Twitch Plays FF7 Part 1.2: Dressing Up and Smashing Plates

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kerikxi

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PART 1 - **NEW** PART 1.1 - PART 1.2 - PART 1.3 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6 - PART 7 - PART 8 - PART 9 - PART 10 - PART 11 - PART 12 - PART 13 - PART 14 - PART 15 - PART 16 - PART 17 - PART 18 - PART 19 FINALE

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Chat crashes dramatically through the ceiling of the church in sector 5 and headlong into a fateful encounter. It's here we finally recruit Aeris, a key player in the story to come. After a bit of idle chatter, the pair are interrupted by another important event, our introduction to Reno from the Turks. Aeris solicits Cloud's mercenary services and the duo flee through the back of the church, into the first light minigame of the run. Aeris is stranded on the lower levels, and Cloud can provide aid by dropping barrels from the rafters above. There's no real penalty for failure here, at worst forcing Aeris into a few solo battles against the pursuing guards. This is fortunate as chat's first attempt whiffs completely, nearly crushing our new client. She should have done some research before hiring us, our bombing mission reviews are probably horrible.

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After two encounters due to barrel related failures, Aeris is instructed to simply run at the next prompt and chat swiftly proceeds out the Cloud shaped hole in the ceiling. There's some more plot along the way, as Aeris seems to have an unusual familiarity with Cloud's mako treatment from joining SOLDIER and that probably won't come up again right. Some light navigation later and we finally reach the save outside the sector 5 village, the first one since before Air Buster. Chat proceeds into town and after rudely attempting to rob a poor man's freezer, accidentally purchases a fire materia from him as penance before moving on to Aeris' house. The cover materia is grabbed from her garden before chat settles in for another hefty dose of plot.

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Our objective now is to simply return to sector 7 and Tifa's hideout concealing bar, but sector 6 stands in between. The trip is considered dangerous and it's decided to depart the next morning. Aeris' mom implores us to leave during the night, to prevent placing the young flower girl in any further danger. Cloud agrees, but chat struggles a bit with this mini stealth sequence. Walking too close to Aeris' bedroom door or running at all fails the sequence, sending Cloud back to his guest room to try again. On the fourth attempt chat successfully tip toes past and can proceed solo to sector 6, only to encounter Aeris at the threshold anyway. Defeated, Cloud allows her to tag along and we get another chunk of story to chew through at the park before Tifa is spotted heading towards sector 6's Wall Market and we can resume our pursuit.

Wall Market

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This seedy bazaar is the first time the game truly opens up and represents our first proper quest. Tifa is undercover in Don Corneo's mansion digging for intel on Shinra's plans and we need to meet up with her. Chat rests up and saves but there's some confusion as to how to proceed. This event requires specific trigger conditions to be met in a certain order, and while chat can remember most of the individual steps, the necessary sequence is much less certain. After being rebuked at both Corneo's mansion and the dress shop, the plot is finally realized and we proceed to just outside the Honey Bee Inn for the first trigger. However, while in the right location, the wrong NPC is talked to and chat mistakenly believes they have met the necessary condition to proceed. After performing a full loop hitting the shop, diner, gym, mansion and inn, it's finally surmised that the proper trigger still waits at the brothel, and almost an hour after arriving, the correct NPC is interacted with and the quest can finally begin.

In order to infiltrate Corneo's mansion himself, Cloud needs a clever disguise. This represents a pretty mature sequence for the game, our masculine hero forced to embrace his feminine side. Given it's 1997, I'm actually kind of impressed how delicately they manage to handle this for the most part. There's not as many of the stereotypical jokes you'd expect of the era, but it's still a little yikes in spots. Exhausted from multiple trips across the market, chat completes the bare minimum requirements to proceed the event. The gym squats minigame requires delicate timing and is effectively impossible, granting the lowest quality wig. The person hogging the bathroom is given the worst item, deodorant, and the Honey Bee Inn is never actually visited for any fancy underwear, nor do we acquire any headgear. The dress received is alright, but without any other high quality quest items, Cloud is destined to become the least appealing choice. Three hours after entering Wall Market our low effort cross dressing is complete and a somewhat prettier Cloud can finally enter the mansion. As a quick note, it's here I personally joined the run, right as the dress up sequence completed.

Chat proceeds through Corneo's den of inequity, meeting Tifa in the basement and proceeding to be swiftly rejected by the sleezebag himself. Some confusion arrives again at the next sequence, as Cloud must escape the room full of Corneo's groping lackeys. Eventually the triggers are properly hit and the event proceeds to the Don's bedroom interrogation. We learn here that Shinra plan to drop the plate over sector 7 and pin the blame on AVALANCHE, destroying our headquarters in an extreme act of overkill. The disgusting womanizer has one trick left up his sleeve though, dumping the party into the sewers and our next boss battle. Fortunately, Alps presents little difficulty and is just circle spammed down.

Chat climbs from the sewers and enters the train graveyard in sector 7 near our next objective. The layout is a bit of a maze and the ghostly enemies can be tricky to land hits on but overall progress is smooth through here. The game has gone easy on us for far too long though, and the biggest roadblock since selecting new game is just around the corner.

Sector 7 Pillar

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Chat exits the graveyard and is immediately thrust into the next dramatic scenario. The rest of AVALANCHE have already engaged Shinra's forces, attempting to prevent the activation of the plate release mechanism. Aeris leaves the party to ferry Marlene to safety, while Cloud and Tifa proceed up the pillar staircase to assist Barret in his defense. This sequence presents a few unique challenges. Once entering the fenced area, the party is locked in this event. There's a save point at the bottom as well as a shopkeeper at the fence, but we cannot leave. The stairs themselves present a bit of a movement headache, requiring constant direction input changes to ascend. This aspect of movement will be covered in Part 2 so we won't drill deep here, but it's more tedious than difficult. The actual challenge awaits at the top of the pillar though, our showdown with Reno from the Turks.

This is chat's first truly difficult combat encounter, due entirely to one of Reno's unique abilities. Throughout the fight he can decide to encase a character in a pyramid, locking them out until the trap is destroyed. This requires targeting the offending geometric prison, and while one attack is enough to break it, the menus involved prove challenging. If all three characters become encased, it's game over. Reno can also stop the party with his shock baton, further removing characters from the battle temporarily. The traditional method of circle spam would not carry as it had in the past and careful maneuvering would be required.

Finally, two hours and four wipes later, Reno is defeated through careful menu driving. Aeris is captured by the Turks and we fail to protect the pillar, dooming sector 7 to a devastating fate, but chat is still relieved, sensing the worst is over for now. This elation proves short lived. Immediately after the cutscene of sector 7's destruction, Cloud is temporarily separated from the party and must traverse part of the next screen alone, vulnerable to random encounters and unable to save. One extremely unfortunate pincer attack later, Cloud falls and we're kicked right back to the bottom of the pillar stairs to try it all again.

Chat wipes to Reno one more time due mostly to malicious inputs, but quickly scores another victory against the vicious pyramid chucking foe, only to soon suffer an almost identical fate as Cloud is overwhelmed in yet another solo encounter. Finally, on the third round Reno is once again cleared and the party manages to reunite without Cloud getting demolished by common enemies. Chat backtracks to Wall Market for a much needed save, and four hours since reaching the pillar we can finally proceed with the story. We dutifully report to Aeris' mom our complete inability to keep her daughter safe, and are treated to a lore dump highlighting Aeris' heritage as an Ancient, or Cetra, the subject of intense interest from Shinra. The party resolves to rescue our newest companion and sets off to invade Shinra Tower, assuming we can reach it first.

Climbing the Wall

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We return to Wall Market and swing into the equipment shop. The party is still mostly using their default loadout, and despite better options being available, only two armor upgrades are purchased at this time. Chat had rotated pretty heavily during the Reno grind, and personally I had managed to get myself temporarily global banned for spamming chat, always a risk in this run due to the many repeated inputs. I'm not throwing shade here, everyone did the best with what knowledge they had, but the upgrades available now would have been nice to have for the fights ahead. Regardless, we grab the required batteries from the merchant and proceed to the wall north of town, now adorned with our method of egress.

The climb to the upper plate is filled with tricky navigation, the scene a tangled mess of rails and machinery, but the true test lies about halfway up. A swinging bar is the only means to proceed, and chat is faced with a soon to be familiar foe, timed inputs. The timing window to leap on the bar is fairly tight, and with chat delay there is no practical way to actually time the input correctly, so this would come down entirely to luck. Most expected to be here a while, but all are shocked when the very first attempt yields success. To repeat myself a bit from the original Part 1, this is definitely when I started feeling something special about this run. Expectations were already being routinely defied.

The expected roadblock is overcome almost effortlessly, and twenty hours since beginning, chat arrives at the final destination in Midgar, Shinra's corporate headquarters looming before us. Next time we assault the tower to rescue our comrade and recruit another, conquer a challenging boss gauntlet and make a speedy retreat through the highways and out into the world map. Part 1.3 will conclude our retrospective sidetrip and lead directly into Part 2. And after that, I'll finally go finish this whole dang thing up. Thanks as always for reading!

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PART 1 - **NEW** PART 1.1 - PART 1.2 - PART 1.3 - PART 2 - PART 3 - PART 4 - PART 5 - PART 6 - PART 7 - PART 8 - PART 9 - PART 10 - PART 11 - PART 12 - PART 13 - PART 14 - PART 15 - PART 16 - PART 17 - PART 18 - PART 19 FINALE

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