FFVII: Who’s the villain?

Before landing in Costa Del Sol, the swanky beach resort town of FFVII, I had a boss battle with Jenova. This creature, or whatever the hell it is, happens to be a leftover specimen of an old race of magical beings.

And Sephiroth, the white-haired villain Cloud is chasing, believes it to be his “mother.”

Cloning. Genetic engineering. Growing super-soldiers. These are all pretty heavy topics for a video game. And on top of all that, you have Cloud with his spotty memory. There is a reason I never understood the plot that well in my youth. Hell, it wasn’t until I read through the plot online years later (probably on Wikipedia) that I filled in the blanks.

Costa Del Sol is a fun town, but level-building in its outskirts sucks. There aren’t any decent monsters, unless you stick to the beaches. Otherwise, you get stuck fighting these dumb nesting-doll-like creatures with offer very little EXP and AP.

And no, I did not buy the 300,000 gil house in Costa Del Sol. Maybe someday, after I master an All materia and sell it for a fortune, but not now.

Upon seeing the wreckage of Barret’s home town of Corel, caused by Shinra and its security forces, I started to think: Who is the real villain in this story?

Is it Sephiroth, or is it Shinra?

Both are guilty of several terrible events, but there would be no Sephiroth without Shinra. The power company has proven time and time again that it has no problem killing innocents by the score.

I think the overall theme of Final Fantasy VII may be along the lines of “evil corporations run amok” or “the dangers of relying on foreign energy.”

Maybe that’s why this game stands up so well: we can relate to corrupt companies and energy concerns more than evil wizards.

Hell, just replace “Mako energy” with “oil” or “nuclear” and it becomes even more obvious. The game has an overt environmentalist element embodied by Barret and his eco-terrorist group, AVALANCHE. The president of Shinra (and later his son, Rufus) represent power companies, and more likely foreign oil.

The villain here is not the super-solider gone crazy, Sephiroth. It is Shinra.

All of the problems in FFVII‘s world begin with that company, which seems to be the nearest thing to a government the “world” has. The president of the company is treated like the president of a country, or perhaps more appropriately, a dictator.

A dictator with his own private army (Shinra Security and SOLDIER) and secret police (the Turks). Kind of scary, don’t you think?

Shinra controls the energy. And by the world of FFVII relying on Shinra, the power company has the will, and means, to do whatever it wishes. And the world has to keep Shinra happy, otherwise, to quote an old song, “boom, boom—out go the lights.”

Serious stuff for a video game. Maybe this is when video games started to “grow up” a bit when it came to their stories? It sure feels like it.

New Character!

Cait Sith—Wait. How did they get away with using the word Sith? Doesn’t George Lucas own that term?

Where You At?

Disc: 1

Location: Just left the Corel prison in my brand new buggy, but I went back to the Gold Saucer for some Battle Square fun.

Cloud’s Level: 27

Timer: 22:05

Read Gavin Craig’s week 4 post

Read Andrew Simone’s week 4 post

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