Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Forty Four

 Part Forty Three


 Day Seventeen: Oooh! Matron!

 In order to get to the Sorceress, and have the big climactic battle with the woman who raised them for a handful of years and then most of them totally forgot about, Zog and Co. need to go into Martine's old office.

 Like Cid's office, the only way up there is via a lift. Which is currently locked and needs the final card key being held by a student.

This one's a girl!
 She's hanging out in one of the ground floor classrooms, so finding her shouldn't be too difficult.

 Much to my delight, the way you get to the lift needed to go to Martine's office is via a set of stairs. In fact, all of the changing floors so far in Galbadia Garden was done via stairs. Which, after the lift only transport in Balamb Garden, was a nice change.

 I'm still miffed about the lack of proper wheelchair access, though.

 By the lift, there is this room.

Ah, I remember this room.
 This room, in case you haven't read from the beginning, is the spawn of a running joke in this series, as well as on Doug's Tumblr.

 When he graciously reblogs my links to these posts, he writes surrealist short stories to accompany them. If you don't follow Doug on Tumblr, here's the one he wrote for Part Sixteen:

 Squall is staring out at the ocean. “Humans …” he says, “I … do not like humans …”

 You peer at him. “Um, but - you’re human?”

 He turns to you with tears shining in his eyes. “It’s a linguistic ambiguity.” 

 You embrace. 

 I don't know who this 'Squall' guy is, I'm assuming it's what he called Zog on his playthrough.

 Anyway, some of these have common elements, one of which is NORG. The other one was born here in this room.

 You can see it in the story written for Part Seventeen:

 You clutch Lysa, aware of the breeze rushing up through the Moon Door. “Oh, my sweet wife. My sweet, silly wife.” She is still crying. You ease her to her feet gently. “I have only loved one woman.”

You can hear footsteps. You ignore them.

"Only one," you say softly. She smiles. "My entire life."

Those footsteps are getting louder. Lysa makes a small noise in the back of her throat. You feel something cold tighten in your chest. “Your - …”

Before you can say any more, a man in a ridiculous fur-trimmed leather jacket tackles you to the floor. “DON’T TALK IN THE PAST TENSE,” he yells. 

Everything is a blur. Sansa has black hair and a dog strapped to her arm. Lysa is wearing a nautilus. From the throne, Tetsuya Nomura leers.

 Of course, this references this:

Oh, Zog, my poor child.
 The writing in this game sometimes...

 After this minor nostalgia trip I stopped faffing about and headed up to Martine's office, where the Sorceress and Seifer were waiting.

Oh, hey guys.
 And they do just wait.

 They can clearly see you, but are perfectly happy to wait there and watch while you go and save.

 Which makes me wonder, what do they think you're doing? Do they know that there's something there, or are they just watching Zog and Co. and wondering if they've lost their minds?

 If they are wondering what the hell Zog is doing, they don't show it when he goes and talks to them.

"Also, uh, what were you doing over there? You just kind of
spaced out."
 It's hard to seem intimidating if you show that you're confused.

 Although intimidation isn't the only route he tries to go down, he also tries to guilt trip them. He attempts this in two ways:

  1. By calling Edea 'Matron'
  2. By calling them out for attacking in a group
 Let's start with one, shall we?

 Seifer says, and I quote, "Did you guys come to fight Matron? After all she's done for us?".

 She looked after you for a handful of years before abandoning you to become an evil Sorceress. Only two of you ended up being adopted, only one of whom ended up in a loving home, and all of you ended up being trained as child soldiers.

 Yeah, she did a bang up job there, didn't she, Seifer?

 And this is ignoring the biggest slap in the face to the player.

 They found out about all this two hours ago.

 One, this isn't surprising, to them or us.

 Two, it has no impact on them at all.

 No, they're apparently totally over the fact that the woman they attempted to assassinate was once a parental figure to them, and are dealing with the fact that they still need to kill her despicably well.

 They're also dealing with the fact that Irvine kept this from them for so long ridiculously well, but I digress.

 The fact that Seifer is going down this road at all makes the way this news was given to the party and the player all the more stupid.

 Did the writers really think that a prolonged cutscene with Irvine telling them all the details was more dramatic and interesting then Seifer telling them as a means to try and mess with their heads?

 That finding out and apparently dealing with this news hours before the climactic final battle was better character development than having to deal with it while facing their powerful foe and childhood companion?

 Because if they did, they were wrong. Wronger than anyone has ever been about character development.

 And I'm including Stephenie Meyer in that statement.

 Okay, the second thing he says to try and guilt them.

 Zog says that he's no different to the monsters that they fight to them, that he's just another enemy.

 To which he replies with saying that he's the Sorceress' knight and that they're the monsters because they're ganging up on them in a swarm.

 Oh, sweetie, they're only technically ganging up on you. There are three of them and two of you.

 It's not that big of a difference, or that big of a deal.

 Also, it's clearly no longer the time of chivalry in your world, get with the times already.

 By the by, during this conversation, there's some character specific dialogue where Seifer does some light bullying of Zell. Which is a nice touch.

 With this 'banter' out of the way, the battle begins and Seifer's dialogue just cracks me up.

 "Let's go after them monsters."

 "I'll show you who's the better man!"

 "Ready to die, Zog?"

 (Like Zog is the only one there.)

 And my personal favourite:

Oh, sweetie.
 It's like he wants yaoi fangirls to write fic about him.

 It's a pretty easy fight, just keep your HP up and attack him. I insisted on using Bio, so it took me a while, but it should be a lot faster if you use your offensive GFs a lot.

 Once he goes down he expresses his surprise, although this is the second time Zog's beaten him and this time he's got friends with him.

 Edea, being unimpressed by this loss, stands up in a back breaking fashion and proceeds to sink through the floor. Presumably because she fancies a slightly less shabby location for their climactic battle.

 Either that, or unconscious and possibly dying teenage boys throw her off her game.

 Which is a shame, because Seifer clearly has the utmost faith in this woman.

 Once chased down to the auditorium, which Zog tells us is right below Martine's office, there's a verbal face off between the Sorceress and Zog and Co.

Lady, the only legendary thing about Zog is how bad his taste
in clothes is.
 Legendary, really?

 Have you seen this kid?

 Also, it's been ten years at the most since Cid started his crazy scheme, so I'm under impressed. You better have a good reason for calling Zog that.

 Because, frankly, he's a massive loser.

 Seifer, being the loyal twerp that he is, somehow managed to pick himself up and drag himself down to the auditorium in order to protect the Sorceress. It's impressive, but pointless.

 She proceeds to call him worthless and Zog thinks 'She's not our Matron'.

 Like him saying she's not a woman that the player never got to meet and had no impact on him or his behaviour for the vast majority of the game would be meaningful in any way.

 Thankfully a fight starts before we have to deal with any more of this crap.

 It's rather entertaining for the simple fact that Seifer is there going on about how he's her knight and desperately fighting for her safety and honour while probably suffering from internal bleeding, and she stands there doing nothing.

 After beating Seifer up for a second time (and seriously, he comes back from so much it's making the heroes look like the bad guys), the heroes finally get to face the Sorceress.

 Which is easy.

 Yeah, she casts Reflect on herself, but it's criminally easy to deal with her.

 Just use your GFs and make sure that one of your characters has Sleep junctioned to their attack. Not to their attack stat, as a status ailment junction.

 When they attack her, there's a probability that she'll get knocked out.

 For me it only took two or three turns for Selphie to knock her back into unconciousness every time she woke up.

 Which I found oddly entertaining.

 She went down really quickly, which was amazingly anti-climactic considering that she was the main villain up to this point.

 Once she does go down, this weird light starts emitting from her body and I swear the Quickening happens.

 The screen goes white and Nina appears out of nowhere, acting like she's in a daze and takes Seifer into her arms. She does something to him to make him better and proceeds to pass out.

 Right after this, the Sorceress struggles to her feet and talks to Zog and Co., saying that they've all grown so much and that she knew this day would come. Although she doesn't know if this day is joyous or odious.

 Then Quistis brings Zog's attention to the unconscious Nina and the section ends with Zog asking what's wrong with her.

 Hopefully, we'll find out next time in Part Forty Five.

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