Final Fantasy VII has to be one of the most beautiful games in existence - and if you’ve ever suffered through those boxy graphics, you’ll know we’re not talking about the game's visuals. Instead, the game’s primary beauty comes from the emotional impact it has on players, who build incredibly strong relationships with its characters and who are often left a crying mess when a curly haired saint who shan’t be named ends up passing away.
And yet, for all the incredibly touching moments in Final Fantasy VII, there are some pretty weird ones in there too. The world was a different place back in 1997, and it seems as though Square hadn’t quite figured out how to appeal to an international market, because there were a fair few plot points that were always seen as pretty weird outside of Japan. And that’s not to mention the many odd quests which with the benefit of hindsight just seem downright offensive in the current day.
Today, we’ll be looking at fifteen of the most bizarre and disturbing quests in the game, which stretches from the rescue of a creepily intimate wolf to the cross-dressing of the main character. What will be interesting to see is whether or not these scenes are recreated in Final Fantasy VII Remake. They’re all iconic parts of the game's history, and some of them are integral parts of the plot, and yet they’d be sure to cause a controversy if they were released today. Only time will tell, but you can be sure we’ll be spending the next eighteen months or so until the game's release speculating what will appear.
15 Rescuing Red XIII After He Tries To Force Himself On Aerith
Red XIII is actually a codename for Nanaki, the member of an ambiguous wolf-like species who pops up as a playable character halfway through the game. This name is given to him by the evil Professor Hojo, the same scientist who at one point created Sephiroth — but the doctor's experiments went far past linguistics. When Nanaki is first encountered, Hojo is running experiments to try and force him to breed with the humanoid Aerith in an effort to continue her Cetra bloodline.
You heard that right: the doctor is literally encouraging a wolf to have sex with a woman. When Cloud interrupts his actions, Nanaki’s pinning Aerith against his cage wall with his tail wagging in excitement. He makes a pretty good excuse for why he was pretending to be interested in her, but we still don’t want to think about what would have happened if our hero hadn’t saved the day.
14 Stealing Tifa’s Underwear (As A Joke, Apparently)
One of the game's most interesting scenes happens in Nibelheim, the village in which Cloud and Tifa grew up in. The town was obliterated long before the events of the game, which means that their childhood homes are long gone, but it can be visited through an extended flashback scene where Cloud walks the party through the destruction of the town.
Of course, Cloud is hardly a reliable narrator, and if the player so chooses they’re able to trick the rest of the party into thinking that he —at one point— visited Tifa’s house before the Nibelheim Incident. Examining her wardrobe, Cloud will tell the party that he picked up a pair of 'Orthopedic Underwear,' to protect Tifa from herself. It’s pretty clear Cloud’s only joking, but the fact that we’re playing through this very vivid fantasy of his doesn’t make me feel super comfortable.
13 Blowing Up Entire Cities With Your Terrorist Friends
Mako Reactors inform much of the structure of Final Fantasy VII, which often finds Cloud and friends traveling around the world of Gaia just to destroy them. The reactors are run by the Shinra organization, which has developed a way of creating electricity from the mystical Lifestream and thus nabbed a total monopoly on all forms of energy. Cloud blows them up in an attempt to save the Lifestream and bring balance back to the natural world.
However, all of this takes a pretty sinister turn when you realize that blowing up the Mako Reactors often has a detrimental effect on the cities they power. This is especially true for the first reactor we find in the game, Reactor 1, which is located so close to the slums of Midgar that it was bound to do some damage to the poor people living there. Maybe our heroes aren’t so virtuous after all.
12 Infiltrating An Army Base On The Back Of A Dolphin
Junon is a major location in FFVII, and one with a lot of history. It was at one point a peaceful fishing town before Shinra Electric Power Company built it up, blocking out the sun with its high military constructions and polluting the surrounding ocean. Years later, Cloud and his party are stuck in the lower part of the town and need to reach the upper levels in order to infiltrate one of Shinra’s cargo ships.
Of course, because this is a JRPG, Cloud and Co. can’t just climb up the normal way. Instead, they rely on the help of the underage Priscilla and her best friend, Mr. Dolphin. Riding Mr. Dolphin’s slippery back, the entire party “jumps” out of the water to the top of Junon and goes on to save the day. We knew dolphins were smart, but who knew they could bring down entire armies?
11 Harboring A Wolf In Soldier’s Clothing
Once players have finally infiltrated the upper levels of Junon, Cloud and friends decide that the best way to remain undetected is to blend in with the rest of the Shinra Soldiers and adopt their uniforms. Clearly wanting to fit in with the rest of the pack, Red XIII plays along and stuffs himself into a uniform, standing on his hind legs to give the appearance of a human. His walk is completely ridiculous, and he admits that he’s “a little woozy,” but he manages to last an entire trip on the Cargo Ship like this without passing out.
The weirdest thing about this whole scene is that, miraculously, no one seems to notice that there’s a red-haired wolf on the ship, despite the fact that his face is on full display to everyone else in the army. No wonder Shinra was so easy to take down.
10 Dodging Letter Bombs From Angry Television Producers
I promise I’ll stop talking about the Junon chapter of the game soon enough, but there’s one final mini-game in there that’s worth a mention. While attempting to blend in as a Shinra soldier, Cloud and Co. take part in a march that ends up being televised to the rest of Gaia. If the player pushes the right combo of buttons, the broadcast gets good ratings, and Cloud can earn some cash.
But if Cloud does his job poorly and pushes into the march at the wrong time, players will see an off-screen producer talking to his assistant. “What the hell was that soldier doing?” the producer will ask, before telling his PA to send you a letter bomb in the mail. I think it’s safe to say that given the current political climate that scene will be cut.
9 Witnessing The Abuse Between Cid And Shera
Cid and Shera’s relationship isn’t quite as romantic as Cloud and Aerith’s. The two bonded over the common goal of launching an airship into space. However, when doing final checks on their rocket, Shera noticed a malfunction and remained onboard to fix it. Moments before launch, Cid noticed she was still there and chose to abort the mission to save her life, while simultaneously destroying his own dream.
From then on, Cid takes it upon himself to abuse Shera on a daily basis, barking orders littered with cusses in her direction. For her part, Shera feels that she owes Cid for saving her life and does his bidding for years with no complaint. Cid does eventually realize the error of his ways and apologizes to Shera during the game's penultimate scenes, but I can’t imagine it entirely makes up for the years of abuse she suffered at his hands.
8 Standing By As Palmer Is A Victim Of Road Rage
The boss battle against Palmer in Rocket Town is probably the strangest and most humorous in the entire game. Palmer has ridiculously low stats and is pretty easy to defeat for most players, which means that his main purpose is comic relief as he dances around trying to avoid the helicopter of the Tiny Bronco airship Cloud later steals.
However, Palmer’s early dance moves seem positively interpretative by the end of the battle. At this point, Palmer seems to realize he’s losing and runs away from the party. But before he can make his grand escape, he’s hit by a moving truck, crying “Ugh!” before disappearing off the screen entirely. You could be forgiven for thinking that Palmer died, but fear not: he makes an appearance towards the end of the game trying to sabotage Cloud one more time before disappearing for good. Good riddance!
7 Letting Red XIII's Father Suffer Petrification Forever
One of the saddest moments in the game occurs when the party stumbles across Cosmo Canyon for the first time. This is the birthplace of Red XIII and the home of his tribesmen, and he confides that he was disappointed in his upbringing there thanks to his neglectful father who decided to run away during a war with the Gi Tribe.
However, Red is soon proven wrong. He learns that his father was in fact not fleeing, but running to defend the canyon. He was poisoned by the Gi's arrows but continued to fight until his entire body was turned into stone. As Red XIII howls in sadness, his petrified father begins to cry in a super touching moment. But it’s pretty messed up that instead of just curing Red’s father with a well-timed Esuna, the party just leaves him there to cry for all eternity.
6 Failing To Save Lucrecia From Herself
Lucrecia was an assistant to Vincent’s father when he was killed in Crystal Cave by Chaos, the energy he researched, and in her grief, she formed a relationship with Dr. Hojo. Hojo encouraged Lucrecia to use their unborn child as a test subject for the Jenova project, and thus Sephiroth was created. When Vincent confronted Hojo, he was shot; but Lucrecia resurrected him using Chaos. She attempted to kill herself but was unable to due to the Jenova cells she had ingested, and so fled back to Crystal Cave.
Years later, Vincent finds her in the cave entrapped in a fountain of crystallized Materia. While she cannot speak, she communicates to Vincent the words “I’m so sorry.” When Vincent reassures her, a tear rolls down Lucrecia’s cheek: but her guilt and sadness is so strong that she is unable to break out of the Materia prison she created for herself. Does it get sadder than this story?
5 Reenacting A Soap Opera Slap Off With Tifa And Scarlet
Tifa is one of Final Fantasy’s most beloved characters thanks to her mix of sassy independence and compassion. Which is why it was a little disappointing, after hours of playing through the game with Tifa killing huge monsters and machines, to see her resort to a petty cat fight with Shinra executive Scarlet.
If you thought the slap off couldn’t get more offensive, it actually takes the form of a minigame that you can play through after Tifa escapes from captivity with Barret in the Mako Cannon. Awaiting her rescue on top of the cannon, Tifa is assaulted by Scarlet, and the two go on to hurl insults at each other as they slap each other again and again. If the player button mashes hard enough, they can win the catfight, but there’s little reward for beating Scarlet, as there’s little reward for enduring this ridiculous mini-game.
4 Making Out With Kings And Dragons In A Medieval Play
The dating mechanics in Final Fantasy VII lead to one of the most bizarre side-quests in the entire game. Depending on who the character has interacted with the most positively, Cloud will have the chance to date Aerith, Tifa, Yuffie, or Barret (the least likely option) during his second visit to the Gold Saucer amusement park. When entering their first destination, Event Square, the two will often be celebrated as the 100th couple to enter that day and invited to play the leads in the Evil Dragon King play, an homage to older Final Fantasy titles involving a king, a princess and a dragon.
Weirdly, at one point in the play, Cloud’s character is asked who he wants to kiss. While most players would choose the princess, the other options are the king himself and the dragon, who will transform into a girl with true love’s kiss. Either way, the other party reciprocates Cloud’s affection and the play always has a happy ending.
3 Being Accused Of Improper Thoughts On A Romantic Date With Your Straight Bestie
You might not have expected the proponents of the Gold Saucer to exhibit such blatant homophobia, but it’s clear that lawsuits aren’t a thing in Gaia. If Cloud manages to rig the system and date Barret, the loving couple are excluded from the Evil Dragon King play side-quest despite being recognized as the 100th couple through the gate.
However, they still have a heart to heart conversation during a gondola ride in the Gold Saucer, and Barret soon makes it pretty clear that he took Cloud out less to date him and more to interrogate him. When Cloud expresses ambivalence towards Aerith, Tifa, and Yuffie, Barret immediately assumes that Cloud must be instead interested in Marlene - his daughter who has just celebrated her fourth birthday. How does Barret even remain friends with someone he’s just accused of kiddie fiddling?
2 Crossdressing Cloud To Seduce A Mafia Boss
It’s one of the most infamous quests in the game, but that doesn’t make Cloud’s cross-dressing sequence any less hilarious or insane. During a scene in Wall Market, Cloud and Aerith speculate on how to infiltrate crime boss Don Corneo's house. Even with Aerith in the party, it's universally decided that Cloud should crossdress in an attempt to seduce Corneo and be his company for the evening.
The majority of the time, Corneo will overlook Cloud as a female and choose Tifa as his “bride for the night,” but if the player collects the best dress, wig, tiara, perfume, and lingerie items available at Wall Market, Cloud will be chosen as Corneo’s companion. At that point, he’ll be taken into Corneo’s bedroom and the player’s hard work will be worth it with just the line, "All right pussycat, come to daddy!" I for one can’t wait to see how this will play out in the remake.
1 Unwanted Attention At The Honey Bee Inn
One of the most ridiculous parts of the cross-dressing quest has to be the Honey Bee Inn, the brothel that Cloud enters in order to improve his chances of being picked as Don Corneo's girl. By visiting various rooms, Cloud can collect several pairs of miscellaneous lingerie, peep through keyholes and have his makeup applied.
The most unexpected part of the Honey Bee Inn quest comes when Cloud is confronted by around a dozen bodybuilder type men in lycra short shorts, like something right out of a Village People music video. Despite his protestations, Cloud will bathe with the men and the camera will pan away as members of the group "heave," "pant," and say things like, "Wow, would you look at that?" It's never explicitly stated what happens in the Honey Bee Inn, but a dialogue option for Cloud explicitly says, "It hurts." Make of that what you will.