Final Fantasy VIII : Part 11
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As always before I write my recaps, I go back through and read at least some of the previous installments. This helps me remember important details, such as the main plot or the fact that Squally is gay and I hate Rinhoa. This time, when I went to check my last Final Fantasy VIII recap, I thought to myself, "Wow, I bet it's been something like a couple of years since I wrote one of these." Imagine my surprise when I found out that the last one was posted on July 4th, 2005. That's three and a half years, for those of you who struggle with basic math. Holy shit. Clearly, I have no sense of time. That's what happens when you're stuck at the age of twelve for your entire life.
Anyway, the last disappointing time we checked in with Squally, King of the Homosexuals (or would that be Queen?), he and Seifer met up in prison. Although Seifer had the chance to interrogate Squally in an erotic manner, the game designers ruined my dreams yet again. The rest of the double recap involved the prison escape, which will go down in history as the most boring prison escape ever. When we last left our teenage heroes and Rinhoa, Squally had just split them into two teams. The icky, vagina-owning girls are set to go to the dangerous missile base, hopefully preventing the missiles from hitting Balamb Garden. The guys will head on over to Balamb Garden, where they can at least avail themselves of the group showers before they're all blown up. Take that whatever way you want.
Over the last several years, I've received many e-mails encouraging me to continue my work on the Final Fantasy VIII recap. And I'm not being sarcastic -- many of the e-mails I received were from people who managed to convey their appreciation of the recaps without devolving into a wanky nagfest over the long hiatus. No, really, I'm serious. While I am very touched and honored that you love my inappropriate and profanity-laced writings, I know that you're really here to get your fix of dirty Squally and Seifer butthole action. Or at least your fix of Squally sashaying around the world, showing off his fur and leather and generally coveting men. Don't deny it. Well, I have some bad news for you. Squally doesn't appear in 99% of this recap, and neither does his rival and life partner. You've patiently waited three and a half years, and now you're stuck reading about Rinhoa and her two boobie-laden companions. I can't even enjoy a bit of three-way lesbian innuendo, since Rinhoa would be involved, and that's just gross. Anyway, I doubt there's anyone still reading, but I'm going to continue anyway because I'm
masochistic cool like that.
Right now, I'm in control of Team Estrogen and their stolen Galbadian vehicle. Although I just complained about being stuck with the chicks, I don't really mind Selphie and Quistis (although Quistis is still on my shit list for her behavior during the assassination mission), and I'm hoping that Rinhoa might be a smidgen more tolerable when not in the presence of Squally. I know that hope is a dangerous thing for a recapper, but I just finished my twice-written Phoenix Wright recap and I'm a little fragile right now. Let me have my delusions.
The first thing I realize when I attempt to get into the vehicle and drive it to the missile base is that the three and a half year break from Final Fantasy VIII has wreaked havoc with any skill I may have had at this game. It's not just the junctioning, either -- it takes me a few minutes to figure out which button opens the damn menu. You can only imagine how unfortunate my attempts at junctioning and driving a vehicle are. I hope this footage never becomes public.
Eventually, the girls bumble their way into the vehicle, and thank goodness some random soldier fueled the thing up, because they drive over every accessible inch of the world map before ending up at the missile base. It's a good thing there's no type of surveillance anywhere in the area, or their infiltration mission would be over the second some soldier spotted their drunken weaving.
Just before entering the vehicle on the world map, Selphie had on her usual yellow ass-bearing jumper, but by the time she drives up to the missile base, she has managed to change into a stolen uniform. Technically, we can't see her at this point, but since the guard at the booth looks in the vehicle's window and gives them the go ahead to enter the base, I'm guessing she looks like a Galbadian soldier. That, or the guard thinks the three of them are the "entertainment." With the first non-obstacle out of the way, the girls drive into the base. Selphie expresses both disbelief and relief, like even she can't believe they pulled it off.
A black screen brings us straight to the parking area of the base. Whoever is driving the vehicle -- I'm guessing Selphie -- pulls masterfully into a parking spot. I think that's the first time I've seen something resembling an SUV actually parked inside the lines. When the three chicks hop out of the vehicle, we see that they are indeed dressed as Galbadian Army scrubs. It looks like I was right about the dressing-in-the-car thing. How lucky and convenient for them that they happened to find enough uniforms stowed away inside the vehicle they stole.
Speaking of convenient, Team Estrogen happens to arrive just in time to hear a very helpful informational message over the intercom: "Following the launch on Trabia Garden, prepare for the launch on Balamb Garden. All personnel, take your positions." Holy crap, those missiles could launch at any second! The girls better get their asses in gear and stop them! Well, not exactly. The positions that the personnel are to take must involve jamming their thumbs up their asses, because for now, the girls have all the time in the world to complete their mission. These kids are so lucky they've ended up dealing with the least competent army in the universe. I will end up repeating this sentiment multiple times before the end of the recap.
When the girls hear of the imminent danger their classmates -- and stalking victim, in Rinhoa's case -- are in, they immediately focus on the task at hand. All right, I'm just shitting you again -- we're treated to Selphie's internal bitching about the itchy, smelly stolen uniform. I'm sure her dead former friends are thrilled that she doesn't seem to give a crap about them, given her lack of reaction after hearing that Trabia Garden was attacked. The three uniformed ladies finally exit the vehicle, and I would like to take a moment to give the game designers the kudos they deserve. Again, I'm not being sarcastic. That must be some kind of record. See, since the Galbadian Army uniforms are generic and conceal the wearer's face, this would be the perfect opportunity for the normally lazy, drug-smoking game designers to use three generic G-Army models for the three female characters. Instead, they've kept the height differences between Selphie, Rinhoa, and Quistis consistent. I'm not sure it took that much extra work to create the character models of different sizes, but it displays a thoughtfulness normally lacking in these corner-cutting bastards -- Lulu's egregiously non-pregnant character model comes to mind as an example of their usual methods. That said, the three uniforms fit the three girls perfectly, a coincidence that I just don't buy. I understand that the graphical limitations of the time would probably not allow for the display of realistically ill-fitting uniforms, but as a recapper, I would be remiss if I didn't point out the issue. I guess we just can't expect the game designers to totally cut out bong time.
"Exactly when is this launch time?" Rinhoa wonders, expecting the other two to have magically acquired this knowledge. "It doesn't matter! We have to stop the missiles! That's all there is to it, right!?" Selphie responds, proving herself even dumber than Rinhoa in this scene. I'm not sure how Selphie expects to stop the missiles if the launch time were, say, two minutes from now. Maybe Selphie is smarter than I give her credit for, and she's already figured out the "all the time in the world" nature of this mission. True to her character, Selphie continues on in a spastic, psychotic vein, expressing her desire for a whole lot of blowin' shit up. Death and destruction to prevent death and destruction -- it sounds a lot like the U.S. in the past several years, although at least Selphie has actual proof of weapons (possibly of mass destruction) being aimed at her home.
"Selphie's all fired up," Quistis states the obvious, perhaps a little turned on. And with that, the three of them run about aimlessly until
I they find the base's front door. For some strange reason -- certainly in no way related to my long break from this game -- they run around some more, trying to figure out how the door works. Gosh, these girls sure are dumb. Eventually, they make it inside without anyone noticing their odd, disoriented behavior.
Upon entering the building...well. The first thing that comes to mind is that the game designers did originally have plans for a very explicit Squally/Seifer bedroom (or prison) scene, and had Nobuo Uematsu compose an appropriate theme for the occasion. That is the only possible explanation for the rather unique background music in the base. Judging by the nature of the music, Mr. Uematsu must have quite the extensive experience with '70s era pornos. There's a dirty bass "bamp"ing away, some "chicka chicka" percussion to rhythmically accentuate the buttsex, and no shortage of "wah wah" guitar to enhance the overall naughty nature of the encounter. When Square's evil PR department nixed the very much needed sex scene in favor of more missions to save Rinhoa, that particular musical track was left without a home. I'm guessing time constraints resulted in it being used here, as there is nothing particularly pornographic about the current scenario. Well, that's not entirely true -- three barely legal ladies sneaking into a missile base full of strapping soldiers is likely not a new plotline in the history of adult movies.
I tried discussing the history of this musical track with John, but his only contribution was the statement that the girls would be engaged in a lesbian three-way, "just waiting for [his] penis to arrive." He was no help.
Well, I'm the recapper, and I'm going to stick with my fantasy scenario -- that the porno music was recycled from the Squally/Seifer pound-o-rama that was cut, and is not related to anything the chicks might find themselves doing in order to gain access to any secret information. As I said before, I just don't want to imagine Rinhoa in anything resembling a sexual situation.
|Given how shitty the security at this place is, I can see why that's so surprising.
That was a lot of typing just to describe the background music, but since I'm going to hear it on a loop for at least the next hour, it's kind of important. Anyway, back to the adrenaline rush that is this undercover mission. The interior of the missile base has that same metallic military feel shared by so many of the locations in this game. Both the doors in this room are currently closed and locked. After way too much fiddling around -- with the door --
I they eventually find a card reader. "Insert ID Card!? But...we don't have one!!!" Selphie screams loud enough to draw the attention of every soldier inside the base. Selphie must have skipped class the day they learned about stealth operations. When no one shows up to apprehend the intruders, I can only assume that the base is full of deaf soldiers -- after all, it's clear that Selphie's voice would easily pierce even the thickest metal.
It would be unexpected and hilarious, not to mention realistic, if the mission ended here. But we all know what happens when I bring up the word "realistic." As Rinhoa tries to calm Selphie down (in a very platonic manner, I might add), Quistis rummages in her pocket and whips out an ID card that she found in the vehicle earlier. I know you think I'm still being sarcastic here because of how lame that is, but that's exactly what happens. How very convenient and not at all contrived that the vehicle these three stole just happened to contain not only the three perfectly-fitting uniforms, but an actual ID card as well. The ID card works, plus that one card allows all three of them through the door. I know we've encountered doors that work like this on the trains, but it seems as if there should be better security at a freaking military base. On a related note, I'm just going to warn you -- the overarching theme of this recap is the shitty security in this place and the retardation of the Galbadian Army in general. I'm sure you're just as eager to experience this as I am.
Before I continue, I need to point out that the sometimes (but not all that often) helpful GF Stratguidos informed me that there are two basic ways to proceed in this mission. One involves getting caught and fighting a ton of random battles, with no change to my SeeD rank. The other involves avoiding suspicion, skipping out on the random battles, and possibly boosting my SeeD rank. Keep in mind that this is not one of those sneaking missions that involves actual stealth and timing -- all I need to do is fool the dumbshit Galbadian soldiers around the base. My choice could not be any clearer.
Down a set of stairs, a generic soldier guards a door. Selphie freezes and starts to freak out over the presence of this guard, like she didn't expect to find soldiers at a military base. To her credit, she at least keeps her thoughts to herself this time and doesn't shriek, "OH MY GOD THERE'S A GUY THERE HOW CAN I FOOL HIM INTO THINKING I'M A G-ARMY SOLDIER?!?!?!?!" I have three choices here: to act casual, to walk by quietly, and to try to sneak by. The last one just gives me an image of the extremely non-sneaky "sneaking" from Oblivion, so that can't be the right answer. The damn strategy guide is no help either -- I mean, why tell me the actual option to choose when you can give vague pointers instead? I know I just got done saying that getting through this base is a no-brainer, but that doesn't mean I can't also voice my complaints about the strategy guide. I am a recapper, after all. Plus, if I choose wrong here, I will have to reload my game from all the way back at the save point thirty seconds ago. Who has time for that?
Well, Selphie goes and ruins any respect she may have earned in the last paragraph by blurting out, "It might look suspicious if we're uptight, so let's just act casual!" Without voice acting to convey the actual tone of this dialogue, it's possible that Selphie just whispered this instead of shouting it to the entire room as the exclamation point would imply. Still, you just know that even a whisper from Selphie has to be eardrum-shattering. The three of them take a deep breath and then run past the guard like Twink with Princess Ruto on his tail. Way to act casual, ladies. The guard orders them to halt, meaning that I might have to take back what I said earlier about the soldiers being dumber than a barrel full of Phoenix Wrights. Somewhere Edgeworth's head just exploded. But it's only a fakeout on the part of the game designers -- the guard just wants them to stop running around like Tiduses on crack. He didn't actually hear Selphie's stage whisper from earlier or find anything suspicious about their behavior. WHEW. CRISIS AVERTED.
I'm kind of getting tired of referring to this guy as "the guard" or "the soldier," especially since there are at least a half dozen of these guys throughout the base. Therefore, he is now PUGGY!!!!. Remember, every game needs a PUGGY!(!!!). Note the four exclamation points -- this will help you avoid mixing him up with PUGGY!! from Final Fantasy IX or PUGGY!!! from Suikoden. You're welcome. I just realized that I need to think up nicknames for all the guards now. Shit.