Part 111: Part One Hundred and Eleven: Rinoa Gets JunctionedPart One Hundred and Eleven: Rinoa Gets Junctioned
We pick up with disc four right where we left off. It's a pretty abrupt transition, huh? I don't think that was the originally intended break point for disc three, I think they just ran out of disc space. There's a couple of reasons for that: first, the disc ended in the middle of a scene; second, the first two discs end with a Seifer-Edea boss rush. But either way, here we are.
You can't get up to Seifer's platform. This room is just a weird dead end, which is actually another reason I don't think it was intended as the disc break. If it was, it's bad level design - the geography of Lunatic Pandora leads you to this point, but you have to turn back around to move on.
The actual path forward is over here, across a bridge that didn't exist on this screen before we fought Seifer.
There are more ladders to climb! Everyone loves ladders!
But the only thing on the top platform is this Break draw point.
The actual way forward is up this bridge and along a path that looks like it's just part of the backdrop. I don't even know if you can see Squall following the path - again, this is very poorly signposted.
When you cross into the next area, there's a splash view of this weird structure within the crystal pillar.
They thought this structure was very important, so it has two camera angles while you cross the bridge, too. Unfortunately, there's no sort of label for it in the game to suggest what it's for.
No way to go but forward.
Entering the weird thing, we catch up to Rinoa and Seifer, exactly where the last scene of disc three left off. So here's my theory - you were supposed to fight Seifer on that bridge outside (Gilgamesh makes more sense there, too - he has an association with some sort of bridge or another, I forget) and then he would grab Rinoa and drag her in here and things would continue on to end the disc.
Seifer looks down here, almost like he's hesitating for a second.
But nothing comes of that, as Squall bursts in off-screen and Seifer gets back to "his" plan.
This next bit is an FMV, which is something that's heavy on disc space. It's also the best shot of Adel in the tomb we've gotten in an FMV. When we saw her back in space:
the red thing across her torso looked like an arm, but it's actually her hair.
Anyway, Rinoa is not happy to see her.
Seifer, looking about as crazy as possible, just shoves her to the ground.
And we get an even better shot of Adel herself, as she begins to awaken.
As she does, the cords binding her in the tomb start to snap.
Adel goes to grab Rinoa, but we don't actually get to see that out, because...
A battle starts!
Aside from Rinoa being grafted onto her torso (scanning says Rinoa is being junctioned to augment Adel's powers), this gives me a chance to talk about Adel's design.
The most obvious thing is that Adel is about twelve feet tall. She's also fucking jacked - Adel has an extremely imposing physical presence, which can be contrasted to Ultimecia's more elegant style. They're both very dramatic and exotic and both designs reflect their approach to things. Adel's design also reflects her power-hungry and corrupt nature; other than the dress she's wearing (and it has a top, it's the black part of her torso) and her long hair, Adel lacks feminine traits, and her eyes are red and her skin is unnaturally pale. It all comes together to produce a very clear villainous design, very direct and presently evil. Which is handy, because they need to communicate Adel's nature to players who might not have seen the earlier flashback with Laguna (it's optional), and Adel has no speaking lines outside of it.
On that note, this fight opens with a couple of speaking lines from the party.
And Squall's advice is good, since Rinoa is actually a target in this fight. If she dies, it's game over, which has caused this fight to be a roadblock for players before.
You can get a bit of a jump on things by drawing Regen from Rinoa and casting it on her.
See, every so often, Adel will absorb HP from Rinoa. Having Regen on her at least helps mitigate the damage from this.
It's also kind of funny, because even healing spells are coded as attacks, so it makes Rinoa react as if you'd attacked her.
And here's why this fight was a roadblock for people: if you haven't been managing your junctions well, you might be in the habit of using GFs to deal damage. But the GFs that deal damage to enemies deal damage to all enemies (with the exception of Tonberry). Rinoa has extremely low Spr (max 6), so she'll take a lot of damage from GF attacks. She also has low HP (capping out at 9,036), so if you summon, say, a high-level Bahamut, she's immediately toasted.
With Doomtrain, she didn't die immediately, but she's not immune to most status effects, so she's got a bunch of them. I think poison eventually killed her. If you're in the habit of using GFs to blast your opponents, you need to find a new strategy here very quickly.
For her part, Adel mostly just dumps on you with powerful spells. In addition to Meteor, she's got Quake, Flare, and Holy. She can also blast out Ultima sometimes, but it didn't happen to me.
Her last move, and the only one unique to her, is Energy Bomber.
This is her only physical move, but it's only single-target, so it's not as much of a concern as an Ultima or a Meteor.
Since we're rescuing Rinoa (again ) I felt like it would be a good thematic time to show off Squall's ultimate Renzokuken finisher, Lion Heart. For the record, Renzokuken isn't a recommended move for this fight, since you might trigger Fated Circle or Blasting Zone and kill Rinoa - you generally want to be careful to avoid multi-target moves of any sort.
Lion Heart starts out with Squall charging up his gunblade with, uh, energies.
And then he just goes wild on an enemy. Lion Heart is essentially a reprise of Omnislash from FFVII. It does a couple more hits and only targets what you aimed Renzokuken at, though.
For the finale, Squall does a big exploding anime sword slash.
Then the enemy falls on their head. It's a total of 17 hits, with 100 power each (so five times as strong as a regular attack), which makes it easily one of the strongest abilities in the game. A Renzokuken finished with Lion Heart is enough to kill almost any enemy in a single round. This is a major component in what makes Renzokuken spam a good tactic.
Adel does not survive this onslaught and blows way the fuck up. It's a very long and very dramatic death animation. She changes colour four times, too, I don't know why.
Now we're back to the field. Seifer just leaves between scenes.
Rinoa does a little stance as she receives Adel's powers.
Sensing this, Laguna and Ellone ran all the way here. Why did we send her to the ship if she was just going to have to run back through the dungeon?
Aha! Is this her chance?
Ellone starts her lightshow.
We obviously got the low-budget version of Ellone's powers before, since they never involved weird auras.
It's nap time.
: Ok, Ellone. Just get Rinoa back.
Ellone sets up the lights again.
To show his appreciation, Laguna pats her on the head like he did when she was a little kid. It's kind of cute.
You both have to work on your phrasing.
: 'Love, friendship, and courage!' Show'em what you got!
See ya, Laguna. You better not steal the Ragnarok back while the party is in time compression.
Next time: the journey through time compression begins.