This simple Final Fantasy 7 Remake quest forces you to fight one of the hardest enemies in the game — Tonberry. It might look like a simple green guy, but this creature is an unstoppable killer. His Chef’s Knife attack kills your characters in a single strike. On top of that, he can paralyze you, teleport, use insta-kill magic, and stop time. He’s a nightmare to fight, and if you’re struggling to win, we’ve got a few times that might make your life a whole lot easier.
The Tonberry is encountered in the ‘Malicious Goons’ side-quest, acquired by talking to Madame M in the Wall Market. You’ll get this quest pretty far into the game — all the way in Chapter 14, where you’ll find many other side-missions to complete before assaulting Shinra Tower. Before rushing out for your last hurrah, here’s how to complete this aggravatingly difficult side-quest.
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Malicious Goons | Side-Quest Guide
Location: Sector 6 Slums – Wall Market – Talk to Madame M near the S6-5 Road. She’ll tip you off to a gang attack back at Aerith’s House in the Sector 5 Slums.
You’ll find the goons waiting for you in the arena where you encountered Rude earlier in the game. Instead of fighting thugs, you’ll have to fight a Tonberry. This creature is a famous monster from the Final Fantasy menagerie, and he’s incredibly tough to beat here.
How To Beat Tonberry: Avoid its Chef Knife attack — it kills in one hit. Dodge and attack after it misses to build its Stagger gauge faster. You’ll have a short window before it attacks again following every missed knife lunge.
Before attempting to fight Tonberry, stock up on Phoenix Down and equip Barret with a long-range weapon and the Raise Materia. That way he can revive your downed teammates and build his ADP without having to get close to Tonberry. You don’t need to heal, because Tonberry doesn’t do any damage — he kills you, or he doesn’t.
Punisher Mode can safely counterattack the Tonberry’s knife. Use it to guard against the Tonberry’s teleport attack. Tonberry is more likely to attack your party leader, so when he teleports, swap to Cloud and guard in Punisher Mode. You’re guaranteed to survive a sudden knife attack.
- NOTE: Subversion Materia gives you resistance to Instant Death spells. It doesn’t seem to work against his knife, but it should work against Tonberry’s instant death spell. Test it — it might save your life.
Keep Barret far away from Tonberry to avoid his killer time-freeze attack. The Tonberry can stop time in a small area-of-effect around his body. When he charges this attack, back away — or swap to Barret and keep shooting while he’s out of range. When Tonberry is low on HP, it will stop time in a small area around it. Use Barret to distract Tonberry after it casts this spell to save your allies.
Tonberry is only immune to sleep. Other status effects like Poison will work on him — but they’re not too effective. Time Materia also helps to slow Tonberry down or speed up your ADP gain. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to guard against Tonberry’s knife attack. It’s an instant kill, so I recommend mostly using Cloud — use him to bait Tonberry. If you’re in Punisher Mode and guarding, you’re almost always safe.
The trick is just to avoid letting Tonberry kill your whole party. Use Raise whenever you can, or use Phoenix Downs. Stay alive, take him down slowly, and you’ll win. There is no great prize for completing this side-quest — just a step closer to 100% completion.