Thursday, 12 June 2014

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Twenty Six

 Part Twenty Five


 Day Eleven: A Near Missile

 Following Xu into the lift takes us to the first floor, where the classroom from the beginning of the game is.

 Much to my chagrin, I can't actually go into the classroom. Which sucks, because I really wanted to check out that terminal again, see how the gossip has changed and if the Quistis fanboys have lost interest in her since she's been gone. But alas, no.

 (It also would have been nice to maybe get some more backstory on this coup...)

 Going further along the corridor has Zog and Co. catch up with Xu, and here she demands to know what side they're on.

Zog, you traitorous little bitch.

 I know I've made cracks about how awful Cid is, but the NORGs are demonstrably worse! This place is your home, how can you not care who's in charge of it?!

 Ugh, if he lived in a democracy, I know Zog would be the kind of guy not to vote.

 Anyway, he tells Xu about the missiles and she seems shocked.

 Really? Really?!

 One of your students attacked the previous ruler of Galbadia and four of your SeeDs (and the two people with him) attempted to assassinate the new ruler. Do you not watch the news?!

 One would assume that current events may come in handy for special forces.

 Is the geopolitics of this world run on the bloody honour system or something?

 "But Galbadia said they wouldn't attack Balamb Garden, so why are they attacking Balamb Garden after we made another strike against them?"

 Why do you think, thickhead?

I mean, Jesus H. Christ, even if Seifer and Zog hadn't done what they'd done, this attack was more or less inevitable.

 A superpower is attempting global domination and you think they're just going to leave pockets of powerful trained mercenaries lying around, ready to be hired by rebel groups to fight them? Because by this point, they pretty much know that you'll take those jobs.

 It's basically either spend major amounts of money and resources to hire you out of trouble, or blast you out of existence. Any sensible state with imperial ambitions would go for the latter, because the former only serves to make them look weak and the latter choice also makes a show of strength.

 'Galbadia destroyed the powerful SeeDs, you are alone now. There is no one who can help you.'

 I didn't think you were this thick, seriously Xu.

 After that display of rampant stupidity, she tells them where Cid is.

-double face palm-

 ... ...

 You seriously expect me to believe that the NORGs didn't check?


 Wouldn't anyone with half a damn braincell immediately check Cid's office?

 The Headmaster at my school was almost always in his office. Well, when he wasn't swooping around the school quietly intimidating everyone under the age of thirty five.

 Honestly, that's what I'd do, check his office and then set some people up in there in case he came back.

 But nope! The NORGs really are that stupid.

 Finally, it's time to meet up with Cid for the first time since, what? Part Six? How time flies.

 He tells Zog and Co. that the intercom is down, which... is reasonable enough I guess. Considering the circumstances, both sides wouldn't want the other to have that kind of communication power.

 He then tells them to go and help with the evacuation and that he's going to stay until the end, because he's got a plan of some kind.

 Then there's this exchange where Zog's all 'you might screw up, this is my home, I don't wanna just run around telling people to leave, dude tell me your plan' in his head, but out loud just tells Cid that his feelings have nothing to do with it.
"Everyone does, sir. We're only given facial expressions in
FMV cutscenes."
 Zog silently wonders why he's being judged (probably because you're a misanthrope, buddy) before demanding to know the plan.

 And this is where this day gets ridiculous.

 It's not the dinosaurs wandering around the school, it's not the fact that the NORGs couldn't run a successful coup d'etat in a nursery, it isn't the ridiculous 'divide and conquer' strategy, it isn't that I've had these three sleep in the same bed repeatedly while missiles are approaching, it's not even the invisible weapons.


 It's this.

 And he has no idea what it does.

 No, really. He has literally no idea what the thing the entire school is built on does.

 Who does this?!

 There could literally be anything down there, this school has been around a least a decade and it never occurred to him to check what was down there?!

 This should have been the first thing he did when he bought the land! There could have been literally anything down there. Radioactive materials, stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons, massive open pools of highly flammable fuels, tonnes of dangerous monsters, corpses, anything.

 It's hard to have an elite mercenary force when they all died of radiation poisoning, or one of the other potential horrors.

 However, this is literally the only plan they have, so Zog and Co. volunteer to go do it, taking the lift down to the bottom of the school.

 In an attempt to ramp up the tension, a cutscene of the missiles flying dramatically through the air happens. I like it, it was very pretty. I really like the CGI on the inorganic stuff in the FMV cutscenes, it looks really nice.

Then the lift breaks.

 I'm not sure if this served a purpose, it just seemed to fall down the to the level they had to climb down to anyway.

 After climbing down the emergency ladder and jumping down a hole, this happened.

Okay, so there are hordes of monsters here.
Ofsted won't like this.
 This is a tutorial. I'm nineteen hours into this game and they're going to give me another tutorial now?

 Excuse me if I'm woefully unimpressed.

 It's going to be hard to go into an awful lot of detail on this part, because there's just a lot of running around, but here's the highlight of the section.

A smashing performance.
 Zog climbed up a rickety ladder that separated from the wall under the strain of his body weight and caused him to crash through a window. But don't worry folks, he's okay!

 How does he not have new scars from this?

 Never mind,

 Anyway, this allows him to open up another ladder that leads to a lever and a forced battle.

Oh hey, look, open pools of highly flammable fuel.
 These creatures were a pain, and the lack of experience at the end of the battle annoyed me, as Nina could have used a level up at that point.

And there's so much down there that an eco-system has
formed around it. The EPA is going to want whatever's
left of Cid when Ofsted is finished with him.
 This leads to another cutscene of the missiles, which I thought looked awesome, but then...

 Oh my god they have eyes! Why do they have eyes?!

 Zog and Co's efforts to save the Garden from these things leads them to finding, and lucking their way into successfully using, the aforementioned control panel.

 Which shoots out of the floor straight up into Cid's office.

 How terribly convenient.

 I wasn't kidding earlier when I said this was ridiculous.

 This entire building can also function as a flying school.

 That's just silly.

 A flying town powered by an old man I can accept, but a flying school is something that I have a hard time suspending my disbelief for.

 The school flies up, and apparently Selphie and Co. did their job properly, because not a single one of the missiles hit it. Which I find improbable at best, since it just became a bigger target.

 I will give them this though, this cutscene was very impressive, especially for the time.

 Since such an amazing thing has happened, Nina wants to look at what's going on outside, and that cutscene is also gorgeous.

Nina is also very pretty, if a bit lifeless and plastic-y.
 But alas! Another disaster!

 They're going to run into the town of Balamb and kill Zell's mother (I presume he would have said something along those lines if I hadn't sent him with Selphie), what are they going to do?!

 Well, Zog hits the control panel and that somehow makes the Garden miss the town and land in the water.

May I remind you, open pools of oil.
This is an environmental disaster waiting to happen.
 Now they're adrift, they stay that way for a good long while, long enough for them to have cleared out the monsters, and for Nina to get bored enough to bully Zog into giving her the grand tour.

Just leave him, Nina, he's not worth it. There are
plenty of other men in the Garden.
 Nearly twenty hours and I still hate this whiny little ass.

 Let's hope improvement starts coming in Part Twenty Seven.

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