Of the more than a dozen titles to be found in the Final Fantasy franchise, the seventh numbered entry is often singled out as the greatest. Released in 1997, it transitioned the series from two-dimensional sprites to three-dimensional polygonal models using the PlayStation’s magnificent power. Its looks may be dated, but the whole package still holds up today, and newer generations of gamers are still discovering this magical adventure. Ask anyone why the game is so revered and there is bound to be a variety of answers. Some will note the gameplay, which utilizes a challenging but rewarding battle system; others may praise the story, an epic adventure with world-ending stakes that still manages to feel so personal to all the characters involved; and others may heap praise upon the sheer amount of content there is on the three-disc tale.
It is true that Final Fantasy VII is brimming with optional quests and activities for hungry gamers to consume, but not all of it is worth the effort. With the next twenty-five entries, this article will shine a light on the ones which every gamer must do, and let people know which ones they can leave by the wayside. So get those limit breaks ready, because here are 15 Hidden Side Quests Every Player Needs To Complete in Final Fantasy 7 (And 10 That Aren’t Worth It).
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25 Need To Complete: Gold Chocobo
Getting a gold Chocobo involves tons of arduous trial and error. The process itself is not particularly fun, but completing it opens up a variety of additional quests. Most of the best weapons, armor, and Materia are hidden in locations that are only accessible by breeding the special bird.
No one will blame the player for using a guide to speed up the quest, or even exploiting saving and reloading. As said before, it is not super entertaining, but the reward will more than payback for the time spent at the stables.
24 Need To Complete: Materia Caves
This one is an absolute must, considering all the items gathered here will give the party a significant advantage in tough boss encounters. What’s more, the caves themselves are usually single rooms with the one of a kind Materia lying in wait. There’s no need to worry about difficult enemies or getting a game over.
There are four caves in all, and each can be accessed by using a special Chocobo. The last cave, which contains the obscenely powerful Knights of the Round summon, can only be reached with a gold Chocobo.
23 Not Worth It: Defeating Emerald Weapon
This mammoth sized monstrosity is found roaming around underwater. Run into it with the submarine to start the battle. The player has a limited amount of turns to win, unless they had previously obtained the Underwater Materia, allowing the party to breathe indefinitely while submerged.
Except for bragging rights, there’s not much point in fighting it. It drops the earth harp, which can be traded for the Master Summon, Master Command, and Master Magic Materia. A great prize, but no monumental foes to use it against, since the hardest one was just felled.
22 Need To Complete: Getting Yuffie
This character feels like such a part of the Final Fantasy VII family that it’s easy to forget she is entirely optional. She’ll usually be encountered in battle, but it is possible to go through the game without having her join the party. Doing this, however, cuts off a significant part of the experience.
Yuffie is luminous and her absence will leave a noticeable hole in the game. She’s admittedly not vital to the plot, but the mischievous thief adds personality to an already colorful cast of characters.
21 Need To Complete: Getting Vincent
Vincent is not just stylish; his addition to the roster adds another layer to the plot. He’s an older gentleman who locked himself away for years because of guilt. He has a history with Hojo, one of the game’s most nefarious villains, and was a former employee of the Shinra corporation.
He takes a little more ingenuity to meet than Yuffie, but continuing the story without him feels like an incomplete play through. The red-themed gunslinger can be found in Nibelheim, encased in a coffin in the mansion’s basement.
20 Not Worth It: Ruby Weapon
Ruby Weapon will put players through the ringer and provides a challenge even to those who know how to fight it. The beast is immune to all damage until it exposes its tentacles. In order for it to do that, all but one of the three party members must be incapacitated. There are several useful strategies, but Knights of the Round with W-Summon and Mime is probably the best route to go. Beating Ruby Weapon grants the Desert Rose, which can be traded for a Gold Chocobo, which most players would probably already have at that point.
19 Need To Complete: Getting Omnislash
Omnislash is a beautiful friend to have in a pinch. Cloud’s final Limit Break bombards an enemy with fifteen critical sword slashes, with each strike doing almost twice as much damage as a regular attack. There’s not much more persuasion needed to convince any player to get it.
Cloud must have first have learned his other Limit Breaks. Then, he must earn enough points at the Golden Saucer’s Battle Square. The item is available early in the game, but becomes cheaper later in the story. Even if it was not obtained, Cloud will automatically have it in the final battle.
18 Not Worth It: Getting Great Gospel
Great Gospel is a Limit Break manual for Aerith. The ability, contrary to most other Limit Breaks, fully heals the party and grants them temporary invincibility. Making the move heal everyone instead of dealing damage is apropos, considering the character’s pacifistic ways. It is a useful spell, but cannot be used for long.
It is first available for visiting Rocket Town and becomes inaccessible after disc one, for reasons obvious to anyone who has played the game. With this in mind, it is not vital to obtain in a play through.
17 Need To Complete: Fort Condor
Cloud and company visit Fort Condor early in the campaign, completing the first of several tower defense mini-games. The goal is to protect a mother condor guarding her egg against Shinra. The graphics for the short diversion are ugly as sin, but that doesn’t stop it from being a blast.
Revisit the area periodically to repeatedly defend the nesting bird from the evil company. Eventually, the egg hatches and the heroes save the day. Additionally, the Phoenix Materia is rewarded, one of the few abilities that simultaneously damages enemies and heals the party.
16 Need To Complete: Yuffie Stealing All The Materia In Wutai
Yuffie’s character and backstory are not integral to Final Fantasy VII’s overarching plot, but she still gets her time to shine if the player goes to her hometown. Upon entering Wutai, the party’s Materia is pilfered and they must go about searching for it. It turns out that Yuffie utilized her sticky fingers once again and was taken by Don Corneo. The quest takes a little while to complete and can be confusing, but it is an entertaining detour that nets some neat bonus Materia for the party.
15 Not Worth It: Turtle’s Paradise Flyers
In the game, there is a contest held by Turtle’s Paradise in Wutai which will reward contestants who find every flyer scattered about the world. There are seven in all, and they can be challenging to track down without a guide. Even with a guide, the scavenger hunt is not an entertaining diversion. Completing the quest rewards Cloud with several stat boosters, but there are more fun methods of upgrading stats. It may have been more enticing if there was something added to the world by doing it, but there is no dialogue, just a simple fetch quest.
14 Need To Complete: Wutai Pogoda
This one is all on Yuffie’s hands and completing it will net her level four Limit Break, along with a few other goodies. It can be accomplished on any disc, but doing it during the endgame will bypass the other Wutai side quest where she steals the party’s Materia. There are several floors worth of enemies, each of which must be tackled only with Yuffie. At the end, her own father fights her. Defeat him to earn All Creation and the Leviathan Materia. It doesn’t take much time and its rewards are useful.
13 Not Worth It: Finding The Key To Midgar
After leaving Midgar at the beginning of the game, players do not return until the end of disc two. In fact, it is not even possible to enter the city before then. After the raid on Shinra’s headquarters, the player is once again locked out. During the end game, one can regain access to Midgar by excavating the key from the dig site. There are a few extra items in the Sector Five slums and the potential to see Aerith’s ghost, but ultimately the effort outweighs the reward.
12 Need To Complete: Ultimate Weapon Boss
Ultimate Weapon is a challenging encounter, but it doesn’t border on the impossible like the other optional super bosses. It still feels like a real battle, while Emerald and Ruby are only possible by following strict strategies. Additionally, beating the flying monster will net Cloud’s Ultima Weapon, which does damage based on how much HP the spikey-haired hero has. The creator left by its landing also enables entrance to the Ancient Forest. With Ultima Weapon in tow, the last boss battle will be made significantly easier, and regular encounters will be a piece of cake.
11 Not Worth It: Getting Princess Guard
The Princess Guard stands contrary to all other Ultimate Weapons in Final Fantasy VII. Each character’s final armament typically has no Materia growth, but the Princess Guard will still level up the mysterious crystals. The developers must have felt like being a little generous here since they knew players would only have it for a limited time. Aerith’s most powerful weapon is found in the Temple of the Ancients, which is already near the end of disc one. Getting it is obtuse and doesn’t reward give players a lot of time to use it before being taken away.
10 Need To Complete: Getting Chaos
Obtaining Chaos is rather simple. Players must first head to the Crystal Cave, sometimes known as Lucrecia’s Cave. A short cutscene will play between Vincent and the love of his life, Lucrecia. Then, fight ten battles and return to unlock Chaos. It is Vincent’s final Limit Break and ends up being an important part of Dirge of Cerberus. The cinematic is sorrowful, but Chaos is a helpful ability to have in battle. Additionally, not getting it will confuse players if they decide to play the Vincent centered spinoff on the PS2.
9 Not Worth It: Getting Dio’s Autograph
After obtaining Omnislash and W-Summon in the Battle Square, a special match will unlock. Successfully completing this gauntlet the first time nets the Final Attack Materia. One can do it as many times as they like for additional prizes, eventually obtaining Dio’s autograph. Player’s will recognize Dio as the speedo wearing owner of the Gold Saucer. The Autograph is useless, almost as a sign to the player that they’ve done enough of the Battle Square and it is time to move on. Take some good advice and stop after getting Final Attack.
8 Need To Complete: Getting W-Summon
W-Summon is a beast of a Materia. It allows any summon to be cast twice, even the extraordinarily powerful Knights of the Round. When linked with Quadra Magic, the summon will be cast eight times. The only summon that won’t work is the aforementioned one, which makes sense because the animation would take several minutes and would make even Emerald Weapon a piece of cake. The special Materia is a prize in the Battle Square. While it has a hefty price tag, it is worth every penny considering its awesome power.
7 Not Worth It: Getting The Guide Book
The guide book can only be found by morphing the Ghost Ship in Junon’s underwater reactor. The item itself is useless, but can be traded with the Traveler in Kalm to obtain the Underwater Materia. This Crystal allows the party to breathe underwater during battle, becoming an invaluable tool in the fight against Emerald Weapon. However, Emerald Weapon is better left to those who have mastered the game’s mechanics and is not necessary for everybody to do. As a result, the Underwater Materia should only be sought after if players are bold enough to take on the super boss.
6 Need To Complete: Getting W-Item
W-Item Materia is at the heart of a well known and often exploited glitch which helps exponentially on saving gil and ensuring supplies never run short. It can be found in two places; in the sector eight tunnel while raiding Shinra Headquarters or excavated from the dig site. With the Materia in possession, it now becomes possible to infinitely replicate almost any item. With this, expensive items can be reproduced, eliminating the need to worry about income. Maybe it is dishonest to use glitches, but in a game this difficult there may be no other choice.
5 Need To Complete: Final Attack Materia
Defeat the Special Battle once in order to unlock the Final Attack Materia, then write thank you notes to us upon realizing how useful it is, assuming any readers already didn’t know how helpful it can be. If paired with the Pheonix Materia, it will revive the party and deal damage to enemies upon the player being knocked out. With each subsequent level, the Materia will activate an additional time. When mastered, Final Attack can be used up to six times in a single battle, an invaluable asset against super bosses.
4 Not Worth It: Obtaining Every Enemy Skill
The Enemy Skill Materia allows the player to learn certain enemy attacks and then use them against foes. There are many techniques in the world to acquire and some are useful. However, aiming for every skill is a fruitless endeavor. The strongest skills can still be acquired without getting the weaker ones, so it is best to just strive for the ones that make an impact. Some completionists will still insist on getting every enemy attack, but no one will cry laziness if a player opts out of this enterprise.
3 Need To Complete: Ancient Forest
The Ancient Forest isn’t a heap of trouble to complete once the path is opened up. There are two methods of reaching it, both reasonably challenging depending on play style. Firstly, it can be reached by pacifists by simply breeding a gold Chocobo. For the lovers of violence, a path will open up to the small dungeon once Ultimate Weapon is defeated. Once inside, the player is greeted with several puzzles, slowly gifting players with useful equipment and Materia. The quest won’t eat up tons of time, and its prizes are welcome additions to the inventory.
2 Not Worth It: Shooting Coaster High Score
The Gold Saucer is brimming with diversions to take the Party’s mind off of the impending apocalypse. Most of them are entertaining and net neat prizes for achieving high scores. A couple of them are either so difficult or boring that they are best ignored. The Speed Square contains the Shooting Coaster mini-game, a short rail-shooting segment. Most fans of the company know that they don’t do rail shooting spectacularly well, as evidenced by Kingdom Hearts’ gummy ship mini-game. Unless one enjoys unreliable shooting controls, they should steer clear of the Speed Square.
1 Need To Complete: The Gelnika
Whether one simply wants to complete the game or do a breadth of side quests, they will need to level up. Except for perfect strategizing, there is really no way around grinding in the game. The best place to do this is in the sunken ship called the Gelnika. Inside, some of the toughest enemies can be found and also an extra run-in with some of the Turks. In addition to grinding opportunities, several items and the Hades Materia lie in wait. Enemies are exceptionally tough, but get easier as the player levels up.
What are your favorite side quests in Final Fantasy VII? Let us know in the comments!