Read From Memory: FFVII Pt. 21

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.

Leveling Up

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!

Read From Memory: FFVII Pt. 20

We’re getting close now, real close, in FFVII, to a major plot twist that will change the nature of the game. Last time we left off needing to get the Keystone from Dio at the Gold Saucer. We head there now.

Gold Saucer Battles

Using the Tiny Bronco only gets us so far. I forgot that you can’t go over the desert directly to the Gold Saucer. So I make my way back up to North Corel, Barret’s desolate hometown we first visited in Part 12. It’s still desolate. Over in the Gold Saucer, we pay the 3,000 gil day pass and make a beeline for the Battle Square. It’s still surprisingly nice having recently been the scene of a mass shooting. Anyway, heading over into the museum, Dio has put the Keystone on display prominently in the center of the room. Shortly, the man himself joins us, wearing his trademark speedo.

Dio refuses to let us “borrow the Keystone,” not unreasonably. But, after a split second he changes his mind and agrees to give us the Quest Item on the condition that we “entertain him.” That means battling in the Battle Arena. Even though Cloud is Level 40, I have a hard time getting all of the eight battles. By the skin of my teeth (and a timely Meteorain Limit Break) I got the Keystone, a protect vest and a chocobo feather. Not bad.

With nothing else to do I head back to the gondola, but apparently it broke down while I was entertaining Dio. So Cait Sith pulls some strings and gets us a free room at the Haunted House Inn. Once there, we go over the entire plot of the game for everyone, and Barret who still doesn’t understand what’s going on. With that, everybody retires to their beds.

Subterfuge on Date Night

Cloud is staring out his window in his room when Aeris comes in. She says “hee hee” and asks him to take her out on a date. Apparently this is our reward for dialog choices we made throughout the game. It’s free night at the Saucer, so we run off to Event Square. We’re the 100th couple in there so we get to enact the play for that night. It’s a fun little sequence that doesn’t take long. After that, we head to the gondola ride and get some CGI scenes and character development. Aeris is falling for Cloud, but ever the beta male, he doesn’t get it.

As we return to the station to call it a night, we find Cait Sith by himself. In a shocker, the robot mascot has stolen the Keystone! We chase him throughout the place and end up the Chocobo Square. Our chase is in vain, as the cat evades us and tosses the Keystone to Tseng, waiting nearby in LEGO copter.

What happens next is bizarre. Cait Sith tells us to forget the whole thing happened and “continue like before.” Cloud rightly wants to throttle the traitor, but he plays his trump card: he’s a Shinra employee, remote controlling Cait Sith (okay…) from Shinra HQ. What’s more, he has Marlene hostage. He expresses remorse that it had to come to this, but he wants to continue on with the crew. He’s intrigued by “our way of life.” He does give us the location of the Temple of the Ancients, for what it’s worth.

Ugh. I hate this character.

To the Temple of the Ancients

There were a few runs back to Fort Condor, but I decided to take the time to level considerably, with Vincent and Aeris in my party. We’ll run through this in the next update.