“Final Fantasy VIII” is the eighth installment in the Final Fantasy series. The game was released in North America for the PlayStation on September 9th, 1999. The eighth release featured many similar elements to it's previous title, “Final Fantasy VII”. In the same regard, however, it also featured several differences that made the game unique.
The protagonist of “Final Fantasy VIII”, young Squall Leonheart, who at the start of the game is in school, training to become a “SeeD” member. “SeeD” is the name for the mercenary group that Squall is aiming to become a part of. The company aims to help with many disturbances throughout the land, for a fair price.
Much like Cloud Strife, from “Final Fantasy VII”, Squall is quite a loner and very reluctant to let anyone close to him. Again very similar to Cloud, Squall grows as a person as the story continues and learns the true value of friendship.
Where this game greatly differs from it's predecessor is in the battle mechanics. In “Final Fantasy VIII”, the player must find certain enemies that contain“GFs”(Guardian Forces), which are the 'summons' of the game, absorb them from their enemies, and then level them up along with the characters so that they grow stronger as the player and game progresses. A new feature was also added which was somewhat of a quick-time event in battle. Squall's special attack, “Renzokuken”, required the player to press the attack button at a specific time, and should the player succeed, there would then be another prompt to do the same thing yet again. This could be done up to a total of eight times for maximum damage, if the gamer's timing persisted.
Early on in the game, Squall is sent, along with a group of his peers, on his first real field mission to a town under attack by known enemies. This serves as somewhat of the tutorial as well as the introduction to the entire plot of “Final Fantasy VIII”.