Before fighting the Airbuster itself, during "Sentenced to Death", the player can sabotage it by extracting components from it. Extracting bomber components weakens its Big Bomber ability, while extracting AI processors slows its casting of abilities.
The battle has a 25 minute time limit.
Battle[edit | edit source]
Sewer rats of Avalanche, pawns of Wutai! The people of Midgar will now see you for the cowards you are!
Heidegger as the Airbuster battle begins
The party is separated as the battle starts, with Cloud being alone on one side, and Barret and Tifa on the other. The Airbuster is a threat to be reckoned with even when fought from two sides. It uses various abilities, the most common being normal gunfire and electronic mines that can stun. If any party member is stunned, Airbuster targets them with Big Bomber. Airbuster is weak to Lightning and Wind elements, Lightning being best for staggering it.
When Airbuster has lost around 1/3 of its HP, it changes tactics. It moves towards the entrance of the reactor, and uses a powerful attack called Tankbuster, firing a continuous straight beam of energy for heavy damage if it hits. Its short-range flame attack can also be deadly. Aside from Tankbuster and the flame attack, this phase goes like first phase.
After losing 2/3 of its HP, Airbuster takes to the air and becomes unreachable by melee attacks until it flies in range. The player should still stay on the lookout for Tankbuster, as it will now track a target. Also, when in close range it will unleash its flame attack.
Strategy[edit | edit source]
The player can use Barrier on any stunned characters to mitigate damage and keep attacking Airbuster until it staggers. Using Thunder or Aero spells, or the Elemental Materia in conjunction with Lightning or Wind materia in a weapon, can help a lot.
When the Airbuster uses Tankbuster the player can avoid it by maneuvering away from the beam's range, then resume onslaught until it is used again. Since Barret can use guns, he can stay out of the way of attacks the whole time. When the Airbuster begins to fly, Barret's ranged attacks and Thunder and Wind spells can be used to damage it. Wind spells are little more effective against the flying form. Once Airbuster comes close enough, it can again be hit with melee attacks.
Hard Mode[edit | edit source]
On hard mode, the Airbuster is mostly the same but has one new devastating ability in the second phase: it can detach its arms, putting them to the sides of the area, and have them strike the party with stunning rays, making the party vulnerable to Big Bomber. At this point the party should focus on taking down one of the arms to make Airbuster re-attach them.
Musical themes[edit | edit source]
"The Airbuster" is a heavy metal arrangement of "Fight On!". It was arranged by Tadayoshi Makino and plays during the airbuster battle.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Etymology[edit | edit source]
buster" means a person who breaks up something, e.g. crime busters, or something big or unusual for its kind. It derives from the verb "bust".The word "