Thursday, 5 June 2014

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

 Part Twenty Two


 Day Ten: The Mediocre Escape

 So, will the tattooed crusader make it out of this jam alive? Will this Galbadian guard spell his doom? Will he ever see the faces of his friends again?!

Yes, no and would you really call these people his friends?
 This picture doesn't really show it, but Zog came from above.

 The last time we saw him, he was at the bottom of the building. How did he get up to this floor so fast and how did he manage to come from above?

 Remember, the arm needs to be operated by someone in the arm itself and someone in the control room at the top of the building. We know Zell wasn't in there to do it, so how exactly did Zog manage to get up to Zell so fast?

I'm going to say 'narrative convenience', because an explanation is never presented. The needing two people thing even comes up later, so they haven't just forgotten about it. Although we'll get to that.

 Right now, though, Zog has bigger problems.

 Mostly that he can't get Zell to let go of his trousers. It's a good thing he's got so many belts, otherwise they would have fallen down.

 It's a little bit odd that a. Zell is so grateful since he's been trained to face the jaws of death since childhood but if we accept that, then b. that Zog is so dismissive of the gratitude of someone whose life he just saved.

 I can buy one of these, but not both.

 Zog was just tortured and Zell nearly died, and had been beaten up by the guards before that.

 Has Zog just immediately forgotten all the stuff that just happened or that they're in a life, death or worse than death situation?

 I'm also wondering what the hell is going on with Quistis and Selfie, because they don't really seem to be taking this seriously either.

Come on Quistis, you know first hand that Zog doesn't go for blonds.
 He is physically the strongest member of your team.

 Not to mention that if it wasn't for him, none of you would be able to make good your escape in the first place.

 And, oh yeah, you left him by himself at the top of what you thought was a tower to fend for himself against guards, soldiers, robots and monsters and it hasn't occurred to you that Zog might have just realised what a shitty thing that was to do?

 It hasn't occurred to you that he might not want that on his conscience?!

 You need Zell and you owe him.

 This isn't the time for school-girlish mock jabs at Zog's sexual orientation. (Not that I've seen any evidence for one so far. I can't decide whether that means I think he's asexual, or just that much of a self-centred twat.)

 While all this is going on, they're just standing around.

 In a heavily guarded prison with monsters roaming the corridors.

 They quickly find themselves under fire.

The only surprising thing about this is that it didn't happen sooner.
 Like the professional mercenaries they are, Quistis and Selphie crawl over to Zog and Zell so that it's easier for all of them to get shot.

 Why do people keep ganging together like this in fiction when their enemies have projectile weapons? It's not a very sensible tactic.

 Luckily for them, somebody who knows a thing or two about projectile weapons comes and saves them.

Irvine comes too. Babum tisch.
 One quick question, Irvine: where the living hell have you been?

 Okay, okay. First I think I should explain what he's doing there now, and then we can talk about his absence for the last half an hour.

 When the guards came in asking for Nina, it was because her father had finagled it so that she would be released. Irvine was the one who was sent to pick her up.

 Unsurprisingly, Nina was the only one Caraway (it just occurred to me, I don't know this man's first name) got safe passage for. I mean, she's his daughter, she's the only one he could have any measure of control over, and the only one whose actions he could make up reasonable excuses for. (Clearly something has gone wrong somewhere.)

 Since Nina is the only one who has any consistent ethical compass, she bullies Irvine into going back with her to rescue the others.

 On their way down to where Zog and Co. are, Irvine tries to play it cool and Nina pushes him down the stairs.

Nina is the best character in this game and I will fight
anyone who says otherwise.
 So that's how we got to this point.

 Now, where was I?

 Oh yeah, where the hell have you been Irvine?!

 Just to recap, Irvine was one of the party that fought the Sorceress. Irvine is the one who tried to shoot her. Irvine was just as 'surrounded by Galbadian soldiers' as Zog was. Irvine is a SeeD or at the very least, works for one of the Gardens, which we know the Sorceress hates.

 So how the living hell did he get away from the scene of the crime?

 Remember, Quistis, Selfie and Zell got caught and they were in a position where they easily could have legged it into the sewers.

 Irvine was on a float in plain sight of everyone, especially Seifer and the Sorceress herself.

 She knows what this guy looks like, how is he not dead already?

 In fact, since she knows what Irvine looks like, reports that Caraway sent him to fetch Nina would probably result in a dead Caraway.

 So, anyway, now they're here.

 For some reason we get a thought from Nina being very happy that Zog's okay. Which he isn't, he seems to be suffering from some kind of memory problem, has just been tortured and has that ever present issue with the past tense.

 Although she's probably confined to thinking about the huge spear of ice that got him in the shoulder. You'd think she'd be confused about where he got the new jacket from, but apparently not.

 With the gang back together, it's time to finally escape the prison. Which Irvine tells us is actually buried underground and the exit is at the top.

 And the fact that this place isn't ever referred to as an oubliette is a crime against humanity.

 Guess what, they decide to split the party and leave half of them behind while the other three escape.

 I... have no idea why.

 No, really, it achieves nothing. They just all end up together in the end anyway.

 I suppose a couple of interesting things do happen though.

 For starters there's this:

Hmm... indeed.
 Apparently the Galbadian military uses the same training techniques as Bond villains, because Irvine is just standing stock still and none of these jokers comes anywhere near to hitting him.

 Protip: Don't have a character under heavy gunfire if there's going to be no actual peril.

 Secondly there's the Moombas giving Zog and Co. stuff and disjointedly rambling about Laguna.

 Then there's Irvine getting Zog and Co. to let Irvine and Co. up to the top.

 And then there's this:

Thrilling? Or Confusing? (A: Confusing)
 What it is is Zog hanging off a bridge and pulling himself over a giant drill digging itself into the ground.

 I'm... not all that impressed.

 I guess the graphics are pretty, but the entire thing just seemed kind of pointless.

 I think I would have preferred a normal prison break to this gubbins with the running up and down, leaving Zell by himself to die, suddenly realising that it's a bad idea and magically saving him, leaving Irvine and Co. behind, letting them up on the arm...

 It just seems like a needlessly complicated section.

 Just having Quistis, Selphie and Zell escaping their cell and fighting their way to save Zog intercut with the torture scenes, and meeting up with Irvine and Nina just before they do with the option to swap members out so that two hold off guards and three fight some kind of boss battle to save Zog, would have worked fine.

 That's just a scenario I thought of off the top or my head. I'm already brewing another one right now.

 This isn't a particularly difficult thing to do well, so I'm mildly confused as to why they did it so badly.


 Anyway, the prison digs itself into the ground and our heroes find themselves in a convenient garage with two (to become convenient) vehicles totally unopposed.

 Now they're free, what will they do next?

 Find out next time, when we ask 'why isn't Selphie the main character?' in Part Twenty Three: She Wears Short Skirts, I'm Impressed With Her Ingenuity.

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