Friday, January 29, 2016

TEXT PLAY: Final Fantasy VIII (SquareSoft, 1999; Playstation): Issue #043: Have Rocket, Will Travel...

Something tells me this is not going to be the Space Odyssey we're supposed to take it for.

Or even the Space Oddity that David Bowie sang about, although I suspect that might be a little closer, and I suspect that the Three Stooges reference in the title may be the closest of the three here.

Moving ahead with the plot, Zell and his party finds what I'm guessing will be a boss at some point that pretty much tosses them out on their asses over Tears' Point, and they somehow live to talk about it. Selphie's confused; Edea says “The Lunar Cry...”, which is out of context for now, at least; and Zell suggests a tactical retreat for the moment, much as he'd rather not.

Meanwhile, Squall, Rinoa, and Quistis are arriving at the Lunar Base, which is apparently in no higher an orbit than the ISS, for some reason. Stranger still is the docking process on display here. Once we see the pods approach the station, the scene shifts to C and C or Ops or whatever they're calling the command deck of this thing, where we see three people discussing what to do. Controller A, Controller B, and Man In Spacesuit, as we come to know them, seem to have forgotten that yeah, they were informed that these space pods were coming and start by debating if they should even retrieve the damn things. Yeah. Yeah you should, ya bunch of fuckwits. Ya really think the folks on the planet just launch these things at ya for shits and giggles or something?

Worse yet is the fact that the only part of this process that has much automation to it is the part that slows the pods down when they get close to the station. Once that happens, the crew actually has to put on EVA suits and bring the pods the rest of the way to the docking structure manually. Well, docking structure is rather a loose term here, as it's more like a giant toaster that the pods get shoved into so that the occupants can be “quick-thawed”. I'd ask if that wasn't dangerous, but I'm not entirely sure why it was necessary to put the heroes into cryosleep anyway, since this was just a trip into low orbit anyway. At the same time, I'm no expert on space travel anyhow, so it's not like I really know what I'm talking about here.

Once the party's all thawed out and the station staff has the artificial gravity turned on for us, the head medical guy comes in to take us to the main lab so they can get to work on Rinoa. Squall seems really protective of her all of a sudden, and I'm almost tempted to say it's a side effect of the cryosleep because he's even telling off the guy guarding the door. And that's where I decided to end the first play session of this issue.

Picking back up at the conveniently located save point, we follow the doctor, named Piet as per the trend of using Star Wars names that Square still kind of had at the time, to the control room, where we see this Lunar Cry thing starting to happen. Basically, what that means is there's all these other monsters that live on the moon and they're all going to mass up and splooge their way to Earth or something.

While all that's going on, we have to go take Ellone to see Rinoa, because I guess Ellone's on Deep Space Whine now too, for plot reasons, I guess. Before we can actually get that task done, the shit really starts to hit the fan, because not only is that Lunar Cry business ramping up, but it's allowed the Sorceress to Rinoa's head and make her start undoing the seals that are keeping the Adel version of the Sorceress all locked up on the needlessly complex thingamagigger that the station's there. Because I guess just anybody can do that. No need to have special access to the computers or the airlocks or anything.

The good thing, at least, is that this whole sealing thing is a two-stage thing, and one needs to get direct access to the orbital pod that the old Sorceress is in to enter the second part of the code to turn it off. The bad news is that it seems that just anybody can get access to the protocols to do this, as well as the space suits and the airlock controls to get off the station and do it, so long as they know the codes.

Possessed Rinoa does all this, unsealing Sorceress Adel just as the Lunar Cry hits the station and blows the crap out of it. This leads into a painfully long sequence of barely interactive cutscenes that culminate with Squall making a timed rescue attempt of Rinoa. Something tells me this part of the game would have sucked badly enough if I'd have actually known what the hell was going on. As it stands, though, it's probably a good thing I wound up failing the rescue attempt on account of not knowing how to fly the space suit and only having like a minute and ten seconds to try to figure it out, since the game doesn't say how on screen. I am definitely going to need to see the last ten minutes or so of all that again if I want to try and explain just what happened.

Unfortunately, it may be awhile before that actually happens. I'm gonna need a couple days' distance from this before I try again. I'm hoping it won't be another two-week-plus gap between issues of this, but the way things have been going, I'd better not make any promises, either.

Until I do get back to this, stay safe, have fun, keep gaming, and DFTBA!

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