Monday, January 30, 2017

Let's Play Final Fantasy VII (Part 10): All I Want is Equal Treatment

Before we get too far, I want to show you guys Aeris' first limit break, which I failed to show beforehand. It's called Healing Wind, and it heals our entire team by a pretty substantial amount. It's a bit less than a Cure (from Restore materia) + All combo, but it can be used many times per battle as long as you can fill Aeris' limit gauge. Right now we can only use the All materia once per battle, so Aeris is a godsend.

Corneo splits the party up. Tifa goes with the Don to his bedroom, while Aeris and Cloud are split up with separate lackeys. Cloud has the misfortune of being sent to a room with five guys and the intention is clearly that they're going to gangbang him.

This scene is sort of disgusting to me. It wouldn't be so bad except that our entire trip through the Sector 6 slums has been nothing but playing up how horny men are and how they view women as playthings. It's nice that we get the other side of the story here, don't get me wrong. Having empowered women (and a crossdressing guy) dealing with the situation is much better than just depicting them as victims, but the other side of that is that the game portrays all men (including gay men) as horndogs who can't keep it in their pants at the sight of a sexy person of the appropriate sex, even if that person clearly says s/he isn't interested.

Either way, Cloud denies their advances, reveals that he's a dude, and predictably they attack him. Cloud is a genetically enhanced super soldier. Excuse me, he's a super-SOLDIER. They're a bunch of mooks. This ends badly for them.

Cloud heads back to the room where Tifa was waiting to find Aeris. She manages to repel her assigned lackey by shoving him down a flight of stairs, and we have a dialogue choice to either ask how Aeris is or say that we have to save Tifa. Aeris is selfish and she likes it more if we ask if she's OK. On the other hand, if Tifa were in this scene (because Aeris was selected by Corneo), she behaves more selflessly and will like it if we make it imperative that we save Aeris. Presumably, if Cloud is selected, one of the girls handles the gangbang room offscreen instead of us.

The next scene is quite hilarious. Cloud leaves with Aeris to find Tifa, who is currently entertaining Corneo. She tries to play hard to get, but Corneo eventually gets impatient and tries to jump her. Fortunately for her, Tifa is a trained martial artist and she easily avoids him.

Then comes the big reveal. We were spies for AVALANCHE all along and we're here to squeeze Corneo for information, and not in the pleasant way.

No seriously, I mean it.

The whole team threatens violence against Corneo's private parts, with even Aeris getting in on the act. Corneo spills his guts, but what he has to say isn't very good.

Heidegger, the head of Shinra's Peace Preservation division (presumably the Shinra armed forces), hired Corneo and his thugs to find the guy with a gun for an arm.

He got the info for them; that Barret hides out in the Sector 7 slums. That's not actually the worst part, though. In fact, if that's all it was, we could easily relocate Barret's team somewhere else. The worst part is far more insidious; Shinra intends to drop the Sector 7 plate on top of the slums. You heard right; they intend to collapse the entire plate, killing everyone on top and everyone in the slums, just to kill Barret and his team.

Unfortunately for us, Corneo gets the last laugh and drops us down into the sewer with a hidden trapdoor. It makes no sense why someone like him would have a trapdoor to the sewers in his bedroom, but I digress.

Now I don't really understand why Heidegger would have told Corneo about the plan, but we've come to realize that Shinra is full of morons.

We get a very unusual cut to Shinra headquarters, where Heidegger (a portly man in a military uniform with a chest full of medals) and President Shinra are discussing the situation with a new face, a well-dressed man with a goatee named Reeve. Reeve is head of Shinra's Urban Development and he is extremely pissed that this plan is happening. He sounds reasonably sane as far as Shinra people go, but he is more concerned with the fact that this will completely undermine him.

President Shinra demonstrates again his overwhelming mastery of being a fucking idiot by explaining that they will blame the plate drop on AVALANCHE and send in Shinra rescue teams. I'm surprised he doesn't twirl his mustache or give out an evil laugh at the end of the exchange.

He also says that Reeve should take a vacation. I think the implication here is that Reeve is in the way and they want to continue being EVIL without him being practical (but he probably approved the design of Midgar in the first place, so not really practical).

We return to Cloud and the girls down in the sewer. Cloud has to talk to both girls to proceed here, who each have their own take on the situation. Both are pretty upset about the whole thing. The girl we talk to first gets a relationship points bonus, so we choose Aeris.

I take a brief moment here to show you the status screen just so I can talk about the Fury status. It's an abnormal status effect, but it is mostly beneficial; it increases the amount of limit gauge we gain. Although the game tells you that it increases the damage you take, this is not true. It might affect accuracy; I'm not sure. Its converse effect, Sadness, causes limit gauge to increase slower, but your character takes a ridiculous 30% less total damage (after other variables). Both effects are very useful (Sadness is amazing on the optional bosses), but Fury lets Aeris get Healing Wind more often, which is great.

You can inflict these status effects on your characters by using Hyper (for Fury) or Tranquilizer (for Sadness). Likewise, Hyper cures Sadness, and Tranquilizer cures Fury. They cost 100 gil each and are consumable, so we only have some Hypers for Aeris to make sure she gets limit breaks as often as possible.

Oh and there's a boss. Its name is Aps, and it attacks by making tidal waves in the sewer water. They can come from either front or behind; if they come from in front, they damage Aps a lot and us a little. If they come from behind, they damage us a lot and Aps a little. He can kill himself with this attack.

You can tell in this screenshot that Aeris doesn't have Fury yet (her limit gauge is pink instead of red) but that will change soon.

I tried to take a screenshot of Tifa's level 1 limit break, Beat Rush. However, despite taking 3 different screenshots of it, none of them looked particularly good. It's not a very good looking skill. Either way, Tifa does work here since Aps is vulnerable to the Fire materia (which I purchased in Sector 7 before heading to the Sector 5 reactor) and she happens to have it equipped. Aeris also pulls her weight here; after using a Hyper on her, she gets Healing Wind three times and completely nullifies all the damage Aps deals. Without the Hypers I bought earlier, this fight is actually pretty grueling. To add insult to injury, Aps can occasionally inflict Sadness (which will cancel Fury). However, even though he is fairly damaging, you can make it out just fine without abusing Fury just by dedicating someone to healing with the Restore materia.

We beat Aps easily though and now we've got the problem of a plate to worry about. Tifa is despondent but Aeris encourages us to never give up hope.

Good on you, Aeris.