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Hey my dear lil' Space Monkies. How y'all do'in. I, BlueHighwind, just got a hank'erin for some good ol' dialect in my intro. So sit yer' nerd arses down on ya' best computer sits and enjoy this here page.
Sector 5 (Again) Edit
We're back at the playground just outside of Sector 7, only now it has been completely destroyed. Emotionally crushed by the loss of so many, Barret fires into air Yosemite Sam Style. You know what makes all this destruction so much worse? AVALANCHE hasn't even been destroyed. So it was all for nothing. (At the very least, for now on there are few mentions of AVALANCHE, so we need a new name for the party. How 'bout: BlueHighwind's Badass Beater-Uppers? No, that really sucks, I'll get back to you on that.) Tifa announces that she heard Aeris say that Marlene was brought back to Aeris's House (though Aeris actually said nothing of the sort, so I don't know where Tifa is coming up with this bullshit). After some sadness, Cloud remembers that Aeris has been kidnapped. So we have to rescue her. First stop: Aeris's House.
Once you've regained control, run back up the Playground to find a yellow Sense Materia. With this, you gain the ability to view the stats of your enemy, though you won't really have much need for it. I'll be telling you all the important stuff. As you head along, Tifa and Barret decide to rejoin the party. Cloud wants to learn about the Ancients, because that Sephiroth guy who everybody simply cannot stop talking about happens to be one of them, and thus the rightful ruler of the world. So I'm guessing Sephiroth is evil then? Cloud freaks out, then you can return to your journey to Aeris's House. You know the way, so I'm not going to lead you through it. Nothing special happens on your route.
Back in Aeris's House, Aeris's Theme plays. It's just the saddest and most beautiful song ever, so I'll need a moment. (*SNIFF*) Elmyra seems rather calm about having her daughter stolen and/or raped by the Turks. Luckily, she is here to give us some exposition details about Aeris and her Ancient ways. Elmyra is not Aeris's real mother. She grabbed Aeris off the street after her husband never returned home from the War, so she needed some sort of surrogate to fill in all her unrequited love and affection. Aeris was an odd child, rather cold about her real mother's death, and she heard voices. The voices told her to burn things and mutilate cats in the backyard. But Aeris got off that once she remembered that she was supposed to be the heroine of the story.
Afterwards you can talk to Marlene. She'll ask if Aeris is your girlfriend. She isn't mine, so I say "I don't know" to flatter Tifa. Say "Let's hope so" if you like Aeris. You can also rest in the room for a cheap HP and MP restoration. Gather up the team and move on out. To reach Shinra Headquarters, we have to return to the Wall Market. Again, you should know the way.
Wall Market (Again) Edit
This time we have very little to do on the Wall Market. Go up the Weapon Shop, but don't talk to guy at the counter. Talk to the other guy to buy three Batteries for 100 Gil each. You need all three to go up the Plate to get to Shinra HQ. As you go up towards Don Corneo's House, a group of kids will talk about something awesome and run to the right. Before that, g back inside Don Corneo's house and go into the first door past the steps for a Phoenix Down that was missed if Cloud was chosen as the date. Follow them to find a graffiti covered area that have a little wire leading up. This is Barret's "golden shiny wire of hope" so we have to climb up it to reach the Upper World. Cue the dramatic music!
Thanks to Shinra's destruction of Sector 7, the way up is filled with random trash and debris. Like there's a whole freakin' airplane over there for example. There are no enemies here. Once you reach the end of the wire, go up then down and around underneath the wire. Cross a little cord to find a plug where you can put a Battery in. When the propeller stops, you can hop on its fans to reach a crumbled train track. Climb up to find another plug. Put a Battery in to make the yellow thingy go up so that you can run up onto the next piece of junk. Climb up the wire to reach a point where you have to jump onto a pendulum swinging back and forth across the chasm. First ignore that and run to the next screen. Insert your last battery to make an Ether appear, then go back down to do the Tarzan thing. This is an annoying as all Hell experience, since you have to hit at exactly the right nanosecond. The right time is when it starts to swing back away from you, but not quite touching the wire. So expect to miss. A lot. There's so much stupid shit you have to do in this game. I'm so glad that mini-games were almost completely removed from FFXII. So glad.
Run up the train to reach the next screen. You'll see your Battery on the other side. Hi Battery! Then run up the pipe until you see a wire on your left. You can climb down but you have no reason to, so just keep going up. You'll have to climb down a bit to your right, then you can run up the pipe until you're at the Shinra Building.
Welcome to the dark and evil heart of the city of Midgar. The great rising tower that dominates the skyline. The greatest single achievement of man. A Tower of Babel for the Planet. And I admire the intricate architecture. This is Shinra Headquarters, where the entire Planet is run by a cabal of greedy capitalists. We shall tear this simple of bourgeoisie oppression down for the people! Come Comrade Space Monkies. Join me, and let us destroy these pigs!
Oddly, Cloud will not be of much help, since this is the first time he's ever been to Headquarters. Seems that a SOLDIER First Class would have least been invited here for a ceremony or something, right? We have to break into the Building's heavy guarded upper floors and rescue Aeris. So we have two options. Either A: Bust into the Building like a bunch of madmen and blow the place away , or B. Just go in the strangely open backdoor and climb up hundreds of stairs (the "Don't They Have Locks or Something?" Route). If you take the "Don't They Have Locks or Something?" Route, you can find all sorts of items on the way up. Either way you take, you can come back here in Disc 2, so you won't miss anything.
Why does Shinra leave its stairways open for any weirdo to walk in? Hobos are going to be using this place as a toilet you know. This way will cause you to literally have to run up exactly sixty floors or repetitive stairway after stairway after stairway. During your run, Barret and Tifa will complain about how long and difficult walking all these stairs are. And they are loooooooooooong. I mean you will just keep on going up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up. This seems like an eternity. Finally you'll reach the top, and salvation. Thank the Lord! Taking this route will get you an Elixir.
When you enter, you'll get into a battle. After that, you can play around in this little plaza. At the top of the first floor is a Bulletin Board, where you can find the second Turtle's Paradise News poster. There's a little Items Shop on the second floor, and a room filled with Shinra vehicles on display. When you're done down here, you can take the elevator up. You'll get into battles every time the elevator stops. This doesn't happen more than a few times.
When you reach the top, a group of enemies attack. These are Mighty Grunts. They have a lot of HP and two forms, but can't hit very well. Their second form has high Evasion, but are very easy to kill once you land a hit. After they are beaten, they drop the Keycard 60. If you took the backway, you can go up and ride the elevators back to the first floor over Barret's objections. There you can find that Turtle's Paradise Newsletter and do the other things. Enemies won't appear in the elevator this time. Take the sleek glass elevator behind those enemies you just killed to reach the 60th floor.
Hey look, the guard behind the security screens is asleep. How did he sleep through the violent sounds of us breaking in and killing robo-guards? After all the commotion we just caused, nobody thought to pull the alarm? This is what you get when you hire Union Labor. Run around the two people who block your path by heading to the left and up into a little room. The guards above are walking back and forth between some very unnecessary pillar that make sure that they can't see the entire area in front. This is the very annoying Stealth Mini-Game. Here you have to sneak by the guards without being spotted. Move quickly whenever the guards start to move. Once you reach the center, signal Barret and then Tifa with until everybody is in the center. Then you have to do this a second time. If you mess up, then you'll get into a battle with two Mighty Guards, who attack from the front and behind. You don't want this to happen, because this is a battle that will suck your HP quickly. If you screw up so many times (four I think), the guards will just be dead and you can move along normally over the corpses of our victims.
Go upstairs to the 61st Floor, which is like an employee lounge, with an actual tree in the center. I'm not even going to ask how they can keep a tree alive without sunlight. Head around and talk to all the people, who will tell you about the Keycards and how you can't go anywhere without new ones. Eventually some guy will ask who you are. Tell him "......" instead of "Where's Aeris" so that he will think that you are a member of the Shinra Repair Division and gives you a Keycard 62. Go up the stairs to the 62nd Floor.
Here you'll find Mayor Domino in a room on the East side. He is a disgruntled unhappy man because he's just a puppet for Shinra. All he does is act as a a Librarian on this floor. Because the man is desperate for any point in his continuing existence, he will give you his Keycard if you manage to guess what thing he is thinking of. If you get it right on the first try he'll try in an Elemental Materia. When you pair an Elemental Materia with your Ice, Fire, or Lightning Materia, it makes you immune to attacks of that element. However, you can either A. just guess randomly and hope to God that you will get lucky. Or B. play the game. Each of the six rooms filled with books contains a clue to the answer. You can't actually read the books about Shinra activity, but you can read the titles. There are six titles in each room, each of the four rooms is about a particular subject. One of the six titles doesn't belong (because the Mayor sucks at his simple job it seems). So if there's a book called '5 Sephiroth Nailing Tifa Doggy Style' in the Military Section, that book is out of place. In front of each title is a number. If the book doesn't belong, count forward as many letters (not including spaces) the number specifies to find the Letter of that room. So for '5 Sephiroth Nailing Tifa Doggy Style', the letter of that room would be I. Keep that letter in mind, or write in down. There are only six ultimate choices: BEST, KING, ORBS, BOMB, MAKO, and HOJO, notice how each are four letters long? The right choice will be some combination of the four letters you found. Grab your Materia and your Keycard and move up to the next floor.
You can now travel all the way up to Floor 65, but first let's explore each of these Floors for whatever fun they might hold. Floor 63 holds another kind of puzzle. First head to the computer room in the bottom right. It will tell you that you can only open three doors in this floor. Doing so will get you three Item Coupons. Follow me and we can get all three of them with ease. It also mentions that you shouldn't enter the air ducts, which means that you should. First go all the way up and head left. Open the door blocking your path. Keep going until you reach two doors, go down the South one. Enter the regular door into a room, to get Coupon A. Now enter the ducts and go right until you can go down. This will lead you to a room with Coupon B. Leave the room and head left, using your last door to open up the last room. Here you'll get Coupon C. Backtrack to the computer room. You'll get a Star Pendant (an Accessory that protects against Poison), Four Slots (a weak Armor that has Four Materia slots, as the name says), and another All Materia. What an odd floor. Why did Shinra go through the trouble of making such a bizarre puzzle for its employees?
Go up to the 64th Floor. This is a much-needed rest stop for your party. Go over to the Western room for a free rest and a Save Point. You can explore the lockers at the top to find a Phoenix Down, an Ether, and a Megaphone. But since the [worthless piece of shit] character who uses that weapon hasn't joined the party yet, you can't get the Megaphone at this time. Enter the large gym room. Put 250 Gil in the vending machine, but its broken. You can't get your item until Disc 2. We're done with this floor for now, so let's go on up to the Floor 65.
This floor has yet another puzzle. Don't worry, this is the final one. In the center is a model of the great city of Midgar. However, they are lots of parts missing. So you have to run around the floor opening all the Treasure Chests for Midgar Parts. And the Chests have to be opened in order. It's guess and check time, Space Monkies. Oh, and this floor is crawling with enemies. The Sword Dance (it appears to be a robotic eel, or maybe a clip-on tie of some sort) is great because it might give you the excellent Fury status, which boosts the speed at which your Limit Bar fills. Watch for the enemy Moth Slasher (it's a robot on a spinning ball with spikes), you can Steal the Carbon Bangle from it, the best Armor yet. Also steal from the SOLDIERs here, as you can obtain Hardedge, Cloud's next weapon which doubles his attack power. When you place the last part, the Treasure Chest just outside the stairwell opens up. It contains the Keycard 66.
Shinra, let's take a moment. Will you please sit down with me for a man to evil corporation chat? Okay. Listen very closely. When you don't want people to walk into certain areas, you lock them. You seem to have that down. What you don't do is make simple puzzles that little kids can solve! That's when bad things happen, like the terrorists are able to break into your top floors! Okay? Hope you've learned something.
Floor 66 holds the main meeting room for the Shinra Executives. You can't get in, but you can climb in thanks to some air ducts in the bathroom. While you're there, you can even flush the toilet. Interestingly, only the people of Final Fantasy VII ever have to use the bathroom. Everywhere else I guess they just go in their pants (yeah, I'm talking to you, Wakka!). From your place up in the air ducts, you can listen in on the Shinra Meeting. President Shinra announces proudly that Sector 7 shall remain a heap of concrete and body parts. The whole operation is being moved to the Promised Land, where "Neo-Midgar" will be constructed. Mako rates are going up to cover the cost. This makes Palmer, the fat little incompetent Executive in charge of the Space Program happy, though he won't be seeing the money. Instead it is going to Scarlet, the vamp hot chick in charge of Weapons Development and being a general bitch to everyone.
In walks a man with bad posture, bad skin, and thick glasses. This is Professor Hojo, a mad scientist too crazy for Deep 13. His motto of scientific discovery is "ooooo, what does this button doooo?" He would carelessly sacrifice the lives and welfare of any person or even the entire world just for knowledge for knowledge's sake. Unfortunately, Hojo has found that he can't use Aeris to find the Promised Land for another 120 years. So he's going to breed her with another species to keep the Ancient Blood flowing. After the meeting ends, follow the nutjob out to the next floor.