Read the first section of my FF8 replay: From Balamb to Timber.
We’re starting off hot with this observation: Why does Zell squat so much?? I didn’t really talk about Zell much in the first section of the game, and spoilers: I won’t be talking about him much in this section either. He is a perfectly adequate character whose defining qualities are “antsy” and “loves hot dogs.” Is he anyone’s favorite character? I would love to know what appeals to you!
- The second Laguna vision takes place in a location that I do not remember.
- This whole Esthar flashback (name known only because of save point labels) is pretty boring, though I do enjoy Laguna tossing Kiros and Ward off the cliff and then hesitantly lowering/falling himself.
- It drives me CRAZY that no one cares about figuring out why they are having group hallucinations!
- Galbadia Garden is rad. I like that it shares a similar aesthetic to Balamb Garden with the circular central location, but it is much larger and has a skate rink!
The group finds out that Seifer is “dead,” and everyone is pretty thrown by it. Quistis thinks this is a good time to mention that she never liked him, and I am still so annoyed at her terrible instructor/student boundaries! Rinoa opens about meeting him at age 16. He made her feel like she could take on the world, and I ship them. Despite the game beginning with a cutscene in which Squall and Rinoa fall into each other’s arms, it is very clear that, as they are now, they are not a good fit for each other. I’m excited to see what will happen to make them a better match.
- Raijin and Fujin don’t believe that Seifer is dead. If he wasn’t revealed shortly thereafter to still be alive, this would be incredibly heartbreaking.
- We meet Irvine Kinneas, who in his introductory cutscene looks very much like a very sexy lesbian.
- Before heading to Galbadia, I ducked back to Dollet, which has recovered from the earlier attack remarkably well. I played a lot of cards here, and I love the mini side game where the kid paints bones onto paintings to reveal the hiding spot for small treasures.
- Before you can get very far in Galbadia, you are sent to the Tomb of the Unknown King to prove your mettle. I still remember the key to getting through without getting lost: always turn right. In the end you get the Brothers GF, which is very cute but whose fight scene is just too long.
- At Caraway’s mansion, we learn that General Caraway is Rinoa’s dad! That’s a fun little bit of family drama, though I can’t help but wish this were explored more. A modern game would let you explore the house, and I want to do that so badly (especially since we later learn that there are secret passageways)!
- QUISTIS!! Just when I start to like her for being firm with Rinoa, she goes and jeopardizes the mission because she decides she wants to apologize RIGHT NOW. Gah!
- Rinoa is also being very teenagery, sulking on the floor and waving her dad away. Her idea with the bangle is good, but it’s way too late to try something new.
Sorceress Edea is genuinely creepy. Even with the blocky graphics, the scene where she possesses Rinoa and hangs her by the arm is spine-tingling. She starts a speech by calling everyone “filthy wretches” and threatening to kill everyone…and then kills the president. Everyone cheers for this? It is not clear to me at all why everyone is going crazy for her. What does she offer them? Are they not scared??
Let us start a new reign of terror. I will let you live a fantasy beyond your imagination.Sorceress Edea
I mean, I guess that’s appealing, but what does it mean? And no one cares when she sends monsters careening through the street? Whatever, dudes, I would have been SO out of there.
- The parade animation is super rad with the dancers and everything. It strikes just the right note of creepy and exciting.
- Squall and Irvine save Rinoa, and she is shaking with fear! But Squall shrugs her off because he is still an emotionally unavailable jerk. Do better, Rinoa!
- However, I do like that Squall tells Rinoa that Seifer is alive.
- We flash back and forth to Quistis, Zell, and Selphie making their way through the sewers, which involves an annoying amount of junction switching. Also, the second they descended into the sewers, I had a flash of 11-year-old me fear. I hate that place!
- Back to the good stuff on the carousel, where Irvine says that he always chokes. I have to wonder, why was he assigned on this mission, then??
- Squall encourages Irvine, telling him to think of the shot as only a signal, and I think this is the first time Squall acts like a real leader. Go, Squall!
- Cool cutscene time! Squall fights Seifer one on one, before Rinoa and Irvine join him to fight Edea. I’m glad I remembered the trick to use Carbuncle to reflect her third level magic!!
- “A SeeD, planted in a rundown Garden.”
- The scene ends with Squall getting stabbed! It would be scary, except that he falls…so far…off of a parade float?
This is where Disc 1 ended in the original game, right? It certainly feels like a significant transition point.