|Final Fantasy VII owned by Square Enix.|
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- Talk to Holzoff to learn the specifics of surviving Gaea’s Cliff, then head outside. Your party is waiting, and you can change members at this point. Head north when you’re prepared for the climb beyond.
- Extreme cold awaits. While you climb Gaea’s Cliff, moving from red flag to red flag, your temperature will continually drop. If it drops below 30 degrees you’re in trouble; if it drops to 26 degrees you’ll pass up and wind up back at Holzoff’s cabin. The trick here is to stop and warm yourself by tapping the square button whenever you reach a ledge. Keep yourself above 36 and you’ll have no trouble climbing the cliff.
- You’ll reach the top after a few easy climbs. Inside is a cave. The monsters within are generally not weak to fire, despite their home. The worst you’ll face in the first half of Gaea’s Cliff is the Stilva, which can use its Magic Breath attack to inflict a lot of damage to everyone. Anything that absorbs or negates elemental damage will undo the damage. Getting poisoned is pretty common in Gaea’s Cliff, so Star Pendants aren’t a terrible idea.
- Head north and under the first bridge to find a new screen. Climb the stairs on your left and go through the southwest door. Back on the first screen, loop around and over the bridge you passed earlier. To the right on the other side is a Javelin; to the left is another cave tunnel. Wander northwest on the next path until you appear on an upper ledge. From here, push the boulder on the ledge down. It will wipe out a barrier you passed earlier.
- Return to the icy stairs you climbed earlier, then head north and follow the path. Eventually you’ll wind up outside again, and this time you’ll have to face enemies as well as the climb. Your worst enemies out here are Marlboros, boasting a frozen beam attack and Bio 2. These are, however, small fry compared to its trademark move, Bad Breath, which hits everyone with a host of status ailments. A Ribbon on your primary attacker will prevent this from crippling your party. This climb features branching paths; go all the way up along the left side of the cliffs until you’re forced right. The next ledge up has two climb points; go up the left to, eventually, reach the cave at the top.
- The next inside cave area bears some rather suspicious craters, and they’re a hint as to your next task. Check the right side of the open area for an Elixir, use the save point in the top-left corner if need be, and go through the cave in the top-right corner. It leads outside, then back indoors.
- In the next room you’ll find four massive icicles. Check the chest on your right for a Fire Armlet, very useful for a coming battle, then start walking west. Each time you try to pass one you’ll get into a battle with a cluster of Evilheads and an Icicle. Whack the Icicles, one by one, and you’ll drop them into a lower chamber. Get rid of all four and you’ll find a Last Elixir (apparently just a mistranslated Megalixir) in a chest on the far left. Needless to say, don’t jump down into the room below if you want this item.
- You’ll be back in the first open room, now decorated with massive, fallen icicles that create a path in the north. Save and heal, look in the northwest corner for a Speed Source that you can now reach, and make your way through the last tunnel in the room. Outside you’ll find an Enhance Sword on the path, and if you follow it far enough…
- … you’ll wind up climbing again. Sigh. Stick to the left side of the climbing wall for a faster, slightly safer trek upward. You’ll find another cave at the top, and inside a save point. Beside the save point is a pool, and if you investigate it you’ll refill your party’s health and MP. The enemies in this small section of cave are occasionally different from the rest of Gaea’s Cliff, and if you get lucky / unlucky you can fight Blue Dragons near the save point. Though powerful, Blue Dragons will always drop Dragon Armlets when defeated. Getting one for each party member will really help you survive the next battle…
- … which you’ll run into on the next screen to the east. Yow.
Schizo is a pretty basic boss, but that doesn’t make it easy. Schizo’s left head uses ice attacks, and is vulnerable to fire; Schizo’s right head uses fire attacks, and is vulnerable to ice. Together they can hit one character with a joint fire-and-ice attack, and occasionally they’ll use Tremor, an earth-based strike, as a counterattack. You need to defeat both heads to win the battle, and each time you kill a head it will unleash a lightning-elemental attack on the whole party. This last is quite painful if you kill both heads at once, so your best course of action here is to focus on the heads one at a time, targeting their weaknesses or using non-elemental attacks. Heal as necessary. Dragon Armlets, as well as any other equipment that resists, drains, or otherwise negates fire and ice attacks, will make this battle a lot easier.
- Step outside after defeating Schizo to see a fancy cut scene, then descend into the Crater. The enemies get a fair bit tougher here; perhaps most annoying are Grenades, as you usually can’t do enough damage to kill them before they blow up in your face. Only use your strongest magic to wipe out a Grenade. The Crater is populated by Gigases, enormous enemies that aren’t as difficult as they look; Steal from them for Gigas Armlets.
- A short trek into the Crater, Tifa will force her way into your party if she’s not already there. Follow the path ahead until you see a save point, check on the south side of the path for Neo Bahamut materia, and keep going.
- Ahead is the Whirlwind Maze. On the first screen you’ll see two black-cloaked figures try to pass the massive guts of wind ahead, without success; check their bodies for a Hi-Potion and an Ether. Wait for the wind to calm, then run up the path. If you get caught by the wind you’ll be thrown back, into a battle.
- There are more fallen cloaked figures on the next path, though none of them have anything. Check the chest past the first for a Kaiser Knuckle, then continue wandering north. On the next screen you’ll find another wall of wind, though this one has additional pulses of energy with the wind. Wait for the wind to die down a bit, then time your dash for the tail end of one of the pulses.
- Heal up and give your team fire protection as you enter the next screen, because…
Third time’s a charm. Jenova DEATH is extremely similar to Jenova LIFE, though it switches from water-elemental attacks to fire. If you’re protected from fire, it’s almost impossible to lose this fight, as Jenova’s only non-elemental attack inflicts silence status. Annoying, but not deadly. Smack it down. If you aren’t protected against fire, which is unlikely, just heal and attack it with Limits and non-elemental magic attacks, such as Comet. Even without protection, this is probably the easiest of the Jenova fights. You’ll get a Reflect Ring for beating Jenova DEATH.
- After defeating Jenova you’ll receive the Black Materia. You now have to give it to one of your party members, though the only options are Barret and Red XIII. It doesn’t really matter which one gets the Materia. Speak to Tifa after handing off the Black Materia to continue heading north.
- Near the battle site you’ll find MP Turbo materia; further north you’ll find a Poison Ring beside a save point. Save and heal up if you think it necessary, then continue up the path. On the next screen is another wind wall, this time accompanied by flashes of lightning. Wait for the lightning to flash three times, then slip between the green pulses as the wind slows.
- Lots of cut scenes follow. No spoilers here. A whole load of bad stuff happens, and when it’s done, Cloud leaves the party for a while. You also say goodbye to the Crater as it is now for good.