightly longer battle than usual.  Like the Razor Weed, the
Adamantaimai is an enemy you might want to seek out due to its Death Force
attack, learnable with the E. Skill materia.  However, to have any hopes of
learning it, you'll have to take the Manipulate materia along.

   Anyways, you won't get very far until you enter a clearing.  Yuffie comes
running up to your party and proclaims that she knows the area very well.  For
some strange reason, your party begins to become very suspicious of her.  Before
you can get much out of her, you are ambushed by a couple of Shinra troops.  "I
swear!  I had nothing to do with this one!" Yuffie exclaims, which sounds
suspicious enough without her turning tail and running away, leaving you to deal
with the Shinra troops on your own.  These guys are more or less just souped-up
versions of the Marine from the Shinra Boat, which you may recall using those
annoying attacks that put your teammates to sleep?  And guess what happens next.
You laugh at the petty excuses for warriors and yawn as you reach for your E.
Skill materia or some other doomsday attack.  But just before you can yell, "eat
Beta, ass!", your head turns and you come upon the painful realization that
every last materia to your name is gone.  Sure, Yuffie may be a thieving whore,
but I have to hand it to her: that was the most amazing display of robbery I
have ever seen in my life.  One second she was talking to you, and then she
left- she never even came into contact with you!  Anyways, you're down to
weapons only, but this fight still should not be too difficult.  If it is at all
hard for you, then you definitely have no business going through with the rest
of this side quest at your current level of skill and/or intelligence.

   Following the battle, the party determines that Yuffie headed north through
the mountains.  You must follow, but be extra careful as you do.  All the
monsters around here are far greater threats without your materia.  You may wish
to re-arrange your team at the moment to exclude characters like Aeris and Cait
Sith.  Red XIII, with his Seraph Comb (still a very powerful weapon at this
point in the game), and Barret, with his fighting prowess, are two good
characters to have on hand at this point.  Vincent, for his limit breaks alone,
is also a good guy to have handy, though this is more of a factor in the
upcoming boss battle (later).

   Make your way north and across a bridge built across a wide chasm.  At the
other side of the bridge, turn left and cross yet another bridge.  Granted, its
probably not the smartest idea to be crossing rickety rope bridges in the middle
of nowhere that shake when you walk on them, but I'd walk the Earth for a
Klondike bar... er, for my materia back.  At the other side of this bridge, the
road splits in two.  Despite what you may think, turning north leads you to a
dead-end, so rather turn south and head that way.  The path ultimately curves
left and brings you to another bridge across another chasm.  From here, it's a
long, but straightforward trek north to the mysterious kingdom of Wutai.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: Wutai


   Holy crap, it's feudal Japan!  You really don't have time to ponder much the
existence of this backwoods nation in the technologically-advanced future,
because the first thing you see upon entering town is Yuffie, who promptly runs
away from you.  It looks like you're going to have to run her down... the only
way you know how.  Check out the various buildings around here.  The weapon shop
(the building just left of the village entrance) appears to have no wares for
the moment, possibly because the owner appears to be stoned out of his mind.
The item shop is the building next to the village save point.  And it, as you
might expect, is a stop you'll definitely be wanting to make right now.  Without
materia, items will be your life-blood for a short time, so make sure that you
are adequately supplied.  Also note the Swift Bolts and Fire Veils on sale at
the item shop.  If you decide to pick up a few to assist you in the battles
ahead, realize that a few is likely all you'll need, so refrain from wasting
your cash on excess purchases (two or three of each should be sufficient).  You
might also notice the treasure chest in the item shop.  You'll loot it and
retrieve the MP Absorb materia, which is promptly stolen by Yuffie, who drops
in out of nowhere and vanished again.  You make no attempt to catch her during
this, you just watch like the dumbass you are.  At this rate, you could be here
all week...

   Anyways, continuing in your search for Yuffie, head to the local bar (that's
the building in the lower-left corner of town).  Of all the people you'd expect
to run into... it's the Turks!  Elena spots you and leaps from her chair, intent
on hurting you for some reason.  Seriously, by the way she's acting, it's as if
her daily horoscope had told her that today she was going to kick something's
ass hardcore.  This theory was discounted, however, when I remembered that Elena
can't read.  Reno and Rude, on the other hand, are so crapfaced that they are
making about as much sense as Elena would be if she were trying to explain
Einstein's Theory of Relativity (and please bear in mind that this is a person
that has difficulties explaining how a spoon works).  But to make a long story
short, the Turks are currently on vacation, and the last thing they're
interested in right now is dealing with the likes of you (and also possibly
because the last time you talked to them, you ended up wearing their asses as
shoes).

   Anyways, as a last resort, speak with the local villagers, who point you in
the direction of Godo's house, located in the northwest section of town.  Godo's
house is the one on the right.  That giant pagoda in the distance, for reasons
mentioned in section VII.A. Of the FAQ, you'll may want to stay away from for
the time being.  Anyways, Godo has a pretty sweet pad, to say the least.  You
can make yourself at home in his guest room and have a nap, and there's also a
hidden passageway in the eastern room, which leads to a treasure chest
containing Red XIII's Hairpin.  You'll find Godo taking a nap on the floor in
his room.  Talk to him to get more or less the same response you'd expect from
someone that you just woke up after breaking into their homes.  Given his
grogginess, you'll have to talk to him a few times about Yuffie to get some
answers out of him.  He will continually deny knowing anyone by that name, but
this is eventually disproved when Yuffie shows herself (apparently, she had been
hiding here all this time) and begins to verbally abuse Godo.  It becomes
readily apparent that Godo and Yuffie are father and daughter, and even more
apparent that Godo is more or less the leader of Wutai.  Yuffie yells at him
about letting the nation go to crap after the Shinra kicked their asses
hardcore, and that at least your team has the balls to stand up to the Shinra.
Sure, Godo may be a pussy, but can you really blame him for not wanting to take
on a nation that consists of every other city in the world except for Cosmo
Canyon?  To put this into terms you can understand, the Shinra is like a tank,
and the technologically-backwards warriors of Wutai would be kind of like
toothpicks launching themselves at the aforementioned tank in an honorable but
pathetic attempt to destroy it.  I mean, just look at the odds, here.  Rufus has
the largest and most powerful nation on earth, an industrial monopoly, and
seemingly endless legions of biologically-altered soldiers.  Godo has trees, a
bratty daughter, and the way of the ninja.  And if that's not one-sided, I don't
know what is.

   This whole display is almost interesting enough to make you forget the whole
reason that you were here in the first place.  Oh, yeah!  That whore stole your
materia, didn't she?  And by the time that dawns on you, Yuffie is long gone and
Godo is in the process of ejecting you from his home.  You'll have to do some
looking around to find Yuffie at this point, but it shouldn't be long before you
find yourself inside the house just right of the village's entrance.  As you
enter, the owners look at you and begin to repeatedly refer to you and your
teammates as "weirdos", which is quite rude, to say the least.  But I imagine
that barging into people's houses without being invited or even knocking is
equally inconsiderate (and is in many cultures also considered to be weird).  At
any rate, you see that little, um, thing you change clothes behind?  Guess who
you find hiding behind it?  The only problem is that the second you find Yuffie,
she just runs away from you again.  Which really begs the point: why even bother
hunting her down if you're not going to make any attempt to apprehend her when
you find her?  Come to think of it, this is more or less the same crap that your
team has been doing with Sephiroth for quite some now, so make of that what you
will.

   Yuffie's next hiding spot is a little more obvious.  It's that giant clay jar
by the bar that is rocking back and forth.  As you approach it, your team splits
up and seals off all of Yuffie's possible escape routes (unless, perhaps, she
finds herself able to brave the foot-deep river that runs through the village...
which we all know she won't).  Cloud walks up to the jar, and instead of
skewering the damn thing with his sword like he should, will begin to hit it
repeatedly (you'll have to press the confirm button to make him do it).  After a
few this, the lid flies off, and Yuffie pops out.  She tires to escape, but
finds herself trapped.  Reluctantly, she agrees to give you your materia back,
and leads the team through the village...

   Meanwhile, back at the bar, the plot thickens.  As Reno and Rude continue to
drink themselves into a stupor, and as Elena enjoys the pretty shiny lights
bouncing off of her glass, a couple of Shinra troops walk into the bar,
accompanied by a priest, a minister, and a rabbi.  The troops announce to the
Turks that they have found "him", and that they are requesting the Turks as
backup.  But Reno and Rude aren't about to get off their asses and help.  Reno
shoots back with an angry "...don't bother us!  Just lookin' at you is makin' me
sober!"  Elena gets kind of pissy, and yells at them for not getting up and
helping.  Reno's words of wisdom on the subject are, "A pro isn't someone who
sacrifices himself for his job.  That's just a fool."  This is coming from the
guy who's job is to get his ass beaten by Cloud and company, by the way.
Anyways, the troops depart in a huff, and Elena goes after them.  Reno and Rude
make no attempt to stop her, thinking maybe that she probably isn't going to get
very far because her brain usually crashes when she tries to do two things
(e.g., walking and talking) at once.

   Back to Cloud and the gang.  Yuffie leads you to her basement of mystery and
such, and apologizes for her actions.  She whines about Wutai, and almost begins
to cry... saying that maybe if she had enough materia, she could fight to
restore Wutai to its former glory.  It's very touching, but Cloud, incapable of
hu-man com-pass-ion, stoutly proclaims that he doesn't give a damn about Yuffie
or Wutai and that he just wants his Goddamned materia back.  With a sigh, she
tells you that you will get all your materia back by pulling that mysteriously
unmarked lever on the left in the back of the room.  But, then again, both
levers do pretty much the same thing: drop a cage around your teammates while
Yuffie laughs at you and runs away.  That... little... whore...  Free your
teammates, and also make sure to read the banner on her wall before leaving, as
it is one of the flyers mentioned in section V.A. of the FAQ.

   You'll find Yuffie next at the house across the street from Godo's Pad.  Walk
up to the center of it and ring the giant gong, which is a magical gong that
makes a hidden door appear on the side of the building.  You'll enter into the
secret door in just enough time to witness the abduction of Yuffie, however.
Pursuing her captor, you find yourself face to face with... Don Corneo?  Great,
just what you need, a date rapist.  Don Corneo does one of his sickening little
dances and announces that he has come to Wutai in search of his unwilling bride.
And not only does he have Yuffie within his grasp, it appears that he has also
kidnapped Elena, also!  Well, capturing Elena wasn't the most difficult task his
henchmen have ever had to accomplish, and something tells me that they got the
job done with little more than a piece of rope and a sign that read, "free pie!"

   Anyways, chase the fat bastard through the place, until he finds himself
surrounded by your team and a legion of Shinra troops.  The Shinra troops rush
towards Don, but the Don leaps out of the way, and the Shinra troops instead
attack you.  And you'd think that maybe after the tenth or eleventh blows had
landed, the troops would maybe sit up and realize that they missed their
intended target, but no such luck.  You are forced to fight out the entire
battle of the troops with Elena-like intelligence, and to be frank, I'm
surprised that troops that stupid aren't being made to wear dunce caps.  As for
the battle itself, it is more or less identical to the battle you fought earlier
against the same expendable jackasses, except that now you may wish to end the
battle quickly with a Fire Veil or a Swift Bolt.  But by the time the battle is
over, the Don will be long gone.  Goddammit, Shinra... with troops like that,
I'm actually at this point rather surprised that they were able to defeat Wutai
in the war.

   Anyways, you'll emerge in Godo's house.  Quickly head back to the streets,
and you'll see the Reno and Rude running by.  Stop them and talk to them.  Reno
makes it perfectly clear that he has no intentions of joining you, but for the
moment  he's willing to... not bother you in the common interests of your
parties.  He informs you that Don Corneo has absconded to "the place that stands
out the most".  Mayhaps he could be referring to the gigantic mountain behind
Wutai?  Indeed, he is.  The path leading to the Da-Chao mountain range is to the
right of the item shop.  Head there quickly.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Da-Chao Mountain


   Before heading to the Da-Chao mountains, consider stopping by the save point
to add Vincent to your party.  His transformation limit breaks will prove to be
a valuable asset in the upcoming boss battle.

   The Da-Chao mountain is something of a demented Mt. Rushmore, with Lincoln,
Washington, Roosevelt, and Jefferson having been replaced by: (from left to
right) man with fire on head, creepy fat guy in funny hat, midget making peace
sign, and some constipated dude.  Arrive on the mountain path to see Reno and
Rude for some reason politely waiting for you to show up.  They announce that
they are splitting up, and that you can do whatever you want so long as you
don't get in their way.  They tell you not to endanger Elena and further than
her grotesquely underdeveloped brain already does, and that they will in turn
not harm Yuffie.  Then they take off.

   There are enemies scattered around the mountain path.  They're not horribly
difficult, but remember that you are currently fighting at a severe handicap.
Returning from the fields outside Wutai, we have the Razor Weed and the Bizarre
Bug.  As for the new faces, there are a few here.  The Jayjujayme is probably
the biggest insult yet that the game has tossed us in the enemy name department,
and that's saying quite a bit.  They have the ability to confuse you, but very
rarely use it.  The attack they normally use just slows you down and nothing
more, which isn't that bad at all.  They are weak and easy to kill.  Next on the
agenda is the Foullander, who occasionally busts out with Flame Dance, which
does damages your entire party at once.  Attack them with either physical
attacks or with the Bolt Plume, as they absorb fire magic (and thus the Fire
Veil would really do you no good vs. them).  Conversely, the Garuda is affected
by fire magic, but absorbs lightning magic, instead.  Their attacks are probably
the worst of the bunch, as they cast Bolt 2, Ice 2, and Fire 2.  They also have
an attack which drains MP from you.  While this may not piss you off due to the
fact that you are currently not in need of MP, it may piss you off because it
allows them to continue casting powerful magics on you.

   To make a long story short, any Fire Veils or Bolt Plumes you bought should
be used to make your trip up the mountain easier.  And since the boss in
question is barely affected by magical attacks at all, you need not worry about
conserving them.  To repeat myself, the Bolt Plume works on all enemies except
the Garuda, and the Fire Veil works on everything except the Foullander.

   The mountain path is fairly linear, and has no treasures to speak of.  Reno
and Rude split up and head down ever God damned dead-end path on the range, so
if you see them, you know you're probably on the wrong track.  From the foot of
the mountain, head until the path forks up and right.  Go up.  This takes you
around to an up/down fork in the path.  You'll see a cave not too far up the
path, but it is currently burning with some sort of eternal flame that makes it
impossible to enter.  Do make it a point to stop by and pick up the Dragoon
Lance just inside, however.  Also note that you can come back to this cave later
in the game (for more information, refer to section V.L. of the FAQ).  Anyways,
take the path leading down.  This takes you to where Don Corneo is currently
standing.  Also notice that Yuffie and Elena have been for some reason strapped
to the eyes of that fat man's face carved into the side of the mountain.

   I love the classic screams of "Let me go!" that come from the girls, as if
they at this point actually expect this nut job to listen to them.  Corneo, more
or less oblivious to the fact that you are ready to kick his ass, begins
hungrily deciding which girl he wants to have his way with, happily proclaiming,
"I think I've found a new hobby!"  Rape is not a hobby, you asshole.  And in
addition to being a date rapist, Don Corneo is also now a child molester in
choosing Yuffie as his companion for the night.  But don't blame Don.  He's not
a pedophile or anything; he just chose Yuffie because Elena's most prominent
hole is the one in the back of her head.

   Don also gets a bit pissy about you having kicked APS's ass back at Sector
Five, so he calls in RAPPS to finish you off.  RAPPS can be a difficult fight,
especially given your lack of materia.  Even with your magical items, you'll
still want to go with physical attacks due to RAPPS's extremely high magical
defense, however.  And in the end, limit breaks are probably going to be what
wins you the fight.  Keep your HP up, however, as RAPPS has an extremely
powerful wind-based magical attack called Aero 3, which can easily kill off
someone in your party in a single casting if their HP is not well-tended to.
Vincent can be a Godsend in this fight for the fact that not only does he get a
big HP boost with his transformations, but also that he will likely be able to
take on RAPPS single-handedly due to the offensive boost he will get from them,
as well.

   Following your squeaky-clean battle, Corneo pulls out his trump card.  With a
press of a button, Yuffie and Elena are turned upside down.  He holds out a
controller, proclaiming that, "If I press this button, they'll fall upside down,
and we'll have a SQUASHED TOMATOES!"  I don't like to think of this as a gross
mistranslation; I like to think that Don Corneo has the grammatical capacity of
a three year old.  Reno and Rude show up at about this point, however, and start
to kick Don Corneo's ass in style.  Corneo falls off the side of the cliff and
grabs on; Reno strides over to him, steps on his fingers, and then kicks him off
after insulting him, Turk-style.  This is the last you ever hear of Don Corneo,
though I'm assuming that he attempted to molest whatever he landed next to.

   Elena happily exclaims from the cliff that she knew Reno would come for her.
Reno looks at her and says, "Elena, don't act so weak.  You're a Turks!"  God
damn, whatever we're paying our translation staff, it's far too much.  Reno also
gets a call from headquarters at this point, with orders to hunt down Cloud and
company.  Cloud and the team look at Rude and Reno as the tension builds.  Reno
coolly asserts that the Turks are on vacation and walks away.

   You'll end up back at Wutai, with Yuffie re-applying your materia to you.  Of
course, she screws up the placement, ruining any work you had already done with
them.  She also gives you the MP Absorb materia she may have earlier stolen from
you.  Yuffie is saved and your materia is back, and you'll find yourself outside
Wutai.  But the side-quest is far from over.  For starters, you might want to
head back into town and do some weapon shopping (apparently, the owner of said
shop just got done making some new weapons, which despite the cultural
differences are exactly identical to your weapons of choice).  Also, next door
to Yuffie's house is a house infested with cats.  Go there now, and one of the
cats will have moved, allowing you access to the upstairs, where you will find
the HP Absorb materia.  Lastly, if you have been keeping up with them
throughout the game, you should by now have found all six flyers advertising for
the Turtle's Paradise, so you should be able to go there now and claim your
prize.  If not, then refer to section V.A. of the FAQ for reference points as to
any flyers you may have missed.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--- Welcome to: The Pagoda of the Five Mighty Gods


   This would be the final test of your skill in the Wutai side quest.  You've
got your materia back, but the battle is far from over.  If you think you've got
what it takes, then march Yuffie back into town to show these bastards what
she's really made of.  Before heading to the pagoda (located near Godo's house),
however, you might want to stop by the item shop and purchase some Ethers and
Hi-Potions, both of which will more than likely prove useful during the upcoming
battles.  You'll have five battles to fight, between which Yuffie has no real
chance to stop and rest, but you can at least use items.  That being said, march
over to the pagoda.

   Yuffie fights the feats of strength alone.  For this reason, you'll want to
give her the best equipment you have, and the choicest materia.  E. Skill, for
starters, can serve as several materia in one.  Big Guard is a huge assistance,
as it is Yuffie's protection and speed bonus in one (with emphasis on Yuffie's
need for protection if you are attempting this at an early level).  Beta or
Aqualung, secondly, are two of the most powerful attacks you have at this point
in the game, and will nail the opposition in no time.  Lastly, E. Skill will
not penalize Yuffie in the HP category at all, which is perhaps the biggest
asset.  Of course, a Restore materia is invaluable with Yuffie, as well, as you
cannot entrust her well-being entirely to White Wind and items.  Cure 2 will
prove useful, and Regen even more so if you know it.  Lastly, Time can still
serve a purpose with the Slow spell unlocked, as it makes an excellent follow-up
to Big Guard.  Attack-wise, Beta and Aqualung kick some serious ass, and can
quickly end most of these fights (though, given the MP cost, you'll want to have
a few Ethers on hand).  Bolt 3, Ice 3, or Fire 3, all work much better, but the
MP issue is even worse here than with Beta or Aqualung.   The Throw materia is
powerful, though dependent on whether you have any projectiles lying around.
There's also Yuffie's limit breaks, which she will be constantly forced to
during these battles.  Greased Lightning is a passable attack, but it really
helps to have acquired Bloodfest going into the pagoda.  Anyways, materia-wise,
fill in any remaining slots with spare HP Plus or MP Plus materia.  Lastly, if
you have the Earrings accessory, they can assist Yuffie's magical offense.  If
not, the Power Wrist is a nice fallback, but magical attacks are still the best
you've got.

   In addition to the above preparation, for the first fight, Yuffie may want to
defend herself with the Elemental/Gravity combo in her armor, and may also wish
to boost her offense with the Elemental/Choco/Mog combo in her weapon.  However,
this is the only fight of the five where her physical offense can really be
boosted, and as it stands, the best attacks she can whip out during these next
battles are, as I've stated above, all magical.  If you do plan on going the
physical route during the next battle, however, you'll probably also want to
bring along the Destruct materia.

   And when you're ready, battle Gorki, the ugly fat man on the first floor.
For what it's worth, he is immune ot the effects of gravity magic.  He uses
Barrier and attacks with Demi 2 and physical attacks.  Even with Barrier, you
can still do a decent amount of damage to him if you have the wind element on
your side, but the proper magic is still far more powerful.  A few castings of
something like Beta or Aqualung, and Gorki will be your slave in no time.
You'll win an X-Potion and access to the second floor of the Pagoda.

   In preparation for the second fight, you may want to put the Added
Effect/Choco/Mog or Time combo in Yuffie's weapon, as the next boss is extremely
vulnerable to the effects of Stop.  If you do not plan on using the Choco/Mog
summon attack itself, then you may wish to instead go with Added Effect/Time
(this can also be useful in that it nails him with Stop and Slow at the same
time).  Drop the Elemental/Gravity combo in her armor if it's there, and you're
good to go.

   Shake is, well, a kid.  And you get to kick his ass.  Shake is very fast,
and attacks with a powerful attack called Rage Bomber.  In addition to sending
Yuffie into a state of fury, this is also a very powerful attack.  The only type
of magic that will not affect him, obviously, is gravity.  He is vulnerable to
the effects of Stop, and whichever way you have of inflicting it on him (either
the Choco/Mog summon or a Stop-imbued weapon) should be your attack of choice.
Do be aware that if this chosen method is attacking Shake with a weapon laced
with Stop effects, then your accuracy will go down considerably following Rage
Bomber, so strike early and strike fast.  Once he's not moving, however, you'll
probably want to bust out with Beta or something of the sort to end the fight in
a few turns as with Gorki.  You'll win a Turbo Ether following this fight, and
advance to fight Chekhov on the third floor.

   If you have the Jem Ring handy for the next fight, equip it.  It is the only
way you can prevent being paralyzed by Checkhov (who is more or less the same as
the Twin Brain from Mt. Nibel).  If not, don't sweat it.  Drop the Added Effect
materia and/or the Choco/Mog materia if you are equipped with either and again
make sure that any spare slots left are filled up with any spare HP Plus or MP
Plus materia.  Then, advance to the third floor.

    Checkhov will ask you for confirmation before you fight him.  While both
responses seem rather antagonistic (to me at least), only the response on top
counts as a "yes".  Then, the fight with Checkhov begins.  If you know the Slow
spell, open the battle with it.  Checkhov is slow enough without being exposed
to the Slow spell, and having been slowed down you will usually be able to shake
off the paralysis he induces with his Stare Down attack before he gets a chance
to move again.  As always, Haste or Big Guard will compound the effects of the
Slow spell, but for obvious reasons, Slow is the more important spell in this
fight.  But Barrier-side of the coin is extra important in this fight, as not
only does it prevent damage to you, but it also lessens the amount of HP he
gains with his Absorb attack.  Following that, wail away at him with everything
you've got (everything will work against Checkhov except for gravity magic), and
it shouldn't take long to shut Checkhov down for good.  You'll win an Ice Ring
for this battle.

   There's really no preparation for the next battle, except perhaps removing
the Jem Ring if you equipped it during the last fight.  And if you wanna win the
next fight the really cheap way, make sure you have the E. Skill material firmly
in place and your Lv. 4 Suicide attack ready to go.

   Staniv is by far the cockiest boss in the pagoda, proclaiming that even
though there are five stories, no one has ever advanced past the fourth.
Staniv, sadly, is one of the easiest bosses here to take out.  His attacks are
not that powerful, and his only special attack doesn't do much besides
inflicting sadness on Yuffie.  Big Guard and Slow can help you out, as always.
But following that, your strategy is pretty much the same: wail away on his ball
and chain-wielding ass with powerful attacks like Beta, or anything else that
isn't gravity magic.  And as I alluded to in the paragraph above, if Staniv's
cockiness decrees that me be immediately destroyed in some horrible fashion, Lv.
4 Suicide takes him down in no time flat, eliminating the need for any kind of
"strategy".  You get an Elixir for kicking Staniv's ass.  Staniv is shocked, and
he and the first three bosses all march up to the fifth level of the pagoda for
the final showdown.

   The fifth boss here at the pagoda is, as you might expect, the toughest of
them all.  However, if you know the Magic Hammer E. Skill, you can more or less
eliminate 90% of the difficulty this fight has to offer by completely depriving
this boss off its powerful offensive and defensive magic.  Assuming this attack
is present in your arsenal, expect an easy fight, and you can take the rest of
the advice in this paragraph lightly, if at all.  That being said, the boss in
question uses a lot of powerful attacks, such as Demi 3, Trine, and Bio 2.  He
also occasionally busts out with Sleepel and Mini.  Of all these attacks, by far
the worst is Mini, as it is the only one you can't defend against simply by
keeping your HP up, and it can make the fight much harder on you, by preventing
any damage done by Yuffie's limit breaks or by any counter attacks.  Thus, a
protective accessory (which you probably don't have handy) or the Added
Effect/Transform combo in Yuffie's armor is recommended (the Heal materia will
also suffice if you have acquired Esuna).  Also, much more so than the previous
fights, you will stand to greatly benefit form poisoning the next boss, as you
also will from having the Counter Attack materia handy.  Lastly, if by some
stretch of the imagination you have somehow earned Demi 3, then by all means
take it into battle.  If not, Laser or Demi 2 will work just fine in this fight.
You're also going to need a super-powerful attack handy to bring the battle to
an end (as this boss will keep healing himself as his HP starts to get low).  If
you have Bloodfest, then you're fine.  If not, take along something else very
powerful, like the Odin or Throw materia.  Failing all of the above, I hope you
have Magic Hammer, because if not, you're in for one hell of a long fight.

   Oh, and one last thing I should mention is that the upcoming fight will mark
one of the chances you get to learn the lost-forever enemy-skill, Trine, as
mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ, so you may want to have any applicable E.
Skill materia firmly in place.

  For those of you who failed your remedial plot-mongering classes, guess who
sits on the fifth floor of the pagoda?  Meet Godo, the fifth and final boss of
the day.  And he's not about to hold anything back against Yuffie.  While Big
Guard and Slow are useful ventures in this fight, Magic Hammer, used fast and
early, can more or less cripple Godo.  Failing that, establish yourself some
protection with the quickness, as Godo's magical attacks are very powerful.
Your speed advantage is also important, as well, but not really so much as your
defense (especially if Yuffie is at a lower level).  Demi 3, actually, can be
his most damaging attack if he catches you at a high HP with it, but luckily
Demi 3 will never kill you outright.  To defend against his most powerful
attack, Trine, always try to keep Yuffiie's HP above 1000 or so (or half that
with an M-Barrier established).  This can prove difficult if you have been
poisoned; Regen, if you have it, helps to keep you focused on your offense
rather than healing.  Godo has a few weaknesses which you can exploit, by the
way (well, besides Magic Hammer).  The worst of which is that Godo is the only
boss enemy which is affected by gravity magic.  Granted, you should still want
to begin the fight by poisoning him, you'll want to follow that with several
good blasts of Laser or Demi 3 to make Godo your wife.  The problem with this
battle is that once his HP gets around 1000, he keeps casting Cure 2, which
restores about 1000 HP to himself.  Again, this is a problem that is eliminated
if you've gone and Magic Hammered away all of Godo's MP, but if you for some
reason failed to do that, you're going to need a powerful attack to end this
battle (as mentioned above, Bloodfest is preferable, but Odin and Throw can work
in a pinch).  A combination of Haste, Slow, Counter Attack, and a poison running
through Godo can all help tip the scale in your favor, but it is still unlikely
to single-handedly win you the battle (though I must admit, it's happened for me
before).

   After the fight, Yuffie and Godo discover a new respect for each other.  In
most cultures, beating the crap out of each other is not considered to be
therapeutic (unless you're a hillbilly on the Jerry Springer show), but it seems
to work out just fine for Yuffie and her father, at any rate.  As for your
reward, you are bestowed with the God of Wutai, which is the Leviathan materia.
Godo then begins his horribly stereotypical speech about strength,
determination, and the ninja way.  He drones on for around ten minutes, and
stops making sense after about the first two.  Godo wraps things up by demanding
that Yuffie travel with you, blah, blah, strength, blah, blah, determination.
Your party reluctantly agrees, mostly out of fear that if they disagree then
Godo will never shut up.  Everyone files out of the pagoda, leaving Yuffie and
Godo.  As Yuffie begins to leave, Godo stops her and conspires with her about
the possible future theft of your team's materia.  Aha!  Don't blame the kid,
folks; it was her father's doing all along.


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   The Ancient Forest is the heart of a mystical and tranquil wooded area that
has been untouched by humans for generations.  This is mainly due to the fact
that it is located atop a mountain in the Cosmo Canyon area, and people in video
games never learned how to climb mountains.  The Ancient Forest itself is
probably the most unique side quest in the game, and advancing through it
involves clever and strategical manipulation of the environment around you (more
on this shortly).  You may access the Ancient Forest in one of two ways.  This
first, and earliest way to do this is to breed a mountain chocobo or better
(refer to section IX. For more on chocobo breeding).  The other way is to take
out Ultimate WEAPON, who will plummet to the Earth after you kick his ass and
create a huge crater where he lands, allowing you to reach the previously
inaccessible Ancient Forest.

   Before we go any further, let me issue a warning to those of you with
customized control configurations (at least in the PSX version, anyways): the
button that sends you back to the beginning of the Ancient Forest is the same no
matter what.  Because of this thoughtless programming, so players may find
themselves inadvertently sending themselves back to the very beginning time and
time again, which is very annoying to say the least.  Take it from someone who
has put more than one controller through the wall because of this place: do
yourself a favor and resort to the standard controls for this stage.

   With that said, let's go over the local monster activity.  And maybe it's
just me, but the monsters are especially obnoxious around here, merely because
their interruption of your thought process can reach intolerable levels.   The
Rilfsak, above all else, is the most obnoxious creature here.  Not that any of
its attacks are that damaging, but physical attacks almost always miss, forcing
you to take less-timely measures to get rid of them.  Other than that, they are
at least weak and easy to rid yourself of.  The Epolnis, by any standard, is a
pathetic enemy and easy to dispose of.  You might steal a Wizard Bracelet from
them to negate the high cost of purchase at Mideel, but otherwise, let's move
on.  We finally have the Diablo, which is again a creature of no noteworthy
appeal.  In short, the enemies here are about as generic as they come, but
you'll still hate them, anyways.

   Now, let's explore the basics of the area.  It isn't horribly difficult to
spot which items can be picked up and used somehow and which ones cannot.  You
press a button to pick something up, and a button to drop that item where you're
standing.  If you drop them in the right places, good things will happen.  And
you can only carry one item at a time.  Possibly because you're likely already
loaded down with 99 Tents, Hi-Potions, weapons, and full suits of armor.  Flies
can be used near the Venus-flytrap-type flowers to make them close up.  Please
bear in mind that when I say "Venus-Flytrap", I refer to the small hanging plant
with a little hole atop it that, when closed up, will strangely be able to
support your weight as you hop atop them and use them as stepping stones.
However, you only have a short amount of time before they digest the fly and
open back up.  Frogs can also be used in this manner except that the Venus-
flytrap will expel the frog rather than digesting it.  Anything standing atop it
(including yourself) will be launched upwards at a high velocity.  Frogs, in
this respect, can be used time and time again.  You should note, however, that
frogs eat flies, and will do so whenever placed close to one.  Finally, there
are significantly larger and eviler-looking plants that will clamp down on you
if you attempt to walk past them (these man-eating evil plants are not to be
confused with the afformentioned Venus-flytraps).  They are evil, hurt very
badly, and should be avoided.  However, if you find a honeycomb, you can make it
close up for good.  This knowledge alone should be almost all you need to know
to get through the Ancient Forest, but as always, the exact solutions are
detailed below.

   The first area is very simple.  There are three flies and a frog lying
around, but you'll really only be needing the flies.  Grab all three flies and
move them towards the three Venus flytraps hangning from the top of the screen
near the center of the area (don't actually place them inside the Venus-flytraps
until you have all three moved over, else you won't have time to make it before
it digests).  With all three flies in hand, release them near the Venus-flytraps
so they close up and form a bridge over to the far right side of the screen.
Over there, you can approach the gigantic evil flower from the right and grab
the Supershot ST (do be careful not to alarm it, however).  Other than that,
there's not much else to do here, but do be sure to grab the Spring Gun Clip
lying near the edge of the path before advancing right and into the second area.

   The next area is a bit more complicated, but not horribly difficult.  A giant
man-eating flower impedes your advancement eastward, and there's also a materia
lying just inside it.  Any and all attempts to grab it right now will end in
pain and failure, but I'm not going to stop you from testing that theory a few
times, if you feel like it.  Once you've been eaten alive, grab one of the flies
lying around and then walk towards that springy tongue-looking thing, which
Cloud will jump up and grab onto upon command.  It bounces and springs you onto
a ledge where you'll see two of those Venus-flytraps, one open and one close.
Use the fly to shut the closed one up, and hop across.  On the other side, Cloud
grabs another springy tongue-thing and rockets to the middle of the area.  Over
here, you'll see a frog and a ledge leading to two more Venus-flytraps (one on
either side of the ledge).  First, place the frog in the one on the left, hop
on, and await launching.  You will be rocketed onto a ledge containing a
honeycomb, which can be used to shut up the giant man-eating flower and allow
you access to the Slash-All materia.  With that out of the way, pick the frog
back up, place him in the other Venus-flytrap, and get yourself launched to the
right side of the screen.  From there, keep heading right and into the third
area.

   The third area is a bit more confusing that the last two, but still not too
bad.  The worst part is that you have to take it on in two parts, which can sort
of jumble your thought process a bit.  Lucky for you, the first part is very
simple.  Directly right from the start are two Venus-flytraps leading to another
spongy-springy tongue thing.  Grab two flies, use them on the Venus-flytraps,
and grab onto the tongue.  It launches you up into the treetops

   There are a few things to do in the treetops.  First things first, you may
wish to make your way to the left, and then down one of the trees.  This lands
you back in the second area, but on a ledge where you can grab the Minerva
Band.  From there, you'll have to make your way back up inot the treetops, and
this time, head right.  You will again reach a tree trunk which you can crawl
down, but before you do, notice the spongy tongues located just to the right of
that tree.  Head up just a bit and jump onto them, as they will lead you to the
Typoon materia.  Having collected it, return to the tree and climb down it (for
some stupid reason, this is the only tree the game will allow you to climb
down).

   You'll emerge near the center of the third area next to a giant man-eating
flower and a couple of flies.  Grab a fly and use it on one of the Venus-
flytraps to your right.  Using it and the other Venus-flytrap next to it (it is
already closed), how up onto the ledge with the honeycomb on it.  Use the
honeycomb to shut up the man-eating flower, and then use the remaining fly on
the Venus-flytrap  just beyond that man-eating flower (the one hanging across
the gap to your left).  Back on the left side of the screen, grab a fly and
place it near the tree with the hole in the side of it.  If you placed it
properly, a frog will leap out of the hole and devour the fly.  Place this frog
in the Venus-flytrap to your right, and stand there and wait (and be sure to be
facing right, or else you will be ejected towards the left).  Anyways, the
Venus-flytrap will eject you and the frog, sending you both in that direction.
After landing, go pick up the frog, and then use it on the Venus-flytrap on the
right side of the screen (I refer to the one that you used to climb up towards
the honeycomb).  Stand there, again facing right, and you will be ejected
towards the far right side of the screen.  From there, you can head into a cave
to your right, which is the fourth and final area.

   The cave is very small, and contains no puzzles of any sort.  Just be sure to
grab the nearby Elixir and Apocalypse before exiting the cave, because it
would suck to have to come all the way back here from the beginning.  The exit
(located in the back of the cave) takes you back to the world map.


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   There are a few things to do after having acquired your submarine, and one of
them is to go explore the sunken remains of the Shinra Gelnika, which you will
find deep within an underwater valley along the coast of the West Continent.
Note that while this side quest is not a lost-forever, as mentioned in section
I.F. of the FAQ, a battle which will take place here (and subsequently the items
which may be stolen from that battle) is.  But on that same note, be aware that
this can be a particularly difficult side quest to tackle early on.  Granted, it
is not unplayably difficult, or even difficult enough to pose much of a threat.
But it is a very striking contrast to a lot of the easy battles you've been
fighting lately, and you're at the very least advised not to go marching into
this place unprepared.  On the other hand, the extreme difficulty of the enemies
here makes this an excellent place to earn your characters' limit breaks (for
more information on this matter, refer to section VI.C. of the FAQ).

   So let's kick off with the local monster activity, then.  Two things are of
note about the creatures here, aside from their extreme difficulty.  The first
is that the hardest of the enemies here (all of those under the "Unknown"
moniker) fight alone, but don't let that lure you into a sense of security- they
still put up one hell of a fight.  The second is that all of the enemies here
are mentioned in section XIX.B. of the FAQ, so you might want to check that out,
as well.  The Unknown is probably the easiest thing around here to deal with.
Easiest, of course, being a comparative term.  It's physical attacks are very
powerful, and it has an inordinately high amount of HP, resulting in a very
drawn-out battle.  The Unknown 2 is conceivably the worst of the bunch, given
that it has attacks which can confuse and paralyze you (in addition to
extremely powerful physical attacks).  The confusion, especially, is of worthy
mention.  Given how powerful your team has become, a confused teammate at this
point may very well be a death-sentence for your entire party.  The Unknown 3
isn't as bad as the Unknown 2 in the respect of status ailments, as its attacks
will merely sadden and/or infuriate your characters, but its attacks are by far
the most damaging, so do be on your guard around them.  The other three enemies
here (the Poodler, Sampler, and Bad Rap) are far less common, and only appear
in the hallway area (before the large cargo bay).  They are a far cry from the
strength of the Unknown creatures, but they make up for it by being able to
attack in numbers.  And, while not as powerful as the Unknowns, they've still
got extremely high amounts of HP, and they're still not the weakest things
you've ever fought, either.

   Also note that there may or may not be a boss battle coming up, a fact which
is dependent on whether or not you're already gone back to Midgar and had a
final showdown with the Turks.  If not, then you will find Reno and Rude
loitering around here.  Granted, the last fight you had with Rude must have been
one of the most painfully easy battles you've ever thought (come to think of it,
all of the Turk battles have been like that), Reno and Rude are significantly
stronger this time around.  But, on the other hand, they really don't pose much
more of a threat than the powerful monsters hanging around the Gelnika.  Their
attacks are not too much more powerful, and the worst they have to offer is
Reno's ability to confuse your teammates, something I strongly advise you
protect yourself against.  But, since you are already advised to be protecting
your team against the effects of confusion whether or not you expect to do
battle with Rude and Reno, there isn't much I can say along the lines of
strategy except the usual, which has probably been so firmly implanted in your
brain by now, I doubt I have to say anything.  This is just sort of a heads-up
to the upcoming fight, and also a reminder that you might want to bring along
the Steal materia, as two things which may be stolen from this fight are lost-
forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.

   Anyways, when you find the wrecked Gelnika, approach it and board it.  Lucky
for you, there seems to be an eternal amount of oxygen remaining in the non
water-filled sections of the place, so don't worry about it.  In the main room,
you will see a chest containing the Heaven's Cloud, a save point, and two
exits, leading up and to the left.  After looting the chest and making use of
the save point, you'll first want to head up.

   In the upper room, you'll emerge on a catwalk.  Just ahead of you, you'll see
a chest containing the Conformer.  To the right, there is a chest containing a
Megalixir.  There are also two items on the floor.  One is the Double Cut
materia, hidden in the upper-right corner of the floor (there is a glowing
yellow light on the other side of the screen that resembles a materia and is
meant to confuse you).  You can also find the Escort Guard down here.

   Back in the original room, head left.  In the next room, you may or may not
meet up with Rude and Reno of the Turks.  They for some reason see fit to
explain that this was a Gelnika loaded up with secret experimental weapons
designed to take on Weapon.  Ironically enough, the Gelnika was sunk by Weapon,
meaning that they must have been pretty ineffective weapons.  But assuming that
the cargo would be the weapons in response, your party should be able to put
them to good use.  But first, you're going to have to fight Rude and Reno.

   With those two out of the way, head on up into the cargo bay (the next room)
and loot the place.  You will find in this room the following objects: a
Megalixir, the Spirit Lance, Outsider, Highwind, and the Hades materia.
Having found all of these items, there is nothing left for you in the sunken
Gelnika except for the monsters themselves.


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   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.


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    T \  *                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                      *  \ T
    B /\ | ~V~                                                   ~V~ | \/ B
    T \  *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*  \ T
    B  \ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ / B
    T   /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  T
    BTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTB


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   This is kind of an ongoing thing throughout the game.  A bar in Wutai known
as the Turtle's Paradise is holding a contest to locate several flyers it has
posted all over the world.  And judging from some of the obscure and/or far away
places you'll find these things, I say kudos to the Turtle's Paradise
advertising department.  Anyways, instead of fabulous cash prizes or anything
else that normal people might actually want, the prize set includes a Luck
Source, Power Source, Mind Source, Magic Source, Guard Source, Speed
Source, and a Megalixir.  And since the reward for hunting all six flyers down
is medicine and performance enhancers, people aren't necessarily beating down
the door to find them.  Then again, it may also be due to that rule that states
that all contests and competitions in video games exist solely to help your
cause and therefore can be won by you and only you.  Either way, find the flyers
at your leisure (you've just gotta look at them- not rip them down or shred them
or wipe your ass with them or anything), but be warned that flyer #2 is one of
the game's lost-forevers, mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  The flyers are
located in the following locations:

   * Flyer # 1 is in a man's pitiful excuse for a house in Sector Five at
   Midgar.  Though not technically a lost-forever, you've still gotta wait a
   long time to come back if you miss it the first time around.  Refer to
   section V.J. for more about coming back to get this flyer if you missed it
   the first time around.

   * Flyer # 2 is posted on the bulletin board on the first floor of Shinra
   H.Q. (you'll find it in the back of the room underneath the stairs).  As
   we've already established, this is a lost-forever (as mentioned in section
   I.F. of the FAQ, no less), and you've only got two chances to find this
   thing before you lose it for good.  You come here first as part of a main-
   line quest.  If you miss it the first time around, see section V.N. of the
   FAQ concerning a return trip.  You've been warned.

   * Flyer # 3 is at the Gold Saucer.  In the Ghost Hotel, near the entrance to
   the item shop, you'll find it hanging up.

   * Flyer # 4 is at the Tiger Lily arms shop at Cosmo Canyon.

   * Flyer # 5 is at the inn at Cosmo Canyon.

   * Flyer # 6 is right next to the Turtle's Paradise in Yuffie's basement.
   Check out the banner on the wall.


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 _\  /_ |                  B. Shinra H.Q., Floor 63                   | ¯/  \¯
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 _\  /____________________________                                    | ¯/  \¯
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   I can't really even begin to explain what purpose this floor might serve to
Shinra employees, but by about this time in your trip, there are several other
notions far more disturbing that you probably won't even care to question this
place's existence and will just be happy about the items that you're free to
waltz in and grab.  Basically, this floor has half a dozen or so rooms in it
separated by about one or two dozen gigantic steel doors.  At the "reception
room" up front, you're informed that there are three "item coupons" hidden
somewhere in the maze of rooms.  Each coupon corresponds to a certain item that
you can receive (these items include: an All materia, a Four Slots, and a
Star Pendant).  I should also mention that all three items (mainly the All
materia) are lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  Anyways,
the catch is that once you exchange your coupons, you can't ever do it again.
Which means that you have to grab all three coupons on the same trip through the
rooms.  Oh, and here's the other catch: you can only open three doors at once,
and then have to return all of your coupons to make them reset.

   Anyways, if you'd like to figure this one out for yourself, take note of what
the computer system tells you beforehand: "please do not crawl in the air
ducts".  If that alone isn't enough to red-flag you into realizing that the only
way you're gonna nab all three coupons is via the air ducts, then video games
probably aren't your forte.  As for the exact solution...  From the "reception
room, go right, and then up along the outer wall.  Head up until the wall curves
to the left, open the door in your way, and continue to the left.  Going through
that door, there is another door heading downward immediately past it.  Continue
to the left and open the second door you see heading downward past the first
door you opened.  Past this door, enter the room slightly below and to the left
of where you're standing.  The first item coupon is in here, as well as an
entrance to the air ducts.  The air ducts will take you to a neighboring room
(there's also a path here leading to the reception room, but avoid that until
you're finished).  There, you'll find another coupon.  Exit this room and open
the big steel door to your left.  This grants you access to the last room and
the last coupon.  Now return to the air .ducts and crawl back to the reception
room to claim your prizes.


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 _\  /_ |                    C. The Sleeping Man                      | ¯/  \¯
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 _\  /____________________________                                    | ¯/  \¯
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   Near Junon, there is a small cave with a man sleeping inside of it.  This
cave will not be accessible until you get the buggy and can cross the river that
separates it from the mainland.  Anyways, enter the cave and talk to him.  You
will either hear about the total numbers of battles you have been in, the total
number of battles from which you escaped, or some other indecipherable gibberish
altogether.  Enter and exit the cave and talk to him until he mentions the only
thing you should be interested in: your total number of battles fought.

   Anyways, first and foremost the last two digits in that number need to match.
For instance: 22, 44, 66, 77...  In the even that the last two digits are odd,
he wakes up and gives you some Mythril.  Um... thank you, weird creepy sleeping
guy.  You can give this to a guy living in a small house near the coast of
Gongaga, and he will in turn let you search the safe upstairs (at the end of the
hallway to the left) for the ~Great Gospel manual.  Any subsequent offerings of
Mythril will net you a ~Gold Armlet.

  You can also reap benefits from weird creepy sleeping guy if the last two
digits are even.  In this case, he'll give you an ~item of sorts, usually a Bolt
Ring or an Ice Ring.  Even if you don't think it's that useful, it's still a
free item which can be sold for free money, so shut your pie hole.


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 _\  /_ |                    D. Enlisting Yuffie                      | ¯/  \¯
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 _\  /____________________________                                    | ¯/  \¯
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   Yuffie is the game's first hidden character.  She can join your ranks as
early as the time you exit the Mythril Mines, but you can get her at just about
any subsequent point in the game if you pass up that opportunity.  Basically,
walk around any forested area on the world map and fight around until you enter
a battle with the Mystery Ninja.  Her level will be directly proportionate to
the rest of your teams', but the fight will still be laughably easy.

   After the fight, you find yourself in a small clearing with Yuffie and a save
point.  Let me first indicate that you should under no circumstances use said
save point or, for that matter, take your eyes off of Yuffie at any time.
Instead, talk to her.  If you follow the correct conversation path, she will
join you.  The responses you must give are: "Not interested.", "...petrified.",
"Wait a second!", "That's right.", and "Let's hurry on."


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 _\  /_ |                    E. Enlisting Vincent                     | ¯/  \¯
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 _\  /____________________________                                    | ¯/  \¯
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   Getting Vincent isn't too horribly difficult, but the side quest prerequisite
is.  In order to recruit Vincent, the game's second hidden character, onto your
team, you must have first opened the safe at the Shinra Mansion and acquired the
Key to the Basement.  For details on this, refer to section IV.A. of the FAQ.
That being done, head down to the basement and look for the locked room located
in the tunnel to the library.  Inside, you'll find several coffins.  Pop open
the one in the middle to find... a person?  Well, I'm sure we're all used to
finding people in coffins- just not living, breathing ones.

   Given that he's been locked up in a coffin in the basement of this freak show
for years on end, you are correct in assuming that the following conversation is
a little less than sane.  He goes on about atoning himself and something-rather.
However, if you bring up Sephiroth to him, his mood changes.  He leaps about
ninety feet into the air and does the coolest back flip you've ever seen.  As he
stands perched on his coffin, you tell him your story, and it pretty much ticks
him off.  Apparently, it's just one more thing for him to worry about, and he
returns to his sleep, more angered now than before.

   Pry for more answers.  Pop open his coffin again and ask for his name.  He
introduces himself as Vincent, a former member of the Turks.  He claims he has
nothing to do with the Shinra now, and then brings up a lady named Lucrecia.
Vincent claims that Lucrecia was the woman who gave birth to Sephiroth during
the Jenova Project.  Lucrecia was a beautiful woman and Professor Gast's
assistant, at the time.  Vincent claims that his sin was not preventing all of
it from happening, and is angered with himself for letting the woman he loved go
through all of that.  Apparently, sleeping in a coffin is going to make things
better again.  And no amount of talking to you is going to change his mind any
further.  Leave him.

   Don't worry, though.  As you try to leave the mansion, Vincent has a change
of heart and approaches you.  He asks that if he comes with you, will he meet
Hojo?  Cloud responds that you are after him and Sephiroth.  Wow, Cloud?  Since
when were we after that lunatic?  As far as I can recall, we were after
Sephiroth and the Shinra.  Whatever.  Maybe he was just lying to get Vincent to
join up with the group.  The bottom line is that you now have a powerful new
ally in Vincent.


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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                       F. Tifa's Piano                       | ¯/  \¯
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 _\  /____________________________                                    | ¯/  \¯
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   Back at Nibelheim, you may or may not remember the piano in Tifa's room.  It,
like the rest of the village, somehow remained strangely unaffected by the
raging inferno that tore through the place five years ago.  And, if you travel
back to Nibelheim, the thing is still there, just begging to be played.  For the
most part, you just screw around on it.  Or, perhaps, if you're good with music,
you can come up with a really catchy tune.  But that's not what's important.
There are two very kick-ass items to be found somewhere near this piano.

   The first is a lost-forever, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  You
must come here during section III.G. of the FAQ before traveling to Mideel.
Just check the piano, and Tifa finds an ~Elemental materia just mysteriously
lying around.  And, strangely enough, it will have disappeared if you come back
later.  Odd.

  Anyways, the second (and more widely-known) use of Tifa's Piano becomes
available to you immediately upon entering section III.H. of the FAQ.  Return to
Tifa's house at Nibelheim once more (with Tifa in your party, of course) and
take a look at the piano.  Choose to play it, and it is imperative that you play
it without the musical notations on the side of the screen (so, choose "I
remember" instead of "I forgot).  Now think back to the Flashback at Kalm.  If,
by any chance, you directed Cloud into this room and made him play on the piano,
you had two options.  One was to jam on it, and the other to just play a little.
You probably didn't choose the "played a little" option, because it didn't give
you control over the piano.  Cloud just played a little tune and then walked
away.  Do you remember that tune?  I thought not.  Here ya go:

   Do-Re-Mi-Ti-La-Do-Re-Mi-So-Fa-Do-Re-Do

   Play that song, and then stop playing the piano.  Tifa mentions that she has
the sheet music to that song and pulls it out.  Guess what she finds inside?
Why, it's a note to her from her teacher, Zangan.  It talks about that day
Nibelheim burned in the fire, and how Zangan, seeing the destruction, ran
towards the reactor to take out Sephiroth.  Instead, he found Tifa lying there
hurt and decided to help her, instead.  At about this time, Hojo arrived with
some troops and ordered them to search the reactor for bodies to use in his
twisted experiments (which proves my earlier hypothesis), so Zangan did the wise
thing and got Tifa out of there.  Zangan did his best to heal Tifa with cure
spells, but failed miserably because we all know how much fighters suck at using
magic.  So he went to Midgar to find a doctor for her.  But when he came back to
Nibelheim, Tifa was gone and the village had been populated by creepy hooded
freaks of nature.  So, he left Tifa this note and her Final Heaven limit break,
knowing that she was still alive out there somewhere and hoping she would come
back and find it.  Sweet!


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 _\  /_ |                      G. The Back Room                       | ¯/  \¯
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 _\  /____________________________                                    | ¯/  \¯
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   Another minor detail that you may or may not have noticed is the roped-off
section of the item shop at Cosmo Canyon.  It blocks off access to the back room
of the shop, which contains an Elixir, Magic Source, and the Full Cure materia.
However, you can't travel back there when the rope is up, because you all know
that our intrepid warriors could never brave the dangers of sneaking past a
Goddamned rope.  The rope comes down after you get the Highwind, however, so any
time you would like to fly down to Cosmo Canyon and fetch these items
would be fine and dandy with me.


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   Lots happens at the advent of section III.G. of the walkthrough.  The obvious
aside, the guy over at Costa Del sol who once sold you weapons has since
upgraded his inventory.  Because in his final days, he'd just like to bring
death to as many living creatures as possible.  The weapons he offers are nice,
but you should compare and contrast the weapons he offers with the buys
available at Mideel for the best value for your gil.  It should also be
mentioned that the materia shop here has also upgraded its inventory, but
there's nothing there that you haven't seen before.


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 _\  /_ |                  I. Mideel's White Chocobo                  | ¯/  \¯
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   The white chocobo has been a recurring theme in most Final Fantasy games.
The white chocobo is a very rare type of chocobo, appearing only in certain
places and serving special purposes.  Final Fantasy VII is no exception.
Hanging around Mideel (depending on what point in the game you have reached,
there are two places in Mideel at which you can find the adorably cute white
chocobo (though it shouldn't be horribly difficult for you to locate, either
way).  The white chocobo likes Mimmett Greens, which you can purchase back at
the Chocobo Ranch (even though the game calls them something else, for some
strange reason).  After feeding it some Mimmett Greens, take Chocobo Chloe's
advice and scratch it behind the ears.  Your reward is the ~Contain materia.


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   After reaching section III.H. of the FAQ, you may feel the need to mosey on
back towards Midgar.  As you might recall, the city is locked up (which really
helps to explain the crapty merchandise that is sold there, when you think about
it.  Free trade tends to be somewhat hampered by stuff like that).  Anyways,
you'll see a guy loitering around outside the city, and he must be important
because he has (well, had) a key to the city.  Either that, or these things are
just handed out to every bottom-rung citizen around, I don't know.  But, the
bottom line is that he appears to have lost that key on some excavation tour.
And lucky you, there's really only one excavation site in the entire world, and
video game logic dictates that that's where you're going to find the Key to
Sector Five.

   I was talking about Bone Village, in case you haven't guessed that already.
Go there and tell the foreman that you're looking for "normal treasure" to
unearth the Key to Sector Five.

   You are now free to travel in and out of Midgar as you wish, though the only
places you can really go to are Sector Five, Sector Six, and the area between
them.  Still, there are a few things to be done (aside from just having fun
talking to the citizens about the impending disaster and all).  First and
foremost, there is a flyer mentioned in section V.A. of the FAQ (Flyer #1, to be
exact) that if you missed it earlier, you'll finally have the chance to go take
a look at it now.  With that out of the way, mosey on towards Wall Market.  And
don't worry about the enemies- they're the same ones you fought during Disc 1.
These enemies trying to take you on now is the literal equivalent of attacking a
Panzer with a whiffle bat.

   Not much is happening at Wall Market, but the weapon shop owner's pile of
junk appears to have gotten much larger.  Apparently, he has been scavenging the
Sector Seven wreckage for more parts.  If you go talk to him, he'll say that he
has something to sell you, but he won't tell you what it is until you buy it.
"Is it another piece of garbage you found?" Cloud correctly assumes.  Yes, but
in a video game, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, I suppose.  And if you've
got the gil to spare, I strongly recommend you buy the item, which turns out to
be the Sneak Glove.  However, I strongly advise against engaging in similar
business deals in real life.

   The other thing you can do here is head on over to that automated item shop.
You know, the one with the malfunctioning security gun that almost blew your
head off when you tried to use it earlier?  Well, someone in your party will get
the bright idea to try and fix it, and they actually somewhat succeeds.  The
thing will dispense Tifa's ~Premium Heart before finally breaking down for good.

   Other than that, there is nothing left for you here, so you should be
leaving.


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 _\  /_ |                      K. Lucrecia's Cave                     | ¯/  \¯
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   Nestled deep within the mountains of the western continent is a small,
tranquil, circular lake (which is strikingly similar to the one near Junon).
You may have passed by this place before in the Tiny Bronco, as this is where
the main river flowing through the western continent originates.  However, it
feeds from a small waterfall, so the lake itself is off-limits until you have
bred yourself at least a mountain chocobo (refer to section IX. Of the FAQ for
more information on chocobo breeding).  Approach the top waterfall from the
mountainside and disembark just slightly to the left of it (there should be a
small strip of parkable land surrounding the lake).  Just behind this waterfall
is the cave where Lucrecia awaits, but it isn't going to do you any good unless
Vincent is with you when you go.  This means that completing section V.D. of the
FAQ is an additional prerequisite to this task.

   Inside the crystalline cave, Vincent will see Lucrecia and run towards her,
but she tells him to stop and not come any closer.  Then, the scene flashes back
to Nibelheim.  You'll see several scientists approaching the Shinra Mansion,
accompanied by a Turk.  And that Turk... why yes, that's Vincent.  Anyways, it's
really no secret that Vincent had the hots for Lucrecia, and you'll see several
cutscenes of Vincent talking to her.  This is followed, of course, by a scene
where Vincent watches Lucrecia in the arms of one of the scientists.  And yes, I
do believe that scientist is Dr. Hojo, which might explain why Vincent has this
undying urge to kill him.

   Further into the flashback, Lucrecia is slated to be the one to give birth to
Sephiroth.  Vincent, of course, protests this.  Nobody, including Lucrecia,
listens to him, though.  "Why not?  We're both scientists!" she replies.  By
"both", I assume that she's referring to herself and Hojo.  Gast's only part in
this whole business, apparently, was orchestrating it.  It is interesting to
note how Gast and Hojo actually once worked together, though.  But, what Gast
lacked in pure insanity, Hojo apparently made up for.  This is demonstrated in a
scene in the basement of the Shinra Mansion, where you'll see Vincent pleading
with Hojo to please stop this madness.  Hojo, tiring of Vincent's sanity, shoots
him.  Then, Hojo patches Vincent up and turns him into... well, whatever he is
today.  This means that the mad scientist who came up with that little game back
at the Shinra Mansion was none other than Hojo himself.  And admit it, when you
think about it, it had to take a nut job like Hojo to do something like that.
What exactly Hojo did to Vincent remains unsaid, but it's enough to make Vincent
transform into monsters at will, so it must be pretty bad, at least.

   Vincent, rather than being angry about the whole situation, accepts it as his
punishment for failing to stop Hojo and Gast and allowing Sephiroth to be born
and the woman he loved to suffer.  Lucrecia tells Sephiroth that she came to
this cave because she wanted to be alone.  Truthfully, she wanted to crawl into
a hole and die, but the Jenova cells within her wouldn't let her, so here she
is, alive and alone.  Lucrecia expresses her guilt about never having been a
real mother to Sephiroth, which is something she should have actually expected
from the very beginning, I suppose.  She asks Vincent if Sephiroth is actually
dead.  Cloud steps forward to answer, but Vincent stops him.  Then, he calmly
replies that Sephiroth is indeed dead, and the scene ends.

   You'll exit the cave with no real bonus to speak of.  Those will have to be
earned during your second trip there.  Lucky for you, you can make that return
trip any time you wish, providing that at least ten battles' worth of time has
passed since your first visit.  Return to the cave once more with Vincent in
your part and approach the area where Lucrecia stood.  Vincent will find the
Death Penalty and Chaos, his ultimate weapon and limit break, respectively.


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section V: Little Secrets|/ /\ \
 _\  /_ |                                    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                    L. Da-Chao Fire Cave                     | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                     | / /\ \
 _\  /____________________________                                    | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section V: Little Secrets|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


   You might have noticed that cave at the Da-Chao mountain range (at Wutai)
which was burning with some sort of eternal flame that your team for some reason
was unable to extinguish through conventional means.  Yeah, you remember.  Well,
anyways, when you traveled to the Underwater Reactor at Junon, you should have
made it a point to pick up an item called the Leviathan Scales.  Above all else,
these things are lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  And
just as they. They key to extinguishing the flame inside the Da-Chao Fire Cave
are lost-forevers, as are the items to be found inside it.

   Lucky for you, there's little work involved.  Just head to the Da-Chao
mountains, head into the cave, and march bravely towards the flames.  Before you
incinerate to a crisp, the Leviathan Scales react and a part of the fire dies.
You'll have to do this a few times to put out all the flames and grab both items
inside the cave.  However, the cave is very small, and the only two items inside
the cave (the Oritsuru and the Steal as Well materia) seem to be the source of
the deadly flames.  While neither appear to be flammable in battle, they can
certainly help to have around.  Grab them, and then blow this popsicle stand.
And don't bother wondering about the flames, because it's just one of those
things that doesn't make sense and never will.


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section V: Little Secrets|/ /\ \
 _\  /_ |                                    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |               M. Benefits of the Huge Materia               | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~               | / /\ \
 _\  /____________________________                                    | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section V: Little Secrets|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


   A good chunk of your quest later in the game is spent going around collecting
Huge Materia.  There are four to be found, and all four are lost-forevers, as
mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  Despite how huge these things are, your
team really doesn't seem to mind lugging them around with them wherever they go.
And believe me, it's going to raise a few eyebrows when you reach into your
pockets and pull out four objects twice as big as you are.

   But that's more or less exactly what happens.  Later in the game, you will
revisit Cosmo Canyon, and Bugenhagen will let you use his observatory to store
the Huge Materia.  He doesn't find anything odd about how you were able to carry
them up to this point, but I suppose when you're a 129 year-old guy who floats
through the air and converses with a dog, there isn't too much left that can
shock you.  The huge materia don't do too much except float around the
observatory and glow whenever you get near them, but they can pose a few
benefits if you know what to do with them.

   First and foremost, you can obtain the ~Bahamut ZERO materia from the blue
Huge Materia.  Choose the option to get near it, and it will react to the
Bahamut and Neo Bahamut materia and form you the Bahamut ZERO materia.
Obviously, if you do not have the Bahamut and the Neo Bahamut materia for the
Huge Materia to react to, you cannot receive the Bahamut ZERO materia.

   As for the other three Huge Materia, they are the keys to receiving
additional Master Magic, Master Command, and Master Summon materia.  I say
"additional", because in the American version of Final Fantasy VII, you are
rewarded with a free set for your troubles in section IV.E. of the FAQ.
However, in dealing with the Huge Materia, I should warn you that there is a
huge catch, which is that in obtaining the Master materia for any given color,
you must present it with the complete set of materia for that color, all at
mastered level.  Those materia will be sacrificed to form the master materia.
You can obtain as many Master materia you'd like through this manner, but given
the astronomical amount of effort that must go into something you can get for
practically free elsewhere, do think this through beforehand.

   One last thing I should mention is something I discussed earlier in the lost-
forevers section, and that is that regardless of which missions you fail, you
will always receive the huge materia in the same order, and therefore always
miss out on the same ones depending on how many of missions you fail in your
quest to rescue the huge materia.  That order again is: green, yellow, red,
blue.  Knowing how the quests take place, the only possible explanation as to
how it is even remotely possible that the green huge materia is destroyed and
then somehow miraculously retrieved in the next mission is that huge materia is
so huge as to cause a rip in the space-time continuum, which perhaps may explain
how you can fit four of them into your bags at once.

   Anyways, when you have finished with your business here, just select the "go
back down" option from the little menu of possible things to do to the Huge
Materia, and continue with your quest.


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section V: Little Secrets|/ /\ \
 _\  /_ |                                    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                  N. Return to Shinra H.Q.                   | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                   | / /\ \
 _\  /____________________________                                    | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section V: Little Secrets|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


   Your return trip to Shinra H.Q. isn't nearly as spectacular as your first
mission there.  Rather, it's more of a brief intermission during your raid on
Midgar later in the game.  As you make your way through the sewers of Midgar,
you can deviate from the path towards the center of Midgar.  You'll reach a
ladder which will take you up to the center of the city, and lands you almost
directly in front of Shinra H.Q.  And, as you may recall, this place just got
toasted earlier.  But looking at it, you'd never know.

   As you approach the building, Cait Sith (if he's not in your group, that is),
comes hopping out, saying that this isn't the way to the cannon!  Well, we know
that.  But just what the hell were you doing here, then, Cait Sith!?
Conspiratorial bastard!  As for you, just head on inside.  Note that even though
there are enemies here, they are the same ones you fought during your original
trip.  Meaning that every battle will be a fun and massive slaughterfest on your
part.

   The place seems eerily deserted, but there are still a few employees
loitering about on a few floors.  The giant glass elevator still works, but it
won't take you any higher than the 65th floor, because all of the above floors
were presumably destroyed when Weapon struck.  Or were they?  Note that you can
take the staircase as high as the 69th floor (though you cannot actually
disembark on any floor above the 65th).  Perhaps the creepiest thing is not how
most of Shinra H.Q. has remained mysteriously intact after being noticeably
blown up, but that they have yet to clean up the trail of blood leading up to
the 69th floor.  You know, the one that Sephiroth left there when he mercilessly
slaughtered everyone in the building a couple weeks ago?  Jesus, with 5,000
employees, can't they hire a friggin' janitor to clean this mess up?  How can
they just ignore something like that, especially when people have to work here?
Can you even begin to imagine what it does to employee morale when your place of
business is thoroughly stained and soaked with the spilt blood of the innocent?
Though it does help to explain why the place is mostly deserted...

   As for what you can do here (besides gaping in awe and disgust at the
deliberately-neglected remnants of the bloody massacre, I suppose)... well,
first and foremost, all of the items here are lost-forevers, as mentioned in
section I.F. of the FAQ.  That being said, you may want to check out that ~flyer
on the bulletin board in the back of the first floor if you haven't already (I
talk more about these flyers in section V.A. of the FAQ).  Secondly, the item
shop has now become completely automated, possibly because whoever used to work
there resigned in fear and shame.   But this means you can raid the two treasure
chests there for their contents, which include the Master Fist and the Pile
Banger.  Also note that you can head to the 63rd floor and grab the Glow Lance
lying around.  Finally, you can raid the lockers at the gym on the 64th floor to
find Cait Sith's HP Shout.

   That's all, so you may now return to your regularly-scheduled saving of the
world from the crazy man and his giant canon.


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 _\  /_ |                                    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |              O. Cosmo Canyon Revisited (Again)              | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~               | / /\ \
 _\  /____________________________                                    | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section V: Little Secrets|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


   Near the very end of the game (after reaching Disc 3), do yourself a favor
and head back to Cosmo Canyon once more, and be sure to take Red XIII along.
Upon entering town, Gate Guy will take notice and mention that Bugenhagen hasn't
been looking so well since he got back.  Red XIII bolts out of the party and
towards Bugenhagen's observatory.  You should follow.  When you get there,
you'll see Red XIII calling out for Bugenhagen.  When he learns that Bugenhagen
is upstairs, you get a rare view of seeing Red XIII effortlessly climb a ladder
up to where Bugenhagen is.  Cloud and the other person on the team wisely leave
Red XIII and Bugenhagen alone, and a dialog between the two ensues.

   Red XIII says that he refuses to leave Bugenhagen in such a bad shape while
he is off fighting to save the planet, saying that his duty, first and foremost,
is to protect Cosmo Canyon and the people in it.  Bugenhagen points out (in a
rather mindless manner) that Red XIII's true mission in life is much deeper than
that, and that there is a huge world out there that Red XIII should explore,
blah, blah, blah.  He entirely stops making sense after that point, but he does
reaffirm the fact that Red XIII needs to go with Cloud and the group.  He also
gives Red XIII the Limited Moon.

   Down by the giant bonfire at Cosmo Canyon, Red XIII's two teammates await
him.  He'll come sauntering up to the fire and says that Bugenhagen is "going
away" again.  Bugenhagen had said that he was so fascinated with the machinery
and the splendor of the Highwind that he just couldn't stand being cooped up any
longer, and that he just up and left.  And Red XIII truly believes this, which
really saddens me.  Just when I was beginning to think that he was the smart
one, too.  He also mentions that Bugenhagen gave him this nifty present before
leaving.  "But wait," Red XIII thinks.  Aren't people supposed to give presents
after they get back?  "Ha, ha, Grandpa sure is strange," he says.  I don't think
Red XIII quite gets it.  You're grandpa isn't strange- he's dead.  Jesus!


    BTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTB
    T  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /   T
    B / \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \  B
    T \  *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*  \ T
    B /\ | ~VI~                                                 ~VI~ | \/ B
    T \  *                                                           *  \ T
    B /\ |                    VI. Level-Up Spots                     | \/ B
    T \  *                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                     *  \ T
    B /\ | ~VI~                                                 ~VI~ | \/ B
    T \  *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*  \ T
    B  \ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ / B
    T   /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  T
    BTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTB


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section VI: Level-Up Spots|/ /\ \
 _\  /_ |                                   ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                          A. Mideel                          | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                          ~~~~~~~~~                          | / /\ \
 _\  /_____________________________                                   | ¯/  \¯
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   A favorite level-up spot for many is the jungles around Mideel.  This is a
practical and easily-available spot with easy to kill enemies that offer
excellent AP for the buck.  For more on the enemies you will be battling, refer
to the appropriate section of the walkthrough, but do make it a note to stay
within the jungles to fight the enemies you will be wanting to face.  You will
also find yourself winning large amounts of Ethers from the battles.  For brief
materia level-up sessions earlier in the game, I wholly recommend this area.
However, you will find that you can receive more AP for your time, and a vastly
higher amount of experience overall from the level-up spot mentioned below in
section VI.B..  The only reason that you would opt for this area over the
aforementioned one is that you will find yourself effortlessly hitting level 99
in said kick-ass level-up spot, which tends to detract from the game's
challenge.  But if you want to master all of that materia, it may be worth it
for the time-reduction benefits alone (it takes a looooooong time to level up
all your materia around Mideel).


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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |             B. The Final Cave (Marshy Section)              | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~              | / /\ \
 _\  /_____________________________                                   | ¯/  \¯
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   A small section of the Final Cave, more specifically the first portion of the
upper-left path past the fork, is home to a number of enemies that make this
place hands-down the best place in the game to level-up.  For more on the
various enemies around here, refer to the appropriate portion of the
walkthrough, but at the moment, we will be focusing strictly on two enemies: the
Magic Pot and the Movers.  The Movers are great for the experience and AP, but
admittedly rare.  Be thankful when you encounter them, dispatch them in a timely
manner, and that's enough of them.  The Magic Pots are a different story,
however.  As easy as they are to kill, note that each requires one Elixir to
dispatch.  And, well, Elixirs don't necessarily grow on trees.  There are two
solutions to this problem.  The first is to procure more Elixirs, referring to
section XIX.B. of the FAQ for more on that.  The second, and far more
preferable, route is to simply take one Elixir and make infinite copies of it
using the cheat detailed in section XIX.D. of the FAQ.  Whichever decision you
make is up to you, but in conclusion, regardless of your decision, this is still
by far the most effective place to level up in the late game, both in terms of
AP and exp.


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 _\  /_ |                                   ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                       C. The Gelnika                        | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                        | / /\ \
 _\  /_____________________________                                   | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section VI: Level-Up Spots|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


   The Gelnika isn't really the best place to be leveling-up in terms of
experience or AP, but it is a good place to find certain items (refer to section
XIX.B. of the FAQ for more information).  Furthermore, given the extreme power
of the enemies around here, the Gelnika makes an excellent place to build your
limit bar, and subsequently to earn new limit breaks (so long as you exercise
caution).  Do yourself a favor and refer to section IV.D. of the FAQ for more
information on the difficult enemies here before attempting a level-up session
here.

    BTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTB
    T  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /   T
    B / \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \  B
    T \  *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*  \ T
    B /\ | ~VII~                                               ~VII~ | \/ B
    T \  *                                                           *  \ T
    B /\ |                     VII. Date Night                       | \/ B
    T \  *                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                       *  \ T
    B /\ | ~VII~                                               ~VII~ | \/ B
    T \  *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*  \ T
    B  \ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ / B
    T   /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  T
    BTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTB


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section VII: Date Night|/ /\ \
 _\  /_ |                                      ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                       A. The Factors                        | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                        | / /\ \
 _\  /__________________________                                      | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section VII: Date Night|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
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   What, you don't think Cloud can be surrounded by all these beautiful women
who obviously like him without something happening, do you?  At a certain point
in the game, Cloud will indeed be treated to a date with one of the other
characters on the team.  Just which character this date occurs with is
determined my a myriad of seemingly meaningless decisions you will make in the
early game.  The possible candidates of this date are: Aeris, Tifa, Yuffie, and
Barret (and no, nothing homoerotic occurs here, and he doesn't wear the sailor
suit, but it is quite funny).  Basically, the system for determining who dates
you is simple.  Your actions will either have a positive or negative effect on
certain characters' feelings towards you.  Come date night, the results are
tallied up, and whomever comes out on top will come to see Cloud.  Aeris and
Tifa are considered to be the "default" dates, and are the easiest dates to
achieve.  Furthermore, theirs will be the dates that will tie in much better
with the plot.  Yuffie and Barret, conversely, aren't nearly as fond of Cloud as
Tifa and Aeris initially are.  Not only will you have to work hard to earn their
affection, but you're going to have to be a real prick to everybody else.  On a
final note, Cloud's date has no effect on the plot or the remainder of the game:
it's just a fun little bonus.  So shoot for whomever you'd like.  The situations
in which your decisions can affect how a character feels about you are as
follows (and for the more complicated ones, appropriate courses of action are
suggested):


      Despite what you may think, buying a flower from Aeris really has no
   effect on her one way or another.  However, the flower itself can be used to
   score points with Tifa or Barret (see later).  To buy a flower from her,
   first respond with "nothing," and then, "I don't see any flowers around
   here."

   ---

      When Jesse talks to you on the train, a reply of "I'm looking forward to
   it," will lower Tifa's opinion of you.

   ---

      At Tifa's Seventh Heaven, you can give the flower you may have bought to
   either Tifa or Marlene.  Giving it to Tifa (obviously) garners her favor of
   you, while handing it to Marlene will make Barret happy.  If you're shooting
   for anyone other than Tifa, hand the flower to Marlene.

   ---

      When Barret heads down to start the meeting, you are left alone with Tifa
   at the bar.  Talk to her and she asks if you want a drink.  Accept, and her
   opinion of you goes up.

   ---

      Later, Tifa will yell out you for walking out on your childhood friend.
   Interestingly enough, if Cloud responds with a sharp, "how can you say
   that!?", Tifa will like him more.

   ---

      This is an easy one.  Tifa asks you the next morning how you slept.  "Next
   to you, who wouldn't?" may seem a little straightforward (and it really
   seems to catch Tifa off-guard), but it will raise her opinion of you.  On
   the other hand, a reply of "Barret's snoring kept me up," for some reason
   will raise Barret's opinion of you.  Again, if you're going for anyone other
   than Tifa, respond with, "Barret's snoring kept me up."

   ---

      Think that teaching Barret how to use materia will make him like you any
   better?  You're dead wrong.  It has no effect at all.

   ---

      When the train enters security lockdown mode, making it all the way to the
   front car will raise both Tifa's and Barret's opinion of you.  Whether
   you're shooting for Tifa or for Barret, this is a good move.

   ---

      Cloud will end up dangling from a ledge.  If he chooses to "be strong"
   about it, Barret's opinion will go up.  On the other hand, is he says "he
   doesn't know if he can hang on", Tifa's opinion will go up at the expense of
   Barret's.  To make a tired point, if you're aiming for anyone other than
   Tifa, be a man and be strong.

   ---

      Another interesting note, the conversation you have with Aeris in the
   church really has no effect on her one way or another, which is amusing,
   given some of the blatantly rude things you can say to her.  However, the
   following scenario does have an effect on her (when you have to push the
   barrels to stop the Turks encroachment).  Basically, the worse you screw up,
   the more detrimental effect it's going to have on Aeris's opinion of you.
   She gets mad when she has to do things like fend for herself, or when you
   act like an idiot and push the wrong barrel (the latter will really piss her
   off).  Of course, do things right, and she'll like you even more.  And hey,
   don't sweat it either way- Aeris has the highest initial affection rating
   for Cloud, so don't kick yourself if you screw this one up (just watch your
   step later).

   ---

      This is another easy one.  Aeris asks you if Tifa is your girlfriend.  Say
   yes, and obviously her opinion of you goes down (though it has no affect on
   Tifa's opinion of you).  On the other hand, a reply of no will cause it to
   go up.

   ---

      When you make it to the playground at Sector Six, you're given the option
   of taking Aeris home or not.  Don't worry, because no matter how you
   respond, she isn't going anywhere.  Of course, if you don't even suggest
   taking her back, she's going to like you better.

   ---

      Ok, this one's really complicated.  Don Corneo will choose either Cloud,
   Aeris, or Tifa as his... "date"...  In the event that Tifa is chosen, you
   will go to meet up with Aeris.  Your response of "We've gotta help Tifa!" is
   taken as a blow to Aeris's opinion of you while asking her if she's all
   right will make her like you better.  In the event that Aeris is chosen, it
   works exactly in the opposite manner, for some odd reason.  Tifa actually
   will like you better if you respond with "We've gotta help Aeris!", and will
   for some reason like you less if you ask her if she's all right.  Finally,
   if Cloud is chosen as the Don's date, you have the option to score some
   points with Barret.  Tell the Don that there's "somebody else", and then
   finger that somebody else as Barret.  Nothing else in this scenario has any
   effect on anyone's opinion of you, so go nuts.  As for the best choices you
   can make?  Obviously, if you're aiming for Barret, you're going to want to
   dress Cloud up all the way so that Corneo chooses him as a date.  For
   Yuffie, make little attempt to dress Cloud up, and when Tifa is chosen as
   the Don's date, take advantage of the opportunity to piss Aeris off (as she
   has more affection for Cloud that needs to be destroyed than Tifa does).
   For Tifa or Aeris... all in all, it doesn't really matter.  Tifa and Aeris
   both give you many opportunities to win their favor, so if you're aiming for
   a date with either of them, expect to win it by a long shot.  So if you
   really want to see Don Corneo hit on Cloud, go for it.  Or, if he chooses
   either Aeris or Tifa as his date, take the appropriate action.  And have
   fun, you cross-dressing weirdo.

   ---

      When you land in the sewer beneath Sector Six, you've gotta go help both
   Aeris and Tifa to their feet.  Whomever you go to first will have a higher
   opinion of you.  If you're aiming for anyone other than Aeris, help Tifa
   first.

   ---

      Later, Marlene will hint as to whether or not Aeris likes you.  This is
   another easy one, and the results of your response are obvious.  "I don't
   know" raises Tifa's opinion of you while lowering Aeris's, and "Let's hope
   so" has the exact opposite effect.  Either way, expect Marlene to call you
   stupid... brat...  And it goes without saying that unless you're aiming for
   Aeris, you should choose the "I don't know" response.

   ---

      When you first meet Red XIII, you have to choose between Barret or Tifa to
   fight with you  Choose Tifa to fight with you, and Barret's opinion will go
   up.  Choose Barret, and Tifa's opinion will go down.  All in all, choosing
   Tifa is the best choice unless you're trying to get a date with Yuffie.

   ---

      After the battle mentioned above, your party splits up.  Whomever you
   include in your party (Aeris, Tifa, or Barret) will have a higher opinion of
   you.  Red XIII is a nice option to place in your party if you don't want
   anyone muscling in on your affection points.  Then again, if you're shooting
   for Tifa or Aeris, there's very little harm in taking Barret along for the
   ride, as well.  And if Yuffie or Barret is who you're shooting for, the best
   option you can take here is to take Barret and Red XII with you and send the
   girls off on their own.

   ---

      This's a big one, and can likely single-handedly make or break you.  When
   you're in the jail cell with Tifa, she asks you if you can break out.
   "Leave it to me," curries her favor and "kinda hard" lessens her opinion of
   you.  The catch?  You can do it as many times as you'd like, meaning right
   here, right now, you can completely destroy her reputation of you, or build
   it up as high as you'd like.  The latter is a good option if Tifa is whom
   you're after, especially if you've gone and screwed up already and made a
   few wrong choices.  The former is an excellent idea for anyone else.  Take
   note that it is still possible to win a date with any character you'd like
   without exploiting this fact.  Also take note that you can only destroy
   Tifa's opinion so much before it hits zero and isn't going to go down any
   further, and that there are still plenty of opportunities to bring it back
   up.  The reverse holds true, as well.

   ---

      Still in jail, you're given the opportunity to wonder about how everyone
   else is doing.  The first person you wonder about likes you a lot more,
   while the second person likes you a little bit more.  The third person will
   have no adjustment to their opinion of you.  If you're aiming for Barret,
   think about: Barret, Red XIII, then Aeris.  For Aeris, reverse the order
   (Aeris, Red XIII, Barret).  For Tifa or Yuffie, the best choice is: Red
   XIII, Barret, Aeris.

   ---

      When you leave Midgar, your party splits into two groups.  The same rules
   apply here as when you did this earlier at Shinra H.Q. (see above) with one
   exception.  There are a few options you'll get at Kalm (mentioned later)
   that can have positive or negative effects on whomever is with you at the
   time.  Meaning that Barret and Red XIII are still the best characters to
   have on hand if you're aiming for Barret, but if it's Yuffie you're after,
   you'll want to take Tifa and Aeris along to take advantage of the
   opportunity to piss them both off

   ---

      When Barret tells you to get a move on, you get three possible replies.
   The one that curries his favor the most is "beautiful, just beautiful."
   Detrimental to his opinion of you is, "is that all?"

   ---

      At Kalm, there are two conversation options which will raise/lower the
   opinion of whomever is in your party, though they have the most pronounced
   effects on Barret.  You're going to have to hunt down these people yourself,
   however- they don't just come up to you.  Secondly, their affects are not
   cumulative, as with Tifa in the jail cell.  The first is a woman who says
   that mako energy is convenient.  Agreeing pisses your characters off while
   disagreeing makes them like you better.  There's also a girl who says that
   maybe the old life was better.  Agree to score some brownie points with your
   characters, or disagree to tick them off.

   ---

      This here's another common mistake, so it's worthy of mention.  No matter
   how Cloud responds to Tifa during the flashback at Kalm, her opinion of him
   is not affected in any way, not matter what he says.

   ---

      During your first visit to Fort Condor, you have an other opportunity to
   garner favor with or piss off whomever is in your party.  It probably in
   your best interest to take along whoever you'd like to win favor with, as
   well as Red XIII.  When you talk to the old guy inside, first agree to
   listen to his story, and then agree to help him.  Both responses will have
   positive affects on whomever is in your party (especially Barret).
   Alternatively, replies of "not interested" at any time will have a
   detrimental effect.

   ---

      Here's another big one.  It's when (and if) you meet Yuffie.  You have to
   take a certain conversation path in order for her to join you (refer to
   section V.D of the FAQ for more information).  For each correct response,
   her opinion of you goes up.  Incorrect replies have no effect on her opinion
   of you, but you fail at getting her (and you need to try again).  You can
   keep doing this over and over to raise her opinion of you.  However, much
   like Tifa in the jail cell: don't get cocky.  There's still plenty of room
   to screw up.  And also much like Tifa in the jail cell, it's completely
   possible to win a date with Yuffie without resorting to this devious method.

   ---

      On the Shinra Boat, you'll learn something about Yuffie (if she has joined
   your group by this time).  It seems that she takes to motion sickness quite
   easily.  If you talk to her and either don't have a Tranquilizer handy, or
   you just won't give her one, her opinion of you goes down.  It goes up if
   you give her one, though.

   ---

      On the Shinra Boat, Aeris asks you about the airship.  Tell her that
   you'll take her someday, and she likes you better.  The other response has
   the opposite effect.

   ---

      Also on the Shinra Boat, Tifa makes a comment about war.  Your reply of
   "yeah..." raises her opinion of you while the other one will lower it.

   ---

      Have fun in Costa Del Sol and Mt. Corel.  Nothing you do in either place,
   despite what you may think, has any effect on anyone's opinion of you.

   ---

      At the Gold Saucer, the character you choose to accompany you will have a
   higher opinion of you.  Choose the appropriate character, or Red XIII if
   it's Barret you want to date.

   ---

      Whomever you choose to accompany you and Barret to go see Dyne will have a
   higher opinion of you.  Choose whomever is appropriate, again Red XIII or
   Cait Sith if it's Barret you want to date.  Note that Aeris's boost in her
   opinion of you if you choose her is substantial.

   ---

      In Gongaga, you've got yet another opportunity to either score some points
   with or really piss off Aeris and/or Tifa.  When you go meet Zach's
   parent's, both of them (if they are with you) will leave in a startled huff.
   Exiting the building, you can either talk to Aeris, Tifa, both of them, or
   ignore them (in ignoring them, you leave the village before finding them and
   talking to them).  Obviously, ignoring either one will tick them off.
   Talking to Tifa, no matter what you say, raises her opinion of you.  Talking
   to Aeris will give you two options.  The response that will raise her
   opinion of you the most is "(...jealous....envious).

   ---

      Yet another common mistake, your selection of who to take with you into
   the observatory at Cosmo Canyon will have no effect on things as a whole.

   ---

      Lastly, completing the Wutai side quest will result in a hefty bonus to
   Yuffie's opinion of you.  If you play through this side quest, you'll
   figure out why.  And, if you're looking to date Yuffie, you're strongly
   advised to do this side quest as soon as it becomes available (though,
   unless it's Barret you're after, I'd advise you to do it ASAP, anyways)...


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section VII: Date Night|/ /\ \
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 _\  /_ |                        B. The Dates                         | ¯/  \¯
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 _\  /__________________________                                      | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section VII: Date Night|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
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   And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: the results!  Of Cloud's
four possible dates, I will attempt to transcribe the events of each one.  Like
my section dedicated to the ending, I have added these purely out of a need for
completeness, so there's really nothing you need to know here.  However, if you
don't feel like playing through four times to see all four dates, you can at
least see what happens here.  Do note, however, that the movie sequence played
at the Round Square is slightly different for each date, so that alone might be
enough to make you dig out a Gameshark and some cheat codes.  Regardless of your
decisions, the outcomes of all four dates are as follows:


      Aeris is, of course, the prime date candidate.  Thus, her date is the
   flagship date, and the one that will of course tie in most prominently with
   the game's plot as a whole.  This date is also the most interactive date,
   though no matter how much of a jerk you are to her, she just doesn't get
   the point, anyways.  Aeris shows up at your room intent on taking you out on
   a  date.  And she does.  Forcefully.  After shoving you out the door, you
   end up at the station at the Gold Saucer.  A man there tells you that
   tonight is Enchantment Night, and everything is free.  First, you and Aeris
   go to the Event Square, where you are officially declared to be the 100th
   couple of the night, and thus you get to star as the leads in the play.  Let
   me begin by saying that the play runs the exact same for every date (well,
   except for Barret's).  Also, should you find yourself with the overwhelming
   desire to screw the play up (a temptation that is indeed difficult to
   resist), go for it.  This is because your actions during the play will have
   no bearing on what happens during the rest of your date, so do what you
   like.  There are two basic ways the play can end, either with you
   vanquishing the Evil Dragon King and everyone living happily ever after, or
   by you screwing the play up.  This, in turn, will make Aeris mad.  She will
   then slap Cloud and then kick the crap out of the Evil Dragon King.
   Amusing, to say the least.  Whichever you would like to go for is completely
   up to you, and thankfully, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to predict
   which of the lines given to you will lead to which result.  That being said,
   there are a few different ways you can go with your lines, but there's
   actually very little to be seen in the means of variety.  The only
   interesting thing to do is to talk to the knight and ask him to defeat the
   Evil Dragon King.  He tries.  And he gets the crap beaten out of himself.
   It's funny.  Also note that once the knight has gotten his stupid ass
   killed, you still have time to obtain either the "good" or "bad" endings to
   the play.  With the play over, Aeris decides that she is next going to take
   you on the Gondola at the Round Square.  Romantic music plays and you are
   treated to a visual feast of sights and fireworks.  A short while into the
   ride, Aeris begins talking.  She mentions how eerie it is how you and her
   ex-boyfriend look, walk, act, and talk so much alike.  But things are
   different with you, she says.  As the camera zooms out, the conversation
   hits a higher note.  Aeris tells Cloud that she's searching for him... and
   that she'd like to "meet" him.  I'm sure we all know what she's trying to
   say.  Hell, anyone with an intelligence level higher than that of a stapler
   knows what she's trying to say.  Cloud just doesn't get it, though, and the
   date comes to a bit of an anti-climatic end with Aeris promising to take
   Cloud out again sometime.

   ---

      The date with Tifa, for those of you that fancy her, is the best of all
   the dates.  While the date with Aeris fit very well with the plot, and more
   than likely made a lot of you horny, note that Tifa's date works just as
   well.  It's just that it steers the plot in a more Tifa-related direction
   (and if you've gone and earned the date with Tifa, it's kinda obvious who
   you're more interested in, anyways).  You see, rather than focusing on the
   sexual tension that exists between Aeris and Cloud, Tifa's date instead
   gives us a look into Tifa's mind, which is very intriguing in conjunction
   with the game's plot as a whole.  On that note, the date with Tifa is, in my
   opinion, the most heart-warming of them all, if not purely for the way it
   unfolds.  Tifa shows up at Cloud's room, claiming that she thought had about
   what she was going to say, but that it's kind of embarrassing.  Rather, she
   decides to sneak off with Cloud and spend some time with him.  And she's not
   taking "no" for an answer.  You'll end up in the Event Square, where you
   will be again declared to be the 100th couple of the night and forced into
   starring as the leads in the show.  The play itself works in the same way as
   it did when Aeris was with you.  But, I suppose it couldn't hurt to go over
   the details again.  Should you find yourself with the overwhelming desire to
   screw the play up (a temptation that is indeed difficult to resist), go for
   it.  This is because your actions during the play will have no bearing on
   what happens during the rest of your date, so do what you like.  There are
   two basic ways the play can end, either with you vanquishing the Evil Dragon
   King and everyone living happily ever after, or by you screwing the play up.
   This, in turn, will make Tifa mad.  She will then slap Cloud and then kick
   the crap out of the Evil Dragon King.  Amusing, to say the least.  Whichever
   you would like to go for is completely up to you, and thankfully, it doesn't
   take a rocket scientist to predict which of the lines given to you will lead
   to which result.  That being said, there are a few different ways you can go
   with your lines, but there's actually very little to be seen in the means of
   variety.  The only interesting thing to do is to talk to the knight and ask
   him to defeat the Evil Dragon King.  He tries.  And he gets the crap beaten
   out of himself.  It's funny.  Also note that once the knight has gotten his
   stupid ass killed, you still have time to obtain either the "good" or "bad"
   endings to the play.  Anyways, Tifa then drags you onto the gondola at the
   Round Square, and the two of you take in the wondrous sights of the Gold
   Saucer together.  Near the end of the ride, Tifa finally brings herself to
   say what she's been meaning to say.  She says that she's just going to come
   right out and say it, and begins by saying how it's hard being old friends.
   "I mean, timing is everything" she says.  I think we can all guess what it
   is that she's trying to say, but she doesn't say it.  She just goes silent
   and freezes as the ride ends.  The date ends as the two of you get off the
   gondola and Cloud asks Tifa what it is that she was going to say.  She just
   says "nothing" and then makes a comment about how late it's getting.  Nice
   cover, Tifa.

   ---

      The date with Yuffie has to be one of my favorites, probably because
   during the entire thing I couldn't get the words "statutory rape" out of my
   mind.  It's sweet and innocent, yet completely repulsive at the same time.
   Yuffie shows up at Cloud's room and gets right to the point: she wants him
   to keep her company for the night.  Before he can object, she's behind him
   shoving him out the door.  At the Event Square, it's the same deal as
   before.  You are the 100th couple of the night, and get to star as the leads
   in the show.  The show works in the exact same way as it did in the dates
   with Aeris and Tifa.  At the risk of sounding repetitive, should you find
   yourself with the overwhelming desire to screw the play up (a temptation
   that is indeed difficult to resist), go for it.  This is because your
   actions during the play will have no bearing on what happens during the rest
   of your date, so do what you like.  There are two basic ways the play can
   end, either with you vanquishing the Evil Dragon King and everyone living
   happily ever after, or by you screwing the play up.  This, in turn, will
   make Yuffie mad.  She will then slap Cloud and then kick the crap out of the
   Evil Dragon King.  Amusing, to say the least.  Whichever you would like to
   go for is completely up to you, and thankfully, it doesn't take a rocket
   scientist to predict which of the lines given to you will lead to which
   result.  That being said, there are a few different ways you can go with
   your lines, but there's actually very little to be seen in the means of
   variety.  The only interesting thing to do is to talk to the knight and ask
   him to defeat the Evil Dragon King.  He tries.  And he gets the crap beaten
   out of himself.  It's funny.  Also note that once the knight has gotten his
   stupid ass killed, you still have time to obtain either the "good" or "bad"
   endings to the play.  Anyways, on to the Round Square next, and the two of
   you get on.  Yuffie spends most of the ride hanging over the back of her
   seat and staring out the back window at the sights of the Gold Saucer.
   Finally, she gathers up some courage, walks over to Cloud, kisses him on the
   cheek, and sits back down.  Cloud goes silent.  Completely silent.  And
   Yuffie is mortified, not to mention completely embarrassed.  As the date
   draws to a close, she keeps telling Cloud to please say something...
   anything to break the awkward silence.  Cloud finally responds with
   "...something", and Yuffie promptly slaps him.  She ends the date by musing
   that tonight she is going to sleep well, and you can derive from that
   statement whatever you'd like.

   ---

      And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for, the date with Barret.
   Jesus, this one is funny.  It's actually even funnier if you've earned at
   least one of the other dates before, because you'll know what events take
   place during the date, and consequently why your entire evening with Barret
   is more or less one big gay joke in disguise.  He shows up at Cloud's room,
   saying that he feels like going for a walk.  Cloud's like, "What, just the
   two of us?"  It starts with that comment and just goes downhill from there.
   Barret demands you come hang out with him for awhile, and Cloud reluctantly
   goes with him.  The man at the Event Square congratulates you on being the
   100th couple, but very quickly changes his mind and retracts his statement.
   You are promptly escorted from the Event Square, and are rewarded with no
   show.  Barret then says that you two need to go somewhere where you can talk
   in private.  This leads to the two of you going to the Round Square.  Note
   the complete discomfort of both Cloud and Barret at this point.  Also note
   that rather than the romantic theme that is supposed to accompany the
   gondola ride, you are instead treated to the Sector Seven theme music
   (because the romantic music would have just been too hilarious).  Also
   adding to the comic value of the moment is the very bad angle at which we
   see Barret's face, and how he completely and entirely resembles Satan or
   some other evil incarnate.  Sadly, you'll actually probably be too busy
   laughing to notice the kick-ass and beautifully-rendered scenery that you
   pass by.  Barret starts to talk, but isn't making a whole lot of sense.
   What we eventually gleam from his long-winded nonsensical speech is that
   Cloud should have really shown some interest in Aeris, Tifa, or possibly
   even Yuffie.  Barret, in a complete fit of homophobia, warns Cloud away from
   Marlene.  Jesus Christ, Barret!  Cloud is 21, Marlene is 5!  Even for a
   creepazoid like Cloud, that's just sick.  But, like I said before, it's just
   the homophobia talking there.  In the closing moments of the date, Barret
   starts to talk about how much he misses Marlene, how much she would have
   enjoyed the fireworks, and how pissed off the entire situation is making
   him.  In classic Barret style, he angrily fires his gun-arm out of the
   window at the fireworks, yelling at them to shut the hell up.  Classic
   Barret, I tell ya.


    BTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTB
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    B / \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \  B
    T \  *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*  \ T
    B /\ | ~VIII~                                             ~VIII~ | \/ B
    T \  *                                                           *  \ T
    B /\ |                  VIII. The Gold Saucer                    | \/ B
    T \  *                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                    *  \ T
    B /\ | ~VIII~                                             ~VIII~ | \/ B
    T \  *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*  \ T
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    T   /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  T
    BTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTB


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section VIII: The Gold Saucer|/ /\ \
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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |         A. Cheap Arcade Games (in the Wonder Square)        | ¯/  \¯
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 \ \/ /|Section VIII: The Gold Saucer|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
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   Just like the arcade in the real world, there's a lot of crap around the
Wonder Square that you can drop your money into.  Besides the G-Bike, Snowboard
Game, and Torpedo Attack, however (listed later), the games here are all rather
simple.  Here's a list of things you can expect to find around the Wonder
Square.


      At the forefront of the bottom floor of the Wonder Square is the Arm
   Wrestling machine.  Basically, you pay 100 gil and choose between two
   difficulty levels: the wrestler (easy) or the sumo wrestler (hard).  To win,
   just rapidly mash the assigned button.  If you mash fast enough, you win,
   and will get 1 GP (from the wrestler) or 2 GP (from the sumo wrestler).
   It's not a horribly effective way to win GP, but it is nice practice in
   button-mashing.

   ---

      The Super Dunk is a basketball game in the bottom right corner of the
   first floor at the Wonder Square.  It's all a practice in timing.  You hold
   the button down and release after you've built up enough power.  Let go too
   early, and you fall short.  Too late, and you throw the ball too hard.  Your
   GP reward goes up by 1 with each shot you make, until you reach 10 GP.  Past
   that, each successful basket doubles the payoff amount.  If you've got the
   skill, this is actually the absolute fastest way to earn GP here at the Gold
   Saucer.  However, those without the skill should avoid this game, or at
   least limit its use to practice in good timing, because you lose the game
   whenever you miss a basket, and it costs you 200 gil a pop.  And especially
   early in the game, this can become a serious gil drain If you're not paying
   any attention to how much you're spending here.

   ---

      The Wonder Catcher, located in the back left of the first floor, is kind
   of like those crooked skill cranes you see at most arcades, except that
   there's absolutely no skill involved.  Rather, you simply deposit 100 gil
   into it and wait for it to spit out your reward, which will either be a
   small amount of GP, a Potion, or nothing at all.  A similar effect can be
   achieved by flushing your gil down the toilet, only the latter has a higher
   innate entertainment value.  Note that there is a very small chance you
   might actually win something worthwhile (75 GP), but that's roughly the same
   chance as winning the lottery in real life, and not nearly as satisfying in
   the long run.

   ---

      The Fortune Teller (located on the left side of the second floor), isn't
   really a game.  Rather, you pay it 50 gil to get a fortune.  It's a more
   accurate future-prediction device than Cait Sith is, but so is that oil
   stain in my driveway.  Either way, it is useful for mild entertainment
   purposes only, and you will continue to get the same fortune through
   subsequent uses unless you leave the Wonder Square and come back.

   ---

      The 3D Battler is that giant machine in the middle of the second floor.
   It looks really complicated at first, until you realize that it's nothing
   more than a glorified version of "Rock, Paper, Scissors", with the rock,
   paper, and scissors being replaced (respectively) by Lower, Upper, and
   Middle body attacks.  You may be surprised that a game such as this can have
   difficulty levels, but it does.  Your first battle will be with a fairly
   easy to kill opponent, and the first person to take 10 hits will lose.  If
   you win, you advance to the next opponent with a clean slate.  On the
   negative side of things, the only real rewards to speak of in this game are
   2 GP for advancing to the third opponent, and a supposed 20 GP from making
   it to the fourth.  Not to mention that it's a real crushing blow to your
   self-esteem to get your ass whipped by a ridiculous-looking disco freak with
   an afro (the nearly-impossible-to-beat third opponent).  What's worse is
   losing to a fat hillbilly (the still-somewhat-challenging second opponent).

   ---

      The Mog House is a very sad excuse for a game and is located in the back
   corner of the second floor.  It's ridiculously cute to the point it almost
   makes you want to vomit.  The name of the game is "Adventures in Mog
   Nutrition".  Basically, you feed the mog nuts.  If you don't feed him
   enough, he will be too weak to fly.  Feed him too much, and he falls on his
   fat mog ass.  As if that weren't ridiculously simple enough, his stomach
   will growl if he's still hungry, and he will chirp happily once you've fed
   him enough.  Once he starts chirping, quit feeding him and let him fly.
   Once that is accomplished, he gets to do it all over again to impress a
   female mog (who is obviously female because she is pink).  Anyways, as if
   the preceding advice wasn't enough, just feed him five nuts on the first
   time around, and then three nuts when he is trying to impress the female.
   You get no reward for beating the crappy game, but if you talk to a nearby
   man when you're done, he gives you 30 GP in appreciation of your problem-
   solving skills (as if it took half of a functional brain to figure that one
   out).  Keep in mind that this bonus is one-time-only, so subsequent wins are
   nothing more than a waste of your time.


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mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


   A startlingly accurate re-creation of your daring escape from the Shinra is
the Motorcycle Race at the Wonder Square, otherwise known as the G-Bike.  During
your first trip to the Gold Saucer, this is one the best methods you have of
acquiring GP.  For every game you play and break the 10,000 point barrier, you
will receive 10 GP as a reward.  Fail to do this, and your ass receives a measly
2 GP instead.  As an additional bonus, for the first time you break the 10,000
point barrier, you'll receive a Speed Source for your troubles.

   Moving right along to the game itself, then.  You should know the basics by
now.  You ride alongside the truck and protect it at all costs.  Suicidal
motorcycle troops will come and try to ram the truck.  You get points for
slicing and dicing said troops with your gigantic sword, whilst you lose points
whenever the truck gets hit (thankfully, this doesn't apply if you ram into the
truck with your own bike).  The troops come in two different varieties, as well:
red and orange.  The orange suits were handed to the troops who were
unsuccessfully able to distinguish their motorcycles from a ham sandwich, and
their strategy pretty much reflects this.  They suicidally throw themselves at
the truck, and are very easy to kill.  The red troops are far much more
difficult to deal with.  They try to lure you away from the truck and strike
when the time is right.

   So obviously, the red troops, being the more dangerous of the two, should
take priority on your list of things to kill, correct?  There is one slight
problem with this, however, in that while you are wasting your time trying to
kill a red troop, there may be an orange one mercilessly slaughtering your
truck.  In this instance, to minimize the damage done to the truck, you should
quickly slice up whomever you are closest to and then make a beeline to kill the
other one.  Be very wary of the red troop, however, because the most dangerous
thing you can have on your screen is two or more red troops.  What will happen
then is that one will lure you away from the truck whilst the others rip up on
it.  When this happens, remember to always chase the bikes behind the truck, not
in front of it.  There are two reasons for this.  First of all, they will be
easier to hunt down and kill if you chase them backwards rather than forwards
(this will at least minimize the amount of time that the others have to damage
the truck).  The second reason is that when you cut down  a troop in front of
the truck and the truck runs it over (quite likely), the truck will take about a
couple hundred points of damage from it, so you should only kill troops that are
in front of the truck if you absolutely must.

   To minimize all of the problems above, you might want to pick a spot behind
the truck or near the back of the screen to ride and slash the troops the moment
they arrive (because the quicker you kill the troops, the quicker that more will
arrive and the possibility of a higher score goes up).  However, don't ride too
close to the back of the screen, because you'll notice that as the troops
arrive, they have a tendency to "shoot forward" a slight bit.


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mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


      I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.


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 _\  /_ |           D. Torpedo Attack (in the Wonder Square)          | ¯/  \¯
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      I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.


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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                     E. The Speed Square                     | ¯/  \¯
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mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


   Aside from being the coolest Goddamn roller coaster that ever was, the Speed
Square is also a mini-game within itself.  For, you see, on this roller coaster,
you also can shoot at things while you move.  When you shoot things, you get
points.  Get 3,000 points, and you win an incredibly crappy prize that is also
worthless.  5,000 points nets you prizes that are not pieces of trash.  It's
quite a feat, but there are some pointers to keep in mind.

   First, the basics.  Your gun is basically a laser gun that will fire at the
crosshairs on your screen.  You can move the crosshairs with your controller,
and fire at whatever you want.  The bar on the left side of the screen is the
power meter for your laser.  Whenever you are firing, the power goes down.
Whenever you are not firing, it goes up.  No, if you hold the button down, the
power goes down very quick.  If you just tap the button, you'll be fine.  Be
warned that very fast taps, such as those provided by a turbo controller, may
not provide sufficient firepower to kill things.  Also note that when firing in
short bursts over an extended period of time,  it can slowly start to eat away
at your fire meter, so you may wish to pause for a second to let it recharge.
As a general rule, once it falls out of the green, it's not doing enough damage.

   Now, for the harder stuff.  My best advice to you is this: you're not going
to get 5,000 points on your first trip through.  Or your second.  So you'd
better have a few tries worth of GP handy.  The best thing you can do for
yourself is play through a couple of times and learn where everything is and how
and when and where to shoot at.  Your memory and reflexes will be your best
tools at the Speed Square, not this FAQ.  Below, I have transcribed a blow by
blow detail of the complete ride, but bear in mind that this hand-held
walkthrough is no substitute for playing through a few times on your own.  Also
note that it is nearly impossible to follow this guide step-by-step as you play,
but it does offer a few hints and pointers on each particular section.  Enjoy.

   The coaster will slowly start to climb the tracks, slowly bringing you up to
a giant sign reading, "welcome".  When you reach the apex, a barrage of
fireworks go off, and the coaster will rapidly peel to the right.  Keep your
crosshairs near the upper right portion of the screen, as the first enemy you
see will be a ghost floating around this area just waiting to be shot.  With any
luck, you'll pick it off.  A split second or so after that, two more ghosts will
appear in the distance on the left side of the screen.  If you're really lucky,
you'll be able to get one of them before the coaster goes up into the loop, but
both is highly unlikely.

   The coaster will then do a loop.  The worst part about the loop is that it
has a tendency to disorient the player, as they will almost inevitably attempt
to readjust their crosshairs to keep up with the tracks.  Don't do this: it will
mess up your alignment for the next few shots.  Just wait until your coaster
pulls out of the loop, while keeping your crosshairs on the left side of the
screen.  As you pull out of the loop, a ghost will appear there, and you should
be able to pick it off.  There will also be several floating around in the
background behind which, if you're very dexterous, you may be able to shoot
perhaps one of them before they are whipped out of sight.  Shortly following
that, your coaster begins to turn, which again can disorient you.  Just keep in
mind that the next three ghosts that appear will all be coming from the right-
hand side of the screen, so move your crosshairs thataway and keep firing.
Lastly, two more will appear, one on the lower left hand side of the screen, and
one on the lower right hand side of the screen.  You should be able to blast at
least one of them to hell.  As you leave the ghost-filled area, your score
(assuming that you are shooting for 5,000 points), should be somewhere in the
vicinity of 160-240.  Any less than 160, and you'll be having some tougher times
ahead, but there's still plenty of room to catch back up.  Any higher than 240,
and you're doing excellent thus far, but don't get too cocky, because there's
still plenty of room to screw up.

   Just as you either hit or missed the last of the ghosts, you should see some
vines in the distance.   They will move out of the way as you approach, but you
can get a head start by shooting through the vines at two cacti, both kissing
the right edge of the opening.  There's actually a third there that you won't be
able to hit until after you've crossed through the opening, but since they're
worth less points than the planes you'll be seeing, the planes should take
priority.  As you coast through the opened vines into the desert-themed area,
keep your crosshairs near the lower right side of your screen, as an airplane
will soon be cruising in for you to hit.  However, hit it quickly, as a second
plane will be flying in right above it, and it makes for another easy hit if you
can get to it in time.  You'll see a plane flying in the distance to your left,
but it's very hard to hit, not to mention probably not worth it.  Keep your
crosshairs near the upper right corner of the screen, and you should be able to
blast two cacti that you will be soon approaching.  No sooner will you plug
those cacti, when four planes will almost simultaneously barrage the screen,
coming alternately from the upper right and lower left sections of the screen.
Don't get flustered, just try your best to at least get one or two, as blasting
three or all four out of the sky is damn near impossible.  Directly following
this, a giant rock will plop down in the middle of the screen with a cactus atop
it.  Hit the cactus, and then move your crosshairs down in order to pick off an
approaching plane from the bottom right of the screen.  Directly after hitting
that plane, scroll upwards with your fire to nail two more planes flying in from
the upper left.  Your coaster continues, and you'll get two more easy shots on
the upper left hand side of your screen.  You'll have little time to react after
blasting them, because you'll also be wanting to try to nab the third plane
which comes flying in from the upper right.  Again, with little time to react, a
fourth bogey flies in from the upper left corner and makes for an easy kill.
After shooting that thing, focus your efforts on the back edge of the canyon.
If you've got good eyes, you should notice a yellow boulder back there, which
you should be able to hit for a hefty 200 point bonus.  As an added easter egg,
yet another plane should cross your path shortly after you have been gunning for
the boulder (assuming you haven't wildly moved the crosshairs out of the way
after hitting it), and make for yet another easy shot.  At about this point,
your score (again assuming that you're going for 5,000 points) should be
somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000-1100 points.  Any lower, and you can still
make it, but you're really going to have to get your crap together in the next
few areas.  Any higher, and you're crapting in high cotton, but don't get cocky
just yet.

   Keep your crosshairs on the left as you move- there'll be two more planes
approaching from the upper left for you to shoot down (you should be able to get
at least one, at any rate).  Directly following that, if you've got good enough
reflexes, you might be able to blast the third plane that will be making its
approach from the right, but your window of opportunity is very short, and you
may not be able to hit it in time.  Very shortly thereafter, two more planes
approach from the right, and you should be able to nail at least one of them.
What appears to be two cute scud missiles will fly over the track right in front
of you following this, but you likely won't be able to hit either.  You'll
continue for a short distance along the tracks and see a yellow missile flying
around.  Don't try to shoot for it, just move your crosshairs to the left.  The
missile will fly around, and if your crosshairs are anywhere near the left side
of the screen, fly right into your line of fire.  You'll continue on the tracks
for a bit, but expect to see, in quick succession, two more of the yellow
missiles pop up from underneath the tracks, from the right and left,
respectively.  Again, these are two easy shots to make, if you're prepared for
them.  Directly following them, shooting stars begin to fall.  They move very
slow, and it will be easy to shoot the first two you see appear on the upper
left corner of the screen, and then in the middle.  However, several will fall
on the right side of the screen after this.  You should be able to shoot every
star except one of the first of the bunch, which will fall from the top right
hand side of the screen to the center of the screen.  Somehow managing to shoot
that one star in addition to the rest that fall would take some sort of miracle
of dexterity that even I could not conjure.  If you're keeping a running tally
on your score, except it to be about 1600-1700 right now.  Any less, and you
have just about lost any hope of scoring 5,000 points.  Any higher, and you're
doing mighty fine.

   Then, your roller coaster will nosedive into an icicle-filled cavern.  The
cavern is a confusing mess of icicles that crash from the ceiling.  They drop
very fast, and your window of opportunity to hit them is very short.  You will
not be able to get all of them, but a good player can blast the majority of
them.  A common mistake is to move your crosshairs all about through the mess
and attempt to blast at the icicles.  This is a bad idea, and will more than
likely result in very few points for you.  The graphics do a poor job of
revealing this fact (on purpose, I imagine), but the majority of the icicles are
hanging almost directly above the tracks.  Thus, when you shoot, it would
behoove to shoot directly ahead of you on the tracks.  It helps, actually, not
to even look at the icicles as you shoot, as they often prove to be a confusing
mess of ice that will cause you to misfire.  Just keep your eyes on the track as
you fire.   Exiting the cavern, expect a score of around 2200-2300.  It is
almost impossible at this point to catch up from too much lower than this.  A
higher score will be a great safety net if you happen to do bad in the next few
areas.

   Keep your guns low as you enter the next area.  This is going to be another
one of those areas that messes with your head, so watch out.  You'll see bunches
of colorful balloons slowly floating up from the bottom of the screen, but since
there's so many of them to be shot, their super-slow movement will be cancelled
out.  You should be able to shoot most, if not all of them.  However, a super-
fast-moving UFO shoots into the area in quick little bursts.  Ignore it while
you gun for the balloons first.  Because guess what happens when you try to
train your gun on something moving in rapid, short bursts?  That's right, it
moves out of your way before you can shoot it.  If you're going to nail it, it's
going to have to meander right into your gunfire, and it might as well do that
while you're shooting down all of the balloons near it.  Also note the big
balloon, which is worth more points.  A few more tiny UFO's follow after this,
and the same rules apply to them, as well.  Hitting them is all a matter of
luck, and you're probably just best off firing directly ahead of you and hoping
that one or two of them don't know how to steer clear of a laser beam.  Watch
out for a slow moving pink missile that will move in from the upper left corner
of the screen at this point.  You see, the (remaining) UFOs' fast rate of
movement are creating an optical illusion of chaos.  If you can see past them
for a moment, the pink missile should be a really easy shot.  Following this,
three more pink missiles move in.  The first from the lower left corner of the
screen, the next two from the lower right.  Keep your sights low, and two out of
three isn't a hard task to accomplish.  Another pink missile appears shortly
thereafter, and with the distracting UFO's gone, should be an easy kill.  Raise
your sights a bit and focus them directly ahead of you on the track- two pink
missiles will hop the track very quickly ahead of you, and are very hard to hit.
If you can hit them, however, more power to you (and you might as well try, you
know).  Leaving this area, your score should be dancing in the area of 3200-
3300.  As if it needed repeating, being any lower than this and you can kiss
5,000 points goodbye, and any higher is a marvelous thing.

   The coaster rapidly descends into the fiery pits below, which makes for some
very confusing action.  There are only a few lava rocks here which can be shot,
and they flash all over and at random places on the screen.  As you descend into
the area, keep your crosshairs in the far upper left corner of the screen and
watch for a few dark red lava rocks.  With any luck, you'll hit one.  After the
screen wildly thrashes you about a bit, your next opportunity will occur
directly on the track in front of you, so train your sights there and fire away.
As you exit the lava area, focus your efforts on the right side of the screen,
where two helicopters will appear.  If you're good, you'll nail both.  Quickly
switch to the left hand side of the screen and take down two more helicopters.
As the two helicopters on the left arrive, one will also be arriving on the
right.  By the time you've shot them down, another will have appeared on the
right.  Switch back to the right and you should be able to at least shoot down
the most recent helicopter, and if you're really on the ball, you'll get  the
second one, as well.  Also note that two more helicopters appear in the distance
on the right hand side, and both make for easy final kills to round out this
area.  Note that if you do not have at least 3,700 points leaving this area,
there is virtually no hope of you scoring 5,000 points.  If you have just about
anything higher, then your victory is just about in the bag.

   You'll now come face to face with the big UFO.  It sits there and floats
menacingly in front of you for a few moments while you shoot at it.  Most
players make the mistake of rapidly pounding the fire button at the thing so
fast that they punch a hole in the Goddamn controller, but also realize that
repeated sustained shots work just as well on the big UFO.  Just don't let the
gun's power fall out of the green, and you'll be fine.  Also note that the UFO
fades away and reappears once during the shootout.  You can't damage it for a
brief period when it's faded, so use this small timeframe to recharge your
gun/rest your hand.  Your bonus for destroying the big UFO?  1,000 points.  And
believe me, unless you're God, there's no way you're going to be scoring 5,000
points without that bonus.

   The rollercoaster ride picks back up following this.  Keep your gun trained
on the upper right hand corner of the screen, as your final three targets (all
varying sorts of planes) all appear shortly from the upper right hand corner.
It is fairly easy to shoot down one, or maybe even two of them.  Getting all
three is very difficult, which is why there was little hope of you climbing back
up from a score of less than 3,700 points.  Now, I understand my math is a bit
suspect, but that is because there is also a final 200 point bonus to be
grabbed.  As the roller coaster rolls back towards the base, aim your gun at the
absolute bottom left hand corner.  As your coaster makes the final right turn,
start firing.  You will shoot out one of the spotlights, thus nabbing your final
200 point bonus.  And that, my friend, is how you earn 5,000 points at the Speed
Square.  Let's move on to your prize!

   There are two special prizes you may win for your score of 5,000 points in
the Speed Square.  The first is the ~Parasol, a weapon for Aeris.  This can be
won only during Disc 1.  The second is the ~Flayer, a weapon for Cid.  It, in
turn, can be earned only during Disc 2 or Disc 3.  No additional copies of
either item may be won, so don't waste your time trying.  Thank you, and good
night.


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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                    F. The Chocobo Square                    | ¯/  \¯
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 _\  /________________________________                                | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section VIII: The Gold Saucer|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


      I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section VIII: The Gold Saucer|/ /\ \
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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                    G. The Battle Square                     | ¯/  \¯
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 \ \/ /|Section VIII: The Gold Saucer|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


      I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section VIII: The Gold Saucer|/ /\ \
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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |              H. Odds & Ends of the Gold Sacuer              | ¯/  \¯
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 _\  /________________________________                                | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section VIII: The Gold Saucer|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


  And now, a few assorted tidbits of miscellaneous Gold Sauce info that didn't
fit anywhere else in this section:


      Think of GP as "Gold Saucer Money", that can only be earned and spent at
   the Gold Saucer.  GP can be earned either through a variety of the games at
   the Wonder Square (see sections VIII.A and VIII.B of the FAQ), Chocobo
   Racing (see section VIII.F. of the FAQ), or via the "GP Man" (see below).
   The main use of GP is that some attractions (the Speed Square and the Battle
   Square) charge GP for admission.  However, GP has other uses around the Gold
   Saucer, as well, as listed below.

   ---

      A lady at the Wonder Square offers prizes in exchange for your GP.  You
   know, kind of like how arcades give you prizes in exchange for tickets?  The
   only difference, of course, is instead of cheap crap, you can purchase
   battle accessories (this practice was outlawed in real life some years ago
   when a group of misguided liberals shut one certain arcade down for
   rewarding a six year-old boy with a bayonet).  Most of the prizes here suck,
   however, and can be found much, much more cheaply elsewhere.  The two items
   that you can buy exclusively here are the mystery prizes for 1,000 and 2,000
   GP each (the Gil Plus materia and the Exp Plus materia, respectively).  Note
   that neither will be available until Disc 2, however.  The mystery prize for
   500 GP is a Carob Nut, and is the biggest waste of GP in the entire game,
   given that stealing them elsewhere costs a cost-efficient 0 GP.

   ---

      The save point at the station of the Gold Saucer is like any other save
   point in the game, except that each "session" (that is, each time you go to
   the menu screen intent on saving, PHSing, or tenting) will cost you 5 GP.
   Not 5 gil, 5 GP.  This means that earlier on, you're probably better off
   just leaving the Gold Saucer to do stuff like that.  Later in the game,
   you're apt to be far too rich to give a crap.

   ---

      At the station of the Gold Saucer, you may run into a man who will offer
   you GP, at the cost of 100 gil each (up to 100 GP).  The possibility of him
   appearing there are random and the chances are low, so you may have to enter
   and exit the building many times to make him appear.  All in all, however,
   while this may be one of the quicker ways to make some quick GP, it is one
   of the least efficient, and almost the most expensive.  And you can only get
   100 GP this way, to boot.

   ---

      As a final nifty bonus of the Gold Saucer, if Tifa or Cid is in your party
   when you are racing chocobos or playing the Snowboard Game, they
   occasionally will ask to ride in place of Cloud (by occasionally, I don't
   mean once in a blue moon or anything- this happens quite often).  This costs
   you nothing, and the only real effect is seeing a different character ride
   the chocobo/snowboard.  Note that if Tifa and Cid are both with you, it will
   always be Tifa who asks.  Tifa on the snowboard... mee-ow!  She can
   snowboard her way right into my heart.


    BTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTB
    T  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /   T
    B / \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \  B
    T \  *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*  \ T
    B /\ | ~IX~                                                 ~IX~ | \/ B
    T \  *                                                           *  \ T
    B /\ |                   IX. Chocobo Farmin'                     | \/ B
    T \  *                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                     *  \ T
    B /\ | ~IX~                                                 ~IX~ | \/ B
    T \  *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*  \ T
    B  \ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ / B
    T   /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  T
    BTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTB


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 _\  /_ |                       A. Catchin' 'Em                       | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                       | / /\ \
 _\  /______________________________                                  | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section IX: Chocobo Farmin'|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
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   Catching chocobos is really the least of your concerns, and is something you
can get out of your way very quickly.  Beforehand, you'll be needing to purchase
you a few stables at the Chocobo Ranch (something that cannot be done until you
have reached at least section III.H. of the walkthrough).  Go talk to Chocobo
Bill, who begins a very long-winded speech about how we're all going to  die a
horrible fiery death and how things suck so badly, so why not raise a chocobo?
Hell, he can even rent you the stables at the cost of an arm and a leg each!  At
least four are recommended, though you'll probably want to go ahead and nab all
six.  Money really shouldn't be much of an issue to you at this point, and if it
is, I strongly advise against chocobo breeding for now (as feeding these little
bastards is going to run you a pretty penny, indeed).  Also, if by some stretch
of the imagination you didn't buy it earlier, you'll also be needing the Chocobo
Lure materia from Chocobo Billy.

   And, assuming you went and sold the Chocobo Lure materia like I told you not
to several times already in this FAQ, then you can find a second one hidden on
the ground to the right of the screen outside the Chocobo Ranch, next to the
fence.  If your stupid ass goes and sells that one, then I'm not helping your
brain-damaged ass anymore.  Use a Gameshark or start over.

   Anyways, now it's time to fill out your shopping list.  You'll first and
foremost be needing a "good" chocobo and a "great" chocobo.  In some versions
of FF7, two greats will work, but to be on the safe side, just stick with the
plan (unless you happen to know that two greats will work on your particular
copy, then go nuts).  The great ones can be found around the chocobo tracks
near Mideel.  They'll appear to you in fights alongside Spirals, so those'll
be the ones you'll be wanting to capture.  You may wish to have a cheap green
along to feed to the chocobo in battle so that it does not run away.  But
given the point you are at in the game, it should not be overly difficult to
quickly dispense of the enemies surrounding it.  Just be sure not to use any
attacks that target everyone, because I've found that chocobos tend to become
somewhat pissy after having their asses kicked (though, interestingly enough,
they cannot be killed by any means).

   After winning the battle,  you'll find yourself on top of the chocobo.
Disembark, and the game asks you if you want to set it free, or send it back to
the Chocobo Ranch.  I don't know how in the ten thousand hells of the great Lord
Chaos it happens, but if you opt to send it back to the Chocobo Ranch, the
chocobo will just run off into the distance and end up there without any outside
assistance whatsoever.  Never mind the fact that it has no idea where it's
"supposed" to go, has to cross oceans and mountains to get there, and probably
doesn't want to go there, anyways...  Jesus, that's a mind bender.

   The good ones can be found near the Gold Saucer area.  You'll probably have
to capture a few before one turns up "good", though.  You'll know it's good
because Chocobo Billy will tell you that it's a good chocobo.  But before
heading back to the Chocobo Ranch, you might wanna go ahead and read the next
paragraph.  Useful info and such.

   Now, as you might expect, these two chocobos will have to be male and female
(sadly, you are not allowed to introduce your chocobos to the joys of
homoeroticism, and that would just prove fruitless, anyways.)  However, the
chocobo's sex is not determined until you actually get back to the ranch.
Meaning that all you have to do is save before you go there, and two chocobos
will be all you need at this time.  Go speak with Chocobo Billy about "moving
chocobos", and he'll help you sort through your "inbox" of chocobos and either
move them into the stables, or give them the boot.  You can tell which chocobos
are "great", because Chocobo Billy will comment, in no uncertain terms, that
"this is a great chocobo!"  As for the gender, need I repeat that you'll be
needing both a male and a female?

   With your two "great" chocobos handy, you have what you need to get started.
However, since we're already busy capturing chocobos, you might as well go ahead
and get the one more chocobo you'll be needing for later on.  Not a "great"
chocobo... no, no.  You'll be needing a "wonderful" chocobo.  Those can be found
in the snowy north, and are present in battles alongside adorably cute little
bunnies (Hopping, I believe they were called).  You will only be needing one,
and the gender really doesn't matter, so whatever you get the first time will
work.  As with the "great" chocobos, Chocobo Billy will confirm the
wonderfullness of said chocobo by telling you that "this... is a wonderful
chocobo!"

   And that's it for the catchin' of chocobos.  Your Chocobo Lure materia is now
more or less entirely worthless.


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 \ \/ / O                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                       | / /\ \
 _\  /______________________________                                  | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section IX: Chocobo Farmin'|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
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   Feeding your chocobos is also a very simple process, no matter how hard the
game makes it out to seem.  Simply put, the more expensive the green ("greens"
are chocobo feed, just in case you were wondering), the more effective it is.
To make things more interesting, different greens also alter different stats.
The best greens, which will raise all stats by the largest amount of any green,
are called Sylkis Greens, and cannot be purchased at the Chocobo Ranch.  Rather,
you'll have to fly to the northern continent and discover the secluded hut of
the reclusive Chocobo Sage and buy them from him (oh, and you might also want to
speak with his green chocobo before leaving to receive your complimentary ~E.
Skill materia).  Though you can get chocobo breeding advice from the Chocobo
Sage, as well, he has the memory of a Mafia witness, and is a complete pain in
the ass to get any kind of worthwhile information out of.  Besides, you have
this guide, don'tcha?

   A point I should make is that Sylkis Greens are painfully expensive, and the
cost of breeding chocobos will be by far the costliest investment of the entire
game.  While you should note that by using larger amounts of inferior greens, it
is theoretically possible to save yourself gil.  But, this applies only to the
cheapest greens available, and the amount of money saved is probably negligible
as compared to the insane amount of time it would take to feed your chocobos
that many Goddamn greens (we're talking a lot of greens here).  Another thing
you should want to consider is your ultimate goal with chocobo breeding.  Do you
simply want to breed a gold chocobo?  Or do you want to breed the fastest gold
chocobo mankind has ever seen?   Granted, both will be fast enough to win any
race they choose, it's just that there is a certain sense of accomplishment in
the latter.  Either way you slice it, you'll be shelling out a lot of gil.  It
comes down, really, to the difference between a small fortune and two small
fortunes.

   Unless you've been spending way too much time leveling-up, you're probably
going to be hard up for the gil required for the project.  However, a good way
to make yourself a lot of gil really quick is to sell one or two mastered All
materia.  By this point in the game, you should have several mastered, and
several more on the way, so you probably wouldn't mind parting with a few.

   And, in the interests of saving your time and sanity, you're probably going
to just want to feed your chocos Sylkis Greens and be done with it.  The three
chocobos that you have captured all stand to benefit from a full 99 Sylkis
Greens each.  However, each subsequent chocobo (that is, any chocobo that you
breed yourself), will not see any real benefits past 25 Sylkis Greens.
"Skimping", if you're really that hard up for cash, is something you can get by
with, but I strongly recommend you read the paragraph below if you plan on doing
so.  Even if you do not plan on skimping, you may find useful information down
there, but it's not really necessary for you to know.

   Let me take a minute to discuss the three stats themselves for a second.
Intelligence is the absolute least of your worries, and is the easiest stat to
max out.  Furthermore, it is one that can (and should) be maxed out with your
original chocobo, and thus will be something you need not worry about for any
future generations.  Stamina is the most difficult stat to max out, requiring
the most amount of greens for your buck, but again is something that can be
maxed out with your original chocobo, and again be passed down to every future
generation.  If you find yourself skimping on the greens, this is the stat that
will suffer (which isn't much of a bad thing, as the problem should alleviate
itself within a couple of adequately-fed generations).  Just be aware that
racing is already going to be hard enough for your first generation of chocobos,
and denying them their stamina is just going to make things more difficult on
you, which is precisely why I do not recommend skimping.  Lastly, speed is the
one stat that should be of your utmost concern.  It is not as difficult to raise
as stamina, and you should make every effort to raise this stat as high as
possible for your current chocobo.  Unlike intelligence and stamina, however,
the limit on a chocobo's speed will constantly be rising as you breed further
generations of chocobos, which alone is what necessitates that you feed those
generations, as well (as opposed to starving them, I suppose).

   Anyways, do remember where the Chocobo Sage lives (a small secluded hut
nestled into a snowy mountain valley), 'cause you'll be making several trips out
to see him during the course of your chocobo-breeding career.  Yes, it's very
annoying how you can't carry more than 99 Sylkis Greens at once, but at least be
glad that you have the superhuman strength mobility to haul around all that crap
in the first place and still have the mobility to function effectively in
battle.

  To move the greens from your backpack to the chocobo's mouths, speak with
Chocobo Billy.  And that, my friend, is all that can be said on the subject.


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 _\  /______________________________                                  | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section IX: Chocobo Farmin'|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
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   Well, before you go about breeding your chocobos, you've gotta train 'em
first.  Training them has very positive effects on the abilities of the
offspring, or, depending on how you want to look at it, neglecting to train them
will generally have a poor effect on the offspring of said chocobo.  Besides,
the most beneficial part of racing your chocobos doesn't come in the form of
statistical bonuses, anyways (though they certainly don't hurt).  The true
benefit of racing your chocobos is for the fun prizes offered by the Chocobo
Square management.  The Chocobo Square suffers from more or less the same issues
as the other branches of the Gold Saucer in that rather than offering cute
stuffed animals or other fun novelties as prizes, they instead hand out weapons
of mass destruction to the holders of winning tickets.  It's like something you
would expect to find in Iraq, except that there is little to no danger of your
chocobo being blown up by a land mine as it races.

   But, to make along story short, there's a lot of stuff you can win at the
Chocobo Square, but very little of it is stuff exclusive to the place.  And a
lot of it is probably stuff you will deem worthless.  This is good, because you
are always given the option of exchanging your prizes for GP, and even the most
worthless prize has a very nice GP value.  This also makes the Chocobo Square by
far the best place in the game to earn GP (which in turn will help you obtain
the Gil Plus and Exp. Plus materia, not to mention all of those lovely prizes at
the Battle Square).  That being said, do keep an eye out for stuff you can earn
at the Chocobo Square exclusively.  This includes the Enemy Away and Sneak
Attack materia.  There are also several rare items that can be discovered
elsewhere, but the only way to obtain further copies is through chocobo racing.
These prizes include the Magic Counter materia, Counter Attack materia, Cat's
Bell, Sprint Shoes, Precious Watch, and the Megalixir.  If I haven't mentioned
your prize anywhere on this list, take the item over the GP at your own risk and
discretion.

   As I mentioned in another section, it's generally a far better idea to rely
on chocobo racing to earn the prizes here than it is to purchase tickets.  This
is because, with your own chocobo, you're at the very least almost guaranteed to
win (I'd really rather not get into it about odds and probabilities past that
point).  Suffice it to say that there are three different possible prizes for
each race, and the prize offered is dependent on the top two placing chocobos.
This means that regardless of how you fare, your odds for winning the "rare"
prize for each race is still the same ("rare" in this case meaning probably the
only item you won't want to chunk in favor of GP, though you'll still likely
want to do that half the time, anyways).  Another thing I should mention is that
everything I listed in the above paragraph will be obtainable only as rare
prizes, and on top of that all appear as prizes rarely to begin with (you'll
find that the rare prize is usually just an Elixir or a Turbo Ether).  So, while
the odds of winning a "rare" prize for any given race are 1 in 5, this is also
assuming that the rare prize for that race is something you're after.  And when
you consider how rarely the Sneak Attack materia, for instance, actually shows
up as a potential prize, your odds of winning it are actually much lower than
you thought.  So, I hope you've got some patience about you (or failing that, a
Gameshark).  At the very least, this may make you feel better about breeding
several generations of chocobos that must each be raced countless times through
the Chocobo Square.

   Oh, yeah, I should make one final note about the prizes here (don't worry,
I'll get to racing strategy in a minute).  That is that the prizes available
will be largely dependent on the racing class you are currently in.  Class C,
being the worst, offers notably crapty prizes in return.  Class B isn't much
better than Class C, though I have found it to be for some reason the most
reliable place to pick up the Enemy Away materia.  Class A is where you start to
see the good prizes, like the Sneak Attack and Counter Attack materia, the Cat's
Bell, and the Sprint Shoes (with the emphasis on the Sneak Attack materia).
Class S, finally, is where you will finally begin to see the Magic Counter,
Megalixir, and the Precious Watch.  Sneak Attack, Sprint Shoes, and the Cat's
Bell all also appear in Class S, as well, and you stand just as good a chance of
seeing them here than you did in Class A.  You can also find the Enemy Away
materia in both Class S and Class A, though as I mentioned before, Class B seems
to be the best place to earn it.

   Now for the racing, then.  Head on over to speak with Esther, who'll do all
the work of registering your chocobo in the races for you.  One of the great
curiosities of the world is how she magically teleports your chocobo from
wherever it happens to currently be to the chocobo track in less than a minute,
but it's not like that question is ever going to be answered.  Just be thankful
that you've got a chocobo that can more or less kick the hell out of the
competition at the time.  Your chocobo will start out as a C rank chocobo, and
will move up to the B ranks after 3 wins in Class C.  They will then be promoted
to Class A after 3 wins in class B, and finally to Class S after 3 wins in Class
A.  Let me do my best to put you at ease when I tell you that things will only
get easier from this point forward.  In short, your original three chocobos will
be the most difficult to race, given their inferior speed to what you will
eventually breed.  While you should still be able to massively slaughter Class C
and Class B, it'll take some amount of effort to bring these chocobos from Class
A to Class S (and no, don't go expecting to actually win any Class S races with
these chocobos).  This is one of the reason that I recommended using only
"great" chocobos earlier, as I've found that advancement from Class A to Class S
is hard enough with the maximum possible speed of 99 for a "great" chocobo.
Trying this with anything less makes things needlessly difficult, possibly
unachievable.

   You should be familiar with the general strategy behind chocobo racing from
your little stint at the Desert (mentioned earlier, but I suppose it couldn't
hurt to go over it all once again).  From the outset of the race, just take off.
Race your chocobo until its stamina bar (that bar on the left side of the
screen) is almost empty.  If you wait until the thing empties entirely, your
chocobo will become winded and will race very slowly, so you will want to avoid
that.  During many of the races, this tactic should be more than enough to
cement your win, but there do come the times when you actually have to try to
win.  You'll recall that holding down the R1 and R2 buttons as you race will
slowly refill your stamina as you head down the track (hold them down for the
entire race, mind you).  While this was a cheap shot earlier, it is more or less
a necessitated tactic for winning many races here at the Chocobo Square.

   To elaborate on this point further, I must note that the thing your chocobo
has running the most in its favor is the fact that you can make it sprint
throughout almost the entire race (while the other jockeys, thankfully, do not
do this).  For this reason, you will be able to easily overcome chocobos faster
than you.  Also for this reason, the short track is by far to your strategical
advantage over the long track.  From the outset of the race, just take off
(while holding R1 and R2, mind you).  If you're up against chocobos that are
somewhat faster than yours, you are also going to have to make an effort to move
around a bit and break away from the rest of the pack (very important to do).
Your stamina bar should be pretty much drained as you make it to the top of the
spiraling rainbow staircase (this will vary slightly depending on the speed of
your chocobo).  If you have yet to break away from the pack at least somewhat by
this point, you have little hopes of winning.  Anyways, as you continue on,  do
your best to hold your lead, though your strategy at this point is more or less
limited to hugging the curves.  The point at which you will want to break away
again is as you step onto the log bridge leading into the home stretch (again,
this may vary slightly, but not much, depending on the speed of your chocobo).
With luck on your side, this should help you to win most any race.

   However, there is one final issue that needs to be touched upon: Teioh.
Teioh is a black chocobo that will occasionally appear in the race to teach you
the meaning of the word humility.  Regardless of your chocobo's stats, Teioh's
will always be higher, so the only possible way to beat him is through your
strategy.  That being said, he is next to impossible to take on with anything
less than at least a blue or green chocobo (I'm not saying it's completely out
of the question to beat him with one of your original three, but it's certainly
not something you can bet on).  Even though Teioh will remain faster and
stronger than your chocobo no matter how fast your becomes, he will become
increasingly easier to defeat as you get faster and faster.  Do note, however,
that not matter how fast you become, defeating Teioh still necessitates your
full attention and concentration.  You can expect to see Teioh appear on rare
occasions in Class B races, occasionally in Class A, and rather frequently in
Class S.

   So have fun racing your chocobos to Class S.  Racing in Class S is a
different story, however, and is something you should only attempt once you have
bred your final chocobo.  Races in Class S are a far cry from those of the other
classes, and the chocobos here are all insanely fast.  However, with a gold
chocobo at your reins, you'll still be much faster.  Anyways, you're probably
going to want to take some time to set a spell at the S Class once you have bred
your fastest chocobo.  Not only will you want to do this to win such valuable
prizes as the Sneak Attack materia, but also for your special prize that comes
after 10 wins in the S Class.  At this point, Esther will take you aside and
take note of your amazing ability to win races.  Then, for some inexplicable
reason, she rewards you with all sorts of cool stuff, including the Cat's Bell,
Sprint Shoes, Precious Watch, Chocobracelet, and a Counter Attack materia.

   And that's about it, then.  With your first three chocobos trained as far as
you can get them, let's move on to the breeding.


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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                       D. Breedin' 'Em                       | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                       | / /\ \
 _\  /______________________________                                  | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section IX: Chocobo Farmin'|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


   Let me begin by saying that the breeding system in Final Fantasy VII was
deliberately meant to be confusing as hell.  Despite the fact that so many nuts
are available to you (nuts for some reason being a requirement for two chocobos
to have sex... must be an aphrodisiac), there seems to be absolutely no reason
why one would want to breed additional regular chocobos.  So, you'll probably
want to go straight for the special chocobos, and those require special nuts.

   The Carob Nut can be stolen (using the Steal materia) from a creature named
Vlakrodos hanging around the unfrozen patches of land near Icicle Inn.  You can
also purchase Carob Nuts for a hefty 300 GP at the Wonder Square, but in doling
so you will be declared hopelessly and potentially dangerously stupid.

  You must travel to an obscure island in the northeast of the world to find the
Zeio Nut, however, and steal it from the creature there known as the Goblin.
You may also win Zeio Nuts from them after battles.  Also note that the Goblin
utilizes an attack called Goblin Punch, which you may want to learn with your
E. Skill materia.

   You will need a minimum of 3 Carob Nuts and 1 Zeio Nut to breed a gold
chocobo.  Assuming that you would like to breed a super- fast gold chocobo, you
will be needing many more Zeio Nuts (but 3 Carob Nuts is still all you need).

   Now, for what it's worth, I will try my best to explain how the chocobo
breeding system works.  If you really don't care to know, and would like a more
simplified step-by-step guide, just skip to the paragraph below.  I am simply
trying to note that the exact route I took is by no means the only way towards
the fastest gold chocobo ever, but it is what I have found to be the easiest, at
any rate.  With a deeper understanding of how the chocobo breeding system works,
one may very well discover a faster or more efficient way to breed that monster,
in which case, I'd like to hear all about it (see the bottom of this file for
contact information).  But, without further ado, the breeding system is actually
quite simple at its core.  What happens is that the offspring of two chocobos
will have speed, stamina, and intelligence equal to the calculated average
between its mother and father.  As I noted earlier, stamina and intelligence are
two stats which can be maxed out with your additional chocobo and henceforth
should be nothing for you to worry about.  Assuming that you didn't, note that
the limit for stamina or intelligence stays the same for all of your chocobos.
However, the limit for speed is constantly going up, and is dependent on several
factors.  First and foremost, the "type" or "color" of a chocobo shall impose an
ultimate limit as to how fast that chocobo can be bred.  After hitting the
ceiling for each color, your only hopes of breeding anything any faster than
what you have is to breed a new type of chocobo.  Secondly, gender is the other
issue.  I mentioned that each statistic for a newborn chocobo, including speed,
will be the result of the averaged values of both its parents.  However, this is
before feeding, and you'll find that through feeding greens to the newborn
chocobo, you should be able to increase its stats to well above those of its
parents.  How gender factors into this is when statistical differences exist
between the parents.  In such case, when a chocobo is the same gender as the
parent with the higher stats, you should find that there is a greater potential
for stat growth within that chocobo.  As far as I can tell, this is the complete
set of information concerning the chocobo breeding system, but I'm not above
saying that there may be several hidden factors which elude me.  If you think
you know something I don't, by all means contact me.  But also be prepared to
offer some sort of proof to substantiate your statement (I hear way too much
from folks who claim to have bred 250 KPH chocos, but have absolutely no
evidence to back themselves up with).

   With that out of the way, lets get on with the breeding.  I mentioned earlier
that you should begin to consider exactly what it is you're after: a gold
chocobo or the fastest gold chocobo ever?  Well, it's getting damn near time to
make up your mind.  Assuming you're going for the fastest gold chocobo ever,
you'll be needing a substantially larger amount of gil, a larger supply of Zeio
nuts, a lot of patience, and an open mind concerning the practice of inbreeding.
In all seriousness, in merely breeding a gold chocobo, the worst you will see is
a singular brother-sister mating.  In breeding the ultimate gold chocobo, expect
a family tree that not only does not fork in any place, but also at times
requires curved lines (something that no family tree should possess) and gives
me an inexplicable and insatiable desire to watch "Hee-Haw".  For added
amusement, consider giving them names like, "Bubba, Mary Jo, Bubba, Sue Ann,
Bubba, Jo Beth, Bubba, Billy Bob, and Bubba" and pretending that you live in a
trailer park in West Virginia.  Because in the end, your family tree will end up
looking more like a family web, and don't think I'm happy about that.  Y'all
dad-gum varmints...  I'm gonna go rustle me up some vittles now, ya hear?

   Oh, and before you go any further, save your game first, and always save
before breeding your chocobos.  The results of any chocobo breeding are produced
at random, and you'll want to be able to reset and try again if you get
something you don't want.  And before you even try, do realize that this
practice is generally frowned upon in real life.

   Anyways, with your nuts in your hands, go talk to Chocobo Billy, who has the
morally downtrodden job of helping your chocobos have sex.  Select your two
"great" chocobos for breeding (I do hope you remember which two were which), and
hand him a Carob Nut.  The next morning, you'll end up with either a mountain
chocobo or a river chocobo.  The mountain chocobo is green in color (it's the
same one that the Chocobo Sage had), while the river chocobo is a lovely shade
of blue.

   First and foremost, you'll likely be wanting to reap the benefits of your
brand-new chocobo, and believe me, there are benefits.  Ask Chocobo Billy about
riding the chocobos, and then select which chocobo you'd like to take out of the
ranch for a ride.  Your tamed chocobos will stay put when you get off of them
(no matter where you decide to leave them) and can even ride in the Highwind.
To ride a different chocobo, simply ride that chocobo back to the Chocobo Ranch
and select another one.

   Now, just where can you go with your new chocobo?  Well, I guess that's kind
of dependent on whatever you just bred.  Assuming that you got yourself a
mountain chocobo, it's time to head west to the islands of Wutai.  Utilizing
your chocobo's mountain-crossing powers, you should be able to access a secluded
mountain cave on the island's eastern border.  Inside, you will find a lost mako
cache, and formed within it, the ~Mime materia.  Also, as added bonuses, your
mountain chocobo will open up sections IV.C. and V.K. of the FAQ to you.
However, if on the other hand you found yourself with a river chocobo, then it's
back to Mideel with ya!  Navigate the shallows to the far eastern edge of the
rocky archipelago towards yet another of those mako caches.  Inside this one,
you will discover the mighty ~Quadra Magic materia.

   With that out of the way, it's time to head back to the basics.  You'll want
to feed your newborn chocobo in accordance to the feeding instructions I gave in
section IX.B. of the FAQ, and then its off to train the chocobo at the Gold
Saucer, which you can read more about back in section IX.C. of the FAQ.  Unlike
the parents, you'll discover that it should be fairly easy for the new chocobo
to advance to Class S.

   Now, it's time to breed another chocobo.  However, you'll learn from Chocobo
Billy that it's a bad idea to mate chocobos that have either recently mated or
just been born (because pedophilia apparently is taboo in a field where incest
runs rampant).  At any rate, you'll need to fight about 10 random battles for a
recently-mated chocobo to go at it again, while you're looking at more like 20
random battles for a newborn to mature to the point of being able to reproduce.
And when you look at it one way... that's not a horribly long time.  Scary.
You'll want to mate your original two chocobos to produce something that is the
opposite color and gender of your original offspring (so if you originally had a
blue female, you'll be wanting a green male).  Again, a Carob Nut should be used
for this task.

   Now, take your new chocobo as a result of that union, and ride around to
wherever it might take you (Mideel for the river chocobo, various places for the
mountain chocobo).  And then feed and train it in a similar fashion.  Then, go
out and fight some more random battles to await the next generation.

   For your third generation of chocobos, it's time to go black.  Breed your
river and mountain chocobo together to achieve this.  Do note that if you do not
plan on breeding any further than just a regular gold chocobo, then the black
chocobo you produce here should be of the opposite gender as your "wonderful"
chocobo.  If not, then you may wish to breed a black chocobo of the same gender
as your "wonderful" chocobo.

   Anyways, your black chocobo should have a shiny black coat, as well as a
significant speed boost over your second generation.  The black chocobo combines
the powers of both the river and the mountain chocobo, and will allow you to
access another lost mako cache located near Costa Del Sol.  Inside this one,
you'll find the questionable HP <-> MP materia.  But, aside from that, feed it
and send that little bastard to the race track.  Not only should making it to
the S Class be a breeze with your new black chocobo, but you should also find it
much easier to beat Teioh, as well.  However, even though making it to the S
Class should have achieved a new level of ease, your black chocobo may still
find actually racing in it to be beyond its capacity.

   What you do now is going to be dependent on your future plans.  To
immediately obtain the gold chocobo, breed your black chocobo with the wonderful
chocobo (using a Zeio Nut), and be done with it right there (and skip to the
paragraph below to see exactly what you can do with said gold chocobo).  But if
you'd like to work towards a super-fast chocobo, then you may very well want to
start with the black chocobo generations.  My personal recommendation is to
breed your original black chocobo with one of its parents to produce a black
chocobo of the opposite gender as your original black chocobo.  In doing this, a
Zeio Nut should be utilized.  Then, breed your two black chocobos, and aim to
produce a chocobo of the same gender as the second black chocobo you produced.
Again, use a Zeio Nut.  If you've been properly feeding and training your
chocobos up to this point (something I really assume you'd be doing if you were
going for the ultimate black chocobo, anyways), your third black chocobo should
have reached, or at the very least closely neared the maximum speed allotment
for a black chocobo, which is 149 KPH.  Then, you should breed your third black
chocobo with the "wonderful" chocobo to produce a Gold Chocobo.  However, due to
the limited capabilities of the "wonderful" chocobo, don't go expecting
completely amazing results... yet.  Your first gold chocobo should be of the
opposite gender as your third black chocobo.

   Now the proud owner of a gold chocobo, I suppose the first thing you're
probably going to want to do is head out to retrieve the infamous ~Knights of
the Round materia.  You can find it on a tiny, remote island surrounded entirely
by mountains located north and a little bit east of the "Goblin Islands" (you
know, the place where you found all those Zeio Nuts?)  This island is so tiny
that it doesn't appear on the map, so a little recon work is in order.  Anyways,
head onto the island and invade the mako cache there to retrieve the most
powerful materia in the game (well, except Master Summon, I suppose).

   The other thing you'll want to do with your gold chocobo (besides feeding it,
I suppose) is take it to the Gold Saucer and trounce the competition.  With
this, you should easily be able to rack up wins in the S Class, and if you do
not plan on breeding any further, now is the time to do that.  However, if you
have future plans, why not hold off until you have your ultimate gold chocobo
before having your fun in the S Class?  I mean, you could just as easily have
decimated the competition there with your third black chocobo, so be patient,
and wait just a little longer... it's time to do some more breeding.

   Back at the Chocobo Ranch, prepare to breed your ultimate gold chocobo.
Again, there are several paths to take, but assuming that you've been sticking
with my plan up to this point, here's what you do: breed your gold chocobo with
your third black chocobo (using, of course, a Zeio Nut).  You will likely have
to reload several times before you get what you want out of this, which is a
gold offspring who's gender is the same of that of the gold parent.  You should
find that of the four possible outcomes, this is the rarest.  That's because
this is the best possible outcome, and you'll see that the resulting chocobo
should be a speed demon, to say the least.  Feed and train your speed demon, and
then mate it with its black parent (yes, your black choco is really getting
around at this point).  Again, use a Zeio Nut, but this time, you'll be wanting
a gold chocobo whose gender is the same as that of the gold parent.  While
you'll find that the resulting chocobo here isn't quite as fast as its gold
parent, it does allow you access to the final gateway.  That is to breed your
third gold chocobo with its gold parent to produce a fourth gold chocobo who's
gender should be the same as that of the faster parent (the faster parent being
the second gold chocobo).  If you did exactly as I have transcribed, then the
resulting gold chocobo should be more or less the "ultimate" gold chocobo,
having reached its speed cap of 176 KPH.  And damn, can that little bastard tear
up the track.  Teioh, inexplicably, is still faster.  And at this point, Teioh
should actually start to becoming more of a pain in the ass to face again (I
mean, he just flies once he breaks about 190 or so), so do be careful about
racing him.  On the other hand, it's fun to take a nap while you wait for all of
the other racers to finish (especially in Class C... damn!)

   As I mentioned earlier, the route which I took to the ultimate gold chocobo
may very well not be the most efficient one available, but it's the best I have
to offer.  And if you're hard-up for a quick solution that doesn't involve any
of that laborious reading (see above), then feel free to follow my example via
this handy chart.  Yes, I admit that the only reason I typed this up is because
I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen before in my life, but
that's not the point.  The point is this: a family tree should not look like
this.  And if yours does, then you probably live in West Virginia.  So without
further ado:


                     O----------O      O----------O
1st Generation:      | Great    |      | Great    | <- Carob Nuts are used to
                     | Male     |      | Female   |    breed the 2nd and 3rd
                     O----------O      O----------O    generations
                                 \    /
                                  \  /
                                   \/
                                   /\
                                  /  \
                                 /    \
                     O----------O      O----------O
2nd Generation:      | Mountain |      | River    |
                     | Male     |      | Female   |
                     O----------O      O----------O
                                 \    /       |
                                  \  /        |
                                   \/         |
                               O----------O   |
3rd Generation:         +------| Black    |   | <----- Past this point, only
                        |      | Male     |   |        Zeio nuts sohuld be used.
                        |      O----------O   |
                        |           |         |
                        |           |         |
                        |           |         |
                        |      O----------O   |
4th Generation:         |      | Black    |---+
                        |      | Female   |
                        |      O----------O
                        |           |
                        |           |
                        |           |
                     O----------O   |  O----------O
5th Generation:      | Black    |---+  | Wonderful| <- Though technically not
                     | Female   |      | Male     |    part of the 5th
                     O----------O      O----------O    generation, the
                       | |       \    /                Wonderful chocobo is
                       | |        \  /                 still listed here
                       | |         \/
                       | |     O----------O
6th Generation:        | |     | Gold     |
                       | |     | Male     |
                       | |     O----------O
                       | |          |
                       | |          |
                       | |          |
                       | |     O----------O
7th Generation:        | +-----| Gold     |----+
                       |       | Male     |    |
                       |       O----------O    |
                       |            |          |
                       |            |          |
                       |            |          |
                       |       O----------O    |
8th Generation:        +-------| Gold     |    |
                               | Female   |    |
                               O----------O    |
                                    |          |
                                    |          |
                                    |          |
                               O----------O    |
9th Generation:                | Gold     |----+ <---- If you followed all of
                               | Male     |            the steps correctly,
                               O----------O            this should be the
                                                       "ultimate" gold chocobo.


*Note that all occurrences of males and females in this "family tree" may be
swapped to produce more or less the same results.  Also note that in 9
generations, it has produced 11 chocobos from only 3 originals, which should be
regarded by all non-West Virginians as at the very least, "just a tad bit on the
creepy side".


    BTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTB
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    B / \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \  B
    T \  *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*  \ T
    B /\ | ~I~                                                   ~I~ | \/ B
    T \  *                                                           *  \ T
    B /\ |                   I. Basic Information                    | \/ B
    T \  *                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                    *  \ T
    B /\ | ~I~                                                   ~I~ | \/ B
    T \  *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*  \ T
    B  \ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ / B
    T   /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  /  T
    BTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTBTB


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section IX: The Fort Condor Battles|/ /\ \
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 \ \/ /|Section IX: The Fort Condor Battles|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
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   Welcome to Fort Condor, home of the condor!  A giant condor rests atop a mako
reactor, and the Shinra wants that condor outta there.  Raging environmentalists
have rallied to the cause, defending the reactor and the condor at all costs,
via hiring mercenaries to fight off the Shinra troops.  And yes, the supply of
mercenaries is virtually endless.  More than that, they all seem to converge
here.  It's a wonder that Cloud has never heard of this place up until now,
actually.

   On the top floor of the shack at Fort Condor is a guy wearing a headband
(henceforth referred to as "Headband Guy") and staring wistfully out of a large
window.  Talk to him, and he will ask for your assistance in fighting off the
Shinra.  He has an unnecessarily complicated and misleading way of describing
exactly what he plans to do with your money (as do any people that want to
solicit your money), not to mention a barrage of confusing menu options.
Y'know, this is sounding way too much like a bad infomercial...

   First of all, the cost of any and all troops hired, as you might have already
guessed, comes directly out of your pocket.  This means a couple of things,
first of all.  For starters, you are not allowed to participate unless you
currently possess at least 4,000 gil, though you'll probably want to bring a
long a bit more than that (and a hell of a lot more than that for the later
battles).  Secondly, you should really ignore any and all attempts Headband Guy
makes to take your money.  You see, Fort Condor has its own money supply, which
depletes by 3,000 every time you skip a battle (see section X.D. for a listing
of all the battles).  Aside from that, Fort Condor's money supply really has no
use.  And no matter how frequently Headband Guy tells you about Fort Condor's
lack of money (which you'll find that he does rather habitually), all it should
take for you to tell him to piss off is that fact that even if Fort Condor runs
out of money entirely, no negative consequences are suffered, either by you or
by them.

   To summarize things, the battles of Fort Condor are simulated strategy games
in which you hire troops and place them along a mountain path.  Enemies attempt
to make their way up the path towards the shack at the top of the mountain.
Your goal is to defeat all of the enemies, and prevent them from reaching the
top.  If an enemy makes it to the top, you will have to fight a relatively easy
boss creature.  Win, and the battle continues.  Lose, and you're screwed.  Also
note that any subsequent enemy that makes it to the shack following your boss
fight will also spell trouble.

   Finally, do take note of the control instructions, above all else.  They are
fairly simple, as you might expect.  You click on a troop to view its stats
(current HP/max HP), and its command options, which are usually limited to
"attack" and "move to".  Choose one, and then you are to select a target or
destination.  And then the troop begins its journey.  When said troop reaches
its destination or target, it will report back to you.  Pressing the confirm
button again zooms in on the troop so that you may issue further orders.
Pressing the cancel button will continue you along your path.  Note that hitting
the cancel button helps to speed the game up if the order you had issued was an
order to attack something, as your troops will automatically do battle with
whatever gets near it.  Do keep an eye on your soldiers, however, as they are
very suicidal and will battle to the death if not forcefully removed from battle
by you, the commander.  Also take note of your ability to increase the speed of
the simulation (the current speed of which will be indicated along the side of
the screen).  Note, however, that even at the fastest setting, the simulation is
still painfully slow.

   Oh, and your incentive to keep your troops alive throughout these battles is
simple: money.  You get 200 gil back at the end of each battle for each
remaining troop.


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   Moving on, let's examine the roster of troops from which you can choose.
There are several different types of troops, all with various strengths and
weaknesses.  One of the main keys to emerging victorious at Fort Condor is the
proper selection of troops, so keep that in mind.


      Fighters are your standard offensive unit.  They are all-around average
   in terms of their stats, can deal and receive a good amount of damage, and
   possess no weaknesses to any enemy troops.  Conversely, they have no big
   advantages, either.  Due to their versatility, Fighters are the unit of
   choice against unknown or greatly mixed enemies, and for this reason make
   good troops to begin your battles with (to sort of "survey the situation",
   if you will).  Fighters cost 400 gil each.

   ---

      Attackers are a bit weaker than Fighters, both in terms of damage dealt
   and HP.  They're also a bit more expensive than the Fighters (at 420 gil
   each).  The advantage they hold over the Fighter is their ability to fell
   enemy Beasts with far greater ease.  For what it's worth, they are also the
   speediest units, meaning that you may wish to place an Attacker as one of
   your initial troops in order to quickly secure the front lines.  However,
   Attackers are only a good idea versus enemy groups with plentiful Beasts,
   because they are inferior to Fighters and Defenders versus any other unit,
   especially Barbarians, which will tear your Attackers up in a hurry.

   ---

      Defenders are actually the most powerful offensive troop available, which
   is sort of ironic, I guess.  They have more HP and attack power than the
   Fighter, and don't cost that much more than them, either (a mere 440 gil
   each).  On top of that, Defenders can take out enemy Barbarians with wanton
   disregard.  They are very slow troops, but this is a problem that can be
   circumvented by simply placing them where you need them when you buy them
   (preferably near the foot of the mountain).  In way, they would be the
   perfect troop save for their weakness to Wyvern, which will make very quick
   work of them.  However, in any non-Wyvern situation, the Defender is the
   best you've got, and you can't really go wrong.  I still recommend that you
   survey the opposition first for the prevalence of Wyvern before blowing your
   pocketbook on a gazillion Defenders, however (and, as I've mentioned before,
   due to the slow speed of the Defender, you will probably want to get a
   foothold on the front lines before you start to plop them down).

   ---

      Shooters, despite being the weakest and most fragile offensive unit, can
   prove to be some of the most useful.  This is because of their ability to
   make ranged attacks.  While the ranged attacks alone are not much to speak
   of, and will more than likely end up getting your Shooter killed, they make
   an excellent combination with the melee attacks of your front-line troops,
   combining for heavy damage.  And while the stationary units all prove to
   have attacks more powerful and/or wide-ranged than those of the Shooter, do
   note that the Shooter does boast mobility, something that cannot be said for
   any of the stationary units.  This means that you can move them from front
   to front, and also whisk them away from danger if need be.  Furthermore,
   Shooters are excellent at shooting down those pesky Wyvern.  However, as
   I've said before, Shooters make horrible front-line fighters, and will
   quickly get themselves killed if attempting to play that role.  This will
   hold especially true should they come face to face with a Beast, who can
   destroy them in a few seconds flat.  Their usefulness is also accompanied by
   a higher price, as well, standing at 520 gil each.

   ---

      Repairers are not units that are trained to attack, and actually make
   worse fighters than the Shooters do.  Their forte is the ability to heal
   wounded units, and thus it is always a good idea to have a few Repairers
   hanging around near your front-line troops (especially seeing as the only
   possible way for your troops to heal themselves are through Repairers).
   Just make sure to keep your Repairer out of the line of fire, lest you have
   a dead Repairer on your hands.  I also guess it should go without saying
   that you are probably wise in pulling a damaged troop back behind the front
   lines as opposed to sending your Repairer in to heal the unit.  It's just as
   well, seeing as a troop cannot fight whilst being repaired.  A final note to
   make is that you need to not only keep an eye on the HP of any dwindling
   unit so that you can pull it out of the battle before it dies, but also
   should have another troop or so to keep said enemy at bay while your other
   troop is busy retreating.  In conclusion, Repairers can go far in keeping
   your front lines healthy and your wallet full, but only if you know how to
   use them properly.  They cost 480 gil each.

   ---

      Workers are an odd unit in several ways.  They are weaker fighters than
   the Shooter, and are just as easily killed as they are.  Their method of
   fighting is also unusual.  What they do is plant a bomb anywhere along the
   mountain path, and then retreat.  Whenever an enemy comes into contact with
   that bomb, it explodes, hitting a fairly large radius for a decent amount of
   damage.  The real disadvantage of the Worker is that they require a
   substantial amount of effort, planning, and strategy to use with any kind of
   decent results, far more so than any other unit.  For starters, Workers are
   only allowed to set one bomb at a time each, so you must wisely plan the
   placement of their bombs.  Secondly, their bombs don't really do that much
   more damage than the attacks of a stationary unit, meaning that the only
   true advantage of the Worker is their mobility.  At the very least, at 400
   gil each, they are very cost-efficient.

   ---

      Stoners are a stationary unit that constantly lob stones in a certain
   direction.  Stationary units assault the enemy with a barrage of powerful
   attacks, but are offset by the fact that once they are placed, they ain't
   movin'.  For best results, they should be placed directly behind your front
   lines, and should be guarded at all costs (stationary units are very easy to
   kill should an enemy reach them).  But, referring to the Stone as a unit in
   itself, it actually is not any more powerful than the Shooter, and possesses
   several weaknesses that the Shooter does not (immobility, glaringly low HP,
   lack of an offensive advantage versus Wyvern).  How the stoner makes up for
   this is with its projectile.  Not only does it travel a bit farther than the
   Shooters' arrows, but they also will not stop when they hit something, and
   instead will rip through whatever gets in its way.  A close second would be
   the slightly lower cost, I suppose (480 gil each).

   ---

      Tri-Stoners are the offensive unit to end all offensive units.  Its
   attacks, to begin with, are as powerful as those of a Defender (almost twice
   as powerful as the attack of a Shooter or a regular Stoner).  Secondly, the
   Tri-Stoner has a very broad range of attack, firing three stones in a V-
   pattern, which also travel very far before hitting the ground.  Like all
   stationary units, Tri-Stoners still must be defended by your front-line
   troops to survive, however.  Also note that the powerful Tri-Stoner is not
   available until your fifth battle at Fort Condor, and costs a steep 1,000
   gil each.  Still, even at the high cost, Tri-Stoners make excellent backup
   to your main-line offense.

   ---

      Catapults are actually slightly weaker units than Stoners, and thus suffer
   the same drawbacks as they do.  The only difference is that the Catapult has
   a slightly different method of attack.  Rather than hurling a stone directly
   in a straightforward path, the Catapult launches a projectile into the air,
   which will land a short distance away and create a small blast radius of
   effect.  Placed wisely, the Catapult can function like a Worker, only
   without all of the drawbacks.  Catapults cost 480 gil each.

   ---

      Fire Catapults are like Catapults, but only with much more powerful
   attacks and with a much larger blast radius.  Their attacks are about as
   powerful as those of an Attacker (meaning that the Tri-Stoner is still a
   more powerful unit overall), but they can still be very effective when
   placed wisely.  They are a lot cheaper than the costly Tri-Stoner, costing
   only 600 gil each, and are more or less superior to the regular Catapult in
   every way, at not much higher of a cost to you, the consumer (though, due to
   differences in the methods of attack, it's hard to compare the Fire Catapult
   to the Stoner or Shooter).  However, the Fire Catapult does not become
   available to you until your third battle at Fort Condor.


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section IX: The Fort Condor Battles|/ /\ \
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 \ \/ /|Section IX: The Fort Condor Battles|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
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   To make a long story short, the more money you have (and are willing to
spend), the less of a consideration that strategy should be to you.  It doesn't
take much in the way of thinking to cram legion after legion after legion of
expendable troops down your enemies' throats.  But, running under the assumption
that you'd actually like to keep a little bit of that money in your pocket,
here're some battle strategies to keep your troops safe and your wallet full.

   First and foremost, let us remember the old adage, "know thine enemy".  There
are four different creatures you may battle.  None of them in any way really
resemble Shinra troops, which actually indicates that Shinra cares so little
about winning this place back, that they in turn are sending hired goons to
storm Fort Condor.  Regardless, first, we have the >Barbarian.  The Barbarian is
the weakest of the enemies present, both in terms of attack power and HP, but
makes up for this during the later battles by presenting their ability to attack
from a distance (much like your Shooter).  Defenders make quick work of them,
while Attackers will either be eaten alive or severely damaged by them.  The
>Wyvern is a bit stronger then the Barbarian and has a bit more HP, but overall
is not much more difficult to kill.  The advantage possessed by the Wyvern,
however, is the ability to fly over obstacles, making it very maneuverable.
Shooters will find themselves at an advantage against Wyverns (though, as
always, it is best that they attack from afar), but on that same token,
Defenders will fall prey to the attacks of a Wyvern fairly easily.  >Beasts are
stronger than Wyverns, and have considerably more HP.  Then again, they have no
special abilities to speak of, either.  The Attacker will have an easier time
killing Beasts than it will with anything else, but keep your Shooters very far
away from Beasts, lest they kick your Shooter's asses hardcore (also note that
the Beast takes less damage from a Shooter's arrows, meaning that you'll
probably only want to aim for Beasts if there is no alternative).

   Lastly, we have the >Commander, which more or less is a boss-type creature,
hence my dedication of an entire paragraph to it.  There is only one Commander
per battle, and it will be the last enemy to arrive on screen.  It has quite a
bit of HP, and is terribly powerful.  No troops are at an advantage against the
commander, but conversely, the Commander also has no weaknesses.  If it is
prudent to do so, the best way to deal with the Commander is purely with
projectile units.  Granted, this may take more time, but it also helps to keep
your troops safe from the extremely powerful attacks of the Commander (you'll
find that it doesn't take very long for a commander to off one of your
soldiers).  If you are going to make a rush on the Commander, however, the best
way to do so is to gang up on him (and also to have any projectile unit handy
back those soldiers up).  Sending in your soldiers one by one will ultimately
leave you with a huge pile of dead soldiers.  In sending in several, one or two
may die, but the damage inflicted by the rest of them should accumulate very
quickly, and you shall emerge victorious.

   With that out of the way, I suppose the first thing you should be aware of is
that Headband Guy rarely, if ever, knows what he is talking about.  His advice
seems random at best, and you'd be wise to assess the situation yourself before
amassing your army.  Take advantage of the fact that troops can be bought on the
spot, which means that you need not waste your money on extraneous troops.
Another thing to consider that the ideal offense is to rush down the mountain
towards the enemy rather than letting them come to you.  This helps, more than
anything, to give you the drop on them and prevent them from overwhelming your
forces.  However, you should note that troops cannot be placed beyond an
invisible line, which exists just in front of the one troop of yours that has
advanced the farthest down the mountain.  Ergo, the farther you advance, the
farther ahead you may place troops.  Taking all of this into consideration,
might I suggest beginning to fight with a handful of all-purpose troops,
advancing down the mountain, and then placing more troops as needed?  By all-
purpose units, I generally refer to Fighters (who are useful in any given
situation) and also perhaps an Attacker (to allow a quick advancement of your
main line, and quicker placement of your troops farther down the mountain).
This allows for optimal placement of stationary units, as well as allowing you
to survey the prevalence of enemy types present, thus allowing you to make in
informed selection of combat troops.

   Enemies will appear either from the small path to the right of the screen, or
from the large path in the center.  They'll appear in about equal numbers on
both sides (though the Commander always appears at the center), but the area to
the left should be easier to defend, as it is a much more enclosed area.
Stationary units work better there than any place else.  You'll have to make
your coverage a bit more widespread in the central area, but as I've said
before, no more enemies should appear there than from the left.

   If your troops are to be on the front lines, do your best to hold those front
lines, and keep your backup troops close behind.  Any Repairer units should not
be too far away, because the longer your troop must walk to reach them, the
longer that that troop is worthless.  The same holds true, and even more so, for
Workers and stationary units.

   Speaking of stationary units, it has gone without saying that you must choose
their placement wisely, as they are immobile.  However, you are allowed to
change their firing direction, at least.  You are also allowed to dismantle
them, but there's very little point in doing so.

   During some battles, you may wish to allow a single enemy to slip past your
defenses and reach the cabin so that you may do battle with the commander and
win an item of importance following the battle (more on this in section X.D. of
the FAQ).  These battles will all prove to be fairly easy, but regardless, do be
very careful about doing this, as there are consequences for losing said battle.

   And finally, good luck, and may the Force be with you!


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   And lastly, we move on to the Battles of Fort Condor.  Here's how the systems
work: there are a set number of battles, each with a set prize for each battle.
Each battle occurs within a very specific timeframe during the game, and you can
only fight that battle at that time.  You will fight each battle in order, so
skipping a battle means that the last regular battle and its prize will no
longer be available to you, and skipping another fight means that you can't play
the next-to-last battle, and so on.  The exception to this is the final battle,
which is dictated by the plot and is mandatory.  Moving along then, there are
many battles of Fort Condor, and they occur very rapidly.  Most normal people
likely will not have the financial backing needed to sustain the great volume of
battles to be fought at Fort Condor, so you probably won't find yourself making
every battle to be fought here.  The good news is that of the 16 battles (which
is not counting the final battle, which makes 17 total), you're likely only
going to fight up to the point in which you stop being interested in the prizes
given away.  For most people, luckily, this threshold is reached after the 1st
battle.  If you want to continue on, note that you stop receiving worthwhile
prizes after the 7th.  Furthermore, you stop receiving prizes of any sort after
the 9th battle, so it's really not worth your time to pursue the venture any
farther than that (unless you're just looking for a challenge, I suppose).  Do
note that all of the Battles of Fort Condor and their respective prizes are all
lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  That being said,
without further ado, I give you the Battles of Fort Condor:

   ---

      Battle #1 can be fought as soon as your party reaches Fort Condor, but
   before resting in the elderly woman's house at Junon.  The prize is Red
   XIII's Magic Comb.   If an enemy reaches the cabin, you will do battle with
   the commander, and your prize shall be a Vagyrisk Claw.  All in all, this is
   the one battle that you, above all else, may want to fight.  Even if you are
   not interested in any of the other prizes here at Fort Condor (which is a
   safe assumption for several players, at any rate), the Magic Comb is the one
   prize that still might be worth your time.  It will also help later in the
   game (when you are forced to do battle at Fort Condor) to have at least a
   little experience under your belt.

   ---

      Battle #2 can be fought after resting in the elderly woman's house at
   Junon, but before going to the beach with Priscilla.  The prize is a Peace
   Ring.  If an enemy reaches the cabin, you will do battle with the commander,
   and your prize shall be a Vagyrisk Claw.

   ---

      Battle #3 can be fought after getting into the water with Mr. Dolphin, but
   before jumping onto the high voltage tower.  The prize is an Ether, though
   the game calls it a Tincture for some reason.  If an enemy reaches the cabin,
   you will do battle with the commander, and your prize shall be a Vagyrisk
   Claw.  Note that if you skip Battle #3, you cannot collect the prize.
   Rather, the game will just jump straight from Battle #2 to Battle #4.  Also
   note that the Fire Catapult becomes available for the first time during this
   battle.

   ---

      Battle #4 can be fought after acquiring the Buggy, but before traveling to
   Cosmo Canyon.  The prize is a Megalixir.  If an enemy reaches the cabin, you
   will do battle with the commander, and your prize shall be a Vagyrisk Claw.

   ---

      Battle #5 can be fought after leaving Cosmo Canyon, but before going to
   Rocket Town.  The prize for this battle is nonexistent, despite what the game
   might say.  On another note, the Tri-Stoner for the first time will become
   available during this battle.

   ---

      Battle #6 can be fought after getting the Tiny Bronco, but before getting
   the Keystone.  The prize for this battle, like that of Battle #5, is
   nonexistent.

   ---

      Battle #7 can be fought after getting the Keystone, but before traveling
   to the Temple of the Ancients.  The prize is Yuffie's Super Ball.  This means
   that if you have been staying completely on top of the battles of Fort Condor
   up until this point, you will receive for your troubles a weapon equivalent
   to others you will find inside the Temple of the Ancients.  Also, due to
   crapty/nonexistent prizes in the following battles, this is probably the last
   battle you'll be interested in fighting for awhile.

   ---

      Battle #8 can be fought after completing the Temple of the Ancients, but
   before going to the Forgotten City.  The prize is three Turbo Ethers.

   ---

      Battle #9 can be fought after completing the Forgotten City, but before
   going to the Crater.  The prize is three Turbo Ethers.

   ---

      Battle #10 cannot be fought.  It takes place during the week following the
   Reunion, and your team will be unable to attend.

   ---

      Battle #11 also cannot be fought.  For the same reasons as Battle #10.

   ---

      Battle #12 can't be fought, either.  See above.

   ---

      Battle #13 is another wasted battle.  Sad.

   ---

      Battle #14 is the last of the five battles your team will miss out on.

   ---

      Battle #15 can be fought after completing the Crater, but before going to
   Mideel.  There is no prize, and Headband Guy is no longer making any sense
   when he talks to you.  How very sad.

   ---

      Battle #16, like Battle #10 - Battle #14, is unplayable due to your team
   being busy with other matters while it is taking place.

   ---

      Battle #17 is the final battle of Fort Condor, and is mandatory.  You will
   be required to fight this battle as a direct result of the plot, but
   thankfully, it shouldn't be too difficult.  This is your last hurrah,
   however, and there are several prizes riding on the line.  They include the
   Phoenix materia, as well as the Huge Materia.  Furthermore, if an enemy
   reaches the cabin, you will do battle with the commander, who will yield the
   Imperial Guard when defeated.  However, if you suffer defeat at the hands of
   Commander Grand Horn (that's the guy you fight if an enemy makes it all the
   way to the cabin) at Fort Condor, not only are you denied Phoenix and the
   Huge Materia as a result of losing the battle, but you are also banned from
   Fort Condor forever.  This means that you will be henceforth unable to
   purchase additional All materia, as well.


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   All Creation

* Used By---------------Yuffie
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 4/Ultimate
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Angermax

* Used By---------------Barret
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies*

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Beat Rush

* Used By---------------Tifa
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   To begin Tifa's combo out, she pretty much just runs up to something and
starts beating the crap out of it.  The game gives you a bit of a break with
Beat Rush, giving you three yeah spaces in its slot with no nasty misses to trip
you up.  The bad news is that a hit with Beat Rush does only a little bit more
damage than a normal attack, and a yeah is still going to end up doing less
damage overall than the other standard level one limit breaks (about 2.5x the
strength of a normal attack as opposed to the standard 3x offered by the other
limit breaks in question).

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   Big Brawl

* Used By---------------Cid
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Big Shot

* Used By---------------Barret
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   Another generic level-one limit break is Barret's Big Shot.  As if getting
shot with Barret's gun wasn't bad enough, you'll see that what will hurt someone
considerably more is a big blast of whatever the hell he's shooting at you.  As
a matter of fact, it'll hurt about three times as badly as a normal attack does.
And since Barret's second limit break, Mindblow, is a niche attack, Big Shot is
usually the level one limit break of choice.

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   Blade Beam

* Used By---------------Cloud
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------Up to four enemies

   In a shameless rip-off of Zelda, Cloud fires a beam out of his sword that
will hit the main target of the attack for about three times the amount of
damage dealt by a normal attack.  And then, the fallout from the attack strikes
all of the other enemies on the field for a negligible amount of damage, roughly
equal to about half the damage done by a regular attack.  This means that,
mathematically speaking, to make using Blade Beam preferable over Cloud's second
level two limit break, Climhazzard, there should be at least three other
creatures on the field besides your target.  However, if you are targeting
something that you know would be killed outright by a direct hit from Blade Beam
(making Climhazzard unnecessary overkill), and there is at least one other
creature on the field that would suffer the effects of Blade Beam fallout, by
all means go for it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Blood Fang

* Used By---------------Red XIII
* Limit Level/Level #--- Lv. 2/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive & healing
* Affects---------------One enemy & caster

   While one might expect the sequel to Sled Fang to be more powerful that the
original, do remember the old adage: "all sequels suck".  Blood Fang is really
no exception, as it deals only a little more damage than that of a normal
attack.  It makes up for this by offering you Red XIII an MP boost equal roughly
to 1/4 of a regular attack.  He is also given an identical HP boost, but it is
negligible at best.  In conclusion, Blood Fang should take preference over
Stardust Ray only if you need the MP, and you would be wise to acquire Stardust
Ray in a timely fashion, as you likely do not want to be stuck with Blood Fang
as your only available limit break.

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   Bloodfest

* Used By---------------Yuffie
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies*

   Bloodfest is what you'd expect from Yuffie after being injected with toxic
amounts of Mountain Dew and speed.  She more or less just goes apecrap on the
opposition and starts slashing away at everything she sees, totaling ten attacks
against random opponents within a timeframe of about two or three seconds.  The
bad news is that the attacks are fairly weak, each hitting for a little more
than half the damage of a normal attack.  Still, due to the cumulative effects
of Bloodfest, this should be the attack of choice versus one or possibly two
opponents.  Any more than that, and you're better off sticking with Landscaper.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Boost Jump

* Used By---------------Cid
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   Three times as powerful as a normal attack.  Where have we seen this before?
Hint: Braver, Big Shot, Sled Fang, Greased Lightning.  The only difference is
that Cid's second level one limit break, Dynamite, will usually take preference
to Boost Jump.  Boost Jump is still more effective against a lone attacker, but
for most cases, you're probably going to go with Dynamite.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Braver

* Used By---------------Cloud
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   This is the standard level-one limit break.  It's a strong attack that will
do about three times the damage of a normal attack to whatever Cloud decides to
bury that huge-ass sword of his into.  But, despite what you may have heard from
various sources, Cloud's second limit break, Cross-Slash, tops Braver both in
terms of damage dealt and added effects.  Yeah, I'm talking to you, Brady Games
Strategy Guides!  Choke on that, you incorrect, misleading bastards!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Breath of the Earth

* Used By---------------Aeris
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/1st
* Type------------------Healing
* Affects---------------All allies

   Aeris's first level two limit break really loses something from level one.
Breath of the Earth will cure any status ailment currently afflicting anyone in
your party (with the exception of death), and can be slightly useful in a pinch
if necessitated.  But, sadly, this is something that is achievable through so
many other means, the least of which is just waiting for the battle to end.
Furthermore, is you are the kind of person that likes to take advantage of
Aeris's weak strength and powerful limit breaks by putting her in a state of
fury, this limit break can even prove to be counter-productive.  And unless
there is some kind of status ailment which you have no other means to cure and
is just completely holding your team back, you're pretty much going to want to
opt for Aeris's kick-ass second level two limit break, Fury Brand (which you are
advised to obtain ASAP after earning Breath of Earth.)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Catastrophe

* Used By---------------Barret
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 4/Ultimate
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   Catastrophe is the third of the doomsday limit breaks.  And granted, it does
not produce quite the global devastation that you'll see with Omnislash or
Highwind, there's still not going to be enough of your enemy left to scrape up
with a spatula once Catastrophe has run its course.  Again, the only thing
you'll see living through this limit break is Ruby or Emerald WEAPON, though
with Barret at lower levels you may see that Catastrophe will only bring the
final boss within an inch of its life as opposed to murdering it outright.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Chaos

* Used By---------------Vincent
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 4/Ultimate
* Type------------------Special
* Affects---------------Caster

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Clear Tranquil

* Used By---------------Yuffie
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/2nd
* Type------------------Healing
* Affects---------------All allies

   This is Yuffie's version of Aeris's Healing Wind limit break, and offers a
nice healing boost if you happen to be in need.  Unlike Aeris, however, Yuffie
actually has an offensive limit break to fall back on if you are not in any need
of healing, but it's very nice to have around if you do be requiring some.  Like
Healing Wind, Clear Tranquil produces effects somewhat stronger than those of a
Cure-all spell, but not as powerful as a Cure 2-all spell.  Do note that due to
the fact that Yuffie's magical capabilities aren't quite up there with Aeris's,
the effects of Clear Tranquil won't pan out to be as effective as those of
Healing Wind, but still quite effective, nevertheless.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Climhazard

* Used By---------------Cloud
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   Upping the stakes in limit break power, Cloud gives one very unlucky target
an uppercut... with his sword.  Climhazzard deals about four times the damage
that a normal attack would, and is the level two limit break of choice versus a
lone attacker.  Against two or more, you're going to have to use your better
judgment, or perhaps just refer to my commentary on the Blade Beam limit break
for more information.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Cosmo Memory

* Used By---------------Red XIII
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 4/Ultimate
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Cross Slash

* Used By---------------Cloud
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   Cloud's second limit break does about three times the damage of a normal
attack to an enemy with a series of long, painful slashes.  And when I say
"about", I mean there's a small margin of error in the calculations.  And if you
wanna get nitpicky, it does a bit more damage than Braver.  Nothing serious, but
it is stronger overall.  But in addition to just the extra damage dealt, there's
also a chance that with Cross-Slash, you'll paralyze your opponent.  Paralysis
isn't one of those status ailments that effects a large number of the enemy
population, but is more or less a death sentence to anyone who gets stricken by
it.  But since Cross Slash is the stronger attack, anyways, just use it all the
time and accept anything that gets paralyzed by it (if not killed outright) as a
bonus.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Death Gigas

* Used By---------------Vincent
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/1st*
* Type------------------Special
* Affects---------------Caster

   Feed my Frankenstein!  Vincent's level two transformation is a
shameless rip-off of everyone's beast assembled from random body parts dug up
out of graves from all over that became a staple in every monster story and
cartoon for eons untold.  The most noticeable thing about the Death Gigas
transformation is the significantly larger HP boost you will receive than you
did with Galian Beast.  With Death Gigas, expect Vincent's HP supply to double.
Frankenste... er, Death Giags will attack with wither Gigadunk or Livewire.
Gigadunk looks kind of like Vincent is trying to play basketball using an
enemy's head as the hoop.  This powerful attack should deal about three times
the damage of a normal attack.  Livewire, on the other hand, is much more than a
sexy Superman villainess now.  It's also a lightning-based magical attack that
should more or less lay waste to the competition at the time, as its power is a
bit stronger than that of Beast Flare (which in turn was a bit stronger than
Beta).  For the further purposes of comparison, Livewire is about twice as
powerful to another comparable enemy skill, Trine.  Aside from this, Death Gigas
shares the useful applications as well as the obvious drawbacks as his original
transformation, Galian Beast.  Refer to my comments on the Galian Beast limit
break for more information, but there is a final point I must stress.  And that
is that you'll notice that fewer enemies tend to be resistant or immune to
lightning-based attacks as they were to fire-based attacks.  Ergo, Death Gigas
in the end proves to be that much more useful than Galian Beast.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Dice

* Used By---------------Cait Sith
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/1st*
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Dolphin Blow

* Used By---------------Tifa
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   The makers of the game should have exercised far more caution than they did
in using a word such as "blow" in conjunction with any attack possessed by Tifa.
Whether this was a thoughtless error, a hilarious mistranslation, or a
deliberate jab at the horny teenage boys whom Tifa was meant to appeal to,
Dolphin Blow more than likely is an attack far different than the one you
perverts are conjuring up in your minds right now (which probably wouldn't be
appropriate for a Teen-rated game, anyways).

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the (further) commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Doom of the Living

* Used By---------------Yuffie
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies*

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Dragon

* Used By---------------Cid
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive & healing
* Affects---------------One enemy & caster

   Cid's Dragon limit break is identical to Red XIII's Blood Fang.  He summons a
Dragon to attack an enemy, which really doesn't do much more damage than a
regular attack would.  Cid then gains HP and MP roughly equivalent to about 1/4
the damage dealt by a normal attack.  And unless Cid needs the MP boost, you're
likely going to stick with Hyper Jump.  Do note that unlike Blood Fang, this is
the second level two limit break, meaning that Cid isn't stuck with just one
crapty level two limit break while he waits on the good one.  A nice touch, if
you ask me.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Dragon Dive

* Used By---------------Cid
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Dynamite

* Used By---------------Cid
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   Cid produces from unknown origins a stick of dynamite.  Then, lighting it
with his cigarette (you know Cid, I'm no medical expert, but perhaps maybe you
shouldn't be smoking in the middle of a Goddamned battle), he launches it into
the enemy fray, hitting every enemy in sight with a force roughly equal to about
twice the damage dealt by one of his regular attacks.  Dynamite is a limit break
which is actually on par with a few of the level two limit breaks, but seeing as
by the point in the game you get Cid, most of your characters will probably have
already learned said level two limit breaks, the only real advantage of Dynamite
is that it is a level one limit break and thus will be used quicker and more
often that a level two limit break would.  Dynamite is the level one limit break
of choice unless there is only one enemy present on the battlefield, in which
case you should go with Boost Jump, instead.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Earth Rave

* Used By---------------Red XIII
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Final Heaven

* Used By---------------Tifa
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 4/Ultimate
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Finishing Touch

* Used By---------------Cloud
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Fury Brand

* Used By---------------Aeris
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/2nd
* Type------------------Defensive
* Affects---------------All allies except Caster

   Aeris sacrifices her own limit break to completely fill the limit gauges of
her two companions (even if one or both of them are dead).  In the stead of an
actual offensive limit break, this is the best Aeris has to offer, and you
couldn't ask for more.  Because, in essence, Aeris offers two limit breaks for
the price of one in this manner (to get the most value out of Fury Brand, you'll
want to use it when your teammates' limit bars are more or less depleted).  To
make things even more interesting, Fury Brand is only a level two limit break,
but can be used to fill the limit meter of someone who is set at a higher level,
giving you more bang for your buck.  But then again, I suppose, if you're using
level three limit breaks at this point in the game, you're kicking ten tons of
ass anyways.  At any rate, the point I must stress is that Fury Brand is the
obvious choice in a level two limit break unless there is some condition
afflicting your team that is just so horribly detrimental that is has to be
taken care of with the Breath of the Earth (but even then, you might first see
if you have anything in your inventory or command list that would accomplish the
same job without wasting Aeris's limit break).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Galian Beast

* Used By---------------Vincent
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/1st*
* Type------------------Special
* Affects---------------Caster

   With Galian Beast, Vincent transforms into this... um, beast thing.  He'll
get about a 33% HP boost from the transformation, and will attack with Berserk
Dance and Beast Flare.  Berserk Dance is about 1.5 times as powerful as one of
Vincent's normal attacks, while Beast Flare should be somewhat recognizable to
fans of the kick-ass enemy skill Beta.  The only difference between Beast Flare
and Beta is that Beast Flare is a bit more powerful.  The disadvantage, besides
losing control of Vincent, is that Beast Flare is, like Beta, a fire-based
attack.  And don't think that Vincent is going to catch on after his fiftieth
failed attempt to cast Beast Flare on something that happens to be immune to or,
worse yet, absorbs fire-based attacks.  What this means, is that you need to
exercise common sense when using Galian Beast.  So long as you do, though, not
only does it become a powerful set of attacks at your disposal, but it's also a
good clutch attack to fall back on, as the transformation will also increase
Vincent's durability by a large margin, because with it, he gets an HP boost, HP
restoration, and he will simply revert back to normal if defeated in this form.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Gauntlet

* Used By---------------Yuffie
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies*

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Greased Lightning

* Used By---------------Yuffie
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   Y'know... when an attack is called "Greased Lightning", you expect something
from it.  Flair.  Flashiness.  A show.  With Greased Lightning, however, you get
none of that.  Yuffie just runs up and slashes someone with her weapon (which,
might I add, is a questionable method of attack for someone who is wielding a
projectile weapon).  As for the attack itself, it is about three times as
powerful as a normal attack.  Yuffie's second limit break, Clear Tranquil,
should take preference over this limit break should you in any way need it's
healing powers.  If not, then rip away with Greased Lightning.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Great Gospel

* Used By---------------Aeris
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 4/Ultimate
* Type------------------Defensive & healing
* Affects---------------All allies

   If you thought there was no way Planet Protector and Pulse of Life could be
topped... think again.  Because Great Gospel gives you the best of both worlds,
conveying the benefits of both of Aeris's level three limit breaks.  This
effectively eliminates the problems presented by having to choose only one of
the two, but with it crops up another problem: level four limit breaks are slow.
And especially so early in the game (you'll recall from my commentary on Planet
Protector that Aeris's higher level limit breaks must be obtained early on to be
of any use at all), it's going to take a Goddamned eternity for her limit meter
to fill up.  If you're going to have Aeris set on limit level four, might I
suggest keeping her in a state of fury?  Anyways, there's the small matter of
actually getting a hold of the Great Gospel manual, as well, but it's not
horribly difficult to do, and is detailed in section V.C. of the FAQ.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Grenade Bomb

* Used By---------------Barret
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   Barret launches a grenade at the opposition, hitting each enemy for
approximately twice the damage of a normal attack.  Grenade Bomb is effective
against large groups of opponents, but it just sort of loses something when you
"waste" it on only one or two opponents.  However, due to the limited use you'll
get out of Barret's second level-two limit break, Hammerblow, Grenade Bomb will
usually be Barret's level-two limit break of choice.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Hammerblow

* Used By---------------Barret
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/2nd
* Type------------------Indirect offense
* Affects---------------One enemy

   Hammerblow isn't so much of a painful attack as it is a way to remove a
creature from their current solar system.  Barret more or less knocks something
into the air, and if the attack works, it never comes back.  This attack
amazingly enough does no direct damage, making it for all practical purposes an
instant-death attack.  Hammerblow has two things going against it in that
respect.  One is that many enemies are immune to the effects of instant death
attacks.  The other is that you have so many other ways to induce instant death
attacks without invoking a limit break (e.g., Odin or Destruct/Added Effect).
For these reasons alone, even if you are squaring off against a lone attacker,
you may still find yourself reaching to use Grenade Bomb, anyways.  Against
larger groups, however, it's much less of a question that Grenade Bomb will
prove more useful, unless there's just one enemy in the group that is just
really pissing you off.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Healing Wind

* Used By---------------Aeris
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/1st
* Type------------------Healing
* Affects---------------All allies

   Aeris's first limit break heals rather than hurts.  It will restore quite a
bit of HP for everyone in the party (generally a bit more than a Cure-all spell
will, but not as much as a Cure 2-all spell), and is usually a welcome reprieve
whenever you get the chance to use it.  If you are really not in need of the
healing, Aeris's second level one limit break, Seal Evil, may be preferable, but
only if you're sure that not only is it going to work, but also if it is even
necessary.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Hellmasker

* Used By---------------Vincent
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/1st*
* Type------------------Special
* Affects---------------Caster

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Highwind

* Used By---------------Cid
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 4/Ultimate
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   Another one of the doomsday limit breaks is Cid's Highwind, in which he
summons the Highwind to bomb the opposition to high hell.  And bomb the enemy,
it does, completely wasting anything that once stood on the other side of the
screen (unless that something happens to be Ruby or Emerald WEAPON).  All in
all, Omnislash is probably a bit more powerful than Highwind, but that's
something that unless we develop super slo-mo replay, we may never know for
sure.  Rather, just think about it this way: there's not very much difference
between the 99th and 100th degrees of complete overkill.  Anyways, Highwind can
be yours if you just look hard enough at the Gelnika, a side quest which is
further discussed in section IV.D. of the FAQ.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Howling Moon

* Used By---------------Red XIII
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/1st
* Type------------------Defensive
* Affects---------------Caster

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Hyper Jump

* Used By---------------Cid
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   Obviously unaffected by the rigors of smoker's hack, Cid effortlessly leaps
several yards into the air, and comes barreling down on the enemy, striking the
entire opposition with an blast three times as powerful as a regular attack.
And the most amazing part is that no matter how much Cid is jostled about in
midair, the cigarette never leaves his lips... absolutely amazing.  Anyways,
this is definitely one of the more powerful level two limit breaks available
(though it loses something against a lone attacker as opposed to two or more
enemies), and is actually the level two limit break of choice for Cid unless he
is badly in need of MP, in which case you may decide to go with Dragon instead.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Landscaper

* Used By---------------Yuffie
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   You'll take back any comment you ever made about Yuffie being weak and frail
after you witness her Landscaper attack.  With this, she strikes the ground with
such a force as to cause a massive earthquake to envelop the entire opposition
(and just in case you were curious, this is marked as physical damage as opposed
earth-based damage, meaning that even enemies immune to the effects of earth-
based attacks will be still affected by the Landscaper... ouch!)  Expect
Landscaper to deal damage roughly equivalent to twice the damage of a normal
attack, making Landscaper Yuffie's level two limit break of choice against any
group of three or larger.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Lunatic High

* Used By---------------Red XIII
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/2nd
* Type------------------Defensive
* Affects---------------All allies

   Lunatic High is generally a Haste-all spell for your team.  During long
battles, such as the fight with Jenova-BIRTH, this limit break is quite a handy
maneuver.  During shorter battles, however, it is generally not worth the
effort, and you're probably better off sticking with Sled Fang.  Either way, you
shouldn't ever have to use this again once you pick up the Time materia and/or
Big Guard.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Meteodrive

* Used By---------------Tifa
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   While being pile-driven by Tifa has recently been voted the number one sexual
fantasy among high school teenagers, do keep in mind that it is also quite
painful to the victim.  Keeping in step with the progressive increase in
strength, you'll find that Meteodrive is a bit more damaging than Waterkick, and
makes Tifa's ultimate combo up to this point favorably comparable to any of the
other level two limit breaks... assuming, of course, you get your yeahs.  If you
can score a yeah with Waterkick, you should have no problem at all doing the
same for Meteodrive.  A second miss slot is added before the cluster of two
yeahs, but this is meant to psyche you out more than anything and should have no
effect whatsoever on your yeahing.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Meteor Strike

* Used By---------------Tifa
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Meteorain

* Used By---------------Cloud
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies*

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Mindblow

* Used By---------------Barret
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/2nd
* Type------------------Indirect offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   Mindblow is an attempt to deplete the target creature's MP.  Granted, this
can be a useful attack when you're going up against anything whose magic is a
real threat to you (the Midgar Zolom comes to mind), but Mindblow has a few
drawbacks, mind you.  First and foremost, it's really only going to prove useful
against something with enough HP that you can't just kill it outright, anyways.
And you'll find that most of those enemies tend to be, you guessed it, boss
creatures.  Boss creatures, as you might have guessed, are immune to the effects
of Mindblow.  Needless to say, Mindblow's useful applications are few and far
between, and you're advised to stick with Big Shot in most instances.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Omnislash

* Used By---------------Cloud
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 4/Ultimate
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   Oh, eat it you ass!  Big Daddy Cloud's gonna slice yo' ass up!  Other than
that, there's really not much you can say about an attack that is nothing more
than pure and complete overkill, so let's just put it this way: use Omnislash on
anything that you really don't like and watch it die a quick and painful death.
The only things in this game capable of withstanding Omnislash are Emerald and
Ruby WEAPON, and they're just Goddamn ridiculous, anyways.  The Omnislash manual
can be obtained at the Speed Square at the Gold Saucer for the generous price of
32,000 BP, and is worth every penny.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Planet Protector

* Used By---------------Aeris
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/1st
* Type------------------Defensive
* Affects---------------All allies

   Level three is where Aeris's limit breaks tend to reach an almost ridiculous
point, and generally tend to make people say, "huh?  What the hell?  It does
what!?  It makes me invincible!?"  Yup, you read that right.  Planet Protector
renders your party completely immune to damage of any sort for a brief
timeframe, during which you are free to attack your enemies with impunity.  Of
course, it does prevent your HP from changing at all, meaning that you will be
unable to heal yourself at the time, but it is a minor setback, nonetheless.  If
you find that one of your characters is hinging on the brink of death while
under the care of Planet Protector, you can either quickly eliminate the enemy
threat while you are still invincible, or keep someone's turn active to quickly
heal said character as soon as the invincibility wears off.  If you can at all
help it, you'll probably want to go with Planet Protector over Pulse of Life,
but if your party is really hurting, then definitely opt for the latter (unless
you're just positive that you'll have enough time to wipe out the enemy using
Planet Protector).  But all in all, both Planet Protector and Pulse of Life are
very good attacks with only one major drawback: they almost aren't worth the
trouble they are to get.  At a time in the game when most of your other
characters are using level one and level two limit breaks, it's a huge pain in
the ass to move up to level three.  And worse than that, the effects of these
great limit breaks are very short lived, as they will cease being available to
you about halfway through the game (for more information, refer to section
III.E. of the walkthrough).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Pulse of Life

* Used By---------------Aeris
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/2nd
* Type------------------Healing
* Affects---------------All allies

   Pulse of Life is Aeris's second kick-ass level three limit break which has
all of the pros and cons of Planet Protector.  Except that rather than making
you invincible, Pulse of Life will completely refresh your party.  This means
revival for the dead, a full supply of HP and MP, and a slate clean and devoid
of status ailments.  This makes Pulse of Life a great comeback attack, but you
still might want to go with Planet Protector if you're sure it'll be enough for
you to eliminate the enemy threat.  Again, a great limit break, but refer to my
commentary on Planet Protector for a quick rundown of the serious drawbacks
involved with Aeris's level three limit breaks.  On another note, if you've
already acquired Pulse of Life... what's to stop you from going all the way and
just going straight for Great Gospel?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Satellite Beam

* Used By---------------Barret
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 3/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Seal Evil

* Used By---------------Aeris
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/2nd
* Type------------------Indirect offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies

   Aeris inflicts the Stop and Silence conditions upon the entire opposition.
This combination can prove to be highly useful at specific times, and at the
very least nifty at others.  The downside is that this is the only really
offensive level one limit break Aeris has, and it really doesn't do any direct
damage.  Plus, it is somewhat limited as to who and what will be affected by it,
not to even mention that it's kind of pointless to use if the battle is about to
be over, anyways.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Sled Fang

* Used By---------------Red XIII
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   Sled Fang is like a normal attack, only about three times as powerful.  Sound
familiar?  It is kind of cool to watch, though.  Red XIII rips through an enemy.
And when I say "rips", I mean it.  He frickin runs right through them.  But on a
serious note, Red XIII's second limit break, Lunatic High, is a good choice over
this if you're fighting a prolonged battle.  However, if either the battle
you're fighting is soon to be over, or if you've already nabbed the Time
materia, you'll probably want to stick with Sled Fang.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Slots

* Used By---------------Cait Sith
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/1st*
* Type------------------????
* Affects---------------????

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Somersault

* Used By---------------Tifa
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 1/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   For her second hit, Tifa proceeds to kick the crap out of her target, which
may or may not be the thing she was originally attacking.  While Beat Rush was
the weakest of all the level-one limit breaks, things change with the addition
of Somersault.  While neither Beat Rush nor Somersault alone is as powerful as a
standard level one limit break (though you'll find that Somersault is a tad bit
more powerful than Beat Rush), you'll find that the two of them used in tandem
make for one of the most powerful level-one limit breaks available, bested only
potentially by Cid's Dynamite.  Somersault, however, also introduces you to the
concept of the miss, placing one before and after the yeahs on the Somersault
slot.  However, with three back to back yeahs still available, it shouldn't be
too difficult to score maximum damage with Tifa's Somersault.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Stardust Ray

* Used By---------------Red XIII
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/2nd
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------All enemies*

   Red XIII lets loose with 10 shooting stars, each of which will descend upon
random targets, each striking for a little more than half the damage Red XIII
would deal with a regular attack.  The effects are cumulative, making this a
generally effective attack whether you're up against a group or a lone attacker.
And unless you are just badly in need of MP, you're going to want to stick with
Stardust Ray over Blood Fang.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Waterkick

* Used By---------------Tifa
* Limit Level/Level #---Lv. 2/1st
* Type------------------Direct offensive
* Affects---------------One enemy

   Another kick, which apparently has something to do with water, continues
Tifa's combo to the third hit.  There's no elemental damage to speak of from the
suspiciously-named Waterkick, but you will notice that it is a bit more powerful
than Somersault was.  While Tifa's heralding call into the level two limit
breaks is powerful, it also ups the stakes in the Waterkick slot, taking away
one of your yeah spots and leaving only two in its stead.  If your reflexes are
good enough, scoring a yeah with Waterkick should still be no problem, but you
now have more reason to beware the miss slots present before and after the
aforementioned two yeah slots.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Barrier

* Spells-----------Barrier, M-Barrier (Lv. 2), Reflect (Lv. 3), Wall (Lv. 4)
* AP---------------5,000 (Lv. 2), 15,000 (Lv. 3), 30,000 (Lv. 4), 45,000 (Lv. 5)
* Price------------10,000 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+5% MP, -5% HP, +2 Mag, -2 Str, +1 MDef, -1 Vit
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/None
* Location---------Rocket Town

   Unlike previous Final Fantasies, where defensive magic was something you know
you never used (come on, admit it), protective magic is indeed an almost
necessary venture in Final Fantasy VII.  The glaring downside to the Barrier
materia is the existence of the Big Guard enemy skill, which becomes available
before the Barrier materia does, and offers the effects of every spell offered
by the Barrier materia except for Reflect, and a Haste-all spell in addition to
that.  As an additional whammy, you can equip the E. Skill materia without the
severe statistical drawbacks of the Barrier materia.  For this reason, the
Barrier, M-Barrier, and Wall spells offered by the Barrier materia are almost
entirely unnecessitated, leaving the Reflect spell as Barrier's only offering.
Reflect is somewhat of a drastic spell to cast, and given the AP requirement
needed to unlock it, will take quite some time and effort to unlock.  There are
times in which having a Reflect spell may prove useful, but those times are few
and far between.  There actually is one more potential use for the Barrier
materia, and that is to serve to re-apply Barrier or M-Barrier in the event that
Big Guard wears off (as through this method, you can re-apply either at a
fraction of the cost).  It's just that not only are you going to have to get
yourself into a fight so long that Big Guard actually has time to wear off, this
is also going to have to be a fight were Barrier or M-Barrier alone will do the
trick (as opposed to both at the same time).  In either instance, Barrier is a
materia that is only truly functional when attached to All.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Comet

* Spells-----------Comet, Comet 2 (Lv. 2)
* AP---------------12,000 (Lv. 2), 60,000 (Lv. 3)
* Price------------N/A
* Stat Adj.--------+5% MP, -5% HP, +2 Mag, -2 Str, +1 MDef, -1 Vit
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/None
* Location---------Hidden at City of the Ancients

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Contain

* Spells-----------Freeze, Break (Lv. 2), Tornado (Lv. 3), Flare (Lv. 4)
* AP---------------5,000 (Lv. 2), 10,000 (Lv. 3), 15,000 (Lv. 4), 60,000 (Lv. 5)
* Price------------N/A
* Stat Adj.--------+10% MP, -10% HP, +4 Mag, -4 Str, +2 MDef, -2 Vit
* Element/Effect---N/A/Para, Petr, Conf
* Location---------Hidden at Mideel

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Destruct

* Spells-----------De-Barrier, De-Spell (Lv. 2), Death (Lv. 3)
* AP---------------6,000 (Lv. 2), 10,000 (Lv. 3), 45,000 (Lv. 4)
* Price------------9,000 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+5% MP, -5% HP, +2 Mag, -2 Str, +1 MDef, -1 Vit
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/Death
* Location---------Hidden (it hits you, actually) at Shinra Mansion, Mideel

   In addition to hurting really badly when hurled at you at a high velocity,
the Destruct materia also makes a damn fine magic materia, to boot.  It offers
you the "dispel"-type spells, De-Barrier and De-Spell, which can prove useful
under certain circumstances.  However, the really useful spell on this materia
is the third spell, Death.  Need we even discuss the usefulness of instant death
magic?  Then again, at this point in the game, you should probably have also
picked up the Odin materia, which serves more or less the same purpose (except
that Odin will still work against anything immune to instant death).  But, also
bear in mind that the Death spell is far more economical than the costly Odin
summon, making a Death-all spell definitely something to consider instead.
While you can achieve instant death effects with Destruct and Added Effect, do
remember that you can get the same effect with Odin.  There's really not much
difference between the two, but you'll probably want to go with Odin, seeing as
not only is it a more useful attack to have on hand, but also that the Odin
materia won't lay a Strength penalty on you (and since you obviously appear to
be setting up this character as a fighter, I'd suppose that would be important
to you).  So overall, you may not see yourself reaching for destruction magic
too often, but believe me when I say that there are times in the game where
you'll be very glad you have this materia on hand.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Earth

* Spells-----------Quake, Quake 2 (Lv. 2), Quake 3 (Lv. 3)
* AP---------------6,000 (Lv. 2), 22,000 (Lv. 3), 40,000 (Lv. 4)
* Price------------1,500 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+2% MP, -2% HP, +1 Mag, -1 Str
* Element/Effect---Earth/None
* Location---------Kalm, Junon

   The Earth materia grants you access to earth spells, which are more or less
the most powerful of the elemental spells (not counting Gravity).  While earth
magic is a bit more powerful than poison magic (and is also actually cheaper, in
terms of MP), also bear in mind that earth magic lacks a kick-ass status ailment
to accompany its attacks, meaning that wherever applicable, you may want to at
least strike first with poison magic instead.  Also, like the Poison materia, it
takes considerably more AP to level up the Earth materia than it does Lightning,
Ice, and/or Fire, meaning that the more potent earth spells surface later on
and/or with more invested time and effort.  Again on the negative side of
things, you'll find that many enemies are immune to earth magic (many more than
are immune to poison magic).  But I suppose that it should be fairly obvious to
you that anything flying through the air isn't really going to be hurt too badly
by an earthquake.  So as long as you don't try to off any birds or other flying
or floating things with earth magic, you should see some good results with the
Earth materia.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Exit

* Spells-----------Escape, Remove (Lv. 2)
* AP---------------10,000 (Lv. 2), 30,000 (Lv. 3)
* Price------------10,000 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+2% MP, -2% HP, +1 Mag, -1 Str
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/None
* Location---------Rocket Town

   You'll receive this materia at a time when random battles are more of a joke
than a challenge, and the Exit materia really only helps to carve that fact out
in stone.  The two spells granted to you by the Exit materia ensure that random
battles really never need worry you again.  Granted, the first spell (Escape)
will end any random battle at the expense of any AP, Gil, or Exp. earned for the
fight, and the alternative (Remove) is very costly in terms of MP and takes
10,000 AP to unlock, the Exit materia is still a good trump card to have up your
sleeve in case anything ever goes awry during a random battle.  Not only are its
effects the same regardless of the caster's magic prowess, but the Exit
materia's adjustments to your stats are less severe than the other more advanced
materia of the time.  These factors make Exit a handy materia for spellcasters
and non-spellcasters alike.  One good reason to hand this to one of your non-
spellcasting characters is that you usually should have the MP to cast the
spells if need be.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Fire

* Spells-----------Fire, Fire 2 (Lv. 2), Fire 3 (Lv. 3)
* AP---------------2,000 (Lv. 2), 18,000 (Lv. 3), 35,000 (Lv. 4)
* Price------------600 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+2% MP, -2% HP, +1 Mag, -1 Str
* Element/Effect---Fire/None
* Location---------Various shops in the world

   Another of the basic three magic materia (the other two being Ice and
Lightning), the Fire materia grants you access to all of the fire spells.  Like
the ice and lightning spells, the fire spells are powerful spells throughout
most of the game.  Also like the Ice and Lightning materia, Fire levels-up
pretty fast, giving you quicker access to more powerful magic.  If you'd like
more than one copy of the Fire materia, go ahead and pick one up whenever you
can.  If not, note that Red XIII joins your party already equipped with one
(that has quite a bit of AP on it, to boot), and that you can easily get by
without a Fire materia until you meet up with him.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Full Cure

* Spells-----------Fullcure (Lv. 2)
* AP---------------3,000 (Lv. 2), 100,000 (Lv. 3)
* Price------------N/A
* Stat Adj.--------+10% MP, -10% HP, +4 Mag, -4 Str, +2 MDef, -2 Vit
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/None
* Location---------Hidden at Cosmo Canyon (later)

   Full Cure is the always-useful Restore materia souped-up to an almost
unhealthy extreme.  At a time during the game when Cure-all spells are a virtual
mainstay, you may be a bit disappointed to discover Full Cure's incompatibility
with the All materia, meaning that the Full Cure spell it offers is for all
practical purposes a very expensive, albeit never-ending X-Potion.  As for the
materia itself, it's a double-edged sword.  Sure, it's nice to have around, and
can help at times.  You also will see a large boost in the wearer's magically-
oriented statistics, and the materia can be used with great results to this end.
On the other hand, other statistics will suffer greatly for this bonus, and
given Full Cure's incompatibility with All, not to mention the high MP cost of
the Full Cure spell, the usefulness of the Full Cure materia is limited more or
less to a trump card.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Gravity

* Spells-----------Demi, Demi 2 (Lv. 2), Demi 3 (Lv. 3)
* AP---------------10,000 (Lv. 2), 20,000 (Lv. 3), 40,000 (Lv. 4)
* Price------------8,000 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+5% MP, -5% HP, +2 Mag, -2 Str, +1 MDef, -1 Vit
* Element/Effect---Gravity/None
* Location---------Hidden in the Gi Cave, Costa Del Sol (later), Mideel

   Gravity is the final elemental attack materia you'll receive, and is the odd
ball of the elemental attacks.  Gravity magic, as you may or may not know, does
damage proportional to an enemies current HP as opposed to being derived from
one's Magic Attack stat.  As you might expect, this means that gravity magic is
going to be far more effective versus enemies with high HP, and generally isn't
even worth your time against weaker creatures.  While one nice point worthy of
mention is that the Gravity materia suffers no damage loss due to using it in
conjunction with an All materia, the one glaring disadvantage is that the
majority of things you would want to use gravity magic on (namely boss
creatures) all tend to possess an immunity to gravity magic.  Another
disadvantage of the Gravity materia is the fact that there is also an enemy
skill available called Laser, whose effects are the same as those of Demi 2.
And not only can you equip the E. Skill materia without the noticeably severe
stat adjustments of the Gravity materia, but you'll also notice that Laser is
much cheaper to use than Demi 2.  The one advantage that the Gravity materia
does have is, as I've already stated, its compatibility with All (something that
the Laser attack does not possess), but you may very well see yourself using
Laser of the most part until the days of Demi 3, which is the only Demi spell
that offers effects greater than those of Laser.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Heal

* Spells-----------Poisona, Esuna (Lv. 2), Resist (Lv. 3)
* AP---------------12,000 (Lv. 2), 52,000 (Lv. 3), 60,000 (Lv. 4)
* Price------------1,500 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+2% MP, -2% HP, +1 Mag, -1 Str
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/None
* Location---------Kalm, Junon, Costa Del Sol, Gongaga

   This is another one of those materia which really doesn't even merit me
explaining to you why you need one.  It should just automatically click in your
head that something that grants you spells of protection from status ailments is
going to be useful.  On the negative end of things, it takes a lot amount of AP
to level up, so you're stuck with just the Poisuna spell for quite some time,
which kinda does suck.  But the spells ultimately offered by this materia (Esuna
and Resist) are quite powerful.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Ice

* Spells-----------Ice, Ice 2 (Lv. 2), Ice 3 (Lv. 3)
* AP---------------2,000 (Lv. 2), 18,000 (Lv. 3), 35,000 (Lv. 4)
* Price------------600 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+2% MP, -2% HP, +1 Mag, -1 Str
* Element/Effect---Ice/None
* Location---------Various shops in the world

   One of the three basic magic materia, the Ice materia grants you access to
all of the ice spells, which are powerful attacks throughout the majority of the
game.  Another benefit here is that, being one of the three basic magic materia,
it levels up quite quickly, granting you fast and easy access to higher-level
spells.  Cloud begins the game with one, but you can buy additional ones just
about anywhere.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Lightning

* Spells-----------Bolt, Bolt 2 (Lv. 2), Bolt 3 (Lv. 3)
* AP---------------2,000 (Lv. 2), 18,000 (Lv. 3), 35,000 (Lv. 4)
* Price------------600 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+2% MP, -2% HP, +1 Mag, -1 Str
* Element/Effect---Lightning/None
* Location---------Various shops in the world

   Take everything I said about the Ice materia and stick it right here instead.
Also note that for the first good chunk of the game (Midgar), this is probably
the most important of the three basic magic materia, seeing as a lot of enemies
there are susceptible to lightning-based attacks.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Master Magic

* Spells-----------All Spells
* AP---------------N/A
* Price------------N/A
* Stat Adj.--------N/A
* Element/Effect---N/A
* Location---------From man in Kalm (later), from Huge Materia (green)

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Mystify

* Spells-----------Confu, Berserk (Lv. 2)
* AP---------------12,000 (Lv. 2), 25,000 (Lv. 3)
* Price------------6,000 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+2% MP, -2% HP, +1 Mag, -1 Str
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/Conf, Bsrk
* Location---------Gongaga, Cosmo Canyon

   Mystify is a bit of an odd-ball materia in that it offers two very different
spells: Confu and Berserk.  Both tend to be more potent attacks than, say, Sleep
and Silence, but in the flip side of the coin tend to affect less of the
population.  Combined with Added Effect in one's weapon, Mystify is a mixed bag.
On one hand, it will offer you the effects of Berserk right away, and when you
are hitting with confusion and berserk in tandem, they can produce some very
nice results against a much more broad range of the population that either spell
alone could.  Another good reason to do this is that Confu and Berserk are two
of the most costly indirectly offensive spells to use in terms of MP.  On the
other hand, unlike Seal or Transform, this is going to be a combination in which
you must focus more heavily on attacking to produce optimum results (as opposed
to hitting them once or so to afflict them and then being done with it).  As for
the attacks themselves, they can prove useful in a pinch, except that not so
much is gained by attaching Mystify to an All materia as would be the case with
Seal or Transform.  The reasons are kinda obvious, as an entire battlefield of
confused opponents won't stay that way for too long.  If anything, you'd be
doing it for the Berserk-all spell.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Poison

* Spells-----------Bio, Bio 2 (Lv. 2), Bio 3 (Lv. 3)
* AP---------------5,000 (Lv. 2), 20,000 (Lv. 3), 38,000 (Lv. 4)
* Price------------1,500 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+2% MP, -2% HP, +1 Mag, -1 Str
* Element/Effect---Poison/Pois
* Location---------Hidden in Shinra H.Q., Kalm, Junon, Costa Del Sol*

   The Poison materia grants you access to the poison spells.  For starters,
you'll see that these spells are more powerful than the fire, ice, and lightning
spells are (albeit far more costly in terms of MP).  In addition, the poison
spells also have a relatively good chance of inflicting the poison status when
they hit (which I guess you should have just assumed, anyways).  Now, the
downside.  First of all, you'll find that it takes more AP to level up the
Poison materia than it does with Fire, Ice, or Lightning, meaning that more
effort will have to go into unlocking the more potent poison magic.  Secondly,
you'll find that many enemies possess resistances and/or immunity to poison
magic.  Luckily for you, it's usually pretty obvious that poison-based attacks
are going to have little to no effect on a machine or a pile of toxic sludge, so
as long as you employ a little common sense when using this materia, you'll be
fine.  A final note that must be made about the Poison materia is possible
linkage to the Elemental or the Added Effect materia.  Note that both the
Elemental and Added Effect materia will offer you the ability to attack with or
protection from the poison status, but only the Elemental materia will also
grant you the same for the poison element.  For this reason, you'll probably
want to opt for the Elemental materia over Added Effect (if only to leave your
Added Effect materia free for use in other venues).  Either way, the poison
status ailment is a good thing to be fighting with on your side, because not
only does it do a considerable amount of damage if cast early on in battle, but
also because many of the game's enemies are affected by it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Restore

* Spells-----------Cure, Cure 2 (Lv. 2), Regen (Lv. 3), Cure 3 (Lv. 4)
* AP---------------2,500 (Lv. 2), 17,000 (Lv. 3), 24,000 (Lv. 4)
* Price------------750 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+2% MP, -2% HP, +1 Mag, -1 Str
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/None
* Location---------Various shops in the world

   Do I really even need to comment on the necessity of curative spells?  You'll
find a Restore materia on your first mission, but it's a very good idea to pick
up another one or even two at a local shop.  For maximum results, you'll likely
be wanting to pair up Restore with an All materia, as well (though later on it
also makes an excellent defensive pair with the Magic Counter materia).  Like
Fire, Ice, and Lightning, Restore materia is sold all over the place.  It also
levels-up relatively easy, to keep up with your curative needs.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Revive

* Spells-----------Life, Life 2 (Lv. 2)
* AP---------------45,000 (Lv. 2), 55,000 (Lv. 3)
* Price------------3,000 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+5% MP, -5% HP, +2 Mag, -2 Str, +1 MDef, -1 Vit
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/None
* Location---------Junon, Costa Del Sol

   Revival magic is... to put it succinctly, useful.  And that's about the
biggest understatement since "Hitler wasn't a very nice guy".  On a negative
note, you are stuck with just the Life spell throughout most of the game due to
an insanely high amount of AP required to level it up...  You'll also notice
that Revive will likely be the first "advanced" magic materia you'll acquire,
and that its alterations to your stats tend to be far more severe than those
made by the other materia you possess at the time.  Keep this in mind whilst
distributing your materia.  On a final note, though you may be tempted to pair
Revive with the Final Attack materia, realize that Phoenix is actually a far
better idea.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Seal

* Spells-----------Sleep, Silence (Lv. 2)
* AP---------------10,000 (Lv. 2), 20,000 (Lv. 3)
* Price------------3,000 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+2% MP, -2% HP, +1 Mag, -1 Str
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/Sleep, Silence
* Location---------Junon, Costa Del Sol

   Seal will grant you access to the Sleepel and later, the Silence spells.
They are useful to an extent, but they are generally among the least
debilitating status ailments you can afflict an opponent with.  The good news is
that this means that it will usually work (except, obviously, versus boss-type
creatures).  This is a fact that makes Seal a good choice to pair with Added
Effect in one's weapon, as you can usually expect to see results from it.  And
while Sleep and Silence are not the most detrimental of all status ailments,
their usefulness is greatly increased when they are applied on an almost
constant basis.  As an added bonus, using the Seal materia in conjunction with
the Added Effect materia will grant you access to the effects of Silence right
off the bat, as well.  If you are not using Seal with the Added Effect materia,
bear in mind that All might be a good choice, as well.  As we have already
established, Sleep and Silence are among the status afflictions most likely to
effect the opposition, making Sleep-all and Silence-all spells more likely to
affect everything on-screen, not to mention more useful than single-target
castings.  On another fun side note, even though it takes a lot of AP to unlock
Silence, the Seal materia takes the least AP of any materia available to master.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Shield

* Spells-----------Shield (Lv. 2)
* AP---------------10,000 (Lv. 2), 100,000 (Lv. 3)
* Price------------N/A
* Stat Adj.--------+10% MP, -10% HP, +4 Mag, -4 Str, +2 MDef, -2 Vit
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/None
* Location---------Hidden in the Final Cave

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Time

* Spells-----------Haste, Slow (Lv. 2), Stop (Lv. 3)
* AP---------------8,000 (Lv. 2), 20,000 (Lv. 3), 42,000 (Lv. 4)
* Price------------6,000 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+5% MP, -5% HP, +2 Mag, -2 Str, +1 MDef, -1 Vit
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/Slow, Stop
* Location---------Gongaga, Rocket Town

   The selling point of the Time materia is the Haste spell, which can give your
party big advantages in long fights.  The disadvantage to this, of course, is
that the effects of Haste can also be provided by the Big Guard enemy skill.
Still, a good Haste-all spell can prove useful in the early game, and the Slow
and Stop spells, when utilized properly, can also help to increase your
advantage in the speed department.  Time has much potential in the field of
linkage, also.  When used in conjunction with the Added Effect materia (in your
weapon, of course), you can see some interesting results.  Seeing as the effects
of Slow are the most universally effective of any status ailment, you can except
to see results most of the time (albeit not the most detrimental of them all).
But in response to that issue, Time will also imbue your weapon with Stop
effects.  While not as widely effective as the Slow effects, it can really screw
your target's world up.  In conclusion, Time in conjunction with the Added
Effect materia actually provides you with the best of both words, in that you
can produce some extremely debilitating effects to those who would fall prey to
them, but failing that, you should at least have some degree of effect (via
Slow) on just about anything you come into contact with.  However, before you go
attaching Time to Added Effect, first make sure that it could not better serve
you with an All materia.  Granted, you should have Big Guard at the point you
receive the Time materia, but you are at a point in the game where a simple
Haste-all spell might very well suffice (and at a fraction of the cost).  And
there's always other materia you can just as well link to Added Effect, such as
Seal, Mystify, or Transform.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Transform

* Spells-----------Mini, Toad (Lv. 2)
* AP---------------8,000 (Lv. 2), 24,000 (Lv. 3)
* Price------------5,000 Gil
* Stat Adj.--------+2% MP, -2% HP, +1 Mag, -1 Str
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/Mini, Toad
* Location---------Gongaga, Cosmo Canyon, North Corel (later), Mideel

   You'll find your first Transform materia at Mt. Corel, but if you don't plan
on having more than one, go ahead and sell it.  Cait Sith enters the party with
one, and his has 7,000 AP already accumulated, meaning that you will have both
the Toad and Mini spells pretty much right off the bat.  Toad and Mini are more
debilitating spells than those offered by Seal or Mystify, but the downside is
that far fewer enemies tend to be affected by it.  These factors make Transform
a good pair with the Added Effect materia in one's weapon.  This way, the
aforementioned detrimental effects will be applied often when a character
strikes, and it also assures you that no time or MP will be wasted futilely
attempting to cast either spell on something that does not happen to be affect
by it.  Failing Added Effect, All makes a decent fallback for the same reasons,
and providing it will actually affect the enemies in question, a Toad-all or
Mini-all spell can be truly devastating. On a final note, this materia can also
help one achieve... other goals, as mentioned in section XIX.A. of the FAQ.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Ultima

* Spells-----------Ultima (Lv. 2)
* AP---------------5,000 (Lv. 2), 100,000 (Lv. 3)
* Price------------N/A
* Stat Adj.--------+10% MP, -10% HP, +4 Mag, -4 Str, +2 MDef, -2 Vit
* Element/Effect---Non-Elemental/None
* Location---------North Corel (later)

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section XII: Materia Lists|/ /\ \
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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                  B. Support (Blue) Materia                  | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                  | / /\ \
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 \ \/ /|Section XII: Materia Lists|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Added Cut

* AP---------------200,000 (Lv. 2)
* Location---------Hidden in the Great Glacier

   Your character will make a regular attack in addition to using the materia
linked to Added Cut.  A glaringly obvious point that I shouldn't even have to
make but will because I know some dumbass is going to try it is that Added Cut
needs to be attached to an offensive materia.  Linking Added Cut to Restore or
Revive is laughably idiotic and something that will actually get you shot in
some countries for being dangerously stupid.  That being said, pretty much
anything goes with Added Cut, but you might want to take a few things into
consideration when using Added Cut.  If you'd like to have some control over who
actually gets hit as a result of Added Cut, refrain from linking it to a summon
materia or any other materia whose effects target all enemies, because in said
case, the target will be chosen at random.  Secondly, you might also not want to
pair Added Cut with a doomsday attack that will kill something off before you
even get a chance to tack on the extra hit.  Other than that, it's really your
call, but I'll provide you with two of my favorite Added Cut combos to just get
your mental train of thought rolling.  The first is Added Cut with Deathblow,
which can completely offset Deathblow's low success rate and even make Deathblow
your primary attack command.  This can also be useful if your fight command has
been replaced with Slash-all or Flash, and you'd like a fallback attack to keep
in reserve (this holds especially true for Flash).  The second combination is
with the Gravity materia, preferably later in the game when you have learned
Demi 3.  One disadvantage of gravity magic is that it is never going to kill
something outright- just weaken it.  The Added Cut/Gravity combination makes it
entirely possible to wipe a creature out in a single casting of a gravity spell.
And if you'd like to see some really cheap ways to use the Added Cut materia,
check out section XIX.D. of the FAQ.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Added Effect

* AP---------100,000 (Lv. 2)
* Location---Hidden in the Gi Cave

   Similar to the Elemental materia, the Added Effect materia rather imbues your
weapon or armor with a specific effect, such as poison, toad, sleep, confuse, et
cetera.  Several different materia can bestow several different effects in this
manner.  While this is a great materia to have handy in case you ever find
yourself needing to guard against any particular status ailment, you'll likely
find yourself more often using Added Effect in an offensive manner.  Not only
does Added Effect allow you to strike with the benefit of status ailments (and
likely striking with several at once, depending on the linked materia), it
prevents you from wasting a turn to stop and cast said status spell, not to
mention even the MP that you're saving.  Furthermore, the status effects of
Added Effect are applied on a more constant basis, so little work goes into
trying to figure out what is and isn't affected by your chosen ailments.  The
downside is that when used offensively, Added Materia will not apply itself 100%
of the time, but still enough of the time to prove useful.  In a manner of
speaking, Added Effect is one of the best methods of indirect offense available
to you, purely because it allows you to splice it into your direct offense.
Sadly, you can't stick an All materia in there somewhere, but later on you sure
as bloody hell can toss in a Slash All or Mega All materia to bring your
indirect warfare to new heights.  Several magic and summon materia are
compatible with Added Effect, and are marked as such.  Early in the game, you
have quite a few materia to choose from, and good choices include Seal, Mystify,
Transform, Time, and Odin/Destruct.  Poison is not recommended for the reason
that it is a better pair with Elemental (see my comments on the Poison materia
for further discussion), and Choco/Mog is recommended only as an alternative to
the Time materia, which offers the Slow effect in addition to that of Stop.
Later in the game, however, nods for the best bang for your buck go to Contain
and Hades, both of which offer much larger and much deadlier cocktails than
those offered by any of the aforementioned materia.  For further discussion as
to the applications of certain materia when linked to Added Effect, refer to the
commentary on the specific materia themselves.  Lastly, a point must be stressed
to nab this materia when you have the chance, because it is one of the game's
lost-forevers as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   All

* AP---------1,500 (Lv. 2), 6,000 (Lv. 3), 18,000 (Lv. 4), 35,000 (Lv.  5)
* Location---Hidden in a variety of places, Fort Condor

   The support materia that came to define support materia, All proves to be one
of the most useful (and also the most common) materia in the game.  You'll find
numerous copies scattered about, and believe me when I say you just can't have
too many All materia.  The All materia is compatible with most magic materia,
and allows you to target all enemies or all allies with the spells of that
materia.  You'll get one "all" casting per spell on that materia per level of
the All materia.  So, at level two, you'll get two "all" castings of each spell
on the attached materia.  Another advantage of the All materia that should be
mentioned right now is the ease with which it levels up, and is one of the
easiest materia in the game to master.  This is another good thing, because if
you ever find yourself hard-up for cash, you'd be surprised at the pretty penny
a mastered All materia can fetch (and you'll have so many of them later on, you
can stand to part with just one or two).  All's only glaring downside (besides
being compatible with only magic materia) is that when you choose to target all,
you will suffer an approximate 33% loss in overall power of the spell cast.  For
this reason, you may choose to toggle the all effects on or off at times (a fact
which was explained in section I.B. of the FAQ).  You can also use All in the
menu screen with curative magic (yet another fact which was explained in section
I.B. of the FAQ).  On a final note, while there are many copies of the All
materia available, as well as the option to even buy them later on, a few of
those copies (as well as the ability to buy them, if you are not careful), are
lost-forevers, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Counter

* AP---------40,000 (Lv. 2), 80,000 (Lv. 3), 120,000 (Lv. 4), 200,000 (Lv. 5)
* Location---Hidden in the Final Cave

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Elemental

* AP---------10,000 (Lv. 2), 40,000 (Lv. 3), 80,000 (Lv. 4)
* Location---Hidden at Shinra H.Q., Mt. Nibel, & Nibelheim (later)

   The usefulness of the Elemental materia is directly proportionate to the
thought and effort you put into using it effectively.  By taking advantage of
the enemy's weak areas or by vastly increasing your own defenses against
particular elemental attacks, you can find yourself at a serious advantage over
the enemy.  As an added bonus, Elemental is a materia that starts out as very
useful, and only gets better from there.  The offensive bonuses are the same for
every level, while the defensive bonuses raise with each level, from halving
damage from a particular element, to negating it entirely, and finally to
absorbing said damage at the third level of the materia's mastery.  To use this
materia, simply link it to any materia which bears an elemental property, such
as Fire, Ice, Leviathan, etc.  And sorry, Kjata is incompatible with Elemental.
If you are unsure as to a materia's elemental affiliation, refer to that
particular magic or summon materia in this section of the FAQ, and read the
listing for "Element/Added Effect".  As for the possible uses of the Elemental
materia, they are many.  Early in the game, it provides good defense versus
particular elements, not to mention the only access you will have to attacks of
certain elements (namely wind) for quite some time.  Later on, should you see
the offensive use of Elemental taking a backseat to powerful doomsday attacks,
you'll see that a powered-up Elemental materia, properly used, can vastly
increase your survival rate on the battlefield.  There are three of these to be
found in the game, however two of those three are lost-forevers, as mentioned in
section I.F. of the FAQ.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Final Attack

* AP---------20,000 (Lv. 2), 40,000 (Lv. 3), 80,000 (Lv. 4), 160,000 (Lv. 5)
* Location---From Dio at the Gold Saucer (Battle Square)

   Research on this materia has not yet been fully conducted, but it is worthy
of note that it does not cost the wielder and additional MP.

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the (further) commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   HP Absorb

* AP---------100,000 (Lv. 2)
* Location---Hidden in Wutai and the Final Cave

   HP Absorb works a bit differently than MP Absorb did.  With it, you are not
so concerned with MP efficiency as you are in doing as much damage as humanly
possible to your enemy.  Unlike MP Absorb, HP Absorb is compatible with all
magic, command, and summon materia (save a few), but you're still going to find
the biggest bang for your buck in summon materia (or at least the more powerful
magic materia, like Comet and Ultima).  Remember, attacks that target all
enemies are prime candidates for HP Absorb linkage.  HP Absorb absorbs HP equal
to the total damage done divided by 10, meaning that if you plan on using this
materia, you're going to want to stick it on the most powerful stuff you've got.
As with MP Absorb, the one disadvantage is that you cannot take more HP from an
enemy than it has, but I really don't see this as being much of a problem at
all.  On a final note, the first HP Absorb materia is a lost-forever, as
mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Magic Counter

* AP---------40,000 (Lv. 2), 80,000 (Lv. 3), 160,000 (Lv. 4), 300,000 (Lv. 5)
* Location---Gold Saucer (Chocobo Square)

   Research on this materia has not yet been fully conducted, but it is worthy
of note that it does not cost the wielder and additional MP.

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the (further) commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   MP Absorb

* AP---------100,000 (Lv. 2)
* Location---Hidden in Wutai

   MP Absorb was obviously created by some game programmer who supported
overkill attacks, because that is exactly what MP Absorb helps you to do.  But
not only does it allow you to wantonly cast your doomsday magic, it can actually
gain you MP if you play your cards right.  For this reason, you may be tempted
to pair MP Absorb with a command materia, but bear in mind that the MP taken
will be the total damage dealt divided by 100.  Total damage.  Meaning that the
more powerful the attack and the more targets, the more MP you will be raking
in.  You'll more than likely want to go with a powerful summon (and for some
reason, MP Absorb does not appear to be compatible with magic materia... odd)
with MP Absorb.  You receive MP Absorb from the Wutai side quest (as discussed
in section IV.B. of the FAQ).  You'll also receive the Leviathan materia from
the Wutai side quest, and you'll find that the two make an excellent pair.
Leviathan offers excellent damage for the MP cost, and so long as you cast it on
a group of at least two or three, you should not be losing much, if any MP at
all (and this is early in the game- as your characters levels rise, as will the
damage dealt and your MP return).  MP Absorb also reduces the cost of nailing a
lone attacker with your summon materia, further increasing its (the summon
materia's) use in that respect, as well.  Anyways, MP Absorb is almost as good
as putting a little infinity symbol under one's MP.  The only real catch is that
you have to use it against a small group or more, and that you cannot take more
MP from a creature than it has (usually, this is not a problem, but some enemies
do not have MP).  You also must have at least the MP supply to cast the attached
summon.  This is one reason that Leviathan is recommended for the job, as it is
the cheapest summon attack which deals damage sufficient to make it a powerful
attack clear up until the end of the game.  More powerful summon materia will do
more damage than Leviathan, but also at exponentially higher MP costs.  And
you'll find that MP/damage efficiency tends to drop after about Alexander or so.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   MP Turbo

* AP---------10,000 (Lv. 2), 30,000 (Lv. 3), 60,000 (Lv. 4), 120,000 (Lv. 5)
* Location---Hidden in the Whirlwind Maze

   Attached to a magic materia, MP Turbo will increase the effectiveness of the
spells granted by 10% per level of mastery achieved by the MP Turbo materia (up
to 50%), but in return will up the MP cost by 10% per level of mastery achieved
by the MP Turbo materia.

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the (further) commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Quadra Magic

* AP---------40,000 (Lv. 2), 80,000 (Lv. 3), 120,000 (Lv. 4), 200,000 (Lv. 5)
* Location---Hidden in the Cave South of Wutai

   Research on this materia has not yet been fully conducted, but it is worthy
of note that it does not cost the wielder and additional MP.

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the (further) commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Sneak Attack

* AP---------20,000 (Lv. 2), 60,000 (Lv. 3), 100,000 (Lv. 4), 150,000 (Lv. 5)
* Location---Gold Saucer (Chocbo Square)

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Steal as Well

* AP---------200,000 (Lv. 2)
* Location---Hidden in the Da-Chao Fire Cave

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section XII: Materia Lists|/ /\ \
 _\  /_ |                                   ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |                C. Command (Yellow) Materia                  | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                  | / /\ \
 _\  /_____________________________                                   | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section XII: Materia Lists|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Deathblow

* Commands----D. Blow
* AP----------40,000 (Lv. 2)
* Stat Adj.---+1 Luck
* Location----Hidden in Gongaga, Fort C. (later),  R. Town (later)

   The Deathblow materia grants the D. Blow command to the wearer, which you
should probably realize is just a shortened version of the term "Deathblow".  D.
Blow always strikes for a critical hit, but this is assuming it strikes.
Critical hits, as you should know, are twice as powerful as regular attacks and
nothing more.  As a penalty for the power, it shall slice your Attack Percentage
in half.  However, there are several ways to get around this.  One of them, if
you can do it, is pretty much the best way to go.  Three weapons in the game,
Tifa's God's Hand and Vincent's Sniper CR and Long Barrel Rifle, all have maxed-
out Attack Percentage stats of 255%.  With any of these weapons equipped, D.
Blow will hit most of the time (though, as with a normal attack, you
occasionally miss).  Failing that, you should at the very least pay attention to
the attack percentage of whatever weapon you have equipped, as a character using
a weapon with 120% accuracy is going to have around a 10% greater chance of
success than a character using a weapon with only 100% accuracy.  Of course, in
this respect, you'll find that the character in the game whose weapons are the
most accurate is Vincent, and that the Deathblow materia can actually help to
make up for his low Strength rating.  On a final note, I would also like to
mention my other favorite Deathblow combination, which also helps to circumvent
the low Attack Percentage issue.  This involves linking the Deathblow materia to
Added Cut, meaning that no matter what, you will always get a hit in with D.
Blow.  Actually, with this combination, you can actually switch to using D. Blow
as a normal attack full-time.  This combo also helps if your normal attack has
been replaced by Slash-All or Flash and you'd like a good fallback attack (which
should hold especially true in the case of Flash).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Double Cut

* Commands----2x-Cut, 4x-Cut (Lv. 2)
* AP----------100,000 (Lv. 2), 150,000 (Lv. 3)
* Stat Adj.---+2 Dexterity
* Location----Hidden in the Gelnika

   Double your pleasure, double your fun!  Double the amount of ass you kick
with the power of the Double Cut materia!  With this, your fight command becomes
literally twice as effective at no additional cost to you, so it's really a win-
win situation.   Of any and all materia, this is by far the materia best-suited
for your fighting characters, as the cumulative damage it confers against a
single target is the best you can accomplish through conventional means.
Against multiple targets, Double Cut will not start to be effective until it
levels up and confers the powerful 4x-Cut.  With the 4x-Cut handy, your fighter
will be a powerful force versus multiple targets, and downright deadly against a
single target.  The only downside is that when Double Cut "evolves" into 4x-Cut,
you lose the ability to choose the target for each attack, a fact which would
not be so bad if not for the game's highly questionable judgment.  Ergo, you
still can't count on 4-x Cut to off four enemies, even though each one would
easily die in one blow.  In short, 4x-Cut is a powerful force against multiple
enemies, albeit an unpredictable one (in which case you may instead opt for a
more-reliable Slash-all attack), but against a lone enemy, there is no greater
attack.  On a final note, Double Cut is not compatible with the All materia, nor
is it cumulative with the Slash-All materia, just in case you were getting any
ideas.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Enemy Skill

* Commands----E. Skill
* AP----------N/A
* Stat Adj.---N/A
* Location----Hidden in a variety of places

   This is one of the most unique materia in the entire game.  It doesn't gain
AP, but rather you learn attacks from enemies.  To "learn" an attack, your
character must: be equipped with the E.Skill materia, witness the attack, and
survive the attack.  You'll find it early in the game (and you'll find a few
more copies scattered throughout the land), and you should take this as sort of
a sign that if you take the time to learn the attacks, they can be a big help.
The attacks are quite powerful and/or useful, but are reigned in somewhat by E.
Skill's complete incompatibility with support materia.  What I'm trying to say
is that the main benefit of the E. Skill materia is that it gives you access to
powerful attacks very early in the game, so the earlier you take the time to
learn all of the enemy skills, the more you shall benefit from them.  There are
four E. Skill materia hidden throughout the game, the earliest of which is a
lost-forever, as mentioned in section I.F. of the FAQ.  On that note, also
realize that you may not learn an attack made from another E. Skill materia- you
must learn it from the enemies themselves.  For a listing of the twenty attacks
that you may learn via the E. Skill materia, refer to section XVII. of the FAQ.
On a final additional note, two of the 20 skills are lost-forevers, ergo only
two of the four E. Skill material can actually be mastered.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Manipulate

* Commands----Manip
* AP----------40,000 (Lv. 2)
* Stat Adj.---N/A
* Location----Cait Sith, Fort Condor (later), Rocket Town (later)

   Manipulate more or less gives you full control over a target creature,
allowing you to do with them and their attacks as you please.  Your control over
the enemy will be maintained as long as the enemy is alive or until it takes
physical damage. As you might expect, several measures have been taken to ensure
that you aren't allowed to win the game through wanton manipulation alone.  For
starters, like so many of the more crippling status ailments (such as Toad and
Mini), many monsters are immune to the effects of Manipulation.  Secondly,
you'll notice that this isn't the most accurate attack in the world, usually
taking a few tries to cement, though the HypnoCrown accessory can help you out
in this respect.  The meaning of this is that in the time it takes you to win a
battle by getting your enemies to kill themselves, you probably could have done
the same yourself several turns ago.  Manipulate proves most useful against
enemies with strong attacks, because not only will it get them off your back,
but it lets you turn said attacks back on the enemy, so long as you're not doing
them a favor by healing them with it.  In addition to just that use, the
Manipulate materia makes several enemy skills far easier to learn (see the E.
Skill materia for more), and is actually the only way you can learn some of
them.  Secondly, manipulation will drop an enemy's evasion rate to absolute
zero, which is an interesting fact to consider, and very valuable knowledge
against one enemy in particular, the Cactuar.  On a final note, manipulation is
also a long-range attack.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Master Command

* Commands----Steal, Throw*, Mime, Manip, Morph, D Blow, Sense
* AP----------N/A
* Stat Adj.---N/A
* Location----From man in Kalm (later), from Huge Materia (yellow)

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Mime

* Commands----Mime
* AP----------100,000 (Lv. 2)
* Stat Adj.---N/A
* Location----Hidden in the Cave South of Wutai

   Mime is a materia with virtually unlimited potential.  If you play your cards
right, this little bastard alone has the power to bring anything and anyone to
ultimate ruin.  No, this materia does not turn your enemies into mimes (because
that would be too cruel).  Rather, the mime command will mimic the last action
taken by any member of your party.  The lone exception here is that the limit
breaks of other characters cannot be mimed (however, you may mime your own limit
breaks, given that it was the last action performed by any member of your team).
However, do note that the Mime command is absolutely free, and so long as you
keep it up, limitless.  For example, suppose a member of your party casts
Knights of the Round (and we're also going to be assuming that you are fighting
one of only two enemies in the game capable of actually surviving said attack).
If the next command you use is Mime, then you get a free casting of Knights of
the Round.  If you want, you may hold off more commands and get yet another
casting, and another, and another, ad infinitum.  To really see some devastating
effects, you can keep mastering this materia to achieve more copies, but that is
reaching a point of being borderline (if not entirely) cheating.  There is one
major point that must be stressed, however, and that is that the Mime materia
has one very serious weakness.  That weakness is that retaliatory materia
(Counter Attack, Magic Counter, and Counter) all count as attacks made by your
teammates.  Thus, with high-level retaliatory materia equipped, "planning" an
attack to Mime is nigh impossible to do.  Keep this in mind.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Morph

* Commands----Morph
* AP----------40,000 (Lv. 2)
* Stat Adj.---N/A
* Location----Hidden in Temple of the Ancients

   Morph is somewhat like the Steal materia, only entirely different.  Rather
than stealing an item from the enemy, you turn said enemy into an item.
Morphing generally gives you better merchandise than theft, but it's also much
more difficult to do.  The morph command produces a very weak attack, and for
the morph to be successful, that weak attack must kill the enemy in question.
Naturally, it would be to your advantage to have the Sense materia handy when
morphing.  Other than that, the Morph materia has no other actual uses, so
that's about it, then.  Next!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Sense

* Commands----Sense
* AP----------40,000 (Lv. 2)
* Stat Adj.---N/A
* Location----Hidden in the Sector 6 Playground (later), Kalm, Junon

   Not the most useful materia in the world, as all it tells you is stuff you
can find throughout section III. of the FAQ, though it will give you a direct
number on an enemy's maximum and remaining HP.  At least once you've used the
Sense materia on an enemy, you will be able to view their remaining HP for the
remainder of the battle simply by moving your cursor over them (and by pressing
the Select button, if the extra information option has been turned off).  Of
course, the turn it takes to actually use this skill would probably be better
spent kicking ass, anyways.  The Sense materia is actually best used in
conjunction with the Morph materia, as you'll need to get an enemy's HP within a
specific frame for morphing.  Oh, and as a handy bonus, it is, in fact,
compatible with the All materia.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Slash All

* Commands----Slash-All, Flash (Lv. 2)
* AP----------100,000 (Lv. 2), 150,000 (Lv. 3)
* Stat Adj.---N/A
* Location----Hidden in the Ancient Forest

   Replaces your normal attack command with "Slash-All", which does 75% the
damage of a normal attack to all enemies.  I have not yet made it clear if this
holds true even if one enemy is on the screen.  Still, the advantages and
disadvantages should be clear.

      I apologize for the inconvenience, but the (further) commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Steal

* Commands----Steal, Mug (Lv. 2)
* AP----------40,000 (Lv. 2), 50,000 (Lv. 3)
* Stat Adj.---+2 Dexterity
* Location----Hidden in the Sector 6 Sewers, Kalm

   Steal lets you, well, steal things from your enemies.  And you'd be surprised
what kind of useful things your enemies carry.  Pay close attention to the
walkthrough to learn of prime stealing opportunities that will let you acquire
powerful equipment far earlier than you would be able to buy it, not to mention
free of cost.  In that respect, it can make the Throw materia far more useful to
your group, especially early in the game when you're hurting for gil the most.
Furthermore, this materia comes in inexplicably handy whilst breeding chocobos
(refer to section I.X. of the FAQ for more on that matter), and even has a few
more uses detailed in section XIX.B. of the FAQ.  What more can you ask for from
a materia?  Well, certainly not much, and for the majority of the game, theft is
all you are going to get with it.  Later, Steal is upgraded to Mug, which is
Steal plus a normal attack, but this is too little far too late given the high
AP requirements.  Likely far before you up Steal to the necessary 40,000 AP
needed for the Mug attack, you'll have already found the Steal as Well materia,
which grants you far many more opportunities in the field of armed robbery.  On
a final note, have you noticed that stealing isn't necessarily evil whenever you
do it?  Just thought I would point that out to ya.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Throw

* Commands----Throw, Coin (Lv. 2)
* AP----------45,000 (Lv. 2), 60,000 (Lv. 3)
* Stat Adj.---+1 Vitality
* Location----Yuffie, Fort Condor (later), Rocket Town (later)

   Throw grants you actually the single most powerful direct-damage single-
target physical attack for the vast majority of the early game.  It's just that
the only thing that's going to be hurting more than whatever just got a sword
jammed up its ass is your pocketbook from being made to purchase surprisingly
expensive projectiles.  That's the glaring downside- you can't just pick up a
rock off the ground or something and hurl it; you can only throw things that
might actually be useful to you.  More specifically, you can only throw weapons
(and you'd be amazed how much it hurts someone to be hit with a shotgun flung at
them at 150 MPH).  And, as you may have already figured out, weapons are
expensive.  However, you can make good use of your Steal materia in order to
procure yourself some projectiles.  Still, they are somewhat of a limited
resource, and you're best sticking to other attacks unless a powerful attack is
needed (several boss fights come to mind on this one).  Bear in mind that not
only do stronger weapons do more damage when thrown, but the damage dealt is
also dependent on the Strength of the thrower.  Thus, stronger characters make
better throwers.  To be specific, throwing a weapon at an enemy will do
approximately four times the damage that would have been dealt if that character
would have instead attacked with it equipped.  Also of mention is that when you
level the Throw materia up (and don't hold your breath- it takes 45,000 AP),
you'll earn the Coin command.  It does not replace Throw, but rather it joins it
on the menu screen, and the two flash back and forth between each other.  The
coin command lets you damage your enemies by hurling gil at them (Ebenezer
Scrooge may have originated this maneuver).  Despite how long it takes you to
get it, Coin is really only useful later on when you have gil to burn.  It is
useful as it gives you something to do with your gil in the late game.  Coin is
an attack which targets all creatures, so its best used against groups of
enemies rather than "wasted" on a single enemy, but given that you may not have
any projectiles lying around, and providing that you have the gil to blow, Coin
is the preferable attack hands-down.  Perhaps the best part is that you are
given the opportunity to select how much gil you wish to throw, thus dealing
only the damage that needs to be dealt.  Coin deals 1 damage for every 10 gil
thrown.  On a final note, both Throw and Coin, as you may have guessed, are
long-range attacks.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   X Item

* Commands----X-Item
* AP----------250,000 (Lv. 2)
* Stat Adj.---N/A
* Location----Hidden in Midgar (later)

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   X Magic

* Commands----X-Magic
* AP----------250,000 (Lv. 2)
* Stat Adj.---N/A
* Location----Hidden in the Final Cave

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   X Summon

* Commands----X-Summon
* AP----------250,000 (Lv. 2)
* Stat Adj.---N/A
* Location----Battle Square at the Gold Saucer (64,000 BP)

   I apologize for the inconvenience, but the commentary for this
section/subsection/list item is unavailable at this time.  Please look for this
in a future update.  Thank you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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 \ \/ / O~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|Section XII: Materia Lists|/ /\ \
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 \ \/ / |                                                             O / /\ \
 _\  /_ |              D. Independent (Purple) Materia                | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ / O              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                | / /\ \
 _\  /_____________________________                                   | ¯/  \¯
 \ \/ /|Section XII: Materia Lists|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~O / /\ \
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Chocobo Lure

* AP----------3,000 (Lv. 2), 10,000 (Lv. 3), 30,000 (Lv. 4)
* Price-------2,000 Gil
* Stat Adj.---+1 Luck
* Location----Chocobo Ranch

   You've probably seen far more useful materia than Chocobo Lure.  It's about
as useful in battle as a sunny smile and a sense of well-being.  Its only real
use is that when you put it on, you tend to attract chocobos when battling near
chocobo tracks (and a little-known fact is that chocobos occur more frequently
as the materia levels up).  And, of course, in addition to saving your ass from
the Midgar Zolom early on, this materia is absolutely necessary to begin
breeding chocobos (further detailed in section IX. of the FAQ).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Counter Attack

* AP----------10,000 (Lv. 2), 20,000 (Lv. 3), 50,000 (Lv. 4), 100,000 (Lv. 5)
* Price-------N/A
* Stat Adj.---N/A
* Location----From MK at Mt. Nibel, Gold Saucer (Chocobo Square)

   Counter Attack is one of those materia that you just can't have too many of.
You find one throughout the course of your adventure, but more can be won at the
Gold Saucer.  With the Counter Attack materia equipped, your characters will
counter attack an enemy's attacks in battle with a regular physical attack.  For
every level of master achieved with the Counter Attack materia, there is an
additional 20% chance of seeing your charact