This week’s battle is one for the fanboys. It pits two RPG titans from different worlds into one epic battle that will leave you wanting more: Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII versus Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII. Which of these heavy hitters will come out victorious? Only time will tell, but before we can delve into the crux of this story, I must first present you with the skinny on these iconic characters.
Cloud Strife: Cloud has lived a troubled life. He was once a member of SOLDIER with his hero, Sephiroth, or so he thought. He found out later in his life that what he thought was true, was all a lie. He was a failure and never made it into SOLDIER and Sephiroth wasn’t the hero Cloud thought he was. With the help of his close friends from the resistance group Avalanche (like Tifa Lockhart), he unscrambled his coded past and rose up to take down the evil megacorporation, Shinra. Cloud is still to this day on the hunt for his nemesis, Sephiroth.
Squall Leonhart: Squall was born a natural leader, but was always afraid to open up to others. While he was a student at Balamb Garden, he and the other SeeDs helped take down the evil sorceress, Ultimecia. During that time Squall learned to express his feelings and ultimately fell in love with fellow fighter, Rinoa Heartilly. He has since gained the caliber to be a role model for all future SeeDs to gauge themselves by.
Ultimate Weapon: This is Cloud’s trusty sword that he acquired by defeating the enemy, Ultimate Weapon. This sword is big and bad and will leave a trail of dismembered bodies in it’s wake. It also has the ability to dole out more damage the healthier Cloud is.
Materia: Cloud has all of the Master Materia at his disposal to aid him with magical offense and defense during battle.
Spiked Hair: His hairdo is that of legend. It’s one of the last things the enemy sees before he is pummeled to oblivion.
Lion Heart: Squall’s coveted gunblade. He treasure’s this weapon as much as he treasure’s Rinoa’s love. Squall had to go through a lot to get this beauty.
Guardian Forces: Squall has a few Guardian Forces that he is equipped with. Which ones he has, nobody knows.
Draw System: Unlike Cloud who can equip materia to cast magic, Squall needs to draw his spells from either a draw point or another living creature. He can stock up though and always has a good supply of vital spells to get him out of any tight spot.
Squall was relaxing in his room after a long day of training future SeeDs when Headmaster Cid’s voice came over the intercom, “Squall, could you please come up to my office? I have an urgent mission for you.”
“No problem Cid. I will be right up,” said Squall as he snapped to action and headed for the elevator.
Two minutes later Squall was walking through the door to Cid’s office. “What’s the problem Cid?”
“Ahhh, Squall. Thank you for getting here so quickly. I’ve just received an anonymous message that there was a mysterious man that attacked and killed some people in Esthar. He then ran off heading southwest toward the Centra Ruins. I need you to go there and capture this man before he strikes again.”
“Are there any other details, Cid?”
“Yes. The messenger said the man was wearing all black and carried a long sword.”
“Any other SeeDs coming with me?”
“Sorry Squall. Your flying solo on this mission. Selphie, Irvine, and Quistis are out with their classes and Zell and Rinoa are on a mission in Deling City. You are the only qualified SeeD available.”
“No worries, Cid. I can handle this. After all, I have Lion Heart by my side.”
“Haha Squall! I knew I could count on you. But please be careful. There’s no knowing how dangerous this man is.”
“Thanks Cid. I’ll be cautious.” and with that, Squall was out the door and on his way to the Centra Ruins and possibly one of his toughest trials to date.
Squall stepped out of Ragnarok with the Centra Ruins looming in the distance like death itself. He cautiously worked his way toward them, scanning the area for any signs of this mysterious man in black. When he got within throwing distance of the Ruins, he saw the man running up the steps that lead inside. He noticed that this killer’s hair was bright yellow with spikes pointing in every direction. It looked like a ball of fire. Squall picked up the pace and took chase of the spiked hair man.
Squall was halfway up the steps when a bolt of lightning blasted down right in front of him. He jumped to the side and looked up to see the spiked hair man standing at the top of the steps, casting another spell at him. A huge gust of wind slammed into Squall knocking him backwards and sending him tumbling down the steps rolling over and over until he crashed onto the ground. Squall knew he was in trouble so he cast reflect to buy himself some time to regroup. Just as the reflect spell covered him, a giant flame-ball hit his reflect and bounced back towards the caster. This bought him the time he needed to get back on his feet as the spiked hair man was preoccupied with avoiding his own magic.
Squall knew he was safe from magic for awhile so he brought Lion Heart up to his head with the blade pointing outward and charged up the steps. After dodging his own fire-ball, the spiked hair man brought out his own sword, Ultimate Weapon, and charged down the steps to join the other in combat.
Just before they collided, Squall jumped up and over the man, twisting while in mid-air and brought his gunblade down to strike the man from behind. Lion Heart was met by the man’s sword though as he swung it up over his own head to block from behind. The man quickly spun around and brought his sword back up over his head. This time it was Squall’s turn to block as he swung Lion Heart up to meet Ultimate Weapon. Sparks exploded in the air as the swords met.
The sword fighting went on for quite some time. Squall and the man traded blows back and forth taking turns being the attacker and being the defender. During the exchange Squall asked, “What is your name?”
The spiked hair man replied, “Cloud. What is yours?” as he swung around Ultimate Weapon in a broad arc from the left.
“Squall” was the reply as he ducked to avoid the massive edge of Ultimate Weapon.
“Squall, you are obstructing me from accomplishing my goal.” Clang!
“And what is that, to take as many innocent lives as you can?” Crash!
“What!? I never did anything like that!” Bash!
“LIAR! You killed civilians of Esthar and now I am here to take you down… ALEXANDER!!!” screamed Squall as he ducked and rolled out of the way of Cloud’s riposte.
A loud noise could be heard in the distance as the mighty Guardian Force, Alexander, rose out of the water and made his way to land. Cloud seeing that this meant trouble, summoned his own counter-attack, “Titan!”
The massive summon, Titan burst out of the ground with an explosion of rock and dirt and ran to destroy Alexander. Even though Alexander was far greater than Titan, he was too slow and Titan made short work of the holy warrior with his earth based attacks. This pleased Cloud and he called out another summon,“Bahamut ZERO!” Squall only had enough time to get off a quick “shell” before he was struck down with Bahamut’s Tera Flare.
Cloud stood over Squall’s weakened, bloodied body. “I told you that you were obstructing me. I won’t let anybody get in my way of stopping Sephiroth!”
“But why did you have to kill all of those people in Esthar?” Squall asked with a trembling voice.
“I didn’t kill anybody, but I am going to kill you.”
With that, Cloud looked up, raised Ultimate Weapon high into the sky and cried out, “Knights of the Round! I summon thee to…Uhhhhnnnn.” Cloud felt searing pain in his gut. He looked down to the sight of Lion Heart sticking into his belly with his blood dripping down the blade.
“I don’t think so.” said Squall as he pulled the trigger… BLAM!
Cloud’s body went limp and fell over.
Squall slowly got up and pulled his gunblade out of Cloud’s dead body. “….” was all he could say.
Unbeknownst to Squall, a man in black clothing and carrying a long sword at his side stood in the shadows, laughing quietly to himself.
“Hahahahaha… my plan worked.” cackled Sephiroth.