Friday, 9 January 2015

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

 Part Seventy Eight


 Day Thirty Three: Skyfall is Where We Start

 So, Gilgamesh.

He looks like something out of Prince of Persia (2008)
 This guy is a recurring optional boss in Final Fantasy. He's usually of a mildly comedic bent.

 He's named after Gilgamesh the king of Uruk who is best known for being featured in the Epic of Gilgamesh, where he's super strong and builds great walls to protect his city. According to the Sumerian King List, he ruled the city for one hundred and twenty six years.

 So, I guess we know what he does during his time off.

 After Gilgamesh gives us a much appreciated hand with Seifer, the god killer runs off and manages to grab Nina.

 (Uh, Seifer, not Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh doesn't actually kill any gods.)

 The reason that he managed to grab Nina is entirely because she decided to run up and join the battle party.

 I imagine that if you actually have her in your party, this all comes across as distinctly less ridiculous, but in my playthrough she keeps being dragged into Ultimecia's schemes because she runs through a monster infested enemy area all by herself for some inexplicable reason.

 Okay, maybe not totally inexplicable, but we're finally going to get some interaction between her and her ex-boyfriend for a change.

If you think about it, she's not wrong.
 She tries to talk him out of it, to her credit. Maybe not perfeectly, or even effectively, but she tried.

 Seifer admits that he's too far gone now, as he drags her towards Adel. He's going to make sure that the sorceresses are one, just as Ultimecia dreams.

 So, part way through this dramatic scene is where we regain control and have to chase after him.




 Seriously, this game loves to kill the pacing of the story and dramatic cutscenes in order to dump the player back in control and give the impression of interactivity.

 That would be bad enough, but in order to catch up, you need to climb a ladder, which raises the question of how a teenage boy, who is far from at his best, managed to get a struggling teenage girl up that thing.

 Also, the cutscene basically carries on uninterrupted the second you show up.

 Giving you the ability to chase after them yourself means that it's entirely possible for Seifer to be just standing around for ages waiting for Zog to show up instead of just carrying on with the plan.

 This is a totally unnecessary example of the Take Your Time trope, since they could have just cutscene their way out of it.

 It's also the second time they've done it to Nina, what did she ever do to them? That's what I want to know.

 So, this cutscene.

 Seifer pushes Nina towards the sleeping Adel, and somehow this makes her wake up and reach out to Nina. Who just sits there while Adel reaches out to her in a menacing fashion.

Really? You're not even going to try escaping?
 Yeah, Seifer probably would have stopped her, but she didn't even try and it's not like there aren't a group of people how couldn't have distracted him to allow her escape right there.


 On the plus side, we get a proper look at Adel.

Gosh she's buff.
 She's incredibly buff.

 Much buffer than your run of the mill woman is even capable of being.

 In fact, she has the build of a rather buff man.

 This becomes more clear once she gets her hands on Nina and absorbs her into her body.

Ultimecia was more literal that I had anticipated.
 In the last part I said that the representation in this game got better, and here it is.

 Adel is very clearly a trans woman.

 But you wouldn't know that from the way the other characters talk about her, no one ever calls her a man in game, nor do they ever even hint at the possibility of her having the appearence of one. Not even in an effort to insult her, and since she's an ex-dictator there's plenty of motive to insult her.

 So in universe she's considered a woman, heck, the universe itself considers her a woman.

 Only women can become sorceresses, and bam, Adel is a sorceress.

 Apparently, in more dickish countries, pains were taken to refer to Adel as a man, but I don't think that even changing the pronouns used can hide the fact that she can only be a woman according to the mechanics of the story.

 With this fusion of Adel and Nina comes a boss battle.

 It wasn't particularly hard, but it is my favourite kind of bossbattle. The 'your friend is attached to your enemy so you can't use AoE attacks' kind.

 It requires strategy, so I love it.

 You can cast regen and healing spells on Nina to keep her health up while you whale on Adel.

 Yeah, it could have been more dramatic, but it was a pretty functional boss fight and since it was the third one in about five minutes, I think I can let it go. It's just a bit of a shame, because Adel's been a pretty well built up to enemy.

 Also, she explodes when she's defeated.

She really needs to stop doing that.
 Nina's fine, though, which is handy.

 Laguna and Ellone run in so the plan can be put into motion. I don't know what happened to Seifer.

 Okay, the plan. You all knw that I think it's stupid, but now we get to see its stupidity in action.

 For starters, Ellone puts Ultimecia and Nina into the young Adel.

 So the woman who ordered a search for little girls and ended up with Ellone and put her into Dr Odine's clutches has had Ultimecia in here head. Ultimecia who may very well have influenced her to search for Ellone in the first place.

 Which is why I don't think that destroying all of Odine's Ellone based research would cause a paradox, because if it didn't exist, then it's likely that it would never have come to be because Adel didn't look for Ellone and she didn't end up being studied by Odine.

 If that makes sense.

 So, how does the breaking of time manifest in the present?

 Here's a cutscene:

 Yeah, I don't get the bird thing either.

 You think that'd be the weirdest thing, but once their fet are back on the ground, they're back in the room that Nina met Edea in for the first time. There's a save point their, but once approached, the camera angle changes and the number of save points dramatically increases and they nearly fill the floor.

 Well, I'll give them this, they've managed to do surreal very effectively in a very simple way here.

 We'll have to see how they do for the rest of our trip into compressed time on Day Thirty Four in Part Eighty.

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