• Tips and Tricks

    After doing just about everything there is to do about Final Fantasy 8, I have discovered many useful and cool tips and tricks. Some I just got off of the strategy guide, and some I figured out for myself. Here is a list of the more important things I have learned:

    1) SAVING:
    This is the most important tip I can give you. It is the golden rule of RPGs. SAVE. Save often. Even when you are in a seemingly completely safe place, and are not even close to stopping, still save. You never know when you will encounter a surprising death, or a power outage. In Final Fantasy 5, 6, 7, and 8 I have had major problems with this. Sometimes I played for a good hour or two, and then came upon a Malboro, or some other unexpected toughie. And then I realize that I hadn't saved for the last two hours. As the game over screen comes on, I always immediately leave my Playstation, and even consider stopping the game altogether, frustrated at the thought of doing what I had just done for the last few hours ALL over again. You'd think after each of the 5 or 6 times this has happened to me, I would learn, but you'd be surprised how often you just plain forget to save. Just remember that whenever you are at a save point, save, even if it is the easiest place in the world. If you are leveling up on the world map, save every 10 or so minutes, there is nothing more boring than leveling up all over again when you forget to save. Remember this tip to make Final Fantasy 8 (or any RPG) a whole lot easier and more enjoyable.

    2) BOOSTING:
    Although some FF8 veterans may scoff that I'm putting this in here, I must admit that I myself did not realize what boosting was until I was halfway through the game. It never really explains it in the manual, yet it is very important. Basically, after a GF learns the boost ability, when you summon that GF hold down select and rapidly press the square button. Whenever the hand over the square button in the lower right hand corner has an X over it, stop tapping the square button, or the boost will go back to its original 75. Boosting can double, even triple how much damage a GF does, so you should always do it. Note that some GFs (like Jumbo Cactuar and Diablos) cannot be boosted.

    3) UPGRADE:
    Upgrade your weapons whenever possible to make your strength stronger. You can upgrade by getting Weapons Monthly magazines, and then going to Junk Shops (found in most towns). Once you read a magazine, the items needed to upgrade certain weapons will appear. Once you find these items, you can upgrade your weapons. Do this throughout the game to keep your strength high.

    4) JUNCTIONING:
    Junctioning is basically what makes or breaks your characters in Final Fantasy 8. Always, always, always, learn the Bonus abilities first. Often, they will not appear until you learn something else. For example, learn HP+20%, then HP+40%, then HP+80% to be able to learn HP Bonus on Brothers. Try to always get these bonus' on characters when they are on lower levels for the best results. For example, if you get Str Bonus on Squall immediately after getting Ifrit, he will have maximum strength by the end of the second CD if you junction good magic to his strength, upgrade his weapons, and have Str+40 and Str+20 as his bonus abilities. Another strategy is to set up a strong defense against magic. If you have Elem-Defx4, put in 100 Thundagas, Blizzagas, Firagas, for three of them to have complete defense against all three of the major elements. Now that's pretty peachy! Putting Sleep in your Stat-Atk-J is also handy. Look at the junction effects in the Magic section, and more about junctioning in the Junction section to become a junctioning master in no time.

    5) DRAWING:
    Whenever possible, draw out 100 of each magic. Boring, yes. Incredibly effective when junctioning magic, you bet!

    6) JUNCTIONING
    GF: Always have all of the GF junctioned to the three active characters. At first, I thought that only one GF could be junctioned to each person, but this isn't true. Remember, a GF that isn't junctioned is a GF that isn't learning abilities and improving your statistics.

    7) ALWAYS TALK:
    Talk to everyone you come across. This will get you some cool scenes and items. For example, the cafeteria's long lost son is if FH, but you will only be able to realize it's him if you have already talked to the cafeteria lady. There are many examples of things like this in the game, so talk to everyone whenever you can. As the game progresses, everyone changes what they say, and people don't always say the same thing the second time you talk to them.

    8) FIND DRAW POINTS ON THE WORLD MAP:
    This is another thing that a lot of people don't know: there are a bunch of invisible draw points on the world map. They are almost always in peculiar places, like the top of a hill, or the dead-end of a path, or in a tunnel, or at the edge of a mountain, you get the drill by now. Whenever you're going from place to place, look for suspicious spots that could be draw points. You'd be surprised as to how many there are.

    9) ALWAYS TAKE THE TESTS TO IMPROVE YOUR SEED RANK:
    A lot of people don't know this, but you can take the SeeD test anytime by going to Test in the tutorial section of the menu. Every test raises your rank by 1, so you can easily get to S Rank by taking enough tests. The only catch is you have to be at least that level to take the test. For example, to take test 16, Squall has to be at level 16 or above in the game.

    10) DON'T USE MAGIC THAT IS JUNCTIONED:
    It's unfortunate, but true. Use magic junctioned to your stats (or attack or defense, for that matter), and the stats will slowly but surely go down. For example, if you have 100 Curagas juncitoned to your HP, every time you use one your max HP will go down 25 or so. Try to never use magic junctioned to your stats, or at least use it sparingly. Whenever possible, use the Cast option when drawing from enemies instead.

    11) REVISITING DOLLET EARLY:
    You can get some items in Dollet by doing the paw print paintings side quest, and you can also get the Carbuncle Card and the Occult Fan II by beating the put owner in cards. Unfortunately, according to the official strategy guide you can't do all of this until disk 2, when the Garden becomes mobile. HA! After getting off at the station when completing Timber, go against orders. Instead of going to the forest, go way north to Dollet, where you can do all of the side quests.

    12) REVISITING DELING CITY EARLY:
    Once again, according to the all-knowing official strategy guide, you can't revisit Deling City and get the Rinoa card until the Garden becomes mobile. Once again, I proved them wrong. I discovered that after escaping from the D-District Prison, when Selphie and company are in the car, you can drive to Deling City instead of the Missile Base. Then you can talk to Rinoa's father, give him the Ifrit card, and win the Rinoa card. This works out great to do it early, because not only do you get the Rinoa card, but the Ifrit card ends up with Martine in FH, which happens to be where Squall and company are shortly headed.

    13) MASTER FISHERMAN SCENE:
    To talk to the Master Fisherman in FH, go down a hard to find ladder that is in the screen before the elevator that takes you down. You must do this before the Galbadians attack, so do it as soon as you arrive as FH. You will come upon the Master Fisherman. Play dumb as to how the docks were ruined, and he will give you an Occult Fan. Talk to him again and he'll tell you about his student and to come back later. Before talking to the mayor, go down to the docks by the sea and talk to the boy several times. Then go ahead and talk to the mayor and defeat the tank. Then talk to the boy again, and go see the Master Fisherman. He'll invite you to go to the hotel. Do what he says and go to the hotel. You might have to talk to the boy again first, I'm not sure. Anyway, you'll meet him there, and he'll tell you some interesting stuff, and then give you a Megalixir.

    14) FIGHTING CACTUARS VERY EARLY:
    This is an incredibly cool trick that I must admit I did not find out for myself. No, this great discovery was made by Citizen Bleys, in the FF8 message board. Even though the official strategy guide (as well as practically everyone) thought that you can't fight the Cactuars until disc 3 with the Ragnorok, you can actually do it as soon as the Garden is mobile. Go to the continent with the desert, to the part where Cactuar Island is just to the east. There is a bug in the game that expands the area of the Cactuars a little too far, so you can fight them right on the edge of the continent. As some know, Cactuars are THE way to get AP, and defeating the Jumbo Cactuar will give you another GF. This is a great trick, and thanks a bunch to Citizen Bleys for this discovery.

    15) DOING THE CC CARD CLUB QUEST EARLY:
    Once again, the official strategy guide is wrong. It says you can't do the CC Card Quest until disc 3, but you can do it in the latter part of disc 2.

    16) AUTOPILOT:
    After getting the Ragnorok, if you want to go somewhere, there is a super-fast way to do it. Just enlarge the world map so it takes up the whole screen, and point the cursor to the place you want to go to. The Ragnorok's autopilot feature will automatically take you there. Pretty neat, eh? Also, you can land in the middle of Esthar on the Airstation. It look like a tower with a circular roof.

    17) SHUMI VILLAGE SCENE:
    This has got to be the most least seen part of Final Fantasy 8. I don't know anyone else who has found this out (before I told them, that is). It's not even on the strategy guide. After doing both Shumi Village side quests (the five stones and getting the Artisan to help with the statue), leave. Come back much later (like in disc 3, after the Ragnorok), to see a really neat scene. Go back inside the workshop, and you'll be treated to a scene where more is revealed about Laguna and the Master Fisherman.

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