Ok so last we left, Tifa and Barret were being marched to their deaths and we rejoin them as Scarlet shoves Tifa into the gas chamber to be executed. As Tifa is strapped in and the key falls from one of the guards, she gets excited as she knows the key means something but she can't tell what yet. Just then, Weapon attacks and as the FMV plays showing Weapon's approach, she notes "This must have been amazing back in 1997", her understanding for my nostalgic love for the game is obviously starting to grow
So as we watch Weapon attack and Barret has resigned himself to following Cait Sith (incidentally, this is the first time she has used Cait Sith and actually liked his rather simple Limit Break, still hates him as a character though) we are left with Tifa to try and wriggle her way to to get free. As the buttons appear on screen to highlight the buttons that control each body part, she begins a button bashing spree, worthy of any street fighter competition. After a few frenzied seconds of this and just seeing Tifa squirm basically she stops and realises that she needs to take her time with this. Once the calm hits she manages this little puzzle quite easily (thanks to the tips that also appear on screen) and manages to shut off the gas. As Weapon then blows a chunk out of the building she climbs down and heads out onto the sister ray. While this is happening, she watches as Barret and Cait Sith run into Yuffie and her dismay as she's stuck with the two characters she hates the most is clearly evident. As she gets to the airship and Barret pulls off his heroic pose, We are whisked back to Tifa who has been cornered by Scarlet on the Sister Ray. After the slapping match (which has slammed for being stupidly girly) the subsequent rescue on the highwind, we are off for the next adventure!
As we got on the airship, the usual excitement took place, as we explored our new base of operations. Although, every so often she'd run into Yuffie getting sick and a new tirade of abuse would appear ("Who even wants you here?! get off if your sick!"). Eventually after talking to everyone bar the pilot about 3 times, she found the pilot who let them set off towards the "Southern Isle". This was completely overshadowed by the ability to fly around with funky music playing which we did for approx 10 mins before going back to finding the island we were supposed to. After a brief hiccup while trying to land (can't land on forest, only on grass, now she knows) we got to Mideel. She actually said as she went in, "I'm not supposed to be here am I", just as Tifa overheard about Cloud being in the hospital. As she went in she spotted Cloud almost immediately behind the nurse but her suspicious mind immediately thought that this was an ambush and appeared actually disappointed when it didn't happen. Seeing Tifa stick with Cloud was very much an "Awwww" moment and then as the rest of the team decide to elect a leader, she was convinced Barret would get it and was taken aback when Cid got the vote of confidence. She believes this is the section where I fell for Cid's lovable roguish charm. Who knows, she could be right?
By this stage we've seen how Shinra are after the "Huge" materia, and are aiming towards Corel and Fort Condor. Not remembering where Fort Condor was, we spent an entertaining few minutes flying through the world until she saw the "Eagle statue" and parked up beside it. I won't bore you with the details of her tower defence game but suffice to say that her tactics could use some work. It ended up with Cid going out to save the day and to her utter dismay, she watched as the condor died. Since the date night incident in the Gold Saucer, she isn't sure what events are scripted to happen and which she has control over so I had to reassure her that this would always happen and restarting her game would not solve anything. Content in this, she proceeded towards Corel to complete the mission involving the train. This I was looking forward to as I remember the TV advert for FF7 had the train crashing FMV sequence and I hadn't seen it actually happen in the game and I will admit, I was confident I was about to see it. As she started the second train, she seemed to take a little while to get used to the alternating levers, and when she saw the 10 min countdown, she got a bit peeved at the idea of doing it for a full 10 mins. Thankfully after a few seconds she reached the other train and hopped over to begin the series of fights on the train.
The first two fights presented no difficulty, taking off 500-700HP per hit, she quickly dispatched the first two. She did have a slight hiccup with the iron giant as she had equipped RedXIII with a reflect ring and every time she cured all, she was curing the iron giant also but she took him out with a series of limit breaks with 4 minutes to spare for the final fight. Here she started to worry and after two rounds of physical attacks, cast Bolt3 twice to a devastating 6000 damage a piece, taking him out in less than 2 minutes. The last fight with the soldier was started and ended with Barret's Hammerblow limit break and to my surprise she actually managed to stop the train. Little bit disappointed but you can't have everything. When the kid then handed her the "Ultima" materia, her eyes lit up, "Ultima is better than huge right?!" and was very unimpressed with the fact you need to level up Ultima before you can use it.
After this we zoomed back towards Mideel to check on Tifa and the vegetable, just as Ultimate Weapon decided to make an appearance. Getting far too cocky, she hadn't saved in a while (just after getting Ultima) when she ran straight into him and within minutes, she had been wiped out. Shooting up from her relaxed position on the sofa, we were in vendetta mode as we spent about 10 mins preparing her battle array and sure enough, when prepared, there is very little she can't take on. Ultimate Weapon flew off leaving her very confused but not nearly as confused as she was about to get with the Zack/Cloud episode.
So Cloud and Tifa fell through the lifestream and we're at the part where most of the twists and tangles in the plot become uncovered. Before we went in, Zack was still "Evil Cloud", Cloud was a creation of Hojo, a failed Sephiroth clone, and Tifa was a messed up goodie two shoes who loved him enough to cover up the truth. As more and more of the plot became clear she began to get closer to the truth but not actually getting it until Cloud took his actual mask off. Right up until that point, she still was convinced that Cloud was in some way, a version of Zack, which is true in a way. She was also disappointed in hindsight with Aeris and Tifa's actions in Gongaga with Zack's parents. Although after some thought, she is slightly more forgiving towards Tifa as its almost stated that Tifa was completely unaware of Cloud's presence there 5 years ago. She was slightly more confused when Cloud manages to survive being impaled on the Masamune and this sparked another "is he human or what" thing but we have left that as pure adrenaline. She's also asking what happened to Zack and because its slightly more tricky to find that in the game, I'm not sure what to tell her. She does seem interested in as much of the storyline as Square can feed her so maybe Crisis Core will be another game for her to try.
So thats pretty much this week, we have just brought Cloud back on board the Highwind who has succinctly described everything in the lifestream so she's got a better understanding. She also, as she was turning it off, noted she has clocked up 40 hours of gameplay so far. Very happy with her progress and she seems to be back to the engrossed in the game state (we played for the guts of 4 hours yesterday).
Hopefully we'll have another update soon!