Cloud Strife is a fictional character and the main protagonist in Square's (now Square Enix's) role-playing game Final Fantasy VII and several of its sequels and spin-offs. His original design was created by Final Fantasy VII character designer Tetsuya Nomura. Cloud's appearance is marked by spikey blonde hair, vivid blue eyes, dark clothing and his Buster Sword, which previously belonged to his friend Zack Fair. Cloud's official seiyū is Takahiro Sakurai—with Nozomu Sasaki first voicing Cloud in the video game Ehrgeiz—and his voice actor for his English appearances is Steve Burton.
In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is a mercenary and self-proclaimed ex-member of SOLDIER, a select, genetically augmented military unit operating under the defacto world government and megacorporation Shinra Electric Power Company. Fighting against Shinra in the resistance group "AVALANCHE" and driven by a feud with the primary antagonist, Sephiroth, Cloud learns to come to terms with his troubled past and adapts to his role as a leader. Cloud has also appeared in several other titles outside the Final Fantasy VII continuity. Such titles include Itadaki Street Special, Final Fantasy Tactics, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Ehrgeiz, and the Kingdom Hearts series.
Cloud has garnered a primarily positive reception by critics. Described as "iconic," the character has been ranked highly in various published character lists. Cloud remains popular among fans, and continues to place highly in popularity polls. Cloud has also become the basis for a variety of merchandise, such as action figures and jewelry.
Cloud is of short height with a slim build. His blond hair is spiked, and in Final Fantasy VII featured one particularly large spike emerging into the air. For this reason, Cloud's spiked hair has become one of the trademarks of his appearance, although in later appearances the spikes have been toned down. Cloud was originally conceptualized with black hair, but this was changed, and his hair is meant to serve as a contrast to Sephiroth's silver hair. Cloud has blue eyes, which glow due to the Mako flowing through his body. Because "Mako eyes" are an icon of SOLDIER, Cloud is often mistaken as one. Presumably it is this Mako that allows him to wield his iconic Buster Sword, which is seemingly too heavy for non-SOLDIER members to use. Cloud was, however, capable of using it to great effect as a Shinra guard with no special abilities. He actually used it with such strength that he was even able to overpower Sephiroth in the Nibleheim Reactor.
Cloud's outfit in Final Fantasy VII, is the standard uniform for 1st Class SOLDIERs. The clothing consists of simple pants with a short-sleeved shirt, which are purple-blue in color, and a belt. Cloud also wears brown boots and gauntlets with a single pauldron over his left shoulder. This is also the uniform he wears for most of his other appearances, with slight variations. In Crisis Core, Cloud wears the uniform of a Shinra guard, consisting of blue clothing with several belts and straps and a gray-green piece of cloth around the collar. He also wears his helmet to hide his identity at times.
In Advent Children, Cloud's clothing design was made with fighting in mind, and the concept began with a black robe and was restructured into the final product seen in the film. Cloud's hair in particular was changed both to show the passage of time since the game, and to be more realistic. His clothing consists of a high collar black shirt with no sleeves, black pants and boots, and black cloth covering his left leg and arm; the cloth on his arm seems to mainly be to hide his Geostigma symptoms. Cloud also gains an entirely new pauldron, and his chest is covered by two straps, held in place by a badge representing Fenrir, the animal that has come to be associated with Cloud.
Though Cloud's eyes are normally blue, they turn green and take on Sephiroth's cat-like slit pupils when he's under possession. This can be seen several times in Advent Children when Cloud is vulnerable to the Jenova Cells in his body.
In Kingdom Hearts, Cloud's costume was designed to resemble the outfit of Vincent Valentine. Cloud wears a tattered red cloak with dark blue pants and a shirt and brown boots. He wears gloves, the left of which has golden trimmings, almost like a claw. His costume also features many crossing belts. Cloud's most distinctive trait in this appearance is a demonic black wing protruding from his left shoulder, meant to symbolize both his connection to Sephiroth, and the dark powers he is using. In Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud appears identical to his Advent Children self, save that his new sword is tightly bound as the Buster sword was in Kingdom Hearts
"I pity you. You just don't get it at all...there's not a thing I don't cherish!"- Cloud to Sephiroth from Advent Children In Final Fantasy VII, due to the combined effect of mako poisoning and the influence of Jenova's cells in his body, Cloud unknowingly holds a fake persona created by the Jenova cells mixing his memories of Zack's personality with the somewhat cocky and selfish attitude he believes a SOLDIER 1st Class would act. However, during the events of the game he eventually restores his original personality, and shows genuine concern for the fate of the planet, a sharp contrast to his persona at the start of the game where he claimed he didn't care about the planet and only agreed to help AVALANCHE but only for the right price. Once his true memories are restored, Cloud holds the same personality, although his guilt over the events that he allowed to occur as a result of his false memories never left him.
In Advent Children and many related appearances, Cloud is a much more somber and dark character, tormented by his past, including the deaths of Zack and Aerith. The final straw broke when he suddenly contracted the fatal, incurable plague Geostigma, which added to his feelings of helplessness. Cloud decided to distance himself from his friends and live alone as he tries to keep his affliction secret and seek forgiveness so that he might find a cure. However, during the film Cloud faces his past both metaphorically and literally, with the rebirth of Sephiroth, his visions of Aerith and shows of loyalty from his allies. These events allow him to forgive himself for the death of Zack and Aerith and move on, although as his appearances post-film are limited to Dirge of Cerberus, it is unclear what this ultimately means in terms of his personality and lifestyle. However, the mere fact that he is present to aid his old allies (and even cracks a slight joke), whereas in Advent Children, he would still have tried to avoid responsibility, shows that he has indeed moved on in his life.
In Crisis Core, Cloud is depicted as a rather shy person who idolizes both Zack and Sephiroth. However, when Sephiroth has burned down Nibelheim and badly wounded Zack and Tifa, Cloud does not hesitate to avenge them by hurling the madman to his apparent death whilst impaled with the Masamune.
Despite the dark feelings he may have, Cloud remains steadfastly loyal and true to those he cares about and is always driven to protect them, even going as far as to hide his pain and emotions so he could not worry them. Ultimately, it is with his selfless and kind nature that gives him the ability to overcome Sephiroth time and again. His compassion is explored further when he brings Denzel back to Seventh Heaven and shares with Tifa an obligation to take care of the boy because of the guilt they felt for destroying Sector 7. Because Cloud saved him, Denzel looks up to him as an idol (much in contrast to Cloud's more fatal idolization for Sephiroth) and both share a strong bond as a result. This is further depicted when Denzel is the first Geostigma victim Cloud heals in Aerith's old church.
In The Reunion Files for Advent Children, Nomura explained that while Cloud was initially depicted as a more upbeat character at the end of VII, he chose to have Cloud be a character that fans would find more familiar, and the script was written to explain why Cloud had returned to such a frame of mind. Nomura also said that a great deal of care was taken to animate Cloud's face and expressions, and over thirty different models of his face were made. His face was modeled to keep "a stiff upper lip", with his emotions and thoughts being expressed through his eyes.
"Then later... I began to think I was different...that I was different from those immature kids."-Cloud talking about his childhood
Cloud's childhood thus far has only been covered in Final Fantasy VII, in flashbacks. Cloud was born in the sleepy mountain village of Nibelheim, and was neighbors with Tifa Lockhart. His father died when he was young and was raised by his mother. He grew up isolated from the rest of the village children, feeling himself somehow better than them, though it is implied that he longed for the friendship of the others. He developed a crush on Tifa, but hated her friends. Although the two consider each other (and are considered by others) to be childhood friends, by her own account they were not that close growing up, despite the fact he was her neighbor.
When Cloud was nine (1995), Tifa's mother died, and Tifa insisted that she could meet her mother again by crossing Mt. Nibel. Cloud followed, and when Tifa was injured, the townsfolk believed the whole expedition up the mountain to be Cloud's fault, and Tifa's father forbid Cloud to come near Tifa. Five years later, Cloud learned of Sephiroth and his exploits. Resolving to become a hero like him, Cloud decided to set out and join SOLDIER. He called Tifa out to the water tower to tell her about his departure, silently hoping to impress her. Upon her request, he agreed to come save her if she ever found herself in trouble. The following spring, he left for Midgar in pursuit of his goal, as did Johnny, another Nibelheim youth trying out for SOLDIER.
Despite his bravado, Cloud is unable to make it into SOLDIER and becomes an ordinary Shinra guard. In this role he meets a first-class SOLDIER named Zack Fair in Modeoheim, and the two become friends after learning they are both "backwater experts". On June 28th, 2001 Cloud is ordered to protect Professor Rayleigh in Midgar from the insurgency organization AVALANCHE. Though he fails, both of their lives are saved by a Player Turk. Despite his failure Cloud shows off some impressive sword skills for just a normal human.
On September 22nd, 2002 Cloud later returns to Nibelheim, along with Zack and Sephiroth to investigate a damaged reactor in Mt. Nibel, and Tifa is to act as their guide. Ashamed of his failure to join SOLDIER, Cloud hides his identity from the townspeople, and especially Tifa, though he does reveal himself to his mother. When the expedition reaches the reactor, Sephiroth discovers Professor Hojo's failed experiments with Mako soldiers as well as where ShinRa had interred Jenova, which Sephiroth mistakenly believed was his mother.
Falling into madness, Sephiroth immerses himself in the writings of Professor Gast and discovers his own dark past. He comes out from the basement of the Shinra Mansion on December 1st and sets about destroying the village. Cloud witnessed his mother's death in the ensuing fire and rushed to the reactor to confront Sephiroth. There he found both Tifa unconscious from an attack from Sephiroth and Zack barely conscious after a furious and desperate struggle with Sephiroth. A grief-stricken Cloud picked up Zack's Buster Sword, catching Sephiroth off guard in the reactor core, and impaling him. Wounded, Sephiroth was left as Cloud went to care for Tifa, in some accounts also having an affectionate conversation with her. Sephiroth emerged from the reactor core, and when Cloud attacked again, Sephiroth stabbed him with the Masamune. Cloud summoned unknown strength, and used the katana as a lever to hurl Sephiroth into the Mako below, though the observing Turk, who did not see this, assumed Sephiroth jumped in of his own volition and reported back to ShinRa to this effect. Cloud collapsed immediately thereafter.
Cloud and Zack become test subjects of Professor Hojo when they are found afterward. Injecting them with Sephiroth's cells and exposing them to Mako, Hojo attempts to test his Jenova Reunion Theory and turn them into Sephiroth Clones. Four years later (December 19th, 2006), Zack broke out of his confinement and helped a comatose Cloud escape, giving him a SOLDIER uniform that was in Shinra manor to wear because his old clothes were soaked with mako. Due to the experiment Cloud was in a weak and delirious state as he had reacted more strongly to the experiments than Zack did. However as they escaped, Zack speaks continuously to the unresponsive Cloud about his life and his plans for both of them to become mercenaries in Midgar after finding out that four years had passed since Hojo took them. Zack carries the comatose Cloud around, and though Cloud takes no part in the events, is present Genesis Rhapsodos's defeat by Zack.
After almost a year of running, they finally arrive outside of Midgar in September 2007. However, the Shinra forces that have been searching for them finally catch up. Zack fights back to defend both Cloud and himself against overwhelming numbers. In the end, after single-handedly and heroically massacring the majority of the hundreds of Shinra soldiers present, Zack is gunned down by the last few remaining soldiers and Cloud is left for dead after being seen in his vegetative state. However, having witnessed the whole chaos, Cloud manages to crawl over to where Zack is mortally wounded. In his last few seconds, a blood-soaked Zack entrusts the Buster Sword to Cloud, and tells him that his legacy will live on inside Cloud, before finally dying. After some time Cloud, deeply distressed, scrambles to his feet, Buster Sword in hand, and begins trudging off towards Midgar. His final words to Zack were, "Good-night, Zack".
Shortly thereafter, in the Sector Seven Train Station, Cloud's shattered mind undergoes a radical transformation. Hojo's experimentations, combined with his own weakened psyche, Jenova's mimicry abilities and the trauma of the events he has experienced, cause Cloud to impress Zack's memories, his ideal image of himself as well as Tifa's memories of him together to create an entirely new persona. What emerges in Cloud's mind is a reality in which he successfully joined SOLDIER and was Sephiroth's partner - Zack did not exist. Taking up Zack's plans (hinting that he may he been vaguely aware of what Zack was telling him), Cloud presents himself as a mercenary, believing himself a former First Class SOLDIER. Since the official SOLDIER process is similar to the experiments Hojo performed on him, Cloud possesses the same abilities as a SOLDIER does and his claim is accepted as true.
"It's not my problem. The only thing I care about is finishin' this job before security and the Roboguards come."-Cloud about AVALANCHE's mission to blow up the Sector 1 Reactor.
In Midgar, Cloud is found by Tifa, who is now a member of the anti-ShinRa terrorist group AVALANCHE, along with Barret Wallace. Tifa, perplexed by oddities she notices in Cloud, requests that he help AVALANCHE in their struggle. Cloud joins AVALANCHE to attack the Sector 1 Reactor on December 9th, and the mission goes successfully. After blowing up the Sector 5 Reactor, Cloud becomes separated from the others by falling into the slum church where Aeris Gainsborough grows flowers. While Cloud is gone, Tifa allows herself to be captured by a Shinra informant, Don Corneo in an attempt to get information out of him. Cloud and Aeris, after disguising Cloud as a woman, attempt to rescue her, after which the Don admits that Shinra has found out AVALANCHE's base of operations is in Sector 7.
To crush AVALANCHE, Shinra drops the plate over Sector 7 of Midgar, crushing the entire area; Biggs, and Wedge and Jessie are killed trying to stop them, and Aeris is captured taking Barret's daughter Marlene to safety. Cloud then leads an attack on Shinra Headquarters to rescue Aeris. There he meets with Red XIII, and sees the headless remains of Jenova. However, the group is captured and imprisoned. During the night, Cloud awakens to find the doors of the prison open and the guards slaughtered. He, Barret, Tifa, Red XIII and Aeris follow a trail of blood to the top floor, only to find President Shinra impaled on Sephiroth's sword. Cloud fights briefly with the new head of Shinra, Rufus Shinra, and then escapes from Midgar on a motorcycle, the other members riding alongside in a pickup driven by Tifa.
The group stays at an inn located outside Midgar in Kalm. There Cloud tells what he thinks are his own memories of what happened on the day Nibelheim was burnt, with himself in Zack's place and Zack no longer present. Tifa, confused by this account, doesn't say anything. His grudge with Sephiroth explained, the next day the group sets out to track Sephiroth down, going through the Mythril Mines where the Turks reveal Sephiroth is headed to Junon. Cloud and the group sneak into the Shinra controlled Junon and onto an oil tanker bound for Costa Del Sol, meeting Yuffie Kisaragi on the way.
The journey to find Sephiroth leads them through North Corel and the Gold Saucer, where the manager Dio gives Cloud and his friends a buggy to assist them in their travels and the robot Cait Sith joins their cause. The buggy eventually breaks down, forcing the group to stay at Red XIII's home Cosmo Canyon, where the Elder Bugenhagen reveals critical information about the planet and the Lifestream and the negative effects Shinra's drilling for Mako is having on them. When the group reaches Nibelheim, they find no trace of what happened.
Although Cloud and Tifa are confused, they explore the rebuilt town and find that no one remembers the town ever being burnt down. In the ruins of the Shinra Mansion, they find Vincent Valentine, who agrees to accompany them when they mention Sephiroth. In the mansion library, Sephiroth appears and alludes to a "reunion" that he feels Cloud should attend. Cloud and the group traverse Mt. Nibel and go to Rocket Town, where they attempt to steal Cid Highwind's plane and have it shot down by Shinra. Adding Cid to their roster of allies, the group returns to the Gold Saucer and claims the Keystone from Dio. Believing the Keystone to be pivotal to finding out what Sephiroth is planning, Cloud and the group are forced to stay the night when the trolley to the park breaks down. At this time, Cait Sith is revealed to be a Shinra spy, and steals the Keystone and turns it over to Tseng of the Turks.
Traveling to the Temple of the Ancients, Tseng is found wounded by Sephiroth, and he returns the Keystone. In the heart of the temple, Cloud finds Sephiroth, who reveals his plan to call the ultimate black magic, Meteor, which will cause a critical wound on the planet. The Lifestream will emerge to heal this wound, and Sephiroth will absorb its energy, becoming a God. Sephiroth leaves as Cloud discovers the temple itself is the Black MateriaSephiroth needs to call Meteor. Cait Sith sacrifices himself to get it, but Sephiroth returns, and because Cloud had been injected with Sephiroth cells, Sephiroth has control over Cloud, and he hands him the Black Materia. He faints, and Aeris appears to him in a dream claiming only she can stop Sephiroth. When Cloud regains consciousness, Barret and Tifa tell him Aeris has left.
Cloud and company pursue Aerith through the Sleeping Forest to the Forgotten Capital. He finds her praying on an altar in the center of the city's underground complex, but suddenly takes up the Buster Sword and attempts to attack her, his mind under Sephiroth's control. Stopping himself in the nick of time when his allies shout at him to stop, Cloud watches as Sephiroth descends from above the altar and impales Aeris, killing her in an iconic scene. Her death enrages Cloud, and the rest of the party mourns her passing. Cloud puts Aeris to rest and reveals to the party he has been under Sephiroth's control, and may become controlled again, asking his allies to stay with him despite this.
Finally arriving at the Northern Crater, Cloud momentarily regains the Black Materia and gives it to a party member of the player's choosing, not trusting himself. They then find the center of the crater, where Sephiroth appears and shows Cloud a partial vision of what really happened at Nibelheim, revealing Zack's presence in his stead but not Cloud's true part in the events. ShinRa arrives afterwards, and Professor Hojo reveals his Jenova Reunion Theory that Cloud is a part of. Cloud comes to believe he was entirely created by Hojo and that even his name and memories of being Tifa's childhood friend belong to someone else. The shock of his past being fake, combined with Hojo's revelations and accusations, shatters Cloud's mind. He takes back the Black Materia and hands it to Sephiroth, who activates it. After Cloud apologizes to Tifa for being a fake, the crater begins to shake violently. AVALANCHE escapes, save for Barret and Tifa, and Cloud is left behind to fall into the Lifestream.
Surfacing at Mideel approximately a week later, Cloud has been subjected to intense Mako poisoning within the Lifestream, leaving him babbling and incoherent. Tifa stays to care for him while the rest of the party fights Shinra, who is risking a dangerous attempt to stop the Meteor that is now coming to the planet. Ultimate Weapon attacks Mideel, and Tifa and Cloud fall into the Lifestream and into Cloud's subconscious. There, Tifa helps Cloud piece back together his true memories of his childhood by comparing their memories to find out which are true, while Tifa encourages Cloud to believe in his own existence. Restored to his true self, Cloud resumes command of the party again. With Bugenhagen's guidance, they discover Aeris had managed to summon Holy just before Sephiroth killed her; the ultimate white magic, it could stop Meteor, but Sephiroth is holding it back.
After taking their revenge upon the ShinRa for all the wrongs they have wrought to each, the group lands in the Northern Crater and descends into the depths of the planet to confront Sephiroth. Defeating him in his new god-like form, Sephiroth's mind is sent back into the Lifestream. Cloud follows and defeats Sephiroth at last in one final duel. Returned to his body by Aeris just in time to rescue a falling Tifa, Cloud and the party escape the crater as Holy emerges to fight Meteor. The nearness of Meteor, however, cause Holy's to hold back its full power, until Aeris commands the Lifestream to emerge and push it back, so that it may unleash its full power to destroy Meteor and save the planet.
In On the Way to a Smile: Case of Tifa, Cloud and Tifa build a new life together in the new city on Midgar's outskirts, called Edge, after the fall of Meteor; Cloud quits his mercenary job and takes up a job as a delivery boy via his new business, the "Strife Delivery Service".
One day while visiting Aerith's ruined church, a recently orphaned boy, Denzel, who had his family killed when the Sector 7 plate fell, finds Cloud's ringing cellphone on his motorcycle. He answers it, and ends up talking to Tifa who was trying to call Cloud. When Cloud discovers Denzel, he takes him home to live with him, Tifa, and Marlene.
Although their new life as a family with Marlene and eventually Denzel is happy, Cloud eventually becomes insular. He eventually admits to Tifa that his problems are due to the fact that "you can't reclaim lost lives", referring to his perceived guilt in the deaths of Zack and Aerith. After contracting Geostigma, Cloud moves out of their home and into the Sector 5 Church as the novella ends, just prior to the events of the film.
Cloud has a few mentions in Hoshi wo Meguru Otome, focusing on Aerith. Here Aerith philosophizes around the Lifestream, and also contemplates her decision to leave Cloud, whom she admits she loves more than she did Zack. She later recalls Cloud's personality traits which were created by Cloud impressing Zack's memories into his own, and this conjures Zack's spirit to her. Aerith protects Tifa's mind from Mako poisoning when she and Cloud fall into the Lifestream, and when Cloud defeats Sephiroth, she helps him return to his body.
"I'm not fit to help anyone. Not my family. Not my friends. Nobody."- Cloud in Advent Children
Before the start of the movie, Cloud leaves his "family" with Tifa, Marlene, and Denzel to look for a cure for Denzel's Geostigma. Unfortunately he fails to do anything more than get himself infected, though with a much less serious case then Denzel. Thanks to his failure, Cloud falls into a familiar cycle of self-pity and grief, and so avoids calls from his loved ones.
When Advent Children opens, it is 2009, two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII. Cloud receives a call from Tifa that Reno has a job for him, and he is attacked by a mysterious trio of young men, three manifestations of Sephiroth's consciousness. Having reached Healin Lodge, Cloud is surprised to find Rufus still alive but suffering from Geostigma. The president offers Cloud to join them to fight off the trio, led by Kadaj. Cloud thinks about this, but rejects after Reno brings up the idea of rebuilding Shinra.
The three remnants begin luring and kidnapping children that possessed Geostigma, intending to have the children lead them to Jenova's lost head. Although reluctant to fight for fear of failure, Cloud goes to the Forgotten Capital at Tifa's behest after a long conversation with her concerning his current state. Upon seeing Denzel and the other children under Kadaj's control, he confronts the trio for a second time but finds himself outmatched and is rescued by Vincent Valentine, who tells him about the true nature of Geostigma - a plague caused by Jenova's cells. Suddenly, Marlene runs into Cloud's arms worried about what had happened to Denzel and Tifa but refusing to go home when Cloud asks Vincent to take her. Giving much thought about the conversations he previously had with Tifa and Aerith, he finally resolves to take Marlene home and confront Kadaj.
Back in Edge, Kadaj threatens Rufus and summons Bahamut SIN to attack the city. After a quick conversation with Tifa and Denzel, Cloud, with help from other members of AVALANCHE, finds the strength to take up arms again and defeat the summon. He eventually takes on Loz and Yazoo one more time while chasing Kadaj through the highway, and manages to slice their weapons (and Loz's bike) in half. Loz and Yazoo are seemingly killed in the explosion set by Reno and Rude during the chase. Confronting Kadaj once more, the battle eventually takes him back to Aerith's church, where the Lifestream-influenced water cures him of his Geostigma.
Cloud battles Kadaj once more and prevails, but the remnant then absorbs Jenova's cells and Sephiroth is reborn. The ensuing battle at the ruins of the Shinra Building proves to be fierce and nearly ends Cloud's life. He almost seems to be on the verge of defeat when Sephiroth stabs him through the shoulder. Sephiroth makes the mistake of asking what is most important to Cloud and how he can take that away from him. Inspired by thoughts of his friends, living and dead, Cloud regains his strength and overwhelms Sephiroth with "Omnislash Version 5". Defeated again, Sephiroth dissipates, leaving a dying Kadaj in his place. Hearing Aerith's voice, which he thinks is the voice of the "mother" he has been longing for, Kadaj reaches for her hand as he is diffused into pyrefly-like lifestream particles.
At this point, Loz and Yazoo appear and set off a kamikaze explosion that apparently kills all three of them. However, Cloud's is not dead, merely in critical condition, and he is healed by the intervention of Aerith, reawakening in the pool that now occupies the church. After helping Denzel into the Lifestream-infused water in the old church to cure his Geostigma and sharing a smile with Tifa, Cloud sees Zack and Aerith near the doorway. Before they leave, Aerith's final words try to make sure that Cloud will be all right, to which he replies that he will, because he knows he's not alone anymore.
In the credits of the movie, Cloud is seen driving down a long highway. He passes a series of flower fields of varying sizes and flowers. The song playing is called "Calling", and speaks of continually pressing on to overcome your troubles. Eventually, Aerith is shown standing in a large field of flowers. She turns around, watching Cloud drive by. The camera follows Cloud until he drives off into the distance. The credits end with a shot of Cloud's desk, showing a picture of AVALANCHE taken after Cloud's awakening has joined the picture of his family, with two flowers, likely intended to represent Zack and Aerith, in front of it.
In a DVD extra, Cloud is seen on a regular work day making deliveries, while taking calls from his friends. One call in particular came from Vincent Valentine, who has recently purchased a phone and tells Cloud that Yuffie has no right to call him. Cloud makes a run to Barret's place and receives three packages: one for Marlene, one for Denzel, and a "Closed for Business" sign from Yuffie, who has been trying to get a hold of him. The final call, and the only one he makes himself, is to Tifa, asking that she close the bar so that they may take a family day together. It is not known what is done on this family day, though possibly it was to have a party with other AVALANCHE members which may explain the new picture of the party on Cloud's desk, though this picture might have been taken immediately after Cloud's recovery in the church instead.
During the events of Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, which take place one year after Advent Children (2010). Cloud is not seen during the attack on Edge (assumed to have spirited away Denzel and Marlene as well) but later assists the WRO and Vincent Valentine in their struggle against the threat of Omega and Deep Ground. He leads the ground assault on Midgar, eventually facing Rosso the Crimson. The outcome of the duel is unknown, but both survive the encounter. He and the others eventually aid Vincent in Omega's destruction.
Interestingly, there are several posters of him found around Edge, showing a shadow of his original artwork from Final Fantasy VII on a green background.
Equipment and StatsEdit
Cloud wields various broadswords and katana in battle, including the joke weapon Nail Bat and the iconic Buster Sword. His stats are well-balanced both physically and magically but is best put in the front row to ensure solid attack power, Cloud can be a great mage too. His Limit Breaks are the strongest in the game, but Cloud also learns them slower than anyone else. Cloud's stronger weapons include the Ultima Weapon, the strongest Base Attack stat weapon in the game, with 100, that grows stronger as Cloud has more HP, and the Apocalypse, one of only two equipment pieces in the game to give Triple Materia Growth.
In Final Fantasy Tactics, Cloud has similar stats to what he has in Final Fantasy VII, having good numbers in attack and magic but in order for him to use his Limit command, his Materia Blade must be equipped, though it does not need to be the primary weapon if two swords are equipped. He can still equip all other swords, save knight swords, as a SOLDIER, as well as ribbons.
- See videos of the various Breaks here
Of the Final Fantasy VII party members, Cloud's Limit Breaks are the strongest of all. However, they are learned much slower, and Cloud typically needs to kill twice as many enemies as his comrades to learn his stronger techniques. His ultimate Limit Break Omnislash is one of the most powerful attacks in the game, perhaps second only to Knights of the Round.
Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-Edit
Cloud uses some of his Limit Breaks in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, such as Blade Beam (against Loz in the Forgotten Capital), and Braver and Climhazzard (against Bahamut SIN). Cloud uses the new Omnislash Version 5 to defeat Sephiroth. Cloud can only use this limit break if he's using his new six part sword and if all pieces of this multi-piece broad sword are connected. The term "Version 5" was adopted during development, and refers to the fact that it's the fifth version of the attack that was designed for the film. In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete this limit break is slightly altered and renamed to Omnislash Version 6, due to it being the sixth designed version of the attack.
- Main article: Soldier (Final Fantasy Tactics)
Cloud has one more Limit Break in Final Fantasy Tactics, Cherry Blossom. His other Limit Breaks are the same as those in Final Fantasy VII, except Braver is renamed Brave Slash. Their effects are also different.
Kingdom Hearts seriesEdit
In all his appearances within the series, Cloud's ultimate attack has been Omnislash. His other trademark moves are Braver, a leap upwards and swinging his weapon to unleash a shockwave upon landing, and the new move Sonic Blade, a sharp, short dash forward with his weapon extended. In Kingdom Hearts, Cloud gives Sora the Sonic Blade ability after fighting him, and in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora can perform Cross-Slash, Cross-Slash+ and Omnislash by stocking Cloud cards.
Climhazzard and Blade Beam are two of Cloud's Brave Attacks, and his other limit breaks including Omnislash Version 5 are HP attacks. His EX Burst is his Omnislash technique.
A few of Cloud's Limit Breaks have been used by Zack, the user of the Buster Sword before him. In Crisis Core, in the opening FMV Zack uses Braver to separate a part of the train from the rest of it. When Cloud's face appears on the Digital Mind Wave, Zack performs Meteor Shots, which is very similar to Meteorain's involving Zack unleashing a barrage of meteors from the Buster Sword. In Last Order, Zack uses an attack similar to Blade Beam, swinging the Buster Sword and unleashing a blast of blue energy from it. In Hoshi wo Meguru Otome, Zack remarks to Aerith that he had taught Cloud "his finisher", referring to the Omnislash technique. Given the context of the claim its validity is dubious, but all the same, this evidence suggests that Cloud may have learned some of his Limit Breaks from Zack.
In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, Ceodore Harvey and Kain Highwind can use Band Abilities called Cross Slash and True Cross Slash, however these are not related to Cloud's technique, which is known by a different name in Japan.
According to the Ultimania Omega, in an early version of the script, Sephiroth would tell Cloud that he was directly created by Sephiroth to give him the Black Materia, and that Cloud's own memories are just a phantom created by Sephiroth himself out of his emotions when was "killed" in the Nibelheim Reactor. Cloud would later have discovered that due to the SOLDIER process, Sephiroth was directly trying to take control of him, and that Cloud's own complexes combined with Sephiroth's willpower, created his alternate persona that obscured who Cloud really was.
- Main article: Cloud (Boss)
Cloud is fought as boss in the Training Mode of Before Crisis.
-"Uhn...What is this...this feeling in my fingertips? The heat! Inside my skull...No, stop...Sephiroth - no!" -"Best keep your distance. That man is not stable."-Cloud's arrival, Final Fantasy Tactics
Cloud can be recruited by Ramza Beoulve's party in Final Fantasy Tactics. To do this, Ramza must first defeat Belias and enter chapter 4 (he must have retained Mustadio Bunansa as a party member). At this point, he must return to the Clockwork City of Goug, where Mustadio's father Besrudio will have found Construct 8, but will be unable to power it up. Ramza must recruit Beowulf Cadmus from the Royal City of Lesalia and take him to the coal mine in the Mining Town of Gollund. After they save Reis Duelar, Ramza will obtain the Zodiac Stone necessary to activate Construct 8.
After Ramza has defeated Zalmour Lucianada for the second time, Besrudio will come up with a dimensional portal device, but again he cannot activate it. A rumor will subsequently circulate about Zeltennia Castle. After hearing it, Ramza can journey to Nelveska Temple and defeat Construct 7. Reis will revert to human form (and must be accepted again by Ramza), and Ramza will gain another Zodiac Stone. Taking it to Besrudio will cause Cloud to be summoned, but at this point, he will just run off.
On the way to Limberry Castle, Ramza must buy a flower from a flower girl in the Trade City of Sal Ghidos. He must then defeat Zalera and Adrammelech and then return to Sal Ghidos, where Cloud will attempt to save the flower girl, who is revealed to be called Aerith, from a group of thugs. Ramza must then help Cloud defeat the thugs. Cloud will then join the party, but will be unable to use his Limit Break skills without the Materia Blade, which is at the top of the tall pillar in Mount Bervenia. In Final Fantasy Tactics Cloud has an additional limit, Cherry Blossom.
Curiously, while Final Fantasy VII lists Cloud's birthdate as August 19th (making him a Leo), his zodiac sign in Final Fantasy Tactics is Aquarius. Cloud is also the only male character in Final Fantasy Tactics able to equip a Ribbon, which is otherwise only equippable by female characters. However, this ability is no longer unique on the PSP version, as the Onion Knight can also equip female-exclusive equipment.
Cloud makes an appearance as a secret character in this racing game, riding the Hardy-Daytona.
Chaos has summoned a combined force of Final Fantasy's ultimate masters of evil. Cosmos, in an attempt to protect the Crystals, has summoned warriors to thwart their plans. Cloud is one of the chosen warriors, and stands as the hero representing Final Fantasy VII, opposing Sephiroth.
Non-Final Fantasy AppearacesEdit
Kingdom Hearts seriesEdit
Cloud appears in the Kingdom Hearts series as a withdrawn and quiet swordsman seeking his archrival Sephiroth across several worlds, wishing to end a grudge between them. In the first game, he makes a deal with Hades that the god will help him find Sephiroth if Cloud kills Hercules. This eventually leads to a battle between Cloud and Sora, which is interrupted when Hades releases Cerberus. After Sora dispatches Cerberus, Cloud departs, but returns after Sora defeats Sephiroth to fight him. In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, a memory-based version of Cloud fulfils the same role, only seeking his lost memories instead of Sephiroth.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud again appears seeking Sephiroth and confronts him after Sephiroth spars with Sora, although Cloud also helps Leon defend Hollow Bastion and in general is closer to the other Final Fantasy characters than before. In Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud appears as a boss in various colosseum cups.
Itadaki Street SeriesEdit
Cloud also appears as a character in both the Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Special and Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Portable.
Cloud is a playable character in the PlayStation game Ehrgeiz: God Bless The Ring. He fights primarily with martial arts, but can wield the Buster Sword as well, for slower but stronger attacks. Cloud's special attacks include Omnislash, Braver, and Meteorain. His extra alternate costume gives him a Shinra Infantry uniform. His story title is 'Guardian', and if you defeat him under the right conditions, you can then fight 'Summoner' Tifa.
- In Final Fantasy IX, there's a reference to Cloud. In a weapon shop, Zidane talks about a man with a spiky hair who carried a rare sword.
- Another reference to Cloud in Final Fantasy IX is discovered at the end when Zidane utters "No cloud nor squall shall hinder us" while he performs on stage in disguise before revealing his identity to Garnet. This is also a reference to the protagonist of Final Fantasy VIII, Squall Leonhart.
- In Final Fantasy VIII there is a item shop called Cloud's item shop. If you spend enough money there, your purchase will come wrapped in a ribbon.
- In the French translation of Final Fantasy VII his name is mistaken as "Clad Strife," although in French language dubs of all the other installments in its associated compilation, his name is reverted back to proper name of Cloud.
- Cloud makes a brief cameo in two strips in the fan-made webcomic 8-Bit Theater as a potential Light Warrior. He is represented by a Fighter sprite, modified to fit his color scheme and to include his distinctive hair. His attempts to prove his skills to Fighter include using an overly-long and flashy summon sequence to summon a Chocobo, and showing off his Buster Sword, which proves too heavy for him and causes him to topple over. After the latter, Fighter promptly rejects him as a Light Warrior.
- Lightning, a character from Final Fantasy XIII, is said by Nomura to be a female equivalent of Cloud.
- In several episodes of Code Monkeys, Cloud can be seen walking across a street in Japan during Jerry's fantasy of life in Japan.
- Cloud, along with Aerith, appeared in the PlayStation 3 tech demo which recreated the opening sequence of Final Fantasy VII in advanced graphics. His scene of leaping from the train showed only him, however, with no Shinra or AVALANCHE members present. His hair was also modeled after his Crisis Core and Advent Children appearances.
- Cloud Strife has the most player-controlled appearances of any character in the Final Fantasy series, and the second most appearances altogether, behind Gilgamesh.
- In the brief playable flashback to the razing of Nibelheim, Cloud has a different unit portrait, and is one of a handful of Final Fantasy characters to change portraits. It is interesting to note that the temporary portrait is actually a cropped image of his official artwork.
- Cloud and Aerith's first meeting mirrors Zack and Aerith's first meeting in many ways; Cloud meets Aerith by crashing through the roof of the Sector 5 Church (just like Zack) and Aerith offers to take Cloud out on a date to repay him for helping her (the reverse of what Zack himself did).
- Though his eyes appear blue in nearly all appearances, Cloud's eyes have taken a brownish-red color on two ocasions: in the Nibelheim flashbacks from the original game, and in the Final Fantasy VII Technical Demo. In the epilogue of Crisis Core which remakes the demo, his eyes return to their normal blue.
- In the TV show, Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island, Coconut Fred parodies Cloud through the episode Sir Nutalot. He appears with Cloud's spiky blonde hair, soldier attire and buster sword but goes under the name of Sir Nutalot.
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