Alright, as many of you know, I'm a huge Final Fantasy 7 fanboy. To the point where I can be more than a little biased, and I admit that.
I'm going to systematically go through and slowly but surely make a respect for a lot of characters from the Final Fantasy 7 franchise in this thread. This will include everything from combat feats, physical prowess, and miscellaneous qualities.
I'll start off doing one character at a time, but I'll move on from there to multiple when I get to some of the characters with less feats.
Who to start with?
Some of you who have played FF7 might wonder why I am starting with him. Well, it's simple actually. Zack is the least physically enhanced main protagonist in the FF7 franchise (Zack Fair, Cloud Strife, Vincent Valentine), as well as less enhanced than any of the powerhouse villains (Weapons, Sephiroth, Genesis, Angeal, Weiss, Nero, etc.)
Strength - Zack is enhanced beyond the limits of even the finest human athlete. He can easily bend and collapse steel under his own power, can leap vast distances, and can cut through reinforced steel.
Reflexes - Zack can block, deflect, and dodge gun fire with little to no problem
Speed - Zack can run at superhuman speeds, beyond those of the finest human athlete.
Vision - Zack can perceive bullets while they are in flight, much like Steve Rogers, he can "see faster".
Durability - Zack can withstand superhuman blows, as well as survive a barrage of bullets (both into his body and skull).
Training - Zack is one of the greatest fighters in all of Final Fantasy. Despite being the least enhanced, he has stood his ground against Sephiroth (though ultimately lost), Genesis, Angeal, and armies of super soldiers (who were enhanced to his level) and infantryman.
Swordsman - Zack's weapon of choice is the Buster Sword, though not his first sword, he showed a high level of mastery with it.
Crisis Core: Opening
This is a great showing of Zack overall. This is a training exercise.
1:10-1:23 - Survives a fall from the helicopter onto a moving train.
1:50-2:10 - Reflexes, and running speed
2:10-2:30 - Reflexes and fighting abiltiies.
2:30-2:50 - Jumping power, as well as ability. He detatches the rail cars with pinpoint accuracy at the end of his jump, which shows remarkable timing on his jump, and great understanding of his surroundings.
Zack is well trained, but how well trained?
Well, he's taken on a group of Genesis clones, who are above him in every physical sense, with a parasol (big umbrella) and while in swim trunks...(canon)
Zack Fair vs. Ifrit
Ifrit is a godly being, Zack takes him on, and isn't able to finish him. Sephiroth shows up and finishes Ifrit off, but Zack survives and does pretty well, doesn't really show any signs that he needed help either.
Watch as little or as much as you want.
Zack Fair vs. Bahamut FURY
Bahamut Fury is something of a godly being, I'll be posting some more Bahamut videos later, he's no joke.
0:45-8:00 - Don't watch the whole thing, it's mostly gameplay, but he does defeat it
Allows him to take on Angeal
Angeal at this point merges with a bunch of monsters and becomes
0:50-1:05 - Dodges Angeal's first attack
1:10-2:30 - Defeat Angeal, though it's gameplay, and most people should know my stance on gameplay is that it's non-canon, only cutscenes are canon, but the feat of him defeating Angeal is still canon
2:45-4:00 - Inherits the Buster Sword
4:50-5:30 - Twirls that Buster Sword like it's no big deal. That's more impressive than you may think.
Even allows him to stand up to Sephiroth for quite some time
1:00-1:10 - This is actually a big deal. Notice Zack cuts down that reinforced door? Relatively impressive, but it's a feat that I will be coming back to over and over again throughout this thread. Why? It's the first time someone showed that cutting through heavy duty materials requires strength, and it's not because of their weapons.
3:00-3:30 - Blocks an attack from Sephiroth
3:30-6:00 - Again, gameplay is non-canon, and it stands to reason to state that Zack never even hit him, considering Sephiroth is completely unharmed in the following scene.
6:00-6:40 - Survives being flung around by Sephiroth, and even blocks his attacks.
Zack's first fight with Genesis. Note, Genesis is decaying at this point in the game, but he's still extremely enhanced, and this is before Zack gets the Buster Sword
0:20-0:40 - Zack bullrushes in, and attacks Genesis. However, notice how Genesis is still physically stronger than Zack
0:50-1:35 - Zack does pretty dang well against Genesis in this fight scene
1:36-End - This video skips the gameplay, but Zack defeats Genesis. Don't have to watch this portion, it's all story with no feats other than the one.
Zack fights Genesis when Genesis is revived to his full potential
2:10-2:40 - The Goddess empowers Genesis and makes him more powerful,
2:40-3:00 - Genesis is defeated (skips gameplay), Genesis emerges from the fight out of his empowered form, but in a non-decaying version of his original form, indicating at full strength.
3:10-3:45 - Genesis Provokes Zack into battle
3:55-End - You can see Zack defeated Genesis. It's proven it wasn't from physical superiority, but by sheer skill (as he was shown to be inferior in strength earlier, and when I get to Genesis you'll see why he's inferior in every other capacity).
Digital Mind Wave
Obviously not all of these are canon, as Zack can't summon Tseng everytime his emotions compel him to. But how this is supposed to work is Zack's emotional attachment to people enables him to replicate their ability to some extent. From Sephiroth's Octaslash to Aerith's Healing Wave
0:00-0:12 - Luck Manipulation from Cissnei
0:12-0:35 - Obviously non-canon
0:35-0:55 - Angeal is supposedly a powerful hand to hand fighter, so he replicates that
1:10-1:20 - Aerith's Healing Wave
1:30-1:45 - Sephiroth's OctaSlash
1:50-2:30 - Cloud's Meteor Rain
7:55-8:20 - Apocalypse, from Genesis
He can also summon powerful beings with the correct Materia. Including Ifrit, Phoenix, Odin, Bahamut, Bahamut FURY, and several others.
His stats and some ability:
0:30-0:45 - Soldiers Assault Zack
1:00-1:15 - Entire fight in slow motion, Zack is assaulted by other members of SOLDIER, who are enhanced to his level as well. He humiliates them
1:15-1:30 - Not even kind of afraid of the bullets fired at him.
4:40-5:00 - Zack puts down his sword down in front of Cloud to protect him, and confronts a large squad of Shinra troops armed with swords and guns with his bare hands.
5:00-5:10 - Zack easily perceives bullets and dodges them effortlessly.
5:10-5:30 - Slaughters a group of infantry and SOLDIER members with his bare hands, easily throwing them through hunks of wood and killing them with a single strike. Remarkable strength and striking power.
Last Order pt. 2
1:05-1:15 - Two infantryman, who are at least athletic human in terms of strength, can't even lift the Buster Sword out of place, with both of their combined efforts.
1:20-1:30 - Zack easily kills one of the infantryman with one swing, and then pulls the sword from the ground effortlessly with one hand.
4:20-5:30 - His fight with Sephiroth. Notice him getting plastered into walls, and etc. Good showing of durability here. Also launches out a blade beam at one point.
Last Order pt. 3
3:40-3:45 - With no indication of a sniper present, he senses to grab and move Cloud out of a sniper's line of fire. This is easily his greatest feat of enhanced perceptions.
His Best Feat:
Zack doesn't show that he takes them all out in this video. But the Canon ending is he takes out all but the last 3 soldiers in this video...that's an army taken out by 1 man. An army consisting of Shinra Infantry and SOLDIER members who again, are enhanced to his levels.
0:40-1:45 - That is a lot of people....
4:40-5:00 - Those are the last remaining soldiers
7:25-10:30 - Not only is the guy riddled with bullet holes in his chest, arms, and even bleeding from the top of his skull, but he's still talking, and he is still able to lift that Buster Sword with one arm! He doesn't survive this incident, but pretty impressive.
Zack is able to survive as a separate entity from within this lifestream. This is an impressive feat, considering there are billions if not trillions of consciousnesses within the lifestream.
The Maiden who Travels the Lifestream
Zack wakes up, and emerges in front of Aerith. She has no idea that he's even dead, so she did not conjure him.
"How can I save Cloud? How can I stop Meteor? I didn't think that Holy would be held back. At this rate, the Planet's going to end up the way Sephiroth wants it... What can I do? Tell me, Cloud..."
Aerith cried as she thought about the shattered Cloud that even her prayers wouldn't reach. His wrecked character could no longer be fixed. If he wasn't Cloud in the first place then, who was he? Knowing him only as a former member of Soldier, there was no way she could guess. She embraced the feeling of helplessness that she couldn't put into words.
"Cloud... I miss you. I miss the real you..."
Her whispers and thoughts became expanded into waves and spread out in the Mako.
Her memories of being with Cloud came to mind again. Her impression was that even though he wasn't very social, there was some cheerfulness about him.
"I felt something odd about him but, was everything really just made up and part of his false character? Cloud wasn't real at all? ...No, that can't be true. There were things that only Cloud could think of. Things that he done because he was Cloud. He was never an empty vessel to begin with!"
But she couldn't figure out the truth. Her thoughts just went in circles. Aerith delved into her memories again. Memories that showed Cloud's individuality. The way he walked. She remembered all his actions one by one...
Most of those thoughts merged into the Sea of Mako and awakened a character. The character recognized the image she recalled and "he" woke up.
"Aerith... Is that you?"
At first, Aerith couldn't remember whose voice it was because it was so sudden. Panicking, she turned round and saw a nostalgic face she hadn't seen for five years. He was her light taste of first love. He was also now a very dear friend who she hadn't seen ever since she heard nothing from him. He had the same character she saw in Cloud. Zack who had blue eyes that proofed he was in Soldier appeared before her. He had an image inferior to Aerith's solid image.
"Zack! Does that mean you're dead too?"
Although usually Aerith wasn't the one to ask obvious questions, it was the first thought that came to mind and she spoke out as if it was a reflex. Besides that, it was odd that such a seasoned and highly skilled Soldier would die. Even though she didn't know his whereabouts, she was sure that he was safe and living peacefully somewhere... She blamed herself for blindly believing in such a thing. This cruel reality was a strong shock for her.
""You too?"... Does that mean you're dead too, Aerith? Well, I was going to say the same thing anyway and then... How should I put this... Give my condolences?"
"You haven't changed one bit."
No matter what happened, Zack never lost his cheerfulness. As if saved by his cheerful personality, Aerith smiled weakly. Even though she knew that he was a member of Shinra's Soldier, it was that part of him that was charming to her.
"Lots of things happened. All terrible things. It all started when I was dispatched on a mission to the rural Nibelheim."
Zack flees from Shinra for several months after he awakens, and travels around the planet carrying a comatose Cloud Strife. Shinra doesn't attack him until he decides to try to return to Midgar and visit Aerith. So he clearly has more than a bit of survival skills, especially considering how far it is between towns.
More to come later!
Thanks for reading,