I never beat it because it got too hard. Apparently, I wasn't "playing it right". Relied too much on Guardians, and my characters ended up way too weak somehow. I imagine I could coast through it today, but back then I was confused because it was so different than all the other FFs before it.
The exact same thing happened to me. I got to the part where a boss sucks in one of your characters and she becomes part of it or something (its been a really long time) and you cant use your Summons because it hurts your character to. I relied way to much on my GFs.
Yeah, it's amazing just how far the game is willing to let you go despite your playing it wrong. Incidentally that's the last fight of disk 3. But you were probably not that off in terms of being able to deal with Adel if you work on respecing your Junctions and stick to limit breaks. Plus I believe you're in a good place to card some high end fools which you can refine for high end loot if you need it and if you've been doing all the sidequests up until that point you can easily just buy your way out with the shop command and refine tents for maximum Curagas or something. And if you've been using Zell or Ivrene you can easily wreck Adel with their limit breaks (hopefully you spent most of Sefier's last stand drawing the hell out of his Aura spells and for Ivrene at least had built up a solid supply of Pulse Ammo).
I was in the same situation as Grim and Pmayo when I originally played it when it first came out. I got stuck on Adel and couldn't really beat her as I didn't have enough stuff to junction my characters I guess. As for Seif, if their save was anything like mine was, their characters weren't strong enough to draw for too long before they would get killed.
Strength is mostly a non factor in FFVIII. All you really need is to properly junction your GFs so that all the major stats are covered on your main three party members. HP, Strength, Vitality, Magic, and Spirit. Cover those with the highest value spells available and you should be solid. Remember you can pass around spells between characters so put all your best spells onto your three man team along with every GF you have (GFs and spells do you no good on the bench).
Next you need to check your junctionable abilities and passives. You'll want things like Str +50 or 70%, Spd +30 or 50% Auto Haste, Auto Protect, Auto Potion, Auto Shell, Auto Reflect (because honestly you're never going to be casting a spell on your people unless it's Aura or Curaga), Mag +50%, Vit +50%, Spr +50%, HP +50% ect.... These are honestly more important than what junctioning spells to your stats does for you. Junction your GFs so that as many of your 3 man team gets at least Ability x3.
Elemental Defense, Status Defense, and Status Attack are your next concern. Almost every offensive spell in the game has an element to it. Every percent placed on your Elemental Defense is a percent of the total incoming damage from magic made either null or to serve you. Your top spells should be distributed to either Strength or your Elemental Defense (DPS wants Str while Vending Machines want Elem Def x4). Aim to distribute Elem Defs as evenly as possible. Status Defense should be treated with emphasis on major nuisances such as Stone, Sleep, Silence, Death, Confuse, Berserk, Stop, and Zombie. Shit like Poison and Blind are ignorable and Slow can be countered with Haste at least. Status Attack is a fun thing though. Unlike Elemental Attack, Status Attack isn't nearly as prone to blowing up in your face as Elemental Attack (and with a hard and easily reached damage cap of 9999 there's little reason to go for elemental damage after disk 2). Pick something fun like Pain, Death, Break, Zombie, or Drain to stick on your weapons and watch your enemies randomly go bye bye.
And finally, getting magics in the first place. First thing to note is that Magic determines how successful you are at drawing from enemies as well as it influences how much you gain from enemies and draw points. This is, however, a moot point since most of your magic should be coming from *** Refine where *** equals whatever magic you're currently looking for. These should've been your highest priority when you were going through the game and acquiring APs. Boost, GF Max HP^%, and Summon Mag^% are mostly worthless on later GFs (unless your GF's name is Doom Train) and are probably safely overwritten with abilities taught to your GFs. And getting back to getting magic, Card Mod is the best place for anything, magic or otherwise. See, what Card Mod does is it allows you to make items out of cards. Most of these items can then be further refined into magic or ingredients for upgrading weapons and making ammo. Additionally cards can easily be won from card playing chumps if you understand how to play Triple Triad and aren't playing with Plus and Difference rules which suck (granted playing with All is the best but it sucks in trying to keep it in regions). Furthermore the game is inundated with card playing chumps so you really shouldn't have had too much trouble in keeping a healthy supply of cards flowing into your Card Mod.
However from the sounds of the previous posts, I suspect that you haven't done this. Fortunately you still have options if you don't give a shit about 100% completion. I'm going to highlight a list of suggestions that should get you past Adel and the Sorceress Rush afterwords.
- If you have Tonberry and have Call Shop learned, use it to buy potions, magazines, and Refine fodder. If you don't have him, don't sweat it.
- If you have Doom Train, stick it on the party member with the highest affinity and lead off the fight with it. If not, use Meltdown. These inflict a status effect that drops enemy defense to 0 and little resists this (though given the fight you're fighting you'd probably be better off junctioning Meltdown to somebody's Stat Att instead).
- Look at your GF cards and your inventory and use Card Mod to get the items that you think will best suit your needs. High level cards can net you some very swank Refine fodder.
- Remember, at this point, whomever isn't on your active team should be considered for all intents and purposes to be permabenched. Anything still on them is either in storage or is a wasted resource.
- The caveat to the above is if you were using Zell before you put the game down for the long long goodbye since you'll probably want to swap him out for somebody with an easier to use limit break (although if you got stuck here you probably weren't using him to begin with).
- Have somebody with high DPS/Str stick as many Drains on their Stat Att slot if they have it. With high Spd and good Stat Def you'll have somebody who's effectively immortal.
- Cerberus is a good GF to use if you want to burn magic in a hurry. And don't be afraid of burning junctioned magic either, there's always more where that came from and there's nothing like Triple casting Curaga, Flare, and Hastaga for a quick turn around.
With the bullet list above you shouldn't have any trouble taking out Adel in one or two attempts. This game is incredibly easy to bend over your knee thanks to the developers' short sighted desire to rewrite the rules of JRPGs without actually changing anything meaningful, and then implementing a minigame that basically handed you the keys to the gameplay system on a silver platter.