Final Fantasy VII/Cosmo Canyon
Recommended average party level: 25
There are very few pathways to take from Gongaga next; the only real way lies west, over the river to a mysterious place that tends to live in eternal twilight. It's hard to miss as the game throws some really big hints toward you that checking out Cosmo Canyon would be a good idea. Among other things, if you drive past the town in the Buggy, it will break down, leaving you at the mercy of the local mechanic.
Red XIII, whose name you find out is Nanaki, joyously goes to see his grandfather. This turns out to be a 130-year-old, legless, hovering man called Bugenhagen. This place is full of mysteries.
There isn't a whole lot to do in Cosmo Canyon right now. You can visit the Shildra Inn (which has one of those Turtles Paradise posters of #5) and pick up an Elixir by the couch after staying there. Or you can shop for all-new weapons and silver armlets. Aside the Shildra Inn poster, there's also another Turtles Paradise poster #4 in the Tigerlily Arms Shop after learning of Red XIII's heritage and his shame, proceed further up, and you'll encounter another materia shop which also sell some new materia!
Once done, climb all the way to the topmost building, where Red XIII is talking with Bugenhagen. Red XIII wants Bugenhagen to show you his contraption, and for that, you need to hunt down two party members. Your party is scattered throughout the city; Barret, Yuffie, and Cait Sith are in the rooms in the mountainside, Tifa and Aeris are in the bar at the inn.
Once your party is selected, head back up. Bugenhagen will show you his holographic planetarium, and lecture you on some of the basics of the game's backstory. Basically, Mako-sucking technology is evil and the lifeforce in every living being is really good. After this, everyone will retreat to the Cosmo Candle, the big bonfire in the lower plateau. You need to talk to everyone here. Barret wants to rebuild AVALANCHE, Aeris thinks of how alone she is, and Tifa seems strangely lost in thought, thinking of the past again. Lastly, you need to talk to Red XIII, who seems to be pretty mad, because he thinks his father was a wimp. Bugenhagen seems to disagree - and intends to show him exactly what the truth was.
Cave of the Gi
You probably noticed a steel door that was closed down and some kid was wondering what kept it in place. Your party will now consist of Cloud, Red XIII and one character of your choice. If one of your goals is the Master Materia, you should choose Cait Sith: in this area you'll find his Black Megaphone, the first of the materia-growing weapons in the game. Bugenhagen will follow you from a distance, but doesn't participate in any battles.
After the door, there's a long descent down, then a big cavern full of little caves. Each of the caves has a rock. If you hit one, you either get a bunch of not too happy Gi Spectors, or the other cave opens up. The one you need to hit is the one nearest the wall up there, but don't worry too much about the battles either if your characters are at proper level. The worst trick the monsters in this area have up their sleeves is the Death Sentence attack, which really isn't all that frightening unless you attack very slowly. It's an Enemy Skill, so make sure it gets cast on whoever has the materia.
The next few areas up are a little bit of a maze. Proceed through the open tunnel after those three little caves. You can head left and down to get to the ledge in the first area, where you can pick up Added Effect materia. However, don't run on the brown slicky patch on the way; or you won't be able to stop, and if you hit the wall, you will get seriously injured, Indiana Jones style! Not too badly, but enough so you'll want to heal up.
Head up the right side of the room and then left and go down the steps and go further south to find the Black M-Phone for Cait Sith in the first chest you see in the room. Then double back but don't go back up the steps, instead pass through a tunnel on the right side of the steps. You'll pick up an Ether in the other chest. Now head back up the stairs and go northward. In the next area you'll find five passageways, the far left and right are interconnected and the middle has nothing to explore, thus you are left with two actual choices. The second from the right has a battle with a Stinger, use Frog song on that one, and then press on to find an X-Potion. Head back down and go into the second from left tunnel and you'll have to encounter two more Stingers and then enter the wall on the immediate left after the second web to reach for Turbo Ether. Don't leave this area just yet, but instead, head back to where the second web was and head to the leftmost side and head downward into the "secret tunnel" to the right for a Fairy Ring! Afterwards, head back up and prepare for another gigantic fight.
Eventually, you'll end up in a big cave with a nasty-looking Gi Nattak!
For the unprepared and uninitiated, this can be a really annoying fight. First thing first: Hold your Fire spells and Ifrit. They're not going to do much good in this fight as Fire spells will not really work on Gi Nattak, and they'll heal the flames nicely. The flames (Soul Fire) have a nasty Take Over ability which tends to be a headache. On the other hand, Ice and Shiva are pretty useful here. Here's a big hint: Gi Nattak is, as you may have guessed from the number of Gi Spectors and Bugenhagen's babblings, undead - and undead really, really don't like healing spells. Cure spells will damage it, and Life, Phoenix Down, and X-Potion will destroy it in one hit (if they manage to hit it, that is - they tend to miss).
|Level||Hit Points||Magic||Weak against||Strong against||Absorbs|
|29||5500||200||Holy||Earth, Gravity, Wind||Fire|
After the fight, you are rewarded with the Wizer staff and be sure to pick up a Gravity materia from the floor. Happy ending: Red XIII finds out that his father was really brave. Time to leave Cosmo Canyon. Red XIII will follow you, and now has a Seraph Comb weapon which you can equip as it's not really that bad. Your Buggy gets repaired by the local mechanic if it broke down; if not, you may have to find the mechanic wandering outside of the buildings in Cosmo Canyon.
Visiting Gongaga and the ruined reactor is not mandatory - you can actually skip by it and drive right past it in your Buggy.
Assuming you did stop at Gongaga, hop in your Buggy and proceed directly west out along the lower edge of the continent and across the shallow portion of the river between the two forested areas (shown in the screenshot below). Continue west and drive around the rocky cliff onto the rocky pathway.
You can see Cosmo Canyon in the distance as you work your way through the trail. If you try to go past Cosmo Canyon with your Buggy it will break down. Use the mini-map below to help guide you if you are having trouble finding it.
Make sure that Barret is in your party when you enter Cosmo Canyon if you plan on obtaining the Best Bromance Trophy. Read the information window below for more details.
Speak to the guard at the top of the stairs after ‘Nanaki’ goes running past. Tell the guard that you are not familiar with Cosmo Canyon or he will not let you pass. Nanaki / Red XIII will speak to the guard in order to allow passage for Cloud and the rest of the team.
Finding all of the doors and passageways hidden throughout Cosmo Canyon can be fairly difficult. An easy way to make them all visible is to press the Button (or the [Touch Pad Button] in the PlayStation 4 version of the game) to highlight all doors and to put a small finger-pointer icon over Cloud.
Actions in this section of the game will influence the Gold Saucer Date side quest and obtaining the Best Bromance Trophy.
Make sure that Barret is in your party when you enter Cosmo Canyon. Follow Nanaki up the stairs and in to the shop. Find Barret in the room behind Tiger Lily’s weapon shop and suggest talking to him more about AVALANCHE:
|“Go on”||+ 3 to Barret|
|“Not really”||No change|
|“And then?”||+ 3 to Barret|
|“Yeah, whatever…”||No change|
If you are attempting to obtain the Best Bromance trophy you should now have all of the proper points in place to go out on a date with Barret when returning to Gold Saucer.
The first stop is the door behind the fire in the middle of Cosmo Canyon shown in the screenshot below. The main floor is called Pub “Starlet”, but more importantly, on the second floor of the building, which is called the Shildra Inn, there is a Turtle’s Paradise No. 5 posted on the wall - part of the Turtle’s Paradise side quest.
Enter the Shildra Inn bedroom and search in the barrel on the left side of the room to find an Elixir. The ladder to the right of the Pub/Inn leads to the Item Store where you can purchase the following items:
Take this opportunity to stock up on a few Antidotes (not available at this point in the game in the PlayStation 4 version of the game).
Travel up the stairs leading to where Nanaki / Red XIII is waiting - speak to him to continue the story. Follow him into the next room and save your game at the Save Point.
There is a piece of paper posted to the left of the Weapon Shop which is actually Turtle Paradise Newsletter Number 4. Read it and you will have read five out of six of the newsletters.
The Weapon Store here sells a number of high-end weapons. They have high attack power but unfortunately you will have to give up the double growth rate of your previous weapons in order to use them. The weapons on sale include the following:
You can also purchase Silver Armlet armor. Purchase the Silver Barrette for Red XIII as you will be forced to use him in your party very shortly.
Proceed through the pathway on the left and continue climbing up the stairs. This room is called the Gate of Naught. The doorway on the bottom right leads to the Materia Shop - it’s the room where Yuffie is standing. You have to talk to him twice in order to purchase anything.
Despite Yuffie saying that the Materia here ‘sucks’, this Materia Shop sells HP Plus Materia and MP Plus Materia. It’s very expensive but definitely worth the gil. Sell some of your Ethers if you are having trouble coming up with the gil to buy 3 (one for each party member).
Climb the ladder in the area outside of the Materia Shop up to the Observatory and go in through the front door. Speak to Nanaki / Red XIII and Bugenhagen, Red’s grandfather, to continue the story.
Climb back down the ladder when you are instructed to and speak to Cait Sith in the room beside the Materia Shop to form up a party of three. Speak to Bugenhagen again to initiate another cutscene.
Travel down to the fire pit in the center of Cosmo Canyon to continue the story. Speak to all of your party members and then speak to Nanaki / Red XIII last. You will have to form up a party that includes Red XIII, Cloud and one other party members.
You can speak to your other party members to swap between them which will allow you to pull the Materia off your other primary party member if you have not been using Red XIII in your party.
Work your way back up towards the Observatory until you reach the Gate of Naught where Bugenhagen is standing (shown in the screenshot below). Bugenhagen will open the locked door allowing the team to enter the Cave of the Gi.
Travel down the ropes and ladders until you reach the bottom of the sealed cave and proceed through the opening on the right side of the screen.
Cave of the Gi
There are several enemies in the Cave of the Gi, including Sneaky Steps and Gi Spector (pictured below) that can cast a move called Death Sentence on your party members. This is a skill that can be learned using your Enemy Skill Materia. You should make sure to learn it before you leave the cave.
Walk down the pathway and you will come across a hole in the cave. Each cave has a “strange looking rock” inside which you can break open. There are five holes in the wall, each with a rock and each time you break the rock open you will be thrown into battle until you find the correct rock which will cause the doorway up ahead to open.
The cave with the non-boobytrapped rock is the third one shown in the screenshot below. Break the rock inside to open the doorway to the right of the cave.
The pathway splits in the next area with one path going upward and one going to the left. Proceed down the left pathway but be careful of the oily substance just up ahead. If you run across the substance you will be launched into a set of spikes and it will cost you some HP.
Make sure to walk across the oil by letting go of the Button. Travel south of the oily area back into the previous screen and pick up the Added Effect Materia.
Travel back up to the oily spot and take a right. Go north once you reach the right side of the screen. Take a left at the next intersection and go down the stairs.
There is a treasure chest to the north that contains an Ether and a chest to the south that contains a Black M-phone weapon for Cait Sith. Travel back up to the top of the stairs and head down the path leading northwest. Bugenhagen will talk to the team one more time before you move in to the next area.
The next area has five separate caves that you can travel through. Take the fourth cave and touch the spider web to initiate a fight.
Battles against these spiders, which are called Stingers in the game, are fairly difficult. They will use a move called Sting Bomb on your entire team. It cannot actually kill you as it operates similar to Demi spells - it will reduce a party member’s HP by around 70-80%.
While it can’t actually reduce a team members HP to 0, it does it for a large amount of HP which makes it easy for one of the Stingers subsequent attacks to KO a team member. Continue down the pathway after you have defeated the Stinger to find a treasure chest that contains an X-Potion.
Return to the area with the five separate tunnels. Travel through the second cave and loop over to the left and back south to pick up a treasure chest.
You have to stop halfway through the tunnel and press right on the directional pad in order to reach the treasure chest. Use the screenshot below to guide you. The treasure chest contains a Fairy Ring.
Go back up to the previous section of the pathway and go north to find one final spider web. Walk through it and battle the Stinger and then take the hidden pathway on the left side to grab the treasure chest on the left side of the screen. This chest contains a Turbo Ether.
Walk towards the huge face in the stone to initiate the next boss battle.
Pick up the Gravity Materia on the ground after the battle is over and follow Bugenhagen and Nanaki / Red XIII into the next area.
Red XIII will rejoin the party as you attempt to leave Cosmo Canyon. You will now automatically have a weapon for Red XIII in your inventory called a Seraph Comb (with a description mentioning that it is a memento from ‘father’).
The Seraph Comb has an incredibly high attack power of 68 which is nearly double that of your other character’s highest weapons.
The Buggy will now be repaired if you managed to take it far enough past Cosmo Canyon that it broke down. The next stop is Cloud and Tifa’s hometown of Nibelheim.
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Final Fantasy VII Wiki Guide
Drive the Buggy south across the river to reach the Gongaga Area*. If you're curious about the burnt-out wreckage nestled unmistakably in middle of the forest directly ahead, see the Gongaga Village section of Optional Quests for full details. If getting to Sephiroth as soon as possible is your all-consuming desire, ignore the village and continue west along the south coast, cross the river, and follow the path through the canyon. When the Buggy breaks down, head for nearby Cosmo Canyon.
Talk to the man at the gate and follow Red XIII up the stairs on the left. Consider taking the time to do some shopping* as you make your way to the Observatory at the top of Cosmo Canyon. Talk to Bugenhagen inside then find your companions and decide who will join you inside Bugenhagen's machine. Return to the Observatory and meet Bugenhagen inside the lab. After the presentation, meet the others at Cosmo Candle and talk to everyone (speak with Red XIII last). Follow Bugenhagen to the Gate of Naught and talk to him.
Descend to the bottom of the sealed cave and head right into the Cave of the Gi*. Proceed along the path, enter the third cave, and break open the odd shaped rock to activate a secret passage nearby. Head into the next area, take the first left, and return to the first area via the left path (walk slowly across the slippery liquid or you'll slide into a wall of spikes). Pick up the ADDED EFFECT MATERIA, head back into the next area, and cross to the right path. Take the second left, go down the steps, and open the chest at the near end of the lower path to find the BLACK M-PHONE. Open the chest at the far end of the lower path to find an ETHER, return to the upper path, and head into the next area. Enter the cave second from the right and open the chest at the far end of the path to find an X-POTION. Return to the five caves and enter the cave second from the left. Take the first left, enter the cave at the near end of the path, and head to the right inside the cave to emerge near a chest containing a FAIRY RING. Head for the far end of the area, duck through the cave on the left, and open the chest to find a TURBO ETHER before taking the path into the next area. Defeat Gi Nattak, pick up the GRAVITY MATERIA, and follow the others into the next area, where Red XIII will receive the SERAPH COMB. Return to the now up-and-running Buggy and head for Nibelheim.
Gi Nattak begins the battle fronted by two Soul Fires. It can use its Take Over ability to send them into the bodies of your party members to do Fire-based damage from the inside. Equip a [Fire-element (Fire or Ifrit)]-[Elemental] defensive combination and the Fire Ring to minimize the damage should this occur. As an undead creature, Gi Nattak is keenly averse to Curative magic. Equip Restore Materia on as many characters as possible and bombard the enemy with first aid from hell. Of course, you could win the battle in a single (albeit costly) turn by using an X-Potion or an Elixir. [WIZER STAFF]
Consider taking the time to comb the Gold Saucer Area desert in the buggy looking for the Harpy to learn its AQUALUNG Enemy Skill. Hit the beach and manipulate a Beachplug to learn the perennially useful BIG GUARD Enemy Skill. Search the Gongaga Area forests for a Touch Me and learn its FROG SONG Enemy Skill. A reliable way to cause Sleep will come in handy, especially if you plan to undertake the Gongaga Village Optional Quest.
Visit the Weapon Store in the lower cavern for your first chance to obtain the BUTTERFLY EDGE @ 2800 Gil, the TIGER FANG @ 2500 Gil, the HEAVY VULCAN @ 2700 Gil, the PRISM STAFF @ 2600 Gil, the SILVER BARRETTE @ 2500 Gil and the PINWHEEL @ 2600 Gil. Visit the Materia Store located down the path to the immediate right of the entrance in the upper cavern if you're interested in purchasing MP PLUS MATERIA @ 8000 Gil, HP PLUS MATERIA @ 8000 Gil or MYSTIFY MATERIA @ 6000 Gil.
Cave of the Gi:
In this area, you can learn the DEATH SENTENCE Enemy Skill from the Gi Spector and the Sneaky Step.
The Gold Saucer (Battle Square), Gongaga Village
In This Wiki Guide
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII’s Cosmo Canyon Sequence Is A Meditation On Family, Sacrifice, And Existence Itself
My favorite Final Fantasy game is VII. But it’d been over a decade since I last played FFVII and I wondered how it would hold up.
I downloaded the PS4 version and played through the entire game again. This time, Square gave players endless limit breaks, the option to avoid random battles, and the ability to speed up the game to three times its normal speed. This let me focus on what I loved most about FFVII, which was the narrative, character development, and quirky side stories.
I was glad to find that I still enjoyed the story. There were so many memorable moments, from breaking into Shinra Headquarters and finding that trail of blood, to wandering a train graveyard to try and prevent the destruction of Section 7 (that NPC at the train station is one of my favorites), and even chocobo racing at the Gold Saucer. I loved revisiting familiar sites and listening to that melancholy, grand overworld theme (Nobuo Uetmatsu’s FFVII score is disturbingly eerie, playfully whimsical, and movingly sad).
The scene that struck me the most though, apart from Cloud’s dive into his convoluted maelstrom of memories, was the first time your party visits Cosmo Canyon.
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There are actually some similarities in structure with the Chrono Trigger campfire scene which I wrote about last year. Both moments highlight the themes that tie the story together, giving deeper significance to Sephiroth’s mad quest as well as Cloud and company’s struggle to stop him.
The Flow Of Life
The Cosmo Canyon represents a brief reprieve from the main quest. While Sephiroth and Jenova still await, Cloud’s buggy has broken down. Fortunately, they’re near the home of Red XIII, also known as Nanaki.
Cosmo Canyon stands as stark contrast to the technologically superior, but physically decaying, metropolis of Midgar with its slums and corrupt decadence. The city of Cosmo Canyon is built into the canyon itself, symbolizing its unity with nature. There’s an observatory at its peak intended as a way of studying the planet and the universe itself. It’s become a sort of Mecca for those wanting to learn more about the planet. The Cosmo Candle burns eternally at its base, emblematic of life itself.
Red XIII has come to the end of his journey. He’ll be leaving the party so he can stay and protect Cosmo Canyon. That’s when Red XIII introduces the party to his grandfather, Bugenhagen.
Bugenhagen is the sage of FFVII, but he’s different from the trope of the old wise man in that he’s a fatalist. He is convinced the world is going to end and there’s nothing anyone can do to change it. This is when we first hear the planet crying, suffering from the pain that’s being inflicted by humans. The idea of the planet actually being alive was startling for me back then.
One of the first questions Bugenhagen asks when they enter his observatory is what happens to humans “after they die?”
Through the use of a nifty holographic projector, Bugenhagen gives Cloud and company a talk about the stream of life, the connections and cycles inherent within the planet, and the imbalance that is threatening to ruin everything. Experience has convinced him the exploitation of the Lifestream through the Mako reactors will result in the planet’s death. Shinra is exploiting the stream to further its own agenda and most people seem indifferent to the destruction it’s causing as long as they’re enjoying the comforts of Mako energy. The idea that the environment isn’t just a separate entity divorced from humanity is an important idea, as is the one that human action has an impact on the planet. “Spirit energy makes all things possible, trees, birds, and humans.” Drain that spirit energy, and it results in catastrophe.
I found these environmental themes especially poignant knowing Hironobu Sakaguchi explored the ideas of the Lifestream following the death of his mother. He channeled much of his sorrow into these concepts and while others would take over development of FFVII, that sense of tragedy and yearning pervades throughout the entire game. Every one of the party member’s deals with death in their own personal way, all the more punctuated by what happens to Aeris later. The idea of a lifestream that’s always flowing, always in flux while absorbing energy from living beings and then recycling it anew, is a beautiful and comforting metaphor for existence.
Valley Of The Fallen Star
After the observatory, the team gathers together in a campfire scene and everyone shares a little about what they’re feeling.
Barrett expresses his guilt at the death of the other Avalanche members and recalls how he’d wanted to visit Cosmo Canyon as this was the birthplace for the organization. Context is important here. The sequence before Cosmo Canyon had Barrett facing off against Dyne, his old friend. Coming so shortly after that deadly confrontation, I could feel the mixed regret, sorrow, and pain that he was struggling with. He finds himself rejuvenated and pronounces Avalanche born anew.
Tifa tries to explain her doubt about Cloud’s condition, questioning his memories but not going so far as to say what’s really on her mind. “I’m afraid to ask,” she confesses. In a game where memories can’t be trusted and the past is as twisted as the tiers and layers within Midgar, even these whispers carry deeper meaning as Tifa doesn’t fully grasp their place in all of this.
Staying in character, Yuffie is bored by the lack of materia while Cait Sith is reserved, trying to recollect how long it’d been since he’d last visited Cosmo Canyon.
Aeris is wracked by her growing sense of isolation and loneliness as she’s becoming aware of her role as one of the Ancients. “I’m...alone… I’m all alone now…” she says. When Cloud tries to reassure her and tell her they’re all there for her, she shakes her head and acknowledges, “But I am the only Cetra.” Again, this dialogue wouldn’t be as significant if I didn’t know what awaited her. Aware of her fate, it feels like ominous foreshadowing.
I love team moments like this in games where you get a sense of everyone’s frame of mind. It makes you, as the player, feel a closer bond to them. At the same time, it also serves to hint at some of the deeper struggles each character is wrestling with and show how the journey isn’t just a physical one, but a spiritual one where each is finding something new about themselves. In more basic terms, each of them also represents a different type of player, whether those who just want the gameplay and are bored by the story (Yuffie), those confused by what in the world going on (Tifa), or those who find Cosmo Canyon a meaningful and rejuvenating story element (Barrett and me).
Red XIII, on the other hand, is still angry about his father. Many years ago, during a battle to protect the Cosmo Canyon against the Gi Tribe, his father fled in fear, leaving his mother to die. Red XIII is ashamed of his father’s actions, which is when Bugenhagen questions if he knows what really happened.
Red XIII is guided by Bugenhagen into a sealed cavern through the Gate of Naught. Every enemy you confront is a ghost of the Gi tribe, killed in battle, restlessly driven by anger and rage. Each fight is wrestling with the legacy of that past as countless people have died here. This is the reverse of the life and hope represented above, this graveyard full of ghoulish spirits. Red XIII is in essence reliving his parent’s past battle, only with Cloud and company by his side.
When they do emerge victorious, they’re confronted by a wall and the stony presence of a warrior above who looks similar to Red XIII. Red XIII is staring upwards and Bugenhagen states, “Look at your father, at the warrior, Seto.”
Seto had fought the Gi Tribe to the bitter end, eventually having been turned to stone by poison arrows. “You thought that he was a coward and ran away. But he, alone risked his life to protect Cosmo Canyon.”
Bugenhagen then talks with Red XIII privately, saying that even though he believes the planet can’t be saved, Red XIII should continue on and try to help “a planet already in misery” because, “No matter what happens, isn’t it important to try?”
When Red XIII declares his own name and Seto’s tears begin to fall, I’ll admit, even though I was familiar with the scene, I had a hard time holding back tears. The music track, “The Great Warrior,” is bittersweet and all so compelling. Not only had Red XIII come to terms with his own past, but Bugenhagen had also found a glimmer of hope, pushing him into action. Your party, witness to the arc, is renewed in their determination. Life and death are deeply intertwined, and it’s only by individual action, fighting against all odds as Seto did, that change can be wrought.
I’m glad all these years later, these themes still resonate and makes sure this fantasy’s message are anything but final.
Cosmo canyon ffvii
Best Bits: Cosmo Canyon - FINAL FANTASY VII
In Best Bits, the Square Enix Blog team looks at some of our favorite moments from Square Enix games, and why we think they stand out. To be clear, we’re not declaring them to be the pinnacle of the game, merely one of many moments that stand out. So don’t get cross at us if you disagree, okay?
With Red XIII front and center in the latest FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE screenshots, we thought we'd take a look at one of his greatest moments from the original game...
FINAL FANTASY VII’s story really moves.
It’s something that jumped out at me on my most recent playthrough. Cloud and company are almost always pushing forward, both metaphorically and literally - there’s always a new location to explore, a new threat to deal with or a new vehicle to steal, and it’s what gives the game such a memorable energy.
But every now and then, FINAL FANTASY VII does take its foot off the gas, and let the pace, and the central narrative, slow down a bit. When it does, the effect can be remarkable - and nowhere is that more apparent than in Cosmo Canyon.
What happens at Cosmo Canyon?
Still on the trail of Sephiroth, Cloud and the rest of the party stop off at Cosmo Canyon to drop off Red XIII who hails from the town. It’s also a chance to take a break in a distinctly more relaxed environment than the previous Gold Saucer.
When they arrive, Red XIII explains a little of his backstory - he’s from a line of warriors that protect the Canyon - and introduces the gang to his ‘grandfather’, Bugenhagen.
The floaty sage explains to the team the role that the lifestream plays in the cycle of life and death - and drives home the dangers that Shinra’s energy-sucking machines pose to the natural order.
After that (and possibly a spending spree at the weapons shop), the party gathers round the campfire to take a break and process what they’ve learned. Red XIII bitterly reveals some serious daddy issues - his father was a coward who brought dishonor to his family.
Bugenhagen hears this (was the nosey old man eavesdropping?) and won’t let this stand. There’s more to the story and it’s time our hairy hero learned the truth.
He leads Red XIII and a couple of friends into a sealed cave. As for what happens next… well, if you’ve played it you know, and if you haven’t I don’t want to spoil it. I will say this though - if you don’t get a little moist around the tear ducts, you’re a stronger fan than I.
So that’s what happens, but why is it such an affecting section? Here are a few of the reasons:
It’s a welcome shift in focus
Most of FINAL FANTASY VII features on the central conflict between Cloud and Sephiroth. But as compelling as that is, some of FINAL FANTASY VII’s finest moments come when the game takes a long look at some of the other party members. Cosmo Canyon is Red XIII’s time in the spotlight - and it’s one that’s welcome.
Until this point in the game, Red XIII is something of a mystery. He’s intelligent, articulate, and extremely likeable but we don’t know all that much about him.
Cosmo Canyon changes that. We finally get insight into the character, his conflicts and his backstory. We see the place who grew up and the people he loves. We see the lingering resentment he has for his father and the fusion of pride and sorrow he feels when he discovers the what really happened to him.
When the party finally departs Cosmo Canyon, we know exactly who Red XIII is, where he comes from, and what makes him tick. He has become a fully-formed character and a key party member for the remainder of the adventure.
It adds thematic depth
All through the game, we’ve been told that Shinra’s power-sucking machines are bad. We believe it - we see some evidence to support it, and if nothing else, everyone on the executive board seems to be utterly despicable.
But Bugenhagen and his unnecessarily extravagant planetarium drive home why harvesting Mako energy is bad. Once of the central themes of the game - mankind vs the natural order - comes sharply into focus, and it makes the continuing conflicts with the nefarious energy company even richer as a result.
The Cave of the Gi is excellent
When our heroes enter the Cave of the Gi to find out what happened to Red XIII’s father, they don’t realize they’re stepping into a nightmare.
The cave is infested with the restless spirits of the Gi tribe, who launched a failed offensive against Cosmo Canyon many years before. Those enemies are dangerous, casting spells that can KO a party member within a minute, or taking off three quarters of their HP in a single attack.
To navigate the cave, the team has to use switches to open paths, navigate treacherous spider webs - it truly feels like a hostile environment. Heck - even the floor can hurt you in some spots. Not helping matters, the music has turned full-on sinister, giving the location a truly unsettling vibe.
Eventually, the party makes their way through the cave, where they’re ambushed by a particularly nasty boss. It’s a tough fight (although the experienced will know there’s a trick to it), and a satisfying capper to a grueling journey.
Not as satisfying as the story beat that follows, of course… but as mentioned, that’s best left unspoiled.
FINAL FANTASY VII is a game with so many amazing moments, we could easily fill 20 ‘Best Bits’ articles. Cosmo Canyon is definitely a standout though - it’s full of great character moments, fascinating plot developments and satisfying battles. Plus the music for the area is fantastic.
But that’s just my opinion. Do you agree, or is there another part of the game you’d highlight instead? Share your thoughts in the comments and on social media:
- Tiger Lily Arms Shop
- Elder Hargo's Room
- Gate of Naught
- Starlet Pub
- Shildra Inn
- Seto's Wall
Cosmo Canyon has several notable features: there is an observatory created by the elder Bugenhagen; the Cosmo Candle, the guardian fire that never goes out; and the Shildra Inn that serves a popular drink named after the Cosmo Candle.
Before Final Fantasy VII
Main article: Siege of Cosmo Canyon
Cosmo Canyon is Red XIII's birthplace. For years, Cosmo Canyon was protected by a tribe of warriors of Red XIII's species. Nanaki (Red XIII) was the descendent of a line of guardians. Cosmo Canyon was once at war with the Gi tribe who were defeated by Nanaki's father, Seto. Seto secretly sacrificed himself to save his home and family, but continued to watch over Cosmo Canyon as a statue. 
The organization of Avalanche was founded in Cosmo Canyon by a man who realized the danger posed by the mako reactors after learning the Study of Planet Life. Despite this, Cosmo Canyon never turned into a main battlefield between Avalanche and the Shinra Electric Power Company, as the movement placed their base of operations in Wutai.
In Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, the Turks were sent to Cosmo Canyon to find a specimen of Red XIII's species for Professor Hojo's research. At the same time, Nanaki and the female Deneh were to perform the fifty-year ritual. Nanaki was frightened to take part and told this to his adoptive grandfather, Bugenhagen. Nanaki's fear made Deneh consider him a coward. While Fuhito of Avalanche traveled to confront his old master, Bugenhagen, the Turks fought through Avalanche forces to try to steal Deneh, but Nanaki jumped ahead to save her. Though Nanaki is taken into Shinra hands, Deneh escapes unharmed.
Final Fantasy VII
In "In the Land of the Study of Planet Life", while traveling across the continent on a buggy, the vehicle broke down and the party is forced to take refuge in Cosmo Canyon. Red XIII, who hails from the town, went with them, and the group heard his real name for the first time. Bugenhagen told Cloud Strife and his companions about the planet and the lifestream. Aerith Gainsborough learned more about Cetra and the promised land, while the townspeople told Cloud about Professor Gast and how he visited the town thirty years ago, having made a grave mistake. Barret Wallace was excited to arrive at Cosmo Canyon as the place that Avalanche had first started.
Bugenhagen sensed Red XIII resented his father, as Red XIII believed he had ran off when fighting the Gi tribe. To let Red XIII see the truth for himself, Bugenhagen opened the sealed door to the Cave of the Gi
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Katya did not moan, but moaned, moaned, and now Serega pulled out. His penis sharply and a stream of squirt escaped from my slut. - So she also squirts, Oleg Petrovich was surprised.