With the SNES era come and gone, we head into the next generation of both consoles and the Final Fantasy series. In 1994, development for Final Fantasy 7 began, but it wasn’t smooth sailing. The hardware for the Nintendo 64 cartridge lacked the storage and capacity for the movie footage; Square decided to split from the gaming giant in favor of a CD-ROM drive. Thus, Square(Soft or Enix) began its partnership with Sony and Final Fantasy 7 was underway for the new PlayStation.
While each entry thus far is remarkable, Final Fantasy 7 brought the series to the mainstream. The seventh entry is often the first for many Final Fantasy fans, and it has gathered such a following that Square Enix has not only produced several spin-offs and short films, but the company announced a complete remake of the original.
The Legendary Legacy
As Final Fantasy 7’s opening FMV played, gamers knew they were in for something they had never before experienced in a Final Fantasy. As the camera zoomed out on the industrial city of Midgar, the fast-paced start gave players a small taste of the epic adventure to come. Even veterans of the series didn’t know what to expect; the game throws players right into the action with a covert mission to blow up a core reactor.
Gamers are appointed a duty they may not feel comfortable performing, but from there they are taken on a whirlwind journey with an unreliable lead character. Final Fantasy 7 is undeniably one of the most ambitious games, taking place over three discs. Up to this point, the series was confined to cartridge limitations; the PS1 really allowed creators to really run with the project. As a result, Final Fantasy 7 created the new standard for the series and brought a new look to the franchise. While the innovations and graphics date the game now, it truly was revolutionary for the period. As groundbreaking as the game design was, the story and musical score provided the perfect finishing touches for a unforgettable gaming experience.
Soldier First Class: The Mission of Final Fantasy 7
Unlike previous Final Fantasy games, there is no looking into the past at a war, or hidden prophecy. Players take control of Cloud, a former First Class SOLDIER of Shinra’s military, during a mission to blow up one of Midgar’s Mako reactors. Hired by the radical environmentalist group, AVALANCHE, Cloud and the crew are aiming to bring down the evil Shinra Corporation whose Mako-energy reactors are slowly killing the planet.
What starts as environmental terrorism becomes a man-hunt; President Shinra is more than aware that his Mako reactors are destroying the planet and soon it will run out of energy. Shinra is on the lookout for the last surviving “Centra,” a near-extinct race with a close connection with the planet. He believes that the Centra are the key to entering ‘The Promised Land’ where there is boundless energy. Cloud unwittingly meets with the target, Aeris(or Aerith) and becomes her bodyguard. However, neither party realizes someone else is looking for the Promised Land. Sephiroth, a legendary former SOLDIER who is thought to be dead, appears to have reclaimed the body of Jenvoa – a calamity that nearly destroyed the earth when she fell from the sky – and wishes to finish her work by summoning meteor.
Cloud and his friends must band together to battle both the likes of Sephiroth and Shinra, but there is something off about our main protagonist. In a tale of intrigue, betrayal, murder and destruction, Final Fantasy 7 definitely keeps players on their toes.