FINAL FANTASY VII: LOW LEVEL/NO ITEMS/INITIAL EQUIPMENT/
                           NO ACCESSORIES CHALLENGE
                       By Thundaka (thundaka@yahoo.com)


Copyright 2005 Thundaka.
This guide is solely for private use.  If you wish to host this guide on your
website, contact me for permission before doing so.  Any profitable use is 
strictly prohibited.


VERSION HISTORY
v1.00: As the number implies, this is the first version.  If you can suggest 
any improvements in my strategies, or if you've noticed any mistakes I made 
while writing this guide, feel free to e-mail me.

v1.10: Made some minor modifications, corrected typos, and added a note about
the Shinra truck in Corel Prison.


INTRODUCTION
This challenge was the brainchild of GarlandG, a veteran of the GameFAQs 
challenge community.  After completing the formidable Low Level/No 
Materia/Initial Equipment/No Accessories challenge, which relies almost 
exclusively on items, Garland decided to turn the tables: what if we banned 
the use of items instead of materia?  This was no small revision.  Up to that 
point, items like Molotovs and S-Mines had been considered necessities for 
finishing the game's bosses; Demons Gate especially seemed impossible without
Molotovs.  And what to do for an enemy like Proud Clod, whom you have no hope
of killing with magic?  As it turned out, these problems were all overcome.

Here are the rules for the LLNIIENA challenge:

1. No character can exceed Level 28 at any point in the game.

2. You may never use the Item command in battle.

3. With the exception of the Save Crystal in the Northern Crater, you may 
never use the Item submenu under the field menu.

4. You may never use the Equip command under the field menu.

5. You may not use or equip the Steal, Steal as Well, Throw, Morph, or W-Item
materia, since these materia violate the No Item restriction.

Not surprisingly, your survival is critically dependent on how well you are 
able to implement your materia.  One of the most important materia is Enemy 
Skill; within a single materia slot you can hold a wide range of spells that 
fulfill multiple functions.  Big Guard is needed to blunt some of the most 
powerful boss attacks.  White Wind acts a full-party heal, and also removes 
most negative status effects.  But the most important enemy skill of all is 
Magic Hammer.  Magic Hammer allows your characters to heal themselves and cast
spells at the enemies for as long as you need, and against certain bosses it
can prevent particularly deadly attacks like Aqualung or Lapis Laser.

You also need various support materia to help you survive the game.  You will 
often need to use basic magic materia such as Cure or Barrier when enemy 
skills either don't do the job (poisoning the enemy, for instance) or cost too
much MP.  In lieu of special armor or accessories, Elemental and Added Effect
are crucial for protecting your party against elemental and status attacks; 
you cannot afford to miss them.  Support and independent materia like All and
HP Plus, which either increase the effectiveness of your spells or directly 
make you stronger, are also important at times.

Because you must rely so heavily on materia, the Initial Equipment 
restriction will often be the most difficult part of the challenge.  This 
is particularly true when fighting with Barret, Tifa, and Aeris, all of whom 
have just one materia slot.  A large part of the challenge is being able to 
make the best use of the materia slots you are provided with.

Where it is relevant, I will give the MP value of each boss.  This will tell
you how many times you can replenish your MP with Magic Hammer, and when
necessary how many Magic Hammers are needed to eliminate certain attacks.

Though you cannot use Steal or Morph to obtain items to sell, it is legal to 
sell items and equipment you pick up in the field or win in battle.  Under 
each section heading I will list items and equipment that can be sold for 
good gil, along with any useful materia in the area.  Items that sell for 1 
gil--Turbo Ethers, Ribbons, any weapon or armor available only after the 
Highwind--will not be listed.

Finally, make sure you have a calculator handy.  You don't want to kill off
your allies too early and get creamed by the boss because of it; but by the
same account, you don't want all of them to still be alive when the boss dies.
Sense can serve this purpose, but it cannot be obtained until after you fight
Reno; also, most Disc 2 bosses are immune to Sense.  Without a means of
knowing when the enemy is about to die, you cannot hope to faithfully follow
the battle plan and stay below Level 29.


BATTLE PLAN

The most important part of any Low Level challenge is the battle plan.  In 
order to minimize EXP gain, it is generally necessary to have only one 
survivor per battle.  The designated survivor will get full EXP from that 
battle, while those not participating will usually receive half EXP; the two
KO'd characters will not receive any at all.  If a character temporarily 
leaves the party--Cloud and Tifa in the middle of Disc 2, Yuffie during the 
Wutai sidequest--they do not earn EXP while they are gone.  To ensure that 
one character does not receive a disproportionate amount of EXP and break 
Level 29, it is recommended that you follow this battle plan to the letter.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Enemy                      |  EXP   |     Survivor     |         KO       |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
| MP x2                      |     32 | Cloud            |                  |
| Guard Scorpion             |    100 | Barret           | Cloud            |
| Air Buster                 |    180 | Cloud            | Barret, Tifa     |
| Aps                        |    240 | Aeris            | Cloud, Tifa      |
| Reno                       |    290 | Barret           | Cloud, Tifa      |
| Mighty Grunt x3            |    150 | Barret           | Cloud, Tifa      |
| Sample: HO512              |    300 | Barret           | Cloud, Red       |
| Heli Gunner                |    250 | Red*             | Aeris, Barret    |
| Rufus + Dark Nation        |    310 | Cloud*           |                  |
| Motor Ball                 |    440 | Aeris            | Cloud, Red       |
| Bottomswell                |    550 | Aeris            | Cloud, Red       |
| Jenova-BIRTH               |    680 | Aeris            | Cloud, Red       |
| Death Claw x2              |    192 | Cait Sith*       | Cloud, Barret    |
| Dyne                       |    600 | Barret           |                  |
| Stinger                    |    290 | Aeris            | Cloud, Red       |
| Stinger                    |    290 | Aeris            | Cloud, Red       |
| Gi Nattak                  |   1400 | Aeris            | Cloud, Red       |
| Materia Keeper             |   3000 | Aeris*           | Cloud, Barret    |
| Palmer                     |   1800 | Cloud*           | Barret, Red      |
| Zemzelett                  |     70 | Cloud*           | Cid, Red         |
| Beachplug x3               |    285 | Cloud*           | Cid, Red         |
| Razor Weed x2 + Tail Vault |   1190 | Cloud*           | Cid, Red         |
| Red Dragon                 |   3500 | Aeris            | Cloud, Cait Sith |
| Demons Gate                |   3800 | Aeris, Cait Sith | Cloud            |
| Razor Weed x2 + Tail Vault |   1190 | Cloud            | Barret, Tifa     |
| Touch Me                   |    170 | Cid              | Cloud, Barret    |
| Jenova-LIFE                |   4000 | Tifa             | Cloud, Barret    |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
| END OF DISC 1                                                             |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Stilva                     |   1000 | Cait Sith        | Cloud, Barret    |
| Icicle                     |    500 | Cid              | Cloud, Red       |
| Icicle                     |    500 | Cid              | Cloud, Red       |
| Icicle                     |    500 | Cid              | Cloud, Red       |
| Schizo                     |   4400 | Cid              | Cloud, Tifa      |
| Jenova-DEATH               |   6000 | Tifa             | Cloud, Cait Sith |
| Zemzelett                  |     70 | Cait Sith        | Cid, Barret      |
| Beachplug x3               |    285 | Cait Sith        | Cid, Barret      |
| Harpy                      |    148 | Cait Sith        | Cid, Barret      |
| Attack Squad x2            |    600 | Cait Sith        | Cid, Red         |
| Submarine Crew x2          |   1700 | Tifa             | Cloud, Barret    |
| Submarine Crew x2          |   1700 | Tifa             | Cloud, Barret    |
| Submarine Crew             |    850 | Tifa             | Cloud, Barret    |
| Submarine Crew x2          |   1700 | Tifa             | Cloud, Barret    |
| Underwater MP x2           |   1640 | Cloud            | Barret, Tifa     |
| Carry Armor                |   5700 | Cid              | Cloud, Red       |
| Submarine Crew x2          |   1700 | Cid              | Cloud, Red       |
| Submarine Crew x2          |   1700 | Cloud, Cid       | Red              |
| Submarine Crew x3          |   2550 | Cid              | Cloud, Red       |
| Mystery Ninja              |    160 | Cid              | Cloud, Cait Sith |
| Attack Squad x2            |    600 | Cloud            | Barret, Yuffie   |
| Attack Squad x2            |    600 | Cloud            | Barret, Yuffie   |
| Attack Squad x2 +          |   1530 | Cloud            | Barret, Yuffie   |
|         Senior Grunt       |        |                  |                  |
| Rude + Attack Squad x2     |   4000 | Cloud            | Cid, Red         |
| Senior Grunt               |    930 | Cloud            | Cid, Red         |
| Diamond Weapon             |  35000 | Cloud            | Tifa, Cid        |
| Attack Squad x2            |    600 | Tifa             | Cloud, Red       |
| Attack Squad x3            |    900 | Red              | Cloud, Cait Sith |
| Rapps                      |   3200 | Cloud            | Barret, Red      |
| Proud Clod                 |   7000 | Cait Sith        | Cloud, Yuffie    |
| Hojo                       |  25000 | Yuffie           | Cloud, Cait Sith |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
| END OF DISC 2                                                             |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Pollensalta                |   1000 | Cloud            | Barret, Red      |
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

EXP Remaining Before Level 29
-----------------------------
Cloud:         6
Barret:      620
Tifa:       1053
Red:        1888
Cait Sith:   833
Cid:         803
Yuffie:     1341

* - The survivor of these battles must equip Red's All materia.  This is to 
ensure that the materia levels up before you face Demons Gate, so you can 
cast an extra Barrier-All.



=============================================================================
                            LLNIIENA STRATEGY GUIDE
=============================================================================

                              *****DISC ONE*****

I. Midgar - Sector 1
-Materia: Restore
-Items: Assault Gun

So it's time to begin the LLNIIENA challenge.  The fun is just about to 
start.  (He he he he...)

Only a few seconds after you've started, you will engage in your first battle.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
MP x2
30 HP

You have to ask?  Just hit them.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Move onto the next screen to talk with the AVALANCHE members.  You will now
have to name Cloud and Barret.  (Except for Red XIII, I will use the default
names for all characters.)  As with all Low Level challenges, you must run
from every random battle unless otherwise noted.

Since you have no way to heal on this mission, you must focus on reducing 
your damage as much as possible.  Move Barret to the back row, and have him 
defend while you are escaping.  Don't worry about Cloud; more damage just 
means he'll be easier to kill when you face Guard Scorpion.

Head down the ladders as usual, and make sure to use the save point.  There's
a Restore materia directly in your path, but you can't equip it  yet.  Plant
the bomb.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Guard Scorpion
800 HP

Barret's physical attack does about 35 damage, while Cloud can do 90 damage
with Bolt.  Cloud should get Braver, which does 130 damage at this point,
pretty quickly; once Barret's limit gauge fills, have him defend.  Enter
your commands during Guard Scorpion's attack animation so you don't
prematurely trigger Tail Laser.

Once you've reduced to him around 150 HP (you need to start using your
calculator), it's time to kill off Cloud.  Wait for Guard Scorpion to raise
his tail, and have Barret defend if he hasn't already.  While the tail is
raised he counterattacks with Tail Laser, dealing 70 damage to Cloud and 18
damage to Barret.  He also cuts all damage done to him in half; Bolt will do
45, Braver around 60-70, a physical attack less than 20.  Two Tail Lasers
should be enough to kill Cloud; if not, Cloud can cast Bolt on himself to
finish the job.

Once Cloud is dead, use Big Shot or a few physical attacks to end the battle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Save your game, and get the hell out of here.  In the back row and defending,
Barret should have no trouble surviving a few random battles alone.  If you
get attacked from behind, change rows and then defend.  (Note that holding
L1+R1 automatically turns you around and prevents double damage from a back
attack.)

After the reactor blows up, Cloud will be revived and left by himself.  Buy a
flower if you want to, and make your way down toward the train.  Have Cloud
run from the guards by selecting "Later" three times in a row.  After a few
cutscenes, you will arrive in Sector 7.


II. Midgar - Sector 7 and Sector 5
-Materia: All, Cover
-Items: Ether x4, Tent, Titan Bangle

Go to Tifa's bar to advance the plot and rest up.  Before you leave, you have
a few things to do.  Go to the Beginner's Hall above the weapons shop to pick
up an Ether and an All materia.  Then visit the materia shop.  Sell everything
in your inventory and buy three Fires, one Restore, and one Lightning.  (If
you're cheap, you can get away with just buying one Fire and one Restore.) 

Equip Restore=All on Cloud and Restore on Tifa, then save and board the train.
If possible, try to get all the way to the end of the train.  The fewer random
encounters you have, the less MP you will have to spend on Cure on the way to
Air Buster.  Go down the hole, pick up the Ether, and make your way to the
Sector 5 reactor.  Go to the bottom, plant the bomb, and climb up the stairs
to reach the elevator.  Open the chest on the top floor for an Ether, then
push the button at the same time as Barret and Tifa.  Finally, save.  Have
Tifa cast Cure if Cloud has lost any HP.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Air Buster
1200 HP

Before you begin the battle, you must know something about attacking Air
Buster from behind.  Air Buster takes 5 times normal damage if you hit his
weak side, rather than the standard double damage.  However, his weak side is
not necessarily his back, but the side opposite the direction he attacked last
time.  If he just used Big Bomber or his bodyblow counterattack, Air Buster's
weak side will be the back; if he just countered with Rear Gunner, his weak
side will be the front.  A physical attack to his weak side does 120, while
Braver or Big Shot can do over 500 to his weak side.

Since Air Buster will be facing Cloud, have Barret perform the first attack.
If he counterattacks, have Cloud perform the next attack.  Otherwise wait for
him to attack on his turn, and again hit his weak side.  Repeat this until Air
Buster has less than 500 HP and Cloud has Braver ready.  Have him defend,
while Barret and Tifa either attack themselves or allow Air Buster's
counterattacks to kill them.  In any case, Air Buster must deliver the killing
blow to your second character on his turn.  This will ensure that his weak
side is turned toward Cloud, so Braver can win the battle while both allies
are dead.  Have Tifa cast Cure if Cloud is running low on health.  There
should be no need to heal Barret or Tifa.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

You will fall into the Sector 5 slums, where you will meet Aeris.  Before you
know it, Reno and his grunts will be after you.  Tell Aeris to run the first
time, hold on the second time, and run again the third time.  To deal with the
second guard, go to the top barrel and push it.  Then simply stand still while
Aeris approaches you; this should save you a random encounter.  Outside the
church head northwest into the Sector 5 slum, and sleep at Aeris' house.
Don't forget to pick up the Ether and Cover materia in her garden.


III. Midgar - Wall Market and Sector 7
-Materia: None
-Items: Ether x3

A Cure=All combo on Cloud will help tremendously on the way to Wall Market, as
some of the enemy formations--particularly the Whole Eater x3 attack from both
sides--can inflict very high damage.

To avoid the EXP from Corneo's guards, you need to have Cloud chosen as his
date.  You can guarantee this by obtaining four key items: Silk Dress, Blonde
Wig, Sexy Cologne, and Diamond Tiara.  Here's how you get them:

Ask the man at the Honeybee Inn about Tifa, then talk to the guard at Don
Corneo's mansion.  After talking to the girl in the clothes shop, go to the
bar on the second screen and talk to her father.  Tell him you want a dress
that "feels soft" and "shimmers."  Upon returning to the clothes shop, you
will receive the Silk Dress.  Now go to the gym, and hit Square-X-Circle over
and over to beat Big Bro.  This will earn you the Blonde Wig.

Don't visit the clothes shop yet.  Enter the restaurant just north of the item
shop.  Sit down and order anything on the menu; when prompted say, "It was
alright."  Take the Pharmacy Coupon you're given to the item shop, and
exchange it for a Digestive.  Now go all the way north to the bar, and talk to
the woman in the bathroom.  Offer her the Digestive; in relief and gratitude,
she will give you the Sexy Cologne.  Finally, talk to the man inside the shop
on the northeast corner of the first screen.  Accept his offer, stay at the
inn, and buy the 200 gil item from the vending machine.  He will give you the
Diamond Tiara.

Once you have all the items you can return to the clothes shop and change.
Save your game now.  Enter Corneo's mansion and talk with Tifa.  Don't forget
to pick up the Ether in the basement.  After a number of unpleasant cutscenes,
you will be thrown into the sewers.  Give Restore to Cloud and Fire to all
three characters.  Move Cloud and Tifa to the front row.  You will really need
a calculator here.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Aps
1800 HP

This battle can be very difficult with the wrong strategy, because of Aps'
tendency to kill himself with Sewer Tsunami.  He uses two versions of this
attack: a forward version that does 180 damage to him and 45 damage to the
party (if they are in the front row), and a backward version that does 45
damage to him and 90 damage to the party.  If you are not prepared, it is easy
for him to kill himself while all three characters are still alive.

Fortunately, Terence has discovered that Sewer Tsunami is only triggered under
certain conditions.  He always opens the battle with Sewer Tsunami, and if
left undisturbed will only use his tail attack and Lick.  However, after being
hit by a magical attack Aps enters Tsunami mode.  Tsunami mode lasts for four
rounds: Aps skips his first turn, uses the forward version of Sewer Tsunami,
skips his third turn, and finally uses the backward version of Sewer Tsunami.
He will then exit Tsunami mode until he is hit by another spell.

Have everyone in the party cast Fire for the first four rounds.  By the time
he uses the backward Sewer Tsunami, Aps should have about 300 HP left.  Cloud
casts Cure on Aeris, Tifa casts Fire on Aps, and Aeris defends.  If the
forward Sewer Tsunami doesn't kill Cloud and Tifa, have them cast Fire on
themselves to finish the job.  One final Fire from Aeris should finish him.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

After the battle, Aeris will jump from Level 2 to Level 5.  Give her Restore,
and make your way out of the sewers.  Ignore the Steal materia, since the
rules of the challenge prohibit its use.

It is quite possible for Aeris to make it through the train graveyard by
herself, so long as you are conservative with your MP.  Make your way to the
second screen, ignoring all the items.  Hop into the first lighted train to
clear a path, then hop into it again to move it out of the way.  Now hop in
the second lighted train, climb up the ladder to your right, and make your
way out of the train graveyard.  If you're feeling lucky, you can pick up an
Ether in the barrel on the lower left of this screen.

Once back in Sector 7 your HP and MP is restored.  Save your game and get up
to the top of the plate.  When you meet Barret, equip him with either Fire or
Ice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Reno
1000 HP

Reno's attacks aren't particularly damaging; his staff does 60 damage in the
front row, while Electro-mag Rod does 75 and sometimes paralyzes its target.
The problem is having only Barret alive without getting a Game Over from
Pyramid.  Get Reno down to around 50 HP using either Fire, Ice, or physical
attacks.  Once you get to this point, have Barret defend while the other two
characters kill themselves.  Whenever he uses Pyramid, break it immediately
with a physical attack.  Reno must deliver the killing blow on the second
character, so Barret can finish him immediately with Big Shot or a spell.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

After the cutscenes are over, Cloud will be revived.  Go to Aeris' house,
watch the cutscene there, and save.  Rest upstairs.  Now it's time to go back
to Wall Market.  Pick up the Sense materia on the way there, and equip it on
one of your characters.  Buy the Batteries from the weapon shop, and climb
over the maze of pipes and wires to reach Shinra Headquarters.


IV. Rescuing Aeris
-Materia: Elemental, All, Poison
-Items: Star Pendant, Four Slots, Talisman

We will be taking the stairs.  Once you save outside the building, immediately
soft-reset and reload.  This should prevent you from getting a random
encounter on Floor 59, which would require you to reload from your previous
save and climb all 59 flights of stairs again.  Yes, it is that important that
we avoid the EXP.

After climbing the stairs (they cover a total of nine screens), you will be
forced to fight one battle.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mighty Grunt x3
230 HP

Both physical attacks and magic work fine on Mighty Grunt's first form.  You
really should use either magic or limit breaks to kill the second form,
though; you'll have a hard time connecting with physical attacks.  Kill off
the first two, Sense the third, and make sure Cloud and Tifa are both dead
before Barret ends the battle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now that you have the key, take the elevator up to Floor 60.  This part can be
pretty tough, and may force you to climb the stairs a few times.  Cloud,
Barret, and Tifa must get past the two sets of guards without being spotted.
The guards on the right are a bit faster than the guards on the left, and so
it is more difficult to avoid them.  The hardest part is crossing the middle
gaps, since there is always a guard watching; you must dash across the instant
the guards start to move, or you will be spotted.

When you finally get past them, go up to Floor 61.  Talk to the man wandering
around the south end of this floor for Keycard 62.  Now head to Floor 62.  If
you guess Mayor Domino's password on the first try, he will give you an
Elemental materia.  This is one of the most useful materia in this challenge,
and there are only three in the whole game, so you should definitely get this.
There are four libraries on this floor, each devoted to a branch of Shinra's
operations: urban development, scientific research, the space program, and the
Peace Preservation.  In each library is a book that does not belong there--for
example, in the urban development library there might be a book about a space
mission.  Look at the number before that book's title.  Now count the letters,
and write down the letter corresponding to that number.  If the book was
titled "The Ancients in History" and had the number 4 before it, you would
write down the letter A.  Do the same for all four libraries, and you will
have the four letters of the passcode.

If you want an extra All materia, you can do the minigame on Floor 63.  Talk
to the computer teminal, examine the ventilation duct, then go to the top of
the room.  Open the door to your left, then walk left as far as you can.  Now
open the door below you, and walk into the room with Coupon A.  Climb into the
shaft, go down and right, and then climb out the middle ventilation duct.  You
will be in the room with Coupon B.  Exit this room, and unlock the door to the
left for access to the room with Coupon C.  Now climb back up the ventilation
duct, and go right to drop down next to the computer terminal.  Perform Coupon
Exchange, and you will receive a Star Pendant and Four Slots in addition to
the All materia.

Once on Floor 64, you can save your game and rest to revive Cloud and Tifa.
Head up to Floor 65, and put the Midgar Parts into the model.  (Fortunately,
you can now escape from random encounters.)  Collect Keycard 66, go back down
to rest if Barret has taken too much damage, and then go up to eavesdrop on
the meeting.  Follow Hojo to Floor 67.  Move Cloud to the front row, equip
Restore on Barret, turn down the battle speed to reduce poison damage, and
save. Don't forget to pick up the Poison materia next to the save point.

You will now confront Hojo, and gain the newest member of your party.  Because
the XIII in his name is so completely pointless, I will call him Red.  Tell
Tifa to escort Aeris.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Sample:HO512
1000 HP

The main problem here is Shady Breath, which poisons all your characters.  But
his little helpers' magic and Rolling Attack can be fairly painful as well.
Open by having Red use Sense on the Sample.  Cloud and Red should attack him
with Fire or Ice, while Barret uses physical attacks.  Depending on how many
attacks they focus on Barret, he may have to heal himself rather often.  Kill
off Cloud and Red when Barret can finish the Sample in one shot; with the
damage from poison and the little guys' attacks that shouldn't take very long.
(For future reference, after an enemy has been Sensed you can keep track of
its current HP in the help window.  Press Select to bring up the help window.)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


V. Escape from Shinra HQ
-Materia: Enemy Skill
-Items: Mythril Armlet, Protect Vest, Star Pendant

Split up the party however you want, making sure that someone has Restore.
Do not forget the Enemy Skill materia; you will be relying on it for most of
the challenge.  Go down to save your game.  Attempt to use the elevator, and
you will be captured.

Once in your cell, talk to Aeris.  Then choose to get some sleep.  When you
wake up, some ominous things will be afoot.  Make your way up to Floor 69; do
not forget to use the save point.  You will find President Shinra's body on
the top floor, and see a brief cutscene involving Palmer.  If you want, Cloud
can go back down and save so you don't have to watch that cutscene again.

Head outside to talk with Rufus.  When you gain control of the party, move
everyone to the back row.  Remove Cloud's materia.  Set up your materia like
so:

         Aeris:     Lightning
         Barret:    Sense
         Red:       Restore   = All*,  Lightning
                    Elemental = Poison

         (All* represents the All materia initially equipped on Red, with
         1000 AP already earned.)

Now take the elevator down.  This is going to be a very long ride.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Hundred Gunner
1600 HP

Have Barret use Sense, then use physical attacks, while Aeris and Red cast
Bolt.  Limit breaks come pretty quickly, especially during the Main Artillery
and Wave Artillery stages, so use them freely.  Once Red falls to about 30 MP,
have him stop casting Bolt and reserve his MP for Cure.  This phase is a piece
of cake; I finished him before the second Wave Artillery, and didn't even need
to heal.

Heli Gunner
1000 HP

Much nastier, but you should still be able to cope.  Heli Gunner loves
inflicting Sleep and Poison, and can inflict both on the whole party with
Firing Line.  Have Aeris activate Healing Wind ASAP, as he can do some serious
damage.  Sense him, then fire away with Bolt and Barret's physical attack
until he falls below 250 HP.  At that point he stops using status effects, and
starts using Spinning Bodyblow and Flying Drill; Flying Drill does almost 90
damage in the back row.  Reduce him to around 50 HP if you plan to kill him
with Bolt, or 100 HP if you'll finish him with Sled Fang; his Defense and
Magic Defense are boosted substantially in this phase.  Red should Cure
himself and defend if he's not poisoned (poison damage breaks the defensive
stance), while Aeris and Barret move to the front row.  They will die pretty
quickly; once they do, finish him.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shift to the rooftop.  Remove the other characters' materia now, and equip
Restore and Red's All on Cloud.  It would be wise to increase the battle speed
to the highest setting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Rufus, Dark Nation
500 HP, 140 HP

Focus on killing the Dark Nation first; this will prevent Barrier and the
painful Bolt.  After that, start meleeing Rufus to death.  Cast Cure as
needed.  Chances are good you will learn Cross-Slash after this battle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Have Cloud run down to the save point ASAP.  Then talk to Tifa.  When you gain
control of Aeris, head down toward the exit.  An event will occur, and the
motorcycle minigame will commence.

Before you start, form a party of Cloud, Aeris, and Red.  Move them all to the
front row.  I would recommend fighting at the slowest battle speed, since you
will be able to take maximum advantage of your limit breaks this way.  Your
materia setup:

         Cloud:     Lightning
         Aeris:     Lightning
         Red:       Restore = All, Sense
                    Ice

Press Start to initiate the minigame.  Do your best to keep the Shinra pursuit
troops away from the right side of the car; damage dealt during the minigame
will be subtracted from your HP in the boss battle.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Motor Ball
2600 HP

Motor Ball always opens the battle by attacking the party from behind, so the
front row becomes the back row.  His opening wheel attack does 20 damage,
nothing to be concerned about.  For the first two turns he will use Arm Attack
for 40 damage on the target with the highest HP (usually Cloud); he may use
Arm Attack twice on the same turn.  Have Red sense him, while Cloud and Aeris
attack with Bolt; after that everyone casts spells nonstop.  He will then
change to his second form, and use Twin Burner for 80 damage on the whole
party.  He again uses his wheel attack for 20 damage, then takes a turn to
transform back to the first form.  When he changes forms the second time, have
Red cast Cure-All immediately; Motor Ball is about to use Rolling Fire, which
deals 200 damage to the entire party.  Everyone should gain limit breaks after
he uses it.

At this point Motor Ball should have less than 400 HP.  Activate Healing Wind
first, then Sled Fang.  When he falls below 325 HP he will counter by
immediately changing to the second form and using Twin Burner.  This should
give you plenty of time to move Red and Cloud to the front row and kill them.
Cure Aeris once before Red dies.  When Aeris is alone, finish Motor Ball with
one final Bolt.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


VI. Midgar Area and Mythril Mines
-Materia: Heal, Choco/Mog, Long Range
-Items: Ether x3, Peacemaker

Welcome to the world map.  Form a party, and head northeast to Kalm.  Before
entering the inn, there are some things to do around town.  Enter the materia
shop (it's the middle one) and buy a Heal materia.  You can find Ethers under
the stairs of the leftmost and rightmost houses, and in a cabinet on the top
floor of the second house from the left.  The third house from the left has a
Peacemaker at the top of the spiral stairs.

Now it's time for the famous flashback.  While you are in Cloud's past, there
is one thing I strongly suggest doing.  As soon as you enter town, visit
Tifa's house.  Go upstairs and play her piano, saying, "I jammed on it."  Play
the following sequence of notes: X, Square, Triangle, R1+Triangle, R1+Square,
X, Square, Triangle, R1+X, Circle, X, Square, X.  If you do this now, you can
obtain the third and final Elemental materia immediately after getting the
Highwind.

Once the flashback is completed, exit Kalm and save on the world map.  Head to
the chocobo farm.  Talk to one of the chocobos behind the fence and select the
first option.  After an entertaining cutscene, you will receive the Choco/Mog
materia.  Now it's time for you to cross the Midgar Zolom's swamp.  We are not
buying Chocobo Lure.  It's a waste of time and gil, and catching a chocobo
without greens could be very difficult; but most importantly, the extra EXP
from a chocobo battle would push some characters to Level 29.  Instead, we are
going to use the save-reset trick.  Save at the edge of the swamp, and walk as
far west as you can.  When you see the Zolom appear at the edge of the screen,
immediately open the menu and save.  You must be quick about it; the Zolom can
force a battle even if he reaches you after the world map screen has
disappeared.  Now soft-reset, and load your game.  The Zolom will be far away
now; immediately head left, and save once again when you see the Zolom.  You
should be able to reach the other side in two or three tries this way.  Save
after you see the cutscene with the Midgar Zolom.

When you enter the Mythril Mines, head right to the next room.  There is a
vine along the left wall; climb it to pick up the Long Range materia.  There's
a chance you may get attacked from both sides by Ark Dragon; if so, kill him
with limit breaks or Bolt/Ice.  (He absorbs Fire and the Flamethrower enemy
skill.)  Now leave this room and head all the way left for the cutscene with
the Turks.  Climb up to the platform where Tseng was standing, and take the
door out to the world map.


VII. Junon Area and Cargo Ship
-Materia: Shiva, Revive, Seal, Enemy Skill, HP Plus, Ifrit
-Items: Power Wrist, Ether, Wind Slash, White Cape

If your MP is running low, rest at Fort Condor in the south.  Otherwise just
head for Junon, taking care to avoid the forests.  Form a party of Cloud,
Aeris, and Red outside the city.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     Poison = Fire
         Aeris:     Restore
         Red:       Sense = Fire

Make sure everyone is in the back row, and save.  Enter the city and head down
to the beach to initiate the next boss battle.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Bottomswell
2500 HP

Open the battle by having Red sense him and Cloud cast Bio.  Continue casting
Bio until he is poisoned.  If his idle animation remains the same, do not
touch him for the rest of the battle.  By letting the poison kill him, he will
never use the hated Waterpolo or Big Wave (except as his final attack).  But
if he has started convulsing up and down, you need to assault him with magic
and limit breaks until he stops; so long as he is in this stage, Waterpolo can
still be used.  If he should use a Waterpolo, have Red or Cloud get rid of it
immediately with Fire; physical attacks and Bio will do no damage.

Aeris should do nothing but defend, except when she needs to heal herself with
Cure.  Once Bottomswell is poisoned and in the first form, move Cloud and Red
to the front row; they should be killed off in pretty short order.  Only use
Healing Wind after they are both dead, and be sure to defend again after you
heal.  He always uses Big Wave for about 90 damage (45 if defending) when he
dies, so make sure you have enough HP to survive one physical attack plus Big
Wave.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

After the battle you will have to perform CPR on Priscilla.  Five full
lungfuls of air should revive her.  Sleep in the house near the entrance to
town.  When you wake up in the morning, go up the stairs to Priscilla's house.
She will give you the Shiva materia, then go down to the beach.  It is now
time to jump with Mr. Dolphin.  Blow the whistle twice, without moving, and
you will reach the platform above the water.  Walk to the ladder to reach
upper Junon.

Next comes the annoying parade minigame.  You can aim for a high score if you
want--a very high score will net you 6 Ethers or 5000 gil, and could allow you
to buy an extra materia or two--but there's really no need.  GarlandG's Low
Level/No Materia FAQ has a good strategy for getting a high score.  Anyway,
once the parade is over and you've been drilled in the send-off procedure you
are free to collect some materia.  Talk to the man standing outside the first
door in the residential area, and buy one Seal and two Revive materia.  Don't
worry about having enough gil; you can easily get 20,000 gil by selling all
the items and equipment you've collected.

Whatever you do, don't miss the second Enemy Skill materia.  Enter the last
door in this area, and talk to the Shinra soldier on the first floor.  Follow
him down to the room below to collect Enemy Skill.

That's all for Junon.  Save your game, and head over to the dock.  You need to
win the first HP Plus materia now, or else you will have to pay 8000 gil for
it at Cosmo Canyon.  This is the prize if you get between 60 and 90 points
during the send-off.  Pressing the right button in the right position earns
you 10 points; the special earns you 30 points.  Once you reach 60, just sit
back and wait.  Board the ship when you gain control of Cloud.

Inside the ship, open one of the chests to your left for an Ether; there is an
All materia between the crates on the right wall.  Talk to Tifa and Red, and
then talk to Aeris twice.  Now talk to Barret twice to progress with the plot.
Form a party of Cloud, Aeris, and Red.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     Fire = Sense
         Aeris:     Fire
         Red:       Restore = All, Long Range

Save and go down to the cargo hold.  Walk up to the soldier, and you will
fight Jenova for the first time.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Jenova-BIRTH
4000 HP

Begin the battle by sensing Jenova's HP.  Cloud and Aeris should cast Fire,
while Red uses physical attacks.  Use Cure when a party member (particularly
Aeris) is low on health, and Healing Wind otherwise.  Jenova can cast Stop up
to three times, but at the highest battle speed this should only last for two
or three rounds.  Be sure Aeris has at least 10 MP left over for the end of
the battle.

Reduce Jenova to below 50 HP (you may need a physical attack from Cloud to do
this), and have Aeris defend.  The others must then move forward; Jenova
should kill them within two or three rounds.  Once both Cloud and Red are
dead, have Aeris end the battle with Fire.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Aeris should learn Seal Evil after the battle.  Pick up the Wind Slash (on the
catwalk above) and the Ifrit materia before exiting the room.


VIII. Costa del Sol and Corel Areas
-Materia: Transform, Ramuh
-Items: Fire Ring, Motor Drive, W Machine Gun, Star Pendant, Wizard Staff,
Silver Armlet

Once in the Costa del Sol, head into the house at the end of the bridge.  In
the basement is the Fire Ring and Motor Drive, both of which sell for decent
gil.  Stay at the inn to revive Cloud and Red and restore everyone's MP.
Finally, if you missed Seal and Revive in Junon you can buy them here.  Once
you're ready, head out of the Costa del Sol and west into the Corel mountains.
It would be wise to equip your summon materia in case you get attacked from
both sides.

Take advantage of the save point on Mt. Corel.  You can pick up a W Machine
Gun and Transform materia on this screen.  The first time the track breaks,
hold left and press the O button rapidly to get a Wizard Staff; the second
time, hold right and mash O to get a Star Pendant.  The third time you should
jump over the track.  Take the upper path off this screen, get into the shack,
and lower the bridge.  Now walk around and follow the path to North Corel.

I would advise you to save on the world map before entering the Gold Saucer.
Sell everything in your inventory at the weapon or item shop.  Rest at the inn
if your MP is low, though this shouldn't be necessary.  Then enter the Gold
Saucer, making sure you have 3000 gil with which to buy a ticket.  Pick
whoever you want to accompany you, and go to Wonder Square to meet Cait Sith.
Move him into the back row right away.  Then go to the Battle Square, and you
will be thrown into Corel Prison.

Run down to the cabin, making sure to save along the way.  Note that you can
restore your HP and MP by resting in the front seat of the Shinra truck, a
short distance southwest of the cabin.  After the dialogue is over, make Cait
Sith the third member of your party.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill = Fire
         Barret:    Enemy Skill
         Cait Sith: All* = Restore, Manipulate, HP Plus

Soon it will be time to face Dyne.  But before that, we need to learn Laser.
Save your game, and head out to the first "desert" screen.  (Be careful not to
wander into the desert proper, as it's possible to get lost for a long time
out there.)  Run around this area until you encounter two Death Claws.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Death Claw x2
400 HP

Have Cait Sith attempt to manipulate one of the Death Claws, while Cloud and
Barret focus on killing the other one.  Use Laser once each on Cloud and
Barret, if the Death Claws haven't done so on their own.  Then move Cloud and
Barret to the front and kill them off with magic, while the Death Claw
gradually exhausts its HP and MP casting Laser on itself.  Once they are dead,
have the Death Claw use a physical attack on itself to finish it off.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Give the second Restore to Barret, and have Cait Sith rush back to the save
point.  Don't worry about reviving Barret; he will be recovered to full HP and
MP before fighting Dyne.  Now head all the way to the junkyard, and face off
with Dyne.  It is a good idea to lower the battle speed before the battle
starts.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Dyne
1200 HP

This battle is deceptively simple.  All Dyne's attacks do 70-80 damage.  Have
Barret Cure himself when he falls below 170 HP (it heals about 280 HP) and use
physical attacks or Big Shot otherwise.

After about the fourth Big Shot, things can get difficult.  Dyne starts using
Needle Gun and either S-Mine or Molotov Cocktail in a single combo, dealing up
to 160 damage per turn.  At this point Barret will be alternating between Cure
and Big Shot; there will be no time for normal attacks.  If you don't suffer a
critical hit--this will mostly cause a Game Over--Dyne should fall after the
eighth Big Shot.  He will often use Molotov Cocktail as his final attack, but
if you were prepared for his turn that shouldn't be a problem.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Barret will learn Mindblow after the battle.  It's now time for some chocobo
racin'.  Don't forget to pick up the Ramuh materia before talking to Ester.
It's easy to win the race so long as you switch to Manual mode and hold down
the R1 and R2 buttons; this eliminates stamina loss while riding normally, and
reduces it greatly when dashing.  Tap Square repeatedly to make your chocobo
speed up, sprinting when necessary to build a lead over the rest of the pack.


IX. Cosmo Canyon
-Materia: Added Effect, Gravity
-Items: Black M-Phone, Ether, Fairy Ring, Wizer Staff

When you gain control of Cloud again, you will be in the buggy on the world
map.  Save immediately, and head up to North Corel to restore your MP and
revive Cloud.  Now head south to the Gongaga area.  Stay far away from the
forests in this area--particularly the forest around Gongaga Village, since
entering will force you to fight Reno and Rude.

Save again before entering the Cosmo area, since Griffin's Peacock can easily
wipe out the party's MP.  Leave the buggy, and enter Cosmo Canyon.  After
you've watched the scenes with Red upon entering, head up to Bugenhagen's
observatory.  Ignore the materia shop for now; you need to save your gil for
Barrier.  Talk to Red, then talk to Cait Sith in the room right of the materia
shop to form a party.  Your choice of characters is not particularly
important.  Head back up to Bugenhagen.

Once that cutscene is over, go down to the Cosmo Candle.  Talk to Tifa,
Barret, Aeris, and finally Red.  When prompted to form a party, make Aeris
your third character.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill = Transform
         Red:       Restore = All, Enemy Skill
                    Sense = Revive
         Aeris:     Restore

Use the save point opposite the weapon shop, and then talk to Bugenhagen to
enter the Cave of the Gi.  The enemies here are pretty nasty; they come in
large groups and do considerable damage per hit, Heg can poison you, and
numerous enemies can inflict Death Sentence and Paralysis.  There is nothing
for you on the first screen.  Enter the third enclave and break open the rock
to clear the way to the next area.  If Aeris has a full limit break, save it
for Stinger.

When you reach the second screen, take the first left you see.  To avoid
getting hit by the spikes (and consequently reducing the entire party to 1
HP), WALK through the slime instead of running.  Now go down, and you will end
up on a ledge overlooking the first screen that holds the Added Effect
materia.  Next to Enemy Skill, this is the most important materia in the game;
you cannot afford to miss it.  Go back to the main path, once again walking to
avoid sliding on the slime.  Farther ahead, you can take some stairs down to a
slightly lower level.  Walk all the way south for a Black M-Phone, and
northeast of the stairs for an Ether.

As soon as you enter the third screen, use Cure-All on your party.  Enter
through the second tunnel to fight Stinger and clear out the path.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Stinger
2200 HP

Have Red sense him and Cloud cast Mini at the beginning of battle.  His
physical attacks will now only do 1 damage, and it is safe to move all your
characters to the front row.  He can still use Sting Bomb to take off 3/4 of a
character's HP, but only three times per battle (twice as a counterattack).
And if Aeris uses Seal Evil, he cannot use Sting Bomb at all; this will also
stop him from moving for a few turns.  Cloud and Red can each use Laser once
for very good damage; after that you should rely on physical attacks.  When he
has less than 100 HP remaining kill off Cloud and Red, and have Aeris finish
him off.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

After battle, remove Red's Revive and give it to Aeris.  Have her revive both
Cloud and Red, then reequip Restore.  Once they are revived, have Red Cure
them back to full health.  Now immediately turn around and leave the Cave of
the Gi.  Rest at the inn; it's inside the door due north of Cosmo Canyon, just
above the bar.  Then save, and return to the cave.

NOTE: On the screen with the Stingers, you will sometimes get ambushed from
both sides by two Gi Spectors.  They are vulnerable to restorative magic.  Two
Cures, or one Cure and one limit break, will be sufficient to kill one of
them; defend and escape from the other one.  The Spectors can easily kill one
of your characters, and in particular seem to like killing Aeris with two
successive back attacks.

Before fighting the second Stinger, you may want to collect the Fairy Ring.
Go through the sloping entrance again, and this time follow the path that
slopes down to the left.  Now head south, and turn on the position indicator
with the Select button.  Press down and right simultaneously, and you will end
up going down a hidden tunnel.  The Fairy Ring is in a chest at the end.  Now
go back to the main path, and walk north to fight the second Stinger.  The
strategy is exactly the same as before.

Leave the cave and rest at the inn one last time.  Save your game once again,
and reenter the cave.  Before reaching the screen with Gi Nattak, you must
kill Cloud and Red in a random battle.  Since you'll probably need to fight Gi
Nattak a few times, I would do this: Move Cloud and Red to the front row.  Get
into a random battle in the first screen of the cave, and have Aeris defend
while Cloud and Red kill themselves by whatever means available.  Go out of
the cave and save your game.  Now Aeris must make her way to the final screen
of the cave by herself.  Have her heal between battles, saving at least 34 MP
(68 MP or more if possible) for the boss battle.  When she gets there, switch
Restore for Revive.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Gi Nattak
5500 HP

Between Gi Nattak's high HP, his powerful attacks, and his ability to steal
back HP and MP, there's only one way to beat him with your current party.
Since he is undead, the Life spell can instantly kill him.  Unfortunately Life
will miss fairly often; and Aeris only gets two chances to cast it if she
isn't killed by the Soul Fires first.  Simply cast Life until it succeeds; if
she runs out of MP, allow her to die and try again.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Make sure to pick up the Gravity materia he drops.  Then head forward for a
very touching scene.

When prompted, form a party with Cloud, Barret, and Cait Sith.  Equip
Restore=All on both Cloud's and Cait Sith's weapons, and Elemental=Ifrit,
Revive, and HP Plus on Cait Sith's armor.


X. Mt. Nibel and Rocket Town
-Materia: Destruct, Counter Attack, Barrier, Exit, Elemental
-Items: Platinum Fist, Silver M-Phone, Twin Viper, Enemy Launcher, Rune Blade,
Plus Barrette, Powersoul, Jem Ring, Yoshiyuki, Drill Arm, Sniper CR, Edincoat

Save immediately on the world map, in case your MP gets wiped out by Peacock.
Get into the buggy, and head north across the river to Nibelheim.  I would
recommend just passing through, but if you insist there are some marginally
useful items here.  There is a black-caped man on the second floor of Tifa's
house; talk to him for a Platinum Fist.  You can also acquire a Silver
M-Phone, Twin Viper, Enemy Launcher, and Destruct materia in the Shinra
Mansion.  Don't worry about Destruct; by the time you need it you will be able
to buy it in Mideel.

Save just before entering the Nibel mountains.  The enemies on the trail hit
hard (Kyuvilduns and Sonic Speed both do 300+ damage per attack) and the ones
in the mountain itself are even worse (Dragons deals 500 damage with both
Flamethrower and his physical attack).  Have Cait Sith take care of most of
the healing, and if necessary revive Barret or Cloud.  The others need to save
their MP for Materia Keeper, though in a pinch you could let Cloud cast a few
Cures.  There is a Rune Blade and a Plus Barrette on the first screen; once
again I recommend just ignoring them.

When you get into the cave, slide down pipe number 2.  Pick up the Powersoul,
then drop down in front of Materia Keeper.  At the save point, unequip Cait
Sith's materia and switch him for Aeris.  And for God's sake, save.  Your
materia setup:

         Cloud:     Sense = Poison
         Barret:    Restore
         Aeris:     All*

Approach the boss.  You need to press X to initiate the fight.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Materia Keeper
8400 HP

Though the strategy is pretty simple, there are far too many things that can
go wrong here.  There is a 1/3 chance that he will open with Trine; this is an
unavoidable Game Over.  If that doesn't happen, and everyone survives, have
Aeris freeze him with Seal Evil.  Barret and Aeris should defend (if he
attacked one of your characters, Barret should cast Cure first), while Cloud
casts Bio until Materia Keeper is finally poisoned.  Then Sense him.  If
Materia Keeper ever performs Hell Combo or a critical hit on Cloud, he will be
dead and you will have no way to cast Poison or Sense; hence, it is crucial
that the first few rounds go your way.  Feel free to use Cross Slash, but only
if Materia Keeper will be above 4200 HP immediately after it's used.  The
whole point of poisoning him is to prevent the Cure2/Trine stage from being
triggered.  Don't worry about healing Cloud after this, as he'll die before
long anyway.

Because Aeris must equip Red's All materia--the 200 AP is mandatory for
leveling up the materia--she will not survive long by herself.  Hence, it is
vital that both she and Barret stay alive for most of the battle.  Barret's
Cure heals just under 300; keep him above 300 HP and her above 210 HP at all
times.  If Aeris is at relatively low HP, make sure he has more than 400 HP in
case Materia Keeper targets him with Hell Combo next.  Aeris should always
defend except when using Healing Wind.  (Seal Evil also stops poison damage,
and forces Barret to waste more MP on Cure.  It's not worth it.)  A critical
Hell Combo will in most cases lead to a Game Over; there's not much you can do
about that.

When Materia Keeper has around 600-1000 HP left, move Barret to the front.
Unless you are outrageously unlucky, he should die before the battle ends.
Hopefully Aeris is at full HP when this happens.  If she defends and uses one
Healing Wind, she can generally survive long enough for Materia Keeper to die.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

As soon as the battle is over, give Aeris Restore and heal her back to full
health.  Head straight back to the save point, hoping you don't get any
random encounters.  There is no need to revive Cloud and Barret; Aeris can
make it to Rocket Town on her own.  Pick up the Counter Attack materia the
boss dropped, head off the right of the screen, and then follow the curve
leading to the world map.

Save once again outside the mountains, and head north for Rocket Town.  To get
things out of the way, I recommend advancing the plot a bit first.  As you
enter town, you will see an old man near the path to the rocket.  Talk to him
twice, look at the rocket with him, and he will reward you with the Yoshiyuki.
Now head into Cid's house on the right.  Go through to the other side, and you
will see the Tiny Bronco for the first time.  Don't forget to pick up the
Drill Arm from the chest.  Head up to the top of the rocket, and you will meet
Cid.  Ask about the rocket to continue the story.

Before entering Cid's house again, there are several things you must do.
First, sleep at the inn to revive Cloud and Barret.  Second, enter the
building to the left of the old man.  Though it calls itself an item shop,
they double as a materia shop--and what great materia they sell.  Sell
everything in your inventory, then buy two Barriers and one Exit.  Third, go
back to the world map and switch Aeris with Red.  In order for Cloud and the
others to survive Mako Gun, they need to be under Sadness--and to get it, you
have to take a trip back to Mt. Nibel.  While you're at it, it's time to pick
up the second Elemental materia.  Equip Restore=All on Red and Manipulate on
Barret, and head south again.

When you return to the screen with the save point, exit to the bottom of the
screen.  Jump off the edge, and walk through the opening behind you.  Ignore
the chest on the first screen.  (It contains an Elixir, which sells for
1 gil.)  Pick up the Elemental on the second screen of this cavern, in the
Mako fountain you saw in the flashback.  At the start of the next screen you
will come to a fork in the road; go right.  Make sure to take the next left
detour to pick up the Sniper CR.  Then head down.

You should now be on the trail heading to the reactor.  In this area you
should encounter an enemy called Screamer who swings a mace.  Have Cloud and
Red defend while Barret attempts to manipulate him.  When successful, have him
use War Cry to inflict Sadness on all three characters.  Then escape from
battle.  Go to the end of the trail and walk through the door behind the
reactor.  Press X to unfold the ladder below you, and save as soon as you
reach the save point.  (Dragon can often kill your characters even with
Sadness, forcing you to reset and try again.)  Run back to the world map, and
open the menu one last time outside Rocket Town.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     All* = Restore
         Barret:    Poison
         Red:       Restore = Sense, HP Plus

Move your characters to the front row and save your game.  Enter Cid's house
to initiate the next series of cutscenes, leading to the boss fight with
Palmer.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Palmer
6000 HP

I have yet to encounter a challenge where Palmer is a serious obstacle.  Mako
Gun is equivalent to Fire2, Bolt2, or Ice2, and does about 300 damage with
Sadness.  A single Cure should fully heal the damage.

Have Red use Sense on Palmer; he will be primarily responsible for healing the
damage from Mako Gun.  Meanwhile, Barret uses nothing but Bio until Palmer is
poisoned.  After that, it is your choice.  You can keep attacking him with
limit breaks and physical attacks, but you have to be careful not to kill him
before Barret and Red are dead.  Personally, after he's poisoned I would sit
back until he's used Mako Gun 10 times; after that Palmer will be at 20 MP,
and unable to attack anymore.  Kill off your other characters, and have Cloud
attack away. At the highest battle speed, Poison should finish him off rather
quickly.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


XI. Preparing for the Temple
-Materia: None
-Items: None

You are now in control of the Tiny Bronco.  Head north, then east, and then
north again, until you are back in the Rocket Town area.  Get off at the
beach, enter the town, and rest at the inn.  Get back into the Tiny Bronco,
and get off at the Wutai beach.  Remove Barret's Poison, and switch him for
Cid.  Move everyone to the back row.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     All* = Restore
         Cid:       All = Transform, Enemy Skill = Sense
                    Long Range
         Red:       Enemy Skill = Manipulate

It is now time to learn a few vital enemy skills, starting with Magic Hammer.
To avoid the long walk to Wutai proper, and the deadly lightning and poison
attacks of the native monsters, head east from the beach to reach a grassy
area.  Run around here until you encounter two Razor Weeds with a Tail Vault.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Razor Weed x2, Tail Vault
1000 HP (145 MP), 960 HP

First have Cid cast Mini-All on the enemies, rendering them relatively
harmless.  If it misses anyone, particularly the Tail Vault, cast Mini again.
Once that is done, have him sense each of the enemies.  Cloud should defend,
while Red attempts to manipulate one of the Razor Weeds.  When he succeeds,
use Magic Hammer four times: twice on the other Razor Weed to prevent Spaz
Voice, once on Red, and once on Cid.  Note that this will reduce Cid's and
Red's MP to zero, making them unable to cast any magic until you stay at an
inn after the battle.  Move everyone to the front, and start meleeing the Tail
Vault and second Razor Weed.  When they are both gone, concentrate your
attacks on the second Razor Weed.  Until you see the message "Razor Weed's
skill power is used up," have Cloud only attack with Cross Slash; if inflicted
with Fury his physical and magical accuracy will be seriously hurt.  Kill off
Cid and Red once the Razor Weed is at around 100 HP, then have Cloud end the
battle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

After the battle you have two options.  First, you can switch Cloud's Restore
for Revive to bring Cid and Red back to life, reequip Restore and heal them
with two Cure-Alls, then replace All with one of the Enemy Skills and use
Magic Hammer in a random battle to restore his MP.  Second, you can go back to
the Rocket Town inn to revive and fully heal your allies.  I would go with the
second method, as it's considerably simpler and faster.

Once you're in good shape again, take the Tiny Bronco through the river that
bisects the continent.  Head east, passing north of the Temple of the
Ancients, until you encounter a beach to your immediate north.  Make sure that
Cloud still has Red's All equipped.  Run around until you encounter a lone
Zemzelett.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zemzelett
285 HP (36 MP)

If he casts Thunderbolt before you are able to manipulate him, he will not
have the MP to cast White Wind; run away and try again if this happens.  When
Manipulate finally succeeds, cast White Wind on the party to learn the skill.
Use a physical attack to break Manipulate, move everyone to the front row, and
start killing Cid and Red.  If he is in the air, use Cross Slash and otherwise
wait for him to come down so Cloud can finish him off.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Leave this island and head back the way you came.  Get off at any beach in the
Gongaga/Gold Saucer area, and run back and forth until you encounter three
Beachplugs.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Beachplug x3
200 HP (100 MP)

Have Red target one of the Beachplugs with Manipulate, while Cloud and Cid
attempt to kill the other two.  When successful, cast Big Guard on the party.
If you get the side attack formation, keep a second Beachplug alive; you will
need to cast Big Guard twice (once on Cid's side, once on Red's), and each
Beachplug can only cast the spell once.  Kill off Cid and Red, and have Cloud
finish the battle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

You should now have two Enemy Skill materia with Laser, Magic Hammer, White
Wind, and Big Guard.  Also, All will level up after this fight.  Save your
game.  Now go up to North Corel, and enter the Gold Saucer.  Once inside,
remove Cid's and Red's materia.  Having 3000 gil for the ticket shouldn't be a
problem.  Head for the Battle Square, go right to Dio's showroom, and examine
the Keystone.  Dio will offer it to you in exchange for a round at the Battle
Arena.  To save some time, simply escape as soon as you enter the battle.
When you attempt to leave, a long series of cutscenes will be initiated.

After the date and Cait Sith's subsequent double-cross, you will have to form
a party with Aeris.  Make Cait Sith the third character.  Give him Manipulate;
Exit, Restore=All, and Enemy Skill would also be wise.  Now leave the Gold
Saucer and head back to the Tiny Bronco.  Before entering the Temple of the
Ancients, it is necessary to put the party under Sadness.  Take the river to
the western end of the continent, and go to the far north.  Then head east
across the world map until you can go no further.  You should be in the
chocobo farm area now.  Disembark, then run up and down the beach until you
encounter an Elfadunk.  Manipulate it and use Shower on each of your
characters, then escape from battle.  Go back the way you came, and make your
way to the Temple.


XII. The Temple of the Ancients
-Materia: Luck Plus, Bahamut
-Items: Trident, Silver Rifle, Rocket Punch, Princess Guard, Trumpet Shell,
Work Glove, Dragon Armlet, Gigas Armlet

Approach Tseng to acquire the Keystone, then use it at the altar to enter the
temple.  Make sure to save outside beforehand, in case you screw up and have
to try again.  You can pick up the Trident, Rocket Punch, and Luck Plus
materia on the first screen; climb the vine at the top of this screen to reach
the chest with the Silver Rifle.  Head on to the second screen, and dodge
under the rolling rocks here.  Ignore the Morph materia, since it is
prohibited by the rules of the challenge.

In the clock room, head to door IV for the Princess Guard and door VII for the
Trumpet Shell.  Be careful to avoid the second hand; it will knock you into
the room below, triggering a forced encounter with some Ancient Dragons.
Finally, enter room VI.  As soon as you gain control of Cloud, jump down to
the second level and enter the second hole from the right to catch the
Ancient.  Hop down to the lowest level and pick up the Work Glove, then enter
the lower right hole to end up on the top level again.  Walk into the clock
room, and immediately return; the Ancient will now be on the top level.

Set the battle speed to a medium level.  This should allow Poison to deal
damage fast enough without your Barriers wearing off too quickly.  Set up your
materia like so:

         Cloud:     Sense = Poison
         Aeris:     Enemy Skill
         Cait Sith: All = Restore, Revive, Enemy Skill
                    Elemental = Ifrit

Save your game now.  (You may want to employ the same trick you used for
Shinra HQ, and reset immediately after saving.  I lost my first attempt
because I was killed by a group of Ancient Dragons before being able to save.)
DO NOT rest; this will remove Sadness and screw you for the next two fights.
Once you are ready, enter the mural room.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Red Dragon
6800 HP (300 MP)

If he opens with Red Dragon Breath on Cloud or Aeris before you can put up a
Big Guard, or for that matter after a Big Guard has worn off, they will die.
If he kills Aeris, you must restart; it is vitally important that she stay
under Sadness for Demons Gate.  Killing Cloud isn't the end of the world,
since Cait Sith can revive him and Aeris can place him under Big Guard; but if
he is targeted again soon after, it will be difficult to keep him alive long
enough to poison and sense him.  He can usually survive Red Dragon's physical
attacks, but even at full HP you're pretty lucky if Red Dragon Breath doesn't
kill him without Sadness.

If no one is killed have Cait Sith cast Cure on whoever was hit, Cloud use
Cross Slash (if he has a limit break), and Aeris use Big Guard in that order.
Cast Bio until he is successfully poisoned, then Sense him.  Except for using
limit breaks or defensive magic, your characters always defend from now on.
You will most likely have to renew Big Guard three times.  Have Cait Sith cast
it the second time to reduce Aeris' MP load.  Obviously, you will need to use
Magic Hammer; cast it when your characters have about 30 MP remaining.
Whenever anyone falls below 300 HP, have Cait Sith cast Cure.  If Cure doesn't
heal enough, use Healing Wind or White Wind.  The only way that Red Dragon is
likely to kill a character prematurely is if his bite attack goes critical,
which under Barrier will do 440 damage if you're not defending.

When Red Dragon has about 500-1000 HP remaining, move Cloud and then Cait Sith
to the front row while Aeris defends; simply don't heal the front row
character, and they should die from his physical attacks within a few rounds.
If it looks like he'll die from the poison damage while more than one
character is still alive, cast Cure; this will heal about 400 HP.  Once both
Cloud and Cait Sith are dead, have Aeris use Healing Wind, and if necessary
White Wind, to keep herself alive until Poison finishes him off.

*IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT BARRIERS*: Since your characters must be in constant
Barrier and MBarrier status to survive this fight, it is crucial that you know
precisely when to recast them.  To the immediate right of your characters'
names in the battle window are a pair of gauges: these represent how much
longer your characters' current Barrier or MBarrier status will last.  The
gauge starts out full immediately after Barrier or Big Guard is cast, and
gradually empties toward the left.  (It empties twice as fast when under
Haste--a notable disadvantage of Big Guard.)  This emptying occurs in small,
discrete steps after a certain number of seconds, which I will refer to as
"ticks."  Contrary to appearances, Barrier status does NOT disappear the
instant the color disappears from the gauge.  Instead, it is still active for
one more "tick" of the gauge.

On the one hand, this means that you can often be protected against an extra
attack even when your gauges are apparently empty.  But on the other hand, it
makes maintaining your Barriers a difficult task.  If you cast Barrier or Big
Guard too soon, it will miss; your MP will be wasted, and you would be no
better protected than if you had cast it too late.  Though 56 MP wasted can be
a serious detriment, you can usually just cast another Big Guard and survive
the battle anyway.  This problem is more serious in the next battle, where you
only have a limited number of Barrier-All's.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pick up the Bahamut materia now.  Then head right to advance the plot.  If
Aeris has 37 MP or more remaining, give her the Revive materia and cast Life
on Cloud.  Now give Revive to him and cast Life on Cait Sith; then equip
All=Restore and heal the party with two Cure-Alls.  Either way, get back to
the Ancient and save your game ASAP.  Once again, don't rest.  Sadness is even
more crucial for Demons Gate.

Before you can face him, you'll need to restore the party's MP by fighting
random encounters in the mural room.  If Aeris ended the battle with less than
37 MP, she'll have to fight the first battle solo.  Give her Enemy Skill, and
hope she encounters a solitary Doorbull.  (The other formations will quickly
overwhelm her.)  Use Magic Hammer, healing with White Wind if necessary, and
run away; then revive Cloud.  Once your allies are alive, you'll need to swap
around the Enemy Skill materia for a bit so everyone is at nearly full MP;
this should take about three or four battles.  The Transform=All combo is
useful, as the enemies here can do some nasty physical damage.  It would still
be a good idea to let them charge your limit breaks, though, particularly
Aeris'.

Once the party is in good shape again, leave the mural room and REDUCE THE
BATTLE SPEED TO THE SLOWEST SETTING.  This is extremely important.  Your
materia setup:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill = Revive
         Aeris:     Restore
         Cait Sith: All* = Barrier, Restore, Sense
                    All = Barrier, Bahamut, Enemy Skill

Save your game now.  Walk north through the clock room, then approach the
door.  And what a nasty door it is.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Demons Gate
10,000 HP (400 MP)

This is the toughest battle in the whole challenge, simply because it depends
so heavily on luck.  A little over half your Game Overs will occur at the
beginning of the battle, as a result of Demons Gate opening with a rock drop
on Cloud or Cait Sith.  Aeris can survive one rock drop unprotected--this is
one of the reasons she's under Sadness--everyone should survive Cave-In, and
if he opens with Petrif-Eye or charging for Demon Rush this isn't even an
issue.  This is assuming he doesn't get critical hits or use a double rock
drop; these will screw you up whether you're under Barrier or not.  If that
happens and someone dies, you're on your own.

Once you've properly protected yourself, there are a number of things that
have to happen right.  First, Demons Gate must not kill any characters until
you're ready for him to do so.  Cave-In does 220 damage through Barrier, Demon
Rush does 300 damage, and the rock drop does 380; Aeris' Sadness reduces this
by one third.  At full HP, everyone can survive a normal hit from Demon Rush
or the rock drop and a critical hit from Cave-In; with Sadness and her higher
HP, Aeris is particularly difficult to kill at full HP.  But Demons Gate loves
to perform critical hits.  He also will sometimes drop two rocks on the same
turn, which very often land on the same character and kill him.

Second, you must get lucky with Cait Sith's Dice.  This limit break is your
primary source of damage, and there's no way you'll kill him in time if it
doesn't dish out a lot of damage.  You need at last a few Dice that do over
1000 damage to kill him before your Barrier-Alls wear off and your survival
becomes precarious.  Though it usually isn't a problem, you also need to make
sure that Cait Sith is targeted often enough that he can actually use his
limit break; a Cloud or Aeris killing spree could drag out the battle to your
death.

Third, your Barrier-Alls cannot be allowed to miss.  Unless you get pretty
lucky with your Dice damage, you will have to put the whole party under
Barrier three times.  Single-casting Barrier does not work very well; you will
still have to deal with healing the boss's damage while your other characters
stand unprotected.  Casting it with Big Guard is even worse, for three
reasons: it halves healing due to MBarrier, it casts Haste (making Barrier
last only half as long), and the 56 MP required will quickly make the battle
unsustainable.  But because you can't directly observe when the Barrier has
run out (see the note under the Red Dragon strategy), it can be hard to know
whether it's too soon to recast your protections.  Defending before you recast
Barrier can help reduce the risk, but it's dangerous nonetheless.

The battle itself is pretty simple.  Aeris will be your primary healer; if
only one target is damaged on a given turn, she is the one who casts Cure.
Healing Wind is reserved for healing immediately after Cave-In or Demon Rush.
Cait Sith casts Barrier-All on his first turn, uses Dice, and then senses
Demons Gate.  He also acts a secondary healer.  To ensure that his limit
breaks aren't wasted, do this: When multiple characters need healing and Cait
Sith has just gained a limit break, have him cast Cure before Aeris.  The bar
should fill up very quickly during Aeris' turn; as long as you activate the
limit before the Cure animation finishes, he will use Dice before Demons
Gate.  Unfortunately, if no one needs healing and he doesn't have limit break
he just has to stand there; the necessity of getting Dice quickly means that
he will rarely be able to defend.  Cloud should always defend, except when he
gets Cross Slash or heals the party with White Wind.  Cross Slash deals 160
damage--not enough by itself, but when used many times it can make the battle
significantly shorter.  (Cait Sith can also cast White Wind, though he should
never need to use it.)  Have Cloud and Cait Sith use Magic Hammer if they fall
below 40 MP.

If Cloud is not dead when Demons Gate falls below 2400 HP, stop using Dice;
there's a chance that it could kill him in one shot, earning Cloud an
unacceptable amount of EXP and forcing you to try again.  Move him forward,
and allow Demons Gate to kill him.  Bahamut is your trump card; when he falls
below 1200 HP use Magic Hammer to raise Cait's MP above 100, then summon it
for an instant win.  Be glad we can let both Aeris and Cait Sith survive this
battle; it is a hundred times easier with him there to the end.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Congratulations.  You've beaten the toughest battle in this challenge, and one
of the tougher battles in any FFVII challenge.  Everything gets easier from
here, even though we lose precious Aeris.


XIII. Searching for Aeris
-Materia: Titan, Kjata, Enemy Skill, Comet
-Items: Water Ring, Aurora Armlet, Wizard Bracelet

You will wake up in Gongaga Village.  Leave the inn, talk to Barret and Tifa,
and then head for the world map.  Raise the battle speed so you can escape
from battle more quickly, and save your game.  (Presumably you'd rather not
experience Demons Gate again.)  You can pick up the Titan materia from the
Gongaga reactor if you'd like, but it's not at all necessary.

Go south to get to the Tiny Bronco, then follow the coast north until you
reach the river that runs across the continent.  Follow it to the other side,
and go all the way north to Bone Village.  We will be digging up the Lunar
Harp now.  Climb the ladder to the top level, and move Cloud so he is obscured
behind the plume of white smoke rising from the building below.  From the
south edge of this area, take a few paces north.  There's no need to order a
search.  Simply select "Done" immediately, set off the bomb, and press Square
to designate the dig spot without moving.  You should get the Lunar Harp
within a few attempts this way.

You can now walk through the Sleeping Forest.  On the second screen, you may
notice a red dot that is periodically visible among the trees.  If you can
catch up to it before it disappears, the Kjata materia is yours.  Again, not a
necessary summon; but the more materia you have, the better.  There is a Water
Ring under the log on the next screen.  To continue, go through the log and
past the fourth screen to get back to the World Map.

As you enter the City of the Ancients, take the left path.  If you follow it
to the end, you will reach a room with a platform in the middle.  Take the
stairs down as you enter, and open the chest here for the Aurora Armlet.  Head
back toward the entrance of the city, and this time take the right path to the
second screen.  Enter the second building, climb the ladder, and sleep in the
bed.

You can now go down to meet Aeris.  But before you do that, we still have
several things to do.  First, pick up the third Enemy Skill materia behind the
bed.  Now leave the City of the Ancients, and take the Tiny Bronco back to
Wutai.  Equip the empty Enemy Skill on Tifa, and Enemy Skill=Manipulate on
Cloud.  Run around in the same grassy area you learned Magic Hammer last time.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Razor Weed x2, Tail Vault
1000 HP (145 MP), 960 HP

The procedure is the same as last time, though we don't have Mini to reduce
the damage.  Have Cloud manipulate one of the Razor Weeds, then use Magic
Hammer to learn it on the third Enemy Skill materia.  Now suck the Razor
Weeds' MP dry to stop Spaz Voice, and kill two of them off.  Kill Barret and
Tifa, and allow Cloud to finish the last one.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Replace Tifa with Cid.  Give him Tifa's Enemy Skill materia, and have him
revive and heal Barret.  Go all the way back to where you started the trip, at
the Gongaga forest.  Run around the first screen here until you encounter a
lone Touch Me.  Added Effect=Transform on Cid's armor is recommended.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Touch Me
300 HP (74 MP)

Have Cloud manipulate it, then cast Frog Song on himself, Barret, and finally
Cid.  Once all three characters have learned it, have Cid drain its MP with
Magic Hammer.  Make it use Frog Jab on Cloud and Barret, then on itself to
break Manipulate.  Now move your characters forward, and kill off Cloud and
Barret.  Cid should be able to finish it in three hits.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Get back in the Tiny Bronco and head to Bone Village.  Ask for a search, then
immediately end it; this will allow you to rest for free.  Fill Cloud's limit
gauge in the Sleeping Forest entrance, then return to the Tiny Bronco.  Head
to the far east, and get off on the beach near the chocobo farm.  Run around
here until you encounter an Elfadunk.  Manipulate it and use Shower on all
three characters.  (From now on, if I tell you to meet an Elfadunk you know
where to go.)

You are now ready for Jenova-LIFE.  Reenter the City of the Ancients, and this
time take the center path.  Before heading down the glowing path, pick up the
Comet materia at the top of the spiral ramp.  Once at the save point, fully
restore your HP, move everyone to the front row, and equip the following
materia:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill = Sense
         Barret:    Enemy Skill
         Tifa:      Enemy Skill

Head toward Aeris to see the saddest scene in the game.  And to fight a boss.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Jenova-LIFE
10,000 HP (300 MP)

The only dangerous part of the battle is the beginning.  Jenova will sometimes
cast Aqualung before your first turn; this will deal over 1000 damage to the
party, ending the battle instantly.  Otherwise, Cloud will be able to paralyze
her with Cross Slash.  So long as you use Magic Hammer twice before Paralysis
wears off, you're good; she will only have 100 MP, and cannot use her Reflect
counterattack against the last Magic Hammer.  With no MP, Jenova cannot attack
at all.

Once she's disabled, have Cloud Sense her HP.  Then have everyone melee her to
death.  I know it seems boring, but you have to get used to using physical
attacks.  You don't have the MP to finish Schizo or Jenova-DEATH with magic
either, not to mention the coming Midgar bosses.  Besides, you get to relax to
Aeris' Theme for a while.  Once Jenova falls to 200-300 HP, kill off Cloud and
Barret.  Have Tifa finish Jenova with a few quick punches.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

So long, Aeris.  We'll miss you.


                              *****DISC TWO*****

XIV. Corel Valley and Great Glacier
-Materia: Magic Plus, Added Cut, All 
-Item: Viper Halberd, Bolt Armlet, Hypno Crown, Safety Bit

Go back to the building where you spent the night, and stay there again to
revive Cloud and Barret.  Before we can catch up to Sephiroth and grab the
Black Materia, we need to make one last trip on the Tiny Bronco.  Form a party
of Cloud, Cid, and Cait Sith.  The following materia setup will be sufficient
to get you through the Great Glacier and Gaea's Cliff:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill = HP Plus
         Cid:       All = Restore, Enemy Skill = Exit
                    Added Effect = Seal, Elemental = Shiva
         Cait Sith: All = Restore, Enemy Skill**, Revive
                    Elemental = Ice, Manipulate

         (Enemy Skill** denotes the third Enemy Skill materia, the one that
         does not have Laser.)

Meet an Elfadunk, and have it inflict Sadness on the party.  Temporarily form
a party with Tifa and Barret, giving one of them Manipulate, and get into a
second Elfadunk battle to put them under Sadness.  Put Cid and Cait Sith back
into your party.  Then return to the City of the Ancients and follow the path
Sephiroth took.  Go left around the spike staircase and back in the other
direction to open the chest with the Viper Halberd.  Go up the spikes to reach
the next screen.  Climb into the left crack to go up, and go left.  Climb into
the next crack, get off in either direction, then choose to go up; the Bolt
Armlet is here.  Go to the right to reach the next crack.  Go down this crack,
and in the chest down here will be the Hypno Crown.  Go all the way to the top
of the crack, go left to climb up the next crack, and climb the ladder.  First
descend to pick up the Magic Plus materia, then rise to reach the world map.

Save outside Icicle Village.  Enter the house farthest to the right, and
choose to take the map in the den.  There are plenty of items here, but none
that sell for more than 1 gil.  Just head straight for the exit, and you will
initiate the scene with Elena.  To avoid her punch and save some time, hold
the Cancel and left directional buttons.  Then enter the center house, talk to
the boy so you can take his snowboard, and snowboard down the mountain.
Because walking would just be too easy.

This area can be a bit confusing.  If you get lost, I recommend using the
ASCII map in Apathetic Aardvark's excellent FAQ.  My directions will assume
that you turned right on the snowboard course at both intersections.  Head
north until you encounter a frozen lake.  If you want to pick up the Safety
Bit, go northwest and cross the ice floes; otherwise continue on northeast.
You must not wander around too long, or you will collapse; then you will have
no choice but to rest at Holzhoff's cabin, which will remove Sadness.  Head
right on the screen with the lone tree, and from there just keep going north.
There is an Added Cut materia two screens past the four-way split.

When you reach the snow field, take note of the horizontal and vertical lines
in the snow.  Simply walk along one of the vertical lines, tapping X
frequently to set markers behind you.  When the screen starts to turn, stop
moving; the markers should help to point you in the right direction.  You will
walk past an igloo in the middle of the snow field, which contains an All
materia; after you enter and exit the igloo, the screen will be oriented with
north on top again.  You can and should use the save point inside Holzhoff's
cabin, but do not talk to Holzhoff himself.


XV. Gaea's Cliff
-Materia: None
-Items: Javelin, Fire Armlet, Enhance Sword

While on the outside of Gaea's Cliff, you must keep your temperature above 26
degrees at all times; if not, you will return to Holzhoff's cabin and have to
start from the beginning.  Frog Song is a lifesaver; every enemy here is
susceptible to Sleep, including the nasty Malboro and Stilva.  Malboro's Bad
Breath and Stilva's Magic Breath will in most cases cause a Game Over, so get
through this area as fast as possible.  You can pick up the Javelin in a chest
in the first cave area.  The most important thing for now is that Cid and Cait
Sith do not get killed; the battles ahead become very nasty if you lose
Sadness.

As soon as you reach the save point, remove Cid's Enemy Skill materia.  Now
replace Cid with Barret.  Turn the battle speed down to a medium level.  Your
materia setup:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill** = Restore
         Barret:    Enemy Skill
         Cait Sith: All = Restore, Enemy Skill, Revive
                    Elemental = Lightning, Manipulate, Magic Plus

Save your game, and run around this area until you encounter a Stilva.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Stilva
2000 HP (300 MP)

Stilva must not cast Magic Breath before Cait Sith manipulates him, or this
strategy will fall apart.  If he does, reset and try again.  Otherwise have
Cloud use Cure to heal any damage received and Barret cast Big Guard.  Trine
should do less than 400 damage to Cloud and Barret, and less than 200 to Cait
Sith; it is crucial that everyone survives Trine.  Fully restore Cait Sith's
HP before Magic Breath; he needs 450 HP to survive it.  This will easily kill
the other two.  Have Stilva finish himself off with Magic Breath; if that
doesn't succeed, an additional Trine or Big Red Clipper certainly will.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Revive Cloud and Barret with Life-All, then restore them back to full health.
Remove Barret's and Cait Sith's materia, and form a new party with Cloud, Red,
and Cid.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill** = HP Plus
         Red:       Restore = All, Enemy Skill
                    Elemental = Ice
         Cid:       All* = Restore, Enemy Skill = Exit
                    Added Effect = Seal, Elemental = Shiva

Go around the trail outside.  Be sure to grab the Fire Armlet before fighting
the Icicles.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icicle, Evilhead x4
3000 HP (300 MP), 740 HP (45 MP)

If Cloud or Red is hit by Ultrasound, have Cid use White Wind; otherwise,
everyone casts Frog Song to immobilize the Evilheads.  When all the Evilheads
are disabled, have Cloud and Red move forward to kill themselves; in the
meantime, Cid should use Magic Hammer.  The moment they are dead, have Cid use
Laser on the Icicle to end the battle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Do not jump down yet.  Heal any damage Cid may have sustained.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icicle, Evilhead x4
3000 HP (300 MP), 740 HP (45 MP)

Just have Cid cast Laser.  Hope that they don't all use Ultrasound, as its
damage can be very painful.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Still not time to jump.  Once again, heal Cid back to full health.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icicle, Evilhead x4
3000 HP (300 MP), 740 HP (45 MP)

Same as above.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now you are ready to jump down.  Have Cid revive the others and Red heal the
party.  Save right away, and then climb over the icicles to the outside.  Pick
up the Enhance Sword in the chest, follow the trail to the outside, and make
your way to the save point by the spring.  Don't use the spring; we need to
keep Sadness for the time being.  Remove Red's materia and switch him for
Tifa.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill** = HP Plus
         Tifa:      Enemy Skill
         Cid:       Restore = Revive, Enemy Skill = Sense
                    Elemental = Ifrit, Elemental = Shiva

Set the battle speed to slowest now, and save.  Run down the hallway to deal
with a certain two-headed freak.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Schizo (Right), Schizo (Left)
18,000 HP (350 MP) for both

He can be dangerous during the first few rounds.  If he gets a turn before Big
Guard, he will be able to cut down Cloud or Tifa in one Breath attack.  Also,
if both Breath attacks are focused on Cloud or Tifa they will die even with
MBarrier on.  After the initial Big Guard you should focus four Magic Hammers
on one head as fast as possible, using White Wind to heal the damage.  If
someone is killed during the first few rounds, don't bother reviving them
until both heads have used their third Breath attack.  After that you will
have two rounds to revive the fallen character, finish draining the MP from
the first head, and use four quick Magic Hammers to neutralize the other head
while Schizo charges for Double Breath.  Tifa can survive this under Sadness
and MBarrier, and Cid will easily survive it, but Cloud will die no matter
what.

Once both heads run out of MP, the battle becomes a million times easier.
Neither head can attack on its regular turn, and his full-party counterattack
also can't be used.  The only attack he can still use is his final attack, and
we have a while before we see that.  Restore your characters, most importantly
Cid, to full health via White Wind or Cure.  Then Sense both heads, and move
to the front row.

Have Cloud and Tifa cast Trine at Schizo for a while.  Be careful that Cloud
saves at least 3 MP and Tifa at least 59 MP, respectively.  Cid will only use
physical attacks; once their MP has reached the limits given above, Cloud and
Tifa should do likewise.  Focus all your limit breaks and physical attacks on
Schizo (Left), until it falls to around 300 HP.  Then do the same for Schizo
(Right), again stopping once you hit about 300 HP.  This should take about 20
minutes.

Make sure to do the following exactly as described, or it's quite possible
you'll completely screw up and waste all the time you just invested in this
battle.  Have Tifa cast the final Big Guard, and finish off one of the heads
with physical attacks.  This should kill Cloud and do 400 damage to Tifa
(assuming she's still under Sadness).  Have Cid heal himself with two Cures,
then finish off the last head.  The second final attack will definitely kill
your allies, and Cid should be standing with about 200 HP remaining.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Before you do anything else, immediately run off the end of this screen.
There is a glitch in the game such that if you get a random encounter before
leaving the screen, the game will think you are still in the boss battle and
will prevent you from escaping.  Because we are playing a Low Level game, you
will have to fight the battle again if this happens to you.  (This has
happened to me three times.  Every time, the forced encounter was a Blue
Dragon.)

Once you're sure you have avoided the glitch, have Cid revive the others with
Life-All and restore them to full health with Cure-All.  Replace Cid's
Elemental=Ifrit combo with Added Effect=Seal, and go back to the save point.
Heal at the spring, then save your game.  If you run into any random
encounters on the way, be sure to steal back some MP with Magic Hammer.
Remove Cid's materia, and replace him with Cait Sith.  Set up your materia
like so:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill** = HP Plus
         Tifa:      Enemy Skill
         Cait Sith: Revive = All*, Enemy Skill, Sense
                    Elemental = Ifrit, Restore, Magic Plus

Head out of Schizo's lair, and into the Whirlwind Maze.


XVI. Whirlwind Maze
-Materia: Neo Bahamut, MP Turbo
-Items: Ether, Kaiser Knuckle, Reflect Ring, Poison Ring

On the way to the next save point, Tifa will stop to give a dramatic speech.
It will no longer be possible to take her out of the active party until we
complete the Whirlwind Maze.  Pick up the Neo Bahamut materia, go a little bit
beyond the save point to see a cutscene with the Highwind, and save.  One of
the black-caped men who is knocked back at the first windy pass turns into an
Ether when you examine him.  The next boss is a lot easier if you enter the
battle with Cross Slash ready, though you can probably survive either way.

The Whirlwind Maze is one of the most annoying areas in a Low Level challenge,
because of the windy passes you have to cross.  If you get knocked down by the
wind (or by cyclones or lightning on later screens), you will have a forced
encounter with a Wind Wing.  You need to cross two of these windy passes
without getting knocked down before you can reach the boss and save afterward.
Be sure to pick up the Kaiser Knuckle in the chest between the two passes.

While in principle you could just go straight to Jenova, I strongly advise you
to be under Sadness before initiating the boss battle.  To do this, get into a
random encounter with a Gremlin.  Cast Laser on him twice, putting the other
enemies to sleep with Frog Song.  At low HP he will frequently use Bad Mouth,
putting your characters under Sadness one by one.  Since Bad Mouth is a rather
powerful physical attack, it might be wise to cast Mini on the Gremlin.

Lower the battle speed as soon as you reach the second screen.  Head forward
to start the battle.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Jenova-DEATH
25,000 HP (800 MP)

If Cloud and Tifa enter the battle with Sadness, everyone should survive one
Red Light should Jenova get to act first.  Otherwise, Red Light will kill them
and you'll need to have Cait Sith revive them.  Use White Wind to recover HP
and remove Silence.  Then cast Magic Hammer 8 times to eliminate Jenova's MP.
If Cloud has Cross Slash, use it immediately; this will allow you to drain
Jenova's MP much faster, substantially reducing the risk that she will wipe
you out with her nasty chains of Red Lights.

Once her MP runs dry, Sense her and move to the front row.  Physically attack
until she only has a few hundred HP left.  (Like Jenova-LIFE, magic is largely
ineffective against her.)  Then kill Cloud and Cait Sith, and have Tifa
deliver the final blow.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Give the Black Materia to either Barret or Red, then talk to Tifa to continue
on.  Before you start moving, have Tifa revive Cloud and Cait Sith; Cait Sith
should heal the party with Cure-All.  Use the save point, grabbing the Poison
Ring and MP Turbo materia as you go.  Cross the final pass; you'll make it if
you cross just after the third cyclone.  Go to the other side, and a long
series of cutscenes will start.  When the cutscenes are over, you will be in
control of Tifa in Junon.


XVII. Escaping Junon
-Materia: None
-Items: None

When you talk to Barret, Rufus and Heidegger will come in and lead you to the
execution chamber.  There is a save point on the way, though you don't really
need it.  Be sure to give Enemy Skill to Barret before the fighting starts.

Once Weapon interrupts, some Shinra soldiers will charge at you.  Contrary to
appearances, this is not a forced encounter; just escape from this battle as
usual.  Try opening the door in the lower right corner a few times to trigger
the next cutscene.  When it's over, talk to Cait Sith and exit this room.
Then head right and progress toward the airport.  Needless to say, we're still
running from random encounters.

When in control of Tifa, press X, X, Triangle, Triangle+X, Circle+Triangle,
Circle to free her.  Hit the left button to stop the gas, and try opening the
door.  Time to get out of here.  Climb down until she falls, then head up to
the end of the cannon.  Time for a little payback.  When she's put Scarlet
back in her place, Tifa will make her escape.  The party is now in control of
the Highwind, giving you unparalleled mobility around the world.  Talk to Red
on the bridge, talk to the pilot, then go down to the control room to form a
party.  It makes absolutely no difference who you put in the party, since
you're not going to be fighting any battles with this formation.


XVIII. Mideel, Fort Condor, and Corel
-Materia: Elemental, HP Plus, Destruct, Earth, Manipulate, Chocobo Lure
-Items: None

Before you head to Mideel, there is one important thing Tifa needs to do.  Set
the airship down outside Nibelheim, and go into Tifa's house.  Examine the
piano, and she will find the third and final Elemental materia.  (This is
assuming that Cloud played the proper sequence of notes in the flashback.)
Now go over to Mideel, and walk toward the back of town to trigger the
cutscene with Cloud.

Cid is now the leader of the party.  Since Cloud and Tifa won't receive any
inactive party EXP until they rejoin the party, we are going to teach several
Enemy Skills to the third Enemy Skill materia now.  But first we should buy
some materia.  Set back down in Mideel, and buy two Gravity, two HP Plus,
and one Destruct materia.  Don't worry about gil; if you picked up all the
items I recommended, you will easily be able to afford them.  Then fly north
to Kalm, where you will buy two Earth materia.  Finally, set down at Fort
Condor, talk to the man at the table, and go up to the materia shop.  Buy two
Manipulate materia; though not strictly necessary, these will make learning
enemy skills and gaining Fury/Sadness much easier.

Form a party of Cid, Barret, and Cait Sith.  Equip all three Enemy Skill
materia and two Manipulate materia.  Also, equip Long Range on Cait Sith.
Wander around the Junon area until you encounter a solitary Zemzelett.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zemzelett
285 HP (36 MP)

As before, you need to manipulate him before he casts Thunderbolt.  If
successful, use a physical attack to remove Manipulate and kill off everyone
but Cait Sith.  Cait should be fine finishing Zemzelett with physical attacks.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next it's off to the Costa del Sol beaches.  Use the same party as before.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Beachplug x3
200 HP (100 MP)

Manipulate one of them, cast Big Guard (make sure it targets the character who
has the third Enemy Skill equipped), and again kill Cid and Barret.  Cait Sith
can finish them with one Trine.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Finally, we need to make a brief trip to the chocobo farm.  As you enter from
the south, there will be a Chocobo Lure materia lying on the right side of the
screen.  Pick it up, and get back in the airship.  Equip Chocobo Lure and Heal
on someone, and head to the chocobo tracks east of the Gold Saucer desert.
Run around this area until you encounter a chocobo battle with a Harpy.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Harpy, Chocobo
800 HP (200 MP), Varies

Don't worry about the chocobo; the sole purpose of this battle is to encounter
a Harpy.  Manipulate it and have it cast Aqualung; Harpy may cast it on its
own if you're too slow.  Cast Poisona if he uses Poison Storm on anyone.  Make
sure your HP stays above 600, since Aqualung can pack a punch.  Remove
Manipulate with a physical attack, put the Harpy to sleep, then kill off Cid
and Barret one last time.  One casting of Aqualung will be enough.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's time to progress with the story.  Go back to Fort Condor, go to the top,
and agree to start the minigame.  Allow the attackers to reach the top so you
fight Commander Grand Horn.  No need to make a box for this battle; simply
have one of your characters suicide with Aqualung.  The party will be revived
with 1 HP, and Fort Condor will be closed forever.  Too bad.  Restore yourself
to full health with Cure-All.

Next we have the Corel mission.  Park the airship outside North Corel, and
make your way north through the mountains.  When you get to the save point,
switch Barret for Red.  Give him Barret's Enemy Skill, put Added Effect=Seal
on Cait Sith's armor, and save.  Head forward to the reactor to fight some
Shinra troops.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attack Squad x2
1300 HP (100 MP)

This battle is just as easy if you kill off Cid and Red beforehand.  Either
way, make sure that they are dead before the battle ends.  Have Cait Sith kill
them with two Aqualungs.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

After battle, Cid will board a train to pursue the Huge Materia.  Once the
timer stops, sit back and do nothing for 10 minutes.  To avoid the EXP from
the battles on the train, we need to let them get away.  Well, you could catch
up to the other train and allow it to crash to get a free rest and the
opportunity to buy the Ultima materia.  But Ultima is really not worth it; it
costs 50,000 gil, and requires 5000 AP before you can start casting the spell.
Besides, Aqualung and Magic Breath are quite sufficient for all remaining
enemies.

One major obstacle remains before we get Cloud back.  Put Elemental=HP Plus
and Elemental=Earth in Cid's armor, and Elemental=Earth in Red's armor.  Meet
an Elfadunk, and have him put the party under Sadness.  Then set down outside
Mideel, lower your battle speed, and save.  Talk to Tifa in the clinic, then
walk outside to fight Ultimate Weapon.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Ultimate Weapon
100,000 HP (400 MP)

Hopefully you will be able to put up a Big Guard before he opens with Quake2.
If not, that's okay too; Cid and Red will only take 450 damage, and Cait Sith
may or may not survive as well.  Have Red cast Big Guard, then start casting
White Wind continuously.  On his next turn he will use a physical attack; this
will kill Cait, but Red or Cid should be alright.  Next comes Ultima Beam.
Cait and Red may die, but Cid will survive; and that's all that matters.
Ultimate Weapon automatically escapes from battle on his fourth turn.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next we have the Lifestream sequence.  A brilliant bit of story, but much too
long for my tastes.  When you eventually control Cloud and are prompted to
form a party, choose Cloud, Barret, and Tifa.  Give all three of them Enemy
Skill materia.  It would be wise to have Elfadunk put Tifa under Sadness
before you enter Junon.


XIX. The Underwater Reactor and the Sunken Gelnika
-Materia: Double Cut
-Items: None

Go to the Shinra elevator at the back of lower Junon, and pay the guard 10 gil
to ride up the elevator.  Use the save point in the airport, and then head for
the tunnel in the middle of the city.  Enter the elevator at the end of the
hall.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Submarine Crew x2
1500 HP (85 MP)

Cast Frog Song on each of them, and kill off Cloud and Barret.  Finish the
Submarine Crews with two Aqualungs.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

When you exit the elevator, you will be forced to fight another battle.  No
need to revive your allies, though it might be wise to have Tifa heal herself.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Submarine Crew x2
1500 HP (85 MP)

Once again, two Frog Songs and two Aqualungs.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tifa should be able to get down to the Underwater Reactor by herself.  Frog
Song works wonders here; I was able to take care of all my healing in-battle
with White Wind and Magic Hammer.  When you see a soldier pacing back and
forth in front of you, make sure to talk to him before advancing forward.
Otherwise you may be caught in a three-enemy attack from both sides that Tifa
has little hope of surviving.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Submarine Crew
1500 HP (85 MP)

Frog Song, Laser, and Aqualung in that order.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Advance to fight the soldiers guarding the door.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Submarine Crew x2
1500 HP (85 MP)

Same as the first two battles.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Before you dispatch the final group of soldiers, you need to make the long
trek back to the surface.  Revive Cloud and Barret, and take the elevators up
to the city.  When you are back in upper Junon again, head left.  Talk to the
sailor in the middle of the street to take the helicopter out of Junon; this
should save you a little time.  Form a party of Cloud, Red, and Cid, and have
Elfadunk inflict Sadness on all of them.

Make your party Cloud, Barret, and Tifa once more, get to the Underwater
Reactor save point, and save the game.  Approach the final group of soldiers.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Underwater MP x2
1000 HP (100 MP)

These guys are quite irritating, as they can attack three times in the same
turn.  Cast Frog Song on them, kill Barret and Tifa, and have Cloud finish
them with two Aqualungs.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Continue along the path to see the Huge Materia get pulled out of the reactor.
Enter the next screen, and it will be loaded onto the submarine.  You must be
careful NOT to approach Reno yet.  Instead, run back to the save point and
make your party Cloud, Red, and Cid.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill = HP Plus
         Red:       Elemental = Lightning, Enemy Skill
                    HP Plus = Revive
         Cid:       Elemental = Ramuh, Enemy Skill = Sense
                    Restore = All*, HP Plus = Revive

Restore your MP to full in random battles, and save your game.  Lower the
battle speed all the way and fully heal the party before approaching Reno.
It's time to rumble with the infamous Carry Armor.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Carry Armor, Left Arm, Right Arm
24,000 HP (200 MP), 10,000 HP (100 MP), 10,000 HP (100 MP)

Carry Armor's deadliest attack is Lapis Laser.  Even with Sadness, this does
1100 damage to everyone; he sometimes uses this as a sneak attack at the
beginning of battle, before you have a chance to protect your party.  If he
manages to use it before you can put up a Big Guard, a Game Over is
guaranteed.  Fortunately, Lapis Laser requires 10 MP to cast.  Once you've
used Magic Hammer twice on the body, he can no longer cast it.  But we can't
cast Magic Hammer right away, because we need as much MP as possible to kill
the arms before they can use their equally deadly Arm Grab.

Your first move must be Big Guard.  If possible have Red cast it, since his MP
is just about perfect for it; you can use Cloud or Cid instead if Red's turn
is too far away, but you will most likely have to sacrifice one Magic Breath
because of it.  Should he use Lapis Laser, have Cid cast Cure-All and Red
follow up with White Wind.  Ideally your turn order should be this, assuming
he never uses Lapis Laser or Arm Grab: Red casts Big Guard, while Cid and
Cloud cast Magic Breath.  Cast Cure if Cloud's HP falls below 550, since Lapis
Laser will kill him otherwise.  Cloud casts Magic Hammer on the body, while
Cid and Red cast Magic Breath.  Red casts Magic Hammer on the body, sealing
Lapis Laser, while Cid casts Magic Hammer on an arm.  Unless Magic Breath
missed, both arms should have less than 4000 HP remaining.  If the spell did
miss, sense the arm that wasn't hit and use your limit breaks and possibly
Trine to put it below 4000 HP.  Three Magic Breaths in quick succession will
kill them, bypassing the most dangerous part of the battle.  (Below 2500 HP
the chance of an arm using Arm Grab jumps to 50%--this both deprives you of a
Magic Breath caster and forces you to spend extra MP on Life.)  Note that one
arm still has 100 MP remaining; you can draw on this if Carry Armor forces you
to cast Life or White Wind.

Once the arms are dead, you are safe.  Sense Carry Armor, move your characters
to the front row, and start using physical attacks.  Red can use up all his MP
on Trine, but Cloud and Cid need to save theirs.  The extra damage from
Elemental=Ramuh and Elemental=Lightning will make this phase much faster.
When he falls to a few hundred HP, kill Cloud and Red and finish the battle
with Cid.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Replace Cid's Sense with Magic Plus.  He should not revive his allies.  Head
over to the submarine, ignoring the chests, and fight the first battle outside
the sub.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Submarine Crew x2
1500 HP (85 MP)

Cast Frog Song on both of them.  Drain the MP from one, cast Aqualung, drain
the MP from the other, and finish them with Trine.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Revive and fully heal Cloud before fighting the next battle.  Give him the
Revive materia just in case.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Submarine Crew x2
1500 HP (85 MP)

Use the same strategy as above, but make sure that both Cloud and Cid end the
battle with full HP and as much MP as possible.  You will go to the next
battle without having a chance to open the menu, and we need Cloud to divert
the Submarine Crews' attacks; it would be nearly impossible for Cid to live to
his second turn otherwise.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Submarine Crew x3
1500 HP (85 MP)

This is an attack from both sides; two Submarine Crews are in front of the
party, while one is behind.  Cloud and Cid will have to take three hits before
their first turns, two of which will probably be back attacks.  Have Cid kill
the group of two with Magic Breath, while Cloud casts Frog Song on the
surviving enemy.  Have Cloud kill himself, then let Cid end the battle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Finally, a save point!  Take the troops in the front as prisoners, and
initiate the sub minigame.  It's very easy if you stay a short distance behind
the leader sub and mash the Square button; I can usually kill it in 20 seconds
or less.  Be aware that you must win this, as otherwise you would need to
fight another battle and hijack the red sub to get the Key to the Ancients.

There are two things you need to do once you get the sub.  First, pick up the
Key to the Ancients.  In the northwest corner of the ocean is a long trench.
Follow it straight to the end, and there will be a tunnel leading to the
right.  Go in this tunnel to pick up the Key to the Ancients.  And second,
visit the Sunken Gelnika.  It is at the end of the underwater trench near the
Gold Saucer.

Use the save point in the hallway, and go through the doorway next to it.  In
the northeast corner of the next room, on the lower level, is the Double Cut
materia.  Pick it up.  The enemies here are very strong, but fortunately all
of them are susceptible to Sleep.  Expect to do some reviving here.


XX. Rocket Town and Midgar Area
-Materia: Full Cure
-Items: None

Leave the Gelnika and return to the surface.  Sleep in the old woman's house
in Junon, then board the airship.  It's time to recruit Yuffie.  Set down
outside the Rocket Town forest, and replace Red with Cait Sith.  Put Added
Effect=Transform in Cid's armor.  Kill off Cloud and Cait Sith in another
battle.

WARNING: If you want to collect the Magic Shuriken, Hairpin, or Dragoon Lance
before starting the Wutai materia sidequest, you will have to get them prior
to this fight.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mystery Ninja
600 HP (117 MP)

One Trine will kill her.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

After battle, you will be on a field screen with Yuffie.  Do not open the menu
at any time.  Instead, talk to her and select the following:

         "Not interested."
         "...petrified."
         "Wait a second!"
         "...That's right."
         "...Let's hurry on."

Yuffie is now a member of your party.  Rest at an inn, and replace Cait Sith
with Red.  Have Elfadunk put them all under Sadness.

Then form a party of Cloud, Barret, and Yuffie.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill = Restore
         Barret:    Manipulate
         Yuffie:    Enemy Skill = Transform, Sense
                    Added Effect = Seal, Cover

Set the airship down in the Wutai grasslands, but do not approach the village
of Wutai itself.  Have Yuffie attack Razor Weed until his Spaz Voice
counterattack successfully inflicts Fury.  Get back into the airship and set
down outside Rocket Town.  Save your game.  Finally, head toward the rocket.
When you get close you will be forced to fight three consecutive battles.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attack Squad x2
1300 HP (100 MP)

Yuffie is going to learn Clear Tranquil in this battle, by using her Greased
Lightning limit 8 times.  Have Barret attempt to manipulate one Attack Squad,
while Yuffie casts Mini on the other until he is shrunken.  Have the
manipulated Attack Squad use Machine Gun on Yuffie to fill up her limit gauge.
Whenever Yuffie gets a limit break, used it on the non-manipulated Attack
Squad; he should be able to take five Greased Lightnings before he dies.  On
the turns when she doesn't have a limit break, Yuffie should heal herself or
use Sense on the Attack Squads.  Cloud, meanwhile, should defend and
periodically cast Cure.  Once the first Attack Squad is dead, Barret will need
to re-manipulate the survivor after each Greased Lightning.  If more than one
Greased Lightning goes critical, you'll need to do this battle again.

After the required number of Greased Lightnings have been used, inflict Mini
on the second Attack Squad as well.  Then kill Barret and Yuffie, and have
Cloud end the battle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attack Squad x2
1300 HP (100 MP)

Use Frog Song on both enemies, drain MP with Magic Hammer, and kill them with
two Aqualungs.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attack Squad x2, Senior Grunt
1300 HP (100 MP), 2600 HP (245 MP)

Cast Frog Song on the Senior Grunt, then the Attack Squads.  Magic Breath may
or may not kill the Attack Squads; if not, finish them with Trine.  Drain any
needed MP from the Senior Grunt, and kill him with Trine.  Do not bother with
Aqualung; the Senior Grunt is resistant to water.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

At this point Cid will demand to come with you, and you will have to pick a
new party.  Select Red as your third character.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill = HP Plus
         Cid:       Restore = Comet, Enemy Skill = Revive
                    Added Effect = Seal, Magic Plus = Destruct
         Red:       Restore = Revive, Enemy Skill**
                    Sense

Set the battle speed to the slowest.  Then climb the ladder to face Rude and
the guards.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rude, Attack Squad x2
9000 HP (240 MP), 1300 HP (100 MP)

Cloud should have Cross Slash now; use it to paralyze Rude.  If he manages to
cast MBarrier first, Cid's DeBarrier will remove it.  Have Red cast Big Guard
and Cid eliminate the Attack Squads with Magic Breath.  In the next two rounds
everyone should cast Aqualung, then eliminate Rude's MP with Magic Hammer.  If
he damages Cloud, cast Cure immediately; each Grand Spark does 200 damage with
MBarrier, and it will occasionally happen that all three Grand Sparks hit
Cloud.

Continue attacking with Aqualung, and you should have plenty of MP left near
the end of the battle.  Make sure Rude is below 600 HP before you start
preparing for the end.  Cast DeBarrier on Cid and Red and move them forward,
making sure they both have enough MP for Big Guard plus a few Cures.  If Red
dies first, Cid can kill himself instantly with Comet.  Have Cloud cast
Aqualung immediately afterward to end the battle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Heal Cloud if necessary, and walk into the rocket to trigger the final battle.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Senior Grunt
2600 HP (245 MP)

Open with Frog Song on the Senior Grunt, and drain some much-needed MP with
Magic Hammer.  Finish him with Laser and Magic Breath.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now head into the cockpit.  The rocket launches into outer space, and you can
now collect the Huge Materia.  Press Circle-Square-X-X to collect it on your
first try.  Or if you don't want to bother, you can simply walk out of the
cockpit without collecting it.

Eventually, you will be back on the airship.  Set down on the west side of the
Cosmo area, and walk into Cosmo Canyon.  Rest at the inn.  You can climb the
ladder on the right side of the village to pick up the Full Cure materia,
though it's pretty useless even if we overlook the 3000 AP required to learn
the spell.  Head up to Bugenhagen's observatory and talk to him.  If you've
picked up any of the Huge Materia, choose to go down after he shows you the
machine.  You will be transported directly to the airship.

Head north to the Icicle area.  Set the airship down in the space just south
of the City of the Ancients, and enter.  Take the left path to the room
where you picked up the Aurora Armlet, this time taking the upper path.  Walk
to the end and approach the platform in the center of the room.  A long
cutscene will take place.  Walk away from the pillar, and another cutscene
will occur.  Then, when you leave the city and board the airship, one more
cutscene will take place on the world map.  It's Weapon time!

Set the airship down in the Midgar area.  Form a party of Cloud, Tifa, and
Cid.  Equip these materia:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill = HP Plus
         Tifa:      Enemy Skill
         Cid:       Enemy Skill = Magic Plus, Restore = Revive
                    Elemental = Fire, Destruct = Comet

Have Elfadunk put the party under Sadness.  Then reduce the battle speed to
the slowest setting.  Wait for Weapon to reach Midgar, and save your game.
Approach him to trigger the battle.  You need a calculator for this fight.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Diamond Weapon
30,000 HP (30,000 MP)

Keep your party constantly under Big Guard, and you should only occasionally
need to heal.  Since he has virtually unlimited MP, you can steal as much with
Magic Hammer as you want.  His fire-based spit attack does 550 damage with
Sadness, while his foot stamp does almost 800.  The foot stamp is always used
on the character with the highest current HP.

Unfortunately, Diamond Weapon is immune to Sense.  I cannot stress enough how
important it is that you accurately calculate his remaining HP; if you kill
him too early, the unnecessary survivors will get 35,000 EXP each.  The most
effective attack against Diamond Weapon is Trine; it does 600 damage--almost
as much as Magic Breath--for a mere 20 MP.  Do not use more than one limit
break; this will trigger Diamond Flash, cutting the party's HP by 7/8 and
inflicting Silence.  You cannot afford that.

When one more Trine or Magic Breath from Cloud will kill him, have Cid cast
Comet on Tifa and then on himself.  This should easily kill them even with
MBarrier and Sadness.  Then have Cloud finish the battle.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


XXI. Wutai
-Materia: MP Absorb
-Items: Magic Shuriken, Hairpin, Dragoon Lance, Peace Ring

Before we can progress with the story, there is one very important sidequest
that has to be taken care of.  To avoid fighting the Turks in Midgar, we will
have to go through the materia sidequest in Wutai to rescue Elena.  But since
your materia is taken away, and you have neither items nor healing limit
breaks to heal, how are these battles possible?

As it turns out, Yuffie only steals 48 materia.  She always takes them in this
order (thanks to Apathetic Aardvark for the list):

Master Summon
Knights of Round
Master Command
Master Magic
Bahamut ZERO
W-Summon
W-Magic
Mega-All
Counter
Typhon
Hades
Quadra Magic
Mime
Magic Counter
Ultima
Shield
Full Cure
Neo Bahamut
Phoenix
Enemy Skill
Double Cut
Slash-All
Exp Plus
Alexander
Kjata
Bahamut
W-Item
Contain
HP<->MP
Morph
Steal As Well
Added Cut
Final Attack
Manipulate
Sneak Attack
Added Effect
Comet
Elemental
Throw
Leviathan
HP Absorb
MP Absorb
Odin
MP Turbo
Titan
Ramuh
Deathblow
Ifrit
Gil Plus
Counter Attack
Shiva
Long Range
Pre-emptive
Chocobo Lure
Choco/Mog
Enemy Away
Luck Plus
Magic Plus
Speed Plus
Enemy Lure
All
HP Plus
MP Plus
Cover
Destruct
Gravity
Time
Barrier
Exit
Transform
Mystify
Seal
Revive
Earth
Poison
Sense
Steal
Heal
Restore
Lightning
Ice
Fire
Underwater

There is no way you'll be able to keep Enemy Skill, because it is too high on
the list.  But fortunately, you won't need it; the basic magic materia will
take care of all your offensive and defensive needs, and the battles are short
enough that MP is not an issue.  The highest-ranked materia we really need are
the three Gravity materia; hence, you need to possess 48 materia ranked higher
than Gravity.

The cheapest way to do this is buying lots of Cover materia.  They are sold
for 1000 gil apiece, making Cover the cheapest materia that does the job.
But since the only place that sells them is Wall Market, we need to make a
trip to Bone Village.  Tell them you're looking for good treasure, and when
selecting the dig site choose right next to the crashed plane at the entrance,
near the cockpit.  After a few attempts you should get the Key to Sector 5,
allowing you to reenter Midgar.  Go through Sector 5 and Sector 6 to Wall
Market, and visit the materia salesman.  (He's the guy who asked you to sleep
at the inn during the Don Corneo mission, in the upper right corner of the
first screen.)  Move Gravity and all lower-ranked materia to the bottom of the
list, and count how many materia you have remaining.  Then buy enough Cover to
increase that number to 48.  Depending on how many materia you picked up on
the way, you may need to buy as many as 20 Cover materia.  Don't worry about
being able to afford it; if you picked up all the items I suggested, you
should have close to 100,000 gil by now.

Now set the airship down in Wutai, just outside the village.  Make a party of
Cloud, Tifa, and Red.  Equip the following materia:

         Cloud:     Restore = Poison
         Tifa:      Restore
         Red:       Transform = Sense, Lightning

Attempt to enter Wutai, and the sidequest will open with a battle.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attack Squad x2
1300 HP

Have Red inflict Mini on them one at a time, while Cloud poisons them.  Tifa
should do nothing but defend now.  Then have Red sense them, and kill off
Cloud and Red.  On the highest battle speed, Poison should end the battle
pretty quickly.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now enter Wutai.  Head northwest to the screen with the bell and the pagoda.
Enter the building on your right, and enter the room to your left.  Sleep
here, then examine the wall to enter a secret passage.  At the end is a Magic
Shuriken.  Go right to the second screen, and enter the secret passage in the
first room to pick up the Hairpin.  Now talk to the man lying on the ground
four times to make Yuffie come out.  Enter the Turtle's Paradise (the bar on
the southwest corner of the main screen), and talk to Elena for another
cutscene.  Go north to the item shop, and open the chest for an MP Absorb
materia; it will be immediately stolen from you.  Head to the far right of
this screen, enter the house, and fold back the fabric to uncover Yuffie.
Finally, examine the moving pot outside the Turtle's Paradise and punch it
three times to corner Yuffie.

Have Cloud press either the left or right switch when prompted; both will trap
your other party members.  Then press the switch again to release them.  Now
go to the save point.  Replace Tifa with Cait Sith.  Give Transform to Cait
Sith, and make sure Red has a Restore materia.  Return to the screen with the
Pagoda, and ring the bell to access a hidden passage.  Go downstairs to see a
familiar face.  Then head upstairs, and you will have to fight some more
Shinra grunts.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attack Squad x3
1300 HP

There's three of them this time.  But thanks to Mini and Bio, they are just as
easy as before.  Once all three are poisoned, kill off Cloud and Cait Sith.
You could also kill them off with Bolt; it does a decent 200 damage, and Red
has more than enough MP.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Head down and then left to exit the building.  Don't forget to rest in the nap
room.  Now go outside and talk to Reno.  Before you fight the next battle, you
need to fill Barret's limit gauge.  Though the Razor Weed's Spaz Voice can be
useful for getting limit breaks faster, be sure to rest again if anyone is
under Fury; you do not want your attacks to miss in the coming battle.

Make sure your party is Cloud, Barret, and Red.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     Restore = Gravity
         Barret:    Gravity
         Red:       Gravity = Heal, Restore
                    Revive = Barrier

Save your game and go up Da-Chao Statue.  Go right, then left, then down.
(The cave Rude is standing outside, on the third screen, has a Dragoon Lance.)
Then go down to initiate the boss fight.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Rapps
6000 HP (300 MP)

The danger lies in Rapps' opening move.  Aero3 is instant death for one
character; if he opens with Aero3 on Red you will lose the ability to revive
your allies and heal poison.  Opening on Barret isn't much better, since the
34 MP needed for Life can seriously strain Red's MP--not to mention that you
can't prevent Aero3 until he fills Barret's limit gauge once more.
Fortunately, the chances of this happening aren't so great.  Have Barret use
Mindblow as soon as possible to eliminate Rapps' MP.

Once his MP is gone, the battle becomes very easy.  Unlike most bosses, Rapps
is vulnerable to gravity; the first casting of Demi will do 1500 damage for a
mere 14 MP, and Demi will continue to do several hundred damage per casting
for quite a while.  This is especially fortunate because Rapps has obscenely
high Magic Defense, making most magic little more effective than physical
attacks.  Plus, with Demi there's no chance of accidentally killing him.
Restore and Poisona should take care of all your healing needs.

When Demi does 100 damage or less per casting, kill off Barret and then Red.
Have Cloud defend, while Red casts a Barrier on him.  Once Red is killed,
Cloud can finish Rapps with Cross Slash.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

That wasn't so bad, was it?  Not only did you get to avoid the Turks in
exchange for three easy battles, you earned an MP Absorb materia as a bonus.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can finish the storyline.  Fly
the airship over the Northern Crater to initiate a cutscene.  Then fly it over
Midgar, to start one of the most trying segments of this challenge.


XXII. Midgar, Sector 8
-Materia: None
-Items: None

Use the save point before descending into the Sector 8 underground.  This is a
nasty area, and you will probably need to do a lot of Cure and Magic Hammer
casting.  (Be sure to put Behemoth to sleep if you wish to use Magic Hammer on
him--his Flare counterattack is deadly.)  Head down, take the ladder to the
next screen, and attempt to go right.  The floor beneath you will collapse,
and you will have to climb the ladder to your left.  Do so, walk through the
pipe to the other side of the screen, and run for the save point near the
exit.

You will encounter the Turks in the first screen of the tunnels.  Fortunately,
they have not forgotten what you just did in Wutai.  Avoid this fight, then
head forward.  Before we can approach the cannon, we need to make a detour to
Shinra Headquarters.  Go right at the first fork in the road, head up the
tunnel, and then go left.  Climb the ladder and you will be outside Shinra HQ.
Make a party of Cloud, Cait Sith, and Yuffie; make sure all of them have
Manipulate.  Take the elevator to Floor 65, and run around until you encounter
Sword Dance.  Manipulate him, and have him use Slap to put all three
characters under Fury.

Go back down, and save outside the building.  Set up your materia like so:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill = Revive
         Cait Sith: Restore = All, Enemy Skill, Long Range
                    Double Cut = Counter Attack, Barrier, Revive
         Yuffie:    Enemy Skill = HP Plus, HP Plus
                    All = Restore, Destruct

Now go back in the tunnel, heading down three screens to the first fork in the
road.  This time head left.  Along the way, Scarlet and Heidegger will attack
you with the most boring boss in the game.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Proud Clod, Jamar Armor
60,000 HP (320 MP), 20,000 HP (300 MP)

Before you start, let me warn you that you cannot fight this battle without a
calculator.  Due to Proud Clod's enormous HP and Magic Defense, we have no
choice but to fight this battle using physical attacks and limit breaks.
Because of this, to kill him you are forced to do a little damage at a time
hundreds of times over the course of about an hour and a half.  In order to
ensure that Cait Sith is able to finish him quickly once he is the only one
left alive, you need to know Proud Clod's exact HP right until you're about to
kill him.  Proud Clod is immune to Sense, so you can't rely on that.

That said, it's really not as bad as the previous paragraph makes it out to
be.  Dice still does up to 2400 damage per use, and Cross Slash is also pretty
powerful at this point.  Even when you don't have limit breaks, Cait Sith and
Yuffie are both doing more than 100 damage per hit; Cait Sith is both
attacking twice per turn and counterattacking after getting hit by Proud Clod.
Their regular attacks will miss a lot due to Fury, but the more frequent use
of limit breaks more than makes up for it.

Because constantly casting Cure can drain a lot of MP over the course of the
battle, Yuffie's Clear Tranquil will take care of most of your healing.  With
Fury, you should only rarely need to heal--generally after a particularly
nasty critical hit.  When not using Cross Slash or a defensive spell, Cloud
should defend.  The machine guns are Proud Clod's deadliest attack,
particularly if used twice in a combo; they are also the only way your
characters are likely to die if you keep them above 800 HP.  You can revive
fallen allies with Life in a pinch, though if Yuffie is killed healing will
start to become difficult.  Materia Jammer casts Reflect, making Cure bounce
away; have Yuffie cast DeBarrier to remove it.

Draw all your MP from Proud Clod himself first, to disable his potentially
devastating Beam Cannon.  Once he gets on his knees, you need to abuse Magic
Hammer until his MP is gone.  The 300 MP from Jamar Armor should be more than
enough to sustain you for the rest of the battle.  Each time Proud Clod tries
to use Beam Cannon he will waste three turns: getting on his knees, a charge
turn while on the ground, and getting up after Beam Cannon has failed.

Once he is down to a few hundred HP, cast Barrier on Cait Sith and have him
defend.  Meanwhile, Yuffie and Cloud should move to the front row.  They
should die pretty quickly.  Have Cait Sith finish him with Dice when they do.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Once that's done, immediately revive the others and restore them to full
health.  Then backtrack to the Shinra building and save.  Rest on Floor 64 to
remove Cait Sith's Fury, and come back down.  Run all the way to the save
point at the base of the Sister Ray.  Your materia setup:

         Cloud:     Enemy Skill = Restore
         Cait Sith: Enemy Skill** = Long Range, Heal, Counter Attack
                    Barrier = All*, Double Cut, Sense
         Yuffie:    Enemy Skill = Restore, HP Plus
                    Added Effect = Seal, HP Plus

Make sure that you reduce the battle speed to the slowest setting possible
before you start the fight.  Believe me, this is important.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Hojo, Bad Rap Sample, Poodler Sample
13,000 HP (250 MP), 11,000 HP (120 MP), 10,000 HP (200 MP)

This is the easy part of the battle.  Cast Frog Song on both samples, then Big
Guard to Haste the party.  Sense Hojo's HP, and damage him with physical
attacks.  The Samples should wake up when Hojo has about 4500 HP remaining;
cast Frog Song on them once again and continue attacking.  MP will not be a
problem in this battle, but make sure to drain as much as you can at the end.
When one more attack from Yuffie will kill him, have Cait Sith cast the first
Barrier-All.

BOSS: Helletic Hojo, Right Arm, Left Arm
26,000 HP (200 MP), 5000 HP (300 MP), 24,000 HP (400 MP)

While it is alive, the Right Arm can attack one of your characters for 800
damage; it can do so twice on the same turn.  Cast Laser on the Right Arm
once, then finish it with three Aqualungs.  Cait Sith may Sense the body parts
at any time.  Killing the Right Arm will disable the arm attack, so the body
can only cast Sleepel on your characters or revive the arm.  Wake Cait Sith up
with Cloud, and Cloud with Yuffie; Sleepel can do nothing to Yuffie.  For the
most part, we will be taking out the Left Arm with physical attacks and limit
breaks.  Once both the Left Arm and the Right Arm are dead, Helletic Hojo will
automatically die.  With Haste, you should be able to kill the Right Arm
before it can attack every time.

Cast the second Barrier-All when the Right Arm regenerates for the last time.
For you to survive Hojo's final form, Cait Sith and Yuffie need to enter with
as much MP as possible.  Have them both use Magic Hammer, then have Cait Sith
deal the final blow with Trine.  Cloud should stand by for the moment.

BOSS: Lifeform-Hojo N
30,000 HP (100 MP)

This is the big one.  Have Cloud use Magic Hammer as soon as he appears to
prevent Slow.  Unfortunately, that's all the MP you'll have for the rest of
the battle.  The challenge is removing his 30,000 HP while surviving his
status effects and the high damage from Combo, without running out of MP.
Damage-wise, this battle is very similar to Demons Gate; though your normal
attacks and Cross Slash are much more effective, you'll have trouble winning
this if you don't get some good rolls with Dice.  Counter Attack is
particularly helpful, as Cait Sith gets three chances to strike back every
time he is targeted by Combo.  Darkness will definitely hurt your accuracy,
but even so a large chunk of your damage will come from physical attacks.
Like Proud Clod, Lifeform-Hojo N is immune to Sense.

Obviously, the big problem is Combo.  The last three hits inflict Poison,
Darkness, and Sleep; if all four hits do normal damage, it does around 800
damage.  But since they are physical attacks, they can and will go
critical--possibly two or more times in the same Combo.  This is particularly
dangerous if the second or fourth hits go critical, as they do much more
damage than the others.  Whenever one of the first three hits goes critical,
the target should immediately defend; this will cut the remaining damage in
half.  Remember that you have no way to revive characters that get killed.

How you treat Combo depends on who the target is.  If you see Yuffie is the
target, defend no matter what; despite the HP Pluses, it is too easy for Combo
to kill her.  Since she is immune to Sleep, all it takes to heal her is
Poisona from Cait Sith plus Cure (or Clear Tranquil if she has a ready limit
break).  If Cloud is targeted, have Yuffie wake him up.  Make him cast Cure on
himself and Cait Sith cast Poisona; when he gets his next turn shortly after,
cast Cure a second time.  Hopefully, most of the Combos will be directed at
Cait Sith.  Have Cloud wake him up, Cait Sith cast Poisona on himself, and
Yuffie cast Cure once; this will give him time to use Dice.  Cloud should be
able to cast a second Cure before Hojo moves again.  Note that there will be
times when the remedies listed above don't work--if the character is at very
low HP and a physical attack will kill them, for instance.  Those are the
times you should use White Wind.  Have Cait Sith cast it if possible, since he
will have the most MP left over.

Hojo has a strong tendency to use Combo on the character who attacked him
last.  To take advantage of this, do your best to ensure that Cloud and Yuffie
never attack unless Cait Sith gets another attack before Hojo's turn.  This
should guarantee that Cait Sith is the target most of the time, ensuring you
the maximum number of counterattacks and Dice uses for your MP.  He will still
sometimes target other characters, so be ready to have them defend if a
critical hit arises.

Stop using Dice when he hits 2400 HP, since there is a risk of ending the
battle prematurely.  Hopefully you will have enough MP left over to cast two
or three Trines.  Reduce him to 500 HP or below, so Yuffie's Trine will kill
him.  Have Yuffie defend while Cait Sith casts Barrier on her, then have both
Cloud and Cait Sith move to the front row.  Keep her healed until both guys
are dead; thank God we don't have to worry about Sleep.  Then finish him off.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

"How sad... for him."  I couldn't have put it better myself.

Besides the cutscenes, there's nothing left to do until you change to Disc 3.


                              *****DISC THREE*****

XXIII. Descent into the Northern Crater
-Materia: Hades, HP Absorb, Mega All, Shield, W-Magic, Counter
-Items: Save Crystal

Before we can go into the Northern Crater, there is one very important materia
to pick up in the Sunken Gelnika.  Take the airship out of here, set down in
Junon, and take the sub to the Gelnika.  Take advantage of the save point and
go left, then forward.  (Be sure to put Serpent to sleep if you encounter him,
since he can wipe out the whole party with Aqualung.)  The Hades materia is
underneath the helicopter; grab it.  For our purposes, Added Effect=Hades in
an armor is almost as good as a Ribbon.

Save on the world map, and head into the Crater.  Pick up the Save Crystal at
the top.  This is the one item you're allowed to use, and the final segment of
the game will be far more irritating if you don't.  Remember to put the
enemies to sleep before you drain their MP; Dark Dragon, Allemagne, and King
Behemoth all have violent reactions to magic.  Send Cloud, Barret, and Red
along the left-down path.  Once you get to the screen designated "Bottom of
the Nothern Crater," use the Save Crystal to create a save point and save your
game.  Now walk back the way you came, until you get to the split point.  This
time head to the right.

You will be on top of a spiraling path.  Walk up and down the top of this
area, taking care not to wander too far down.  Make sure all three characters
have Enemy Skill, and Cloud and Red have Manipulate.  You will sometimes get
attacked from both sides by a pair of Death Dealers; unless you have Exit and
Red is miraculously spared, this will cause a Game Over in most cases.  Hope
this doesn't happen, and keep wandering until you encounter Pollensalta by
herself.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pollensalta
4000 HP (220 MP)

Attempt to manipulate her until you succeed.  Have her cast Angel Whisper on
all three characters.  Then drain her MP with Magic Hammer, use a physical
attack on her, and kill Barret and Red.  Cloud can easily finish her with a
few Lasers and Trine.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

After battle, revive and heal Barret and Red.  Then get out of here, and
return to the bottom via the left-down path.  Time for your final save.  There
are a variety of materia available in the Crater: HP Absorb on the second
screen from the top, Shield on the second screen of the swamp, and W-Magic and
Counter on the grassy screen just after the swamp.  But you don't need any of
them, and in my opinion collecting them is a waste of time.  You also have
access to Movers now.  These little guys are found three at a time in the
swamp areas.  They grant 0 EXP and 2400 AP per battle and are easy to beat,
making them perfect for leveling up materia in a Low Level game.  But once
again, you don't need to fight them; your materia is fine as it is.


XXIV. The Final Battles
-Materia: None 
-Items: None

Select "Let's go, everyone!" to make the final journey down the
stepping stones.  Yuffie and Red would be a good choice for a party.  Equip
Enemy Skill on everyone and Long Range, Counter Attack, and Double Cut on Red.
All the remaining bosses are immune to Sense, so don't even bother equipping
it.  Frog Song will disable every enemy on the way, and is very good for
recovering MP for the next battle.  When you get to the bottom level, set the
battle speed to the slowest setting.  Then head up for the last Jenova fight.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Jenova-SYNTHESIS A, B, C
60,000 HP (600 MP), 10,000 HP (600 MP), 8000 HP (600 MP)

Cast Big Guard right away.  Then cast Aqualung until both arms are dead.  If
she manages to cast Stop or Bio2, remove the status effects with White Wind;
because of MBarrier, this will also be your main method of healing.

While the arms are dead, pound away with physical attacks.  When the arms are
revived, they will have 2500 and 2000 HP respectively; three Aqualungs are
enough to kill them again, removing the need to heal or cast Big Guard.  Hope
that the left arm's slap doesn't inflict Fury, as this will cause Aqualung to
miss frequently.  If Cloud is under Fury when the battle ends, this could
create problems in the next battle.

Once Jenova falls below 15,000 HP she stops attacking and begins the countdown
to Ultima.  Have Cloud top off his MP with Magic Hammer while his allies heal
him, then have everyone use Magic Hammer to ensure Ultima can't be cast.  If
Cloud still doesn't have full MP, steal some from his allies.  With Haste,
you should have plenty of time to do this.  The countdown ends, Jenova doesn't
cast Ultima, and you avoid her massive EXP award.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

After some more cutscenes, you will need to select two new characters for
Sephiroth.  Cid and Cait Sith are the obvious choices because of their
equipment.  All three characters need Enemy Skill, one needs Destruct, and one
needs Added Effect=Hades in his armor.  That is enough.  Stay at the slowest
battle speed.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Bizarro Sephiroth, Head, Left Magic, Right Magic, Core
40,000 HP, 2000 HP, 4000 HP, 4000 HP, 10,000 HP

At the beginning of every turn, the MP for each of Bizarro Sephiroth's parts
is automatically replenished.  This means that in practice Bizarro has
infinite MP, and you can steal as much as you want with Magic Hammer.

In order to kill Bizarro, you have to get rid of the Core.  The Core starts
the battle immune to all damage, and keeps this immunity until both Left Magic
and Right Magic are dead.  Left Magic and Right Magic cast Bolt3/Ice3 and
Quake3/Fire3, respectively, and absorb the elements that they cast.
Fortunately, neither absorbs Aqualung; five castings will be sufficient to
kill them.  You have to be careful not to kill the Head too quickly, though.
While both the Head and the Core are alive Bizarro will use Stigma, which
inflicts 2000 damage plus Poison and Slow to the entire party; you have no
hope of surviving it without Big Guard, and even then it will severely slow
you down.

Cast Aqualung twice, then wait two rounds.  Bizarro will kill two characters
with Bolt3 and Quake3; revive them via Angel Whisper, and recover your MP with
Magic Hammer.  Immediately after Quake3 cast another Aqualung to finish off
the head, just in time to prevent Stigma.  Also cast Big Guard at this time,
and if necessary replenish your MP with Magic Hammer.  (Had you killed the
Head immediately, Bizarro would have been able to revive it and cast Stigma on
the same turn.)  He will then use a physical attack, giving you plenty of time
to kill Left Magic and Right Magic with two Aqualungs.  You now have six
rounds to kill the Core with 11 Aqualungs, before he is able to use Stigma
again.  Haste makes a huge difference here, believe me.

Once the Core is dead, the battle becomes very easy--almost boring.  Cast
either Trine or Aqualung at Bizarro (I prefer Trine because of the lower MP
cost) and draw MP from the body as needed.  There's little point in healing
your characters; Bizarro can only kill one character at a time from now on,
and Heartless Angel will reduce everyone to 1 HP anyway.  Casting Angel
Whisper after he kills a character will provide all the healing you need.
When he dies you'll hear a loud rumbling sound, and the transition to THE
final boss will commence.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOSS: Safer Sephiroth
80,000 HP

Like Bizarro, Safer has "infinite" MP.  For such a formidable-looking boss, he
is disappointingly easy.  He always performs his attacks in the following
order:

1.  Wall
2.  Shadow Flare
3.  Wing attack
4.  <Rises into the air>
5.  Pale Horse
6.  Super Nova
7.  Break OR Heartless Angel
8.  <Comes down>
9.  DeSpell
10. Deen
11. Wing attack
12. <Rises into the air>
13. Pale Horse
14. Super Nova
15. Break OR Heartless Angel
16. <Comes down>

Break is replaced with Heartless Angel when Safer has 20,000 HP or less
remaining.  Of the moves listed above, the only one capable of killing all
characters at once is Deen.  Shadow Flare, the wing attack, Pale Horse, and
Break only hit one character, so Angel Whisper will take care of them.  Super
Nova and Heartless Angel do severe proportional damage, but can't actually
kill you.  And when ascending, descending, or casting Wall or DeSpell, Safer
cannot hurt anyone at all.

To take advantage of a helpful quirk in Safer's AI, summon Hades immediately
after the first Shadow Flare.  If he is afflicted with Slow before rising into
the air, he reacts by DeSpelling himself and casting Shadow Flare on a random
character.  Assuming that they don't hit the same character, you will have two
Enemy Skill materia with Shadow Flare before the first Deen.  Shadow Flare is
the single most powerful spell in the game; it costs only 25 MP more than
Magic Breath, but does almost twice as much damage.  Since you most likely can
only summon Hades once, this is really more useful for learning Shadow Flare
earlier than anything else.  Don't forget to remove Safer's Wall with
DeBarrier before you start casting spells at him.

As soon as he uses Pale Horse, revive the fallen character with Angel Whisper
while the second survivor does nothing.  (In addition to reviving KO'd
characters, Angel Whisper also removes Frog--a rather useful feature here.)
The next phase is crucial.  Super Nova has a chance of inflicting Confusion
and Silence on everyone except the character with Added Effect=Hades.  If your
Confused characters attack those not affected, they will die and you will have
no chance of survival.  Have the character with Added Effect=Hades cast White
Wind ASAP, and any Confused characters defend.  (If a character's Magic and E.
Skill commands are locked out, have them defend immediately--Silence and
Confusion are always inflicted together.  You can also find out who is
affected by selecting Poisona and attempting to target your party.)  Wait mode
makes this much easier; if the second character stays in the menu while Angel
Whisper is being cast, everyone will be able to act immediately after Super
Nova.  White Wind also cures Slow, definitely helpful at the lowest battle
speed.

After every second Pale Horse/Super Nova/Break sequence, Safer will come down
to cast DeSpell and Deen.  Since the target of Break will be revived with full
HP, have them cast White Wind to fully heal the party.  If he uses Heartless
Angel instead of Break, just cast Angel Whisper on a random character and have
that character cast White Wind.  Wait for Safer to cast DeSpell, then put up a
Big Guard.  Everyone should survive Deen and get limit breaks.

That's basically how the battle goes.  Shadow Flare will account for most of
your damage, though I don't advise casting it when you have less than 160 MP.
Also, don't cast Shadow Flare twice in the same round; you need at least two
characters with high MP at any time so you can cast Angel Whisper as needed.
Your magic, including Magic Hammer, has an irritating tendency to miss Safer.
This will be a long battle, though probably not an especially difficult one.
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Sephiroth
1 HP

Omnislash him, or let your counterattack kill him.  Your choice.
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Way to go!  You've finished the LLNIIENA challenge.  Fun, wasn't it?


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

GarlandG: This really is his challenge.  Besides completing the challenge
first, thinking up most of the strategies, and giving me his basic battle
plan, he gave me a lot of support and helpful advice during my LLNIIENA run.
Hats off to you, Garland.

Apathetic Aarvark: For the massive amount of support I gained from his very
thorough walkthrough, including but not limited to the locations of items and
materia, the wares of various materia shops, and the list of materia stolen in
the Wutai sidequest.

Terence: The attack information and AI data in his Enemy Mechanics FAQ was
essential for several strategies, and was useful throughout the challenge.

Piotr Deren: For pointing out the existence of the rest spot in Corel Prison.

lolo26, essentialism, TsukiNoNeko, and the rest of the FFVII challenge
vets: For their support and good ideas in our LLNIIENA discussions on
GameFAQs.

Squaresoft: For creating the Final Fantasy series.