Part 88: Part Eighty-Eight: Lunatic PandoraPart Eighty-Eight: Lunatic Pandora
As soon as we walk into Odine's office, he's talking to the aide about Lunatic Pandora. This is also our confirmation that that is Lunatic Pandora.
And of course it's the Galbadians flying the damn thing. This also explains what Seifer was dredging out of the ocean back when we most recently visited Deling City.
This is interesting. Lunatic Pandora was developed as a weapon, and the city's really the main draw around here.
Doctor's Assistant: I hope so... I hope you're right.
Doc Odine: But Tears' Point...... Hmm?
Ah, I see, the working theory is that the Galbadians are sightseeing.
Now, let's get to business. Uh, after I talk to this guy.
Business. What's up, Doc?
: What's so exciting about this!? This and that about Galbadia and all!?
Zell is not as excited about this as Odine is.
Doc Odine: It's been a long time since I last saw Lunatic Pandora.
: That Lunatic...whatever, that big thing!? What the hell is that!?
Good question, Zell.
: What the hell is going on!?
Another good question, and probably more pressing.
Oh hell yes, it's time for lore.
Doc Odine: I've been investigating ze Pandora since it was excavated. So we serviced it...
Doc Odine: And investigated...
: I don't care about that!
And here's our boy Zell, gettin' testy and makin' mistakes again. Odine might be a bit wordy, but Lunatic Pandora's not exactly moving fast - we have time for some story.
Doc Odine: Vat do you vant?
: What's gonna happen? What do we do?
Doc Odine: Zat iz what I'm about to...
: The enemy's comin', right!? And there's no time!
Someone hasn't been paying attention. Odine was just saying that the target isn't the city.
: Make it short.
Zell's strategy here is essentially to skip the briefing, which is faster but also kind of skips the part where the guy tells you why you're doing things.
Doc Odine: Short, eh? Are you sure about zat? Zat iz too bad. Yes, this could be very bad. You vant to go inside to stop it? Then look at zis.
Well, apparently our plan is to go in and just break shit until it doesn't work. This may or may not involve fighting the entire Galbadian army.
Now, let's look at Odine's floor monitor to figure out how to do that.
It's not something you'd notice watching the game in motion, but there's a huge jump in coordinates between those two places. Also, if you look closely, you can see a dotted black line on the Esthar continent, which seems to indicate their camo panel curtain.
Doc Odine: Lunatic Pandora's current location is here.
This is kind of weird, because the blue dot is clearly out over the ocean, while the Pandora is clearly above the city on the world map. This is almost certainly a mistake, probably with the world map, but it's not a huge issue - the thing's not moving in real time.
Doc Odine: Lunatic Pandora's expected course.
There we go.
Doc Odine: Zoom in map.
Jesus Christ, what kind of map is that? We should be after the cartographers, not the damn sorceress.
Doc Odine: Lunatic Pandora will head east, from the vicinity of this lab toward the shopping mall.
Look, Seifer needs a specific brand of deodorant that they just don't sell on the other side of the ocean.
Now we can look at Odine's cool CG Pandora.
Doc Odine: Boarding Lunatic Pandora is possible at the following 3 contact points:
Doc Odine: It will arrive there 5 to 8 minutes after it enters the city. That is equivalent to 15:00 to 12:00 left on your timer.
So, what we're learning here is that the next section of the game involves navigating Esthar.
Second contact point: somewhere. Have fun.
Doc Odine: Lunatic Pandora will arrive there 10 to 15 minutes after it enters the city. That is equivalent to 10:00 to 5:00 left on your timer.
Doc Odine: It will arrive there 17 minutes after it enters the city. That is equivalent to 3:00 to 0:00 left on your timer.
Well, there we go, that's our "briefing". Now we just have to get out there and catch the thing.
Now we have a shitty map of the city I never use. Thanks, hoss.
Doc Odine: Ze problem iz...
: Alright, alright...! We gotta get goin'!
You know, maybe we should listen to him. Oh well, Zell's the boss.
Doc Odine: I vant to talk some more......
Too bad, we're half-cocked and rarin' to go!
This is the last line before you actually get control back.
Now we get a chance to do some talking. The timer's not running yet, so it's not a problem to piss around.
We can also ask Odine about things. Most of the options here are just repeats about contact points, but there's one clear new choice.
So let's learn about Lunatic Pandora, by way of the Lunar Cry.
Doc Odine: You don't know? Pandora has an effect on ze moon.
The "Lunatic" in Lunatic Pandora really goes back to the origins of the word, meaning "relating to the moon".
Doc Odine: Zat may be ze immediate problem, rather than Galbadia. Tears' Point and Lunatic Pandora together vill maximize their effect.
And now we have more info on where the Galbadians are going and why.
Getting briefed on the situation also opens up an Information entry on the Lunatic Pandora. First off, it's big. Second, we get the theory that it helps to cause the Lunar Cry, which helps explain what the G-Army is doing. It also explains the "Pandora" part of the name: it basically opens up a box full of bad stuff. This also means that the Lunatic Pandora is an immense structure built specifically to fuck with the moon.
Another Information entry has also appeared, this one about Tears' Point. The main thing here is that it's related to the Lunar Cry.
Now, let's get movin'.
As soon as you leave Odine's lab, the timer comes up.
Zell's also feeling chatty for some reason.
: There it is!
At least one of us can see it.
Well, good luck to you in the future.
Just like Odine suggested, the target isn't the city. The Galbadians won't let people inside, but they're not attacking people on the streets.
Well, they're not attacking non-combatants in the streets.
And here we are at the centre of the city.
We've still got a couple of minutes before Lunatic Pandora actually shows up, so we still have time to chat.
Or, you know, watch some shitty G-Soldier get cut in half.
And then, at five minutes in...
Edea absolutely did not sign on for this. Realistically, the plan here was "Zell returns the rental car, then everyone walks two blocks to see Odine and hang out 'til Squall's back from space."
: We're supposed to do what...!?
Oh, door's open!
I do not know why Odin showed up for every battle I fought in this sequence.
But there we go.
Here we are, inside Lunatic Pandora.
Goin' pretty well so far.
Man, I really like Lunatic Pandora. I love coming up these stairs and seeing this room with the elevators.
We can also see this Curaga draw point, which isn't very useful at this time.
And, of course, there are Galbadian soldiers around the place. Not too big an issue, honestly.
Now, let's get going on exploring. Three numbered elevators, might as well start with number 1, yeah?
And, taking the lift up, we see a very familiar-looking area. If you think back to the second Laguna sequence, at the Esthar dig site, we went through a lot of hallways that looked exactly like this.
This draw point wasn't around at the time, though.
Another thing I like about Lunatic Pandora is how it blends these artificial structures, like this bridge, with the crystal formations. The whole place honestly seems huge to me, and like some fucked-up abomination superweapon.
Across the bridge, we run into some kind of robot before we can go deeper into the Pandora.
: Let's do it!!!
Well, we don't have a lot of options.
Unfortunately, it doesn't go very well.
And, instead of stopping the Galbadian advance, the C-Team just gets bodily ejected.
So here we are, left to watch Lunatic Pandora disappear over the horizon, by remaining stationary and turning invisible.
: Dammit! ...Kills me to let 'em go!
Man, what are you gonna do? Walk over there and punch the thing?
Taking a break from Zell's impotent anger, let's jump over to Tears' Point.
As the shadow of Lunatic Pandora advances over the structure, the pillars start turning red.
I assume these things are related to how Tears' Point is sealed against the Crystal Pillar.
Unfortunately, it looks like that's not working out, as the pillars then burn out.
And then, finally, Lunatic Pandora comes to a stop right over the centre of the place, and the statue cracks
You know, with the fact that the cracks on the statue look like tears and the whole thing is glowing red,
I'm gonna say this is a bad thing.
Well, I guess we're taking the L on this one.
: The Lunar Cry...
: Let's head back.
So, I mentioned earlier that this was a big chance for Zell to actually do some leadership. Now I'm gonna say, he totally shit the bed. Again, the job Squall gave him was to take the rental car back and the scope expanded a bit from there, but it's still a failure. He ran off with half the story and no real plan, then ended up in a bad situation and lost.
Ah, let's just go home.
You might say, "so you do all that and then the robot throws you out and it's all a waste of time? So what if you don't make it?"
Well, if you don't make it to the contact point because, say, you stood around for 20 straight minutes...
Zell gets mad.
And then everything else happens the same way. Everyone ends up on that rooftop somehow, they have a few lines about their fucked-up mission, then everyone goes home. I think it's a good handling of the kind of always-lose situation - the alternative would be a game over screen for screwing up, and a gameplay success being a plot failure, which is a frustrating situation for the player. This isn't a particularly tough sequence, but I think it's still a nice touch.