Final Fantasy VII Walkthrough
3.4: The First Gathering Place
You will enter a room with two stalactites. On the bottom, after the second stalactite, your partners are waiting for you.
This area is one of the favored spots to place the Save Crystal, for several reasons. The obvious is that it lets you experiment with the directions you give to the different characters (that is, if you save after the first stalactite but before the second one), but this spot is also right in the middle of the dungeon, and gives you quick access to the different parts of the Crater. However, it’s still a little away from the point of no return (the second gathering place), which is the other favored spot for the Save Crystal. It is entirely up to you to use it at this point or the other.
When you join up with your teammates, they will ask you where you want them to go. This is an important decision, because depending on where you send them, they will or won’t give you items when you rejoin with them on the second gathering place.
An important thing to notice is that the left path immediately splits into two different paths, each leading east: we’ll call Left A the upper path, and Left B the lower path. Also, while it is possible to go back up in the first gathering place using the Left B path, the other two are one way only: if you missed some items, you will have to go back all the way to the first gathering place.
One other important thing to know about this is that when you reach the second gathering place, they will give you items indeed, but all the treasure chests on the path they took will be opened. This means that you can permanently miss some treasure chests, and potentially some valuable items and equipment.
You can try several setups when deciding who to send where. Be advised that you will have to go down one path, and that they hold different monsters. The right path will let you encounter the Dragon Zombie, one of the most fearsome creature in the Crater. Path Laft A holds different monsters, none of which poses any dangerous threat. Path Left B has the same monsters you’ve been fighting since then.
When you have made your choice, just head over the relevant chapter of the walkthrough for either the Right Path, the Left A Path or the Left B Path.