Shinra Building (or Headquarters)

Shinda Building cinematic

The team will be presented with two options once you reach the Shinra Building: 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.

Deciding which direction to go

If you decided to sneak in quietly, it would involve traveling to the left of the entrance and to the left of the Save Point. You would travel down a long hallway, shown in the screenshot below, take a right and begin ascending the stairs.

Entrance to the Staircase

There are 60 flights of stairs that you would 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.

Cloud climbing the stairwell

The better (and more fun) strategy is to just bust in through the front entrance! Avoiding too many fights will cause your characters to lack the experience points 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 when you’re ready.

First floor of the Shinra Building

The first battle against two Shinra Soldiers (referred to as Grenade Combatants in the game) is easy enough. Take them down as with regular attacks just like the previous soldiers you’ve fought.

Battke against Grenade Combatants

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.

Reading the Turtles Paradise flyer

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 the following items:

Phoenix Downs

These are 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.

Shinra Building store on the second floor

Exit the shop and return to the stairs to ascend to the third floor.

Jump on the elevator by pressing the XButton while standing in front of them. Use the panel on the left side of the screen to operate the elevator.

The crazy 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).

A battle whilst riding the elevator

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.

Floor 59

Travel down 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.

Stopping on the 59th floor

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.

Riding the second elevator to the 60th floor

Floor 60

Move forward once you step off of the elevator. There are two guards that will ambush you if you move too far forward.

Getting off on the 60th floor

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 little ‘mini-game’ of sorts has everything to do with timing. You need to sneak by in between the statues whenever the guards are on the move.

The maximum number of attempts you get is 5. After that, the game will have mercy on you and the security guards are removed so you can pass through the area freely and without fear of being caught. Climb the stairs and proceed to the next floor.

Floor 61

There is an NPC (non-playable character) 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 will provide you with the key item “Keycard 62”. Take the stairs up to the next floor.

Guard asking who you are when you receive Keycard 62

Floor 62

This floor includes another ‘mini-game’ of sorts. 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 just happens to be an Elemental Materia.

So how do you guess the librarian’s password?

There are four different 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 of book the room contains. The genres include:

  • Urban Dev. Research Library
  • Scientific Research Library
  • Space Dev. Research Library
  • Peace Preservation/Weapon Dev. Research Library
Reading a book in the library on the 62nd floor

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.

Guessing the librarians password

Elemental Materia is very useful Materia to have 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 (which will provide that character with protection from the element you pair it with).

Elemental Materia reward from the library

Proceed up to the next floor when you are ready.

Floor 63

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. A full list of instructions is included below as well as a video that will show you the correct pathway to take. Here are the steps:

  1. Travel to the north wall and open the doorway heading left
  2. There are two locked doors leading downward, open the one on the left side
  3. Go into the room on the far left side of the floor and pick up “A Coupon”
  4. Climb into the air duct in this room
  5. Follow the vent into the next room to the right (don’t go as far as the entrance)
  6. Pick up “B Coupon”
  7. Exit the room and open the door to the left leading to the middle room to pick up “C Coupon”
  8. Use the vent to return to the computer to exchange your items

Your rewards for trading in all three coupons are a Star Pendant, Four Slots and an All Materia. Take the stairs to the next floor once you are done.

Floor 64

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 (specifically, a 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.

Shinra Gym Special Drink

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. And don’t forget to save your game before you continue.

Check out the locker room and search through the each of the lockers 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 “Hanging 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.

Cloud looking at the Megaphone in the Shinra Building

Proceed to the next floor once you have picked up the items.

Floor 65

This floor contains yet another puzzle. The goal of this 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.

The model of Midgar on the 65th 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.
Picking up the Keycard 66 item

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.

Floor 66

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.

Climbing into the vent from the bathroom

Crawl towards the open vent and listen in on the conversation in the large meeting room.

Listening on the president and his advisors

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.

Floor 67

Continue following 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, the next character who will be joining your party.

Looking at Hojo’s specemin, 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.

Picking up the Poison Materia

Save your game at the Save Point and then take the elevator up to the next level.

Floor 68

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. You should normally choose to send away Tifa as Barret’s attacks will do more damage to the next boss. This is due to the fact that the boss is in the back row of the battle screen (melee attacks do less damage).

Alternatively, if you are attempting to obtain the Best Bromance Trophy as outlined in the information window below, you should send Barret with Aeris.

Best Bromance

Dialogue during this section of the game will influence the Gold Saucer Date side quest and obtaining the Best Bromance Trophy.

When you first meet Red XIII and choose who to send with Aeris:

“Tifa, I’m countin’ on you!” - 2 to Tifa
“Barret, take care of her!” + 2 to Barret
Somebody take Aeris somewhere safe
Best Bromance Trophy Icon
Boss Battle: Sample: H0512
Boss battle against Sample: H0512

HP: 1,000
Reward: Talisman

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 his All Materia pre-attached) to really lay into H0512 and its cohorts.

Use your Limit Breaks and magic on H0512. It is harder to hit with regular attacks because it is in the back row, but you should focus all of your attacks on H0512 rather than the small creatures standing in front of it. Sample: H0512 will regenerate the small creatures if you kill them.

Red XIII using Fire Materia

A video demonstration of this battle is included below for reference:

You will have the option of picking your party members after the battle has concluded.

Best Bromance

Your party member selections during this section of the game will influence the Gold Saucer Date side quest and obtaining the Best Bromance Trophy.

After the battle against H0512, adding any of the following party members to your team:

Aeris + 2 to Aeris
Barret + 2 to Barret
Tifa + 2 to Tifa

Add Barret and Red XIII to your party if you plan on obtaining the Best Bromance trophy.

Choose your party after obtaining Red XIII
Best Bromance Trophy Icon

Do not forget to turn around and grab the Enemy Skill Materia that appears in the specimen container after the battle is over!

Picking up the Enemy Skill Materia after a battle against Sample: H0512

Travel to the left side of the screen 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.

Retreiving the Keycard 68

At this point in the game there will be random enemy encounters as you wander through the 67th floor. There are two enemies in this area that are worth hunting down. These enemies include the 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.

Your chance of stealing items using the “Steal” Command from your Steal Materia is based entirely on what level your characters are so you may need to continue to battle against enemies and level up in order to steal items more effectively. The likelihood of stealing goes way up if you are the same level or higher as the enemy you are attempting to steal from.

The Hardedge Sword will double Clouds attack power at this point in the game so it is definitely worth obtaining!

Screenshots of both enemies can be found below:

Stealin from Moth Slasher to receive a Carbon Bangle
Stealing from SOLDIER:3rd to receive a Hardedge

Travel back down to the 66th floor and jump on the elevator to continue the story. Rude and Tseng will ambush the team as soon as you approach the control panel inside the elevator.

Turks ambushing the team in 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.

Cloud, Aeris, Tifa, Barret and Red XIII in the Shinra Prison
Best Bromance

Dialogue during this section of the game will influence the Gold Saucer Date side quest and obtaining the Best Bromance Trophy.

When Tifa asks if you can break out:

“(Leave it to me)” + 1 to Tifa
“(Kinda hard)” - 1 to Tifa

When you have the option to think about Barret, Red XIII or Aeris:

Think about Barret or Aeris first. + 3 to whichever you select.
Think about Barret or Aeris second. + 1 to whichever you select.
Think about Barret or Aeris third. No change.

If you intend to obtain the Best Bromance trophy you should select Barret, then Red XIII and then Aeris.

Asking how Barret, Red XIII and Aeris are doing
Best Bromance Trophy Icon

The doors to the prison cell will then open up. 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 back to the elevator. Save your game at the Save Point before you continue and then take the elevator up to the next floor.

Floor 68

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 up to the next floor.

Traveling through the Shinra Building

Floor 69

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.

Floor 70

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.

Speaking to Rufus at the top of the Shinra Building

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 when given the option to do so.

Take some time to properly equip all three characters 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 with Magic instead of regular physical attacks.

Removing Cloud and Tifas Materia

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
Hundred Gunner Boss Battle

HP: 1,600

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 for every single one of his attacks.

Hundred Gunner using Main Artillery

A video for both this fight and the subsequent fight is included below.

Boss Battle: Heli Gunner
Heli Gunner boss battle

HP: 1,000
Reward: Mythril Armlet

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.

Heli Gunner up close

A video demonstration of this battle is included below for reference:

The story now switches back to Cloud on the roof of the Shinra Building. Use the SquareButton to remove the Materia from your other party members and then press TriangleButton 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.

Hundred Gunner Boss Battle
Boss Battle: Rufus
Boss battle against Rufus and Dark Nation

HP: 500
Reward: Protect Vest

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 both itself and Rufus while it is alive. Rufus will take off and make an escape before you actually defeat him.

Rufus bailing and fleeing from battle

A video demonstration of this battle is included below for reference:

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 another 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.

Cloud on the bike with his team in the background

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 but note that the game gives you an opportunity to prepare for an upcoming battle as well by giving you access to the party select screen so you can setup your team. Read ahead for tips on the upcoming boss battle.

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:

Motorcycle/bike mini-game instructions

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.

Some tips for the upcoming boss battle: The upcoming boss will attack your party from behind which means that team members in the front row will be placed in the back row and vice-versa. To counteract this, put melee characters (Cloud, Aeris, Tifa and Red XII) in the back row and put long-range characters (Barret) in the front row.

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’s initial charge

HP: 2,600
Reward: Star Pendant

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 as this fight is extremely difficult if you are not prepared.

Motor Ball is weak to Lightning-based magic so use your Bolt spell from your Lightning Materia as much as you can during this fight. Secondary to that will be regular attacks as other types of magic (especially Fire) are not particularly strong.

You can strengthen the power of your Bolt magic spell by equipping the party member that will use that spell with a bunch of other Magic (or Green) Materia. This will increase their overall Magic power. Check out the Materia Stat Effects page for more details on how this works.

Boss battle against Motor Ball

A video demonstration of this battle is included below for reference:

Slum Outskirts

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.

Best Bromance

The party members you select during this section of the game will influence the Gold Saucer Date side quest and obtaining the Best Bromance Trophy.

Effect of adding each of the party members to your team:

Aeris + 1 to Aeris
Barret + 1 to Barret
Red XIII No change
Tifa + 1 to Tifa

If you intend to obtain the Best Bromance trophy you should add Barret and Red XIII to your party.

Choosing the first party
Best Bromance Trophy Icon
The team in the outskirts of the slums just outside Midgar

You may want to start considering which party members are going to be a mainstay in your main party. For more information about forming your party check out the “Best Party” section.

Barret suggesting the team go northeast to Kalm