I’m now roughly 27 hours into Final Fantasy VII. Once I got past the early part that I’d played three or four times before I started having a blast with it. Let me recap some of what has happened recently.

Cloud fell into the Lifestream and was lost, leaving Tifa in charge as the group’s leader. They went to Junon to obtain one of several pieces of the Huge Materia before Shinra gets it. While at Junon they were captured and Tifa was sentenced to be executed by Shinra’s Scarlet.

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Now Tifa apparently has quite a set of… lungs. Scarlet began releasing the gas, Barret couldn’t get in to rescue her so Barret left the building and went to the airport. Not sure what the plan was there. Meanwhile Weapon, the planet’s defense system, attacked Junon and was shot down by the Big Ass Gun. It was obvious from the first time I saw Junon with the huge gun that it was going to play an important role in the story. Well Weapon was destroyed apparently but not before damaging the building which let Tifa escape after holding her breath for roughly 15 minutes or so. As she climbed out of the building she wound up on the barrel of the gun and got into a slap-fight with Scarlet.

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Smackdown!  I believe this is the best mini-game ever.

Scarlet wasn’t much of a fighter and Tifa defeated her handily. Tifa is rescued by Barret and Cid in Shinra’s airship and now our group has an airship which lets us fly around the world. I love the airship but I can’t figure out why an airship would have a Chocobo ranch on it.

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They eventually tracked Cloud down in Mideel only to find that he is mute and completely mental. Tifa stays behind to care for him and Cid takes over as the group’s leader. I spent a lot of time levelling my group up. We went to Wutai and defeated Yuffie’s father and obtained her ultimate limit break. We went to Coral and thwarted Shinra’s plan to obtain their piece of the Huge Materia by hijacking their train before it crashed into the town. We went to Fort Condor and beat back the Shinra forces and obtained their Huge Materia piece.

We then returned to Mideel only to find it under attack by another Weapon. In the battle, both Cloud and Tifa fell into the Lifestream and together they tried to repair Cloud’s mind.

Now this is where the story gets really weird. Cloud apparently really isn’t Cloud as we know him. Cloud was a rather ordinary Shinra fighter who didn’t make the cut to get into SOLDIER. He apparently admired Zack who was a member of SOLDIER. He was originally not with the group that accompanied Sephiroth to Nibelheim and the scene where Cloud and Sephiroth battle and Tifa is injured and Sephiroth joins with Jenova… this was all Zack’s memory instead of Cloud’s.

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Zack was apparently killed by Sephiroth and Cloud somehow took over his persona and memories. With this realization, Cloud’s mind is healed and he resumes his leadership role in the group.

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Okay. That was weird. The first time I played FFVII I don’t think I ever really understood what was going on with Cloud and Zack. This time I basically understand the details but it’s still a very odd plot point. It does turn things upside down nicely – strong, fearless Cloud was actually a SOLDIER reject.

Next we’re off to the underwater base to reclaim another piece of the Huge Materia. Most of my characters are around level 45 or so and my materia is starting to max out which is lots o’ fun. I like unleashing Fire 3 on all opponents or casting Haste, Barrier and Regen on my entire party.

I think I’m getting close to the end of disc 2.

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