DCFFVII Research Thread


AI Researcher
booo square, you suck

i wonder where they did add subtitles then (unless you've already written about it and i am being dumb right now)
i wonder where they did add subtitles then (unless you've already written about it
It was way back in page 3 of this thread

The 'found footage' bit in the intro has subtitled the text on the TV and the surveying scene of the Shera (when that chapter starts) has subtitled the techno-babble. The techno-babble isn't subtitled when International is set to English, interestingly enough.

I also still have this comparison video online that shows the difference in timing with the Japanese subtitles when comparing JORG and INT. JORG is to the left.

I am bit rusty when it comes to making tables in Excel but I should improve as I move along. So far I made three documents.

- Pre-Release Analysis
- Script & Translations
- Logs - Dirge of Cerberus - Data Digging

I updated the Script & Translations document with your transcriptions and translations of the DC Antecedents (PlayOnline scene titles), Extra Mission titles, translation of the "Rapid Fire" accessory from JORG and Reeve's text message to Vincent's phone.

Pre-Release Analysis so far only has your transcription and translation from this bit way back. :monster:

Will now move along and update the Data Digging document.
At 127:0: did you mean 'looby' or 'lobby'? Before now I wasn't even aware that looby was a word. It makes sense as a 'dummy' room if the word is indeed 'looby'.

And wow... Now I really wonder what the Tetris thing at 126 is about. XD
Good man. You are an awesome panda, hito. (I hope that is taken the right way because I recall you like pandas) Really thankful for how quickly you jump into action.

Right now I can't think of anything more to add to the google docs. If you browse the Script & Translations document (observe the multiple tabs) you will see some more stuff I added.

On the naming of mission 24, "Contra Kalm", did you consider that this is a reference to the video game Contra? The mission basically consists of you shooting down groups of enemies as you make your way through Kalm, which might be compared to the action-filled process of a sidescrolling shooter...maybe. :monster:

In my excitement I forgot to talk about fiel2c's video of the Stronghold Impervious mission. Only got two observations to make.
1 - Safe, good strategy at 5:38 to dismount from the gatling gun. It might be faster to remain at the gatling gun and take damage but kill the enemies faster, but if you are just trying to survive then this is a good strategy.
2 - 16:47. I had no idea you could fall down to the lower level here! :D I always just shot Chaos from afar, ending the battle quickly without ever being in the line of fire. Neat to see a close-up battle against Chaos. I don't understand why fiel2c insists on short- and mid-range barrels, when the long range Nova L Barrel is powerful and has a decent firing rate. Still leaning towards the Nova L Barrel being the better choice above the barrels fiel2c is using.

Hopefully later today (after sleep) I will try to get the PCSX2 emulator working and maybe even get map lists from the other versions of Dirge of Cerberus.


AI Researcher
On the naming of mission 24, "Contra Kalm", did you consider that this is a reference to the video game Contra? The mission basically consists of you shooting down groups of enemies as you make your way through Kalm, which might be compared to the action-filled process of a sidescrolling shooter...maybe. :monster:
that would fit with them making a pokemon reference in another name
Progress thus far with the PCSX2:

- ultima_espio kindly linked to a "buildbot" of PCSX2 where lots of stuff come pre-prepared, so it's neat and simple to download and unpack.
- I dumped the BIOS from my European PS2, using the binary BIOS dumper and with this video tutorial as my help. The method is essentially the same as when I use RegionFaker in uLaunchELF. It is fortunate that I already have a memory card with Free McBoot installed and that I have a USB stick or else I would be stuck.

I was unable to dump the BIOS from my chipped PS2 though. ...Then again, maybe it would have worked if I had used "ps2dumper.elf" instead of "DUMPBIOS-MASS.ELF". The PCSX2 site does say "In addition, v1 of the tool is included (dumpbios-mass.elf) in case you are having trouble with the new version.".

I am worried that the BIOS will only let me play European titles but for now I'm not sure because I haven't actually tested playing my copies of Dirge in the emulator.

A bit less than a year ago I tried to make ISOs of my Dirge of Cerberus discs but I failed, probably due to some PS2-specific copy protection. We'll see how I do this time. Stay tuned.
- Creating ISOs using imgburn was easy this time around. Very thankful for that. I have now created isos for PAL, NTSC-US, JORG and INT. Pre-emptively, for research, I have also unpacked the files to the degree one can with a simple zip/7z extractor.

Updated the Data Logs sheet very quickly with a list of the files (as they appear when only the ISO is unpacked). Unlike with Crisis Core, there are no files that standard picture viewing software can read. At this stage everything is "locked", so to speak.

Most notably, though not unexpectedly, JORG has a PlayOnline folder called "POL". There is also a file called "POLKEY": The name alone tickles the mind with the possibility of unlocking PlayOnline functions and content.

How did you unpack the FILELIST.BIN file? I assume there is where you find the filelist.txt file. My first google search claimed that MagicISO was the tool to go with for extracting the BIN, but I can only get the extract function to move the FILELIST.BIN file around.

- As expected, the European BIOS only allows me to play the PAL version. I am not sure if I dare to try extracting the BIOS from my chipped PS2 again, as I'm afraid of causing damage. When I tried getting that BIOS, all I got was a 0KB file with the name "SCPH-75004_BIOS_VX_PAL_220.BIN". Obviously something way more high-end than my European "SCPH-30004_BIOS_V4_PAL_150.BIN".

- I experienced the impossibility of creating a good keyboard control scheme when you are emulating a game that heavily employs both analog sticks. Even if I could connect the mouse to either analog stick (so far unsuccessful with this) it would only make the game barely playable. This makes the keyboard compatibility of DC on console even more astounding. Is the keyboard really as bad for DC as this first impression tells me? Anyway, hooking a PS2 controller to the computer is the better solution for emulation.

- Already missing the psp emulator which was excellently built. Maybe I'm just not aware of how to configure the PCSX2, but I have not yet found a straightforward "take single gameplay snapshot" function. There are also no settings such as "freeze play window when not highlighted", which was very appreciated in the psp emulator.

- Because I had already read reports on how well (or NOT well) Dirge of Cerberus functions on the PCSX2, I was not surprised at the lag nor at the massive background effect errors. Not holding my breath that the emulator will one day be optimized to play DC.

- At least I was able to unlock a basic form of "hidden text", which users of the pSX emulator will be familiar with. DC, just like the original FFVII, will detect when a memory card is not formatted.



I do not know how to unlock this using the physical console and physical memory cards. My guess is you'd have to use some form of unfinished, bootleg memory card.
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ultima espio

Pro Adventurer
You have to use Noesis to unpack it. Copy the filelist.bin to your computer, and copy kel.dat from the folder on the disc to the same place. rename them to filelistu.x360.bin and whiteimgu.x360.bin, then open filelistu in noesis. You can't repack it again though, and I'm sure there's data not dumped.

The format is similar to FF13's, but the tools for those crash in the middle of dumping.

Also the bios doesn't need to match the game for PCSX2.
You have to use Noesis to unpack it. Copy the filelist.bin to your computer, and copy kel.dat from the folder on the disc to the same place. rename them to filelistu.x360.bin and whiteimgu.x360.bin, then open filelistu in noesis. You can't repack it again though, and I'm sure there's data not dumped.
I'm not getting anything dumped due to a 'bad offset'. Probably some important step that I'm missing. I'm not clear on what my destination file is supposed to be.

Right now my source file is the same as my destination file and maybe that's not what I'm meant to be doing.

Uploaded the NTSC-US FILELIST and KEL. In case I can't get noesis to work at all on this, I'll simply have to upload all the relevant files so you can get the map lists of the other versions as well.

Also the bios doesn't need to match the game for PCSX2.
So even my European BIOS should be able to play American and Japanese games? I wonder then why my PCSX2 refuses to play anything other than the PAL version.

ultima espio

Pro Adventurer
When you open the filelistu it'll ask for a data file, that's when you select the whiteimgu. You've just told it to dump files from itself :P
Still facing problems though. So I select whiteimgu as the destination file, where I have to choose to overwrite the old whiteimgu file.

Then when I click export, this option pops up. Whether I actually select anything or just press cancel in the right window, I end up exporting 0 objects due to 'error' and 'offset object'.

I have no idea what's going on. (If you're wondering why Noesis is in a Crisis Core folder that's because it was the only context I ever thought I would use Noesis in :monster: )

- JORG FILELIST and KEL download link
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- In the mountain path to WRO HQ you will be chased by Guard Hounds. When you wish to defeat the Dual Horn, that only appears here on Ex Hard Mode, to get Manaheart you must get a long kill chain with these Guard Hounds before wailing away at Dual Horn with something like the Sonic Griffon. I have always found this to be difficult. The slightest mistake and your kill chain is broken.

The BradyGames guide however informed me of a strategy here that I feel stupid for not thinking of myself. You have two options: Either take down each Guard Hound as they come OR let them all chase you until the end at which point you can finish them off with magic for a nice killchain. Like I said before, the guide doesn't mention Ex Hard or the Dual Horn at all, but this strategy with the Guard Hounds is mentioned and it worked WONDERS. Get a group to chase you up until you get close to where the Dual Horn will appear, finish off the Guard Hounds with magic and some of the Sonic Griffon's rapid fire, and you will have an easily gained kill chain to use on the Dual Horn. Really pleased to have a method that may only require 1-3 retries, instead of the 'one Guard Hound at a time' method which usually takes me 9-10 retries before I get it right.

- Even though it is now easier for me to get Manaheart, which I instantly update to Manamind and then Manasoul, I did not bother to reset the chapter segment so that I might save the four WRO members from the chopper missiles. I would still fail to get Manaheart at times, meaning more retries before getting to the actual fifteen-choppers f*ckery. I will reserve the Guard N Barrel challenge for a second playthrough of Ex Hard Mode.

Instead, I recorded the gameplay of me shooting down the fifteen choppers. I have long been meaning to do this. Watching this video and subsequent recordings is the only possible way that I might memorize when each chopper appears and which ones fire missiles and when.

- Noticed what might be a lie in the Japanese 'Official Complete Guide'. It claims the Dual Horn doesn't have a weak spot! Maaaaybe this might have been so in the PlayOnline missions where it first appeared, I honestly don't know. As we all know by now though, the belly is the Dual Horn's weak spot post-JORG.

- If not for hito's translation of the passage from the Complete Guide I would never have noticed that, indeed, ammo is sold for 1/10th of the normal price when on the Shera.


This is true at all times when the shop is available on the Shera.
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- Ex Hard Mode cleared in the NTSC-US version. If you have three Limit Breakers stocked up, you can end the final battle in roughly the amount of time it takes to use up all three Limit Breakers. Recall that Chaos temporarily has infinite ammo, gets HP restored and can shoot really fast when in limit break mode. Not sure if it also granted invincibility... I forgot to check.

- In the mission Two-Handed, I decided to defeat 97 Dual Horns just to see what happens. When the 97th was defeated, Shelke was automatically freed from the jukebox. No need to expend medals. Shelke was still trapped behind the laser fence though. By roaming the area I spawned the final three targets, two Dual Horns and one Arch Azul. The mission ended when they were defeated. There was no need to free Shelke from her laser prison.

I actually managed to capture Azul in the laser fence! XD He got caught in there and couldn't get out so he just began spamming homing projectiles.


Double Growth
As someone who enjoys Dirge of Cerberus, I couldn't make any meaningful progress in those missions. I remember the Dual Horn one (where you just had to kill one) took an inordinately long time. And Cait Sith vs the Crimson was just out of the question (and I know that the Cait Sith missions only get worse).
Just not good enough, I guess :P
And Cait Sith vs the Crimson was just out of the question (and I know that the Cait Sith missions only get worse).
In my experience, the first Cait Sith Extra Mission is the worst one. Defeating 100 enemies takes a really long time and there is not only great care needed in the fighting but also in the platforming. With the boss fights it's easy because mostly you just need to get the bosses into loops and then you'll win in just a few tries. Way less tedious than the 100 enemies mission.

Weird to look back and see that it was only 2 1/2 weeks ago that I started playing the NTSC-US version. Of course the adventure was extended due to experiments, research and having to play Hard Mode two times because my save got corrupted on the first round. My completion time on Ex Hard was 4 hours 56 minutes. Usually I don't go below five hours, but this time I only did the 'Defeat 100 Deepground Soldiers' challenge (Chapter 10) ONCE, so that seriously cut down on my total playtime. Just giving you an idea of just how quickly a playthrough can be done when you know what you are doing and when you skip all the cutscenes.

Speaking of, I noticed that sometimes you have the ability to use the "Skip" function, when there technically is no scene to skip but there is only blackness. I speculate that the game moves you to a "loading scene room" of sorts and that what you are doing is to "skip" and jump from that room to the one that the game is loading.

In true Dirge of Cerberus tradition, I have now played some Extra Missions and ruled them like a baws thanks to the Manasoul. Made sure that no mission was completed in over twenty minutes, so I can be pleased with the list of records I have. Man this is always so satisfying to reap the benefits from having played through Ex Hard.

Naturally I am oversaturated with DC now. Even if we get map lists for all the versions, giving me more stuff to type into google docs and potentially more stuff for hito to translate, I feel that I reached "peak DC" now. Gradually I will be moving away from this game. Who knows maybe I'll resume Crisis Core very soon instead, as was my original plan. The most immediate challenge I can think of is the acquisition of the Guard N Barrel. That is the HUGE DC goal on the horizon. I WILL get that barrel!

In summary though, what immediate explorations are left?
- Saving all the WRO Members in Chapter 6, thus acquiring the Guard N Barrel (NTSC-US version).

- Acquire the Guard N Barrel in PAL and in International (in the Ex Hard saves, of course). Low priority level here.

- On Ex Hard Mode, in Edge, you can find a keycard but decide not to use it. What will happen if I get the keycard but decide not to use it? When will it leave my inventory, if ever?

- Explore the glitch/bug in JORG where the difficulty mode displayed on the "Event Viewer" image gets locked to one difficulty no matter which one you just completed. I have a save readied for exploring this and just realized that I might as well replay JORG on Easy, instead of going at it on Hard. The mechanics of the bug can be explored just as well on Easy mode. No reason to torture myself with Hard, at least not immediately.

- Check how much HP the chopper in Chapter 10 has on Ex Hard mode. Still 10000? Has it perhaps doubled?

- Emulation: Get non-PAL versions working on PCSX2 and check if my extracted DC saves can be transferred into the emulated memory cards.

- Compare PAL and NTSC performance: Cutscene speed, gameplay speed, timer speed etc​

I could think of a couple more aspects to check out but the above peak my interest the most right now and feel realistic to explore. Time will tell when I get around to these.
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- Revisiting the mission Two-Handed. Out of general curiosity I decided to see what the max number of Gigas EX Medals are that you can carry. Surprise surprise, the max is 99 and when you reach that number you can't pick up anymore Gigas EX Medals.



The red text there indicates that the item was registered but not accepted.

Let's investigate what the Gigas EX Medals look like.

Given the game, one might at a glance assume that this is Chaos on the medal. However, the head is difficult to define and the "bangs" that go backwards from the head are not compatible with the design of winged creatures from Dirge of Cerberus. Doesn't look like a Gargoyle nor like Chaos. The neck is too short to be a Bahamut. I wonder if this is perhaps a doodle that was made when the original FFVII's Chaos was redesigned into the Compilation version? That is only my wild speculation though. On the outer ring we see stars spread around.



The crown is probably an allusion to Cait Sith's crown. The presence of stars, here placed on an inner ring of the coin compared to the outermost ring of the front side, is also a Cait Sith aesthetic as in cutscenes and gameplay he will generate stars. The outermost section seems to have text but the low quality texture makes the text impossible to read, if it even is text. In the close-up one could possibly read one string as "MARK" but I could just be imagining what is not there or at least what is not intentional.

The low quality textures of Dirge of Cerberus really is a tease at times. Very much prefer Crisis Core in this regard.

- Check how much HP the chopper in Chapter 10 has on Ex Hard mode. Still 10000? Has it perhaps doubled?
When I inflicted 10073 damage, the chopper was still destroyed at the end. Assuming for now that the HP value is not changed between Ex Hard and the lower difficulties.


Holy, Personified
Katie; Seta.
As someone who enjoys Dirge of Cerberus, I couldn't make any meaningful progress in those missions. I remember the Dual Horn one (where you just had to kill one) took an inordinately long time. And Cait Sith vs the Crimson was just out of the question (and I know that the Cait Sith missions only get worse).
Just not good enough, I guess :P

I couldn't get past the Dual Horn (first mission it appears in) either. Of course, I never played a FPS before, so... I don't know, as you said, 'just not good enough, I guess'.
- When I killed the Deepground soldier who gives you a cardkey (Edge Meteor Monument Plaza) he left a shadow on the wall. Except...the shadow wasn't on the wall of the building's second floor where he was killed. The shadow appeared, and faded away, on the first floor! It was a bit creepy. Too bad I didn't capture that on video.

- I didn't check to see when the superfluous Cardkey in the Edge chapter left my inventory but it wasn't there by the time chapter 4 started, so at least it doesn't transfer across chapters.

- When it comes to getting an S for completion time in Chapter 3, "Silent Edge", holy shit is the game hard on you. I play pretty fast but then I usually get a completion time of 21 minutes. The game, in all difficulty modes, require that you complete this chapter in less than 20 minutes. You can't waste a single second if you are to get S ranking in completion time here.

The chapters have their particular challenges, like the difficulty of keeping up the accuracy percentage or keeping damage low. With Edge, the challenge is the completion time.

- One thing I noticed in my first Ex Hard playthrough of NTSC-US was that you can actually defeat the Bull Heads in Chapter 4 (hallway in WRO HQ) by shooting them from the front. They will move their shield left and right, when you have not yet attracted their attention, thus exposing their weak spot. It is best to use a sniper rifle here. So you essentially have four possible ways to destroy the Bull Heads.
1) Use magic
2) Melee attacks (very risky and not recommended)
3) Attract the Bull Heads to you and then explode the barrel when they line up to it. Requires that the care was made to not explode it earlier when you killed the DG soldiers around.
4) Target weak spot from afar using sniper rifle.

I like the "target weak spot" strategy best. You can clear out all four Bull Heads in the hallway, thus removing any obstacle that may cause you to miss the DG soldiers that would normally pop up behind the Bull Heads at the end of the hallway.

This hallway was already an excellent source for presenting the game design of Dirge of Cerberus. Now it became even richer.

- You might recall the three Epiolnis birds at the beginning of Chapter 6. Two of them, the one to the left and the one in the middle, will run away when approached and the third one to the right will run straight at you.

If you want to take out all three birds, your best bet is a Fire magic blast. However it is unlikely that you will have the raw power to take them all out at the same time unless you are playing through Ex Hard, where you already benefit from great equipment. Given that a Lv3 fireball isn't enough to kill them all unless you already have a short kill chain going (+Manasoul which strengthens the magic), I don't think a Lv2 fireball could ever be enough in this scenario. If you don't have powerful equipment, your best bet is to sniper headshot either the one in the middle or the one to the left. The one to the right will run towards you and be easy to kill, so you will then have killed two out of three birds.

Now, does it matter which ones you kill or not? Aside from if you are aiming for a higher kill count, no. What they drop is random. They could drop Red Potion, Red Ether, Phoenix Down or even nothing at all. Other drops could exist, as I have only tested this scenario half a dozen times so far.

- THE FIFTEEN CHOPPER FUCKERY. I have not retried this scenario today. Just wanted to play up to this chapter in my new Ex Hard playthrough so that everything is set and ready to go for my epic journey towards the GUARD N BARREL! I will be gone on Thursday -> Saturday, so I'm probably gonna train up on the Guard N Barrel challenge tomorrow.

I may be writing a lot of stuff now but I still hold that I'm on my last breaths when it comes to this period of DC obsession. Soon I won't have anymore left in me for a few months at least.
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- It wouldn't be an FFVII vehicle if it didn't read "Midgul" on it. :monster:

- After doing the chopper/Dragonfly scenario about twelve times in my hunt for the Guard N Barrel, I got frustrated and randomly decided to fire at the choppers using Ultima Weapon. Turns out...they get destroyed in 2-3 shots. =/ When a Dragonfly is destroyed, it will not fire any missiles. So for a majority of the challenge you are able to avoid missiles completely, using this easy, overpowered method.

I learned a lot both about the fifteen choppers and the gameplay segments that immediately follows. I have memorized when and where each Dragonfly will appear and which ones pose a threat to the WRO dudes.

0:01 - Defining Dirge of Cerberus design flaw. The game insists on obscuring your view when telling you what the mission is! This happens way too often. You can't pause when this happens or click past the effect. All you can do is rely on gameplay experience so that you know where to shoot even though you are blind.

0:14 - I have never seen the missiles from the Dragonflies trigger these exploding barrels but I feel better having them exploded than to have them stay there right next to the WRO guy who will run up to these barrels.

0:45 - Some choppers never fire missiles (directly at Vincent or the WRO members) at all, meaning that I could relax and use the gatling gun to save on normal ammo. This is also why I play around with the rifle later on.

3:17 - Two close calls, both at 3:17 and at 3:46. After the 10th Dragonfly is destroyed you get to the most difficult part of the entire challenge. Three choppers will appear, two of which will quickly rain hellfire upon you. Even with Ultima Weapon, you don't have time to stop them. I have no idea how one could possibly destroy all the missiles in time if you were using only the gatling gun. Using the machine gun and a well-placed Thunder shot (a lot of luck is required here because even with Thunder Lv3 the timing has to be very precise) I was able to defend the WRO members. Even with my Ultima Weapon method, it took me three tries to complete it successfully because of the ridiculous difficulty when chopper #11, #12 and #13 appear.

4:23 - All four WRO dudes successfully saved, for the first time in all of my playthroughs of Dirge of Cerberus!

5:30 to 7:27 - Yes I know, I missed the Cactuar. Got too hasty and excited but you know what I honestly don't care. In this section you save three WRO soldiers. Because of playing through this and later segments each time I failed the chopper challenge I now know when and where each enemy will appear. I can mark lines on the map that act as triggers for this and that enemy. Knowing this is essential if you want to come through without having to use restorative items.

7:17 - I transform into Galian Beast to boost the strength of my melee attacks, in preparation for the hallway at 7:30. Using Vincent's normal form and melee attacks is good enough (I suspect in JORG he would be too slow though, so it'd be better to transform into Galian Beast) and I haven't failed so far with that strategy but I wanted to reduce the risk to 0%. This WRO dude can die very quickly. With him saved we now rank up to a total of eight saved members.

8:18 - Skipping a part here for the video. The only sure way of not being hit by the DG solder in hiding at 8:30 is by using Fire magic.

8:41 - In this room you save four WRO members. One guy, who falls down from the second floor at 8:44, is scripted to die so he doesn't count. I only show three living WRO dudes here but I'm sure the fourth one is around behind a pillar somewhere.

8:52 - Skipping to the GUARD N BARREL! This box will only appear if you have saved all 12 WRO members. Threw away the Manaheart here because I don't need it filling space in my inventory.


I had completely forgotten that when you use the Restart function, the gameplay time still accumulates. All other stats get reset but not the timer, ergo why this mission with all my retries took almost exactly three hours to complete!

Curious that I didn't destroy enough targets for S ranking... Maybe the game relies on me destroying incoming missiles as being those targets. That and/or the Bizarre Bugs in the mountain path steal my kills when they kill the DG soldiers and the Sweepers. I am actually not sure if those kills aren't added to my own count when the Bizarre Bugs do the job.


It's...beautiful. 12/12 members. For the first time. ;___;

I am both happy and angry. Happy because I know the game better now and because I finally have the Guard N Barrel in my inventory. Angry because I am yet to complete this challenge THE LEGIT WAY, which will be a necessity on Normal Mode and Hard Mode where your equipment isn't always overpowered.

Also angry because of how unfairly difficult the path to the Guard N Barrel is, ESPECIALLY if you are not using Ultima Weapon. Clearing out all the missiles in time is way too difficult. The aiming of the gatling gun has to be pixel-precise and way too often will missiles not be destroyed even when you think that your sight lines up perfectly (and even when you think you've accounted for the delay between when you fire the shot and when it reaches the missiles). Although it is predetermined which choppers will fire missiles and when they will fire it, their trajectories are somewhat randomized meaning you can't memorize everything perfectly like with the Missilebreaker challenges in Extra Missions.

If the restart function placed you back to right before the fifteen choppers I would be slightly more forgiving of this challenge. Dirge of Cerberus is about repetition and memorization more so than reflexes. But no, the game puts you back at the beginning of the stage. Meaning it takes you three minutes before you get back to the challenge with the choppers.

So what we have here is a challenge that requires both great memorization and pixel-precise reflexes coupled with mastery of poor controls.


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The only good thing about DoC is that I don't have to play it.

*laughs* Seriously though that is a beautiful reminder. When I wrote that my only exposure to Dirge of Cerberus was a playlist showing all the game's cutscenes. This must have been in 2006 or 2007. I was so bored by the cutscenes and so put off by the plot and the characters. The changes and additions to FFVII canon was also something I disliked. Playing the game felt out of the question for a really long time.

I think it was in 2012 or 2013 that I played DC for the first time. Did it for research purposes and because I felt that I would be an incomplete FFVII fan if I did not experience this game first-hand. My first playthrough resulted in a lot of ACTUAL headaches because everything about the game felt so off-putting. The music was boring, the textures looked fuzzy and lacking in detail, the cutscenes and voice deliveries felt awkward etc etc. I did become more forgiving of the story though thanks to the gaming context: Cutscenes become more of a break and sometimes even a reward for your gameplay tenacity, so that was the start of how I began to associate the story of DC with more positive emotions.

Silver lining aside, after that first playthrough of story mode I thought to myself "Never again. I'm not putting myself through this again."

My compulsion to complete games 100% eventually got the better of me and I played through Ex Hard Mode, completed all the Extra Missions and collected all the capsules. The Extra Missions marked my first moments of finding deep enjoyment in the game. I will never forget how awesome it felt to learn the importance of the sniper rifle in the Rains of Gehenna mission. The game was finally TEACHING ME its mechanics and there was the hint of there being more to DC than meets the eye.

With each playthrough and Extra Mission completed there was newfound appreciation for the game: There was a visible reward from my increased familiarity with the game's stages and mechanics PLUS completing each story mode playthrough was such a wonderfully fluid process once you skipped all the cutscenes (except for the favorite scenes).

I will never claim that Dirge of Cerberus is more than a mediocre game. In my view, the first Japanese release is bad and the later releases are mediocre. When it comes to researching games and mastering them I can easily overlook design flaws and a bad plot. The reward is then in picking apart the game, both the gameplay and the cutscenes. Awkward and cheesy cutscenes become an interesting study in scene choreography and writing. The fact that your immersion in the story is repeatedly broken is no longer a penalty because you are not looking to be immersed. Replaying the stages and trying to master them becomes a question about what the game designers intended versus what they achieved. You feel like an explorer.

Dirge of Cerberus isn't the only game I have explored this way. Back in the day I replayed Mega Man X5, a heavily flawed game, over and over and I researched any secrets it might have. Sometimes we just like exploring games that are mediocre or bad, especially when we get a reward from doing so.

- The BradyGames guide does not mention the second Cactuar in Chapter 10. You know the one that pops up after a timer reaches zero. I find the lack of this info in the guide to be lulzworthy even though this is BradyGames we are talking about. All the guide says is to leave the area before the timer reaches zero.

- Right after the second Cactuar and shortly before the "Defeat 100 Deepground soldiers" challenge is a sniping segment. For a long time there were two soldiers that I did not know of an effective way to shoot from the platforms near the top because they were never within available scope sight. In this last playthrough of Ex Hard I finally figured out how you are meant to attract them! Here is an upload of that sniping segment.

While there is some wiggle room in the order that you defeat enemies, you will not be able to comfortably defeat all the soldiers if you shoot a given enemy too early (because then the rest will start shooting at you and walk around a lot)! This is a perfect example of how DC is about retries and memorization. At 0:38 I shoot the guy in the gatling gun chair. Normally I would shoot the guy behind him because I thought that was the sneakiest/best strategy. But it turns out that when you shoot the gatling gun guy first (after having cleared out the rest of the area) the three remaining soldiers will group up. This means that those two final elusive soldiers are finally within scope reach! :D I left in the mistake at 0:44 where I end up shooting a wall (the railing), just to show how the game can fool you into thinking that the environment isn't in your way. I had to back away a bit in order to not shoot a wall.

So far I haven't found a way for the final soldier (in this case whoever of the two last guys who end up as the last one standing) to not spot Vincent but I doubt there is one. The current strategy/memorization is excellent already. :headbang: Bask in that kill chain!

- After every stage/chapter the game checks the percentage of Mako Points you stepped on, worded as "Mako Collected X%". Discovered now that the game only count each Mako Point ONCE. Although you can wait for a Mako Point to respawn and give you MP, stepping on them after that first time will NOT add to your percentage completion.

So when aiming for a 100% Mako Point completion/collection it won't help to step on the same Mako Point twice and you can't ignore the MPs in the boss areas. Examples:
- Chapter 1 boss area: One Mako Point to the south and one to the north (you start out in the west end and the church marks the east end).
- Chapter 9 boss area: Have Arch Azul destroy all the pillars and unlock every Mako Point and jump on each one. Unless you are bent on mimicking my strategy with meleeing Arch Azul to death you are unlikely to overlook these Mako Points.
- Chapter 11 boss area: Way back in page 7 of this thread I discovered the two Mako Points that can be unlocked when battling the Dragonfly PT. You have to stick around, shooting down the gargoyles soaring above you, make sure they land on a location that Vincent can reach and eventually Mako Points will spawn where they died. The battle is seriously lengthened by not focusing all your fire on the Dragonfly PT which also means you will probably sustain a good amount of damage while you are trying to unlock the MPs. Thankfully I still got a good ranking for Chapter 11.


You know for Ex Hard (which so far actually doesn't look like it changes the ranking conditions at all when compared to Normal and Hard) the ranking is very kind to you. ...I am fine with this!

By keeping these Mako Points in mind I was actually able to get a 100% completion when the cumulative results came.

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I started replaying this game today and I blame you for it. :closedmonster:

Good god, this is bland and mediocre and clunky. :lol:
I remember actually kinda enjoying it the first time around but my assessment got more and more critical each time.

And yes, cutscenes are really awkward. The pacing is often...I don't know. Slow and weird.

I still stand by my opinion that I think Omega is a cool concept though and one of the only things that makes this feel like VII. =p
- Version differences...in the configuration menu! PLEASE BE EXCITED!

Booted up DC, without any memory card, to see what the start-up configuration looks like before you begin your first playthrough.




INT (English)

What are the differences here then?

Subtitles: On by default in JORG, PAL and INT. Off by default in NTSC-US.
Speaker's Name: On by default in INT. They are on in JORG and PAL as well, but the start-up configuration curiously does not include this option! The config menu during the actual game does include the Speaker's Name option. Speaker's Name is off by default in NTSC-US.
Sight & Camera: Inverted in JORG and INT. Normal in NTSC-US and PAL. This might be a typical difference between Japanese and English games, just like how the Japanese have Circle as the OK button while the non-Japanese use Cross as the OK button.

We already knew that Sight Support is a post-JORG function, so no surprise at the lack of it in JORG. PAL has one exclusive feature though...

Screen Position: Most likely meant for if the player thinks that the screen isn't centred properly. I wonder if this is a typical PAL feature.


All the aforementioned differences are naturally reflected in the config menus accessible during gameplay. Again, I find it odd that the "Speaker's Name" option is not present in the start-up config menu in JORG and PAL but it is an available option when the game actually begins.

I started replaying this game today and I blame you for it. :closedmonster:
Good. Gooooooood.


And yes, cutscenes are really awkward. The pacing is often...I don't know. Slow and weird.
The absolute worst is this scene where Shelke falls over. Come to think of it not many scenes reach this level of awkward but holy heck is it difficult to shake off, especially as one of the game's earliest scenes.

I still stand by my opinion that I think Omega is a cool concept though and one of the only things that makes this feel like VII.
Agreed, the concept has its merit. It definitely fits the world-building of FFVII the way we have seen it so far, with the planet creating giant creatures as safety mechanisms. The biggest harm the concept alone does, in my opinion, is that it lessens the impact of the original Weapon because they are so much smaller in comparison to Omega.

I think many will agree that this overly large, epic concept is misused for such a short spin-off title as Dirge. Omega should have been saved for a big title to end the Compilation, maybe ten years or so after the original game, just so to not oversaturate the timeline with world-threatening disasters so close to one another. The original game's Meteor is supposed to be this once in a millennia huge thing, yet almost immediately we get the Omega threat which rivals that of Meteor in terms of planetary impact. That lessens the impact of Meteor, too, imo.
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