|Final Fantasy VII owned by Square Enix.|
Images used for educational purposes only.
- You can access the Northern Cave, the final dungeon in Final Fantasy VII, by landing in the massive crater in the far north of the world map. Despite how it looks at first, you can leave this place after entering… though the further you descend, the harder this gets.
- The Northern Cave is, predictably, deadly. The enemies here are some of the strongest in the game, and all are capable of messing up your party pretty good. That said, the enemies in the first section of the cave aren’t too bad… at least unless you wind up against a Dark Dragon. These hefty creatures hit quite hard, and will retaliate against magic with Ultima. Owwwww. Stick to physical attacks. You can Steal from Dark Dragons for Dragon Armlets.
- Right beside the entrance is the exit back up to the airship. Shrug. Next to the exit is a chest containing a Save Crystal. Utterly unique in Final Fantasy VII, the Save Crystal allows you to create a one-time save point wherever you like in the Northern Cave. Don’t use this lightly, as you can’t change the position of the save point once it has been used. Continue spiralling around this first section of the cave and, partway down, you’ll find a Guard Source.
- You’ll reach a series of ledges after spiralling downward for long enough. In this area you’ll run into Scissors, deadly enemies that will instantly kill a character and split in half if reduced to half of its HP. This can be quite draining; get around this by killing it in a single hit with your strongest attacks.
- Start by climbing down the ledges to your right. Halfway down you’ll find another Guard Source, and at the bottom is a Mind Source. That done, begin climbing back to the top along the left side of the cave. You’ll find a Magic Source, an Elixir, and a Power Source on your way back up to the top, and if you look through the ‘wall’ beside the chest containing the Power Source you’ll find an HP Absorb materia. Return to the right side of the screen and make your way back down again. (You can do this all differently, of course, but I found this to be the fastest, most straightforward path.)
- More caves. This area is notable because it’s home to Master Tonberries, terrible enemies that counterattack often and will eventually (once they get close enough) use an instant-death attack. They’re very painful. Status ailments such as poison and stop are good weapons against Tonberry to avoid the counterattacks, and it’s not a bad idea to have a resistance against death. It’s possible to Steal Elixirs from Master Tonberries, and you can Morph them into Ribbons, so fighting them is worth the risk.
- Take a left to start and through the first cave. You’ll find a downward ramp. Check through the winding cave on the left for a Power Source, then descend to the bottom of the cave. You’ll find a Guard Source down here, as well as a tunnel back out to the previous room. Open the chest to the right of the cave for a Hero Drink, then pop back into the cave and ascend to the beginning.
- Run to the right until you drop down, then run left. You’ll fall to a tunnel containing a Megalixir. Return to the upper platform, then drop off on the right side. Check to the left for a Mind Source before dropping down to another tunnel. Go through and you’ll find a path leading to the Northern Cave’s halfway point.
- Time for a choice. From here the Northern Cave splits here, with paths leading to the right and to the left. You’ll need to decide which path your party members, all of your party members, should take. Everyone will join up again at the bottom of the Northern Cave, and those who went down a different path from you will fork over the items they found along the way. (Don’t send Yuffie on her own. She’ll keep everything she found, the little bastard.) The right path is shorter, and a fair bit easier; the left path is longer and much tougher, but the items you’ll find are quite a bit better. We’ll take a look at both.
- (Note that I don’t recommend using the Save Crystal here. You should keep it in your stores until you reach the final screen before you hit the game’s last battles. It seems tempting, but... no.)
- The enemies along this path are not that bad from what you’ve been encountering thus far. Perhaps the worst are Dragon Zombies, as they can use Shadow Flare; use holy spells and weapon attacks to bring it down quickly.
- After a descent along the edges of a stalactite you’ll find a Mystile and an Elixir. On the next screen down is a Speed Source, and if you look south of this, amongst some broken eggs, you’ll find a Tetra Elemental. Awesome accessory. Northwest of here you’ll find a Megalixir; northeast of of here you’ll find another Megalixir, as well as the path out of here (look to the yellow light).
- The rest of this path is straightforward and lacking in treasure, soooo…
- Get ready for a fairly substantial jump in enemy difficulty when you go down the left path. The enemies hereabouts generally have higher HP values, are more likely to use instant death attacks, and just plain hit harder. Master Behemoths are probably the most challenging, as they like to counter attacks; hit them with status ailments (sleep is particularly good) to make the battle a lot easier.
- The path splits again when you hit this part of the Northern Cave. You have two choices: Up or Down. Both eventually lead to the same spot, but both have their own unique items.
- The Up route takes you to a rather unique marsh area, complete with a change in music. This area is crazy for levelling, as it boasts two unique enemies: Movers, easy enemies that give out lots of experience and AP, and Magic Pots, which, when given an Elixir, will give away a ridiculous amount of experience and AP (1,000 AP apiece!). This is the best place in Final Fantasy VII to level your characters to 99, which, quite frankly, is overkill. Enjoy!
- The path splits from the entrance. Go east and you can jump to a chest containing a Magic Source, then backtrack and go north. On the far side of the room you’ll find a chest containing a Remedy and the exit.
- More swamp. Head right from the entrance to find a chest containing a Hero Drink, then make your way northwest to the corner of the room to find a Vaccine. On a ledge to the right of this chest is a Shield materia; dip down into the water from here and you’ll go through the water to reach an Imperial Guard. Make your way west to a similar ledge to find the exit.
- The next room has a huge tree. Follow the path on the outside of this semi-circular area and you can find a W-Magic materia just beneath the fringe of the tree, then check the light in the middle of the area for a Counter materia. (You need to check it on the north side; the materia is just barely visible.) Make your way to the west from here to find a cave exit that leads to the end of the Northern Cavern.
- (For the record, though it’s more dangerous, this Down route is probably the fastest to traverse if you plan on running from enemies, either normally or using Exit materia. This is particularly true after you’ve collected all of the treasures in the Northern Cave.)
- The Down route leads to a more straightforward path. Hop down the first line of stones and you’ll find a chest containing a Remedy on your left; to the right is a hopping path that leads to an Elixir. Return to the main platform and carry on south to find an X-Potion and the path to the next screen.
- Head southeast until you’re forced to hop down to lower ground. To the left of the drop you’ll find a Turbo Ether; follow the path around to the right to find a Vaccine and the way to the next screen.
- Hop down two steps to find an X-Potion on your right, then carry on left until you hop down to the bottom-right corner of the screen. North of here is a Turbo Ether, and if you make your way back to the left you can find a hopping path to a Speed Source. Tap your controller as you’re jumping to the rock directly in front of the flow of energy in the background and you can grab a MegaAll materia. It may take a few tries, but speed is very much the key to grabbing this materia, and nought else. Follow the southwestern path and it will take you to the end of this area.
- Regardless of your chosen path, you’ll pop out in a rounded area. Check the chest here for a Luck Source, then begin the descent. (In case you were wondering, this is the best place to put down your save point.) You’ll find one last screen where you can speak with your team and collect the items they’ve found. Beyond that… well, if you go any further than this, there’s no going back.
- Be warned! It’s a good idea at this point to equip your other team members, even the ones you don’t really use, with at minimum some good normal equipment. They may be forced into battle shortly, and you don’t want them to get screwed over.
- Beyond the collection of your party, once you reach the point of no return, you’ll have to leap down a series of platforms. Many of these platforms will boast some rather powerful enemies, some of the fiercest in the game. You’re better off using the Escape spell or simply fleeing from these beasts, as you’ll want your party to be in good shape when you reach the bottom of your climb. (You also won’t get to save past this point, so any experience or items you collect will disappear when you next reload the game. Just saying.)
- At the bottom…
Don’t worry, this is the last time you need to face this unnatural freak. Jenova SYNTHESIS is quite different this time around, sporting multiple limbs and non-elemental attacks. Its strikes are fairly basic, utilizing its tentacles to inflict around 1,500 points of damage - as well as, very occasionally, silence. Jenova can also absorb your health, which isn’t a huge deal. The main problem here is the frequency of Jenova’s attacks, which you can offset with Haste, Barrier, or both. Ignore the tentacles for the most part, as Jenova will just rejuvenate them after a few turns, and target the body. Once you do enough damage Jenova will begin a countdown that culminates in Ultima; do your best to make sure this countdown does not reach zero. Barring that, put up MBarrier, heal, and hope you have good enough defences.
Depending on how well you do in the Jenova SYNTHESIS fight, as well as the overall strength of your team, this next boss battle can play out quite a bit differently. You’ll have a chance to form a team / teams and heal / equip them before it begins, so think your options through carefully.
Finally, the big man. This form of Sephiroth consists of multiple targets, more than you’re likely to have faced in a boss battle up to this point, though they’re not terribly tough. The two Magics (Sephiroth’s arms) will use strong attack magic on your team, while the rest of the body will work on healing up the main Body, your primary target. The Core in particular will heal the Body for roughly 6,000 HP apiece. You need to take down the two Magics and the Head to expose the Core, then bring down the Core, then go after the Body. Everything but the Body has relatively little HP (less than 10,000), though this factor changes depending on the layout of the battle. Elemental attacks have a tendency to heal, so stick with physical or non-elemental attacks. Once only the Body and Head are left (the Head is revived quite often) Sephiroth will begin using Heartless Angel, a horribly annoying attack that will reduce everyone to one HP. Bah. (Though good for raising your Limit Breaks in a hurry.)
As hinted, this battle changes depending on how your fight with Jenova SYNTHESIS went. If you ousted the alien very quickly, if your average party level is quite high, and if you have both Yuffie and Vincent in the party, you will have to face Bizarro Sephiroth with two, possibly three, teams. Each time you destroy a part of his body you’ll have an opportunity to switch to one of the other parties, and you’ll have to do so to destroy their Magics and Cores before you can properly attack the Body. This doesn’t necessarily make the fight harder, but it does become a bit more tedious.
And when Bizarro Sephiroth goes down…
This is it. If you can beat Safer Sephiroth, you’ll beat the game. Predictably, this angelic devil wants to make winning rather difficult. Sephiroth begins the battle with Wall, raising his defence and magic defence to annoying levels. DeBarrier will cut this down. He then proceeds with a series of painful attacks - a normal strike that usually kills, Shadow Flare, Break, Heartless Angel, a status-inducing attack called Pale Horse - and ends off with the hard-hitting Super Nova, a gravity attack that will bring your party low, but, fortunately, never kill - though it can inflict silence and confusion, both of which suck. Sephiroth can do a lot of damage, but his status ailments are typically what will get you killed. Sephiroth will also fly up into the air on occasion, which will stop you from hitting him with short range attacks.
Your path through this fight is fairly simple: go all out. Use your most powerful attacks to bring Sephiroth down. Strong magic of any type is good - Ultima, Flare, third-tier spells, Summons - as are Limit Breaks. Sephiroth’s magic sometimes inflicts sadness, so be on the lookout for an afflicted character - you’ll really want your Limit Breaks to fill up quickly, and sadness works counter to this. Because Sephiroth’s deadly attacks only hit one character at a time you won’t find keeping up with healing that bad, though you want to remain on the offensive as much as possible.
Assuming you survived through all that - honestly, there are worse bosses than Safer Sephiroth in this game - you’ll be done with Final Fantasy VII! Congrats! Enjoy the ending… and the boss battle in the midst of it, one which you cannot lose… and prepare for even greater challenges!