With all due apologies to the fine folks over at HISHE, of course.
What we're dealing with here is what really should have been the very end of the game. Or at the very least, the halfway point of the story. There are good arguments for why that's not the case, of course. A popular theory that I can at least claim to be aware of is that everything that happens from where I leave off here to the real end of the game is going on in Squall's mind in the last half hour or so of his life, as he bleeds out in Deling City's Grand Gateway. I don't subscribe to that theory myself because, well, there's just too much other stuff that goes on that just can't be explained away as a dieing man's mind trying to sort things out before it finally expires. The How It Should Have Ended cartoon I see here sees Rinoa and Irvine looking down at Squall's nearly-dead body on the street as one of them says something like “Holy shit!”, to which the other responds with “Yeah, we're pretty much screwed now!”. Then the scene shifts to see them getting surrounded by the Galbadian Secret Service, led by Seifer.
As it stands, though, we've actually gotta get to that point, so let's just get on with it, shall we? When we left our ever-so-gallant heroes last time, Quistis and her party were just about ready to go up into the gateway so they can close the actual gates on Sorceress Edea so that Irvine can get a decent shot at her with the rifle that General Caraway planted for us. Things go pretty damned well, all things considered. Squall even does an OK job of talking Irvine out of his panic attack so he can actually take the shot he's supposed to. I still like the way I wrote that dialog in the dA piece I wrote some years ago better, but now that I've got a couple more years on it, I guess it's not as bad I may have said back then.
Thing is, though, the Sorceress is called that for a reason. She can use some very strong magic. Magic that includes a Protect spell meant specifically to defend against physical attacks. Physical attacks like bullets fired from sniper rifles used by would-be assassins. And since any idiot with half an ounce of brains in her position would realize that she's about to get hit, the Sorceress uses her magic to deflect the bullet. And since Squall had just told Irvine that either way, that shot was a sign of what's to come, Squall says, quite accurately, that Irvine's aim was perfect but the bullet was deflected, it's his cue to go running in to at least try to kill Edea with his gunblade instead.
But since Seifer's still alive and well, he and Squall have a duel while Irvine and Rinoa come rushing in to help with Sorceress Edea when the two rivals are done fighting. Seifer had Life spells, so I used the opportunity to load up Squall's stock of that before kicking his ass. Turns out Seifer can't really fight for shit. Gotta wonder why he hadn't been training much, given the apparent importance of this job. Then again, a couple issues back, I was saying that all of this seems to have taken place in the span of what can't be more than maybe two, two and a half days, tops. But even with that in mind, one would think that all the years of training Seifer's had would have made him a better fighter than this.
Once Seifer goes down, Irvine and Rinoa show up to help with the Sorceress. This is where having somebody equipped with the Carbunkle G.F comes in handy. Carbunkle puts the Reflect spell on the party, and Edea will have to take it off each person individually with Dispel spells. This will take at least three rounds. Sometimes she does a physical attack called Astral Punch, but it's relatively weak. If she gets the Reflect spells off everybody, she'll do stronger magic on everybody. This is where the ability to use the Guardian Forces as needed really comes in handy. Edea has four spells: Life, Cura, Dispel, and Double. The Life and Cura spells are worth stocking up on, Dispel and Double not so much. When Edea goes down, she curses SeeD and the Gardens and then throws a giant ice javelin through Squall's chest. Basically, no matter what should have happened, or actually does, Squall should be dead as a result of this. He pretty much took a shotgun blast to the chest on a parade float. Assuming that it didn't kill him instantly and he didn't bleed out before the paramedics could get him to the hospital, there would more than likely not be enough of his heart and lungs left to save.
This is what I was talking about at the beginning of this issue. This would have been a good ending for the game as a whole. We could see that the heroes save the world from the evil witch, but it's at the cost of their valiant leader's life.
Or, if they really wanted to keep Squall alive and have him be the main hero of the game, they could have done what they did in Final Fantasy VI, where they had Kefka win halfway through the way the game and then have the heroes reunite a year later to go kick his ass. In this case, they could have had this battle happen towards the end of the second disk, which I pretty much had to start in order to save properly and move on next time, and have Squall come out of a coma a few months later to save the others and go after Edea. Sure, in a lot of ways, it would be something of a rehash of Final Fantasy VI, but it wouldn't exactly have been the first time something like it had been done. The original Final Fantasy III, the one on the Famicom, pretty much redid the story from the first game, taking the best of the first two and expanding on it. Final Fantasy V, on the Super Nintendo, did something similar, expanding on some of the things done in III. I've not personally played either of those games, but from what I've seen in various LPs, they both seem like very good games. I would think the same would have held true for Final Fantasy VIII had it gone that way.
Now, when we get back to the written part of this, we'll be in a place called Winhill with Laguna and Kiros, who have quit the military after jumping from the cliff in Eshtar. I'll get more into that when I sit down to do it. I might make a video interlude before then, I'm not sure yet. Either way, it'll have to wait until I'm not working at 1 AM.
As a wrap up, I think I should say that regardless of what the next thing is I do in this series is, I'll run it through my Patreon account first. I'm not entirely sure this is the kind of content they allow for folks like me to sell, but that's mostly because I've not seen anything that clearly says one way or the other. And I'm also not sure if the general public can get my stuff through there without being subscribed to me and/or paying through there. I'm assuming it's possible, but I'm not entirely sure, which is why I also post to Blogger the next day when I put writing on Patreon.
At any rate, I'll see you soon, in one form or another. I'm just not sure if that'll be in writing or in a video yet. So, until then, have fun, stay safe, keep gaming, and DFTBA.