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The Seven: best lines of dialogue in Final Fantasy VII

by February 20, 2013 8 comments

The Lifestream is proud to present a new series of articles, called The Seven. In each article, we’ll be turning the spotlight on seven of the best (or worst) aspects of the games of the Final Fantasy series, with a particular focus on Final Fantasy VII. The selections will be made with the help of our community.

To get started, we’ve decided to take a look at the seven best lines of dialogue from Final Fantasy VII. What makes a good line? Many diverse qualities, going by this list. Some lines are powerful, some are subtle, some are dramatic and some are comedic, but all are above all memorable. They appear here in chronological, not ranked, order. With spoilers, obviously.

Tifa
”Hey, why don’t we make a promise? Umm, if you get really famous and I’m ever in a bind… You come save me, all right?”

The first line on this list is spoken by Tifa at a very early stage of the game, as part of a flashback. Tifa reminded Cloud about the promise the two of them made as young children under the stars of the Nibelheim sky, as he had forgotten it. Cloud said that he couldn’t keep the promise as he wasn’t famous, but little did either of them know that it had already been fulfilled, many years earlier. Here’s what Lifestream member AvecAloes had to say about the quote:

This gives a lot of substance and background to the dynamic between whole Tifa/Cloud dynamic throughout the game. She wants to believe that he is the same Cloud with whom that promise was made, that he is there and able to protect her, but something is off, something isn’t right, and she knows it…

Rufus
”I’ll control the world with fear. It takes too much to do it like my old man.”

For the first few hours of the game, you are chasing after an evil corporation called Shinra, who rule Midgar with force and are destroying the planet – if Barret is to be believed, at least. You raid their headquarters to rescue Aerith, get captured again, and then find that the doors to your cells have mysteriously opened, allowing you to escape. You climb to the top of the building, only to see that President Shinra has been killed by Sephiroth. So who is the game’s primary villain? It must be Sephiroth, right? Rufus’ arrival and subsequent speech on the roof lets you know things won’t be so clear-cut. Hawkeye put the exchange of dialogue into perspective:

Not only does this present Rufus to us along with a somehow more threatening Shin-Ra, but it also lets us know — in the wake of losing Jessie, Biggs and Wedge — who our motley crew for this game is actually going to be. Just as significantly, it shows us that the return of Sephiroth is an event that will make for a different game than the one we thought we were playing.

Cloud
”Sephiroth is alive. I… I have to settle the score.”

When this line is spoken, you, the player, don’t yet know the history between Cloud and Sephiroth. This line tries to encourage you to find out, though as it happens, the version of events you are about to hear is not accurate, and you won’t know what really happened until you are half way through the second disc. Cloud says it as his party – and for the first time in the game, it really is his party, not Barret’s or anyone else’s – is leaving Midgar for the first time, about to undertake a far greater adventure. AvecAloes felt that it revealed Cloud’s motivation for the next phase of the game:

This line captures Cloud’s disbelief (and ours, too, before we know what is going on) that Sephiroth survived their encounter, and his drive to make things right in the only way that he can see at the time.

Reno
”We may be retreating, but… we’re still victorious.”

The Turks provide Final Fantasy VII with yet another dynamic, on top of the “twin evils” of Shinra and Sephiroth, discussed above. Although employed by Shinra, they are largely autonomous, and are often found enjoying some time off – drinking in Junon and Wutai – or discussing which girls they like in the group they are supposed to be apprehending, which is exactly what they are doing before this line is spoken in Gongaga. They might not sacrifice themselves for their work, but they do take pride in it, and defeat in battle would be unacceptable. Soak appreciated the comic relief offered by these men in black (or blue):

This is one of my favorites. It’s the Turks, of course. I just love them because they are funny.

Barret
”But you gotta understand that there ain’t no gettin’ offa this train we’re on, till we get to the end of the line.”

This line appears twice: firstly, in Gongaga, after Cloud has woken up, having given the Black Materia to Sephiroth. Cloud dreamt of Aerith going off to “handle” Sephiroth, and upon waking up, he finds that she actually has disappeared. He decides not to pursue her, scared of what he might do next. It falls to Barret and Tifa to convince him to continue the journey. Later on, it marks the moment when Cloud has rediscovered his true self, and things are back to normal, with a full (or nearly full…) roster of party members, when Cloud observes that it still holds true. Flintlock remarked on Barret’s method of talking sense into Cloud:

Barret has a knack for delivering biting lines – he’s the most critical of Cloud out of the whole party – but in a way that tells you he means well. This line in particular stands out because it becomes something of a rallying call later on, after Cloud has returned from the Lifestream. In that scene on the Highwind, he tries to apologise, but the others just welcome him back. Like Barret says, everyone has problems.

Tifa
”Cloud… Words aren’t the only thing that tell people what you’re thinking…”

Much has been said about the love triangle of Final Fantasy VII, and so, not wishing to inflame any sensitivities, we have to point out that this line is only spoken in the “high affection” version of the “under the Highwind” scene. As such, it’s possible to miss it altogether. That would be a shame, though, as it’s a powerful line, said in a touching moment, whether or not you believe Cloud and Tifa are friends or something more. Here’s Flintlock’s take on it:

This line serves as the realisation of Cloud and Tifa’s relationship and the whole game’s romantic element. It’s an emotional scene beneath the Highwind, once everyone else has left and Cloud and Tifa realise they have nowhere to go, no-one to be with but each other. It’s quite a suggestive line for a video game, but it’s by no means certain what happened next, and I like that. Some things just have to be left up to the imagination.

Cloud
”All right, everyone, let’s mosey.”

To the lament of many fans of the original game, Square Enix decided to make Cloud into a highly serious, almost depressed character in the compilation of Final Fantasy VII, particularly in Advent Children, the film that served as a direct sequel to the game. It’s easy to forget that Cloud had a light-hearted side to him, and that he got involved in some questionable activities (at least half of which occurred in Wall Market). He wasn’t an experienced leader, but neither was he meant to be. He was a “mixed-up kid”, struggling to find himself and do what was right, and all the more likeable for it. We’ll leave the final comment of this list to a character from the game, the one who urged Cloud to say something more commanding than “let’s mosey”. Here’s Cid, then, speaking to Tifa on the Highwind while Cloud is missing:

I want you to know that I didn’t dislike him. Gotta admit he was a strange dude. Just when you thought he was cool, he’d go and do some damn fool thing. And when you thought he was smart, he’d show how stupid he was. Everything about him from his movements to his speech were kinda odd. Knowin’ what I do now, I can see why he was that way.

Which lines have we missed? Check out everyone’s nominations and add your own over on our forum!

8 comments

  1. Wesley Muench
    #1 Wesley Muench 2 March, 2013, 17:54

    As someone who has dealt with similar emotions in the past, I just want to say that Cloud acts depressed in Advent Children because he IS depressed! The focus of the movie is the emotional ramifications that the events of the game had on Cloud. Tifa helped him put his psyche back together in Mideel, but that doesn’t mean he’s immune to emotional turmoil now. Maybe he felt better about things for a while, but it’s just one more day in time. What happened after the game credits rolled? Life slowed down, and once the bar was re-bult, he didn’t have anything to distract himself with anymore.

    On the Way to a Smile shows that Cloud didn’t just suddenly become a humorless dick, it was a gradual process. His survivors guilt caught up to him, even if he couldn’t have done anything for them at the time, he still felt like he had failed Aerith and Zack. I’m retreading old ground here, but it’s to point out that Cloud’s portrayal in Advent Children doesn’t diminish his character, it makes him more human.

    (And it’s ONLY in Advent Children that Cloud is like this. We barely see him in Dirge of Cerberus, and in Crisis Core he is pretty cheerful when interacting with Zack, even having a laugh or two. It’s only in Nibelhiem that we see him act remotely morose, but at that point he’s feeling like a failure for returning to his hometown as just a meager infantryman.)

    Reply to this comment
    • Mr. Bwargh
      Mr. Bwargh 20 November, 2016, 14:13

      The problem with AC Cloud is the execution of his more despondent characterization than him simply being depressed. Having him simply be mopey throughout a good chunk of the run time with very little material to work with makes for a very trying experience to sit through. When dealing with a character who’s both borderline emotionless and not pro-active within the story, it’s usually smarter to have a different character or two be the focal point of attention. It’s just not a good type of character for the protagonist role. It’s the type of characterization that only really works if you have another character to bounce off of a lot, or if it’s simply just a low point within the hero’s journey and doesn’t last very long. With AC, it’s practically half of the entire movie, and that’s stretching it a bit too thin.

  2. Matthewtheman
    #2 Matthewtheman 7 March, 2013, 21:46

    Why no “Sit your ass down in that chair and drink your goddamn TEA!”?
    I’m glad you included “Let’s mosey.” though.

    Reply to this comment
    • Ravynne
      Ravynne 6 November, 2014, 23:34

      I second this.

  3. dagner parejas mariaca
    #3 dagner parejas mariaca 19 March, 2013, 19:57

    me gusta

    Reply to this comment
  4. Shinra Soldier
    #4 Shinra Soldier 15 February, 2014, 10:04

    My personal favorite…

    “And Sephiroth! To the settling of everything!!”

    Reply to this comment
  5. Ravynne
    #5 Ravynne 6 November, 2014, 23:33

    “Stop acting like you’re sad. There’s no need to act like you’re angry, either. Because you are…a puppet.”
    — Though tbh I liked the ACC rendition of it better.

    “Too much hope is the opposite of despair.”
    — Yeah yeah I’m a Vincent fangirl, but I still find this line to be very poignant if you take it to mean that too much hope is the *complement* of despair, and either one will hurt you if you don’t stay grounded and balanced between both having hope and not letting yourself get carried away in it.

    “This guy are sick”
    — Because I mean come on.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Nekominos
    #6 Nekominos 11 January, 2015, 22:08

    I do prefer “He always said that just once he’d like to dress up like a girl.”

    Reply to this comment

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