|Final Fantasy VII owned by Square Enix.|
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The Gold Saucer
- After a moving cut scene on Barret’s part, you’ll wind up in the Gold Saucer, the premiere theme park of all the world. You can either pay 3,000 gil to enter one time or 30,000 for a lifetime pass. You probably don’t have enough for the lifetime pass right now, but it’s worth the money once you’re making more gil.
- The Gold Saucer is an oddity. It’s full of mini games, and rather than gil, you spend GP inside - GP which is gained by playing the mini games. Eesh. (You can also sometimes get it by speaking to a shady man near the entrance. This is an expensive way to do it, however.) You can get a lot of amazing stuff by messing around here, though you need money to get it done. We’ll look at the Golden Saucer in-depth in a different article.
- Pick a member of the team to come with Cloud (the only one that won’t have an effect later is Red XIII), then hop into one of the six holes in the lobby. You can mess around howsoever you like, but your current destination is the Wonder Square. Here you’ll meet a bizarre new team member, default name Cait Sith, who forces his way into the party. Cait Sith is more on the casting side, and his Limits are just plain odd. (Remember that megaphone you found in the Shinra Building? Yep, that’s his.)
- Assuming you’re done looking around, head to the Battle Square next. Things will go badly, and when you head inside… well. Eesh.
- Yikes. You’ve been stranded in a Prison at the base of the Gold Saucer. You’ll have to find a way out. The enemies here aren’t that difficult to defeat, though the Bandits should always be targeted first, as they like to swipe your items. In the outskirts, near the desert, you’ll face Death Claws; Steal from them for Platinum Bangles. Poor equipment, but it offers double growth.
- Follow Barret south to start. He’s entered the house on the right. After a long story segment you’ll have to choose a third character to go with Cloud and Barret. It’s wise to stick Barret in the back row with a long range weapon for the coming trials, as he’s going to have to fight on his own for one battle. You can speak to your party members in the house to change your third member.
- You can poke around the Prison if you like, but there’s very little to see. South of the rest house is a pub where you can buy some basic items, and to the north is a save point. Further north, back on the first screen of the Prison, you’ll find that a fence which was previously blocked is now unblocked. Head through.
- The desert is beyond. If you walk to the north and wander around enough you’ll quickly get lost in an endless sequence of desert, desert, desert. Out here you’ll face two enemies: the strong (but weak to Ice) Landworm and the evasive (but weak to Matra Magic) Cactuar. Cactuars are quite valuable, as killing one - a difficult feat without Matra Magic - will earn you 10,000 gil. Niiiiiice. Wander long enough out in the desert and a chocobo carriage will show up and offer to take you back to Corel Prison, which is highly recommended.
- After heading north through the fence, go through the fence on your right on the next screen and run east, along the edge of a gorge that splits the land. You’ll wind up beside a car junkyard. (Death Claws appear here, if you were wanting those Platinum Bangles mentioned earlier.) Head north through here for a cut scene, and then…
Barret fights this one solo. So long as Barret has Restore materia equipped, though - even if not, so long as you have a few Hi-Potions - this battle’s a cinch. Dyne uses ho-hum attacks to inflict decent damage on Barret. Either mash him back normally, take him down with Limit Breaks once they build up, or both. As long as Barret’s health is above 200 HP or so it’s an easy fight.
- A few cut scenes later, long story short, Cloud will be roped into a chocobo race in the Gold Saucer. Check the waiting room for Ramuh materia - absolutely do not miss this materia or you’ll never see it again - then prepare for a rather novel cut scene which will set the stage for several similar races in Final Fantasy VII’s distant future.
One of the bigger mini games in Final Fantasy VII, chocobo racing in this instance is fairly simple: you need to win a race against a slew of other chocobo jockeys. Start by going into Manual mode with the Select button, as your chocobo will control itself badly on its own. Guide your chocobo around the track at a level speed (set by alternating its speed with the square and x buttons), then, once you’re near the end of the track, put on some speed with circle-based sprinting. Watch your stamina throughout the race. You won’t regain stamina, so try to conserve what you’ve got until the end while remaining relatively close to the front of the pack. It’s not a difficult race, though if you lose you’ll be given unlimited chances to try again - and you’ll get a better chocobo each time.
Win the race and you’ll be freed from Coral Prison (and never have to visit it again). You’ll also be given a buggy, a land-based form of transportation that will allow you to zip across shallow waters. If you feel like it you can drive the buggy back to Costa Del Sol and take it to Midgar’s continent, as well. Fancy!