- “An enclosure for Crystal Pillar made by Esthar. 3 miles tall and 1.5 miles wide, the enormous enclosure boasts a high-tech facility. It floats by causing a reaction with the Crystal Pillar. A stone from the moon is sealed inside. It was probably built to cause the Lunar Cry through artificial means.”
- —Lunatic Pandora - FFVIII Info Corner
The Lunatic Pandora (ルナティックパンドラ, Runatikku Pandora?) is the name of a huge structure in Final Fantasy VIII that can induce Lunar Cry. The structure is first introduced in a Laguna flashback sequence, where Laguna, Kiros and Ward pass through the Centra Excavation Site, which would later become the Lunatic Pandora. In the flashback sequence, depending on the things the player does as Laguna, different items become available for the later visit with Squall.
The Lunatic Pandora consists of two parts: the Crystal Pillar interior, with cave-like tunnels that run throughout; and the surrounding case, a large, semi-rectangular structure built around the pillar made of a dark material, most likely a type of metal. It can be assumed that Esthar constructed the case, since the nation's emblem is prominent on the structure's side.
Originally the Lunatic Pandora was a Crystal Pillar that, according to the Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania, fell on earth from the moon during the Lunar Cry that destroyed Centra decades before the game's start. The destruction left behind only the massive crater that now makes up most of the "modern" Centra continent. The Crystal Pillar buried beneath the soil, only to be rediscovered by the Estharian troops during the Sorceress War.
During the time Esthar was excavating the pillar, Laguna and his party were sent to investigate, almost managing to get themselves killed in the process. Lunatic Pandora is a name which encompasses the Crystal Pillar and the casing built around it to make it mobile.
Lunatic Pandora was designed by Dr. Odine under sorceress Adel's rule, who wanted to use Lunatic Pandora as a weapon in the on-going Sorceress War. Laguna, after he was captured on his way to Esthar, used to work in the Lunatic Pandora Laboratory. To complement the Pandora, Tears' Point was constructed; when the Lunatic Pandora and the Crystal Pillar it houses couple with Tears' Point, it forces a super-intense reaction with the moon, leading to a Lunar Cry of epic proportions.
During the Laguna flashback in which he is filming a movie on the Vienne Mountains, he can spot Lunatic Pandora hovering in the distance, though he doesn't know what it is. Later, when the player gains access to the mobile Balamb Garden, they can discover a crater on the mountain region which prevents the player from crossing over to Esthar. The Ultimania confirms the crater was formed by a Lunar Cry Esthar induced by bringing the Pandora to the region, perhaps to test its powers.
After the Estharian resistance, led by Laguna, managed to dispose of sorceress Adel and Laguna became Esthar's president, Lunatic Pandora was deemed too dangerous, and was sunk in the bottom of the ocean. During the events of Final Fantasy VIII, Seifer raises the Lunatic Pandora from the sea and moves it to Tears' Point, activating the Lunar Cry, which brings down Adel's Tomb. The Tomb was kept inside the Pandora while Adel awakens from her frozen state.
Squall and his comrades enter the Lunatic Pandora and dispatch Adel. After being released from Adel, Ultimecia possesses Rinoa and Ellone sends the two back in time to allow Ultimecia to cast Time Compression. The Lunatic Pandora fades as Squall, Rinoa and their allies fall through time, and its ultimate fate is not revealed. If the player leaves Ultimecia Castle and returns to the World Map, the Lunatic Pandora has vanished, leaving the possibility that it was simply absorbed into time during Time Compression.
Laguna's Actions in the PastEdit
Laguna's actions at the Centra Excavation Site affects which items are available in the Lunatic Pandora when visited in the present time.
|Laguna's Actions in the Past||Items Found in Present Time|
|Pick up a key near the Confuse draw point.||Unlock doorway to an Ultima draw point.|
|Open the middle trap door.||Reveals a Silence draw point.|
|Open the left trapdoor.||Reveals a Phoenix Pinion.|
|Open the right trapdoor.||Reveals a Power Generator.|
|Find the Old Key at first intersection behind a door.||Reveals a LuvLuvG.|
|Use the detonator (red + blue).||Opens a pathway in the present time and clears the way to Combat King 005.|
|Push a rock from a left tunnel wall.||Reveals a Spd-J Scroll.|
The layout of the Lunatic Pandora corresponds to the layout of Centra Excavation Site visited as Laguna, with the difference that during Laguna's time the Crystal Pillar lay on its side and during the present timeline, it stands erected in an upright position.
- Main Entrance
The main entrance to the Lunatic Pandora is one of the contact points during the time the Pandora flies over Esthar City.
- Draw points: Meteor
The three elevators take to different parts of the Pandora.
- Draw points: Curaga
In the proximity of Elevator 1 the player may find a draw point in the corner of the screen.
- Draw points: Holy (never refills)
- Interior Walkways
If the player pushed a rock on a wall in Laguna's time, they can find an item in a small cavity within a wall along the oath leading from the Elevator 1.
- Items: Spd-J Scroll
- Elevator 3
The area down from where Elevator 3 leads has an item if the player found some old keys as Laguna. The player may find the item in the tube on the right after having taken the ladder down from Elevator 3.
Going left twice from the area where the LuvLuvG is, the player can find the trapdoors. If the player opened all trapdoors in the Laguna scenario the hatches remain open and contain a draw point and items. Going left from this screen leads to an area with a Combat King magazine if the player used the detonator as Laguna earlier. Past the Combat King magazine the player also finds a draw point.
- Items: Phoenix Pinion, Power Generator, Combat King 005
- Draw points: Silence, Ultima (follow the path after finding Combat King 005 and turn left)
- Ragnarok's Landing Site
After the attack on Lunatic Pandora, Ragnarok penetrates the tower's defenses and busts in through the wall.
If the player reaches this screen as Zell, they will be ejected by Mobile Type 8. Later, the main doors lead to the room where the Lunatic Pandora's flight is controlled, and the structure on the right leads to the room Adel's tomb is stored.
- Draw points: Break (on the structure that leads to Adel's chamber, never refills)
This appears to be the room where the Lunatic Pandora's flight is controlled. Seifer is found and fought here.
- Guardian Forces: Gilgamesh*
- Adel's Chamber
The room where Adel's tomb rests waiting for the sorceress awaken is at the top of the Lunatic Pandora.
The Lunatic Pandora/Crystal Pillar is seen in different locations throughout the game. First it was being excavated in the Centra Excavation Site then moved to be studied by Esthar at the Lunatic Pandora Laboratory. Years later, after being abandoned and then re-activated from its watery grave in the ocean, it was brought to Tears' Point where it stood until the end of the game.
With the exception of bosses, all enemies fought during this visit are fixed at Level 1.
- Iron Giant
- Raijin, Fujin (Boss)
- Mobile Type 8, Left Probe, Right Probe (Boss)
- Seifer (Boss)
- Adel, Rinoa (Boss)
|Trouble with the audio sample?|
The musical theme "Lunatic Pandora" plays whenever the player enters the gargantuan structure.
"Lunatic Pandora" refers to the fact that the Crystal Pillar is a gateway for monsters to be released on the Planet, an analogy of the Jar that brings all kinds of evil according the myth of Pandora's box. "Lunatic", aside from meaning "a reckless impetuous irresponsible person", is also the adjective corresponding to the Latin word "Luna", "Moon". "Lunatic Pandora" therefore is the name of the object, a box, filled with Evils from the Moon.
- All the monsters inside Lunatic Pandora when entered in present time (i.e. not as Laguna) are on level 1.
- A subtle running gag involves most of the game's main cast being unable to pronounce Lunatic Pandora's name properly on their first attempt.
- Lunatic Pandora may at first glance appear to be the main Tower dungeon of Final Fantasy VIII, however this is not so as it lacks the many floors of the usual tower dungeons throughout the Final Fantasy series.