I can’t say I’ve beaten Final Fantasy 7, but I have played enough of it to pick up that Sephiroth is the final boss and main villain, though I’m a little disappointed that you do not seem to fight him at any point before the final battle. Disappointed, because I know he transforms into a giant angel monster, and I was hoping he might put up a fight in his normal state. Why would I want this? Well, because he did it in Kingdom Hearts.
        Specifically, he appeared at the Olympus Coliseum as the ’Platinum Match’, unlocked after the Keyhole at Hollow Bastion is sealed- which is about the same time you can fight Kurt Zisa, which I talked about in my last Kingdom Hearts article. In any case, much like that fight, you can save and prepare before it, and I highly suggest you do so- barring the final battle, this is the toughest enemy you’ll face- more so, in fact, because at least the final boss doesn’t strip you of your party members for the final confrontation. When you face Sephiroth, you do it alone.
        In any case, while you can face him just as quickly as you can Kurt Zisa and that other bonus bosses, I would honestly refrain from doing so unless you have leveled up at least to 60 or so to be safe, and defeat all of the others first. If you can’t defeat one of them, I wouldn’t suggest facing Sephiroth. Just to reemphasize, when I first tried this match, it was just after unlocking it. I was feeling pretty good about my skills and power, but he literally took me down in one slash. Later on the best I could do was barely surviving and trying to regroup and heal, before he inevitably caught up to me.
        So yes, prepare. Get the best weapons, best equipment, as many healing items as you can possibly hold, especially Elixirs and Megaelixirs. When you’ve long surpassed the kind of power the final boss throws at you, perhaps you’ll be ready. I would also advise items that reduce darkness damage, because almost everything Sephiroth uses qualifies as such. MP Rage is also a good thing to have, because his attacks do tremendous damage.
        Getting to the battle itself, Sephiroth does not go all out at first. Instead, the battle comes in phases. The first phase is basically him using the least possible amount of effort, but remember, that’s still enough to rip off a huge amount of health if you get careless. Speaking of health, he also has more of it than any other enemy. The game shows, at most, five health bars. However, you may notice at the start of the fight you don’t seem to be doing any damage. You are though, you’re whittling down his hidden sixth health bar. It just adds another layer to how impossible he seems to defeat.
        In the beginning he only uses two moves. Firstly he uses a horizontal slash. It’s simple to dodge, just roll out of the way, block, or jump, but it happens lightning fast, and if your movements are a hair slow you’d better start healing. He also tends to do this as soon as you get into range of it. As for his other move, Stigma has him shoot pillars of fire out of the ground, covering him entirely. This can be especially nasty if you were about to attack him, and the only option is to get away from him until he stops.
        After you hit him with a combo, he will teleport away, canceling your lock on, if you locked onto him. He also will teleport if you get too far away from him or if you just leave him alone too long, to get back into range to strike you. The best way to do damage to him is to make use of how quick he is to slash you by jumping into range, making him miss, and landing a combo. When he teleports to dodge a combo finisher, he generally will try to slash at you when he reappears, to be ready for that.
        Also, don’t think you can try a long-range strategy on him. Aside from his teleporting to you, attack magic simply doesn’t work on him. The only way to hurt him is to get up close. Anyway, this part of the fight is fairly simplistic, though that’s not to say easy. But after a while you might start to think you understand the boss- you know how to dodge and strike, what to expect. You can beat him! But then you get him down to four health bars. He holds out his hand and says “Come.”
        Suddenly the boss will start running, and it becomes abundantly clear he’s been toying with you. Before this, he walked about, and aside from teleporting, he clearly has no way to keep up with you. Now that he’s zipping around the suddenly far too small to escape battlefield, he outpaces you and you cannot control the flow of battle. He will start using his teleport slash much more frequently, and will occasionally stop teleporting around to pull out his Stigma attack, or a new one- Heartless Angel.
        This move has a long cast time, and he announces it by saying “Come Heartless Angel!”, so you know when he uses it and you have a few seconds to catch up to him and hit him, interrupting the spell. If you can stop him, great! You basically get a few free hits in. If you cannot for whatever reason though… well, if the spell instantly reduces your health to one and drains your MP, meaning you cannot heal yourself. This, of course, is why you brought healing items, especially Elixirs, which restore health and MP.
        If he is successful in this move, he’ll generally rush you to finish you off. Hypothetically you could time your using an item right as the move ends to recover, but if you screw up that, you lose an item and you’re even more open to attack. I’d suggest using one immediately after it hits you, or after you dodge or block his next attack. The best way to catch him if he is far off is to use Superglide, since it would be your fastest way of moving across the battlefield.
        He also starts using a new move on occasion, Omnislash, where he flies around the arena, chasing you while slashing with his massive sword. Blocking would work fine for the last strike, but for the most part you’ll be rolling and dodging. I wouldn’t recommend using Glide or Superglide to outpace him- he is too quick for the former and the arena is too small for you to avoid the walls with the latter, leaving you at his mercy. Just try to dodge normally.
        Once you get him down to the last two health bars, you can tell he is definitely getting serious. Magic surrounds him and he calls out “I am the Chosen One!”, signaling you reached the final stretch of the battle. A ring of dark orbs will appear around and close in, forcing you to roll under them, and he starts using his ultimate move, Supernova. It causes five small meteors to fall to earth, letting out shockwaves, before levitating into the air and orbiting around Sephiroth. They will do so faster and faster before exploding.
        At this point the move is over, and you can hurt the boss again. However, now when he runs around he leaves behind a trail of darkness orbs that explode, so you can’t follow him around, and when he gets close he will lunge at you while spinning his sword. He will also spawn more orbs with his usual slashes, which will float outward a bit before exploding, and will sometimes pause in place and say “Come”, summoning another ring of them around you.
        The only moves he uses that aren’t changed at this point is the Omnislash and Stigma, the latter of which I’m not even sure he uses at this point. However, though he may be very fast and powerful, remember- he’s nearly beaten. All you have to do is survive his onslaught and finish him off, though that is, naturally, easier said than done.
        So, that is Sephiroth. He starts out with more health than can be seen, treating you casually with strong attacks that wait for you to move into range, but then becomes faster, more proactive, before finally unleashing his full power in an onslaught of slashes and explosions. Good luck, dear readers, and have fun!

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