The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy VIII

by Cool Ghost

Part 91: Part Ninety-One: Leap of Faith

Part Ninety-One: Leap of Faith

As everything goes to hell everywhere, we follow Ellone down the ladder and to the escape pod.

Before we strap in, we can do some chatting.

Piet: The reserve tank will give her an extra 5 minutes at most. It's unfortunate, but it can't be helped.

First up is Piet, who's pretty rude about the whole thing. Though I guess he probably does consider Rinoa a major criminal right now, so I can see where he's coming from.

Quistis is pretty broke up about Rinoa's impending death.

But not quite as broke up as someone we know.

: ...I can't take it. Ellone, please. I've never felt this way in my life.

I mentioned before how emotionally honest he is with Ellone, but it's still true and I still like it. Even Squall, who goes to such lengths to avoid attachment, loves his big sister and runs to her when he needs a hand.

: Take me to her past.
Ellone: Ok.

She's not sure it'll work, but she'll give it a go anyway. Ellone loves Squall, too.

Unfortunately for family chats, we're on short time.

So, Squall straps in and the escape pod is launched.

It's a good thing, too, as the Lunar Cry smashes through the space station just afterwards. Guess the president's gonna have to find somewhere else to dodge paperwork.


Well, it looks like Ellone managed to learn enough about Rinoa to get this to work. Her aim could use a little work, though.

: No, it's your father's order. I'm taking you back to Deling City.

We're back during the B-Team's prison stint, when Irvine was being a douche and only helping Rinoa escape.

: We have to go back and help everybody!

At least one of them is a decent person.

Soon, the car comes to a stop and Rinoa jumps out.

: They'll be fine. I'm sure they can get outta there when the time comes.

This line might be intended as a show of faith, but I can't read it as anything other than Irvine being a sleaze.

: You don't know for sure. Squall might say 'but no one has ordered me to escape,' and end up staying in there. We can't have that! We have to go help them!

She makes a little joke there, but Rinoa seems much more sincere and well-intentioned.

: I don't care if I have to force you back.

So she bodily forces him back in the car, and off they go!

The game lingers on the car for a couple seconds, then we cut to this very weird angle in Balamb Garden's cafeteria.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this specifically, but Rinoa's body language involves a lot of full-body movement. It seems like she moves around more than the other characters.

: You mean the one with the monster carved on it?

It's not a monster, it's a lion, Zell.

: Alright, how 'bout I make you one? I'm pretty good at that kinda stuff.

And now we know more specifically why Zell asked for Squall's ring back at the end of disc two.

: Let's have Squall show us the real thing.

: Why not?
: ..It's embarrassing.
: Say what?

Zell, the dumbest person in Balamb Garden, just figured out those two like each other.

Moving away from the teen drama, we jump back to space.

Ellone: I'm sorry. Let me try again.

Ellone's second (third?) try has apparently sent us to another dimension.

After a second, the light dims and we fade in on the Galbadia Garden auditorium.

The shot is reused from Squall's perspective after the second battle with Edea, but he's actually in Rinoa's consciousness, and I assume that implies he has her sensory experience.

Which means Squall should now have a very vivid memory of smooching Seifer.

: (This isn't Rinoa!)

The dialogue box isn't labelled, but you can probably guess who's speaking here.

There's our confirmation that Ultimecia was inhabiting Rinoa, at least at one point.

: (Where's Rinoa!!!)

Ultimecia: Find the legendary Lunatic Pandora, said to be hidden beneath the ocean.

I like the description of Lunatic Pandora as "legendary" here - it fits with Ultimecia's flair for the dramatic, but it could also mean that the Pandora is considered a legend in the future, while here it's just a research project Esthar threw out.

Ultimecia: Only then shall the sorceress provide you with dreams again.

Oh, this is also the first time we're seeing Ultimecia speak directly, so that's important. A little bit of Ultimecia's manipulation being demonstrated, too.

: (Rinoa! Where are you? Answer me!)

Squall's got other things on his mind, though.

Another little thing this sequence shows us is that Seifer knew about Ultimecia.

After Seifer leaves, we get Rinoa's response to Squall's think-screaming at her, as well as a guest appearance from some kind of ghost.

Well, we already knew how that ended, but there you go.

Then this ghost notices Squall's presence, and we get a better look at her. The game doesn't label her at this point, but you can intuit that it's Ultimecia.

We'll probably see her later.

Right now, Ellone's having some trouble.

: I couldn't do anything...... What should I do?

Just like Ellone said, we couldn't change the past.

Ellone: Those curious, innocent, puppy dog eyes. I loved those eyes.
: That's in the past.
Ellone: That's right. What's important is right now. I finally realized that.

Ellone: Yes. Talk to her, Squall. Your voice may not reach her, but your heart will. Are you ready?

I don't know why she has that bit about the future in there, it makes the line into a bit of a mess.

This time, we end up staring at space.

Things are looking pretty bleak.

: (How? I can't do anything... Drifting...endlessly.)

As her thoughts pop up, Rinoa drifts into view. She's the little white person at the bottom.

Unfortunately, she doesn't have a lot of time to meditate on her condition.

: (I'm... That's it. I'm gonna...)

I guess that's it, then.

: (Squall...)

: (Don't give up!!!)

Finally, Squall manages to get through.

: (Can you hear me!? It's Squall... Rinoa!!! Rinoa!!!)

As he shouts, the camera angle changes.

There's also an extremely short FMV as Rinoa battles unconsciousness.

: (Rinoa, come on! Try to remember!)

I'm not clear on what she's supposed to be remembering.

Honestly, the bigger issue seems to be getting her to stay awake.

The FMV exists to show that her eyes are closed, as well as a little bit of fog as she breathes (which is very hard to see). Stuff that would be hard to see with the normal models. Squall keeps yelling, but she's had a long day.

The angle changes again, and she keeps drifting along.

As she dies, something drifts up and casts a shadow on her face.

She opens her eyes just long enough to see the rings on her necklace, and smiles a little.

: (I'm ...still... .........alive?)

Getting a bit of composure back, she decides to press this button.

I guess that's the emergency air, because she starts breathing a little easier afterwards. I figure she didn't switch it on before because she was too disoriented to do it, or maybe because she thought there was no reason to.

That done, we're back to the escape pod.

Squall's got a new resolution now.

Ellone: You didn't need my help at all.
: Thanks, Sis.

Having made a little bit of mental contact with Rinoa, he decides to go after her physically.

Quistis, of course, is worried.

Piet: He's insane! He's gonna run out of fuel and life-support in no time. They're both gonna die.

Piet's probably right, but this isn't about good planning, or even necessarily coming back. It's a mostly symbolic act, if we're being honest.

And there he goes, off into space.

For this next bit, we have a minute and a half to find and catch Rinoa.

: (I'm gonna find you, no matter what. I have to get in front of her... ...And catch her...)

Squall explains what this minigame involves, specifically.

While we're here, I want to talk about Squall saving Rinoa from danger. This is the third time he's done it, and I think there are some real contrasts on how well that is and isn't handled at various points in the game.

The first time you save Rinoa is in Deling City, when Edea gets hold of her. There, Rinoa gets herself into danger by ignoring Quistis's warning, and it serves to highlight a few character things. Because of how the party switching works at the time, it also doesn't come with the gameplay consequence of taking Rinoa out of your active party. Overall, I think this one is an okay situation.

The second time is during the battle with Galbadia Garden. This one is a real mess, with Rinoa getting into danger essentially randomly and Squall rescuing her by blind luck. It's also compounded by the whole bit where everyone tells Squall to go rescue her when he has no particular capacity to do so. It sucks.

This particular situation right now, though, I think contrasts very well against the flying platform rescue. Here, she's not just in danger to put her in danger, she's in danger because she was possessed and dumped in space. This also demonstrates again just how much Ultimecia cares about anyone who's not Ultimecia, which is not at all, and it's very direct about that, so it serves a story/character purpose. The "rescuing" is also much better than the one at Garden, because Squall at least has the capacity to get to her, even if he doesn't have a plan to get her back. The decision to jump into space is a lot more organic than having everyone stop the action to yell at him to do something he has no reason to be able to do.

Of course, all of these involve Rinoa playing the "damsel in distress" role, and that sucks, but, and I'm taking the long way around, my point is goddamn the rescue at Garden blows.

You may notice in this shot that Rinoa has gotten significantly closer. Basically, you can turn Squall side to side, and you have to centre Rinoa to succeed. There's also a button to use a speed boost, which I think you need, just because Rinoa is far enough away that you can't catch her without it.

If you don't catch her, you just get a short message.

Well, and this tutorial. Very useful.

Let's look at the other outcome.

Keep Rinoa in the centre of the screen while you close in...

...and he catches her.

: Squall...thank you. I heard your voice.
: ...I can't believe it.
: Are we gonna make it?
: Don't worry.

He says "don't worry," but she's right to.

For their last moments, though, we're treated to this wonderful view of the Lunar Cry. We're not far from the moon at all.

: (What now? Die in space? I'm so helpless... I can't even save Rinoa? Come on, think!)

As they stare at each other and meditate on being doomed...

...some weird thing comes into view.

Well, "weird thing" is better than "no thing".

Whatever it is, it looks mean.

It's also got Esthar's logo on the back.

Hell, it's better than dyin' in space.