Final Fantasy VIII [19] – One Small Step

The lunar station team consisted of Squall, Rinoa and Irvine, though Irvine didn’t have any use during these events. The Space part is where the story gets seriously weird. First of all, the president is up there and I meet him several times, but he’s always in a suit, so I don’t actually find out who he is until later.

Secondly, I’m suddenly told that this is where they keep Adel, the sorceress who ruled Esthar during the war and was overthrown sometime after Laguna’s imprisonment there. This whole idea seems pretty cool. They can’t kill her, probably because her powers would just transfer someplace else. Instead, they keep her suspended, or frozen, or something, in orbit around the planet. The station was built and deployed solely to monitor Adel and respond if anything unexpected happens.

Final Fantasy VIII, Space

There was a lot of FMV during the part in space.

Thirdly, I am told that the planet’s moon is infested with monsters. In fact, that’s where all the monsters on the planet come from. Periodically, similarly to how tides are caused by the moon, the planet causes a monster “bloom”. The amount of monsters dramatically increases; they somehow pile up and grow, and then finally fall down to the planet. This is what’s called a Lunar Cry and, if I understood this correctly, it happens at Tear’s Point, where Lunatic Pandora was heading. Pandora is somehow connected to the moon.

A lot of these things aren’t very well explained and are sort of just dropped on the player, so I can’t say I love the storytelling here, but the concepts are definitely pretty cool. The world of Final Fantasy VIII is, I’d say, much more alien compared to any other in the series, except perhaps Spira of Final Fantasy X, which is what I like, a lot.

Anyway, soon after we land on the station and I talk to Ellone, who is also there, Rinoa wakes up in a trance, under some sort of power. She trashes around the station with no one able to touch her, exits into open space and manages to free Adel. Then I have a series of events which advance the story and make me realize Rinoa is now under Ultimecia’s control and I’m forced to save her. It’s a lengthy series of scenes, but you don’t get to play much during them, so there isn’t to much to write about.

Irvine, Ellone and the station staff leave with an escape pod, while Squall remains behind to save Rinoa, who is drifting in Space. There’s another bunch of sequences where Squall really grows as a character,before they both finally remain alive, on an abandoned spaceship.

Final Fantasy VIII, Ragnarok

Ragnarok – The coolest airship of the franchise.

The ship is infested with monsters that revive one another. I had mixed feelings about this part back in the day. On the one hand, it was the first time I encountered non-random encounters. The monsters are actually visible in the field and the game switches to battle once you “touch” them. On the other hand, it took me a while to figure out the idea behind revival. Plus, I was weak on my first playthrough, which wasn’t the case this time around.

The revival mechanic is quite simple, really. There was a total of ten monsters, divided into same-color pairs. If you kill one, the other revives it after your next battle. This means the monsters forming a pair need to be killed one after the other, with no battles between these two. Basically, I had to figure out which colors are easiest to reach and eliminate them first, which then made the rest simpler.

I also used the opportunity to stock up on higher level magic, since the monsters can be mugged for wizard stones. I didn’t have to do it for too long, though, since I already had a nice supply available.

Once I was done clearing the place, I could access the cockpit and land the ship down to the planet, with the help of people on the surface. Squall and Rinoa had a nice moment there with actual music with vocals accompanying them. Once that was done, it’s revealed that Rinoa is in fact a sorceress and will be taken by Esthar soldiers once Ragnarok, as the ship is called, lands.