The Atomic Raven's Cheap and Cheesy Guide to Squaresoft's

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FAQ Version 1.10  January 1, 2006
===============================================================================
Another in a long line of smash hit console RPGs from Squaresoft.  Like its 
immediate predecessor, FF 7, the game was finally released as a PC port for 
Windows a couple of years after the inital console version.  (Sadly, it seems 
the only future development in this area will be multiplayer online games, of 
which I'm no longer a fan.)  It struck me as I examined the available guides 
that no one had written one dealing with the PC version!  I couldn't resist 
passing on my evil wisdom to anyone who either digs up this classic or finds 
it in the bargain bin--the plot, character development, and unusual combat/
powerup system are well worth repeated replays.  This guide will help you 
enjoy stomping through the game without breaking a sweat, no matter what 
opponents you face.

The Atomic Raven is proud to be known among fellow gamers as a "munchkin":  
the kind of player who mathematically minimizes penalties and maximizes 
benefits no matter what sort of rules apply to any given situation.  Some call 
this approach cheap, or cheesy.  But let's face it--you're not concerned with 
how honorable your victory over the CPU is, you just want to win, right?  
Listen to my advice, and your journey from a classroom in Balamb Garden to 
the final confrontation with "timeless" (ha ha) evil will be a walk in the 
park.

Legal Statements:  

The Atomic Raven is not an employee and has no relation to the corporations 
who created Final Fantasy 8.  Their names and trademarks are entirely their 
property.

Copyright 2006 Blair Burroughs.  All rights reserved.  This text may be not be 
reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may 
not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without 
advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a 
part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of 
copyright.

The following sites are permitted to host a copy of this document for 
public access:
  GameFAQS.com
  Neoseeker.com
  DLH.net
  1up.com
  Supercheats.com
To request hosting permission, make comments, ask questions, or suggest 
corrections contact the Atomic Raven at blair@afaproject.org.

INDEX
=====
I.  Enlighten Yourself
II.  Higher Level Characters DON'T Make Combat Easier
III.  Pimp Your Deck
IV.  Cheating with Chicobos, or "255 without magic?!"
V.  Crush Your Opponents with Cheap Junctioning
VI.  Cheap Tricks for More Advanced Users

SECTION THE FIRST
In which the purpose of the guide is revealed.
===============================================================================

For the purpose of this document, I assume basic familiarity with gameplay.  
If you see words or abbreviations that are incomprehensible, look through the 
manual and check out the in-game tutorial, then start reading again.  (The 
"Junctioning" system is very non-intuitive, but the tutorial deals with it 
quite well.)  I have, however, decided to include instructions for Junctioning 
as it relates to making a practically unstoppable party.  This document is NOT 
a comprehensive walkthrough because there were NO plot changes and very few 
detail changes other than spelling modification between the console version 
and the PC version, and there is no point in duplicating all that 
information.  On the other hand, with the tactics you're about to learn from 
me, you may not even NEED a walkthrough unless you want to make sure you don't 
miss any side quests.

[In fact, you will notice a number of players--including some on this very 
site--who say it's easier to beat this iteration of Final Fantasy than any 
other so far.  They have suggested challenges such as "No junctioning magic" 
and even "No junctioning GFs" to make the gameplay much harder.  Please!  You 
don't want harder, or you wouldn't be looking for help, right?]

SECTION THE SECOND
In which the inadvisability of gaining experience points is exposed.
===============================================================================

Many who play console RPG-style games engage in a practice known variously as 
"borging", "farming", and some even less complimentary terms.  This refers to 
repeatedly engaging in random encounters or otherwise repeatable battles for 
the sole purpose of gaining experience points.  The obvious purpose for doing 
so is to make your party of characters gain power so that combat becomes much 
easier.  Do not attempt this in FF 8!  Why?  Because the power level of the 
opponents you encounter, both randomly and in fixed locations, is based 
entirely on your party's average character level.  The tougher you are, the 
tougher THEY are...  which is very bad news, since in this game, your 
characters' combat statistics do not increase very much each time they gain a 
level, but the statistics of most monsters improve substantially with just a 
few levels of difference.  Higher level monsters also get better physical and 
magical attack options, and use the more deadly ones far more often.

"But," you say, "how can I avoid getting experience?!  Surely you don't 
suggest I run away from every battle!  I'd never get anywhere."  Too true.  
But it is possible to win 99+% of the battles you may be involved in while 
gaining 0 XP.  And the rest can be arranged to grant minimal XP.  Just follow 
these instructions:

1.)  At the very beginning of the game, make sure that the first ability the 
Quezacotl GF learns is [Card].  Equip the [Card] command immediately as soon 
as it is gained, because with it you can destroy monsters without receiving XP 
for them.  Your GFs still receive AP for carded monsters, and the appropriate 
items are still dropped, so there is no disadvantage to winning combats in 
this manner.  You will also occasionally get a really cool card to add to your 
collection, such as an endgame boss or a much tougher and rarer monster.  It 
takes some practice and some patience to card monsters; the command is not 
successful all the time.  Specifically, it depends on the monster's health--
undamaged beasts practically never turn into a card, while on those which are 
almost dead already it almost always works.  Especially early in the game you 
may want to have Squall, without Strength boosts, attack physically the 
monster you wish to card.  If you skip triggering his Gunblade, you have a 
fairly fine control over how much damage you deal, and can avoid killing the 
target and accidentally gaining XP.  While using this method it's a good idea 
to save often, especially on entering an unfamiliar area.  Scan your enemies 
before you start attacking to see how much damage they can withstand, too.  If 
you acquire a {Gambler Spirit} item you can teach another GF how to card 
opponents as well, making it much quicker and easier to finish no-XP combat.

2.)  The next ability that can be used to avoid experience gains is [Devour].  
The Eden GF knows this ability when you [Draw] it from Ultima Weapon late in 
the game.  Unlike [Card], [Devour] can often destroy weaker opponents with a 
single command, especially if the character using it has stats much better 
than the monster's defense.  A devoured opponent, just like a carded one, 
grants no XP; you gain AP normally, but usually no items (guess you ate 
them...oh well).  Additionally, the character who devoured the monster 
experiences a side effect.  Monsters which are yummy will heal the character 
either partially or fully, whereas monsters that are toxic will inflict damage 
or negative status effects.  A few types of monsters, if they are high enough 
level, will actually permanently increase one of the character's statistics!  
If you acquire a {Hungry Cookpot} item you can teach the [Devour] ability to 
another GF.

(For those too lazy to look in another FAQ and find out on their own, you 
can't get stat boosts from eating monsters until they are at least level 30.  
Tonberry's [LV Up] command may prove useful here.  Munch on Ruby Dragons for 
Hit Points, T-Rexaurs for Strength, Adamantoises for Vitality, Behemoths for 
Magic, and Malboros for Spirit.)

3.)  Neither [Card] nor [Devour] works on boss monsters or human opponents, 
such as Galbadian Soldiers.  This isn't a problem with bosses, since those 
fights generally grant loads of AP but 0 XP.  In the early stages of the game, 
you can minimize XP gain from fighting human foes if you finish them off by 
summoning GFs (winning combat this way grants less experience for some 
reason).  Shortly after beginning Disc 2, however, you can obtain the Tonberry 
GF through a simple side quest.  It comes equipped with the [LV Down] command 
ability, which lowers the targeted opponent's level by half (rounded up).  Its 
best use is against non-cardable/non-edible opponents; simply reduce their 
levels until they are level 1 and finish them off with a summoned GF, which 
should result in a gain of only 1 XP.

4.)  Do NOT perform the Odin side quest in the Centra Ruins.  He can't kill 
boss monsters, and when he kills normal monsters before you have a chance to 
act you get stuck with the XP.  If you absolutely MUST get Gilgamesh, I 
recommend you wait to do the quest until just before you enter Lunatic Pandora 
with the Ragnarok on Disc 3.

5.)  You CAN, however, advance 13 of the 16 GFs to level 100 without causing 
long-term problems.  This should be done near the beginning of Disc 3 when 
Rinoa is incapacitated and the party is escorting Edea through the Great Salt 
Lake.  Simply kill off the other two active members of the party the first 
time you enter combat.  Finishing every battle with only Edea standing 
ensures only she (and the party's GFs of course) will gain XP, and you will 
not have her in your party for much longer.  If you use Tonberry's [LV Up] 
command to make all the Rightys and Vysages you face here level 100 Edea and 
the GFs will gain large amounts of XP quickly.  (I recommend killing off all 
the Leftys before doing so, since they can sometimes [Draw] magic that will 
be difficult to restock until after you have the Ragnarok.)  Even after she 
can no longer advance, however, the party's equipped GFs still divide that 
experience among themselves.  This process can take several sessions of play 
to get all your GFs to level 100, but despite how tedious it may seem the 
massive boost in effectiveness for your otherwise low-powered summons is 
worth the work.  

SECTION THE THIRD
In which the benefit of early card sharking is made clear.
===============================================================================

There's no need to try to get one of every card in your deck right away.  In 
fact, you simply can't do so until much later in the game.  But right at the 
beginning, before you've even officially become a SeeD, you can use the 
Quezacotl GF's [Card Mod] ability to dramatically power up your beginning 
party.  All you have to do is play cards!

[Card Mod] is a menu ability that destroys one or more cards from your 
collection and transforms them into usable items.  These items can be used to 
remodel your early weapons into far more dangerous and cooler looking 
armaments, increase compatibility with GFs quickly, or teach Quistis some of 
the nastier Blue Magic limit break options.  Some can also be refined into 
spells to boost your magic stock, which is especially handy to get nasty 
Junction-boosted stats.  There are several excellent FAQs discussing the rules 
and strategy of the Triple Triad card game, and I won't go into the topic 
here.  I have found that the easiest and fastest way to acquire many of the 
kind of cards you need is to wait until you have Quistis, Ifrit, and some 
Bombs to fill out your starting deck.  Then, go to the Card Queen in front of 
Balamb's train station and challenge her until her trade rule is "All".  After 
winning once, go play against your favorite victim (different folks in the area 
have different types of cards they use) and win.  Poof, five new cards every 
time.  Note that after you beat the same person several times and take many 
cards from them, they will go back to using the trade rule "One".  At this 
point, just go back to the Card Queen and use her to reset the area's trade 
rule to "All" again.  This speeds up the process of collecting important cards 
immensely.

Cards you should try to acquire and [Card Mod] before the SeeD test (or before 
leaving for Timber, at the latest) and what to do with them:

3 Adamantoise --> 1 Turtle Shell, to remodel Squall's weapon.  (If you have 
extras, use Tool-RF to acquire 10 Protect Stones from each.)

10 Behemoths --> 1 Barrier, to teach Quistis the Mighty Guard attack.

4 Blitzes --> 4 Dynamo Stones, to remodel Irvine's weapon.  (If you have 
extras, use T Mag-RF to acquire 20 Thundaga spells from each.)

2 Caterchipillars --> 2 Spider Webs, to teach Quistis the Ultra Waves attack 
and to remodel Zell's weapon.  (If you have extras, use Time Mag-RF to acquire 
20 Slow spells from each.)

1 Cockatrice --> 1 Cockatrice Pinion, to remodel Rinoa's weapon.  (If you 
have extras, use ST Mag-RF to acquire 20 Break spells from each.)

1 Creeps --> 1 Coral Fragment, to teach Quistis the Electrocute attack.

9 Death Claw/9 Grand Mantis --> 9 Sharp Spikes, to remodel Quistis, Rinoa, and 
Selphie's weapons.  

1 Elastoid --> 1 Steel Pipe, to remodel Irvine's weapon.  (If you have extras, 
use Tool-RF to acquire 1 Aura Stone from each.)

40 Elnoyles --> 4 Energy Crystals, to remodel Quistis's weapon.  

1 Fastitocalon/5 Fastitocalon-Fs --> 1 Water Crystal, to teach Quistis the 
Aqua Breath attack.  (If you have extras, use I Mag-RF to acquire 50 Water 
spells from each.)

1 Gayla --> 1 Mystery Fluid, to teach Quistis the Acid attack.  (If you have 
extras, use ST Mag-RF to acquire 10 Meltdown spells from each.)

4 Geezards --> 20 Screws, to remodel Squall and Irvine's weapons.

1 Gesper --> 1 Black Hole, to teach Quistis the Degenerator attack.  (If you 
have extras, use Time Mag-RF to acquire 30 Demi spells from each.)

1 Grendel --> 1 Dragon Fin, to remodel Zell's weapon.    (If you have extras, 
use Time Mag-RF to acquire 20 Double spells from each.)

6 Iron Giants --> 2 Star Fragments, to remodel Squall's weapon.

1 Mesmerize --> 1 Mesmerize Blade, to remodel Rinoa's weapon.    (If you have 
extras, use L Mag-RF to acquire 20 Regen spells from each.)

12 Malboros --> 3 Malboro Tentacles, to teach Quistis the Bad Breath attack 
and remodel her weapon.

20 Ruby Dragons --> 2 Inferno Fangs, to teach Quistis the Fire Breath attack 
and remodel Selphie's weapon.  (If you have extras, use F Mag-RF to acquire 20 
Flare spells from each.)

1 SAM08G --> 1 Running Fire, to teach Quistis the Gatling Gun attack.

1 Tonberry/1 Master Tonberry --> 1 Chef's Knife, to remodel Squall's weapon.  
(If you have extras, use L-Mag-RF to acquire 30 Death spells from each.)

5 Toramas --> 1 Life Ring, to remodel Selphie's weapon.  (If you have extras, 
use L Mag-RF to acquire 20 Life spells from each.)

1 Tri-Face --> 1 Curse Spike, to teach Quistis the LV?Death attack.  (If you 
have extras, use ST Mag-RF to acquire 10 Pain spells from each.)

Keep in mind that if you are using any of these cards as part of your deck you 
will want to keep the number you need to play your strategy separate from 
those you are planning to [Card Mod], otherwise you will find it difficult to 
continue winning efficiently.  We wouldn't want that now, would we?

While looking for the previously mentioned cards, you probably won plenty of 
others.  Keep a lookout for these other handy conversions, which can help you 
rack up a huge inventory of strong spells and items:

1 Abyss Worm --> 1 Windmill (T Mag-RF, 20 Tornado)
1 Anacondaur --> 1 Venom Fang  (ST Mag-RF, 20 Bio)
1 Armadodo/2 T-Rexaurs --> 1 Dino Bone  (Time Mag-RF, 20 Quake)
1 Biggs/Wedge --> 1 X-Potion
4 Blobras --> 1 Rune Armlet  (Tool-RF, 10 Shell Stones)
1 Blood Soul --> 1 Zombie Powder  (L Mag-RF, 20 Zombie)
4 Blue Dragons --> 1 Fury Fragment  (Tool-RF, 2 Aura Stones)
1 Bomb --> 1 Bomb Fragment  (F Mag-RF, 20 Firaga)
10 Chimeras -->  1 Regen Ring  (L Mag-RF, 20 Full-life)
1 Forbidden --> 1 Betrayal Sword  (ST Mag-RF, 20 Confuse)
1 GIM47N --> 10 Fast Ammo
1 Ochu --> 1 Ochu Tentacle  (ST Mag-RF, 30 Blind)
1 Thrustaevis --> 1 Shear Feather  (T Mag-RF, 20 Aero)
5 Turtapods --> 1 Healing Mail  (L Mag-RF, 20 Curaga)
1 Wendigo --> 1 Steel Orb  (Time Mag-RF, 15 Demi)

SECTION THE FOURTH
In which the proper usage of flightless birds becomes apparent.
===============================================================================

One of the first side quests you should undertake at the beginning of Disc 2 
is the Chocobo Forest puzzles.  As soon as you solve even one, you get a 
Chicobo of your own, which can be summoned to attack your enemies or can 
wander about in Chocobo World picking up items for your party.  The 
Playstation version of the game included the Chocobo World minigame as a 
separate Pocketstation program that had to be physically interfaced with the 
main console to give any benefit, so for finding rare items most serious 
cheesemonkeys resorted to abusing the Angelo Search bugs.  Luckily for the PC 
user, turning your Chicobo into a massive bankroll is much easier, since the 
minigame is part of the main installation and runs on the same computer.

A perfectionist will want to personally supervise their Chicobo's career 
(Event Wait ON) until the meeting with Coco at level 20 and the rescue at 
level 50 have occurred.  After those two events, though, feel free to allow 
Chocobo World to run in the background any time your computer is idle.  This 
will allow the little guy to pick up all sorts of interesting and valuable 
items from his friend Cactuar while they wander around the little pixel map.  
Now here's the cheating (or, at least, super cheap) part:  look in your FF 8 
savegame folder.  You'll see an item labeled "ChocoRPG".  This is how the game 
remembers your Chicobo.  Copy it and put the copy in a different folder, then 
open FF 8.  Access the Save function from the main menu, bring your Chicobo 
home and collect the loot before you begin adventuring.  IMPORTANT:  make sure 
you send it back to Chocobo World before you save and quit.  Before leaving 
your computer, move the copy you made earlier of the "ChocoRPG" file back to 
its original position, overwriting the more recent one.  Start up Chocobo 
World again if you like, and see that your Chicobo's inventory still has all 
those items in it you just took!  Do this every time you play FF 8 for a few 
days and soon every time you load the game and rob your ever-richer Chicobo 
you will laugh harder and harder as stat bonus items and GF ability items pop 
into your inventory more and more often.  Late in the game, doing this in 
conjunction with Tonberry's [Familiar/Haggle/Call Shop], Eden's [GF Abl 
Med-RF], and Doomtrain's [Forbid Med-RF] menu abilities, you can acquire 
enough stat bonus items to make your characters gods compared to the level 
10-15 monsters they will be facing if you followed the strategy in Section 
II.

Abusing your Chicobo is easy.  But don't forget to reset its position within 
your saved game to "Chocobo World" each time before you stop playing FF 8.  If 
you don't, you will lose your ability to access your saved Chicobo and will 
have to generate a new one and start all over again.

SECTION THE FIFTH
As if you weren't tough enough already...
===============================================================================

If you use the technique in section IV. above even a few times, you will have 
plenty of GF ability items to customize the configurations of your GFs in very 
short order.  The following recommendations for Junctioning can quite easily 
take you from early on in Disc 2 to the very end of the game, minimizing the 
hassle of planning your party for most situations.

Character 1 has Shiva, Brothers, and Diablos equipped.  (+ Tonberry)
Character 2 has Quezacotl, Siren, and Leviathan equipped.  (+ Eden)
Character 3 has Ifrit, Carbuncle, and Doomtrain equipped.  (+ Cerberus)
**When Alexander, Pandemona, Bahamut and Cactuar are acquired they can be 
placed anywhere.  The reason Diablos, Eden, and Cerberus are arranged thusly 
is to make sure everyone has Hit-J.  This isn't critical for Squall, or for 
Selphie once she has the Strange Vision, since their hit stat is already 
255%.  To summon Doomtrain by this point may require a few Chicoboloads of 
items, but is inevitably possible with a bit of patience.

Use {Amnesia Greens} to remove unnecessary abilities (do NOT delete refinement 
abilities or other unique abilities marked with a * below), then use AP or 
items to teach each GF the following skills:

Quezacotl should know SumMag +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, 
Boost*, Elem-Atk-J, Elem-Def x4, Ability x4, Magic, GF, Draw, Item, Card, 
Devour, Ribbon, T Mag-RF*, Mid Mag-RF*, Card Mod*

Shiva should know SumMag +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, 
Boost*, Elem-Atk-J, Elem-Def x4, Ability x4, Magic, GF, Draw, Item, Card, 
Devour, Ribbon, I Mag-RF*, (Doom* if at level 10 or higher)

Ifrit should know SumMag +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +20%/+30%/+40%, Boost*, 
Elem-Atk-J, Elem-Def x4, Ability x4, Magic, GF, Draw, Item, Card, Devour, 
Ribbon, F Mag-RF*, Str Bonus*, (Ammo-RF*, Mad Rush* if at level 10 or higher)

Brothers should know SumMag +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, 
Boost*, ST-Atk-J, St-Def-J x4, HP +80%, Str +60%, Vit +60%, Mag +60%, Spr+60%, 
Spd +40%, Cover, Defend*, HP Bonus*

Leviathan should know SumMag +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, 
Boost*, ST-Atk-J, St-Def-J x4, HP +80%, Str +60%, Vit +60%, Mag +60%, Spr+60%, 
Spd +40%, Recover, Auto-Potion*, Supt Mag-RF*, GF Recov Med-RF*

Doomtrain should know SumMag +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, 
Boost*, ST-Atk-J, St-Def-J x4, HP +80%, Str +60%, Vit +60%, Mag +60%, Spr+60%, 
Spd +40%, Auto-Shell, Absorb*, Darkside*, Junk Shop*, Forbid Med-RF*

Siren should know SumMag +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +20%/+30%/+40%, Boost*, 
HP-J, Str-J, Vit-J, Mag-J, Spr-J, Spd-J, Eva-J, Luck-J, (Treatment if level 12 
or higher), Mag Bonus*, Move-Find*, L Mag-RF*, ST Med-RF*, Tool-RF*

Carbuncle should know GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, HP-J, Str-J, Vit-J, Mag-J, 
Spr-J, Spd-J, Eva-J, Luck-J, Counter, Auto-Reflect, Recov Med-RF*

Diablos should know GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, HP-J, Str-J, Vit-J, Mag-J, 
Spr-J, Spd-J, Eva-J, Luck-J, Hit-J*, Mug*, Enc-None*, Darkside*, Time Mag-RF*, 
ST Mag-RF*

Alexander should know SumMag +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, 
Boost*, Revive, Med Data, High Mag-RF*, Med LV Up*

Pandemona should know SumMag +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, 
Boost*, Initiative*

Tonberry should know SumMag +20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +20%/+30%/+40%, Boost*, Eva 
+30%*, Luck +50%*, Auto-Potion*, Initiative*, Move-HP Up*, LV Down*, LV Up*, 
Haggle*, Sell-High*, Familiar*, Call Shop*

Bahamut should know SumMag +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, 
Boost*, Auto-Protect, Expend x2-1*, Mug*, Move-HP Up*, Rare Item*, Forbid 
Mag-RF*

Cactuar should know GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, Kamikaze, Auto-Potion*, Defend*, 
Initiative*, Move-HP Up*, Hp Bonus*, Str Bonus*, Vit Bonus*, Mag Bonus*, Spr 
Bonus*

Eden should know SumMag +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, Boost*, 
Expend x3-1, Devour, Luck +50%*, Mad Rush*, Darkside*, GF Abl Med-RF*

Cerberus should know GFHP +10%/+20%/+30%/+40%, Auto-Haste, Expendx2-1*, Expend 
x3-1, Hit-J*, Alert*

You can assign commands and accessories to each party member as needed for the 
situation, but most of the time this setup should be effective:

Character 1 uses [Attack-->Mug, Draw, Item, GF] and [Enc-None or Mug, HP +80%, 
Str +60%, Mag +60%]...  this is your physical attacker
Character 2 uses [Attack, Draw, Magic, GF] and [Move-Find, HP +80%, Str +60%, 
Mag +60%]...  this is your magic user
Character 3 uses [Attack, Draw, Absorb, GF] and [Auto-Shell, HP +80%, Str 
+60%, Mag +60%]...  this is your support man/woman

All characters have magic junctioned as follows (100 of each spell, naturally):
HP=Meteor
Str=Quake
Vit=Meltdown
Mag=Triple
Spr=Curaga
Spd=Haste
Eva=Tornado
Hit=Aura
Luck=Death
Status Atk=Pain
Status Def=Esuna, Holy, Reflect, Dispel
Elemental Atk=none unless you know your next opponent's weakness
Elemental Def=Life, Full-life, Shell, Flare

Meteor can be obtained by drawing from mid-to-high-level Ruby Dragons, though 
doing so without losing your entire party is tough.  The effect is worth it.

Aura can be obtained by using [Supt Mag-RF] on Aura Stones and Fury Fragments.

Replace Flare in Elemental Def with Ultima when you acquire Bahamut's [Forbid 
Mag-RF] ability.  Dark Matter can then be refined to create huge stocks of the 
Ultima spell.

SECTION THE SIXTH
For the truly dedicated cheesemonkey...
===============================================================================
Information within quotes in this section submitted by Ninjatsu.  I have 
tested all of the suggestions he made and they work as advertised if performed 
correctly.  Neither he nor I will be liable for anything you mess up, 
particularly if you are fooling around with registry editing.

##Get items even faster from ChocoRPG!
"1) Win 9x/ME : Run Chocobo World and FF8 at the same time, you can get the 
items from chocobo over and over again without copy pasting the file. Simply 
just go to save and bring the chocobo home then send him back to the world, 
then alt-tab to chocobo world and press ctrl twice to go into the map/items 
menu and back out. Then alt-tab back into FF8 and bring him home, send him 
back, alt-tab, ctrl ctrl, and so on. 

Note that sometimes it will mess up, and your chocobo world will have no items 
left, thats why you should have your backup to just copy back in, and then 
repeat the item gaining process.

2) Win XP : For some reason on XP you cant alt-tab out of FF8, you need to 
press Ctrl-Alt-Del to get back to the desktop, also make sure you DON'T have 
your XP set up like win 2000 where Ctrl-Alt-Del will take you to Windows 
Security instead of straight to Task Manager. Now on how to get items the 
fastest from this way :

Backup ChocoRPG file
Step 1*: Select the backup ChocoRPG file and press ctrl-c to copy it to 
memory.
Step 2*: Make sure only 1 window is open to the FF8\save\ directory where 
ChocoRPG is.
Step 3: Run FF8, go to save, chocobo.
Step 4: Bring him home, collect the items, then send him back to world.
Step 5: Ctrl-Alt-Del to Task Manager.
Step 6: Move it to the far right of the screen so you can barely see it, 
from now on if you press Ctrl-Alt-Del it will take you to Task Manager, but 
it will be in the same position you left it in.
Step 7: Click on Chocobo World and press ctrl twice(same as above method), 
click on FF8 in the taskbar.
Step 7*: Click on the FF8\save\ window that should be in front of you, then 
press ctrl-v to paste, click yes, click FF8 on the task bar to get back to 
the game.
Step 8: Repeat Steps 4,5 and 7/7*.

*If you don't want chocobo world open the same time as FF8.

Once you get used to this you can do it almost as fast as the first method, 
its just clicking instead of alt-tab.

Note : Using these methods over and over will probably damage your screen... 
so do it at your own risk, and don't hold me responsible.

Note : Using quarter screen and doing this will give graphical glitches, 
these wont affect the game and should go away after a few screen changes/
battles.

Also if you have messed up chocobo world and do need to generate another one, 
you can still get yours back if you copy your backup into your save folder 
after you have generated your new chocobo, all the stats will change back to 
yours once you bring it home again."
--Handy, huh?  This makes it even more important to ensure you have backed
up your little birdy at least twice.  (I have three in different locations.)

##Messing with music!
"You can stop all sound for the game by going to you installed directory 
Final Fantasy 8\data\ and deleting the folders called sound and music. You 
can now play winamp/(insert other music utility here) and listen to your own 
music. The only sound you will hear from the game is the movies. 

Note: You can turn the sound down in the game, but that doesn't stop the 
music. A full install is required before you do this, otherwise the game 
will just take the sound from the cd.

*****NOTE!!*****: Do not pause the game at any time, cause when you unpause 
the game it WILL crash back to the desktop. I think you can only pause while 
walking around towns, you cannot pause during battle or on the world map."  
--I concur.  Best bet if you try this is to skip pausing entirely.  It may 
prove sensible in the long run to simply move the folders somewhere else 
rather than deleting them entirely, similar to the suggestions made earlier 
for backing up ChocoRPG files.

##Fun with ISOs!
"I'm not sure what installing the game via an iso does, as I install it 
from the original installation cd and it then defaults the game to use that 
same cd-rom/rw that it was installed with. I however do use the iso's while 
playing the game so that my cds don't get damaged any more. The problem most 
people will have with doing this though is that FF8 will not see your iso in 
its Nero/Alcohol virtual drive. To get around this you will have to change 
your registry.

Do only these steps (the registry is a very dangerous thing to play around 
with, don't delete/change ANYTHING, change "only" the DataDrive path 
mentioned below) :
Press start button.
Go to Run command.
Type regedit and press enter.
Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Square Soft, Inc\FINAL FANTASY VIII\1.00\
Select "DataDrive" from the right panel and change it to your virtual drive.

FF8 should now be able to run off your iso, this helps make movies load 
faster, and gets rid of that annoying spinning the cd-rom does all the time.

I take NO responsibility if you happen to screw up your windows by fiddling 
with the registry file."
--Ditto.  FYI, I also do this with several other games I routinely work on.

##Skip the interminable intro!
"FF8 Intro : You can stop the Eidos Intro movie from playing if you set the 
movie resolution to low in the FF8 Config. You can use any other graphics and 
the movie will not play.

Note : You need to have upgraded to version 1.2 of FF8 for this to work."

Closing Remarks
===============

Thanks to the Squaresoft team for disposing of the chunky superdeformed 
characters from FF 7, and making the gameplay so enjoyable that it's still 
worth running four years after my wife bought it for my birthday.  

Thanks to Ninjatsu for suggesting a several more cheap tricks, and for the 
revelation that GFs gain experience from combat even when their KO'ed character 
does not...

MANY thanks to my wife and children, who had to suffer through many a night of 
the Raven disgruntled while examining quirks of FF 8.  (My son still asks me 
what the heck I was doing with the chicobo exit/copyover/load/save/exit 
thing.  "That was real boring to watch, Dad."  Even more boring to execute, 
kiddo.)

And, once again,
To request hosting permission, make comments, ask questions, or suggest 
corrections contact the Atomic Raven at blair@afaproject.org.