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I've been replaying FF7 since it was re-released for PC this summer.

I've gotten to the part near the end of the game where the characters enter the Northen Crater to face Sephiroth. I only went in to get the final items/materia and train up before going back out to face the Weapons and get Clouds limit, etc...

However, it seems I've hit a glitch. I placed my save crystal in the first room where the characters meet up to decide which path they should take. There is a pillar towards the back of the room, which is the only way out of the northern crater, but I can't climb it. No matter what I do, I cannot get Cloud to climb that pillar.

I have continued through the crater a bit more right up until the point of no return (just before entering the core to fight Jenova and Sephiroth...), when the characters meet up a second time and give you some items they found. Instead of going through to the end, I went back towards the entrance, but I still cannot climb out.

I have tried to use a save-editor to alter my party's position in the game - but since the re-release uses Cloud-Saves, it keeps removing my modified save and replacing it. I disconnected my internet to try and prevent this, but the game must be detecting that it's modified and deleting the save file (it's ok, I have a backup).

I don't have any saves prior to this point, so I would really appreciate it if someone would be able to suggest a work around for this issue... I'm not really keen on starting over!

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I have a very very vague recollection of entering that crater being a one way until you finish sephiroth off ;/ –  James Sep 13 '12 at 23:17
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@James: Nope, you should be able to leave the crater all the way up until you enter the final boss battle. :) –  cloudymusic Sep 13 '12 at 23:31
    
The wikia says there's a bug involving the team split and save crystal, which can actually make that the point of no return... –  Fluttershy Sep 13 '12 at 23:34
    
I recall the some thing as James. Entering the crater was one way. –  Ids Sep 14 '12 at 2:05
    
I Have replayed 7 more times than I can count. I've never heard of said bug, but I can confirm without a shred of a doubt that the crater is leavable up until a point-of-no-return. As long as you never past that point, you should be able to leave. This point occurs shortly after the room with the jungle\ish stream\river that houses the magic pots. –  Ender Sep 14 '12 at 6:04
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This seems to be a well know bug with using the Save Crystal. This is discusse here, here and here among other places from a Google web search.

Obviously in previous versions for the PC the save game edit should work fine for you (I myself have never experienced this glitch), but if you are having problems with this new version then it is obvious that they have gone through the effort to prevent it for a reason. So even if you do find a workaround, you are probably going to end up with a "hacky" file.

Personally I would go for a restart. Hey, it's FF7 after all, there is always reason for "one more playthrough".

Again, personally, I would have waiting until just before the point of no return to use my save crystal (my first ever playthrough I used it at the end of the first room, and spent hours crying for having to work through so many more battles before dying at Sephiroth - I restarted in the end).

Anyway, I find the crater is generally only good for fast materia upgrading by using the Magic pots. Back in my must-be-level-100 days, I used to use the small islands around the Mideel area for exp growth - there are some sort of green grasshopper type creatures that come in packs of 5 (they are also good for building limit breaks too)

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I also used the Mideel area to level up on my very first playthrough back in 1997! I remember the day I finished the game with Cid delivering the final blow as a counterattck. Awesome times. –  BunjiquoBianco Sep 14 '12 at 9:25
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