Balamb is a town located in the country of the same name in Final Fantasy VIII. A peaceful seaside town, Balamb is a popular tourism spot and is connected to the Galbadian continent via a transcontinental railway. It is famous for a delicacy known as the Balamb Fish. Souvenirs are sold at front of the train station and tourism is a valuable source of revenue for the city. The design of its buildings is unique and based on curved lines with streamline patterning of uniform height to conserve the natural scenery, as Balamb is the main town of the island nation of the same name with abundant natural environments and surrounded by the ocean. The sea breeze corrodes metal fast and thus the town has a busy garage for vehicle maintenance.
- 1 Story
- 2 Geography
- 3 Quests
- 4 Musical themes
- 5 Other appearances
- 6 Behind the scenes
- 7 Gallery
- 8 References
Balamb town's dominance on the island was diminished twelve years ago when Balamb Garden, a training center for the elite military force SeeD, was erected. Because of its isolated location, Balamb residents often revel in their ability to ignore military conflicts going on in the rest of the world, and to some extent, resent that the Garden's presence serves as a reminder of those problems. The townspeople respect those who choose to attend the Garden, which they see as a school for the gifted.
Balamb's role as a haven for peaceful existence is shattered during Sorceress Edea's rule of Galbadia. Edea, under the control of Sorceress Ultimecia, orders Galbadian troops to seize the town and hold its residents hostage while they search for a woman named Ellone. The military overruns the Balamb Hotel, barring the owners from entering the town and using it to house their troops. The Galbadians cut off supply lines, diverting food and other shipments to the troops at the hotel, denying local shops and people access to necessities. The military leaders threaten to burn the town to the ground if anyone protests their actions or attempts to subvert their authority.
A group of SeeDs from Balamb Garden, led by Squall Leonhart, infiltrates the town by claiming to have information which could lead to Ellone's capture. Once inside, Squall, along with Balamb native Zell, find and defeat both the Galbadian commander, Fujin, and the Galbadian captain, Raijin. With their leaders in retreat and no sign of Ellone, the Galbadian troops withdraw from Balamb.
After the war against Ultimecia is over, Seifer Almasy returns to Balamb to fish with his friend Fujin and Raijin as the mobile Balamb Garden soars overhead.
The town of Balamb is located on the south-western edge of the Balamb continent. It is a small port town to the south west of Balamb Garden. It is connected to the transcontinental railroad of Galbadia, and a road connects it to the Balamb Garden.
Balamb Town is a seaside resort town, hosting tourists from all over Galbadia, and is also known for its seafood and for the rare Balamb Fish. As such, the town is sunny, with white stone buildings reminiscent of Greek island architecture, all of which have flora on their roofs. It has narrow painted cobblestone roads along the streets. The town is home to a train station linked to a transcontinental railroad leading to Galbadia, which is the largest building and is prominent in its appearance on the world map. It is also home to a large hotel overlooking the sea, which is its tallest building and is used by tourists. Its harbor is used by fishermen and commercial ships and is its most notable point of interest.
The Car Rental is a large, dome-like gas station located at the entrance to the town, as accessed from the road. The player can rent a car for a small fee. Although one can avoid random encounters on the field in a car, it needs fuel to run.
This place is barricaded and guarded during Galbadian occupation. The hotel owner is left pacing around here, while his daughter is at the old man's residence inside town. The player can help them reconnect with Big Bad Rascal's help, and then keep the guard distracted while the boy sneaks over to the father. Big Bad Rascal then helps the player leave town also. If the player does, and then returns, the guard is perplexed the party is outside, and the part lies their way out of it.
The main street of the town is bordered by residential houses. The street has a three-way junction, with the road on the right leading down to the harbor, the road on the left leading to the train station, and the road at the back leading back to the exit of the town. Of the buildings, the building on the right at the end of the street is Zell's house, and the building on the left at the end of the street is the junk shop, where a player can have a weapon remodeled. Aside from residential buildings, the district also has a bench often occupied by a non-player character as well as a lamp with directions.
Old Man's Residence
The residence nearest to town entrance belongs to an elderly man. A cat and the hotel owner's daughter and the Big Bad Rascal are here sometimes as well. In one scene the man tells the children the story of Hyne. During the Balamb Town lockdown the hotel owner's daughter is sheltered here while the owner and his wife are banished out of town. If the player helps Big Bad Rascal sneak out, he brings the girl the hotel owner's deck of cards and the player can win the Pandemona Card from the daughter slightly earlier than otherwise possible.
After the town is librated, the old man reminisces catching Balamb fish and sharing it with the cat.
The house home to Zell Dincht and his mother has two floors, with three rooms. The ground floor features two rooms. The main room with a kitchen and what appears to be a long desk with flowers and a computer near the front. To the right of this is a round room with several desks, rowing paddles, and a table in the middle.
Big Bad Rascal and his mother can sometimes be found in the lounge. There is also a fake Timber Maniacs magazine here, but there is no benefit in inspecting it.
Zell's room is located upstairs of the main room, though Zell is protective of his room and does not initially allow the party to enter. He later reluctantly allows the party enter after it is discovered the Galbadian army has occupied the hotel. A save point can be found in Zell's room. The player can use the punching bag. The player can sleep in the room by examining the bed during the liberation event. After the occupation is over, the player can find a Spd Up under Zell's pillow as part of the Big Bad Rascal quest.
The train station of the town is a tall, long building on the left from the residential district, with a stairway leading inside. The station is linked to the transcontinental railroad that leads to Galbadia, and the train features a special cabin for SeeD use.
Outside the station, just to the right of the entrance is the Balamb Shop, a gift shop that sells regular items. The Queen of Cards can also be found on the right end of the steps to the entrance to the station, and a photographer can be found on the left end in front of the steps. The inside of the station has darker painted walls, with patterns painted along them as well as billboard advertisements.
The Balamb Hotel, the tourists' destination overlooking the sea. It is a tall, blue, round building decorated with fish, featuring the Balamb flag waving outside and the Balamb logo on the front door. The interior of the hotel is also decorated with mosaics on the floors and the walls. The hotel room in which the party stays has two beds, a balcony overlooking the sea, a desk, and a save point.
Laguna Loire once stayed here during his travels and wrote about it in an article of Timber Maniacs. The hotel is also involved in Zell and Pigtail Girl's sidequest. The hotel owner holds the rare Pandemona Card, but will only play it after the town has been librated from Galbadia.
The Balamb harbor is a public facility, allowing Balamb Garden to dock its water-based vehicles here for missions, exams and other events. It is a wide open space, with several ships often found out to sea. In the distance is a wide dome-like building, and to the right are several inaccessible buildings behind a wall.
A plainclothes Garden student appears randomly by the water front. If he doesn't appear, the player can leave the town to the world map and re-enter until he does. If Quistis is in the party, she will scold him for skipping class. If the player challenges the Student Skipping Class to Triple Triad, they can null all the rules at play in Balamb region, as he is the only card player in the game who plays his own "rule set" (he plays with no rules) that cannot be modified. Playing with him clears Balamb region of all special rules (including Open). He uses Balamb's trade rule.
After seeing enough events with the Big Bad Rascal, the player can find him hiding in the lower right of this area. He will then leave a Spd Up in Zell's room.
During Galbadian occupation, the sniffer dog is first found on the docks with two G-Soldiers. There is also a "Tabloid Guy" behind the APCs who will sell tips on how to do the quest in town, but his tips are expensive and unnecessary. One of the G-Soldiers on the docks drops gil into the water; afterwards, drawing from the Cure draw point her will also yield a small amount of money. After visiting Ma Dincht's smoking kitchen after the captain cooked a fish there, interacting with the dog on the docks sends the dog to sniff the captain out.
When Squall, Zell and Selphie are heading for Timber, the player can talk to a mechanic at the car rental to trigger a scene where Zell boasts of having done a hundred pull-ups on the gas station sign. He appears if the player returns to the car rental after progressing deeper into the town.
If Zell is in the party, repeated trips to Balamb Town and his house will trigger scenes involving the Big Bad Rascal highlighting his admiration for Zell (see next section).
During the quest to liberate Balamb (see Liberating Balamb) entering Zell's room activates a series of short discussions between the characters that reveal more about Zell. Which discussion occurs depends on who is in the party.
After Balamb has been liberated, if the player talks to a chef at the harbor with Selphie in the party, she will talk to the chef and reveal her favorite food, inspiring the chef to come up with a new recipe.
After Balamb has been liberated the party can get an optional scene with Zell and his crush by staying at the hotel with Zell (see Combat King 003 section).
Big Bad Rascal
Several scenes involving the Big Bad Rascal can be viewed in Balamb Town, after which the player can find the Big Bad Rascal hiding behind some crates by the parking lot next to the dock. Talking to him will cause him to speak some nonsense that confuses Zell. After this, the player can find a Spd Up by examining Zell's pillow up in his room (the item cannot be gotten until the player gains access to Zell's room during Balamb's liberation).
After the events in Fishermans Horizon the party learns that Galbadia has occupied Balamb. Zell is a mandatory party member for this part, and will force himself into the formation if he is not already in the party when the player enters Balamb. Talking to the guard lets the player into the town.
The Galbadian forces will not allow Squall and friends to leave Balamb once they're in, but there is a sidequest that allows the party to exit before concluding all the events there. The player should talk to the Big Bad Rascal in Zell's house twice, and speak to Ma Dincht, then go to the hotel and talk to the guard, who will tell Squall to look for the captain.
At the harbor, the player must wait a few minutes, then head to the house next to Zell's, and talk to Big Bad Rascal and go to the town exit. The player must talk to the guard who won't let them leave, and keep the text window open so that Big Bad Rascal can sneak to the Hotel Owner. Back in town the player can can now exit with the help of Big Bad Rascal. This way the player can get the Pandemona card slightly earlier, as the girl in Zell's neighbor's now has her father's cards.
The guards outside the hotel will tell Squall to look for the captain. There is an NPC called Tabloid Guy behind the cars at the docks, but his hints are pricey and unnecessary. The player doesn't actually need to do the events in town to progress to the boss battle at the hotel; entering the hotel screen enough times eventually has the guards move even if the player didn't trigger any events in town. However, completing the quest this way will not gain any SeeD rank boost.
Since the group can't stay in the hotel Zell will let the crew in his room. If the third party member is Selphie and Squall implies Selphie is being annoying, she deducts a SeeD rank from Squall. Quistis will note Zell's T-board and relate a humorous story where Zell crashed the girls' restroom with it. Irvine marvels at the guns Zell has hung up on the wall and wants to try one. Rinoa is simply impressed Zell's room is so tidy.
On the docks the guards have a dog, and after talking to them and returning to Zell's house, there is smoke coming from the door. Ma Dincht will tell the party the captain was there cooking fish. There are two options of finding the captain, either by boarding the train, or using the dog from the docks. Using the dog gives a higher SeeD ranking.
To board the train the player must go to where the soldiers are knocked out outside it. After talking to a knocked-out soldier enough times he'll move away from the stairs that lead to the train. Boarding the train in this manner awards 65 SeeD Exp.
To use the dog, the player should head to the docks and talk to the dog and follow it to the train. This gives 100 SeeD Exp.
Whichever way the player uses to find the captain, they must return to the hotel for the boss fights.
Combat King 003
The player can get the Combat King 003 magazine for Zell by staying at the hotel after Balamb has been liberated. In the morning Zell will be gone and the player will find him downstairs, where he receives the magazine from the Library Girl with a Pigtail. The player can trigger various scenes concerning the two by visiting the Balamb Garden library. The dialogue is more complete the more scenes in the sidequest the player has witnessed.
The town of Balamb uses Balamb rules, of which the default rule is just Open. Playing the Student Skipping Class randomly found on the docks clears the Balamb region of all special rules (including Open). If he doesn't appear, the player can leave the town to the world map and re-enter until he does. He is left behind after Balamb Garden moves, and comments on it. Playing him has no effect on trade rules. He never asks to mix rules because he doesn't use any.
- Zell's card can be won from Ma Dincht.
- Pandemona's card can be won from the hotel owner after the town has been liberated from the Galbadians, or from the little girl in the house next to Zell's if the player performs the Big Bad Rascal sidequest during the time time Balamb is occupied by G-forces.
Queen of Cards is found outside the train station, whose sidequest the player can do if they send her to Dollet. She always moves when the number of rare cards (Lv.8–10) in her possession changes; the player needs to lose a rare card to her, or win one from her, but she doesn't start with any rares. From Balamb, she will move to Dollet (37.5% chance) or Deling City (62.5%).
Played upon entering the town; "Breezy" is considered Balamb's theme tune. During Galbadia's occupation the tune "Intruders" plays.
Behind the scenes
The town is famous for two types of fish; the first is the Balamb Fish, a large fish with turquoise scales, which is a delicacy; the second is the Badamb Fish, which numbs its victims and makes consumers ill when eaten. The Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania guide reveals that due to the Balamb Fish's amazing flavor, it is known as one of the three Great Delicacies of the World. Among the other three Great Delicacies of the World are the Wind Cacti that dwell in Galbadia's arid regions, also known as the famous West Cactus. The sweet pulp of its flesh is highly valued in the desert region. The third one is never named.