Cloud Strife

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Cloud Strife
Final Fantasy character
Cloud Strife art.jpg
Cloud Strife in Final Fantasy VII
First game Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Created by Tetsuya Nomura, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Yoshinori Kitase, Kazushige Nojima
Designed by Tetsuya Nomura
Voiced by (English) Steve Burton[1]
Voiced by (Japanese) Takahiro Sakurai (Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series)[2]
Kenyu Horiuchi (Ehrgeiz, arcade version)
Nozomu Sasaki (Ehrgeiz, home console version)
Fictional profile
Weapon Broadswords
Race Human
Home Nibelheim

Cloud Strife (クラウド・ストライフ Kuraudo Sutoraifu?) is a fictional character and the main protagonist of Square's (now Square Enix's) role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII and several of its sequels and spin-offs. He was originally designed by Final Fantasy VII character designer Tetsuya Nomura. Cloud's appearance is marked by spikey blond hair, striking blue eyes, dark clothing and his Buster Sword (バスターソード Basutā Sōdo?),[3] which previously belonged to his friend Zack Fair.

In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is a mercenary and self-proclaimed ex-member of SOLDIER, an elite, genetically augmented military unit operating under the de facto world government, the megacorporation Shinra Electric Power Company. Fighting against Shinra in the resistance group AVALANCHE, and driven by a feud with the primary antagonist, Sephiroth,[4] Cloud learns to accept his troubled past and adapts to his role as a leader. Cloud has also appeared in several other titles outside the Final Fantasy VII continuity, such as Itadaki Street Special, Final Fantasy Tactics, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Ehrgeiz and the Kingdom Hearts series.

Cloud has garnered a primarily positive reception from critics. Described as "iconic," the character has been ranked highly in various published character lists. He remains popular among fans, and continues to place highly in popularity polls. He has also become the basis for a variety of merchandise, such as action figures and jewellery.

Appearances[edit]

In Final Fantasy VII[edit]

In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is introduced as a mercenary-for-hire and a former SOLDIER 1st Class, an elite military unit operating under the Shinra Company. Presented at the game's start as apathetic to everything unrelated to his current job, Cloud's blasé attitude towards the goals of AVALANCHE, an eco-terrorist resistance group fighting against Shinra and the threat posed to the Planet, causes conflict with the other characters,[5][6][7] while his background produces misgivings as to his motivations and trustworthiness.[8][9] Cloud, meanwhile, takes pride in his past, confident in his abilities as a "former member of SOLDIER."[10][11] Despite appearing detached to members of AVALANCHE,[6][12][13] Cloud does display moments of camaraderie, some depending on the player's choices.[14][15] When confronted by his childhood friend and AVALANCHE member, Tifa Lockhart, Cloud agrees to keep his boyhood promise to protect her,[16] continuing his AVALANCHE membership despite never having become a famous hero.[17][18] Following the player's departure from Midgar, Cloud is appointed group leader by the other members of the party, upsetting Barret Wallace, AVALANCHE's original leader.[19]

In interacting with Aerith Gainsborough, a flower girl wanted by Shinra because she is sole survivor of an ancient race known as the Cetra,[20][21] Cloud's character is further expanded upon. He shows increased signs of good-natured humor[22][23][24] and protectiveness,[25][26][27] as opposed to his antagonistic use of sarcasm with Barret.[13] The love triangle aspect between Cloud, Tifa and Aerith is primarily focused on in the first disc, and at times is used to humorous effect.[26][28][29]

When the player arrives at the inn in the town of Kalm, Cloud narrates to the group his history with Sephiroth, a legendary member of SOLDIER and the game's primary antagonist. According to Cloud, the two were "war buddies," having worked together on previous missions.[30] Having joined SOLDIER to emulate Sephiroth,[16][30] Cloud states in the flashback that he signs up for "big missions" whenever they become available, as the war between Shinra and the people of Wutai had already ended and thus his chances for military fame.[31] When Sephiroth, upon discovering documents surrounding the nature of Jenova and his birth, mistakes himself to be a Cetra[32] and razes Nibelheim, Cloud chases after him. Finding Tifa wounded by Sephiroth at the Mt. Nibel Mako reactor, Cloud discovers Sephiroth releasing Jenova, an extraterrestrial lifeform and Sephiroth's "mother," from imprisonment. Cloud relates to the group that he then confronted Sephiroth, but he is unable to remember the events directly following.[33]

In fact, these events did not occur as Cloud describes; rather, they are an amalgamation of Cloud's actual past (as a member of the Shinra army who failed to enter SOLDIER) along with his friend Zack Fair's own past, mixed with memories gleaned from Tifa's mind, created out of a combination of shame, Jenova cells and manipulation by Sephiroth.[34][35] The effects of this self-fabrication are made noticeable to the player prior to Cloud's discovery of the truth; at the mention of names from the past or moments related thereto, Cloud will experience a brief flashback and collapse momentarily, suffering from apparent physical pain,[36][37] and visual and audio cues are given to indicate discrepancies.[38][39] It is not until after he and Tifa fall into the Lifestream that he, with her encouragement, can piece his past back together, and restore his own personality from underneath the amalgam where he had subconsciously hidden it, ultimately dismissing Sephiroth's deceit that he is an artificially-constructed Sephiroth-clone.[40]

In Compilation of Final Fantasy VII[edit]

In the cellphone game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, Cloud appears in a minor role. During the course of the game, which takes place over the six years leading into Final Fantasy VII, the player encounters Cloud while he works in Shinra in his efforts to join SOLDIER, assisting the Shinra group the Turks on one of their missions and repraising the events from Nibelheim's rise.[41]

Cloud's design in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was one of the most difficult to make to look realistic.[42]

In the CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Cloud, two years following the conclusion of Final Fantasy VII,[43] lives with Tifa in the city of Edge, working as a delivery boy for the "Strife Delivery Service" that Tifa set up in her new bar, having given up his life as a mercenary.[44] Staying with them is Marlene, Barret's adopted daughter, and Denzel, an orphan with a rampant and deadly disease called Geostigma. When confronted by Tifa following the disappearance of Denzel and Marlene, it is revealed that Cloud is also suffering from the effects of Geostigma, and he responds that he is unfit to protect his new family and other friends.[45] However, when urged by Tifa to let go of the past,[46] Cloud sets out for the Forgotten City in search of the children, and confronts Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo, genetic remnants of Sephiroth left behind before he could diffuse into the Lifestream completely.[47] In confronting Kadaj, the battle takes them back to Aerith's church, where the Lifestream-influenced water cures Cloud of his Geostigma. Kadaj later merges with the remains of Jenova, causing Sephiroth to be reborn. When Sephiroth is once again defeated, he dissipates, leaving a dying Kadaj in his place.[48] At the film's conclusion, Cloud reunites with his friends, sees Aerith and Zack and assures them that he will be fine.

Cloud is also featured in two of On the Way to a Smile novellas, which are set between Final Fantasy VII and Advent Children. "Case of Tifa" shows his life alongside Tifa, Marlene and Denzel, and "Case of Denzel" relates how Cloud first met Denzel.[49] Cloud is also one of the main characters in the OVA Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, which depicts him in two events that were shown in flashbacks in Final Fantasy VII; one at Nibelheim when he fights Sephiroth, and the other while escaping from Shinra with Zack.[50]

Cloud appears in a supporting role in Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. A year after the events of Advent Children,[51] Cloud, working alongside Barret and Tifa, lends his support to the ground forces of the World Regenesis Organization and Vincent Valentine in their siege of Midgar and counterattack against the rogue Shinra military unit, Deepground.[52]

In the prequel to the original Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Cloud is presented as a young Shinra infantryman who befriends Zack.[53] During the game's conclusion, a dying Zack gives Cloud his Buster Sword, telling him that he is his legacy.[54] The game ends with Cloud heading to Midgar, reprising the start of Final Fantasy VII.[55]

In other media[edit]

Cloud's character has also appeared in games outside of the Final Fantasy VII continuity. He is one of several playable Final Fantasy VII characters in Itadaki Street Special for the PlayStation 2 and Itadaki Street Portable for the PlayStation Portable. In Chocobo Racing, Cloud is a hidden character that rides a motorcycle.[56] He is a playable character in the PlayStation version of Ehrgeiz, but like the other Final Fantasy VII characters present in the game, he has no storyline. Cloud and Tifa are the only Final Fantasy VII characters with a third costume or a story mode title; Cloud's depicts him in his Shinra infantryman attire, and his title is 'Guardian'.[57] He is the representative Final Fantasy VII character in Dissidia Final Fantasy, a fighting game that uses characters from the Final Fantasy games.[58] He is featured in his Final Fantasy VII outfit, while his Advent Children appearance is also available. His fight against Sephiroth in this game is based on their fights from Final Fantasy VII and Advent Children.[59] Along with the entire cast, Cloud reappears in the prequel Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a Warrior of Chaos. Concerned for Tifa, who is on the opposing side, Cloud tries to defeat Chaos alone but is nearly killed. He is later saved by the goddess Cosmos and becomes one of her warriors. Cloud's main outfit is based on Yoshitaka Amano's original artwork concept,[60] while his Kingdom Hearts outfit serves as a downloadable content.[61] He is also featured in the rhythm game Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a playable character representing Final Fantasy VII.[62] In LittleBigPlanet 2, Cloud is featured as a downloadable character model.[63]

In the PlayStation game Final Fantasy Tactics, Cloud is a playable secret character who the player is able to recruit. He is accidentally pulled into the world of Ivalice by an ancient machine called "the Celestial Globe," which was activated by Ramza Beoulve in Goug Machine City.[64] Cloud is disoriented after arriving in Ramza's world, and after a short exchange with Ramza and the others, he leaves.[64] He wanders into Zarghidas Trade City, where he encounters a flower girl named Aerith, and it is implied that she reminds Cloud of the Aerith in the original game, recalling his grief at her death.[65] As Cloud is leaving the area, Aerith is accosted by a man demanding payment.[66] Cloud returns to help Aerith escape, as Ramza and his party catch up to him.[67] After the battle, he joins Ramza's party as a playable character, although he cannot perform any of his signature attacks until the player tracks down his sword.[68]

In Kingdom Hearts, Cloud is meant to have a "demon-like" appearance.[69]

In Kingdom Hearts, Cloud appears in the Olympus Coliseum world. He is depicted with a claw and a crimson cape, and the blade of his sword is wrapped in bandages. Nomura has stated that Cloud's left arm was inspired by Vincent Valentine, noting that, in this game, the character was supposed to illustrate a "demon-like" appearance due to his ties to the "dark side."[69] He has been hired by Hades to kill Hercules, but must fight Sora as a prerequisite.[70] After the fight, Hades sends Cerberus to attack Cloud and Sora, who are then saved by Hercules. Cloud meets with Sora afterward and explains that he is searching for someone.[71] It was later revealed in Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix that he was searching for Sephiroth. During the credit roll at the end of the game, Cloud is shown reuniting residents of Hollow Bastion. A memory-based version of Cloud continued his role in the series in the Game Boy Advance sequel Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a boss in the Olympus Coliseum[72] and later as a summon card for Sora.[73] Cloud appears again in Kingdom Hearts II, depicted in his Advent Children attire. He is searching for Sephiroth,[74] and is himself being sought out by Tifa.[75] Cloud fights alongside Leon's team during the Heartless invasion of Hollow Bastion. Should the player choose to engage Sephiroth and win the battle, Cloud returns and fights Sephiroth, which ends with both of them disappearing in a flash of light after Tifa gives Cloud her support. Sora concludes that Cloud is still fighting with Sephiroth, and will not stop until he is defeated.[76] A digital replica of Cloud also appears in Kingdom Hearts coded in the Olympus Coliseum; helping Sora and Hercules to battle Hades.[77]

Concept and creation[edit]

There wasn't really much controversy or criticism about having him as the hero from within Square, but he is definitely a mysterious character. That's one of the game's main themes, the fact that the protagonist has all these secrets to unravel. He isn't a straightforward hero like Superman; rather, he has many mysteries, self-doubts, and a real dark side. Mr. Nomura was also very good at designing a character like that.

—Yoshinori Kitase, Electronic Gaming Monthly, October 2005[78]

Cloud was one of the first two characters designed for Final Fantasy VII by Tetsuya Nomura, with influences from Yoshinori Kitase, Kazushige Nojima and Hironobu Sakaguchi.[79] Conceptualized by Sakaguchi as one of only three playable characters in early planning stages for the game, Cloud's character saw greater input by Nomura than with other characters in previous Final Fantasy projects,[78] when he was called upon to supervise Cloud's personality traits.[80] Kitase and Nojima, meanwhile, were in charge of developing Cloud's background and his relationship with the character of Sephiroth.[81] When Nojima was appointed to write the scenario, Cloud's false persona was already determined, with Nojima inspired by the character's first appearance. As the story continued, Nojima focused on making Cloud more mature, hoping it would be noticed by the players. He incorporated the character of Zack Fair into the game so as to expand upon the mysteries in Cloud's backstory, which were still undecided at the time. In expanding Cloud's individuality, the staff wanted him to be interesting to players, and focused on working in all his mannerisms and his phrase "Not interested," which is repeated various times in the game. When first reading Nojima's scenario, Kitase was surprised by Cloud's persona as he was not simple-minded, but instead felt fresh. The love triangle between Cloud, Tifa and Aerith was also an aspect which the staff found to be new in the series. Nojima conceived this aspect based on the "high school romance comedy" concept.[79]

In early drafts, Cloud was meant to act as an alter ego for Sephiroth, and is influenced to believe he is not the real Cloud, but a creation born from Sephiroth's will. As in the finished game, Cloud would later realize he is the real Cloud, and the reason Sephiroth could control his mind and body was because of Shinra's experiments and a weakening of his own will.[82] Additionally, he was meant to have scarred Tifa prior to the game's events, although the reasons for as to why were unknown.[83] Another scene, implying Cloud and Tifa having sex, was proposed by Masato Kato, one of the event planners, but was replaced with a toned down version by Kitase in which a risqué line is followed by a fade to black. In an interview, Nojima stated none of the staff thought it would become an important issue at the time.[79]

Nomura has said the original parameters of Cloud's character design called for slicked-back, black hair with no spikes. This depiction was to serve as a contrast to the long, flowing silver hair of the game's lead antagonist, Sephiroth. However, to make Cloud stand out more and emphasize his role in the game as the lead protagonist, Nomura altered Cloud's design to give him spiky, bright, blonde hair.[84] Cloud's appearance is also marked in Final Fantasy VII by his dark blue SOLDIER outfit and his blue eyes. He stands 5 feet 8 inches (173 cms).[41] Cloud's weapon, the Buster Sword, was originally smaller than its final form, but its height increased as Nomura redesigned Cloud.[85] Nomura nicknamed it "the Giant Kitchen Knife" because that was how he originally envisioned it.[86] The sword was meant to be held on Cloud's back with the use of magnets, and have a small chain.[83]

Nojima has explained that the dynamic of the relationship between the player and the main character in a Final Fantasy title is something he always puts thought into, and with Final Fantasy VII, Cloud's subdued nature led him to write scenes with the character in such a way that the players would be placed in the position of deciding for themselves what the character was thinking.[87] Nomura believes the reason Cloud has become so popular with gamers is due to the impact his personality made in Nojima's scenario.[85]

Further development[edit]

For Advent Children, Nomura agreed to direct the project largely because of his attachment to the character of Cloud.[80] Although Nomura stated that Cloud was a more upbeat character in Final Fantasy VII than in Advent Children, he chose a Cloud whose personality would be more familiar to gamers, and the script was written to explain the reasons for his state of mind.[86] Nomura, explaining Cloud's situation in the film, has said "Cloud tried to lead his life positively after the end of FF7 but he cracked... The sin which Cloud thinks he owns is not anyone's fault in particular. It is something Cloud has to overcome by himself." Nojima said the theme of the story is one of redemption; "If you want to be forgiven, you have to take the hard path in life." Cloud, in choosing to fight against Sephiroth once again, is finally "given healing and forgiveness."[88] Nomura concluded, "Cloud seems to be a weak guy. Generally, heroes are strong, cool and don't have any weaknesses... It's through redemption from his friends and having children to protect that he becomes stronger."[88] Cloud's feelings of guilt and regret for not being able to save Zack and Aerith are symbolized by a grey wolf that appears in scenes in which Cloud thinks about them. The wolf disappears at the film's conclusion as Cloud comes to terms with his feelings.[89] One of the staff's favorite scenes was where Cloud smiles in an embarrassing way towards Tifa. Nomura liked it as there was almost no dialogue, and the expression on his face communicated his emotions to the viewer. Composer Nobuo Uematsu commented "It sounds cool!", considering the fact that gamers who have finished Final Fantasy VII would find it hard to imagine how Cloud smiles. Upon reading that scene in the script, Uematsu was inspired to write the score.[88]

Cloud's design in the film is a combination of a total of eight designs which moved from a super deformed style to a more realistic design. In contrast to his hair, Cloud's clothes were difficult to make in the film.[42] His new weaponry was based on jokes by fans who had commented that because Cloud's weapon in the original game had an enormous height, in the sequel, he goes with sheer numbers. Although it does not have an official name, the staff named it the "Fusion Swords" during the film's development. The concept was to have Cloud hold six swords that he would carry on his back, although the idea was then modified to six interlocking swords. Although the film's staff thought sequences with the Fusion Swords may be impossible, they realised that such a weapon gave an interesting twist to the battles.[86] Cloud's new motorcycle, Fenrir (フェンリル?), was designed by Takayuki Takeya, who was asked by the staff to design an upgraded version of Cloud's "Hardy-Daytona" motorcycle from Final Fantasy VII. As development continued, the bike got bigger, with Takeya feeling its heaviness provided an impact that worked well within the film.[88]

Cloud's Japanese voice actor, Takahiro Sakurai, first voiced the character in Kingdom Hearts with the idea that Cloud was a different character from the one in Final Fantasy VII, which he was a fan of.[90] For Advent Children Nomura wanted Cloud and Vincent's voices to contrast with each other because of their similarities in terms of personality.[91] Sakurai felt pressure voicing Cloud for the film, as it was the sequel to such a significant and well loved game. Although he did not mind whether critical response regarding his work was positive or negative, Sakurai claims he only received praise. During the recording, Sakurai had in mind that silence is more expressive than dialogue and that because of Cloud's burdens, he comes across as a weak person.

For Crisis Core, Sakurai felt that Cloud was more normal and expressive. He worked more on the final scene in which Cloud screams over Zack's death than any other individual scene, and it left a major impression on him. He stated that he has come to regard Cloud as a very important character in the series, who reminds him of his own past, and he is happy that he was able to contribute because he considers himself to be a Final Fantasy VII fan.[90] In the English adaptations, Cloud is voiced by Steve Burton, who enjoyed dubbing the character and was surprised by how fans recognized him for his work. He also referred to Cloud as "[one of the] coolest characters there is," and he too considers himself lucky for having voiced him.[92]

Cultural impact[edit]

Merchandise[edit]

Cloud has been merchandised extensively, in many different forms, including figurines and jewelry.[93][94] In conmemmoration of the franchise' 20th anniversary, Square released figurines of him alongside other Final Fantasy protagonists.[95] At the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con International, Kanji Tashiro, Square Enix's manager of merchandise, said that Cloud's likeness has produced some of the company's best-selling items, and that fans could look forward to further adaptations of the character in the future.[96] Popular models include Cloud's Advent Children figurine and Final Fantasy VII Hardy Daytona bike set, both of which sold particularly well in European and North American markets.[96] Square has also released two promotional books primarily focusing on Cloud's character: "Cloud Vol 1", which was released in 2007 and "Cloud Message", in 2008.[97][98] In 2013, a real version of the Buster Sword was created by blacksmith, Tony Swatton.[99]

Reception[edit]

The character of Cloud has been mostly well received by critics. In 2005, Electronic Gaming Monthly placed him seventh on their list of top video game characters.[100] He was named best character of all time in Dengeki PlayStation's 2007 retrospective awards feature regarding the original PlayStation.[101] IGN ranked him third in their 2008 lists of top characters of both Final Fantasy VII and the Final Fantasy series overall.[102][103] GameSpot made a video titled "Greatest Game Hero: Cloud Strife" featuring scenes based on his character for his inclusion their 2009 poll "All Time Greatest Game Hero".[104][105] According to IGN in 2008, Cloud "is probably the most famous hero in the history of the Final Fantasy series," and although "his star has faded somewhat over the last decade and change, maybe it's just a consequence of overexposure." They speculated that "he'll probably still be an icon ten years from now."[102] UGO placed him at the top of their 2010 list of top Japanese RPG characters.[106] That same year, GamesRadar listed Cloud as the second best Final Fantasy hero of all the time, stating "he's one of the most well-rounded and thought-out characters in the series."[107] He was also ranked the second best Final Fantasy character in a 2010 list by VideoGamer.com, who called him a "poster boy for the entire JRPG genre."[108] In 2011, Empire ranked Cloud as the 13th greatest video game character, stating: "He is, and always will be, the definitive FF poster child - an enduring axiom of character desgn."[109] In 2013, Complex ranked Cloud as the greatest Final Fantasy character of all time, for his "killer backstory, iconic weaponry, and a great game to the boot."[110]

Publishing an article focused on his past and his personality, RPGamer editor Aujang Abadi called Cloud "one of the most complex characters Square has created," as well as "the first truly complicated main character."[111] Kurt Kalata of Gamasutra praised certain aspects of Cloud's characterization, noting that he is "neither hero nor anti-hero" but rather "somewhat of a weakling" with grandiose delusions and psychological issues, and one of the first unreliable narrators in a role-playing video game.[112] Unicorn Lynx of MobyGames described him as "one of the most complex characters ever seen in a game," due to how he has to deal with "his own deep psychological problems" and "the truth about his very existence," while taking responsibility as a leader.[113] Famitsu gave him a seven-page tribute, showing his many appearances throughout the years.[85] On the other hand, GameCritics leveled some criticism against the character, stating that, while Final Fantasy VII had "some of the most complex characters ever created, by video game standards," some of them were "paper-thin" and Cloud had "childish motivations" compared to the characters in "Citizen Kane or the complexities of characters exhibited in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver."[114]

IGN stated he set a trend for role-playing video game heroes;[115] "The spiky blond hair and the gigantic Buster Sword have become instantly identifiable icons, recognized by gamers around the world."[102] GameDaily concurred, listing Cloud as an example of the "spiky-haired hero with a strange weapon," though stating that they have no problem with Cloud's spiky hair in particular.[116] 1UP.com featured Cloud in their list of top Final Fantasy character types, in which he was in the second category, "The Sullen Asshole", alongside Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII and Cecil from Final Fantasy IV.[117] Edge described Cloud as an example of "excellent design and characterization."[118] They also commented that his design "inspired many a Japanese teen to adopt his exact spiky, yellow hairstyle."[119] GameDaily ranked him fifth on their list of top "gaming hunks", praising his design and weapon.[120]

Cloud has also been included in various other lists. These include IGN's "Worst Videogame Haircuts" (2006) and "Top Videogame Sword Masters" (2008), and ScrewAttack's "Top Ten Coolest Characters" (2007).[121][122][123] GamesRadar featured him in "RPG Emo-Off", in which they Cloud was the "most emo character of all JRPGs" until he was defeated by Genesis Rhapsodos,[124] and featured his disguising scene as a woman in their 2010 list of "gaming's most piss poor disguises", commenting on how feminine he looks.[125] Cloud's and Aerith's relationship was third in GamesRadar's 2008 list of top Square Enix couples, called "a classic love story,"[126] while IGN ranked it ninth in their 2006 list of best video game couples overall.[127] In 2013, Complex ranked Cloud as the eighth greatest soldier in video games.[128]

Reception among fans has been predominately positive. In an Oricon poll in 2008, Cloud was voted as the second most popular video game character; he was also second in "men's category" and third in "women's category".[129] In a 2010 ASCII Media Works poll in which fans voted which video game or manga character they would like to name their children after, Cloud's name was third in the male category.[130] That same year, Famitsu readers voted Cloud as the third best video game character of all time.[131] In one of IGN's 2007 "Hero Showdowns," Cloud was pitted against Link, although Link was voted the favorite.[132] The character was placed in similar contests by GameFAQs, winning the "Character Battle II" (2003) and finishing second in the "Character Battle III" (2004) and the "Battle Royale" (2006).[133][134][135] In the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition of 2011, Cloud was voted as the fifth best video game character.[136]

Regarding the character's appearances outside Final Fantasy VII, PSXextreme praised Cloud's redesign in Kingdom Hearts as one of best in the game, noting how it is a "hybrid" of his and Vincent Valentine's designs.[137] According to AnimeFringe, Cloud's appearance in Kingdom Hearts was one of the things that excited the Final Fantasy VII fans the most.[138] His development in Advent Children was praised DVD Talk as one of the best parts from the film.[139] 1UP commented that Cloud's guilt about Aerith's death was effective enough to move viewers, but regarded such scenes were "manipulative"; his redesign was also received positively, with focus on his "unbreakably perfect hair."[140] Joystiq opined that the director's cut version of the film is better than the original in giving more depth to Cloud's development to the point of "humanizing [him],"[141] but Mania Entertainment listed Cloud second in the article "10 Male Headaches of Anime" criticizing his feeling of guilt about Aerith's death seen in the film.[142] RPGamer referred to Cloud's overcoming Aerith's death as one of the primary parts of the film and called his fight sequences "the most creative and impressive scenes."[143] A 2010 GamesRadar article about classic game characters featured Cloud's redesigns across his various appearances, with comments on how each of his designs bore similarities, yet were also sightly different.[144]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Square Enix (August 17, 2009). Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation Portable. 
  2. ^ SoftBank, ed. (2006). Final Fantasy VII Advent Children: Reunion Files (in Japanese/English). Square-Enix. p. 12. ISBN 4-7973-3498-3. 
  3. ^ Teresa Dun, "Complete Final Fantasy VII Character Guide," PlayStation the Official Magazine 3 (February 2008): 60.
  4. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: For me, this is a personal feud. I want to beat Sephiroth. And settle my past. Saving the planet just happens to be a part of that. I've been thinking." 
  5. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Barret: Little by little the reactors'll drain out all the life. And that'll be that. / Cloud: It's not my problem. / Barret: The planet's dyin', Cloud! / Cloud: The only thing I care about is finishin' this job before security and the Roboguards come." 
  6. ^ a b Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Barret: Tifa! Let him go! Looks like he still misses the Shinra! / Cloud: Shut up! I don't care about either Shinra or SOLDIER! But don't get me wrong! I don't care about AVALANCHE or the Planet for that matter!" 
  7. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Tifa: The Planet is dying. Slowly but surely it's dying. Someone has to do something. / Cloud: So let Barret and his buddies do something about it. It's got nothin' to do with me." 
  8. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Jessie: Aren't they the enemy? What's he doing us in AVALANCHE? / Biggs: Hold it Jessie. He WAS in SOLDIER. He quit them and now is one of us." 
  9. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Barret: EX-SOLDIER, huh? Don't trust ya!" 
  10. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Barret: Yo. Cloud! There's somethin' I wanna ask ya. Was there anyone from SOLDIER fighting us today? / Cloud: None. I'm positive. / Barret: You sound pretty sure. / Cloud: If there was anyone from SOLDIER you wouldn't be standing here now. / Barret: Don't go thinkin' you so bad jes cuz you was in SOLDIER." 
  11. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: Don't mess with me. I used to be in SOLDIER. I'll tell you how much I know.... an' for free too!"" 
  12. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: I don't care what your names are. Once this job's over... I'm outta here." 
  13. ^ a b Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: Looks like I'm a little late. / Barret: You damn right, you're late!! Come waltzin' in here makin' a big scene!" 
  14. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Biggs: What!? you tellin' me you're too good to drink with me? Don't act big-headed jus' because you were in SOLDIER! / Yeah, why not?/ Biggs: Oh!! That's more like it! Even if you were with SOLDIER, you're still a rookie here." 
  15. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: Wedge!! You all right!? / Wedge: .......Cloud...... You remembered..... my name. Barret's up top. ...help him....... An' Cloud.... Sorry, I wasn't any help. / Cloud: I'm going up! Aeris, you look after Wedge." 
  16. ^ a b Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: But I'm different from all of them. I'm not just going to find a job. I want to join SOLDIER. I'm going to be the best there is, just like Sephiroth. / ... / Tifa: Hey, why don't we make a promise? Umm, if you get really famous and I'm ever in a bind... You came save me, all right? / Cloud: What? / Tifa: Whenever I'm in trouble, my hero will come and rescue me. I want to at least experience that once. / Cloud: What? / Tifa: Come on--! Promise me----! / Cloud: All right... I promise." 
  17. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: I'm not a hero and I'm not famous. I can't keep... the promise." 
  18. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: This is my pay? Don't make me laugh. \ Tifa: What? Then you'll...!! / Cloud: You got the next mission lined up? I'll do it for 3000. / Tifa: Thanks, Cloud." 
  19. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Barret: We need a group leader for our journey. 'Course only me could be the leader. / Tifa: You think so...? / Aeris: It would have to be Cloud. / Barret: ^#$^%....... awright. Go Northeast to a town called Kalm. If something happens, we'll meet up there." 
  20. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Red XIII: Cetra... That girl, is she a survivor of the Cetra? / President Shinra: Cetra, or the Ancients will show us the way to the 'Promised Land.' I'm expecting a lot out of her." 
  21. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Aerith: I know. I know, but... I am the only...... Cetra." 
  22. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Aerith: Then, get me out of here. Take me home. / Cloud: OK, I'll do it... but it'll cost you. / Aerith: Well then, let's see...... How about if I go out with you once? / [Cloud makes an affirmative nod.]" 
  23. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Aerith: Puff... wheeze... Slow.... down.... Don't leave me.... / Cloud: Funny... I thought you were cut out to be in SOLDIER? Aerith: Oh! You're terrible!" 
  24. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: You gotta be kidding. Why do you want to put yourself in danger again? / Aerith: I'm used to it. / Cloud: Used to it!? ....Well, don't know... getting help from a girl... / Aeris: A girl!! What do you mean by that!?" 
  25. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Aeris: You're up bright and early. / Cloud: How could I ask you to go along when I knew it would be dangerous?" 
  26. ^ a b Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Aeris: That girl in the cart was Tifa? Where was she going? She looked kind of odd... / Cloud: Wait! I'll go on alone! You go home!" 
  27. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Aeris: Hey, this looks like the Don's mansion. I'll go take a look. I'll tell Tifa about you. / Cloud: No!! You can't!! / Aeris: Why? / Cloud: You DO know... what kind of... place this is, don't you?" 
  28. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Aeris: I knew that Cloud would come for me. / Cloud: Hey, I'm your bodyguard, right? / Aeris: The deal was for one date, right? / Tifa: ............oh, I get it. / Aeris: ...!? Tifa! Tifa, you're there too! / Tifa: EXCUSE me." 
  29. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Aeris: Is Tifa...... a girl? / Cloud: Yeah. / Aeris: A girl... friend? / Cloud: Girlfriend?" 
  30. ^ a b Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: ......I used to want to be like Sephiroth, so I joined SOLDIER. After working with Sephiroth on several missions, we became friends. / Barret: You call that a friend? / Cloud: Yeah, well....... He's older than me, and he hardly ever talked about himself. / Tifa: ............ / Cloud: So I guess you'd call him a war buddy..... We trusted each other. Until one day......" 
  31. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: I joined SOLDIER so I could be like you. But by the time I made First Class, the war was already over. My big hopes of becoming a hero like you ended with the war. That's why I always sign up whenever there's a big mission. Kind of a way to prove myself." 
  32. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: Traitor? / Sephiroth: You ignorant traitor. I'll tell you. This was an itinerant race. They would migrate in, settle the Planet, then move on… At the end of their harsh, hard journey, they would find the Promised Land and supreme happiness. But, those who stopped their migrations built shelters and elected to lead an easier life. They took that which the Cetra and the planet had made without giving back one whit in return! Those are your ancestors. / Cloud: Sephiroth… / Sephiroth: Long ago, disaster struck this planet. Your ancestors escaped… They survived because they hid. The Planet was saved by sacrificing the Cetra. After that, your ancestors continued to increase. Now all that's left of the Cetra is in these reports. / Cloud: What does that have to do with you? / Sephiroth: Don't you get it? An Ancient named Jenova was found in the geological stratum of 2000 years ago. The Jenova Project. The Jenova Project wanted to produce people with the powers of the Ancients……no, the Cetra! …I am the one that was produced." 
  33. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Aeris: What happened to Sephiroth? / Cloud: In terms of skill, I couldn't have killed him. / Tifa: Official records state Sephiroth is dead. I read it in the newspaper. / Aeris: Shinra, Inc. owns the newspaper, so you can't rely on that information. / Cloud: ......I want to know the truth. I want to know what happened then. I challenged Sephiroth and lived. Why didn't he kill me?" 
  34. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: I never was in SOLDIER. I made up the stories about what happened to me five years ago, about being in SOLDIER. I left my village looking for glory, but never made it in to SOLDIER...... I was so ashamed of being so weak; then I heard this story from my friend Zack... And I greated an illusion of myself made up of what I had seen in my life..... And I continued to play the charade as if it were true." 
  35. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: You see, someone in SOLDIER isn't simply exposed to Mako energy. Their bodies are actually injected with Jenova cells...... For better or for worse, only the strong can enter SOLDIER. It has nothing to do with the Jenova Reunion. But weak people...... like me, get lost in the whole thing. The combination of Jenova cells, Sephiroth's strong will, and my own weaknesses are what created me. Everyone knew that. I'm...... Cloud. ......the master of my own illusionary world. But I can't remain trapped in an illusion any more...... I'm going to live my life without pretending." 
  36. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: Fine, be my guest. / Watch out! This isn't just a reactor!! / Barret: ...What's wrong? / Cloud: Huh? / Barret: What's wrong, Cloud? Hurry it up!" 
  37. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: It's about the Ancients. / In my veins courses the blood of the Ancients. I am one of the rightful heirs to this planet! / Cloud: Sephiroth...? / [Cloud falls down. Tifa and Barret run to him.] Tifa: Are you all right? Barret: Pull it together, man!" 
  38. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Cloud: I don't know who you are, but.... / You don't know me.....? ......I know you. / [The screen goes white, briefly.] Cloud: Oh yeah...... I know you. That uniform...." 
  39. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Aeris: What rank were you? / Cloud: Rank? / Aeris: You know, in SOLDIER. / Cloud: Oh, I was... [The screen goes solid white, briefly.] First Class." 
  40. ^ Square (September 7, 1997). Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation. SCE America. "Sephiroth: Five years ago you were... ...constructed by Hojo, piece by piece, right after Nibelheim was burnt. A puppet made up of vibrant Jenova cells, her knowledge, and the power of Mako. An incomplete Sephiroth-clone. Not even given a number. ...That is your reality." 
  41. ^ a b Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania (Revised Edition) (in Japanese). Square-Enix. 2009. pp. 36–41. ISBN 978-4-7575-2560-3. 
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  43. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (August 14, 2008). Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Marlene: "Sadness was the price to see it end." It's been two years since they told me that." 
  44. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (September 14, 2005). Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Reno: You're our buddy, aren't ya? / Rufus: Kadaj and his group are young and violent – as dangerous as they come. That's why we decided that it might be in our best to hire a little muscle. / Cloud: Too bad. I'm a delivery boy now." 
  45. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (September 14, 2005). Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Tifa: You have Geostigma, don't you? You're going to give up and die, is that it? So it is. / Cloud: There's no cure. / Tifa: Yeah, but, that's not stopping Denzel, is it? Don't run! Let's fight it together! We can help each other, I know we can. I guess ... that only works for real families. / Cloud: Tifa ... I'm not fit to help anyone – not my family, not my friends. Nobody." 
  46. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (September 14, 2005). Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Tifa: Dilly dally, shilly shally! / Reno: I think she wants you to move on, man." 
  47. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (September 14, 2005). Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Kadaj: The stigma. But you know all about that, sir. Mother's memetic legacy lives on in the Lifestream and makes it happen. She does so much for us and we ... we don't even know where to find her. But what can we do? We're just remnants, really remnants of Mother's legacy. Until we find Mother and receive her cells, we can't be whole again! Geostigma and the Legacy aren't enough ... for a true reunion. / Rufus: What do you mean? / Kadaj: But, sir! Surely you've noticed ..." 
  48. ^ Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (September 14, 2005). Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. "Aerith: Kadaj? / Kadaj: Huh? / Aerith: You don't have to hang on any longer. / Kadaj: Mother is that ... / Aerith: Everyone's waiting if you're ready." 
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External links[edit]