Last time in FFVII I had just beached the Tiny Bronco “east of the sea” on the island where the Temple of the Ancients is located. Thanks to the traitor Cait Sith, the Shinra have the Keystone, so we’ll deal with that when we get there.
It’s around this point that I remember FFVII getting tough. So to avoid that this time around, I did the necessary drudgery of leveling. The “Slaps” monsters around the temple give pretty good XP/AP – if you encounter a group of five, I think it’s around 1400XP and 150AP. Armed with the Aqualung enemy skill (thanks bover_87) and a peace ring to avoid the berserk status, I slaughtered dozens upon dozens of the insects. When it was over, Cloud was at level 50 and I had Mastered a few Materia and unlocked many of the level 3 spells.
Entering the Temple
After entering the Ziggurat, there’s a scene with Aeris. She’s hearing things from the world, but can’t make them out. Crossing the well maintained bridge, and up the stairs, we encounter the slumped figure of one of the black capes. He tells us “black….materia…..” before he dies. They note the tattoo on his arm before proceeding into the temple itself.
Inside the Temple
We find a wounded Tseng lying up against an altar. He speaks briefly about betrayal and misfortune, and admits to Cloud that Sephiroth is indeed here. Aeris loses her composure over the Turks’ injuries (apparently he’s a childhood acquaintance) but she resolves to carry on. Tseng gives us the Keystone and instructs us to place it on the altar. The room is actually an antechamber to the temple proper.
The party is teleported to what looks like an imitation Escher painting. There’s no way back, Vincent helpfully points out, so we have to make our way through. On the other side of the screen, there’s a strange creature that hops away from us. It’s leading us through the semi-maze. There are a few nice items and Materia here. Eventually we reach the creature, which is an Ancient in the flesh. Aeris can’t understand their language, but it acts as a Shop and Inn for us.
After the maze we’re lead by a creature into dexterity-puzzle room with falling stones. A stop by the pool in the middle of the room gives us a vision of Sephiroth shanking Tseng. Afterward, we find ourselves in the clock puzzle room. This is where, 20 years ago, I blew off the items in favor of rushing through the plot, costing me the Ribbon accessory. Guess who never got Ominslash 20 years?
Finally, there’s a chase puzzle in the next room (from the Six O’clock position), which leads us to a boss fight.
Boss Fight: Red Dragon
I should mention there was a lot of dialog and plot reveals from Sephiroth’s ghost(?) in this section. What he wants is the Black Materia, which help him summon a planet-killing object from space. The planet will attempt to heal itself, and when it does, he’ll absorb all the Spirit Energy and become a God. Ok, back to the fight: maybe leveling up to 50 was overkill. A couple of hits and aqualungs later, the dragon is toast, and we get Bahamut Materia as our reward.
Now we’re talking.
We still have to get the Black Materia and get out of the temple, which we’ll do in the next installment. Thanks for reading!