When we sat down to write this article, we were actually surprised to recall that there aren’t that many optional encounters in Final Fantasy VII. These ten entries kind of push the limits on what is and isn’t optional.
That said, every fight is worth a look for one reason or another, and they have been ranked according to difficulty, from the easiest foe to the toughest. We also thought it was a good idea to include some context on where to find these opponents for some bonus tips. Happy hunting!
Yuffie can first be encountered in the Junon area of the map. All one has to do is run around a forested area and she has a random chance to appear. She isn’t tough, but what is tricky is choosing what to say to her after the battle.
One wrong choice and she’ll run away. Thankfully, we live in an age where these tough dialogue choices are easier thanks to both written and video guides. No shame in seeking help from the experts.
9 Reno & Rude (Gongaga)
After attending the festivities at Gold Saucer, the party is tasked with venturing off to Cosmo Canyon, the birthplace of Red XIII. Along the way, there are the destroyed ruins of the Gongaga reactor. If players make a pit stop they will be greeted by Reno and Rude for a “boss” fight.
Fear not for they are no stronger than a typical random encounter. The great thing about Gongaga is that Aeris can reminisce about Zack with his parents and players can also get the Titan Summon Materia.
8 Reno & Rude (Gelnika)
The next optional fight with the Turk duo lies underwater in the crashed Gelnika plane. This too is not that grand of a battle since, by this point, the party should be nigh unstoppable for most threats. The weird thing about this fight is thinking about how they get out after everything is said and done.
Do they swim? On that note, players can actually do this battle after their real final conflict when they storm Shinra HQ. This is a bit of a plot hole. Story inconsistencies aside, the Gelnika has a lot of great loot inside.
7 Midgar Zolom
The Midgar Zolom is a giant serpent that lurks in the marshes close to Midgar. At this point in the game, unless one power levels like crazy, players will not be able to defeat this beast.
In order to avoid fighting, a Chocobo must be captured to ensure safe travel across the marsh. It’s a pretty ingenious plot device that also teaches the party about Chocobo tracks. It may be tough at this point, but it is a piece of cake later on. Fight it to learn the Enemy Skill, Beta.
6 Lost Number
This is the creature awaiting players inside the Shinra Mansion safe. How did it fit in there? Ah, it doesn’t matter. Point is the fight is not that tough. The real battle is figuring out the safe combination and inputting it without screwing the numbers up only to have to fight through it again.
While somewhat frustrating, cracking the safe and completing the ensuing boss fight are worth the effort. This quest eventually leads players to unlock the other secret character, Vincent.
Rapps, by the look of it, is just a bigger version of that sea horse looking dragons strewn throughout the adventure. That said, Rapps' Aero attack hits pretty hard.
Rapps is the monster Don Corneo unleashes on the player when they venture into Wutai, Yuffie’s homeland. It is at this point that the party barely has any Materia left thanks to the little ninja stealing everything. That’s what really bogs this boss encounter down.
4 Wutai Trials (Godo)
Let’s dial things back a bit to explain Wutai. This is an optional quest that first opens up after the party gains the Tiny Bronco. If the party docks on the foreign land, a cut scene will play out where Yuffie steals everyone’s Materia and leaves them for dead against invading soldiers.
Once they get to Wutai and take care of Don Corneo, players can then have Yuffie challenge her father and his four guardians in the tower of trials. This is a solo battle, which makes it especially tough.
3 Ultimate Weapon
Last, but not least, we have the three optimal Weapon battles. Ultimate Weapon is first encountered in Mideel when the town sinks into the earth causing a lot of crazy stuff to happen to Cloud and Tifa.
After this, Ultimate Weapon roams around the world searching for a fight. Chasing it down is the hardest part of this boss encounter, as one must do it a few times before the beast is finally slain. Besides a hefty amount of AP, Cloud will get one of his best swords in the game.
2 Emerald Weapon
The Emerald Weapon is tricky for several reasons. One, the battle is timed because it is held underwater and the party cannot obviously breathe, despite being able to stand on the ocean floor...
Anyway, once they gain the Underwater Materia, it will become slightly easier, but make no bones about it: this is a nigh impossible fight without every Materia in the game along with a hefty amount of high-quality potions and sick combinations with Blue and Pink Materia. The Emerald Weapon roams the ocean floor, but sometimes it stays right by the Gelnika crash site.
1 Ruby Weapon
The only reason Ruby Weapon is ranked higher than the other weapons is because of its ability to take party members out of the fight. That means this battle can quickly turn into a solo mission. It is beyond challenging, making every boss encounter in a Dark Souls-type experience look like baby kittens rolling around in a ball of yarn.
This fight is so challenging, the new Remastered editions have cheats that - if the player is so inclined - can be enabled to easily vanquish the Ruby Weapon. Where is the fun in that?