Final Fantasy VII/Preface/Story/During the game

This guide is designed to explain the major events of the game, and some of the more confusing elements. The Glossary section will attempt to provide some of the background information, see the characters page as well.




An alien creature found in an ancient geological stratum, discovered by Professor Gast. It was believed by him and the Shinra to be one of the Ancients, a powerful race who are believed to be the source of magical knowledge. Professor Gast later came to suspect it had a very different origin after meeting an Ancient named Ilfana. Jenova was kept in the reactor near Nibelheim, and later moved to the Shinra building.

The Jenova Project

A set of experiments conducted by Hojo to create humans with the power of the Ancients. Humans were treated with Mako and exposed to Jenova's cells. Some of those treated became monsters, and the experiment culminated in treating the infant Sephiroth, who was branded with a tattoo of the number 1, marking him as Hojo's first subject.

The Jenova Reunification Theory

Hojo believed that if Jenova's body was ever dismembered, it would re-form itself. After the events of Nibelheim, he treated several individuals with Jenova's cells and expected to witness a Reunion of them with Jenova itself. At least 12 additional subjects were involved. One of which was a sick man in the Midgar slums bearing a number 2 tattoo, and the last of which was RedXIII, who exhibited no significant reaction to Jenova.


A mysterious force of the planet used by the Shinra as a source of energy. It is used to treat members of SOLDIER to enhance their abilities, leaving a strange blue glow to their eyes, and it is believed to represent the distilled knowledge and magic of the Ancients. Bugenhagen refers to it as the Lifestream of the planet, and the continually renewing energy of all living things. When any creature dies, it enters the Lifestream, and is reborn into some other form. Shinra's use of Mako is considered by elements of AVALANCHE and others to be destroying the lifeblood of the planet.


Crystalized Mako energy, which allows the bearer to use magic.

The Turks

A set of mercenaries who work for the Shinra corporation, Vincent Valentine was formerly of their ranks. Members include Tseng, Reno, Rude, and Elana. They serve as the usual reliably incompetent villains.


The Shinra corporations was formerly a weapons manufacturer, but there turned out to be more money in Mako production. In control of the elite fighters of SOLDIER, responsible for Mako reactors, and in charge of the city of Midgar. Greedy and often irresponsible, but they aren't intentionally trying to destroy the planet.

Shinra Executives include the president and his son Rufus in charge of the organization as a whole, Palmer in charge of the space division, Scarlet in charge of weapons research, Heidegger in charge of the army, and Reeve in charge of urban development. Professor Gast was previously employed by Shinra but quit, and Hojo is a mad scientist in charge of several unethical experiments in the name of Shinra.

The Promised Land

A legendary place believed to be the home of the Ancients, and a place full of power and rich with Mako energy. The Shinra believe they can mine it as an abundant source of Mako, but none of them suspect its true origins.


A legendary monster from the past used to defend the planet from some great threat to its very existence.


The ultimate destructive magic said to be contained by a black materia. It is said to summon a meteor powerful enough to nearly destroy a planet. It would also force the planet to try to heal itself by drawing on the Lifestream and gathering it to the point of injury.

Character Summary


Cloud: Young man who lived in Nibelheim until he was 14, when he left to join SOLDIER to be like Sephiroth. Came back as a first-class SOLDIER but troubled mentally. Experiences strange flashbacks on occasion and is emotionally alienated from his surroundings. Skilled with a sword and familiar with the Shinra from his past working for them, starts the game as a mercenary for AVALANCHE.

Tifa: Childhood friend of Cloud and a martial artist. Cloud made a promise to protect her as a child if he ever became strong or famous. She looks after Cloud now and tries to keep the group together.

Barret: A bitter terrorist determined to bring down Shinra and stop the use of Mako reactors. He lost his right arm and traded it for a gun. Has a daughter named Marlene and leads a crew known as AVALANCHE against the Shinra.

Aeris: A flower girl from the slums, believed by the Shinra and herself to be an Ancient. Tifa and her compete over Cloud's mostly non-existent affections.

RedXIII: An experimental project of Hojo's who seems to have suffered no ill side effects. His real name is Nanaki, and he comes from Cosmo Canyon. A strange dog-like creature with a number 13 tattoo.

Cait Sith: A robot-like fortune teller who is more than he appears.

Cid: A bitter pilot who lost his dreams to be in the Shinra Space program thanks to a mechanic named Shera who insisted on repairing the ship before it launched. He's the current owner of an airship.

Sephiroth: Cloud's nemesis and the finest warrior who ever lived according to many. He disappeared five years ago at Nibelheim but has recently been seen appearing all over the world. Is believed to be hunting Black Materia and the Promised Land.

Plot Outline


Disc 1: Midgar through the City of the Ancients




Midgar Slums

Cloud Strife is hired out by AVALANCHE, a terrorist group blowing up Mako Reactors due to the harm they believe it is causing to the planet. Led by Barret, they blow up a reactor and escape on a train. Cloud's childhood friend Tifa is in charge of a bar in the sector 7 slums, and she tries to keep Cloud from just running off. He agrees to do a second mission, but they have to run for it on the train raid over. After their second attempt to blow up a Mako reactor they fall into a trap set by the Shinra and have to escape. Cloud meets a flower girl from the slums named Aeris who helps him recover, and he saves her from the Turks, a band of Shinra mercenaries trying to capture her because she's an Ancient. Aeris's mother Elmyra asks him to leave Aeris in peace, and tells Cloud of Aeris's abilities, but Aeris follows him anyway. Aeris helps Cloud dress up in drag to rescue Tifa, who's been kidnapped by a playboy called Don Corneo. They learns of a plot to destroy the sector of the city where AVALANCHE is believed to be located, and go there to try to stop the Shinra scheme. Cloud is thwarted by the Turks, and sector 7 is destroyed, but not before Aeris helps get Barret's daughter, Marlene, to safety.

Shinra Building:

The whole group heads to the Shinra building to get revenge on the president and rescue Aeris. Hojo is attempting to breed Aeris and an experimental animal named RedXIII, both the last remnants of dying races. RedXIII turns out to be a helpful creature, and attacks Hojo and joins the party. Cloud notices a holding container for a creature named Jenova, and learns that the Shinra are seeking the promised land by using Aeris. His group is captured by the Turks and put in prison. Cloud wakes up to find his door unlocked, Jenova missing from its holding cell, and the president of Shinra has been stabbed with the Masamune, a sword he knows belongs to Sephiroth, a legendary first-class SOLDIER who was supposed to have been dead for years. Cloud confronts the new president of Shinra, Rufus, and makes a getaway on a motorcycle with his crew.

Cloud's Tortured Past


The group leaves Midgar and travels to Kalm, where Barret and the others want to be filled in on what Cloud knows about Sephiroth, and what their connection to Shinra is. Cloud reluctantly explains all he remembers.

Five years ago, Cloud was a first class SOLDIER alongside Sephiroth, although he was nothing compared to the legendary warrior. He was only 16 years old. Cloud did his best to be friendly with the regular members of the army as they dealt with motion sickness on the ride over. Sephiroth remarked to him about Cloud visiting his hometown as they arrived, and said he had never had a home. Cloud visited Tifa's house for a while, visited his mother who advised him to find an older girlfriend to take care of him, and spent the night in the inn courtesy of Shinra. They headed out in the morning, and Sephiroth took Tifa as a guide to go to Mount Nibel to visit the Mako Reactor to see what was causing the problems with monsters appearing in the area. The group got a photo taken together, and Cloud noticed Tifa but never talked to her alone. Two soldiers accompanied them to the Mako reactor, but the bridge broke, and only one continued with them. Tifa was forced to wait at the door of the reactor and Sephiroth learned that humans had been injected with Mako by Dr. Hojo to create monsters. Sephiroth was disturbed to notice that the monsters were associated with something called the Jenova project since his own mother's name was Jenova.

Sephiroth brooded for a while, and Cloud hunted him down in the basement of the mansion in Nibelheim. Sephiroth learned of an alien creature discovered by Dr. Gast and believed to be the last of the Ancients, or the Cetra. They named it Jenova and experimented with its cells impact on other life forms. He also learned of the promised land, a place of power held sacred by the ancients. Sephiroth grew angry with Cloud and asks him to leave him alone.

When Cloud woke up later, the whole village was burning, and Sephiroth stabbed several of the villagers. Cloud chased him to the Mako reactor, and found Tifa struck down by Sephiroth. He dragged her to safety as she mumbled about him keeping his promise. Sephiroth attempted to free the body of Jenova and told Cloud that the ancients are the rightful heirs of the planet, and he will seek the promised land. Cloud vowed to stop him, and they approached to fight. Unfortunately, that's where Cloud blacked out, that was all he could remember.

Sephiroth and Cloud both had disappeared for five years, and the body of Jenova was moved from the reactor at Nibelheim to the Shinra building, where it was apparently broken out by Sephiroth. The group isn't sure what to make of everything, but decide to keep pursuing Sephiroth.

The Black Materia Hunt



Cloud and company hire a Chocobo to cross a dangerous swamp filled with giant snakes, and they find the corpse of a snake apparently killed by Sephiroth. They meet the Turks again, who are apparently looking for Sephiroth, Aeris, and the promised land. They make their way through the mines and come to the city of Junon, where Cloud, after rescuing a girl, has to disguise himself as a Shinra soldier to sneak onto a military vessel carrying Shinra President Rufus to another continent. On the Ship he meets Sephiroth briefly and has to fight a creature apparently generated from the arm of Jenova.

Gold Saucer and Corel Prison

Cloud and company visit Mt. Corel, a mining village destroyed by the Shinra. Barret used to live there, and blames himself for allowing the Shinra in. They visit the Gold Saucer, have a strange fortune-telling creature named Cait Sith join the party and predict bad luck for one of the party. Shinra soldiers are in a few parts of the theme park, and Cloud finds a bunch of people shot. Cloud and party are blamed for the murders, and dropped into Corel prison beneath the Gold Saucer. The only way out is as a Chocobo racer. Barret tells the part of an old friend of his, Dyne, who lived with him in Corel and lost his other arm to be replaced by a gun the same way Barret did. His friend is the boss of the prison and is the father of Barret's adopted child, Marlene. He has sunk into depression and wants to kill them all, so Barret fights him alone, and Cloud is able to enlist as a Chocobo racer. He wins a race and is able to get out, and the boss of the Gold Saucer, Dio, let's him know he didn't think they were guilty anyway.

Cosmo Canyon

Cloud and company learns about the Shinra trying to harvest Huge Materia from Mako reactors, and that Sephiroth was looking for black materia. They also hear about a boy named Zack who joined SOLDIER 10 years ago, and was Aeris's old boyfriend. They travel to RedXIII's home of Cosmo Canyon on a buggy, and learn he thinks his father was a coward who refused to defend his village. Cloud learns about how using Mako is draining the life force and spirit energy of the planet, and RedXIII finds the body of his father, who actually died defending his village. They head to Nibelheim, only to find that the whole town has been rebuilt and no one seems to recognize Cloud or want to talk to him. Nine men in black cloaks are nearby with Tattoos on their arms of different numbers, who speak about hearing Sephiroth's voice, the reunion, and Jenova. Sephiroth was known to have a number 1 tatoo, and a sick man in Midgar had a number 2 tatoo. They visit the Shinra mansion and find Sephiroth in the basement, talking about Jenova bringing a calamity from the skies. Sephiroth tells him he thinks Cloud is too weak to join the "reunion" but he is welcome to try. Cloud travels through Mount Nibel where the old Mako reactor was, and heads to Rocket Town.

Rocket Town

Rocket Town has a giant rocket sticking into the sky, the remants of Shinra's space program that was aborted after a failed launch. Captain Cid was in charge of the rocket that was going to be launched, and he's pinning his hopes on Rufus, the new Shinra President, to restart the space program. Cid is also the proud owner of the tiny Bronco, an airship. The rocket launch was aborted because of a mechanic named Shera who stayed in the engine room to try to repair the oxygen tanks. Cid cancelled the launch rather than let her die from the heat of the takeoff. Since then he blames her for ruining his dreams. Rufus shows up and informs Cid they have no intention of restarting the space program, they just want to take his airship so they can follow Sephiroth to a place called the Temple of the Ancients. Cloud fight off Palmer so they can take the airship before the Shinra can get it, Cid escapes with them but the ship is damaged in takeoff and is forced to land in the water. Cid informs them it can only function as a boat to traverse shallow water, and he's willing to join them to help fight the Shinra.

Gold Saucer Redux

Cloud learns that the Temple of the Ancients is on the continent to the east, but he needs a keystone to enter, which is owned by a very rich man, who sounds like Dio, the owner of the Gold Saucer. Dio was willing to give them the keystone in exchange for seeing Cloud fight, but they were unable to leave the gold saucer once the tram broke down. They chose to spend the night at the ghost inn, where Cloud brought Cait Sith and Cid up to speed on what they were trying to do in keeping Sephiroth and the Shinra from reaching the promised land. The night, Cloud was dragged out for a date with a member of his party and played the lead in a show. After a romantic ride through the sky, Cloud spots Cait Sith, who's stolen the keystone, and who hands it off to Tseng of the Turks. Cait Sith admits to being a spy for the Shinra, and that the body of the animal is actually a robot he's controlling remotely from Shinra headquarters, he's a Shinra employee himself. He also says he has Marlene as a hostage, so Cloud needs to cooperate and keep him in the party, but Cait Sith does want to help him and directs him to the Temple of the Ancients.

Temple of the Ancients

Tseng of the turks shows up at the doorway, wounded by Sephiroth, and says that Sephiroth didn't come there to seek the promised land after all. He gives Cloud the keystone and Aeris leads them inside, where they encounter some of the spirit bodies of the ancients protecting the temple. Aeris has a vision of Sephiroth attacking Tseng and vowing to become one with the life force of the planet. Sephiroth materializes in front of Cloud and Aeris and disappears, saying he intends to cause a fatal wound to the planet and absorb all the energy the planet summons to heal itself. The murals on the wall depict meteor, the ultimate destructive magic which summons a meteor powerful enough to destroy a small planet. The black materia turns out to be the temple itself, only it has to be shrunk down from the inside, killing whoever is inside. Cait Sith volunteers for the job since he has a robotic body, and the temple disappears with the black materia shows up in its crater. Sephiroth appears levitating above the crater, saying that he has travelled the lifestream and absorbed the knowledge of the Ancients and all those who have lived since. Cloud has an out of body experience after Sephiroth tells him to wake up, and he watches himself hand off the black materia to Sephiroth from the point of view of himself as a child. He has a small breakdown and watches himself again beating up on Aeris before his party members stop him. When Cloud blacks out he has a vision of Aeris saying goodbye to him, that she has to go to the city of the ancients to stop Sephiroth, and Sephiroth follows her and saying "we need to stop her." When Cloud comes to, Aeris is gone, and he's scared to continue hunting Sephiroth in case he loses it again.

The Promised Land


City of the Ancients

Tifa and Barret do what they can for Cloud, and they head to Bone Village, where Aeris was seen heading into the Forgotten City through the Sleeping Forest. Cloud locates the Lunar Harp to open the way and treks through the Sleeping Forest to the Forgotten City of the Ancients, where he finds Aeris in the middle of a crystal like cathedral, apparently praying. Cloud begins to lose control of himself and finds himself drawing his sword to attack Aeris when his party members yell at him to stop. Aeris looks up at him, smiles, and Sephiroth flies out the sky to stab her straight through the back, as a white materia slips out of her fingers. Sephiroth laughs at Cloud's pain, and says Aeris will soon become part of the lifestream of the planet, which will soon become part of him when he reaches the Northern Crater. Cloud yells at him, and Sephiroth says to stop bothering to pretend he's angry or hurt. None of his feelings matter, "because you are... a puppet."

After battling another one of Sephiroth's minions, Cloud lays Aeris to rest under water. He admits to the group that he doesn't understand himself anymore and that he fears there's something terrible inside himself waiting to be unleashed that made him nearly kill Aeris himself, but he can't forgive Sephiroth for what he's done and he has to continue. He doesn't know how Aeris was intending to stop Sephiroth, but he has no choice but to try to prevent him from using the Black Materia. As he begins to head out, he hears the voice of Sephiroth beckoning him to head North, past the snow fields.

Disc 2: The Northern Village to Midgar


Northern Village and Snow Fields

In the Northern Village, Cloud and company find Dr. Gast's house and learn about Aeris's mother, Ilfana, another ancient. She explains on a video how 2000 years ago the Ancients, or Cetra, gathered near the Northern crater to try to heal a wound inflicted on the planet. They tried to gather the planet's energy to heal the wound, but were unsuccessful. The being who had caused the injury to the planet, known as the "crisis from the sky" offered friendship to the Cetra, but betrayed them and infected them with a virus, causing many Cetra to go mad and become monsters. The monster who had injured the planet was known as Jenova, and it was eventually sealed away by the Cetra, but as long as it lives the planet can never fully heal. The planet created a monster known as "Weapon" through sheer will to destroy Jenova and anything which might threaten the life of the planet. Weapon lies dormant but as long as Jenova lives the planet remains wary. At the end of the set of videos Cloud watches with Ilfana explaining the past of the planet, Hojo shows up to kidnap Aeris and apparently kills her father, Dr. Gast, as well as Ilfana.

Cloud evades the turks and Shinra forces moving into the village in pursuit of Sephiroth by snowboarding into the valley. After trecking through the snowy wasteland, he reached the Northern Crater, the exact site where Jenova crashed down years ago and the planet was forced to gather energy to heal itself. It's known as the promised land simply because of all the Mako which was gathered there to heal the wound. Along the way, Cloud encountered several of the black-hooded men he had seen previously, all of which appeared to be perishing along the route. The Shinra were in hot pursuit, with Hojo laughing and saying the reunion would be soon. Sephiroth appeared and stabbed some of the black-hooded men, saying that "that this body had outlived its usefuless" and disappeared. He returned and forced Cloud to fight another battle with Jenova, after which he learned that the reunion was related to Jenova's cells. After the battle Cloud found the remains of the black materia, but decided to leave it behind with one of his friends to keep it from falling into Sephiroth's hands again.

Northern Crater

As Cloud headed north, the northern crater disappeared and he found himself in Nibelheim. He decided it must be one of Sephiroth's illusions, but was surprised as he watched a familiar scene with himself walking into Nibelheim. The difference was that the man following Sephiroth wasn't him, it was a black-haired man wearing his clothes and using his sword. Cloud watches the same black-haired man leave the Shinra mansion, but thinks nothing of it since he believes it just to be a trick. Tifa was frightened, and Cloud yelled out to Sephiroth, asking if he was trying to say that Cloud was never in Nibelheim five years ago. Sephiroth appears, laughing at him, saying he was only a puppet. Cloud was constructed piece by piece by Hojo from the dead at Nibelheim. His body was constructed with Jenova's cells, and infused with Mako. He was just another Sephiroth clone like the black hooded men, only he was incomplete, not even given a number.

Cloud refuses to believe him, calling on all the memories Tifa and himself had shared before Nibelheim. Sephiroth laughs at him, saying that Jenova has the power to alter memories and appearances, Cloud was created in part by Tifa's memories. Sephiroth shows him the photo that was taken of him, Tifa, and Cloud, only the black-haired man appears in his place again. Cloud insists that his version of events is real and that Sephiroth's is a lie, but he's suddenly unable to remember when or how he joined SOLDIER.

Meanwhile, Scarlet, Rufus, and Hojo reach the depths of the Northern Crater, which they believe to be the promised land, and find a web full of materia and Mako energy. Part of the wall begins to come alive, and Hojo says it must be Weapon, the creature which exists to protect the planet. Meanwhile, Sephiroth disguises himself as Tifa and tricks the party member holding the black materia into following him. Cloud shows up next to Rufus and the others, no longer in the illusion, but clearly disturbed. He takes the black materia back, saying it is time for the reunion. He apologizes to Tifa that he couldn't be the real "Cloud", and hopes she meets him someday. Hojo laughs, saying the reunion is complete, and tries to talk to Cloud and ask what his number is, but Cloud says that he never got one, since Hojo assumed he was a failure. Hojo refuses to give him a number, and tells the others he was one of the clones of Sephiroth he developed.

As Cloud rises into the air, Hojo explains to the others the Jenova unification theory: that if Jenova's body were to become dismembered, it would eventually try to become one again. The event would be Jenova's reunion. He expected the reunion to occur around Midgar where Jenova was stored, but Jenova disappeared from the Shinra building. Hojo figured out that Sephiroth was able to take control of the "Jenova clones", and was bringing them all to himself. Cloud mumbles to himself that he was never pursuing Sephiroth, he was being summoned by him. Cloud calls out to him, saying he brought the black materia. Sephiroth's frozen body appears into the middle of the web of materia, Hojo cackles that Jenova and Sephiroth will not be diffused into the lifestream but gathered together here, and Rufus tries to evacuate, taking Cloud's party. Cloud hands the black materia over to Sephiroth, and the Northern Crater erupts with energy. Cloud's party escapes with Rufus on his airship, as Weapon, a giant mechnical dragon arises out of the crater as well.

Meteor and Weapon arrive


As Tifa blacks out, she remembers her first meeting with Cloud after he returned, finding him at the train station, with him saying he hadn't seen her in five years, and herself thinking it had been seven. She asked him to join AVALANCHE so she could keep an eye on him and try to figure out what was wrong with him. When she comes to, she hears that she'd been asleep for a week. Sephiroth is sealed in the Northern crater, protected by a barrier of light, and a monster called Weapon has been on the rampage. Rufus is trying to fight it, but it seems hopeless, and outside they can already see a giant meteor getting closer to the planet. Rufus shows up and says there's nothing more he can do, and he intends to have Tifa and the others executed so the public can blame someone for the whole disaster.

Scarlet shows up to execute them, but Weapon shows up to attack, and Cait Sith reveals himself after posing as a reporter and knocks Scarlet out. Barret tries to rescue Tifa, and Rufus fires the Mako Cannon Sister Ray at the weapon, but only wounds it. They attack it with everything they have, but it rams into the side of the base. Cait Sith leads Barret to the airport, and Tifa escapes from her cell as the weapon attacks the side of the base, making a hole. The mako cannon blows Weapon's head off, and Tifa climbs to safety and slaps Scarlet silly. Tifa escapes by jumping off the end of the cannon and gets picked up by Barret on the Highwind. The crew of the highwind rebelled against the Shinra and joined up with Cid and your party to help save the planet. All of the party is on the ship, and Tifa hopes to search for Cloud some place where the lifestream gushes up above ground.

Tifa leads the party to Mideel, a place where Mako energy gushes up from below. Cloud is in the clinic as an invalid, unable to talk or cope with anything. The doctors say he was exposed to extrodinary amounts of Mako radiation, causing damage to his brain. He must have fallen into the lifestream and been carried down to Mideel. Tifa decides to stay with Cloud to help him recover, and Cait Sith lets the party eavesdrop on a meeting between two people he calls "Gya ha ha" and "Kya ha ha", or the Shinra executives Heideger and Scarlet, also accompanied by Rufus, Reeve, and Palmer. Shinra's two goals are to destroy meteor somehow and remove the barrier around the Northern cave to defeat Sephiroth. They plan to destroy meteor by collecting Huge Materia from all the Mako reactors and launching it in a rocket to blow up Meteor. They've already gathered the huge materia from Nibelheim, and plan to dispatch troops to Corel and Fort Condor.

The Huge Materia Hunt


Barret and the others decide they don't trust the Shinra and don't want to let them get their hands on the huge materia, plus they believe it might help them since it's supposed to react to regular materia. Barret elects Cid to be the new leader of the group when he wakes up, and he decides to head to North Corel to deal with the Shinra there. The Shinra have run off the the Huge Materia on a train there, so Cid races another train out to catch up with it, leaps onto the Shinra train, and shuts it down before it can crash. The villagers give them the huge materia out of gratitude. The group also heads to Fort Condor to save the base being overrun by Shinra and witness the birth of another Condor, and gain another huge materia. They head back to Mideel to check on Cloud.

Cloud's Therapy Session


When Cid and the others arrive, lifestream starts gushing out of the ground and another monster called WEAPON shows up to terrorize the place. Cid and the group manages to chase Ultima Weapon away, but the lifestream below the village is still gushing up, and they all have to escape. Tifa tries to get Cloud to safety, but they both end up falling into the lifestream together, where Tifa finds herself inside Cloud's troubled subconscious. Cloud guides her back to the entrance to Nibelheim, but Tifa confesses to him that she never saw Cloud at Nibelheim five years ago, it was Sephiroth and another man.

Cloud remains confused, so Tifa takes him back to the promise he made her by the well years ago. Sephiroth wanted her to think Cloud only made up his memories by hearing her stories, so Tifa asks Cloud to show her one of his own memories. Tifa asks him why he joined SOLDIER, and Cloud admits that he wanted to stand out, and to be noticed. He takes Tifa back to a memory of them as children, and how she barely knew him until he went away. Cloud was never a part of her group, and begin thinking that maybe he was different. The day Tifa's mother died, she climbed the mountain looking for her, Cloud followed her but they both fell off. Her family blamed Cloud for what happened, and he started to blame himself even though Tifa never even knew he was there. Cloud started getting into fights and acting immature, and heard about Sephiroth, and thought that maybe if he was strong like him, Tifa would finally notice him. Tifa feels sorry for him, but Cloud tells her not to worry about it anymore.

Tifa's convinced Cloud wasn't just created five years ago if they share their childhood memories, so Tifa takes them back to Nibelheim, and they go over Sephiroth cutting Tifa down at the reactor. The dark haired man shows up, runs past Tifa, and chases after Sephiroth, and Cloud suddenly remembers that his name was Zack. Zack was the name of the first-class SOLDIER who accompanied Sephiroth. Cloud then remembers Zack getting tossed aside by Sephiroth, and an ordinary military grunt grabbing Zack's sword and stabbing Sephiroth. The grunt took off his helmet, and Cloud recognized his own face. Cloud was the ordinary soldier he recalled in all his memories. He was the one who got sick on the train, and who followed Tifa, Zack, and Sephiroth to Nibelheim. He didn't want to show his face to anyone in town since he was too ashamed of failing to get in to SOLDIER. After he stabbed Sephiroth at the reactor, Cloud helped get Tifa to safety, and chased Sephiroth as he staggered away with Jenova's head. Sephiroth stabbed Cloud in the side, but Cloud lifted Sephiroth up by the hilt of the his sword and tossed him into the bowels of the reactor, where he vanished into the lifestream.

With Cloud finally realizing who he really is, he's able to put together the shattered pieces of his personality, and come to rest outside of the lifestream, where the group is waiting for them. Cloud admits to the others that he never made it into SOLDIER, his friend Zack did, and since he was ashamed of who he was, he managed to convince himself that he had lived in Zack's place. Hojo's experiments on him with Mako and Jenova cells made him close physically to a member of SOLDIER, and his weaknesses mentally and infection with Jenova made it possible for Sephiroth to manipulate him. It was his fault Sephiroth was able to gain the black materia and try to summon Meteor, but Cloud intends to do everything in his power to stop him. Cait Sith suggests they head to the Underwater Reactor near Junon to get the last Huge Materia, and Cid's glad to have Cloud in the lead again(he can never remember who has what materia anyway).

The Huge Materia Hunt Continued


Cloud heads to Junon where another Huge Materia is being taken via sub to the Shinra. After engaging Reno of the Turks briefly, Cloud hijacks a sub and sinks the Shinra vessel. They learn via the sub's radio that the Shinra are gathering the huge materia they found to the Junon airport, and they discover that the cannon at Junon has been moved. They arrive at the airport to find that the huge materia is being taken to rocket town, where the plan is to launch it into the meteor.

Cloud and Cid fight their way past Rude of the turks to reach the rocket, where Cid takes over the launching of the rocket. Cloud tries to convince Cid that the materia represents generations of knowledge and wisdom they can't afford to lose, and which they may be able to use to fight off Sephiroth, so the Shinra's scheme of using it against meteor may not be such a bright one. Cid's not too eager to give up his life's dream of going into space, but the rocket is launched with them in it before they can do anything.

They're left on a collision course with meteor, but Cid says they can get to an escape pod in time. Cloud snags the huge materia, and they make their way to the escape pod, only to have an oxygen tank blow up and injure Cid. Cid realizes that one of the Oxygen tanks was malfunctioning, and Shera was right to delay the launch. Shera shows up on the rocket to rescue them, and they fly out in the escape pod. The rocket crashes into meteor with a fantastic explosion, but the giant rock looming overhead is left unharmed. Cid talks to the group and said he's had a revelation, the planet isn't very old compared to the universe or all the other stars and planets out there, it's like a little kid, assaulted and infected by Jenova and Sephiroth, and it needs their help to protect it. RedXIII suggests they go talk to his grandfather Bugenhagen to see what they can do.

City of the Ancients Cloud asks Bugenhagen why Aeris wasn't afraid to challenge Sephiroth on her own, and whether or not they could continue what she was trying to do. They decide to travel to the city of the ancients to learn more, and Bugenhagen lets them store their Huge Materia and help learn the secrets of its power, which seems to be tied to the different types of materia. At the city of the ancients, Bugenhagen tells Cloud that what they need to do is find the magic of Holy, which is used to protect the planet from great threats. It will remove anything which is bad for the planet, including meteor, weapon, or even humans themselves. Aeris had the white materia which could summon Holy, but it disappeared when she died. Bugenhagen reads the ancient's script and says to seek the key where sunlight can not reach. One submarine trip later after running into Reno and Rude of the Turks on a sunken ship that was carrying weapons and materia built to destroy Sephiroth, they find the key.

The key turns out to be a literal key to a music box, and a column of water appears, which is used to project the image of Aeris praying right before she died, and the white materia slipping from her hands. Aeris already came to the planet and prayed for the magic of Holy, but Sephiroth is preventing the magic from working to destroy meteor. Meanwhile, Cait Sith informs the group that the Shinra have moved the Mako Cannon that destroyed the other weapon to Midgar, so they can fire it with the mako energy harvested in its reactors. They've renamed the Mako cannon to the sister ray, and it's a weapon powerful enough to reach the barrier around the northern crater itself.

When Cloud takes to the air again, a new Weapon rises from the sea and moves to attack Midgar. Cloud and the others aren't sure if the sister ray is ready to be fired yet or not, and Marlene is still in Midgar with Aeris's mother. Cait Sith and Barret argue about whether Barret blowing up the Mako reactors was any better than when the Shinra does, and Cloud and the others decide to attack the weapon before it can reach Midgar. After battling it off, the weapon moves to attack Midgar, and they fire a blast from the sister ray, destroying the weapon and reaching all the way to the Northern Crater to destroy the barrier which protects Sephiroth. The blasts from the weapon still damage Midgar and blow up the Shinra building with Rufus still inside, and Hojo takes over the mako reactor and attempts to increase its output in some scheme to give more mako energy to Sephiroth. Cait Sith admits to being Reeve, the shinra executive in charge of urban development, and he tries to shut off the reactor at Midgar but is unable. Reeve is taken prisoner by Scarlet and Heidegger, and Cloud and the others parachute into Midgar to stop Hojo's scheme.

Optional Events


Yuffie: At some point, the party can meet Yuffie in the forest around Junon, and after challenging her briefly, she tries to trick them into stealing some of their money. After playing with her ego, she decides to join them when she sees how much materia they have.

The group travels to Wutai, and Yuffie steals their materia when they get attacked by Shinra soldiers. They follow her to Wutai, where the turks are hanging out at the turtle inn paradise. The group chases Yuffie around Wutai, where they learn that she's mad at her father for giving up on the city. They corner her, she apologizes and says she just wanted to help Wutai from being a tourist trap. She leads them to her home where she says she's hidden the materia, but she runs away again when she gets the chance. Don Corneo shows up again and kidnaps Elana of the Turks as well as Yuffie, and the party joins up with the Turks to find them both, and they finally corner him after fighting one of his pets. Elana and Yuffie are rescued, and the Turks get a call that Shinra wants to hunt Cloud, but they decide to let the group go since it's their day off. Yuffie gives the group back their materia and they take off.

Yuffie also has a chance to battle through the five levels of the Wutai padoga, challenging the fighters there to prove her supremacy, and she's able to fight her father on the top level, and they gain a mutual respect for one another. Her father gives her his most valuable materia, and tells his daughter he turned Wutai into a resort town because he didn't want to fight himself, he asks Yuffie to help Cloud and his friends. (and steal all their materia after they're done)

Vincent: Hojo left a message in the Shinra mansion that he needed to get rid of all those who stood in the way of his research, particularly that one from the Turks. After investigating the clues in the mansion the party finds the combination for the safe and the key to the basement, where a man named Vincent sleeps in a coffin, atoning for his sins. The party tells Vincent about Sephiroth and how he learned of the Jenova project and how he was created. Vincent explains that Lucrecia gave birth to Sephiroth, as an assistant to Professor Gast. He joins your party for a chance to meet Hojo again.

Vincent also has a chance to visit a waterfall cave and find Lucrecia. He recalls his past at Nibelheim, how he loved the scientist named Lucrecia, but she rejected him and married Hojo instead. The two of them decided to experiment on humans, and created a child named Sephiroth. Vincent tried to stop Hojo, but was attacked, and Hojo experimented on Vincent, giving him the body of a monster. Vincent considered the form to be his punishment and penance for being unable to stop Hojo, Gast, and Lucrecia with their experiments. Lucrecia tells Vincent she wanted to die, but the Jenova cells inside her wouldn't let her, and that she still dreams of her child Sephiroth, whom she never got to even hold. She begs to know how he is, since she can't believe he perished so easily five years ago, but Vincent coldly tells her that Sephiroth is dead.

Nibelheim revisited: Cloud can head back to Nibelheim again, and find a note in the piano left by Tifa's old martial arts instructor, Zangan, who carried her to safety from the reactor. Hojo and the Shinra arrived in the town and used the bodies they found for twisted experiments, and Zangan began to see the black-hooded men staying around. He left behind a gift for his star pupil, Tifa. Cloud also headed to the basement, where he was able to remember how Zack and him were both trapped in holding containers, as experimental subjects for Hojo. They broke out, and Zack dragged Cloud to safety and dressed him in a SOLDIER outfit. Cloud was still delirious, so Zack talked to him on a truck ride to Midgar about their plans to become mercenaries. Zack was hunted and gunned down by Shinra soldiers, and Cloud was left for dead. He grabbed Zack's buster sword and escaped to Midgar. Hojo also left behind files on two experimental subjects in the basement, one of whom exhibited no reaction to Jenova, and one who did, Cloud learned that it was himself and Zack.

Shinra's End


After parachuting into Midgar, Cloud and company make their way through the Midgar sewers, and after a final run-in with the Turks, they fight off Scarlet and Heidegger's latest weapon, the Proud Clod. Cloud confronts Hojo at the Mako reactor, who dismisses Cloud as a failure. Hojo explains to Cloud that he's attempting to channel the Mako energy to help Sephiroth, because Sephiroth is his son. He had a son with the scientist Lucrecia, and injected it with Jenova's cells while it was still in the womb, hoping that they could create a creature with Jenova's power. Hojo's also has been experimenting with Jenova cells on his own body, and Cloud has to destroy his mutated form.

With the Shinra in ruins, Cloud and others sail through the skies and gives a motivational speech about how everyone is really fighting for themselves and those closest to them. He gives them all a chance to find their own reasons for fighting Sephiroth, and Cloud shares a moment with Tifa together. The group reunites with everyone willing to do their part, and Cid pilots the airship straight into the Northern Crater.

Disc 3: The Northern Crater and Sephiroth


The group heads into the Northern Crater, with the party splitting up and reforming to explore all the paths. Cloud heads into the depths of the crater and has to fight a final battle with a form of Jenova. Sephiroth appears, and is preventing the magic of Holy from being released. Cloud and the others fight him in a duo of bizarre forms, and Sephiroth disappears and the magic for Holy is freed. As the group tries to escape, Cloud suddenly loses control of himself again and the scene shifts to Sephiroth and Cloud inside Cloud's head, in a titanic battle to rule Cloud's personality that takes... all of a couple seconds. Cloud frees himself of Sephiroth's influence once and for all, and the group escapes from an explosion coming from the Northern Crater. The magic of Holy heads to Midgar and tries to stop the meteor, but it's not strong enough. Cloud and the others become convinced the whole planet is doomed, when the lifestream begins gushing out from all over the planet and strengthening the magic. Now that Aeris's soul can return to the lifestream she's able to strengthen the magic and destroy the meteor. Five hundred years in the future, Midgar is overrun by plants and vegetation, RedXIII and his kids have a good time, and children still laugh apparently. Or something.

Executive Plot Summary


Cloud from the start of the game on tells everyone that he was a bad-ass member of SOLDIER, first class, and that he witnessed Sephiroth turn evil at Nibelheim. Sephiroth is a legendary warrior and experimental subject of Hojo's who was infected with the cells of an alien creature named Jenova from birth, and chose to follow the will of Jenova rather than the Shinra or anyone else. After Cloud confronted Sephiroth at Nibelheim, both disappeared for five years.

Cloud fights against the Shinra at Midgar, who are draining the lifeforce of the planet by using Mako energy, and he begins to hunt Sephiroth all over the globe. Sephiroth is pursuing a black materia which can summon a deadly meteor to injure the planet, and his goal is to wound the planet and absorb its lifestream. Aeris, an Ancient from a long forgotten race, tries to summon the magic of Holy to stop the meteor and Sephiroth, but Sephiroth kills her and prevents the magic from being released. Cloud gains the black materia himself but hands it over to Sephiroth after finding himself under Sephiroth's control briefly. Cloud chases Sephiroth to the Northern Crater, and Sephiroth tells Cloud that the person known as Cloud died at Nibelheim, he's merely another monster created by Hojo to be a clone of Sephiroth. Cloud freaks out and Sephiroth uses the black materia to summon the meteor. A monster known as weapon wakes up and starts terrorizing everything it sees as a threat to the planet, which is mostly the Shinra. The Shinra have a scheme to launch some huge materia in a rocket to blow up the meteor, but it fails. They keep the weapons at bay with a Mako cannon, and eventually pierce Sephiroth's barrier around the Northern Crater.

Tifa finds Cloud after he fell into the lifestream and helps him figure out that he actually was at Nibelheim five years ago, only he was a lowly army grunt rather than a first-class SOLDIER. His friend Zack actually was a first-class SOLDIER, and Cloud imagined himself in Zack's place because he didn't want to confront his own failure at getting into SOLDIER. Cloud actually did confront Sephiroth at Nibelheim, and Sephiroth fell into the lifestream while Cloud was mortally wounded. Sephiroth's body ended up at the Northern Crater, where he was able to exercise his will over the subjects Hojo had infected with Jenova and appear in their places. In the aftermath of Nibelheim, Cloud was experimented on by Hojo, who infected him with Jenova which gave Sephiroth some measure of control over him. Cloud purges his personal demons, beats up the Shinra to stop Hojo from aiding his son Sephiroth, and defeats Sephiroth at the northern crater, where he also frees himself of Jenova's influence. Aeris is able to return to the lifestream and summon Holy to destroy the meteor en route to the planet, and everyone lives happily ever after. (except for Aeris, who is of course dead)