FFVII: Guided strategy

I believe that I’ve admitted in the past, with almost a perverse sense of pride, that I’m one of those people who buys the strategy guide. (Or at least tries to look at it. Building a collection of strategy guides would be crazy expensive.) I’ve backed off a bit in recent years, but only because sites like IGN.com make guides available for free on their websites. (I know! Free! I love it.)

Some of you will point out that individuals have ben posting walkthroughs on the internet for years. I will respond by calling you heathens and accuse you of probably downloading illegal ROMs as well, but that’s another column. (Just to be clear, I’ve used amateur walkthroughs. And I have mixed feelings about ROMs. Don’t send me hate mail.)

strategy guide But to add to the authenticity of our retro-playthrough, I went old-school and ordered a physical copy of the FFVII strategy guide from Amazon. It sits open on my lap as I play, evoking memories of FFX, FFX-2, and more recently, FFXIII.

But just as the games have developed over the years, so have the strategy guides. I’d never been sent wrong before, but the Bradygames FFVII guide isn’t perfect. It recommended that I bypass buying Barret a Cannonball weapon, instead suggesting that I look for the Custom Sweeper enemy outside of Kalm and steal the more powerful Atomic Scissors.

Sounds great. Except that you don’t run into Custom Sweepers outside of Kalm. You run into them outside of Midgar. And unless you’re really lucky, you have to run into a lot of them before you’ll be able to successfully steal an Atomic Scissors. I don’t have time for that, and I’ve spent nearly six hours of game time with a seriously underpowered Barret because of that bad advice.

And there’s far, far worse. The guide spoils plot points. Even given the PS1-era date of its composition, this is unbelievable. I know enough already about what happens in the game that I’m not really worried about the guide reducing the quality of my experience, but if this were 1997, I’d be livid. Most of the guides I’ve used were written long after the FFVII guide, but it’s actually really easy to write a guide that doesn’t spoil plot points. You get 90% of the way there just by not talking about cutscenes.

I’m starting to move along a bit in the game. I’m almost to the Gold Saucer, which means that I’m nearly to where Daniel was after his holiday break gaming binge. I haven’t felt under-leveled, but I’ve suffered from a chronic shortage of gil, especially after my successful but expensive battle at Fort Condor.

I do have a question for you, Daniel and Andrew: do you normally try to spread your leveling out among characters, or do you basically pick a couple of characters and just let those three get as strong as possible as quickly as possible by ignoring everyone else? (I’m spreading out my leveling now, but I’m tempted by the thought of letting just a couple of characters keep up with Cloud.)


Where you at?

Disc: 1

Cloud’s Level: 20

Location: North Corel

Timer: 11:39

Read Daniel J. Hogan’s week 5 post

Read Andrew Simone’s week 5 post

Archive of all Gamers’ Club posts

One Response to “FFVII: Guided strategy”
  1. Daniel says:

    I have that same guide! Mine is vintage, baby. Bought it back in 1997 when I originally got the game. I have been using it a bit, mainly to keep track of where I am, so I know what to write about.

    I stole the Atomic Scissors too–but it did not take me too long (just lucky, I guess). But, there are plenty of typos and bad advice here and there–not to mention, the spoilers galore.

    I still have my guide for Earthbound somewhere too (it even came with the game).

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