Crisis Core: How to beat the Sea Hulk in Mission 10-4-3
As you play through Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, you'll come across many challenging and difficult enemies - but one of the most notable is undoubtedly the Sea Hulk, which crops up to ruin your day in a particular side mission.
What makes the Sea Hulk such a stand out is simple - it comes at the culmination of a relatively straightforward, easily unlocked thread of Crisis Core side missions - but it's hard as nails. It's a huge jump in difficulty compared to the fights immediately before it, which means that a lot of players end up having to stop and come back to it later.
In this guide, we'll detail how to beat the Sea Hulk in Mission 10-4-3, with a few key strategies and tips.
Crisis Core Sea Hulk Battle Strategy & Tips
The difficulty spike presented by the Sea Hulk enemy is made more confusing by the fact that Sea Hulk's Mission, 10-4-3 "Is It a Vacation Yet?" is actually a six-star mission - but it's easy for it to feel harder than some seven or eight star difficulty missions. The Sea Hulk also closely resembles a Behemoth - it's a palette swap of one - and you've probably defeated one before, and more easily. The Sea Hulk is a different kettle of fish, and is probably the hardest six-star quest boss in Crisis Core.
A big part of the problem with the Sea Hulk is that it's constantly regenerating - so your damage output has to outpace its rate of self-healing. This regenerative buff cannot be blocked or dispelled from the Sea Hulk - you just have to be faster at dealing damage than it is at healing.
This can be really difficult, especially when the mission first unlocks - but we've got some solutions for that, and other elements of the Sea Hulk battle, below:
Bring Protection against Status Effects
Specifically, the Sea Hulk can Stun, Posion, and Silence you. You can stop each of these Status Effects with various accessories, including some that are freely available from some of the Crisis Core Shops. However, you'll likely want to device which are worth sacrificing other buffs to protect yourself against.
We recommend prioritizing Stun and Silence, and Magic can be pretty key to defeating the Sea Hulk. Poison can be healed, as you can always equip a materia or buy items that'll allow you to stave off the poison. Magic will be needed to win in many cases, and Stun can be deadly, given the strength of the Sea Hulk's moves.
Become a Master of Guarding, or use Wall as a buff
A huge part of the problem with the Sea Hulk is the sheer strength of its attacks - given when this mission unlocks in Crisis Core, and the difficulty ranking of the quest, the Sea Hulk may very well hit quite unlike anything you've battled up to this point.
Guarding, therefore, is key - especially when the Sea Hulk uses Gyro Tail and Heave - both huge attacks that'll knock you down and leave you vulnerable. There's three key ways to take the edge off this:
- Just be a great Blocker. You can block using the R1 button, and though Zack is fighting with a Parasol, it has the same stats as his regular sword. If you're good at blocking and dodging, you can get through this battle with just that.
- Use the Wall Materia. Wall reduces the incoming damage taken, which will help if you get caught off guard but is even better still if you're also blocking.
- Make use of that Buster Sword. In Crisis Core Reunion only, once Zack gets the Buster Sword you unlock 'Buster Sword Proficiency', including a Battle Stance that lets Zack block incoming attacks and then counter-attack. This can be great against the Sea Hulk.
As an aside, remember that though being behind an enemy is always great for the purposes of landing critical hits, it's a dangerous place to be against the Sea Hulk or Behemoths, as that tail can swing and one-shot those with less HP.
Hell Thundaga is your friend
Of all the magic materia to take into this fight, probably the most powerful, appropriate, and accessible one at the point this mission unlocks is Hell Thundaga.
Hell Thundaga is above even regular Thundaga, and though it costs a lot of MP, it's so powerful that it can help you to outpace the HP healing the Sea Hulk passively has. Bring Ether items with you so that you can refill your MP as it quickly depletes as you cast this move.
The easiest way to get Hell Thundaga is to finish Mission 4-2-6, 'The Five Saints of Wutai'. This unlocks the Wutai Secret Shop, which sells all three of the 'Hell' elemental moves. Though the Sea Hulk isn't weak to Thunder, the Thunder spell is the most appropriate for this fast-paced, one-on-one fight.
Break the HP, MP, and Damage Limits
One thing that's universally true of the Sea Hulk fight, but especially on hard mode, is that this boss has a whole lot of HP. Combine that with the regenerative healing and it becomes a very difficult boss to whittle down the HP of - at least while Zack is in his default state. This is where breaking Zack's initial stat limits come in.
- If you raise your health above 9,999 (to a maximum of 99,999), you'll be able to tank more of the Sea Hulk's hits.
- If you raise your MP above 999 to as much as 9,999, you'll be able to spam Hell Thundaga more without stopping to use items.
- And, of course, if you raise the damage cap from 9,999 to 99,999, your most powerful moves can allow you to take down the Sea Hulk in just a handful of hits. Tasty.
These limits are made to be broken, and can be shattered by equipping certain items and then by making careful use of Materia fusion to obtain buffs. See our guide on How to break the Damage, HP, MP, and SP Limits in Crisis Core for more information.
Be ready for the Meteor Spam
Once the Sea Hulk's health begins to drop and it ends up with its back against the ropes, it'll begin to spam Meteor, a powerful magical attack. You may very well be able to tank the meteor hits anyway, depending on your level and stats, but if not, make sure you heal up before it hits and reup your Wall spell before it hits.
Otherwise, treat the Meteor Spam as a sign you're almost there - and use Meteor's long cast time to get some heavy hits in.
Level Zack Up
Despite this beign a six-star mission, it probably is fair to say that this is a particularly difficult one and propbably should've been seven stars. It may be the case that Zack is just not a high enough level to survive - and you'll need to keep pushing.
Zack Levels up in a semi-random way in Crisis Core, with his level up tied to the DMW system. That can make this a pain - but what we're advising, basically, is to go away and come back later. Once you're around the Level 38-40 mark, you should be able to beat the Sea Hulk easily enough natively - using the strategies outlined here.
Get lucky with the DMW
The DMW slots in Crisis Core dominate much of the game, but the absolute easiest way to beat the Sea Hulk is just to... get lucky on the slots. If Odin comes out, the Sea Hulk is not immune to its instant-kill attack, giving you the mission as a freebie. However, if you're lucky enough for that to happen... maybe you should get on the next flight to Vegas.