Final Fantasy VIII [12] – Finally Out of Balamb Garden

Squall was just about to mope some more, when something interesting finally happened. The Balamb Garden was now drifting for a while and it finally drifted somewhere. It crashed straight into Fisherman’s Horizon.

The concept of Fisherman’s Horizon is something I liked very much back when I first played this game, and I still do. There’s a railroad going across the central ocean of Final Fantasy VIII’s world. This idea, to me, is pretty cool on itself, mostly because it’s completely ludicrous. Even better, the railroad is pretty much built across the widest part of the ocean. It’s not completely obvious from the game, but I’m guessing the railroad is built high enough for ships to be able to pass underneath, because anything else would make even less sense. One thing is for sure, though. Balamb Garden cannot pass under it.

In any case, FH is a town of engineers who built the railway as well as a lot of other things in the world. The town itself is built next to the railway, halfway between the continents. As far as I can tell, it’s actually floating, attached to the railway. It’s also build around a huge solar array; so big there’s room for the mayor’s house as well as a performing stage in the middle. Suffice to say, it’s a very original looking town and I love the concept of it.

Final Fantasy VIII, Fisherman's Horizon Solar Array

Awesome town with an awesome view.

Well, as I said, Balamb Garden crashed into it. It didn’t do much damage, but it was stuck. Lucky for everyone, the engineers of FH have built all of the Gardens, so they are very much familiar with how it works, so the mayor promised repairs and a crash course in piloting it.

As for myself, I went to explore the town, got some Ultimas from a draw point at the mayor’s house, as well as some Regen at another draw point. The former seems to be a one-time use or at least on a very long respawn timer, but the one with Regen respawned twice while I was there.

There wasn’t much time for exploration. Soon, a squad of Galbadian soldiers arrived and started asking questions about Elone. It looks like Edea is looking for her, for some as of yet unknown reason. Sadly, I had to get myself involved and, since they were human, I couldn’t use my Card ability. After the soldiers were beaten, the tank Selphie’s team encountered at the missile base busted in and attacked. It was already damaged from before, so I beat it easily. It turns out, it was piloted by Selphie and the others, but they lost control. Everyone was together again.

After this, there was some talking, mostly involving Selphie and her plans, but Squall finally started to get fleshed out as a character. I know a lot of gamers dislike Squall the most when it comes to PS1 Final Fantasy games, but I don’t. In fact, I like the main protagonists of all three PS1 Final Fantasy games and I’d even say Squall is better than Cloud, though neither is as “emo” as many love to claim.

Final Fantasy VIII, Squall and Rinoa

Squall is starting to get a personality.

Before I could leave FH, there was also the matter of a concert Selphie organized. Why? Because Cid, for some reason, decided to promote Squall to commander of Balamb Garden. Yeah, I know, it doesn’t make much sense, but it happened and the game handles it well enough later on.

With all of that out of the way, the group decided to go back to the town of Balamb. It’s a harbor town, so it was likely Galbadians would go search for Ellone there as well, since they know she’s on the white SeeD ship.