How to Acquire Cloud Strife in "Final Fantasy Tactics"
By Shea Laverty
Updated September 22, 2017
"Final Fantasy Tactics" has a number of special characters with unique skills to recruit, but none requires quite as much effort as Cloud Strife, the star of "Final Fantasy VII." Recruiting Cloud requires you to obtain every other hidden character in the game, minus one, and undertake a series of challenging battles. Your reward is several powerful additional characters, including this iconic hero of the "Final Fantasy" series. Before you start though, make sure you've beaten Belias and entered Chapter Four and that Mustadio is still alive and in your party -- he's required to trigger the events that lead to Cloud.
Recruiting Beowulf, Reis and Construct 8
Travel to the Clockwork City of Goug to watch a brief cutscene. Mustadio's father Besrudio will show off something strange he's found in the depths of the city: a mysterious steel ball with a slot depicting the Aquarius symbol.
Travel to the Mining Town of Gollund and listen to the rumor about monsters in the mines at the tavern.
Travel to the Royal City of Lesalia. You'll encounter Beowulf, a Templar looking for your help cleaning out the mines in Gollund.
Return to Gollund. You'll be brought into a series of battles, where your primary objective is to rescue Reis, a mysterious dragon with whom Beowulf is closely connected. Each battle has a unique set of enemies. The archeodaemons Syneugh and Ahriman of the final round can be quite irritating, so try to end the battle as quickly as possible by nuking down Syneugh. You'll be given the Aquarius Stone for your efforts.
Return to Goug. A cutscene will play, detailing the use of the stone to activate Construct 8. Construct 8 will then join your party, enabling you to put this steel giant to work smashing your foes into pancakes.
Conquering Nelveska Temple
Continue on the main quest to Zeltennia Castle. You'll meet Delita, and engage in battle with High Confessor Zalmour. This battle is fairly easy, with defeating Zalmour the primary objective. You can beat him down with little trouble, especially if you did extensive leveling to defeat Belias at the end of Chapter 3..
Visit the tavern in Zeltennia and listen to the rumor about the cursed island, Nelveska.
Continue on the main quest and complete the battle at Beddha Sandwaste. Beddha can be a tough fight against Barich, who has the same moves as Mustadio and an enchanted pistol worth stealing. Otherwise, defeating him right away is the easiest way to win.
Continue along the main quest to Fort Besselat. Besselat is broken into two battles: an assault on the main gate or sneak attack on the rear, and the battle to control the dam's sluice. Both are fairly straightforward, although the second battle doesn't end until you open the sluice.
Travel to the Trade City of Sal Ghidos. A cutscene will play, where a familiar face will appear: Aerith, selling flowers. Buy the flower when she asks -- it's only one Gil and necessary to unlock Cloud.
Return to Goug. Another cutscene will play, this time with Mustadio and Besrudio trying to activate a strange device. This device, like Construct 8, features a slot and is inscribed with the symbol for Cancer.
Travel to Nelveska Temple and confront Construct 7. Construct 7 is exactly like Construct 8, meaning he's immune to magic and hits like a freight train, as well as having a powerful ranged attack. His moves deplete his health, making them a double-edged sword. A concentrated assault will defeat him quickly. Upon defeating him, you'll receive the Cancer Zodiac Stone. The stone's power will also transform Reis, revealing the dragon to be a human woman and Beowulf's lover, who can then join your party. She brings several unique abilities to the table.
Return to Goug. A cutscene will play, wherein Besrudio uses the Cancer Stone to activate the device, which is revealed to be a dimensional transporter. A confused Cloud will appear from it, before running off in a daze.
Return to Sal Ghidos. Cloud, recognizing the flower girl as Aerith, will attempt to save her from some thugs, triggering a battle. The objective is to defend Cloud -- no small task as he starts out with no weapon and at level 1.
Defeat the bandits while keeping Cloud alive. At the end of the battle, he'll offer to join you. You'll now have Cloud, sans weapon and ridiculously underleveled. His Limit command will also be unavailable until you get his signature weapon, the Materia Blade.
Travel to Mount Bervania and engage in a random battle. It may take several passes, but eventually you'll get pulled into a fight here.
Bring a character with a low Brave stat and the Treasure Hunter movement ability. Cloud's Materia Blade is located at the top of the tall pillar on the volcano and must be found using Treasure Hunter.
Bring a character with low Brave and the Treasure Hunter movement ability to Nelveska temple, as well as a monster like Construct 8. There are pillars all over the map with powerful rare items hidden in them. It may take a few attempts and even some healing of Construct 7 to acquire them all, but they are valuable enough to be worthwhile.
Cloud has both a strong Magic stat and 65 Faith at the outset, making him a good candidate for magic as a secondary skill. Paired with his strong attack stat, he can be a powerful multitasker, although being limited to the relatively weak Materia Blade does hamper his physical damage.
When leveling Cloud on another job, he will require the Equip Sword support ability from the Knight job and his Materia Blade to use his Limit skills.
As he is level 1, Cloud is a touch squishy at the outset. As you level him up, he will become tougher and less likely to die. Cloud's starting gear is a Thief's Cap, Black Garb and Featherweave Cloak.
Cloud's Limit abilities are generally powerful, especially his latter moves. This is balanced, however, by a couple of seriously lousy drawbacks. First, his moves only target panels, not enemies, so if a target in his Limit's area of effect moves, the attack will fail. Second, his moves take a ridiculous amount of time to charge, with later moves like Omnislash and Cherry Blossom taking upwards of 20 turns to charge.
Because Cloud's moves are so slow, he practically requires the Time Mage support ability Swiftness. This ability reduces charge times, although his skills will still require a considerable charge. Having a Time Mage cast Haste on him can further reduce charge times.