For most any gamer taking their roots in the ‘90s, Final Fantasy VII was an essential gaming experience. It became a sort of benchmark by which every Final Fantasy title following it was measured, if not RPGs in general. I’m not sure that I really deify it to such a degree these days, but I do know that I dumped an absurd number of hours into it and still fondly regard it as an incredible piece of gaming history.
That said, I think it’s important to consider the game’s historical context in order to understand why so many gamers put it on such a towering pedestal. When the game hit shelves in 1997 the internet was still quite young, serving as an excellent vehicle for rumors, exaggerations, and outright fabrications. I mean, really, that aspect of it hasn’t changed much over the years. But the point we’re making here is that Final Fantasy VII is an excellent case study on the virulent spread and willingness to digest complete and total misinformation, and that it might’ve had something to do with the game’s solid imprint as an all-time classic.
And who can really blame our young minds for willingly buying into some of it? At the time, the world of Final Fantasy VII seemed like an incredibly vast realm of near limitless possibility, accentuated quite well by urban legends passed off as fact via the information superhighway. Was it the game itself that really turned people on to it, or the incredible impact it had on our imaginations when we first heard that you could save Aeris from her fate?
So why not put on our nostalgia glasses and revisit twenty classic rumors that made the rounds through AOL Instant Messenger and ancient Angelfire websites (complete with visitor counters and guestbooks) to see if they spark some of that old magic? As always, let us know what we missed in the comments.
It seems like the most logical place to start is what was probably the most well known and widespread of Final Fantasy VII’s urban legends - that you can either prevent Aeris’ untimely demise, or revive her afterwards. Really, this one was pretty easy to buy into. Seriously, name a single player that didn’t feel their heart sink into their gut when Sephiroth took her down.
There are way too many variants of this particular myth to count. Most commonly they revolve around utilizing secret materia to revive her or finding a way to have a different party member take her place, but they've all been shown for fake outside of hacking or modding.
As a sort of added bonus here, the materia responsible for Holy was said to be yet another method of returning Aeris to the land of the living. Supposedly, though it's lost with Aeris, it's actually tucked away past a secret set of stairs in the underground section of the Forgotten City. Huh. Who'd have thought?
Needless to say, there's no equippable version of the White materia, and while Holy might play a pretty major part in the story as an incredibly powerful magic, you can't actually use it in combat.
Among gaming’s vast roster of supervillains, Sephiroth is, and will probably always be, a strong contender for the top spot. He’s strong, stylish in a scary sort of way, and he lugs around what is arguably the coolest looking sword in the game, if not the series.
If you ever encountered that weirdo that was always going on about his "awesome seven foot long katana," you can safely blame Sephiroth.
Given his innate cool factor, it’s understandable that people wanted to believe he doubled as a super secret playable character. Granted, he sort of is during Cloud’s flashback sequence, but this myth has long since been busted as impossible outside of utilizing hacks or a save editor. And no, unfortunately, that doesn’t count.
Speaking of Sephiroth’s iconic sword, another fan favorite rumor was that his weapon could be obtained and put to use by the good guys. This one was pretty well supported by the existence of an apparently useless “Masamune Blade" replica that could be won at the Gold Saucer.
However, it really is just a replica with no applicable uses.
What you can do is hack it into the game, since item data exists from Sephiroth’s brief appearance as a party member during Cloud’s Nibelheim flashback. Strangely, the item is classed as a gun, and can reportedly only be equipped by Vincent as such.
With the surprisingly in-depth Chocobo breeding system, it’s no real shocker that there were plenty of rumors concerning secret Chocobo breeds with extraordinary abilities, including one that was capable of flight - the Rainbow Chocobo.
This one admittedly seems a little redundant, considering the existence of the Highwind.
One vague rendition of the story involves utilizing a White Chocobo to travel beneath the swamp near the Mythril Mine and winning a boss fight against our mythical rainbow-feathered friend, and others still suggest a bevy of different Chocobo breeding combinations. One thing's for sure - you can't actually obtain a flying Rainbow Chocobo.
The Planet’s last line of defense against Jenova received no shortage of wild speculation, with the fact that some of them are optional, “hidden” bosses doing little to dissuade rumors involving even more crazy boss encounters hidden away behind obscure methods of coaxing them out.
Fighting Turqoise Weapon supposedly involves keeping an eye out for a tentacle flapping about near the shore at Costa Del Sol, while Onyx Weapon lurks beneath the Midgar Swamp - the latter is compounded by alleging you'll need to breed a non-existent Silver Chocobo in order to make the encounter.
Also known as the Michael Bay Attack, this particular bit of Sephiroth’s arsenal during the climactic final encounter with him involves literally destroying the entire solar system. The immense ridiculousness of the attack itself probably has a lot to do with players’ willingness to believe there was a way to obtain this powerful materia for themselves.
It probably goes without saying that obtaining it via legitimate means isn't possible. There are several equally silly methods of snagging it depending on what ancient message board you're picking through, with one, in particular, involving fighting a hidden boss dragon on a secret island.
That's right, supposedly you were able to party up with the musclebound master of the Golden Saucer. Brace yourself, because this isn't even close to the most absurd picks when it comes to "secret" characters.
The story goes that completing more than a hundred of the special, "private" battles at the Golden Saucer's Battle Square will impress him to such a degree that he'll challenge you to a personal battle. Defeat him here and he'll extend an offer to join your party and fight on your behalf.
To be fair, this type of rumor wasn't quite unique to Final Fantasy 7, as I'm sure you can recall a certain similar rumor concerning Tomb Raider's Lara Croft. But still, it was definitely a thing, and so here we are.
Supposedly unlockable through an entertaining variety of methods, including beating Sephiroth on fifteen different save files, it's probably safe to assume that Square didn't include any such content on account of the press and ratings nightmare that would quickly follow upon players actually discovering it, if not for the fact that it'd be pretty weird and out of character, to begin with.
This is another one of those rumors that winds up attached to a whole laundry list of '90s games, but rarely ever comes up as true. The conditions for achieving one of the hidden endings for Final Fantasy VII are usually associated with beating the game under a certain time limit or defeating all of the optional "bosses" like Ruby Weapon.
No such luck, however. Though there is an "after credits" scene awarded to the patient, there is no hidden or alternative ending to the game. And since rabidly dedicated fans have had in excess of two decades to find it, it's probably safe to lay this one to rest.
The "basement" in Corel's well has seen no end of scrutiny by the fan community, what with the empty treasure box, and other secrets. Legend tells us that you were able to obtain tickets to see "Loveless," the play, here. Rumors also abound of test monsters left intact by forgetful programmers that you can encounter in the same area.
Believe it or not, there's actually a grain of truth to this one.
In the original Japanese version of the game, you can actually encounter monsters labeled "Test 0" that were indeed left intact by mistake. However, there is no way to encounter them in any subsequent versions of the game outside of hacking, and there's definitely no way to actually see "Loveless" in Final Fantasy 7.
Seems a little counter-intuitive to want to actually use this materia, since doing so apparently triggers, you know, the apocalypse, an event that Cloud and the gang would really and truly like to prevent. But that sure hasn't discouraged people from wishing it were true, for some weird reason.
No matter what you do, Sephiroth will end up with the Black Materia and will use it to get this apocalypse party started by summoning Meteor, and there's no way for you to recover it afterward.
Endearingly incompetent but always stylish, the Turks were a total fan favorite troupe of almost-bad guys. They rarely ever got the job done, but man, did they look cool doing it. Or trying their best, at least.
The rumors tend to shift between being able to recruit members such as Reno and Rude, or being able to join up with them during hidden encounters. Unfortunately, no matter how hard your cousin or best friend tried to convince you, neither of these things were actually possible.
Another particularly choice gem in the rumor mill is the existence of Boxer, a rarely encountered goblin that you can totally invite to join your party. Goblins themselves were a rare sight, only being encountered on remote islands you'd need a special Chocobo or the Highwind in order to visit.
While the goblins themselves are totally real, Boxer, sadly, isn't.
This is a bit of a weird one, even by Final Fantasy standards. Supposedly it stems from an unused character portrait that was present in the Japanese version of the game, but the fact is that there was never any sort of recruitable goblin in game. Oh, the screenshot? From a fan-made modification.
What if you could unleash the might of the various Weapon bosses against your foes, resulting in a summon that was even more powerful than the infamous Knights of the Round? Just defeat them utilizing Morph and you'll walk away with gems corresponding to each Weapon, which you then take to Cosmo Canyon in order to receive your prize.
Totally bogus, if you hadn't figured that out already. But this one still probably falls somewhere in the slightly more believable category of tall tales we've covered so far.
The 1/35 Soldiers are a seemingly purposeful red herring, being a perfectly useless set of collectibles obtained from the Speed Square and Junon. And as is often the case with these sorts of things, their apparent uselessness is perfect fodder for speculation and rumor.
Reported (and totally fabricated) uses for these little suckers include obtaining a secret summon materia and receiving a bonus during the Fort Condor mini-game, or that they tie into the "Reviving Aeris" and "Recruiting Sephiroth" myths. You know you've got a problem when your rumors are piggybacking on even more far fetched rumors.
This famous mistranslation turned meme drew a lot of attention from the Final Fantasy conspiracy community. And why not? This strange interaction between Aeris and some random, apparently sick fellow in Midgar certainly did have a bit of mystery to it.
And if you don't know what the answer to that mystery is, well, we won't spoil it for you.
What we will do, however, is helpfully clear up that he has nothing to do with reviving Aeris, nor can she heal him, and that wasting a Megalixir in his abode will have no effect beyond you having one less, incredibly valuable Megalixir in your inventory. I mean, come on. That last one is an obvious troll.
Not quite sure if the rumor itself or the means to accomplish it make up the more ridiculous end of this bit, but we'll let you figure that one out for yourselves. Firstly, you'll need to fill Cloud's ultimate weapon with finished Master Summon materia, then equip him with a Wizard Bracelet and fill that thing with Master Magic materia.
All that said and done, when he confronts Sephiroth alone for the big finale, he'll use a hidden Limit Break called "Hyper Cut" instead of the usual Omnislash. Seems like an awful lot of work for such a minor change, doesn't it?
As you might have guessed from the title, the story here goes that there's a "credit card" item you can pick up, providing you with infinite purchasing power at any of the game's shops.
The details, as would tend to be the case with a lot of these rumors, are a little sketchy. But the most common stories either indicate it's accessed by interacting with a clock somewhere in the Midgar slums, or that it's a piece of cut content that's only accessible in the Japanese version of the game unless you utilize mods.
Here's the last pick in the multitude of hidden character rumors we've come up with, and it's definitely one of the more popular myths. Being the super cool SOLDIER that Cloud based his made-up credentials on, players were pretty eager to believe that they could somehow play as Zack.
There are a couple of different, and equally erroneous theories here, but the most popular and lazy of them suggests that Cloud has a slight chance to just sort of "become" Zack once he reaches level 99. But I mean, even so, how could we be sure Cloud's not just dying his hair to steal even more of Zack's swagger?