The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy VIII

by Cool Ghost

Part 68: Part Sixty-Eight: Desperate Times

Part Sixty-Eight: Desperate Times

With Rinoa in danger, it's time for the D Team here to look around for a rope. But, before we do, I'm gonna take a moment and say: this feels cheap. Let's compare it to what happens in Deling City, when Rinoa tries to trick Edea. There, she runs headlong into danger, and it's stupid and reckless, but it also highlights two things: that Rinoa is serious enough about what she's doing to risk her life, and that Edea is fuckin' dangerous - she either reads Rinoa's mind or just attacks first. That scene makes a point about both characters. Here, Rinoa basically trips and falls into danger, which shows us...I don't know, falling is bad?


Ever since the Galbadian bikes came in, there are random encounters.

The music here (the same music that plays during the SeeD exam) is not cut off for random battles.

A new enemy is introduced here, the Paratrooper. They're a lot like G-Soldiers, except they're green. If you go into the numbers, their stats are a lot higher than regular soldiers, but still not high enough to be a serious threat.

This one doesn't do much at all.

Also, since I don't have Enc-Half on now, there are four times as many encounters (Enc-Half cuts the rate by 75%, the baker's half).

Out in the hallway, there are still a bunch of troops blocking unimportant exits so I can't piss around in the parking lot for an hour.

In the main hall, we can see Squall's party running around.

Let's go tell him we dropped his girlfriend.

The reception guy is gone.

No use beating around the bush.

: We gotta hurry!

Squall is not happy to hear this news.

Nida: The junior classmen are there. We have to do something fast!

But he has a lot on his plate at the moment.

Including Galbadia Garden coming around for another pass.

Zell is not helping right now.

Squall is pissed about it. And he's right to be.

: Didn't think you were so heartless, Squall. Rinoa is gonna die! Don't you realize that!?

Having nothing better to do, Irvine takes a minute out of his day to be a jackass.

Lucky for him, despite being angry, Squall focusses on the task at hand.

I'm certainly not taking Irvine with me, so Quistis and Selphie it is.

: Irvine, you go with Xu.
: Alrighty!
: Selphie, Quistis, come with me. We'll head for the classroom.

You cannot make any choice to avoid this outcome.

: Leave it to me!

Please note: Zell has already fucked up the two roles he had in this fight (lead the quad team, protect Rinoa).

PS, Selphie and Quistis were just off to the side during the preceding scene.

Xu is also here.

Before we can move, Galbadia Garden rams Balamb, but thankfully there's some kind of barrier that prevents a full collision.

Now, let's go rescue some children.

In case you forgot in the last ten seconds.

It was right about this point when I remembered that I hadn't switched my junctions back.

Thankfully, Odin got my back.

Then I made a quick detour to the quad. You can see here that Selphie's Attack command was replaced with Mug.

This lets her steal from enemies. The success rate of Mug is based on a hidden value that each enemy has, as well as the user's Speed, and then a random number to determine which of the enemy's available items you steal. For whatever reason, despite Remedies being Paratroopers' rare steal, it's all I got from them here.

There's no reason to come to the quad, you can't do anything here. But we had fun!

As you can see here, all three flavours of G-Soldier are available during this sequence.

Odin don't like it.

While I was around, I took some time to refine some spells. Squall is now immune to Poison.

I also put 100 Drains on his attack, so he heals when he hits.

For those of you keeping score, this makes three times this was mentioned in the space of three screens.

You can still go to the bridge, though.

There's no reason to, so we'll just hit the second floor.

Getting off the elevator, the scene cuts to Galbadia Garden.

There are a bunch of soldiers in some kind of suits.

Who, uh, jump out a window backwards to their deaths. Seifer must be unpopular.

Nah, I'm just jokin'. Those are actually rocket suits.

Still, though, probably one of those guys was a little slow on the throttle or had a shitty suit and died. Some of those motorcycle guys from earlier probably missed or wiped out and fell, too.

Galbadians love to put rockets on things, eh?

Reaching the Garden, they stick their suits to the side and start rappelling down the wall.

They kick in a window and enter the classroom just as Squall has a small graphical freakout.

Now we're up against four Paratroopers.

Paratrooper: Dispose of this Garden as planned!
Paratrooper: You little SeeD twerps!

Selphie hates being called a twerp, so she steals their medicine.

And then we kill them all.

Now, let's talk to these children and SeeD. For whatever reason, Squall says this to the girl in pink.

The children are upset.

: You're gonna be alright. Follow that girl, and listen to everything she says.

He gives specific directions to children, but just lets SeeDs do whatever.

Anyway, that's taken care of.

Just can't get a break.

: (Now what?)
Nida: Squall, come up to the bridge. Dr. Kadowaki is here.
: (What does she want?)

I would think that Kadowaki would be busy right now.

In the hall, you can actually see the SeeD and junior classmen running to the infirmary.

And in the background, you can see Paratroopers through the window.

Outside, Galbadia Garden rams Balamb Garden again.

This throws everyone off their balance.

I just want to point out that this girl's ID number is 16, but Squall's in 41269. Intake must be huge.

What, rammed us? We kind of started that one.

Things aren't going super well for Balamb Garden right now.

Let's see what Kadowaki wants.


: We were able to stop the first two waves of the attack. But our forces aren't looking too good. Many are injured. If they send another wave, I don't know if we can hold them.

Kadowaki here is doing part of what Cid's job would be if he hadn't ditched us.

Irvine shows up at this point.

: I don't know. The guys at the front gate are still holding them off somehow...

Things are looking bad for Garden.

: Their Garden has more experienced fighters. On the other hand, most of our troops are students who are still in training. Like Squall said, one more wave and we might be finished.

On top of most of the troops being trainees, Garden isn't meant for this. SeeD is basically an elite special force, meant to handle specific goals in small groups. They're not a large force meant to stave off an invading army, and the Garden itself isn't exactly siege-ready.

Seeing how bleak things look, Squall takes to doubting himself. Of course, the player can't do anything here, and Squall's wrong anyway - having a strong defence is probably all that's kept Garden together this long.

Dr. Kadowaki: You said it yourself. There's no way you can run from him... It's kind of like your destiny to face him.

As far as I know, Kadowaki doesn't know about them growing up with Edea. She's just trying to give Squall a pep talk, because she knows he's the best person for the job.

Dr. Kadowaki: You've come this far already. What is there to think about? You're not gonna run away are you?
: (Never!)

This brings Squall back to the moment.

: There's no way I'm gonna run from him! Besides, attacking them might be our only chance. The only problem is, how are we going to board their Garden?
: Say, how about if we crash into their Garden? I know it sounds crazy but at least we'll be able to get in. Their pilot's been ramming us all along, I'm sure Nida can do it, too.

There's the plan, I guess.

Just then, Zell runs in. Rinoa is not with him.

Zell, how hard did you try?

: Those bastards have the area barricaded.

So now it's up to Squall to deal with that, too.

The problem is, he doesn't know what to do there, and there are more pressing matters.

Of course, the rest of the party isn't just going to let it slide.

: Listen... Do me a favor. YOU...go help Rinoa. It may be too late, but don't give up until you're CERTAIN that there's nothing more you can do!
: I...I have to lead the attack.

He's in a tight spot here.

: I don't care what you have to do, or how you feel. Just do it...please! For Rinoa.

Saving Rinoa isn't the prudent thing to do, of course.

: Listen to Irvine, Squall. She's one of us.
: What are you waiting for!? I can't believe you!

This is another reason that Rinoa being in danger here feels cheap. This would be stronger if Rinoa were cut off from the party because she rushed in to save one of the junior classmen or something and just got caught behind the Galbadian lines. Instead, she fucking fell down.

: C'mon, Squall! Please! It's gotta be you! You're the one that has to save her!

Zell, fuck off. You have fucked up everything anyone ever told you to do. All of this is your fault, and once the battle's over, you're going to be working at the dick sucking factory for the rest of your life.

Irvine at least has a point. He knows G-Garden better than anyone here.

: We'll clear a path. Once Squall arrives, we'll move in.

He doesn't like this at all.

Dr. Kadowaki: Squall, you're forgetting something very important.
: (What?)

Kadowaki leads Squall back up to the bridge.

Time for the general to address the troops.

Squall accepts his role here.

He has to think about what to say for a second.

: ...... Everybody. This is Squall.


: How's everyone doing? You're all probably too tired to even stand up after all the fighting.

Squall isn't the world's most eloquent guy, so his speech is a bit awkward.

: This is going to be our final battle. We're going to attack them before they come in again.

: So I want everyone to prepare for a major collision. Take care of all the junior classmen.

I hope everyone knows who those people are. Quistis was at least a teacher, but most of the cadets are probably looking at each other and saying "who the fuck is Irvine?"

: As for everyone else, please support them if you can.

These guys, who were all acting like they were on death's door two minutes ago, stand up.

: It's a grueling battle, and I'm sure you guys are all exhausted. But I don't want to have any regrets. I don't want anyone to look back and regret this day.

Can't regret things if you're dead!

The blonde SeeD has been helping the kid who fell on his butt the entire time.

Dr. Kadowaki: Ok! Let's bash into them!

And so, Nida jams on the, uh...surfboard.

Balamb Garden comes around.

The energy barrier comes up again, preventing the two from destroying each other.

Inside, everyone's shaken up a little.

But they did it. Now the front gate is on this piece of land attached to Galbadia Garden.

: Ready guys!?
: You betcha!

And so, the Balamb Garden invasion force takes the field.

As for Squall, he has a girl to save.

You don't get a choice about where to take the elevator this time.

As soon as Squall gets off, this girl starts yelling at him.

: (...Dammit.)

What's one more thing, right?

Female Student (ID #8): Please, please find him!
: (I guess I have no choice...)

Rinoa can hold on another couple minutes.

In the hall, you can see a kid run around the corner.

And there he is, apparently fallen down. He has the same model as the kid who fell earlier, too. Is this kid an idiot?

Mark: ...Yeah.
: There's a person waiting for you down the hall. I want you to go over to her, ok?
Mark: ...Yeah.

The kid runs off, leaving Squall to... uh, what's that?

Son of a bitch!

Look where you're going, asshole!

This guy doesn't like Squall, so he slams him into the door. That's like a quarter of his health gone already!

You actually have to press X to get this menu to come up.

Runaway does essentially nothing, just leaving you in the same place to press the button again. If you try to move, you get rammed.

Threatening him gets you rammed.

The right option is to look around. (Squall's health went back up because I loaded a save state.)

This adds two new options. Squall cannot just draw his weapon or cast a spell because he doesn't want to get demoted again.

Let's call for help.

: Hey! You down there!

Yelling gets you rammed.

The right choice here is to go for the emergency exit.

This actually also gets you rammed, but this time the door is open.

This isn't one of the better situations to be in.

The soldier slides down the rope to deal with Squall face-to-face.

What this means is you have to fistfight this asshole. You have three options (well, four, but one's a secret). Punches are slow but strong, kicks are fast but weak, and block is block. If you block enough times, you get the secret fourth move, deathblow, which is the strongest attack. I don't like this bit very much because the timing is weird - you take a second to do anything, and it's hard to tell when to press the button.

It's fairly easy to lose here, especially if it's your first time.

Thankfully, though, you can just start over (with more HP, if you wish).

You even get a helpful hint if you lose!

A lot of guides say to block until you get deathblow. I prefer to just mix up punching and blocking.

The best part about this whole thing is the backgrounds, which can be pretty cool. The battle's in full swing now.

Eventually, Squall beats a man to death with his bare hands.

And you get to make the rest of the ride in peace. You cannot punch the air like an idiot at this point.

I beat the Paratrooper fairly quickly, so this actually took more time than the fight.

Anyway, then Squall flies into the ring and dies because he has no controls.

Nah, I'm just havin' fun.

Taking the controls, Squall flies over to Rinoa.

She's probably pretty relieved right now.

Hell, she's smiling!

Good thing Galbadia Garden took a whole field with it when it took off. This must be their quad, I guess.

: Over there! There's the entrance!

Well, I mean, no rush, right?


There's a lot going on in the background of this sequence.

Like that huge explosion.

Or that G-Soldier getting shanked.

Here, a Balamb cadet smacks a Galbadian off his motorcycle.

And there's the door.

: Thank you.

That was all luck.

: It was my job. We're still under contract. And it was everybody else's idea, too. And I just happened to find you. That's all.

While Squall tries to play it cool, Rinoa starts laughing.

: So like I said, don't worry about it.
: You know something, I couldn't afford to fall off that cliff and die.

Oh, word?

: I can't die until I give it back to you, right?

And so, she shows him that she has his ring.

: Zell gave it to me, see? I've been holding onto it.

Squall is mad that Zell gave Rinoa the ring.

: That's my favorite ring. You better give it back.
: I'm sure it is. It's a cool-looking ring. What's this monster on it anyway?

Look, a bunch of people are dying like five feet away, but there is always time to talk about accessories.

There's also always time to be a mega dork.

Rinoa is so into Squall that she's even willing to forgive that line.

What a suave dude.

Yes, Squall has named his favourite ring.

And yes, its name is Griever. Renaming it affects exactly one other thing in the game, but Griever is a great name for a dorky guy to give his ring.

: You know Zell said he'll make me one exactly like it. Who knows, maybe I can become like a lion, too.

She is having fun.

: (Everyone is trying to get us together. It's so obvious even I can tell.)

Squall gets criticised a lot for being "emo," but he's not really. He's just a dorky guy who can't talk to girls and tries to act more mature than he is.

No, she wants everyone to get the right idea, which is that you are dating now. If you fly a rocket suit to save a girl from falling to her death, you are dating.

Been a while since we had a dialogue choice. Let's check it out.

This is a joke.

He doesn't actually mean it, and she's not actually mad.

The other option is to just be sincere.

: Ok!

Either way, you end up in the same place. Soon enough, we'll be facing Edea.