The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy VIII

by Cool Ghost

Part 80: Part Eighty: Salt Flat Epic

Part Eighty: Salt Flat Epic

Here we are, having formed a party for this next section.

Once you leave the party select screen, you actually get to see the unused members walk away. Nice touch.

We can't go back across the bridge.

So, let's head out.

As you can see, we have officially made landfall on the Esthar continent. We're that much closer to the city.

So, let's turn around and...wait.

What the hell? Who are you? Why are you here?

This guy is probably the most inexplicable NPC in the whole game, since he's just here. There is absolutely no reason to come back to Seaside Station, nor is there any indication that you can, but if you do, there's this fuckin' guy standing around waiting to tell you about the place.

I only came back to try to go back to Garden, which you can't do. You get a message this time, though!

Anyway, back outside. In front of us is that lake we saw from the sea earlier.

If you go north, you end up at a dead end.

I didn't actually go south, but you can see it's the same situation.

While I was fooling around, though, I got into a fight with these monsters.

Which gave me a chance to show off Edea's Limit Break, Sorcery.

She's only got one spell, Ice Strike.

When you use Ice Strike, Edea makes a ball of light, which flies off into the sky.

This causes several ice spears to strike one enemy, dealing one hit. To be fair, that hit is very strong, with an Attack Power of 120.

Ice Strike is also what she used in Deling City to encourage Squall to find a new hobby, which is kind of cool - we had Edea on the ropes, so she used a desperate attack. If you lose that fight, she just does it to humiliate you.

So, like Selphie said, the only way to go from here is east, first into the lake and then into that huge desert, I guess? Lake's as good a place as any.

You know what I don't see? The lake. Also a city.

By the way, we've actually seen this place before. It was a little wetter at the time, but this is where Laguna ended up when he walked to Esthar. Makes sense.

This area's not that long, honestly.

: Everything'll be all right. We'll be by your side all the way!

Edea is a very kind person, willing to mother even Zell.

: But remember, you must stay alert even in my presence.

Hey, you know, this trip is gonna be a real bummer if you keep reminding everyone they might need to kill you all the time.

Whoa, phrasing.

: You all know what to do...

Their survey complete, Irvine and Selphie return.

: What, what, did I miss something? Uh-oh, it's so quiet. The air's getting heavy. Guys... What's wrong?

Selphie is adamantly opposed to negativity here, which is probably the best response to the problem of someone reminding you they might need to be killed.

You know who said that? Laguna.

Squall used to think this guy was a moron, now he's recalling his words in a dark time.

And, following the SeeD Handbook, we're not going to talk about this any further. Squall is aware this plan is not good and he is very aware that he might have to kill Edea at any time, but he's trying to be optimistic for the moment.

With the end of that conversation, we get the party select screen for the second time in five minutes. In case you changed your mind.

I have not changed my mind, and now I will continue into, uh...

Great Salt Lake. Thank you.

On the next screen, we actually enter the lake bed proper, where we see these huge monster skeletons. I really like the look of the place, how it's just totally desolate.

There's also an Information entry on the Great Salt Lake. We saw the lake in that photo with Laguna, so whatever Esthar would have done, it was fairly recent.

As well as an Information page, Great Salt Lake has a theme (appropriately called "The Salt Flats"):

Moving on, the only monsters around this place are Vysage, Lefty, and Righty.

In various configurations.

This is from that fight with the three of them. It's very easy to gain levels in this game, since they're just a thousand EXP each.

Wizard Stones are also plentiful from these guys.

As are AP. This wouldn't be a bad place to grind, I suppose, if you were inclined.

You could learn a cool ability like HP Bonus! That's 30 extra HP every level!

Speaking of abilities, my GFs picked up some new ones that led to me shuffling junctions around. That exposed Edea's base Vit stat here - 7. For some reason, Edea has 0 Str and 0 Vit at level 1. Her Str picks up pretty quick, but her Vit never goes above 20 naturally. I guess this makes sense since she's not a solider and thus has little physical fortitude, but it's still a surprise.

They also carry Regen Rings as a rare drop.

Regen Rings are very useful, because they refine into 20 Full-Lifes each. You can also get them by refining Chimera cards at a rate of 10 cards per ring, but that means getting a full 300 spells requires 150 cards! That's a fuckin' lot of cards!

I really like the vistas in this place. We're almost through, by the way. Like I said, not a long area.

There is, though, a second path through the area, which you can reach by climbing this skeleton.

This path is above the other, requiring you to run across these spines to reach the end.

The terminus is this Thundaga draw point. I had Edea draw since she has significantly fewer spells than the others. There's also a Meteor draw point on the path, but I missed it because it's hidden.

After that, you just jump back down to the lower level.

Both paths lead here.

If you go right, there's a save point to use. Probably a good idea.

Because, when you go left...

Some kind of zombie thing jumps up at you.

Here's a closeup of its spine/pelvis area. Don't say I never get you anything.

: Use recovery-related magic and items.

For whatever reason, Squall decides to spell out the boss's weakness in this fight.

Like he says, and just like with Gerogero, you can chuck a Phoenix Down at Abadon to kill it immediately.

A Phoenix Down can miss, though.

If you have the Recover ability, though, that's a free 9,999 damage every round.

Abadon does not stand up to this assault for long - its HP tops out at 17,010. There's apparently something the boss can do with its posture, but I've never seen it do anything because this is one of the easiest fights in the game.

He does have a cool death animation, though, where he turns to stone and crumbles.

And he gave me 10 free Flare spells in his death throes!

RIP Abadon, showed up and died unceremoniously.

Now we can see what's past the Great Salt Lake: miles and miles of salt flats.

And over to the right...

...It's a dead end.

What you have to do at this point, is watch. This is from when I initially passed this point, but you can barely see something weird to the right of Squall, like static in the air.

You can see the static as far back as the entrance to the area, actually, though it's a barely-noticeable thing there (it looks like a display problem more than anything). When you're here, though, it's fairly visible, and this other, larger thing also flickers in and out.

What you have to do is examine the air in front of you.

: ...There's something here.

Squall reaches out and notices that his hand doesn't go straight through.

At this point, a hole appears, floating in the sky. I like Selphie's reaction.

: This looks like the only way.

Like he says, this is the only way we can get anywhere.

And so, Squall climbs the invisible ladder into the sky hole...