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.
Lunatic Pandora is an unrevisitable location and defeating the boss at its flight deck is the point of no return to the endgame; after progressing into the boss battle, the player can no longer leave the construct back to the world map. The player should come prepared to the point of no return, as the boss right after this point is tough and there are no shops and the enemies inside the Pandora at this point are on Level 1, so it is not a good grinding location for new magic.
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. Seventeen years later, 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 Final Fantasy VII Ultimania confirms the crater was formed by a Lunar Cry; Esthar likely induced it 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. Tears' Point is the location the Estharian scientists have calculated as the next Lunar Cry epicenter. If the Lunatic Pandora and the Crystal Pillar it houses coupled with Tears' Point, it would force 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 after Adel was deposed, Seifer, under the instruction of Sorceress Ultimecia, raises the Lunatic Pandora with the aid of the G-Army and moves it to Tears' Point. Zell Dincht leads a SeeD party to infiltrate the Lunatic Pandora as it flies over Esthar City, but if they manage to make their way inside, they are ejected by a Galbadian warmachine. The G-Army positions the Lunatic Pandora over 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. The G-Army captures Ellone, a woman whose mystical powers Ultimecia wants to exploit, and imprisons her onboard the Lunatic Pandora. Everyone lays in wait for Adel to awake enough for Ultimecia to possess her and then use Ellone's power to transform the world.
Squall and his comrades infiltrate the Lunatic Pandora on the Ragnarok to rescue Ellone. They find the G-Army doubting their commitment to Seifer and his cause, and witness Biggs and Wedge abandon their post. Squall finds Seifer in the company of his friends, Fujin and Raijin, who likewise are ready to stop following him. Fujin releases Ellone to Squall's care and tries to persuade Seifer to stop following Ultimecia, but he deems that he has gone too far to turn back. Seifer kidnaps Rinoa, a girl with sorceress powers in Squall's party, and beings her to Adel.
Squall and their friends follow and find Rinoa being junctioned into the very body of the awakened Sorceress Adel. They dispatch Adel without harming Rinoa and 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 the time compression spell. 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 Lunatic Pandora/Crystal Pillar appears in different locations depending on game progress. First it was being excavated in the Centra Excavation Site, then moved to be studied by Esthar at the Lunatic Pandora Laboratory, at some point being flown over the Vienne Mountains in Trabia. Years later, after being abandoned and then re-activated from its watery grave in the ocean, the Lunatic Pandora is brought to Tears' Point where it stands until time has been compressed; along with the mobile Balamb Garden, Lunatic Pandora vanishes from view.
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 lied 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 Edit
The main entrance to the Lunatic Pandora is a tall set of stairways leading into the Pandora. It is one of the contact points during the time the Pandora flies over Esthar City.
Past the main entrance, three elevators lead to different parts inside the Pandora.
Zell's party will be ejected by Mobile Type 8 if they board the Pandora in the 2nd and 3rd access points.
Elevator 1 path Edit
In the proximity of the path taken by elevator 1, the player may find a draw point in the corner of the screen.
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.
Elevator 3 path Edit
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. The Combat King teaches Zell his ultimate Duel finisher.
Ragnarok landing site Edit
After the attack on Lunatic Pandora, Ragnarok penetrates the tower's defenses and busts in through the wall. Before progressing to the flight deck the player can still leave the Pandora by going back into the airship. After fighting the boss, triggering the disc change in the original PlayStation version, the party refuses to leave the Pandora if the player tries by returning to the airship.
Laguna, Kiros and Ward are found at the Ragnarok, and thus this is the last chance to win the Squall card off Laguna before heading to the endgame.
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.
This appears to be the room where the Lunatic Pandora's flight is controlled. Seifer is found and fought here.
Adel's chamber Edit
The room where Adel's tomb rests waiting for the sorceress awaken is at the top of the Lunatic Pandora. The player can only visit this area once as part of the story that is beyond the point of no return. This is the final area of the Lunatic Pandora.
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. The items that become available are valuable, the Phoenix Pinion summoning Phoenix when used in battle, the Combat King teaching Zell his ultimate Limit Break finishing move, LuvLuvG boosting all GF compatibility and the Power Generator teaching Quistis her the Ray-Bomb Limit.
|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 center 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.
The enemies differ based on the visit to the Lunatic Pandora.
- 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.