===============================================================================
          FINAL FANTASY VII: Solo, Lowest Level Character Challenge
                                   by lolo26
                                (lolo26@web.de)     
                                  Version 1.0  
===============================================================================

Copyright 2006, lolo26
All rights reserved.

This guide is for private use only, meaning you are not allowed to make any
kind of profit with it. 
You are allowed to host this document on your website, provided you don't alter
the content in any way and give me the credit.

Final Fantasy VII is (c) to Squaresoft.

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


INTRODUCTION
------------

It all started when TsukiNoNeko tried to beat Emerald Weapon at the lowest 
possible level. I myself had beaten Emerald with a LLP (Low level party, Cloud
level 8, Tifa level 7, Yuffie level 17) but what was the lowest level solo?
He quickly managed to kill him with a level 15 Tifa, using MasterSummon, but
the lowest possible level for Tifa is 7 at that point in the game, and that was
the goal. 
After a little help from Thundaka and others he managed to beat him with a 
level 7 Tifa and without using Sources!
After a little while he reported a new challenge idea he had found on a 
japanese site: Tifa L7 vs. All Bosses Challenge. Sure we knew how to beat Ruby 
and Emerald Weapon with a level 7 Tifa but what about Demons Gate for example?
Plus it had additional rules, like no KOTR (Knights of the Round) and no Attack
Items. Was this really possible? I decided to try it out...and well it is, or 
else I wouldn't be writing this FAQ.

This challenge may seem very hard but you don't need to be a FFVII expert to
beat it. You can try this even if you have only beaten the game once before.

I will explain most of the stuff: what materia you need to level up, what Items
you should steal, how to collect the not so obvious Items etc...but don't 
expect me to explain how to proceed with the story.
If this is your first challenge for FFVII, things will get a bit rough, but hey
you want a challenge, right?


RULES AND GENERAL TIPS
----------------------

Here are the rules for the challenge:

1. Single Character: You can only use one character in battle.
2. Lowest Level: Take a look at the Battle List and you'll understand. Most of
the time the lowest level character is Tifa but not always.
3. No Sources: Using Sources to boost your stats isn't allowed. Sources may be
sold.
4. No Attack Items: You are not allowed to throw Items at the enemies.
5. Banned materias: E.Skill, Sneak Attack, Throw and KOTR. Why? Well because if
we used them there wouldn't be much of a challenge left.
6. No glitches: Especially no abusing of the W-Item glitch.
7. You must play all the battles with ATB set to Active and on fastest Battle
Speed.

Exceptions: I decided to include the battles against Emerald and Ruby Weapon in
the FAQ but in order to beat them I ignored rules 4-7.

You are free to add even more restrictions...but those are the ones I'll use.

And here's the Battle List:
Use Ctrl+F to quickly find a battle. 

B01:MP x2 --------------------- Cloud L6
B02:Guard Scorpion ------------ Barret L6
B03:AirBuster ----------------- Tifa L4
B04:Aps ----------------------- Aeris L2 (A-Route)
B05:Reno ---------------------- Cloud L7 (C-Route)
B06:Mighty Grunt x3 ----------- Tifa L4
B07:Sample H0512 -------------- Tifa L4
B08:Hundred/Heli Gunner ------- Aeris L6 (A-route)
B09:Rufus --------------------- Cloud L7
B10:Motor Ball ---------------- Tifa L5
B11:Midgar Zolom -------------- Barret L6 (B-route)
B12:Yuffie -------------------- Tifa L5
B13:Bottomswell --------------- Tifa L5
B14:Jenova-BIRTH -------------- Tifa L5
B15:Dyne ---------------------- Barret L6 (B-route)
B16:Turks in Gongaga----------- Tifa L7
B17:Stinger ------------------- Tifa L7
B18:Gi Nattak ----------------- Tifa L7
B19:Lost Number --------------- Tifa L7
B20:Materia Keeper ------------ Tifa L7
B21:Palmer -------------------- Tifa L7
B22:Attack Squad x2 ----------- Tifa L7
B23:Attack Squad x3 ----------- Tifa L7
B24:Rapps --------------------- Barret L8 (B-route)
B25:Red Dragon ---------------- Tifa L7
B26:Demons Gate --------------- Tifa L7
B27:Jenova-LIFE --------------- Tifa L7
B28:Icicles ------------------- Tifa L7
B29:Schizo -------------------- Tifa L7
B30:Jenova-DEATH -------------- Tifa L7
B31:CMD.Grand Horn ------------ Barret L8 (B-route)
B32:The Train Battles --------- Barret L8 (B-route)
B33:Ultimate Weapon in Mideel - Barret L8 (B-route)
B34:Submarine Crew battles ---- Tifa L7
B35:Carry Armor --------------- Tifa L7
B36:Turks in the Gelnika ------ Tifa L7
B37:Rocket Town Battles ------- Tifa L7
B38:Rude ---------------------- Tifa L7
B39:Diamond Weapon ------------ Tifa L7
B40:Ultimate Weapon ----------- Tifa L7
B41:Turks in Midgar ----------- Tifa L7
B42:Proud Clod ---------------- Tifa L7
B43:Hojo ---------------------- Tifa L7
B44:Special battle ------------ Cloud L8 
B45:Jenova-SYNTHESIS ---------- Tifa L7
B46:Sephiroth battles --------- Tifa L7
B47:Ruby Weapon---------------- Tifa L7
B48:Emerald Weapon------------- Tifa L7

A-Route - Aeris must be KO'ed at the end of every battle
B-Route - Same but with Barret
C-Route - Same but with Cloud, I'll explain later why this isn't a part of the
Main Route
Main Route - Tifa and Cloud must be KO'ed at the end of every battle

Here's how to do it: First save before every mandatory battle. Then kill the 
enemies with a character that is allowed to level up in that file and make sure
whoever must is KO'ed at the end of the battle. 
Then proceed until the next savepoint and save again. You have to make sure you
don't overwrite the previous save! Then load the file and fight the Boss with 
the lowest level character.
 
For example AirBuster: Kill him with Barret and make sure Cloud and Tifa are 
KO'ed at the end of the battle. Then play up to the next savepoint and save. 
After that load back, make sure Cloud and Barret are KO'ed before entering the
battle, and kill AirBuster with Tifa. 

I really recommend doing things this way around.


A few notes and general tips:
-----------------------------

- Always put the lowest level character in back row and give him the Sadness 
  status. There are a few exceptions but I will of course point them out.
  
- Always put the Items you're going to use in a fight on top of the Item list.

- Setting the cursor to Memory helps in some battles since it allows you to 
  quickly select the spells. Especially useful in battles where you do the same
  move over and over. 

- Often the reason why I use certain Armors is because of the special bonuses 
  they give but you can't see them on the Equip Screen! Check out your stats 
  to see the effects. I'll mention them anyway.
  There's a famous bug in the game: the MDef bonus you get from an Armor isn't
  added to your MDef!! This means the only thing that affects how much damage 
  a spell does to a character is his Spirit stat. MD% works fine.
  So besides the special bonuses the only things that matters for an Armor are
  Def and Evasion %.

- Fighting random battles before Tifa joins the party isn't a good idea. 
  It could affect the level she joins you at (she has to join at level 4).

- I always followed the rules but for the battles where the lowest level 
  character is KO'ed you are free to do whatever you want, it doesn't make much
  of a difference anyway.

- You only "use" Items in the battles where the lowest level character is
  KO'ed. 
  Not clear? Let's take an example: Let's say you've used 15 X-Potions and 3 
  Hero Drinks to beat Demons Gate with a level 7 Tifa.
  Well after the battle you'll load the file where you defeated him with Aeris. 
  This means you will still have the 15 X-Potions and 3 Hero Drinks (if you 
  didn't use them with Aeris of course...). 
  Clear? I sure hope so. 

- You will have to level up a lot of materia. A lot of battles are easier if 
  you level up your materia even more than I tell you to.
  I tried to reduce the leveling to a minumum to make the fights more 
  challenging, to avoid wasting hours on useless leveling and to avoid having 
  level 99 characters at the end of the game (could easily happen).
  Sephiroth has much more HP and Defense when you have level 99 characters 
  (even if they are in the inactive party!) and we obviously want to avoid 
  that. 

- I personally played all the Bosses in chronological order but of course you 
  could first play the A-Route, then the B-Route etc...
  You could also play the game SCC style first, saving before every mandatory 
  battle but you still need to level up the materia or else, when you load 
  back, you won't be able to beat the Bosses with the lowest level character.

And most important: DON'T RUN OUT OF PATIENCE! This challenge requires a lot of
it. Don't even think about trying this challenge if you fear your patience is
quickly exhausted.



===============================================================================
                                 WALKTHROUGH
===============================================================================


I. Reactor No.1 and Sector 7
----------------------------

Items to collect: Potion x4, Phoenix Down, Restore materia, Ether, All
materia

Items to buy: Fire materia, Iron Bangle


Let's finally start, shall we?
Before doing anything else go in the Menu and set the battle speed to fastest
and ATB to Active.
Then pick up the 2 potions from the guard and soon you'll face your first
battle...if you screw this one up, take my advice, and never touch this game
again.

IMPORTANT: Escape all the random battles!

Put Barret in back row and kill Cloud in a random encounter. 
Try not to take too much damage with Barret because we only have a few potions
to heal him. The best way to quickly kill Cloud is to have him use Bolt/Ice on 
himself and Barret attack him.
If Barret lost more than 100 HP on the way down, give him a potion.
Now go save and make sure you pick up the Restore materia.


===============================================================================
B02: Guard Scorpion
HP: 800

I had 5 potions for this battle and you should have at least 4.
In back row, Guard Scorpion won't deal much damage. You can attack four times 
before he raises his Tail and then you have to wait until he lowers it again.
If Barret's HP are below 100 you should use a potion while the Tail is up.
Of course, use the Limit Break whenever you have it (what else could you do
anyway?).
I only used one potion so you shouldn't have much trouble with him.
===============================================================================


After that heal Barret, if he's low on HP, and get the hell out!
Make sure to choose "later" when you run into the Soldiers in Sector 8.
Tifa will now join the party and she should be at level 4 if you escaped all 
the random battles.
Before leaving for the next mission make sure to collect the All materia and 
the Ether on the second floor of the Weapon Shop.
Go buy an Iron Bangle and a Fire materia and equip Tifa with the Iron Bangle.
Now go catch the Train.



II. Reactor No.5
----------------

Items to collect: Hi-Potion, Phoenix Down, Ether x2, Potion, Tent


When the alarm goes off, go talk to the man lying on the right side (in the 
first car) and he'll give you a Phoenix Down. In the second car go talk to the
man close to entrance to the next car and choose the first alternative, he'll 
give you a Hi-Potion.
I simply waited in this car until the Timer ran out but you're free to run to
the end of the Train if you want.
Escape all the random battles on the way.

Before the next Boss you should learn Tifa's L1-2 Limit Break. You don't have 
to learn it in order to beat AirBuster, it just makes things easier. In the
following I'll simply assume you've learned it.

Play up to the savepoint before AirBuster and save there.
Now make sure Cloud is KO'ed, give Barret Restore, and heal Tifa and Barret 
back to full HP.
Enter random battles until you find one with 3 Proto Machineguns. They always 
attack the character with the lowest HP and that is of course Tifa! 
You have to make sure you get "Hit" everytime you use the Limit, not "Yeah".
Why? Well because you don't want to kill the Proto Machineguns too fast! 
Tifa will do ~30 damage if you get "Hit" and they have 100 HP. 
This means you need to use the Limit Break 4 times to kill one. Now Tifa needs
to use it 9 times in total to get Somersault, you do the math...Yep, only this
one battle is enough to learn her L1-2 Limit Break. 
Have Barret heal her when necessary and use the Limit Break 9 times. If you
need to, restore Barret's MP with an Ether, I didn't.
After that kill her off and kill the remaining Proto Machineguns with Barret.

Now go save and defeat AirBuster with Barret, if you're having trouble you can 
use the Ethers, or even revive Tifa and/or Cloud (just make sure they are KO'ed
again at the end of the battle).

Since Tifa isn't in the party anymore she would get 50% of the EXP if you 
fought random battles (all the characters that are not in the active party get
50% of the EXP) so fighting random battles is once again a big no-no.
This means you have to avoid fighting the soldiers.
Select "RUN" the first time and climb to the uppermost barrel. Select "Hold on"
the second time and push the barrel. The third time Aeris is attacked by a
soldier, select "RUN" again. This way you won't get any EXP on Tifa and Cloud.
Play up to the next savepoint and save. Make sure you don't overwrite your save
of before AirBuster!!

Now load your file where you were about to face AirBuster and revive Tifa with
a Phoenix Down. Heal her back with Cure, don't hesitate to give Barret an Ether 
if he doesn't have any MP left. 

Remember: All the Items we use now won't be really lost since we'll load again
after having defeated AirBuster.

Now go find a random battle, kill Barret and flee. We will also be making sure
that Tifa has a ready to use Limit Break before AirBuster so if this isn't
already the case, enter another random battle, let the enemies attack you until
the Limit gauge is full, and escape afterwards.
Now go back to the savepoint again, heal back to full HP with any Potions you 
have left, equip Tifa with the Restore materia and save. Need I remind you not 
to overwrite your save of after AirBuster?


===============================================================================
B03: AirBuster
HP: 1200

In this battle you'll see what it means to play on fastest battle speed and ATB
at Active. If you're used to it, like me, you won't have much trouble but if 
you aren't, you'll probably find this battle not so easy.
I forced you to get "Hit" earlier, but now is your time to shine and show how
good you really are with the spinning reels.

It would be nice if you could use your Limit Break before AirBuster attacks.
I know this isn't easy but try to get "Yeah" on the first one and don't bother
about the second one. If you manage it, your first attack should deal ~250
damage (the second one probably something like 25). 
If you're too slow at spinning the reels, AirBuster will attack you first and 
then even with "Yeah" you'll only deal ~50 damage (100 if you get "Yeah" for 
both). But it's no big deal and you should continue even if that part goes
wrong.

AirBuster deals quite a lot of damage and critical hits (double damage) can
easily kill you, but they are pretty rare.
He will use his Big Bomber attack 5 times before he runs out of Ammo.
Heal after you've used the Limit Break and then you have two choices:
Play it safe and heal while waiting that he runs out of Ammo (you could even 
Defend) or attack him with your Limit Break again and heal back afterwards.
If you choose the second option you will once again have to be fast at 
performing the Limit Break, if you're too slow he will attack several times and
could kill you.

Once he runs out of Ammo he'll switch to his second Program and use Energy Ball
all the time. This attack only deals ~60 damage so it get's a lot easier than
while he was using Big Bomber. 
You simply need to heal when you're low on HP, use your Limit Break (it 
shouldn't be too hard to get "Yeah" everytime) and use Ethers if you need them.
Of course you can also use your remaining Potions.


NOTE: If you get "Yeah" everytime, deal the 250 damage at the beginning and are
fast at spinning the wheels it's possible to beat him without using any Items.
I only had to heal 5 times and Tifa had 32 MP in my game (meaning I could have 
used Cure 6 times).
===============================================================================


After the battle soft-reset and load the file where Barret killed AirBuster.

Note:
It would be too messy to continue to write things in chronological order <_< 
From now on I'll write as if you were playing the battles only once.
This means you should always read ahead of the battle to see what you have to
do after it. That way you'll also get a glance at the strategy for the battle
with the lowest level character.   



III. Sector 5/Sector 6 and Wall Market
---------------------------------------

Items to collect: Cover materia, Ether x2, Potion, Phoenix Down, Hyper, Turtles 
Paradise Flyer No.1

Items to buy: Tranquilizer x5, Metal Knuckle, Mythril Armlet


Go the Sector 5 Slums and go to the room with the sleeping kid to look at the 
first Turtles Paradise Flyer. Also go talk to him and then go to his drawer but
don't take the 5 Gil if you want to get a Turbo Ether later. If you're mean, 
like me, you'll take them anyway.
Next go to Aeris's House and make sure to pick up the Cover materia, the Ether,
the Potion and the Phoenix Down here.
After that go to Wall Market and buy 5 Tranquilizers at the Item shop (no it's 
not the one with Item on top but the one next to it) as well as the Metal 
Knuckle and the Mythril Armlet at the Weapon Shop.

The Don has to pick Cloud as his date to avoid getting any EXP. For that you 
need 280 Gil, sell an Ether if you're short on money.
You will have to get some extra items to get the Don to choose Cloud but don't
worry I'll tell you exactly what you have to do.

- Ask the man in front of the Honeybee Inn about Tifa.

- Go to Don Corneo's mansion and talk to the guy standing at the front.

- Go back, enter the materia shop and agree to do the favor.

- Now go eat at the restaurant and tell them the food was all right to receive
  a Pharmacy Coupon.

- Go to the Item shop (the Pharmacy) to exchange the Coupon for the Digestive.

- Go sleep at the Inn and buy the Drink for 200 Gil.

- Next go to the Boutique (clothing store) and talk to the girl at the desk.

- Go back to the Materia Shop to get the Diamond Tiara.

- Enter the bar and give the Digestive to the woman on the toilet, she'll give
  you the Sexy Cologne. Next go talk to the owner of the Boutique and select a
  dress that feels soft and shimmers.

- Now go back to the Boutique to get the Silk Dress but one last thing is 
  missing: a Wig. Save now if you fear you'll lose the squat contest.

- Go to the Gym and win the squat contest.

- Head back to the Boutique and enter the dressing room. Don't we all love
  miss Cloud? Well at least Corneo will love her...

Then go to Corneo's mansion, pick up the Ether in the room where you meet up 
with Tifa and the Hyper in the Don's bedroom.
You'll wake up again in the Sewers.



IV. Sewers/Train Graveyard and the Pillar
-----------------------------------------

Items to collect: Steal materia, Potion x4, Hi-Potion x3, Ether x2, 
Echo Screen, Sense materia, Turbo Ether, Phoenix Down

Items to buy: Batteries


In your main file Aeris should be at level 3 but you'll notice, if you look
closely at the Battle List, that I wrote: Aps-------Aeris L2 (A-Route).
This means you have to replay the game up to Aps to make sure you get there 
with a level 2 Aeris. 
But wait you'll say, we haven't fought any battles with Aeris yet and haven't 
done any leveling before you get her either so how could she possibly join at a 
lower level??
Well if you really want to know, here are the mechanics behind this stuff:

Aeris will join at [CPAL -3] (Current Party Average Level -3, the [] indicate 
that you have to round the number down).
Now let's look at the main file after AirBuster: Barret is level 7, Cloud is
level 7 and Tifa is level 4.

CPAL = (7+7+4)/3= 6, Aeris joins at [CPAL-3] = [6-3] = 3

But if for example Cloud is the sole survivor against Guard Scorpion and 
AirBuster he will stay at level 7 and Barret will be at level 6 after 
AirBuster.

CPAL = (7+6+4)/3 = 5,67, Aeris joins at [CPAL-3] = [2,67] = 2

Note that it would be enough if Cloud was the sole Survivor against Guard 
Scorpion but he would reach level 9 after Dyne because of that....but even if
we could get a level 2 Aeris in the main file it wouldn't be possible to have 
her at level 6 in the Shinra HQ (because of the EXP she gets from Aps). 
So there's no way around it, we have to play the A-Route.

Well it's time you start it. Kill Guard Scorpion and AirBuster with Cloud as 
the sole survivor and escape all the random battles. Aeris will now join at 
level 2. 

Now you have to play up to Aps, making sure Aeris doesn't gain a level. For
that you will have to escape all the random battles and once again make sure
Miss Cloud gets chosen.

Just before the battle give Aeris a Tranquilizer and the Titan Bangle with
Fire and Restore in the 2 Slots. If you haven't changed anything she should be
in back row but check to make sure.


===============================================================================
B04: Aps
HP: 1800

Aps is weak to Fire and everytime you use a spell on him his next two moves
will be Sewer Tsunami (Forward and Backward version).

You know what to do, right?
Yep, that's right use Fire and then watch Aps damage himself.
My level 2 Aeris had 26 MP and that's just enough to kill him.
He will always open the battle with Sewer Tsunami, after that use Fire once and
watch the next attack, while he's doing the second Tsunami select Fire again.

You will have to heal once or twice. The best is to use a Potion between the 2
Tsunami's, if you don't have any left then you will have to use Cure but if you
do you will most likely not have enough MP to kill him and you'll have to use
an Ether later in the battle.
I killed him with the sixth Fire and so should you.
Very easy battle as he does most of the damage himself.
===============================================================================


Pick up the Steal materia and go to the Train Graveyard.

Now that you have Tifa and Cloud in your party you can fight random battles in 
your main file but I suggest you continue escaping all of them until...after 
Wutai!
I know it won't have much of an impact on your final levels if you fight a few 
but trust me, you'll fight so many in the C-File that you'll be happy to escape
them in the Main File.
Save here.

Reno is a real problem in this challenge and we will be making yet another game
file just because of him.
In case you don't remember: He has an attack called Pyramid, that you can't
evade, and that imprisons a character. With 3 characters this is only a small 
problem as you can simply attack the Pyramid to destroy it but in any Solo 
Character Challenge it means instant GAME OVER!
He will always use Pyramid as his first attack when your 3 characters are
alive and on his second turn if one is KO'ed. You can't possibly have 2 KO'ed
characters at the beginning of this battle (Barret was healed by the game 
while he wasn't in your party and you can't kill him before the battle).

This all means that you have one turn to kill him! Or if you prefer: You have 
to kill him before he uses Pyramid. Of course he could use it on Barret but 
that would be going against the rules of a SCC. You don't have the time to kill
Barret but he can't have any kind of influence on the battle (this also means 
Reno has to attack Cloud on the first turn).

Now you might be wondering how this is possible with a level 7 Cloud and why we
don't use Tifa?

Well we don't use Tifa, simply because the battle isn't possible with her!
She hasn't enough MP to use a level 3 spell and her Limit Break doesn't deal 
enough damage and is very hard to use on fastest battle speed.
Reno is the only time it's really not possible to use the lowest level 
character. If you look at the Battle List you'll see Barret fights the Midgar
Zolom and Rapps. But those battles are actually possible with Tifa too.
More about that later.

Anyway, to beat him in one turn with a level 7 Cloud we need Fire3 and Meteo 
Rain, and I'm sure you can already see what that means... yep, countless hours
of leveling up, oh joy!
This probably makes Reno the worst Boss in this challenge, at least he is the 
one that requires the most preparation.


In order to learn Meteorain I think the best is to restart a file. I know
it would be possible to learn it on the main file but IMO this way is faster.
There are plenty of reasons for that, the main one being that in the main file
Tifa can't get any EXP, making the leveling harder. It would only be possible
to learn it in Reactor No.5 and the Train Graveyard, both areas where you can't
rest. And making enough money to buy all the required Phoenix Downs without
Tifa gaining any levels is very time consuming.
You will have to learn all of Cloud's Limit Breaks in the main file eventually,
but I still think it's best to restart a new file.

Just start a new file, it's best this way, trust me :O

In the first Reactor fight one battle with three 1st ray (the enemies that take
forever to attack...) and kill all three with Cloud. 
Escape all the other random battles and make sure Cloud is KO'ed against Guard
Scorpion. 

Buy a Fire materia in Sector 7 and equip it on Barret or Tifa.
Before going to the 7th Heaven Bar go to the train graveyard.
Fight 5 battles with 3 Mono Drives and kill them with Cloud.
Cloud will have 944 EXP after that, one more battle and he would reach level 8.
In the next battle kill 2 Mono Drives with Cloud, then kill him and finish them
with Tifa and Barret. 
Go to the 7th Heaven. Once the story part is over, sell all your Items and buy
as many Phoenix Downs as possible.
Then continue with the game until you reach the room where Jessie is.
This is the best place to learn Meteorain, you'll find groups of 3,4 and even
5 enemies here. To not make it too long, I suggest fighting groups of 4 and 5,
but you could of course only fight groups of five.
Fight them until you use up all your Phoenix Downs. Once you have none left, 
fight one last, you have to make sure Cloud is KO'ed against AirBuster anyway.
Then continue with the game until after visiting Aeris's House.
Buy as many Phoenix Downs as possible.
Give her the fire materia and go fight battles with Whole Eaters in the area
between the Slums and Wall Market.
They usually come in groups of four but sometimes you'll get a battle with 
only three (ambush!).
The ambush battle is a little tricky (they really do a lot of damage) so be 
careful!
When you run out of Phoenix Downs (or MP) go back to the Slums and heal at 
Aeris's House and buy some Phoenix Downs with the money you've earned from the 
random battles. 
Repeat until Cloud learns Meteorain.
He needs 320 kills to get it btw.

Once you've learned Meteorain go to the Wall Market.
Proceed with the story (make sure Cloud is KO'ed against Aps) until you reach 
the Train Graveyard.

You have to learn Fire3 now. First make sure Cloud is KO'ed (he should be from 
the battle against Aps) and then go up to the second screen and find an enemy
called Eligor (of course kill all the enemies on the way), steal the 
Striking Staff from him and give it to Aeris.
Then go back to the first screen and kill away! Note that the Ghosts are weak 
to Fire; Fire=All should roast them in a single attack.
The Deenglows are resistant to spells so you have to attack them with physical
attacks, meaning that you should put Aeris and Tifa in front row.
Oh and you can steal Ethers from the Deenglows to restore your MP.

This is pretty much all the advice I can give you, except to stay patient and
maybe to do other things while playing...I know how terribly boring this part
is.

You'll have to fight ~2000 battles to get Fire3, Aeris was level 41 when I 
finally got it in my game and both Tifa and Aeris had learned all of their
Limits.

When you finally have Fire3 (you did it? Congrats ^_^) exit the Train Graveyard
and go to the Pillar. 
First, make sure to set Cloud's Limit to 3 and give him the Restore and Fire 
materias. Then go fight a random battle, kill Tifa and let them attack Cloud 
until his Limit bar is full. 
Then heal him back to full health and make sure he has at least 52 MP and 
remove the Restore materia (this is just to make it easier to select Fire3
quickly).
For once you really don't need to put him in Sadness.
Then go save.


===============================================================================
B05: Reno
HP: 1000

Meteorain followed by Fire3. PWNed!!

Even in this battle quite a lot of stuff can go wrong: 
First you will have to hope Cloud's gauge is close to full when you start the
battle and hopefully fuller than Barret's...this is because you have to select
Meteorain before Reno attacks you.
Once that part goes right the only real problem is if he attacks Barret. If you
follow the rules strictly this isn't allowed, I had to restart twice because he 
attacked Barret. But really, I guess you could also be a bit more lenient here 
and allow him to attack Barret, it's not like it affects the battle in any way.

After that you still have to select Fire3 fast enough (not really a problem), 
if he casts Pyramid before you are able to cast Fire3 you'll have to restart.
===============================================================================


After the battle load up the main file again and defeat Reno with Barret.
You can pick up the Sense materia if you want but it's really not needed.
In the Slums you can get a Turbo Ether from the boy if you haven't taken the 5
Gil, like me.
Don't forget to buy batteries, before climbing up to Shinra HQ, and to take the
Phoenix Down in Corneo's mansion (first room on the second floor).
Use a Battery to get an Ether in the climbing section.



V. Shinra HQ
------------

Items to collect: Elixir, Elemental materia, All materia, Star Pendant, Four 
Slots, Phoenix Down, Ether, Poison materia, Potion x4, Turtles Paradise Flyer 
No.2

Items to steal: Carbon Bangle


Make sure you save before entering! 
Tifa is probably KO'ed so revive her.
After that bust in and make sure to kill Barret and Cloud on the way up. 
Give Tifa a Tranquilizer.
If you're short on Tranquilizers you can steal them from the Mighty Grunts 
(you shouldn't, I told you to get 5!).

===============================================================================
B06: Mighty Grunt x3
HP: 230 each

Setup: 
Metal Knuckle: Restore, Fire
Mythril Armlet: All=Ice

Very easy battle, just don't forget the healing and you should be fine.
===============================================================================

After that load back and this time I suggest you take the stairs to find an 
Elixir.
But first bust in and look at the Turtles Paradise Flyer No.2. It's located on
the first floor near the Elevator. 
On floor 60 try to avoid the guards, not that it's really hard to beat them
with Barret but still, it could end very quickly if you're not careful 
(especially if you don't enter the battle on full HP).
After that you need to get the Elemental materia on Floor 62, for that you will
have to guess the password in one try. 
You can of course find the word with the mini-game but it's rather bothersome
to explain how it works so I'll tell you a trick:
Go talk to the Mayor and tell him you need more time, after that go save.
Then load and find out which password the right one is, once you've got it load
again and tell him the correct one.
Pick everything on Floor 63 (most important is the Star Pendant) and 64 and 
proceed with the story.
A good idea would be to put Ethers on top of your Item list.
Give Tifa a Tranquilizer.
Pick up the Poison materia and save on Floor 67.


===============================================================================
B07: Sample H0512
HP: 1000

Setup: 
Metal Knuckle: Restore
Mythril Armlet: Elemental=Fire or Elemental=Ice
Star Pendant

Thanks to the Star Pendant his Shady Breath is nullified but he still does
a load of damage so you will have to heal quite often and use Ethers to restore
your MP.
My advice here would be to use Cure and then the Ether, this way you should be
safe. 
Of course you can also use Hi-Potions.

You have to be quick at selecting the spells and Ethers or else he'll deal
more damage than you can handle.
Your only source of damage is Fire/Ice and you should only attack him, not the
3 opts (he can revive them).

DON'T USE TIFA'S LIMIT BREAK!
===============================================================================


Steal a Carbon Bangle from Moth Slashers after the fight and give it to Tifa.
After that pick up the 4 Potions and get captured. Don't bother to pick up the 
E.Skill materia.

Climb up again and save on Floor 69.
3 Bosses coming up but we have to fight one with the A-Route file. 
Well load that file again and play up to here, make sure Aeris is KO'ed against
Aps, that you have at least one Tranquilizer and to pick up the Star Pendant on
Floor 63. 
Then kill Barret and Red in a random encounter and heal Aeris back to full HP.


===============================================================================
B08: Hundred/Heli Gunner
HP: 1600 and 1000

Setup:
Guard Stick: Lightning
Titan Bangle: Restore
Star Pendant

The first one, Hundred Gunner shouldn't cause you much trouble: simply cast 
Bolt, heal when needed with Cure/Healing Wind and use an Ether when you run out
of MP. His strongest attack is Wave Artillery, deals ~60 damage, nothing to 
worry about really.

The second one is a bit more troublesome because he can put you to sleep with 
two attacks: AB Cannon and Firing Line.
This means you should be above 85 HP all the time (about the damage he can deal
in 2 turns), if you want to play it safer you should be above 120 (critical 
hits...). 
Once he starts spinning he will deal more damage in a single attack but can't 
put you to sleep anymore. 
You should be able to use Bolt three times on full HP before you have to heal.

I used two Ethers but only had 4 MP left so you might need to use 3.
===============================================================================


That's it for the A-Route!
Load back your main file. 
For once you won't have to replay the battle since Cloud is fighting alone. 
That's the reason why I included All in the setup, to gain a few AP on it. 


===============================================================================
B09: Rufus
HP: 500

Setup:
Buster Sword: Restore=All
Mythril Armlet: Lightning=Elemental

You can put Cloud in Sadness but I think it's best not to, that way you get 
his Limit Break faster.
This fight is very easy, the most damage you can take is ~45 from a Bolt (~30
in Sadness).
Just keep casting Bolt on Rufus, use your Limit Break whenever you have it and
heal if needed.

You can kill Dark Nation if you want since Cloud has 77 EXP left until level 9,
after Dyne, and Dark Nation gives 70 EXP, but why bother?
===============================================================================


After that make sure to save before talking to Tifa. 

The motorcycle mini-game is next and you have to try to kill off Cloud and the
other character you have decided to put into your Active Party, while 
protecting Tifa (at least so that she can survive the first attack and 
heal herself). I suggest Red or Aeris in the Active party since Barret is on
the same side of the pick-up as Tifa.
Basically what I did was to stay with Cloud on Tifa's side.

Make sure to place Tifa in front row!


===============================================================================
B10: Motor Ball
HP: 2600

Setup:
Metal Knuckle: Lightning, Restore
Carbon Bangle: Elemental=Fire

If you did a good job in the Motorcycle mini-game Cloud and Red/Aeris could be 
KO'ed after his Highway attack. Else you simply have to kill them off before 
starting attacking Motor Ball.
Once that is taken care of start casting Bolt and heal when needed.
Thanks to Elemental=Fire and Sadness even his strongest attack (Rolling Fire)
will only deal ~70 damage.
Use your Limit Break when you get it, it deals ~160 damage, which is more than 
Bolt (this is assuming she has her L1-2 Limit and you get Yeah on both wheels).
===============================================================================


Now is the time to start your B-File, simply play up to the World Map, making 
sure Barret is KO'ed at the end of every battle. You don't have to worry about
collecting all the Items but you should get Elemental and the Elixir. 

Finally, FINALLY out of Midgar! Give yourself a tap on the back.



VI. The First Continent
-----------------------

Items to collect: Ether x4, Guard Source x2, Megalixir, Peacemaker, Choco/Mog 
materia, Tent, Long Range materia, Mind Source, Elixir, Hi-Potion, Luck Source,
Mind Source, Power Source, Speed Source and 1/35 Soldiers x2

Items to steal: Grand Glove, Ether x30

Items to buy: Steal materia x2, Earth materia, Tranquilizer x10, Chocobo Lure 
materia, Revive materia, Seal materia, Headband

Items to win (from Rufus): HP Plus materia


If you're like me and have played this game often, I'm sure you hate what we 
(the guys that do crazy challenges) like to call Boredom World #1, a.k.a the 
Kalm Flashback. And rejoice because you get to play it twice!
This is hardcore >_>

In your main file make sure that you pick up all the Items in Kalm. 
The Megalixir is located in the same room where Cloud tells his story, check 
out the cabinet 5 times and Cloud will knock it down.
After that go buy 2 Steal materias, an Earth materia and 10 Tranquilizers (sell
Ethers or some of your equipment like the Peacemaker or the second Star Pendant
if you're short on money).

Equip everyone with a Steal materia and go steal some Ethers from Kalm Fangs. 
They are best found in the grass area between Midgar and the Chocobo Farm. 
Don't forget you can't win the fight so escape after you've stolen the Ethers!
Steal about 30.

Get Choco/Mog and buy Chocobo Lure at the Chocobo Farm.
Next head to the Swamp where the Midgar Zolom is.
Save before entering the Swamp.

You need the B-File for this battle so load that file, replay the Kalm 
flashback, take the Megalixir and run up to the edge of the swamp.
Save.

This is the first time we're using Poison, probably the most powerful materia 
on Disc1 so let me explain a few basics about it.

I'm sure you can see how great it is to damage the enemy every turn, allowing
you to Heal/Defend, in a challenge like this, but there's more to it.
First Poison takes away 1/32 of the target's max HP every time, great for 
enemies with a lot of HP (of course most of the later Bosses are immune to it).
But the best thing about it is that the enemies won't use any attacks that 
require their HP to drop below a certain level when you poison them and never 
attack again.

If you read on you'll see we're going to use that trick against some of the 
most fearsome Bosses and thanks to it turn them into complete jokes.

This is also the first non-mandatory battle you'll fight so I'll say this now:
We'll always try to do all the optional battles ASAP.


===============================================================================
B11: Midgar Zolom
HP: 4000 

Setup:
Assault Gun: Poison 
Carbon Bangle: Restore
Protect Vest

This is an optional battle but it's fun to see that the mighty Midgar Zolom 
can easily be killed by a level 6 Barret.
You need every HP you can get in this battle so don't give Barret any more
green materia, my Barret had 315 HP, just enough to survive two attacks.
From what I've seen he deals 149-159 damage (Barret is in Sadness and in back 
row, of course...).

On the first turn poison him, if it doesn't stick just make sure to heal every
second turn until poison finally sticks. 
He can kill Barret in two turns if you get bad damage or even in one with a 
critical (he did 314 (!) damage with a critical in my game).
Heal every turn with Cure/Hi-Potions after he's poisoned to play it safe. 
You could also Defend, Heal, Defend etc...doesn't make much of a difference. 
Just don't attack him anymore or else he'll blow you out of the battle!
Of course use an Ether when you run out of MP.

Pretty easy, right? Now I'm sure you see how great Poison is.


NOTES: I have quite a lot to add :)

- First, let me tell you that the battle is possible with a level 5 Tifa, it 
just requires more luck or an HP Plus materia.
You get an HP Plus materia from Rufus in Junon and you can go back to the first
Continent (simply take the ship again).
If you want to beat him with a level 5 Tifa and without HP Plus (which is what 
I did) you will have to hope you poison him on the first turn and one of his 
attacks misses. After that you simply heal with Hi-Potions or Cure (until you
run out of MP, you can't use an Ether).
In fact, you can even beat him with a level 5 Tifa and without materia: simply
use a Deadly Waste (can be stolen from Zenenes in the Shinra HQ) and heal with 
Hi-Potions (you need more than 30).
So why did I tell you to play it with a level 6 Barret? Well because it's 
basically the same battle as the one with a level 5 Tifa and an HP Plus and 
because I want to keep things simple and find strategies that don't require 
too much luck. Stuff like an attack has to miss while Poison has to stick 
isn't a lot of fun to play.

- Second, what is the lowest level without using Poison? Well the problem is
that he will counter with his Blown Away attack when his HP drop below 2000,
meaning you need an attack that deals over 2k of damage!! Using Cait's Dices is
the easiest way of dealing such a huge amount of damage but the lowest level 
Cait can join your party at is 8...meaning the lowest level you can beat him 
without Poison is with a level 7 Tifa later in the game. 
This also means that we have no way to beat the Midgar Zolom this early in the 
game without Poison.

- Third, what's the lowest level you can get Beta at? I'm adding this because 
people on the board keep asking how to learn Beta early in the game. 
I'm completely ignoring the rules of the challenge in the following.

There's a Fire Ring in Costa del Sol that nullifies Beta but of course we want 
to find out what the lowest level is before you even enter the Mythril Mines.
You can't do it Solo because he will never use Beta if he hasn't blown away at
least one character.

With this in mind the lowest I could come up with was Tifa L5 and Aeris L6. 
But for that you need Aeris's Level 3 Limit Break Planet Protector (requires
160 kills). In case you didn't know Planet Protector makes you immune to damage
for a certain amount of time. If you turn the battle speed down and set ATB at 
Wait it should last at least for 4 turns. 
Then all you have to do is Poison him, attack with Grenades(or something else),
heal when needed and Sense him to keep track of his HP. The best is to put 
Aeris in Fury, that way she'll get Planet Protector each time the Midgar Zolom
damages her.
Then when his HP are close to 2000 you have to make sure Tifa is the only one 
that attacks him and he will blow her away. After that wait for Poison to deal
some damage and when his HP are below 1500 use Planet Protector and attack him 
with a Grenade. He will counter with Beta, that will deal 0 damage, Aeris will
learn it and he should die soon after it (using Beta against him is a great 
idea).
He can only use Beta once per battle btw so you don't have to worry about him 
using it a second time. 

Alright, alright, you don't want to have to learn Planet Protector but still 
want to get Beta?

Barret usually has the most HP but sometimes Red has high HP too and he usually
has more Spirit than Barret, meaning he takes a little bit less damage from 
Beta. In my game Barret is the best choice.
Give Barret/Red the Talisman and a Carbon Bangle as well as the E.Skill materia
and Elemental=Fire in the Armor.
Give Restore and Sense to someone else (Cloud f.e.) and Poison to the third 
character.
Put everyone in Sadness and in Back Row as usual. 
Turn down the battle speed and set ATB to Wait.
What it boils down to, is how much damage Beta does to Barret/Red. Well Beta 
does ~420 damage (it can do more, the highest I've seen is 435) so as soon as 
Barret or Red have over 420 HP you can beat him and learn Beta.
In my game the lowest level for Barret was 11 but with some bad luck he needs 
to be level 12 to survive Beta.
The levels of the other characters don't matter but they'll probably be around
the same level. 

Simply Sense him to keep track of his HP, throw Grenades at him, use your Limit
Breaks, heal when needed and try to Poison him. Once Poison sticks make sure 
Barret doesn't attack him anymore and keep attacking him until he kicks out one
character out the battle.
Then simply wait a few rounds, always keeping Barret on full HP (Defend with 
Barret to reduce the damage even more) and when he has something like 700 HP 
left throw a Grenade at him: he will counter with Beta and Barret should just 
barely survive (in my game Barret L11 had 423 HP and Beta dealt 422
damage >_>), then quickly select Beta and finish him before he gets to attack 
you again.

FeuFeu recorded his battle against the Midgar Zolom with a level 12 Barret.
Here's the link to the video (I'm wondering how long the link will last):

http://www.megaupload.com/de/?d=KMLPBW4Y 


If you have 500 or more HP you could even survive an attack after Beta 
(Defend!) making it almost impossible to lose the battle.

This means that in a "regular" playthrough you should have no trouble at all
learning Beta (the usual levels at this point of the game are around 15).
I hope the next time you play that part you won't bother to catch a Chocobo, go
fight the Midgar Zolom and learn Beta :)
===============================================================================


IMPORTANT NOTE: 
All the Bosses are possible without Poison, the Midgar Zolom was the only fight
where Poison is really required. 
Poison is very powerful but I decided not to ban it, mainly because it requires
a lot more preparation and leveling up to beat the Bosses without it. But I 
will always explain how to win without it. The battles are a lot more 
challenging without it but if you feel like you're up to it, go learn all of 
Tifa's Limit Breaks in the Mythril Mines and level up your materias to have 
level 2 spells.


After that load your main file again. 
I sure hope you understand that we don't need to catch a Chocobo (which would 
be very hard since you aren't allowed to throw Items at the enemies).
Just fight the Midgar Zolom using poison. If you don't want to fight him again 
use the "save-trick": 
Run into the Swamp and save as soon as you see the Midgar Zolom, you have to be
fast or else he'll cath you before you can save.
After that load again and he should be far away again, giving you some time to
cross the rest of the swamp (or simply save a second time). If you're really
fast, and lucky, it's even possible to cross the swamp in one go without having
to fight him.

Then go to the Mythril Mines and pick up everything there, especially the Long
Range materia, a very useful materia since we'll always be in back row in this
challenge.
Steal Tifa's new weapon from the Madouges.

We're going to get Yuffie, in my game I mostly used her to kill the Bosses
while Cloud and Tifa were KO'ed, simply because she joins you at level 17 and
at that point the highest level character I had was a level 10 Barret.

But first use a Phoenix Down or go rest in Fort Condor to revive Tifa.
After that go to the forest area near Junon and save before entering.
Yuffie only has a 1/8 chance of appearring in the forests of the Junon area but
as I said before we will always try to do all the optional battles ASAP.


===============================================================================
B12: Yuffie
HP: 600 

Setup:
Grand Glove: Choco Mog, Long Range, Poison, Restore
Carbon Bangle: Elemental=Fire
Protect Vest

Yuffie has 2 annoying attacks: Spider Web, that inflicts Slow, and Impaler, 
that inflicts the Toad status.
There's not much you can do against them this early in the game, unless you buy
a Heal materia and level it up to gain Esuna.
If Yuffie transforms you into a frog early in the fight you might have trouble
to finish her before she escapes (she runs away after 10 turns).

I think the best is to use Choco Mog followed by Poison (until it sticks) and 
then Fire/Limit Breaks. If she transform you into a frog just keep attacking
her and hope you deplete her HP before she runs away.

600 HP really isn't that much, you shouldn't have much trouble with her.


BATTLE WITHOUT POISON:
Simply use your level 2 spells and your L3-2 Limit Break to quickly kill her.
Very easy.


NOTES: Yuffie's joining level depends solely on Cloud's level.

Cloud's level:          Yuffie's level:
--------------          ---------------
     1-20                    17
    21-25                    22                         
    26-30                    27 
    31-35                    32  
    36-40                    37
    41-99                    42  


Do you think a level 5 Tifa can take down a level 42 Yuffie?!

At level 42 Yuffie has 2400 HP, much better stats, uses attacks that deal 150 
damage, even with Sadness, and still escapes after 10 turns! 
At least she doesn't use Impaler anymore :)
What I did here was to make another file and level up Cloud in that file and 
then test the battle against Yuffie at all the levels.

Beating her with a level 7 Tifa later in the game is a piece of cake so the 
only question here was if it's possible to beat her with a level 5 Tifa 
(i.e. you can only use the materias/Items/Equipment you can get before 
North Corel/Dyne).
At level 22 and 27 she isn't too hard, quite challenging but that's about it.
Level 32 already requires some leveling up and is pretty hard but level 37 and
42 are very hard indeed.

Poison takes less than 1/4 of her HP before she escapes, meaning you have to 
deal about 200 damage/round on average to beat her when she's level 42. 
And since Tifa hasn't enough MP to use a level 3 spell the only hope is using 
the Limit Breaks. To use them often in the fight you need to have the Fury 
Status, Yuffie will deal more damage and your spells (like Bio) will miss quite
often because of it, but there's no way to do without it.
To survive at least two of her most damaging attacks while in Fury you have no
other choice but to level up the HP Plus materia you get from Rufus.

This is the setup I used to beat her at level 42:

Grand Glove: 2x HP Plus (one master, one with 2 stars), Poison
Carbon Bangle: Elemental=Lightning (I made sure Elemental only had one star)
Power Wrist

As you can see this requires a lot of leveling up (well you have to level up 
Cloud to at least level 41 anyway). I used Barret's W-Machine Gun to level up
the HP Plus materia.
I also learned all of Tifa's Limit Breaks and made sure her Limit Bar was full
before the fight.

Here's how things went on my winning attempt: (don't ask how many attempts went
wrong >_>)

First Turn: Used the Limit Break ASAP and got 3 Yeah, 2 Hit and one Miss, this
            is very good if you consider you really don't have much time before
            she attacks again. Yuff used Fire Veil (~175 dam).
Second Turn: Used Bio and it sticked!! Yuff used Swift Bolt (~110 dam).
Third Turn: Yuff used Fight (~175 dam) and I had to use a Hi-Potion (I had 
            something like 17 HP left...)
Fourth Turn: Yuff used Leviathan Scales (~220 dam) and I used the Limit Break.
             3 Yeah, 2 Hit and one Miss again but I got Yeah on the last two 
             (very very lucky ^_^).
Fifth Turn: Yuff used Fight and I had to use a Hi-Potion.
Sixth Turn: Yuff used Leviathan Scales and I used another Hi-Potion.
Seventh Turn: Yuff used Fight and I used the Limit Break. This time I got 4 
              Yeah and 2 Hit, one of the best I ever got!

And over it was after only 7 turns!

This battle really is harder than it may seem, if she uses Spider Web early 
you're good for a reset, poison misses all the time and doing as much damage 
with the Limit Breaks as I did is incredibly hard (you have almost no time to 
use them, for example you can't get Yeah on the first one, would take you too 
much time). Plus if she hadn't used Swift Bolt but Fire Veil/Fight or Leviathan
Scales on the second turn, I would have been toast! 
Meaning that if you want to play it safe you will have to heal after the Limit 
Break and use Poison on the third turn, making it even more important to get 
good damage with the Limit Breaks.

Mastering the second HP Plus would probably make things a bit easier but not 
much. All in all a very hard and time consuming little side-challenge you might
want to leave out for now. 

Oh and I'm sure the battle is possible without Poison, just makes it a little 
bit harder <_<
===============================================================================


After you have defeated her with Cloud and Tifa KO'ed you have to make sure she
joins your party. For that you simply have to select the second choice, then 
the first and then 3 times the second choice.
Yuffie comes with Throw but this materia isn't allowed in the challenge (Coin 
is too powerful) so sell it.

Next we're going to Junon. Don't forget to save before entering.


===============================================================================
B13: Bottomswell
HP: 2500 

Setup:
Grand Glove: Restore
Carbon Bangle: Poison, Fire, Choco Mog

This battle is a joke. 
Simply use Bio until you poison him, then use Choco Mog, Fire and your Limit 
Breaks. He really doesn't deal a lot of damage so you won't have to heal often.
He uses Big Wave as a final attack, that's the only thing I can think of that 
could screw you.
This battle is easy without Poison too, Poison just makes it faster.


NOTE: You have probably seen his Waterball attack in another playthrough.
That attack imprisons a character and would mean instant Game Over...but he 
doesn't use it when only one character is alive so there's nothing to worry 
about.
===============================================================================


I suggest you try to get at least 40% on the parade to get a little extra cash,
it's really not that hard! 

Pick up all the Sources in Junon and make sure you buy Revive and Seal (first 
building) as well as a Headband (on the top floor of the second building of the
second screen of buildings). You can sell most of your stuff but keep the Star 
Pendant, the Power Wrist, the Talisman and about 10 Ethers.

Next you have to do a "dance" for Rufus...you want the HP Plus materia and you
only get it if you score between 60 and 90 points so stop when you have enough
points...my fingers are always tingling because I have to hold back :P



VII.Shinra Boat/Costa del Sol
-----------------------------

Items to collect: Ether, All materia, Wind Slash, Ifrit materia, Power Source,
Motor Drive, Fire Ring


Open the chest to your left to get the Ether, then go talk to Yuffie, Tifa and 
to Aeris twice. Go to the left on the main deck until your each the next screen
and talk to Barret twice. 
The party will meet soon after.
Go pick up the All materia and the Wind Slash and kill Cloud and the other
character in your active party.
Then go back to save.


===============================================================================
B14: Jenova-BIRTH
HP: 4000

Setup:
Grand Glove: Restore, Long Range
Carbon Bangle: HP Plus
Star Pendant

Tifa had 311 HP with this setup in my game, just enough to survive 5 attacks
(with a litle luck) and you have to equip her with the Star Pendant to avoid
getting poisoned by Gas.
 
Jenova has one nasty spell: Stop. If it connects you're in trouble, especially 
if you have selected something else than Cure before she used it. Luckily she 
only has enough MP to use it 3 times and if she Misses, she won't act for like
2 turns and you can damage her a little bit (with  regular attacks).
This means you really have to be careful until she can't use Stop anymore, try
to keep close to full HP all the time and only use your Limit Break to damage 
her.
After she can't use Stop she's still annoying since she can attack three times
in a row. The most number of attacks she seems to be able to do in 2 turns is
five (which you can survive, with a little luck, on full HP), I never saw her 
do six. 
With all this in mind we still have to somehow reduce her HP to zero >_>.
Use the Limit Break when you have it and when Tifa has enough HP to survive 
three attacks. Same thing with regular attacks, you can use them when you're 
sure Tifa will survive the next round of attacks.
I noticed that sometimes (same as when she Misses Stop) she won't do anything 
for like two turns so you will have your opportunities to damage her, just stay
patient! This fight will take a while but if you keep you're cool, there's not
much that can go wrong.
I do have good news too: All of her attacks CAN'T go critical!

You will have to use a few Ethers in this fight, I think I used 4.


NOTE: To make the fight easier you could level up the HP Plus materia or learn
new Limit Breaks but IMO this really isn't needed.
===============================================================================


After you have defeated her again with Yuffie pick up the Ifrit materia and the
ship will dock at Costa del Sol. Run over the bridge and enter the villa 
labeled "Costa del Sol". Go downstairs and pick up the Motor Drive, Fire Ring 
and Power Source.
Then leave town and head to Mt.Corel.



VIII. Mt.Corel/Gold Saucer and the Desert Prison
------------------------------------------------

Items to collect: W-Machine Gun, Wizard Staff, Star Pendant, Turbo Ether,
Transform materia, Phoenix Down x10, Power Source, Tent, Mind Source, Ramuh 
materia, Turtles Paradise Flyer No.3


Simply pick up everything along the way. The Wizard Staff and Star Pendant are
the Items you get when you fall and then climb back up. Simply press right or 
left and hit Circle as fast as you can.
You get the 10 Phoenix Downs near the place where you use the switch to lower
the bridge, simply run down a little bit and you'll hear some birds. This is 
the place where you have to climb up to reach the nest. Choose to fight the 
battle and you'll get them.
The Power Source, Mind Source and Tent are located in a room you'll find if you
follow the "wrong" track (the one that curves to the lower left) after you've 
passed the bridge. Just run all the way to the end of the screen and you should
find it.

I'm sure you haven't forgotten that we aren't allowed to use any Attack Items 
so no stealing Right Arms from Bombs.

Make sure you have at least 3000 Gil before entering Gold Saucer.
You'll have to go to Wonder Square first and then to Battle Square to proceed
with the story.
Oh and the third Turtles Paradise Flyer is at the Ghost Square.

In the prison you have to be careful because the Bandits could steal some of
your stuff.
Remove the Silver Armlet from Cait, as well as Manipulate and Transform, and 
give him a crappy Armor.
Go to the house just below the save point to listen to the rest of Barret's 
story. 
Then go save.
We'll need the B-File for Dyne. Just play up to the Desert Prison, you really 
don't have to do any extra stuff in the B-File but you might as well pick up
a few Items along the way (only important one: W-Machine Gun). The game will 
heal Barret for the fight so you don't need to revive him.


===============================================================================
B15: Dyne
HP:1200

Setup:
W-Machine Gun: HP Plus
Mythril Armlet: Restore, Poison
Power Wrist

Dyne can deal a lot of damage, especially once his HP drop below 600 he will 
always use two attacks in a row. But in back row it's something you can easily
handle.
Just use Poison until it sticks, use Big Shot when you have it and make sure to
always have over 160 HP. Criticals can screw you but that is true for almost 
all the battles in this challenge. 
Dyne can use Molotov Cocktail as a final attack (1/2 chance) so make sure you
heal before you finish him.


BATTLE WITHOUT POISON:
The battle still is quite easy. Dyne can't kill you in 2 turns when you're on 
full HP. When he only uses one attack you can even attack him with regular 
attacks, when he starts using two per turn you'll have to heal often (Cure 
heals less HP than Dyne takes away in 2 turns) but every third turn you should 
be able to use Big Shot. 
Of course if any of the four attacks go critical...
===============================================================================


Then pick up the Ramuh materia, win the chocobo race and save once you're on 
the World Map again.
Then load back your main file. Tifa will gain two levels from Dyne and will be
level 7 after the battle. This is her "final" level in this challenge so you 
might want to restart a few times to try get a bit more HP/MP for her.
I didn't bother to restart.
Just so you can compare: Tifa has 316 HP and 53 MP at level 7 in my game.

I'm not sure if it's even possible this happens but I figure I should mention 
it: If Tifa has less than 50 MP without any materia you should reload, that's 
because we'll use Bahamut a lot and it requires 100 MP (50*2 thanks to the MP 
Pluses, but you can't get more than a 100% boost).



IX. Gongaga and Cosmo Canyon
----------------------------

Items to collect: Bolt Ring, Titan materia, X-Potion x2, White M-Phone, 
Death Blow materia, Elixir, Turtles Paradise Flyer No.4 and No.5, Ether,
Added Effect materia, Black M-Phone, Fairy Ring, Turbo Ether, Gravity materia

Items to buy: Tiger Fang, HP Plus materia x2, MP Plus materia x2, Hi-Potion x10


To get the Bolt Ring (you could do without, but it does come in quite handy) we
must go back to the first Continent. Enter Costa del Sol with the Buggy, go to
the Docks and take the boat back to Junon.
Once you're back in Junon ask for a ride outside. 
Back on the World Map head to the forest area, cross the River and soon you 
should see a cave. Inside, a sleeping man will tell you various things, you 
need to have him tell you how many battles you have fought.
He will give you a Bolt Ring if the last two numbers are the same and even, for
example 388. Note that 00 doesn't count (100 f.e. won't work). 
Well just go outside and fight a few battles until you reach such a number, go
back inside and get the Bolt Ring.

Enter Junon with the Buggy and pay the Shinra Guard in front of the elevator to
go up. Then simply run back, enter the Boat to go back to Costa del Sol.
After you're back, head to Gongaga (just across the river after Gold Saucer).
Save before you enter.
This is an optional battle and it would be much easier if we first went to 
Cosmo Canyon to buy some HP Plus materias and a better weapon but as always we
want to beat all the optional battles ASAP.


===============================================================================
B16: Turks in Gongaga
HP: both 2000

Setup:
Grand Glove: Poison=All 
Silver Armlet: Restore, HP Plus
Talisman

We all know Rude has a crush on Tifa and that affects him in battle <_<.
He will never use Fire on her (meaning he will only attack with his Shoulder
Attack) and there's a 1/3 chance he will not use Shoulder Attack and simply
do nothing. But he doesn't seem to have a problem to deal the final blow to 
poor Tifa!

Reno is our main problem in this fight: He has a magical, non-elemental attack
(no it's not Fire, try Elemental=Fire and you'll see the damage isn't reduced)
called Turk Light that deals ~165 damage. Tifa has just enough HP to survive 
two but since Rude also does some damage (~60) they can easily kill her in two
turns. 
Reno uses Turk Light often but he also has Short Staff (only ~22 dam).

This fight requires some luck at the beginning: You have to use Bio until you
poison Rude. Why Rude and not Reno? Because Rude will heal Reno when his HP 
drop below 1000 and Rude has enough MP to use Cure 27 times....
Of course if you poison both with the first Bio=All (never saw that happening)
all the better since Rude will waste some turns healing Reno.

The easy way is to restart until you poison Rude with the first Bio (you still 
can die on the next turn with some bad luck). You can of course continue the 
battle even if Poison doesn't work the first time, just make sure to use Bio 
only after Reno used his Short Staff attack, that way you'll survive the next 
turn for sure (well almost, if Rude gets a critical you could die).

Once Rude is poisoned you should heal everytime Reno uses Turk Light and use 
your Limit Break or an Ether on the turns where he uses Short Staff. Don't
hesitate to use an Ether even if you have a few MP left. If he uses Turk Light
all the time (I've seen him use it 14 times in a row) and you run out of MP 
before you could use an Ether you still have some options: use Hi-Potions until
you can use an Ether or use an Elixir.

Once Rude escapes, Reno will follow.


BATTLE WITHOUT POISON: 
Yes this fight is possible without Poison but it's a hard one. I suggest you 
buy some Hi-Potions and maybe even a few Ethers.
Use all your Elixirs/Turbo Ethers and even your Megalixir in this fight to make
it a bit easier.

Also I never said this before but you are allowed to pause the game...I try to
avoid using that because I think it's cheap to pause the game to think about 
your next move, what was the point of fastest battle speed and ATB Active 
again? 
It isn't quite the same than turning down the battle speed (mainly because the 
Barriers last much much longer at slower battle speed, ATB not Active, but 
that's for later) but shouldn't be used too often. But sometimes you really 
feel the urge to pause it and think a few seconds about what's next. I'll admit
I did a few times too, especially in the battle against Yuffie L42 and against
Rapps (the one with Tifa) o_O.

You have to use the Limit Break very fast, don't worry about getting Yeah.
Else the fight is about the same as the one with Poison. Heal when Reno uses 
Turk Light and use Limit Break/Fire2/Ether when he uses Short Staff. Just 
requires a lot more Ethers and quite some luck. 
It's pretty annoying that the Limit Break chooses the target at random and 
Fire2 misses quite often.
To make things easier (this is also true for the battle with Poison) you could
level up the HP Plus materia but it's not worth it.
===============================================================================


The Titan and Death Blow materias really aren't needed for your quest but you 
might as well pick them up too while you're in Gongaga.
Just make sure you take the X-Potion and the White M-Phone and buy around 10
Hi-Potions here.

Next town: Cosmo Canyon!

Go to the Inn and look at the fifth Turtles Paradise Flyer. In the room where
you rest, you can find an Elixir on the couch (you don't see it but it's there, 
just press Circle a few times and you'll get it).
Next go the Weapon Shop, buy the Tiger Fang and equip Tifa with it. There's
Flyer No.4 here.

Go up and enter the materia store. We want 2 HP Pluses and 2 MP Pluses. Why not
more? Because you can't get more than a 100% boost to your HP/MP, meaning that 
once they are master you will never need more than 3 HP Plus (because green/red
materia take some HP away) and 2 MP Plus materias. This means that the max Tifa 
can have is 632 HP and 106 MP (in my game of course).
That being said having 4 or even more HP Pluses is a good idea for the 
following Bosses, so if you have the cash buy a few more. 
You need 32000 Gil to buy that and you most likely don't have enough if you
don't sell some stuff.
You can sell the Transform materia you got from Cait (it has 7000 AP on it so 
you'll get 7000 Gil for it), all your Weapons (not the Tiger Fang of course),
all your Armors (you just need one Silver Armlet), all your Accessories except
the Bolt and Fire Rings, all the Sources as well as a few Phoenix Downs/Ethers.
You should keep at least 10 Ethers but that's about it.
That should be enough cash.

Then proceed with the story and when you're finally about to enter the Cave of 
the Gi go save at the Weapon Shop.
You have to fight two battles with Stingers but IMO if you defeat one with Tifa
you've already proven you can beat them. No need to reload just to kill one 
Stinger with Red, then go save again, kill the second one with Tifa, load
again to kill the second one with Red and go save again, that would just 
make things unnecessarily complicated >_>.


===============================================================================
B17: Stinger
HP: 2200

Setup:
Tiger Fang: 3x HP Plus
Silver Armlet: Poison, Restore

Pretty easy fight: use Bio until it sticks and then Defend and heal back when
needed. The Stinger can use Sting Bomb (takes away 3/4 of your HP) three times
but you'll probably only see it once or twice unless you continue to attack her
after you poisoned her (she also uses that attack as a C/A).

Even without Poison this fight isn't hard. You could play it safe until she 
can't use Sting Bomb but even that attack isn't much of a problem.
===============================================================================


Pick up all the Items with Red. Don't forget Added Affect! If you run on the 
oil and slide into the spikes you will reduce Red's HP to 1 but Cloud and Tifa
will be revived and also have 1 HP, pretty odd :P. 
You have to defeat a third Stinger to get the X-Potion. 
To get the Fairy Ring, you have to go left after the first Stinger you have 
to fight (the one you'll encounter if you take the 2nd hole from the left) and 
then south. After that go all the way back out of the cave to save.


===============================================================================
B18: Gi Nattak
HP: 5500

Setup: 
Tiger Fang: 3x HP Plus
Silver Armlet: Restore
Fire Ring

This guy is weak to the Holy element, this means that everything that usually
heals you will damage him. Life kills him >_>.

I tried using Life on him about 20 times and it always missed but there's a 
small chance it will work and instantly kill him.
But you can defeat him using only Cure.
The fight isn't very easy and you'll need a lot of Ethers because he has an 
attack called Aspil that will drain your MP.
His most dangerous attack is Spear Attack (~170 dam) but thanks to the HP 
Pluses Tifa has enough HP to survive two.

The idea of the fight is simple:
Damage him with Cure, heal yourself with Cure, damage him with Cure, heal 
yourself etc...only if he uses Aspil can you attack him again with Cure (or use
an Ether). If he uses  Spear Attack several times in a row you will have to 
heal even more because one Cure doesn't heal back the damage from two Spear 
Attacks.
When you run out of MP make sure you use an Ether after having healed.
I had to restart a few times because his Spear Attack went critical, seems to 
happen quite often...you're able to survive it on full HP but else you'll have 
to hope it doesn't happen.


NOTES: To make the battle easier you can buy more HP Pluses (you could use up 
to 7 in this battle). We don't really need the cash later so if you have some 
money left it's a good idea to use it that way.
Another way to make it easier is to level up the Restore materia (shouldn't 
take long at this point in the game) and use Cure 2 against him.
===============================================================================


Pick up the Gravity materia after the fight and proceed with the story.
Once you're outside head towards the next town.



X. Nibelheim, Mt.Nibel and Rocket Town
---------------------------------------

Items to collect: 
In Nibelheim: Elixir, Turbo Ether, Platinum Fist, Luck Source x2, 
Twin Viper, Silver M-Phone, Enemy Launcher, Odin materia, Key to the basement,
Magic Source, Destruct materia

Mt.Nibel: Rune Blade, Plus Barrette, Elemental materia, Elixir, Sniper CR,
All materia, Powersoul and the Counter Attack materia

In Rocket Town: Yoshiyuki, Power Source, Drill Arm

Items to buy (Rocket Town): Barrier Materia


Talk to the guys in black capes to get Items, the others can't really be missed
unless you close your eyes >_<

Once you're done go outside again to save.
Lost Number is optional but hey you get a kick-ass Summon and Vincent if you 
fight him.
The code to the safe is: Right 36, Left 10, Right 59, Right 97


===============================================================================
B19: Lost Number
HP: 7000

Setup: 
Tiger Fang: Poison, 3x HP Plus
Silver Armlet: Restore
Bolt Ring 

Lost Number is one of the Bosses people keep asking how to beat and complain 
how hard he is...you expect a hard fight?

He's a complete joke and with this setup you almost can't lose. Just use Bio 
until you poison him and then Defend, to reduce the damage, and heal when 
needed. 
He will only use two attacks: Bolt2 (which will deal 0 dam) and Punch that 
deals ~100 dam, 50 if you Defend, and he can use it twice.
Just let him die slowly from the Poison and don't attack him, that way he won't
change his form.


BATTLE WITHOUT POISON: 
Of course using Poison is "cheap", so what about if we don't use it and let him
transform? Well it sure becomes a lot harder.

First, I suggest leveling up the HP Pluses/Elementals (go get the second one in 
Mt.Nibel, you don't need it for this fight but it would be a waste not to level
it up with the first one) to at least 2 stars and learning a level 3 spell 
(you can do without it, just makes it a little bit easier). 
I learned Fire3 because it was the materia with most AP on it but make sure you
level up the other ones as well!
Also go buy a few Antidotes.
Make sure all the important Items are on top of your Item List.
I think it also helps to set the Cursor to memory.
The best place to level up is probably on the floor where Vincent is. There
you have a lot of battles with Black Bats, enemies that are weak to Holy 
(meaning you can damage them with Cure, remember?) and give good AP. Just 
escape the Ying/Yang fights.

Here's the setup I used: 
Tiger Fang: 3x HP Plus, Fire 
Silver Armlet: Elemental=Earth, Long Range
Bolt Ring

First Form:

You have to make him transform into the form where he uses spells (the "red" 
form), the other one has an attack Tifa can't survive. Enter the battle with a 
ready to use Limit Break and use it ASAP. You can take a little time and even 
risk getting attacked more than once to get some Yeahs. 
Hit on the first wheel followed by 3 Yeahs and 2 Hits (it's just too hard to 
get Yeah on the last ones)is what seems to work best for me and I'm able to do
it pretty fast.
After that use an Hi-Potion or Fire3 if your HP are above 220. This is pretty 
much the damage he can deal in a single turn to you, except for criticals, and 
you'll most likely see a few but with any luck you'll survive...he has to get a
critical on a turn where he uses the punch attack twice and when your HP are 
below 330 to kill you.
You should use all the Elixirs and the Megalixir to make things easier. Simply
cast Fire3 and use an Elixir if you lost some HP or use an Ether if he used 
Bolt2. Once you run out of Elixirs you should first use an Hi-Potion, then the
Ether and eventually a Hi-potion again, if he dealt a lot of damage. Only then 
can you cast Fire3 again.
IIRC I used Fire3 9 times and it missed once, meaning I really used it 8 times 
before he changed his form. 
DON'T USE THE LIMIT BREAK A SECOND TIME! First he might transform into the 
wrong form (it depends on what attack you last used: if you used a physical 
attack he will transform into his "purple" form, if you used a spell into the 
"red" form) and second we want to keep it for the second form.
Try to be on full HP before using the last Fire3.

Second Form:

He now has more spells and a physical attack that deals more damage, as well as
an incredibly high MDef, so don't bother using spells on him.
Lucky for us he won't use his physical attack very often and Bolt2/Quake2 won't
deal any damage. This means the only spell that can damage you is Bio2, he uses
an illegal spell, that bastard! <_<
Bio2 will deal about 470 damage (my Tifa had 492 HP) meaning you should always 
be on full HP, ALWAYS!! This isn't as hard as it may sound since he will use
attacks that don't damage you (Quake2/Bolt2 and Aspil). If he uses Tentacle or
Bio2 your next move has to be to use an Hi-Potion. In the case of Bio2 you 
should use an Antidote on the next turn, if you got poisoned. He once killed me
because he used Bio2 twice in a row, not much you can do to avoid that so 
you'll have to hope it doesn't happen.

If you're not on full HP you will have to hope he doesn't use Bio2 as his first
move and quickly use an Hi-Potion. Then use the Limit Break.
The rest of the time heal when needed and attack him with regular attacks.
He will run out of MP pretty soon and will start using Aspil. After one he will
most likely have drained all your MP...What now? 
He will continue to use it and sometime also use his Tentacle attack until 
he hits 0 MP (Aspil costs him 1 MP each time he uses it). After that he will,
most of the time, do nothing and sometimes attack you with his physical attack. 
Simply continue to attack him, heal everytime he uses Tentacle and use your 
Limit Break when you have it.
The main problem of this fight is that if he gets ONE critical with his 
Tentacle he'll kill ya >_<


NOTES: 
- If you want to kill him without Poison and keep getting killed by a critical
Tentacle attack, you need another +20% boost to your HP (10% might be just 
enough but with bad luck it won't).
A simple way is to remove Elemental=Earth and buy 2/3 more HP Pluses in Cosmo
Canyon. Quake2 will damage you but you should survive.

- You could also consider giving him back some MP (use an Ether on Tifa, 
remember that you are not allowed to throw Items at the enemies) to gain the 
Limit Break faster.
===============================================================================


Now it's time to get Vincent! Take the "Key to the basement", the Odin materia
and go get him! 
Take the Destruct materia Seph leaves you.

Go back (you'll get cash with the Items you've collected) to Cosmo Canyon to
buy another HP Plus materia, if you haven't already got 4 or more. 
Then go to Mt.Nibel. 
Collect all the Items on the way.
Make sure you kick down the ladder before using any of the 5 pipes or else
you won't be able to climb back up to get the other Items.
The one thing you really have to get is Elemental.
Once you're done Item hunting go steal a Gold Armlet from a Dragon, be careful,
they do high damage but Elemental=Fire in the Armor, Back Row, Sadness and HP 
Plus should be enough to survive a little while.
Save at the savepoint near Materia Keeper.


===============================================================================
B20: Materia Keeper
HP: 8400
MP: 300

Setup:
Tiger Fang: Poison, Restore
Gold Armlet: 4x HP Plus
Bolt Ring

I'm sure you can guess from the setup what to do. Yep another Poison him/Defend
and heal battle.
Keyclaw and Big Horn deal ~150 dam and Hell Combo ~270 dam. He might use Trine
as his opening move but thanks to the Bolt Ring it won't affect you.
Just heal with Cure or an Hi-Potion when your HP drop below 135 (when you're 
Defending, which you should most of the time).
Criticals can kill you but that's nothing new.
Even with only three HP Plus materias the battle is quite easy but you would 
need a little more luck (Hell Combo + another attack would kill you).
Very easy battle.


BATTLE WITHOUT POISON:
This time we're going all out! Level up the materia in Mt.Nibel, especially 
the Kyuvilduns are great to level up (weak to Fire).
I had 4 HP Plus materias, 3 with 3 stars, one with 2, 2 MP Plus materias with 
2 stars and pretty much all the level 3 spells.
You will need a lot of Items for the fight, make sure you have at least 30 
Ethers and 35 Hi-Potions, even more to be on the safe side.
Also make sure you have a full Limit Bar at the start of the battle.

Setup:
Tiger Fang: 4x HP Plus
Gold Armlet: Earth, Restore, 2x MP Plus
Bolt Ring

With this setup Tifa had the max HP she can have (in my game 632) and enough MP
to use Quake3.
Odin is nice but only deals ~70 damage more than Quake3.
Quake3 deals a bit less than 400 damage and is along with the Limit Break your 
only source of damage.
The best is if he opens the battle up with Trine, this gives you a lot of time
to get good spins (I got 5 Yeahs and 1 Hit), and he already uses a bit of his 
MP.
You can survive at least two rounds without having to heal and what you should
be doing is to cast Quake 3, then use an Elixir/Megalixir, then use Quake 3 
again etc...
Once you run out of Elixirs you have to use an Ether/Turbo Ether and a 
Hi-Potion/X-Potion/Cure instead. Always keep your HP above 320, that way the 
only attack that can kill you is a critical Hell Combo, he did one in my game
but luckily I was on full HP when it happened :)
Make sure you use your Limit Break very fast, if you use it, don't worry about 
getting good damage, or else he'll attack several times in a row.
After a while he will start to use Cure2 followed by Trine. Nothing you can do
about it but hey at least it gives you two damage-free turns where you can 
refill your HP/MP. In my game he opened up the battle with Trine and had enough
MP to use the Cure2/Trine combo 6 times. He should have enough enough MP to
use Cure2 one more time if he doesn't open up the battle with Trine. Just keep
casting Quake3 and healing while you wait for him to run out of MP.
Once that finally happens finish him with Quake3.
Pretty long battle, eh?

I used 5 Elixirs, 1 Megalixir, 4 Turbo Ethers, 3 X-Potions, 29 Hi-Potions and 
26 Ethers to beat him O_o.
===============================================================================


PICK UP THE COUNTER ATTACK MATERIA!! 
This materia is very important, and without it, I don't think you can beat the 
challenge.
Next is Rocket Town.
After you got all the items here go to the Item Shop and buy a Barrier materia.
Put Tifa in front row and save, before going back the second time to Cid's 
house.


===============================================================================
B21: Palmer
HP: 6000
MP: 240

Setup:
Tiger Fang: 3x HP Plus, Poison
Gold Armlet: Elemental=Fire, Elemental=Ice
Bolt Ring

Palmer has the reputation of being a very easy Boss...and what can I say? He 
sure as hell is.
One of my favourite "attacks" in the entire game is when he slaps his ass but 
he won't use it when you have the Sadness status...don't worry you'll get to 
see it when you redo the fight and in the B-File ^_^

With this setup you can survive two Ice2/Fire2, Bolt2 won't hurt you.
He runs out of MP after using Mako Gun ten times, just use a few Hi-Potions
until it happens and he won't do anything for the rest of the battle...how
pathetic is that?
Just poison him and then hold down the attack button until the fight is over.

The battle isn't any harder without poison, just hold down the attack button 
until it's over, just takes more time.

How about without any kind of Elemental protection? (no Elemental materia, no
Bolt/Fire Ring) Still easy, you just have to heal for 10 turns and then attack
until it's over.
===============================================================================



XI. Wutai and leveling in the Mideel Area
-----------------------------------------

Items to collect in Wutai and Bone Village: Megalixir x2, Magic Shuriken, 
Hairpin, Elixir, Dragoon Lance, MP Absorb materia, HP Absorb materia, 
Turtles Paradise Flyer No.6, 1 of every Source
Kjata materia (B-File)

Items to collect in Gold Saucer: Hero Drink x3, Champion Belt, Speed Plus 
materia, Pre-Emptive materia, Enemy Lure, Elixir 

Items to buy: Soft x5, Diamond Bangle, Rune Armlet, Diamond Knuckle 
Either 30 Enemy Lure materias or 30 HP Plus materias (B-File)

Items to steal: Adaman Bangle


Ater watching him get hit by the truck you'll escape with the Tiny Bronco.
The first thing I want you to do is to go to Cosmo Canyon (or somewhere else) 
to buy 5 Softs, this is important!! Make sure you buy them.
Next go to Bone Village and buy a Rune Armlet and a Diamond Bangle.
Dig up the Megalixir here.
It's found on the bottom floor where a piece of wood is sticking out of the 
ground (it's just besides the guy that sells you Items), you can only get it 
once.
You can find Elixirs in Bone Vilage but it's too troublesome to explain >_>
You only have a little chance of getting one even if you found the right spot 
so let's not bother with that.
Go back and land on the beach of the western Continent.

Yuffie's side quest is up next. As you know, Yuffie steals your materia but she
doesn't steal everything! There is an order in which she will take the materia,
basically she will take the most powerful ones first and if you have several
copies of the same materia she will take the one with most AP first.
She can steal up to 49 materias.
To make the next two fights easier buy Earth materias until you have 59 
materias (I'm assuming in that calculation that you don't have a Heal materia,
have one of Sense/Restore/Lightning/Ice/Fire/Poison and 3 Steal materias).
If you're lacking the cash, level up here without activating the side quest.
The materias you should level up while you're making some cash are: HP Plus, 
MP Plus, Elemental and Counter Attack. Use the Rune Armlet and a double growth
Weapon for the best results.

Give Tifa the Headband you bought back in Junon. If you haven't bought it, or 
sold it, go buy one in Gongaga. 
Save your game.


===============================================================================
B22: Attack Squad x2
HP: 1300 each

Setup:
Tiger Fang: Restore, Poison
Diamond Bangle:
Headband

Yuffie will leave you those materias, if you did what I told you.
Thanks to the Headband you will avoid being put to Sleep by their Smoke Bullet
attack. Simply use Poison until it sticks and then use Limit Breaks and heal 
often. They don't do much damage but you only have around 300 HP.


BATTLE WITHOUT POISON:
Just use your Limit Breaks and equip Tifa with Fire to quickly them with Fire3.


NOTE: The battle is possible even if you don't buy all the extra Earth materias
and Yuffie steals all your materias but you will need Hi-Potions and level 3 
Limit Breaks. 
Simply attack them with regular attacks/use the Limit Break and heal with 
Hi-Potions.
===============================================================================


Of course you can't go back to buy some materia, that really would have been 
too easy :)
Head to Wutai. Once there, do all the stuff in order to advance with the 
side-quest. Don't forget to look at the last Turtles Paradise Flyer located in 
the basement of Yuffie's home and to pick up the Elixir along the way.


===============================================================================
B23: Attack Squad x3
HP: Still 1300

This battle is pretty much the same and you should use the same setup. Just
be aware that they do enough damage to kill you in 2 turns, meaning you should
heal every second turn to play it safe.


NOTES: 
-If you think this is too easy try that battle without the Headband...ugh it's
incredibly hard isn't it? 
I somehow managed without the Headband but had some unbelievable luck.
 
You have to poison one on the first try, reset if that doesn't work. Once that
is taken care of you need to survive until the first one dies...thanks to 
Bullet Smoke they can EASILY kill you even if you're on full HP. Simply heal 
every time you get a chance to and hope they don't use a combo like 
attack/attack/sleep/attack/attack/sleep or else you'll never get to act.
Once the first one is down it get's easier but they can still kill you, even on
full HP! One attacks and the other puts you to sleep and repeat.
Only when the second one dies can you say you've won this battle.
On my winning attempt they could have killed me several times but just at the
right moment they used Smoke Bullet and missed or attacked and missed.

I'm sure a battle without Poison and without a Headband is possible too, but
that would be pushing it a bit too far :P
===============================================================================


After that, you have to fight Rapps. Tifa can't possibly win this one (there
actually is a way...) so we'll use the B-File for this fight. 
We left that file after Dyne, right? 
Play everything up to Wutai, pick up all the Elixirs on your way, the other 
Items aren't needed. 
Buy a Diamond Bangle and the Heavy Vulcan (Weapon Shop in Cosmo Canyon).

We need HP/MP Pluses for Rapps, this really sucks since Yuffie steals our 
materia....but of course there is a way around that :)
Go pick up the Kjata materia in the sleeping forest, with it you should have
20 materias that are above HP Plus in the list of materias Yuffie steals 
(namely Kjata, Manipulate, Added Effect, Elemental (x2), Odin, Titan, Ramuh, 
Deathblow, Ifrit, Counter Attack, Shiva, Long Range, Chocobo Lure, Choco Mog 
and All (x5)). If you have the 2 E.Skill materias and Throw, these are also 
above HP Plus. 
If you don't have all the materias I listed, don't worry, just adjust the 
numbers.
It won't take you much longer, even if you need to get more materias.
 
You need ~30 more materias (to be more precise: 33 HP Pluses or 29 Enemy Lure 
materias, if you have all the materias I listed) to be able to keep HP Plus, 
what now?
You have two options: 

a) Get enough cash to buy 30 HP Pluses. There's a little problem with this:
Yuffie will steal the ones with most AP on it, meaning the time you spent
leveling them up (while gaining the required amount of Gil) will be for 
nothing.

b) Go to the Battle Arena and buy 30 Enemy Lure materias. This requires 24000 
BP and a few GP, shouldn't take you long if you're good in the Battle Arena. 
That way you also get to keep the AP on your HP Plus materias (which is
probably not very much but still...).


Once you have at least 49 materias that Yuffie can steal before she takes your
last 3-4 HP Pluses you are ready to start the side-quest.
Once she stole your materia the leveling up begins...the materias you have to 
level up are: 3x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, Lightning and Gravity.
You need Demi3 for Rapps and that requires 20000 AP. While you level it up, all 
the other materias will be at three stars too. 
You don't need all of them now but you'll use the others on Disc2.
You also need Mind Blow, just use Big Shot 9 times to get it.
Once you leveled up your materia go to Wutai and play the side-quest.
Make sure Barret has a ready to use Limit Break and go save.


===============================================================================
B24: Rapps
HP: 6000
MP: 300

Setup:
Heavy Vulcan: Gravity, Ice, 2x MP Plus
Diamond Bangle: 4x HP Plus 
Fairy Ring or Star Pendant


If he opens the battle up with Aero3 you will have to restart. Else use Mind
Blow to drain all of his MP.
He has a high MDef but luckily he isn't immune to Gravity like most other 
Bosses (note that if he was, Mind Blow wouldn't have worked).
Use an X-Potion next to restore your HP. 
The next part is quite easy:
Demi3/Elixir/Demi3/Elixir until two Demi3 damage him...this might take a while
because Demi3 misses often. Use X-Potion/Ether if you run out of Elixirs.
The first Demi3 will deal 4500 damage, the second 1125 and he will be down to 
his last 375 HP. 
Use Big Shot (~250 dam) and Ice 3 (~185 dam) to finish him.


BATTLE WITH TIFA: 
It is possible to defeat him with a level 7 Tifa before the Temple of the 
Ancients!
But the fight is insanely hard...I'm concerned about your sanity >_>, and don't
want you to end up smashing your controller like me, so I decided to let Barret
fight this one.
I suggest you don't bother with this one. 

If you really want to play it, read the next section where I tell you what 
materias you need to level up before the TOA and don't play the Wutai side 
quest (just load to a previous save). 
After you have leveled all the materia, get enough Enemy Lure materias to keep 
the HP Pluses. 
Play everything up to Rapps.
Next you need to win 3-5 Lunar Curtains from Foulanders, an enemy found in the
area before Rapps. You could use MBarrier with the Barrier materia but you have
to be very fast selecting it...and since the rest of the times you'll use
X/Hi-Potions, the Lunar Curtains really are the better choice.
In fact I suggest stocking up on X-Potions and to only use them. 
You need 25 or more to be able to rely only on them.
That way you will only have to go back and forth between the Lunar Curtains and
the X-Potions, for the first part of the fight, which is the hard one.
Put the Lunar Curtains and X-Potions on top of your Item list and set the
cursor to memory.
Also you can and should pause the game to make it a little bit easier.

Setup:
Tiger Fang: 3x HP Plus, Ice
Diamond Bangle: Gravity, Barrier, 2x MP Plus
Fairy Ring


This battle is all about timing. Rapps is VERY fast and on fastest battle speed
you have to be extremely fast to keep up with him. Note that he can attack 
twice in one turn.

He has a set pattern of attack: Wing Cut, Wing Cut, Scorpion Tail, Aero3.
He has enough MP to use Aero3 6 times, after that he will only use Wing Cut
and Scorpion Tail.

He has to open up the battle with Wing Cut. 
If he opens up with Aero3..well I'm sure you can guess what happens.
If he starts with Scorpion Tail you won't have enough time to prepare for 
Aero3. Only if he misses do you have a chance. 

The timing already starts here and we have to think ahead. The best is to use
a Lunar Curtain first but if he attacks you again with Wing Cut it might run
out before the second Aero3...this basically means that you should use it after
the second Wing Cut..but if you wait too long he'll use Scorpion Tail before
you use it and you're good for a reset. You just have to hope and be lucky 
here. Continue even if he attacks you again with Wing Cut, you might be lucky
afterwards.
Use an X-potion next and he'll use Aero3.
Just use an X-Potion ASAP after Aero3, the cursor to memory really helps here.
YOU CAN ONLY SURVIVE AERO3 ON FULL HP AND UNDER MBARRIER!! If he manages to 
attack you afterwards, before you use another X-Potion, it's game over too.
I tried using Wall but it's not possible to survive Aero3+Wing Cut, unless 
they both do minimum damage.
Surviving the first Aero3 isn't all that, you still have to survive the next 
five and that's where it gets ugly. 

When the MBarrier runs out depends on how often he attacks you and if you used 
X-Potions each turn or not.
The problem is that it can easily happen it runs out when he uses Scorpion
Tail, recasting it then would be pretty useless because you wouldn't be on full
HP for Aero3. 
The only hope would be that he misses Scorpion Tail (and that he only uses it
once...), not very likely to happen.
So you have to make sure it runs out on the turns where he uses Wing Cut.
Surviving the second Aero3 is already hard but all six....it's a nightmare >_<.
If you used the Lunar Curtain after the second Wing Cut, the MBarrier should 
just barely last until the next Aero3. Only use one X-Potion after Scorpion
Tail to up the chances it won't run out before.
This means you have to survive three turns of damage but unless he gets 
criticals or attacks several times each turn (this would also be bad news for 
the lasting of the MBarrier) you should survive. Use an X-Potion before if you
see you won't last until after Scorpion Tail but then you'll have to pray the 
MBarrier won't run out before Aero3.
Continue even if you think the MBarrier has run out. What counts is the moment
when he selects Aero3, if at that time you have a tiny little bit left it will
work. Since it takes time for him to cast Aero3 it will seem as if though the
MBarrier won't work, but with a little luck it will.

If you survived the second Aero3, do the EXACT same thing over again.
X-Potion after Aero3, Lunar Curtain after the second Wing Cut and X-Potion 
again after Scorpion Tail. 
Rapps is so fast that you can't use something like X-potion, Lunar Curtain and
X-Potion again, unless he always uses his attacks twice each turn. But usually
you'll only be able to act twice while he attacks three times.
Again you'll have to hope the MBarrier lasts until the fourth Aero3.
Then repeat everything one more time and he will finally run out of MP.

Once you've come this far you're almost there! Heal after the last Aero3 and
cast a Barrier to reduce the damage. Then cast Demi3 twice and finish him 
with Limit Breaks or/and Ice3. Simply use Elixirs to restore your HP/MP.
PLAY IT SAFE!! You really don't want to screw it up now that you've survived 
the six Aero3. Heal more often than needed and always recast the Barrier. 


NOTES: 
-It really took me many attempts to be able to beat him. 
This fight is probably the hardest in the entire challenge!! 
In the end you need luck to beat him, sure first I needed to find a srategy 
that works, but that wasn't the hard part.
Turn down the battle speed to slowest and set the ATB to Wait and you'll see 
how "easy" that battle would be if it weren't for the fastest battle speed.

- The only other way I see to beat this battle is to get enough Elemental 
materias (If you do it before the TOA you'll need 47!!!) to be able to use 
Elemental=Choco/Mog, not really an option if you ask me.

- Of course doing this battle on Disc2 when you have the Ziedrich and the 
Protect Ring is very easy. Beating him with a level 7 Tifa never was a 
question, the only question was if it was possible before the TOA.
===============================================================================


Load back your main file, I suggest defeating him with Barret too.
After Yuff gives you back your materia make sure you get HP Absorb (upstairs in 
the house with all the cats) and to look at the sign outside of the Turtle's 
Paradise, then go inside and get your price!
Go to the weapon shop and buy the Diamond Knuckle.

We can't do the Pagoda because Yuffie has to fight those battles on her own,
meaning Cloud and Tifa would gain levels...just for the record: It's possible
and quite easy to beat it with a level 17 Yuffie (luckily she wasn't in my 
party in my B-File and Cloud was only level 17 after Palmer so I had no 
problems getting her at level 17), of course she gains a few levels on the way 
up, making it even easier.

Wutai is finally over but we have to do even more leveling up :(
In the main file I told you to escape all the random encounters up to now 
(unless you decided to ban poison) with the idea that leveling up as late as
possible is best since you'll get more AP and because the materias we want to 
level up are Counter Attack and Elemental.
We need two master C/A materias and while you're leveling them up make sure you
also level up 3 HP Plus materias to master, 3 Lightning materias to master, 
2 MP Plus materias to master, a Barrier materia to four stars and Elemental 
(you should be able to get 2 master and one with three stars). I never used 
more than one HP Absorb but it could be useful, level one to master.
We won't use them much but make sure you get all the other level 3 spells too. 
Else I suggest to also master two Chocobo Lure materias and a few All materias.
Sell the All materias to settle the Gil issue once and for all ^_^. 
Because of that I'll stop listing Items you can pick up and sell to make some 
cash.

To level up I used Yuffie but feel free to use another character.
She'll level up to around level 65-70 because of it but you still have a long 
way to go before level 99.
We still need to level up materia at least once before Disc3, where you can 
level it up without gaining any EXP. 
But if my calculations are correct (they should be, I double checked), even if 
you use Yuffie again to do the leveling up she will have 2 million EXP max (and
I'm really being generous) meaning she would be around level 92.
Leveling up with Aeris would make you avoid a big chunk of EXP(you know why...)
but it's not needed unless you already leveled up a lot before you had the C/A
materia, in that case you should use her.
Equip Yuffie with her double growth weapon (Twin Viper), if you sold it you'll
have to use someone else...in fact I sure hope you have at least one double 
growth weapon left because you can't buy them.
Also give her the Rune Armlet.
You also have to get stuff from Gold Saucer but I suggest doing that at 
halftime.

The best area to level up is the Mideel grass area, you can't go to Mideel but 
you can get close and land near it, just check the Menu if it says Mideel Area.
You should escape all the Hippogriffs battles (they use a spell that can 
confuse you) and use Odin in all the others to quickly kill the enemies. Odin
will quite often leave one or two enemies alive, use it again or kill them off
with something else. 
All=Destruct is also an idea to quickly kill them. 

After the first C/A is master take the Tiny Bronco and go to Corel. 
You probably have leveled one or more All materias to master, sell them and 
then go to Gold Saucer. 
Buy a Gold Ticket this time, we'll come back here a few times.
First we'll be going to the Chocobo Square to do some betting. You have to get
3 Hero Drinks, an Item you can only win in the B Class.
You have to bet which 2 chocobos are going to come in first but you can bet on 
3 (and you really should!) possible outcomes, making it a lot easier. Look at 
the chocobos stats, often you can pick out three that are better than the other
ones, let's say it's number 1,2 and 3. Well just bet 1-2, 1-3 and 2-3 and with 
a little luck you should win.
It does require a lot of patience to get 3 Hero Drinks but you need them for 
the TOA and for a lot of battles on Disc2/3 so there's really no way around 
this.

But we're not quite done yet. You should have earned some GP while chocobo 
betting, else you'll have to go play the basketball mini-game( don't bother
unless you're good at it) or any of the other mini-games to gain a few GP.
The GP Dude that can exchange your Gil into GP will NOT appear on Disc1.

Once you have a nice amount of GP (you really don't need that much if you're
any good at the Battle Arena, 150 should be more than enough) go to the Battle
Arena. Purchase the Champion Belt, the Speed Plus materia and the Enemy Lure 
materia. The Pre-emptive materia is nice too. If you want you can already get
Omnislash now (costs more BP than on Disc2), we will need to get it at some 
point or another.
Use your first BP to buy Remedies so you can use them in your next fights. 
I hope I don't need to help you with the Battle Arena, shouln't be too hard 
with Yuffie (Ying/Yang is the only enemy that caused me trouble). Try to get 
not too annoying Slots the first 7 rounds and concentrate on getting a nasty 
one as your last Slot (best is No materia followed by No green materia, No 
Weapon, No Item and No Purple materia).

A little side note: The Battle Arena is possible with a level 7 Tifa but it 
does require good Slots (best would be Cure/Lucky 7 all the time). I left that
little side challenge out but don't worry we will have to fight the Special
Battle with Cloud later and it'll be quite challenging.

Once you have collected everything go back to the Mideel Area and level up the
second C/A materia. Also make sure you level up Speed Plus as much as you can
(you should be be ale to get two master).

Go to Wutai to finish the leveling up and to steal the Adaman Bangle from the
Adamantaimai (the big turtle you encounter on the beach). This also has the 
purpose to gain a few X-Potions (won from Bizarre Bugs).
Yuffie is probably pretty strong by now, you can equip her with the Champion 
Belt and the other C/A materia and let her finish the opponents Odin leaves or 
kill the opponents without Odin.

After you have the second C/A to master it's finally time to continue with the
game, go to Gold Saucer again and go on the date. Cloud is KO'ed so the Battle
Arena fight will end before it even starts o_O. Dio will still give you the
Key Stone.
As I said just above it's actually possible to win it if you get good Slots.
Take the Elixir from the locker, after the date.



XII. The Temple of the Ancients and the rest of Disc1
-----------------------------------------------------

Items to collect: Luck Plus materia, Turbo Ether, Morph materia, Megalixir, 
Ribbon, Work Glove, Bahamut materia, Lunar Harp, Water Ring, Aurora Armlet, 
Elixir, Comet materia 

(I told you I would stop listing Items that serve the sole purpose of being 
sold since you're a multimillionaire by now)


Exit Gold Saucer and head to the Temple of the Ancients. Once there make sure
you get the Luck Plus materia, the Morph materia and the Turbo Ether before you 
go to the clock room.
Check out number V and VIII before going to VI.
Jump down to get the Work Glove and catch the little fellow.
He can restore your HP/MP but don't forget he removes the Sadness status!
Anyway, save before entering the door he opened up.


===============================================================================
B25: Red Dragon
HP: 6800

Setup:
Diamond Knuckle: Poison, 2x C/A, Restore, Long Range
Diamond Bangle: Elemental=Fire, 3x HP Plus
Champion Belt


Use Bio until you poison him. Dragon Breath is like an X-Potion thanks to
the master Elemental materia. His Tail Attack is nothing to worry, the only
one that deals some damage is Dragon Fang (~380 dam), just use Cure 2 or an 
Hi-Potion/X-Potion after he uses it.
Once he's poisoned Defend, to cut the damage in half, an heal. 
The turns where he uses Dragon Breath are great since you can Defend again and
don't have to worry about healing.
You will deal ~250 damage to him every time he attacks thanks to C/A, making 
the battle pretty short.
Red Dragon is the last Boss where we'll use Poison!


BATTLE WITHOUT POISON: Thanks to C/A this isn't a problem. Defend ASAP and 
simply heal when needed, piece of cake.
===============================================================================


TAKE THE BAHAMUT MATERIA THAT FELL!

I'm sure you know which Boss is next...
Change Tifa's setup and go save. I sure hope you bought the Softs, like I told
you, else you'll have to be lucky or load back to a save before the TOA and buy 
them.


===============================================================================
B26: Demons Gate
HP: 10000

Setup:
Diamond Kunckle: 2x HP Plus, 2x C/A, Long Range
Adaman Bangle: Elemental=Ice
Champion Belt


Demons Gate has 4 attacks: 

Petrif-Eye: This puts a 30 second timer on Tifa, at the end of which it's game
            over...on fastest battle speed and with the C/A materias it won't
            take long (one or two turns). Use a Soft ASAP to remove it.

Cave-In: Thanks to Elemental=Ice this one will heal you.

Falling Rock: This is the nasty one, deals ~430-440 damage and he can use it
              twice...more than enough to kill you, even on full HP.

Demon Rush: He can use this as his opening move or when his HP drop below
            7500, 5000 and 2500 HP. This will NOT work with C/A. Meaning that 
            if his HP drop below, f.e. 7500, because you countered his attack 
            he will NOT use Demon Rush. He needs one turn to prepare for the 
            attack, so you get one damage-free turn. It deals ~500 damage
            (but if he uses it you will have used at least one Hero Drink, so 
            it'll deal ~440 or less).


This is the first time we're going to use Hero Drinks and you might be 
wondering what exactly they do? 
They each give a 30% boost to Att Mod, MAt Mod, Def Mod and MDef Mod up to a 
max of 100% (meaning using more than 4 Hero Drinks is pointless).
Now I won't go into detail how damage is calculated in the game...you'll 
clearly see the effects in this battle.


Let's come to the actual battle. I suggest restarting until he opens up with
Demon Rush or Cave-In, sure it's also possible to win if he opens up with a 
Rock Drop but that way is easier.
Use a Hero Drink on your first turn. Then heal if he uses Rock Drop (or Demon
Rush). We want to be able to survive two Rock Drops and for that we need to use
all 3 Hero Drinks. Simply continue to heal and use them when he uses Cave-In or 
Misses a Rock Drop.
You can use your Limit Break after a Rock Drop but you have to be CERTAIN 
you're going to reduce his HP below 7500, 5000 or 2500 with it, else you'll die
if he uses Rock Drop again. That way you'll get him to counter with Demon Rush,
giving you a turn to heal.
You can also use it after Cave-In, if you're sure you'll force him to counter
with Demon Rush, and use the Hero Drink next turn.
That means it's a good idea to keep track of his HP but not really necessary.
If you have learned more than her first two Limit Breaks (I never told you to 
unless you didn't use Poison) you can easily deal 2,5k of damage with them.
With 3 Hero Drinks and 6 Yeahs you can even deal over 5k.
C/A makes it a lot easier to get Yeahs since you have more time (while Tifa is 
attacking) to execute the Limit Break.

Once you've used 3 Hero Drinks, Rock Drop will only deal ~290 damage and you 
should survive 2 on full HP. From that point onwards almost nothing can go 
wrong, just heal every turn and let C/A finish the job (you should deal close 
to 600 damage per turn now, shouldn't take very long).

Not as hard as you expected, right?
 

NOTES: The fight isn't hard but that's because we're really using everything 
the game has to offer. Try it without Hero Drinks, without Elemental and 
without the Adaman Bangle and you'll see how hard he can be >_>
I tested this battle for a while before I came up with this setup, I wanted to 
find one where I wouldn't have to tell you: 2x Rock Drop = TRY AGAIN.
And I also wanted one where you don't need more than a L1-2 Limit Break, simply
because you don't need your Limit Break for the rest of the game.
===============================================================================


Have fun destroying him with Aeris :P
You'll wake up in Gongaga. Head to Bone Village, find the Lunar Harp and enter
the Sleeping Forest.
Collect the Water Ring on your way to the Forgotten Capital.
Once you're there go left and you'll eventually come to a screen with two 
levels. Go down to find a chest containing an Aurora Armlet.
Then go all the way back and to the right this time to pick up an Elixir and
proceed with the story (you have to rest).
Next go back again to the entrance and head up, enter the only building and go
all the way up to find a Comet materia.
Head down, put Tifa in front row and save your game.


===============================================================================
B27: Jenova-LIFE
HP: 10000
MP: 300

Setup:
Work Glove
Gigas Armlet: 2x Speed Plus
Water Ring

All of her attacks are water based....just hold down the Attack Button until
it's over.
Ah and I suggest you use the Gigas Armlet because it gives you a +30 bonus to
your strength.

BATTLE WITHOUT ELEMENTAL ABSORPTION:

Using the Water Ring makes it impossible for you to lose the battle, so what 
happens without it?

Setup:
Diamond Bangle: 2x Speed Plus, 3x C/A (2 master, one with 1 star)
Gigas Armlet: 3x HP Plus, Barrier, Luck Plus
Champion Belt

You need about 40 Hi/X-Potions (in the worst case) for this battle so check if 
you have enough.

Strategy No.1: 
Aqualung will kill you if you're not under MBarrier and on full HP but you can 
reflect it...Use Reflect on the first turn and hope she doesn't kill you in the
meantime. Then simply heal with Hi/X-Potions until she runs out of MP. Then 
hold down the Attack Button. You could even remove the C/A materias.

Strategy No.2:
This requires more luck but increases the damage you deal. Use an Hero Drink
on the first turn and hope you survive two attacks. This is only the case if
she uses 2x Blue Light, Blue Flame + Blue Light are enough to kill you and
sometimes she uses Blue Light twice in a row (or maybe I was too slow?).
On the next turn use an X-Potion, on the third turn use MBarrier and use an 
X-Potion again on the fourth turn. Now use the second Hero Drink. Repeat the
exact same cycle to be able to use the third Hero Drink. 
If she uses Aqualung you're most likely going to have to reset unless you just
happen to be under MBarrier and on full HP, which isn't often the case.
Then use an Elixir to restore your MP and cast Reflect.
Then simply heal every turn, with any luck (if she uses Aqualung now she will 
be healed) you should be able to defeat her before she runs out of MP.
===============================================================================


This concludes Disc1!! Well almost you still have to finish it with the 
B-File >_>
You're more than halfway through the challenge, more like 3/4 through if you 
look at it time wise (Reno...).



XIII. Corral Valley Cave/Icicle and the Great Glacier
-----------------------------------------------------

Items to collect: Megalixir, Bolt Armlet, Magic Plus materia, Hero Drink, 
Vaccine, X-Potion

Items to steal: Circlet

Items to buy: Dragon Claw, Hi-Potions


In the Corral Valley Cave you'll find two chests with the Megalixir and the 
Bolt Armlet. There is a third one (the only one you can acess by climbing down) 
that contains the Hypnocrown but you obviously don't need that Item.
When you get to the ladder GO DOWN AND PICK UP THE MAGIC PLUS MATERIA!!!
We need it, baaaadly.

Then continue until you reach Icicle Inn. The only Hero Drink you can get 
before Disc3 (and without Chocobo betting/racing) is in the house with the map,
along with a Vaccine.
The X-Potion is on the second floor of the Inn.
Next go to the Weapon Shop and buy a Dragon Claw as well as Hi-Potions. You're
rich now so you can easily get 99.
After you evaded (or not...) Elena's punch you'll get to snowboard, I just love
that mini-game :)
The Great Glacier is awfully complicated, you can find an Elixir here but don't 
bother picking it up, unless you really want to. Same goes for Added Cut.
But there is one thing you HAVE to do here: Steal a Circlet from Snows.
Snows are best found near the Cave where you can also get Alexander (but they 
can be found in other areas). Just run around the Northwest areas or just 
outside of the Cave (or touch the Hot Spring, enter the Cave and talk to the 
woman and she'll transform into a Snow enemy) until you find one and steal the
Circlet.
If you collapse just come back, the Circlet is a great Item and well worth the 
effort.



XIV. Gaea's Cliff and the Whirlwind Maze
----------------------------------------

Items to collect: Javelin, Elixir, Fire Armlet, Megalixir, Neo Bahamut materia,
Kaiser Knuckle, MP Turbo materia, Poison Ring

Items to steal: PROTECT RING!!


After you collapsed (or reached the Shack before) you'll be doing some climbing
until you reach the first indoor area. Here you'll find a chest with the 
Javelin, the best weapon so far to level up materia.
You can also find a Ribbon here if you forgot to collect it in the TOA.
Kick the huge ice boulder and exit this area. After more climbing you'll get
to the second indoor area, open the chest on your right to get an Elixir. 
There is a glitch here to get as many Elixirs as you want but remember the 
rules: No Glitches!
Go save and then exit, follow the path and you'll soon reach the next area.
You can encounter Malboros on your way and they can easily kill Tifa, equip her
with the Aurora Armlet and the Fairy Ring to absorb the attacks and change her
setup just before fighting the Icicles.


===============================================================================
B28: Icicles (and Evilheads)
HP: 3000 

Setup:
Dragon Claw: 3x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, Magic Plus
Aurora Armlet: HP Absorb=Bahamut, Fire, Speed Plus
Ribbon

The Evilheads do a lot of damage and can kill you before you get to act but
with a little luck you'll get to use Bahamut. That takes care of the Evilheads
and thanks to HP Absorb you'll be able to survive Icicle Drop (the Icicle has
a 50% chance to use this as a C/A). Just finish it with Fire.
To make things a little bit harder (not much really because you gain levels)
try to beat all 4 Icicles. Just restore your HP/MP between the battles and you 
should be fine.


NOTE: It's also possible to kill the Icicle without killing the Evilheads, 
simply use Demi3 (it's weak to Gravity) to instantly kill it. Problem is Demi3
will miss quite often.
===============================================================================


Open the two chests to get a Fire Armlet and the famous "Last Elixir" and jump
down.
Just follow the path and climb some more to reach the last indoor area.
Save.


===============================================================================
B29: Schizo
HP: 18000 each

Setup:
Dragon Claw: All=Lightning, Magic Plus, Speed Plus, 2x C/A
Wizard Bracelet:Elemental=Earth, Elemental=Lightning, Elemental=Ice, 2x MP Plus
Fire Ring

This big guy deals way more damage than we can handle....so what's the answer?
Simply to absorb ALL of his attacks and turn this battle into a complete joke.
With this setup he can't damage you, he will use Ice/Fire attacks most of the 
time, an earth based attack as a C/A every 5th hit and a lightning based Final
Attack. 
Just cast Bolt3 until it's over.


NOTE: 
- Is there a way to beat him without Elemental Protection? No, I tried for 
a while but didn't even come close to having a chance of beating him. Of course
it's possible to have a bit less protection (f.e. only a one star Elemental
materia paired with Ice). 
For the first time there's no other way than to use cheesy tactics.

- Also this is the first time you use the Wizard Bracelet. Beside the fact that
it has 8 slots it gives you a +20 bonus to your magic stat, this is increased 
by Magic Plus. With two master Magic Plus you get a +40 boost!
===============================================================================


Schizo(right) holds a very important Item: the Protect Ring. 
Make sure you steal it!! 

The Whirlwind Maze is next. Pick up the Neo Bahamut materia on the screen with 
the savepoint and go save.
Pick up the Kaiser Knuckle on the way.

You will have to replay a little bit when you use Tifa...since I'm a speed 
runner let me tell you how to play to get through it fast:

- Run over the first screen where the wind blows without stopping (you will 
have one line of text to skip so skip it fast).

- While the screen is black at the beginning of the next area go left and a 
little up and you'll see Cloud has already moved quite a lot.

- Run over after the fourth green whirlwind on the next screen.

Equip Tifa with HP Pluses and the Protect Ring to make sure she doesn't die on
the way, change her setup and put her in front row just before the Boss.


===============================================================================
B30: Jenova-DEATH
HP: 25000
MP: 800

Setup:
Work Glove
Gigas Armlet: 3x C/A, 2x Speed Plus
Fire Ring

Press Circle, C/A just makes it faster.


BATTLE WITHOUT ELEMENTAL ABSORPTION:

Is the battle possible without any protection from Fire? 
Theoretically: Yes. Practically: No.
She can use Red Light three times as a combo attack and you're barely able to
survive one...it might be possible to heal every turn until she runs out of MP
without her ever using Red Light three times in a row but the odds of that 
happening aren't exactly high....

I used the Dragon Armlet to cut down the damage in half.

Setup:
Dragon Claw: 3x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, Magic Plus 
Dragon Armlet: HP Absorb=Lightning, Added Effect=Seal, Barrier, Speed Plus
Circlet 

Here's her attack pattern: Silence, Red Light, Red Light, Tropic Wind.

Use MBarrier on the first turn, heal and use a Hero Drink.
Since she will always use the same pattern of attacks MBarrier will run out 
after Tropic Wind (it might happen before if she used Red Light three times).
In my game it always wore off on turns where her next attack isn't Red Light.
This is important because when you have to recast it you're wide open to a 
triple Red Light combo attack.
Just keep recasting it, healing and using Hero Drinks until you've used all 4.
Use an Elixir to restore your MP.

After that start using Bolt3, thanks to HP Absorb (gives you back ~140 HP) you
can even use it when you have less than 350 HP...I had to restart once because
Bolt3 missed and she used Red Light three times just after it >_<, so you might
want to play it safe.
Just use Elixirs/Megalixirs to restore your MP (or Ether + Hi-Potion).
She has a lot of HP and she will most likely run out of MP before you can kill
her, just use Bolt3 a few more times to finish her.
=============================================================================== 


After the battle pick up the MP Turbo materia and the Poison Ring.
On the next screen you have to dodge that annoying wind again. You can pass 
after the third green whirlwind.

Welcome to Boredom World #2!

After you finally get to do something again you'll control Barret. There's 
not much to say about this part of the game, just proceed with the story and
eventually you'll get the Highwind.
Once you have it head directly to Mideel.
Once again you have quite a bit of story here...once it's over you'll get to 
form a party (doesn't matter who you pick). Save as soon as you get the chance.

You don't want to replay through all that? Well you'll have to >_<...we need
the B-File again for the next battles.



XV. Fort Condor/Mt.Corel and Mideel
-----------------------------------

Items to collect: Huge Materias #1 and #2, Elixir x2, Fourth Bracelet, 
Contain materia, Ultima materia

Items to buy: AM Cannon (B-File)


In the main file you just have to make sure you get the Huge materias, Cloud
and Tifa aren't in the party anymore so for once you can play all the battles
with 3 characters.
But before you go get the Huge materias you have a little bit of Item hunting 
to do.
First go to the Chocobo Farm (or the Chocobo Sage) and buy a Mimett Green.
Then head back to Mideel and go talk to the little white chocobo. Choose to 
give him the Mimett Green and to tickle it behind its ear to get the Contain 
materia. Before you exit town enter the building below the hospital and take 
the Elixir from the bed.
Then go to Rocket Town and open the newly spawned chest in the Weapon shop to
get the Fourth Bracelet.
Lastly go to Cosmo Canyon. You can get an Elixir behind the Item Shop (along
with a FullCure materia, a useless materia in this challenge).
After you're done Item hunting go to Fort Condor.

I suggest losing the mini-game in Fort Condor and defeating the Commander to 
get Imperial Guard, a very good Armor (but somehow I never used it).
After that make sure you go talk to the old man to get the Huge materia.
Then go to Corel, stop the train in time and you'll get the Huge materia along
with the Ultima materia.

Why do I want you to make sure you get the Huge materias? Because I want you
to get Bahamut ZERO, a materia you'll get if you collect all four Huge materias
and have Bahamut/Neo Bahamut.
Since it's not needed before Disc3 you could also dig it up in Bone Village on 
Disc3(at the exact same spot you dug up the Megalixir if you really want to 
know) but the chances of finding it are slim...why bother? It's really not hard
to get all four Huge materias.


We need the B-File for this part of the game.
Make sure you pick up HP Absorb, a Ribbon, the Protect Ring, Neo Bahamut, 
MP Turbo, the Poison Ring and all the Elixirs/Megalixirs along the way.
Buy an AM Cannon in Mideel and equip Barret with it. Next you need to go to
Rocket Town and get the Fourth Bracelet.
Then go to Fort Condor and save outside. 
Run up to the top floor, lose the mini-game and you'll get to face the 
Commander.


===============================================================================
B31: CMD.Grand Horn
HP: 8000

Setup:
AM Cannon: 4x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus
Fourth Bracelet: HP Absorb=Gravity, Lightning, Magic Plus, C/A 
Poison Ring

He will use Poison Breath every turn followed by one or two punches.
Barret has enough HP to survive four punches, i.e. he's able to survive two 
turns even without HP Absorb.
Use Demi3 on the first turn and then heal with an Elixir/Ether.
Then use Demi3 again and he'll be down to 500 or less HP.
Just use another Elixir and finish him with Bolt3.
He has a final attack that deals ~150 damage so make sure you have enough HP
to survive it before you finish him.

NOTE: The Fourth Bracelet gives you a +20 Magic Boost, just like the Wizard 
Bracelet, but it has much more Def. This makes it the better choice unless you
need the 3 extra Slots from the Wizard Bracelet.
===============================================================================

Go speak to the old guy or you won't be able to proceed with the story after
Corel.

Before going to Corel we have to level up a few materias. Go to the Mideel Area
and level up Elemental to 2 stars, your HP/MP Pluses to four stars (they should 
have already 3), and Magic Plus/MP Turbo to 2 stars.
Once you're ready enter Corel and backtrack the train tracks up to the save 
point. 

We will fight 6 battles in a row here. Our goal beside winning those battles is
to stop the Train in time. 
Sure you could also reload every time and fight each battle with a level 8 
Barret (not really hard except for the second Gas Ducter battle) but IMO this 
way is more challenging and more fun.
I suggest putting Elixirs and Megalixirs on top of your Item List, followed by
X-Potions and Turbo Ethers. 


===============================================================================
B32: The Train Battles

Setup:
AM Cannon: 3x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, Magic Plus
Fourth Bracelet: HP Absorb=Gravity, Lightning, Barrier, Neo Bahamut
Ribbon

You might wonder why I used Neo Bahamut? This was just for the boosts it gives
you (+2 to Magic and +10% to your MP).


First battle: Attack Squad x2
-----------------------------

Nothing can go wrong in this battle, I used Bolt3 and Demi3+Big Shot to kill
them.


You'll have to catch up to the other train quickly. You have to alternate 
between Triangle and UP. I usually mashed the buttons as fast as I could but
it seems you need some kind of rhythm to be really fast. I once managed to 
catch the other train in 5 seconds but usually it takes me 10-20 seconds to 
catch it. 

If you want a real challenge, try to beat my times, but be warned that I'm 
fast <_<

Time left on my best attempt: 9:52

Use an Elixir before the battle (or an X-Potion and a Turbo Ether).


Second battle: Gas Ducter (3000 HP)
-----------------------------------

This battle isn't too hard but it can go wrong with some bad luck.
Cast Demi3 and Bolt3 to quickly kill him. 
If a spell misses (especially Demi3 misses often) you'll have to use an Elixir.
Cast Barrier first if you want to play it safe.

On my best attempt everything went well here.

Enemy beaten at 9:14

Use an Elixir between the two battles.
  

Third battle: Gas Ducter x2 
---------------------------

This battle is annoying and by far the hardest of all the Train battles.
They can attack you up to four times in a single turn (actually even more since
Barret's gauge fills up so slowly).

Use Barrier on the first turn.
Look at your HP, if you have over 200 left use Demi3, else use an X-Potion.
If Demi3 misses (this means you won't get 225 HP back from HP Absorb) things
can get ugly very fast >_<. 
With a little luck you'll still be able to use an Elixir but you'll lose a lot
of time.
After Demi3 you can use Bolt3 to kill the first one but it's risky (depends on
your HP of course, if they haven't attacked you much or missed it might be a 
good idea).
The safer choice is to use an Elixir/Megalixir.
Then use Bolt3 and recast the Barrier (or the other way around).
With one left, things get a lot easier, but you still have to be careful.

On my best attempt I used Barrier, Demi3 and Bolt3 to quickly kill the first 
one. I only had 5 HP left when I used an Elixir. I didn't bother to recast the
Barrier and quickly killed the second one with Demi3 and Bolt3.

Enemy beaten at 7:38

Use an Elixir between the battles.


Fourth battle: Wolfmeister (10000 HP)
-------------------------------------

This battle isn't too hard but he does quite some damage.
Use Demi3 and if it doesn't miss you'll get healed. Once his HP are this low
he has a much higher chance of using Atomic Ray (deals over 600 damage) and 
Big Guard.

You should heal after the first Demi3 unless you feel like taking risks.
Next use Demi3 again and either Bolt3, to finish him, or an X-Potion/Elixir
first and then Bolt3.

On my best attempt Demi3 didn't miss but I healed after the first one because
his heavy Sword Attack went critical and I knew that he had a good chance of
using Atomic Ray next turn and thus killing me...and he did use Atomic Ray :)
The second Demi3 didn't miss either and I finished him with Bolt3.

Enemy beaten at 6:35

Use an Elixir between the battles.

Fifth battle: Eagle Gun (17000 HP)
----------------------------------

If you reach this battle the only question left is if you'll make it in time.
Use Demi3 (9999 damage!!) and 2x Bolt3 to kill him. 
He really doesn't deal much damage (and you gained quite a few levels by now)
so you won't have to heal much.

On my best attempt Demi3 missed (hey it hadn't missed in the other battles, it
had to happen at least once :P) once but else everything went well. Because 
Demi3 missed I had to use an Elixir before the last battle.

If you have less than 52 MP left after the battle make sure you restore them.

Enemy beaten at 5:34


Last Battle: Attack Squad
-------------------------

Bolt3.

Enemy beaten at 5:05

You still need at least 30 seconds to stop the Train after the last battle.
Just press X+UP and Triangle+DOWN a few times to stop it.

Train stopped with 4:29 left.
===============================================================================


After you get the second Huge materia go back to Mideel, change Barret's setup
and save just outside.
If you somehow forgot to steal the Protect Ring (I told you to get it!) you 
can morph a Cactuer, found on Cactuar Island (south of Cosmo Canyon) into a 
Tetra Elemental and equip Barret with it instead.
Enter Mideel and go talk to Tifa to get things going.


===============================================================================
B33: Ultimate Weapon in Mideel

Setup:
AM Cannon: 2x HP Plus
Fourth Bracelet: Elemental=HP Plus
Protect Ring


Ultimate Weapon will use three moves before fleeing: Quake2, Claw and Ultima 
Beam, in that order.
Just use an X-Potion after Quake2 and you should be fine.
Elemental=HP Plus nullifies Ultima Beam, in fact any materia without an 
Elemental property works(Bahamut, Restore, Barrier, Ultima just to name a few).
===============================================================================


THAT'S THE END OF THE B-FILE! 

From now on you "only" have to play the story parts once and the mandatory 
battles twice >_>

Load back your main file. 
We will be defeating Ultimate Weapon later and the HP you take away from him 
will carry over into the next battle.
With your high level party you should be able to take away a big chunk of his 
HP. Or be "fair" and don't take any away before facing him with Tifa, it's 
your choice really, doesn't make that much of a difference anyway, as you'll 
find out.

Have fun with Boredom World #3...



XVI. Chocobo Breeding and materia leveling
------------------------------------------

Items to collect: Premium Heart, Sneak Glove, Quadra Magic materia, 
Mime materia, HP<->MP materia, Typhon materia


After Cloud finally comes to his senses go to Bone Village.
Search for 'normal treasure'. Cloud has to be just barely touching (he should
be on the right side of it) the burnt out fire on the upper level. 
There are 2 other spots where you can find it but they're harder to explain... 
With a little luck you should find the "Key to Sector 5".
Keep trying if you don't get it on the first try.

Once you have it, go to Midgar and you'll be able to enter. Go all the way to
Wall Market. Enter the building with "ITEM" on top of it and touch the machine
to receive the Premium Heart.
Next go to the Weapon Shop and buy the Sneak Glove from the guy who gave you 
the Batteries.

Note: I will describe what I did to get a black chocobo, there are of course 
other ways of doing it, just use your usual way if you already know how to get
one.


Return outside of Midgar and go to the Chocobo Farm. 
Rent 5-6 stables and buy 5 Gysahl Greens (put them on top of your Item List).
Equip the Sneak Glove and fly over to Bone Village. Steal 3 Carob Nuts from
an enemy called Vladkorados found on the grass area of this Continent or on 
the islands close to it.

Once you have them fly over to the Mideel area, equip the two master Chocobo 
Lure materias and run on the chocobo tracks.
The ones you have to catch are the ones that come with one or two Spirals, 
simply escape all the other battles.
Use a Gysahl Green at the beginning of the battle and try to kill the Spirals
quickly, you'll have to use another one if you're too slow.
Once you've caught 2, go to the Chocobo Sage's House, fly over the area near 
Icicle and you'll see it. 
Buy 99 Sylkis and 99 Reagan Greens (this is a little overkill but you have 
enough money ^_^).
Then go back to the Chocobo Farm and save before entering. 
The gender of your chocobos is determined when you move them into the stables.
Just move the first one in and remember it's gender. Save. Then move the second 
one in. If it's not from the opposite gender reload until it is.

Give each chocobo 25 Sylkis/Reagans Greens. 
Then go to Gold Saucer and race them to A Class. This is not needed but it 
drastically increases the chances of the breeding. It also gives you a few GP
and maybe a few Elixirs/Megalixirs.
Save.
Mate them with a Carob Nut and with any luck you'll get a Blue or Green 
Chocobo. Now go fight 10 random battles (you have to fight to fight 3-10 
random battles before you can mate them again) and come back.
Save.
Mate them again with a Carob Nut.
Keep reloading until you have a Green and a Blue Chocobo of opposite gender.
Try selecting the opposite chocobo (f.e. male if you selected the female first
last time) if you are having trouble getting that part right.

Then give them your remaining Sylkis/Reagan Greens and race them to A Class.
Fight 18 random battles (you have to fight 3-18 random battles to be able to
mate them) and go back to the Chocobo Farm.
Save.
Breed them to get a Black Chocobo. 
Since KOTR is banned a Black Chocobo is all we need.

If you want to also defeat the Weapons with a level 7 Tifa you'll need KOTR, in
that case, you should breed a Gold Chocobo now and go get it.
Play the rest of the challenge without using it, but make sure you equip it 
when you level up other materias. 


Take it out for a ride and enter the Highwind while you're still riding it.
Fly over to the Mideel Area. The first materia cave is located at the very end
of the peninsula. Just fly over the entire Mideel Area with the Highwind and 
you'll see it. Land as near as possible to the cave and then use your chocobo
to reach it. Here you'll find Quadra Magic, an awesome materia, especially in
this challenge :)

Then fly over to Wutai and land there. Run over the first bridge, take a left
over the mountain to find the second materia cave. This one contains Mime, 
another great materia.

Fly to the entrance to Mt. Corel. If you look around you should see the third
materia cave. This one contains the HP<->MP materia, a materia that may seem 
useless but really isn't.

You can also go to the Ancient Forest but there isn't anything really useful
for your quest there. Typhon has some very minor use but that's it.


Once you have everything you have to level up your materia.
Yeah I know it's boring but there's no way around it.
The jungle area near Mideel is best IMO. 
Try to use another character than the one you used for the leveling before 
Demons Gate. Cid has the best double growth weapon so use him, if you haven't 
last time, that is.
You have to get Quadra Magic to 4 stars. This requires 120,000 AP. 

The other materias you must level up, while leveling Quadra Magic, are: 

Bahamut (master), Magic Plus (2 to master), Mime (master), MP Turbo (master),
Ultima (master), Contain (2 to master)

Also you can continue leveling up C/A, the more the better, but we won't really
need them anymore.
I never used it but Luck Plus could have some uses, level it up too if you 
want.

DON'T SELL OR THROW AWAY THE ONE STAR BAHAMUT MATERIA just because you have one
master copy of it. We will need it on several occasions. 
Generally you shouldn't sell any materia you can't buy <_<

Once Quadra Magic has four stars fly over to Junon and save before entering.



XVII. The Underwater Reactor/Crashed Gelnika and Rocket Town
-------------------------------------------------------------

Items to collect: Scimitar, Huge materia #3, Key to the Ancient, Megalixir x2,
Conformer, Double Cut materia, Hades materia, Huge materia #4

Items to steal: ZIEDRICH!


Pay the guard to get up to Junon and go to the Underwater Reactor.


===============================================================================
B34: Submarine Crew battles

Setup:
Premium Heart: 3x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, 2x Magic Plus, Mime
Fourth Bracelet: HP Absorb=Bahamut, 3x C/A
Protect Ring

If you want to be pedantic you will have to fight all the forced battles before
and after Carry Armor with a level 7 Tifa but they are so easy that I say you
just fight the "harder" ones and don't bother with the rest.

Before Carry Armor: 
You can get a battle from both sides after the save point. If you're too fast 
you'll bump into the first soldier and will get two battles instead of one.
Just wait a few sec before running.
Just cast Bahamut on the group of two and then Mime it to finish the battle.
Pretty easy and the other mandatory battles here are even easier (just cast 
Bahamut).

After Carry Armor:
I myself played that part but you will have to defeat Carry Armor three times
if you do (but only once with Tifa). You won the battle from both sides before
and here it's basically the same so don't play this part if you don't want.

Defeat Carry Armor with somebody else than Tifa and revive her after the fight.
Now go fight the three forced battles against Submarine Crews.
In the first fight kill off the other character/s.
The only difficulty here is that you can't restore your MP between the second
and the third battle. 
Just kill them with regular attacks in the second fight.

After all you do have her Ultimate Weapon, it deals a lot more damage if your 
Limit Bar is full/close to full and if you have a higher level Limit Break.
Just heal with Hi-Potions or whatever.
That way you'll be able to use Bahamut for the last fight. It's a battle from
both sides, just like the one you fought before Carry Armor.

NOTE: Another idea is to equip the Gigas Armlet and the Champion Belt and to
kill them all with C/A, regular attacks and Limit Breaks.
===============================================================================


I suggest to fight the battles after the savepoint and to go up to the screen
where you see Reno. Just watch the Huge materia getting into the red submarine
and then run back to the savepoint. Don't go talk to Reno!
Save.


===============================================================================
B35: Carry Armor
HP: 24000

Setup:
Premium Heart: 3x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, 2x Magic Plus, Barrier
Fourth Bracelet: Quadra Magic=Bahamut, Typhon, Ultima, Contain
Circlet

LAPIS LASER!! That's one of the most famous attacks in the game but in this 
challenge we also have another problem: Arm Grab! If he ever uses this attack 
it's game over.

We're simply going to overpower him.
With this setup my Tifa had 215 magic(!) and one Bahamut=Quadra Magic was 
enough to kill the Arms.

Unless you're a very lucky bastard you will have to restart a few times.
He can use Lapis Laser as a sneak attack before the battle even starts (there's
a 1/3 chance that happens) and as his first attack. And then there also is Arm
Grab: Each arm has a 1/2 chance to use it on the first turn.
If he uses any of these it's GAME OVER. 
You will have to restart until he only uses Arm Punch on the first turn.
This could take a lot of attempts...in another challenge I played he used Lapis
Laser 11 times in a row as his opening move >_<. 
This time I got him on my 5th attempt.

You simply have to cast Bahamut ASAP.
Once the Arms are gone, quickly use an Elixir and MBarrier.
Make sure you recast MBarrier as soon as it runs out. Between the healing and 
recasting, use 2 Hero Drinks. He will often do nothing for several turns, 
shouldn't be too hard to find some time to use them.
Then cast Bahamut again to kill him.
 

NOTES:

- You could use Mime and kill him in 3 turns. The problem is that he uses 
Lapis Laser a lot more when his HP are low, meaning there's a very high chance
he will use it after the second Bahamut. That's also the reason why I told you
to use 2 Hero Drinks, to avoid him going into killing mode where he uses Lapis
Laser every turn!

- You could use the Protect Ring to survive an opening turn Lapis Laser. 
Problem being that this setup will reduce your magic stat by 60 (30 from the 
Circlet and *2 because of the Magic Pluses).
You won't be able to kill the Arms in one turn anymore and will risk being 
Arm Grabbed in the next turns.

- I used Typhon because it gives you +4 to Spirit (Ultima or Contain give +2).
Now you see what I meant by very limited use earlier, if you haven't picked it
up in the Ancient Forest just use another Ultima/Contain.

- You have 3 master Lightning materias and he's weak to Lightning...so a setup
similar to something like HP Absorb=Lightning, Quadra Magic=Lightning, 
MP Turbo=Lightning isn't a bad idea. 
But the Bahamut setup is better, Bolt3 misses often and Quadra Magic selects 
the targets at random. Actually, maybe using All instead of Quadra Magic is 
better. 
===============================================================================


Take the Scimitar before entering the sub.
Save if you fear you'll lose the mini-game...you have to win it to get the Huge
materia. This game is really easy, just shoot the red sub you see at the start 
and it's over, shouldn't take you more than 20 seconds.

Go find the 'Key to the Ancient' and don't forget to get the Huge materia from
the Red Sub.
After that it's time to go to the crashed Gelnika.
Take everything in the right room. Be careful the enemies here really do A LOT
OF DAMAGE. 
Give Tifa the Protect Ring, a high Def Armor, the HP Pluses and Defend while
you're killing your other character. 
Then go save.


===============================================================================
B36: Turks in the Gelnika
HP: Reno has 15000 and Rude 20000

Setup:
Premium Heart: 3x HP Plus, 2x Magic Plus, 2 x MP Plus, Mime
Wizard Bracelet: Added Effect=Contain, QM=Bahamut, HP Absorb=Bahamut, 
                 2x Speed Plus
Protect Ring

They do impressive damage! Well at least if you're using a level 7 Tifa >_>
Rude kills you without Barrier and Reno has an attack that confuses you but 
thanks to Added Effect=Contain that isn't a problem.

The strategy is simple: Use QM=Bahamut, Mime it two times and you win...but 
there's a huge problem: The Barrier from the Protect Ring only lasts until the 
second Bahamut. This means you need to survive one round without Barrier to 
win.
You could even die before the Barrier runs out if you're slow selecting 
Bahamut or with a critical but that shouldn't happen often.
Rude has, as I'm sure you remember from our previous battle against him, an 
aversion to attack Tifa. There's a 1/3 chance he will do nothing and that's
pretty much what you have to hope will happen.
Rude might use Cure2 before you can use the third Bahamut but it still could be
enough to kill him. Even in case it's not, you have nothing to worry about, 
read the notes to learn why. Just mime Bahamut again to end it.


NOTES: 

- Rude has a bug in his AI and if he uses anything other than Shoulder Attack 
(like Ice2) he will DO NOTHING FOR THE REST OF THE BATTLE!! Against Tifa he 
will never use anything else than Shoulder Attack (which is his by far 
strongest attack) but that's not the case for all the other characters. 
Alright, alright he uses Cure2 in the battle against Tifa but it isn't random:
He will use it 2 turns after his HP have dropped below 50%. Once he uses it the
bug will occur...a bit too late to really help us in this battle.
This also means that winning this battle with a level 8 Cloud is a lot easier 
than with a level 7 Tifa.

- Rude will not follow Reno when he escapes the battle. You could increase 
Tifa's magic stat even more (by removing the Speed Pluses and one MP Plus and 
putting Ultima/Typhon/Contain instead) to kill Reno with two Bahamuts.
But this will have no effect whatsoever on the fact that if Rude attacks you
on the third turn you will have to restart. That's why I think the Speed Pluses
are the best choice here. 

===============================================================================


Make sure you STEAL THE ZIEDRICH from Rude!
Then pick up all the Items in the rest of the Gelnika.
Next we're going to Rocket Town.
Save before entering.


===============================================================================
B37: Rocket Town battles

Bahamut...need I say more? I suggest just playing the ones up to Rude and then
load back, don't bother playing the one after Rude.
===============================================================================


Put Cid in your party beforehand and play the three forced battles on the way
with him.
Make sure you remove all his C/A materias before the next battle! Give him 
Double Cut.
Then revive Tifa and do her setup.


===============================================================================
B38: Rude (and 2 Attack Squads)
HP: 9000

Setup:
Premium Heart: 3x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, 2x Magic Plus, Ultima 
Wizard Bracelet: Bahamut=Quadra Magic, Added Effect=Seal, Typhon, Hades, 
                 Contain, Mime
Circlet


He doesn't even have half the HP he had in the Gelnika, Reno isn't there AND
he deals less damage!? What can I say? His best move is MBarrier....
You have to kill Cid before doing anything in this battle, this should go quite 
fast with 2xCut.
Then cast Bahamut. 
If he's under MBarrier he will survive one casting, just mime it and end this 
pathetic battle.
===============================================================================


Steal the Ziedrich, if you haven't already in the Gelnika battle.
After one more fight there will a little bit of story.
You need to get the Huge materia, the passcode is:

Circle, Square, X, X



XVIII. Diamond and Ultimate Weapon
----------------------------------

Items to collect: Bahamut ZERO materia

Items to win: Lunar Curtain x15, Mirror x2

Items to morph: Elixirs, Light Curtain x25


Diamond and Ultimate Weapon both give a great 3500 AP so I suggest you use Cid
and the Scimitar to gain a "few" AP.
  
Once you're back head to Cosmo Canyon and go talk to Bugenhagen.
After quite a lot of story Bugenhagen will take all 4 Huge materias and store
them. Go to the blue one and 'get closer' when asked. You will receive the 
Bahamut ZERO materia.
After that fly over to the Forgotten Capital. Take the left path and run up to
the room where you found the Aurora Armlet last time you where here.
After a little bit of story go back outside again. When you'll try to get on 
the Highwind, Diamond Weapon will appear!
Head over to Midgar and wait for him. Prepare for the battle.
Once preparations are complete he probably will still be quite far away, he's 
so damn slow! Just do something else in the meantime, just don't go into the 
Menu because he doesn't come any closer while you're in it.
Save.


===============================================================================
B39: Diamond Weapon
HP: 30000

Setup:
Premium Heart: 2x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, 2x Magic Plus, Mime, Barrier
Wizard Bracelet: Elemental=Fire, Lightning=HP Absorb, Lightning=Quadra Magic,
                 MP Turbo=Lightning 
Circlet

You guessed it: He's weak to Lightning. He's the reason why I told you to 
master the 3 Lightning materias.

He will ALWAYS start the battle with Diamond Fire. This gives you the time you
need to set up MBarrier and survive his next attack: Foot Stamp.
Yes MBarrier! As strange as it may seem, Foot Stamp is a magical attack.
After that use Bolt3=QM, if all 4 hit, it should deal around 15k of damage.
You can win this battle if you mime it twice, one could already be enough but 
Bolt3 misses often.
The problem is that he can kill you if he uses Foot Stamp and you're not under
MBarrier. 
To play it safe use an Elixir and recast the MBarrier.
Then finish him with Bolt3=QM and Mime.
===============================================================================


After you have defeated him, some events will happen.
DO NOT FLY OVER THE NORTHERN CRATER!

After this battle Ultimate Weapon appears and we're going to fight him before
going to Midgar.
Go to Junon and save before ramming him with the Highwind.


===============================================================================
B40: Ultimate Weapon
HP: 100,000

If you damaged him back in Mideel he will have less HP.
Ultimate Weapon likes to escape battle, try to keep him on screen after he 
escapes or else you'll have to search for him.
Ram into him a few times and he will go to his next battle location. Once he 
stops flying, ram into him again to start the fight.
You have to reduce his HP to 20,000 or less to get him to go to his last battle
location, Cosmo Canyon, where you can finally finish him.
There are two possible types of battles against him: Air and Land.

Setup for air battles:

Premium Heart: 3x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, 2x Magic Plus, Mime
Wizard Bracelet: Elemental=Barrier, Elemental=Earth, Quadra Magic=Contain, 
                 Typhon, Hades
Bolt Ring

For the land battles just use the Protect Ring instead of the Bolt Ring.


With this setup you're INVINCIBLE in the air battles and only a critical Claw
attack can kill you in the land battles.
Just concentrate on dealing damage, use Flare ASAP and Mime it until he 
escapes the battle. Repeat until he goes to Cosmo Canyon. Even if you didn't
damage him back in Mideel it shouldn't take you more than 4-5 battles before he
goes there, I had to fight him four times before he flew over to Cosmo Canyon. 

Save before this one, since this time he will give out EXP and AP.
In the last battle he uses Shadow Flare as a final attack. Simply cast Reflect
at the start of the battle and you'll have nothing to worry about.


NOTE: I chose this setup because you don't have to change the materia between
the battles. Of course there are better setups if you are willing to change it.
A Tetra Elemental is also quite nice but not at all needed.
===============================================================================


After defeating Ultimate Weapon you could go to the Battle Arena.
Here's what you need to enter the special battle:

- W-Summon
- Cloud must have learned Omnislash
- Ultimate Weapon defeated

Only Cloud can fight this battle and your price if you win it is the 
über-powerful Final Attack materia.

You just defeated Ultimate Weapon and you can purchase Omnislash and W-Summon 
at the Battle Arena. 
So why aren't we doing this now? Because I couldn't find a way to win the 
special battle with a level 8 Cloud that doesn't involve W-Item!
I really don't think it's possible without W-Item but you can always prove me 
wrong >_>

But before going to Midgar you still have quite a lot to do:

- First you have to get some Elixirs: Either dig them up in Bone Village or 
  morph Harpies into them.
  You can't return do the desert area around Gold Saucer but you can still find
  them on the chocobo tracks (along with chocobos). Equip your two master 
  Chocobo Lure materias and morph until you have 25 Elixirs.
  Yuffie, equipped with the Conformer, is clearly the best choice here because
  she deals the same damage with Morph as with a regular attack (this only 
  works with the Conformer btw).

- Next go to the Underwater Reactor and go all the way down. Just before the 
  savepoint (the one where you saved before Carry Armor) there is an underwater
  tunnel. In this area you'll find enemies named Corvettes than you can morph 
  into Light Curtains. 
  Morph them until you have 25 Light Curtains.
  If you want to beat Emerald and Ruby later morph a Ghost Ship to receive
  the Guide Book.

- Then go to Wutai and to the Da-chao Statue. Here you'll find Foulanders.
  You can win Lunar Curtains from them. Sometimes they'll give you nothing
  or a Fire Veil but the chance of getting a Lunar Curtain isn't too bad,
  especially at high levels.
  Fight them until you have 15 Lunar Curtains. 

And last but not least go to the Shinra Mansion in Nibelheim. On the second
floor you'll find an enemy called Mirage from which you can win Mirrors.
You only need two. 

Once you've done all that you're finally ready to go to Midgar.
Go to the Northern Crater first and then fly over Midgar.



XIX. Midgar Revisited
---------------------

Items to collect: Megalixir, Elixir x3, W-Item materia, Mystile


Follow Cait Sith down the hatch. Take the upper path first to find two chests 
containing an Elixir and a Megalixir. Then go back and take the lower path. 
After a little while you'll come to a platform with two chests, the one to the
right contains an Elixir.
Then go up the stairs and you'll see a savepoint.
Enter the tunnel and head down. Make sure you don't go up or else you'll 
trigger the next Boss battle.
You have to run all the way down until you find W-Item and another savepoint.
Then go back to the other savepoint and save.
The next battle can be avoided, they'll ask you if you want to fight and of
course we're going to.
Btw, they only give you this choice if you did the Wutai side-quest.

Reno and Rude both give you an Elixir. But it could happen that you kill Reno 
without killing Rude at the same time and then they'll flee...make sure you 
kill both at the same time. Ultima should easily deal 9999 damage, just use it
three times and you'll kill them both. Elena will survive but you don't get
anything from her anyway.


===============================================================================
B41: Turks in Midgar 
HP: Reno has 25000, Rude 28000 and Elena 30000

Setup:
Premium Heart: 3x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, W-Item, Quadra Magic=Bahamut
Ziedrich
Protect Ring


Thank god you have W-Item for this battle, else things wouldn't look too good.
Still, 3 vs. 1 is a hard battle, even with W-Item.

Put X-Potions, Hero Drinks, Elixirs, Lunar Curtains and Light Curtains on top
of your Item List, in whatever order you like best.
Setting the cursor to memory really helps in this battle IMO, since you really 
have to be fast this time.

Elena deals quite some damage and has an attack that can confuse you.
Rude likes Tifa even more than before and now has a 2/3 chance of hesitating
and will only attack her with Shoulder Attack.
Reno is our main concern in this battle, his Turk Light deals close to 500 
damage without MBarrier.

First part: 

First you have to drink four Hero Drinks. 
Use one and an X-Potion on the first turn. 
Then depending on how much Barrier you have left use another 
Hero Drink+X-Potion or use X-Potion+Light Curtain. 
ALWAYS use the healing Item before you use the Barrier Item!!
I prefer to use Light Curtains in this phase but Turk Light is a major threat 
without the MBarrier. You have to choose one or the other, it's not possible
to heal, cast both Barriers and find the time to use the Hero Drinks.
After X-Potion/Light Curtain use X-Potion/Hero Drink. By then the Barrier will
have run out so you'll have to use X-Potion/Light Curtain again.
Just repeat the cycle until you've used the four Hero Drinks.
The damage they deal with physical attacks is quite reduced by now. 
Turk Light,on the other hand, is still is a threat. 
This part can go teribly wrong...for example if Reno uses Turk Light on the 
same turn Rude decides to attack or with criticals but that's nothing new.
They once even managed to kill me before I could do anything >_<

Second part:

Once you've used the four Hero Drinks, use Elixir/Lunar Curtain.
Then cast Bahamut on the next turn.
Repeat this four times to win the battle.
Of course things can go wrong, they can EASILY kill you in two turns but hey
you can be lucky too, you have some Evasion % after all.
Elena might use her Bewildered attack in this part, just hope you evade it.
But even if Tifa gets confused she most likely won't have the time to do
something stupid before she gets attacked again, and thus returns to normal.
The worst case would be if she throws an Elixir at Reno <_<

In my game four Bahamuts were always enough to kill Reno but it was close.
Just cast it again, without Quadra Magic, since you can only use it four times,
to finish him.

It's too bad you can't use HP Absorb instead of Quadra Magic, it would have 
made things easier, but you only have 5 castings of Bahamut (and you would need 
8 without Quadra Magic). 
===============================================================================


After the battle go back to the savepoint and save.
Then just go up and left at the fork to get the next battle. 


===============================================================================
B42: Proud Clod
HP: 60,000

Setup:
Premium Heart: 3x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, W-Item, Quadra Magic=Bahamut
Fourth Bracelet: 2x Magic Plus, Mime, HP Absorb=Bahamut
Circlet

This guy has an attack pattern but you really don't have to know it now, check
out the special battle if you really want to know.
Just know that he can use all of his attacks twice in a single combo, except
Beam Cannon, an attack you might not even get to see.
On the first turn use X-Potion/Light Curtain.
The use Hero Drinks, X-Potions and recast the Barrier until you've used 4 Hero
Drinks.
From now he can't kill you with a double W-Machine Gun, even without Barrier
(of course I'm not talking about criticals here). 
If you want to play it safe and be able to survive a critical double W-machine
Gun attack (o_O) you can continue to recast the Barrier but I say screw that:
Use Bahamut and mime it three times to quickly end the battle.
If he gets on his knee, he's preparing for Beam Cannon. This attack can kill
you if you're not under MBarrier but he needs 2 turns to prepare for it...that
should be enough time to kill him.
===============================================================================


Head up to the next screen and open the two chest to get an Elixir and a 
Mystile! 
Save.
On your way up to Hojo you might encounter a Grosspanzer, one of the strongest
random enemies in the entire game. Equip the Protect Ring and the Ziedrich to 
survive his attacks and change the setup just before Hojo.


===============================================================================
B43: Hojo
HP: 13000 in his first form, 26000 in the second and 30000 in the last

Setup:
Premium Heart: 3x HP Plus, 2x MP Plus, W-Item, Quadra Magic=Bahamut
Mystile: 2x Magic Plus, Mime, HP Absorb=Bahamut, Hades
Ribbon

Haven't seen enough of Bahamut yet?

First Form:
Use 2 Hero Drinks on the first turn and then Hero Drink/X-Potion on the next 
two. Then cast Bahamut and mime it.

Second Form:
Mime x3. He can kill you if he uses Pile Banger twice on the first turn or
if it goes critical but that's it. 
You could use a Lunar Curtain before killing the first form to avoid that.

Third Form:
Look at Bahamut 12 more times and it'll be over. 
He never came even close to killing me with his Combo attack.

Very easy battle.
===============================================================================


A lot of storyline after this battle and then....YEEEEES! DISC3!
You're almost there, but one very hard and challenging battle remains before
you can go fight the final battles.



XX. The Special Battle and the Northern Crater
----------------------------------------------

Items to collect: Save Crytal, Counter

Items to purchase at the Battle Square: Remedies, W-Summon, Omnislash


I'm sure you already know which battle I'm referring to, yep it's the Special
Battle in the Battle Arena.
And it's not like this battle is really optional since you need Final Attack
for the final battles.
Well let's get it over with!


First you have to learn all of Cloud's Limit Breaks. 
Best playce to quickly learn them is the Mythril Mine. Make sure you don't only
learn his 2-1 and 3-1 Limit Breaks but also the 1-2, 2-2 and 3-2 Limit Breaks.
For that use Braver 8, Blade Beam 7 and Meteorain 6 times.

Once you have it go to the Battle Arena. You should have won enough GP while 
racing your chocobos, but if you need more the fastest way is the GP Dude.
This guy has about a 1/7 chance of appearing in the area with the save point,
he's found above the savepoint, on the left side of the house.
If he's not there just keep entering and exiting Gold Saucer until he appears.
You can only exchange 100 GP each time but it doesn't take more than a minute 
to make him appear again, if you need more.

Before you can enter the Special Battle you need to purchase Omnislash and 
W-Summon. Also buy a few Remedies, first they might already come in handy in 
those battles if you destroy your Accessory.
The battle arena really isn't hard, especially with all the materia you have. 
Just use a Ribbon and you should be fine.
Try to get a nasty slot on the last one, this greatly increases the BP you
receive. Best are No Materia, No Green materia, No Weapon, No Item and 
No Purple, in that order. The previous slots don't really matter.  
If you're having trouble you can use the Square button trick (see below)

Once you have both, have Cloud learn Omnislash and go outside again.
Save and prepare for the special battle.
You need a lot of Elixirs, Light and Lunar Curtains to beat it. You should have
enough, at least if you did what I told you to do before Midgar.

I used 22 Elixirs, 19 Light Curtains, 6 Lunar Curtains, 3 X-Potions, 1 Mirror,
1 Turbo Ether, 2 Hero Drinks (Mime!), 1 Remedy and 1 Tranquilizer on my winning
attempt.

You'll want to have more than that to be sure you don't run out of Items.
As always, make sure you put them on top of your Item list. IMO the first two 
should be Elixirs and Light Curtains, followed by Lunar Curtains and 
Megalixirs. 

The next battle is very hard even if you get good Slots but you have absolutely
no chance of winning it if you get bad Slots.
Luckily there's a little trick to get the slot you want.


Square button trick:
--------------------

Press Square when the Slots are spinning and they will disappear. Once you 
let go of it, they will resume spinning at the same spot where they stopped.
It's all in the timing! Press and let go, press and let go, press and let go. 
After a little practice you should be able to make the slot move forward one 
choice at a time.
Spin the slots to the choice BEFORE the one you want. Then let go of Square
and press Circle as fast as possible. You should get the handicap you wanted.
PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! 
You really have to get that part down perfectly.

That being said sometimes you just can't avoid getting a bad slot, restart or
continue if it wasn't a too nasty one.

The ones you'll want to get are: 
Cure, Lucky7, Toad, Poison, Mini and No Weapon

The ones you can get and still continue are:
x30 Time, O MP, Down 5 or 10 Levels and 1/2 Speed, No red materia

x30 Time can be deadly but if you can survive the first round of the fight then
there's no reason not to continue.

0 MP isn't too bad but you'll have to waste a turn using an Elixir and 
something else

Down 5 or 10 Levels isn't too bad either, but slightly reduces the damage you 
deal.

1/2 Speed isn't a nasty one either, it decreases your dexterity by 50%. You 
won't really notice a difference but you will be a bit slower. 
Still, it should be avoided, you are already slow enough as it is.


No red materia: this removes Hades, you can still get through the entire thing
if you use Remedy/Tranquilizer to cure the statuses but it's best to avoid this
slot.

THE ONES YOU DON'T EVER WANT TO GET ARE:
No Item, 1/2 HP, 1/2 MP, 1/2 HP & MP, No Materia, No Purple, No Green, No Blue,
No Yellow, No Armor and No Accessory

These are all pretty much deadly, if you get No Accessory you can still try to 
continue, especially if you're close to the end. 
Avoid the rest of them at all cost.


Once you think you're ready go to the Battle Arena again. If you did everything
I told you, the woman at the desk will ask you if you want to participate in 
a special battle. Say yes and let's start the fun!


===============================================================================
B44: Special Battle

On my winning attempt I only had Lucky7, Cure, Mini and Poison as Slots. As I
explained above you really need to get good Slots to have a shot at winning it.
In the following I'll assume you've gotten good Slots.

Setup:
Ultima Weapon: 3x HP Plus, 2x Magic Plus, MP Plus, W-Item, Mime
Mystile: Quadra Magic=Contain, HP Absorb=Contain, Added Effect=Hades
Protect Ring 


Sea Worm (18000 HP):
-------------------

This battle is used to prepare for the next ones.
This guy as an attack called Sandstorm that can inflict Darkness.
Darkness just slightly reduces your accuracy and you can easily continue even 
if you have it. I always used Remedy/Tranquilizer to get rid of it.
He deals almost no damage and you can easily use 2 Hero Drinks.
Then mime it to use two more without actually using the Items! That way you'll
have 2 Hero Drinks left after the battle, but don't worry even if you use all 
four.
Next use the Mirror and an X-Potion.
Flare deals low damage against him, because he's resistant to Fire, but use it
anyway because you'll mime it in the next fights.
Simply mime it until he dies.


Ho-Chu (8600 HP):
-----------------

Mime and it'll be over.


Unknown 3 (30000 HP):
---------------------

There's one attack to fear here: Slap! If he uses it you'll have to hope you 
evade it or else it's GAME OVER.
He also uses Bolt2 but you will reflect it back at him and Poison Fang, that
will never do any damage because of Hades=Added Effect.
Just use mime every turn and hope you don't see Slap, this battle goes well 
most of the time.
Flare deals enough damage to kill him in two turns but since it misses quite 
often I always needed three to kill him.

Note that if you have the poison status he will never attack you! I tried to 
find a setup where I would have the posion status in this battle, to avoid 
Slap, but it caused too much trouble for the other battles.


Serpent (28000 HP):
-------------------

Mime all the way.
His attack deals ~550 damage and unless 2 or more Flare miss you will get back
enough HP to survive, even without MBarrier. Even if 2 Flare miss once you
should have enough HP to survive the next attack but then you'll have to hope
that the next time at least 3 Flare connect.

I always used Mime every turn without casting an MBarrier and never lost this
battle.

If you want to play it safe: Mime then Elixir/Lunar Curtain, then Flare, then
Elixir/Lunar Curtain again etc....


Wolfmeister (20000 HP):
-----------------------

Mime. He could use Atomic Ray after the first QM=Flare but on full HP you 
should survive.
Should be over in two turns, sometimes it takes three with some very bad luck.


Behemoth (14000 HP):
--------------------

Can you guess what to do?
Could be over in one turn if all 4 Flare damage him, else he'll counter with
a Flare of his own but you'll reflect it right back at him!


Maximum Kimaira (8000 HP):
--------------------------

Mime (duh)


Proud Clod (120,000 HP!):
--------------------------

Alright, coming this far isn't too hard if you get good Slots...but this battle
is supremely annoying. It still haunts me in my nightmares >_>
I lost count of how many times I failed against him, but way too many...

This guy has a set attack pattern: 
First, he'll never use Materia-jammer because he only uses it on a characters 
without Reflect...guess why? Because it inflicts Reflect o_O

At the beginning of the battle he'll use:

W-Machine Gun
Wrist Laser or Big Hand Clash
Knee Fire or Knee Blend
W-Machine Gun

And he'll repeat that cycle until his HP drop below 72,000.
Then he'll use Beam Cannon after the second W-Machine Gun before repeating
the cycle again.
Oh and he can use all his attacks twice in a single combo. The one to fear here
is the W-Machine Gun combo.


First Phase:

Quadra Magic is very annoying in this fight because it selects the target at
random. Jamar Armor has 40,000 HP but it's COMPLETELY USELESS to damage it 
since it'll do nothing for the entire fight.
At the start of the battle look with what attack he started and you'll know
where you are in the cycle and what will come next.
Usually it's best to use Elixir/Light Curtain but sometimes Mime can be used.

Basically, you have to be under Barrier when he uses W-Machine Gun.
Use Elixir/Light Curtain on one of the two other turns and again if it runs out
after the first W-Machine Gun.
It all depends how many times he uses his attacks.
What I did most of the time here was to use Elixir/Light Curtain after the 
first W-Machine Gun then Flare, then again Elixir/Light Curtain and then again
Flare. And repeat.
Since Quadra Magic has 4 stars you can only use it 4 times.

Second Phase:

Now that you don't have Quadra Magic anymore simply cast Flare on him (the 
cursor will automatically be on him).
This actually makes things a bit easier because the Barrier will last longer,
three Flares less does make a difference :).
Flare misses sometimes but not too often so you can take some risks. If you 
play it too safe you'll never reduce his HP to zero and will end up getting
killed by a critical >_<

If you use Elixir/Light Curtain after Knee Fire/Blend the Barrier should last 
until the second W-Machine Gun. In that time you can use Flare and mime it.
I usually mimed it again on the turn where he uses Wrist Laser and used 
Elixir/Light Curtina again after Knee Fire/Blend.
If he uses W-Machine twice the first time, the Barrier might run out the second
time, if he uses it twice again (you're still following I hope...). 
In that case you can consider using Turbo Ether/X-Potion instead of Mime after 
the first W-machine Gun combo attack.

Third Phase:

When you get him down to 72,000 HP or less he'll start using Beam Cannon.
This attack can kill you if you're not under MBarrier but it misses very often
and he needs two turns to prepare for it.
Still, you will have to use a Lunar Curtain before he uses it unless you want
to take risks. But the problem is that he uses W-Machine Gun just after Beam 
Cannon so you also have to be under Barrier.
The best is to use Elixir or X-Potion/Lunar Curtain when you see him kneel.
Then use Flare, he will do nothing in the meantime.
Then he'll use Beam Cannon. Use Elixir/Light Curtain ASAP after it and you'll 
be safe for W-Machine Gun.
Next use Flare and mime it once. Heal first if you want to play it safe.
If he used W-Machine Gun twice and Flare misses you'll most likely die.
So a good policy here would be: use Flare if he only used W-Machine Gun once 
and to heal if he used it twice (or one critical+ missed).
Then use Elixir/Light Curtain again, then Flare and you're back to when he 
kneels.
On my winning attempt I had to use 6 Lunar Curtains here but I'm sure you can 
beat him faster if you're willing to take more risks.


If you haven't played the battle yourself you might wonder what's so hard about
it? 
Critical+ normal W-Machine Gun kills Cloud, even under Barrier and on full HP!!
Since this battle is very long the odds of this happening are pretty high.
I failed most of my attempts because of that. 
After a while I had the timing down quite well and unlike what happened in my 
first attempts, where I screwed up the timing and got killed by W-Machine Gun 
because I wasn't under Barrier, I always was under Barrier when he used 
W-Machine Gun but I still failed countless times.
I think I've seen it all in this battle, once I died because Flare missed and
he used Knee Fire twice, twice critical, ARGH!!!
I also saw double critical W-Machine Guns a few times and a lot of critical+
missed ones.
If there's one attack that never caused me trouble than it's Beam Cannon.
It missed most of the time and dealt ~420 when it hit but I never died because
of it, casting MBarrier in time for it can't really go wrong.
 
I think that taking some risks isn't a bad idea. Flare deals around 5,5k of 
damage after all, and it's better to try to keep that battle short than to play
it safe for an hour just to get killed by a stupid critical >_<

His 120,000 HP seemed to be endless on my winning attempt. I knew I almost had
him but then Flare missed a few times in a row and I started to play it overly
safe. Then a W-Machine Gun went critical but luckily the next one missed and
I finished him!

I don't know if it's just me but that battle drove me insane.
Something about the fact that you have to play 7 battles before it, get 
good slots, that he gets criticals way too often and that the Mystile isn't all
that, really annoyed me.
Maybe it's just me and you won't have too much trouble beating him.
I sure hope so and really wish you good luck for this one.


NOTE: The japanese dudes that played this challenge first did not include this 
battle (in fact they didn't include any optional battle) in the challenge.
Along with the Rapps vs. Tifa L7 battle, this is without a doubt the hardest 
battle in this challenge.
If you really don't see any hope of winning this one you can level Cloud up but
I want to remind you of something first:

THIS IS A CHALLENGE! 
Isn't the entire point of a challenge to make an easy game hard? >__>
===============================================================================


Once Proud Clod is defeated you'll get the Final Attack materia.
The battle Arena might was very hard but maybe you're still wondering how the 
hell we're going to beat Seph ?!
Safer has attacks that you can't survive and no Reflect, Barrier, Back Row,
Sadness, HP Plus, Ziedrich, Protect Ring or whatever can change that.
Final Attack can only be used five times (when it's master), will that really
be enough?
The answer to all the problems lies in one materia we haven't used so far...
The HP<->MP materia!!
Since it doesn't really matter if you have 600 or 60 HP the idea is to see what
we can do with all the extra MP, and boy can we do a lot with it!
I tried to beat the final battles without HP<->MP but I never came even close
to beating Safer.
And since you have to use HP<->MP anyway and it's been a long and hard 
challenge let's really PWN them, agree?
Final Attack and HP<->MP is also the basic idea behind the Weapons battles as
you'll see later.

Go to the Northern Crater and play up to the room where the party meets.
Choose to take the left path. And then take the upper path the next time you
have a choice.
You don't have to pick any Items, except the Save Crystal.
The left-up path is the best area to level up in the entire game. It also has 
enemies called Movers, that give 2400 AP and 0 EXP. Perfect to level up your 
materia without gaining levels, and thus avoiding level 99.
You should still have quite a lot of EXP left until level 99 so you can fight 
other battles, as long as you stay at level 98 or under. The Magic Pots give 
great AP too but you have to throw an Elixir at them...and that would be 
against the rules. You probably don't have many Elixirs left anyway.
Use Cid since he has a triple growth weapon. 
You can even use Cloud with Apocalypse since you won't need him anymore.
Use the Save Crytal here and save.
Also, if you want to fight the Weapons afterward pick up Counter. It's found
on the third screen of this area, near the large ball of light.

I suggest you level up Bahamut ZERO to master. 
This requires 250,000 AP and while you're mastering it you should be able to 
get one Final Attack to master and the next one to 4 stars. 
Else master Quadra Magic and MP Turbo and Mime, if it isn't already the case, 
as well as Counter and Hades, at least if you want to fight the Weapons 
battles.
I told you to get KOTR if you wanted to fight the Weapons, don't forget to 
level it up too!

Once you have it to master, save and equip Tifa with the Ziedrich and the 
Protect Ring.
Go down and you'll meet the party again.

Let's Mosey!

The Iron Men can deal quite a lot of a damage but with the Ziedrich and the 
Protect Ring you should survive. You can also use Final Attack=Revive, if you 
want. Heal after each battle.
Once you're at the bottom open the Menu and change Tifa's setup.


===============================================================================
B45: Jenova-SYNTHESIS
HP: 60,000

Setup:
Premium Heart: Final Attack=Mime, Final Attack=Revive, 
               Quadra Magic=Bahamut ZERO, MP Turbo=Bahamut ZERO
Wizard Bracelet: 3x HP Plus, 2x Magic Plus, HP<->MP, W-Item, W-Summon
Circlet

Make sure you pair the Bahamut Zero with only one star with MP Turbo and that 
Revive has only one star. Oh and make sure you put Final Attack=Mime before
Final Attack=Revive.
She will kill you on the first turn and you'll react with Final Attack=Revive.
On the next turn she'll kill you again but this time you'll use Life twice 
because of Final Attack=Mime. 
That's the trick in the setup: while you use the second Life your gauge fills 
up and you'll be able to select W-Summon=BZ before she can kill you again.
8 castings of Bahamut Zero next, go get something to eat. One casting is about
60 seconds long so you do have some time.
After that she'll start the countdown. 
Do nothing, you can't kill her because you have to avoid the EXP. She'll use
Ultima at the end of then countdown and it'll kill you but you should have 
enough MP to use Life again. In case you haven't restore your MP before Ultima.
===============================================================================


Use an Elixir between the battles.


===============================================================================
B46: Sephiroth battles

Same setup as against Jenova.


Bizarro Sephiroth
-----------------
HP: 40,000

In this battle exactly the same thing as in the last one will happen:
You'll die. Life. You'll die. Life x2 and your gauge fills up during the second
casting of Life. Then you select Bahamut Zero and watch him do the job.
It should be over after 6 BZ's.


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

Use an Elixir/Mirror on the first turn to restore your MP and get Reflect. 
He'll use Wall. He has a set in stone attack pattern but you don't really have 
to know anything about it.
Next turn he'll use Shadow Flare and it'll get reflected right back at him.
Use Bahamut Zero=W-Summon. Because of Wall the first 4 or so casting will only
deal half damage.
Wing comes next and it will kill Tifa. Now, because you put Final Attack=Mime
first she will cast Life and then cast Bahamut Zero! If you had put it the 
other way around, she would have mimed Life, which is pretty much what you 
would expect.
Why does she mime Bahamut Zero if you put Final Attack=Mime first?
That's because there's an order in which the game activates the Final Attacks
(and all the other counters like Counter, Counter Attack, Magic Counter etc...)
and that order is the place in your weapon/armor.
In this battle it's not at all needed, you could simply cast Bahamut Zero 
again, but it's vital against Emerald Weapon.

This will end the battle, after only 3 turns!! 
Oh great Sephiroth-sama, getting killed in three turns by a level 7 Tifa? What
kind of joke is that?


NOTE: I haven't tried this battle while having level 99 characters but it 
should be possible, even if you have a few.
I don't think I can beat him without using KOTR when all seven other characters
are at level 99 but I'm not sure. That's something I might try if I ever update
the FAQ o_O
===============================================================================


After this battle you still have to play one last battle, that you can't 
possibly lose. If you don't use Omnislash, Seph will attack you with a gravity 
based attack that removes 31/32 of your HP and you'll AUTOMATICALLY counter.
No matter what damage you deal (IIRC I dealt 31 damage with my level 8 Cloud) 
the fight will be over.

CONGRATS!! You have beaten one of the hardest challenges for FFVII!


But wait a sec...we're not quite finished yet!?!



XXI. The Final Challenge
------------------------

Items to collect: Hero Drink x2

Items to morph: Dazer x15


Yep, that's right, we're going to fight the Weapons with Tifa!!
Reload your file. If you followed what I told you along the way you should 
already have a 4 star Knights of the Round materia and all the other materias 
you need for the Weapons. If you haven't, get them and then level them up in 
the Crater. I suggest leveling Knights of the Round to master but with 
a little luck a 4 star materia is already enough.
Climb back out of the Crater and pick up the 2 Hero Drinks you can find in
the Crater.
I said at the very beginning of the FAQ that I would ignore rules 4-7, so this 
time you can use the W-Item glitch to get as many Elixirs as you want and use
them on the Magic Pots. You can also use it to duplicate the Items you need 
for the Ruby battle. 

If you don't know how to do the W-Item glitch, it's really simple:
Select the Item you want to duplicate first and then another Item.
To use both Items you have to press confirm 4 times because you need to confirm
which Item you want to use and assign it to a target, both times.
Just confirm three times; this basically means that you don't select the target
for the second Item. Then cancel instead of confirming a last time.
Now confirm again, and cancel again, confim, cancel, confirm, cancel etc...
You can continue doing this until you have the desired amount of the Item you
first selected.


You need about 15 Dazers, you can get them by morphing Boundfats, an enemy 
found in the Coral Valley/Coral Valley Cave. 
You also need 10 or more Remedies, just go to Battle Square if you need more.
If you only 2 Hero Drinks in the special battle you'll have four again. This
is enough to win the next battle but having more helps a lot. Just duplicate 
them with W-Item. Set the ATB to Wait. This allows to take all the time you 
want when you're in the Item Menu. You can slightly reduce the battle speed but
not too much or else you won't get to act first. 

Once you're ready head over to Gold Saucer and you'll see a little red worm
when you fly over the desert with the Highwind. Fly into it.


===============================================================================
B47: Ruby Weapon
HP: 800,000

Setup:
Premium Heart: Hades, KOTR, W-Summon, W-Item, 2x HP Plus, HP<->MP, Mime
Wizard Bracelet: 2x Magic Plus, 2x Speed Plus, Elemental=Fire, 
                 Final Attack=Revive
Circlet

Ruby isn't immmune to the paralyse status and that's the key to beat him. 
Paralyse also prevents his Ultima counter he uses when you attack him with 
Knights of the Round.
You should be able to throw a Dazer at him, and use an Hero Drink, before he 
attacks you. Restart if it isn't the case.
On the next turn use two more Hero Drinks.
He will most likely attack you afterwards, just hope he doesn't kill you.
If he attacked you with the Tentacles use Remedy/Dazer and Elixir afterwards,
if he took some of your MP. If he uses Ruby Flame you'll get healed.
If he uses Ruby Ray you'll die and Tifa will use Life, just hope he doesn't use
it several times in a row. I suggest restarting, because if you die, the 
effects of the Hero Drinks will be gone :(. You can continue but you'll have 
to use 2 Hero Drinks again.
Then start casting Hades and KOTR on him. Keep the Tentacles alive or else 
he'll have too many attacks that can kill you.
Mime it. Hades paralyses him too but he will get to act after a few castings.
It might even happen after the first one but usually I'm able to mime it at 
least once before he does anything.
If he kills you (which is likely) just use 2 Hero Drinks/Dazers again and try
to get to the point where you can cast Hades/KOTR again.
If you run out of Hero Drinks you can still continue but then KOTR will only 
deal ~75k of damage (instead of the maximum 130k). That's why I said you should
duplicate them.
With the Hero Drinks six castings of KOTR is almost enough to kill him, then
one more without any Hero Drink and he'll be defeated.
Final Attack grants you five casting of Life and your goal is to beat him 
while dying 5 or less times. 
With luck you'll manage.


NOTES: 
- If you're having too much trouble with him you can also say goodbye to rule
  number 3 and use some Speed Sources. The more the better. If you max it out
  you will be able to act twice before he can attack again. That will make the
  battle very easy.
  Or change the setup and use a similar to the one you'll use against Emerald 
  Weapon. Use Dazer/Hero Drink on the first turn and then KOTR x2.
  If you die you'll counter with KOTR, same if he attacks but doesn't kill you.
  This setup will probably require additional castings of KOTR since you won't
  use Hero Drinks.
  Either master all your Summons and go get Master Summon in Cosmo Canyon or 
  simply use a second KOTR materia.


- I don't have a video of this fight but if a lot of people ask me I might do 
  one...or I'll ask Tsuki to do one >_>. The same can be said about any other 
  battle, just don't ask me to record the Rapps and the Proud Clod battles...
  But hey you should be able to do your own video now!
===============================================================================


Only one left. 
Reload and go to where your sub is. Then go underwater and find him.


===============================================================================
B49: Emerald Weapon
HP: 1,000,000

Setup:
Premium Heart: Counter=Mime, Final Attack=Mime, Final Attack=Revive, 
               2x Speed Plus
Wizard Bracelet: 2x HP Plus, 2x Magic Plus, MP Turbo=KOTR, HP<->MP, W-Summon 
Circlet

Make sure you place the materias (Counter and Final Attack) in that order!
And that Revive only has one star or else you won't have enough MP to cast it.
If you want you can also get the Underwater materia, from the Kalm traveler in
exchange for the Guide Book, to remove the 20:00 countdown, but the fight will
take less than 20 minutes.

You might have already noticed it in the Sephiroth battles but there's a limit
to how much MP a Summon can cost: 255 MP. That mens that MP Turobo only makes
KOTR cost 5 MP more than it usually does.

The hard part in this fight is that you somehow have to get your turn BEFORE
Emerald Weapon! That's really hard, and will require a lot of restarts.
The ATB at Wait helps too. It's even possible to get a Pre-emptive battle 
against Emerald, so maybe using the Pre-Emptive materia isn't a bad idea.

After that it's a piece of cake and you will have almost nothing to do: 
Cast W-Summon=KOTR.
He will kill you on the next turn and Tifa will use Life as well as KOTR.
Next he will probably use a percentage based attack and you can simply mime 
KOTR again.
OVER!!

Here you can find a video of Tsuki defeating Emerald Weapon:

http://www.holystar.ch.vu/

This site is great! Take the time to watch some of the other videos. It has the
most crazy videos, concerning RPG's and challenges in RPG's, I've ever seen!


NOTES:
- Same as with Ruby: If you can't seem to be lucky and act before he does, then 
max out your Dexterity.

- If you continue the battle, even if you didn't get to act first, you will get
to act after the second time he kills you...same trick as against Jenova and 
Bizarro. 
The problem is that you don't have enough MP to keep casting Life and that 
you'll always mime Life and KOTR instead of only KOTR. You could use an 
additional HP Plus to max out your MP but I tried it out and was only able to 
cast KOTR six times before I ran out of MP.

- If all else fails go chocobo racing and try to win a Sneak Attack materia.
  That should help.
===============================================================================


THAT'S IT! I hope you had fun.



===============================================================================
                       Additional Info and Credits
===============================================================================


Contacting me:
--------------

If you want to tell me anything concerning this challenge or FFVII challenges 
in general you can send me an e-mail to: lolo26@web.de.

I appreciate any tips, suggestions and possible improvements for the FAQ but 
please don't send me e-mails asking how the hell this is possible and that I'm
lying, cheating etc...master the game, read the FAQ, play the challenge and 
you'll see it's possible.

You can also find me on the FFVII message boards. In fact, since I'm a bit 
lazy when it comes to answering my mail, your best bet to get a quick answer
to a question concerning the challenge, is to come on the board. 
Search for the general challenge discussion Topic or any other challenge Topic
and make a post there. If you can't find any, you can also make a Topic.



Credits:
--------

Giving credits where it's due is very important. I pretty much did everything 
myself, but I still have quite a lot of guys I would like to thank:


TsukiNoNeko
-----------
This guy gave me the idea for the challenge. He also pointed out that poison 
was too powerful and should/could be banned.
And of course he was the first one, to my knowledge, that defeated Emerald with
a level 7 Tifa and I pretty much used his setup.
Thanks a bunch Tsuki!


Terence
-------
I didn't use his FAQs 'that' much...but that's because I had already looked at 
them countless times for other challenges! His FAQs are the FFVII Bible >_>


Sine Nomine a.k.a Apathetic Aardvark
------------------------------------
I used his FAQ to double check some minor stuff. Thanks for writing such a 
great guide!


FeuFeu
------
For giving me the idea of adding a section on how to learn Beta early in the
game and providing me with a video of Barret learning Beta at level 12.
Here's the link if you missed it:

http://www.megaupload.com/de/?d=KMLPBW4Y


Holystar
-------- 
For allowing me to link to his website. In case you missed it:

http://www.holystar.ch.vu/

Here you'll find a video of TsukiNoNeko beating Emerald with a level 7 Tifa but
there are loads of other incredible videos. Make sure you take a look.


BrutalAl
--------
For pointing out that it's possible to beat the Midgar Zolom with a level 5 
Tifa and without any materia.


GarlandG
--------
This guy had pretty much nothing to do with this FAQ. But I still want to 
mention him because he's the one (along with KADFC) that dragged me back to 
this game, almost 2 years ago now, and since then I played and discussed a lot
of crazy FFVII challenges with him.
He's also the one that, in the end, convinced me to write this FAQ.


CJayC and GameFAQs
------------------
How could I not mention it? CJayC created GameFAQs and it's the best site if 
you want FAQs, tips, strategies for games.
And you most likely wouldn't be reading this if GameFAQ'S didn't exist.


Squaresoft
----------
For creating the Final Fantasies and other great RPGs.



Final thoughts:
---------------

I hope you enjoyed the challenge, I tried my best to reduce the boring parts to
a minimum and to make the fights challenging.
I played a lot of challenges for FFVII but always was too lazy to write a FAQ
about them. This time I've finally written one and I had a lot of fun writing 
it too!

Well then, I guess this concludes my first FAQ! 
I wonder if others will follow ^_^

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Copyright 2006, lolo26
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------