Hell hath no fury like a pissed off street boxer.

With enemies this big on the demo, the game is no doubt going to be a trip.

Move yer asses!

The FMV in this game is stunning to say the least.

Meet Rinoa Heartilly and her amazing armpit.

Click here to read the older preview.

Final Fantasy VIII
updated 7/24/98

Packaged in with Brave Fencer Mushadin was a PSX demo disc that was probably the reason BFM did so well in Japan, the demo called Final Fantasy 8. Showing off some incredible FMV, and giving gamers about a half hour of gameplay, the FF8 demo surely turned a lot of awe-inspired heads. The US will not be getting the FF8 video that has become ever so popular until the September release of Parasite Eve, and we will not be getting the infamous FF8 playable demo until the 4th quarter domestic release of BFM, so GEO is here to tell you what to expect and what to drool over.

The Final Fantasy 8 disc introduces three playable characters: Squall Leonheart, the game's lead character who sports the weapon known as the Gunblade (see the previous GEO FF8 preview for detailed info on Squall), Zell Dincht, a fast and limber boxing type fighter, and the female role is filled by Rinoa Heartilly, a sweetie with a nasty blade chucker attached to her wrist. The three make a quite a team, and for the first time in the history of Final Fantasy, all three of them are visible on screen at the same time outside of battle. No longer does one of them represent the whole group, only to have two others pop out of him at key points in the storyline. Another character that was introduced but not playable is Seifer Almasy, a short fused man who sports a convenient white overcoat which is the perfect spot to hide his Gunblade. His relevance in the demo is short-lived, but I think he will be making a much larger impact upon the game itself.

The disc demonstrates all of the key themes that you will need to be reacquainted with, such as battle, exploration, dialogue, and of course, random encounters. The battle system is not much unlike that of FF7's, although the graphics look about 10 times more excellent, as well as the camera work, which is a lot more intelligent and swift. For example, the camera tends to zoom in on the person who won the battle for the party in a very slick fashion. Another interesting battle fact is that instead of vaporizing into a red dust trail, enemies fall down and die. More impressive than the battles however, is the ultra slick character look that Square has generated for the gameplay itself. All of the characters are animated to perfection, and proportioned correctly (as opposed to FF7's more cartoony, big-arm, no fingers, etc. look).

On the rumor side of things, a close source of mine has mentioned a whisper about Cid making a return as a slick computer hacker, Vicks and Wedge showing up as members of "The Garden" (see previous GEO FF8 preview for information on the Garden), and even Cat Sith making a cameo (let us hope it is just a cameo). Stay tuned to Game Elite Online for updates on this huge Square masterpiece.

~Andrew the Game Master

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