Gongaga, the Village of Sadness is an optional chapter in Final Fantasy VII, and the eighth chapter of the second act, "Pursuit". At Dio's recommendation, Cloud Strife travels to the village of Gongaga in pursuit of Sephiroth, where he meets the Turks, Reno, Rude, and Elena. After a confrontation, Cloud and his party witness Scarlet and Tseng search for the Huge Materia. Later, within the village, they hear talks of a former SOLDIER named Zack Fair, who Aerith Gainsborough reveals was her boyfriend, and Tifa Lockhart denies ever knowing.
The chapter is first available after "The Desert Prison", upon acquiring the buggy. Though Dio recommends traveling there at the end of "The Desert Prison", the chapter can be skipped. The chapter is available at any point after "The Desert Prison" before the events of "Secret Date", as once the Keystone is lost, "Gongaga, the Village of Sadness" becomes unavailable.
Gongaga is found on the world map directly south of the Gold Saucer, past a river, and in a jungle. It is located on the Gongaga Area. To get the most out of the chapter, bringing both Aeris and Tifa is ideal, as they have unique dialogue when they are in the party. This affects date mechanics.
Turks boss fight
Upon the field map around Gongaga, a battle ensues with Turks:Rude and Turks:Reno. Only one needs to be defeated to end the fight, though both have valuable spoils; defeating Rude yields an X-Potion, while defeating Reno yields the Fairy Tale, a strong weapon for Aeris. It is ideal to defeat both of them at once. Rude has 800 HP more than Rude, meaning he should be targeted first. Rude will avoid attacking Tifa, another good reason to bring her.
To guarantee both are defeated at once, deal 800 HP damage to Rude first. Then, use either Summon Materia, spells paired with All, or the Enemy Skill Materia abilities Matra Magic, Aqualung, or Beta, to deal damage to both at once. If one is defeated first, the other should be defeated before they can get a turn.
Ruined reactor and items
After defeating the Turks, some short dialogue takes place, following which the path leads either left or right. Heading right leads to the Meltdown Reactor area where a Heavy Tank can be fought, a durable enemy with limited physical attacks, which is weak to Lightning. It is notable for morphing into Power Sources, but the party doesn't have Morph yet. Heading further inside to the ruins of a mako reactor leads to a brief scene involving Scarlet. After she leaves, inspecting the area of the ruins that she looked at will grant the Titan Materia.
Returning to the jungle and heading left down the first fork leads to another fork. Taking the path left finds a Deathblow Materia, which provides a critical hit with a high chance of missing. It can be useful on characters such as Cloud, Tifa, or Barret, and is especially potent with weapons that have very high Hit%. The path right leads to the village. Around this area, the Touch Me enemies are fought, which teach the Frog Song Enemy Skill that can apply crippling status effects. If the party comes across six Touch Mes, they should kill all them in one fell swoop with a summon, Beta, or Aqualung. Kimara Bugs can also be fought, which are relatively durable enemies that deal little damage but can inflict Stop, and are thus also best defeated fast.
Within Gongaga, the Time Materia and Mystify Materia can be purchased from the Accessory Shop, located on the left. Time Materia is very valuable, as it learns the Haste spell that allows Haste to be applied doubling the party member's ATB speed without having to spend the MP cost of Big Guard. It also provides offensive spells, though most bosses are immune to them. Mystify is less useful, providing spells inflicting negative status effects, though many bosses are immune to them. Both Materia are more worthwhile later down the line when the Added Effect Materia is earned (as it is not needed to learn the spells on the Materia for the statuses to take effect with Added Effect), but at this stage Mystify is a luxury pickup.
Beyond new Materia, some items can also be obtained. The Weapons Store sells weapons that may be upgrades for some characters, though all could previously be purchased elsewhere or stolen. Cait Sith's White M-phone can be picked up in the Mayor's Home, the top-right building, and in the inn on the top-left, an X-Potion can be found.
The most notable activity in Gongaga is in the bottom-right house, where the two occupants will mention a SOLDIER named Zack. If Aeris and/or Tifa are in the party, they will run out and can be talked to in the village grounds. Talking to them will increase their date mechanics score by +1; responding "(...jealous...envious...)" to Aeris will increase her score by +2. If either character has a score of 120 or over with Cloud, they will have an additional, more affectionate line at the end of the conversation. Leaving the village without talking to Aeris/Tifa leads to a -3 score penalty to the respective girl.
After this event is complete, the chapter is finished. As this chapter is optional, the next available chapter depends on the point the player is at in the story. If completed when initially available, the next chapter that takes place is "In the Land of the Study of Planet Life", in Cosmo Canyon, to the east of Gongaga.