Sunday, September 24, 2006

FF8 with no GF's starts pretty slow...

The major obstacle shows in the very first battle. No GF, no Item command. And Items cannot be refined. That means no healing during battles, only afterwards. It is paramount that characters be leveled up before any major battle. And save, save, save. Save early and often.

Try out all unfamiliar items: some pertain to Qustis and her limit break, Blue Magic. Others are for the junk shops and leveling up the weapons. Then sell those you can't use.

Don't even think about Boss monsters until your characters are up to Level 10. That's if you are lucky. It takes very little time to raise Squall and Quistis to 15. Then keep their numbers in the yellow zone, and enjoy quick battles and frequent limit breaks. You are ready for Ifrit, but probably not T-Rex.

This is not a game I've ever played so slowly before, so I still don't know if it works to the end. I'll keep you posted.

Lucretia's Legacy: has one more chapter.

Editor's note to newbies: the storyline follows the game, but will probably not go to the end. I've inserted a character--the raisonneuse--because everyone pretty much knows what the others are thinking. Fini, or Josephine, is a character that came up while I played the game (dozens of times!) who simply asks the usual questions and reacts to conversation and action more like a normal, everyday, 21st Century person.

Right now there's enough advance work to take us to Midgar and the epic battle with Fini's exboss, Professor Hojo. I actually know a few people like Vincent, Barrett, and Captain Cid, and I enjoy putting words in their mouths.

The latest chapter: Dissing and the Dissed.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

FF8 Ultimecia: Don't give me no Griever!

Every rule changes. You can Draw, but should only Cast. You can use magic, but may waste a turn on a useless one. Physical attacks should be monitored for damage points. Counter is not recommended. Except for a few spectacular slaps, you shouldn't take many physical hits.

--Play to the strengths of each character. Consider the limit breaks:
  • If Squall has the Lionheart, his is the best of all. He needs Item to dispense Aura Stone.
  • Quistis should have both Mighty Guard and Shockwave Pulsar. She should dispense Aura Magic.
  • Even if you are good with keying his moves, keep Zell for Item, Revive, and Recover.
  • Stock up on Pulse Ammo and give Irvine every opportunity to strut his stuff.
  • Patiently spin for Full-Cure and other Forbidden Magic, and Selphie becomes indispensible!
  • Damage to Rinoa randomly makes Angelo appear, but Angelo Combine almost always delivers. Invincible Moon and Wishing Star work wonders. She should also Revive, Recover and use Magic.

--By now you should have collected just about anything possible from Esthar Shops and upgraded all weapons.

--Simplify! Refine everything up to maximum. Work your way up to Mega Phoenix, Mega Elixir, Phoenix Pinion, Holy War, Friendship and Aura Stone. Use up all compatibility items, but don't plan on using GF unless your hit points can't be restored. Keep them for that eventuality. SELL THE REST, even though money is useless now; same goes for the Cards. Modify the living daylights out of them.

--Hoard Magic. Most magic and magic items don't deliver enough punch in the last battle, but you need all the magic you can get for each character! Refine your magic as much as possible. You can Junction to adjust for each character's weaknesses. Just watch the stats or use Auto.

Kill off the lesser magic ONLY if it takes room from the better stuff. DO NOT DELETE OR PARE DOWN YOUR MAGIC, EVEN IF YOU DON'T INTEND TO USE IT. Magic is randomly stolen and eliminated during the last battle. Useless magic is taken just as readily as the good stuff.

Save! Make a separate SAVE of this new configuration. Don't overwrite your last save, just in case you make a judgment error. You simply don't know how useful or useless anyone or anything is until the last battle. For instance, I rarely use GF in the last battle, they are often wiped out before they can perform. (That in itself is better than losing the character!) On the other hand, I was impressed by Rinoa/Angelo's Wishing Star and stunned by Invincible Moon. Another writer called them "useless." Not true.

Aura Stone is absolutely the most useful Item now, as is Aura Magic. Victory belongs to the tortoise, not the hare. The ability to stay alive, using limit breaks will prevail. Keep up the hit points and maintain Aura.

Glitch watch: When Ultimecia speaks to the party, hits may be neutralized. The whole battle must run its course, there is no pre-emption. (I've watched Irvine's hits go to "0" during some parts, even though previous hits were 9999. They later regain effectiveness. Seems a little faked? I thought so, too.) See next post for another disasterous glitch.

Using the above guidelines, I've never lost the battle. Show's pretty good, too. Follow the ending all the way to "The End." No kidding, the credits go on forever, but the last scene is defining. And, by the way, no star field, just black screen when it's truly over.

Remember the meaning of the single feather.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

You ever heard this one?

Finally got to the Ultimecia battle. She picks just the women. Quistis has Item and a raft of Aura Stones; Rinoa has Recover; and Selphie Revive. Pretty much it.

Lots of Shockwave Pulsars, an all-too-brief Invincible Moon, and even a few Wishing Stars. We were all the way to the end of the last battle.

And Gilgamesh shows up. Fried the game!

I could barely see the graphics and couldn't read anything at all. I listened for the Limit Break Sound and kept hitting whatever was the default.

I lost Quistis and Selphie and acquired only Squall. He alone survived the next Ultimecia attack. I heard the Limit Break Sound and tried to select it. Lionheart! Even without getting a Perfect.

But I'd still lost all writing. Put a crimp in the ending, all right. Pretty much have it memorized, anyhow. Credits were fine, as were all the full motion video clips.

My next post will be on divesting the characters of everything unnecessary, selling all the extraneous items and playing the Last Battle pretty bare.

After that, in the spirit of this blog, we are going to play without GF's and magic.

We may find that Guardian Forces are for wusses, after all.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Last GFs--Final Fantasy 8

The Tonberry quest was tough, but the Eden sidequest was the worst. I'm trying to play like a normal gamer. That put me at a disadvantage when I got to the Undersea Laboratory.

Final Fanatics know that we can always fine something right smack in the middle, or under, the largest ocean. Thus it is with the Undersea Laboratory. Go looking: there is an arrow of land pointing right at it. But the riddle of the various levels going down to the excavation site (isn't there usually an excavation site also?) totally escapes me. I must have lucked out entirely the first few times, using my treasure-seeking techniques.

There may be clues to the riddle of the energy usage. I've tried and tried and can't figure it out: I'm just not good with numbers. I'm not that sort of geek. Checking around each level does turn up the console for the door to the furnace/boiler room, and there's the extra energy needed. Switching between players will showcase Zell's special intervention at the door to the excavation site, too.

When you open the sealed door, the party's abilities as outlined below will suffice for defeating Bahamut. I enjoy using Rinoa for her Angelo combinations, too. This is not a tough battle, so let hits point drop to the yellow zone, and get some practice with the limit breaks. Quistis' best are White Wind and Mighty Guard. Irvine should be equipped with Pulse Ammo for the Hyper Shot. Selphie and Zell should be healers, since one can't count on their limit breaks. (Although if you are nimble-fingered, Zell can use his most violent moves successively.) And Squall's Lion Heart can end the battle at the beginning.

The same configuration works for Ultima Weapon: just remember to draw Eden at the beginning. Concentrate on using Aura and keeping people alive. The limit breaks will chip away at the monster, who has tons of hit points.

At this point, all the questing should have raised everyone's levels, especially Squall's, almost to the max. If not, then Cactuar Island will raise the GFs and abilities in short order. Or you can go to the Islands Closest to Heaven and Hell, using both Move-Find and Enc-None to clean up on the many draw points there. Junction the suckers and you are good to go anywhere and kick some serious enemy butt.

Got GFs? Back to Esthar to visit with dear old Dad, and plan the demise of Ultimecia. Her castle is the best part of the game, in my book.