Final Fantasy VII Challenge Hour 9: Kentucky Fried Chocobo

Chocobos. Because something in this game has to be more stupid than Cloud.

In which our heroes set out on an epic quest… to capture a very stupid bird.

Last time out, I got hit in the face with a lot of plot. A whole heaping feast of it, in fact, and while it was delightfully engaging, it didn’t actually give me all that much to do. This week, however, would be a different story.

If you’re just joining me, my gaming challenge du jour is to make my way through Final Fantasy VII. I last did so back when it was brand spanking new, and at that time it was my absolute gaming obsession. Fast forward 20 years and I have less hair, more distractions and much less time for gaming. I’ve tried to get back into FF7 before and failed, and there’s still no guarantee that this won’t happen again.

Hot on Sephiroth’s trail

Having established that Sephiroth didn’t in fact kill Cloud and Tifa in the past (which would have made everything up until now some kind of super-freaky ghost story, I guess) it’s time to get back on his trail. Thankfully, somebody saw him going past just now, albeit in quite mangled English.

FF7: The people called Romans they go the house?
The people called Romans they go the house?

But first, it’s time to indulge in some good old RPG tropes. Specifically, a bit of grinding in order to buy Cloud a new sword. So it’s out to the fields to kill some… motorbikes… and… ostriches… (no, I don’t get it either) to raise up the funds from the so-called “Weapon Store”. You know the one. It’s right next to the “Materia Store” and the “Item Store”. No, I’m not even kidding. For all the inventiveness in FF7, someone sure was taking it easy when they worked those names out.

Having secured a more efficient way of killing things by killing lots of things to afford it, it’s time to head east.

The town looks a LOT bigger on the inside. Logically, it's a Tardis.
The town looks a LOT bigger on the inside. Logically, it’s a Tardis.

Bird is the word.

So East I head, and as I do, a memory stretches back from over 20 years ago, and the spot at which I first died in my initial run through this remarkable game. That’s because it was just around here, blithely running headfirst into a gigantic killer snake. Best keep an eye out for that. But first, a delightful Chocobo farm beckons.

Chocobos. Because something in this game has to be more stupid than Cloud.
Chocobos. Because something in this game has to be more stupid than Cloud.

Chocobos are the cutest thing, and I’m rather rapidly informed that they’re the only way I’ll survive getting past the Midgar Zolom.

I just said that.
I just said that.

The Zolom was (and is) the snake-thing that killed me repeatedly in my first runthrough. I remember being insanely stubborn, and convinced I could take it down with just one more go and a few more Phoenix Downs. I was, of course, wrong, because what the game wants you do to here is get yourself a Chocobo to rush past it instead.

This is easier said than done. That pen full of Chocobos out front? Not for sale. The only way to get a Chocobo is to first get some Chocobo Materia, mine for only 2,000 gil. Which means I’ve got to go kill a bunch of things to earn that much money. Back soon.

That being done, I have to catch one, which involves buying “greens” to keep them busy while I kill any monsters around them. Greens ain’t free, you know.

Which means I’ve got to go kill a bunch of things to earn even more money. Back soon.

Sigh. So, how do I find myself a Chocobo, Choco Billy?

ARGH! The apostrophe abuse! MAKE IT STOP!
ARGH! The apostrophe abuse! MAKE IT STOP!

So it’s off to the killing fields again. Only this time, the tune is different, and delightfully catchy. Look, you may as well listen to this for the next 30 minutes continually, because that’s precisely what I did.

Chocobo after Chocobo appears… and then buggers off. Some will eat the greens, and still bugger off, while some simply appear, take one look at me and then leave anyway. It’s a big challenge just getting one to stay around long enough, plus carefully managing attacks, because if you accidentally kill one monster next to it and already have an attack lined up, that attack will go to the Chocobo. Chocobos don’t like being attacked, although they do like killing party members who attack them.

Bloody things. Maybe they're not as stupid as they look, and this whole "Greens" business is a scam run by the Chocobo Mafia.
Bloody things. Maybe they’re not as stupid as they look, and this whole “Greens” business is a scam run by the Chocobo Mafia.

The grind goes on, and even though I’m earning decent scratch from all the killing (reminder folks: G8+ rated game, my death count is already in the hundreds), I’m spending it all buying new greens.

Can't I just catch one of the ostrich things and ride that instead? They're certainly fast.
Can’t I just catch one of the ostrich things and ride that instead? They’re certainly fast.

It’s enough to make me wish for more plot, but finally (finally!) a Chocobo is captured.

Right, so I'll just press cancel to cancel this message, and... DAMMIT!
Right, so I’ll just press cancel to cancel this message, and… DAMMIT!

Off to outrace the Zolom. Which it turns out is pretty easy, although once I get to the other side of its lair, I find…

A dead Zolom. I thought there was only one, but clearly it's a species.
A dead Zolom. I thought there was only one, but clearly it’s a species.
No, genius, it did it itself. Confirmed: Cloud is still an idiot.
No, genius, it did it itself. Confirmed: Cloud is still an idiot.

Onto the Mines, where we quickly meet the Turks. Only they’re not that talkative.

Why did Cloud-stantinople get the works? THAT'S NOBODY'S BUSINESS BUT THE TUUUUUUUURKS!!!
Why did Cloud-stantinople get the works?
THAT’S NOBODY’S BUSINESS BUT THE TUUUUUUUURKS!!!

Next time: What lurks beyond the Mines of Terror?

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