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bombing mission

game cover Final Fantasy VII was released in 1997 for the original Playstation. To say it was popular is kind of an understatement.

Not that it's surprising. FFVII marked a lot of firsts: the first FF game to hit the Playstation, the first one with fully rendered 3D characters, the first one with FMVs... the list goes on. For many people, it was their first Final Fantasy, and it's not a stretch to call it the most popular FF title even to this day. For people who aren't into the series at all, Cloud is typically one of the first characters to come to mind.

These days, it's easy to look at FFVII's graphics with some amount of scorn, but at the time, they were both cutting-edge and an enormous leap from the previous sprite-based games. (For me, as someone who had few chances to play any 3D games as a kid and came to FFVII after playing several of the previous titles in the series, I thought the graphics were awesome even in 2006. It's all about perspective.)

The key feature of FFVII's gameplay is its materia system, which allows the characters to cast magic, use skills, and enhance stats. Each weapon and piece of armor has a certain number of slots for materia, and those slots are either linked or unlinked. If linked, support materia can be added to spells and commands to further enhance a character's abilities — for example, linking an All materia to Cure allows Aerith to cure everyone in the party, not just herself. The sheer depth of the materia system makes FFVII ridiculously fun, and far more complex than simply choosing which action to take each turn.

Of course, the story is what's kept fans compelled for over fifteen years now, and FFVII's is a doozy. The world is controlled by the Shinra Electric Power Company, which sucks mako energy from the Planet itself to provide cheap, efficient energy to the people. But not everyone agrees with taking from the Planet's life to better their own, and the rebel group AVALANCHE is targeting mako reactors in Shinra's city of Midgar. Working with them is the mercenary Cloud Strife, who soon becomes embroiled in an adventure not only against Shinra but against his nemesis, Sephiroth.

FFVII was later expanded into a series of its own, comprising of a film and several other games. Of them, Cid appears in the film, Advent Children, the games Before Crisis and Dirge of Cerberus, and is mentioned in Crisis Core. He's voiced by Kazuhiro Yamaji in Japanese, and Chris Edgerly in English.

how do i play it?

Getting hold of FFVII is super easy these days. You can buy it on the Playstation Network for $10 (in the US) and play it on a PS3, PSP, or Vita. (Price may vary in your region. Sales are infrequent on the PSN, but do happen.) This version is identical to the original Playstation release.

If you want to play it on the PC, it was rereleased in 2012 and is widely available; in the US it's $12. (Again, sales do happen; they're not uncommon on Steam. Put the game on your wishlist and you'll be alerted when it goes on sale.) The Steam version comes with achievements, cloud saves, and a character booster if you want to just breeze through the story.

Don't worry too much about specs — I first played the game on a crappy school-issued laptop in 2006 and it ran perfectly fine. That said, if you're looking to mod the game, there's a sizable mod community for FFVII over at the Qhimm Forums. Use at your own risk, etc.

shut up! sit down and drink your goddamn tea!

headshot Name: Cid Highwind
Job: Pilot
Age: 32
Weapon: Spear
Height: 5'8"
Birthdate: 22nd February
Birthplace: Unknown
Blood Type: B
Cid is a tough-talking, warm-hearted old pilot who hasn't forgotten his dream. There's no better pilot by air or sea. He believes that someday he'll be the first man in space. With his handmade spear and knowledge of machinery, he throws himself into any attack regardless of the danger.

You know, it's always baffled me that his birthplace is unknown. There's no reason for it to be unknown. We never get anything on Cid's backstory, so why not give us that, if nothing else? Nope, can't have it. Gotta be unknown.

Thanks, Square.

Characters named Cid that have something to do with airships are a long-standing Final Fantasy tradition, but this Cid is a fusion of two such traditions — he's also one of the Highwind dragoons, in the same vein as Ricard Highwind of FFII and Kain Highwind of FFIV. To date, he's the only such character to have such a distinction.

other appearances

Cid also appears in the Kingdom Hearts series, Square Enix's lovechild with Disney that turned into its own thing I stopped trying to make sense of years ago. (Just never been my thing. I'm sure it's awesome if you like it, but I never could get into it. I did manage to get through most of the original Chain of Memories back in the day. All the FF characters were the highlight for me.) In any case, this Cid serves as the "Cid" of the KH series.

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Cid Highwind & Final Fantasy VII are © Square-Enix.
No infringement intended. Beyond the Sky is © Larissa, 2008-2017.