The Shinra Electric Power Company found a way to use the Lifestream as an energy source. Thanks to the Shinra, we were able to lead very comfortable lives. But isn't that because we were taking away from the planet's life?
- —Marlene Wallace
The Mako Reactors, called Makoro Plants in a demo release, are giant reactors created by Shinra Electric Power Company in Final Fantasy VII. The reactors are machines built to forcibly extract the Lifestream from the earth and process it into Mako energy. Because Mako energy is efficient in comparison to other fuels used at the time (implied to be coal and oil in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII), and Mako Reactors can be built almost anywhere, Mako allows Shinra to acquire a monopoly on electricity production and almost rule the world.
The Mako Reactors were designed by Reeve Tuesti several years prior to Final Fantasy VII. It is unknown exactly when the reactors were designed, but in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, Rufus Shinra mentions Mako energy has been in production for over forty years. This coincides with Mako being used in the Jenova Project, as Jenova was discovered thirty years prior to the beginning of Final Fantasy VII.
According to the novella "On the Way to a Smile: Case of Barret", the Lifestream's flow has changed since the coming of Meteor, and the Mako Reactors can no longer access it and produce Mako. The reactors have been shut down since people feel indebted to the Lifestream for saving them.
Small bits of Mako remain in the reactors, which are used by the Midgar survivors to build Edge near the city's ruins. In Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, Reeve and the World Regenesis Organization destroy the reactors to prevent Omega from drawing the Lifestream through them.
A total of nine reactors were built in Midgar: eight surrounding the city, one for each sector, and one underground to power the Shinra Headquarters and the base of Deepground. In the opening events of Final Fantasy VII, AVALANCHE blows up the Sector 1 Reactor causing a brief power cut. AVALANCHE later bombs the Sector 5 Reactor even though Shinra had anticipated the attack and brought reinforcements. Despite the bombings the Sector 5 Reactor is later seen working implying it was repaired and rebuilt, while the Sector 1 Reactor is left destroyed.
Late in the game, the Sister Ray is moved to Midgar. Without Huge Materia from Junon to power the cannon, the Sister Ray is connected to the eight Mako Reactors surrounding the city though the Sector 1 Reactor is still in shambles. When then cannon fires, putting Midgar into a temporary blackout, it successfully destroys Diamond Weapon and pierces the barrier Sephiroth has erected over the North Crater. Professor Hojo takes control of the cannon to overload it and fire again, giving Sephiroth more Mako. Through AVALANCHE's intervention Hojo is killed and the cannon shut down. The Mako reactors continue to be used until Meteor arrives.
Fort Condor ReactorEdit
A large condor lives on the top of the reactor. The condor appears dormant, protecting its eggs, and both it and the reactor are protected by rebels living in the fort. The bird's presence interferes with Shinra's attempts to retrieve a Huge Materia from within the reactor, and they repeatedly attempt to remove it and defeat the rebels held up in the fort. A minigame within the main storyline is to combat Shinra and save the condor mother, after which the mother dies and the egg hatches into a chick, along with the Phoenix Materia.
A Huge Materia is also found here.
The Corel reactor is located near the coal mining town of North Corel. Several years before the Final Fantasy VII storyline begins Shinra executives convinced the townspeople (including Barret Wallace) to sell their coal-mine to the company and allow the reactor's construction. At some point after the construction Shinra burned Corel down in response to an apparent terrorist attack on the reactor. The Gold Saucer theme-park is constructed above the ruins of Corel. With nowhere to go the survivors built a shanty town they named North Corel. This event is critical to several sub-stories in Final Fantasy VII.
A Huge Materia is produced in the reactor and transported by train to North Corel.
The Junon reactor is the only underwater reactor. It has a submarine dock, and can be accessed from ground level by an elevator.
A Huge Materia is taken from here by submarine.
Mt. Nibel ReactorEdit
The first reactor created by Shinra, the Mt. Nibel reactor holds many secrets. It housed a chamber containing subjects of extensive experimentation by Shinra scientists who tested the effects of injecting Mako directly into human beings. The entity Jenova was kept within the reactor at one time, but was moved to Midgar after the village was razed by Sephiroth. The reactor continued to be used to power Nibelheim, and it is likely the test subjects at the reactor were either destroyed or moved as well.
A reactor was originally planned to be built in Modeoheim. The construction had already begun when the project was scrapped. The few resident scientists abandoned the town and it was not visited again until the partial reactor was briefly used as a base by Genesis's forces.
Shinra targeted Wutai to place a reactor at the Materia Cave south of the town, but the ruler of Wutai, Godo Kisaragi, refused. This led to the conflict known as the Wutai War. Although Shinra won the war, for unknown reasons, they abandoned their plans to build a reactor at Wutai.
Mako Reactor 0Edit
Whenever the player visits a Mako Reactor in Final Fantasy VII, the eponymous theme, "Mako Reactor", plays. The theme also plays in the 1996 and 1997 demo versions, albeit the earlier demo has a slightly different version of the track.
At one point in Final Fantasy VII's development, AVALANCHE had to shut down all of the Mako Reactors to stand a chance at defeating Sephiroth, thus resulting in Reeve betraying Shinra to help them shut down the remaining reactors. While this plot-point was ultimately cut from the game, a similar plot-point occurs in Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- where AVALANCHE has to destroy the Mako Reactors around Midgar to slow down Omega's resurrection.
- The Mako Reactor has been made into a popular zombie escape mod in Counter Strike: Source. The map has achieved so much recognition many clans have been formed in the name of the map.