Ultimecia Castle becomes accessible when Sorceress Ultimecia compresses time into a world where only she can live. However, Time Compression never fully occurs — it is temporarily halted by Ellone — and the party is able to counteract it simply by believing each others' existence. Transport to and from Ultimecia's world and the normal world can be done via five portals which appear in various locations.
The Castle is constructed as a maze-like structure to try and confuse the player. Ultimecia's Chamber, where the final battle is staged, can be accessed right from the beginning; however, there is a catch. When the party first enters, they can only select the Attack command, as all their other abilities have been sealed. In order to get the abilities back, the player must locate and defeat Ultimecia's minions. After each defeat, the player can select one ability to unlock. It becomes a puzzle of sorts to decide which abilities to unlock first.
The following powers are sealed until the player unlocks them:
- Draw (If the player wishes to draw missed GFs, this command must be unlocked first.)
- Save (Though Save Points will provide the normal dialogue, the Save command will be grayed out in the menu.)
- Resurrect (If a character is KOed, they will remain so until the Resurrect command is unlocked. Even Phoenix will miss.)
- GF (All GF abilities accessible from the menu, such as Card Mod, are sealed as well until this is unlocked.)
- Item (in both battle and from the field menu)
- Command (in-battle commands such as Devour)
- Limit Break
If the player exits the castle, a message will say that the seal has been temporarily broken. The seal is only in effect inside the castle.
There are eight minions in total, including the oft-recurring boss Tiamat. From each of the minions a Guardian Force, which may have been missed previously, can be drawn. Tiamat, for instance, holds Eden, and is a slightly easier way to get it than from the Ultima Weapon. This feature was not included in the original Japanese version of the game.
The optional superboss, Omega Weapon, is located within this castle and is labeled the strongest monster in the game. Final Fantasy VIII 's Omega Weapon is among the strongest of its kind in all of the Final Fantasy series.
- The lobby that welcomes the SeeDs stepping into the castle. This area branches into four separate paths. The first one is to the left leading to the Great Hall. Right of the staircase leads to the right Stairway Hall A. The door across it leads to the chandelier above the Great Hall leading to the Terrace. Left of the staircase leads to the left Stairway Hall A. At the staircase, one of Ultimecia's minions, the Sphinxaur, awaits. There is also a Party Switch Point.
- Great Hall
- Has two staircases leading to the Terrace, but both are broken. The trapdoor leads to the Wine Cellar. There is also a Party Switch Point.
- The area where Ultimecia's minion Krysta lingers. Ultimecia's Tower can be seen in the distance.
- The path diverges to the Waterway on the right and the Chapel at the middle. A Party Switch Point is found here, and also a Draw Point containing Slow.
- Stairway Hall A (Left)
- Entered from the Hall, this path leads to the Treasure Room and the Elevator Hall.
- Stairway Hall A (Right)
- Entered from the Hall, this path contains a Party Switch Point. This path leads to the Art Gallery, and is where the player rings a bell to summon the Omega Weapon.
- Treasure Room
- Accessed from the left Stairway Hall A, in the path leading to the Elevator Hall. Inside are four crates with a puzzle. Solving this puzzle summons Catoblepas, one of Ultimecia's eight minions. Also contains a hidden Draw Point Holy.
- Art Gallery
- Bài viết chính: Art Gallery
A picture gallery entered from the right Stairway Hall A, this path leads to the Stairway Hall B. The area contains a puzzle, that when solved, summons Trauma, one of Ultimecia's eight minions. This area also has a Draw Point containing Meltdown.
- Stairway Hall B
- This area diverges to two: the Passage Way on the left, and the Armory in the middle.
- Passage Way
- Contains the Draw Point Cura and a hidden Save Point. This path leads to the Elevator Hall and must be used if the player wants to reach the Storage Room.
- Elevator Hall
- The elevators contain Party Switch Points. Party A accessing this area from the left Stairway Hall A awaits Party B coming in from the Passageway. Party B will go on the elevator to lift the elevator up for Party A. The path above leads to the Storage Room.
- Storage Room
- A dead-end. Contains the Floodgate Key used to access a hidden area in the Waterway.
- The path diverges to two; the right door leads to the Armory, while the left door leads to the Prison. The lever before the left door controls the drainage in the Waterway, but the player must use the Floodgate Key to activate the lever; if the lever is pulled, the water is drained, making the Waterway accessible.
- A dead-end. The door will be locked once the player enters. This room contains a corpse holding the Prison Key. Once the player retrieves it, Ultimecia's minion Red Giant will appear to stop the party from escaping. The door to the left leads to a ledge overlooking the Waterway. A hidden Draw Point Full-Life is found near the chains.
- A dead-end. Accessed from the Floodgate via the Armory Key retrieved at the Bridge. Here, the player enters a fight with a Vysage, Lefty, and Righty which is revealed to be Ultimecia's minion Gargantua. On the left side is a hidden Draw Point Ultima.
- Accessed from the Courtyard, contains an organ and a strange, dark, purplish cloud that is actually the Omega Weapon that can be summoned out of the cloud using the bell in the right Stairway Hall A. The organ also has a function — striking all the keys on the organ will open the access to the Waterway from the Courtyard.
- Initially flooded, the waters can be drained using the lever in the Floodgate. Divided into the top level and the bottom level. The top accessed through the Bridge, the bottom through the Courtyard — a fence bars access until all the organ keys in the Chapel are struck. The bottom level contains a Rosetta Stone.
- Accessed through the Chapel, a rickety wooden bridge connects the Clock Tower. There is an object, the Armory Key used to access the Armory, retrieved by walking slowly on the bridge. If the Key did fall, it can be found in the Floodgate room. Across the bridge, the path diverges: right goes to the Waterway, and left to the Clock Tower.
- Clock Tower
- A spiralling staircase accessed from the Bridge. A hidden Save Point is at the base. Along the way, the player can reach the swinging pendulum, grab it and cross to the other side, where one of Ultimecia's eight minions, Tiamat, awaits with a hidden Draw Point Triple. The topmost area with all the gears has a hidden Draw Point Stop. Incidentally, on the clockface on the Clock Tower, one of the hands points towards the number VIII.
- Master Room
- Ultimecia awaits at the tower's Master Room. A Save Point can be found at the end of the path near the entrance to the Master Room. The monsters that turn up in the area are mostly Tonberries. Oilboyle, a former boss, is also known to appear in this area.
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- The Ultimecia Castle's armory originally had red blood in the wall, but in the final version it has turned green.
- Ultimecia Castle has three clocks, but none of them move. One clock is in the entrance room, one in the art gallery's floor and the most notable of all, in the clock tower. Interestingly, while inside the clock tower, the player can observe the gears moving, yet, on the outside, the clock is stopped. It may be due to the Stop Draw Point that can be found inside the tower.
Ultimecia's Castle is the representative arena of Final Fantasy VIII in Dissidia Final Fantasy. It is here Squall and the Warrior of Light fight Ultimecia in their storylines, and Zidane battles Garland. It is also where the Warrior talks with Cosmos and where Cloud departs from Firion, Cecil, and Tidus.
The arena is based on the Clock Tower section of the castle in Final Fantasy VIII. The arena features a large open central area with tall pillars and a spiral wooden platform with railings. The wooden platforms are destructible, and also break if a character stands on them too long. The side of the area has a long alcove lined with gears, and the top has a small balcony. This stage is notably the only one to have a Banish Trap set in the ceiling as well as in the ground. In the Ω version of the stage, at times during a battle the screen will blur as time magic takes effect: any destroyed platforms will reverse and reform, and the gears will begin to spin rapidly, damaging any character that touches them, and the Brave pool randomizes constantly. After a period of time the effects end and the stage returns to normal.