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  -Part 1 :: [02.13.02]
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  -Part 7 :: [12.11.04]
  -Part 8 :: [12.11.04]
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  -Part 11 :: [01.28.09]


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"If I were Frodo, I would say I would find her son, go off somewhere and play cards for an hour, then return and tell the mom that tigers ate the kid. 'What a tragedy, well, we'll be seeing you,' I would say loudly, to drown out her sobbing. 'Don't forget to buy one of Martha's fucking lottery tickets.'"
     -Sam, Suikoden III Part 7




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Final Fantasy VIII : Part 8
By Jeanne
Posted 12.11.04
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Welcome back! In Part 7, we got the lowdown on the big assassination plan and set the gears in motion just before everything started to go horribly, horribly wrong. We ended with an extraneous FMV of the sexy sorceress and her cleavage, right after she gave it to Rinhoa in the ass. Not literally. Ew. Leave that to the guys.

Now that we all got our prettiness fix for the month and can move on to important things like, say, the plot, the action switches to Squally and Irvine. I know that they're supposed to stand out in this crowd of clones and scrubs because they're the playable characters and all, but their distinguishable clothing just makes them look like they're fabulously overdressed. They probably are, at that.

"Here she comes," Irvine says pointlessly, staring up at the podium from the street. The clock reads 19:19:39. That's 41 minutes till shit goes down, for those of you following along. I originally wrote 21 minutes, but I think dealing with these mental midgets has started to affect my brain. We return to Edea's FMV, and we now see that Rinhoa is following her closely. After Edea finally gets to the damn podium, the camera switches to Rinhoa, who sways back and forth as if in a trance. Because she is. Or else she just got wasted since we saw her a few minutes ago. I can't think of one good reason for Edea to drag Rinhoa out with her. Sure, if she were to include a portion of the speech that said something like, "Hey, assholes. Next time you want to pull one over on me, maybe you should send someone who isn't the mental equivalent of a retarded beanbag." But...she doesn't. I'm getting ahead of myself here, so let's keep going.

The only reason that Rinhoa ended up at the podium at this exact moment is so that Irvine and Squally could see her and go, "OH NOES!!!!" Not that Squally would say that, but you get the point. Cut to an overhead view of the platform, where Vinzer Deling doesn't seem to notice or care that some random drunken girl is standing a few feet away from him. He's too busy going, "WTF?!" over Edea's speech. She cuts right to the chase: "...Lowlifes. ...Shameless filthy wretches." Instead of dampening the mood of the crowd, which I think would be somewhat understandable, it seems to make them cheer louder. Then again, people are stupid, especially in this game as we've already established. Edea continues ranting about how everyone's suddenly happier than a severely brain-damaged clam at her appointment after they've shunned and hated her "for generations." Wow, Edea looks good for her age.

"Have you no shame? What happened to the evil, ruthless sorceress from your fantasies?" Meanwhile, old Vinzer has his face in his hand, thinking that he should have made sure Edea remembered her social filter for the occasion. "The cold-blooded tyrant that slaughtered countless men and destroyed many nations? Where is she now? She stands before your very eyes to become your new ruler. HAHAHAHAHA," she says calmly. I think this may be a preview of what we US citizens can expect in the next four years. Yeah, I said it.

Vinzer Deling is all, "Edea, honey, I'm the leader, remember?" He gets fried for his insolence. With purple fire. While the lobotomized crowd keeps cheering. Not that Deling was a nice guy or anything, but you'd think that murdering him via magic might cause a bit of a reaction from the masses. Edea's all, "YOU'RE MY BITCHES NOW!!!" The camera pulls up and away, showing the streets packed tighter than the "Let's Kill Tidus" booth at a VGR Convention. Even the parade route is jammed full of moronic assholes. This should be interesting.

What is with the crowd?
Programming and animating an actual believable reaction would have taken valuable time away from animating the 52nd Rinhoa FMV.
They're all brainwashed. Edea has a wide radius of power, although it doesn't affect five of our main characters.
People seem to like shitty leaders in general. Look at the US.

 

The next shot is a limp Vinzer Deling flying through the air, only to land in a smoking, broken pile. I think it's safe to say that he won't be joining us for the rest of the game. Edea continues to address the cheering crowd with her own brand of uplifting motivational speaking. "Let us start a new reign of terror," she invites, after threatening the entire group with obliteration. "I will let you live a fantasy beyond your imagination." I think we're getting mixed signals here.

 
Hey, we've already got fanfic for that.

That's about all Edea has in her arsenal of evil and nonsense, so she leaves the still-cheering crowd behind and makes her way back to her room. But before she liquidizes the doors again, she says to herself, "Let us end this ceremony with a sacrifice." Oooh, can I pick the victim? Pleeeeease?

It looks like my request was granted. Edea makes a magical-sounding gesture with her hands, and we cut right to the golden arch, where a set of strange carvings of a nonsensical creature come to life via FMV. Kind of like the dogs in Ghostbusters, but without the fantastic 80s special effects. The front half of each of these beasts looks like a lizard, while the back half is a lion. They are called, appropriately, Iguions. I didn't say it was creative. The Iguions jump off of the gateway, running madly through a not-so-packed area of the street before making a huge leap onto the platform with the drugged Rinhoa. She looks up with an "Oh shit!" look on her face, so she may or may not be tranced at this point. Either way, it doesn't look good for Rinhoa. Which means that it's good for the rest of us.

So it looks like that was the big reason for Edea bringing her out there. Which still doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But that doesn't matter for the game designers, because their entire goal in this game is to see how many dumbass predicaments they can get Rinhoa into so that Squally can save her. Oh, but I am limiting Rinhoa as a woman if I rag on her for being totally helpless, so I should just...well, I'm going to keep ragging on her. Because this shit is stupid.

Squally and Irvine see the Iguions pounce on Rinhoa like desperate fanboys. Irvine, being a total dipshit asslick, insists that they leave their post and help Rinhoa. As it is currently 19:26:40, and the parade hasn't started, Squally wants to stay at their post. Plus, he doesn't give a flying fuck about Rinhoa or her latest stupid problem. "You've gotta be kidding!" Irvine shrills. So basically, of all the non-Rinhoa playable characters, all of whom have received extensive military training, Squally is the only one who considers this mission more important than some incredibly stupid and annoying girl. Everyone else thinks Rinhoa is the second coming of Jesus. This is so fucking sad, I don't even think I can say anything funny about it.

I'm not sure about you, but I'm just dying to see what's going on with our lamebrained friends on the gateway team. We're in luck! We switch to Quistis gazing out the window, all in a tizzy because "it's starting." I don't know if she's referring to the speech or the parade, as the timelines aren't extremely clear with this back-and-forth stuff. Whatever the case, this sucks balls and they need to get to the gateway.

These military students who have been selected for the elite squad have no idea how to escape a locked room with two gigantic fucking windows. The windows aren't fucking each other, it's just a figure of speech. During this part, I get control of Quistis in order to figure out an escape route. Zell and Selphie are there to search and give me "helpful clues." Zell establishes that he can't open the window, and since there are certainly no objects in the room that could break the window, such as heavy-looking chairs or a potted plant, Quistis must find an alternate way.

Why would a man in this game have a picture of a woman?
 

There is nothing of note in the room except for a painting of a woman holding a wine glass, a random statue in a random alcove that looks like something could be placed in her hands, and a shelf full of wine glasses. Yes, the tricky solution to this puzzle is to place a wine glass in the statue's hands. I would like to point out that Rinhoa, being familiar with the time lock sound, has likely been locked in this room many a time. And even she didn't figure it out. I think that says it all.

 
I think the game designers might be able to help you out there.

After Quistis places the glass, the whole statue contraption swings to the side to reveal a hidden exit. Zell and Selphie are impressed. But they would be impressed by the clumps of dirt in the aforementioned potted plant, so that's not saying much. After a bit of concern on Selphie's part over where this tunnel leads, they decide to go for it. It would be funny if it did lead somewhere totally random, like a gay bar downtown. Maybe General Caraway has his secrets.

A staircase and ladder lead down into one of my "favorite" dungeon areas in the entire game -- the Deling City sewers. So I guess instead of basking in the flashing lights and techno music at the local club, General Caraway likes to hide out in the damp, shit-smelling tunnels. Awesome. The sewers are a confusing maze of similar-looking screens, but I'll get to that later. For now, the trio simply rides a turning water wheel to a slightly higher level. On the next screen, some evil choir music from the streets above catches their attention. "It's starting," Zell says. In this case, "it" is the parade. The camera pulls directly up through the ceiling of the sewer, panning up the FMV versions of Squally and Irvine. I couldn't tell you the layout of Deling City if my life depended on it, but I don't think the gateway team traveled a far enough distance to be right underneath the spot where Squally and Irvine are waiting. But it wouldn't have been as "dramatic" and "cool" if the camera panned up the bodies of some random assholes.

With the evil pounding choir music continuing amidst cheers and, yes, fireworks, we see a group of dancers gyrating around in front of the residence's gates. The best way to describe these dancers is...well, gay. Brian Boitano gay. But I'll get to that in a moment when we get a better view. The camera cuts away from the dancers to show the imposing parade vehicle passing through the gates. There's an extreme close-up of the thing, followed by a zoom in on the sorceress seated in a throne dealy, with a torch on each side. The camera pans over to show the sorceress through the flames. This is symbolism so that we understand she is eeeeeeevil. See how they cleverly use imagery to convey this?

Are they holding hands?
 

Back to the gay dancers. There appear to be both male and female dancers, although the men are dressed in more feminine attire. I know, can you imagine? Both have costumes that look like the wardrobe designer from Cats mated with a gay bondage fetishist. And then threw in some see-through shower curtain material for skirts. On the men. Meanwhile, the dance itself looks like a mixture of Broadway and tribal. In other words, gay. To reiterate: gay gay gay gay GAY. The camera pulls out to show us that the entire parade consists of the overdone ornamental sorceress float and two groups of gay dancers -- one in front and one behind. How appropriate. There are fireworks and evil balloons everywhere. You know, I'm starting to get kind of a sinister feeling from all of this, but I'm not sure if that's what they were going for. I'm so confused.

 
Fabulous!

I'm also wondering how one goes about acquiring an evil ornamental float for a parade. I'm sure Edea had a whole team of wizards working to whip that thing up, but still. I want to know the stories of those who poured their souls into making Edea's parade float dream a reality. And that's only because I care so little about Rinhoa and her stupid fucking problems at the moment.

When the float turns left, as Caraway demonstrated earlier, we return to Squally and Irvine, no longer as fabulous out of FMV mode. "Now's our chance. Come on!" Irvine urges. Squally starts to undo his many belt buckles, but that's not what Irvine was referring to. It's that whole open gate thing. Uh, that's not a euphemism. "What are you waiting for!? Rinhoa might die!" Irvine shrieks. I think he answered his own question there. Squally continues to stand there while Irvine runs offscreen. Can you tell I'm not all that eager to continue? I take this chance to switch junctions yet again -- I only have to do this every fucking time we change teams. At least it gives me an excuse to ignore Rinhoa for a while longer.

Finally, I make Squally follow Irvine. Only because I think that "Squally stood there for twenty zillion hours" would make a boring recap. And I'm all about pleasing you guys. Not like that. The random NPCs standing around don't seem to take notice of the two flamboyantly gay individuals rushing through. Probably because no one bothered to animate them. We switch back to the float so that we can get our fill of more gay tribal dancing. Then back to Squally and Irvine, who continue to run through the crowd. Strangely enough, they pass by the exact same people standing in the exact same positions. It appears that the Laziness Fairy has visited us yet again.

Back to the FMV. Now we see what -- or who -- the game designers have been (mostly) hiding from us through this entire sequence. Miracle of miracles, it's Seifer. He's alive and he's holding his gunblade up in the air for everyone to see as he stands at the front of the sorceress's float. Now, the reason I said "mostly" in regards to keeping Seifer hidden is that he was in the background during one of the dancing sequences. But we were supposed to be so distracted by the fabulousness of those dancers that we wouldn't notice him until his "big" reveal here. So let's humor the game designers for once and act all surprised. Some more gay dancing from the front, then the camera pans back around the side so that we can see gay dancing from the back. Oh, and Seifer running his hand through his hair. This whole sequence is a smorgasbord of gay. Kind of like this game.

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