FFVII: Enemy mine

There is one big advantage I have by playing this game in 2011 vs. 1997: Being of Legal Drinking Age The Internet.

Yes, yes, the Internet was around in 1997, but it has grown in content and usability considerably since then–and gamers have certainly benefited.

In 1997, I had subscriptions to video game magazines as a source for tips, and I even bought players guides for a few games (FFVII being one of them).

Would I bother with any of that today? I don’t know.

Professional guides are handy, especially when it comes to maps, but the Internet has print guides beat when it comes to up-to-date tips, tricks and filling in the blanks (not to mention the ability to just type what you need to know in a search engine).

Fan sites are a great source of tips and strategies that don’t make it into the print guides, especially for older games.

Case in point, my old, battered FFVII player’s guide has next to no info when it comes to Enemy Skills (magic you learn from foes). Sure, it notes which creatures can grant you skills in the lengthy bestiary, but a simple list would be nice. And what would be even nicer, is a list explaining what the hell some of the Enemy Skills do.

My vintage guide doesn’t do that. It tells me such-and-such creature can teach me Goblin Punch, but it doesn’t say what the skill does exactly, or if I should bother (I would assume it involves punching, but for all I know it could involve a tasty beverage).

I put my Google fingers to work, and found a site that gave a very handy list about each Enemy Skill, what creature to learn it from, where to find said creature and even ranked the skills on their usefulness.

It also gave advice on how to learn the skill, including something I never even considered: using the Manipulate materia to force a creature to use the ability I wanted against my party (see video above).

Was learning Big Guard, an Enemy Skill that grants my entire party with Barrier (protection against physical attacks), MBarrier (protection against magical attacks) and Haste (decreases the time until your next turn), worth the extra work?

You bet your golden chocobo, it was.

Sure, I have both Barrier and Time materia, but they take a bite out of a character’s HP and other stats when equipped. And being able to start a battle by giving everyone all three abilities with one command is pretty damn awesome.

One snag though: I had to do some major backtracking to get it, and more to get White Wind from a creature near Fort Condor and even more to learn Beta from the Midgar Zolom (a giant water snake. . . uh. . . thing).

Was it worth the extra hour of work? Hands down.

I have two Enemy Skill materias, and each has the skills above (as well as Trine). What’s the point, you ask? Now I can have a character dish out serious offensive, support and healing spells with no negative effects to their stats (the downside of equipping too much materia)—AND (usually) target every enemy or the entire party.

It certainly came in handy when I had to fight solo with Yuffie to defeat the five bosses in Wutai. I started every battle with Big Guard, which saved me a few turns. Strategy wise, it is very useful, as I don’t have to load up my fighters (mainly Cloud) with too much materia, and lower their stats.

Yes, most of the enemy skill spells are pricey when it comes to MP use, but honestly, it is worth the cost.

For example, Big Guard costs 56 MP—but let’s break that down:

1. Big Guard casts Haste, Barrier and Magic Barrier on the entire party at once. To do the same without this skill, you would need three materias equipped: Time, Barrier and All.

2. Haste on its own costs 18 MP, Barrier is 16, MBarrier is 24 (or Wall, which is the two together, I think, is 58). So, it is roughly the same cost, and is even cheaper than casting Wall and Haste—and there is no need to tie up a materia slot with an All either.

And the other heavy-hitter spells, like Beta and Trine, are comparable in cost to a Bolt 3 or a Fire 3—and you don’t need an All materia equipped.

I am realizing that the key to Final Fantasy VII is resource and personnel management.

Wait, this is a game, right?

Where you at?

Disc 1

Cloud’s Level: 41

Location: Wutai

Timer: 35:10

Read Gavin Craig’s week 7 post

Read Andrew Simone’s week 7 post

Archive of all Gamers’ Club posts

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  1. […] took a cue from Daniel, and I turned around. I spent an hour and a half backtracking all the way to Junon Harbor to get the White Wind enemy […]

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