Cloud Strife (クラウド・ストライフ Kuraudo Sutoraifu?) is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and a major character in Compilation of Final Fantasy VII from the Final Fantasy series by Square Enix. He appears as a downloadable fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, and is the sixth third-party character to be a playable fighter in the Super Smash Bros. series altogether following Solid Snake, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man, Pac-Man, and Ryu. Cloud returns to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a veteran fighter.
Cloud is an arrogant and proud swordsman at first, claiming to be an ex-member of an elite warrior unit called SOLDIER. He assists an environmental terrorist group named AVALANCHE, a faction which his childhood friend, Tifa Lockhart, is a member of. AVALANCHE's goal is to save the planet from the hands of the ShinRa Electric Company, which drains the life-energy of the planet, known as the Lifestream, to fuel both its machines and ambitions.
Eventually, Cloud discovers that his memories are false, being instead the memories of his friend Zack Fair, who he witnessed gunned down by ShinRa troops, memories that Cloud later absorbed into his own psyche out of trauma. Both Cloud and Zack were experimented on by a ShinRa scientist named Hojo, in order to become "Sephiroth Clones". They were infused with JENOVA Cells (genetic code of an alien) and Mako (the industrialized energy from the Lifestream). Both were labelled as failures and fled.
With the help of his friends, Cloud learns there is more to being a hero than possessing physical strength and fame and comes to terms with his own fractured mental state and self, trying to find a meaning in his existence and stop the plans of Sephiroth, a former legendary member of SOLDIER, who has a plan to purge the world by summoning a large meteor to crush the earth.
Cloud's weapon is known as the Buster Sword, an incredibly powerful bladed weapon that is massive in size; Cloud being able to lift the sword is a feat of strength all on its own. The Buster Sword is capable of carrying out attacks and some magic abilities provided that Materia is applied to it. The sword was originally owned by SOLDIER Angeal Hewley, who gave it to Zack Fair in his dying moments as a reminder of his honor; in turn, Zack gave it to Cloud after sacrificing himself to defend Cloud from a Shinra army as a reminder of his dreams of being a hero.
In Advent Children, Cloud uses a new weapon called the "Fusion Sword", a large weapon consisting of six interconnecting swords that form a larger blade resembling the original Buster Sword. His former sword rests at the place Zack died.
Originally voiceless in Final Fantasy VII, from Kingdom Hearts onward Cloud would be voiced by Takahiro Sakurai and Steve Burton (the latter who does not reprise his role in Smash Bros.).
Buster Sword/Fusion Swords
In the original Final Fantasy VII, little information was given on the Buster Sword's origin beyond the fact that it was previously wielded by SOLDIER Zack Fair. However, in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, the origins of the Buster Sword were revealed as owned by SOLDIER Angeal Hewley, whose father forged it to commemorate Angeal joining the elite SOLDIER program. However, due to the symbolic value and the subsequent death of his father, Angeal seldom uses the Buster Sword unless necessary. However, after a confrontation with his protege Zack Fair in Modeoheim, Angeal entrusts the Buster Sword as a symbol of his dreams and honor. Zack would continue to use the Buster Sword until his last stand against Shinra troops on the outskirts of Midgar, and entrusts the weapon to a vegetative Cloud before passing away.
Following Meteorfall, Cloud discards using the Buster Sword to preserve Zack's memory in favor of wielding the Fusion Swords, which consists of a single main blade and five auxiliary blades, which can be combined into a single sword that resembles the Buster Sword. Cloud uses the Fusion Swords in his battle against the Remnants of Sephiroth, Bahaumat SIN, and a resurrected Sephiroth.
Cloud uses the Buster Sword/Fusion Swords in all his attacks except his pummel, throws, and down tilt.
As a playable character
Cloud was announced to appear in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U as a downloadable newcomer during the Nintendo Direct on November 12, 2016. This makes him the sixth third-party character to appear in the game, and the first representative of Square Enix. According to Masahiro Sakurai, Cloud was the most requested Final Fantasy character to appear in Super Smash Bros. In all regions, Cloud is voiced by Takahiro Sakurai.
Cloud mostly fights using the Buster Sword, a giant sword given to him by his deceased friend Zack Fair. This makes most of his attacks have long range and good power, although they generally have more start-up lag to compensate. Three of Cloud's Special Moves are his Limit Breaks from Final Fantasy VII. He also contains a Limit Break mechanic, which functions similarly to Little Mac's Power Meter, but can also charge it manually using his down special move, Limit Charge. Once filled, Cloud can perform a Limit Break on any of his special moves and his down special move is replaced with Finishing Touch, an attack that deals 1% damage, but has enormous launching power. Cloud's Final Smash is Omnislash, his ultimate Limit Break and considered to be his signature attack in the Final Fantasy series.
- The protagonist of FINAL FANTASY VII, Cloud wields the enormous Buster Sword, a memento from his comrade Zack. Once a SOLDIER of Shinra, he now fights as a mercenary against the corporation he originally served. His decision to join AVALANCHE's insurgence, however, will transform his destiny.
- FINAL FANTASY VII (11/1997)
- Cloud (Alt.)
- Filling the Limit Gauge allows Cloud to perform a Limit Break, supercharging his next special move. His down special becomes Finishing Touch. With a huge swing of his sword, Cloud summons a whirlwind that inflicts only 1% damage, but boasts brutal launch power. Go for a KO while foes' damage is still low!
- FINAL FANTASY VII (11/1997)
As a playable character
- Cloud was the most requested Final Fantasy character to appear in Smash Bros..
- Masahiro Sakurai stated that he would have included other Final Fantasy protagonists such as Bartz Klauser or Terra Branford, because he felt that beyond Cloud, not many players would know who they are.
- Cloud is the only third-party character whose debut game never released on a Nintendo system in any form. Though Final Fantasy VII originally began development as a Super Nintendo game, before moving to the Nintendo 64 and then finally moving to and releasing on the PlayStation.
- Cloud is the only third-party character to not debut in the first game of his series
- Cloud is one of the only three swordfighters in the Super Smash Bros. series to have the ability to wall jump, the others being Toon Link and Young Link.
- Cloud's appearance in Smash Bros. marks his third appearance in a fighting game, the first being Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring and the Dissidia series.
- Cloud is the third character to be voiced in Japanese in all regions, following Marth and Roy.
- This may be due to Steve Burton (Cloud's English voice actor) being a union-based worker, which only allows him to voice Cloud in credited works (which would not be possible due to Smash 4 being a non-union project), and the terms of his contract prevented him from being uncredited but able to voice his character, which is the path Antony Del Rio (voice of Pit and Dark Pit) took.
- Cloud is the first third-party character to debut on the Nintendo console, the second being Ren Amamiya.