Real Saturn Chronicles Episode 7: Final Fantasy VII

Last time, I've mentioned how I randomly decided to buy Final Fantasy VII, even after being unimpressed with the gameplay videos I had seen on TV a few months before. I also told the reasons why I took the game home with me. This next post might be filled with spoilers about Final Fantasy VII. I assume most people who wanted to play the game have already done that, so read at your own risk.

Shortly after arriving home with the game, I've decided to try it for a little bit. I was fairly impressed with the intro sequence and its powerful soundtrack, which kinda revealed that the game was something big. The battles were a little boring because I wasn't used to the turned based system with an active time bar. I was completely inexperienced in the RPG field because it was the first I was playing one by myself. I knew Phantasy Star for the SMS and Shining Force 3 for the Saturn but I never had the chancre to own those games, so my experience with them was very limited. As expected, I did a lot of mistakes while playing this game and got stuck on several bosses. Even regular enemies would give me tough times. At the beginning I also didn't know how to save the game, so I missed the first checkpoint several times.

The first obstacle I faced was the scorpion guard boss at the first reactor's core. I obviously took a beat, mostly because there was a message saying something like "it's going to counter" followed by "attack while the tail is up". These were two different lines displayed individually and I honestly didn't understand what they truly meant. I assumed that the scorpion was going to counter my moves, so I had to attack while its tail was up. I was supposed to do the exact opposite. What a big mistake that was, but it was also Square's fault. I died and had to restart the game. Then I had to stop playing because my parents sent me to bed. The next day I came back early from school and started playing again. I was killed by the scorpion boss a few more times, doing the same stupid mistake. I eventually managed to beat it just a little before dinner, by attacking all the way and surviving its counter attacks. I paused the game and resumed playing after dinner. This is when the game became boring as sh!t. Just talk, talk, talk and no action. I started to complain about how bad the game was and my mistake on spending all my money on a stupid game with silly combat. I still didn't know how to save and I was already on my way to the next reactor when my mother walked in and asked me to shut down the console and go to bed. - "But mom, I've been playing this for so long, I finally beat that boss, everything I did in the last hour was just listen to these stupid characters talking forever and I still don't know how to save the game... If I have to do this all over again I will never play this game again!". Since my mother was a very comprehensive person about videogames, all she said is: - "I don't care. Shut that thing down and go to bed. You have a long time to play the game."

Next day, I didn't have school during the afternoon but I was kinda reluctant to play the game again. Well, I didn't have anything else to do that afternoon anyway... Thankfully this time, things went better. I've finally learned how to save the game. I never realized that the shiny thing that sparkles when you get close was a save spot. I didn't know you actually had to stand right next to that and the save option was already selectable. I managed to save the game before the scorpion boss fight, I literally wiped his ass and I just bashed the X button in order to skip all the conversation that follows shortly after. I managed to get past the spot where I turned the console off the day before and arrived at the second reactor. I beat the boss on first try and as soon as Cloud is separated from the party and meets Aeris I finally started to like the game a little bit. 

I kept playing the game for the next few days without too many difficulties. I still didn't fully understand the limit break system nor how the characters leveled up... I knew how to equip items and materia, but some of the most basic stuff was still unknown ground for me. I eventually arrived at that point of the game where I've become very interested in paying more attention to the story. That moment was when Biggs, Wedge and Jessie finally die and Aeris gets kidnapped by the Turks. From this point onward, my interest in the game kept rising and rising. I climbed to the ShinRa tower, I've had problems with some of the bosses along the way, I eventually met more characters and things became rough when I finally left Midgar. I was so confused with the World Map. I didn't understand where I was or why the graphics were so different. I was a complete noob at RPGs...

Everything about the game and its plot started to become more and more interesting. Cloud's past, Barret's story, the visit to North Corel, the Gold Sauccer, the Desert Prision, Cosmo Canyon... everything was pretty interesting.

The first boss that gave me a lot of trouble was the Materia Keeper in Nibelheim mountains. I was completely underleveled and with a terrible setup with most of my characters. It took me one entire week to beat that thing. I did not even consider grinding before fighting it again. Whenever it used Trine, only Cloud was left alive. The only reason why I was finally able to kill it was because Cloud reached its limit break and Cross Slash left the enemy paralyzed. It was the first time it ever happened and I had absolutely no idea why. This gave me enough time to heal all characters and keep attacking. It finally died after a long time. The next boss that gave me nightmares was the Demon Gate at the Temple of the Ancient's exit. This was hell on earth. I was absolutely underleveled and there was no way I could beat it. At this point I finally started to learn the importance of grinding. I spent a few days fighting regular enemies in the room before, where you fight the red dragon boss. Materia started to grow a lot, my characters started to gain levels and I finally started to get a hang of the battle system. 

I eventually managed to beat the Demon's Gate and shortly after I finally witnessed Aeris' death. I just couldn't believe it. I seriously thought it was a joke and she hadn't died. She remained in my party for a long time due to her powerful healing spells and she was gone. At that point I was completely hooked on the game. 

I kept playing the game with lots of problems beating some bosses. Hojo gave me a terrible time to beat. It took me many tries. The only reason why I was able to defeat his last form was because I only had one character alive and I randomly used Phoenix summon on him. I just couldn't believe this summon had a side effect that would bring the other two characters to life! I took that random chance I was given to finally wipe out his ass. I also had a terrible time breeding chocobos and even beating the final bosses. I arrived at the final bosses so underleveled that I had to come back to the world map and do some serious grinding. Meanwhile, I also found some of the 3rd dis sidequests and spent some time doing random things. One month later, I went back to that final boss and ended up defeating it in just a few tries.

After I finished that game, I didn't know what to do anymore. I left the console playing those stars at the end for more than 10 minutes, expecting something to happen. It seemed there was nothing else interesting enough that could match the amazing experience it was to play that game.

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