|“||I've never seen anything so creepy. You think what's-her-face really lives here?||„|
|~ Irvine Kinneas as he and the SeeDs enters the Ultimecia Castle for their final battle against Sorceress Ultimecia herself.|
The Ultimecia Castle (in Japanese: アルティミシア城, Arutimishia-jō) is a flying castle home to the malevolent Sorceress Ultimecia whom it was named after. It serves as the final level of Final Fantasy VIII where the heroic members of the SeeDs, an elite paramilitary organization meant to protect people from military or supernatural threats, face off against Ultimecia and her monsters.
The appearance and architecture of the Ultimecia Castle that traverse between dimensions is a floating gothic palace filled with faux-Victorian opulence with an impressive art collection, attached on a huge rocky platform surrounded by thunderous clouds and the citadel is measured and afloat by a giant bat wing attached on the left side of the castle's second tower which is Ultimecia's own throne room is located, right next to the first tower that is the castle's clock tower, controlled by magic along with the castle's entire structure including Ultimecia's secret throne room called the Master Room.
The castle yet presents a vague and eerie air of menace. At the heart of it all is the cruel Sorceress of the Future who calls this place home and reigned supreme here, Ultimecia.
HistoryThe Ultimecia Castle becomes accessible when the sorceress Ultimecia compresses all of time and space into a world where only she can live and forever be worshipped as an eternal goddess. However, Time Compression has never fully occured, it is temporarily halted by Ellone, and the "Legendary SeeDs", Squall Leonhart, Quistis Trepe, Zell Dincht, Selphie Tilmitt, Rinoa Heartilly and Irvine Kinneas, able to counteract it simply by believing each others' existence. Transport to and from Ultimecia's world and the normal world can be done via 4 portals outside the castle, which lead to various locations on the world map.
The Ultimecia Castle is a maze-like structure built to try and confuse the player. Ultimecia's royal chamber, the Master Room, where the final battle is staged, can be accessed right from the beginning; however, there is a catch. When the party first enters, they can only select the Attack command, as all their other abilities have been sealed. In order to get the abilities back, the player must locate and defeat Ultimecia's minions.
There are 8 minions in total, including the often-recurring boss Tiamat. From each of the minions is a Guardian Force, which may have been missed previously, can be drawn. Tiamat, for instance, holds Eden, and is an easier way to get it than from the Ultima Weapon. This feature is not included in the original Japanese version of the game.
The optional superboss, Omega Weapon, is located within this castle and is labeled the strongest monster in the game. Final Fantasy VIII's Omega Weapon is among the strongest of its kind in all of the Final Fantasy series.
Inside the Ultimecia Castle
There is a complete layout of indoor chambers and outdoor-like areas located within the entirety of Ultimecia Castle. But there are also untold dangers, challenges and horrors found within the nightmarish, labyrinthine castle waiting around at every corner for Ultimecia's "guests".
- Front Gate (in Japanese: 正面ゲート, Shōmen Gēto):
- The main entrance to the castle. It is here that the SeeDs can find a save point and a hidden draw point.
- Hall (in Japanese: ホール, Hōru):
- The main lobby that welcomes the SeeDs stepping into the Ultimecia Castle itself. This area branches into 4 separate paths. The first one is to the left leading to the Grand Hall. Right of the staircase leads to the right Stairway Hall A. The door across it leads to the chandelier above the Grand Hall leading to the Terrace. Left of the staircase leads to the left Stairway Hall A. At the staircase, the Sphinxaur, one of Ultimecia's minions, awaits. There is also a party switch point.
- Grand Hall (in Japanese: 大ホール, Dai Hōru):
- The main chamber of Ultimecia's very own palace. It has 2 staircases leading to the Terrace, but both are broken. The trapdoor leads to the Wine Cellar. There is also a party switch point.
- Terrace (in Japanese: テラス, Terasu):
- The outdoor platform is where another of Ultimecia's minions, Krysta, lingers. The tower where Ultimecia's Master Room is located, can be seen in the distance.
- Wine Cellar (in Japanese: ワインセラー, Wainserā):
- The spiraling staircase downwards lead to the castle's own wine cellar. It is where awaits another minion of Ultimecia, Tri-Point.
- Courtyard (in Japanese: 中庭, Nakaniwa):
- The castle's own courtyard. In it lies a path that diverges to the Waterway on the right and the Chapel at the middle. A party switch point is found here.
- Stairway Hall A (Left) (in Japanese: 階段ホールA （左）, Kaidan Hōru A (Hidari)):
- Entered from the Hall, this path leads to the Treasure Room and the Elevator Hall.
- Stairway Hall A (Right) (in Japanese: 階段ホールA （右）, Kaidan Hōru A (Migi)):
- Entered from the Hall, this path contains a party switch point. This path leads to the Art Gallery, and is where the player rings a bell to summon the Omega Weapon.
- Treasure Room (in Japanese: トレジャールーム, Torejārūmu):
- The hidden treasure room within the Ultimecia Castle. Accessed from the left Stairway Hall A, in the path leading to the Elevator Hall. The player needs the Treasury Key to get in, found in front of the fountain on the Courtyard. Inside are four crates with a puzzle. Solving this puzzle summons Catoblepas, one of Ultimecia's 8 minions.
- Art Gallery (in Japanese: アートギャラリー, Ātogyararī):
- The picture gallery consisting of Sorceress Ultimecia's personal collection of wall-to-wall portraits and landscape artworks within her Castle. This luxurious chamber is located on the castle's second floor, nestled between the two east stairway halls, the gallery consists of two levels of wall to wall portrait and landscape artworks. Each work of art is named in Latin, with the dominant landscape art piece (numbered '13' in this list) remaining unnamed until the player solves a puzzle involving the names of the other artworks and the golden clock-face on the floor. The area's puzzle, when solved, summons Trauma, one of Ultimecia's 8 minions.
- Stairway Hall B (in Japanese: 階段ホールB, Kaidan Hōru B):
- This cathedral-styled Hall complete with 5 shimmering stain glass windows and 2 knight suits of armor at the bottom of it's foyer, diverges to two areas: the Passage Way on the left, and the Armory in the middle.
- Passage Way (in Japanese: 通路, Tsūro):
- The passage way located at the Ultimecia Castle This pathway leads to the Elevator Hall and must be used if the player wants to reach the Storage Room. It contains a hidden save point.
- Elevator Hall (in Japanese: エレベーターホール, Erebētāhōru):
- A hall consisting of elevators which contains party switch points. Party A accessing this area from the left Stairway Hall A awaits Party B coming in from the Passageway. Party B will go on the elevator to lift the elevator up for Party A (party B must be heavier than party A). The path above leads to the Storage Room.
- Storage Room (in Japanese: 貯蔵室, Chozō-Shitsu):
- A storeroom within the castle. It is but a dead-end.
- Floodgate (in Japanese: 水門, Suimon):
- A floodgate located within the castle. The path diverges to two; the right door leads to the Armory, while the left door leads to the Prison. The lever before the left door controls the drainage in the Waterway, but the player must use the Floodgate Key to activate the lever; if the lever is pulled, the water is drained, making the Waterway accessible.
- Prison (in Japanese: 刑務所, Keimusho):
- The dungeon found within Ultimecia's Castle where the Sorceress of the Future locks up and traps her prisoners. It is a dead-end. The door will be locked once the player enters. This room contains a corpse holding the Prison Key. Once the player retrieves it, another of Ultimecia's servants, Red Giant will appear to stop the party from escaping. The door to the left leads to a ledge overlooking the Waterway.
- Armory (in Japanese: アーモリー, Āmorī):
- The royal armory filled with suits of armor and weaponry within the Ultimecia Castle. It is a dead-end. Accessed from the Floodgate via the Armory Key retrieved at the Bridge. Here, the player enters a fight with a Vysage, Lefty, and Righty which is revealed to be Ultimecia's servant Gargantua.
- Chapel (in Japanese: チャペル, Chaperu):
- The hauntingly beautiful church-like structure found within Sorceress Ultimecia's Castle. Accessed from the Courtyard, the chapel contains an organ and a strange, dark, purplish cloud that is actually the Omega Weapon that can be summoned out of the cloud using the bell in the right Stairway Hall A. The organ also has a function—striking all the keys on the organ will open the access to the Waterway from the Courtyard.
- Waterway (in Japanese: 水路, Suiro):
- A canal found within the castle. Initially flooded, the waters can be drained using the lever in the Floodgate. Divided into the top level and the bottom level. The top accessed through the Bridge, the bottom through the Courtyard—a fence bars access until all the organ keys in the Chapel are struck.
- Bridge (in Japanese: ブリッジ, Burijji):
- A rickety wooden bridge within the castle that connects the Clock Tower. This outside area is accessed through the Chapel. There is an item, the Armory Key used to access the Armory, retrieved by walking slowly on the bridge. If the key falls, it can be found in the Floodgate room. Across the bridge, the path diverges: right goes to the Waterway, and left to the Clock Tower.
- Clock Tower (in Japanese: 時計塔, Tokei-tō):
- The tallest first tower of the Ultimecia Castle. A spiraling staircase inside can be accessed from the Bridge. A hidden save point is at the Gear Room (in Japanese: ギアルーム, Giarūmu) at the base of the Clock Tower. Along the way, the player can reach the swinging pendulum, grab it and cross to the Balcony (in Japanese: バルコニー, Barukonī) on the other side of the Clock Tower, where one of Ultimecia's eight servants, Tiamat, awaits. Incidentally, on the clockface on the Clock Tower, one of the hands points towards the number VIII.
- Master Room (in Japanese: マスタールーム, Masutārūmu):
- Ultimecia, the Sorceress of the Future, awaits at the second tower's Master Room, her own "throne room". A save point can be found at the end of the path near the entrance to the Master Room.
Dissidia Final FantasyThe Clock Tower arena is the representative arena of Final Fantasy VIII in Dissidia Final Fantasy under the name Ultimecia's Castle (in Japanese: アルティミシアの城, Arutimishia no Shiro). It is here that Squall and the Warrior of Light fight against Ultimecia in their storylines, and Zidane battles Garland. It is also where the Warrior of Light converse with Cosmos and where Cloud departs from Firion, Cecil, and Tidus.
The arena features a large open central area with 4 tall pillars in the corners and a spiral wooden platform with railings. The wooden platforms are destructible, and also break if a character stands on them too long. The side of the area has a long alcove lined with gears, and the top has a small balcony that can be destroyed if a character is knocked into it. This stage is notably the only one to have a banish trap set in the ceiling as well as in the ground. In the stage's Ω version, at times during a battle the screen will blur as Time Compression magic takes effect: any destroyed platforms will reverse and reform, the gears will begin to spin, damaging any character that touches them, and the Bravery pool rapidly randomizes. After a period of time the effects end and the stage returns to normal.
The Time Warp is the battlegen item obtained through stage destruction in Ultimecia's Castle. After clearing Inward Chaos, the Mallet becomes available as a rare battlegen item obtained through stage destruction.
Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
Ultimecia's Castle returns in this prequel to Dissidia. It is the location where Tifa battles Ultimecia.
Mallets become unavailable to obtain in this stage, becoming the battlegen item for the M. S. Prima Vista instead.
The Ultimecia Castle's Master Room appeared as the BMS (Battle Music Sequence) for "Premonition" and "Maybe I'm a Lion".
- The Ultimecia Castle's armory originally had red blood smeared on the wall, but in the final version, it has green blood on the wall instead.
- Ultimecia Castle has 3 clocks, but none of them move. One clock is located in the entrance room, one in the art gallery's floor and the most notable one of all, in the clock tower. Interestingly, while inside the clock tower, the player can observe the gears moving, yet, on the outside, the clock is stopped. It may be due to the Stop draw point inside the tower, or it could be due to the fact the castle exists in a state of compressing time.
- Many of the paintings may provide hints and references to Ultimecia and her personality, however, the hints are subtle and vague. It is also unclear whether the sorceress herself painted these or if she is merely an art collector.
- Some of the painted subjects are reminiscent of subjects in Final Fantasy VIII, such as the landscape in the Vividarium Intervigilium Viator reminiscent of Edea's Orphanage.
- The Ultimecia Castle made an appearance in 2 Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade and Pictlogica Final Fantasy.
- The layout of a Stage Board of Dissidia Final Fantasy's "Destiny Odyssey VIII" storyline happens to be based on the Ultimecia Castle as well. The tiles are represented by cogs, and a rearranged version of the soundtrack "Blue Fields", the main theme of Final Fantasy VIII is played.