You don't wwant to know how much I grinded on my first play-through.
Maxed out every materia so you could trade them at bugenhagens for the masters.
Easiest way to beat the optional weapons was to get Knights of the Round, level it up to 4, Mimes and MagicX2s. Do it so where you can cast KotR twice then mimic with everybody. He'll still probably kill everyone so you have to have somebody with a final attack+Phoenix combo. Then repeat that shite. Also helps to have a bunch of magic+ materia.
ETA - First time I did it I had no idea about the guy in Kalm. So I had to beat Emerald with those long-ass cut scenes in under 20 minutes.
This post was edited on 5/3 at 12:29 pm