Its time to talk Final Fantasy again, and this time the topic is Limit Breaks, specifically as they appear in Final Fantasy 7. Most incarnations of Final Fantasy have Limit Break attacks in some form: sometimes they are available when a special gauge is filled, other times when your characters’ health is low, and sometimes under special conditions established within the particular game itself. The effect is the same in most cases, however: your character unleashes a particularly powerful special move, which is capable of shifting the tide of an entire battle. In this post, I’ll be going through the Limit Breaks of the characters in Final Fantasy 7, giving them a brief description, including how to obtain them, and offering my opinion on which of the character’s Limit Breaks is the best for them. Without further ado…
Cloud Strife – All of Cloud’s Limit Breaks focus on dealing damage, whether against a single target, or a group of enemies.
- Braver – Cloud performs a leaping chop, causing heavy damage to a single target. Cloud knows this attack at the start of the game.
- Cross-Slash – Cloud performs several strikes on a single target, sometimes paralysing them. Cloud learns this after Braver is used 8 times.
Best technique: Braver – it causes more damage than Cross-Slash, and while it doesn’t cause any status effects on enemies, Cross-Slash doesn’t always provide this bonus, and it can’t affect targets normally immune to status changes, such as bosses. You’re better off just going with the direct damage approach.
- Blade Beam – Cloud strikes a single target with a beam of energy, causing heavy damage. Waves of energy then strike all other enemies in combat. Cloud learns this after killing 120 enemies on Level 1.
- Climhazzard – Cloud skewers a single enemy with his sword, then leaps upwards, causing heavy damage. Cloud learns this after using Blade Beam 7 times.
Best technique: Blade Beam – while the secondary waves which hit enemies other than the main target are fairly weak by comparison to the main strike, the main target receives almost as much damage as if Climhazzard had been used, and additional enemies take a free hit.
- Meteorain – Cloud leaps into the air, unleashing a barrage of meteors on all enemies, causing several separate hits. Cloud learns this by killing 200 enemies on Level 2.
- Finishing Touch – Cloud creates a whirlwind which sweeps all enemies up into the sky. Weaker enemies are killed by this attack, but larger and stronger enemies (including bosses) will fall back to earth, taking damage. Cloud learns this by using Meteorain 6 times.
Best technique: Meteorain – while it targets a whole group, it is effective against single enemies as well. In such circumstances, it can cause in excess of 12,000 damage to a target, which is a sizeable chunk of damage, even against a boss.
- Omnislash – Cloud assaults all enemies with rapid, repeated strikes from his sword. This attack can cause more damage than a summoning of Knights Of The Round, making it the strongest attack in the game.
Obviously Omnislash is the best technique to use for Cloud, however it is best kept in reserve for bosses, as against weaker enemies it is far too overkill, when regular attacks or magic will do. Omnislash can only be obtained once Cloud has all his other Limit Breaks, and must be won from the Battle Square in the Gold Saucer.
Barret Wallace – Similar to Cloud, Barret’s Limit Breaks focus on causing direct damage to your opponents.
- Big Shot – Barret charges up his gun-arm, and unleashes a blast of energy, causing damage against a single enemy. Barret knows this attack at the start of the game.
- Mindblow – Similar to Big Shot, however Mindblow reduces an enemy’s skill or magic at the expense of not causing damage. Barret learns this technique after using Big Shot 9 times.
Best technique: Big Shot – while Mindblow can help reduce a powerful magic wielder to a helpless wimp, direct damage is Barret’s forte and it would be silly to do anything other.
- Grenade Bomb – Barret launches a grenade into a group of enemies, causing direct damage to each of them. Barret learns this attack after killing 80 enemies on Level 1.
- Hammerblow – Barret strikes a single enemy, causing instant death. This doesn’t work on enemies normally immune to Death, such as bosses. Barret learns this after using Grenade Bomb 8 times.
Best technique: Grenade Bomb – a great attack against either a single opponent or a group, it focuses on what Barret does best: cause damage.
- Satellite Beam – Barret calls an orbital strike down on all enemies. The beams hit for a reasonable amount of damage, however the effect of this attack is considerably reduced against a single opponent. Barret learns this attack after killing 80 enemies on Level 2.
- Ungarmax – Lock and load! Barret dumps a huge amount of ammo into all enemies, with 18 hits in total. The damage from each hit is considerably less than Satellite Beam, however the cumulative damage is higher, making this a great attack against single enemies. Barret learns this after using Satellite Beam 6 times.
Best technique: Ungarmax – the cumulative damage output from this attack is much higher than Satellite Beam, which is a technique best saved for large groups of weaker enemies.
- Catastrophe – Barret leaps into the air and fires a beam of plasma from his gun which moves randomly, striking all enemies. This hits 10 times, and is a great attack to use against either a single enemy or a group.
Catastrophe is by far and away the best of Barret’s attacks. It can be obtained after Barret has learned all the other limit techniques, from a woman in Corel after the Huge Materia / runaway train quest.
Tifa Lockhart – Tifa’s techniques are very different to those of other characters. Instead of each level granting her a new attack in place of an old one, each new technique becomes available as a reel in a slot machine. Possible outcomes are Hit, Miss and Yeah which mean the technique either hits, misses or causes critical damage. Tifa can chain all her attacks together, striking opponents with techniques at random. As such, there is no “best technique” for Tifa on each of her levels.
- Beat Rush – Tifa runs up to an opponent, striking them with her fists. Tifa knows this attack at the start of the game.
- Somersault – Tifa performs a somersault kick for the second of her attacks. Tifa learns this after using Beat Rush 9 times.
- Waterkick – A quick, circling sweep-kick with a wave of water. Tifa learns this after killing 96 enemies on Level 1.
- Meteodrive – Tifa grabs an enemy and delivers a quick backdrop. This technique is learned after Tifa has used Waterkick 7 times.
- Dolphin Blow – A quick uppercut, some water and a dolphin deal damage to a single enemy. Tifa learns this after killing 96 enemies on Level 2.
- Meteor Strike – Tifa grabs an enemy, leaping skywards and slamming it down for heavy damage. Tifa learns this after using Dolphin Blow 6 times.
- Final Heaven – Tifa strikes an enemy with a giant energy blast causing heavy damage.
Final Heaven is learned after Tifa has all her other techniques, and can be found in Tifa’s house in Nibelheim, after returning there on Disc 2 and playing the piano in her room. When Tifa has her final technique, she can strike 7 times, assuming you get the slot reels right, and this makes her a great asset, although the lack of control of which target is subject to an attack may put some people off.
Aeris Gainsborough – Aeris’ techniques are unique: she foregoes causing direct damage to enemies in favour of healing and protecting the party.
- Healing Wind – A blast of energy recovers the health of all party members.
- Seal Evil – Aeris targets a group of enemies with a spell causing Stop and Silence. Aeris learns this after using Healing Wind 8 times.
Best technique: Healing Wind – recovering half of the character’s maximum HP makes this a great help in boss fights where standard healing magic may not be able to cut the mustard.
- Breath of the Earth – Beams of light recover the party from all negative status effects. Aeris learns this after killing 80 enemies on Limit Level 1.
- Fury Brand – Sacrificing her own Limit Break, Aeris full charges the limit gauges of the other characters. Aeris learns this after using Breath of the Earth 6 times.
Best technique: Fury Brand – this provides a great tactical advantage to the properly prepared squad. With all three limit gauges filled at the start of combat, a quick use of this technique can allow you to unleash four limit breaks instantly.
- Planet Protector – Aeris forms a magical barrier around the party making them invulnerable for a time. Aeris learns this after killing 80 enemies on Limit Level 2.
- Pulse of Life – A quick burst of magic cures all party members of all status effects and restores all HP and MP. Aeris learns this after using Planet Protector 5 times.
Best technique: Pulse of Life – this is a great way to fully recover your whole party and can easily shift the tide of battle in your favour from what you thought might have been a down-and-out position. It edges over Planet Protector in that the invincibility provided by that technique also prevents you from healing your party for its duration.
- Great Gospel – Completely restores all HP and MP, and removes all negative status effects on all party members, additionally granting them invulnerability to all physical and magical attacks for a time.
Great Gospel is the best of Aeris’ healing techniques, however I prefer to leave her set to Fury Brand, as there are other ways to heal your party, and the ability to instantly fill your party’s limit gauges provides a great boost in boss battles. Great Gospel is available as soon as you get the Buggy, visit the cave behind Junon and talk to the sleeping man when the last two digits of your fight count are odd or zero, for example 255, 1077, 100. This will get you some Mythril which can be taken to the weapon seller between the Gold Saucer and Gongaga village after the events in Rocket Town, and traded for the technique manual, which is in the smaller of the two safes at the top of the stairs.
Red XIII – Much like other characters, Red focuses on dealing damage to enemies.
- Sled Fang – Red charges through a single enemy causing damage. This is useful early on as it is Red’s only long range attack. Red knows this technique at the start of the game.
- Lunatic High – A glowing light covers the party, casting Haste on all characters. Until you have access to the Time materia, this can be a useful technique, especially in boss fights. Red learns this after using Sled Fang 8 times.
Best technique: this largely depends on the situation you find yourself in. In boss battles, Lunatic High will allow you to attack more often, however against single targets, the heavy damage offered by Sled Fang might be your best bet.
- Blood Fang – Similar to Sled Fang, except it causes more damage, and also provides a small boost to Red’s HP and MP. Red learns this after killing 72 enemies on Level 1.
- Stardust Ray – A cluster of falling stars fall on all enemies, hitting 10 times. Each hit deals moderate damage. Red learns this after using Blood Fang 7 times.
Best technique: Stardust Ray – Blood Fang does more damage in a single hit, and the boost to Red’s health and magic is nice, but Stardust Ray is best against a group, or a single enemy, in which case it will take all 10 hits.
- Howling Moon – The full moon drives Red into a rage, casting Berserk and Haste on him for the remainder of the battle. Red learns this after killing 72 enemies on Level 2.
- Earth Rave – Red strikes a group of enemies with 5 attacks, each causing heavy damage. Red learns this after using Howling Moon 6 times.
Best technique: Earth Rave – while Red with Berserk and Haste has some obvious advantages, you lose control of him, meaning that he becomes committed to a single attack pattern. Earth Rave gives you the ability to inflict lots of damage without sacrificing strategy.
- Cosmo Memory – Red summons a huge ball of plasma which strikes all enemies for heavy damage.
Cosmo Memory is obtained after defeating the optional boss Lost Number in the Nibelheim mansion. Red needs to have learned all his other techniques before it can be used. Despite its impressive attack animation, by the time you are able to use it, it will do little more than maximum damage to each enemy, making something like Earth Rave or Stardust Ray a better technique to use.
Cid Highwind – All Cid’s techniques cause direct damage, either to a single enemy or a group. His techniques are powerful, making him a valuable addition to any squad.
- Boost Jump – Cid leaps into the air, and crashes down onto a single enemy causing heavy damage. Cid knows this technique at the start of the game.
- Dynamite – Cid throws a stick of dynamite into a group of enemies, causing heavy damage to the entire group. This is similar to Barret’s Grenade Bomb attack. Cid learns this after using Boost Jump 7 times.
Best technique: Dynamite – it causes heavy damage to an entire group, rather than a single enemy.
- Hyper Jump – Cid leaps into the air and crashes down in an explosion causing heavy damage to a group of enemies with a 20% chance of instant death. Cid learns this after killing 60 enemies on Level 1.
- Dragon – Cid summons a dragon to attack a single enemy, absorbing HP and MP from the enemy. The amount absorbed is equal to the lesser of the damage dealt or the enemy’s current HP and MP. Cid learns this after using Hyper Jump 6 times.
Best technique: Hyperjump – by the time Dragon becomes available you will have better ways of curing your characters, and Hyper Jump strikes all enemies on the field.
- Dragon Dive – Strikes six random enemies with diving attacks, causing damage with a 28% chance of instant death. Cid learns this after killing 76 enemies on Level 1.
- Big Brawl – Slashes eight random enemies. Each attack causes less damage than a hit from Dragon Dive, however there are more of them. Cid learns this after using Dragon Dive 5 times.
Best technique: Dragon Dive – although Big Brawl probably does more damage on account of it hitting more times, the 28% chance of instant death sways the balance. This doesn’t work on bosses though, where the additional damage of Big Brawl might come in handy.
- Highwind – Cid summons a missile barrage from the Highwind airship, striking 18 times for heavy damage.
Highwind is available in the crashed Gelnika aircraft, which becomes available to explore after obtaining the submarine. Highwind is easily the best of Cid’s attacks – it causes considerable damage against both groups and single enemies.
Yuffie Kisaragi – Again, Yuffie’s techniques make her a damage dealer – either against a group or a single enemy. Compared to other party members, however, Yuffie’s damage output is significantly lower.
- Greased Lightning – Yuffie strikes a single enemy. This does enough damage to kill weaker enemies, but becomes quickly outdated. Yuffie knows this technique at the start of the game.
- Clear Tranquil – All party members have their HP restores by half their maximum HP. This is a useful technique for healing your squad, especially if you don’t have a dedicated healer. Yuffie learns this after using Greased Lightning 8 times.
Best technique: Its difficult to say which is best between these two. It depends on the circumstances of the battle, as this level offers both a healing and a damage-dealing technique.
- Landscaper – Yuffie damages all enemies with an earthquake. This is an earth-elemental attack which misses flying enemies. Yuffie learns this after killing 64 enemies on Level 1.
- Bloodfest – Strikes random enemies 10 times, with each hit doing moderate damage. Yuffie learns this after using Landscaper 7 times.
Best technique: Bloodfest – this technique strikes more times, and does more damage. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about missing flying enemies, which is a major weakness of the Landscaper technique.
- Gauntlet – Yuffie launches a bomb which explodes into a vortex dealing damage to all enemies. This attack is always a critical hit, and ignores the target’s defence stats. Yuffie learns this technique after killing 64 enemies on Level 2.
- Doom of the Living – Much like Bloodfest, Yuffie strikes random enemies 15 times, with each hit doing moderate damage. Yuffie learns this technique after using Gauntlet 6 times.
Best technique: Doom of the Living – while Gauntlet is great against a group of enemies, Doom of the Living causes more damage to both a group and a single enemy, and proves its worth throughout the game.
- All Creation – Yuffie summons a ball of plasma which hits all enemies for heavy damage.
All Creation is available after learning all her other techniques and defeating Godo in the Wutai Pagoda side-quest. All Creation is very similar to Red’s Cosmo Memory and suffers from the same weaknesses. I would recommend staying with Doom of the Living, even when All Creation is available to use.
Cait Sith – This cat is packing some strange techniques. Unlike other characters, Cait Sith only has two limit breaks, and no manual technique. As he’s a gambler character, the effects caused by his techniques could be very powerful or very weak, depending on the results…
- Dice – Cait Sith throws down several dice. Every 10 character levels another die is added to a maximum of 6 dice at level 60. The sum of the dice (X) is taken, along with the highest repeated number (Y). X * Y * 100 is the damage dealt to a single enemy. Caith Sith knows this technique at the start of the game.
- Slots – This becomes available after killing 40 enemies on Level 1. Cait Sith plays a slot machine, the effect of which is determined by the result. There are a great many combinations, from instantly killing all enemies (even bosses) to killing all party members, through dropping toy hammers or calling on random summons. The effects are far too numerous to go into in any detail.
Best technique: Dice – Slots can be far too unpredictable to be used reliably, though some of the effects are very powerful.
Vincent Valentine – Vincent’s techniques are all focused around dealing damage, however they are slightly different in how they function when compared to other characters. Each level gives Vincent a single mutation he can take the form of, with each mutation having two attacks of an elemental nature. Obviously, this means that you need to be careful when allowing Vincent to transform, as you lose control of him in his altered state and he may end up healing enemies if you’re not careful. As you can’t control which technique Vincent uses when he transforms, there’s no best technique for him.
Level 1 – Galian Beast: Vincent transforms in a purple beast, and attacks with horns and fire-based techniques. Vincent knows this technique at the start of the game.
- Beast Flare – Vincent launches several orbs of fire into a group of enemies which explode, causing damage. This is fire-based.
- Berserk Dance – Vincent performs a strong physical combo attack against a single enemy.
Level 2 – Death Gigas: Vincent transforms into a hulking monster, attacking with powerful physical and lightning-based attacks. Vincent learns this technique after killing 40 enemies on Level 1.
- Gigadunk – Vincent hits a single target for heavy damage.
- Livewire – Vincent attacks an entire group with a massive electrical charge.
Level 3 – Hellmasker: Vincent transforms into a chainsaw-wielding maniac, attacking with powerful physical blows and status change effects. Vincent learns this technique after killing 56 enemies on Level 2.
- Splattercombo – Vincent hits five random targets for around half normal damage.
- Nightmare – Inflicts Sleep, Poison, Silence, Confusion, Mini and Frog on a single target.
Level 4 – Chaos: Vincent transforms into a large winged demon. In this form, Vincent’s attacks do not possess an elemental quality, so you won’t end up accidentally healing your enemies.
- Chaos Saber – Vincent strikes all enemies for around double normal damage.
- Satan Slam – Kills weaker enemies instantly. Enemies immune to Death or with high HP totals instead suffer five times normal damage.
To get Chaos, you must enter the cave behind the waterfall near Nibelheim with Vincent and Cloud in the party to view a scene. You then need to fight 10 random encounters, and return to the cave to get the Chaos technique.
That’s it! I hope this quick trip down Limit Break Lane has helped any newbie FF7 players, but if you have any questions about this, or any Final Fantasy (or indeed, any game) related topic, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do what I can to help.