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Cloud Strife
Cloud-FFVIIArt
Official artwork of Cloud from Final Fantasy VII

Series

Final Fantasy

Debut

Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Console of origin

PlayStation

Species

Human

Gender

Male

Cloud Strife is the main protagonist in Final Fantasy VII and also appears in the spin-off games of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, including Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- and Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, as a supporting character.

An arrogant and proud swordsman at first, Cloud believes himself to be a member of an elite warrior unit called SOLDIER. He discovers the his memories are false and, with the help of his friends, learns there is more to being a hero than possessing physical strength and fame.

DescriptionEdit

Cloud stands at 5'7" with a lean yet muscular build. His blond hair is spiked, and in Final Fantasy VII features one particularly large spike. Cloud's hair has become one of the trademarks of his appearance, although in
FFVII-CloudChocobo
later appearances the spikes have been toned down. Cloud has blue eyes, which glow due to having being exposed to Mako. Because "Mako eyes" are an icon of SOLDIER, Cloud is often mistaken as one. His weapon is the Buster Sword, a massive sword several feet long which he wields in most of his appearances. Cloud's other trademark weapon is a set of Fusion Swords

Cloud's outfit in Final Fantasy VII is the standard uniform for 1st Class SOLDIER: indigo pants with a sleeveless shirt, and a belt. Cloud wears brown boots and gauntlets with a pauldron over his left shoulder. This is the uniform he wears for most of his other appearances, with slight variations.

In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Cloud wears the blue uniform of a Shinra Electric Power Company infantryman with several belts and straps and a green-gray piece of cloth around the collar. He wears his helmet to conceal his identity at times. After he gains the SOLDIER 1st class uniform his appearance is the same as in Final Fantasy VII, albeit with both shoulder pauldrons in-tact and the SOLDIER logo as it is in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-.

HistoryEdit

Cloud was born in the mountain village of Nibelheim, and was neighbors with Tifa Lockhart. His father died when he was young and he was raised by his mother. As a child, Cloud had no close friends and perhaps as a coping mechanism, convinced himself he was superior to the other village children and so didn't care for their company. He had a crush on Tifa, but hated her friends, calling them immature. Although the two consider each other (and are considered by others) to be childhood friends, by Tifa's own account they were not close growing up, despite him having been her neighbor.

When Cloud was nine, Tifa's mother died, and Tifa insisted she could meet her by crossing Mt. Nibel. Cloud followed her and when a bridge collapsed he fell when trying to save her. He escaped unharmed but Tifa's life was in grave danger. The townsfolk believed the expedition up the mountain to have been Cloud's idea, and Tifa's father forbade Cloud from approaching her. Cloud blamed himself for failing to save her and developed an anger problem, getting into fights for little to no reason.

At the age of thirteen Cloud learned of Sephiroth and his exploits. Resolving to become a hero like him, Cloud decided to set out and join SOLDIER. He called Tifa out to the water tower to tell her about his departure, hoping to impress her and upon her request promised to save her if she ever found herself in trouble. The following spring, he left for Midgar.

Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-/Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-Edit

Cloud's dreams were cut short as despite his bravado he never made it into SOLDIER and became a mere ordinary Shinra infantryman. On June 28th, 0001, Cloud is among those ordered to protect Professor Rayleigh in Midgar from the insurgency organization AVALANCHE. Though he is unsuccessful, their lives are saved by the Player Turk. During the incident Cloud displays impressive sword skills for a regular infantryman.

In autumn, while working for Shinra, he meets a first-class SOLDIER named Zack Fair on their way to Modeoheim, and the two befriend after learning they are both "backwater experts". When he and Zack infiltrate a Mako Excavation Facility, they encounter Genesis Rhapsodos and Dr. Hollander. When Hollander attempts to escape, Cloud briefly captures him. Hollander breaks free and Cloud gives pursuit, but both he and Tseng — the leader of the Turks — are taken down by Angeal Hewley.

Zack and Cloud meet again on September 0002 while protecting Junon from Genesis's attack. On September 22nd, 0002, Cloud returns to Nibelheim along with Zack and Sephiroth to investigate a damaged Mako Reactor on Mt. Nibel, and Tifa is to act as their guide. Embarrassed of his failure to join SOLDIER, Cloud hides his identity from the townspeople, and especially Tifa, by always wearing his helmet, although he does visit his mother who asks about his new life with Shinra.

When the expedition reaches the reactor, Sephiroth discovers Professor Hojo's experiments with makonoids and Jenova, whom Sephiroth mistakenly believes to be his mother. Cloud is knocked out by Genesis and is helped back into town by Tifa. When Cloud regains consciousness, he is angry at not being strong enough. Sephiroth locks himself in the Shinra Manor's basement, immersing in Professor Gast Faremis's writings, and discovers his dark past, as well the secrets regarding the Cetra and the Promised Land. On October 1st Sephiroth destroys the village on a rampage, fueled by his newfound hate for the "traitors" of the Ancients, the humans. Cloud witnesses his mother's death in the ensuing fire and rushes to the reactor to confront Sephiroth where he finds both a gravely wounded Tifa and a barely conscious Zack. Cloud picks up Zack's Buster Sword, catches Sephiroth off guard in the reactor core, and impales him. When Cloud returns to attend to Tifa, a wounded Sephiroth emerges from the reactor core, but when Cloud attacks again, Sephiroth stabs him with the Masamune. Cloud summons previously unknown strength and uses the katana as a lever to hurl Sephiroth into the Mako pit below before collapsing.

Cloud and Zack, as well other survivors in the town, become Professor Hojo's test subjects. Injecting them with Jenova's cells and exposing them to Mako, Hojo attempts to test his Jenova Reunion Theory and turns them into Sephiroth Clones. Since Zack had gone through a similar process in SOLDIER, his body resists the experiments, but Cloud develops a severe Mako poisoning. Hojo labels the two failures, places them in a cryogenic sleeping state and leaves them in their pods in the Shinra Manor basement.

Four years later (December 19th, 0006) Zack breaks out of his confinement and helps a vegetative Cloud escape, giving him a SOLDIER uniform to wear as his old clothes are soaked with Mako. Due to the experiments Cloud is weak and delirious but during their journey Zack tells the unresponsive Cloud about his life and his plans for both of them to become mercenaries in Midgar. Though Cloud takes no part in the events, he is present when Zack defeats Genesis.

After almost a year of running, the pair arrive outside Midgar in September 0007. The Shinra forces catch up and Zack fights to defend both Cloud and himself against overwhelming numbers. Zack is gunned down, but the soldiers ignore the vegetative Cloud. Cloud regains some awareness and crawls over to Zack, who entrusts the Buster Sword to him, and tells Cloud his legacy will live on inside Cloud, before dying. Buster Sword in hand, Cloud trudges off towards Midgar.

Cloud undergoes a transformation due to the combined trauma caused by the Nibelheim incident, his Mako poisoning, and witnessing Zack's death. Cloud impresses Zack's memories and fighting abilities into his own, along with Tifa's memories of him and his own ideal image of himself as a SOLDIER, creating a new set of memories with an accompanying persona. What emerges in Cloud's mind is a reality in which he joined SOLDIER and was Sephiroth's partner — Zack did not exist — and in most of Cloud's twisted memories he takes Zack's place. Cloud presents himself in Midgar as a former 1st Class SOLDIER, now a mercenary for hire.

Final Fantasy VIIEdit

Cloud is found by Tifa at the Sector 7 Slums. Now a member of the anti-Shinra terrorist group AVALANCHE, Tifa is perplexed by the oddities she notices in him, and requests Cloud join them. Cloud helps AVALANCHE attack the Sector 1 Reactor on December 9th, and the mission is a success. Claiming he does not care
Wall VII 01
about the Planet and is only working for money, Cloud attempts to walk out after returning to AVALANCHE hideout in Tifa's 7th Heaven bar, but Tifa reminds Cloud of the promise he made to her after deciding to join SOLDIER.

Though Cloud puts up an indifferent front, he is more troubled than he lets on. A mysterious voice arises from within him every now and then, reminding him of something that happened in the past, but Cloud tries his best to suppress it.

After blowing up the Sector 5 Reactor, Cloud is separated from the others when he falls into the Sector 5 Church where he meets Aeris Gainsborough and agrees to become her bodyguard in exchange for one date. Cloud ignores the voice in his head that tries to talk to him while he was unconscious on the church flowerbed, and again when he spends the night at Aeris's house. Tifa enters a "dating service" with the prize being a night with Don Corneo to get information out of him. Cloud and Aeris, after disguising Cloud as a woman, attempt to rescue her, and meet the Don who admits Shinra has discovered AVALANCHE's base of operations.

To destroy AVALANCHE, Shinra drops the plate over Sector 7 of Midgar crushing the entire area. AVALANCHE members Jessie, Biggs and Wedge are killed trying to stop them, and Aeris is captured while taking Barret's daughter Marlene to safety. Cloud leads an attack on Shinra Headquarters to rescue her, where he meets Red XIII, and sees Jenova's headless remains stored in Hojo's lab, triggering another spout of hearing voices in his head. The group is captured and imprisoned, and during the night Cloud awakens to find the prison doors open and the guards slaughtered. He, Aeris, Barret, Tifa, and Red XIII follow a blood trail to the top floor and find President Shinra impaled on Sephiroth's katana. Cloud battles the new head of Shinra, Rufus, and escapes from Midgar on a Hardy-Daytona motorcycle, the others riding alongside in a pickup.

The group stays at an inn outside Midgar in Kalm, where Cloud tells his version of what happened on the day Nibelheim was burned, with himself in Zack's place and Zack no longer present. Although Tifa knows the story is not true, she remains silent. The next day the group sets out to track Sephiroth down, going through the Mythril Mine where the Turks reveal Sephiroth is headed for Junon. Cloud and the group sneak into Junon, and, after saving a girl called Priscilla from a monster, are allowed to sleep over. In his sleep a voice asks Cloud to ask Tifa about the time he returned to Nibelheim as a SOLDIER, but when he does Tifa evades his question. After a welcoming parade for Rufus's honor, Cloud and the party stow away on a cargo ship bound for Costa del Sol.

The journey to find Sephiroth leads them through North Corel and the Gold Saucer, where the manager Dio gives Cloud and his friends a buggy to assist them in their travels, and the cat-robot Cait Sith joins their cause. The buggy breaks down, forcing the group to stay at Red XIII's hometown Cosmo Canyon, where the Elder Bugenhagen reveals critical information about the Planet and the Lifestream, and how Shinra's drilling for Mako affects them. When the group reaches Nibelheim they find the town rebuilt and inhabited by imposter villagers hired by Shinra, who claim to have no recollection of either Cloud or Tifa, or the town ever having been burned down.

In the Shinra Mansion basement, Sephiroth appears and alludes to a "reunion" he feels Cloud should attend. Cloud and the group cross Mt. Nibel and visit Rocket Town, where they escape on Cid Highwind's plane, only to have it shot down by Shinra soldiers. Adding Cid to their roster of allies, the group returns to the Gold Saucer and claims the Keystone from Dio. Cloud and the group stay the night when the trolley to the park breaks down, but Cait Sith, who turns out to be a Shinra spy, steals the Keystone and turns it over to Tseng of the Turks.

Traveling to the Temple of the Ancients, Tseng is found gravely wounded after a struggle with Sephiroth, and he returns the Keystone. In the heart of the temple Cloud finds Sephiroth, who reveals his plan to call the Ultimate Black Magic, Meteor, to deal a critical wound to the Planet. His plan is to have the Lifestream emerge to heal it so he can absorb its energy, becoming a god. Sephiroth leaves as Cloud discovers the temple itself is the Black Materia.

Cait Sith sacrifices himself to get the Black Materia, but Sephiroth returns, and because Cloud had been injected with Jenova cells during his four-year-long captivity in Shinra Manor, Sephiroth has control over Cloud, who hands over the Black Materia. Cloud goes berserk and attacks Aeris, but his friends knock him out. While unconscious, Aeris appears to Cloud in a dream, claiming only she can stop Sephiroth. When Cloud regains consciousness, Barret and Tifa tell him Aeris has left, and Cloud resolves to follow her.

Cloud and company pursue Aeris through the Sleeping Forest to the Forgotten Capital, where he finds her praying on an altar in the center of the city's underground complex. Cloud takes up the Buster Sword and attempts to attack her, his mind under Sephiroth's control. Stopping himself in the nick of time when his allies shout at him to stop, Sephiroth descends from above the altar and kills Aeris, impaling her with his Masamune. The party mourns Aeris's passing as Cloud rests her body in the lake. Cloud reveals to the
FMVCloud
party he has been under Sephiroth's control, and may become controlled again, asking his allies to stay with him despite this.

Arriving at the North Crater, Cloud regains the Black Materia and gives it to a party member as he does not trust himself. Sephiroth appears and shows Cloud a partial vision of what really happened at Nibelheim, revealing Zack's presence in his stead but not Cloud's true part in the events. Shinra arrives and Professor Hojo reveals his Jenova Reunion Theory that Cloud is a part of.

Cloud comes to believe he was created by Hojo and even his name and memories of being Tifa's childhood friend belong to someone else. The shock of his fabricated past shatters Cloud's mind. Using an illusion to trick the party member with the Black Materia into coming to Cloud's aid, Sephiroth has Cloud take it back and he hands it to Sephiroth, who uses it to summon Meteor. After Cloud apologizes to Tifa for being a fake persona, the crater shakes and Cloud falls into the Lifestream.

Surfacing at Mideel a week later, Cloud has been subjected to intense Mako poisoning within the Lifestream leaving him paralyzed and incoherent, in a state similar to when Zack rescued him from Shinra Manor years before. Tifa stays to care for him while the rest of the party fights Shinra, who is risking an attempt to stop the Meteor now approaching the Planet. Ultimate Weapon, one of the Weapons created by the planet to protect it, attacks Mideel, and Tifa and Cloud fall into the Lifestream and into Cloud's Subconscious, where Tifa meets the "true Cloud".

The "true Cloud" is the part of himself Cloud had tried to deny and the one who remembers his past not as a SOLDIER member, but as a regular footsoldier. This Cloud appears as a young version of him, and is the origin of the voices in Cloud's head who had tried to remind him of his true self. Tifa helps Cloud piece together the memories of his childhood by comparing their memories to find which are true, and encourages Cloud to believe in his existence. Restored to his true self, Cloud resumes command of the party and is no longer plagued by an inner voice, finally accepting the truth about who he is. With Bugenhagen's guidance, they discover Aeris had summoned the ultimate white magic spell Holy before Sephiroth killed her. It could stop Meteor, but Sephiroth is holding it back.

The "true Cloud" is the part of himself Cloud had tried to deny and the one who remembers his past not as a SOLDIER member, but as a regular footsoldier. This Cloud appears as a young version of him, and is the origin of the voices in Cloud's head who had tried to remind him of his true self. Tifa helps Cloud piece together the memories of his childhood by comparing their memories to find which are true, and encourages Cloud to believe in his existence. Restored to his true self, Cloud resumes command of the party and is no longer plagued by an inner voice, finally accepting the truth about who he is. With Bugenhagen's guidance, they discover Aeris had summoned the ultimate white magic spell Holy before Sephiroth killed her. It could stop Meteor, but Sephiroth is holding it back.

After Diamond Weapon attacks Midgar and Cloud and the party stop Hojo from relaunching the Sister Ray Mako Cannon to give Sephiroth a boost of energy, the group lands in the North Crater. Cloud asks everyone to find a reason to fight, and while the others depart he and Tifa spend the night under the stars. The next day the party descends through the Northern Cave to the depths of the Planet to confront Sephiroth. After Sephiroth's new god-like form is defeated, his mind is sent back into the Lifestream. Cloud, sensing Sephiroth is not dead, follows him mentally into the Lifestream and defeats Sephiroth in a final duel of will. Returned to his body, Cloud and the party escape the crater on the Highwind moments before Holy emerges to destroy Meteor. The Meteor's proximity causes Holy to hold back its full power, until Aeris commands the Lifestream to push Meteor back so Holy may destroy Meteor and save the Planet.

Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-Edit

One year later (0010), Cloud is not seen during the attack on Edge (assumed to have spirited away Denzel and Marlene). He assists the World Regenesis Organization and Vincent Valentine against the threat of Omega and Deepground and leads the ground assault on Midgar, facing Rosso the Crimson, and he and the others aid Vincent defeat Omega. 

AbilitiesEdit

Cloud is best placed in the front row to ensure solid attack power despite being a workable magic caster. His Limit Breaks are the strongest in the game, but Cloud learns them slower than anyone else.

Cloud's stats are balanced and he is among the characters with the highest stats in every field, specially Strength and Magic. His lowest stat is his Speed, which is still about average. He starts on level 6 but levels
Cloud-ffvii-battle
up to level 7 in the first battle; this is an allusion to number 7. However, stat growth is somewhat random in Final Fantasy VII, with characters having a chance to gain a boost in stats when they level up, but how much they get has a random element in deciding it.

Cloud is the only character in Final Fantasy VII to have two battle models: his regular model is used throughout the majority of battles, but a more detailed version is used in the scripted battle against Sephiroth inside the Lifestream, that takes place after the final battle.

EquipmentEdit

Cloud wields a variety of weapons throughout his appearances. His most iconic weapon is the Buster Sword, a massive two-handed broadsword he wields in Final Fantasy VII and most of his spin-off appearances. In Final Fantasy VII Cloud can equip katanas and other greatswords as well, though he continues to wield the Buster Sword in cutscenes.

Limit BreaksEdit

Cloud has seven Limit Breaks in Final Fantasy VII: Braver and Cross-slash are his level 1 limits, Blade Beam and Climhazzard are his level 2 limits, Meteorain and Finishing Touch are his level 3 limits; and his level 4 limit is Omnislash.

These attacks reappear as special attacks for Cloud in his spin-off appearances in Final Fantasy Tactics and Dissidia Final Fantasy.

PersonalityEdit

Cloud remains steadfastly loyal and true to those he cares about and is driven to protect them, going as far as to hide his pain and emotions so he would not worry them. His selfless and kind nature lets him overcome
Cloud Portrait
Sephiroth time and again. Cloud has a lighter side, willingly crossdressing as a woman to save Tifa from Don Corneo's mansion. When the party arrives at Costa del Sol, Tifa asks Cloud what he thought about Barret dressed as a sailor; one option is to reply "He looked like a bear wearing a marshmallow," much to Barret's annoyance. He has a dry, ironic wit in Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- and overall, while Cloud has a moody demeanor, his personality is not as brooding as that of Vincent Valentine.

Cloud suffers from motion sickness that is seemingly cured during the period he upholds a fake SOLDIER persona, but returns when his true self is restored, although him riding the Fenrir on delivery business suggests his motion sickness has since improved.

GalleryEdit

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