|Important Items in this Area|
|Spring Gun Clip|
The Ancient Forest is an optional dungeon that can be reached with a Green, Black or Gold Chocobo. You can also gain access to it by killing a powerful foe in disc three, but why wait? You can find it on a jungle-covered mesa south of Cosmo Canyon. Be prepared before you head inside, however, as the enemies within are quite strong. Expect them to deal hundreds of damage a hit, and to be able to sustain thousands of damage in return. They tend to be generous with dropping curatives, however, and the XP, AP, and Gil you’ll earn is fairly substantial. Still, if they’re being a nuisance, don’t be afraid to try out that new Enemy Away Materia you may have won at the Chocobo races.
Bugs, Frogs and Plants
Once you enter the Ancient Forest, one of the first things you should notice are a frog and some insects hopping around. Yeah, it’s going to be one of those weird puzzle areas. If you head east you’ll find some suspended pitcher plants (they look like sacks hanging from ropes more than they look like plants), which actually will serve as platforms you can jump across… if you fill them with either a bug or a frog. Yeah, this must have made sense to somebody. Be wary, though, the captive critters don’t enjoy being confined, bugs will be consumed eventually, and the frogs will escape, opening the pitcher plant and preventing it from serving as a platform.
Grab three bugs and move them close to the pitcher plants (on the ledge below the high ground that leads to them) and, when you’re ready, inter one critter in the first pitcher plant by releasing it while standing on the elevated ledge near the western-most of the three pitcher plants. Quickly run down and grab another pest and toss it in the second pitcher plant by releasing it while standing on the first, then repeat the process for the third pitcher plant. Once all three pitcher plants are temporarily filled, jump across them to reach the land to the east. Grab one of the two frogs hopping around nearby and head south to find a carnivorous plant, which will normally bite you if you try to cross it. Make your way onto the fleshy red leaf of the plant and release the frog to swap it with the item in the middle of the plant, which just so happens to be the Supershot ST . This weapon is, well… kind of confounding. Its 97 Attack is nothing to laugh at, but its six Materia sockets (three pairs of joined sockets) have no AP growth. Given that fact, why not just use Death Penalty, instead?
Make your way east and, with the help of a plant with an elastic… ah… tongue?.. you can leap the gap to reach another chunk of land further east. Go north around a tree to score the Spring Gun Clip, then continue east to the next screen. The Spring Gun Clip is a weapon for Red XIII with 87 Attack and six Materia sockets (three pairs of joined Materia sockets), making it an excellent upgrade.
Note: If you accidentally use up all your bugs (which are lost after putting them in a pitcher plant) or otherwise mess up a puzzle, you can reset the area by exiting the screen and returning. You can also return to the entrance at any time by pressing [Square] ([SWITCH]).
To the east you’ll spot this level’s first obstacle, another carnivorous plant which has the audacity to grow right in your path. Grab a bug from the ground floor and approach the tongue-plant you can reach to get a prompt to jump up to it. Do so and you’ll reach a ledge above you, where a small cave can be found in the cliff wall. Head into the cave until you hear a frog croaking, then release your insect to see nature play itself out. Poor bug. It’s an unnecessary step, but knowledge of the frog/bug state of nature will come in handy shortly. Grab your new froggy friend and it in the nearby pitcher plant. Once done, jump onto the second, already-filled pitcher plant, and from there onto a tongue plant further east.
You should land east of the carnivorous plant, where you’ll find a frog hopping around. Grab the frog and make your way further east and onto a ledge between two pitcher plants. Put your frog in the western pitcher plant and wait atop the filled pitcher plant and, when the frog escapes it’ll propel you onto a mushroom above you and to the east. Grab the… uh, rock-looking beehive, then jump down to the ground level, and toss the beehive into the carnivorous plant to occupy it, giving you the opportunity to snatch the Slash-All Materia . Grab it, then pick up the frog and put it in the eastern pitcher plant and wait for the frog to propel you east over another carnivorous plant, where you can then continue east to the third screen.
Note (Slash-All Materia): Slash-All Materia basically functions like All Materia, but for your melee attacks. It replaces the "Attack" command with the "Slash-All" command, which will cause your melee attack to hit all opponents, albeit with a damage penalty. Don’t be too eager to level it up, however, as its level two ability, "Flash" (which replaces "Slash-All") is less useful, being an instant-death attack which misses most of the time.
Treasure in the Tree Tops
Immediately to the east will be two pitcher plants leading to a tongue plant. Make navigating these elements your first call of business and gather up a bug to the east (beyond the tongue plant) and place it in the first pitcher plant, then grab the second insect nearby and place it in the second pitcher plant. Once done, use the tongue plant to propel you into the upper branches of the Ancient Forest. This area can be a bit tricky to navigate, as it’s hard to tell what branches you can walk on and, of course, you’ll often be obscured by the foreground. First make your way along a bracnh to the west, then follow the tree south-west to reach the branch in the foreground of the previous area, upon which you’ll find a Minerva Band . This is one of the best armors in the game for a female character (to whom its use is restricted), as it has decent defensive stats, three pairs of joined Materia sockets, and grants immunity to Fire, Cold, Gravity and Holy damage.
Unfortunately, this was a one way trip. Continue following the branch south and you’ll jump off to the west. Put the frog back in the eastern pitcher plant and propel yourself over the carnivorous plant and make your way back to the next screen, then fill the two pitcher plants here with bugs and use the tongue plant to reach the forest canopy again. Once back in the treetops again, head west, then follow the bough to the north-east, wrap around behind the bough, and follow a smaller branch to the east. Follow another bough to the south-east and use a broken tree-branch as a ledge from which you can leap to a trio of tongue plants, which will carry you to another bough further east. Loot the item bag on the branch to score the Typhon Materia (a rare wind-based attack) then head north-west to the upper reaches of the bough where you can use the tongue plants to return west. Continue south-east down and around the broken branch you used as a ledge earlier (to reach the tongue plants) and exit the screen.
Now on the eastern part of the third screen, head south-east across a rope to reach a tree stump. Continue east and grab a bug, then put it in a pitcher plant to the north and jump across the pitcher plants to reach a mushroom with a beehive on it. Grab the beehive and jump back down to the ground level, then toss the beehive into the carnivorous plant to close it. Pocket the remaining insect here and put it in the pitcher plant to the west, then leap across the ravine, using the filled pitcher plant as a platform. Continue west and grab a bug, then deposit the bug in the hallow of a tree to the east to lure out a frog. Take the frog and place it near (but not in) the pitcher plant, then backtrack west to the beginning of the area and grab the lone remaining bug. Chuck the bug in the pitcher plant, then grab the frog and jump across back to the east. Pass the carnivorous plant to the east and deposit the frog in the pitcher plant and wait on top of it for the frog to propel you across a gap to the east, then head into a cave to reach the fourth and final screen of the Ancient Forest.
Ancient Forest Caverns
Head east and ascended some step-like ledges to find a chest, which contains Apocalypse . With 88 Attack, it’s a decent enough weapon for Cloud, but its three Triple AP Growth Materia sockets makes it one of the best AP-generating weapons in the game. Continue north to find another series of step-ledges to the east where another chest awaits, this one holding an Elixir . Once you’ve obtained this last bit of treasure, head north and bid the Ancient Forest farewell, having come off considerably wealthier in the process.