The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy VIII

by Cool Ghost

Part 43: Part Forty-Three: The Garden Master

Part Forty-Three: The Garden Master

At this point, the Garden is safe, but we're stuck in the ocean.

Despite what you may think, the middle of the ocean is not a playground.

Oh, and as far as taking care of the monsters, the SeeDs probably couldn't before because they were caught unawares and didn't have time to junction properly. SeeDs are good soldiers, but they can't take on a T-Rex without the help of GFs.

This is the first real downtime we've had since the SeeD exam, and Squall is restless.

Things have quieted down, but it's not quite business as usual around the place.

There's not a clear timeline, but I'd say that the Garden's probably been drifting for a couple days at least.

I think this is a nice way to convey that. You get the bit with Squall tossing and turning while he thinks, and then him staring out the window at the ocean. Not only is this our first downtime as a SeeD, but it's the first extended period of time between events in the game.

Right here, we just have a good Squall line.

He's got a lot on his plate, but there's nothing he can do about it now.

People don't really respect doors at Garden.

: You looked so adorable, sleeping like a baby. Come on, get up, let's go.
: Go where?
: Give me a tour of the Garden.

It never comes up, but I don't think a lot of people who aren't students or SeeDs would see the Gardens. It's probably a neat experience for Rinoa, besides being about the only thing to do right now.

: ...Is this another one of your orders?

This is another great Squall line, but in the vein of being the wrong thing to say.

: No. I just want you to show me around. You know, to get acquainted with the place. Please?
: ...Fine.

Rinoa is pretty pleased with this turn of events.

Let's see if we can find the map.

: Who knows?

The databank says that Galbadia Garden is the largest of the three. Someone hasn't been doing his reading.

: The cafeteria.

Unlike the bit with Selphie, this is actually a proper tour.

: What about over there?
: The parking lot.

AKA the only part of Garden worth going to.

: Squall... I really appreciate you showing me around. But can you try to make it a little more fun? You know, like a normal tour?
: (What does she want from me?)

Well, if she wants a real tour, let's actually take her places.

There's a guy with no face here. I wonder if he didn't have a face during gameplay, and I wasn't paying attention, or if that's a compression artifact kind of thing.

: Obviously, this is where we take our meals, but keep in mind, there's always competition for the good stuff. Especially the hot dogs.

This line is kind of weird, with the implication of different types of hot dogs. That's because, in the Japanese, the food wasn't hot dogs, but flavoured bread.

: That's why you see this long line, everyday.

I wonder how long the food stores here will hold out while we drift.

: I see...

At this point, she doubles over laughing.

: ......? What's so funny?
: You're so serious when you're explaining. It just seems...kinda odd...

Squall takes himself very seriously.

Before we leave, we're actually going to talk to some people, since that's what I truly love.

Like I said, I wonder about the rationing system on the adrift Garden, even though this isn't the kind of situation/game where that's at the forefront.

Unlike the last time we were here, the cafeteria is full of people.

I don't think these two have anything new to say.

I just wanted to remind you all of how creepy the Trepies are.

These guys do have something new to say.

Guy on the Left: Yeah, I know. Somethin' about headmaster faction, Garden Master faction...
Guy in the Back: It was pretty weird. They were huntin' down the headmaster for who knows what...
Guy on the Right: What are you talkin' about? You were the one runnin' around screaming, 'I support the Garden Master!'
Guy in the Back: How 'bout you! You sided with the Garden Master 'cause you saw that we were gaining in numbers!
Guy on the Left: Enough about that! It's over, right!?

Based on this, it sounds like at least some of the fighting wasn't based on ideology as much as it was fear.

The time for fighting has passed, though. We have more important things to worry about.

This little kid is still running laps around Garden. It's his only joy in life.

Our next tour stop is the Quad.

That guy playing the guitar is the biggest show this stage has ever seen, probably.

Girl on the Left: Yeah, let's be sure to keep in touch even after we graduate!
Girl in the Middle: And let me know right away when you get yourself a BOYFRIEND! That goes for everyone. Promise!?
Girl on the Right: No problem! I promise! I promise!!!

Looks like a lot of things are back to normal.

For some reason, Squall decides to have telepathy here so we can get some intrigue out of these girls.

It's probably hard to have a SeeD exam when you're lost at sea.

This is a whisper, I think.

The ocean's pretty big, so you might get that wish!

Is your dream more ocean?

You can only read girls' thoughts here.

People are starting to act pretty defeated about the whole drifting thing.

Male Student: But I knew a time like this would come eventually... A time for me to embark on a never-ending journey...

Never-ending? We're gonna run outta food sometime, buddy.

Out in the hallway, someone tells me this. I guess I played cards with them before? Fuck if I know.

Up next is the infirmary. I wonder how busy it is here these days.

Dr. Kadowaki: Oh's not everyday, I see you walk around with a girl! Is she your girlfriend?

For whatever reason, we get a dialogue prompt here. Let's be honest.

: No, I'm just showing her around.
: Squall... Gosh, can't you just say 'yes' for fun?
: All right, then, 'yes'.


: Oh... Say it like you mean it.

Now, naturally, we can also say yes to this question.

: Yes.
: Are you serious!? Squall!? I'm gonna take it seriously.

There are two dialogue branches in this optional scene.

: It's just a joke.
: Oh...

He really took the wind out of her sails.

: Well, I guess that's a pretty good one for you.

Let's play dialogue.

: I'm serious.
: Woo. I'm speechless.
: I'm seriously joking.

It's fun to have fun with your friends. The timelines join back up here.

Dr. Kadowaki: Ha ha ha... You guys are cute.

We like to have fun here.

He's probably out for a swim.

Dr. Kadowaki: That guy works too hard. Tell him to come see me when you see him.

On my way out of the infirmary, I checked on the progress of Mug, then I took a picture of it because it says 69, the funny sex number.

Now, let's go to the other side of Garden. I took the long way around to avoid something.

Girl 2: I know. You were so loud, cryin' like a baby.
Girl 1: I did not!
Girl 2: Yeah right. WAH WAH WAH!!! BOO HOO HOO!!! Does that ring a bell?
Girl 1: I...didn't...cry...wah wah...didn't mean to...
Girl 2: I'm kidding! Gosh! Stop crying! I'll buy you an ice cream!
Girl 1: ...You promise...?

I feel like there are a lot of little conversations like this between NPCs in this game.

Now it's time for the main event.

Ah, don't undersell it!

: ...That's it?
: Yeah.

: ...Never mind. Let's go.

See, Squall? Everyone is disappointed in you.

Including this SeeD in the hallway who opens a dialogue box to be silent.

There was a cadet hanging out with this girl at the start of the game.


: The monsters are left to run loose so the students can get a feel for actual combat.

I feel like this was the last room in Garden to be planned. "We still have a room left, what should we do?" "Fuckin'... put monsters in it, whatever."

: Wanna try?
: You know, I can imagine you doing this on a first date. You're so romantic...

Well, makeout point is at the back of this place, so it doesn't seem that unpopular.

This is the last stop on our tour.

Are libraries not a thing in Galbadia?

: Mind if I look around?

Go wild.

While she wanders off, let's see what else in up in the library.


: ...I saw you in the infirmary.
No Name: You saved me from the monster.

This is the same girl that we saw when we were palling around with Quistis. The one who called her "Quisty".

: Who are you?

Seems salient.

But she's not sayin' anything.

No Name: Try to remember.
: Remember?
No Name: It'd be heartbreaking for me to know I was forgotten.

Seems like it.

I'll get back to you on that.

You cannot talk to Rinoa while she looks at books. Which you shouldn't be trying to do, anyway. This is a library.

She just follows you silently when you leave.

This is why I took the long way earlier. The tour's over, it's plot time now.

: Yes.
Garden Faculty: The Garden Master wishes to see you. Report to the Master's Room right away.
: Where is the Master's Room?
Garden Faculty: Take the elevator to level B1. You have permission.

So, the Garden Master's still around. Should have figured the whole deal with him wouldn't just stop there.

But, before we go, a couple of chats.

This is another little look into the experience of non-Squall SeeDs during the mess earlier.

The Garden Master, a guy who lives in the basement, is pretty reclusive.

Things might be quiet now, but people are still on edge.

Even the normally calm gatekeeper was nervous.

Oh, and naturally, we can't go outside right now. While I'm trying, though, I'll point something out: when the Garden took off, it got smaller, so all the hallways between areas, as well as the entrance area, disappeared.

Yeah, we weren't the ones who (directly) caused the trouble after all, were we?

Over by the directory is this guy. He's been around before, but he has something interesting to say this time.

Today, he introduces a sidequest to Balamb Garden: the CC group. Since I've played enough cards and progressed the story far enough, I can challenge these guys. They're scattered all around the place, and they have some rare cards to win, so if you're into collecting crap, this is an important one for you.

Let's play.

The CC group are generally good at cards, but there are no rules in Balamb now, so having a bunch of high level cards still shuts him down. Jack has nothing rare, so we're done with him now.

Jack: There are six members in the CC group I haven't defeated. The first is the Card Master and the CC Group's leader, King. And the others are called the 4 suits: Card Knight Club, Card Prince Spade, Card Princess Diamond, and Card Queen Heart. Then there's Card Magician Joker, whose ability is still a mystery, even to me. Now that you've defeated me, I'm sure they'll show up soon. Good luck to you. Maybe you'll be successful.

Well, thanks.

We're gonna backburner the card dorks for now. We have a meeting to get to.

The Garden's basement has a neat look to it, and it's decidedly not like what's up top.

But there's nothing around.

: (...The Headmaster's here?)

This seems like good, wholesome fun. Let's check it out.

As we head over, the elevator comes back and Quistis shows up to round out the party.

: Huh? Oh, I'm looking for the headmaster.

In the basement, where people aren't allowed to go? This one is clearly just for gameplay.

Sounds like whatever Cid's doing is going well for him.

Just top shelf.

This is another thing alluding to SeeD having a deeper meaning that mercenary work. Some guy during the fighting said Cid mentioned it, and Seifer was torturing Squall about it, so it must be important.

Cid, for his efforts, gets beat up a little more.

Headmaster Cid: Dammit!

To the founding of Garden.

The fight between Cid and NORG isn't going on in the hallways, but it's still going on (and it has been for a while).

After getting thrown around and shouting a bunch, Cid's pretty worn out.

Headmaster Cid: ...You heard everything?
: ...Yes.
Headmaster Cid: I'm embarrassed, but sometimes even old men like me lose their temper. Let's get out of here.

Cid doesn't seem inclined to talk about this.

Squall really wants to give that report.

But Cid's got other things on his plate.

So I suppose we'll have to put a pin in it.

We have to do this, anyway.

: Yes.
Garden Faculty: It's about time. Master NORG has been waiting for you. Come.

Hey, fuck you!

...Oh. Well, I guess we don't have a choice.

How 'bout you be sure to fuck yourself within 3 seconds?

You can also fuck yourself.

At this point, the camera angle changes and we get a straight look at this thing (you can see it in profile in the last shot).

Then it opens up to reveal the man himself.

While we're talking to NORG, here's his theme:

: (He's not human? Come to think of it, we didn't know anything about him.)

Nobody in Garden except for Cid and the Faculty actually deal with NORG. Like I said, dude's reclusive.

: (.........What a shock.)

This is a shock in the way that your friend's friend Sam being named Samantha is a shock, not the way that there's a bomb in your underwear is a shock.

Hey, at least we finally get to make that report.

: (Now where do I start...?)

Come on dude, you were so psyched for this five minutes ago.

Fuck off concisely.

: Confirmation of Headmaster Cid's order was made at Galbadia Garden. After Irvine Kinneas of Galbadia Garden joined our party we set off to carry out the 'Sorceress Assassination' order from Balamb and Galbadia Gardens...

NORG's pissed about something.

Probably has something to do with this.

: (Fooled!?)

Somebody lied to you, is what he means.

Garden Faculty: He heard it from the Galbadia Garden master himself.
: The Galbadia Garden master...?
NORG: Fushururu...

NORG has his fingers in a lot of pies.

NORG, being a corrupt rich guy type, does not want this.

Garden Faculty: So, Garden Master NORG sent an official order to Galbadia Garden. It was to kill the sorceress. An assassination was thought to be the best means.

So he decided to have her whacked.

Garden Faculty: But...

...We fucked it up.

NORG: Bujurururu!

Also, this. You remember how we showed up at Galbadia Garden at the same time orders did, and it seemed like a huge contrived coincidence?

Yeah, that's cuz we were being played.

And NORG is pissed about it.

: Are you saying that Balamb Garden had nothing to do with that order?
Garden Faculty: You just happened to show up just before the mission was to be carried out. They used you.

"But," you say, "Fujin and Raijin said they delivered the order." Well, that's simple: they work for Garden, and they were just couriers. They didn't know about the content of the orders, and Squall shows up at the same time they're dropping it off, so they put 2 and 2 together, not knowing they're actually working with 2 and 3.

Garden Faculty: But the operation failed. The sorceress is still alive and...

Had we succeeded, it wouldn't be as much of a problem. NORG would be mad about it, sure, but he might not have acted in the open.

We really, really fucked things up for him by failing, though.

Galbadia's been sitting on those missiles for a long time, and they're launched after an assassination attempt. It's pretty clear who ordered it, and why.

Which brings us to now.

This is NORG's fallback plan.

NORG: Bujurururu!

Thanks for explaining, NORG.

: Wha...

Squall's on the back foot here.

: What about all the training we endure everyday!? What good is it!?

Like I said, NORG might not be as perturbed had we not failed. But we did, and now he's up to his dick in missile launches and floating in the fuckin' ocean.

NORG: Bujurururu!

NORG does not like Cid. As an aside, the Faculty guys run away when he starts yelling here.

NORG looks at Garden strictly as a moneymaking situation; remember way back in the SeeD exam we pulled out in the middle of fighting because Dollet didn't pay us enough. Cid then sends us on a mission for next-to-nothing to work for the broke-ass Forest Owls. Those two things are incongrent, and here's the explanation: they came from different branches of the management. There are other tensions as well, and you can see them by the fact that Cid is barely allowed to speak early on - even his graduation speech is cut off by the Faculty.

And so, when things go to hell, NORG says fuck it and decides to get Cid out of the picture. All SeeDs are in the crossfire not just because the sorceress hates SeeD (and the sorceress fucking hates SeeD) but because they tried to kill her (which, I mean, is probably part of why she hates them so much.)

This is the situation we walked into when we came to warn everyone.

Like I said, NORG isn't one to countenance threats to his power.

Surprise surprise, Squall's not on board with the "hand Squall over to the executioner" plan.

: It's not just yours.

: ...What?

There's another twist.

: (The headmaster and Edea are married!? ...I don't get it.)

Squall is, understandably, disquieted at this.

But we're gonna have to put a pin in that one.

Right now, we have to kill a guy.

: Squall!!!

Let's go.

NORG, being given to hubris, explains how the fight works.

Basically, the two orbs on the sides of NORG's seat (the NORG Pod, FYI) change colour from blue to yellow to red. When they're red, they'll cast a bunch of magic on you.

You stop this from happening by beating them up, which reverses the colour change.

You also have to attack the Pod itself. For the most part, I have Quistis and Rinoa handle the orbs while Squall belts on the Pod.

After you do enough damage, the doors are blown off and the second part of the fight begins.

He's not happy about having his fancy chair wrecked with a gunblade.

The first thing to do when NORG's out in the open is to draw Leviathan from him.

Now we have a brand new GF. It also takes away NORG's ability to cast Water, but that's not a big deal.

If you were wondering how NORG attacks, he mainly uses magic.

He can also throw energy eggs at people. Rinoa gets the worst of it here.

Oh, and he can cast Slow (you can see the clock here).

As long as you handle the orbs, though, this fight isn't too bad.

That's what you get for taking on SeeD.

Wizard Stones are nice, even though we're full up on Curaga.

This is good, too.

And, like I said, we got a brand new GF to round it out!

Well, probably the same thing that happens to anyone when you hit them with a gunblade a bunch of times.

: Forget about it for now.
: I can't believe you said that. I think what just happened is really serious.
: What's the point of talking about it now!? You don't know what's going on, either!

Good points are made on both sides here.

Everyone's running a little hot right now.

This is a pretty natural response to what you were just told.

She didn't mean to upset him, of course.

Hopefully Cid can shed some light on things.