FFVII: Jumping off the rails

This week’s lesson, if there are lessons in this mind-bogglingly late first time through 1997’s Final Fantasy VII, is that it’s entirely possible to overthink things.

Last week, I complained about feeling a bit bogged down, and being saddled with a character like Vincent Valentine who, once you get past the cool emo vibe, can actually get in your way just when you need him most. Since then, I’ve made my way to one of the side quest areas, Wutai, which is the hometown of the other optional character, Yuffie. Whom I also do not love, and had not been using much.

Da Choa

There's also some pretty awesome scenery in Wutai. You get to climb this thing.

Wutai features the brief return of that despicable lothario, Don Corneo, who was, you’ll remember, the man behind Cloud’s foray into women’s fashion, and a team-up with FFVII‘s own Team Rocket, the Turks. There’s pathos, comedy, and comeuppance all around. Good times for all.

Afterward, the player has the option of exploring the pagoda of the five gods, where Yuffie gets to fight a series of one-on-one challenges leading eventually to some serious gill, the sweet Leviathan materia, and Yuffie’s level 4 limit break after the fifth battle. The first four battles are pretty light, although things are always a bit harder when you have have to use a character alone rather than as part of the group. I was moving along nicely when I made the mistake of reading the strategy guide description of and suggestions for fighting the fifth battle, which happens to be against Yuffie’s dad.

I immediately went into something of a panic. The strategy guide talked about materia and accessories I didn’t have, and suggested that I use Regen as soon as possible, even though none of my Restore materia are developed enough to let me use Regen yet. I read about Godo using the Trine ability to inflict 1000 points of damage in a single attack, and compared that to Yuffie’s less than 1500 total hit points. (In retrospect, this whole train of thought feels a bit too DragonBall Z, which is a good sign that something had gone wrong in my head.)

So what did I do? The person who ends half of my posts with the word “Onward,” like some weird cross between Stan Lee and a 19th-century British explorer?

I 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 ability, and I picked up a headband and a Barrier materia along the way. As a side benefit, this allowed me to raise Yuffie’s levels a bit, and even pick up a Life materia that I couldn’t afford on my first trip to Junon. (I also got the Frog Song enemy ability, in what was probably the most annoying Final Fantasy battle I’ve ever fought. Who came up with the frog spell? Seriously.)

I actually could have made the run back to Junon faster, but I kept getting lost in the Wutai area mountains.

So long story short, when I finally made it back to Wutai, I kicked Godo’s ass. Solidly enough that it made me wonder if I wouldn’t have been able to beat him even without all the backtracking.

But that way lies madness, and I think I’m going to really appreciate that Life materia. I’m getting sick of buying Phoenix Downs. I’ve gone through entire games without having to buy a phoenix down, but not this one.

Before I close out for the week, I also want to observe that while I really kind of dislike Vincent, Yuffie, and Cait Sith, there’s not really a character I love yet. I want to dig Tifa. She’s a great character, with a fascinatingly unclear long-term connection to Cloud. But she’s not quite strong enough a fighter that I want to have her in my party all the time.

What do you guys think? I know Andrew’s preferred battle party, but which characters do you really feel affection for?

All, right. Onward! (For real this time.)

Where you at?

Disc: 1

Cloud’s Level: 39

Location: Wutai Area

Timer: 22:39

Read Daniel J. Hogan’s week 7 post

Read Andrew Simone’s week 7 post

Archive of all Gamers’ Club posts

3 Responses to “FFVII: Jumping off the rails”
  1. Daniel says:

    Glad I helped :D

    I don’t dislike Yuffie, as she’s fast and is handy for stealing–and her long range weapons make her useful as a back row spell caster.

    As I commented in Andrew’s post, I used Cloud, Yuffie and Cid to beat Disc 1. Cid is one of my favorite characters. Any character that uses his cigarette to light some dynamite (as seen in one of his Limit Breaks) wins my heart. And, there is something oddly endearing about a fallen from grace, would-be astronaut.

    • Gavin Craig says:

      I’d probably feel differently if I didn’t have such bad luck with stealing. Cid could win my heart, though. I love the pack of cigarettes tucked in the band of his goggles. Also I love goggles. The Cloud/Tifa/Cid combo could have potential. . .

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  1. […] the game) since my last post. I was more than a little amused that once I got back on track after my extended foray in Wutai, and my search for the keystone for the fabled City of the Ancients led me back to the Golden […]

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