We last left off in FFVII in Corral Valley, a sea-bed like place between the Sleeping Forest and the Forgotten Capital. This is the end of Disc One, and for those of you who’ve played FFVII before, you know what we’re in for. I shouldn’t have to do spoiler warnings for a twenty year old game (I’ve spoiled much of it already) BUT, if you don’t want the plot twist spoiled, don’t read on.
Run back to Fort Condor
Thanks once more to bover_87, I know I have to go back to Fort Condor again. These battles are getting a little tedious, but it should be worth it in the end. I definitely missed this the first time around. This battle features 40 enemies, and 5 X potions as the reward. Not bad.
The Forgotten Capital
This dungeon is a small maze, with three directions you can go: East, West, and North. I’ve swapped in Cid and Vincent into my party, and equipped them with Earth based Materia, in anticipation of the boss fight ahead. The stage music, Listen to the Cries of the Planet, is pretty ominous. On the east path, there’s a place to rest – and doing so prompts Cloud to wake up in the middle of the night. He can sense Aeris is here. He confers with the others, and they all agree that “something terrible is about to happen.”
Blunt foreshadowing, but ok.
After this point I head back to Fort Condor, fight the battle and win. You know the routine by now.
Back at the Forgotten Capital, the music has changed to Aeris’ theme. On the west path there’s a save point which I use. Having gathered all of the treasure in the place, I head into the building with Aeris.
(Final Warning: major spoiler ahead)
Aeris in Prayer
We take a long surreal stairway down to what looks like a moon pool. Aeris is in the center of this place on a platform/shrine, praying. There are a bunch of pedestals that you have to hop on to get over to her. Cloud tells his party to wait, and he hops over to her.
Once there, Aeris doesn’t acknowledge Cloud right away. He starts to wig out again, much like he did at the Temple of the Ancients. Your controls get all wonky, and you have to stop him (sort of) from splitting her head open with the Buster Sword.
She finally looks up and smiles at Cloud, right before…well. I could type it all out, but why don’t you just watch what happens next, as played by A-M-D. Behold “one of gaming’s most famous and historic cutscenes” as bover_87 put it.
And with that, we have the perma-death of a major character in a console RPG. There may have been other instances in other games, but back in 1997 I wasn’t aware of any. My teenage self was shocked, as I’m sure a lot of other gamers were back then.
Afterward, you’re back at a house in near the rest area. Cloud has a moment of doubt, and decides to push on. He will never forgive Sephiroth, and now he definitely must stop him. He asks Vincent and Cid to do him a favor, and stop him him from doing something terrible again. Vincent replies “I guess so…”
There’s one way to lighten the mood. Lousy writing.
With that, we insert Disc Two. And that’s where I leave off for today.