These character bios are pulled from the Final Fantasy VIII instruction manual. Copyright Square 1999.

Squall Leonheart
Squall Leonheart in Deling City

The taciturn and reluctant hero

A cadet in SeeD, the special combat unit of the Balamb Garden Military Academy. his aloof and anti-social behavior makes him appear selfish and lacking a sense of team unity. Squall dislikes having others involved in his affairs, and is best described as a lone wolf.

Weapon: Gunblade

Limit Break: Renzokuken

Author's Note: Obviously you will be using Squall throughout the game as he is the primary character and, without a doubt, the strongest character in the game. Allow Squall to focus on regular attacks for the most part as Squall starts off the game with 255% maxed out hit which basically means he will never miss. Equipping him with Guardian Forces that focus on strength stats (such as Ifrit or Brothers) will make him infinitely more useful.

Rinoa Heartilly
Rinoa Heartilly on the balcony of Balamb Garden

A beautiful, spirited young woman

A lively individual with the ability to touch people's hearts. Open and honest with her feelings, she speaks her mind without reservation. Driven by her ambitions, she can be difficult at times.

Weapon: Blaster Edge

Limit Break: Combine (Angelo)

Author's Note: Rinoa is also a very strong character to include in your primary roster. Her Limit Breaks are quite powerful and many of them, such as Angelo Rush, Angelo Recover and Angelo Revive, are randomly activated during battle and do not need to be selected or have Rinoa at low health in order to activate.

Quistis Trepe
Quistis Trepe in the opening cinematic in the Balamb Garden infirmiry

A top-notch member of SeeD who serves as Squall's instructor

A SeeD cadet at the age of 15, Quistis now instructs Squall and his companions at Balamb Garden. Contrary to her cool exterior, she occasionally has a difficult time coping with frustration, and as a result can become depressed over trivial matters.

Weapon: Whip

Limit Break: Blue Magic

Author's Note: Quistis Trepe is one of my favourite characters to utilize. She starts off quite powerful and her Limit Breaks are quite varied and versatile. Her final Limit Break (Shockwave Pulsar) allows her to attack for more than 9,999 damage making her a very strong late-game character.

Zell Dincht
Zell Dinct at the entrance of Balamb Garden

A Garden Cadet with unsurpassed martial arts skills

Aspiring to become like his grandfather who was once a solider. Zell entered Garden at the age of 13. Not being one to think matters through, he is known to act on impulse rather than reasoning. At heart however, he is an honest, dedicated young man.

Weapon: Gloves

Limit Break: Duel

Author's Note: Unfortunately I just can't recommend utilizing Zell. There is no doubt that Zell's Limit Break, Duel, is the most fun to execute, but once the entertainment aspect wears off you are left with a Limit Break that takes forever to complete. There are other, more suitable party members to choose from.

Selphie Tilmitt
The first meeting with Selphie Tilmitt on the second floor of Balamb Garden

A spunky young woman with a carefree spirit

Selphie seems out of place in a military academy because of her innocent appearance and light-hearted personality. Her happy-go-lucky disposition and laid-back attitude tend to catch others off guard.

Weapon: Nunchaku

Limit Break: Slot

Author's Note: Selphie's Limit Break (Slot) is terrible and it can be quite painful to rotate through "Do-Overs" until you arrive at one of her more powerful spells, but Selphie has an ace up her sleeve. Selphie's Ultimate Weapon (Strange Vision) gives her 255% hit, just like Squall, which means she will never miss. Hard to argue with that!

Irvine Kinneas
Irvine Kinneas outside Galbadia Garden

An expert gunman and consummate lady's man

Irvine is known as the "Best Shooter in Garden". His reputation for cherishing the company of women in almost as well known as his accuracy with a gun. Although he seems to be uncaring and frivolous at first glance, in reality he is sensitive and serioius.

Weapon: Shotgun

Limit Break: Shot

Author's Note: Irvine is another great character to use. He is strong and versatile, and though producing ammo for his Limit Break can be a bit of a pain in the ass, his Limit Break is quite strong.