The Siege of Dollet is a military engagement between Galbadia and the Duchy of Dollet in Final Fantasy VIII. The Dollet Army is reinforced by the SeeD Elite Mercenary Force, responding to a request for aid by the Dollet Parliament after a series of setbacks. Galbadia's forces attacked Dollet for its radio tower, the only one left in the world capable of broadcasting radio signals since the radio blackout that started 17 years ago.
This event was featured as the main event of the game's PlayStation demo.
Since the beginning of the Sorceress War, President Deling has been uniting the continent of Galbadia under one flag. This presented a united front during the war against Esthar, but Deling's methods usually meant that a country, region or town was integrated by force, the chief example being Timber.
The Siege of Dollet is fought within and around the town of Dollet, situated within the Hasberry Valley in the Galbadian Continent on the edge of the ocean. The battle continues into the Hasberry Mountains until the Galbadian Army's retreat.
The Dollet Army put up a defense against the Galbadian assault, but was outmatched by the larger and more powerful Galbadian army. 49 hours into the battle, the Dollet defense abandoned their positions in the inner city and withdrew to the mountains overlooking the city to reorganize their forces. 54 hours into the battle, Dollet Parliament voted to hire the mercenary soldiers of SeeD to assist.
72 hours into the battle, SeeD forces mobilize assault gunboats from Balamb Town; transporting SeeD, SeeD cadets and their SeeD tutors to Lapin Beach as part of their initial beach assault. With most of the Galbadian Army in the surrounding mountains in pursuit of the recuperating Dollet Army, the cadets' objective is to eliminate opposition in the city and secure their allocated areas, while the SeeD members prevent the remaining Galbadian units from counter-attacking.
As a part of their final exams, SeeD cadets are organized into squads of three. Selphie Tilmitt is part of the intelligence squad, Squad A, initially charged with finding and destroying the Galbadian HD cable the army is using for communication. Squall Leonhart, Seifer Almasy, and Zell Dincht form Squad B, with Seifer as squad leader tasked with eliminating resistance within the Central Square and guarding it from counter-attacks.
They arrive at Dollet via the SeeD Assault Boats during the beach assault and proceed to their designated area, where Seifer loses patience and decides to follow a group of Galbadian Soldiers heading toward the Dollet radio tower. At the base of the tower, Seifer runs off, attempting to outscore his squad by eliminating more soldiers than the others. A messenger from Squad A, Selphie Tilmitt, arrives charged with delivering new orders to the Squad B leader.
Selphie and the remaining members of Squad B climb the radio tower to find the Galbadian soldiers Biggs and Wedge, activating the antenna. A monster, an Elvoret that had been roosting in the tower, forces the Galbadian soldiers aside, but is defeated by the SeeD cadets.
Selphie delivers a withdrawal order to Seifer: the cadets are to be back at the beach by 19:00 hours (7 PM). The team realizes they have a mere 30 minutes to get back to the landing craft, and Seifer again abandons his squadmates (taking an every-man-for-himself approach), leaving Squall to ensure that Zell, Selphie, and himself make it back on time. As they leave, Biggs activates the Galbadian X-ATM092 Assault Mech that attacks the party.
As their orders are to fall back, the priority is not to fight; as such, they engage the mech only when they have to while fleeing, and Squall ensures the other squads are evacuated from the mech's path. The remaining SeeD cadet on the battlefield, Squall, rushes down the beach with the mech on his heels that is finally destroyed when it comes within range of a SeeD gunboat's machine gun turret, manned by SeeD instructor Quistis Trepe, as the boat begins withdrawing from the beach with Squall onboard.
The engagement serves as the final test for SeeD cadets, and Squall Leonhart, Selphie Tilmitt, Zell Dincht, and Nida graduate into SeeD. Seifer fails for disobeying orders (by leaving the square to pursue the Galbadians to the radio tower) and gross dereliction of duty (for abandoning his squad twice).
Galbadia withdraws from the city, but soldiers remain stationed at the mountain, Galbadia having reached an agreement with the Dollet Parliament that the radio tower would stay activated. This ensures Galbadian President Deling's live television broadcast, the first generated since the end of the Sorceress War, would reach as far as possible. The locals are disillusioned by the outcome of the battle, and an old man in the city center considers another Galbadian assault on the duchy inevitable. Seifer is also bitter, believing he could have been a hero if he had time to destroy the radio tower, as this would have altered the outcome of the battle.
How the player performs during the field exam determines their starting SeeD rank, which in turn determines their starting salary. This has a minor effect to the game, however, as gil grinding is easy and the player can always raise their SeeD level after the exam by doing the tests in the menu.
"The Landing" plays during the arrival and landing of the SeeD Assault Boats upon the Dollet beach. The track replaced another that was originally meant to accompany the Siege of Dollet, simply titled "Raid on Dollet". This was used in the official demo for Final Fantasy VIII, but was dummied out and replaced with "The Landing" for the final game. This may have been done because the track sounded too similar to the theme song of the then-recent film The Rock. The track is still present on the game discs, accessible from the Debug Rooms. There also exists an earlier version of the track, "Attacking Dollet", which received slight quality improvements.
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered originally had a glitch affecting the background audio during the initial raid on Dollet. If the player had a save file at the Lapin Beach landing site and then reloaded the save file at a later date, the audio dropped back to General MIDI format. The anomaly cleared after the mandatory battle in the city square, when the Victory Fanfare played. The musical glitches were fixed in a November patch.
"The Landing" also plays in the music player in Final Fantasy XV after the player buys the Memories of FFVIII soundtrack from Hammerhead for 100 gil. It also appears in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT as a battle music track.
Behind the scenes
An early demo version of the game depicts the Siege of Dollet with Rinoa replacing Selphie and Seifer for the portions they are playable, and the party wears their normal outfits, not the SeeD cadet uniforms they do in the finalized product.
The Dollet evacuation FMV in the final game still has some remnants from the demo version. During the scene where Selphie and Zell run across the beach toward the camera, Selphie has Rinoa's shadow. When the X-ATM092 searches for its target, the scene is black and white and grainy and from the robot's point of view; Squall running toward the vessel was re-rendered in a SeeD cadet uniform, but Rinoa and Zell in his casual clothes still appear small in the background, instead of Selphie and Zell in his cadet uniform. A Dollet soldier, who destroyed the X-ATM092 instead of Quistis, can still be seen as the ship pulls away.
It is possible to destroy the X-ATM092 during the chase in the final game, but this is considered impossible in the demo. If the player destroys the mecha before reaching the town, the car parked on the street will not be destroyed. If the player destroys the X-ARM092 in battle, they won't witness the FMV of Quistis shooting it with the gun turret, but will be awarded a bonus SeeD rank. The townsfolk will still complain about the damage to the town the party supposedly caused.