- "When the world becomes shrouded in darkness, his gun will toll a dreadful dirge..."
- —Dirge of Cerberus Tagline
The Cerberus (ケルベロス, Keruberosu?) is Vincent Valentine's weapon of choice in both Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-. It is a powerful handgun capable of shooting three bullets at the same time. While it first appears in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the gun also appears in the movie's prologue despite not being mentioned in the original Final Fantasy VII, possibly indicating that the Cerberus has been retconned to have been his default weapon, replacing Quicksilver.
It is a triple-barreled, triple-cylindered revolver, ornamented with scrollwork patterns, a small dog's head in place of the iron sights on each barrel, and a silver chain in the shape of a three-headed dog with a wing hanging from the end of the grip. Both the keychain and the gun itself are derived from Ancient Greek mythology, where Cerberus, the three-headed hellhound, guarded the gates to Hades's underworld.
The Cerberus first appears in Advent Children, when Vincent arrives in a ghost-like form to save Cloud Strife. From the swirling cloak, bullets are continuously shot at Kadaj, three at a time. It is not until the battle with Bahamut SIN in Edge that the viewer first sees the full gun, which he puts to good use in the battle. At one point in the battle, Vincent can be seen stopping on the top of a spire to reload the Cerberus. We also see for the first time (thanks to the improved graphics in Advent Children) that Vincent carries his gun in a holster attached to his right thigh.
The Cerberus appears again in Dirge of Cerberus, as protagonist Vincent's default weapon. Although still no explanation is given about the weapon's appearance, much more information is given about the gun itself in the customization screens. It can be fitted with short, normal, and long barrels, with the Normal barrel as the standard length. As opposed to Advent Children, Vincent carries an arsenal of mysterious guns in this game, including the Hydra, a bolt-action rifle, the Griffon, a Thompson-style machine gun, and a new version of his ultimate weapon from Final Fantasy VII, the Death Penalty. The Cerberus is best for close to mid-range shooting, but equipping a long barrel will enable it to shoot at long distances with ease.
The Cerberus can also be seen in the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children flashback to Final Fantasy VII, as well as in the opening of Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, when other characters are shown equipped with their default Final Fantasy VII weapon, despite the Cerberus not being an available weapon in that game. This could mean that the Cerberus is meant to replace Quicksilver as Vincent's original weapon.
During the Training Program in Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- a plain silver Cerberus with no decorations is used by a young Vincent Valentine. It is described as a "Standard Shinra Handgun". Unlike the Cerberus, this gun is modified to shoot only one bullet at a time.
The Cerberus is a semi-automatic, break loading revolver with three barrels and three cylinders. It is initially capable of holding 18 shots at once, having six chambers per cylinder. As shown by Vincent in both the game and the movie, it is reloaded by a breaking mechanism that tilts the barrels and cylinders at an angle, allowing the ejection of spent cartridges and the placement of fresh rounds, ending with a flick of the wrist that snaps the barrels back into place. Three bullets are fired at once, allowing for only six shots per reload.
With in-game customization, it can become lighter, more powerful, or hold more ammunition. A Materia slot can also be equipped on a chain, allowing the use of different Materia to cast spells from its barrels. Accessories such as a scope for extreme accuracy and automatic reloading mechanisms could also be equipped for added dependability.
Cerberus has appeared in Final Fantasy Master Arms that includes iconic Final Fantasy weapons. In Vincent's Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Play Arts action figure he is also holding the Cerberus.
Vincent's gun is named after Cerberus, the three-headed dog (hence the three barrels) that guarded the gates of the Underworld in Greek mythology. Its original appearance is as a monstrous dog with three heads, a snake for a tail, and snakes going down his back as a mane. It is described as well in Roman mythology and Dante's Inferno. Although being ferocious and eating anyone who tries to enter the Underworld uninvited, it has been known to be subdued several times through different means.
- In Kingdom Hearts Re:coded Cloud joins Sora and Hercules in a boss battle with Cerberus. Before the battle he utters: "Cerberus? There's a name I've heard before" in reference to Vincent's weapon.