The Let's Play Archive

Chrono Trigger

by Quovak

Part 3: The Trial

Well, this has been a fun day of trivializing causality, finding empirical support for the Gödel metric, and seeing a tenfold increase in our chance of earning condemnation from the Holy See. Before we go home and break into a cold sweat having come face to face with the depths to which our understanding of the universe is unknown and the tenuous nature of our own existences, let's take a look at all the shiny stuff we got, shall we?

100 G - I called this "Gold" back in the first update, but I suppose it could just as easily be Gil, or Gallons, or Gothic Revival Architecture for all I know. Chrono Trigger's conception of how currency works is... creative, to say the least. Let's just say that this game was probably not written by economists, and if it was then they were probably Austrian.

1 Revive

- A suit for maidens. I gave it to Lucca, because she already has pink hair and a transmitter helmet that looks like it was made in the 1950s to resemble what people in the year 2000 would think the future looked like to people in the 1950s. She's a trendsetter, and if anything a full suit of armor ought to make her look less conspicuous than whatever she normally wears. It's also the best armor we can get by this point, and Lucca soon has a boss battle to survive.

2 Tonics

Steel Saber
- A new weapon for Crono.

Iron Sword - A new weapon for Frog. Despite he and Crono both using swords, there's absolutely no overlap between what weapons the two of them can use, to the extent that Frog can get a Bronze Sword while Crono has to settle for a Bronze Blade. Near as I can tell, this isn't due to having too narrow a comfort zone; as we'll eventually see, Crono has no problem fighting interstellar demons by wielding a mop.


- Described as increasing "Vigor", it enhances Stamina, which determines Defense. This was from the day Ted Woolsey found a thesaurus and felt very pleased with himself; he would later describe it as "my most jubilant interval".

Power Tab - I neglected to mention this earlier, but don't use all of these on Crono. It won't hurt to give him the first couple, but there's a far more deserving candidate down the line.

2 Ethers

Speed Belt
- By far the most useful item we've found, it increases Speed by 2 when equipped. This is 1/8th of the maximum value Speed can have, and it's helpful enough to almost make you forget that a belt is a pretty arbitrary choice of things to increase speed. How about shoes? Shoes are also things. I blame retroactive time paradox Nomura.

Sorry for putting you through all that, Marle.
Are you joking? That's the most fun I've had in months! And I have some new friends, too!
Crono, be a gentleman and take her home. I've got some work to do.

Temporal paradoxes and the emptiness of nonexistence as the most fun you've had in months: Commentary on the difficulties of being little more than an ornamental figurehead and political bargaining chip, or evidence that you probably couldn't see more enthusiasm in one place if you laced cupcakes with amphetamines and fed them to a three-month-old pit bull terrier?

Well, I suppose it has been fun. Nobody's ever bothered to clear out the twisting monster-infested forest separating the town from its primary seat of government, so let's do the chivalrous thing and act as a teddy bear / escort.

Are you all right? Where have you been?! I heard you were abducted! We had soldiers searching for you!

No! Crono's...
Admit it! You confused her and tried to take over the throne! Terrorist!!
S, stop it! Stop this at once!!
Idiots! Detain him!!

I'm the lawyer, Pierre.

Chrono Trigger has a fantastic soundtrack, which has hopefully been apparent from the Tindeck links I've been putting up. This song is one of the best, due in no small part to the fact that half of it is more or less a slowed down version of The Trial. Really, this whole sequence is absolutely superb, and when I've introduced people to Chrono Trigger it's typically the point where things change from "I suppose this does look kind of interesting" to "Holy shit, I must play more of this game."

Unfortunately, the Pink Floyd similarities begin and end there. It's a shame; I would totally play a spinoff where a fascist Crono battles flaming scorpion women, and it would probably be a more fitting sequel to this game than Chrono Cross.

Or...shall we employ the guillotine? You, the jury, shall decide his fate. Now, let us begin.
Crono, you are hereby ordered to tell the truth!
Crono is charged with Premeditated Abduction of Royalty. The question is, did he kidnap Princess Nadia? The answer? No, he did not. In fact, no "abduction" took place! The two met completely by accident. In fact, the Princess ASKED Crono if SHE could join HIM!
Is this true? Who actually started this whole mess? [She did] Are you sure? We have witnesses who'll say YOU were the one that bumped into the princess.

This question is a trap; as mentioned in the first update, it's impossible to have Marle start it. Since you're forced to choose between two wrong answers (falsely blaming Marle or admitting your own guilt), the point is to make the rest of the case an uphill battle and introduce you to the idea that you aren't going to be blindly taken at your word.

And I have facts that throw the defendant's character into question!

You ignored me!

Basically, this is the SNES equivalent of Psycho Mantis reading your memory card, and it's a great introduction to just how much this game keeps track of. No, we're not getting into Silent Hill territory where your ending is determined by how many milliseconds you spent looking at certain unusually depressing walls, but it does a good job of making you pay attention to the game's complexity and playing with your expectations of heroism in an RPG (which generally consists of badgering people into giving you money and then rifling through their desks).

The rest of the trial continues about as well as you would probably expect.

Members of the jury... If he is guilty, stand to the left. If innocent, stand to the right.

I have to say, this wasn't much of a jury of my peers; I'm not sure the 23rd Annual Identical Old Man Conference is going to be the best judge of a punk teenager who they probably hate for having a weird haircut and not letting them command the proper respect.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have had a trial. It just seems like you could have, well, made it an actual trial. Why didn't I get to cross-examine any of those witnesses? Why didn't my lawyer get to make a closing or opening statement? Why wasn't Marle called to the stand? By this point I'm rather impressed that I even got a lawyer instead of just a cardboard stand-up of one; I almost think I might have been better off if I were in Kafka.

Order in the court! The verdict is...guilty! The sentence? Solitary confinement, pending execution in 3 days!

All I asked was for you to behave like a princess. Even royalty must obey rules. Leave the rest up to the Chancellor and forget about the events in town.

Questionable legal procedures aside, I think this sequence is incredibly well handled. It very well develops the relationship between Marle and her father (by the way, look two updates back to see Marle awkwardly stumbling over her assumed name without forcing the stumbling down our throats), allows a hero to actually lose, which many games are incredibly afraid of pulling off, and completely catches the player off-guard, which I always adore. As I pointed out when playing Chzo, if a game can surprise me I'll forgive it for a huge number of faults; part of why I love this game so much is that when I originally ordered it off Amazon the box included seventeen live snakes.

The execution is 3 days away. Do NOT let him out of your sight!

(Note: At this point the music stops. Open up iTunes, turn on shuffle, and read the upcoming montage to whatever comes up. It will work great; trust me)

You know, sometimes I feel like I've made a bit of a mess of my life.

I suppose I have been a bit of a jerk to people, never reacting to their conversations and all. Maybe I never should have pretended I was one of those deaf-mutes...

If only… If only it didn't have to turn out like this…

Had I not decided to stick with original character names, the obvious second choice is to name her Nadia and turn Chrono Trigger into a high school romantic comedy. Crono, the shy nerdy kid who can't quite hold his own in a fight, falls for a free spirit who has everyone scratching their heads. But when Crono makes a key mistake and loses the girl he loves, so begins an odyssey to prove he'll do anything for her. In the end, everyone finally notices her beauty and sees her for who she truly is; previously they just missed it because she didn't have her hair down.

Oh come on now, that doesn't even scan.

If you go out of your way to fight most of the enemies in the Cathedral, Felix and Piers will learn X-Strike. This dual tech, which involves Felix demonstrating his breakdance talents and Piers rudely getting his feet all over an alter, absolutely destroys Yakra (total HP: 920). It also allows for more flexibility with his positioning, as either Piers or Felix can initiate the attack, as Yakra counteracts based on the proximity of whoever actually selected it from the menu.

For this fight, Felix and Jenna are at Level 6 while Piers is at Level 7. Felix's HP (135) is almost double Crono's 70, and his power stat is 16 compared to Crono's 5.

This nice man... He brought me my kitty. Thank you for being so kind!
How about that? Doesn't this young man deserve a medal?

Pierre, I appreciate your help, I really do, but there were witnesses who actually... witnessed things. There were five people who saw Mia disappear with no involvement from myself. You instead chose to call a girl to testify that I enjoy cats. I don't think you're a very good attorney.

It is evident that my client is a fine, noble young man! Your honor, the defense rests.

I don't know what determines the single dissenting juror. I played this twice because one person voted guilty the first time, but on replaying it I got a unanimous Not Guilty verdict for doing what I think were the exact same things. Let's just pretend that latter thing happened; we're rewriting history anyway.

The verdict is...not guilty! But the fact remains that even if he did not kidnap her, he ran off with her. 3 days solitary confinement as punishment.

WHAT!!! How DARE you question ME! The paperwork's probably just been held up in the system!

There's no way around this, but it's not likely that you'll be legitimately found innocent your first time through. If you do get locked up unjustly, you can get some items from sympathizers, but unfortunately having a unanimous verdict only got me a single Ether of sympathy. Nice liberal activism there, guys. Keep on pushing for reform.

Knocking on the bars too many times causes one of the guards to engage in some good old fashioned "enhanced interrogation". Thankfully, Felix has no problem with wanton murder (or lightly knocking them unconscious with the blunt edge of a sword), so the guards get to see firsthand why it's probably a good idea to take away the weapons of a domestic terrorist before locking him in a prison. This will probably be a rather embarrassing episode to explain.

Escaping from prison is a "stealth game" in perhaps the least annoying way these have ever been done. If you get behind a guard and press A you can slit his throat politely knock him down because this is a family game for families, and if you get caught you enter into a quick and easy battle that barely disrupts your flow at all. As with a lot of things in RPGs, you basically get punished for being too good at it by way of depriving yourself of experience, but it's thousands of times more fun than trying to play high-stakes Metal Gear Solid with a control scheme more akin to Harvest Moon.

Gee, it looks like you didn't need my help after all!

By the time we escape from prison, Felix and Jenna are both Level 7. They've won the love and respect of the kingdom and each other, and are now ready to take on the world in a glorious display of science, cunning, and an actual ability to win a fight against enemies with the power and tactical expertise of lawn gnomes. It's a great big timestream out there, and we're ready to take it on! Good thing we decided to actually play this game and not avoid every single battle like a moron.

Yeah, this could have turned out a lot better than it did.

Lucca! And only three days after you decided to save the good character!

I do have to say, though, that this is the second time in 400 years you've frantically barged into a castle while waving around a gun. I can't help but feel these guards aren't a very good use of my tax Gallons.

Get outta my way!! So, what do you think of my Zonker-38? Pretty cool, huh? This is what happens to fools who challenge the mighty Lucca!

This is Fritz, who was tormented by being strapped to a guillotine and then left to be anxious about a possible execution for years to come. If we free him, we can get some items later.

NoA: So, anything we should know about potentially inappropriate content in your game?
Square: Well, there's a scene where you play as a terrorist and get sentenced to be executed in a medieval torture dungeon. You come within seconds of death, and soon have the option of leaving an innocent man ensnared in a guillotine and surrounded by iron maidens. It's quite chilling.
NoA: Sounds good. Anything else?
Square: Um, a little while later there's a scene where you watch someone have a drink at a bar.
NoA: Excuse me? This is a family company. Get that filth out of our game.

Waiting for Lucca to save us is vital so as to avoid random encounters. Taking them out stealthily doesn't get us EXP, but the first fight on breaking out is unavoidable and you can't run away from battles if you get caught.

Since we opted to take the death penalty route instead (Note that this choice is completely independent of your sentencing), Lucca took care of the guards with her "Zonker" before promptly throwing it away, opting to switch to the replacement guns she conveniently brought as well. I think all of this demonstrates that Guardia is probably rural Texas, though Lucca doesn't seem to place much value in... Castle Doctrine.

(I apologize both profusely and for nothing.)

These bizarre shield mask things are fairly easy, but you have to wait for them to poke their heads out before you can damage them any substantial amount. There's a small opening right in between them that Crono can slip through to get out of the battle, but it is substantially harder to get that haunting grin out of your dreams.

Going down the scalable wall of these towers that don't exist on the world map can net us an extremely useful weapon. This, like other "Lode" items, was actually Silver (and in some cases Platinum) before getting a name-change due to space constraints. Lodestone is magnetic, which would probably make it a fairly awkward material to have swordfights with, but I suppose it's better than fighting with the entire contents of Guardia's treasury. Platinum and Silver wouldn't even be good weapon materials; I'm pretty sure the cost to efficacy payoff would be about as bad as my cesium-plated Rhodium Gun that shoots caviar.

These files tell us a bit about the upcoming Dragon Tank boss, namely its ability to heal itself and its resistance to Fire and Lightning. Pointing out a Lightning resistance might seem rather odd since we don't appear to have access to any Lightning techs, but in fact it is possible and likely that Crono will have learned a move called Slash.

Slash looks like a physical attack, but it's actually Lightning elemental. This is because Slash was originally called Wind Slash, which the Japanese considered closely associated with the Heaven element. "Heaven" was translated/censored to become the "Lightning" element, only to eventually become half-uncensored for the DS rerelease as the "Light" element. As a result, this file is using "It's strong against lightning" to say "Don't swing your sword in a particular way". In other words, translation...

Oh, and the tank is kept here. Why would you keep a tank here? This is a terrible place for a tank. How would you even push it up the stairs?

Thie second boss is primarily an introduction to prioritizing targets. The head spits fire and is constantly healing the body and wheels, the wheels store energy for the tank to charge forward, and the body shoots lasers and missiles at you. Crono doesn't take this very well.

As you can see, the healing undoes most of our attack strength. It's a battle of- okay, I'll stop right here. Every battle is a battle of attrition in this game. We're playing at Level 1. I'm sorry if this comes as a surprise.

Normally you can beat this boss fight fairly easily due to all those guards you fought and all those techs you totally have. Taking the wall-climbing detour is pretty much vital, as is constantly healing with tonics and having a fair bit of patience; the head restores most of what you hit it with so you're definitely just whittling it down.

One of the difficult aspects of this challenge is allowing yourself to use healing items in the first place, when every other RPG since the dawn of time has instilled in you the notion of never using anything that appears to have an actual use (What if there's a boss after this final boss? If my characters have 20 HP then using this Megalixer is a waste; better wait until they only have 18.) Playing at Level 1 forces you to kill this hoarding philosophy at all costs; by the end of the game we'll be using Megalixers to heal a typical light bruise. If this drives you absolutely insane, just take a deep breath and realize it's a valuable lesson for real life. In other news I just used my 401k to buy some gum; if you want a piece just post in the thread.

When the head dies, we realize the benefits of Cyclone. Our second target will be the wheel, which has less HP and can do far more damage, but the body on its own will counterattack with a laser if we attack it (seriously, what is this tank?) Chipping away at its health before taking out the wheel will mean fewer healing items spent on keeping Crono alive, but either way the end stage is basically Crono mashing A and Lucca tossing tonics at him like mad. All told, this battle uses up 14.

Then Crono gets to stick a sword in its back and watch it explode. That arcing electricity image will be used a few more times in the game, generally as a quick shorthand for "Things are going wrong you aren't very smart please run".

Fix the tank!

Oh, chancellor, I'm glad we got a chance to talk. I forgot to mention that I feel I was unjustly put in prison and that the conduct of the trial failed to fully ensure the rights to which I am entitled under the Guardia Royal Charter, §708.A.iii. I would hugely appreciate it if you could schedule the beginnings of an appeals process. I also think that, for future reference, it's probably a bad idea to give prisoners swords. Regardless of the decision you come to, thank you for the services you've provided for this community. The role of public servants to a prosperous kingdom such as our own cannot be overstated, but the lifestyle is rarely one which affords the respect it deserves. On behalf of both of us, then, allow me to say that, while I disagree with your judgement on this particular matter, I trust that whatever you decide will come from a position of reason and integrity, and I wish the best for the future of our kingdom.
You make for a very nice bridge!
That too.

Whenever Crono gets shocked he balances on his heels, throws up some jazz hands, and does a reverse Smooth Criminal lean. Lucca is perpetually in awe of his grace and style.


This is my friend! Show him your respect!
Do as King Guardia XXXIII says!
Silence, Princess Nadia! The throne comes before your personal wishes!
What!? Just because I have a title doesn't mean I'm not a person!
You pick up strange ideas venturing outside!
I didn't "pick up" anything! It's called common sense!
Princess Nadia!
I despise you! I'm leaving!
Princess Nadia!
Come on, Crono!!
Don't just stand there! After them!

These guards can't do anything. If you get "caught" they just continue running into you like especially pushy pedestrians who just want to get to the front of the line. They serve to push us in the direction of plot advancement, which is probably the most effective thing guards have done yet, so I forgive them.

You know, Guardia, I can fault you for a lot of things - lack of popular governmental representation, a corrupt justice system, overpriced ferries, the works - but I'll grant you one thing: You do have excellent signage.

Looks like a dead end!
A Gate!
Come on!
But we don't know where it'll take us!
Who cares?! This place stinks, anyway!
Princess Nadia!
This is completely irrational.
Hurry, Crono!
Princess, move away from that hoodlum!

I love the sprite-work for this game, and it's interesting how easily you can put sprites with completely different proportions and artstyles next to each other and have nothing look forced or out of place. I think this is one of the bigger casualties in the quest for ever-increasing "realism"; these days a single overly-opaque shadow is enough to forever ruin our immersion and get a three point demerit from IGN.

Well, this has certainly been a day. Next time, on Chrono Trigger:

Two girls and a man who won't speak
Who've learned naught but a single technique
Now escape from their crimes
Going somewhere in time.
Stay tuned; they'll be whacked while they're weak.