The Cave to the Sealed Gate is a dungeon in the game Final Fantasy VI. It is the cave that leads to the Sealed Gate, the border between the human realm and the Esper World. In the human realm, the cave lies east of the Imperial Observation Post on the far eastern end of the southern continent.
Story[edit | edit source]
Terra leads the party through the cave in order to plea with the espers for their help in the war against the Empire. Though they make it to the gate, they discover that they have been followed by Kefka and two imperial soldiers. Terra's friends fight him off while Terra calls to the espers, and Yura and a handful of other espers escape the gate and decimate the Empire.
Later, other espers open the gate to help fight Kefka in Thamasa. They fail to help which lets Kefka and Gestahl to enter the Esper World in search for the Warring Triad. This causes the cave and the island it is on to be raised as the Floating Continent.
Layout[edit | edit source]
The Cave to the Sealed Gate seems to be a volcanic region, as the main cavern is full of lava and many enemies in the gave have an affinity to fire. The upper levels are unremarkable, but from the third level on the cave becomes a maze of puzzles and traps. These include walkways over the lava that change position, switches that destroy bridges to block the party's path, and secret rooms opened by switches.
At the far end of the cave is the Sealed Gate itself, seemingly located within a pillar of rock rising from a sea of storm clouds, with a wooden bridge connecting a cliff to the gate. Given the esper world is in another realm, it is possible this final area of the Sealed Gate is within a trans-dimensional area, which would explain how storm clouds could exist inside the cave - they actually don't. Alternatively, the final area may be located in the open air within the mountains the cave is located in. Either way is unclear.
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
Encounters[edit | edit source]
Treasures[edit | edit source]
The chest in the first room of the cave contains an Assassin's Dagger, and the chest in the next room contains a Kazekiri. In the first small lava room, the chest in the middle of the lava contains an X-Potion and the chest on the upper-right ledge contains a Heiji's Jitte.
In the large main chamber, the chest immediately in view from the entrance contains a Hi-Ether. When crossing a bridge, pulling the switch drops the party down and creates a bridge to a chest left and up of where the party lands, this chest contains a Genji Glove. By the save point in the cave up ahead is a Tent. Down the large staircase is a chest with a Hi-Ether, and through the hidden passage in the wall is a ledge with a chest containing an Elixir. In a hidden cave south of this ledge are four chests with the Ultima Weapon, a Hi-Ether, and two Magicite Shards. There is a third Magicite Shard in a chest by the exit to the last area of the cave.
There are also four treasures buried in the dirt beneath the long stairwell just past the save point - a switch near the save point spawns a Ninja who alludes to them. Directly to the left of the bottom of the stairs, there is an Invisibility Scroll. A few times above the cave entrance to the right is a Water Scroll. To the left of the entrance to the high ground, directly below where the Invisibility Scroll was, is a Gold Needle. Finally, three tiles above the treasure chest is 293 gil.
Quests[edit | edit source]
Traverse the cave[edit | edit source]
The party's objective is to reach the far end of the cave and reach the Sealed Gate.
The first two rooms are linear and have no obstacles, but the third room is unique. It is a single screen room consisting of several broken bridges spanning an expanse of lava in various ways. As the player walks over the bridges they shift between one of two configurations. If during such a shift the party is left without a bridge beneath them, they fall into the lava and are warped to the entrance area, taking minor damage. At places it is possible to walk between the two bridge pieces as they shift, in other places the player must stand in place and let the bridges shift under them, it depends on the exavt position.
Once the party reaches the upper-right ledge, where a Heiji's Jitte is in the chest, the bridges change to a second pattern of shifting for the bridges on the right side of the room. As before though, if the party is dropped into the lava, they warp back to the entrance. The simplest way to make it through the room is to move right over the bridges, holding right to move over them as they shift, and then move down, pausing to let the bridges shift under the party's feet, then moving on. The images to the right show the two patterns the bridges change between.
Finally the party reaches the main cavern. Go right, ignoring the chest, and pull the switch on the bridge to drop down and make a bridge appear to that chest, which contains a Genji Glove. On the path ahead is a rock wall with two switches, pulling the right switch spawns a Ninja to attack the party, which can be done indefinitely. The left switch opens up a secret doorway to a room with a save point. Outside, pull the switch on the bridge to make a massive stairwell down, go down and right into the cave entrance, and navigate through a hidden passage through the wall to progress.
Ignore the chest in the upper-right here, pulling it destroys a part of bridge ahead, but a developer's oversight will overwrite this anyway (see "Behind the scenes" below for details). In the lower area the switch reveals a hidden cavern with treasures, including the Ultima Weapon, a unique and valuable sword. To the right, a switch on a platform raises another section of rock to the right, from there the party can move right, up the stairs, and right again to the final section of the cave. Exit the cave to reach the Sealed Gate.
At the Sealed Gate, several cutscenes will occur as well as a scripted battle that ends when any of the party members attack Kefka. When the cutscenes end the party will be back in the cave. A new cave exit has appeared in the wall below, it is a one-way exit back to the first area of the cave. From there, return to the Imperial Outpost and attempt to exit to meet up with the party and advance the story.
Maps[edit | edit source]
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
The Cave to the Sealed Gate and the land east of the bridge it sits on do not appear in the World of Ruin, leaving only water in its place. In an annotated draft map of the World of Ruin made during development, this area of land is still shown. On this landmass is a label reading Dead Sea (死海, Shikai?).
The reason for the exact amount of gil found below the stairs, 293, is unknown, but it may be intended as a pun in hexidecimal coding. The hexadeximal coding for 293 is "125", which when multiplied by 16 (16-bit computing was the basis for the Super NES) equals 2000, the amount of gil stated to be given to the party. Further, the hexadecimal coding for "125" is 7D, while the hexadecimal coding for "2000" is 7D0. This same numberplay is also used in Owzer's Mansion with a chest containing 293 gil.
During a flashback to the Imperial invasion of the esper world, the exterior of the gate is shown as a wooded area with water, entirely unlike the interior of the cave. The area used for the scene is actually the background of the Phantom Forest.
The chest with a switch inside it near the end of the cave has been a source of player speculation as it seems to have no effect, prompting discussion if it is glitched or a red herring that does nothing. The switch is actually fully functional, it removes a tile of bridge at the end of this area that prevents the party from reaching the exit. However, developer oversight combined with a player's probable actions to reach the chest with the switch result in the trap being easily avoided, and a player may not even realize it was intended as a trap.
When the player pulls the switches on the two columns of rock that raise them out of the lava, in programming terms the tiles over the area are overwritten with new tile data. It happens that the area around the right column that is overwritten with new data includes the tile of bridge the earlier switch removes, and this tile is just off-screen when at the switch that raises this column. As a player is likely to notice the paths to the chest with the switch in it are blocked by trick floor buttons and will walk around them to reach the chest, they will then flip the switch in the chest and remove the bridge, then move on and raise the column of rock which overwrites the removed bridge tile. Further, if the player were to go and flip the switch again, normally this would make the bridge reappear, but as the switch is a simple set/clear bit that does not look at the state of the other switches or the bridge tile itself, flipping it a second time after raising the column of rock does nothing, as the tile is already changed back to a bridge tile.
Thus, most players will flip the switch to remove the bridge tile, then flip the next switch and overwrite the bridge tile again - both events occur off-screen, then a second flip of the switch that would otherwise add the bridge back has no effect. Taken all together, a player would conclude from their own observations that the switch in the chest did nothing. However, if a player were to ignore the switch in the chest until after raising the two rock columns and then flipped the switch, the bridge tile would be removed normally and a second flip would add it back. This was likely the developer's intention and the switch in the chest was a trap, but it is contingent on players falling for the trapped floor buttons that make the chest inaccessible until the rock columns are raised - if a player avoids the buttons, the trap is rendered rendundant.
Other appearances[edit | edit source]
Musical themes[edit | edit source]
"Esper World", also known as "Another World of Beasts", is the background theme of the Cave to the Sealed Gate.