Secrets & Mysteries | What We Shouldn't Have Seen III

The Jinx discovered the true identity of the 'Great Cave' discussed in What We Shouldn't Have Seen II. Rather than provide answers, however, it sparked new questions. Thanks for your contribution, Jinx.

Seemingly eons after the discovery of the Great Cave, a friend of mine from the Eyes on Final Fantasy Forums gave me reason to go about exploring the area as well as the rest of the debug room. Therefore, credit goes out to Rainecloud, because if he hadn't sparked my interest again, this discovery wouldn't have been made. Those wondering what exactly this "Great Cave" is should read the Citadel's article "What We Shouldn't Have Seen 2" before bothering to try understanding this article.

After a good deal of just staring at the Great Cave, unable to really do anything else with it, it dawned on me to search through the game's memory for the actual map. This can be accomplished with a map viewing program named "Ghast" or a text editing and map previewing program called "Cosmo," both of which are top notch programs (I was using Cosmo for this particular project; that'll be relevant later). I went about searching through the compressed files by typing in the name of the option that appears in the debug menu, which is "TRNAD53."

"Cosmo" at work

Simple enough. Opening the file opens the full map, all text available on that map in the game, and the music that is playing in that scene. It turns out that the full map of the Great Cave is more than 3 times larger than what the screen allows you to see within the game. That, and it puts a few spins on the initial Great Cave theories; it was initially believed that the area of the North Cave that is accessible in the game, which housed both Sephiroth and the awakening WEAPONs, was a separate cave from the Great Cave. You'll be very surprised.

The Great Cave Unveiled

It turns out that the very large map is a third rendition of Sephiroth's Cave, which was evidently coded in location as the Great Cave. WEAPON's open eye and the gargantuan Mako crystal that Sephiroth's body is encased make it extremely apparent as to where exactly this cave is meant to be. It is NOT a separate cave, rather a separate image of the same cave. Given the part of the map that is visible to the gamer, however, it's understandable as to why one would think it's a separate cave. To give a reference of just how much is left to the viewers imagination in-game, the red box in this image is exactly what is visible on the screen, nothing more.

Comparison of visibility

If anything, this leaves things just as mysterious. Why would Aeris' theme be playing in Sephiroth's cave? Other things to be considered:

  • There is no text other than coding available in this area; nobody speaks, and no characters are mentioned. This is proven with the aid of the Cosmo text editor.
  • The map is used at absolutely no point in the game, ever.
  • If Aeris is in your party at the Great Cave point in the game (using a Gameshark or other game enhancing device/program), the game will hang and crash.

This discovery might put a damper on the Aeris resurrection theories, but at the same time it opens a new door, and leaves things making just as much sense (ie. NONE!).

- The Jinx

UPDATE (April 2005): The Jinx has sent in an addendum regarding his findings about the Great Cave background, finding that it may serve another purpose:

"After picking up the game again for the first time in a while, I've realized that while this exact texture doesn't seem to be visibly used at any point in the game, it is used in an FMV during the the Great/Northern Cave scene, which can be found here:

"It's important to note that, ingame, Cloud and Tifa's realtime models appear in the foreground as the camera pans down. I think it's more than likely that the texture is used as a sort of anchor for the character models; it would explain why there aren't any paths programmed into the the scene and why there's no speech associated with the scene, since it's only used for about 8 seconds. As to the reason for Aeris' theme playing in the debug room version, I'm still entirely clueless."

(continued in What We Shouldn't Have Seen IV)


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