In the Final Fantasy VII Remake, your trip through Chapter 9 takes an unavoidable detour into gladiatorial combat, when Madam M books you into a tournament at the Colosseum. Here's how to beat the boss of the bonus round, Hell House, on Normal and Hard Modes.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Hard Mode: Defeating Hell House

There have been long fights before in the FF7 remake, but this is the first one that's actually complex. You can't brute-force this one with a stack of Hi-Potions and direct violence. The Hell House requires some patience and strategy.

A poorly-equipped Cloud is initially dead weight in this fight, as the Hell House takes almost no damage from melee attacks in its first phase. You're better off using him as a backup healer while Aerith carries the mail. Make sure she's got access to all four elemental spells: Aero, Fire, Thunder, and Blizzard.

As your Assess Materia can tell you, the Hell House's elemental weakness changes based upon the color of its windows at the time. It'll absorb and be healed by spells that match its windows, and take extra damage from the opposite color of magic. When the Hell House casts Barrier Shift, it's preparing to change colors, and with it, its elemental vulnerabilities. Check the following table to see what you need to hit it with:

Hell House’s Window Colors

Weakness

Absorbs

Red

Ice

Fire

White

Fire

Ice

Blue

Wind

Thunder

Green

Thunder

Wind

Normal Mode

Dodge the Hell House's explosive stuffed toys, and block when it flies up to hit you with Chair Salvo. Keep your party's health high with Cloud while Aerith hits the Hell House's weak points with the appropriate elemental magic.

When it transforms, that marks the beginning of its second phase. At this point, the Hell House loses its rotating elemental weaknesses and its physical damage resistance, but gains a sort of waddling charge move and the ability to swallow one of your characters whole. In the latter event, you can't use your second character to release the gobbled one the way you can with Bound, but you can heal them through it until the Hell House lets them go.

The Hell House may use the odd elemental attack in its second phase, and its windows will change color when it does. It regains its elemental vulnerability at this point, and loses it again afterward, so switch to Aerith and seize the advantage.

If you decide to summon anything at all against Hell House, use Chocobo and Moogle. They're the only summons you have access to at this point that don't do any elemental damage. You can lose a lot of progress against the Hell House if you pull out, say, Ifrit when it's capable of absorbing fire damage.

Eventually, you'll push it into its third and final phase, where the Hell House pulls out all the stops. After a short period of time where it raises a shield, it gains access to all of its attacks from the previous two phases, as well as a full-on aerial bombardment called Heavensward. You can dodge that by circling around the edges of the arena.

Once you've reached the third phase, don't let the chaos overwhelm you. Keep watching the Hell House carefully and exploit its weaknesses with Aerith's elemental magic. Save big moves, like Limit Breaks, for when the Hell House is Staggered. This is one of the toughest fights in the game, and requires you to learn its patterns before you can succeed.

Hard Mode

The Hell House is one of the big roadblock bosses in Hard Mode. It's already a chaotic fight on Normal, but on Hard, its damage output gets even worse, it gains much more health, and it can occasionally cough up 3 Tonberries for backup.

Make sure that both Cloud and Aerith have Revival Materia equipped, as well as HP/MP Up. It's also worth abusing Chapter Select specifically to grind AP for your Poison Materia, as the 3rd-rank Bioga spell does an enormous amount of damage to the Hell House. You can strip a lot of its HP off by keeping it consistently poisoned throughout the fight.

The Tonberries need to be your priority whenever they appear, as if they get close to your characters, they'll land an instant kill with Chef's Knife. You do have a slight grace period whenever they arrive as they take a moment to stand up, which is a great opportunity to switch to Cloud and murder all three of them as fast as you possibly can. Given how much is going on during the Hell House fight, though, you may get sniped by Chef's Knife once or twice anyway. That's why you've got Revival Materia.

One funny note is that the Hell House also summons a Cutter and Sweeper into the fight when it's at around 25% health remaining. You don't actually have to deal with them yourself, though, as the Hell House's various charge attacks in its third phase are as lethal to its buddies as they are to you. Just ignore the Cutter and Sweeper and watch the Hell House trample them. It's a bright spot in what's otherwise a truly grueling fight.

For beating the Hell House on Hard Mode, you receive Vol. IX of Telluric Prophecies, a Manuscript for Aerith.

We've got a lot more tips, tricks, and articles about the Final Fantasy VII Remake here on Prima. Check out our game hub for more, including:

Once you beat the Hell House in the Final Fantasy VII Remake, you've overcome one of the toughest challenges the game has to offer. Give yourself a pat on the back, and commiserate with us about those damned Tonberries via our official Twitter, @PrimaGames.