Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Sixty Nine

 Part Sixty Eight


 Day Twenty Seven: Oh, Well Lake

 I've said it before, but this side quest has to be the worst for it, there is virtually no signposting for anything that you do in the side quests.

 There is so much guesswork and time wasting involved that it screams 'we put these in as an afterthought'. Especially when you consider that so many of the side quests cannot be completed without the Ragnarok, which we only just got.

 The last one we dealt with was bad for this, but this one is possibly even worse.

 This one revolves around a place called 'Obel Lake', which is right by the city of Timber and isn't at all signposted.

 In it resides a creature, but the dialogue box you open by pressing the action button by no noticable event trigger (I've used RPG maker, I know what I'm talking about) gives you the option to throw a rock, or to (and I can't believe I'm typing this) hum.

 Dear god, do I hope that this is some Japanese folklore thing. Although cursory research indicates that it isn't.

 Of course, I picked hum. Partly because Doug told me to and partly because I wanted to pick the option less likely to get me eaten by a lake monster.

 Also, Zog humming? He's not a hummer, he's a... barely bobbing his head along to music kind of guy. You know, when he's not acting like he stepped out of a Greek tragedy.

 Humming gets the lake monster to show up, and it's surprisingly not devour-y.

Aw, thanks.
 This thing is never shown on screen, so this is basically a text adventure of a side quest.

 Text adventures are okay, I've never played one myself, but this is Final Fantasy VIII! Make a monster head pop out of the water! You have the technology.

 Anyway, one of the problems unique to this sidequest is the way that you have to repeatedly use the text boxes. Here we have to talk to the monster a second time in order for him to ask us a favour.

 The favour being 'can you go and find my monkey friend?'

 It's a pain because all the direction you get amounts to 'he's in a green blob somewhere on the surface of this planet. Good luck!'

 So, cheating to the rescue.

 The little blighter is hanging around in Hasberry Plains, which is absolutely no where near Obel Lake.

 I call it a blighter because it's an incredibly rude monkey.

 A text box pops up and gives you the option to throw a rock at the monkey or sing to it.

 Of course, I go for the option that isn't simulated animal abuse out of the goodness of my heart and it tells me that I suck! The nerve!

 Now I've located the monkey, I've got to go back to Obel Lake in order to tell the friend that he does not deserve where he is.

 At this point you need to talk to the monster multiple times in order to get enough information to carry on the side quest. This consists of five pieces of gossip, and two of them lead to draw points for incredibly basic magic, thus making them totally pointless.

 The three relevent pieces of information tell us to go to a small island east of Timber, a cliff near a cave that has a river coming out of it between Timber and Deling City and the beach near Balamb.

 Like the lake, there is no visible event trigger, so you'll end up running around mashing the action button at every step.

 It's even worse on the beach, because there are a whole bunch of rocks there, most of which are just normal rocks like you get on the beach. I suppose we can only be grateful that the beach near Balamb wasn't a pebble beach, although it feels like it is when you're looking for the stupid rock.

 Once you've got them all, back to Obel Lake we go!

 Wow, I love the going back and forth in this side quest. This is exactly what I play video games for.

 Speaking of, the monster tells us that there is another rock and the stupid monkey's got it.


 So, back to Hasberry Plains.

 Only you can't get the monkey to give you anything.

 According to Doug, you need to go back to Obel Lake and throw rocks until the following text box tells you that the stone skipped maky times, and then go back to the forest with the monkey and throw a rock at it.

 I did all of that, and it worked, but I was pretty mad about it.

 Mostly because why on earth would it ever occur to me that throwing a stone in a lake would be an important part of a quest if it didn't make something happen? Also, I know there's a monster in there, I'm hardly going to chuck stones in a lake with a monster because it might hurt it or make it angry.

 I also feel the need to point out that throwing a rock at a simian is nothing like skipping a stone across the surface of water, so how on earth does he know you've been skipping stones in the first place?

Hey! Don't talk smack about my mother's footwear!
  Regardless of this totally pointless stone throwing crap, talk to it again and it'll throw a stone at you, which is what you want.

 Take it back to Obel Lake and the monster puts them all together so you can see all the writing in one place. I would have mentioned it earlier, but it would have been pointless because this is the only way you can make out what's going on.

Wow, so helpful.
 It tells you that 'Mordred Plains has treasure', you've got to read it top to bottom from the right to the left.

 Okay, to Mordred Plains then.


 Where the living hell is that?

 Nothing in this world is signposted. Oh, yes, landmarks are marked out, but with the exception of the Deep Sea Research Centre and Centra Ruins, every single one of those it plot related. There are no towns or landmarks that you just go to and learn about stuff from. For example, there's no town near either of those things to imply there's something to do there.

 There are no settlements just for the sake of having a fleshed out world. Basically, there are six places for people to be from. Six.

 That's ridiculous.

  Mordred Plains doesn't have anywhere near it to imply where it is.

 A 'Mordred' town full of people who are confused by the invisible wall next to them and sell magical rocks to tourists does not exist.

 Which is a real shame.

 So, the magical rocks, what's up with those.

 Well, as you wander around mashing the action button every few steps, you run into these text adventure rocks that give you directions, except for the blue ones, which admit they don't know where what you're looking for is and warn you about the other stones.

 The other rocks will all give you false instructions. All of them. The only way to find your way to the treasure is to do the opposite of what the red stone tells you.

 It's kind of like the part in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening where you have to follow a bunch of signs in order to get the Frog's Song of Soul (aka, the worst tune in Zelda) only without the structure that made that section both fun and challenging.

 Three times I ended up being expected to walk through my own ship.

 I finally managed to find the treasure, much to my joy and located Three Stars, which can teach a GF an ability that allows a Triple cast spell to only use up one magic.

 Which could prove handy.

 Maybe we'll use it next time, because we've got another GF to track down in Part Seventy!

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