FFVII: El Cid and the end of disc 1

Cid Highwind

Artwork by Tetsuya Nomura.

I cannot escape this game any longer. It consumes me. It calls to me. Its hooks are firmly set within my flesh and psyche.

Meaning: I’ve been playing this game too damn much lately. So much, that I see the menu commands in my sleep. But, I digress.

I found the last playable character, Cid—a fallen-from-grace pilot and would-be astronaut. He’s old, cranky and is always smoking.

So, of course he’s one of my favorite characters.

It was not until some time after I defeated the game the first time that I learned the name “Cid” was a sort of hand-me-down, running gag of the series. Each incarnation of Cid is different in every game, although the FFVII Cid and the FFIV Cid are somewhat similar.

They are similar in that they are both pilots and command airships—but not similar at all when it comes to personality. As my fellow FFVII blogger Andrew suggested, a more jovial Cid, one akin to the version in FFIV, would have been a good counter-point to the bulk of the gloomy cast in FFVII (namely Cloud).

I agree. FFVII is a very deep and heavy game at times. It could use a bit of lighthearted adventure here and there.

My suggestion? Have the FFVII Cid be more of a charming swashbuckler type. An analogue of pulp and serial heroes from days long ago, and a character long past his glory days, but who refuses to accept the fact. “Adventure calls! To the airship!” Put the Tick, the Rocketeer and Errol Flynn in a blender, and that’s what I have in mind.

After adding Cid to the party, the story progressed quite a bit.

SPOILER WARNING (although I feel silly giving a warning for a game that is nearly old enough to drive).

I mean it! I’m gonna give away a big part here, and with video!

Last chance! If you never want to know what happens here, leave now and go spend a week playing the first disc.

Ready? OK, read on.

I warned you.

The key moment at the end of Disc 1 is when Sephiroth kills Aeris. I remember this moment from when I first played the game when I was 16. The good guys never (or rarely) died in video games—especially not the hero’s love interest (a side note: could you imagine how heart-breaking it would have been if Marle had died in Chrono Trigger? I would probably still be depressed today. Man, I love that flippin’ game).

Final Fantasy VII broke the “no one dies” rule with a sledgehammer.

Now, I’m a sensitive person, so it is easy for me to get attached to characters I spend 40+ hours with (and to cry at the end of The Iron Giant). Even though I knew this time the scene was coming, it still broke my heart.

By today’s standards, the animation in this pivotal scene is borderline laughable—but in 1997, it was hardcore. It shook me then—there had been nothing like it before (OK, well, some of the scenes in Resident Evil got reactions out of me too, but for different reasons).

There is a certain Freudian aspect to Sephiroth jumping from the ceiling and plunging his super-long sword through Aeris’ back—and out through her chest. And I’m sure plenty of time has been devoted to the significance of Cloud’s super huge sword and of Barret’s gun hand. . .but. . . uh. . . let’s not go there.

The game proceeds to get more insane by the second after this point. All hell breaks loose. More on that next week!

Where you at?

Disc: 1

Cloud’s Level: 50

Location: End of Disc 1

Timer: 42:08

2 Responses to “FFVII: El Cid and the end of disc 1”
  1. Gavin Craig says:

    This weekend, I finish disc 1. This weekend. It will happen.

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