Game Information | Playing Aeris... Even After She's Dead
By Adrian Loder
While playing FF7 it always struck me as a little odd that Aeris got a sword through her back and died instantly, while Cloud, Tifa and Tseng all get hacked and, at the very least, manage to stick around for awhile. For all those who, like me, would have paid Square to put Yuffie in front of Sephiroth's sword instead, there are various utilities available to both PC and PSX players of the game that allow for Aeris to be played even after her death.
This is probably not a shock or surprise to most people, as the game has, after all, been out on the market for awhile now. Still, as I have little better to do with my time and because I have yet to see a comprehensive listing of Aeris' activities while back from the dead, the following is just such an overview, complete with the high spots and the trouble spots. As I have no acquaintance with the PSX version and have not used the Gameshark codes, there may be discrepancies that exist between this information and that found by PSX users. The following was all gathered by using a program called mtrainer, available in various sites around the Internet, and specifically it, among other things, makes every playable character available -- so if you use it after Aeris dies... you get the picture.
One other note, is that some of the 'sightings' of Aeris when using this program, other than in battle scenes, which she always appears in, are viewable precisely because they are also viewable on Disc 1. The game does not use a separately programmed version of the various locales for each disc, consequently most things she could do repeatedly on Disc 1 are also valid on 2 and 3. Other items, however, are Disc 2 specific, and so could be considered 'hidden' things, or whatever, that are not viewable unless she is 'resurrected' using the program. The lines she speaks are, so far as I can ascertain, NOT generic stock lines, as I have substituted other characters into the scenes in question and different dialogue appears, so without further boring prologue...
2 - Disc 2 specific
T - Aeris speaks in the scene
O - Aeris appears onscreen in the scene
1. Snowboarding Down the Mountain -- After the Icicle Village, the party, of course, escapes Shinra by snowboarding down the side of the mountain behind the town, and at the bottom, Aeris will say she's sick of it, and, sometimes, also utter the generic 'let's look at the map' line. 2 T O
2. Getting Vincent -- If you hold off on getting Vincent until after Aeris is killed and then brought back with mtrainer, she will appear onscreen and speak, when in the party, just as if you had gotten him on Disc 1. T O
3. Cosmo Canyon Inn -- One of several inns where the party is visible onscreen briefly before consolidating into one sprite after resting for the night. O
4. Fort Condor -- Fort Condor is the best of all of them as it offers three separate occurrences and two are Disc 2 specific. a) Before fighting for the Huge Materia atop the Fort, if in your group Aeris will speak and appear onscreen while talking to the older Indian man. 2 T O. b) After the fight, she also appears onscreen, again, and speaks, again. 2 T O. c) If you come back later, after Cloud is recovered from the Mako poisoning, and have a group consisting of Cloud, Barret and Aeris, in that order, she will give her 'let's rest' line when you go to use the Fort Condor inn. T O
5. Path to Underwater Reactor -- the party briefly splits into three while heading through Upper Junon to reach the Reactor, and Cloud says it feels like they're missing something. If Aeris is in the party, she will appear onscreen. 2 O
6. Rocket Town -- With a party of Cloud, Cid and Aeris, when you speak to the guy who tells the corny jokes, Aeris will whisper a snide remark to Cloud, who will whisper back a reply. 2 T
7. City of the Ancients -- With Aeris in your party, on revisiting the City, she will appear onscreen, both in the FMVs and not, and will actually be in the party standing and watching her own death on the waterfall projection screen. Unfortunately, however, as she does not say anything, the scene winds up a mess of contradictions as Cloud goes on about how she's dead and how he's so sorry, but she's standing right there. 2 O
8. Gold Saucer -- Round Square is busted but she will appear onscreen in Speed Square (O) and will speak and appear onscreen, as well as fight, if selected as your combatant in the Battle Square (T O).
In truth, though this is only a handful of the many dialogue and cut scenes in the final two discs of the game, her presence in battles combined with these few snippets of appearance make it feel like she's back (and if you enjoy the game better that way, then go ahead and make believe the plot into something different than what the game's designers intended - if you shelled out the cash, you should do whatever gets you the most fun out of the game).
There are a few sticky spots where Aeris must be removed, temporarily, from the party, or the game will hang.
1. Whirlwind Maze -- If you're using her here, remove her before the section where everyone in your party but Cloud gets confused and starts spinning around and add her again at the next save point.
2. Mideel -- Before visiting Cloud in Mideel for the first time, take Aeris out of the party if she is in it because the game will hang after Tifa runs inside the clinic.
3. Rocket Town -- After seeing her comment about the bad joke guy, remove her from the party outside the town as if taken into the Rocket, the game will hang when they're supposed to group up and go take the Huge Materia from up the ladder.
4. Weapon Approaches Midgar -- After the battle with Weapon, the game will hang if Aeris is in the party -- so take her out before Weapon gets onshore.
5. North Crater -- The game won't actually hang here, but you cannot select Aeris for the groups that take the middle section of the North Crater, ie. after the first few levels, when the party splits up into left and right routes. For convenience sake, if using her up to that point, remove materia and any accessories or equipment that you would like to use in the next section. She can be re-added before the final descent down the stone platforms towards Jenove and, if using two groups against Bizarro Sephiroth, will be able to fight in the 2nd party against him, and if using only one group, will be able to fight against both he and Safer Sephiroth. It's really cool when you use one group and land the deathblow on Safer Sephiroth with Aeris -- payback!
That seems to be it. For anyone who would address my mental state or why I'm so concerned with the minutae of a video game, well, its nifty, and I liked Aeris as a character, and I like picking stuff apart. Rest assured that though while playing the game some of us may seem obsessed, and even take notes to rationalize plot contradictions or such, this stuff doesn't keep us awake at night. For anyone who IS kept awake at night by this stuff, please consult a physician.