Thursday, 30 October 2014

Let's Play: Final Fantasy VIII - Part Seventy

 Part Sixty Nine


 Day Twenty Eight: In A Gadda Da Vida

 The side quest-apalooza is drawing to a close, once we've collected this last GF and completed the final side quest in Shumi village (which isn't plot relevant, but since it only exists to have NORG be non-human; I'm going to say it's part of the problem).

 Today's side quest is destined to culmiate in a difficult boss battle with the Ultima Weapon, a reoccuring optional boss with a tendency to be rather tough.

 Place your bets, my friends.

 As this is the case, I decided it would be best to give myself the best chance at taking the sucker down as possible by upgrading Zog's weapon to it's final form.

 The Lionheart. Considering that I found the instructions for this in a random magazine that was left lying around in Esthar seventeen years ago, it's rather a massive coincidence that it has Zog's last name in a slightly different language. Especially since it seems that a lot of people in this world don't even know what a lion is (see Nina, she's the ur example).

 I'm not going to lie, as an Englishwoman, my instinct is to ask if it's going to go off on pointless crusades and then need to be bailed out by Ivanhoe.

 In order to get this final upgrade, I needed to get Pulse Ammo, which needs to be refined from Energy Crystals. Luckily for me there is a scripted battle where I can get that.

 Unluckily for me, it's kind of tough.

 More unluckily for me, it's in Esthar proper.

 Oh, god, Esthar proper. Never has there been a more confusingly laid out city, and I live in Europe where cities aren't so much built as grow like mold. Except Milton Keynes, which looks like it was airlifted in from America, where legends say they plan their cities in Microsoft Excel. -Shudder-

 The scripted fight is with a suspicious man in black, or as close to black as the game can manage.

 Once you talk to him, the battle begins and you're fighting a palette swapped version of the monster on top of the Dollet communication tower.

Yup, it's definitely monster shaped.
 I went for the same tactic I did with the Malboros, mug it and run. Which works perfectly because I only needed two Energy Crystals to max out Zog's gunblade. Two Energy Crystals refine into twelve Pulse Ammo which was the last thing I needed to get.

 Maxing out Zog's gunblade gives a possibility that, when he's using his limit break (which can be provoked by Aura) there's a twenty five percent chance of Lionheart the limit break which hits seventeen times in addition to hits from Renzozuken. So that could equal an awful lot of damage, but we'll get to that later.

 With our initial objective achieved, it's time to head back to the Deep Sea Research Centre and track down the Ultima Weapon.

 Once you've gone down a hole where Bahamut used to hang out, there's a puzzle involving the judicious use of steam.

 Yes, the moving research centre trying to copy SeeD junctioning techniques is steam powered.

 Steam powered.

 This isn't a steampunk world by any stretch of the imagination, and steam is generally used in modern power generation to turn turbines in order to generate electricity. Which is what could be going on here, but oddly everything is referred to in units of steam, which makes me think that it's not.

 Honestly, I'm just confused.

 Okay, so basically you need to use your units of steam wisely in order to get down to the bottom of the research centre and to summon the Ultima Weapon.

Well, at least it's set out in a way I like.
  I could go into detail about everything you need to do in order to do this successfully, but I... really can't be arsed. It's mildly complicated and I'm lazy. Look up a walkthrough if you want the details. What I will say is that there's a boiler room that you absolutely have to go into in order to summon the Ultima Weapon. If you don't, you'll basically have wasted your time.

 Also, Encounter-None. It's your best friend during most, if not all side quests.

 (Yours, not mine. Mine's Doug.)

  Once at the bottom, there's a few things to keep in mind.

 First, there's an invisible save point to locate with Move-Find in the bit with the colleseum-y ruins.

 Second, there's a draw point for Ultima on the way to the Ultima Weapon.

 Which is kind of useless now, but still handy in the long run.

 At the very bottom, there's a machine that allows you to summon the Ultima Weapon. As previously stated, you need to have enough steam units to make it work.

 If you do make it work, you get a short cut scene that gets incredibly grating from the second time onwards.
Considering the Ultima Weapon's attacks, one bloke cannot win.
 Oh, yes.

 I died three times doing this.

 See, the Ultima Weapon can use Gravija, which knocks the whole party done to 25% of max HP, Quake, which will finish them off after that, and Pillar of Light, which is a one hit kill move and the little bastard can spam it.

 What makes this whole thing even more intolerable is that in order to get Eden, the GF we came down here for, you have to draw them from it. So you can't just try and kill the Ultima Weapon immediately (if you can), or you lose your chance to get Eden.

 Which gives it time to wipe out your whole party in two or three hits.

Look, it's so smug.
  The whole reason that I got Zog's weapon fully maxed out was to make killing this guy easier, but it didn't seem to be making much of a difference at all. Thinking this was down to Zog's relatively low attack, I used Hyperwrist to teach Micchy Strength +60%. Much to my amusement, this brought Zog's attack stat up to five less than Zell.

 Zell is so overpowered it's hilarious.

 I did better after this, but the Ultima Weapon still destroyed me.

 Deciding that it was better to retreat and fight again another day, I've elected to do the Shumi village side quest and make further preperations to acquire Eden before I try again.

 So we'll be working on both those goals next time, in Part Seventy One.

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