DCFFVII Research Thread

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
Who knew so much juiciness would be on the beta disc. That discovery about the multiplayer mode equipment alone had to validate your efforts.
Who knew so much juiciness would be on the beta disc. That discovery about the multiplayer mode equipment alone had to validate your efforts.
Truly. I have not even tried yet to find where the stats of equipment is stored. Whether via investigating the hex alone or by unlocking a playable stage in the beta disc, the next step in the item investigation is to confirm all their stats & traits and compare those with the retail editions.

The excitement of potentially unlocking the installation screen for the beta multiplayer feels far away though. I have not been able to get in touch with KrHACKen. The easiest way to contact them was via AssemblerGames, but that site is still down.


I can't unpack the files in the beta with Noesis, but I can still confirm some file names via Cheat Engine.


Some of you may recognize the sound directory document, jsnddb. The db document is also an important register.

The wave files contain sound effects, but the actual sound effects used in-game exist elsewhere in the data.

Going back to jsnddb, I searched the "bgm" (background music) referenced in the β Version data:
bgm_004 Title (PV)
bgm_008 Lobby

The Start Menu uses bgm_004. If the bgm list from retail matches beta, then bgm_008 is the online lobby theme.

What's interesting here is that 009, 010, 020 and 043 do not exist in the sound register document, jsnddb. They are also not referenced in the immediate memory of the post-beta releases, when investigated with Cheat Engine.

Makes you wonder about the other soundtracks that hide in the beta disc. Unfortunately I have no way of getting them to play. I have tried.


These strings of text are stored before all the configuration text and after the "not-available-right-now" text boxes triggered in the β start menu.




プレイ時間 %d:%d

(Google Translate)

Quick load

A church
Leave and gather at the church
present location

Direction of entry
Possession money

X Gil
Play time Y:Z
I bring this up because I'm not sure if this bit
refers to "Reeve" or if it is telling you to leave. A bit more than halfway through Chapter 1, you are told to clear the enemies away and meet Reeve at the east church. Maybe this text string refers to that?
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These last few months I have booted up the tutorial/training mode of Dirge over one hundred times. Despite this it took me until just now to discover an easter egg... The tutorial narrator changes her greeting depending on the time of day that your console's clock is currently on.

Good morning, Mr. Valentine.


Good day, Mr. Valentine.


Good evening, Mr. Valentine.


You should have seen my double-take when I booted up the training mode and suddenly heard "Good morning" when I was expecting to hear "Good day" for the over-one-hundredth time. :wacky:

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
I bring this up because I'm not sure if this bit
refers to "Reeve" or if it is telling you to leave. A bit more than halfway through Chapter 1, you are told to clear the enemies away and meet Reeve at the east church. Maybe this text string refers to that?
It's saying to meet with Reeve at the church, yeah.
Confirmed that the same clock-based dialogue is present in the Japanese game. The text is the same between JORG and INT.




(Google Translate)

Good morning.
Vincent Valentine

Vincent Valentine

Good evening.
Vincent Valentine

Speaking of the tutorial, I don't think I mentioned that three of the hi-res models are used (kind of) for the tutorial messages in both the main game and in the tutorial.




2D frames of the higher-resolution models are printed for these tutorial messages. The other three good-lookers (Gold Ingots, Cardkey, Omega Report & Deepground Files) are still nowhere to be seen in the used parts of the game.

EDIT: To illustrate the difference yet again between the two model types, here is the first item case in Chapter 1.

Normal item case (g038)​


Replaced with hi-res model (g019) using Cheat Engine​

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Contact established with krHACKen! This was likely thanks to Teioh directing me to the forum PSX-Place, where I sent krHACKen a message today.

Neat info from their reply:
beta games are only installable from beta versions of the POL viewer. For some reasons, the Front Mission Online Beta JPN game that I own came with a retail/final POL Viewer version. I don't have a beta POL for Japanese region.
Since your beta Dirge of Cerberus game disc probably installs only from its bundled POL Viewer, I will have to install your POL Viewer version to my PS2HDD and crack it from scratch. This will take a while, as it certainly has the toughest form of DRM ever seen on a PS2 software lol

There are no guarantees on when progress will be made here, if at all. You'll notice if the beta multiplayer installation screen gets unlocked. :monster:

Today I experimented with extracting images from DCFFVII ram dumps. So far I haven't been able to extract anything particularly exciting though.



The trick is like this:
- Copy the appropriate memory region in RAM (as seen in Cheat Engine). In this case, start saving from a section that reads "TIM2" and up until the next "TIM2" header (but not including it).
- Paste into a Hex Editor and save
- Give the Hex Editor file the extension ".tm2"
- Run the file in "Tim2bmp_converter"
- Woila, extracted BMP image from game RAM.

This method, or at least something very similar to it, is what krHACKen did when they extracted the artwork from the multiplayer installation screen. Because the installation was active in the game's memory, they could find the relevant sections of RAM and extract the artwork thusly.

The principle here with the artwork is the same as with (most of) the game's manuscript: Unless the scene is actually playing, the dialogue text won't be visible in RAM.
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The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
Shad, given how little data is on the disc compared to the retail releases, do you suspect there actually will be any script to be found beyond stuff like items? Or do "story dialogue script" and "NPC dialogue script" take up so little space comparably that one wouldn't be able to guess whether it was there without checking everything?

I'm honestly already surprised by how much was on the disc itself rather than on the servers alone.
Shad, given how little data is on the disc compared to the retail releases, do you suspect there actually will be any script to be found beyond stuff like items?
I am 99% confident that the text for the multiplayer installation screen is present on the beta disc. It was there in JORG, so there's no reason for it not to be there in beta.

I am of course referring to these paragraphs of text that come and go while the installation is happening.


Text itself takes up very little space. You need only prove that by writing a document in Notepad or Word and then checking the filesize. I will not be surprised if the beta disc actually contains manuscript from the Single Player as well as NPC dialogue from the online mode. Space is not the problem. The whims of the developers are.


Or do "story dialogue script" and "NPC dialogue script" take up so little space comparably that one wouldn't be able to guess whether it was there without checking everything?
There are two ways for us to find the script. Either by seeing it in RAM or by checking the game files directly.

If we had the extraction tools to read every game file directly, we would have no problem finding whatever it is we're looking for. Sadly, we don't have those tools for Dirge of Cerberus. Nobody with the hacking skills care hard enough to create a text extractor (unless there's some obscure project unbeknownst to me).

For lack of tools and easy-to-read files, we are left with RAM (random-access-memory).

I will now illustrate in needless detail why the NPC dialogue of the Deepground lobby (if it exists) remains elusive. :wacky:

You play Dirge and load up Chapter 7, the Shera airship chapter. You check the memory where you know that dialogue text will appear.


Well that's a whole lot of nothing. You search for familiar text strings from the airship chapter via Cheat Engine, but come up empty.

You wander around the airship. Sometimes the RAM changes from just zeros to a bunch of gibberish, but no dialogue text is happening.

Then you walk to an arbitrary NPC and talk to them.


As you do this, an explosion of text pops up in memory where there was either zeroes or gibberish before!


^(image edited for more fluid reading)

The NPC line you just triggered, and many other pieces of text, just appeared in RAM. The text will linger once your conversation with the current NPC is over. But once you move beyond certain borders, the game detects "Ok we no longer need this to take up memory" and wipes away the text from the random-access memory.


^the sight of change happening in memory

To trigger the text again, you just have to talk to an NPC again or trigger a cutscene.

This illustrates more clearly the principle that *most* of the game's text is only visible via Cheat Engine while the text is happening.

That's why even places that may very well contain online NPC dialogue, like z217, still doesn't show it to us. I need to actually talk to the NPCs or else the text won't show up in RAM.


Lv. 1 Adventurer
Hi !

I finally registered because Outlook is being meh. It keeps refreshing the page and I can't write any email...

beta games are only installable from beta versions of the POL viewer
Actually I'm wrong here. I thought that beta games were only installable from the beta POL, because my beta copy of FFXI US was rejected by the retail POL. Although, Front Mission Online JPN Beta AND Dirge of Cerberus JPN Beta ARE installable from the final version of the retail POL... at least from the cracked version I made last year.

I yet do not know which version of the PlayOnline Viewer is on this DoC beta disc. Will be investigated later... For now I must sanitize my HDD and write the i.Link ID of my Debugging Station to another one, so I could do RAM snapshots...


Lv. 1 Adventurer
The apps of the DoC beta discs :
- PlayOnline Viewer Ver.1.14.03 (2004/09/14) [SLPS-20200]
- Tetra Master (2004/09/08) [SLPS-20200]
- Janhourou (2004/07/27 Build 2) [SLPS-20200]
- Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII ß Version (2005/07/11 Build 2) [SLPM-68016]

I'm almost sure that the retail DoC contains the same POL Viewer version.

The installation screen now, here are the screenshots and recordings :

























Download (26 PNGs, 15 MB) : install_screenshots.rar
No screenshot of the "installation complete" message yet, sorry. My Debugging Station struggles with disc read errors and cannot go past the 19% :( .

Videos :
* The POL Viewer part
Download (20 MB) : DoCbetaInstall_pt1.mkv

* Installation
Download (142 MB) : DoCbetaInstall_pt2.mkv


The above poast was marked as spam (new user, poasting links), and moved to its own section; I've moved it here, I'm not sure if this is the intended thread but it looks all right. Sorry for the inconvenience :monster:

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
It should be here, so I've gone ahead and moved it. Thanks, O' Tentacled One.

Also, holy crap. Shademp is going to flip when he sees this. :monster:
Welcome to TLS krHACKen!

*sdᴉlɟ dɯǝpɐɥS*

This is absolutely amazing. I can't thank you enough!

So much progress and on such short notice.

Observations, comparing β- and retail installation screen:

- Some paragraphs of text are identical. Other paragraphs have received changes that range from small re-phrasings to additions of whole new sentences.​
- Two screens (with text) that are in retail but is not in β:​
- The screens present in β, but not in retail, reveal the artwork that was previously only seen by extracting it from the RAM of the retail edition. With the β installation, we get these hidden images and accompanying text which are not shown in the 2006 version.​
- An entirely new artwork piece in the screen about limit breaks! :D This one wasn't even among the hidden images on the retail disc!​
Here we see a DG soldier in a Magic Suit, surrounded by flashy effects. I admit my first reaction was that the artwork was depicting a character overflowing with magic (rather than executing a limit break) but the adjacent text only seems to mention limit breaks [リミットブレイク ]. With my manual pattern-recognition I don't see any references to magic.​
In 2006 the above artwork was replaced with the one you see below, which more clearly shows off a limit break being executed. The text is identical between the two.​
- Photos taken by beta testers had already revealed some differences between beta/2005 and retail/2006, but now we can make comprehensive comparisons. No, I don't wish to wait until the 2005 artwork has been properly ripped as well :wacky:
2005 vs 2006

The skull in beta is considerably more exaggerated/cartoony, sporting an angry face instead of looking, you know...dead. :monster:
Look at that dutch angle in the retail edition!​
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Lv. 1 Adventurer
Hmmm, I wanted to install the two Dirge of Cerberus versions and rip their files from the hard disk. However I wiped the PS2HDD and used another TEST unit, the installation still wont complete. I'm very very disappointed.

On a sidenote, it seems that there's a bug in the installer of the beta version. When I select "Cancel", it does... nothing, and the controller stops responding lol. Had no problem canceling the retail version installation.

You got mail, Shademp.
Thanks to the RAM saves provided to me by krHACKen, I can now extract the artwork and text from both installation screens (2005 & 2006).

The artwork in the beta did not reveal any unused art, but it's still cool to have it all extracted.

2005 vs 2006





In beta, the tag next to each rank icon seems to read "FIST OFFCER", as in "First Officer". In the retail version, the tags read "Scout", "Trooper" and "Comma" (as in "Commander").

The rank icons/medals here don't match what is shown in-game though, at least for the 2006 version. The icon at the top is not "Scout", but Drone 3rd. The second icon isn't "Trooper", but Drone 1st. The final icon isn't "Commander" but actually Trooper 3rd.

These two pieces received tiny, insignificant changes. Open each image in separate tabs and switch between the tabs to clearly see where some strokes hold miniscule discrepancies.



I see no indication of these tiny differences being due to some animation effect. In the installation screens, no animations are present for the artworks.
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(Google Translate)
Depending on the type of armor and mask, the character can acquire various abilities.​
Just like with the mask descriptions in the β item list, we see the claim that masks had actual effects on your character's abilities. I have still not confirmed if this was the mechanic employed during β testing from September 22 - October 31, 2005.

Keep in mind it's entirely possible that paragraphs like the above were not what beta testers actually got to see when they installed the game. From the very first installation, the server may have imparted a version update that erased the reference to masks affecting gameplay.

(Google Translate)
Characters can acquire various abilities by the type of armor etc.​
Suits always determined your player stats.

Here are the game-describing paragraphs that are identical when comparing beta and retail.


(Google Translate)

With Multiplayer, you can play against players all around the world using the online environment.



(Google Translate)

Within Deepround you can freely roam and act as a place of communication (lobby) with other players.



(Google Translate)

You will recruit friends and opponents in the mode that you desire.
When the number of people is complete, you will jump to the battlefield and start battle.



(Google Translate)

It is a map set on dense forest.
Because it is blocked by trees and the surrounding perspective is bad, a battle of tension is developed, such as a surprise attack using a bush and a colleague with enemy troops.



(Google Translate)

It is a map which makes a battle inside the building, which is impressive in the center colonnade.
How to control the position which becomes the essential point of passage by using height difference will be a breakdown of victory and defeat.



(Google Translate)

It is a desolate map where rocky skin spreads on one side.
A fierce competition on the front line is expected, and a sniping sniper from a long distance is also a threat.



(Google Translate)

During battle, the limit break can be used by satisfying certain conditions.
Characters that triggered a limit break will have such a tremendous ability to break down disadvantageous stages at once.
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The timer and the text that scrolls at the bottom of the installation screen belongs to the "static" addresses: They are always present, just like the item list and config menu text.


約 Y 分 X 秒


約 X 秒


約 Z時間 Y分 X秒


(Google Translate)

Time Remaining

about Y min X seconds

about X seconds

about Z hours Y minutes X seconds

⏻(オン/スタンバイ)/RESETボタンを押したり、"PlayStation BB Unit"を取り外したりしないで下さい。



(Google Translate)

⏻ (ON / STANDBY) / Do not press the RESET button or remove "PlayStation BB Unit".
The extracted text is from beta and the two images above are from retail. The only difference between the two is that the former ends in "下さい。" while the latter ends in "ください。".

The power symbol at the start of the sentence doesn't show for me because I don't have the relatively recent Unicode update that supports it. It really is silly that the symbol has not been available from pretty much the start.

As a bonus, here is the text that is present in RAM immediately after the item list and immediately before the timer/do-not-press-or-remove text seen above.




(Google Translate)

It is not an elf that can return to POL
Communication is not an available elf
Can not be used when offline games
Can not be used when starting DVD
Launch Map Checker

DEBUG menu

Development lobby server
The only difference between beta and retail here is that the latter includes the name "??id??" which is used for invalid item addresses.
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(Google Translate)

Players will become DG Soldiers at DG (Deepground) under the Midgar Basin, and will fight hard training for the strongest soldier.
Only difference (in text) between 2005 and 2006 is the font they use for "DG". Former uses DG, the latter uses "DG". This affects when the line breaks happen inside the text window.




In BT (Battle) mode and TBT (Team Battle) mode, you can set complex conditions of defeat of enemies, contest of mako capsules, attack at base.
It will be the victory of a character (or team) who satisfies one of the conditions as soon as possible.




As a battle rule, it is possible to set the mode to compete against the enemy's defeat number, the fighting game of the mako capsule, the control game of the base, and so on.
Quite the shortening they made.




Each DG Soldier is individually classified according to their war record.
By performing a battle, you can promote your character.




DG Soldiers are individually classified.
By performing a specific mission, you can promote your character.
You promote your DG rank by clearing examination missions, but you also have a "Battle Record" and "Ranking Points". The former measures your wins against your losses to show your percentage of overall success (or lack thereof). The latter is accumulated so you can be granted access to examination missions to promote your class/rank. Team battles may also be set with a participation rule "You must have X ranking points or more in order to enter" so to roughly match the skill level of the player pool.

It is not clear to me which of these "war records" the beta version text is referring to. The text in retail less ambiguously refers to your class/rank, which matches the theme of the artwork to the right.
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Three game-descriptive paragraphs which are exclusive to the beta version.




In the FA (Fortress Assault) mode, each has a base (dungeon) as a base.
It is the victory condition of the FA mode that invade into the base of the enemy and find the core which is the heart part and destroy it.




The base can be remodeled by investing funds.
Besides setting routes and arranging enemy monsters, you can also purchase new maps.
I know from blogs that in team battles, the player (presumably the leader who set up the battle table) could set the max HP of the base they are to destroy. They could also activate or deactivate item drops. I am less clear on how much freedom they actually had when it came to distributing boxes and exploding drum cans.

What I am not familiar with are the claims above that the player could set routes, arrange enemy monsters and purchase new maps. There is no mention in 2006 blogs, or even in official 2005 PlayOnline reports, that new maps had to be "purchased".

Just like with the claim of masks having traits, we face the uncertainty of these paragraphs not representing the text that players actually got to see once they connected to PlayOnline and installed the online game.


敵の侵入に耐えうる、強固な基地をつくり出すことが、 FAモードで勝利の鍵を握ることになります。


Creating a strong base that can endure the invasion of enemies will be the key to victory in FA mode.
It is also possible that this particular version of "Base Attack", called FA here in beta, was removed for the 2006 version. My knowledge of the varying game modes, and how they might differ between beta and retail, is limited. FA mode is not mentioned in the installation screen of the retail edition.

Finally, for the descriptive paragraphs, here are the two which are exclusive to the 2006 edition.


「FINAL FANTASY VII」の物語の 3年後の世界が舞台になります。


Single Player is a mode for one person with Vincent as the hero.
Three years after the story of "FINAL FANTASY VII" will be the stage.
The first game-describing paragraph to pop up, followed by the mention of the tutorial.




In the tutorial, you can learn basic operations in general. First of all, you can choose this and get used to the operation.
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The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
Odd that Google Translate gave you "Midgar Basin" up there for ミッドガル地下 -- that should just be "the Midgar underground."
Another surprise is that the translation actually printed "Midgar" and not "Midgal". I usually have to correct google translate there. :monster:

Alright, the remaining text in RAM that only exists when the installation screen is unlocked...is more difficult to analyze because I lack the ability to explore all menus and their scenarios. But here goes.




Installation will start.
Is it OK?

Click OK and you get right to the installation screen. The following scenario seems to be built in for if you choose CANCEL, either at this instance or after you first agreed to start the installation.



Installation will be canceled.
Is it OK?

Choose OK, and...



Installation was aborted.

However if you choose to go through with the installation and it completes 100%...


Installation finished successfully.
krHACKen has not unlocked this yet in beta, but has done so for retail.


All the text pasted in this post are identical between β and 2006.

To limit the length of this post, I'll reserve the remaining of this particular batch of RAM-traced text for the follow-up post.
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Scenarios for when something is wrong with your BB Unit. If this text is used at all, it may happen before or during the installation.

PlayStation BB Unitの


The PlayStation BB Unit
has insufficient free space.
To install this game,
you need at least 8192MB of free space.
Only realized just now that the roughly 8.2GB space needed is a big deal. Your typical PS2 HDD had 40GB of space. FFXI appears to, initially, have taken up 8GB as well. So if we assume that every online game required just over 8GB on your HDD, you would only be able to afford *almost* five games. That's assuming you don't save anything else on your HDD, which would be annoying because you want to save all those screenshots you take from gameplay.

Granted, online games typically require dedication and your average player is not expected to play four online games simultaneously. But as you try out different online games over the years, you would have eventually had to uninstall some. Not saying it's a big issue, just projecting myself into the life of a PS2 online gamer.

PlayStation BB Unitを認識できません。
PlayStation BB Unitを正しく接続した後、
PlayStation 2本体の電源を入れて下さい。


Can not recognize "PlayStation BB Unit".
To install this game, you need
at least 8192MB of free space.
Please turn on the PlayStation 2 main unit
after correctly connecting the PlayStation BB Unit.
The scenario for if your BB Unit wasn't registering, maybe because of malfunction, use of bootleg or because you needed to tighten the screws on that BB Unit.

Not sure what the "Please turn on PlayStation 2 main unit" command is about. If you can read this message, surely your PS2 is already on? Speaking of that row of text, it is the only section of this "error detected" text scenario where there is a difference between beta and retail.

B: PlayStation 2本体の電源を入れて下さい。
R: PlayStation 2本体の電源を入れてください。

Yup, it's the exact same type of change that was made for the scrolling "Do not press the RESET button or remove "PlayStation BB Unit"" text. A rewrite that doesn't change the meaning, as far as I can tell.



An error occurred.
Installation will be canceled.
Unspecified error.



PlayOnline is not routed.
Installation will be canceled.
Does "not routed" mean that the PlayOnline server isn't connected, or just that your connection to the PlayOnline Viewer is off? I am unclear on this.

At the beginning of every batch of installation text, even before the "Installation will start. Is it OK?" line, are additional messages.

Scenario A, Beta:
Start writing installation.
Single-save saved data​
and multi-player character data​
are not changed.​
Do you want to run it?​

Scenario B, Beta:
Overwrite Start installation.
Single-save saved data​
and multi-player character data​
are not changed.​
Do you want to run it?​
Scenario A might refer to your very first installation on the current console. It takes into account the possibility that you already have single player save data as well as a multi-player character saved on the server.

Since beta testers did not have access to single player, they would never even have to think about this offline data.

Scenario B might then refer to you overwriting the old installation. Why Scenario A or Scenario B wasn't triggered for krHACKen, I do not know.

What are the variations for the retail installation screen? Well, there is the one we've already seen that goes straight to the "Installation will start. Is it OK?" message. Then we have...
「ダージュ オブ ケルベロス


When installing, installation data of
"Dirge of Cerberus
will be deleted.
Do you want to run it?
Overwrite Start installation.
Single-play saved data,
And character data of multiplayer are
It will not be changed.
Do you want to run it?
Since the scenario relies on there being a previous installation, in this case of the β Version, it makes sense that only the "overwrite start installation" scenario exists and not a "Start writing installation" scenario like for beta.

If krHACKen installed the β Version and then proceeded to overwrite this with the JORG installation version, the above text (or some of it) would probably trigger.
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Extracted Japanese and English text from DCFFVII:International via RAM and found that the mission descriptions (see "Help" banner when you are in the Extra Missions list) differ surprisingly much between the two. Some cases are quite extreme.

Description to mission #42, Two-Handed:
A massive herd of those terrible Westland beasts is ravaging the countryside. Use your finely-honed skills and powerful weapons to exterminate all 100.
Google Translate: Defeat 100 enemies!​

Eyebrows were raised. Makes you wonder if the English game is based on different Japanese text or if the localization just takes huge liberties.


Description to mission #29, Trick Arc:
The objective of this mission is to gather all the EX medals hidden throughout the area. Beware of the barriers blocking your path!
Google Translate: Female Soldiers lay barricades and they are holding a team. Collect medals scattered inside the position!​

...It never crossed my mind before that ALL the enemy soldiers in this mission are female. Revisited the mission just now and confirmed this to be the case.

Description to mission #45, Stronghold Impervious:
A powerful squad awaits you in a trap-laden facility located deep underground. Your main objective is to defeat the enemies and take control of the megastructure.
Google Translate: This is the last mission. Defeat the various traps that stand up, and the enemies that hinder the way to go, break down huge facilities!​

There are 46 missions, so Stronghold Impervious is most certainly not the last mission. Correct me if google translate is misleading the meaning here. It is via the 45th mission that you find the white capsule that, when destroyed, unlocks An Invitation to Illusion, the 46th mission.

What is true though is that Stronghold Impervious is the final mission that tests your battle skills. Another thing worth noting is that only a small part of this "stronghold" mission takes place underground and not particularly deep. The English description would have felt more correct if perhaps they had used the multiplayer-only map "Old Administrative Building". Then again, one could easily imagine that the open sky in mission #45 is just a hologram, like the sky in Deepground.

Looking at the Japanese text found in the European version, only three mission descriptions were changed between that and the release of DCFFVII:International. All changes seem to concern improving the grammar. Nothing dramatic.
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