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.
The structure is first introduced in a Laguna dream sequence where Laguna, Kiros and Ward pass through the Centra Excavation Site, which would later become the Lunatic Pandora. 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 labyrinthine 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. Esthar's emblem is prominent on the structure's side.
According to the Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania, the Crystal Pillar fell on earth from the moon during the Lunar Cry that destroyed Centra decades ago and left behind the massive crater that makes up most of the modern Centra continent. The pillar lay buried beneath the soil to be discovered by Esthar during the Sorceress War. During the time Esthar was excavating the pillar Laguna and his party were sent to investigate, though they couldn't fathom its purpose or origin.
Lunatic Pandora was designed by Dr. Odine under Sorceress Adel's rule, who wanted to use it as a weapon in the ongoing Sorceress War. The casing was built around the pillar to move it to Esthar, and the structure became known as the Lunatic Pandora. During his time in the Vienne Mountains filming a movie, Laguna glimpsed the Lunatic Pandora hovering in the distance, musing of its significance. When Squall Leonhart's SeeD party gains access to the mobile Balamb Garden, they can discover a crater on the mountain preventing access to Esthar. The Ultimania confirms the crater was formed by a Lunar Cry Esthar induced by bringing the Lunatic Pandora to the region, perhaps to test its power.
Laguna, after being captured on his way to Esthar, was forced to work in the Lunatic Pandora Laboratory. To complement the pillar Tears' Point was constructed; when the Lunatic Pandora and the Crystal Pillar it houses couple with Tears' Point, it forces a reaction with the moon leading to a Lunar Cry. After the Laguna-led Estharian resistance deposed and sealed Sorceress Adel, Laguna became Esthar's president. Lunatic Pandora was deemed too dangerous and sunk in the ocean.
Seventeen years later Seifer, under the instruction of Ultimecia, raises the Lunatic Pandora with the aid of the G-Army and moves it to Tears' Point, initiating the Lunar Cry, which brings down Adel's Tomb from space and monsters destroy Esthar City. The tomb is kept within the Lunatic Pandora while Adel awakens from her frozen state. Squall and his comrades infiltrate the Lunatic Pandora and dispatch Adel, while the G-Army abandons Seifer. After being released from Adel, Ultimecia possesses Rinoa. Ellone, who has a power similar to Ultimecia's to send a person's consciousness to inhabit another in the past, sends both Rinoa and Ultimecia within her back in time to allow the latter to cast time compression. The Lunatic Pandora fades as Squall, Rinoa and their allies fall through time, and its ultimate fate is never revealed; if the party leaves Ultimecia Castle and returns to the world map, the Lunatic Pandora is no longer there.
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 lies on its side and during the present timeline it stands erected in an upright position. The interior is of an otherworldly aquamarine rock with pathways carved out to navigate the enormous structure.
- 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
- 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 can 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, never refills)
- 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)
This appears to be the room where the Lunatic Pandora's flight is controlled. Seifer is found and fought here.
- 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 is brought to Tears' Point where it stands until time has been compressed in Disc 4; along with the mobile Balamb Garden, Lunatic Pandora vanishes from view.
Laguna's actions in the past Edit
Laguna's actions at the Centra Excavation Site affect 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 down the ladder after 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 opens the left and right trap doors, provided the player tried to open them before, clearing the way to Combat King 005.|
|Push a rock from a left tunnel wall.||Reveals a Spd-J Scroll.|
Boarding the Lunatic Pandora Edit
After talking to Dr. Odine while Zell is the party leader in Esthar City, the Lunatic Pandora will fly across the city. To board it, the player must head to one of three contact points within a twenty minute limit. Random encounters are activated for the scene and the timer keeps ticking during battles. The player must arrive in the contact point screen after contact with Lunatic Pandora has been established, not before, as if the player arrives to the area too early the scene won't trigger until they leave and re-enter the screen.
The three contact points are as follows:
- (1) Center of the city
Lunatic Pandora will arrive at the city centre with 15:00 left on the timer until 12:00.
- (2) Where the two skyways cross
Lunatic Pandora will arrive at the intersection with 10:00 left on the timer until 5:00.
- (3) North of the shopping mall
Lunatic Pandora will arrive north of the mall with 3:00 left on the timer.
The easiest way to complete the scene is thus: As soon as the party exits Dr. Odine's lab the 20-minute timer begins. The party should head bottom-right, then left, and left again, then head up, then right, and right again. This area has an Esthar Soldier from whom the player can receive the the Combat King 004 magazine (only available during this scene). The player should head right once more and the next area is the contact point at 15:00.
Being at a contact point during the correct time frame has the Lunatic Pandora fly past and the party must hop onboard, but a fixed encounter ensues, and the player must clear the battle before the time runs out; if the player runs out of time during the battle Lunatic Pandora will have passed the area and the party must catch it in the next contact point. If the player fails to board the Lunatic Pandora in any of the contact points, they miss the chance permanently and the scene will simply end.
To make completing the scenario easier the player can equip Enc-None to eliminate random battles.
- First visit (During the attack on Esthar City)
Other appearances Edit
Musical themes Edit
The musical theme "Lunatic Pandora" plays whenever the player enters the gargantuan structure.
Luna means "moon" in Latin, Italian, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish. In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman created by the gods. According to the myth, Pandora opened a jar, in modern accounts sometimes mistranslated as "Pandora's box", releasing the evils of humanity leaving only Hope inside once she had closed it again. The myth is a kind of theodicy, addressing the question of why there is evil in the world.
"Lunatic Pandora" refers to the Crystal Pillar being a gateway for monsters to be released on the planet, an analogy of the Pandora myth. "Lunatic", aside from meaning "a reckless impetuous irresponsible person", is also the adjective corresponding to the Latin word Luna, "Moon". "Lunatic Pandora" could therefore mean a box filled with evils from the moon.
- A 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.