- “A cavern near Balamb Garden where a Fire element GF lives.”
- —FFVIII Info Corner
The Fire Cavern (火災の洞窟, Kasai No Doukutsu?) is a location in Final Fantasy VIII. Located east of Balamb, the cavern is home to numerous fire-elemental monsters and serves as the home for the fire Guardian Force, Ifrit.
The Fire Cavern is the first location the player is asked to visit and functions largely as a tutorial with Quistis guiding Squall through the trial. The cavern is never visited again in the game, nor does it hold any secrets or reason to return; despite this, it is still accessible on disc 4 after the time compression. All monsters within the Fire Cavern are always at level 5.
The cavern is situated to the east of Balamb Garden and on the hem of the Gaulg Mountains overlooking the Albatross Archipelago.
- Cavern Entrance
Upon approach the cavern entrance will be guarded by two Garden Faculty. The faculty are there to ensure the visitor has authorization and, if during a prerequisite exam, has the necessary preparations completed and another faculty, such as a teacher, to assist them during the time within the cavern.
- Cavern Depths
The cavern's internal environment is what one would expect from its name: The cavern is filled with magma, with only a small path in which to travel across, and fire-elemental monsters only. There is even a Fire draw point in the depths.
- Draw points - Fire
- Ifrit's Dwelling
Located at the very back of the cavern, at the end of the pathway, is the lava pond where Ifrit dwells. Upon approach he will awaken and emerge from underneath the magma, ready to face whatever the challenger has to offer.
- Guardian Forces - Ifrit
After getting to the Fire Cavern two members of Garden Faculty wait at the entrance and let the player choose a time limit for their challenge. The options are 10, 20, 30 or 40 minutes. At the end of the cavern Squall and Quistis fight Ifrit, and the amount of time left on the clock at the end of the battle determines the Judgement section of Squall's SeeD score he receives after the exam; the player should aim to defeat Ifrit with 7 or fewer seconds on the clock for the maximum test score, while being aware that Ifrit's dialogue at the end of battle also counts toward the limit and if the player runs out of time during the post-battle dialogue, they still lose.
|"Find Your Way"|
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
The Fire Cavern's theme is "Find Your Way", which is the standard dungeon music shared by other places in the game.
- In the Japanese version, the Garden Faculty would tell Squall he will receive his credits at Garden after he has obtained Ifrit and is leaving the cavern. This line was removed in later versions, and the Garden Faculty are no longer there when the player leaves.
- In the English version, when Quistis jokes her presence at the test makes boys nervous, Squall replies with "whatever". In the Japanese version, he says "...you're a teacher" implying he disapproves of Quistis's behavior.