Ehrgeiz

Ehrgeiz (エアガイツ Eagaitsu, German: [ˈeːɐ̯ɡaɪ̯ts] "Ambition"), fully titled Ehrgeiz: God Bless The Ring, is a 3D fighting video game developed by DreamFactory and published by Namco in 1998 for the arcade platform. It was first ported to the PlayStation and published by Square Co. in 1998, then to Japan's PlayStation Network by Square Enix in 2008.

Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the game is the inclusion of characters from Final Fantasy VII. Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockhart are playable in the arcade and the PlayStation versions; in addition, Sephiroth, Yuffie Kisaragi, Vincent Valentine, Red XIII, and Zack Fair were added to the PlayStation version's roster.

Ehrgeiz
Ehrgeiz PAL box cover
Developer(s)DreamFactory
Publisher(s)Arcade
Namco
PlayStation
SquarePlayStation Network
Director(s)Seiichi Ishii
Producer(s)Hirohide Sugiura
Designer(s)Seiichi Ishii
Artist(s)Tetsuya Nomura
Composer(s)Takayuki Nakamura
Platform(s)Arcade, PlayStation, PlayStation Network
ReleaseArcade
PlayStation
  • JP: December 17, 1998
  • NA: April 30, 1999
  • PAL: February 8, 2000
  • JP: September 28, 2000
[1] (re-release)
PlayStation Network
Genre(s)Fighting
Mode(s)Up to 2 players simultaneously
CabinetUpright
DisplayRaster, 640 x 480 pixels (Horizontal), 65536 colors, 19 inch monitor

Gameplay

Battle system

Ehrgeiz differs from most 3D fighting games by drawing heavily from the concepts of wrestling games and Dream Factory's own Tobal series, which allows for full 360-degree movement and does not require fighters to be facing one another at all times. This restricts the camera to a more or less fixed position, zooming in and out with the action, but not tracking around the arena as would be common in most other 2D and 3D fighting games. The fast-paced fighting allows for characters to move freely in a 3-dimensional stage which is filled with many interactive objects and changes in elevation, allowing characters to leap on top of crates or use them as weapons, for example.

Quest Mode

The PlayStation version includes a Quest Mode, similar to Tobal No. 1 and Tobal 2, titled Brand New Quest: The Forsaken Dungeon. Players fight through an extensive dungeon crawl, much like the Blizzard title Diablo, and can equip different weapons and items. There are also several smaller minigames, such as a race mode, where players run laps around a course while engaging in combat to slow down their opponent, and a board game similar to Reversi.

Quest Mode is a hack and slash action RPG mode of gameplay in Ehrgeiz. It begins in a dungeon in a parallel universe, and later moves to a nearby inn. The player can explore the town and enter the dungeon, which contains randomly generated maps. Somewhere on each floor of the dungeon will be a stairway to the next level downward in the dungeon. Since the main characters are archaeologists, the goal revolves around going as deep in the dungeon as possible in the hopes of finding great artifacts. Two characters are available for this mode: Clair Andrews and Koji Masuda. The player can switch between the two by visiting the inn. If one character dies in the dungeon, the other can "resurrect" him/her by finding the corpse.

The character development system revolves mainly around a five-point chart representing which statistics will be increased in the character upon raising his/her level. Consuming Protein, Vitamins, Minerals, Carbohydrates, or Lipids will in turn increase Attack, Magic, Dexterity, Speed, or Defense, respectively. The diagram points and stretches towards each of these points. As one point is focused on, the diagram will contract on the other points of the diagram. Thus, increasing how much one stat will raise will lower how much the other stats will raise.

A major facet of the Quest Mode is hunger management. Each monster can drop a food item which will fill the hunger bar slightly, and supply the player with one of the previously mentioned nutrients. Eating while the hunger bar is full will increase the maximum size of their stomach (though the actual size of the bar on the screen remains the same, the number of units represented is greater). This effect also applies when drinking health potions while the HP meter is full.

There are several recipe books hidden throughout the Quest portion of the game's dungeon. Wine trading is available after getting the second recipe book and talking to a man in a restaurant in the town. The player can buy and trade wine here much like a stock market, where the value of the wine will go up and down periodically. Players can then trade back the wine either to earn or lose profit.

Characters

Original characters

  • Ken "Godhand" Mishima – Once a mercenary for Red Scorpion, Godhand decided to leave the organization and take with him the knowledge of the ancient ruin. Resigning from the organization meant cutting off one's right hand. As painful as it was, Ken did the deed and then betrayed Red Scorpion by selling the information to a large wealthy syndicate group. Together, they formed an excavation company to seize control of the ancient ruin in the Middle East. As part of his deal, he was given a new prosthetic right arm, plus was told the theory that the Ehrgeiz stone was the key to the door. He now believes he must become the champion and bear the sword. He bears a strong resemblance to Namco's Tekken characters Kazuya Mishima and Jin Kazama. Vincent Valentine (FFVII) uses Godhand's moveset. His moveset contains moves from Kazuya Mishima, Jin Kazama, Heihachi Mishima, Baek Doo San and Paul Phoenix from the Tekken series. His costume also bears resemblance to that of Bryan Fury's costumes in addition to Godhand's right hand being cybernetic.
  • Han Daehan – A master of tae kwon do and a young action star without need of a stuntman, Han is a popular lad amongst the public. What the public does not know is that his right leg is actually artificial. During a movie shoot a year ago in the Middle East, a mysterious cloud of black smoke engulfed Han's leg. Peculiarly, although his leg has disappeared, he continues to retain a sensation of its existence. As he continues to seek an explanation for this particular phenomenon, he stumbles upon information that similar incidents have occurred every few decades in the area containing the ancient ruins. Han is another who becomes drawn to the mysterious surroundings of the ancient ruins. He bears a strong resemblance to Tekken's Hwoarang.
  • Prince Doza – His motto is, "I’ll destroy anyone who stands in my path!" Each day, Doza seeks a more powerful opponent. However, in the world of kickboxing, he is already without equal. Able to defeat his opponents with his bare fists, Doza has become bored and is in need of a challenge. In the midst of his unrest, he receives word of the Ehrgeiz tournament, where weapons, psychic powers, and projectile weapons are permitted. Thrilled, he is determined to test his skills. Although he has no interest in the secret that Ehrgeiz holds, his fighting spirit is fueled by the appearance of opponents that are more powerful than he has ever imagined. In order to not be outmatched by distance weapons, Doza enters the fray with a glove weapon that shoots fireballs, not unlike the Hadouken of Street Fighter fame. In the Japanese version, he is named Naseem. He bears a strong resemblance to Tekken's Bruce Irvin and Street Fighter's Adon. He seems to also be inspired by the boxer Naseem Hamed .
  • "Yoyo" Yoko Kishibojin – Yoko's father is an explorer who teaches archaeology, and her mother is an expert in Kishiboujin ryu jujutsu. At age 10, her parents divorced, leaving her to be raised solely by her mother. Although still in high school, her talents in jujutsu have been acknowledged by the ICPO which enable her to participate in their hand-to-hand combat research team. One day, she received a letter from her estranged father, entrusting her to carry out the duties necessary to acquire Ehrgeiz. In addition to this, she has been ordered by the ICPO to enter the tournament to investigate suspicious activities surrounding Ehrgeiz.
  • Lee Shuwen – Known as the master of lethal kempo, Lee holds the power and technique that can kill a man in a single strike. It has been said that Lee, founder of the Hakkyoku Ken, was killed some time ago through lethal poisoning. However, through the power of a legendary elixir found in the tomb of the first emperor, Lee has miraculously been brought back to life. Not only has this elixir brought him back to life, it is also making him younger as time proceeds. At this rate, he will ultimately become younger and eventually return to the void. In an attempt to avoid such a fate, he embarks on a mission to acquire the true key to immortality. Thus, he begins his journey to uncover the mystery behind the legendary ancient ruins. He bears resemblance to Tekken's Lei Wulong. He is also based upon the real martial artist of the same name, Li Shuwen .
  • Sasuke – Although it is evident by his appearance that he is a ninja, Sasuke's true identity remains unknown. Presently, he works as an agent for Red Scorpion, but since he has a mild case of amnesia, he cannot remember his true name. However, during a mission in which he was to assassinate the adventurer, Koji Masuda, he notices a mysterious stone embedded within a broken sword held by Masuda. Believing that this precious stone will enable him to recover his long lost memories, Sasuke aims to acquire the legendary weapon, Ehrgeiz. Yuffie Kisaragi (FFVII) uses Sasuke's moveset. He resembles Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive.
  • Dasher Inoba – Inoba is a prominent wrestler and a disciple of Karl Schneider, the founder of the Ehrgeiz Tournament. He is also a member of the Ehrgeiz supervising committee. With the recent death of his master, Inoba discovers a note left behind by the late Schneider which suggests that he had been investigating the connection between the stone embedded within the Ehrgeiz and the ancient ruins. Ever since laying eyes upon the mystical stone, Inoba has been fascinated by its presence. Compounded by his urge to obtain the stone and to uncover the mystery behind his master's investigation, he is determined to get his hands on the legendary weapon. As evidenced by the character's name, appearance, fighting style, vocal grunts, and committee status, Inoba is heavily inspired by the Japanese professional wrestler, Antonio Inoki.
  • "Wolf Girl" Jo – As an infant, Jo survived an airplane crash in the Amazon while sustaining only minor injuries to her head. Raised by wolves, she gained physical strength that exceeds and surpasses normal human capabilities by as much as three times. Following the death of her "wolf" mother, Jo became known as the "Man-eating wolf girl", and was eventually captured and imprisoned. There, she exhibited uncontrollable hostility towards her supervising officers. Having heard about this girl through various rumors, Red Scorpion scouts her and gives her the name, Jo. She is given direct orders by Red Scorpion to seek the Ehrgeiz without knowing or understanding the reason why. She uses the dance-like Brazilian fighting style capoeira.
  • Koji Masuda – Father of Yoko Kishibojin and third time consecutive reigning champion of the Ehrgeiz Championship Tournament. He is also an archaeologist seeking to uncover the truth behind the mysteries surrounding the ancient ruin.
  • Clair Andrews – A child prodigy who entered the university at the age of sixteen, Clair is one of Koji Masuda's archaeology students. Although she is relatively independent, she is still considered naïve. When Koji begins his journey, Clair impulsively joins him as his assistant. Her fighting style is Jeet Kune Do, and thus, shares many moves with Tekken's Marshall Law, although one of her special moves resembles Fei Long's Dragon Flame Kick from Street Fighter.
  • Django / Red Scorpion – Django is a wolf-like character that plays the role of the sub-final boss. He can be unlocked as a playable character by meeting certain conditions in the game. His first costume features gray fur; however, his red-furred alternate costume resembles Final Fantasy VII's Red XIII. His attack names reference Red XIII, Red's father Seto, and Final Fantasy summons. Red Scorpion is Django's second form, which serves as the final boss.

Final Fantasy VII characters

  • Cloud Strife (available at start in PlayStation version)
  • Tifa Lockhart (available at start in PlayStation version)
  • Sephiroth (PlayStation version only, available at start)
  • Vincent Valentine (hidden character; must be unlocked (PlayStation version only))
  • Yuffie Kisaragi (hidden character; must be unlocked (PlayStation version only))
  • Zack Fair (hidden character; must be unlocked (PlayStation version only))

In the arcade version, Cloud, Tifa, and Django were revealed after thirty, sixty, and ninety days, respectively, after the initial install and boot of the game.

Development

Ehrgeiz was developed by DreamFactory, who previously developed the Tobal series of fighting games for Square. The game was directed and designed by Virtua Fighter and Tekken designer Seiichi Ishii. The game's characters, both the original ones and those from Final Fantasy VII, were designed by Tetsuya Nomura. Ehrgeiz was released in arcades in 1998 as a joint venture between Square and Namco.[3] After the game's US release on the PlayStation, Square Electronic Arts sponsored the "Ehrgeiz Championship Tour," a series of contests in which players competed against one another playing the game. The contests were held at Electronics Boutique and Babbages stores across America, beginning on July 10, 1999 in New York.[4] In 2000, Ehrgeiz was re-released as part of the Square Millennium Collection in Japan. It included a collectable digital clock and character diorama.[1]

Music

Ehrgeiz Original Soundtrack contains sixty-one musical tracks from the game. It was composed by Takayuki Nakamura, who previously composed the DreamFactory and Square collaboration Tobal 2. It was released on November 21, 1998 by DigiCube.[5]

Ehrgeiz Original Soundtrack track list
Disc One (original) (66:38)
  1. "The Title" – 0:14
  2. "The Tale of 'Ehrgeiz'." – 0:46
  3. "Victory" – 1:13
  4. "Escape" – 1:45
  5. "Run Away in the Airship!" – 3:08
  6. "Hong Kong Reggae" – 1:36
  7. "Continental Train" – 1:19
  8. "The End of the Journey" – 1:31
  9. "Door of Truth" – 1:39
  10. "Fate" – 1:42
  11. "Those Who Fight (from Final Fantasy VII)" – 1:31
  12. "Prelude (from Final Fantasy VII)" – 1:45
  13. "A Song for the Man of the Future" – 1:35
  14. "The Legend." – 1:10
  15. "Der Ehrgeiz." – 1:27
  16. "A self-service Selector." – 0:43
  17. "Elevator" – 1:28
  18. "Fresh Fish" – 2:02
  19. "Continue" – 0:38
  20. "Stage Clear" – 0:09
  21. "Map Song 1" – 0:17
  22. "Map Song 2" – 0:25
  23. "Map Song 3" – 0:17
  24. "Map Song 4" – 0:17
  25. "Opening (Short Version)" – 1:34
  26. "Brand New Quest" – 2:48
  27. "Ruined Town" – 2:39
  28. "Dungeon 1" – 1:38
  29. "Dungeon 2" – 2:35
  30. "Dungeon 3" – 1:47
  31. "Dungeon 4" – 2:32
  32. "Dungeon 5" – 1:30
  33. "Dungeon 6" – 4:15
  34. "Dungeon 7" – 2:36
  35. "Battle in a Trap" – 1:26
  36. "Boss" – 1:21
  37. "Master Boss" – 1:33
  38. "Phoenix" – 3:01
  39. "Store 1" – 1:32
  40. "Store 2" – 1:44
  41. "Hotel" – 2:12
  42. "Magic Store" – 1:31
Disc Two (arranged) (64:34)
  1. "The Tale of 'Ehrgeiz'." – 1:28
  2. "Victory" – 3:31
  3. "Escape" – 4:26
  4. "Run Away in the Airship!" – 3:54
  5. "Hong Kong Reggae" – 3:34
  6. "Continental Train" – 3:25
  7. "The End of the Journey" – 3:38
  8. "Door of Truth" – 4:34
  9. "Fate" – 4:06
  10. "Those Who Fight (from Final Fantasy VII)" – 4:24
  11. "Prelude (from Final Fantasy VII)" – 3:23
  12. "A Song for the Man of the Future" – 3:51
  13. "The Legend." – 2:05
  14. "Der Ehrgeiz." – 2:38
  15. "A self-service Selector." – 1:17
  16. "Elevator" – 3:47
  17. "Fresh Fish" – 3:47
  18. "11th" – 3:53
  19. "Der Ehrgeiz (long version)" – 2:56

Reception

Ehrgeiz sold over 222,000 copies in Japan by the end of 1998, and sold 340,937 copies in Japan by December 2004.[6][7] It has scored a 32 out of 40 points by the Japanese gaming publication Famitsu.[8] IGN rated the game a 7.5 or "Good", citing the game's beautiful graphics and presentation but noting both its generally simplistic gameplay and very difficult combination move executions.[9] GameSpot concurred, writing that the blocking controls were "unintuitive" and generally disappointing mini-games outweighed the games beautiful graphics and Full Motion Videos.[10] In November 2000, the game was ranked #73 on the magazine's top 100 PlayStation games of all time.[11] Ehrgeiz currently has an aggregate score of 75% on GameRankings based on twenty-one media outlets.[12] Later reviews reflected the strange use of famous Square Enix characters with "generic moves" and primarily wrestling-based combat.[13]

Similar titles

References

  1. ^ a b IGN staff (September 11, 2000). "New Square Millennium Collection Goods". IGN. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  2. ^ Frank Caron (2008-07-09). "Curses: Japan gets more Square-Enix PSX loving". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2008-07-09.
  3. ^ Ciolek, Todd (February 17, 2007). "'Might Have Been' - Ehrgeiz". GameSetWatch. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
  4. ^ PSX.IGN.com (June 3, 1999). "Massive Ehrgeiz Tournament". PSX-Critique. Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  5. ^ "Ehrgeiz Original Soundtrack". Chudah's Corner. Archived from the original on 2005-04-15. Retrieved 2005-07-20.
  6. ^ "1998年ゲームソフト年間売上TOP100" [1998 Game Software Annual Sales Top 100]. Famitsū Gēmu Hakusho 1999 ファミ通ゲーム白書1999 [Famitsu Game Whitebook 1999] (in Japanese). Tokyo: Enterbrain. 1999.
  7. ^ "Sony PlayStation Japanese Ranking". Japan-GameCharts. Archived from the original on 2008-12-30. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
  8. ^ Chinn, Marty (June 23, 2000). "Famitsu Top 120 PlayStation games". Gaming-Age. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  9. ^ Perry, Doug (1999-05-05). "Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring". IGN. Retrieved 2015-04-17.
  10. ^ Gamespot Staff (1999-01-12). "Ehrgeiz Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2015-04-17.
  11. ^ IGN staff (November 20, 2000). "Famitsu Weekly PlayStation Top 100". IGN. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  12. ^ "Ehrgeiz Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  13. ^ Meunier, Nathan (2013-09-23). "THE STRANGEST AND COOLEST FINAL FANTASY SPIN-OFFS". IGN. Retrieved 2015-04-17.

External links

Daniel Mesenhöler

Daniel Mesenhöler (born 24 July 1995) is a German footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for MSV Duisburg.

DreamFactory

DreamFactory Ltd. (株式会社ドリームファクトリー, Kabushiki-gaisha DorīmuFakutorī) is a Japanese video game developer founded in 1995, based out of Tokyo. They are best known for developing fighting and beat 'em up games, such as the Tobal No. 1 fighting game series and the high-profile PlayStation 2 launch title The Bouncer, both developed under Square Co. The company's chairman, Seiichi Ishii, is an industry veteran who served as an early designer and director for two fighting game franchises: Virtua Fighter (published by Sega) and Tekken (published by Namco).

Ehrgeiz (TV series)

Ehrgeiz (ネクスト戦記EHRGEIZ, Nekusuto senki EHRGEIZ, (lit. Next War Chronicle Ehrgeiz) is an original 1997 Japanese anime from et, with animation by Studio Deen, and produced by d-rights and BeStack. The title is a mix of Japanese and German.

The North American release by Bandai Entertainment (then AnimeVillage) used only the German "Ehrgeiz" which, when translated into English, means "Ambition". The show originally aired on Tokyo TV, however, Ehrgeiz eventually ran on the Cable/Satellite channel AT-X in 1999.

Hideyuki Umezu

Hideyuki Umezu (梅津 秀行, Umezu Hideyuki, born July 24, 1955 in Aichi) is a Japanese voice actor and member of 81 Produce.

List of animated television series of 1997

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Namco System 12

The Namco System 12 is an arcade system board released by Namco in late 1996. In hardware, it is an upgrade from Sony's PlayStation-based System 11, the MIPS R3000A microprocessor is 50% faster, and the C76 sound processor is replaced by the H8/3002. Like the System 11, the System 12 used surface-mounted ROM chips, meaning the boards were unique to each game.

Nozomu Sasaki

Nozomu Sasaki (佐々木 望, Sasaki Nozomu, born January 25, 1967) is a Japanese voice actor and singer. He is represented by the voice actor management firm, 81 Produce, and was previously represented by Arts Vision. In 1988, he voiced the character Tetsuo Shima in the movie Akira, which was adapted from the manga of the same name. He also provided the voice of Yusuke Urameshi in the anime adaptation of the manga YuYu Hakusho and returned to that role in video games for that franchise. He is sometimes mistaken for fellow voice actress Nozomi Sasaki, whose name is written the same way. Sasaki has emerged the victor of the Seiyū Grand Prix (in which votes were collected to compile a top ten list of voice actors) more times than any other voice actor.

Robot Communications

Robot Communications Inc. (株式会社ロボット, Kabushikigaisha Robotto) is a Japanese independent animation and visual effects studio founded on June 3, 1986, and based in Tokyo. It won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for La Maison en Petits Cubes.

Rudi Gutendorf

Rudolf "Rudi" Gutendorf (born 30 August 1926) is a German football manager, renowned for managing the highest number of national teams – a total of 19 teams plus Iran's Olympic team in 1988 and the China Olympic team in 1992.

Seiichi Ishii

Seiichi Ishii (石井 精一 Ishii Seiichi, born August 18, 1967) is a Japanese game designer. He is best known for the development of fighting games.

Ishii was born in Ichinomiya City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. He was a designer on groundbreaking Sega titles Virtua Racing and Virtua Fighter. Ishii was also a designer and director for the first Tekken game in 1994. He established his own company, DreamFactory Co., Ltd. in November 1995, through Sega Enterprises Ltd. and Namco Ltd., expanding his fighting game pedigree to create titles such as Tobal No. 1, Ehrgeiz, and The Bouncer.

Shirō Hamaguchi

Shirō Hamaguchi (浜口 史郎, Hamaguchi Shirō, born November 19, 1969) is a Japanese anime composer, arranger and orchestrator. He is best known for composing music to the anime franchises Girls und Panzer, One Piece, and Oh My Goddess! and arranging/orchestrating music in the Final Fantasy series. He frequently collaborates with fellow composers Kohei Tanaka and Akifumi Tada on anime scores.

Studio Deen

Studio Deen Co. Ltd. (Japanese: 株式会社スタジオディーン, Hepburn: Kabushiki gaisha Sutajio Dīn, sometimes typeset as "Studio DEEN") is a Japanese animation studio founded in 1975 by Sunrise producer Hiroshi Hasegawa and ex-Sunrise animators. The studio owns three subsidiaries: Danny Donghua (丹尼動画), a Chinese sub-contracting company; Megumi (め組), a sub-contracting studio; and Umidori (うみどり), which does the 3DCG found in many of Deen's works.

Takayuki Nakamura

Takayuki Nakamura (中村 隆之, Nakamura Takayuki, born July 19, 1967) is a Japanese video game music composer and musician, who has contributed to Virtua Fighter, Tobal 2, Ehrgeiz, the Lumines series, and Rodea the Sky Soldier. He is the director of Brainstorm Co. Ltd., along with being the publisher of video game music albums including "LUMINES remixes winter" and "L.II remixes".

Tetsuya Nomura

Tetsuya Nomura (野村 哲也, Nomura Tetsuya, born October 8, 1970) is a Japanese video game artist, designer and director working for Square Enix (formerly Square). He designed characters for the Final Fantasy series, debuting with Final Fantasy VI and continuing with various later installments. Additionally, Nomura has helmed the development of the Kingdom Hearts series since its debut in 2002 and was also the director for the CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

Tifa Lockhart

Tifa Lockhart (Japanese: ティファ・ロックハート, Hepburn: Tifa Rokkuhāto) is a fictional character in Square's (now Square Enix) role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII. Created and designed by Tetsuya Nomura, she has since appeared in the fighting game Ehrgeiz and made cameo appearances in several other titles, as well as the CGI film sequel to Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children and related games and media in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series.

A member of the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE and owner of the 7th Heaven bar in the slums of Midgar, Tifa is the childhood friend of Cloud Strife, the protagonist of Final Fantasy VII. Convincing him to join the group to keep him close and safe, she later assists him in saving the Planet from the game's villain, Sephiroth. Installments in The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII later expanded upon her character, such as in the film Advent Children, where she attempts to convince Cloud to let go of his self-imposed guilt, and move on with his life after Sephiroth's defeat.

Named the pin-up girl of the "cyber generation" by The New York Times, Tifa has been compared to Lara Croft as an example of a strong, independent and attractive female character in video games. Media have repeatedly praised both the character's strength and appearance and described her as one of the best female characters in gaming.

Vincent Valentine

Vincent Valentine (ヴィンセント・ヴァレンタイン, Vinsento Varentain) is a player character in Square's (now Square Enix) 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII. Designed by Tetsuya Nomura, he also appears in various titles from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, a metaseries set in the Final Fantasy VII continuity. Specifically, he is the protagonist in the 2006 third-person shooter Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII and its mobile phone tie-in Dirge of Cerberus: Lost Episode. Vincent is voiced in Japanese by Shōgo Suzuki and in English by Steven Blum.

In the backstory to Final Fantasy VII, Vincent is a Turk who is assigned to guard the scientist Lucrecia Crescent, with whom he falls in love. After a series of scientific experiments involving the cells of the extraterrestrial lifeform Jenova, Crescent gives birth to the game's antagonist, Sephiroth. Soon thereafter, Vincent himself became subject to experiments performed by Crescent's boss, Professor Hojo, resulting in genetic modification that means he will not age. If the player unlocks Vincent, he will join Cloud Strife's group to stop Sephiroth, as well as to seek revenge on Hojo.

Due to time constraints, Vincent was originally not intended to be playable in Final Fantasy VII; however, he was ultimately made an optional character. Despite his optional status and lack of concrete detail as to his background, he proved very popular with both fans and critics, and his history was developed greatly in other installments of the Compilation, primarily Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus.

Yuffie Kisaragi

Yuffie Kisaragi (ユフィ・キサラギ, Yufi Kisaragi) is a video game character from Square Enix's Final Fantasy series. Designed by Tetsuya Nomura, she was first introduced in the 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII as a young female ninja princess and thief. She can become one of the game's player characters after finishing a special sidequest. Yuffie reappears in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series, expanding her background and showing her after the events of the original game.

Yuffie has further been featured in other Square Enix games, most notably the Kingdom Hearts crossover series, voiced by Yumi Kakazu in the Japanese versions of the games. In the English versions, Christy Carlson Romano provides her voice for Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and Mae Whitman is Yuffie's voice for Kingdom Hearts II and Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. The character has achieved a high level of popularity in Japan, but the English-language media reception has been more mixed.

Zack Fair

Zack Fair (ザックス・フェア, Zakkusu Fea) is a fictional character first introduced as a non-player character in the 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII by Square (now Square Enix), and subsequently expanded upon in the metaseries Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.

In the original game, Zack is a late member of the paramilitary organization SOLDIER, the military wing of the megacorporation Shinra. During the game, Zack is revealed to have been Aerith Gainsborough's first boyfriend, as well as a friend of Cloud Strife, the game's protagonist. Zack ultimately died in the weeks leading up to the opening of the game protecting Cloud from Shinra's army after they had escaped from imprisonment and being the subjects of genetic experimentation. He is the second owner of the Buster Sword (バスターソード, Basutā Sōdo), and wielded it before Cloud, giving it to him as he died. Zack also appears in the Compilation titles Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and, most significantly, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, a prequel in which he is the protagonist.

Zack Fair was originally not a part of Final Fantasy VII. However, scenario writer Kazushige Nojima wanted to bring a sense of mystery to the title, and created the character to help complicate Cloud's backstory. He was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, and his name derived from "fair weather," to contrast with Cloud Strife's name. With Zack's conceptual backstory in place for Final Fantasy VII, the staff decided to use Compilation of Final Fantasy VII to expand upon his character. Zack is voiced by Kenichi Suzumura in Japanese and Rick Gomez in English. Suzumura was chosen specifically by Nomura for his voice, and was given the role without an audition. Western critics have praised Zack's character, commenting on his development since Final Fantasy VII.

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