Final Fantasy VII was a defining game of the 1990s, and is regarded as one of the best ever made.
This iconic epic introduced many Western gamers to the RPG genre, which has remained a key part of the global industry ever since.
With its environmentally-focused plot, loveable characters, and diverse gameplay mechanics, Final Fantasy VII is filled with amazing moments, from that stunning opening FMV sequence to the grand finale. Fans are definitely excited for the forthcoming Remake, but there’s some trepidation too: can it possibly live up to the brilliance of the original? We’ll have to wait and see, but there’s plenty to be excited for.
With the game recently released for Android devices (some time after hitting the iOS store), we can now delve deep into the world of Cloud, Tifa, and Sephiroth at any time, any place. With that in mind, now’s as good a time as any to celebrate Final Fantasy VII and its most amazing moments …
The Bike Chase from Shinra Headquarters
As one of the biggest, baddest evil organisations ever, Shinra makes for a great enemy. Early on in the game, Cloud and his pals infiltrate Shinra’s HQ, but end up getting more than they bargained for. Not only do they discover Jenova and befriend Red XIII, they also have to fight their way out through a series of white-knuckle battles.
This is all a precursor to one of the game’s most unforgettable moments, when the gameplay switches to an all-new racing style, playing like a cyberpunk version of Road Rash (a game we can’t believe hasn’t been made yet!). This sequence sees you slashing at enemies from the saddle of Cloud’s bike, protecting your friends at high speed.
That Aeris Scene
You all knew this would be on here!
Aeris is one of the purest, most good-natured characters in Final Fantasy VII, so few of us would have expected her to get iced at all – let alone so early on!
This is, without doubt, one of the most incredible moments in the game, and it left plenty of us traumatised for some time. By killing Aeris (do we need to say SPOILER for a game that’s nearly 20 years old?), the game’s writers made it clear than nobody was safe – other characters are just as likely to be bumped off throughout the rest of the story.
The powerful music helps to make watching Aeris drift down into her watery tomb even sadder.
The Final Showdown with Sephiroth
Sephiroth’s a terrific bad guy. As soon as he offs Aeris, he’s set himself up to be taken down by our heroes – but it’s a long, hard road to actually dishing out some punishment.
So, when Cloud and his pals finally reach the big showdown with the villain himself, the finale’s just as epic as you want it to be. Not only is the operatic music ridiculous but awesome at the same time, the multiple forms Sephiroth takes on ensure the fight goes on and on without feeling drawn out. You have to make sure your party’s levelled-up enough, though, or you’ll get your collective butts handed to you in no time.
The most outstanding moment in the entire fight, though? Cloud’s final confrontation with Sephiroth, just the two of them, during which our hero unleashes his Omnislash. It’s over and done with pretty quick, but it’s a surprisingly small, low-key way to end such a massive battle
The Madness of Don Corneo’s Mansion
Can you think of any modern games that would ask you to dress your macho leading man as a pretty little lady, complete with stylish attire and cutesy wig? It’s unlikely you’d get to try this with Marcus Fenix or Nathan Drake – and this is part of what makes Cloud’s confrontation with Don Corneo so amazing.
Seeing Cloud, Tifa, and Aeris threaten to cause serious injury to Don Corneo’s … er, ‘special’ area is a surprising, genuinely funny moment. It’s also pretty brave for a AAA title of the 90s to feature so much implied sexuality and gender-swapping. These comedic elements contrast with the game’s darkness brilliantly, and stops it being too heavy.
Unleashing Knights of the Round
Summons are part and parcel of the Final Fantasy experience, but Knights of the Round is still one of the most awesome across the franchise.
Not only is it immensely powerful enough to even the odds between you and the most difficult enemies, it’s also stunning to look at. On top of this, finally getting your hands on Knights of the Round feels like a real achievement, after breeding chocobo after chocobo to reach that elusive golden creature.
Some players would have completed the game without Knights of the Round, but if you managed to get your hands on it, you never regretted a second of all that time invested into hunting it down.
Sapphire Weapon Attacks Junon
The Weapons are designed to protect the world from Jenova, and they’re a powerful presence throughout the game. Any attempt to take them on usually leads to a swift death for everyone in your party, until you’re powerful enough to take them on properly.
One of the most exciting moments in the game sees Sapphire Weapon rise from the sea to attack Junon. Handily, this happens just in time to save Tifa and Barret from being executed, and the ensuing battle is massively epic, epically massive.
Junon’s military force tries everything to take Sapphire Weapon down, and manage to stop it eventually. Still, watching the Weapon speed towards the city is a treat, like something from a Godzilla movie. Even today, given the limits of the era’s technology, this sequence still looks stunning.
500 Years Later …
The FMV finale of Final Fantasy VII shows Meteor, Holy, and the Lifestream battling it out in a huge, epic, apocalyptic scene (if anyone’s reading this without having played the game, you’re probably stumped right about now!). However, the post-credits sequence is perhaps more impressive, and it ends the game on an optimistic note.
We see Red XII and his cubs racing through a rocky landscape, before they stop to take in the view ahead of them – Midgar, overgrown and barely visible through greenery. It’s powerful stuff, and helps to make the challenges the heroes face through the game feel worth it. Sure, some people dislike the ambiguity, but knowing the Planet regained control after Shinra’s polluting is pretty sweet.
What are your favourite moments from Final Fantasy VII? Let us know!
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That should be Red XIII – you missed an “I”…