Carnage’s Final Fantasy VII speed run guide

If you’re considering running through Final Fantasy VII quickly anytime soon, we’ve got something right up your alley. Carnage put together a 4,600 word guide to help speed your way through the game. He really did a great job and obviously put a lot of effort into it.  Check it out!

Hey guys! Carnage here! In preparation for the upcoming community FF Marathon, I have created a guide that breaks down majority of the game that I will be playing, Final Fantasy VII. This guide details all the necessary boss fights and the quickest methods to beating them, shortcuts that will cut through some story elements to complete the game quicker, as well as some grind spots that should make the rest of the game go much, much quicker.

Recommended Settings
-> ATB settings to Active [changed from Recommended]
-> Battle Speed to Fast [changed from normal]
-> Battle Message to Fast [changed from normal]
-> Field Message to Fast [changed from normal]

–Boss Battles–
The general idea is to build up Limit Breaks before fighting each of the bosses. However Limit Breaks take time to both build up and execute. The ideal way to finish a boss is to exploit their status vulnerability (IE: Carry Armor is vulnerable to Lightning). They will be broken down in order.

Guard Scorpion (First boss)
Notes: When Tail is raised, it will automatically counter with Tail Laser. Weak to Lightning.
Strategy: Have Cloud constantly cast Bolt, even if his tail is raised. His vulnerability to Lightning will mean that your attacks will still hurt him very much. He only has 800 hp, so by the time his tail is raised, you should have Barrett heal the Cloud with potions if need be. Casting Bolt while its tail is raised will save time from waiting for it to lower.

Air Buster (second boss)
Notes: 1,200hp, vulnerable to lightning.
Strategy: Build up Limit Breaks on the way to fighting this boss (hopefully you will have achieved your limit breaks after the fight with Guard Scorpion). Barrett and Clouds combined should take him down. If not, just cast Bolt with Cloud.

Aps (third boss)
Notes: 1,800hp, vulnerable to fire.
Strategy: Have Aerith continuously cast Fire seeing as Aps has a vulnerability to it. Cloud’s Cross-Slash will also paralyze it, so if you are worried about low HP then feel free to use it. However it is recommended that you save it for the next boss battle as it is not that far away from this point. This boss is easy since it has vulnerability, and its move Tidal Wave does damage to itself.

Reno (fourth boss)
Notes: 1,000hp, can cast Pyramid to freeze a character. The ONLY mandatory fight with Reno.
Strategy: Hopefully you were able to save Cloud or Tifa’s Limit Break from the battle with Aps. Go crazy with them since your next boss battle won’t be for awhile. If so, equip Barrett with Aerith’s fire materia as well as use his own ice spell, or equip one of the two to another person. Fire and Ice tend to do more damage against Reno than physical attacks, but Bolt will only do half the normal damage. Not much HP so this should not be too difficult to win.

Sample H0512 (fifth boss)
Notes: 1,000hp, resistant to lightning, no weakness, re-spawns “guardians” when they are defeated.
Strategy: Do NOT attack the guardians (also called Sample H0512-OPTs). They will re-spawn instantly upon defeat. [I don’t know why you would think of doing that anyway, it IS a speed run after all, no need to bother yourself with these things. =P] Instead use any limit breaks and physical attacks you have, with the exception of Red XIII and Barrett, they will be casting Fire on it for the majority of this battle. He should go down fairly quickly.

Rufus/Dark Nation (sixth boss)
Notes: 500hp, is accompanied by Dark Nation which will cast Barrier and then possibly MBarrier on Rufus.
Strategy: Rufus is highly susceptible to Bio, so you will absolutely need to take down Dark Nation in one or two turns [needs clarification]. If you can do that before Dark Nation casts MBarrier, then cast Bio on Rufus and then Bolt for the duration of the battle. He doesn’t have much HP so it’s really just more of a battle against Dark Nation than Rufus.

Hundred Gunner/Heli Gunner (seventh boss[es])
Notes: Hundred Gunner has 1,600hp, while Heli Gunner has 1,000hp. Both are vulnerable to Lightning.
Strategy: This battle does not feature the boss battle music [Those Who Fight Further] which is an oddity. Nonetheless it is a boss battle all the same. Barrett is the only person who can attack Hundred Gunner with physical attacks, so you’ll want to equip Red XIII and Aerith with Bolt Materias and with all 3 attacking combined it should come down quickly with the lightning vulnerability.

Motor Ball (eighth boss)
Notes: 2,600hp, vulnerable to lightning, has a move called “Rolling Fire” that can do about 200 damage to the party.
Strategy: If you’ve been reading this guide, then you would assume that since this boss falls in line with the many others that are vulnerable to lightning, you’re going to be casting Bolt on it quite a bit. Equip the Lightning materia to all three people in your party, or if you prefer, have Cloud attack Motor Ball with physical attacks and have Barrett and Red XIII [or Tifa] cast Bolt on it.

Bottomswell (ninth boss)
**Midgar Zolom could potentially be the boss before this, however I will leave it up to your discretion to either fight him [and get obliterated], attempt to cross it on your own [could be lengthy] or just buy a Chocobo Lure and catch one and then go across.**
Notes: 2,500hp, vulnerable to wind, can freeze your characters for gradual damage with Waterball.
Strategy: This battle is one of the more challenging, although not really too difficult. Since you do not have any wind type moves you will have to really on strong attacks. Barret is the only one who can attack Bottomswell since it is flying, so you may want to have picked up the Long Range materia in the Mythril Mines and equip it to Cloud. Just use your strongest magic/physical attacks, using magic on whoever in your party gets frozen by Waterball, and you should be fine.

Jenova BIRTH (tenth boss)
Notes: 4,000hp, can slow down party members with Stop.
Strategy: High health, sure, but this boss is not much of a threat. Using a trick that I have recently discovered will allow you to beat this boss somewhat quickly. First of all, you will need to use the item Hyper on each of your party members. The reason for this being is that it will inflict Fury on each of your party members. Jenova’s hits will instantly fill up the Level 1 Limit Break meter, so you can just let loose with all your best attacks here. You’ll now be able to access one of my grind spots after this battle.

Dyne (eleventh boss)
**Okay, so hopefully you took the time to read ahead of the Boss strategy section and look at the grinding spots. You should have used it after Jenova, and now have [at least] Bio 2.**

Notes: 1,200hp, weak to Bio.
Strategy: As I said earlier, you should have Bio 2 by this point. 3-5 hits from it equipped to Barret should take Dyne down. Also be sure to equip a Cure 2 to Barret just in case.

Gi Nattak (twelfth boss)
Notes: Not necessary.
Strategy: Probably the easiest boss in the game. I won’t bother posting notes or anything in particular simply because this boss is ridiculously easy. You should have picked up a Phoenix Down in Corneo’s Mansion, or Aerith’s House, because otherwise this boss fight can be brutal and a lot of unnecessary grinding would be needed. Assuming that you have a Phoenix Down, or if not, have at least bought one from the shop in Cosmo Canyon. Use a Phoenix Down on Gi Nattak for an instant kill and a hilariously easy victory.

Materia Keeper (thirteenth boss)
Notes: 8,400hp, can cast Cure 2 on itself, has the ability Trine.
Strategy: This may take some tweaking. Assuming you have grinded and have reasonable HP and Bio 2, this may not be extremely difficult. I should also note that having an Enemy Skill materia as well as the ability Big Guard will definitely help. It can be learned by manipulating Beachplugs on the shores of Costa Del Sol. You will also be able to pick up Trine which I will work out a reason for later. First, cast Big Guard on your party and Bio 2 on Materia Keeper. It’s possible to have a Limit Break by this point, but if you don’t have it, simply let loose with physical attacks and Bio 2, if you wish. Just be sure to watch out for his Combo Attack and keep a steady heal on your party. This battle is still pretty tough, but definitely manageable.

Palmer (fourteenth boss)
Notes: 6,000hp, weak to stop/bio.
Strategy: I really don’t think this battle is meant to be taken too seriously. I mean his attacks are very weak, and when you deplete his HP he will get hit by a truck. Just use Bio 2 on him, hit him with your strongest physical attacks, and be on your way with the Tiny Bronco.

Red Dragon (fifteenth boss)
Notes: 6,800hp, strong attacks, fire enemy.
Strategy: This boss has no real weakness, but it would be wise to pair up an elemental materia with a fire materia to soften up his fire attacks, as well as casting Big Guard at the start of the battle. Again, as is common with a lot of bosses recently, you’re going to just have to attack him with your strongest attacks.

Demon’s Gate (sixteenth boss)
Notes: 10,000hp, vulnerable to slow, very quick enemy.
Strategy: Cast Big Guard instantly. This boss is very difficult to manage at times even at a high level. As usual, let loose with physical attacks, Limit Breaks, and your strongest attacks. Keep Aerith as a constant healer for the duration of the battle. Keep attacking and it should come down eventually, however it will have done a great deal of damage to you, more than likely.

Jenova LIFE (seventeenth boss)
Notes: 10,000hp, vulnerable to earth, has the Enemy Skill ‘Aqualung’.
Strategy: Hopefully you managed to build up Quake 2 or 3 from grinding in Junon Harbor. If so, this battle will be a cinch. Also be sure to cast debarrier/despell if Jenova puts up a Reflect barrier. And you’ll want to pick up Aqualung as well if Jenova happens to use it on you, but don’t waste a lot of time on it.

Schizo (eighteenth boss[es])
Notes: 18,000hp, two heads [equal HP], one head is Fire the other is Ice, has the attacks double breath and tremor.
Strategy: Avoid using magic at any cost in this fight, unless you are casting Comet. Anything else is typically useless, and in the cases of Fire/Ice, can actually heal the enemy. Drop a Big Guard on your team at the start. Your physical attacks should be fairly strong by this point in the game, and you also have Comet to fall back on. Just remember to keep your party above 1,500hp for the end of the battle as Schizo will use an attack that can kill everyone in your party.

Jenova DEATH (nineteenth boss)
Notes: 25,000hp, can cast silence, immune to Gravity.
Strategy: Jenova DEATH doesn’t have any vulnerabilities like a lot of the past few bosses in this game. It isn’t too hard of a boss battle though, fortunately. Just be sure to let loose with your physical attacks again, any Limit Breaks you have, and it may be a good idea to have picked up some form of a heal for Silence if you’re going to be using magic in this fight, although I personally would not recommend it.

Ultimate Weapon (twentieth boss)
Notes: 18,000hp, cannot be killed.
Strategy: After three turns, Ultimate Weapon will flee. I would suggest defending for three turns as they take the shortest amount of time to execute.

Carry Armor (twenty first boss)
Notes: 24,000 hp [main body], weak to lightning.
Strategy: If you have any Limit Breaks such as Meteorain, Satellite Beam, Ungarmax, or any of Tifa’s Limit Breaks, use them right here and now on his main body. Bolt 3 will also be highly effective against his main body. Just watch out for him grabbing your characters, this may become a bit of a pain. He should come down, but not without annoyance. Also be SURE to head left and grab Cid’s Javelin if you’re going to do some last minute grinding in the Northern Cave later on in the game.

Rude + 2 Attack Squads (twenty second boss)
Notes: 9,000hp [no, not OVER 9,000], Attack Squads have 1,300hp each. Another interesting note is that Rude will NOT attack Tifa until all your party members are dead, and even then, he may occasionally hesitate.
Strategy: Dispatch the Attack Squads quickly, You could cast a Bio 3 or Bolt 3 on all enemies and that should take out the two attack squads plus inflict damage on Rude. From this point on, attack Rude with physical/magic attacks, making sure to max out your damage. By this point you SHOULD know what your strongest moves are, so just use them.

Diamond Weapon (twenty third boss)
Notes: 30,000hp, weak to lightning, resistant to fire.
Strategy: Weak to lightning! Yes! Time to exploit status vulnerabilities! Try and keep up with casting Bolt 3 on this enemy. Also, if you managed to learn Trine from Materia Keeper, it works surprisingly well here. If you have 2 people casting Bolt 3 on Diamond Weapon, have the third character cast Trine, and it should come down fairly quickly. You’ll get a whopping 35,000exp, and 3,500AP, so be sure to have any materia you want boosted equipped for the battle.

Proud Clod (twenty fourth boss)
**Assuming you skipped the encounter with the turks this will be the next boss battle**
Notes: 60,000hp, drops the weapon Ragnarok [Cloud’s weapon], immune to gravity.
Strategy: Unfortunately, unlike most metal-made bosses in this game, this one does not have a vulnerability to Lightning. Regardless, it still hits for decent damage. As was stated in the Rude guide, you should know what your strongest moves are, therefore maximize the usage of them. Also be wary of the move Beam Cannon, it will do considerable damage to the entire party. This can be reduced with Big Guard, however.

Hojo [many forms] (twenty fifth boss)
Notes: Hojo form has 13,000hp, will transform into Helletic Hojo which has 26,000hp, then will transform into Lifeform-Hojo-N which has 30,000hp.
Strategy: Equip Cloud with Ragnarok before the battle, and only equip Barret with his Missing Score if you have some mastered materia/materia with a lot of AP. Your attacks should be much stronger with this new set of weapons. Casting a Big Guard on your party will allow you to take minimal damage as well as cast Haste which will allow you a lot more attacking opportunities. If you happen to have a Cover materia, pairing it with the Counterattack materia will possibly allow you to counter every combo attack from Lifeform-Hojo-N. This will speed up the battle quite a bit. After he/it is defeated, you will be happy to know that this is the last of the regular boss battles in the game.

Jenova SYNTHESIS (Final Boss part 1)
Notes: 60,000hp, Immune to Earth and Gravity.
Strategy: Here we go! The last time you’re going to face Jenova in the game! If you decided to take the time to grind on Movers and Magic Pots and get your Double Cut materia to a 4x Cut materia, then this should not be too difficult. I’d say that if you had mastered quite a few materia, stick them on Barret, and give him the 4x cut so your damage is maxed out, otherwise equip it to Cloud. As for the actual battle, the tentacles will hit you for about 1,500 damage and inflict silence so it may be wise to take those out. Also of note, when Jenova begins a countdown from 5, Ultima will be cast if it is NOT defeated beforehand. This could possibly kill your party so be sure to mop it up quickly. You’ll notice you get a massive amount of EXP, 60,000 total.

Bizarro Sephiroth (Final Boss part 2)
Notes: Main Body has 40,000hp, the Head has 2,000hp, the Core has 10,000hp, and the Right and Left “Magics” have 4,000hp each. Immune to Gravity, and the Core is immune to everything until all other parts are killed.
Strategy: This is my favorite boss in the entire game. The song [Birth of a God] really sets the pace for this showdown. That being said, you should start off by casting a Big Guard on your party, followed by a regen or anything else required. Next, you’ll want to attack the Left and Right magics as they can cause some serious problems. The head part will OFTEN regenerate, however it is weak and should be killed in one hit. Focus on the Body, then the Head, and then the Core if the other Magics have not been regenerated. You should have Barret or Cloud using their 4x cut on the Core since it could either kill it in one hit or the next hit. If you’re using a physical attack, be sure to have Tifa and/or Cloud equipped with a Long Range materia. Just prevent the Right and Left magics from regenerating and you should be good to go.

Safer Sephiroth (Final Boss part 3)
Notes: 80,000HP (can differ depending on the amount of times you killed the Head in the Bizarro Sephiroth battle), Immune to Earth and Gravity.
Strategy: Final Boss time! A couple of things to note here: Sephiroth will cast Wall on himself which gives him a Barrier and a Magic Barrier. Use Despell right off the bat. Next, cast a Big Guard on your party. This will give your party haste which is quite essential in this fight. It may be best to have someone in your party with Esuna, or if you picked up a Ribbon in the Temple of the Ancients or Gaea’s Cliff, it would be great to have those equipped to two of your party members. These prevent many of the status ailments inflicted by Sephiroth during the entirety of the battle. Next, you will definitely need to look out for Supernova. It takes off 15/16 HP you have, however this is greatly reduced with Big Guard, which is why it is such a useful thing to have. The animation for Supernova, however, takes about one or two minutes which is VERY lengthy, so it would be wise to avoid it at any cost. Have Barret or Cloud attack with 4x cut, and as has been done during quite a few boss fights in this guide, let loose with your strongest attacks. It should be noted that when Sephiroth rises into the air only Long Range materia will affect him, if you so choose to use physical attacks. Supernova will charge your Limit Breaks very quickly as well, which should be noted. After all this has been said, give this battle your all and keep in mind this strategy and you will beat the game [there is a scripted battle with Cloud and Sephiroth after this, but you literally cannot lose it. My strategy for it is, if Cloud has counter or counterattack equipped as a materia, wait for Sephiroth to attack you and then Cloud will win automatically].

–Skippable Story Sequences–
This section covers any unnecessary story developments that are completely skippable without the use of glitches.

Don Corneo Date: It is actually quicker to have Corneo choose Cloud for the date than it is to choose Tifa or Aerith. When first arriving in the slums, go into the bottom right area, and talk to the man with a red shirt in front of the entrance to the place. Then go to Corneo’s mansion at the top of the slums. After the conversation with the “guard” and then Aerith, go into the tailor shop in the first area, in the top left place. After a conversation with the owner there, go into the top right shop and talk to the owner there. Select the option “I’ll go”, or something related to that. From there, go to the very middle shop and order a Korean BBQ. Then select the option “It was all right”. You will get a Pharmacy coupon. Then go to the shop above the item shop and ask for a “Digestive”. Then go to the inn on the bottom left and pay to rest. Then you will be at a vending machine, buy the “200gil” item. Then go back to the shop on the top right of the first area, give the owner the item you paid for, and he will give you a Diamond Tiara. Then go to the bar on the left shop in the second area, go to the bathroom, and give the lady the Digestive. She will give you Sexy Cologne. Then talk to the man on the right and ask him to make you something “Soft” and then something “that shimmers”. Then go back to the tailors, try on your dress, and then leave to the boxing arena/training area on the second area. Win a squatting battle, then get the wig. Go back to the tailors, and Cloud will now be dressed up as a girl. Then go to Corneo’s mansion, and he should pick Cloud for his date.

Scene in Gongaga: Many people seem to believe the scene where you encounter Rude and Reno talking about “who they like”, as well as fight them is a necessary scenario. This is not the case. You do not need to ever visit Gongaga until later in the story (supposedly).

Gold Saucer Battle: When you are going to get the Keystone to access the Temple of the Ancients, Dio will request for you to entertain him by battling in the arena. He does NOT, however, require you to win. Simply attack yourself until you die, and he will give you the Keystone, eliminating any need to do extra battling.

Acquiring huge materia from Red Submarine: This scene is also not a required part of the game. After acquiring the submarine, you can immediately dock it at Junon Harbor. No need to visit the red submarine. However it is also recommended that when you have acquired the submarine you stay underwater to collect the Key To The Ancients which will save you time later on as you need it.

Reno/Rude/Elena fight in Underground Midgar: This battle is completely optional like all of Reno’s battles. To avoid this battle, when they are encountered underground simply select the option: “I [or We] don’t feel like fighting.” Dialogue will occur but this is meaningless compared to the few minutes you will be saving.

–Recommended Grind Spots and times to Grind–
There are really only two times you will ever need to grind, and the length for each can vary. For Grind Spot #1, you will probably only need to stay until you level up your materia and have your characters around level 30-35. It is best for you to level up your materia from say, Bolt 1 to Bolt 2, or maybe a good way through Bolt 2 into Bolt 3. I personally found leveling my characters up until about 30-33 very effective, as they had gained a lot of AP and leveled up a lot of materia. Grind Spot #2 is also optional, but recommended if using Barret’s Missing Score so as to max out mastered materia.

Grind Spot #1: Junon Underwater Reactor/Junon Path – Corridor 1.

I recommend visiting this place sometime after you dock on Costa Del Sol after fighting Jenova, or at least when you have reasonably good physical attacks and/or Bolt 2. You can get back to this place from Costa Del Sol by talking to a sailor from the boat you docked from to get there, he will charge around 100gp and will take you back to Junon. You then go to the Junon Path, hit the red button, and walk around and encounter enemies.

Slalom – Usually comes in 2s or 3s. They have 1,600hp which should be easy to take down at your current level. It isn’t official that Bolt2 or even Bolt have any effectiveness against them however you may want to test this out. Each one will net you 700exp and 70AP which is great for getting to level up some Materia early on in the game.

Death Machine – This enemy is actually very tedious to fight and not really worth the time. It has 2,500hp and can use Matra Magic which is really annoying at times. You do get 900exp and 80AP from it, but I would only recommend fighting this if it takes you one turn to defeat him. By that point though, you should already be finished grinding.

Grind Spot #2 – Northern Cave:

Again, this may not be entirely necessary for the run, however I should include it anyway in case you find yourself seriously underleveled and not really prepared to face 3 consecutive bosses. Be ABSOLUTELY SURE to have 2-3 elixirs on hand as well as the W-Item materia in order to duplicate them so you can use them on Magic Pots in a certain area. This area can be accessed when the party has to split up into two paths. Here is how my party was, ideally: I had Cid with his Javelin [VERY NECESSARY. You get this after fighting fighting Carry Armor, it is to the left of where you fought him. ONLY GET IT IF YOU ARE UNDERLEVELED.] and Barrett and Cloud as the other two party members. You MUST CHOOSE THE LEFT PATH, THEN THE UPPER PATH. If you do not follow these steps, you will not be able to do access this grind spot. From where you should be now, there are two areas: The current one, and the one ahead. Equip two materia that are your priorities to level to Cid’s Javelin, as they will grow at 3x the normal rate. You will only desire two encounters: Movers and Magic Pots [in increments of one or two].

Magic Pots: These have 4,000HP, but CAN NOT BE KILLED WITHOUT USING AN ELIXIR ON THEM. This is very important. Apparently they can steal anything from you as well, so if there are two, use W-Item Materia to use an elixir on both of them in the same turn. They will net you 1,000AP each (with Cid’s Javelin that’s 3,000 each), and around 8,000exp.

Movers: These have 3,600HP, are fairly rare, and are very, very good sources of exp. All you need to do is just hit them with physical or magical attacks (although since you may be grinding for awhile here, it’s best to save MP). They give out 2,400AP [the 3 combined], so as such they are highly valued.

After grinding, head past the two areas you’ve been grinding on, all the way down and left into the next area, and then drop a save crystal right before descending the stairs to your final battles.

This concludes the guide! At about 4,600 words and maybe 10 hours of work, my guide is complete. Special thanks to Essentia for giving me some pointers and tips, to PokemonCheese for her continued supporting me, to Britt for posting this, and to all who have read this guide! ^^

10 thoughts on “Carnage’s Final Fantasy VII speed run guide”

  1. 🙂 If I ever pick up FF7, I’ll be sure to look at this.
    I might just go grab my friends copy for this.
    🙂 But hey! Good going Carnage! Your one of my best friends for life on TSG!

  2. Nice guide, Did a 10 hour speed run on this game just recently. You should check out the powersoul/death sentence/deathblow method. some other tips you missed PM me if you want more info.

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