I know what you're thinking, “this is just another video game pasta”. However, that isn't true, my experience has been unlike any other. I was innocently playing Final Fantasy VII on my Play Station 2, for what was probably the tenth time; I never seemed to get sick of that classic game. I was flying on the airship in disc 2, when I suddenly remembered that a hidden scene could be viewed in Shinra Mansion, if returned to on disc 2. Apparently, the scene depicted the true events behind the Nibelheim Incident, specifically Zack rescuing Cloud from the mansion's basement in a flashback. I eagerly landed the Highwind near the Nibel Mountains and walked into town; I truly regret doing that now.
Instead of the normal music that plays when I enter the town, the creepy music that you hear when you see Jenova's headless body, in the Shinra building was playing. Not only that, it was much louder than normal, and accompanied by an occasional heartbeat sound. The town itself also seemed off, as the windmill wasn't spinning, and Sephiroth clones were gathered around the outside of Shinra Mansion. When spoken to, they only screamed, more loudly and realistically, than I thought possible on the old game. No text box would come up when they were spoken to either. Despite my growing fear, my inner nerd told me to press on, so I could learn the truth.
The interior of the mansion looked far worse than it should have. Deep scratches from untold monsters covered the walls, and the bodies of many NPCs and a few Sephiroth clones littered the floor. That haunting Jenova music was still playing, and blood was pooled around most of the bodies. When spoken too, the bodies would disappear, but the blood would remain. Nothing like this had ever happened to me in a game before, so I was (and a still am) genuinely afraid, yet I felt a had to press on, to satisfy my regrettable curiosity. As I came to the stairs, the gigantic skeleton of the beast Lost Number was hanging across the stained glass windows. As I tried walk past it to another room, small flames burst forth in its eye sockets, I heard it say “This mansion is the beginning of your nightmare, one that shall never cease” in a terrible low growling voice. It then laughed a terrible guttural yowl; then its bones collapsed, leaving nothing but white dust. I nearly shut the game off then and there since, there was no voice-acting in that game, and the graphics were becoming increasingly realistic. Foolishly, I swallowed my fear and descended the spiral staircase into the basement of the mansion.
In the dark earthen passageway leading to the lab, I knew instinctively that dark things were afoot here; unfortunately, I was correct. As I walked past the room where I found Vincent earlier, I saw that the door was made bones now, they almost looked like the bones from Guard Hounds, as the signature tentacle was present among the bones. Luckily, Vincent was not in my party at the time, I shudder to think of what would have occurred if he had been. The Jenova music was still blasting away, and the heartbeat was becoming increasingly common, As I reached the lab, an FMV began to play, but not the one I came to see.
It showed Hojo in FMV form performing a terrible experiment of some sort. There was a body on the operating table, but not Vincent’s like it had really been. Instead a gargantuan fusion of beast and what had once been a man lay on the table. It was at least 10 feet tall, probably more, and had pupiless red eyes staring into oblivion. It's mouth was open in a snarl, revealing long yellowed fangs. It also appeared to have fur large, thick, black furred arms, all lying in different directions. Words appeared on the bottom of the screen in blood red, showing that Hojo was talking to himself. His next quotes are paraphrased as I do not remember them exactly. He said “that wretched Lost Number was a miserable failure, but that of course is due to the use of inferior specimens. If only that Ancient girl hadn't escaped along with Red XIII. No matter, when this is finished, the world will know true terror, and fall under my absolute dominion!” He then laughed in that horrible nasally voice of his, and sticks some type of pitch dark materia in the beast's chest, but I can tell it's not the Black Materia. The materia begins to glow blood-red and the operating wounds close on the beast.
The FMV ends and Hojo turns around to see the party. I nearly jumped out of my skin when he started talking out loud. “Ahh my pitiable test subjects are finally here” Said Hojo in his whiny voice. “Your bodies will yield valuable data when Darkstrider is finished with you!” continues Hojo out loud. Finally he said “and now Cloud, you shall learn the true, fell, power of the dark!” At this instant the basement became very dark, and Hojo disappeared from view. I saw two adjacent red orbs come into view before vanishing into black mist. At this moment I was absolutely terrified and I made Cloud run for the stairs as fast as he would go, but he seemed to be in slow motion. As I was about the reach the long spiral staircase, the Darkstrider materialized in front of me. The Darkstrider said in a demonic voice “you cannot escape he who walks beyond the light!” he then rushed toward Cloud and a battle ensued. Unfortunately, I continued to watch.
A twisted, evil version of the boss battle theme started playing. Instead of the normal faces on the party, they all had look of terrible fear on their faces, that I had never seen before. The Darkstrider says “you cannot perish here Cloud, join my legion of the undead, and suffer eternally!” he then breathed a dark miasma of gases upon Cloud. It did 9999 damage to him, but he didn't die; his face took on a skeletal look, and parts of his body crumbled away to reveal too-detailed organs, including a still-pulsating heart. Cloud immediately attacked Barret and Tifa who simply die, albeit with bloodcurdling screams and moans. As Cloud slices them with his sword, the two die normally, but their bodies disappear in a dark mist, and do not reappear. Cloud's large sword, also has copious amounts of blood on it, as well as looking sharper than normal. The battle ends, but the victory music doesn't play, and Cloud doesn’t do his victory pose. When the screen returns to normal the Darkstrider begins to approach Zombie Cloud. I watched transfixed with horror, horrendously afraid at what he would do.
That's when something completely unexpected happened, a somewhat realistic version of Jenova SYNTHESIS flew down the stairs and tackled the Darkstrider. I was so shocked I dropped the controller, and zombie Cloud moved on his own. and left the mansion without issue; while Jenova and the Darkstrider were duking it out. However, just before Zombie Cloud left Nibelheim, Jenova SYNTHESIS came out of the mansion, and devoured Cloud's still-beating heart. Cloud immediately collapsed and the screen went black. I was dearly wishing for the game to end at this point, but I received something far worse. Instead of the game over screen, my eyes are met with a seemingly post-apocalyptic world, in FMV format. Midgar lies in ruins with terrible beasts twisted by Mako roam the charred husk of the former city. All five WEAPONS roam the world, each taking its own territory, and fighting others to defend it; far different than their original intention. Diamond WEAPON rules the Eastern continent, Ruby WEAPON the Western continent, and Ultima WEAPON the Northern continent. Emerald WEAPON and Sapphire WEAPON rule the seas. All bear terrible battle scars, and their bodies partially bloodstained. Oddly, the heads of some important characters appear to be impaled to their spikes, including Cid, Rufus, and Tseng, all eyeless and scarred. I wanted to look away and leave long before, but some unseen force seemed to glue me to the chair.
Also, Sephiroth is shown crystallized in Mako at the northern crater, with Jenova nearby. Finally, what appears to be the spirit of the Darkstrider appears near the ruins of Nibelheim, but only at night. Lastly, a view of The Planet is shown with the words “the world fell into ruin, and now you shall perish with it”. Then there is nothing but static accompanied by screams. I immediately unplugged the PS2, and ran to my room, to escape the nightmarish ordeal. I haven't been able to turn on the game since then, nor have I ever figured out what caused the strange happenings. All I know is that two red orbs will spontaneously appear in the darkness every once in a while, before disappearing a few seconds later. In fact, I think they're watching you right now...