The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy VIII

by Cool Ghost

Part 13: Part Thirteen: Fun With Chattin' and Readin'

Part Thirteen: Fun With Chattin' and Readin'

Well, yesterday Squall got his head cut open, tamed a GF, did his SeeD exam, danced with some girl he didn't know, and shut his instructor down when she wanted to have a heart-to-heart.

Today, Selphie is waking him up to go to work.

: Looks like we're going to Timber. Meet by the front gate. Hurry!

Sounds urgent. I guess we'd better go.

Now we have control of Squall in his new, smaller room.

The first thing we can do is pick this up. This is our second issue of Weapons Monthly, but the first is kind of shitty, so I held off on it. Let's check both out now.

Like the item description says, Weapons Monthly is a weapons research magazine.

Each issue tells you about a model of weapon, like the Revolver here, and what items you need to use to remodel your weapon into it.

The March issue describes basic weapons for Squall, Zell, Quistis, and Selphie. Like I said, it's kind of shitty. There's no reason to ever remodel to basic weapons.

Let's check out the April issue.

Every issue of Weapons Monthly has a gunblade in it; Squall has the most weapons in the game, but most of them (like the Shear Trigger here) just change out the hilt.

You can easily get the materials to upgrade Squall and Zell's weapons from playing cards in Garden.

These last two weapons are for characters we don't have yet, but they're also basic weapons so who the fuck cares?

PS. Guns are just weaker than swords in Final Fantasy VIII's world.

Oh, here's a fun trick you can do at home. I took Squall's Curagas off of his HP.

If your new junction means you'll have lower max HP, the game has to lower your current HP to match that.

So when I put those spells back on his HP, Squall is now instantly in critical condition. You can do this to get someone up to use limit breaks after you get a full heal.

I also get Selphie's magic back from Quistis. Quistis won't need magic for a while now.

Blah blah blah junctions.

Since I have more than enough Fish Fins for the entire game, I gave Zell 100 Waters for his Strength.

Now, let's go chat.

There used to be three girls hanging out here, but now the group is mixed-sex.

Guy 1: Huh? What incident?
Girl: You were fighting, remember?
Guy 2: Fighting...? We were never fighting, were we?
Guy 1: Nope!
Girl: Haa... Whatever... I wasn't really worried anyway...


See ya round, jogging kid! I have a mission!

Hey, thanks, Xu.

Xu: Looks like they have high hopes for you.

See ya round, Xu.

Shit, look at that. We haven't even done anything yet and we're already gettin' paid. Hell, our rank even went up.

Hey, nice uniform, fucked-up torso guy.

There are a few SeeDs that you can find in their natural habitat like this guy (or Xu), but you generally don't see many. SeeD is a pretty small group, and it's likely that more than one SeeD has died before.

Squall is just staring the shit out of that guy.

Conceited SeeD: Oh, I'm in no rush. Besides, I don't have much time to read.

You know what I've noticed running around Garden? There are a lot of black people in the place, for a Japanese game. Only one playable character is black, but there you go.

Library Committee Member: P-Please stop by again!

Here you can see the conceited SeeD taking a second to make sure the stick is still firmly lodged up his ass.

Yeah, good luck with my mission, you mean.

When you said you were busy with the budget meeting, did you really mean the anime cliché meeting?

Library Committee Member: That SeeD comes to the library often. He's been the topic of our conversation lately.

Well, you just keep on keepin' on, Library Committee Member.

A Fuckin' Nerd: That's why I'm scoping out a book now.

Well, thanks. See ya.

I don't even know why I went to the library.

I hope we were all enlightened. There are probably a bunch of new conversations to be had around Garden now that we're a SeeD, but I want to move the story ahead.

Here's another SeeD in the wild. We talked to her before our exam, but I wanted to point her out. This means we've met 8 SeeDs at this point in the game.

The gossiping girls over by the directory have new lines, as well. I like that there's so much incidental dialogue around Garden, it makes the place feel a lot more real and fleshed-out, but it's so easy to miss.

While I'm still around Garden, I relieve the gatekeeper of a couple of cards so I can turn them into upgrade materials.

Fun fact: fast travel is still unavailable at this point. It will become available shortly.

There's a stupid errand I want to run in the cafeteria, so let's talk to this sad guy on the way. Don't be so sad, buddy.

Fun fact: even the hallways in Garden have different sets of NPCs they can draw from. There are a lot of NPCs in Balamb Garden.

You'll never get anywhere with it if you put it off.

Well, at least they're not out of food yet.

This cafeteria lady is feeling a bit more talkative.

(PS, remember how I implied I wouldn't be spending a long time on dialogue? Well, shit, I lied.)

Cafeteria Lady: I must say, being young is so great. It's like this burst of energy flowing within you...constantly, and...

You get a chance to duck out of listening to her story, but...well, you know what kind of run this is.

Cafeteria Lady: But seriously, with all these youngsters around, I'm beginning to feel young myself. I'm starting to think to myself, 'Hey, I'm still all that!' You know what I mean!

I'm glad your life is so fulfilling for you.

Cafeteria Lady: Ahahahahah! What am I saying!? Ahahahahah! Well anyway, I have a son just about your age, but he is just so incompetent, and...

This is one of those long stories you hear about.

Cafeteria Lady: So my son, he's not as bright as you all here, so I was worried about his future. Then about a year ago... 'I'm goin' on a journey to see what I can do!' he said. Can you believe him!?

Leaving to go backpacking in an attempt to find yourself seems a little more dangerous in Final Fantasy VIII-land, where T-Rexes are just around.

Cafeteria Lady: I was really surprised at first, but my son had this serious look I'd never seen before. So I built up enough courage and told him to go for it. Well, when I look back at it now, all he did was make my husband and me, worry. But now, my, has he matured. He's grown up, I tell you. It sure gets lonely without him. ...Oh my, I'm sorry. I got carried away. Whenever I see you youngsters I just get nostalgic. I wonder where he is now...

I wonder if we'll ever see her son around.

Over in the eating area, these guys have new dialogue. Lotta that today.

That's our Seifer!

Guy in the Back: Again? He never learns...

This makes it sound like he didn't do that before. You know, we never do find out why Seifer failed his exams before this one. It's left to the player to make up a reason.

Guy in the Back: I see why he never passes the field exam. He's well qualified to be a SeeD, though!
Guy on the Left: You should talk! You never pass the written test!
Guy in the Back: And look who got cold feet during the field exam! So why don't you just shut up!

Now, now, don't fight, boys.

Guy on the Right: Now, now... Calm down, easy...
Guy on the Left: I'm better off than Mr. Paper Test Boy here! Try makin' it to the field exam, why don't ya!

Well, that was...edifying.

Anyway, what I came to the cafeteria for was this. I played the Trepie guy until I won 20 Elnoyle cards. With the magic of savestates, this took me 20 games. Without savestates, this takes fucking hours and hours, and like 100 games of cards at least. I've done it. It lets you do something early, but saves you no time. It's not worth it at all.

Now, let's rejoin our regularly-scheduled plot.

It, uh, looks like we're waiting for something.

Do I have time to go play a billion more games of cards?

Oh look, here come some pixels.

Hey, it's Zell. Hey, Zell.

Zell Dincht: almost late for his first day.

The "t" is for "hover".

: Oops, sorry! But this is really cool. It may come in handy on a SeeD mission, someday.
Garden Faculty: We'll be the judges of that. Confiscate it.

And so Zell, who was having fun, fun, fun, gets his t-board taken away.

Garden Faculty: Nevertheless, you're still students at this Garden.

Didn't we just graduate, though?

Garden Faculty: Furthermore, because you are SeeDs, you must set an example to all others and abide by the Garden's rules. Understood!?

Damn, the faculty here are real sticklers. First we lost a rank for hauling out a deadly weapon in the hallway, and now this.

Yes, back to the task at hand.

Headmaster Cid: You are to go to Timber. There, you will be supporting a resistance faction. That is your mission.

Pretty vague mission.

Headmaster Cid: A member of the faction will contact you at Timber Station.

The Garden Faculty guy just takes over from Cid here.

Garden Faculty: At this time, you must reply, 'But the owls are still around.'

Hey, do you think there is anywhere more secure in the entire Garden to give us the call phrase?

No? Alright, that's cool, too.

What if they order us to jump off a bridge, huh? Should we do that?

: Uh... Just us 3?
Garden Faculty: Correct. We have agreed to do this mission for very little money.

Why do I have a feeling like this isn't a top-of-the-stack mission?

Garden Faculty: Normally, we would never accept such requests, but...
Headmaster Cid: Enough talk about that.

It seems like Cid has concerns other than money. What are we not being told?

Headmaster Cid: Well then, Squall, you are the squad leader. Use your best judgement based on the situation.

Oh, you use the English judgement, but fuck me on colour, honour, and organisation, eh, game? Yeah, I see how it is.

Headmaster Cid: Zell and Selphie, you are to support Squall and give your all to carry out the faction's plans.

We're not given anything on what the plans are, mind you.

And that's the end of the briefing.

How come every game I LP that involves a CO involves a forgetful CO?

Headmaster Cid: It's a cursed item, but if one with great enough power uses it, it should be of great help.

Oh boy, a cursed item. Just what I've always wanted.

I'll cherish it forever.

Headmaster Cid: Best of luck on your first mission.

If you talk to Mr. Stickler over here, he reminds you of the password. I already know the password. I will never forget the password until the day I die.

Now, let's step outside.

If you look at the Magical Lamp in the inventory, it tells you to save your game.

So save your game before you use it.

Once you do, you're immediately forced into a battle.

Somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed. This enemy is Diablos, and it's a pushover if you know what you're doing.

The first thing I do is have Selphie cast Blind.

It misses.

In retaliation, Diablos hits her with Demi, which takes off a quarter of her current HP. Demi can't kill you.

You could draw it, but all my characters have shitty Magic, so they can't.

The second time I try Blind, it sticks. Diablos is pretty much a non-threat now.

This is his other spell, Gravija. It knocks off three quarters of your current HP. Still can't kill you.

This is a very good fight for using limit breaks, because Diablos uses so many spells that will put you in critical HP but never kill you outright. If you have him Blinded, you can get very, very close to dead but be in no real danger.

We've seen Squall's limit break about a hundred times by now, so let's look at Selphie's.

Selphie's limit break is Slot, which gives her a semi-random spell, cast a semi-random number of times. Which spells she gets are based on crisis level and character level, which makes her limit the only one directly affected by character level.

She also has access to four unique spells in her limit break. Full-cure heals everyone to full HP (quelle surprise).

Diablos gets a lucky shot in on Zell while I decide to cast Aura, which will give the party a fairly large boost to their already stupidly high crisis levels.

If you're yellow, it means you can use limit breaks like crazy. This game makes it super easy to get limit breaks.

I even have Squall toss a Phoenix Down at Zell so he can get in on the fun.

Here's Zell charging up to release his limit break, Duel. (Not pictured: Zell)

With Duel, you get a bit of time (up to 12 seconds, based on crisis level) to input commands like you would in a fighting game. You can do flashy combos with complicated inputs, but a better use of your time is to just chain the two simplest moves into each other a bunch of times, which does way more damage, way faster. Duel is considered a top-tier limit break, like Renzokuken is, because of this combo ("Apocalypse Fist").

Here's Selphie's second unique limit spell, Rapture. Rapture is an instant death spell. It does not work on bosses, so it is useless here.

Instead, I have her cast Full-Cure, since the fight is almost over and the guys already have limits queued. If a limit is queued, it uses the crisis level at the time of input to determine how it's going to function.

So, everyone is healed up.

And Zell busts out a 12-second long Duel combo.

Diablos has quite a bit of HP (around 9,000), but this still does him in.

These...may never be used.

This will definitely be used.

Thanks, Kate Bush.

And now we have Diablos as our very own GF!

Diablos is a good GF because he learns the very useful Enc-Half, as well as Time and ST(atus) Mag-RF. He's also got a bunch of other good abilities.

So I junction him directly to Selphie so he can start to accrue AP.

Diablos also starts with the Ability x3 ability, which lets a character equip 3 passive abilities at once instead of 2. This means I get to equip Selphie with 0, because all her GFs are know-nothing assholes.

Now that that's done, let's pop back into Garden and go harass Cid.

This is our first chance to see the entrance to Cid's office. It's fancy.

Cid is so important you don't even get to ask him questions.

He likes to play cards, though. I like to imagine that Squall just silently pulls out his deck to propose playing cards.

I have to play a few games to get Cid to cooperate with me, and so I get a Tonberry card (can be used to make Death, which is great for Status Defense) and a Chimera (can be used to make Full-Life, which is both useful in battle and the second-best HP junction in the game, but you need 10 Chimera cards to make any).

Eventually, I also win the Seifer card off him. It's a good card, and rare. Rare cards are generally good to refine, but some are pretty dull, like Seifer's, which makes 3 Diamond Armors, which teach one GF the GFHP+40% ability. I mean, it's useful if you summon GFs for defence a lot, I suppose, but there are far better abilities out there.

While I'm here, I use the handy-dandy magic split function to give Selphie and Zell some of Squall's Curagas. Zell's go on his Spirit.

I was going to put Selphie's on her HP, but Queso's a touch short on AP.

Also, if we look in the GF menu, it looks like we're already missing one. We're not, but it looks like we are. It's annoying.

Peace, Cid.

Now, let's go to the library, where Zell can hassle the library staff about his holds.

Unfortunately, the library staff absolutely cannot control their horny levels.

Library Girl with a Pigtail: I...I'll put a search on that... P-Please hold on a second...

I don't like her just being called "Library Girl with a Pigtail". She should have a real name.

While we're waiting for her to find Zell's book, let's go hassle this faculty member. That's always good for a laugh.

"Oh no the desk is dirty. I'm a stupid nerd and I suck." - Garden Faculty

"Oh no the kids are talking to each other I'm old and nobody likes me." - Garden Faculty

Yeah, they're as annoying as you are ugly. Eat it, Garden Faculty.

Now, let's go interrupt the Balamb Garden Book Club.

Male Student: Oh, you mean that bloody murder mystery?
Female Student: Did you find out who the killer was?
Male Student: Y'know... You should read somethin' more enlightening.

"Let me tell you about the works of one Ms. Ayn Rand."

Female Student: So, like... You found it boring?
Male Student: It was good... But what I'm tryin' to say is...
Female Student: So you liked it! Then you'll like this one, too!
Male Student: ...Oh, ok...
Female Student: So, like, this book is written in a new style. The narrator is actually the kil...

...tmaker. She was going to say "kiltmaker".

Male Student: Hey! Geez, don't give it away!

What book am I thinking of where the guy is explicitly a killer and the audience knows it and the whole conflict is whether or not the police know it?

Anyway, that was another rousing meeting of the Balamb Garden Book Club!

And three of them are here to listen creepily to you two talk.

Try-Hard: I'll have to try and try even harder!
Fact-Knower: Yes. Quite impressive. I heard one of them was a girl.
Try-Hard: Oh, that's encouraging.


The whole time. See ya.

I mean, see ya immediately to talk about makeup.

Lipstick Haver: Sure thing. Is this the one?
Lipstick Admirer: Yeah! I can't find this color anywhere.
Lipstick Haver: Oh really? I know where you can get it. I'll pick one up for you.

Now that the SeeD exam is over, it seems that Garden life has returned to the normal high school status quo.

You can also talk to one of the girls for this line.

Here's the real good shit on the second floor, though. If you go back to the study panel, you can find this on the Garden Festival page.

: So, I guess that makes me the chair! As the Garden Festival chair, I plan to make full use of this page. So, here we go! Who wants to be on the Garden Festival Committee!? C'mon everyone, join! Let's all work together to make the Garden Festival a success! (Personally, I want to have a concert! What do you all think?)

Yes, this is Selphie's homepage now, complete with bright colours and a flower cursor straight off of a geocities page. It's great.

This is not so great. Selphie has no friends.

: This is a great chance for me to make friends! And then we'll work together to make the Garden Festival a reality!

She doesn't let it get her down, though. Enthusiasm is a big part of Selphie's character, and she's pretty strong-willed, too.

Other than that, we get to read her diary. That's why you're all here, right? To read a teenage girl's diary?

Let's start from the start.

My First Day posted:

(It's a lingo I wanna spread.)
Anyway, I've started my own diary! I can't believe I'm doing this! Selphie's Public Diary. That's a good title, right? But I've never kept a diary before... I wonder how long it'll last? Well, I hope you find it interesting. Enjoy.

I'm from Trabia. It's a really nice place. If you ever get the chance, you should visit it someday. I'm here because I want to be a SeeD! You can take the written test in Trabia, but the field exam is here, and plus, once you become a SeeD, you'll be stationed here in Balamb. That's why I decided to transfer here. I do have a strong attachment for Trabia, but before I knew it, I was writing my application for transfer. And what do you know!

My field exam is today!
But I'm gonna go out and do my best!
Wish me luck!

I like Selphie's diary as a source of characterisation - Selphie isn't well known, so she has to speak for herself, rather than have others talk about her the way Squall, Zell, Seifer, and Quistis have. It gets her personality across (not that it was hard to get from when she does actually speak) and it also contains little bits of lore, like all SeeDs being stationed in Balamb and Trabia's transfer program.

Passing the SeeD Exam posted:

I passed the SeeD exam! Whoo-hoo! Just wanted to let you know!

The field exam took place in Dollet. I was a member of squad A, the intelligence team. I thought to myself, this will be easy, but then, I was asked to deliver a message. Now that was a nightmare! (Oh well, it's part of my duties.)


Squad B, which was supposed to secure the Central Square, was nowhere to be found! So I ran and ran! I had to deliver this message 'cause I didn't want points deducted. Well, I ended up finding squad B but somewhere completely different. And the squad leader was going berserk! What was going through his head!? But anyway, I remained calm and delivered the message. I think that's what got me the points...

Anyway, I'm really excited to be a SeeD.

Oh yeah...
That squad leader actually congratulated us. Seems like a nice guy. He's famous at this academy, right? Maybe if he joins the Garden Festival Committee, he could do the recruiting?

Well, good luck with the next field exam, Seifer!

This one is kind of interesting for Selphie's take on Seifer; she's the only one so far who didn't know him beforehand, and she seems to view him very differently than those who do.

My First Mission posted:

(No one's using it!)

I've been assigned my first mission. I'm not sure where we're to be sent. Even if I knew, I wouldn't tell you. But once the mission's done, we're free to talk all we want, so just wait, ok?
(I hope someone's reading this...)

Well, wish me luck!
I'll be back soon!

  • Worry #1
    Side effects of GF
    I've been studying up on the GF 'cause I know I'll be using more of it now that I'm a SeeD. Am I going to lose my memories?
  • Worry #2
    My other party members.
    I hope they're nice people.
  • Worry #3
    The Garden Festival will be on hold.
    C'mon, we're still looking for members!

Hmm, there's that "GFs cause memory loss" thing back again... Anyway, I think they get the tone of a teenage girl's blog down pretty well here, and it's quaint to see the events of the first bit of the game from Selphie's view. I also like that they actually went back and did something more with the study panel/Garden intranet, rather than just having it at the outset and ignoring it completely afterwards.

Next time, I guess we go to Timber, but who really gives a shit? We all know we were all here for Selphie's diary.