Cloud, along with Aerith, Tifa, Yuffie, Cid, and Leon, were originally set to appear in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. However, they were removed from the game because, according to Nomura, there were too many plot lines already, and it would have gotten confusing.
Kingdom Hearts χ
Sometime before Sora and company arrived at the Olympus Coliseum, Cloud struck a deal with Hades: if Cloud eliminates Hercules in battle, Hades will lead him to his nemesis Sephiroth. However, Cloud also has to fight Sora, so that he may move on to Hercules in the preliminaries rankings. After their battle, Cloud is either defeated, or comes out victorious, but refrains from killing Sora. The outcome of the fight does not affect the storyline, and the only reward for winning are the 80 experience points rewarded. However, as Cloud does not kill Sora, the results are not favorable for Hades; forcing him to summon Cerberus. The three-headed beast and guardian of the Underworld catches Cloud off-guard, pinning him to the ground.
At this point, Hercules comes to the rescue, defending the unconscious Cloud. Sora then moves in to finish the battle, giving Hercules the chance to take Cloud to safety.
Afterwards, Cloud waits at the entrance to the Coliseum, deep in thought. Sora asks him why Cloud worked for someone as shady as Hades, and Cloud replies that he was looking for someone, and tried to use the darkness to his advantage, but failed. He admits that he fell into darkness, and couldn't find the light. But Sora comforts him, saying that he too is searching for his light. Cloud then grants Sora the Sonic Blade ability, and walks off, but not before Sora offers a re-match. Cloud confidently says he'll pass, but later in the game, he can be fought in certain cups at the Olympus Coliseum.
Cloud manages to locate Sephiroth in the Coliseum, and both express that they have been searching for each other. Cloud also feels that in order to awaken from his nightmare, he has to defeat his darkness; namely, Sephiroth. Sephiroth tries to convince him to turn to that darkness, but Cloud refuses, and the two battle. The outcome of the battle is unknown.
Later on, Cloud is led by Cid to Hollow Bastion, and reunites with Leon, Aerith, and Yuffie in the Library.
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories
Cloud appears on the Olympus Coliseum floor in Castle Oblivion, constructed from Sora's memories. Again, he serves as a mercenary for Hades. However, Cloud is working for Hades to regain his lost memories, not to find Sephiroth. Hades promises to help him, but only if Cloud competes in the games and kills Hercules.
Completely ignoring Sora, Cloud confronts Hercules. However, Cloud only manages to wear Hercules down. Hades, no longer having any use for Cloud, fires him and knocks him out. Hades then attempts to kill Hercules on his own now that he is exhausted. However, Sora interferes and defeats the God of the Underworld.
After the battle, Cloud wakes up and apologizes for his actions. Sora again comforts him, saying that the important memories are never truly gone. Sora also says that even the tiniest thing can help a person remember things they thought they had forgotten. Cloud shows his gratitude for Sora's help by granting him the Cloud card. However, he declines Sora's offer of joining them.
Kingdom Hearts II
Sora and company meet up with Cloud again in Hollow Bastion, noting that he has changed somewhat due to Sephiroth's influence. He reveals to Sora that he is seeking to defeat his darkness, which is embodied by Sephiroth. He asks Sora to help him, but also warns him that Sephiroth will try and turn Sora to the darkness. During their meeting, Aerith also speaks to him. Not wanting her to follow him, he promises her that no matter how far he goes, he will always come back to Hollow Bastion. Though Aerith initially feels that he doesn't seem to be so sure, she is, in the end, confident in him.
Cloud aids the residents of Hollow Bastion in defending against the Heartless invasion. He and Leon are seen at the Ravine Trail, back to back with their swords raised as Heartless surround them. The two banter playfully back and forth, then proceed to fend off the Heartless. However, as he fights, he ends up separated from Leon, and Sephiroth makes his appearance. Cloud expresses his belief that once Sephiroth is defeated, his darkness will go away. However, Sephiroth reminds Cloud of his dark past, though it is not elaborated on. Cloud denies it, claiming that Sephiroth doesn't know him, but the winged being says otherwise. Tifa, who had been searching fervently for Cloud, also arrives. However, her presence causes Cloud to see the light, making him wince. Sephiroth then vanishes, and Cloud runs off before Tifa can get to him.
Cloud is then seen with Leon again, who is worried about Sora, Donald, and Goofy when they are teleported to the Realm of Darkness. Cloud assures him they are strong enough to take care of themselves. As he leaves, he remarks that Sora is "a lucky kid".
After the 1000 Heartless battle, Cloud keeps at a distance from the others and avoids fighting the Heartless from Space Paranoids, knowing that his friends have enough strength to fend off the MCP's tricks. After the MCP is defeated, he regroups with Leon when Tron shows them a sight of when their city was first built, and reminded everyone of its true name.
Cloud, still searching for Sephiroth, can be found in the town center after this. Sora, having just fought Sephiroth, reveals that he is at the Dark Depths, prompting Cloud to go off to settle the score. Upon arriving, Cloud becomes enraged when Sephiroth comments on how Cloud can never let go of his darkness and the two battle. However, Sephiroth claims that defeating him will be futile, for Cloud's darkness will always hold him back. Sephiroth's words begin to drag him into the depths of despair, but Tifa appears to help him. Ignoring Cloud's warning to leave, Tifa retorts that as long as Cloud is surrounded in light, the darkness within him can't be reached by Sephiroth. Tifa attacks Sephiroth as Cloud watches, but when flashes of light blind Cloud, Sephiroth attempts to strike him. However, Cloud successfully parries the attack, and takes a stand between Sephiroth and Tifa. Tifa offers Cloud her light, and though Sephiroth insists that the light doesn't suit Cloud, he begins to glow with a bright light, and the fight resumes. In a final brilliant flash of light, Cloud and Sephiroth rise into the air and vanish.
Although concerned for his whereabouts, Sora explains to Donald and Goofy that he went to fight a great battle. With Cloud's disappearance, Tifa decides that she will continue search for him and gives Sora the Fenrir Keychain as thanks for helping.
Kingdom Hearts coded
Data-Cloud makes a deal with Data-Hades about visiting other worlds with the Secret of Heroes. He wants to break away from his past and his powerlessness after he takes care of Data-Hercules and Data-Sora. It seems the reason he bargained with Data-Hades is so he could become stronger to protect someone. He learned from Data-Sora and Data-Hercules that his true strength comes from his heart when he protects someone; for example, blocking one of Data-Hades's fireballs from hitting his allies.
Kingdom Hearts III
A statue of Cloud appears as the Narrator explains how Hades's used him to further his plans but failed.
Cloud is twenty-two years old at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories and twenty-three during the events of Kingdom Hearts II.
In Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts coded, Cloud has an appearance similar to his appearance in Final Fantasy VII. However, he also has a flowing red cape and a metal claw on his left hand, much like Vincent Valentine, another character in Final Fantasy VII, though there are some notable differences. Protruding from his back is one large demonic wing, a counterpart to Sephiroth's angelic one. The wing is not always extended, sometimes only appearing when he uses Omnislash. He also wields the Buster Sword, though it is covered in bandages, possibly as a symbol of his bound self and past.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud's design changes dramatically. He is dressed in his outfit from Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, with his hairstyle changing to match. He wields his sword from Advent Children as well, although it is bandaged like the Buster Sword. The outlines of the component blades appear to be simply engraved, rather than actual edges. His wing is absent, although his face is nearly the same as Sephiroth's; an oddity remarked on by Goofy.
Cloud seems to be notably stoic and melancholy, possessing similar melancholic characteristics as he did in Advent Children. In spite of this, he is seen engaging in playful banter with Leon during the 1,000 Heartless invasion of Hollow Bastion, hinting at a friendly rivalry between the two.
In an interview, Tetsuya Nomura stated that while Cloud makes a big deal of looking for Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts II, he is actually running from something, the "something warm" that Tifa was after in Advent Children. It is likely that his motivations for running, a combination of guilt and worry that he will be unable to protect the people he cares about, are the same in the Kingdom Hearts universe as they were in the Final Fantasy universe.
When fighting, Cloud remains in a "combo" of astonishingly rapid sword strokes and occasionally Thunder-based magic attacks, only fighting normally when he seems to be winning and Sora or the others are near. His attacks include: "Sonic Rave/Blade" where he dashes through his opponents; he can also slash his opponents using a powerful combo called "Cross Slash"; he can use "Braver", where he jumps in the air and comes down hard. When enraged, he activates "Omnislash", where he surrounds himself with lightning and starts flying and attacking in a Sephiroth-like manner. Essentially, his entire moveset consists of his original Limit Breaks.
Although Cloud is a much weaker boss than Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts, the fact he was able to go head-to-head with him in Kingdom Hearts II implies that he wasn't fighting as hard as he could against Sora. Since he acted as a supporting character, but not as a party member in Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud is immune to damage during the period of time he helps Sora's party.
Cloud's basic technique is Cross Slash (凶斬り, Kyougiri?, lit. "Misfortune Slash"), a three-hit sword combo with his Buster Sword which traces out the kanji "凶" (Kyou, lit. "Misfortune"). He can also perform Cross-slash+ (凶斬り・改, Kyougiri Kai?, lit. "Misfortune Slash Revision"), in which he teleports behind an opponent before Cross-slash. His strongest technique is Omnislash (超究武神覇斬, Choukyūbushinhazan?, lit. "Super-ultimate Warrior God's Mastery Slash"), where he extends his wing and begins flying around the arena while performing heavy slashes on his opponent. In Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud instead uses Omnislash ver5, based on a technique introduced in Final Fantasy VII Advent Children.
Cloud is, by far, the most powerful ally in Kingdom Hearts II; along with being immune to damage, he is able to deal a large amount of damage in a very short amount of time. When using a cheat device to place him in the party, he often single-handedly obliterates even the most dangerous bosses in the game.
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories
Cloud appears as a summon card after clearing Olympus Coliseum's Room of Truth. When his card is used, Cloud arrives and unleashes two successive sword slashes. Stocking two Cloud cards creates the Cross-slash sleight, which increases his attack to a three-slash combo. Three cards form Omnislash, where Cloud sweeps in on enemies and attacks repeatedly, while the player presses when prompted.
Cloud is also required for Cross-slash+, which performs similarly to Cross-slash, except Cross-slash+ targets only one enemy. Additionally, Cloud can be used as part of magic sleights that require the use of any summon card, including Confuse, Gifted Miracle, Tornado, and Terror.
Kingdom Hearts II
Kingdom Hearts coded
Cloud appears as a party member in Olympus Coliseum, and he uses Omnislash once again as a special attack.
Cloud Strife was originally the main protagonist from Final Fantasy VII, a console role-playing game that was developed by Square and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for Sony's PlayStation. It was released in Japan on January 31, 1997, and in North America on September 7, 1997.
Cloud was born and raised in the small town of Nibelheim, the same village Tifa is from. When he was 14, he aspired to be in SOLDIER, an elite military group working for the Shinra Company.
Contrary to his journal entry in Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud never made it into SOLDIER in Final Fantasy VII, but instead suffered a traumatic event that caused him to adopt memories from Zack Fair, a friend of his who was an actual SOLDIER 1st Class. He and his allies seek to defeat Sephiroth, a legendary SOLDIER who had burned down Nibelheim, killing many people including Tifa's father.
Notes and references
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