Final Fantasy VII owned by Square Enix.
Images used for educational purposes only.

Church in the Slums

- You’ll start off in a nice little sanctuary, tucked away in Sector 5. Here you’ll become reacquainted with the flower girl you met earlier, by default named Aeris. (Some would argue it’s Aerith, mind.) During the initial conversation you have a few chances to make a good impression or to slight her; your decision will impact a scene later in the game.

- Eventually you’ll be forced to flee from the troops. Equip Aeris with materia - she’s a caster, not a fighter - and run into the depths of the church. Aeris will be separated from Cloud. You’ll now have to choose to tell her to fight or to order her to hold off while Cloud pushes barrels down onto the troops from the church’s attic. If you opt to shove barrels, push the far left barrel first, the middle barrel in the background second, and the far right barrel last.

- After a flirty cut scene you’ll wind up on the street near the church. Head south from here and you can get your first look at the outside world, though no more than that. Head north and, one screen past a save point, you’ll find a path to a small town-like area. Beware the thuggish Vices in this area, as they’ll steal your items if not killed quickly enough.

Sector 5 Slum

 - Near the entrance is a pipe. Go inside to see one of the game’s more infamous typos. The materia south and to the right of the pipe contains a man who will sell you materia, helpful if you didn’t have any for Aeris, and the next house over from this is an item shop. The bus in the north contains a weapon shop.

- There’s one final important house here, on the right side of the Slum. Check upstairs in this home and, on the wall, you’ll find a yellow poster labelled Turtles Paradise News No. 1. Check it now to save yourself a bit of time later. Speak to the sleeping boy in this room, then check the dresser by the stairs. You’ll find a ‘hidden’ drawer containing 5 gil. You can take it if you want, but it’s better to leave it - the next time you come through here the boy will give you a Turbo Ether if he has the cash to make the buy.

- There’s a small house on the next screen to the east. Check the garden for an Ether and a Cover materia, then pop inside. This is Aeris’s house. You’ll have more chances to get on Aeris’s good side by responding to a question about girls, then you’ll have to sneak out of her house by walking, not running, away from your room. (Check the bag by the door for a Potion and a Phoenix Down before you leave.) Return to the road beyond the Slum and head north… and… well, that surely didn’t work.

- The next screen is a bit twisty-turny to navigate; you need to use the red, slightly-gridded hunk of debris leading into a hole to make your way north, then climb the board along this path to reach the next screen. This screen is populated by a transforming enemy called Hell House that is quite durable for this point in the game, and you’ll want to use magic to take it out.

- A cut scene follows in the next small area, and you’ll wind up chasing a familiar face into a new area: Wall Market. Get ready for a bizarre twist in your quest to rejoin the rest of AVALANCHE.