Kingdom Hearts Presents a Formidable Challenge in Battling Sephiroth from FF7

Kingdom Hearts Presents a Formidable Challenge in Battling Sephiroth from FF7

I was out with friends recently and the age-old topic of games that pushed us to the point where controllers were thrown came up during a conversation about Smash pro Riddles doing that very thing at a big tournament last year. The usual suspects were discussed over drinks: FromSoft games like Dark Souls and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, as well as Cuphead, Ninja Gaiden, Super Meat Boy—all games that pissed me off once or twice during my time with them. However, nothing has incited the Gamer Rage™ in me quite as much as Kingdom Hearts has, specifically because Sephiroth is such a fucking asshole in that game. So much so that, I must openly admit, the dude made me break a controller in half.

This isn’t the first time I’ve voiced my complaints about Sephiroth in the 2002 action-RPG Kingdom Hearts. Final Fantasy VII’s silver-haired prince of evil is rarely a pushover in any incarnation, but here, he’s a real piece of work. At least here he’s an optional boss, so you can avoid the hair-pulling, controller-breaking frustration of it all if you prefer.

But if you really want to test your skills and stats against this challenge, run through all of the bouts in the Olympus Coliseum, a series of rounds designed to test your might against the game’s fiercest baddies, and you’ll eventually reach the Platinum Match. Once you’re in, a light ray beams down from a magenta-colored sky. “Oh, who could this be?” I wondered when I first played through the game in my adolescence. You see the black wing, the silver hair, the 1st Class Soldier garb. “Ah shit, it’s Sephiroth,” I said. Well, no biggie. I’d soundly crushed the other five Cups in the Olympus Coliseum. I thought I was hot shit. “Don’t matter,” I uttered as the iconic One-Winged Angel theme kicked in. “I got this.”

Dear reader, I did not have this.

The match starts rather painfully but it isn’t particularly difficult at first. Sure, Sephiroth doesn’t flinch to most of Sora’s keyblade swipes. However, there are a few instances in which you can interrupt his attacks. None of that matters, though, since Sephiroth can easily whittle down Sora’s life bar to mere pixels in two or three hits. This is what started to piss me off about the fight: Sephiroth is OP. I mean, I get it. He’s also OP in Final Fantasy VII, so it makes sense that Square Enix continues that in its collaboration with Disney. But what makes it all unfair is that it’s a solo fight against him. Yes, while the other five Cups allow you to bring in Donald and Goofy, the Platinum Match is a 1v1 between our big-shoed boy and the silver-haired menace. It’s rude.

Boss Fight Database

What makes the bout even ruder is Sephiroth’s second phase. Should you get him to about half health, he’ll get serious. Instead of walking around the arena, he starts sprinting and, in some cases, even flying and teleporting around the ring. His spells become stronger and last longer on the stage. He attacks more frequently and with such reckless abandon that his Masamune seems to take up the entire length of the arena. He summons meteors that oscillate around him and orbs that home in on Sora. In short, Sephiroth, at this point during the match, really wants to bury you. And fast!

So, I went into the Platinum Match at the game’s max level of 100. As I started the bout, my confidence swelled through the roof because I was doing decent damage. I was caught off guard, then, when I suddenly died several minutes into it. “Fuck that, I’m trying again,” I said, attempting to be more aggressive on my second attempt while also monitoring my health more closely. It didn’t matter because I died. Again. “Oh, my God,” I exclaimed as I restarted the match for the third time, and the fourth.

Around my tenth or so attempt at bodying Sephiroth, I got him to less than 10 percent health. Despite running out of items for replenishing my health and mana, victory was still in sight for me. In a last-ditch effort, I flew into Sephiroth’s meteor storm, thinking I could sneakily dodge all the circling rocks floating around him. I did, but just as I mashed the attack button, I heard Sora’s death scream because a stupid rock ball hit me in the face. That was the moment when, in a moment of exasperated rage, I sent the controller flying out of my hands and watched its cheap plastic shatter into a million pieces.

Thankfully, it was just a Mad Catz PS2 controller, one of those chunky wired gamepads that cost like $20 or so at Game Crazy (rest in peace). Sephiroth made me sweat; there was no way I was sacrificing Sony’s more expensive DualShock 2. My late Grandma, though, wasn’t proud of my rage. I had to buy a new controller with money I’d earned on my own through chores and work around the neighborhood because, as my Grandma told me, “I don’t spend my money on anger.” Sorry to let you down, Grandma. Sephiroth is just an asshole. You wouldn’t get it if you haven’t fought him in Kingdom Hearts.

I haven’t played Final Fantasy VII Rebirth yet. (Been occupied with Rise of the Ronin and, now, Dragon’s Dogma 2.) So, it’s possible Sephiroth is just as much of an asshole there as he is in Kingdom Hearts. I did, however, finish Final Fantasy VII Remake and beat the shit out of him on my first attempt. I thought he was hella easy there (and in Kingdom Hearts II), so I suspect he’s likely easy to beat in the 2024 follow-up as well. I wish he weren’t quite so tough in Kingdom Hearts, because his appearance here still haunts me over two decades later. And that broken-in-two Mad Catz controller is a memory I’ll never let go of.

Fuck Sephiroth. (I still love him, though.)

 

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