Welcome to GideonD’s Limit Break Mechanics Guide for Final Fantasy VII.
Table of Contents
This page contains an explanation of the Final Fantasy VII Limit Break System and a study on how exactly the system works. While how to use limit breaks in battle is common knowledge, the process by which you gain new limit breaks is often found to be in question. Even among those of us who know how the basic limit gaining system works there remains much debate on the exact mechanics of that familiar system. The study below is designed to be a compilation of detailed statistical reports by numerous parties on the mechanical workings of the limit break system.
Learning New Limits
First of all, for reference I will explain the notations I’ll be using.
There are 4 sets of limit breaks for most of the characters in the game. Likewise, most of the characters have 2 limit breaks per level. When referring to these limit breaks separately I will be using the following notation: X/Y. X = the level of the limit break. Y = the number of the limit break within the level indicated by X. For example the notation 2/1 would indicate the first limit break in the second level or set of limit breaks.
Now I will explain the basic mechanics of learning new limit breaks.
Each character in the game starts with one limit break already in his/her possession. This is limit 1/1, the first limit in the first set of limits. Now, to learn the next limit in that same set, limit 1/2, you simply need to use the first limit of the set, limit 1/1, a certain number of times. The actual number of times you need to use the first limit in a set varies from character to character. This formula holds true for each set of limits. In other words, to learn the second limit in any set of limits you simply use the first limit in that set a certain number of times. Everyone who has a 4th level limit break will have only 1 limit break in the 4th level. Therefore this formula is irrelevant to the level 4 limit breaks since there is no second in the set. Also, certain characters, namely Vincent and Cait Sith, have only one limit per level, so this formula also does not apply to these two characters.
Cloud starts the game with Braver as his 1/1 limit break. He uses Braver in battle 8 times and he learns Cross-Slash, his 1/2 limit break. Likewise, he would use his 2/1 limit 7 times to learn his 2/2 limit, and he would use his 3/1 limit 6 times to learn his 3/2 limit. You may notice that the number of times a limit needs to be used declines as the limit level increases.
Now to gain the first limit break in a new set the procedure is entirely different. Gaining the first limit break in a new set has nothing at all to do with using previously gained limit breaks. Instead, a character must make a certain number of kills to gain the first limit in a new set. What this means is that the character you wish to have gain the new limit break must actually deliver the killing blow to a certain number of enemies. The number of enemies varies from character to character. You may deliver the killing blow using almost any means possible. Details on what counts and what doesn’t can be found below under Note 2. This formula holds true for each set of limits, except level 4 limits. Level 4/1 limits are taught to a character by using special limit manuals found during the course of the game. These manuals are items and are used from the items menu on the character whose final limit the manual details. Level 4 limits may only be taught to a character after that character has learned all of his/her previous limit breaks. This formula applies to all characters in the game, including Vincent and Cait Sith. Cait Sith, however, only has 2 sets of limit breaks and only 1 limit in each set, limit 1/1 and limit 2/1. Therefore he has no level 4 limit manual.
Example: (continued from above example)
Now that Cloud has learned Cross-Slash he simply continues to kill enemies, dealing the killing blow each time. Once he has killed 115 enemies he gains his 2/1 limit, Blade Beam. After using Blade Beam 7 times he learns his 2/2 limit, Climhazzard. Continuing to fight, Cloud kills 195 enemies and gains his 3/1 limit, Meteorain. Cloud then used Meteorain 6 times and learns his 3/2 limit, Finishing Touch. Cloud may now use his level 4 limit manual if he has it to learn his 4/1 limit, Omnislash.
Note 1: Limits aren’t always gained in exact order. If you simply go around killing enemies like mad for a few hours you can learn the first limit in each set before you ever learn the second limit in any of the sets. You can not learn all of the second limits in each set before the first, however, because you need to use the first limit in each set in order to gain the second in the set.
Note 2: There are some exceptions to what does and does not count toward your kill total.
1) Kills made with Odin’s Steel Cutting Sword attack do NOT count.
2) Kills made by residual poison damage, i.e. the damage taken each round, not the damage caused by the initial casting, do NOT count.
3) Kills made by enemies you have manipulated do NOT count.
4) Kills made with Death Sentence do NOT count.
5) Kills made with the Death spell DO count.
6) Kills made with Flash command DO count.
Also of interest, miming your limit breaks DOES count toward the usage totals. It’s also worth mentioning that apparently nothing you do in battle arena, be it kills or uses, will count toward your totals.
Strategy for Learning Limits Early
This section details my personal method for gaining limits as quickly as possible early in the game.
The first thing you’ll want to do is progress through the game until you reach the Mithril Mines. You’ll want to make sure to grab the matra magic enemy skill along the way as well. Now usually I’ll make my way through the mines to the Junon area on the other side of the mountains. Here you’ll find a patch of forest you can use to obtain Yuffie early on. By this point you should now have Cloud, Barret, Aeris, Tifa, Red XIII, and Yuffie, all of whom you can now start acquiring limits for. That’ll leave only Cait Sith, Vincent, and Cid to work on later.
Now you can save up and begin the limit learning process. Take three people into the mine. You’ll want to go to a specific room. To find this room, enter the mines from the Junon(western) entrance and head north on the first screen on the mine. In this room you will always fight enemies in groups of 4-5.From this point forward it’s quite simple. Simply have the person you are trying to gain limits for use matra magic to slaughter these large groups of enemies. If you missed getting matra magic on the Enemy Skill materia, then you can use a multi-target magic instead although they tend to cost more MP to cast. This will quickly net you the kills you need to gain the ?/1 limits. Use your limits whenever they come up to get you closer to the needed uses. By the time you are done with learning the ?/1 limits you’ll still be working on the ?/2 limits in most cases. At this point you’ll want to start looking for a specific enemy. This enemy comes with a group of 3 other enemies and is basically a flying dragon with fairy wings. I believe he’s called an Arc Dragon. He has the flamethrower enemy skill, which you’ll want to pick up. When he uses this skill on you it’ll also deal a good bit of damage at this point of the game, which means it’s about the quickest way to fill up your limit gauge and get the needed uses to learn your ?/2 limits. It’s also a good idea to use a hyper on your people. This will put them in Fury status and as a side effect their limit meter will fill up twice as fast as normal. You may also want to equip Cover materia to the person you are working on to help direct most attacks at that person and fill his/her meter more quickly. I’ve never really bothered with Cover myself, but a few people have pointed out that I didn’t mention it so I thought I’d add a note about it. You may find it more useful if you let it build up to a higher level before working on learning your limits.
Just repeat these steps to learn limits for all of the people you currently have in party and then switch to the others to learn theirs. You can come back later to learn limits for the other 3 characters and it’ll be even easier since Vincent and Cait Sith only require kills, and Cid’s uses can be gotten easier since you’ll have the manipulate materia and can target flamethrower on Cid only.
By the time I left the Mithril Mines for Fort Condor, I had all the limits up through level 3/2 for all 6 of the people I had. As an added bonus they were all about level 30 and I had 99 hi-potions in inventory since the enemies in the mines tend to drop those a lot.
Note: For more strategies on learning limits at different points of the game please visit the Limit Break Mechanics topc at my website forum where users can submit their own strategies.
Acquiring Level 4 Manuals
Now just for reference I’ll give a brief run through on where to find everyone’s level 4 limit manuals and how to get them.
You gain the Omnislash manual for Cloud in the Gold Saucer Battle Square. You’ll need to take plenty of gold with you, at least 200 to be safe, and fight until you earn 32,000 battle points. You can then buy the manual as an item. If you do this on disk 1 I’ve been told the price for the manual is about 51,200, so I recommend you wait until disk 2 or 3. You don’t really need Omnislash any earlier anyway.
You can get the Catastrophe manual for Barret any time after stopping the train in Corel on disk 2. Once this part of the game is done, enter the house closest to the inn on the upper tier. There is a lady inside who says something about her late husband and will give you a memento of the man, which is the Catastrophe manual.
Tifa’s Final Heaven manual can be gained on disk 2 or later, anytime after getting Cloud back from his coma. You simply return to Nibelheim with Tifa in your party, and make your way to her room in her house. You want to play the piano there. You’ll need to remember the tune you played in the flashback. If you can’t recall, it goes like this: X, Square, Triangle, R1 + Triangle, R1 + Square, X, Square, Triangle, R1 + X, O, X, Square, X. If you did it correctly she should say something about having the sheet music for the song and you’ll also get her Final Heaven manual.
This one is a bit tricky to get. It has to be done on disk 1 if you actually intend to teach it to her so I’m writing this assuming you will be trying for it on disk 1. Okay, to get Aeris’s Great Gospel manual you’ll first need to wait until you have the buggy, just after the Corel Prison sequence. Once the buggy is in your possession, drive it into Costa del Sol. Note: do not get off the buggy before entering town, just drive it right on in. Now head to the docks and talk to the sailor by the cargo ship. He’ll let you ride the ship back to Junon for 100 gil. When you get to Junon leave town and you’ll discover you’ve brought the buggy along with you. You now want to head north east to the river. There is a shallow spot you can cross using the buggy. Do so and head east until you find a cave entrance. Inside the cave you will find a sleeping old man. He won’t talk to you much until you battle a certain number of times. The trick is to make the last two digits of the number of battles you fought match. For example, when you’ve fought 33 battles or 244 battle he will talk to you since the last 2 digits match. Just fight outside of his cave until you get a number that works. When you talk to him again he will give you an item, sometimes it’s a Bolt ring and sometimes it’s Mythril. You are after the Mythril. If he gives you a Bolt ring just go outside and fight 11 more battles to get to the next number of fights that puts your last 2 digits at the same number. For example if you have fought 22 times and he gives you a Bolt Ring go out and fight 11 more times. You’ll now have 33 fights and he’ll talk to you again. Just keep doing this until you get the Mythril. He will give you a Bolt Ring when the matching numbers are even and a Mythril when they are odd.
Now you can proceed with the game until you get to Rocket Town. Once you go through the Rocket Town sequence you’ll have Cid as a party member and you’ll also have use of the Tiny Bronco. Take the Tiny Bronco to Nibelheim. Once there use the plane to travel up the river and across the continent. You should come out near Gold Saucer. Near the end of the river you’ll see a little house on your right. This house was previously unoccupied, but now you can get off the plane and go inside. The guy inside will talk about the keystone for a bit. When you get the chance tell him to change the subject and he’ll talk about the weapons he makes and having a shortage of mythril. Give him the mythril and he’ll reward you by letting you pick a chest as a prize. Go up the stairs to the top floor and go all the way left. Open the little box on the wall to receive the Great Gospel manual. The big box on the lower floor just contains a Gold Armlet.
You get Red XIII’s Cosmos Memory pretty early in the game, on disk 1. The first time you get to Nibelheim you’ll be heading to the Shinra mansion. You’ll need to open the safe on the 2nd floor to get the Odin materia and the basement key that you’ll need to find Vincent. When you open the safe you’ll fight a boss called the Lost Number. For winning this fight you’ll receive the Cosmos Memory manual.
You can get Yuffie’s All Creation Manual as early as disk 1 when you have the Tiny Bronco. Simply travel to Wutai and challenge the masters of the Pagoda. Once you beat the last boss, who is Godo, Yuffie’s father, you’ll receive the Leviathan summon and the All Creation Manual.
He has no level 4 limit break and therefore no manual to teach it to him.
You can get Vincent’s Chaos manual as soon as you gain access to the submarine. Simply put him in your party and then take the sub to the river mouth north of Cost del Sol. Make sure not to miss it altogether. Dive underwater and look for a small cave entrance. Just follow the path until you come to a circular room. Surface and you’ll be in a small lake. You can dock the sub on the side and go into a cave hidden behind the waterfall. You’ll see a flashback sequence with Vincent here. Once its over leave the area, and go somewhere that you can fight. I suggest the Gold Saucer area since it’s the closest sub dock. After you’ve fought at least 10 times return to the cave where he had his flashback and you’ll receive the Chaos manual and his final weapon, the Death Penalty. When looking for the underwater tunnel be aware that it branches off of the tunnel that leads you to the Key of Ancients. You can also use a green, black or gold chocobo to do this in place of the sub.
Cid’s Highwind manual is easy to get. Once you have the sub travel to the Gold Saucer sub dock. Now you want to dive underwater. There will be the wreckage of a cargo plane nearby. You can find all kinds of goodies in this plane, called the Gelnika. One of the chests in the cargo room contains the Highwind manual.
A Glitch in the System
There is a known glitch in the limit break system that can cause some major problems with your game. This glitch generally does one of two things.
1) When you start a new game sometimes this glitch will occur. When this happens you will find that instead of starting out with just your 1/1 limit break your character(s) will have all limit breaks already learned. This may appear as a wonderful occurrence at first but don’t count it as a blessing just yet. I’m not sure what ramifications if any this has later in the game. It’s possible this could screw a few things up later on, such as getting Final Attack from Battle Arena since you need to buy Omnislash and teach it to Cloud as one of the requirements to access the special battle. You can’t exactly teach it to him if he already knows it and I’m not sure if the game will count it or not. I haven’t had this glitch happen to me so I’m not sure if this would really happen but it definitely seems possible. Anyone who has learned Omnislash via GameShark will know that the game doesn’t count it when you try to access the special battle, so it’s quite possible the game won’t count the glitch either. If anyone knows for certain that there are problems caused by this glitch please let me know so I can list them here.
2) The second occurrence of the glitch can be even more frustrating. Have you ever learned all of a character’s limits except the last one and then tried to use his/her manual but the game still won’t let you learn the level 4 limit? Well that would be the glitch coming into play again. Once again I haven’t had this happen to me, but I know a few people who have, and by all reports they’ve never found a way to fix the problem short of starting a new game. Basically you just have to start all over or just keep playing without use of the level 4 limit for the character(s) that this happens to.
Those are the two most common results of the glitch. There are a few other that I’ve heard of but I don’t know for certain if there is any truth to them, never having personally witnessed them. I’ll list them anyway for reference.
1) You can’t learn limits at all. You get stuck with your 1/1 limit for the entire game no matter how many times you meet the requirements to learn the new limits.
2) Learning a new limit gets delayed. You make the required number of kills or uses to get the next limit but you still don’t learn it. Then later on, sometimes after learning the limits after the one that wouldn’t work, you’ll suddenly learn the limit you missed for no apparent reason.
Well that’s all I can tell you on that topic. This glitch is known to happen, but fortunately it doesn’t seem to happen very often. I’ve played through FF7 a total of 13 times so far and I’ve never had any of it happen to me. Just hope you are as lucky as I’ve been.
LIMIT BREAK MECHANICS STUDY
Below are charts of the actual statistics each character needs to gain limits, that is the number of times each limit needs to be used and the number of kills each character must make. I will begin with a control set of data pulled from the game’s memory dumps, and continue with my own personal game data. The entire point of this study was to compare statistics to see if the numbers needed are preset or at least somewhat random. It has since been proven that the numbers are hardcoded into the game without allowance for variation. However, often times you’ll notice discrepancies. I personally believe this is due to some glitchiness in the programming.
This first set of values are pulled directly from the game itself. These are the hardcoded values. Click the link to expand the table.
Control Set (these values are hardcoded into the game itself)
The following values are the first set of results that I manually counted during a playthrough of the game. I counted these very thoroughly with the help of another person. You’ll notice that they are generally very close to the hardcoded values but there is some variation. Click the link to expand the table.
Manual Count 1 (the first count I did during a playthrough)
The following values are a second set of results that I counted just as thoroughly as the first. Again, not all the totals are the same but they are generally very close. I’m still trying to figure out why the totals don’t seem to stay exact from one playthrough to the next. I’m still guessing the game just isn’t counting correctly. Click the link to expand the table.
Manual Count 2 (the second count I did during a playthrough)
Note 1: There has been a bit of confusion on the kill tally for the characters so I’ll attempt to clear that up.
Firstly the kill tally keeps counting no matter what. If you learn Hyper Jump for Cid after making 60 kills then the kill tally immediately starts counting the next 80 kills to get Dragon Dive. You don’t have to wait until you learn Dragon before the kill tally starts counting again. As I mentioned in the first part of the guide, learning */1 limits is completely independent of learning */2 limits though the reverse of that isn’t true. Secondly when I say a character needs a certain amount of kills to learn his 2/1 limit and then a certain amount to learn his 3/1 limit I don’t mean those numbers as totals. They are individual counts. So for example if Cloud makes 115 kills to learn Blade Beam he needs an additional 195 kills to learn Meteorian for a total of 310 kills. Several people have viewed this to mean he needs 115 kills to learn Blade Beam and then another 80 kills to learn Meteorian for a total of 195 kills. That’s not the way it works I’m afraid. If you are counting kills, when you learn the first limit you are counting toward, then start counting all over again to get the second value I have listed.
I hope that clears up the confusion. It’s easy when you think about it but trying to phrase it so people who aren’t as familiar with the system can understand it can be a real challenge. If it’s still unclear drop me an email or post on the forum and I’ll try to straighten it out a bit more.
That concludes the Limit Break Mechanics Guide for Final Fantasy VII. This page is for the most part done. I doubt I’ll make too many changes to it from now on. Any active discussion and new input on the project should be contributed via the forum.
Thanks for reading,
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