An epic adventure across 3 cd-roms.  What begins as a rebellion against an evil corporation becomes much more.  And what erupts goes beyond imagination.  With vivid landscapes, lush 3D animation and environments, Square Soft's multi-million dollar masterpiece is like nothing ever seen before.  And it is only on Playstation.
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"Sell your house, sell your kids, do whatever it takes to play this game." Rob Ashton
 




Final Fantasy VII debug code

Intrepid GameShark hackers discover a code to access a series of debug rooms in Final Fantasy VII. Screens included.

Almost two years after the US release of Final Fantasy VII, two GameShark hackers known as RPGod and CzarDragon have discovered a code which allows players to access a previously hidden -- and quite bizarre -- debug room in Final Fantasy VII. From the initial room, one can enter various areas which were presumably originally designed to allow programmers to easily test and debug the game. (Screens below.) The GameShark code necessary for the debug mode is:

             8009A05C 0041

Using the code, players can access virtually any point in the game, adjust party members, gain a complete set of materia, watch a large number of CG movies, battle against inactive "pyramid" monsters, or even view the current number of "love points" needed to score with Tifa, Aeris, Yuffie, or Barret during Cloud's racy date at the Gold Saucer.

To enter the debug room, simply enter the above code into a GameShark and select "New Game" when the first FF VII disc loads up. From there, deactivate the GameShark and enter one of ten rooms by stepping onto one of the encircling Japanese Kanji characters or by walking onto the white line at the top or bottom of the screen. A man also stands in the lower-left corner of the first screen to turn on and off a number of "flags" used in the game, among other selections. The debug room can also be accessed at any point in the game by turning on a GameShark with the  inputted codes and then entering a room.


Final Fantasy VI (USA 3)

When you jump into the lete river and have to choose which way to go, keep going up. Press X when you get to a save point and then config. Select your chooser Memory. Go out and buy a controller with a auto option if you don't already have one. Save your game and when you get into a battle, make bannon use health, and the rest of the people fight. After the fight, make the team go up again. Make your a button set to auto, or tape A down and set it to turbo if you don't have auto. Leave your house and go watch a movie. When you come back, you should still be alive thanks to bannon's health command, if not, try again. If it worked, you should be at a way higher level and have lots of gold pieces. Take off the auto or turbo on the controller, and when you have to decide where to go, go left. Continue your journey.

Yelton  yelton@city-net.com



Defeating Safer-Sephrioth in Final Fantasy VII

To defeat Safer-Sephrioth in FFVII (PSX), make sure you are at least on
level 68 and make sure you have Yuffie and Vincent in your party.  Get
Knights of the Round from Round Island and get at least 4 stars mastered
and get W-Summon from the Battle Arena.  Make sure each character is
equipped with MIME.  Go fight him.  When he casts WALL on himself, cast
DEBARRIOR.  Then cast KotR on him.  Have each character mime that (even
the caster).  He will die super fast!

Getting UNLIMITED Ribbons in Final Fantasy VII

This little tip REALLY helps, especially when you fight
Safer-Sephrioth.  Make sure you have Yuffie in your party and make sure
she is equipped with the MORPH materia and the Conformer.  Go to the
final cave and find a Master TonBerry (little dude with a star spinning
over his head and carries a lantern).  Have Yuffie use Morph on him
until he dies.  When he dies, he will turn into a Ribbon.  This is
repeatable, so do it until EVERYONE has a ribbon.  WAY COOL!!!!

David Reese dreese6@mailcity.com



10 Phoenix Downs and a Secret Cave

     On the way to Coral, go to the switch that you push to let the others go through. If you explore
     around that area, you should hear birds chirping. Go up the hill where you hear it (you might have
     to search to find the right spot) and pick the first choice you are given.

     After collecting the 10 Phoenix Downs, go back down to the lower tracks and follow your
     partners. As they turn to the right, you need to take the left split because buried in the hill under
     the tracks is a cave with an out-of-work miner. A Power Source, Mind Source, and Tent may be
     acquired within this hidden area.

     Note: Your score will be lowered if you do this. It's not nice to disturb baby birds.

Alternate Save Pictures

     The saved-game picture changes depending on what slot your game is saved in. Here's the
     complete list:

     FILE 1  : CLOUD
     FILE 2  : BARRET
     FILE 3  : AERIS
     FILE 4  : CAIR SITH
     FILE 5  : RED XIII
     FILE 6  : CID
     FILE 7  : TIFA
     FILE 8  : VINCENT
     FILE 9  : YUFFIE
     FILE 10 : RUFUS
     FILE 11 : TSENG
     FILE 12 : PRISICILLA
     FILE 13 : RUDE
     FILE 14 : DAIN
     FILE 15 : SEPHIROTH

Ancient Forest

     To get to the Ancient Forest before disc 3, simply ride up the hill with a black, gold or green
     chocobo.

Beat the Cosmo Canyon Boss

     When you get to the Boss inside the caves at Cosmo Canyon to beat him all you do is use a
     Phoenix Down on him to kill him instantly. Sometimes that misses so you might want to use other
     healing items like X-Potion, High Potion or Potion.

Beat the Emerald Weapon

     If your having difficulty beating Emerald Weapon and you can't get the Knights of the Round
     consider using this method.First equip three gravity materia, one to each character, second if
     possible equip a mime materia to each character.

     Next to one character, equip both the W-Magic materia and quadra magic materia joined to the
     characters gravity materia. Join an all materia to the other characters materia. Okay. Now when
     you go into battle all you do is use any level of demi on the Emerald weapon and it automatically
     does 9999 HP of damage to with every hit but at the end his HP will lower and a couple of hits
     with a moderately powerful summon spell and he's done for. Voila!

Beat the Ruby Weapon

     For this you will need Nights Of The Round with at least 3 levels. Phoenix summon with at least 3
     levels. Shield with at least 2 levels. Final Attack with any level. About 3 mastered HP and MP
     pluses (you might need more). 3 Enemy Skills with White Wind learned (to learn White Wind, go
     to the grassy area of Junon untill you fight a big green creature with wings. Manipulate it and have
     it use White Wind on your party).

     You also need MP and HP absorb and the MIME command. Make sure you do NOT have the
     w-item, w-magic, and w-summon materias. Give everyone HP pluses untill it reaches 9,999 HP.
     Then do the same with the MP pluses until it reaches 999. Equip Cloud with the Ultima Weapon
     and give him the following materia.

     Combine the Nights Of The Round with the MP absorb. Give him Phoenix with Final Attack.
     Give him mime with HP absorb. Make sure that you only eqip these matiera on the Ultima
     Weapon if their mastered. Give him shield and enemy skill. Give your other party members the
     other enemy skills. Make sure Cloud has an accesory that will protect him from Frog and Small.

     Before you fight Ruby, get into a battle and have Cloud kill your other party members. Now go
     after Ruby. Start off by using shield on Cloud. Do NOT have Cloud bring the rest back to life.

     Now have Cloud use Knights of the Round and just keep miming it until the Ruby Weapon kills
     you. When you come back to life, repeat the process until you've won..

     NOTE: No matter what, do not use any limit breaks or regular attacks on Ruby. If Cloud
     becomes a toad, use white wind to heal him.

Beta Materia

     When you first go to the Chocobo ranch you have to catch a chocobo to avoid the Midgarsorm.
     Well, I figured out a way to get the powerful Beta spell before the second disc. You need the
     Enemy skill materia, a Fire materia, and any elemental materia equipped on one person. MAKE
     SURE THE LAST TWO ARE ON YOUR ARMOR!

     If you keep this character healed until Midgarsorm casts Beta you SHOULD be able to survive
     the spell. Then just finish him off. This is tricky to pull off but if done correctly you will be set for a
     LONG time.

Cait Sidhe's Level 3 Limit Break - Japanese

     Cait Sith has a level 3 limit break which will kill all enemies in one hit. This is tested and proven in
     the Japanese FFVII. To get it, you must use Cait Sith to kill 954 enemies. The Level 3 limit should
     be highlighted, but there will be no name. For activation, it will take about 36 times your HP
     damage.

     It will look like an error, because it is, but when activated, an error message will appear and the
     battle will continue as if the enemy was killed in one hit.

Cast Any Spell Three Times

     To cast three magic spells in one round, first equip someone with a Magic Materia + "All" Support
     Materia. You'll also need Barrier Materia with the Reflect spell learned. When you enter battle,
     cast Reflect on the entire party, (your party). Then cast the magic spell that was connected to the
     "All" Materia on YOUR party. Even though you casted the spell once, it will be reflected and
     returned to the enemy hitting for three times! And for the same price of the usual MP's. What's
     even better is that if you have W-Magic, you can cast that spell twice, or two different spells (both
     need to be connected to "All" Materia) hitting for six times!!!

Chocobo Tricks

     While racing the chocobos, hold L1 + L2 + R1 + R2 to increase your speed. To increase their
     stamina, hold R1 + R2.

     While choosing a chocobo to race, press L1, L2, R1, R2 or any direction to pan, zoom and
     rotate the chocobo you're viewing.

Curse Ring

     While in Mideel (before it has been destroyed), go to the weapons shop and check the door in the
     back (the one that does not open.) Next, go to the shop on the hill with the man on the balcony.
     Walk behind him along the part of the balcony on the side of the shop until you here a rattling
     sound. Check the spot and you will get a key. Use the key on the door, and it will break off. The
     owner will ask what happened. Tell the truth and he will give you the curse ring. If you lie, he will
     not give it to you. It raises all of your stats, but puts the character on death sentance, but this can
     be countered with a Phoenix Down.

Defeating Savior Sephiroth

     For this fight you will need: Knights of the Round, Zero Bahumut, and any other summons. Cure
     3, Wall, "Mime", DeBarrier, Remedies and at least three Megaexlir's.

     Start out by casting Wall on your party, then cast DeBarrier to take away Sephiroth's wall. After
     this has been done throw everything you've got at him, use Mime to cause major damage. During
     the fight Sephiroth will levitate higher, signaling he's preparing to cast Super Nova.

     If you are above 1500 energy you should be alright, watch out for his Heartless Angel that will not
     kill you, but bring your health down to 1. Then use Megaexlirs. Keep up the endurance and
     Sephiroth shouldn't be to hard to beat.

Easy Accessories

     Here's a way to get two very helpful accessories.

     Ribbon: To get a ribbon you must go into the crater and walk around until You fight a Master
     Tonberry. Attack him a few times and then morph him. He will turn into a Ribbon.

     Tetra-Elemental: There is a small desert island in the south under the Western Continent. Land
     there with the Highwind or with a gold chocobo. Walk on the sand until you fight a small cactus
     man. Morph him a eh becomes a Tetra-Elemental. Note: I have had the best luck morphing with
     Yuffie simply because see deals 9999 HP damage each time. It may be a different case for you
     but Yuffie is usually the best morpher.

Easy AP

     Go to the forest outside of Meedeel. Walk around until you fight Head Hunters or Caterpillers.
     Equip Cloud with an Apocalipse sword and everyone with a Rune Armlet. If you fight a group of
     4 Head Hunters you get 340 AP. Caterpillers and a group of 3 Head Hunters give you 240 AP.
     Equip as many 'ALL' and 'MAGIC PLUS' materia a possible in the sword and Rune Armlet.
     When mastered they are worth 1.4 million gil each.

Easy Life

     With this code, you can easily restore life while in battle without having to worry about anything
     happening. Enter a battle, and when your characters' health gets low, cast regenerate on
     him/her/them. Once the spell has been cast, open the Playstation lid and have someone cast a
     spell.

     FOR THIS TRICK TO WORK THE LID ON THE PLAYSTATION MUST BE OPEN
     BEFORE YOU CAST THE SECCOND SPELL!

     With the lid open, the game won't be able to cast the spell, so the game will stop until you close
     the Playstation lid. Once the lid is closed, the game will function corectly and you can resume play.
     The trick to this code is that while the game is looking for the CD, the regenerate spell will still be
     working, so your life will fill up while nothing else happens! This code works great for some of the
     ultra tough bosses (Emerald and Diamond Weapon) because nothing else will happen while the lid
     is up.

Easy Money

     If you want virtually unlimited money, here is a wonderful trick. As soon as you have mastered an
     "All" mateira, remove it and replace it with the new born one and sell the old one. This may seem
     like kind of a harsh comprimise, but each mastered "All" is 1.4 million gils! and scince they are so
     easy to master you will keep geting more and will never miss them. Sell one or two and you will
     never run out of money ever again!

Easy Money, AP and Experience

     Go to the desert outside of the golden saucer and walk around for a while. Sooner or later a little
     cactus man will appear. You can't beat him with magic or weapons, but he can be defeated by
     summoning Chocobos or Mogs. If you manage to kill him he's worth 10,000 gil!

     For better results, head for the Mideel Area (an island in the south) and look for Sea Worms.
     Each one you defeat is worth 1300 EXP, 200 AP and 5000 gil!

Effortless GP Gain

     To do this trick, you need a joystick controller with rapid-fire settings and access to the Gold
     Saucer.

     Go to Wonder Square, and up to the arm-wrestling game. Wrap a rubberband around your
     joystick so that it's pulled to the upper left diagonal, so that Cloud continuously walks into the
     arm-wrestling machine but not into the GP-trading girl. Now, turn on the rapid-fire for the 'O'
     button. Cloud will now repeatedly challenge and beat the wrestling game. Slowly but surely, your
     GP will increase. It takes a while, so it's probably best to set this up just before you go to bed at
     night, and leave it on while you sleep. By morning, you should have plenty of GP to buy your Gold
     Pass and the two secret Materia: XP-Plus and Gil-Plus. Cheater!

Emerald Weapon

     Having trouble beating Emerald Weapon? Just equip at least two of your party members with the
     mime command and have the other member equipped with the Knights of the Round summon as
     well as the W-Summon materia. Cast Knights of the Round twice and have the other two
     members of your party mime the attack.

     When the rotation comes back around to the person without the mime command, DON'T
     ATTACK! Wait for one of the members with the mime command to come up again and have
     them use mime again. You can keep alternating back and forth between the two until Emerald
     Weapon is dead.

     Also be sure to have one of your members equipped with the Final Attack + Revive materia
     combination. Emerald Weapon has 1,000,000 hit points, I've counted, and when it begins to run
     low it uses it special attack which takes off 9,999 from your entire party.

     Note: if all three of your members have the mime command the fight is much easier.

Fast Materia Level-Ups

     This cheat can only be done in the third disc. First, go to the Northern cave and look for mole like
     creatures with a star above thier heads, also holding a knife and a lantern. Steal an elixir from them
     and then run away. After that, look for these small creatures in a floating pot. They will say
     "Gimme' an elixer". Give them one. Then kill it. Each one killed will give you 1,000 AP. You can
     not kill them unless you give them an elixer.

Gain Limit Breaks Easily

     When in normal status use a "Hyper." This will let your limit meter go up faster, so you can use
     your old techniques more. The reason for this is that one way to get your limit breaks gained is to
     use your old techniques.

     WARNING: When you use the "Hyper," your status changes to "Fury," which will lessen your hit
     rate.

     Another way to gain your limit breaks is to defeat large groups of enemies. Try this: When leaving
     the Nibel Mountains and heading for Rocket Town, you should see a group of forests when you
     leave the mountains. Try engaging combat there, because sometimes you fight large groups of
     enemies there. Such as a group of six "Battery Caps," or sometimes five "Battery Caps" and one
     "Valron." This might help in getting your limit techniques also.

Huge Materia

     To obtain the Huge Materia in Rocket Town, press Circle, Square, X, X as the passcode.

     There are four huge Materia that can reproduce other materias if you can pass the requirements.

     Blue - You must have Buhamut and Buhamut Neo. Take these to Cosmo Canyon and talk to the
     Blue Huge Materia and you will recieve Bahamut Eishiki.

     Yellow - Have all 13 commond materia at master level and then talk to the yellow huge Materia to
     recieve the Master Command materia.

     Red- Must have all 16 summoning materia at master level then talk to the red huge materia to
     recieve the Master Summoning materia.

     Green - Have all 21 magic materia at master level then talk to the green huge huge materia and
     you will recieve the Master Magic materia.

Item Duplication

     If you have the W-Item Materia, equip it and enter battle. Use the W-Item command and select
     your first item you want to use with the Circle button. Then choose your second item but do not
     use it. Select it so that cursors appear on the screen (either on you allies or your enemies) then
     cancel with the X button. Select again and make the cursor appear then cancel. Repeat the
     selecting and canceling of the second item over and over. Each time you do this the quantity of the
     first item will increase by 1.

Kalm Traveller

     There is a man in Kalm who will ask you to find three items for him. To find the item he asks for,
     go to the Cannon town aquarium and walk around in it until you fight a ghost ship. Morph it a few
     times to get one of the items. Return it to Kalm and you will recieve the Underwater materia.
     Equip that then go cruise around in your sub until you find the Emerald wepeon. Kill it and return
     to Kalm for three master magic materias. Then take the air ship over to the Golden saucer desert
     and fly into the little red man walking in the desert. You will fight Ruby, kill it and return the item to
     Kalm for a golden chocobo.

Knights of the Round Table

     Ride the Golden Chocobo to the North-Eastern part of the map. There you'll find a hidden island
     with a cave. Enter the cave and talk to the red light to receive the "Nights of the Round Table"
     spell.

Limit Break Manuals

     To learn Level 4 limit breaks you'll need to find the manuals. Here's how to find them.

     Cloud: Trade 32,000 battle points at the Golden Saucer.

     Tifa: Go to Nibel area (Tifa's house) and play these piano notes: X, Square, Triangle, L1/R1 +
     Triangle, L1/R1 + Square, X, Square, Triangle, L1/R1 + X, O, X, Square, X. Then press
     START and search the music sheet to find Tifa's Limit break.

     Barret: A lady will give it to you in North Coral.

     Aeris: Southeast of Midgar there is a small cave with a man living there. Talk to him when you
     have battled a certain number of battles that end in the same number, such as 122, 133, 144. He
     will then give you a Mithril orb. Take the Mithril to the Blacksmith's house on the south peninsula
     near Cosmo Canyon. He will trade you for the limit break manual for the Mithril, or you can
     choose to have a gold bracelet.

     Red XIII: In the Nibel area there is a mansion and on the second floor of this mansion there is a
     safe. To crack this code turn right 36, left 10, right 59, and right 97. Then the safe will open to
     reveal a miniboss.Kill the miniboss and you will recieve Red VIII's Manual.

     Vincent: Land near the waterfall and use the green, black, gold chocobo or the submarine to pass
     the mountain. Then enter the waterfall. (You must have Vincent in your group and must be done
     first in disc 2) go forward and it will show Vincent's past. Then leave. Return if you are already in
     disc three and you'll get not only the manual but a weapon of Vincent.

     Cid: Cid's manual is in one of the chests in the sunken plane.

     Yuffie: Go to Wutai and enter the tower with yuffie and let yuffie beat all the bosses including her
     father and you'll get a manual and Leviathan materia.

Morph Enemies Easily

     For an easy way to morph enemies, have W-Magic Materia, Gravity Materia + "All" Materia, and
     Morph Materia. Have someone else cast Reflect on the party, then have the person with
     W-Magic use Demi 3 on your party twice. It will reflect and hit the enemy six times without killing
     it, but will greatly reduce it's HP's. At this point, you can easily morph it.

Prevent Back Attacks

     If your battle starts with a "Back Attack" hold L1 and R1 for a moment then release them. This
     will turn you around before your opponents get a shot.

Quad Magic Without a Chocobo

     Use High Wind to go to Mideel. Go north, and you should find a little cliff (looks more like a
     staircase). On the edge, get on the higher side of the cliff and press X to go down, also pressing
     the square button and left. After a few tries, the high wind will stay on the cliff but the character
     will be on the lower side. Now you can walk to the materia cave on land, without a special
     chocobo.

Racing Trophy

     When racing S-class in the Gold Saucer, You will notice many keen items you can't ever seem to
     get. Well you can get them all at once! Just win 15-20 races in a row! Ester will say "I've never
     seen anyone win so much in S-class before!" She will then give you one of each item, including the
     coveted Cat's Bell! this trick only works once, though.

Re-enter Midgar

     It is possible to get back into Midgar after you have left (not including by parachute.) On disc 3,
     go back to Midgar and talk to the man standing outside the fence. He says he has misplaced his
     key and that it is probably back at the dig site he just left.

     To find the key, go to Bone Village and tell the foreman you want to look for Normal Treasure.
     Place some of the workers up top in front of the tent and set off the blast. They will point to a spot
     on the ground, so have them dig there overnight.

     In the morning open the treasure chest and you should have the Key to the Sector 5 Slums. Now
     go back to Midgar and go through the gate. Go back to Wall Market and go to the shop where
     the item machine was broken before (the one that shot at you), and try to use it now. You will
     recieve Tifa's ultimate weapon.

Recover Missing Items

     Did you miss something important? Fear not. Once you get to disc 3 you can recover anything by
     excavating for it in the Bone Village.

Recruit Vincent

     In the Shinra mansion at Nibbhiem, there is a safe on the top floor. The combination is: Right to
     36, Left to 10, Right to 59 then Right to 97. Make sure you don't go to far left or to far right when
     turning. When it opens kill the monster, then get the stuff in the safe. Descent the spiral staircase
     and into the coffin room. Vincent is in one of the coffins. Talk to him and leave then come back
     and talk to him and he will join you.

Recruit Yufie

     Near the exploded Mako site there is a small forest. Wonder around in it until you fight a ninja
     woman. After you defeat her there will be a save point. DO NOT USE THIS or she will run
     away. Talk to her and tell her you don't want to fight her again. Then tell her your terrified of her.
     When she asks if you need her help, say "Yes" then tell her that you're leaving and don't ask for
     her name.

     Alternatively, try this. Equip the Enemy Away Materia which can be won in the Gold Saucer
     Chocobo Racing and a Luck Plus Materia. Go into any forests and wait for a while. Note that the
     Enemy Away Materia must be at Master Level for a higher percentage of chances to encounter
     Yuffie.

Red Submarine

     The first time you pilot a submarine, lose the battle and you will wind up on the shore neer Cannon
     town. Head back into Cannon town and ride the elevator back inside the main complex. Make a
     left turn and go back to the sub docking area where you were before the sub battle. Two gaurds
     and a dog are blocking the pathway, kill the gaurds and talk to the dog. Follow it and you will find
     the Red Submarine.

Reset

     Hold L1 + L2 + R1 + R2 + Select + Start to reset the game.

Sense Tip

     After using the SENSE materia on an opponent, press SELECT after the sensing is done. A little
     bar will appear above your party's status bars. If you choose to attack that opponent, it will show
     it's name, and HP remaining. Now you don't have to keep sensing bosses to see how much longer
     'till their dead.

Special Battle

     To get to the URA battle (special battle) in the Battle Arena, first gain 64000 battle points and buy
     the W-Summon materia. Next get 32,000 battle points and buy Cloud's level 4 limit, Omnislash.
     Equip Omnislash and talk to the lady at the counter in the battle arena, and she will ask you if you
     want to participate in a special battle. Beat all 8 enemies and get the Final attack materia.

     Note: You must have your Ultimate Weapon equiped to fight in the special battle.

Time Attack Contest

     At the golden saucers wonder square there is a snowboard game. If you get a good rating on the
     beginner, expert and crazy course the next time you play there you will see a yellow balloon. Grab
     it and you will enter time attack mode. In this mode there are no balloons or obstacles and you go
     extremely fast.

Turtle Paridise Flyers

     There are several flyers for Turtle Paradise hidden in this game. #1 is in Midgar by Aeris's house,
     #2 is in the Shinra building, #3 Ghost Square, #4 Cosmo Canyon, #5 Cosmo Canyon Hotel, #6
     Yuffie's house. When you have all those fliers go to the southwest corner of Utai. Enter the
     restaurant and you will receive several orbs and elixirs.

Underwater Plane Crash

     If you wander around in the submarine you'll eventually find a downed plane. Ram it with your sub
     to board it. Inside you'll find powerful Materia, items, weapons, and a lot of Turks and monsters.

Unlimited Sources

     To get unlimited Sources (luck source, magic source, etc.) perform the following actions. Get in
     the submarine and go to the downed plane. Wander around until you get into a battle and use the
     morph command on the enemies. The best way to do this is attack the enemies until they are
     almost dead and then use morph. In this area there are six different enemies and each one morphs
     into one of the six sources.

Virtual Immortality

     Connect the Phoenix Summon and Final Attack materia in any linked slot. When your party dies,
     there Hitpoints will be completely restored. This makes killing Ruby, Emerald, and Sephiroth
     simple, just make sure you have enough Mindpoints to use the Phoenix Summon.

     For more punch, add a Final Attack/Knight oo the Round Table to the same weapon. Then when
     you die you'll resurrect and hit back HARD.



REVIEW

                               When videogames are delayed for any
                               significant amount of time, they are usually,
                               for some reason, far below expectations.
                               Games like Battlecruiser 3000AD, Ultima
                               VIII, and Stonekeep were all pushed back
                               repeatedly, only to be either incomplete
                               (Battlecruiser) or simply bad (Ultima,
                               Stonekeep). But occasionally, a game comes
                              along that bucks that trend. And in the case
                               of Final Fantasy VII, the latest output from
                               RPG king Square, the end result justifies the
                               delays without question. FF7 is, without a
                               doubt, the new benchmark for console titles.

                               To begin with, FF7 is longer than every
                               console RPG to date. The game takes place
                               across 3 CDs. It took Next Generation Online, no stranger to RPGs, a total of
                               49 hours to complete the game (approximately 25 hours for disc one, 15 for
                               disc two, and 9 for disc three - the majority of which was spent breeding and
                               racing chocobos [q.v.]), twice the length of Final Fantasy VI (known as III in
                               the U.S.) and Wild Arms. While it is possible for the game to be completed in
                               less time, rushing to complete it is definitely not recommended.

                               Since their last Japanese-translated RPG (Chrono Trigger for Super
                               Nintendo), Square has been known for adding "easter eggs" to their games -
                               opportunities for players to learn more about the game's characters, bonus
                               games, and the like. Well, Square has outdone themselves this time. At least
                               three hours are spent uncovering the main character's past, with an additional
                               hour each for several other characters. One of the game's "secret" characters
                               has her own hour of backstory, complete with her own town that is not even
                               necessary to visit during the game's normal progression.

                               What is necessary during the game's normal progression is the capacity for
                               awe. FF7's graphics are light years beyond anything ever seen on the
                               PlayStation, making Wild Arms look like a Yarouze demo (we have nothing
                               against Wild Arms, but FF7 is that good). The game begins in an enormous
                               industrial complex housed in a futuristic city, and remains there for the first
                               seven or eight hours of play. Just when it appears that the entire game will
                               take place in the city, the venue changes to a fully 3D, fully rotatable engine,
                               and players will find that the city is a mere dot on the enormous world map.

                               When not travelling in the world, players will navigate through static,
                               hand-drawn locales. And in another huge leap forward for RPGs, the corridor
                               is no more. Players can walk in, around, on top of, and through submarines,
                               glaciers, amusement parks, reactors, farms, and dozens of other places. Since
                               the backgrounds are static, the developers were able to put all their attention
                               into animating the iconic representation of the party leader, which is
                               represented in super-deformed polygons, looking remarkably like the Wild
                               Arms characters look in battle.

                               It is unknown who came up with the idea for the polygonal battles first, Sony
                               or Square, but Square has been in the business longer, and it shows in FF7's
                               combat engine. While only three members can be in the party at one time, the
                               effects more than make up for the game's only shortcoming. The graphics are
                               as "realistic" as possible, considering the genre, with each character having a
                               distinct look. And since each character uses a different style of weapon, the
                               animation is different for each character. But it doesn't stop there - each
                               character also has several other attack animations, based on their equipment.
                               The equipping of characters is perhaps the most important part of the game;
                               the game itself devotes several pages of text just to explain it.

                               The special attacks and spells, however, are the game's strongest points. All
                               nine characters have "limit breaks", which can only be used after the
                               character takes a certain amount of damage. When the limit is reached, the
                               character attacks and does extra damage to the target. Each character has at
                               least four, with one having nine.

                               The spells are the most graphically impressive part of the game (the game's
                               CG sequences run a close second). There are 70 in all, 16 of which are
                               FF3-style summon monster spells. One of these (Leviathan) was in the FF7
                               demo disc, which may be why the demand for the game has been so huge.

                               The game's plot is deep and typical of Square's prior efforts quite epic.
                               Square takes great pride in its storytelling abilities and uses a number of
                               flashback sequences, and loads of rendered sequences and prerendered
                               FMV to add greatly to the mood and emotion of the story.

                               Adult themes and even some uncensored language (Goddamn, Crap, Shit,
                               etc.) were all left in place as per Sony's promise not to alter the work. The teen
                               rating for the game is well deserved due to such mature sexual and violent
                               themes.

                               All in all, it is impossible to not recommend Final Fanatsy VII to anyone who
                               is even vaguely interested in RPGs.

                               As a final note, the game is immense, and you simply will not find everything
                               your first time through the game. After playing it once without assistance,
                               replaying the game with the help of a guide lends additional insight into how
                               much is packed into this title. If you need a guide, the most complete one
                               we've seen, that doesn't reveal the plot of the game while you use it, is VS
                               Book's Unofficial FFVII Strategy Guide.

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