Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- is a game part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII set three years after Final Fantasy VII and one year after Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. It is a third-person shooter co-developed with Monolith Soft and is the only game of that genre in the Final Fantasy series. The game reveals more about Vincent Valentine's past and tells the story of his battle against a group of SOLDIERs known as Deepground.
The game has been given a mobile phone "midquel" called Dirge of Cerberus Lost Episode -Final Fantasy VII-.
Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- is a third-person shooter RPG. The game consists of ten chapters with stages in each. Players will primarily play as Vincent, though on one occasion Cait Sith is also playable.
As Vincent, players will shoot enemies by raising their weapon with or , and subsequently shoot again with after setting an enemy in their sights with the right analog stick. A combo of melee attacks can be performed to conserve ammunition, and even deflect incoming bullets and rockets. Vincent can loose an elementally-aligned magic bullet with by equipping a Materia to the weapon. Vincent can jump and rush to avoid attacks, although in the Japanese version, the rush was a simple roll.
As Cait Sith, players must hide behind objects to prevent detection from Deepground soldiers while progressing through the level.
Defeating opponents earns players Experience, which can be used to level up Vincent for increased attributes, or exchanged for gil at a x10 exchange rate after completing a chapter or restarting upon defeat. Vincent's weapons can be customized with items bought or found. Players can use the Limit Breaker item to transform Vincent into his iconic Galian Beast form, benefiting from increased attack and defense and being able to shoot homing fireballs. In the Japanese version, the player was able to freely transform back and forth by pressing +, gradually consuming MP as the player remained in Limit Break form. Vincent can purchase items like Potions and Ethers from shops in-between chapters, or on the field from jukeboxes.
Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- supports the use of a USB mouse and keyboard for PC-like control, and a user-friendly sight support system ranging from the normal "Manual" sight control for seasoned shooters, a "Semi-automatic" sight control allowing players to align an over-sized sight at enemies to lock a smaller sight onto them, and an "Automatic" sight control which locks onto the nearest enemy as soon as the gun is raised for players lacking the dexterity to accurately aim.
The Japanese version featured an online multiplayer mode where a player could create a custom Deepground soldier and go head-to-head with other players, or work alongside them to complete missions that take them all over the world of Final Fantasy VII. The multiplayer included its own story, divulging more secrets about Deepground and the Tsviets prior to the Vincent's battle with them. While releases outside of Japan did not see the multiplayer, they came packed with the Extra Features mode with an Extra Missions option to tackle, many of which were missions from the multiplayer.
There is one main playable character and one temporarily playable character in Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-.
- Temporarily playable
Three years following being saved from Meteor, the Planet faces a new threat in the form of an unknown group of powerful SOLDIERs appear known as the Deepground; named after a top secret facility under the Shinra Building that was developing the ultimate super soldiers trapped under the Midgar ruins for three years before being freed. Their intention is to call forth the final Weapon, Omega, and need a mass of "clean" sacrifices and Vincent to lead the way.
After Deepground invades the town of Kalm Vincent Valentine finds himself pursued by their elite members, the Tsviets. Reeve Tuesti, former Head of Urban Development at Shinra Electric Power Company (as well as the remote pilot of Cait Sith) now leads the World Regenesis Organization (WRO) responsible for heading the Planet's reconstruction, as well as protecting it from those who wish the world further harm. Yuffie Kisaragi is a member of the organization, and several other former AVALANCHE members provide the WRO with outside assistance.
Vincent meets Shalua Rui, a doctor with the WRO, while investigating the disappearance of WRO troops in the city of Edge. During a confrontation with Rosso the Crimson, one of the Tsviets, he momentarily transforms into Chaos, attacking Rosso and forcing her to flee. Vincent collapses and is taken to the WRO headquarters where he again meets Shalua. After learning that Lucrecia, a former Shinra scientist whom Vincent worked for as a bodyguard, was involved in the Chaos project, the headquarters come under attack by Deepground troops, led by two of the Tsviets, Azul the Cerulean and Shelke the Transparent. Vincent stops the duo and Reeve holds them captive. After the incident Vincent leaves for the Shinra Manor in Nibelheim to search for Deepground. Reeve advises him to go through the sewers, as the path above is crawling with Deepground soldiers.
Reaching the mansion through the sewers, Vincent is surprised to find a hologram of Lucrecia waiting for him. She apologizes to him and talks of her scattered data on Omega, which she had left in the mansion. After Vincent finds the remaining data he runs into Rosso. Preparing to battle her, Rosso flees and sends a spider-like mecha, the Black Widow, after him, which Vincent destroys in the Mansion Foyer. Rosso ambushes Vincent as he is about to leave, and plunges her hand into his chest, retrieving the Protomateria, which is revealed to be what allows Vincent to control Chaos. Without it, it is possible for Chaos to overwhelm him. Rosso makes to kill Vincent, but a figure appears and tosses a shuriken at her.
A flash bomb blinds Rosso, and as the light dissipates, the mysterious person rescues Vincent. While unconscious Vincent flashes back to discussing with Professor Hojo about Lucrecia taking part in the Jenova Project with her unborn child as an experiment. He awakens to find himself in a van with Yuffie, who explains she found him "corpse-like" in the Shinra Manor and saved him from Rosso. Reeve contacts the two, saying he has received Vincent's data, which he collected earlier in the Shinra Manor, and asks them to hurry to the headquarters.
At the headquarters, Shelke awakes inside a tube of water to see Shalua slouched over her computer terminal, asleep. Shalua rises to see Shelke conscious and the two discuss how Shalua will not allow Shelke to kill her to return to Deepground. Azul awakens and Deepground strikes back after their first failed attempt.
Vincent makes his way to the WRO headquarters to find the building in chaos. Azul approaches Vincent in his beast form and almost kills Shelke had she not used a Materia to paralyze and block his oncoming attack. Azul is keen on killing Shelke since Weiss has ordered her termination as she is no longer useful to the Tsviets since they have found what they had been looking for—the Protomateria.
Shalua, sensing the danger, opens a door for the three of them to escape. Shelke, reluctant to go, has Shalua toss her through the small opening left by placing her robotic arm between the closing doors. The pressure from the doors begins to destroy Shalua's arm and Vincent tries to open the door, but it continues to close. Shalua exchanges final words to Shelke and the doors close with a thud and beige liquid seeps out from under them.
Shalua is in a regeneration tube while Yuffie explains to Vincent and Shelke that she has suffered such trauma to her head she would most likely never awaken. Shelke calls Shalua a "fool" for not attempting to save herself, and Yuffie tells Shelke that she has no right to call her that. She slaps Shelke across the face and runs away sobbing. Vincent and Shelke discuss how people risk their lives for the ones they care about. Reeve enters and explains the Omega Report Vincent gave him is incomplete, and Shelke offers to perform a Synaptic Net Dive to aid Reeve in making sense of the report.
The remaining Tsviets, excluding Weiss, along with Deepground soldiers, stand on the outskirts of Midgar ready to engage WRO troops. The former members of AVALANCHE join the battle, assisting WRO. Meanwhile, Shelke helps command WRO members on when to drop, informing Cid of conditions of the airships. Vincent rides on a hoverboard and lands in Midgar, looking up at Shinra Tower. He makes it to the top of the tower and engages in battle with Rosso the Crimson, who ultimately decides to fall to her death rather than accept being defeated.
Shelke contacts Vincent on his cellphone and directs him to infiltrate Deepground. Vincent collapses from chest pain, nearly transforming into Chaos. He asks why Chaos is acting up and Shelke explains that the Protomateria kept him in control of it. Nero the Sable appears in the Shera's engine room and destroys one or two of the engines. As Shelke runs into the room to confront Nero, he leaves in a dark portal.
As Vincent delves deeper to the heart of Deepground, he receives a call from Tifa who sends Vincent a map of the Shinra Building. Vincent wins against Azul in a battle inside an elevator but transforms into Chaos, laughing manically as Azul tumbles to his death. Vincent flashes back to being within a regenerative tube with Lucrecia and Hojo in the lab, the former denying Hojo’s claims that she is using Vincent as an experiment for Omega and Chaos.
Another flashback shows Lucrecia and Grimoire Valentine, Vincent's father, in a laboratory, and a ball of black energy inside a regenerative tube expanding. Grimoire shoves Lucrecia out of the way as the dark energy hits him, fatally wounding him. With his last words Grimoire asks her to apologize to his son for him. Shelke, who is seeing all of this, comments that Grimoire is returning to the Planet. She remembers the time her mother passed away and is comforted by Shalua. Whether dreaming or hallucinating, she sees Shalua who asks if it was okay for her to return to the Planet. Shelke says not yet and that the two still needed to catch up. She awakens with tears rolling down her cheeks.
Vincent continues through Deepground's complex and meets with Nero, who reveals that he absorbed her within his darkness before attempting to do the same to Vincent. But Vincent is unaffected as he finds Shelke within a cracked shield-bubble and saves her. Nero begins forming a cloud of darkness, but Yuffie appears, gives a long speech about herself as a hero ending with her falling off the building, ruining the tense moment. Nero leaves, saying his brother is calling for him. Shelke is put inside a regenerative tube and Yuffie runs off to shut down the reactor. Vincent has yet another flashback about discovering Lucrecia knew his father. She starts crying, saying she did not mean for him to die. Vincent is left in the shadows while she runs off and engages in a relationship with Hojo.
Vincent meets up with Yuffie, who had shut down the reactor. They meet an unconscious Weiss, the Deepground leader, with Nero. Yuffie thinks Weiss is dead, but Nero explains Weiss would not be dead for long, and would be receiving a new life soon. The ground shakes and Vincent and Yuffie pull out their weapons. Nero, protective of his sibling, consumes them in darkness and Yuffie is saved by Vincent. Nero returns and explains his powers with the darkness. Vincent is transported a different dimension-world where he battles a spider mecha controlled by Nero. After defeating the spider, Vincent faces Nero. Vincent comes out victorious, but Nero staggers away in the real world through an open doorway.
Weiss awakens and Nero goes to his brother, but Weiss plunges his hand into his stomach, saying he does not need him anymore. It turns out Weiss is Hojo, who reveals that he survived his death by creating a digital copy of his mind that took advantage of the world network’s reboot to acquire Weiss’s body through the Synaptic Net Dive. Hojo, revealing to have knew of the Deepground’s existence, then explains that he used Vincent as an experiment to control Chaos and intends to repeat it with Weiss as the vessel of Omega.
Being overpowered by Weiss, Vincent begins to transform into Chaos when a hologram of Lucrecia intervenes and motivates him to take control of the power while maintaining his humanity. After Vincent defeats Weiss, a darkened Nero appears with the intend to merge into Weiss so they can never be apart. This allows Weiss to regain control of his body with Hojo forcefully subverted in his attempt to stop Nero from “tainting” his host body. Yuffie runs in and the reactor turns on from the inside. Vincent pushes Yuffie away to be hit by the power. The Shinra Building transforms into a colossal machine, Omega, and Vincent turns into Chaos.
Shelke, who had awoken and escaped from the tube, performs a Synaptic Net Dive, retrieves the Protomateria (from a figure who appears to be Lucrecia), and returns it to Vincent. Vincent flashes back to when Lucrecia tried to save him from decaying. She has flashbacks of her own on Hojo finding Vincent and thinking she was experimenting with him, and finding Vincent collapsed on the floor after being shot by Hojo. She stopped the decaying of the tissue but he transformed into Chaos. She found Protomateria on the floor and tried without success to stop the Chaos inside him. After giving birth to her child, she tried to force Hojo to let her see her baby. She apologizes to Vincent.
Vincent retrieves Shelke and places her on solid ground. He summons a large gun and flies off to stop Omega. Cloud, Tifa and Barret shut down the reactors that assist in powering Omega and look to Vincent to do the rest. Vincent dives inside of Omega and destroys its remaining power sources before defeating Weiss, causing the Weapon to disintegrate after using a suicidal attack to prevent it from leaving the Planet with the Lifestream.
Back at 7th Heaven, Shelke stays with Tifa and sends a text message to Vincent, who was at Lucrecia's Cave to pay his respects to the crystallized Lucrecia, telling her that Chaos and Omega have returned to the Planet and thanking her. While he exits the cave, a tear rolls down Lucrecia's face. Vincent meets with Shelke out in the field, who says everyone is waiting for him. She does not know why they made her come and get him, but does not mind. Vincent smiles and looks up, where there is a figure near the moon that appears to be Omega, frozen in the sky.
The Multiplayer Mode storyline takes place at an unknown time before the start of the game. During this time Deepground is not lead by the Tsviets, but the cruel Restrictors who torture their test subjects to create the perfect killing machine. None of the other Deepground soldiers can fight against him, for they have a chip in their brain which restricts their actions.
The storyline follows the training of a Player Tsviet (gender chosen by the player). During the soldier's training s/he meets up and fights with the other Tsviets while being led along by a mysterious SOLDIER named Usher. Though the player character's memory has been erased, s/he remembers a younger sister who was kidnapped along with them into Deepground. As the player advances, they reach the rank of Tsviet, but are never given a color.
During a training exercise the player joins with the Tsviets in a revolt against the Restrictor. Despite their combined power, the Restrictor is a formidable foe, and defeats several of them at once. The player has yet to have a chip implanted, so with his/her help the Tsviets prove victorious and they kill the Restrictor. In the end, however, the player learns that s/he has been misled.
All memories they had of their sister had been implanted by Shelke using Synaptic Net Dive. Even Usher was a computer simulation. The hope was that the player would take the Restrictor's place so Shinra would not notice the revolt, but the player character's mind has already collapsed. The Multiplayer Mode ends with his or her apparent death.
In comparison to the rest of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII that focuses on reality, life, and the environment, Dirge of Cerberus focuses on the future, death, and the uncertainty of existence. In contrast with the original game's organic and natural elements, Dirge has a manpower-driven setting where magic is no longer used out of ecological concern.
Themes of horror are explored through a dissonant and psychological angle. Likely to match other contemporaries' experiments in survival horror, such as Halo and Resident Evil 4, Dirge of Cerberus explores Final Fantasy VII's darker aspects through violence and warfare and inhumane experimentation that focuses on the "survival of the fittest".
One of the themes is the end of the world followed the coming of a new era as dictated by the natural world. Omega is unveiled as a vessel to behold the Planet's entire Lifestream; by the Planet's own judgment, should its existence be at stake, Omega will summon the dark entity Chaos born from stagnant Lifestream that represents lost souls to wipe out the life on the Planet. The lost souls include the unrepentant, the evil, and others refusing to or unable to assimilate into the Lifestream, an existence akin to Hell and showcasing a karmic moral scale to cognizant life. Chaos is an evil figure representative of the end times, and Omega is the divine agent entrusted with the destruction and rebirth of the world, symbolic of major figures in Christian Eschatology. Deepground evokes the alleged infernal pagan tribes Gog and Magog who were magically sealed by the Macedonian Empire due to their savagery and cannibalism, but are said to be unleashed upon the days of Armageddon. Alternately, such tribes are believed to be Thracian war bands, such as the Dii, who are believed to be the progenitors of Gothic and Viking invaders.
Fitting into Final Fantasy's themes of dualism, Deepground represents the shadows of Shinra's influence and represents everything Shinra would do without the restraint of the law or worry over public acceptance. While Shinra's surface rule represents rapacious capitalism, corporate globalization, uncontrolled industrialization, and the worst aspects of the Information Age, Deepground is reminiscent of Nazism, Stalinist and Maoist communist rule, imperialism, military-dominated governance, and the cold and calculated efficiency and ruthlessness of cyberpunk dystopian concepts.
Vincent is opposed by the elite Deepground forces, the Tsviets. In contrast to Vincent's horror elements, the Tsviets have let go of their humanity, becoming monsters of their own accord. Azul represents depravity gained during his career within Shinra, which he joined to be experimented upon, and thus becomes a foil to Vincent's past. Shelke contrasts Vincent's innocence: guiltlessly killing while being instilled with the need for it at a young age, she exemplifies Vincent's acceptance of the weight of his reality and of how he also is a victim of circumstance yet does not let that drive his life. Rosso contrasts Vincent's free will and humanity: she is subservient to Weiss and a cold and ruthless killer. Nero is an evil take on Vincent: he is of the same darkness as Chaos, but his gains are artificial and crude, as well as uncontrollable and unstable, whereas Vincent is Chaos's true herald.
Finally, Weiss is both a foil to Vincent and as a take on Sephiroth. Weiss is controlled by Hojo while his purity is touted to help make him the herald of Omega, an entity that will destroy the world. In contrast, Vincent seeks to end the influence of Hojo's doings and has become the herald of Chaos to prevent the Planet's destruction.
Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- Original Soundtrack was released in Japan on January 15, 2005. The soundtrack was composed by Masashi Hamauzu. Two theme songs on the soundtrack, "LONGING" and "REDEMPTION", were done by Japanese rock singer Gackt Camui. Gackt makes a cameo as Genesis in the game's secret ending.
An idea to make a Final Fantasy first-person shooter was conceived by Producer Yoshinori Kitase. Before the game was decided to be placed in the Final Fantasy VII universe, several other candidates were considered for the main protagonist, like Irvine Kinneas from Final Fantasy VIII and Yuna from Final Fantasy X-2. Barret Wallace was also considered, but Kitase chose Vincent because the character "made a presence" in his mind.
The POV was decided to be placed behind Vincent for a full-character view so that newcomers to the shooter genre would have an easier time adjusting to the gameplay. For the same reason an "Easy" mode was included.
Due to a negative reception in Japan and the developers' dissatisfaction with the original version, the game's system was given an overhaul for the international release. The goal was to make the game more single-player oriented.
- The aiming perspective has been shifted from an over-the-shoulder view to one behind Vincent for easier navigation of the surroundings.
- Weapons can be customized to be lighter, so draw-times are quicker.
- Vincent runs 1.2x faster.
- He can perform a double-jump while mid-air. However, the environments are unchanged, so despite a higher jump the player often cannot reach areas within range or jump over many short obstacles.
- Attacks can be performed in the air.
- Vincent's dodge roll was replaced by a dash move.
- Limit Breaks do not take away from the Magic Bar; instead, they are started by an item called the "Limit Breaker".
- "Easy Mode" is removed.
- An "Extra Hard Mode" (also known as "Super Hard Mode"). In the Extra Hard Mode, players can unlock numerous things, such as 40 extra missions, character models, a music player, and an artwork gallery.
- The Multiplayer Mode has been removed. Several missions from it are included as extra missions, but all storyline elements are absent.
Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- International was released in Japan on September 4th, 2008. The version retains the new features incorporated into the North American and European releases, and includes the cutscenes originally only available in the Japanese online Multiplayer Mode. Audio is in English, with Japanese text and subtitles.
It was released straight away as a Greatest Hits title.
A dirge is a somber song or lament expressing mourning or grief, such as would be appropriate for performance at a funeral.
Cerberus is a three-headed dog that guards the underworld's gates in Greek mythology.
The term Cerberus in the game title refers to Vincent's three-barrelled gun.