The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy VIII

by Cool Ghost

Part 122: SeeD Exam Outtakes

Bonus Update: SeeD Exam Outtakes

Since I didn't want to break up the pacing, I didn't show it during the updates proper, but there are some things that branch and some things that knock your score down in the SeeD exam.

Headmaster Cid: That is why I am hoping you and Seifer will join us in SeeD.

First up, of course, is dialogue. Since part of your score is based on not talking to anyone, a lot of people around the exam areas have a couple lines.

Cid here technically has two, and Quistis has one (in this location). A lot of the lines are just telling Squall to move his ass, so you don't miss out on too much, but I want to be thorough, dammit!

When you're at the boat, this guy gives Squall hell for trying to leave.

Quistis is all business.

But over here is some SeeD giving Quistis shit while she's, like, three feet away. Someone's conduct is unbecoming.

On the SeeD boat, you get a chance to talk to people. For full marks, you can't talk to Seifer or Zell.

I think you can talk to Quistis without penalty, but you shouldn't anyway, since all she does is give you a rundown of the Dollet mission. This is about 20 seconds after Xu explains it, so I'm just going to leave that out.

If you tell her it's nothing, you get this.

: Our goal for this mission is to mop up all the Galbadian soldiers still left in Dollet. All you boys have to do is take orders from me, the captain.

Should you talk to Seifer, he delivers this "inspirational" speech. Quistis should, uh, probably say something about his attitude.

: Better not piss your pants.
: Hah!? You talkin' to me?
: Heh heh...
: ...Bastard.

Talking to Zell actually gives you a little skit, but it's mostly just rehashing the Seifer-Zell dynamic. It's several lines, but nothing special, so it doesn't matter if you need to avoid it for top marks.

If you talk to someone, Quistis's line changes.

Obviously, it's points off to ignore Seifer ordering Squall to look outside.

: ......No.
: This is an order from your captain, Squall. Now go outside.
: ......Ok.

Other than points off, nothing changes. This doesn't even let you skip the cutscene, it's just Squall being a shithead for no reason.

On the beach, you can chat with the members of the other squads. The girl here is, of course, Selphie. The average player won't notice/know it's her, but it's good that she doesn't just appear out of nowhere later on. It's also very like her to be wondering where the action is.

Again, Squall being a shithead for no reason. Even the answerer gets in trouble.

Squad A Promoter: We gotta do what we can without the use of radio waves. So basically, unlike you guys, we use our heads!

Hey, Squall uses his head! If it hadn't been there, what would have stopped Seifer's attack?

Talking to him again, he just tells you to fuck off.

Coming over to talk to this guy just results in Squall insulting him for no reason.

: We're gonna be the heroes on the front line!

Of course Zell wants to be a big hero. He just doesn't want to get in trouble for it.

Good luck, chief.

There's a fight at the entrance to town, if you'd forgotten. This is Selphie again, nothing else to say on this one.

Outside the pub, you can catch up with Squad C.

Squad C Leader(?): ...Is what I really wanna say, but we're not that strong. Go for it, guys!

Squad C Member: Uh... It's not like we're sick 'cause we had a bite to eat here.

Well, you do you, Squad C.

Once the party sets up in the town square, you can hassle Seifer and Zell to lose some more points. Talking to anyone once isn't a huge deduction, but there's not much to recommend it, either.

: It's against orders for us to leave our post, isn't it?

Trying to jump the gun and go directly to the tower is points off, and nothing else interesting happens.

: Man... Now this is what I call boring. This ain't right, man!

You can see in the main update that Seifer alludes to Zell's complaint here even if you don't talk to him. If you do talk to him, Seifer's line makes more sense...and you get marks off.

Hearing this guy's last words? Deduction.

Dollet Soldier: ...It was already closed down then, and... Ugh...I was careless...

Reminiscing on childhood with a dying man? Dollet didn't pay SeeD for that, points off.

A larger thing is after we meet Selphie. If you'll remember, we get this choice after not jumping off the cliff. Today, we will be rude about it.

Squall takes a page from Seifer's book here.

Zell does not take being made fun of well.

I like Selphie because she's very chill.

: What the...!! WHY IS EVERYONE...? I am not a CHICKEN!!!
: Well, if you don't like CHICKEN, how 'bout...a PIG!

I dunno, pig-wuss just doesn't have the same cachet.

: Oh, but you look more like a CHICKEN, anyway.

: Call me what you want!!! I don't care anymore!!!

But if he doesn't take things personally, he wouldn't have a character. Stop trying to make the game bad, Squall.

: Tch...

Selphie is a fun character because she's very laid-back.

There's also another branch to this path, because you don't actually have to follow the path around.

I don't think Zell is on board with the plan of jumping off this cliff.

I don't think Squall cares if Zell is on board or not.

Zell, he already jumped off the cliff. It's too late to ask that.

If everybody else jumped off a cliff, Zell would too.

There's no conversation with Selphie if you jump off the cliff, plus you get a huge penalty to your Attitude score, so it's inadvisable to jump off the cliff.

Having this conversation with Biggs after the Elvoret fight, while existentially very fulfilling, gives you two points off your Attitude score.

The next thing that changes is what you can do with X-ATM092. In the update, I blew him up after he jumped over me on the bridge.

You can avoid fighting on the bridge by doubling back, which makes X-ATM jump over you again, and then running across the bridge towards town.

If you do this, X-ATM chases you into town.

In the square, you have to "talk" to the dog to shoo it to safety, or else you get a huge penalty to your Attitude score. A score of 100 would drop to 70 if you don't save the dog.

Running from X-ATM092 in the town is very simple, since it has no special tricks like making the screen shake or jumping. You just have to be constantly in motion.

The party stops every now and then to be scared of the robot, though.

Not blowing X-ATM up means this car gets wrecked, so you should feel bad.

Once squad C is gone, you can duck into the pub to hide, but doing so is the single biggest deduction to Attitude you can get, and would send a perfect score down to 30.

If you do hop into the pub, X-ATM092 loses track of the party.

And you end up siccing it on Squad C. Whoops!

It doesn't come back, by the way. Hiding in the pub gets rid of the machine permanently.

It's not much use, though, since once you're on this screen, you're pretty much home free.

As you can see, the timer is gone now.

And it's time for an FMV!

X-ATM092 has no respect for architecture.

Also, Squall is not doing so well at running away.

X-ATM is still coming. This is pretty intense the first time you play.

Selphie stands on the beach for a second to wait for Squall, and you can barely see Zell in the background rushing to the boat.

The robot's still got a lock on Squall, though.

Here's Squall, diving for the boat.

Then Quistis starts unloading on X-ATM092 with a machine gun.

Since the game emphasises Quistis's role as instructor, it can be kind of easy to forget she's a SeeD as well.

Unlike hits from swords and fists, X-ATM092 can't easily repair bullet damage.

Even after it goes down, Quistis keeps shooting it.

It's dead now. Nice save, Instructor.

Through the closing hatch, Squall even gets to see it blow up.

And then it's off to Balamb!

If you hide in the pub, X-ATM makes a cameo on the beach. It's not destroyed here, it's just on break.

: You can buy some souvenirs... Have a review meeting... It's up to you. I recommend you go back and rest, though.

For whatever reason, Quistis's line if you talk to her by choice is longer than her mandatory one.

On the way out of town, there's also an opportunity to hobnob with the locals a little.

Gas Pump Fanboy: Me and my girl are definitely gonna be there with our band, all right? I'll see you guys then.

Gas Pump Fangirl: Hey I got an idea. Let's wear something like that for our performance!

Naturally, this dialogue is only available right after the exam, when everyone's in uniform.

The last thing to show off is the different responses to Cid's question when you get back to Garden.

Headmaster Cid: Well, that's what it's like at first.

: To actually fight... It was a good feeling.
Headmaster Cid: That's the spirit! But don't let it go to your head.

Like I said in the main update, I think all the responses to this question are appropriate for Squall. I don't get any sense of the kind of bravado Seifer has from him saying that the fighting felt good, and when he says he was scared, he stills seems pretty matter-of-fact. He didn't wet his pants like the other guy.

Even on this run, where I jumped off the cliff and didn't spend time grinding as Seifer, I got a rank 7 out of the exam (including the penalty for flashing my weapon in the halls).

If you were curious, though, this is the worst SeeD rank you can get. The 10 points for Attitude are totally unavoidable, since the game displays both the worst and second-worst grades as 10 points for that one only. It's probably so Squall doesn't get an actual zero-out-of-five-hundred. Unfortunately, there's no non-standard game over for doing this, even though you have to work for it. You're almost guaranteed to put points on the card just by playing normally. To get this score, I had to: talk to random people something like 21 times, escape from random battles over 10 times, not fight any random encounters in Dollet, and run out the clock for about 17 minutes after escaping X-ATM. Even amateur play would probably get you a rank closer to 5.

And that's all there is for the SeeD exam!