Final Fantasy VII owned by Square Enix.
Images used for educational purposes only.
No. 1 Reactor

- You start out on a train platform. Follow your fellow insurgents up the platform and you’ll come under attack by some weak soldiers. This fight is very basic, and will give you a sense of your Ex-SOLDIER’s capabilities. At the moment he can use some simple magic as well as smack enemies around with his massive sword. Attack is a fine command for the moment, as it won’t eat up MP.

- On the next screen you’ll get to name the protagonist, by default Cloud. You’ll also meet another fellow, by default Barret, who will join Cloud in combat in a short while. Barret is about on par with Cloud right now, though he’s not as good with magic - nor does he currently have any. He’ll do fine for now just attacking. Since Barret is equipped with a ranged weapon, you can put him in the back row via the menu and he won’t suffer a penalty to his attack damage.

- In the next area you’ll start running into random battles, none of them at all difficult. You should only have to resort to magic, namely the Bolt spell, if you run into any hulking robots, and they won’t show up until you’re near the exit of the No. 1 Reactor. Follow your team north, onto another screen, and into the Reactor. Barret will join you officially from here. Speak to the dude in the red bandana (Biggs) to get through the first door, and the girl with brown hair (Jessie) to get through the second. Look to the southeast of the first door to find a chest containing a Phoenix Down, then follow Jessie onto a nearby elevator.

- A cut scene later you’ll be descending into the heart of the Reactor. Follow Jessie down ramps and ladders until she stops. There’s a Potion in front of her. Continue descending and you’ll soon come across a save point, represented on the map as an unmistakable… spinning… thing. Use it now to save your game, ‘cause a boss is upcoming.

- On the next screen, beside the Reactor itself, is a Restore materia. Grab it - you’ll be able to equip it soon - then approach the Reactor to hit a cut scene. Boss time!

Guard Scorpion

Welcome to the big time. Guard Scorpion is the toughest enemy you’ve fought, but that’s not saying a whole lot. This mechanical monstrosity has a two-stage attack, first scanning its victim and then opening fire. This gives you more than enough time to heal any terrible wounds. Whittle away Guard Scorpion’s health sufficiently and it will raise its tail, and Cloud will advise that you attack when the tail is up. This is a terrible typo, as Guard Scorpion will retaliate with Tail Laser against Cloud and Barret, inflicting a fair amount of damage. Wait until it lowers its tail again, then continue smacking it down. Normal attacks and Bolt will get you through the battle. Defeating Guard Scorpion will earn you an Assault Gun for Barret.

This battle is likely to be the first point where you’ll run into the Limit Breaks of your characters. Limits build up whenever a character takes damage, indicated in a gauge beside each character’s name, and when a Limit Break is full you can execute a special attack with that character. Cloud currently has Braver, while Barret has Big Shot. Both do basically the same thing, which is a lot of damage to one enemy. Limit Breaks are divided into Limit Levels, and characters can learn new Limits; to learn the first Limit in a Level the character must defeat a set number of enemies, and to learn the second Limit in a Level that character must then use the first Limit a certain number of times. The more you use a character, in short, the faster they’ll learn Limits.

- You now have ten minutes to escape the No. 1 Reactor, and this will be more than enough time. Flee back the way you came - make sure you save Jessie along the way, as you absolutely need her to escape - and you’ll get out of the Reactor with plenty of time to spare. Time continues to tick during battles and even in the menu, so don’t dawdle too much.

- After a dramatic flight you’ll wind up in the streets of Midgar, a vast, metropolitan city. On your way out of the area you’ll run into a flower girl; if you don’t tell her to flee you can purchase a flower for a single gil, and, amazingly, this tiny act has repercussions later in the game. (Minor repercussions, but still.) Head south on the screen past the flower girl, check the left side for a shining Potion, and head to the next area. Here you’ll have the option to either fight, or flee from, several squads of Shinra troopers; do as you wish. Cloud will wind up on a train either way.

- Follow the rest of AVALANCHE into the next car, then speak to Jessie. This will trigger several small cut scenes, eventually taking you back to safe(r) territory.