Also known as the Shinra Headquarters
The team will be presented with two options: busting in through the front doors or sneaking in quietly. It doesn’t matter which option you tell Tifa and Barret that you are going to do. You can still either enter through the front door or take the stairwell off to the left side.
Sneaking in quietly involves travelling to the left of the entrance and to the left of the Save Point. You travel down a long hallway, take a right, and begin ascending the stairs. There are 60 flights of stairs that you need to climb. This method of getting into the Shinra Building is long and painful but allows you to avoid many of the upcoming fights. That being said, I would still highly recommend going in through the front entrance. Avoiding too many fights will cause your characters to lack the experience and levels they will need to more easily defeat enemies and bosses later on in the game.
Start off by saving your game at the Save Point. Make sure that your characters are properly equipped with weapons, armor and Materia as there will be battles with Shinra soldiers as soon as you enter. Go through the front doors to begin.
The first battle against two Shinra Soldiers (referred to as Grenade Combatants in the game) is easy enough. Take them down as easily as the previous soldiers you’ve fought. Travel in behind the stairs and check the bulletin board near the elevators to find Turtle’s Paradise Newsletter No. 2 posted on the right side of the board. These newsletters are part of the Turtle's Paradise side quest Go back towards the entrance reception area and climb the stairs on either the right or left side of the room - they both lead to the same place.
On the second floor you will find a doorway towards the top of the screen that leads to the Shinra Building Second Floor Shop (2f Shop). Speak to the woman behind the counter and you can purchase Potions, Phoenix Downs and Tents (all items which you should have well stocked). There are two chests at the back of the shop but they cannot be opened at this point in the game. Ignore them for now. Exit the shop and return to the stairs to ascend to the third floor.
Jump on the elevator by pressing “Ok” while standing in front of them. Use the panel on the left side of the screen to operate the elevator. The elevator will begin moving and will stop on random floors throughout the building each time Cloud uses the panel to stop it. Most of the random floors will result in a battle against Shinra Soldiers (Grenade Combatants, Mighty Grunts, Hammer Blasters or a Sword Dancer). You may get lucky and stop on a floor where a Shinra employee will be standing attempting to board the elevator - one less battle for you to fight. The battles and fights will stop once you reach floor 59.
Travel downward towards the three Shinra Soldiers guarding the elevators on the right side of the screen. Once you get close enough they will charge you and throw you into a battle against three Mighty Grunts. The guards will drop the key item “Keycard 60” which will provide you with access to the next floor. Enter the elevators behind where the guards were standing and use the control panel to have the elevator take you to the 60th floor.
Move forward once you step off of the elevator. There are two guards that will prevent you from moving straight forward. Travel to the doorway off to the left side of the screen and enter the small room. Barret will tell you that you have to sneak past the guards in order to get by. This all has to do with timing - you need to sneak by from statue to statue whenever the guards are moving.
Tip: The second set of guards are obviously the most difficult because of their speed, but another issue is that the first gap is particularly lengthy. Make sure that the guards are on the right side when signalling Barret and Tifa to run across the gaps. The guards can only catch you or your teammates if they are staring between the gap that you are trying to cross.
Use the video below for reference:
The maximum number of attempts you get is 5 - after that the guards that you sneak past will have been removed. Climb the stairs and proceed to the next floor.
There is a man wandering around this area that you need to speak to. When you talk to him he will ask “The hell are you? What’re you doin’ around here?”. Select the response: “……” and he will assume that you are part of the Shinra, Inc. Repair Division and provide you with the key item “Keycard 62”. Take the stairs up to the next floor.
This floor includes a small mini-game. Speak to the librarian, Domino, in the room on the far left and he will tell you that if you guess his password he will provide you with the keycard for the next floor. You can keep guessing the passwords from the list until you get it, however if you guess the password right on the first try you will also receive a ‘special item’, which happens to be an Elemental Materia.
So how do you guess the librarian's password?
There are four colored rooms in the library each with a different genre of books in them. You can read the signs on the outside of the rooms to find out what the genre is. The genres include:
- Urban Dev. Research Library
- Scientific Research Library
- Space Dev. Research Library
- Peace Preservation/Weapon Dev. Research Library
You have to search in each of the rooms to find a book that does not belong to the category/genre listed on the outside of the room. So, for example, if you find “Mako energy and the rise in life forms” inside the Peace Preservation/Weapon Dev. Research Library you will have found the book that doesn’t belong. Another example would be if you found “New plans for urban planning” in the Space Dev. Research Library or if you found the “Ranks and extended use of Mako weaponry” in the Scientific Research Library.
So what do you do once you have found the misplaced book?
Each of the books have a number in front of the title. The number corresponds to the letter that you need in order to find out the password. So, for example, in this title:
16 Modern history of Midgar space program vol. 1
You would want to take the 16th letter from the left which, in this case, would be the letter “M” (underlined). In this title:
10 New plans for urban planning
You would want to take the 10th letter from the left which would be the letter “O”.
Take all four letters and unscramble them to find out what the password is. Report back to the librarian and provide him with the password to receive the key item “Keycard 63” and to receive your prize. Elemental Materia is quite useful but you need to be careful what element you pair it with. Some enemies and bosses will regain health if you use certain elements on them so you may want to pair it with something on your armor instead.
Proceed up to the next floor when you are done.
This floor contains another puzzle. You can only open a maximum of three doors which limits the number of rooms that you can get to and items you can pickup. You get as many tries at this as you would like so that you can focus on picking up the coupons for the items that you want. That being said, there is a pathway you can take that will allow you to obtain all three items.
I have included the instructions below as well as a video that will show you the correct pathway to take.
Travel to the north wall and open the doorway heading left
- There are two locked doors to the south, open the one on the left
- Go into the room on the far left side of the floor and pick up “A Coupon”
- Climb into the air duct in this room
- Follow the vent into the next room to the right (don’t go as far as the entrance)
- Pick up “B Coupon”
- Exit the room and open the door to the left leading to the middle room to pick up “C Coupon”
- Use the vent to return to the computer to exchange your items
Go into the large exercise room and try to use the vending machine. Attempt to buy the “Shinra Gym Special Drink” which costs 250 gil. The broken machine will refuse to dispense the promised drink, however when you return to the Shinra Building later on in the game you will receive some particularly useful items (Speed Source and a Mind Source). It is worth parting ways with the 250 gil. Make sure to have Cloud bang on the machine before leaving. He will get yelled at by one of the attendants.
There is a Save Point in the room to the left and you have the option of “taking a nap” when you enter the room. Taking a nap will refill each party member’s HP and MP gauges. Save your game before you continue.
Check out the locker room and search through the locker room to find some items including a Phoenix Down and an Ether. You can also find a Megaphone in one of the top lockers. Cloud refuses to take it stating that “Handing on to this won’t do any good…” however, fans of the series who have played through before will recognize that this is actually Cait Sith’s Ultimate Weapon (HP Shout). Unfortunately, you will have to come back later.
Proceed to the next floor once you have picked up the items and taken care of everything you need to.
This floor contains another puzzle. The goal of the puzzle is to complete the model of Midgar in the center of the room by filling in the missing pieces which are scattered throughout the floor. Only one chest will open at a time meaning that you have to search for the ‘open’ chest and each time you add in a missing piece to the model of Midgar a new chest will open. The chest sequence is as follows:
- Chest in the top left room.
- Chest in the bottom left room.
- Chest in the top left room again.
- Chest in the top right room.
- Chest in the bottom left room again.
After you have placed all five missing pieces back into the model of Midgar the final chest will open up. This is the chest out near the stairwell and it contains “Keycard 66” allowing you access to the next floor.
Walk over to the washrooms which are located in the upper-left corner of the room. Enter the stall and choose the option to “Climb up?” which will allow Cloud, Tifa and Barret to gain access to the vents on this floor. Crawl towards the open vent and listen in on the conversation in the large meeting room.
Climb back down into the washroom and go around the corner to find Hojo wandering through the halls. Follow Hojo up to the next floor.
Follow Hojo to the left side of the floor and approach him to initiate another scene. The specimen referred to in this scene is Red XIII. Travel to the back of the room once the scene has concluded to find a chest that contains a Poison Materia. This is a great Materia to pair with Elemental Materia on your armor - it will halve the amount of damage done by Poison attacks to that character.
Side Quest: Gold Saucer Date
This information is for the Gold Saucer date side quest (click here for more information).
When you first meet Red XIII:
Another short cutscene will begin as soon as you step off the elevator. The upcoming boss battle will involve Cloud, Red XIII and whichever party member you choose. You will be given the option to send somebody with Aeris. You can choose either Tifa or Barret - I recommend that you choose to send away Tifa because Barret’s attacks will do more damage to the next boss due to the back row mechanics.
Boss Battle: Sample: HO512
This boss likes to use poison attacks to the point where it is pretty much useless to try and rid your team members of the poison status effect. Make use of Red XIII’s Fire Materia (with All Materia attached) to really lay into HO512 and its cohorts. Use your Limit Breaks and magic on HO512. It is harder to hit with regular attacks because it is in the back row, but you should focus all of your attacks on it rather than the small creatures standing in front of it. Sample: HO512 will regenerate the small creatures if you kill them.
Do not forget to turn around and grab the Enemy Skill Materia that appears in the specimen container after the battle is over. Travel to the south and pick up the two Potions lying on the ground near the southern wall. Speak to the man standing outside the control center to receive “Keycard 68”. Travel back down to the 67th floor using the elevator in the north section of the building.
At this point in the game there are random enemy encounters as you wander around through the 67th floor. There are two enemies in this area that are worth hunting down. Those enemies include Moth Slashers and SOLDIER:3rd. You can steal Carbon Bangles from Moth Slashers and you can steal a Hardedge from SOLDIER:3rd. Wander around in this area until you find them both as these items are extremely valuable at this stage in the game. Stealing is based entirely on what level your characters are so you may need to continue to battle enemies and level up in order to see more success in Steal attempts. The Hardedge Sword will double Clouds attack power at this point in the game.
Screenshots of both enemies can be found below:
Travel back down to the 66th floor and jump on the elevator to continue to the story. Rude and Tseng will ambush the team as soon as you approach the control panel inside the elevator.
Floor 67 (Prison)
The game continues with Cloud, Tifa, Aeris, Barret and Red XIII locked up in the prison on the 67th floor of the Shinra Building. Approach the door and find out how Aeris is doing to continue the story. Choose to get some rest after that to keep the story moving.
Side Quest: Gold Saucer Date
This information is for the Gold Saucer date side quest (click here for more information).
When Tifa asks if you can break out:
When you get the option to think about Barret, Red XIII or Aeris:
When you choose your party after escaping Midgar:
The doors to the prison cell are now open. Walk over and examine the guard over in the corner. Wake Tifa up and then talk to her after she approaches the dead guard. Follow the bloody trail with Red XIII back to the elevator. Save your game at the Save Point before you continue and then take the elevator up to the next floor.
Follow the bloody trail past Red XIII and grab the two Potions lying on the ground in the next room over. Go around to the stairs and proceed upward to the next floor.
There is nothing on this floor except the Save Point (another reminder to save your game if you didn’t previously). Take the stairs up to the 70th floor.
The team will find President Shinra dead with a huge sword sticking out of his back. There is a doorway to the north that can be used to get out on the balcony area once the helicopter arrives. This is the first encounter with Rufus. You will get the option to remove Cloud and Tifa’s Materia before Barret, Aeris and Red XIII make their escape. Choose to remove their Materia.
Take some time to properly equip all three with the Materia that you pulled off Cloud and Tifa before you continue. The upcoming boss battle involves distance so melee attacks from Aeris and Red XIII will not work. Be sure to equip them both with Materia such as Fire Materia, Ice Materia or Lightning Materia so that they can attack. Barret’s regular attacks will work just fine so don’t worry about which Materia you provide him with. The preferred setup is to use Aeris as a healer and have Red XIII focus on magic attacks - Lightning is the strongest.
Go to the bottom of the screen and board the elevator to initiate the next boss fight.
Boss Battle: Hundred Gunner
Have Barret focus on regular attacks throughout the fight. Aeris should focus on healing using Restore Materia and should switch to magic-based attacks if your character's HP is full. Red XIII should be using Bolt magic every single attack.
Boss Battle: Heli Gunner
Heli Gunner joins the fight as soon as Hundred Gunner is destroyed. The exact same strategy used on Hundred Gunner applies to Heli Gunner. The only difference between these two fights is that Heli Gunner’s attacks are stronger so be prepared to heal or use Potions and Hi-Potions as necessary.
Reward: Mythril Armlet
The story now switches back to Cloud on the roof of the Shinra Building. Use the button to remove the Materia from your other party members and then press Triangle to enter the menu screen and properly equip Cloud.
Make sure that you equip Cloud with the Mythril Armlet that dropped off Heli Gunner but only if you did not steal a Carbon Bangle from a Moth Slasher earlier in the game. The Mythril Armlet is strong but not nearly as strong as the Carbon Bangle. Make sure that you give Cloud the following Materia: Restore Materia for healing, Poison Materia so that he can cast Bio and Steal Materia for the bonus to Dexterity that it provides.
Boss Battle: Rufus
Both Rufus and his cat, Dark Nation, are susceptible to Poison (casting Bio) so you should cast it on both of them to increase the amount of damage done. Start off by taking out Dark Nation as the cat will continue to cast Barrier and MBarrier on the two of them. Rufus will take off and make an escape before you actually defeat him.
Reward: Protect Vest
Go back around the walkway and through the door into the President’s Office on the 70th floor. Save your game before you speak with Tifa. Make sure that you load the rest of your team up with Materia - specifically Cloud, Barret and Tifa as they are about to be involved in a boss fight.
Talk to Tifa and then as you attempt to travel back to the stairs the game will switch back over to Aeris. Try to leave through the front doors and Barret will come back inside saying that the building is surrounded. Tifa and Cloud will rejoin the team on the main floor.
Escape from Shinra
Cloud will come rolling down the stairs in a motorcycle while the rest of the team take off in a pickup truck. The next portion of the game is an entertaining mini-game on the roads of Midgar. The goal is to defend the pickup truck from the Shinra Pursuit Troops that follow. The bikers will go after just the truck full of all of your allies.
The instructions for completing the game are given to you and are included in the screenshot below:
Some tips for this mini-game: Stay far back from the truck when you can. This will give you more time to react as enemy bikes pull up to attack. You can use your bike as a battering ram to take down bikers as well. The red bikes are much more susceptible to ramming. Use the video below if your having trouble:
The team will immediately be tossed into a battle against Motor Ball at the conclusion of the Motorcycle mini-game.
Boss Battle: Motor Ball
Motor Ball is weak to Lightning-based magic so use Bolt as much as you can during this fight. Secondary to that will be regular attacks as other types of magic (especially Fire) do not work well. The easiest way to lose this fight or to make it more difficult is to enter into it unprepared or to have party members with low HP as the result of poor performance during the motorcycle mini-game. Reattempt the fight with more preparation if you are having difficulty against Motor Ball and this fight is extremely difficult if you are not prepared.
Reward: Star Pendant
The team will decide that it is time to leave Midgar. Try to leave once you reach the Slum Outskirts area by walking towards the camera and you will be presented with two choices: “Let’s stay here for a while” or “Let’s go!”. Choose your two party members to join you on the World Map and then begin the journey northeast towards Kalm.