Franchise Guide: Before Crisis

Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII was released exclusively in Japan in 2004 on the NTT DoCoMo FOMA iMode mobile phones. Before Crisis has never seen release outside of Japan.

Originally it was intended to create a port for the Playstation Portable (PSP), however when it was decided that the main character of the new title would be Zack, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII was instead born.


Set six years before the events of Final Fantasy VII, Before Crisis follows the story of the Shinra Turks – essentially the Shinra equivalent of a black-ops team – against the rebel group AVALANCHE, who are ultimately trying to destroy Shinra.

The story begins at the end of the Shinra/Wutai war. With Shinra victorious, the world is now utterly dependent on Mako energy. The Turks first encounter AVALANCHE troops on a routine patrol in sector eight, which transpires to be a diversion in order to carry out an assassination attempt on President Shinra in Junon.


The player chooses from a pool of 12 characters who have no official name to play through the story. There are three modes of play – “Episode”, “Free” and “Rescue”. In “Episode” mode, the player controls the character who fights battles and moves through screens to progress the story. “Free” mode allows the player to gain experience and bonuses such as weapons and armour, and “Rescue” mode occurs when a player dies in episode mode and chooses not to restart (as restarting loses points). A player will remain in rescue mode until another player frees them from imprisonment. Note: the image to the right is taken from a fan translated YouTube video and does not represent an English language version of the game. The links to the translated playlist can be found at the bottom of this page.

The player will occasionally receive directives from senior members of the Turks with instructions on what to do next. Upon encountering an enemy, the player enters a battle screen and is able to both cast magic and attack with the equipped weapon while running in the given space to avoid attacks. The materia system makes a return here, although materia is obtained through taking a real life photo from the camera phone. The game will then choose the most prominent colour from this and generate a materia based on that colour (i.e. “blue” = “cure” materia).


Release Date
DoCoMo FOMA iMode
Square Enix
Square Enix
Square Enix

The game was released in downloadable episodic format through a monthly subscription to the network carrier on behalf of Square-Enix. This was originally exclusive to DoCoMo, however the game was then released in full on the Softbank and EZWeb networks in 2007.


A YouTube user named “FFVII Excavation” has imposed the translated text onto a playthrough of the full game. The full playlist can be found here, and an example video of the first chapter is shown below.

FFVII Excavation Website