Regardless of if your first experience with Final Fantasy VII was on a television as thick as a microwave back in ‘97 or earlier this year with Remake, there is a universal truth about the property we all know and cherish: Final Fantasy VII is absolutely ridiculous. The original is ridiculous, the remake is ridiculous, and every single spinoff is, quite simply, bonkers. This might sound like I’m ripping the series apart but rest assured, Final Fantasy VII is without a doubt my favorite game of all time. And it holds this special place in my heart not in spite of its ridiculousness, but because of it.
You see, Final Fantasy VII is my Kiera Knightley, and I’m the guy who plays Rick from The Walking Dead holding signs outside her house. To me, Final Fantasy VII is perfect—oddities, flaws and all. So, I’ve compiled ten bewildering moments that could (and should) be included in the upcoming remakes. To those who’ve played the original, enjoy this trip down memory lane, and to those who haven’t, I swear I’m not making any of this up.
If you’re new to the series and are thinking “surely this is one of those things that’s technically true but isn’t as bizarre as it sounds,” I need you to understand that is absolutely not the case. Cloud rides a dolphin. To be even more specific, Cloud utilizes a dolphin—that absolutely amazes Barrett with its jumping prowess I should add—in order to reach a high beam and infiltrate Shinra’s military. And it works. Incredible.
Final Fantasy VII created a plethora of fantastic mini-games to include on its three compact discs, but perhaps none are as memorable as the one at Fort Condor (sorry, Mog’s House). On the world map, there is a strange blue bar with a gold blob on it surrounded by desert. When you enter this location, you enter Fort Condor—a sort of base set up by folks trying to prevent Shinra from interfering with a giant condor perched on its eggs. That’s right folks, it’s time for more eco-terrorism. Using your own Gil, you can purchase units and engage in a tower defense game where you protect the bird from incoming Shinra troops. The whole thing is optional, but you do get some pretty neat prizes and an overall sense of do-goodery if you do it.
Something I love about Final Fantasy VII is how often the team dons disguises, be it soldier uniforms or dresses fit for a don. However, the greatest disguise in the entire game, hands down, is the sailor uniform Red XIII wears on the trip from Junon to Costa del Sol. As the team has officially reached permanent fugitive level by this point, disguises are necessary aboard the Shinra cargo ship—even for our feline friend Red. The comical “It’s Difficult to Stand on Both Feet” plays as we witness him frantically rock back and forth while standing on his hind legs. After revealing his true identity to Cloud, Red assures him he makes a perfectly good human being and you know what? That good boy does.
And speaking of disguises, perhaps the most fun had with one is not at Don Corneo’s palace, but rather when Ex-Soldier Cloud Strife is forced to wear the uniform once more and perform in a parade honoring Shinra’s new president. You know the one. Rufus Shinra? The guy you just 1v1’d 20 feet away from his dad’s dead body on a skyscraper? Anyways, not only do you get the joy of interacting with the other soldiers and teaching them some sweet new moves, you also march beside them in the parade and partake in a special performance for Rufus. Oh, and if your television or presidential approval ratings drop too low, Heiddegger straight up gives you a bomb.
Okay, folks. Vincent Valentine is not a vampire. He does not drink blood, he does not have fangs, and he does not turn into a bat…as far as I can remember. He’s just like that. I won’t ruin his whole backstory because it’s honestly one of my favorite things in the series, but suffice to say that much like everyone else in this game, he’s merely a Shinra experiment gone wrong. However, Square certainly doesn’t dispel the vampire theory with his entire appearance and the fact that you first find him sleeping in a coffin. And, ya know, he didn’t need to be found in a coffin in a basement of a manor filled with skeletons, but I’m glad he was. Let’s be honest though, even if the coffin was for some reason nixxed, more than anything I’m just excited to see this guy again. If you thought Remake was thirsty, wait until you get a load of Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome.
After listening to pilot-turned-party-member Cid Highwind tell the tragic tale of how his space career was cut short (and berate his partner Shera—something that probably should be cut), none other than President Rufus Shinra decides to pay Cid a visit. Turns out, Shinra is reducing the already gutted air and space budget dramatically, and is here to revoke Cid’s plane, the Tiny Bronco. Of course Cid, Cloud and Co. aren’t going to let this slide, and a fight breaks out. In the midst of your tussle with Palmer, the head of Shinra’s failed space program, the Tiny Bronco pulls up ready to make a quick getaway. Unfortunately for Palmer, a Shinra truck also pulls up and, I kid you not, crashes into him. Palmer pops up later on in the game so uh, guess the collision was a bit more gentle than the game portrayed, but either way, I can’t wait to see how this one’s done in the remake.
After escaping from her execution chamber (yes, execution chamber), Tifa Lockhart races to escape Shinra’s clutches. However, she is soon cornered on Junon’s cannon by none other than Shinra’s Head of Weapons Development, Scarlet. After declaring Tifa as “stuck up till the end,” Scarlet delivers a smack right across our leading lady’s face, causing her to slightly lose her footing. However, if you thought the tough-as-nails bartender from the slums was simply going to take it, you thought wrong. What ensues is a slap fight between the two women, where you have to time your slaps in order to wear her down and avoid getting smacked yourself. Colorful language is used and quite a time is had by all. And hey, honestly? Kudos to this Final Fantasy VII for including a slap fight between women that is solely fueled by a rage rather than them liking the same guy. Progress.
About 15 minutes after the most emotionally devastating scene in Final Fantasy VII, Square said “you know what? Time for a mandatory skiing mini-game.” Of course it’s framed a bit differently than that, but I kid you not, fifteen minutes after that scene, Cloud straps a snowboard to his feet and hits the freshly powdered slopes in pursuit of Sephiroth yet again. I guess some people mourn while others shred, and you bet your ass Cloud shreds.
I’ll admit it, I have the method for Yuffie to join the party memorized and therefore have become completely desensitized to how aggravating it is. That being said, if you’re reading this and ready to throw hands, I get it. Much like the ninja herself, the process of getting her is tedious and a bit annoying—but in an endearing and clever sort of way. If it’s your first time playing Final Fantasy VII and you’re forgoing any walkthroughs, you’re probably not gonna be the biggest fan of her or this section, but I’m of the mind they should keep it, as it feels very in character for young Kisaragi. There’s also the possibility I’m just bitter and want everyone to have to experience that ordeal once, but either way, it should stay.
Reader, I cannot express to you how much I love this game. Furthermore, I cannot express to you how much I love this scene, and how well it encapsulates the Final Fantasy VII experience. After finally catching up with Sephiroth in the basement of the Shinra Manor, you have the world’s shortest interaction with your archnemesis, in which he essentially calls you an idiot before chucking a ball of materia at you, rising into the air, and doing a sweet 360 before flying away. This scene is poetry, and we’d be lesser if it were omitted in the upcoming remakes.
Jessica Howard is an editorial intern at Paste and the managing editor at gaming site Uppercut. She enjoys loud music, hot coffee, and games with romanceable NPCs.