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Cloud Strife (Pre-Nibelheim) Respect Thread

"If only I were SOLDIER..."

For the best quality, switch to blog format.

This covers Cloud Strife up to the Nibelheim Incident. Believe it or not, the guy has feats notable enough to catalog before he gets juiced up on Jenova Cells and Mako Energy by Hojo.

Think of this as a prelude to the main thread... as that's already too long and I might as well distinguish between era better this way.

You can find Cloud Strife Post-Nibelheim Respect Thread here.

Anyway?

I'm not pretending to make this for this website specifically, so standards of evidence may vary. I just happen to like the blog format here the best. As my intention is to be as complete as possible, regardless of your standards, I'm pretty sure you'll find something to use in here.

On what qualifies as a feat for the purposes of this collection? As video games seem to be one of those things that lack universal standards?

Things like HP, other stats, and status conditions are obviously gameplay and play no part in evaluation.

What's left of relevance then?

The animations and how they interact with the models are removed from the statistics used to determine game mechanics. In general, I prefer to take the animations and how they interact as being representative of their capabilities unless otherwise clarified to not be so by the developers. Repeated animations that couldn't feasibly be repeated aren't something to concern oneself with either. In consideration to disk space and internal storage/memory, its a bit ridiculous to ask for unique animations to the effect of preserving some arbitrary form of continuity when the animation just exists to represent what came to the development team's imagination.

Doesn't have to be your take, just happens to be mine and elsewhere.

Will/Mental/Spiritual Power Mechanics of FFVII

Here, here, here, and here, the Lifestream is the merged/convergent path of energy (Spirit Energy) of the consciousness/hearts/souls for all living things roaming the Planet. New life born with Spirit Energy and die to return it to the Planet (with some exceptions). Spirit Energy is what makes it possible for the planets to form in Final Fantasy VII. Without Spirit Energy, the planets cannot retain their shape and are destroyed. Shinra's use of Mako Energy will deplete the Lifestream over time and lead to the death of the Planet.

"It's full of the knowledge of the Ancients. No...not knowledge...consciousness...a living soul..."
"To an operative, nothing compares to the experience gained on the journey to SOLDIER 1st Class. Operatives tap into these past achievements to carry out feats otherwise inconceivable. In fact, without being able to recall such experiences, an operative would find himself unable to improve his skills."

The man could sense the Lifestream trying to erode his spirit– the memories of his former experiences, thoughts and emotions. If he allowed himself be taken into the current, the being he once was would soon disseminate and disappear amongst the spirit energy cycling around the planet.

Lifestream Black 1

Some of the people possessed wounds that even the materia Yuffie had couldn’t heal but, she was sure they would heal gradually if cared for well. The problem was Yuffie herself didn’t have the mental power. Materia was the crystallization of the Lifestream. To withdraw the power from the stabilized crystal, some form of shock is required and this is triggered by the mind waves of the user. As a result of that, the materia user’s mind is significantly weakened.

OTWTAS: The Case of Yuffie

Limit Breaks

When your spirit energy rises to its ultimate limit, for a short while it aligns with and emits from your body. Furthermore, Zack is unusual in that he can copy Limit Breaks, such as taking Aerith’s “Healing Wind” Limit Break from FFVII and turning it into his Limit Break “Healing Wave”. In the same way, Cloud takes his Limit Break “Meteor Rain” from the original Limit Break Zack created based on him called “Meteor Shot”.

Crisis Core Complete Guide
Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania p039
Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania p039

Omnislash

When the limit is reached, his sword is imbued with fighting spirit from the heart for just a moment. In the blink of an eye, 14 hits of damage are dealt one after another…. Cloud then dramatically leaps into the air and brings his sword down for the final slash.

Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega: Cloud Strife Profile p036-041

Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania p045
Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania p045

Final Heaven

Brandishing her right hand, she concentrates her fighting spirit into her clenched fist. With the fist that starts to emanate light depending on the amount of spirit energy gathered, she deals a massive blow to the monster! The spirit energy that is sent into the monster through her fist starts to destroy it from within, crushing it together with a big explosion.

FFVII 10th Anniversary Ultimania: Tifa Lockhart Profile p042-047
Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania p067
Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania p067

All Creation

After setting up the weapon to break the seal, she focuses her spirit. Before the eyes of the concentrating Yuffie, a large mass of spirit which glows violet, appears. After the spirit energy has formed up sufficiently, it is directed towards the enemy. The released spirit becomes an obi of light and shoots towards the enemy group, engulfing them.

FFVII 10th Anniversary Ultimania: Yuffie Kisaragi Profile p064-067

Essentially?

The Soul = Will/Mind. Memories/Thoughts/Emotions are essentially the main power-sources in FFVII. The more heightened a characters emotions, the stronger that character will grow and perform.

Combat Ability

vs Griffon

Here, Cloud Strife demonstrates some modest competency with an assault rifle as he downs a Griffon about to attack Zack Fair.

Strength and Speed

vs Sephiroth (Nibelheim)

Cloud’s Skill with Greatswords

As a regular member of the Shinra Army, Cloud’s standard armament in this game is an automatic rifle, but as demonstrated in Scene 08-19 where he impaled Sephiroth with the Buster Sword he is adept at wielding greatswords. He appears to have had some grounding in using swords, and there is also a scene in “BC” where he fights back against an elite AVALANCHE unit with a large sword.

Crisis Core Complete Guide

Trivia 3

A Natural Talent for Swordsmanship.

In BC the 14 year old Cloud, on an escort mission, steals a sword from the enemies’ elite Raven soldiers, and shows amazing swordsmanship for his first time to the amazement of the Turk working with him. It is probably because he has this natural talent for using large swords that he able to use Zack’s Buster Sword so well.

[BC] The Turk also expresses surprise at Cloud handling the sword so well that one wouldn’t expect it from just having watched others.

Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania: Cloud Strife Profile p036-041

Here, here,and here, an Enraged pre-Jenova Enhanced Cloud Strife stabs Sephiroth through the torso with the Buster Sword.

Here, an Enraged pre-Jenova Enhanced Cloud Strife takes a jumping slash at Sephiroth before being parried aside and sent flying through the doorway. Sephiroth's slash causes the the walls of the Mako Reactor to super heat from the force.

Here, here, here, and here, an Enraged pre-Jenova Enhanced Cloud Strife gets impaled by Sephiroth only to physically overpower and ragdoll him into his first defeat.

vs Ravens

For context?

Here, Ravens are on the same level as SOLDIER.

Here, Ravens are considered to be SOLDIER redesigned.

Essai

A SOLDIER 2nd Class who appeared in “BC”. He had been on assignments with Zack in the past, and since then they were close friends. He participated in the assault against AVALANCHE at Icicle Lodge in [ ν ] -εуλ 0002, and was killed in battle. During one of the flashbacks with Tseng in the D.M.W. in this game, there is a scene where Zack and Tseng visit the grave-markers of Essai and Sebastian.

Crisis Core Complete Guide

Here, a pair of Ravens one shot the pair of 2nd Class SOLDIERs Essai and Sebastian.

Here, a single Raven proves able to one shot a pair of 2nd Class SOLDIERs Essai and Sebastian.

So, what can someone of 2nd Class in SOLDIER do? Or maybe even a lower class?

Here and here, during a scripted tutorial in Chapter 4 of the Final Fantasy VII Remake, we're informed summons may begin to stir should the enemy they're facing to be formidable. The "formidable enemy" in question is a pair of Sweepers. One of the potential summons for this scripted tutorial and summoning is Ifrit. Ifrit rouses from slumber because a pair of Sweepers are "formidable".

"A powerful djinn with control over scorching flames hot enough to turn the whole world to ashes."
"A flame-wielding summon recreated in virtual reality. This entity is said to have given humans the gift of fire, and is widely known as the incarnation of creaion and destruction."
"This great horned beast is capable of untold devastation and can reduce anything in its path to a pile of smouldering ash."

Of similar note? For a summon on Ifrit's general level like Shiva?

"An ice-element summon recreated in virtual reality. It is the manifestation of a queen who once healed the planet's wounds with ice, as evidenced by the existence of permafrost in the polar lands."
"An ice-elemental entity and ruler over the world of ice. It is said that she once saved the planet from certain destruction by staunching a great wound with a glacier."
"A 3-C SOLDIER operator who loves bikes, speed, and anyone capable of going toe-to-toe with him. He is ostracized by many in the organization, however, due to his antics and general disregard for anyone's safety."

Here, Roche, a 3rd Class SOLDIER, overpowers a number of Sweepers.

Furthermore?

The SOLDIER cadets fight not only monsters, but the Cutter enemy, Scorpion Sentinel, and other Shinra machines. What is the reason behind that?

Nomura: It’s all part of their SOLDIER training. They have to undergo various situations to experience realistic battles.

FF7R Famitsu February 2021 Interview

You also can refer to Zack Fair during his time as a 2nd Class SOLDIER. Notable feats of his during that time included fighting Ifrit and Bahamut.

vs Bahamut

"A legendary summon recreated in virtual reality. It is the manifestation of a dragon king revered by the original stewards of the planet. According to oral tradition, there are many Bahamuts, each with their own powers and forms."
A non-elemental entity capable of unspeakable destruction. Regarded as a symbol of might since the time of the Ancients...
A non-elemental entity capable of unspeakable destruction. Regarded as a symbol of might since the time of the Ancients..."

Here, the beginning (upon summons, Bahamut drags Zack Fair into its own dimension). Here, the ending.

Here, Zack Fair endures Bahamut's "Mega Flare".

vs Ifrit

Here, the beginning (upon summons, Ifrit drags Zack Fair into its own dimension). Here, the ending (Zack Fair beat Ifrit hard enough to leave it temporarily knocked out/crippled on the ground).

Here, Zack Fair endures Ifrit's "Hellfire".

And these are all indeed expected of a 2nd Class SOLDIER, Zack Fair saw no promotion to 1st Class SOLDIER until April of the next year, a good 4-5 months after his skirmishes with Bahamut and Ifrit respectively.

[ μ ] – εуλ 2000

October

· Genesis, who had been dispatched to Wutai, deserts the military, taking with him a host of 2nd and 3rd Class SOLDIERs. This becomes known as the Mass SOLDIER Desertion Incident.

November

· Zack trains and performs various missions as a SOLDIER 2nd Class.

· Zack and his mentor, Angeal, are sent to Wutai to take part in an operation to bring an end to the Wutai War. Zack Fair encounters Yuffie Kisaragi for the first time here, and soon thereafter meets Sephiroth as well. Angeal goes missing.

December

· Rufus Shinra assumes the position of Shin-Ra Vice President. At this time, he leaves on what is ostensibly a long-term business trip.

· Zack and Tseng go to Banora Village, which they learn has been converted into a stronghold for his army, with the residents slaughtered. All the evidence is destroyed by a Shin-Ra airstrike.

[ ν ] – εуλ 0001

April

· Zack is promoted to SOLDIER 1st Class. On the same day, Genesis invades Midgar with his army of Genesis Copies.

Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania:

Anyway?

Here and here, the Player Turk is assisted (they consider him a lifesaver) by an emotionally heightened (he was desperate, doesn't even remember what happened) Cloud Strife defeat a pair of Ravens.

Here, the Player Turk has assessed Cloud Strife to be a future SOLDIER.

vs AVALANCHE Troopers

Here, an emotionally heightened Cloud Strife defeats a pair of AVALANCHE Troopers in a single attack.

vs Tree Trunk

Here, a trio of Shinra Infantry demonstrate they're strong enough to lift, carry, and move a large downed Tree Trunk with little difficulty. As Cloud Strife is among there number, it stands to reason he can accomplish the same.

vs Hollander

Here, Cloud Strife briefly grapples with Hollander before being overpowered.

Funnily enough, of all his feats before his later enhancement, his showing vs Hollander's the only one of its nature that "poor". Other than that, when his emotions are peaked out, distinguishing him from the Turks or SOLDIER is difficult to do.

Durability

vs Sephiroth (Nibelheim)

Here, Cloud Strife endured the fire Sephiroth set ablaze in Nibelheim and went after him into the Mako Reactor.

Here, an Enraged pre-Jenova Enhanced Cloud Strife takes a jumping slash at Sephiroth before being parried aside and sent flying through the doorway. Sephiroth's slash causes the the walls of the Mako Reactor to super heat from the force.

Here, here, here, and here, an Enraged pre-Jenova Enhanced Cloud Strife gets impaled by Sephiroth only to physically overpower and ragdoll him into his first defeat.

vs Angeal Hewley

Here, both Cloud Strife and Tseng survived Angeal Hewley’s (offscreen) assault.

vs Ravens

Here and here, Cloud Strife endures a beating from a Raven.

vs G Deleter/G Legion

Copy Technology

Technology which, by transplanting the cells of a G-Type SOLDIER into a physically strong subject, copies the donor’s abilities, appearance, and characteristics onto the subject. However it does not always yield perfect results, and differences in appearance and ability may arise based on the subject’s latent potential. For example, the reason the Genesis and Angeal Copies in the game seem weaker than their originals is due to the subject’s latent potential being inferior to the originals, and are unable to fully utilise the abilities they received.

The influence of the copying process also extends to the subject’s mind, and if the subject’s will is weak their will is completely taken over by that of the cell donor and leads to the breakdown of their sense of self, like the SOLDIER operatives who become Genesis Copies. Conversely, if they are strong willed, they can maintain their identity while still being influenced by the will of the cell donor, such as Lazard as an Angeal Copy.

...

Genesis Copy

Subjects of the copy technique where Genesis’ cells were used. Though they are all humans their individual differences become more prominent during the process, as seen with the G-Assault and the G-Warrior, showing how an individual’s latent abilities can become integrated into the changes in form and strength that takes place during the copy process. The rate of their degradation also varies from individual to individual, along with influences from the state of Genesis’ cells, and thus his own degradation quickens the degradation of all Genesis Copies.

...

SOLDIER Degradation

A symptom of a particular flaw inherit within the G-Series SOLDIERs and their copies. It is due to an imperfect integration of Jenova cells into their bodies, and the symptoms worsen as their genetic information is spread to other beings. The first signs of degradation are changes in skin quality and hair color, and as the body’s natural immune system is damaged the subject’s skin and muscle tissue begin to degrade. Furthermore, the subject looses their ability to restrain themselves from giving in to brutal outbursts, which can temporarily raise their skills in combat, but they run the risk of eventually devolving into monsters.

...

Hollander’s Degradation

During the scenes in Gongaga Hollander’s degradation is revealed, because he used the same cells [from Gillian] he had originally transplanted into Genesis, and thus converted himself into a G-Series SOLDIER. The reason why his degradation is progressing at a remarkable rate and why his one wing is so small is because he does not have the same physical strength as Genesis.

Crisis Core Complete Guide

G-Type SOLDIER

Those created by Project G, and used to refers to Angeal and Genesis (in a broader sense, it also includes Hollander, who had applied the same treatment to himself during the game). The Copy ability they possess is the influence of Jenova’s own abilities to convert its target into a monster by implanting it with a virus it generates within its own body, and to mimic the form of people the target knows through reading their memories and emotions. However, as the Jenova cells are not fixed in their bodies, a G-Type SOLDIER will succumb to degradation symptoms as time passes.

Crisis Core Complete Guide

Genesis Army

An army formed by Genesis, Hollander, and Lazard, and comprised of Genesis and Angeal Copies. It was based out of Banora and Modeoheim. The people who were turned into Genesis Copies were those who Genesis took with him during the Mass SOLDIER Desertion.

Crisis Core Complete Guide

For context?

Here, Zack Fair notes G Eraser is a cut above the G Copies he's fought with masks (of which were still all formerly members of SOLDIER).

Here, Zack Fair blocks a strike from G Warrior (a weaker variant of G Deleter), he notes that G Warrior's a cut above the rest, the attack having stung him a little.

Here and here, G Blader (a G Copy of similar power to G Deleter) is capable of taking out numerous 3rd and 2nd Class SOLDIERs.

Anyway?

Here, Cloud Strife endures an attack from G Deleter/G Legion.

vs AVALANCHE Troopers

Here, AVALANCHE Troopers punch a large stone statue obstructing a wide hallway with enough force to shatter it.

Here, an AVALANCHE Trooper can push over a large stone statue.

Here, Cloud Strife endures a beating from an AVALANCHE Trooper.

vs Helicopter Crash

Here, Zack Fair, Tseng, and Cloud Strife survive a helicopter crash.

vs Free Fall

Here, Sephiroth, Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockhart, and Zack Fair survive free fall from towards the top of Mount Nibel.

Here and here, Cloud Strife endured falling from the top of Mount Nibel with only a pair of scraped knees as a child.

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