Final Fantasy VII/Walkthrough/Descent into the Northern Crater
Now we're freeEdit
Basically the thing is now this: You may think you have a CD's worth of stuff to do. Not really - you have basically unlimited access to most of the areas you've been to before. Now, the game has turned quite non-linear. There's no real point in giving you any hint on where specifically to go.
Now, basically, you don't need to head down the Northern Crater right away. In fact, it could be dangerous if you do; some versions of the game apparently have a bug that prevent you from returning if you go down the crater. The Crater has a lot of really really bad baddies though. It's better to stock up really good before going there.
Basically, you're left with a quite a few of things you can and should do before going about. You can now collect various things that you can pick up at just about any time.
Here's other cool stuff that gets unlocked at this point:
- You can go to Cosmo Canyon with Red XIII in your party. Say bye-bye to Bugenhagen and get Red XIII's ultimate weapon.
And most of all, you should level the hell up. I've beaten the last bosses by heading down the crater with my party around level 68. You can try to get your levels even higher if you want to make the end fights ridiculously simple. I recommend heading to the Mideel island and beating tons of the monsters.
The Northern CraterEdit
And so it begins...
A few recommendations for fighting through the Northern Crater: You may want to equip someone with a safety bit to avoid the possibility of a level 4 death spell wiping out your entire party, or else make sure your party member's levels are staggered. Ribbons are useful for all the spells which cause sadness.
The path to the friendsEdit
When you "land" into the crater, you find yourself sliding down hill. You'll end up in a chasm with spirally ledges going down. The cave leads back to Highwind. The first chest contains Save crystal - you can use that to deploy a save point anywhere in the Northern Crater. (At least until we indicate otherwise - you can't use it in the very last leg of the journey). The other chest contains Guard Source.
The next area has chests containing Power, Magic, Guard and Mind Sources. Hit [OK] to climb the ledges where it's possible. Also note that at the topmost platform, half behind a stalagtite or something, you see something glittery. Climb to the top-left ledge and check it out - it's a HP Absorb materia.
Then there's rooms where you can hop down and up ledges, and one room that connects the cave entrances. The cave has a couple of chests that hold some interesting items, of which I have little clue. (Todo!) On the ledgey room, there's a Mind Source.
Splitting can be beneficialEdit
In the next room, you reunite with the rest of the gang. Here, you can basically send some of your friends through the left and right path.
Make sure you try all the forks along the path to pick up the chests, there are some useful items, including a W-Magic materia, Counter materia, Shield materia, and Magic counter materia. When you reach the point where your party splits up, you can send your party members down different paths to get most items. The left then down path is the one which will allow you to return to the top. The left then up path is a great one to use your save crystal on to create a save point - it contains the best experience building place in the game. Simply use elixirs on the magic pots and kill them and you'll net thousands of experience and AP points.
- Todo: What's really on the different paths?
When you reunite with your party and they give you the items they found, only proceed if you're ready to face Sephiroth, and head back and save anyway, this is the point of no return. (If you edited save game to get Aerith back to your party, she'll be disappearing for good now...)