I’m going to basically skip over the hunt for the key-cards in the Shinra building. Seriously boring stuff.

We were in the Shinra HQ to rescue Aeris of course so we made our way up one floor after another. Eventually we came upon Hojo, Shinra’s researcher. In one of his labs he had a tank that was marked “Jenova” which caused Cloud to have a fit. If I remember correctly, Jenova is Sephiroth’s mother and also some sort of evil space alien.

Further up we were able to rescue Aeris and also meet up with Red XIII! I always liked Red XIII so it’s good to finally get him in our party.

Then we were captured by Shinra and the President explains to us that Aeris is an Ancient (along with Sephiroth by the way) and is somehow linked to the Promised Land – a place of nearly unlimited Mako energy and a fine location to build a Shinra reactor. He hopes that Aeris will take him there. That night in Shinra’s prison their cell doors open and they escape to find everybody murdered and a trail of blood leading upward.

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They followed it to the President’s office only to find him stabbed by an escaped Sephiroth. Barret begins to rejoice that Shinra is defeated only to realize that the President’s son Rufus is still at large and has plans to continue Shinra’s evil mission.

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After a boss fight against Rufus our team ends up in a chase scene as they escape Shinra HQ. Cloud on his ginormous motorcycle has to defend the rest of the team who are driving what appears to be a glorified ice cream truck while Shinra operatives attack on motorcycles of their own. It’s a fun little mini-game and a welcome diversion.

We then find ourselves at the end of the road (literally) and the group decides to pursue Sephiroth.

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At about six and a half hours into it, the game finally opens up and allows access to the outside world. Aeris remarks that she doesn’t think she’s ever left the city of Midgar. It’s a claustrophobic way to begin the game, especially so during a replay.

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Once outside we have access to many more areas and the ability to save anywhere on the overworld map. So what if Cloud looks like the size of a small building? Our team is off to the village of Kalm to see what they can find.

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