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Final Fantasy VIII
Released for the PlayStation in 1999 and for the PC in 2000 and developed by Square, Final Fantasy VIII is the eight installment in the Final Fantasy franchise. The game's battle system is based on summon-able monsters called "Guardian Forces".

 

PC run: 7:58:xx by Dave 'Sush' Rochefort, done in 36 segments

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Final Fantasy VIII Speed Run Individual Segment Notes

1: Opening FMV and Balamb Garden
Changed Squalls name to S because this saves a slight amount of time everytime his name is mentioned through the entire game, overall it only saves a minute (if that) but is definitely worth it. I grab the book from the library so that I have enough money to buy Tents in segment 11, this is so I can eventually junction Curaga on S's health and get him down to yellow health quickly by unjunctioning/junctioning him everytime the game forces his health back to 100%.

2: Ifrits Cave
The plan here was to end the Ifrit fight with both S and Quistis' health in yellow so that I was set up for a quick Segment 4 and 6. Main troubles here were extra encounters on the way to the back of the cave and killing Ifrit in a quick time (6:40-6:55 left on clock) while ending the fight with optimal health on both characters. It's easy enough getting them both in yellow but it took a while to get a run where Ifrit attacked the people I wanted him to.

3: Travel
Quick segment to ensure no extra encounters after Ifrits cave (was unable to ever get back onto the road after Ifrits cave without running into one). Used this as an excuse to take a more direct route to the beach and to squeeze in necessary junctioning on a separate segment.

4: Fish.
The first time the game really shows you how random factors in battle can screw with you. A number of things I was aiming for with this section:
- 5+ Fish fins (to transmute into water for S's Str)
- S ending both fights in high yellow.
- Fish surfacing in first hit. Or atleast not enough to slow down the Laser Eye rotation.
- 1 hit Laser eyes or short Renz (no Rough Divide).
It doesn't help that these fish are fast! S getting hit was a big problem. I was very very happy with the final video of this segment, the first battle was the fastest I ever did by about 6 seconds and the second wasn't too shabby. I later learnt that I could have obtained 5 fish fins in one battle here but by then I was much deeper into Disk 1 and at the end of the day I was pleased with the speed of this video.

5: Preparing for Dollet
Zell is an arse. Much walking and text skipping. Not much to do outside of progressing the story.

6: Dollet
Start off with slight junctioning to improve S's Str. Fun fact: every single enemy that I fight in this segment has an attack or spell that can 1-hit kill S. I jump into the menu at the end of the bridge to delay a random encounter until after the Snake sub-boss. This is due to the fact that the snake will open with a hit on S about 50%~ of the time and force a reset, having the second random encounter after the Snake saved time on my part if not for the recording as a whole. Main aims for this segment were killing the Snake and the Spider in one limit break each, along with not dying these were the only random factors that forced resets. I hide in the pub near the beach to skip the escaping FMV (saves 30 seconds). Only nit-pick I have is that I wasted a few seconds on Elvoret because I froze the ATB when I shouldn't have.

7: Dance
Loaded on the road so that I can cut over into the side of the garden. There's a fixed amount of time that you need to wait for your SeeD results so I use this as an excuse to do some menu management. Had to reset a few times due to an extra random encounter in the training grounds but otherwise nothing of note.

8: Granaldos Raldos
My boost skill is sadly lacking here. I was unable to get it high enough to kill all 3 Raldos outright but in my final attempt I got to the boss with zero random encounters and was able to kill the remaining Raldos in quick succession.

9: Quisits Card
Getting Quisits' card is quite difficult with the cards I currently had. I never saw him use her card in the first battle only in the second and when it did appear being able to win it highly depended on what other cards he drew with it.
This segment also introduces one of the only glitches I discovered on the PC port: the FPS during the Card Battles is stupidly high and because of this the in-game clock runs at over double speed. For example I recorded a test video which was 1:14 long including two card battles and this registered as 4:00 exactly on the in-game clock. Hopefully once I can calculate the exact time added on because of this glitch it can be taken off of the overall time of the run.

10: Diablos
Very fun fight. I decided not to use Blinds and to Draw-Cast Demi on him once, taking off a huge chunk of his health. Other than the very low chance that Demi actually gets casted I needed him to get S's health down to yellow close to the beginning of the fight so that I could get the Limit Break ball rolling.
After the fight the screen flicks black, this is me trying to access the menu to save but I have to do this twice to get the menu up. I still do not understand why this happens after fighting Diablos but it happened everytime I recorded this segment.

11: Zell Card and Laguna 1
Zells card is very rarely played but atleast I have decent cards going into this one so that when it is played I can win it almost everytime. The same deal applies here with the glitch, extra time is added onto the in-game clock.
I sell the book so that I can buy tents to later junction into Curagas for S's health. Nothing much of note in Laguna's dream apart from resetting to get only 2 random encounters (was unable to get through these two fights without attacks on any recording).

12: Train and Timber
First big upset. I was unable to perform the Train Door Glitch (http://www. youtube.com/watch? v=AzdOWvIUfzs). This could be for a few reasons: the PC port registers analog sticks as only having 8 directions, the 1.2 patch might have fixed it or I just couldn't get it down. All I know is that I can perform this glitch on my PSX but not on the PC port.
To atleast save some time I rename Rinoa to R (same reasons as S) and get down a pretty good segment. I was a little frustrated as I'd recorded this segment perfectly twice but lost both recordings due to Blue Screens and Camtasia crashes and thus I used this attempt including a long Renz on the Fake Prez. On the plus side this video was only 7 seconds slower than my fastest previous attempt.

13: Laguna 2
I take the right ladder as apposed to the back one. This triggers a conversation but saves time on distance walked, cutting the random encounters by 1. I also dislodge the boulder to make a Spd-J Scroll available in Disk 3 and to remove an extra battle at the end of the dream. The fights themselves could have been a bit faster as I was unlucky and got a few Blizzaras. But this recording had 1 less Random Encounter than my other attempts so the time evens out.
Side note: Squall escaping Rinoa's wrath by passing out onto his face makes me laugh even after all these years.

14: Galbadia Garden
I finally get to junction the good stuff onto S. 100x Triples will stay there for the entire run because they really are just that good. Talk to everyone in the fastest order in the garden and jump on a train.
I leave Deling City and save on the World Map as between this segment and the next I receive the the code of the lost soldier from the Tomb of the Unknown King. As this code is generated once per save file it never changes and as it is not an actual required item acquiring it does not need to be recorded for this run.

15: Deling 1
I tell the guard at the mansion the passcode and begin much text skipping and running around. I save in the sewers as avoiding encounters down there is quite luck based.

16: Deling 2 and End of Disk 1
I switch S and Irvine's junctions so that both can 1 hit the lizards (slightly faster than using Irvines Limit Break). I got through the sewers without getting caught on the landscape and with only 1 random encounter, this took a fair few attempts I can tell you. I continue a long running tradition of Seifer dying in one attack and got very lucky with Edea as she only attacked me once (usually she gets in 2 or 3 before I finish her off). Overall a very strong finish of the first Disk.

17: Laguna 3
I take the fastest route and encounter the fewest amount of monsters possible (thank you Enc-Half) otherwise just a bit of running and chatting. Note: Laguna is the worst monster hunter ever and everyone in the village is at high risk from a violent death by caterpillars.

18: Prison 1
I finish off Laguna's dream and start on the Prison. Zell wakes up and punches some dudes, really really hard. Also I save the Moomba as his buddies open up shortcuts throughout the Prison once S is saved. Other then that lots of running and some Junction switching to pass around the Enc-Half. A little error at the end while saving as Irvine runs over the Save Point in a strange way and I don't activate the save message correctly.

19: Prison 2
Rinoa fires a dog at high speeds from her Pinwheel and causes an awesome explosion! I also pick teams for the upcoming missions and send Zell and Rinoa off to the Missile base with Selphie in hopes that they all die and never come back.

* 20: Galbadia Missile base and Balamb 1
Long, complicated segment or the "I fucking hate that wheel so much" segment.
Zell and Rinoa are sent over here because of how they can deal with the boss, Irvine would have been slightly faster than Zell but Irvine's got alot more things to shoot on the Balamb mission.
I take the fastest route through the base and get to the first fight (against the control room guards) which Angelo immediately ruins, I roll with it and attack them instead of using Angelo Cannon, which thankfully doesn't waste too much time. On the boss Zell causes just enough damage to cause a one-hit kill and receive the correct AP from the battle (not causing enough damage cancels out all AP gained from this boss) and Rinoa immediately follows up with Angelo and kills off all guards at once, firing off this limit break also removes some dialog here and saves 10~ seconds.
Everyone explodes.
S and Co. run only to the necessary locations to trigger Xu (also found out I could skip the training center dialog by just leaving the innocent children to get eaten by a T-rex. Yup, sacrificing children's lives for speed).
The shit part of this segment is when S finally gets under Balamb garden. There's a wheel here you need to turn by button mashing at a stupid speed and I've never been good at this (see segment 8). If you don't mash fast enough you waste a long time trying again with an added party member. I did have a recording of this segment with one failure on the wheel but I gave it one last go using my keyboard instead of my gamepad and found that I could button mash much much faster this way. A few running errors near the end of the video and I get really really unlucky running into an encounter on my last step towards the ladder but the time saved from the successful wheel turn made up for it by a good margin.

21: Balamb 2
I Limit Break the "Boss's" and continue onto turn the garden into a stupid flying airbase. I end the FMV on the balcony near the door as this lets you exit the area immediately. Save and end.

22: Balamb 3
Boss fight with Master Norg. I use Shotgun ammo to remove a chance of incorrect targeting on the orbs. I Draw Leviathan and finish him off. I visit the Infirmary and I'm able to leave without talking to Cid and still move on the story, so I do so. Other than that lots of running about and turning Quisits down.

23: FH
Really happy with this one. Always managed to make a stupid mistake that ruined the video but this final version is about 27~ seconds faster than my previous best, I'm still not completely sure why but I'll take it! Irvine finishes off both fight quickly and I pick any random instrument for the "Party" as the dialogue for getting the scores wrong causes the convo between R and S to go faster.

24: Balamb Town
I run around the town in the fastest way possible talking to people and going to locations that are essential to get to the boss fights. Both fights go well, sad thing is I could never Draw/Shot fast enough to stop Fujin casting Tornado but in this final version the animation for the spell is about 9 seconds shorter. I also use this as an excuse to myself that accidentally challenging Nida to a card game (and wasting 6 seconds) is OK because I make up the time in the boss battle. I still feel rough about it though.

25: Trabia
Start off with some junctioning and skip myself through the cheesy Orphanage scenes. I then Sail/Fly/Move next to the opposing Garden and save.

26: Galbadia Fight 1
Quick junction switch to get S into yellow. I pick out the required dialogue options myself instead of skipping it as this was the fastest option I found (even if it's only 1.5 seconds faster than picking No Orders/End to start with). I run about alot, try to glitch Zell out on the cliff (failure) and Save.

27: Galbadia Fight 2
I glitch through the computer desk infront of the Green Paratrooper (?) dudes to save slightly on running time and finish them off with Shot.
I had much better attempts with the fighting mini-game but realised it doesn't really matter aslong as you win before you fly up from the Circle/Wing thing of Balamb Garden as you can't actually save anytime by winning faster.
I take the fastest route through Galbadia, one shot Seifer and Save outside of Edeas room.

28: Galbadia Fight 3 and End of Disk 2
I one shot Siefer and link up a second limit break to use on Edea to save on time. End!

29: Laguna 4 and Travel
Quite a bit of text skipping and moving about. Other than that I get through another horrible mini-game with Laguna and then waste a bit of time on the fight actual by failing to get the Limit Break off. I use Kiros as his limit break is much faster than Lagunas. Walk, Save.

30: Laguna 5 and Esther
A joke of a boss later back into the Laguna dream. I make quick work of all the battles, discover Esther proper and then fire S off into space (!).

31: Uber Junction and Space 1
This section of the game provides the absolute best place to complete your final junctions as you have a flat 5 minutes to do whatever the hell you want. I end up getting some good items(never ended up using Dark Ammo but I had the spare money so sod it) and junction the shit out of myself. My plan at this moment of the run was to junction my two support characters well enough in HP/Spr to survive a Shockwave Pulsar on the second stage of the final boss. I take what items/cards I have left to junction myself as best I can. Things of note are junctioning 30 death on "Junction 3" for a 30% chance of instant murder on attack and stopping my Gf's from learning any unusefull abilities as I mostly have all the ones I need and this saves on time at the end of battles.
What should be kept in mind while doing this is that any actions not revolved around increasing the Str of your main Junction character is all artificial. Str is everything.
I finally pick up that Spd-J Scroll and get into the space action.
Apon entering the space station I glitch S through the door to avoid a moderate amount of dialogue from the "Space Scientist" and get into the main bulk of running around. Other than escaping/re-entering the scene with R zomby'ing down the hallway to save time not much of note.
Oh yeah: you can break the game by running into Elones escape pod before she does. This forces her to run at you forever and force a reset. Yes, this did happen to me... twice.
So much space dialogue, damn.

32: Space 2
Immensely happy with this segment. I wish people knew how hard it was to get through all these fights without the enemy attacking you once. I finally manage it and get Initiative for the rest of the game, letting my main character start each battle with a full ATB bar.
More space dialogue and the obtaining of the Ragnarok.

33: Travel
I'm still annoyed that I couldn't fly anywhere for long enough in this Speed Run for the Ragnarok music to kick in properly as it is fucking amazing!
I switch R into the party to remove some time in the "I'll be waiting for you" dialogue and give my main Junction crazy nice Spd.

34: Lunatic 1 and end of Disk 3
I exit/renter the Lunatic via Ragnarok to save on walking time.
I limit Rajin/Fujin and somehow manage to get 3 Str-Ups instead of 2, which was nice.
The robot boss has an immense amount of HP and I reset until I had a very long timer on Irvines shot as I needed the longest one I could get AND crits to kill him in one go.
Also this is the segment where I learn, after all these years, that Seifer has a 10% chance to drop Holy Wars. I learn this by being rewarded with one after killing him in one attack (again). This Holy War immediately undermined all effort I took into surviving a Shockwave Pulsar as now noone would be getting hit by it whatsoever.

35: Lunatic 2 and Sorc Orgy
i start out by giving my second Junction a Spd increase and evening out health for all concerned (while keeping Irv in yellow). This was the fight I planned to use Dark Ammo on as killing R forces an instant defeat. Luckily if you kill Adel aswell as R nothing happens and you just win the fight. So after turning R (and inadvertently Adel) into burning goo the game moves onto an endless wave of Sorcs for me to kill.
Compared to Wasabi's speed run of this section my Sorcs seemed to have a much higher health pool, this meant that my second junctioned character (S in this case) could not one hit and of them. In the end the fastest tactic I found was waiting for two to appear at once and then getting Irv to limit break them. Also notice the 30% chance of Zell one shotting a Sorc actually working.
The boss him/her/itself went pretty well. I only ever had one recording where I got him/her/it to die in one limit (as, once again, it's health pool was far far higher than I had guessed) and in this recording I had to quickly revive Irv and finish it off again. The time lost here is more than made up for as the previous fights went immensely fast.
A tiny video stutter at the end of the Ultimecias Castle FMV and the walk across the chain but hopefully this isn't so bad in the final, encoded videos.

36: Ultimecias Castle
The PC port of FF8 saved its last, horrible glitch for the final boss and forced me to stop recording attempts for a couple of weeks. During the switch between phase 3 and 4 the screen shakes and provides amazing 20th century graphics that shock and awe! Sadly my new, fancy Nvidia graphics card can't deal with the raw power that is this screen effect and stumbled about like a wild drunken man (http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=7h6yglGT4as). After much, much research and boring software related trial and error I got this problem fixed in a way that I could play and record with no slowdown or errors. This software change removes the battle swirls at the beginning of fights and occasionally causes a game freeze during the Shockwave Pulsar but as the main problem was sorted out I concider this an immense victory on my part. Anyway...

This final segment is so horribly luck based. I force a reset everytime:
- The first boss attacked me (80-90% of the time).
- The second boss Scanned me before I limit breaked him (20%~ of the time).
- S Rough Divided the second boss (30%~ of the time).
- Utimecia didn't pick S and atleast one other junctioned character to fight (60%+ of the time).
- Anytime Ultimecia removed Curaga/Triple off S, Holy-War ended early, Shockwave Pulsar froze my game for 10 seconds (this one was rare, still don't know the reason), Ultimecia casts Armaggeddon right before the final hit or any other random, annoying or otherwise Speed Run attempt ending event happened (countless).
You get the idea.

The Ultimecia fight itself has always been alot of fun. The idea was to kill off her first form and then use Holy War before finishing off the second as this will let it last long enough (if you're fast enough) to finish off her final form before she can cast Armaggeddon.
You'll notice I switch Selphie in for Irvine at the beginning of the recording. This was an attempt to lower the level of Ultimecia, as Irvines level is so much higher than everyone elses this causes Ultim's level to raise aswell. Sadly even without Irv in the party I had to use two extra Limit breaks (phase 2 and 4) but was able to kill off form 3 with just one extra attack.
Once the 4th phase starts talking (Reflect on your...childhood...) all you need to do is attack her to force the next line of dialogue and after the last one (And...) she dies. I waste two turns having Rinoa attack as her unjunctioned damage was not enough to trigger the next response.

Happily I finally got this attempt. Although not perfect it didn't include random horrible embarasing death at the hands of Armageddon. Which was nice.

The End.

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