Final Fantasy 8 Part 2 – First mission and Symbiotic Dreams

Last time we took our SeeD test!
Did we pass? Check it out here.

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So, let’s get changed and head to this ceremony Selphie and Zell told us about.
We get dressed and head out to the party.

Squall mostly hangs out alone.
Zell and Selphie come up and do some talking, but of course, Squall is a bit quiet in conversation.

We join the Garden Festival for Selphie, but that’s about it.
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Eventually, we see the same girl from the intro sequence, who then comes over and tries to swoon Squall with some hypnotizing.
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It doesn’t really work, but she forces Squall to dance with her, despite Squall telling her he can’t dance.
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And it shows, he stumbles, trips, slams into people, but manages to pull it together at the end and perform wonderfully.

She sees someone she was looking for and leaves us as we head to the balcony.
Quistis comes out and tells us that was a perfect dance.
I guess she didn’t see the beginning of Squall’s performance.
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Squall being Squall, remains quiet, and Quistis quips saying that we will dance with a stranger, but can’t stand being around her… Uhh…
Does Quistis have a thing for Squall?
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Squall tells her like it is, that she is an instructor, and he is a student.

Quistis changes the subject and tells us that she has one last order, that we are to meet her in the training center and go to a “secret area.”
Squall is, of course, not really up for it, but she says it’s an order.

In fact, we question her about it, and she mentions she just has a lot on her mind.

We quickly head to our room, change into our battle gear and head out to the training center to meet Quistis.
We meet Quistis, who gives us a quick tutorial on how to junction status magic to our characters.

Siren, the GF we drew from the boss in Dollet, allows us to junction status magic to our physical attacks.
So every time that character attacks, they have a chance at inflicting the junctioned status.
In addition, we can also junction status magic to our status defense and protect against that status.

We then head into the training center.
Before we go in, she warns us of a powerful monster that roams the place, but says that it’s weak to Sleep, so if we can use that to hopefully take it out.

Here is Quistis’ Limit Break. It works just like other Blue Magic spells, but instead of learning them directly from enemies, she learns new attacks from items, some of which can be rare.
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Here is Laser Eye, the first attack she knows. It deals good damage at this point in the game.
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Shortly after, we run into that powerful monster Quistis warned us about.
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But it hits freaking hard, so we run.
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We take a moment and turn some of the weaker enemies in the training center into cards, and I finally learn Card Mod.

Card Mod allows you to turn the cards you get in the game into items, sometimes extremely powerful and rare ones.

The Card command and the Card Mod ability is what will allow you to really increase your power without having to level up.

Most if not all of the GFs have some sort of “mod/refine” ability, like Ifrit having the ability to create fire magic from items.

We then come across the T-Rexuar for round 2.
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This time, I was a bit more prepared, and had Quistis put him to sleep with her attacks, then she hammered away with Shiva, dealing a ton of damage since he is weak to ice.
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I had to keep re-applying sleep, but it wasn’t a big deal with Squall healing and just letting Shiva do the work.

Eventually, we got him low enough that I had Squall use Card, and we got the T-Rexuar card!

We also got a ton of goodies from that, and Ifrit even learned Str+20%, which is an amazing ability that can be equipped on any character that has Ifrit equipped.
It does basically what it says, increases Strength by 20%. A massive boost this early in the game.

With that, we move on.

We find the “secret area” which is just a romantic hide-away for the students.
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Quistis drops this bomb on us.
Apparently, they didn’t think she did a good enough job as a leader.
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Despite Quistis just wanting to talk to someone, Squall is still an arse.

Squall says he doesn’t want to carry anyone’s burdens and we leave.

We hear a scream for help, and we quickly rush over to the same woman that we saw in the infirmary at the beginning of the game being attacked by a beast!
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She calls out to us, and even knows our names?
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This guy is extremely easy. He comes with three little guys that he can toss around to do very low damage, but that’s it.
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However, we can Draw Protect and Shells from them, so we do.
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Quistis’ Laser Eye continues to impress.

I also tried to get 100 Blinds, but I accidentally killed the main boss before Qustis could get 100. Oh well.

After the fight, two men come and whisk her away before we can ask any questions.
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On the way out, we also get our first SeeD salary.

As you walk, after a certain number of steps, you are given a salary.
The higher your SeeD rank, the more money you get. Pretty simple.

We head back to our dorm, but Zell is waiting for us to tell us we have a new room since we are official members of SeeD now.

We go to sleep, and in the morning, Selphie wakes us up and tells us we are heading to Timber on our first SeeD mission.

Before all of that, it’s time we did something with all of those cards we have been accumulating.
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Triple Triad is a really fun card game in FF8 that has a ton of value in playing it.
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By winning cards from NPC’s, you can use those cards to Card Mod them into powerful things, in addition to getting a ton of cards, of course.

There is a lot of depth to the game, but the gist of it is to control more cards of your color by the time the grid is filled with cards.
By playing certain cards with high values against other cards, you can flip them onto your color.
There is a lot to explain, with a lot of strategy, so I just recommend looking up a FAQ or guide on Triple Triad if you want to learn more.
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In any case, we grab some cards, but most notably, the Mini Mog card from the kid who is jogging around on the first floor, and the incredibly rare Quistis card from the girls in Quistis’ ex-class room.

After that, we head out to the front of Balamb to get our first SeeD mission.
We find Cid outside and he gives us the details of our mission.
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One of his men also inform of us a password we will have to use when we arrive, to show we are SeeD.
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Before we leave, we also pick up the Magical Lamp from Cid, who tells us it’s cursed, but we might be able to make good use of it.
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At least the game is nice enough to warn you before you use it.

We equip everyone, and use the Magical Lamp to see what it does!
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We are immediately thrust into a fight with Diablos, the GF!

Diablos specializes in gravity magic, which does percentage damage.
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Gravija, his ultimate deals about 75% of everyone’s current health, but it can never actually kill you.
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He also uses Demi, a single target, weaker version of Gravija.

He also has a physical attack, which is somewhat dangerous, considering he can weaken us very easily and quickly, low enough that a scratch can kill us.
But, with our weakened states, that means more Limit Breaks!
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Zell’s Limit Break is Duel, and to be honest, I have never really been a big fan.

Think of Sabin’s Blitz from FF6, but it’s only during his Limit Break, and you have a time limit to fit as many moves as possible in that time frame.

It’s a lot easier on the actual Playstation copy of the game, where it shows you the buttons.
For the PC version, it doesn’t show you the buttons, just the number, like B1, B2, so it can be a bit confusing trying to hit the right button under a time limit.

Selphie’s Limit is Slots. When activated, random magic will appear on her command, which she can cast for free, and sometimes, multiple times in one turn.
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The catch; since it’s random, it could be something weak like Blind, or even something like Full-Cure, which is shown here.
Full-Cure instantly heals the party’s HP to full.

Very handy for this fight.
The good news, though, is that you can select the “Do Over” command to try and get a better result if you don’t like what you get, hence the name, Slots.

However, the battle is continually moving, so you can’t take too long searching for the best result sometimes.

She also has an extremely rare one, called “The End,” which will end any encounter, even some boss encounters, with no penalties.
Of course, as stated, it is extremely rare, and doesn’t come up often.

Diablos has Cure and a new spell, Demi to Draw from him, but the rate at which you Draw magic is very low, so we only manage to grab 8 Demi spells total.
Oh well!
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We soundly trounce him and he joins us.

We equip him on Selphie, and have him start to learn Enc-Half, which will cut the encounter rate in half!

He also has the lovely Mug ability, so we will definitely need to get that soon.

We grab a few items and have our GF’s learn an ability or two using the beach outside of Balamb.

Yes, yes, I said I wouldn’t use it, but really, I just wanted to learn the refine abilities for most of the GF’s, since they are pretty helpful, and don’t take that long to learn.
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We also manage to turn enough of the fish enemies into cards that we can refine five of the cards into a Water Crystal, allowing Quistis to learn Aqua Breath!

We head into the nearby town and find Zell’s house.
Our mission: win the Zell card from her.
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It took a while, but she eventually played it and we won!
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We step outside and find the junk shop, which lets us remodel our weapons, for a price, in the form of gil and items needed for the construction of the weapon.
We can’t create anything at the moment, so we just head out.
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We also meet the Queen of Cards, a very prominent Triple Triad player, who can change the rules of a region as she goes from region to region.
We also challenge her for the heck of it.

Turns out, her cards aren’t that strong at all!

But the main thing about her will come later, and if we need to change the rules in a region.

Anyway, we buy our train ticket to Timber.

On the train, Selphie and Zell rush ahead to explore the train, so we follow.
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Zell and Squall enter the SeeD private cabin, and Zell tells us some info about Timber.
It was taken by Galbadia 18 years ago.
Since then, resistance groups have been popping up all over the city to hopefully rebel against Galbadia.
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Typical Squall!
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Just then, Selphie comes in, saying she isn’t feeling well, and passes out on the couch.
Zell stands up, and mentions the same thing, and passes out as well.
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Squall gets a ringing in his head, and he falls over, unconscious.
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We then are given control of three new people, and we seem to be in the middle of a forest.
It appears Squall and the others are observers to some kind of dream.
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Looking at the menu, we are in the Timber Forest, controlling three men, Laguna, Kiros and Ward.
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Squall, Selphie and Zell also speak to each other, but it seems as if they are mere observers of this dream-like state and no one can hear them.
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Laguna and company hop into a vehicle and drive to Deling City, where they make their way to the hotel there.
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There, we see that Laguna has a bit of a crush on Julia, the piano player for the hotel, but can’t really work up the courage to say anything.

Julie eventually goes up to Laguna and asks if he wants to talk up in her room, to which he quickly agrees.

There, they share small talk, and Julia reveals that she wants to sing as well as play piano, and Laguna is ecstatic.

Unfortunately, she says she isn’t good at writing lyrics, but after talking with Laguna, she might be able to come up with something.
Kiros interrupts and says they have new orders, and the dream fades.

Selphie mentions she had a nice dream, with a “Mr.Laguna” and everyone flips out.
It seems they all shared the same dream.
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Selphie says that it is too confusing to understand right now, and that they should just concentrate on the mission, to which everyone agrees.
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We make it to Timber, and meet with someone, and we tell him the password.
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He leads us to a train car, and we find a man named Zone, who introduces himself, as well as the man who led us here, Watts.
Zone is the leader of a group called the Forest Owls.

He then asks Watts about the “princess,” and asks us to go get her.
Squall is quite annoyed at this, and asks if we were hired just to run errands.

Zone backs out of the conversation with a stomach ache, and Squall is forced to get this “princess.”

But before that, we challenge Watts to a game of Triple Triad to win another rare card.
Since this is a different region from Balamb, Watts asks us to merge our rules together, but we tell him no.

Combining rules is usually way too chaotic and random, so we tell him no, and attempt to challenge him again until he stops asking to merge rules.
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We eventually get the Angelo Card.

We head up to the princess’ room, and find it’s the girl from the party at the SeeD ceremony that Squall danced with!

She says that she talked to Seifer, and he introduced her to Cid.
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She has been trying to get aid for a long time, but after speaking with Cid directly, he sent out Squall, Zell and Selphie.
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She says her name is Rinoa, as well as her companion, Angelo the dog.

Angelo is a part of Rinoa’s Limit Break.
As Rinoa takes damage and gets into low HP, Angelo will randomly use various moves, which you can learn as you progress through the game.

These can range from damage, healing, even finding items during battles.

There are also some commands she can pick, just as the other character’s Limit Breaks, as well.

With that, she heads back to Zone and Watts and we follow.
We head into the meeting room and we are told the mission and how to complete it.
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Disregarding Selphie’s plan with the rocket launcher, in the simplest terms, they plan on switching out the Galbadian president’s car with their dummy car, and taking the president with them to their base to confront him.

Seems easy, except we have to avoid guards, sensors, input codes under a time limit, and if we fail, the train crashes into the other train and we all die.
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Before the mission starts, we head back to Rinoa’s room and snag the Pet Pals Vol 2 magazine.

These teach Angelo/Rinoa new moves for him to use.
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The very beginning of the mission is easy, but it can get a bit hectic.
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Thankfully, Zell and Selphie will warn us if they spot one of the guards heading in our direction.

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While putting in the uncoupling codes from Rinoa, we are vulnerable to being spotted by the guards, which can result in an instant game over, as seen here.
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Disregarding that, we manage to uncouple the first car.

We sneak in the dummy car with the fake president, and begin the second stretch of the mission, which is just like the first, except we don’t have Zell and Selphie here to warn us, so we have to manually look over and be sure to be very quick inputting codes.
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We manage to do so, and we speed off with the president’s car.
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For doing the train mission successfully in one go(even though we failed the first time, we got a game over, so it reset everything), our SeeD rank goes up by one.

Back on the train with the group, Rinoa says that will begin the interrogations when we are ready. Squall reminds himself to equip any GF’s.
I suppose we should expect a fight then.
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We head out and go to speak to the president… But something isn’t right.
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He then attacks us!
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That is freaky…
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He only has Cure to draw from him, so we just wail on him.
He attacks by literally biting a chunk out of someone’s neck, which, while gruesome, does weak damage.
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After a few blows, he turns into this!
This is where things get serious.

This thing can use nasty physical attaks, as well as a breath attack that deals decent damage and inflicts various status conditions.
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We can draw cast Esuna from him, so status isn’t really much of an issue, just an annoyance.
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He can also use Berserk to force someone into only attacking until Berserk is removed.

He does have Esuna, Double, Berserk and Zombie to draw from, but it’s a bit dangerous to draw from him like before, so I just grabbed a few and attacked.

Selphie ended up being the MVP this fight with Slots.
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She used Slots and I got cast Fira two times, two times in a row, and he went down really quick.
He is considered undead, so fire attacks worked especially well on him.
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After the fight, Watts tells us that he found out why the real president is here in Timber, to use the radio station to broadcast some kind of signal all over the world.

Rinoa and the rest of the resistance group has the bright idea to intercept the broadcast and declare Timber free of Galbadian rule.

Selphie and Zell are a little concerned and ask to see the contract from Cid.
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So basically, Cid sent us on a mission that we might not ever be able to complete as our first real mission.
Thanks, Cid.
Rinoa forces her way into our party, and I bring along Selphie as well, since she was awesome last battle.

Rinoa learns her limit breaks through those Pet Pal magazines.
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We can choose one, and as we walk around, she “teaches” Angelo the chosen move, and he can use it during battle randomly/chosen at low HP, like other limits.

We head out and see what we can do about this potential broadcast.

As we leave the train, Watts tells us behind the Timber Maniac’s building is the route to our destination, so we should head there.

We head to the pet shop and pick up some more Pet Pals, volume 3 and 4, to be exact.

These teach Invincible Moon and Angelo Revive, which makes the party invincible and revives a party member. We start learning Invincible Moon first.

Using Watts’ advice, we head to the Timber Maniac’s building to see if we can’t find the way to the radio station.

In town, we randomly run into some Galbadian soldiers, and get a Buel card from there after the battle.

Inside the nearby pub, we find a drunk man, who apparently had his card stolen from him, so we give it back to him.
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He lets us keep the Buel card and also gives us a Tonberry card in return!

In the alley behind the pub, we save our game and head up to the station.
There, we find a large television.

We get word from Watts that there are guards everywhere, so we can’t just rush in.

Rinoa begins to formulate a plan, then Squall goes off on her, asking her how serious she is about this, if she actually knows what she is doing.
Selphie makes Squall back off, and Rinoa says it is serious, and she runs off.
Zell shows up shortly after.

Then, the television comes to life and we see the president introduced.
He says that his ambassador is the Sorceress, and that she will help him with peace talks with the other nations.
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Just then, Seifer comes out of nowhere and grabs the president as his hostage!
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Quistis comes on the screen, and demands everyone stay back, to not provoke Seifer.
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Selphie and Zell ask Squall what they are going to do, but Squall says this isn’t their job, but Quistis actually calls us out and says we have permission to help her, so we head out!

We arrive, and Quistis tells us he escaped from his punishment.

He pops off on Zell, and Zell, being the idiot he is, mentions we are from Balamb Garden.
The president tells us if anything happens to him, the government will shut down Balamb, but Seifer won’t let him go, and retreats with the president further into the station.

We quickly follow after him and Quistis.
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When we find him, some odd woman appears from the wall, and stops Quistis right in her tracks.

She begins to ask Seifer if he wants help, to leave this place.

At first, he refuses, but he eventually lets the president go, and begins to leave with the sorceress.
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She then stops the rest of Squall’s group with a powerful spell and disappears with Seifer to some unknown place.

Rinoa asks to be taken to a safe place, as an order from “the client,” and Squall is forced to agree.

We find our way to another resistance member’s home where we stay for a bit until we decide what to do.

Quistis tells us that we have to the head to the nearest Garden, since we can’t make it to Balamb.
That would be Galbadia Garden.

So we have to take the train and head there.
I take Quistis and Rinoa with me, and we head out.

We find Zone in disguise, who managed to get some tickets out of town for the train, but had to give his ticket to Quistis, since he didn’t know she would be here.

Zone and Rinoa say their goodbyes and we start to head to the train.

Can we escape the city and get to Galbadia Garden?
Find out next time!


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