2) Breaking Out Of Shinra HQ
This one is quite possibly the coolest CGI cutscene in the entire game; after defeating Rufus, Cloud suddenly appears on that motorbike and proceeds to ride down the stairs of Shinra HQ before busting out the window onto the open road. It’s the first moment in the game where Cloud throws away his typically reserved demeanour and certifies himself as a grade A badass. The gameplay sequence that follows, as you protect Red XIII, Tifa and Barrett from waves of enemy soldiers also mounted on motorbikes, is a truly thrilling climax to the Midgar chapter of the game.
Looking back on both the CGI cutscene and the motorbike gameplay sequence, it’s easy to see why it stood out as such a definitive moment in the original game. For one thing, CGI cutscenes were almost like a special event for games in the early PS One era; a pre-rendered segment that leaped so far forward in graphical fidelity that was exciting just in its aesthetic. Also, the real time combat players got to experience while protecting the bike was a nice change of pace from the turn based battle system.
The motorbike chase sequence is probably the closest thing to a modern day “set piece” that we see in series such as Uncharted and Tomb Raider. In fact, if Final Fantasy VII is going to wow us in the same way the original did back in 1997, Square Enix would certainly do well to study the manner in which those games handle similar scenes. This one simply has to take our breath away though and if handled right, it should get our hearts pumping.