Northern Cave is a downloadable stage in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and comes packaged with Sephiroth's Challenger Pack as a part of Fighters Pass Volume 2.

Stage description

This stage takes place in the Planet's Northern Crater, the final area of Final Fantasy VII. The main fighting area is a large platform, with two smaller ones on either side, making it similar to Kalos Pokémon League. According to Masahiro Sakurai, the design of the platform is inspired by the area where Jenova SYNTHESIS is fought in Dissidia Final Fantasy.

The stage's background depicts an abridged version of the final moments of Final Fantasy VII. It begins with the stage flying into the crater, with the airship the Highwind also entering in presumably with Cloud's party onboard. It then descends into the crater, passing by the rock formations Cloud and company used to descend further into the core.

The scene then transitions down further into the Cave, specifically where the spell Holy in its sealed state can be found. After a few seconds, Holy begins to activate, causing a wide explosion, with the stage and the Highwind hastily escaping the crater. The background's camera then moves upwards, just in time to see Meteor descending into the planet. Holy can then be seen bursting out of the crater and latching on to Meteor, attempting to stop it while the Highwind flies by the stage in its escape. The Planet's Lifestream then flows outward from the surface to help boost Holy's effectiveness. It will then fade to white, serving as the transition to return to the stage's starting point, thus completing the cycle.

Much like all iterations of Final Destination, none of the events have an effect on the battle or on the stage itself apart from a few brief visual changes.

Battlefield and Omega forms

As with all Battlefield and Omega forms in Ultimate, the stage has been reshaped to resemble the game's Battlefield and Final Destination. The background sequence will play virtually unchanged in either form.

Origin

Northern Cave is the setting for the final battle of Final Fantasy VII, situated in the Planet's northmost point. The crater was formed when the alien lifeform Jenova first crashed into the planet 2,000 years prior to the game's events, where it was sealed by the Cetra and uncovered years later by the Shinra Electric Company.

After the events of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Sephiroth jumps into the Planet's Lifestream and begins to wander around it, carrying the head of Jenova with him. He eventually reaches the core and enters hibernation by encasing himself in Mako in preparation for the Reunion, an event theorized by mad scientist and Sephiroth's father Professor Hojo where those containing Jenova's cells would unwittingly converge into one place.

After manipulating Cloud into giving him the Black Materia, Sephiroth summons Meteor to attack the planet with the intent of absorbing the Lifestream to attain godhood. Though ally Aerith Gainsborough managed to summon Holy before her murder, Cloud and his party are forced to find a way to destroy him after finding out his will is preventing Holy's activation. At first, the cave is shielded by a barrier that had been concealing Sephiroth from the Weapons, Planet-born lifeforms that protect it from all threats. Shinra took the barrier down with their Sister Ray, though they themselves were killed in turn by both Diamond Weapon (who was simultaneously killed by the Sister Ray in the process of destroying Sephiroth's barrier) and Cloud's party, and the latter defeated Hojo to stop him from giving Sephiroth more power with a second blast from the Sister Ray, before making their final stand against Sephiroth.

Upon Sephiroth's demise, Holy activates and the group escape the crater via the Highwind, though it appears to be too late as Meteor is about to fully fall and end the world. However, the Lifestream begins to flow from the Planet and merges with Holy to try and stop Meteor. In the original Final Fantasy VII, the ending was purposely left ambiguous as to whether or not the attempt was a success; the final scene, set 500 years later, shows the Planet thriving and intact, indicating Meteor has been destroyed. However, no humans are seen, instead only showing Red XIII (a beastlike member of Cloud's party) and his children. It wouldn't be until the film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children that reveals that Meteor was stopped at the last second, but had also succeeded in causing a considerable amount of damage to the Planet, including the destruction of Midgar.

The Highwind airship featured in Final Fantasy VII and seen in this stage was developed by Shinra engineer and eventual ally Cid Highwind. Though initially confiscated by the company after a failed space flight attempt, Cid and the AVALANCHE crew steal it back during the Meteorfall crisis, and becomes available for player use. Though initially propeller-powered, it is capable of detaching them to unleash powerful jet engines near the end of the game (which can be seen briefly in the stage before it loops). Airships themselves are a recurring element in the series, as is the Highwind name itself most notably with the likes of Kain Highwind of Final Fantasy IV fame as well as the aforementioned Cid.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Northern Cave is the ninth stage to have also appeared in another fighting game (as it appears in the Dissidia Final Fantasy series under the name "Planet's Core"), the other eight being Fountain of Dreams, Green Hill Zone, Pyrosphere, Suzaku Castle, Midgar, Dracula's Castle, King of Fighters Stadium, and Spring Stadium.
  • Lady Luck can be seen on the side of the Highwind, as revealed by Masahiro Sakurai on his Twitter account.
  • Much like Sephiroth, Northern Cave is the first DLC stage that requires to be unlocked (albeit optionally through a limited-time mode).
  • When switching between the regular, Battlefield, and Omega forms in the Stage Select Screen, each preview image shows a different section of the background sequence.
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