The Stowaway Strategy is the twelfth chapter in Final Fantasy VII, and the third chapter of the second act, "Pursuit". Cloud Strife, Barret Wallace, Tifa Lockhart, Aerith Gainsborough, and Red XIII travel to Junon, after Elena let slip that Sephiroth was seen heading there and towards the western continent. In order to cross the ocean, they resolve to covertly board the cargo ship.
Traveling to Junon, located along the coast on the northwest, will land the party in Under Junon. The way to the upper town is closed, and though there is a "weapon shop", it does not sell any weapons, and the one armor piece they have was already for sale in Kalm. To proceed, descend the steps in the lower left, leading to the beach, where after a brief scene, a boss battle against Bottomswell takes place.
This boss is out of reach when using regular melee attacks, immune to Earth, and weak to Wind. Long-range weapons, namely Barret's Assault Gun and Yuffie's 4-point Shuriken, can hit as normal. Bottomswell can imprison characters inside a Waterpolo. When this happens, the Waterpolo orb (and not the character inside) must be targeted with magic, as the bubble continually drains the victim's HP. Most of its attacks are single target physical attacks, and some are used on all party members in one turn. Bottomswell's Big Wave inflicts damage on the entire party when used, meaning it is best to stay above half HP. Big Wave is also used as a final attack.
To hit Bottomswell, a melee attacker character (such Cloud, Barret when using a Cannon Ball, Tifa, Aeris, Red XIII) must use Long Range Materia, Magic Materia, or grenades. The All Materia should be linked with offensive Magic Materia to hit both Bottomswell and its Waterpolo, and also linked with Restore, particularly if Aeris or Yuffie are not present with Healing Wind or Clear Tranquil. As the boss is weak to Wind, the Choco/Mog Materia can be linked with Elemental Materia on a long-range attacker or melee attacker with Long Range Materia. Cover Materia can be good defensively as many of its attacks are single-target, and all characters can safely be placed in the back row. It is also best to save outside of town on the world map first if no recent save is available.
After defeating the boss, Cloud must rescue Priscilla with CPR. Simply breathe five times once the lung gauge is full; five full lungfuls resuscitates her and there is no time limit. The party is then given rest in a residence in town. After a scene, the background music has changed and Cloud is alone in the party. Priscilla gives the Shiva Materia and heads to the beach; Cloud must follow her, and other party members refuse to join Cloud's party at this point. Before talking to Priscilla on the beach to get the whistle to call Mr. Dolphin, the player can backtrack back to Fort Condor to partake in a new Condor War skirmish for the Peace Ring accessory.
Talking to Priscilla on the beach has her bequeath Cloud with a whistle. After getting the whistle, but before Cloud jumps to the top, Cloud again can travel to Fort Condor alone to partake in yet another new Condor War skirmish. The reward is three Ethers if the player already got the Peace Ring; this is a pretty good haul for this part in the game, but not essential to get. On the beach, the aim is to blow the whistle in the correct spot in the shallows for Priscilla's dolphin to carry Cloud to the Junon Airport. The easiest way to complete the task is to not move from the default position and simply blow the whistle twice.
Cloud arrives at the Junon Airport where the Highwind is stationed. Head to the barracks (go down from the first screen, descend on the elevator, and then head down again) to start a scene where Cloud must disguise as a Shinra Public Security Division infantryman and take part in the parade in town. Simply head into the locker room behind the commander as instructed, change into uniform, and select "All clear!" when prompted to finish the scene. Use the save point, and then follow the commander out to Junon's streets, beginning the parade.
When Cloud arrives on the streets of Upper Junon, his group are late to the parade. After following the soldiers inside the alleyway, Cloud must then sneak into the back of the line when there is an opening, march with the other soldiers, and raise his weapon. Depending on the TV ratings success, Cloud is rewarded with items. In some Final Fantasy VII ports, the controller config must be set to "normal" to gain points in the marching game.
To get a high score, rather than copy the soldiers that go before Cloud, run immediately downwards after being prompted, straight through the line of soldiers, and take the empty spot. While staying in line, Cloud must walk (not run) to the left, hold the on controller, or [OK] button on other platforms for about a quarter second, release for about a quarter second, and repeat. Cloud does not need to raise the gun at the same time as the other soldiers.
After the marching game is done, some dialogue will commence, following which Cloud returns to the Locker Room and the commander explains how the performance for Rufus works.
Before partaking in Rufus Shinra's send-off, Cloud is free to explore the town and visit shops and talk to NPCs.
In the first open door on Junon's streets is the Materia Store. The Materia available are Seal and Revive. If there are only enough funds for one big purchase, go for the Revive Materia, as its spells are more valuable, though Seal is a worthwhile luxury purchase. In the alleyway to the left is the Weapon Store. All these weapons were previously available as steals from enemies, but if any were missed, they are sold here. The door to the left of the alleyway is the Item Shop, providing a chance to restock.
To the left of the Item Shop is the Upper Junon Barracks, with a soldier in the corner in front of the entrance to a secret basement, the Respectable Inn. This contains the most notable spoil, the Enemy Skill Materia, and other NPCs with Beginner's Hall tutorials. Upstairs in the same house, a few items can be found: a Mind Source, a Luck Source, and a 1/35 soldier. Upstairs again, a Power Source and a Guard Source can be found, completing everything in Upper Junon.
Many more items and stores are found in Lower Junon, located left past where the previous parade ended, and left again through the fork in the road. The Shinra Member's Bar is located on the first door, where the Turks can be found. To the left of the bar is the Junon Inn, with a save point. Upstairs is another Materia Store with several women greeting customers, though nothing offered here is new. Upstairs again is the Accessory Shop, selling Silver Glasses and a Headband, both of which protect against negative statuses and are worthwhile luxury purchases, but are costly and can be skipped. Left of this is the Lower Junon Barracks, where a Speed Source is found on the bottom floor, and another 1/35 soldier on the second. Finally, to the left of the Barracks is the Lower Junon Weapon Shop, which sells mostly outdated weapons.
Once finished, going to the end of town has Cloud partake in Rufus Shinra's send-off.
Performance for Rufus
During the posing minigame the commander gives orders, and Cloud must follow by correctly pressing the buttons and staying in line with the formation. 10 points are earned for every correct move, except for turning. Performing the victory pose (by pressing [OK]) earns 30 points. Cloud must face the same direction as the others in order to score points for each move, including the victory pose.
- 0–50 Points = Silver Glasses accessory
- 60–90 Points = HP Plus Materia
- 100+ Points = Force Stealer weapon for Cloud
The Force Stealer is an upgrade to Cloud's weapon and provides double AP growth. Though getting it early can be useful for a few boss fights, it can be acquired not too long after for a relatively cheap price. The HP Plus Materia boosts a character's HP by a certain percentage depending on its level. Depending on playstyle, and currently equipped Materia, HP Plus may be more valuable, as it is a slightly longer wait before another HP Plus is obtained and it is a higher gil cost.