Final Fantasy 8 – Finale

Check out what happened last time!

First, let’s see if we can’t gather those items to use that ring we picked up a while back.

It requires six Steel Pipes, six Malboro Tentacles and six Remedy+’s.

You can mug the Steel Pipes from Wendigo’s in the forest areas of Dollet.

The Malboro Tentacles can be mugged, or dropped from, you guess it, Malboros, everyone’s favorite Final Fantasy enemy.

The only problem, in my time so far, they actually were a tad bit rare.
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While searching for Malboros, we stumbled across an island with an Ochu on it.
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That proceeded to pound the party into dust. Oops!

Moving on, we find the actual place that Malboros spawn, albeit not that often.

We also get to see Odin, who randomly appears during fights to instant kill enemies.
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Unfortunately, I didn’t even think that, since we are trying to keep our levels as low as possible, Odin killing the enemies is actually a detriment to us!

Since enemies killed = experience = more levels = stronger enemies = a bad time, I now see the error in my ways. Oh well, no chance to go back now!

We will just have to live with it and do some resetting if it happens too often.

Once again, Malboros prove to be quite an annoying enemy to face, what with their Bad Breath inflicting every status ailment under the sun.

With Quistis and Selphie immune to Confuse, the really annoying status ailment, we can pull through.

Squall doesn’t have any status ailment protection just yet.

After finally gathering up everything we need, I came upon a disheartening realization…

I don’t even have the ability that lets me get Remedy+’s!

Oh well, I set Alexander(the GF who learns it), down the path to learn it eventually, so we will hopefully get it later.

Next up, let’s get the fabled Bahamut as a GF!

First, we put Zell in our party. This will matter for later.
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Next, the gang head all the way to the middle of the ocean and finds a derelict facility.

Zell mentions he thinks he knows what this place is.
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He says that it was once a research facility, one that was trying to develop “Draw” technology.

He even says they experimented on GF’s here.

As they enter, a voice rings out and tells them to turn back.

This area is a bit annoying. You can only walk, but doing so causes a random encounter immediately, even with Enc-None active.

The trick is to not move when the glowing lights surround the panel ahead.

Once he reaches the panel, Squall gets asked a question from the strange voice.
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We answer peacefully, but still fight a Ruby Dragon, which the group easily dispatches.

Next, another question.
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Squall answers, “Never,” and fights another dragon.

The final question, there is a hidden prompt here.
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Squall questions if all they were born to do was fight.
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Then Bahamut arrives!

Honestly, he was extremely easy. He had some amazing magic to draw from; Flare, Curaga, Full Life and Dispel, but he could do some damage, so I figured it would be best to end it quickly. Especially considering I had no idea when he would bust out Mega Flare, if he even could.
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After a few Renzokukens, he goes down and joins us!

Bahamut is a very strong GF. +60% Strength and Magic, plus x4 ability!?

Squall is now a death machine.

We are also awarded the Bahamut card for defeating him.

The group heads back to the facility and finds a huge hole further into the building, so they head down.

What follows is long segment where you have to use the facility’s energy units to open doors.

Because Zell is with us, everything is easy to open and requires little power, for some reason.

Further down, Zell asks to help out, so we oblige him.

He knocks some sense into the machines, so the door opens for the party to continue.

Unfortunately, by doing so, we now have to face incredibly powerful monsters heading down.
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These Behemoths, much like their past incarnations, are a pain to fight. For one, they have a ton of health, but they can also cast Meteor and Tornado. Thankfully, they can be silenced.

They also hit like a truck, inflicting almost 1000 damage with their regular attack and dealing over 2000 damage with their Assault Horn!
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But, with Bahamut, Squall can hit for over 5000!
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They can drop, or you can mug, Barriers from them, which allows Quistis to learn the all-mighty, Mighty Guard!
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Mighty Guard buffs the party with various protection spells, like Protect and Shell, among others. It’s great.
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Even further down, these Iron Giants, while not that tough, were relentless with their quick attacks, especially if they used their Grand Sword attack, which hits the entire party for moderate damage.

The group finally reaches the bottom, where they wonder what this place is hiding.

Squall hits a lever… Which causes sirens to sound off!
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Here is Ultima Weapon!

First things first, draw a new GF from him, Eden!

Secondly, he starts the fight with Light Pillar, dealing 9999 to one party member.
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Then, he proceeded to murder us with Gravija, followed up by Quake and Meteor.

Well, that was quick! Round two!

This time, we prepare our abilities and also junction Quake and Float to our elemental defense. Hopefully that will help alleviate his Quake when he uses it.

Never mind, on to round 3, game crashed!

The old saying of, “third time’s the charm” once again rings true and we beat him!
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He was very lax this time, only using Gravija once, near the end, resorting mostly to physical attacks.
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We also had Squall equip Recover, an ability from Leviathan that will fully heal one ally.

Very handy after someone is demolished from Light Pillar.

In addition, he never used Quake at all!
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For beating him, we get the Eden GF, the Eden card and a whopping 100 AP!

With that, all of our GF’s learn a ton of new abilities.

One in particular, is the Med LVL Up ability from Alexander, allowing us to gain another GF!

We turn our Remedy’s into Remedy+’s…
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And we get Doomtrain!

So back to Eden, the GF we got from Ultima Weapon. Eden is a good GF, capable of learning powerful abilities, like an ability that allows the user to use only one spell when using Triple.

Handy for not blowing through all of your spells in a fight.

Or Devour, which allows the user to literally eat a monster and gain stats, depending on the monster eaten.

Doomtrain is very defense orientated, who is capable of learning x4 junction to Elemental
Defense and Status Defense, among other things, such as being able to call a junk shop, similar to Tonberry.

Now, for the final GF…
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Is Jumbo Cactuar!?
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Yep, this guy appears randomly on an island near Esthar, aptly named Cactuar Island.
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He isn’t that hard, actually, although he does have 10,000 Needles, which is always an instant kill to whoever it targets, due to it dealing 10,000 damage.
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But, with a weakness to water, Squall was dishing out clean 9999 damage per hit.
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We also draw a new spell, Meltdown, which does damage and lowers the target’s Vitality, allowing for more damage.
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I had Zell and Quistis Draw all the Meltdowns they could before we finished off Jumbo Cactuar.

Cactuar is an odd GF. He mostly has the Bonus abilities, where, by having one equipped, that particular stat increases when they level up.

So having Str Bonus would increase Strength for that character when they level up.
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With that, we have completed our GF collection!

First thing, let’s rescue Rinoa!

The gang heads to where she is being kept.
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Despite our past relations with Rinoa, they let Squall and the others in.
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Which proved to be a dumb mistake as Selphie and Quistis hold off the guards so Squall can bust Rinoa out.
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Squall and Rinoa have a moment, before Quistis and Selphie yell at them to hurry.

They get surrounded, but someone allows them through?

Squall thinks they are familiar, but can’t place them.
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The group hops in the Ragnarok, and make their escape!

Rinoa asks to go the Edea’s house, since she wants to stay away from people, just in case she gets possessed again.

As they enter Edea’s house, Rinoa and Squall have a few words together.
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Rinoa is very concerned about possibly getting controlled by Ultimecia again, even to go so far as to ask Squall to kill her if she turns on everyone.
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Squall, of course, is fully against that idea.
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Squall also tries to pull the old “GF made me forget” excuse when Rinoa asks him about something he said in the past.
She even mentions that he can’t use that excuse, funnily enough.
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Rinoa talks about having a bad dream where she can’t find Squall, so Squall tells her a promise, to meet her here, at Edea’s house, if they ever split up again.
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Zell suddenly shows up and tells us they have received a message from Esthar.
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He says they have a plan to get rid of Ultimecia, and the that the message comes from Kiros!?

The group immediately heads out.
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In Esthar, it appears the city is under siege from the monsters that fell from the moon.
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They arrive at the palace and find out it is indeed Laguna, Kiros and Ward, with Laguna as president of Esthar!

So that is who let Squall and the others go after they broke Rinoa out!
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Wow, Squall, sure, talk to the president of Esthar like that.

Squall asks about their plan to defeat the sorceress, so Dr. Odine gives us a very long explanation.

Dr. Odine mentions that by studying Ellone in the past and present, in the future, he creates a machine that essentially copies Ellone’s power, able to send people to the past.

That is what Ultimecia is using to come from the future.

Regarding the actual defeat of the sorceress, to quickly sum it up, the group needs to kill
Adel before she wakes up and Ultimecia can take over her consciousness.

Then, leaving Ultimecia with no other option, when Ultimecia possesses Rinoa, Ellone will send Rinoa and Ultimecia back to the past, where Ultimecia will create a time compression.

When that happens, Ellone will sever the connection, sending everyone back to their respective time lines, but also keeping the time compression going.

Using said time compression, the gang will travel to the future, where they can properly defeat Ultimecia.

Risky as can be, but it’s the only plan they have.

Now, let’s head to the Lunatic Pandora and stop a certain sorceress from destroying time, shall we?

But first, more Triple Triad!
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This time, it was easy and I got the card I wanted on the first try!
Laguna is holding the Squall card that you can win from him.
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With that out of the way, the group makes their to the Lunatic Pandora!
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Selphie and Irvine put on the thrusters and cannons, bursting through the shields, along with blowing a hole in the side of the ship, allowing us to dock.
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When they exit the ship, Fuijin and Raijin are waiting for us!

Honestly, Squall two shot Fuijin and three shot Raijin. It wasn’t even remotely challenging.

Moving on, they find Biggs and Wedge, who finally just say screw it and quit their jobs as Galbadian soldiers and go home.
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They find Fuijin and Raijin again, who send that same robot that knocked the others out of here earlier.
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Once again, easy fight. It only has one dangerous move, Corona, which lowers everyone’s HP to 1.
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I had Squall use Recover to heal, so it wasn’t that bad. We also drew 100 Flares for everyone.

Moving on, they find Seifer, Fuijin and Raijin, who has Ellone!
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They talk for a moment, when Fuijin and Raijin let Ellone go and plead with Seifer to stop this madness.

Even Fuijin, who has practically been mute this entire game, finally speaks up and tells Sefier to stop.

Of course, he won’t listen, so it’s time to teach him a lesson!

Odin then gets summoned!? Heck yeah!
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Oh damn…

With Odin now dead, we face Seifer.

Who is incredibly easy.
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Near the end of the battle, someone makes an appearance…
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Gilgamesh!?
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He blows Seifer away and leaves!

After that, Rinoa walks off, contemplating about Seifer, when he jumps up and runs after her!

He grabs her and takes her to Adel before we can get to her.
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He throws her to Adel, who proceeds to absorb her!
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Yeah, that doesn’t look good.
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Every so often, Adel will absorb energy from Rinoa, so we have to end the fight quickly or we lose.

I have Quistis Draw-Cast Regen from Rinoa, onto Rinoa, to slow down the drain effect.

After that, we go on the offensive.
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Adel has some minor tricks up her sleeve, like Meteor and Flare, but they don’t deal a whole ton of damage.

With Selphie casting Full-Cure when she got low, Squall with Recover and his massive physical attacks, it was over in like three attacks.
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Rinoa gains Adel’s powers and right on cue, Ellone sends her back to the past, then severs the connection, bringing her back.
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With Ultimecia in the past, the time compression begins…

The group, minus Rinoa, finds themselves back in an odd Deling City and explores the area.

Squall, Selphie and Quistis see Edea, who rises from her seat and attacks!
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We also get to see Gilgamesh in action. This was Excalibur, which dealt okay damage to her.

Gilgamesh has effectively replaced Odin, since Seifer literally split Odin in half.

Every fight, he has a chance to appear and do an attack.

Edea is… Different.
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As we fight on, more sorceresses from time come and attack us, while constantly changing battle areas through time.
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They start off incredibly weak, but get progressively stronger, even using Meteor and Double later on.
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Eventually, this thing comes out, where the group fights in a hell-scape.
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Whatever it is, it actually hit pretty hard with its physical attacks and has powerful magic to boot.
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After she explodes, the gang appears in Edea’s house, as if nothing happened.
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Upon further inspection, we see dead SeeDs from different time lines, along with a huge, Castlevania-esque castle!
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Squall and the others head up one of the chains to the castle to prepare for the final assault!

As the group makes their way to the castle, Squall decides to split the party into two groups, himself, Rinoa and Quistis will make up one group while Selphie, Zell and Irvine make up the other.
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The castle has a magical seal preventing most of our commands! Which means that we have to kill all of the guardians of Ultimecia’s castle to have full access to our skills and abilities.
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The first boss is right up the stairs and is incredibly easy. I don’t even think it attacked us once.

Since we only have access to Attack, there isn’t much to discuss, just wail on it.
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It’s mask does come off at one point, but that’s it.
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When it dies, we get a choice to choose what to unlock. I chose magic, since I thought that would be helpful with healing if we need it.
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The group finds the second boss.

Thinking it was going to be a piece of cake, I rush it…
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With dire consequences. He counters all attacks with Mega Spark, which deals huge amounts of lightning damage to the party.

It quickly took out Squall and Rinoa, leaving only Quistis standing due to her being healed by lightning attacks.

I just spammed attack while he continuously healed her. Like an idiot, I also chose to unlock our Limit Breaks instead of Resurrection, which means Squall and Rinoa are going to stay dead for a little while.

We switch over to the other party and explore a bit more.
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They quickly find another guardian, which proves to be just as annoying.

This guy counters all attacks with a pretty strong physical attack, so careful healing and timing of attacks are important.
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I had Selphie use Full-Cure right at the end, just in time for him to drop an Ultima before he dies.

I unlock Resurrection so Squall and Rinoa can be revived.
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This next section, you have to examine twelve paintings, remember the names and piece together the title of a larger painting.

Not that hard.
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Next boss wasn’t that hard, either. He summons some small monsters that he can drain health from, healing him slightly, but we just wailed on him and he quickly went down.

I chose to unlock saving.
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The next boss is pretty easy, following the same theme as the rest of the bosses here, he counters attacks with a move called Counter Twist, which looks painful, but doesn’t hurt that bad.

The only trouble is he can inflict a multitude of status ailments, but it was more annoying than anything else.

Thankfully, Selphie didn’t get cursed because, once again, Selphie proves to be the MVP with her Full-Cure.
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This guy wasn’t that bad, with Thundaga junctioned to our elemental defense, almost all of his attacks actually healed us.

He ended the fight with Meteor, but it wasn’t particularly damaging.
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This guy was annoying due to his extremely high physical and magical defense. I ended up using a few Meltdowns to lower it, so the party could deal some real damage to him.
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Tiamat, the last guardian, doesn’t really attack. She is more like a Bahamut palette swap, in that she slowly spells out Dark Flare, before blasting us with it, dealing some hefty damage.

With Squall’s HP in critical, one last Renzokuken was all it took to finish her off.
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With all of the guardians taken care of, it’s time to face Ultimecia!
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We start off the upcoming boss gauntlet(spoiler!) with sorceress Ultimecia, who very much is eager to end everyone’s lives.

She actually went down rather quick, no trouble, really.

Except for the fact that she randomly chooses three members of your party to fight!

This means that she could summon people who aren’t properly equipped!

I got lucky and managed to get Quistis, Squall and Irvine.

Surprisingly, Irvine, despite having nothing junctioned, managed to survive quite a while.
He did absolutely nothing, but hey.

She then summons the most powerful GF…
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Griever! The one and the same from Squall’s ring!?
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This is where things got annoying. At this point, Griever could use a move and literally destroy a target’s magic completely, chosen at random from their stock of spells. Even those that are junctioned!

I got fairly lucky and no major spells were taken away except near the end.
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When he dies, Ultimecia makes him do Shockwave Pulsar, which does massive damage to the group.

Thankfully, I just had Squall use Recover on Quistis before hand.
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At this point, Ultimecia junctions herself to Griever!

This form could summon these odd lightning bolt things that were incredibly evasive, so only Squall could really hit them, but they didn’t do much.

I equipped Quistis with the Revive ability from Alexander, which is essentially a free Full-Life.
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I wasn’t fast enough, however, for Irvine, who disappears. This happens if you let a character die and don’t very quickly revive them.

They are gone forever, getting replaced by another character in your roster.

I got incredibly lucky and got Rinoa, so now the full party is ready to fight!
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After taking that down, we get to the real final battle, Ultimecia’s final form.
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This is a last boss if I ever saw one!
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She starts off with Hell’s Judgement, a move that instantly takes everyone’s HP to 1.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for this move, she probably wouldn’t be so bad!

In any case, quick healing and revives are necessary if you want to win.

You can draw Flare and Holy from her, which helps, but not a whole lot.
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Through out the fight, I got really lucky and Rinoa summoned Angelo (due to her being at 1 HP), and she got Invincible Moon, which makes the entire party invincible for a few rounds. Incredibly helpful in this fight.
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Unfortunately, this also makes characters not be able to effected by beneficial magic either, like Mighty Guard, or Aura, which I tried to use on Squall, but it missed. Oh well!

Nearing the end, she started using a move called Apocalypse, which does massive damage to the entire party.

In fact, at a certain point, you can Draw Apocalypse from her to use against her!
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It was a struggle, but Rinoa got the finishing blow with a Holy!

She explodes in a shower of colors and rays, as any good boss should.

At this point, the ending sequence is honestly confusing and nuts.

It appears everyone is thrown into some sort of purgatory, where time is nothing.

They all try to remember Edea’s house, where they said they would meet up.

Squall ends up meeting the Edea from the past, when Ultimecia comes up and tries to give Edea her powers!

Squall goes to stop her, but Edea says that if she doesn’t take them, she will just give them to one of the children, so she must.

Edea inherits Ultimecia’s powers, and Squall leaves.

Eventually, after some funky, psychedelic cutscenes, we get the ending credits.

Really, screenshots do not do this justice, just look it up, it’s crazy.

Eventually, we see Rinoa and Squall, happy, as they gaze across the night sky, where everyone seems to be celebrating in Balamb Garden.
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And that’s a wrap!
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Here are the final party’s stats.

I didn’t show Selphie, Irvine or Zell, since what you see here is pretty much their stats as well, since all junctions can be freely switched between party members.

Final Thoughts:

So, Final Fantasy 8 finally comes to a close.
It was a crazy ride.

FF8 was one of the first Final Fantasy games I ever played, so it does hold a special place in my heart.

I remember being a kid and picking up the game at a local store many years ago.

Despite all of my time with it, this is actually my first time beating it! Crazy, I know!

So what are my thoughts about the game?

The game is good, in it’s own way, but it has quite a few flaws.

To me, one of the biggest flaws, is how easy it is to completely break the game. Once I got past the early game, I almost never had trouble. My average party level was like 13!

I had very little trouble through-out the game. Only certain monsters or bosses gave me trouble.
The final Ultimecia was a bit annoying as well, but that was it.

Another thing, a lot of the bosses that gave me trouble were ones that either had instant-kill moves, (Ultima Weapon), or they used percentage moves like Gravija/Corona/Hell’s Judgement, (Various bosses, the robot in Lunatic Pandora, Ultimecia’s final form).

In RPG’s, I kind of always feel that “gravity,” magic or percentage damage was always a cheap way to pad difficulty, but that is just my opinion.

I don’t think I need to explain how annoying instant death moves are.

The fact that the game almost discourages leveling is a blow as well. That is one of the key points of an RPG, but FF8, you can play the game with levels in the teens and do fine, even better and easier than if you did level to max!

In fact, there is a Steam achievement for keeping Squall at his initial level!

I think the one that a lot of people think of that have played this game, is the magic/draw system. It is innovative, but that doesn’t mean that it works.

If it wasn’t for the Steam Hi-Speed option, this game would have completely drained my spirit by the end.

Trying to Draw 100 of a spell, let alone 300 can take forever, especially if a character’s magic is low.

Couple that with the fact that you do have limited magic inventory space and it only compounds the issue even further.

Regarding magic, it is very much useless past the very beginning of the game, other than buffing spells.

Even then, you don’t want to use too much magic, since magic is tied to your stats, so having less than 100 of a junctioned magic is less than ideal.

That leaves physical attacks and Limit Breaks.

Oh Limit Breaks. So broken. Squall’s Renzokuken was basically a boss killer at all times, Quistis’ Blue magic was mostly for just moderate damage, but can instant kill with Degenerator and massively buff the party with Mighty Guard.

Zell’s Duel was actually pretty well balanced, since you have to be quick to be able to deal real damage.

Rinoa’s was pretty neat. Borderline broken with Invincible Moon, but not overly so, since it’s luck if you get it.
I never really got to test Angel Wing, so I can’t comment on that.

Irvine’s, to me, wasn’t really broken, since you have to keep up with his various ammunition to be able to do it.

Selphie… Poor Selphie. Almost any character that gets a “slots” ability is usually crap. While not utterly trash, it was still random, which is annoying.
It had it’s uses, especially with Full-Cure being amazing.

That said, it could be broken, since she does have a few incredibly rare slots that can instantly end battles, even bosses!

I feel like everyone’s Limit Breaks were somewhat balanced except for Squall’s and Quistis’.

Back to magic, nine times out of ten, I merely just Draw-Cast’ed everything from monsters, since some bosses even let you heal yourself, revive and damage pretty much for free.

Except, once you get past the beginning of the game, casting magic for damage is pretty much moot, since physical attacks and Limit Breaks deal way more damage.

Especially considering that healing magic is odd in this game and varies like crazy.

Sometimes Cure would heal for like 1000, but then would sometimes heal for 20. 20!

I am sure I am missing something, maybe my character’s magic was low during the time I actually had to use healing magic or something.

But once I got Recover from Leviathan, I never really used healing magic in battle, I mostly saved it for in-between fights in the menu.

Disregarding gameplay flaws, the story is a bit odd at times as well.

I feel like the first disk is great, full of action and great opening, but then sort of falls flat and just kind of goes downhill from there.

There are many theories out there, like Squall is dead after the first disk and you are just having a dying dream, which is the most popular one.

Also, none of the characters save for Squall and Rinoa get any character development.

Well, I take that back, they get some, but it’s inconsequential.

About the only other characters I thought got some character development, other than the aforementioned two, were Selphie and Quistis.

Bottom line, would I recommend this game?

As much as it pains me to say it, probably not.

There are just too many flaws that make the game falter and become a chore; the draw system, the slowness of said draw system, the junction system (which could have been pretty cool), magic being essentially useless outside of a few select spells (but even then, can be replaced with GF abilities, like Recover and Revive), leveling actually being a bit of a detriment, somewhat confusing plot…

This is seriously starting to sound like a hate article, but really, I don’t hate the game, just disappointed, I suppose.

Some great things came out of this game, though, most notably Triple Triad. Despite my luck with parts of it, Triple Triad has continued as a Final Fantasy staple to this day!

If you are like me and just want to experience each Final Fantasy, then play it. Pick up the Steam version, however, so you can do the boosters and Hi-Speed, it will really help.

Otherwise, you can probably skip this one.

With all that said, one chapter closes, but another begins…

Join me next time for a game that is a bit of an underdog and has a cult following…
FF9 2016-12-13 13-55-24-180
Final Fantasy 9!

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