The Flashback Pt. 1 – FFVII Ep. 11

Welcome back to Save File plays Final Fantasy VII! If you missed it last time, you should go read it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. If you missed it last time and don’t care to go read it, here’s what happened in a nutshell: Sephiroth is alive, President Shinra is dead, and the party has left Midgar.

The first time I played this game at the age of… something young… I was amazed at this point. I thought the entirety of the game was going to take place in Midgar, and now we get to explore the entire friggin’ WORLD?! This was my first RPG, and I was so excited to explore this gigantic world. It had already seemed to me like Midgar was gigantic, and it’s just a blip on the map. I mean, holy crap.

With that in mind, I’m not really going to explore the world map this episode. Or next episode. Because I just want to get this part of the game over with as quickly as I can. I’m such a jerk, I’m NOT EVEN GOING TO POST THE WORLD MAP MUSIC (which is amazing). I just want to be done with the next part, and then we can explore the amazing world of FFVII.

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To that end, the party was instructed to meet up at a town called Kalm. I’m just going to bee line it straight there.

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Of course, I manage to get into a battle along the way. The purple things are Kalm Fangs, and the goblin looking dude is a Prowler.

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Red XIII had his Limit Break leftover from the last battle, so that’s kind of helpful.

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Prowlers are jerks and can steal stuff from your inventory.

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And if you’re dumb like me and don’t kill them quickly enough, they disappear with it. Luckily it was only a Hi-Potion, but still.

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MUSIC: Ahead on Our Way (One of my favorite songs from the game)

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Tifa: Everyone’s waiting at the Inn. Let’s go, Cloud.
Red: Let’s go, Cloud.

I think I could go explore the town here, but like I said, I just want to get this next part done with.

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Barret: Yo man, you’re late!
Cloud: Sorry to keep you waiting.
Aeris: Guess everyone’s here now.
Barret: So let’s hear your story… you know, the one about Sephiroth and the crisis of the Planet. Let’s hear it all.

At this point, the music fades out…

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Cloud: After working with Sephiroth on several missions, we became friends.
Barret: You call that a friend?
Cloud: Yeah, well… he was older than me, and hardly ever talked about himself.
Tifa: …
Cloud: So I guess you’d call us ware buddies… We trusted each other. Until one day…
Aeris: One day?
Cloud: After the war it was SOLDIER’s duty to put down any resistance against the Shinra. That was five years ago. I was 16…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~FLASHBACK~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The only sound that can be heard is the motor of the truck and the windshield wipers thumping back and forth.

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Soldier:
I’m all right.
Cloud: I wouldn’t know… I’ve never had motion sickness.

I appreciate that the Steam version of this game has updated graphics, but I HATE that they added static mouths to the character models. It looks like Sephiroth is just sitting there with his mouth gaping open. It’s really breaking my immersion. And if you didn’t notice it before, now you won’t be able to unsee it.

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Sephiroth: Settle down.
Young Cloud: They gave me some new Materia. I can’t wait to use it.
Sephiroth: Just like a kid…
Young Cloud: You going to brief us about this mission?
Sephiroth: This isn’t a typical mission.
Young Cloud: Good!
Sephiroth: Why do you say that?

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Young Cloud: But by the time I made First Class, the war was already over. My big hopes of becoming a hero like you ended with the war. That’s why I always sign up whenever there’s a big mission. Kind of a way to prove myself. Say, how do you feel, MISTER Sephiroth?
Sephiroth: …I thought you wanted a briefing? Our mission is to investigate an old Mako reactor. There have been reports of it malfunctioning, and producing brutal creatures. First, we will dispose of those creatures. Then, we’ll locate the problem and neutralize it.
Young Cloud: Brutal creatures? Where?
Sephiroth: The Mako Reactor at Nibelheim.
Young Cloud: Nibelheim… that’s where I’m from.
Sephiroth: Hmm… home town…

*THUMP*

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Sephiroth: That would be our Monster…

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IT’S A FRIGGIN’ DRAGON.

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Wow, Cloud is First Class in SOLDIER? He was talking them up so hard, but his stats are pathetic. I know that they’re trying to get across how strong Sephiroth is in comparison, but this is a bad way to do it.

HI, I’m Cloud, SOLDIER first class! A solid breeze could knock me over!

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…daaaaaaang. Now THAT’S a good way of showing it.  Our party is still having trouble breaking into the triple digits of damage, much less the quads.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRESENT DAY~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Aeris: So where do you come in?
Cloud: Me? I was mesmerized by the way Sephiroth fought.
Tifa: …
Cloud: …And then we reached Nibelheim.

MUSIC: Anxious Heart

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~FLASHBACK~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Sephiroth: It’s your first time back to your hometown in a long time, right? So how does it feel? I wouldn’t know because I don’t have a hometown…
Young Cloud: Ummmm… how about your parents?
Sephiroth: My mother is Jenova. She died right after she gave birth to me. My father…

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He just starts laughing here. Okay, so Sephiroth has daddy issues. Suddenly, it all makes sense. YEP, THAT’S A GOOD SIGN.

Sephiroth: My father… hee hee hee… heh heh heh… Ha ha hahaha… WAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!

Yep. Totally stable.

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Other Soldier: Being on watch is so boring.
Young Cloud: You want to do what we always do? Just sit tight, it’s your job, right? I’ll come talk to you once in awhile. Just stick with it.
Sephiroth: The Mako smells pretty bad here.

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YOU’RE BREAKING MY IMMERSION HERE, MAN

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Barret: The name of Sephiroth’s mother…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~PRESENT DAY~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Cloud: That’s right.
Tifa: Barret, would you please let use hear what Cloud has to say? You can ask questions later.
Barret: Tifa, I was only…
Tifa: Okay Cloud, continue.
Aeris: The childhood friends reunite!
Cloud: …I was really surprised with Tifa.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~FLASHBACK~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Cloud: Everyone must be in their houses, afraid to come out because of the monsters. No, maybe they’re afraid of us…

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Sephiroth: All we need is one lookout, so you others, get some rest. Oh, and you may visit your family and friends.

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Soldier: Look, you never know when a monster’s gonna show up, right?

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Local Man: I want a shot of Sephiroth and a monster.
Young Cloud: Take my picture. Get back in the house, it’s dangerous.
Local Man:
All right… (fat-head)… Hey? (This guy’s a real…) You… Are you Cloud? Really? So that’s how it is, huh?

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Barret: Now you’re pissin’ me off!! This don’t matter, so get on with it!

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Barret: Yo, wait, I wanna hear.
Aeris: Me too! It’s been a long time, right?
Barret: Tell us more! You saw your family, right?
Cloud: Don’t want to talk about it. All right… I don’t know if you’d call it a family. My father… died when I was still young. That’s why my mom… lived alone in this house. Yeah, I saw my mom. My mom… she was a vibrant woman. Hadn’t changed at all. But a few days later, she died. But when I saw her, she looked fine.

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Cloud’s Mama: Cloud?! Welcome home, Cloud!
Young Cloud: Hi, Mom.
Cloud’s Mama: Come, come… Let me take a look at you! Hmmm… you look so handsome. So is this a SOLDIER uniform?
Young Cloud: …Mom, I…

*FLASH*

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Cloud’s Mama: I’ll bet the girls never leave you alone.
Young Cloud: …Not really.
Cloud’s Mama: …I’m worried about you. There are a lot of temptations in the city. I’d feel a lot better if you just settled down with a nice girlfriend.
Young Cloud: I’m all right.
Cloud’s Mama: You should have… an older girlfriend, one that’ll take care of you. I think that would be best for you.
Young Cloud: I’m not interested

*FLASH*

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Young Cloud: I’m all right. The Company takes care of me.
Cloud’s Mama: I know you can’t cook… I’ve been worried sick about you.

*FLASH*

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*FLASH*

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*FLASH*

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*FLASH*

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Cloud: Let’s stop this…

I guess we should check out the other houses in town since we’ve gotten this far.

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Tifa: Cloud? Did you go in my house?
Cloud: Yeah… I thought you might be home.

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Tifa: Cloud? Did you go into my room?
Cloud: Yeah
Tifa: Did you play my piano?

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One more house to go.

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Local Woman: Oh, I’m sorry! It’s you, Cloud! I didn’t recognize you.

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Kids are stupid, yet adorable.

Well, that was the last house to visit. May as well head to the Inn.

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Zangan: Is Shinra here to get rid fo the monsters?
Young Cloud: And who are you?
Zangan: I’m Zangan. I travel around the world teaching children martial arts. I have 128 students all around the world! In this town, a girl named Tifa is my student.
Young Cloud: Did you say Tifa?
Zangan: Tifa has good sense. She’ll be a powerful fighter.

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Sephiroth: …this scenery… I feel like i know this place. …We have an early start tomorrow. You should get some sleep soon.
Young Cloud: Yeah, let’s get some sleep.
Sephiroth: I’ve hired a guide to the Mako reactor. I’ve heard she’s young. I hope we can rely on her…

The next morning…

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Tifa’s Father: Listen to me, Sephiroth. In case something happens…
Sephiroth: Trust me…

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Young Cloud: Tifa! You’re the guide?
Young Tifa: That’s right. It so happens that I’m the number one guide in this town.
Young Cloud: It’s too dangerous! I can’t get you involved in this!
Sephiroth: There’s no problem if you protect her. Let’s go.
Local Man: Umm… Mr. Sephiroth! Please let me take one picture for a memento! Tifa, can you ask him for me too?

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Local Man: Great, thank you! I’ll give each of you a copy once I get it developed!

MUSIC: Underneath the Rotting Pizza

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Young Tifa: Uh… the bridge!!

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…Well, shit.

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Young Tifa: These caves are intertwined, like an ant farm. Oh, and Sephiroth… One person seems to be missing…
Sephiroth: It may sound cruel, but we’ve no time to search for him. We can’t go back, so we must go on. We’ll travel together from here.

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Well, let’s-a go, I suppose.

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Young Tifa: A mysteriously colored cave…

GEE, THANKS, I COULDN’T TELL THAT FOR MYSELF, YA DINK.

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It’s possible to get into battles here. Tifa isn’t actually part of the team, nor is the other nameless Shinra mook. By the way, you’ll be lucky if Cloud ever gets to attack. Even if he does, he’ll only do about 10 damage. And usually, a single attack from any enemy is enough to OHKO him.

Meanwhile…
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I’m not even allowed to control him 😦

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Sephiroth: A Mako fountain. It’s a miracle of nature.
Young Tifa: It’s so beautiful.

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Sephiroth: It’s very rare to see Materia in its natural state.
Young Cloud: By the way, why is it that when you use Materia you can also use magic too?
Sephiroth: You were in SOLDIER and didn’t even know that? The knowledge and wisdom of the Ancients is held in the Materia. Anyone with this knowledge can freely use the power of the land and the Planet. That knowledge interacts between ourselves and the Planet calling up magic… or so they say.
Young Cloud: Magic… a mysterious power.
Sephiroth: Ha ha ha!

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Sephiroth: A man once told me never to use unscientific terms like “mysterious power!” It shouldn’t even be called “magic!” I still remember how angry he was.
Young Cloud: Who was that?
Sephiroth: Hojo of Shinra, Inc… An inexperienced man assigned to take over the work of a great scientist. He was a walking mass of complexes.
Young Tifa: A Mako fountain… So this is where the knowledge of the Ancients is.

Seriously, that mouth! It’s like he’s a turkey drowning in the rain!

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Let’s keep on keepin’ on.

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Young Cloud: Tifa, you wait here.
Young Tifa: I’m going inside, too! I wanna see!
Sephiroth: Only authorized people are allowed in. This place is full of Shinra’s industrial secrets.
Young Tifa: But!
Sephiroth: Take care of the lady.

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Young Tifa: Better take real good care of me, then!

And thousands of terrible, horrific slashfic were born from that line right there…

MUSIC: Mako Reactor

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Damn, it really IS Jenova. It says it everywhere.

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Sephiroth: Cloud, close the valve.

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Okey-dokey then.

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Sephiroth: …Now I see, Hojo. But doing this will never put on the same level as Professor Gast. This is a system that condenses and freezes the Mako energy… that is, when it’s working correctly. Now… what does Mako energy become when it’s further condensed?
Young Cloud: Uh, umm… oh yeah! It becomes Materia.
Sephiroth: Right, normally. But Hojo put something else in there. Take a look.

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WHAT THE FUCK

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Sephiroth: Normal members of SOLDIER are humans that have been showered with Mako. You’re different from the others but still human. But, what are they? They’ve been exposed to a far higher degree of Mako than you.
Young Cloud: …Is this some kind of monster? (EDITOR’S NOTE: Don’t actually click that link. Metallica is terrible).
Sephiroth: Exactly. And it’s Hojo of Shinra that produced these monsters. Mutated living organisms produced by Mako energy. That’s what these monsters really are.
Young Cloud: Normal members of SOLDIER? You mean you’re different?

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Oh, GREAT, Cloud. You’ve given him an existential crisis.

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Sephiroth: You saw it! All of them… were humans…
Young Cloud: Human?! No way!
Sephiroth: …Ever since I was small I’ve felt… that I was different from the other. Special, in some way.

Aw, it’s okay. Society has really progressed in the past 20 years, it’s okay to come out of the closet now!

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…oh.

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Ech.

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Cloud: I didn’t really understand what Sephiroth meant then. I was even more surprised that Shinra was producing monsters.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~PRESENT DAY~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Tifa: …Who would have thought the Mako Reactor held such a secret.
Red: That would seem to explain the increase in the numbers of monsters recently. I think we should listen carefully to Cloud. Don’t you think so, Barret?

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The game gives me a convenient stopping point, so I take it. I was light on the commentary this time around, but there’s a lot of backstory to get out of the way.

NEXT LOADUP ON SAVE FILE: The conclusion of the Flashback!

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