We’re near the end of Disc Two, and near the end of FFVII. Last time I tied up a few loose ends with side quests. I wanted to take out Ultimate WEAPON before heading to Midgar and get a few materia from the Chocobo Races. But I forgot that flying over the city in the Highwind triggers the next sequence. Note to self for the 30-year playthrough: don’t do that.
Raid on Midgar: Underground
We’re over Midgar, but how are we supposed to get in without detection? Well, Cid reminds us in his inimitable way that we’ve got an airship for a reason. The entire party proceeds to the upper decks, and then performs a group HALO jump into Shinra central.
Cait Sith leads the way here. That makes the most sense since he is the inside man and all. He heaves open a hatch, and we descend into the underground. This is a big area with Tiny Cloud perspective in effect again. There are a bunch of unique treasures in this maze-like area, and thanks to the ever helpful bover_87, we know how to get them.
Eventually, we reach the subway tunnels.
Raid on Midgar: Subways
We can head north or south; going south will lead us to a dead end, but we also get plenty of useful treasures and the infamous W-Item Materia. Infamous because you can glitch out infinite items with it. I, of course, would never use that kind of trick. Ahem. Anyway, we need to get all the way to Sector 8. There are some obnoxious enemies in here that use Slow and Confuse, but a lot of them drop Turbo Ethers, which is always nice.
Once we backtrack to our way entry point, taking a few steps to the north path will cause Elena of the Turks to run after us. She’s soon joined by Rude and Reno, who tells her to stop making a fool of herself. It’s the Turks code of conduct to carry out their final order from Shinra: to find and eliminate Cloud. The fact that Shinra is leaderless at this point just shows us their dedication to their code. For all that, they’re not anxious to fight us. We’re given a choice here to fight them or let them leave.
I decide to fight them.
Boss Fight: Elena, Rude, and Reno
Because of the annoying Confuse status attacks of the random enemies, I had equipped everybody with Ribbons and a Peace ring before this battle. Rude is pretty tough, as is Elena, who bounces back and forth between rows. But you know what, leveling everybody up to Level 75 or so, and mastering a bunch of Materia, and getting as many of powerful items as I could, makes this fight kind of a joke. I opened with Big Guard and had Cloud Mug everybody for their items (Minerva Bracelet, Touph Ring, and Ziedrich). Then it’s a just a matter of beating the blue suits into the ground. I also happened to pair Hades with Added Effect in Cid’s spear; combined with Slash-All, our crusty pilot poisoned Elena. Meanwhile, Cloud counterattacked and 2X Cut the Rude and Reno for massive damage each round. I used Barret primarily to cast big guard and regen. It’s all over in a few minutes.
The final battle with the Turks did yield a lot of XP and AP though, so there’s that.
Back to Shinra HQ
In Sector 0 (beyond Sector 8, bear with me a moment) we can visit the Shinra tower one last time. Taking the stairs all the way up, we find an Elixir and a good weapon for Red XIII. Back inside the tower, in the item computer area, we find a Glow Lance for Cid. One flight up, in the employee R&R area, we finally get our money back from that dumb energy drink vending machine. And remember that megaphone we found in the locker, way back when? Yup, it’s Cait Sith’s ultimate weapon.
Back down on the first floor, I read the Turtle Paradise Newsletter no. 2 in the lobby, then jog up to the second-floor gift shop to pick up two strong weapons for Tifa and Barret.
Ok, with that detour down memory lane over, I head down into the Subway again and back to Sector 8, where I take the other tunnel. There’s a ladder here, which leads up to the streets. And another boss fight.
Boss Fight: Proud Clod
The horselaugh tag team of Scarlett and Heidegger want us dead too. They come up from behind us in their immense “anti-WEAPON artillery” mech, the Proud Clod. I’m not entirely sure how our intrepid heroes missed the 60-foot tall robot in the alley, but whatever. Maybe it blended in with the skyline? It looks cool in any case. From the thing’s massive claw, Scarlett insults us while Heidegger laughs incessantly like a proper cookie-cutter villain. Then the fight is on.
I’m just not in the mood for a long battle here, so I cast Ultima with Barret and summon Knights of Round with Cloud. And that’s that for Proud Clod.
We get a final short dialog from the irritating bad guys, and the Proud Clod goes to a light red and fades out of existence. So passes the Shinra Executive Leadership team. It starts raining too to add to the atmosphere.
To the Sister Ray
Carrying on up the street, we reach a save point and some more good items. I pause here to freshen up a moment and check Materia and equipment. The huge Materia cannon Sister Ray is right above us, and Cait Sith again leads us on. Half way up the ladder screens, we pick up Barret’s ultimate weapon, Final Score. Neat. Along the way, Vincent is hanging out but he only says “Hojo!” or something like that.
When we reach the control platform, the mad scientist is still pounding away at the console. That must make it work fast, right? Anyway, Cloud takes a moment to ask him why he’s doing
this, which prompts Hojo to call him a moron. Hojo rambles on about experiments, his double failures in life, and how science is meaningless and all that. Hojo also repeats that Cloud-is-a-failed-Sephiroth-clone plotline, but Cloud has had enough of that. Thank God.
At last, Hojo is coherent again. He reveals that Sephiroth is his kid (but he doesn’t know it). See, he offered his child in the womb (Lucretia’s womb that is) to Dr. Gast for the JENOVA project. Baby Sephiroth got an injection fo JENOVA before he was even born. “Giving” Sephiroth all the energy from the Mako Cannon, er, Sister Ray, is Hojo’s gift to him. It’s nice that even the villains want their kids to succeed in FFVII. One more final plot twist: Hojo has injected himself with JENOVA cells, and now he’s going to share the results of this experiment with us.
Cue the Jenova boss music.
Boss Fight: Hojo
Hojo has three forms; and of the three, his second form can take the most pounding. I remember this boss fight being pretty brutal when I did it the first time, but as you know, I overachieved with the grinding this time around. We open with Big Guard and Regen for buffs and then spammed attacks until he was dead. I cast Ultima once or twice for good measure too. I was about to call in the Knights once more, but that was overkill.
Once he’s finally dead, we get a lot of XP and AP, and the cannon is shut down for good.
Back on the Highwind
On the bridge of the Highwind, Cloud gives a surprisingly introspective speech to the crew. He admits that the only reason he’s on the quest is for his personal feud (interesting word choice there) but saving the planet is a nice side bonus. For his part, Barret admits that bombing the MAKO reactor at the beginning of the game was a bad idea, as it set into motion everything that’s happened in the game, and got a lot of people hurt and killed. Nevertheless, now he’s fighting for Marlene’s future, and everyone else’s. At this, Red XIII mentions that Bugenhagen estimates there are seven days left before Meteor strikes. Cloud gives everyone some impromptu leave so that they can sort out their personal motives before the final battle. He will understand if anybody decides not to come back for the throw down with Sephiroth.
For a second I thought we were going to go on a world tour with each of the characters, but we just stay with Cloud. Below the parked airship, we get a stationary shot with Tifa in the foreground. The animators gave her as much facial expression as they could. Cloud and Tifa admit that they don’t have anybody or any home to go and visit. They reminisce about their time in the Lifestream together, and finally, Tifa says that sometimes you can express your feelings in ways “other than words.”
We get a brief fade, and then it’s sun rise, and she’s all snuggled with Cloud. It’s a tender scene, really, and Tifa wants the moment last a bit longer. It took him a long time, but our hero cuddled with a girl he cared about, all night long. (Hey, this game is rated T for Teen, okay? “Suggestive themes” only).
To the North Cave
Tifa and Cloud get back aboard the Highwind, and there’s nobody around. Cloud jokes that he won’t have time to be sad about the end of the world since he’ll be too busy piloting the airship and “not flying around casually.” Little does he realize that everybody has decided to come back for the last ride.
I know, it’s a shock. Even Yuffie sticks around, despite Barret reminding her that she’s a thief. For her part, Tifa collapses on the deck from embarassament that there was an audience for her nice evening with Cloud.
At that, Cid pulls down “two levers he’s always been wanting to pull, ” and we get a CGI sequence of the Highwind shedding its propeller engines mid-flight and sprouting a bunch of turbojets. The newly jet powered airship speeds off to the cave. Things start to go badly for the pilot but as with most aircraft that lose their power plants mid-flight, the rest of the air crew shows up to crowd the cockpit and save the day. Cid admonishes them for not following his orders to return home, but they insist that the Highwind is their home, so they followed his orders anyway.
That concludes Disc Two.
In the next update, we’ll take care of some final side quests before heading into the cave for the final confrontation. Thanks for reading!