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Final Fantasy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Final Fantasy Wiki

"SOLDIER is like a den of monsters, don't go inside."
—Zack Fair
SOLDIER Logo

SOLDIER is the elite fighting force of Shinra in Final Fantasy VII. They are advanced super-soldiers, with super-human strength, speed, and agility. Much stronger than the Shinra Peacekeeping Troops but less delicate than the Turks, Shinra uses them for special missions that require the greatest use of strength.

SOLDIER members are divided in three classes: 1st Class, 2nd Class and 3rd Class. 1st Class SOLDIERs are responsible for the most important (and usually most dangerous) missions, 2nd and 3rd Classes mostly assist Shinra Troops or 1st Class SOLDIERs or are in charge of less important missions. New units are recruited as 3rd Class and the best of them are later promoted to 2nd Class, and only distinguished 2nd Class SOLDIERs reach 1st Class.

1st Class SOLDIERs have special privileges, as they are allowed to use personal items and equipment and are given the right to deny orders, assuming, of course, any responsibilities from their decisions.

Children around the Planet dream of joining SOLDIER and becoming 1st Class like the hero, Sephiroth. Cloud Strife, the hero of Final Fantasy VII claims to have been a member of SOLDIER inspired to join by Sephiroth. SOLDIER operatives are easily recognizable by the "strange glow" their eyes take.

Many 1st Class SOLDIERs have fan clubs based around them created by Shinra to increase the popularity of the organization and as a propaganda tool.

Contents

Storyline

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

Creation

Artwork by Tetsuya Nomura.

Approximately 30 years before the beginning of Final Fantasy VII, the Jenova Project was initiated to to make a human-Cetra hybrid using the cells from Jenova (mistaken to be a Cetra) and Mako Energy from the Planet. The result of this experiment was Sephiroth, a child with exceptional abilities. Shinra recognized the potential of such a powerful warrior, so a method was planned to begin a mass production of more fighters of his type.

Using similar processes, Shinra began exposing promising warriors to raw Mako (giving their eyes that unique "glow"). Despite Cloud's dream of becoming a SOLDIER First Class, he lacked the mental strength to make it through the Mako Infusion, so he never did join the organization. Although still eclipsed by Sephiroth's strength and power, these new warriors called SOLDIER were given powers far beyond those of a normal combatant. They were sent on the more dangerous or important missions, had access to more equipment and information, and were higher ranked than other members of the army. These forces would be used to great effectiveness during the Wutai War.

AVALANCHE

During the battles with the first AVALANCHE in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, the data on SOLDIER operatives are stolen. Fuhito, expanding on the SOLDIER idea creates his own brand of super soldiers, the Ravens. These forces are completely without wills; they are only mindless killing machines. Using the SOLDIER data, AVALANCHE is able to predict SOLDIER movements, and capture several members to transform into Ravens. The SOLDIER force never successfully defeats AVALANCHE, with most of the battles fought by the Turks.

Mass Desertion

Headed by the SOLDIER Union Executive, Lazard Deusericus at the time of Crisis Core, SOLDIER acts from the Shinra Headquarters in Midgar, from floor 49 where there is a training room, briefing room, and lounge area for off-duty members. Most SOLDIER members seem to spend their standby time here, wandering and talking to each other. Materia synthesis seems to be closely related to SOLDIER, as the room where it is made from crystallized MAKO Stones is also on the SOLDIER Floor.

However, many Second and Third Class SOLDIER's suddenly dissapeared along with First Class SOLDIER Genesis Rhapsodos. Shortly after the desertion, Angeal Hewley, also product of the Jenova Project like Sephiroth and Genesis, leaves the organization. Angeal was the emotional heart of SOLDIER, acting as a mentor to the younger SOLDIERs and inspiring them to always hold on to their "SOLDIER honor". Once these two were gone, Zack, who was Angeal's protégé, was promoted to First Class and takes up Angeal's role as heart of SOLDIER, using many of his same lines. Later Lazard defects to join with Genesis, causing great chaos across the Planet. Zack and Sephiroth are sent to Nibelheim to fix the Reactor there. During the mission, a series of events result in Sephiroth denouncing his humanity, and destroying the entire town. After Zack is defeated by Sephiroth, a young Shinra Guard, Cloud Strife defeats him. Zack and Cloud are taken by Professor Hojo as test subjects in the next round experiments in the Jenova Project. Though Zack later escapes, taking a Mako poisoned Cloud with him, he is gunned down by the Shinra army just before reaching his destination, Midgar.

The Fall of SOLDIER

In Final Fantasy VII, while SOLDIER itself plays an important role in the story, actual members of SOLDIER are few and far between. This could possibly be attributed to the loss of personnel after the mass desertion, the disappearance of the Director of SOLDIER, and the loss of SOLDIER's three most prominent members (Genesis, Angeal, and Sephiroth). The appearances of SOLDIER members in the game are limited to enemies encountered during random battles and include SOLDIER 3rd Class members guarding the Shinra Science Department area on floors 68 and 69 of the Shinra Building, 2nd Class members that are stationed in Junon after Meteor is summoned, and SOLDIER 1st Class members guarding the Mako Cannon in Midgar. Cloud claims to have been a member, but this is a false memory created by the physiological damage Hojo's horrible experiments caused him as well as the trauma he experienced from the destruction of his hometown, and the death of his best friend, Zack. Even though Cloud was never a member of SOLDIER, he becomes strong enough in Final Fantasy VII to be mistaken for a 1st Class member. Because of the experiments, Cloud's eyes have the "glow" that makes people believe that he was a former member. After Shinra collapses, SOLDIER seems to have fallen with it. However, during the events of Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, Vincent encounters remnants of SOLDIER hiding out in the Shinra Mansion and in the ruins of Midgar.

Equipment

Artwork of the Materia Room in the SOLDIER Floor of Shinra Headquarters.

SOLDIER members are equipped with a set of combat fatigues colored to distinguish rank, though the highest ranking heroes of SOLDIER seem to forgo this formality. When shown in newer, better graphics, it can be seen that these are composed of sleeveless turtle-neck sweaters and baggy pants, with leather accents that hold on their armor in place and their weapon when its not in use. In Final Fantasy VII they were colored blue for Third Class, red for Second Class, and purple for First Class. They also wear body armor on the chest, head, and shoulders, and wield wide two-handed swords, along with several types of Materia and extra weapons, depending on class.

In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, SOLDIER members were given slightly different uniforms. 1st Class wore black uniforms traditionally (although Genesis and Sephiroth do not follow this), and do not seem to wear the helmets that other SOLDIER members wear. Unlike 2nd and 3rd Class, 1st Class SOLDIER members are given the privilege to choose whether or not to wear their own clothes instead of standard 1st Class uniforms. 2nd class wears a purple uniform, and 3rd class wears light blue uniforms. Their chest armor has also disappeared, and the only torso covering they have over their sleeveless turtle-necks is a leather belt-like wrapping with the SOLDIER logo embedded on the front that covers the lower stomach. However, Zack Fair wore neither red nor purple as a SOLDIER 2nd Class, but rather a dark blue, nor did he wear a helmet (though most likely to distinguish him from other SOLDIER members). Another distinctive mark is the "SOLDIER Sword", a simple longsword with a curved guard, with a small SOLDIER logo engraved in the middle. It is the default weapon for 3rd and 2nd class members, as well as 1st class, however most known 1st classes often use their own swords.

Techniques

Third Class SOLDIERs are armed with a flying sickle, which they employ in combat. They are also equipped with Sleep materia, and level 2 Bolt and Ice materia.

Second Class SOLDIERs use no materia, but employ a technique known as the Sword of Doom, which combines a physical attack with a Braver-like move.

First Class SOLDIERs also employ the Sword of Doom technique, and are equipped with Silence materia.

It is likely that SOLDIER equipment also depends on the situation. According to Crisis Core, it appears that SOLDIER members acquire Materia on missions, and get new equipment from the company itself, through a hatch on the SOLDIER floor.

1st Class privileges, however, informally include – the use of personal equipment, the use of rationed supplies outside of missions, and the right to veto orders. This is most obviously shown with Sephiroth's choice of clothing, Masamune sword, and advanced abilities. 1st Class SOLDIER members also have the option of fusing their Materia to use more powerful magic and abilities.

Known Members

  • Sephiroth: Known as Shinra's greatest SOLDIER, and easily the single most powerful human on the Planet. Ranked SOLDIER 1st Class. Wields the Masamune sword with ease, moves incredibly fast, has unbelievable strength, and is put to only the most dangerous and important assignments. Abandons SOLDIER and Shinra when he discovers the experiments that created him, then torches Nibelheim and finds JENOVA.
  • Genesis Rhapsodos: A 1st Class SOLDIER who possesses combat abilities that rank on-par to Sephiroth's. Genesis greatly envies Sephiroth's fame and status of hero and wishes desperately to become better than Sephiroth. Abandons Shinra, taking with him many other SOLDIER members, who then create an army of "Genesis Clones". Wields the Rapier sword, and uses powerful magic that can even hinder Sephiroth.
  • Angeal Hewley: A noble and honorable 1st Class SOLDIER, he puts his dreams and honor above all. He is best friends with Genesis and Sephiroth, and is forced to choose between his SOLDIER honor and his friendship with Genesis. Wields the massive Buster Sword as well as the classic broadsword of SOLDIER.
  • Zack Fair: A dedicated follower and friend of Angeal, Zack knows little at first of the dark secrets behind Shinra. At the start of Crisis Core, Zack is a 2nd Class SOLDIER member, but gets promoted to 1st early in the game. He obtains the Buster Sword from Angeal at his death, and was a subject to Hojo's experiments after the Nibelheim incident.
  • Kunsel: A 2nd Class SOLDIER member who is best friends with Zack. He is a helpful source of information, and seems to know more than anyone about the working of Shinra and the actions of other SOLDIER members.
  • Luxiere: A 2nd Class SOLDIER member who looks up to Zack as an idol, even suggesting that Zack should take over control of SOLDIER.
  • Nero and Weiss: Better known as Nero the Sable and Weiss the Immaculate of Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, Weiss and Nero are two brothers who show up at the end of Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- to carry away a seemingly lifeless Genesis. They are shown wearing 1st Class SOLDIER outfits, but despite Deepground being part of SOLDIER, it is unknown whether or not they are truly members because their belt had a different symbol.
  • Essai and Sebastian: Two members of SOLDIER appearing only in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-. They are experimented on by Fuhito, and must be eliminated in-game, with some help from Zack. A scene on the DMW for Tseng shows he and Zack walking up to a memorial for the two near Modeoheim; both their swords are shown stuck into the ground, crossing over each other.

Deepground

Main article: Deepground

Deepground was a top-secret branch of SOLDIER. Their existence was known only to President Shinra himself, as well as executives Scarlet, Heidegger, and Professor Hojo. The program was carried out beneath the streets of Midgar, in the secretive Mako Reactor 0.

In contrast to the normal SOLDIER program, different Deepground soldiers are subjected to different experiments for their creation, rather than the set procedure that produces normal SOLDIERs.


This article uses material from the "SOLDIER" article on the Final Fantasy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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