A mock explanation of how the Supernova attack came to be. A director, speaking Japanese, laughs as they mock the idea that they incorporated magnets pulling meteor in the animation. As they talk, you can see a meteor/comet pass through many different solar systems before being pulled to our world via a giant magnet.
Like many people, Final Fantasy VII was my first game. I was gracious to have a summer birthday. I had all the time in the world for summer break before I had to go back to school. So what was I going to get for my birthday? Up until then, I had only played platform games. But this year, I wanted one game. It was the game everyone was talking about. The most expensive game made at the time. Final Fantasy VII. So I stood around a table with my family, the birthday cake, a new PlayStation and a copy of Final Fantasy. I was anxious to play this game. I had no idea what to expect, but I had a good feeling about this game. This was the Final Fantasy that would start my journey.
I didn’t question why I started at Final Fantasy VII. I did it because it was popular. What about the other six games? I knew the other games existed, but it never crossed my mind to experience them. Still, I had a nagging feeling that I heard of this series before. Up til now, I had only played Nintendo games. Where did I hear of the name “Final Fantasy”? That’s when I looked at this Nintendo poster I had. And under the label, ‘ADVENTURE’ was a blurb for the original Final Fantasy.
So that’s where I heard of Final Fantasy. I always wondered how to play that game. How do I control four characters at once? How do I attack? What are their stories? Well, it looks like I was about to find out, with Final Fantasy VII.
I pop in the disc. I start a new game and notice right away something magic. I see swirling stars, a girl’s face, and an overhead view of a city. All to the majestic soundtrack of Uematsu. Suddenly, I realized what the commercials were telling me. I wasn’t playing a game. I was playing an experience. The whole approach was cinematic, but it topped movie from the late 90s. How could this be? Final Fantasy VII blew me away.
As the train started to near its destination, I marveled at the gritty location. It was like watching Blade Runner. I was in a daze of love for the scenery. Then, I shook my head and stared in disbelief.
What was this!?
Those characters. Why are they so blocky? Why do they look so short? Who are these people?
C’mon newcomer. Follow me.
No, wait – no! No, you! Why do you look like this?? A figure with spikes on his hair jumped off the top of the train next to the stubby Mr. T character. Why does he look like that!? I went for my manual. OK, so the white guy is Cloud, and the black guy is Barret. But I saw realistically-proportioned character models in the manual. So why do they look like midgets on the screen? Like, they all looked the size of Super Mario. You’d think I’d feel right at home with this, but I expected much better. Especially after watching that amazing intro.
They both run, yet the guards only attack me! What? Then the screen fades with this weird sound. What the-? Is it glitching out? Then the screen appears in a fighting arena with a realistic looking Cloud fighting two soldiers. But he’s SOLDIER. Are they grunts? Ow, they shot me! How do I fight them? Where’s the attack button? A menu prompts with the word ‘Attack”? Yes. YES! I thought by pressing the button, it would let me go into real-time action mode. Instead, it automatically attacked for me. What? How do I attack? Oh, I got them. Wow, I didn’t die on the very first battle. Amazing, seeing I had no idea what to do. Could Jesse jump on a ladder? Can I jump like in Super Mario? No? Wait, why did a battle just happen? THERE WERE NO ENEMIES ON THE SCREEN!
…that’s when I decided to pay closer attention to manual. This was a game I didn’t understand. It was a game, unlike anything I’d ever played before. But the story hooked me. I wanted to see more scenes, immersing me into this bleak world. And I’m glad I got the hang of it. Well, not totally. I made it pretty far in the game without equipping Materia, new weapons or armor. I knew that I could get stronger if I leveled up. But this meant I spent a lot of time mindlessly grinding and buying potions. I was playing a no-Materia challenge on my first playthrough. I found out by accident I could equip weapons and armors to improve my stats. The game was a breeze from there on…
And then I had a dream. A giant Cait Sith head floats up in the sky, like a hot air balloon. Another cat tells me to listen and learn from it. The Cait Sith head says something about listening to your friends and learning to have good conversations other than the weather…
Another dream, Cloud, Barrett, Red XIII, Cid, and Vincent fall from an airplane. They hit the surface of the sky. They walk on the clouds looking for their way out. CLoud sees something on the ground, picks it up and phones someone.
The remake plans to update the graphics. I can only hope it captures the same excitement I had with this game. But my dreams tell me something else…