The Let's Play Archive

Chrono Trigger

by Quovak

Part 7: The Hero Appears

Now that we've at one point will have spent part of the future at the End of Time (damn this is going to get confusing), we inexplicably get sent there through every gate, using it as a central hub. You may notice that introducing this element completely undermines the Conservation of Time / 3-member limit idea, and as such I have just added it to my list of Things That Completely Undermine The Conservation Of Time / 3-Member Limit Idea. It is currently item #12,408.

Time travel in this game is relative, not absolute, so time is moving "forward" in each era at a presumably constant rate. As a result, rather than going to the same instant in 600 AD as before, we went 400 years in the past relative to the "current" instant. In the week or so that we've been gone, then, the world's most efficient medieval engineers reconstructed a bridge to the Southern continent, though perhaps days are condensed like they are when awaiting execution, although time never passes noticeably enough despite us living on a spherical or at least toroidal world. Basically, don't think about the mechanics at all and just replace everything anyone says about time travel with "magic"; it will still make more sense than any scientifically accurate proposal.

Forming a protective ring around the Hero, the best knights of the Kingdom kicked off the offensive.
It appears our knights and Magus's troops are locked in battle, at the center of the bridge. May we emerge victorious!
We cannot defeat Magus's army by ourselves. Our only hope is the Hero.

Guardia is at war with Magus, the man who will have summoned Lavos, and we're going to join their side to take him down (there are probably some unresolved issues with this view of events, like how Heckran knew about a monster that's been dormant for 400 years and how our fairs and history books never mentioned the giant space hedgehog parts of the war, but, as is always my aside, details). The Guardian Knights' tactics leave a little to be desired, reacting to a crippling lack of rations by staring down bridges in the hopes that the wood will give them something to eat, so we're more-or-less going to be winning this war by ourselves. Funny that they aren't really going to mention that in the parades either.

Thankfully, we don't have to worry about malnutrition or hunger pains, due to our innovative health recovery method of sleeping in temporary low-cost shelters and then eating them. Just think of it as the ultimate in low-carb diets.

The Oxford English Dictionary posted:

Snit (n), 1. The glowing part of the wick of a candle when blown out.
2. A state of agitation; a fit of rage or bad temper; a tantrum, sulk. Freq. in phr. in a snit.

Snit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia posted:

The Boga, Inermia vittata, is an ocean-going species of fish in the Bonnetmouth family, or Inermiidae. Bogas are also known as the Snit in Jamaica, and Bonnetmouth in the Bahamas.

As is depressingly often when I call people out on these things, I'm sure I'll end up playing host to the one thread of people who have used the word "snit" all their lives, but I'm pretty sure nobody born after the 1940s has used the phrase "in a snit" ever in their lives. I'm increasingly convinced that Ted Woolsey learned English entirely from 80-year-olds and pseudo-clever newspaper headlines written for the same, or that I'm socially repressed and have never heard how human beings talk.

What? My brother?! He's... That's what you get for thinkin' that you're the only ones fighting for your country!

The word is appropriate regardless, as that cook has the snittest of any possible face. The game attributes this to his fierce determination to feed his people against all odds, while I personally attribute it to the minor inconvenience of having to cook in pots that are higher off the ground than his head.

The cook, in his wisdom, bequeaths upon the soldiers a single piece of dried meat. We could always go to the present and make/buy enough food for them to eat, but that involves effort. Besides, it's not as though they're starving or anything. I have no idea what you're talking about when you suggest that they're starving.

This line, like half of everything else people have said so far, is wrong; Magus dispatched three generals, meaning that he sent out three of his own.

Other than not understanding possession and completely misrepresenting the tide of war, the legion of wounded knights is shocked that their knight captain has started to lead some knights but seem remarkably nonplussed by their king's having done the same. Presumably, King Guardia attempted to enact his own brand of Hagger-esque vigilantism and failed when he realized the other side had swords. Now he's bedridden and Guardia is without an acting king; he really didn't think this cunning plan all the way through.

Food rations! The cook...he has saved us all! Sir Crono, if I do not make it back... ...give my brother my thanks...

It's... it's jerky. One piece of jerky. It would probably be more nutritious to eat grass. Or the bridge.
Quiet kid, it's good for morale.
Are you just going to take turns nibbling on the edge?
You know, he raises a good point.
Yeah, I'm really not feeling the morale anymore.
Want to go eat some grass?
No eating grass! Our mission is to stare down this bridge until it joins our side once again.
Actually I'm not entirely sure that-
Eat your jerky.
So how's that bold and decisive leadership working out for you?
Look kid, do you want to do this mission?
Really? That would actually be extremely helpful.
No worries, I always like to help in the fight to save domes from space hedgehogs.
...Sir, we're fighting a warlock in a castle.
Well, now you are. But Magus will have summoned a monster that in the future will destroy most of the world, and in the future other monsters will lament that it didn't destroy humans in the present past day, so to prevent it from destroying everybody in the future we went back to the present and then to the past.
Note to self, check the bread for ergot.

Remarkably unaided by their 35 calorie boosts, Guardia's strongest warriors are going to do absolutely nothing for the entire rest of the game. As such,

Meet Ozzie, the first of Magus' generals and perhaps the most comic of all the comic relief in a game that's somewhere around 83.6% comic relief. In a rather impressively dark twist, Ozzie's main technique is to resurrect the corpses of those who failed to oppose him, and, in a rather unimpressive but perhaps predictable twist, Ozzie isn't actually commanding an army and the Guardian leadership presumably died in their fight with the air. Alternate suggestion 1: Ozzie's primary force dissipated away while taking out the opposition due to being made of Nitrogen Triiodine. Alternate suggestion 2: Guardia's leadership really doesn't understand this whole "feeding" thing.

The skeletons themselves are unimportant; attacking Ozzie three times results in him fleeing and the skeletons committing some magical form of bizarro-seppuku. Marle has enough of an EXP buffer to barely absorb one fight's worth, but now we need to switch Lucca for Robo so that Marle can be left at the lowest level possible. Because letting her absorb another 75% EXP boost will raise our party average, Marle will be joining Crono as a permanent party member for hours to come.

A piece of trivia: The thread title was once slated to be
"Does Jesus Prepare His Balance Sheets With A Minimum Of Material Misstatements? - Let's Play Chrono Trigger's Accounting Simulator '94", but this was scrapped due to sounding insufficiently banal.

Ozzie's vintage 95-belt is no match for Robo's Squatting prowess. Embarrassed by the robot's superior erector spinae display, Ozzie has no choice but to flee and attempt an alternate strategy of doing more or less the exact same thing, but bigger.

My name is Ozzie, of Magus, king of fiends. Look on my work, ye humans, and despair.
Humorously, given what we know of your ancestor 400 years later, your remarkably poor attempt at toying with the original phrasing works as multilayered, nuanced foreshadowing, adding a layer of dramatic irony to the hubris which characterizes your present role while also functioning as easily accessible allegory.
Err... you're going to be punched by our fists.
Much better.

Ozzie now summons Zombor, a move that he had compelling and entirely understandable reasons for not using during the siege of Guardia and equally fantastic reasons for never planning to do so again. Zombor, despite being made entirely of human bones (you can see the outlines on the component skeletons on the left), has inexplicably grown wings to complement his crotch eyes and giant thighs. It must be impossible for him to find proper fitting pants.

For once, this boss battle is not a battle of attrition (well, you do have to wear down his resources before exhausting yours, and you do in fact accomplish this via a battle, and it takes longer and uses more resources than a traditional battle would, but it doesn't take two hours to fight him so shut up). Zombor is divided into two halves, and killing one results in a certain counterattack. Marle ice magic and Robo's poor craftsmanship (the factory ran out of money for properly reattachable arms) let you blitz the top into submission, which is good because you definitely don't want the bottom to be the first to die. You might think it's best to weaken both of them so that the counterattack hits when the other half is close to death, but then you'd realize that dealing with twice as many attacks per turn is unfortunate and you would be wrong.

Killing the top part results in one character losing MP, much less of a problem than the bottom's desperation attack of dealing around 90 damage to all members. This is a fight that you have to play defensively, but I somehow doubt that was ambiguous given that we're currently at Level 1. It's also a fight where you have to press buttons and sometimes breathe.

When only the bottom half remains, Zombor reveals that his time loitering around Hot Topic has taught him to quote Invader Zim, causing everyone who has ever had more than two friends to stab themselves with ice picks until dead. Robo, of course, is spared, but then Zombor murders him, so the deal is pretty raw either way.

Legmonster will mostly linger around the right edge of the screen, only walking towards you when ready to lay his trap of looking like a pile of junk from a futuristic factory. When Robo kicks it in vandalistic defiance, he dramatically hits his foot and stumbles backwards, crying exaggerated anime tears all the way. Crono and Marle are completely superfluous by this point, though they can help Zombor go down a bit faster. As long as one of them is alive to revive Robo (or, since Doom Etc. kills the person with the highest HP, as long as one of them has been using Tonics to act as and wear a shield of meat), Robo can concentrate on dislocating his metal joints and getting whacked beaten up.

That part doesn't roll off the tongue as well, though. Too many syllables.

Welcome to the Southern Continent, a landmass named by a crack team of tourism experts attempting to entice patrons from the more exciting Western, Northern, and Eastern Continents (yes, this is actually the naming scheme adopted by the game). You might expect Ozzie to have a military base, rogue army, or single fiend on the continent he was attacking from, but instead he and Magus live in the past version of the Mystic Village and the Southern Continent was more or less a flyover. Once again, we have to navigate an underground network of caves to traverse the ocean floor (Ozzie got over here because magic), but I suppose Heckran's Cave wasn't too bad. Maybe I can do this. I suppose I should just get it over with...

Oh. Well then.

I have never been less disappointed.

As tends to happen after a boss fight, a bit of economic stimulus will go a long way. There might be better ways for them to use this Tonic supply, like on the military force currently defending them from overweight blobs, but if the knight captains wanted them they should have become better capitalists. Trust always in the invisible hand, and also trust the slightly more visible hand holding a sword and handing over 3100 Gyroscopes.

Talking to the surprisingly unterrorized humans, we learn that mayors, fathers, and a sad man who is sad all share identical phenotypes. We also learn that, unlike Frog, Tata actually is a hero, though personally I think that had more to do with the collard greens. There's never really any elaboration of what this hero medallion is, but apparently we stepped into the Arthurian mythos somewhere when we weren't looking. The jury's still out on whether Magus' castle will turn out to be made of lard.

There's a bit of ambiguity regarding what we want to accomplish here, but a little bit of trial and error makes it clear that the only place to go is into the woods. Why am I getting unfortunate flashbacks…?

Thankfully, however, these woods are just a single room with two or three enemy encounters and a ladder hidden behind a bush. Back when I first played this game, I always interpreted the bandana tail and its shadow as just a bandana top and Crono's two black eyes, making it seem as though Crono was looking over his shoulder when descending and making me wonder how the apparently part-owl Crono managed to make that work.


Next on our sightseeing tour is Frog's home, as the perfect location for a guardian knight of the queen to live is on literally the exact opposite edge of the world as the queen (which, in fairness, is probably about two blocks away). On an interesting note, ancillary NPC text near the beginning suggests that Frog came to the Queen's aid by swimming across the water when the bridge had been destroyed; the executives who had vetoed the guards' flipper rations had some serious egg on their faces.

Also of note, Frog's infatuation with physics-defying anime has lead him to spend most of his time jumping from rafters while unsheathing a sword. I blame him for spending time with the same crowd of people as Zombor.

Frog's other chest apple is unopenable, and this frame of Frog's idle animation makes it occur to me that nobody has ever made a Frog Get Out Frog. If this is indeed the case, I feel it needs to rectified posthaste.

'Tis thee, Crono! Thou art here to practice thy skill in swordplay? What?! The King hast been injured? ...... I see... 'Tis nary a thing I canst do... Please be on thy way.

Frog, the Guardian military is currently counting how many blades of grass there are on the edge of a bridge and we're fighting against imps and piles of bones. We're really not asking miracles here.
Angst angst angst.
You know-
Angst angst angst angst angst.
I'm leaving.
Ang- I mean, farewell Crono. Take care of thyself.
Ah, thank you.

One of the many nice things about having a small, easily navigable map is that it's fairly easy to find your way around even if you completely ignore the information gathering phase. If you do want to ask around, you find that Tata has gone into the mountains to retrieve a sword, unaccompanied by anyone and unarmed seeing as, you know, he hasn't retrieved the sword. These are the greatest battling tactics of any possible war.

In fairness, I love the way the game shows the humans as being almost entirely without hope, and I'm more or less being critical because I'm contractually obligated never to praise a game for more than three paragraphs. With that said, I do feel that the Guardians deserve a fair degree of the blame for not pulling ahead. Shockingly, letting a ten year old kid be the hero doesn't really work out too well. You'd think they'd have vetted this medal gaining process a bit better.

Battling time! Lucca, of course, remains our EXP absorber and chief murderer as we fight what is essentially a tutorial battle for a new enemy mechanic. The first Ogan is just a normal enemy, but the second wields a hammer that he uses as a shield when you attack. Using a fire spell will burn it, making him cry because that hammer was his only friend, and leave him vulnerable to continuing attacks. And with that, we climb.

This for-lack-of-a-better-word "dungeon" is one of the best in the game, and by far the strongest one yet. It's visually superb, well designed, and a perfect length, but it did get shafted in music naming and avoiding its often inescapable battles is insanely difficult. If a recent brain hemorrhage has lead to you playing along with this challenge on a SNES, this is the part where you get to throw controllers against walls, and if you're being sensible and using an emulator this is where you get to press the Load State button slightly more often. While there's a lot to talk about here, there isn't very much to joke about, and I fear that, if I don't do something to appease the internet, people will stop reading and I will be sad. As such, I am going to supplement my dry and uninteresting explanations with occasional facts about cats.

Most of these battles are impossible to run from, and this dungeon is built around catching your off guard and introducing you to more complex enemy strategies. Usually this doesn't matter because you actually want to fight everyone, but at Level 1 the forest becomes an obstacle course. In both of these cases, enemies jump out at you when you get close; the Ogan will back away if you don't move for a second, while the Samurai Bird will stand there and show off his ballet abilities until you walk around.

A 1996 study showed that cats are incapable of understanding Schopenhauer. When quizzed on their understanding after reading a passage, the test cats did no better on the quiz than the control cats, who read Kant.

The samurai birds throw what look like rather valuable gemstones at you, and being struck by one will stun you and deal 5 damage, though they'll never kill a character.

Cats are banned from most international tennis tournaments. Attempts to petition Wimbledon to change this rule have been largely unsuccessful.

Intentionally falling down the left waterfall up here lets us pick up a SilverStud, an incredibly useful item that cuts MP consumption in half.

The first cat to run for federal office was American Shorthair James Miller, running to represent Michigan's 8th District as a Democrat. With only .4% of the vote, he suffered a crushing loss against human incumbent William "Fluffytums" Whiskers. Supporters attributed this loss to the hold of special interests.

And jumping down from there nets a Silver Erng, which increases HP by 25%.

In 1924, cats were declared illegal throughout Chicago. This decision was quickly reversed as the law was deemed unenforceable.

This Furby is how most people probably visualize Spekkio, since he takes on this form between levels 10 and 20 (that is, if anybody in your party is at or above that level). Talking to him multiple times nets you a Magic Tab, a strategy slightly less effective when actually running into people on real mountains. The background doesn't even remotely match up with any reasonable continental geography, but I don't care because it's pretty. Fuck I'm a JRPG fan.

Andy Warhol's Empire was the first film to be edited entirely by a team of cats.

This bird is one of the hardest obstacles, since if you climb when he's too close you'll run into him and if he's too far away he'll charge towards you. This fight can't be escaped, so it's basically trial and error. Even though there's a save point directly before it, you'll have to pass through here every time you want to attempt the upcoming battle. SNES low-level players will learn to hate this fight in the unlikely chance that they'll ever be foolish enough to exist.

As documented by Bohr and Feynmann during the Manhattan Project, a pile of cats is insufficiently dense to result in sustained nuclear fission.

In point-and-click adventure game fashion, some clever pixel hunting nets us a power tab and the most garish suit ever worn by man. By our party's standards, that's saying a remarkable amount.

In 2004, after days of debate, the cat was officially named the national cat of Somalia.

Prior to 1863, more American households owned cats than owned automobiles; the Chinese government temporarily renamed Cadmium to Catmium until sales dropped 49%; and cats are made up of approximately 78% water, though water is only about 8% cats. With that fantastic display of the relevant and insightful commentary I try to provide and a quick stat demonstration to keep me honest, it's time for another boss fight.

Keeping with Final Fantasy tradition, that sword is the Masamune, though that may strike you as odd if you're well versed in Japanese swords. Given that this is the internet, my guess is that at least 60% of you are, but for those who aren't the short version is that this screenshot very obviously does not show a Japanese sword. Originally it was called the Grandleon, now it's the Masamune, blame Ted Woolsey. This is probably going to become this thread's version of "It's a maze."

Humans are so...silly! It's how you USE the sword that's important...not who owns it!
You can't even understand something as simple as that. That's why you're human.
What should we do?
The usual...test them. You can entertain us for awhile.

Child abuse, of course, is both entertaining and heroic. Thankfully, the negative health effects caused by living in a cave has given each of them a severe case of jaundice, which reduces the battle to basically attacking a few times. If you attack Masa (the green one on the right), the two will do an X-Strike counterattack, but attacking Mune will cause nothing because Masa doesn't care about him as much.

And, if my explanation of the Yakra "read text" strategy was any indication, cue a dozen posters exclaiming that they never realized this and always won the battle by just mashing A.

Faced with defeat, the two high-five each other long enough to shut off their leptin-producing gland and become some sort of blackfaced man-bull. This battle is also fairly straightforward provided you have the requisite degree of clairvoyance, since the clue regarding how to remain alive was somewhat mangled by do I even need to finish this sentence. Speaking of things I don't need to be writing about, an interesting fact about Woolsey is that he owned the longest cat ever recorded at 40 feet from head to tail. Skeptics have since argued that it was originally an overly furry giraffe.

Basically, when Masamune "Stores tornado energy" you have to neutralize it with Slash, something that made some degree of sense back when it was called Wind Slash but now is just trial-and-error until you eventually decide not to bother. Continuing the trend of making non-Acid gambling Level 1 runs seem more like a marketing gimmick than an actual challenge, here's the entire Masamune fight in brief:


They beat us, big brother...
That was fun!
Will they fix us? Will they find us an owner?
Yeah, it'll be all right.

The Masamune's last line of defense is its state-of-the-art sword cloaking technology, which disguises the blade as a hilt such that enemies who try to use the sword will instead cut themselves and be hurt and annoyed. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with an actual hilt, which probably makes it fairly awkward to carry around.

Regardless, we've certainly accomplished and learned about a lot. There's only about ten minutes left to this medieval visit, but I'm going to end the update here; I get the sense I'm not being fair to the other entrants in the 9th Annual Kraden Memorial Verbosity Contest. Just to back away from the "Must find fault in everything" LP drive, however, I will say that I love this sequence and everything it does to turn your expectations on their heads. The side that you know will win the war is on the verge of crushing defeat, the "hero" is completely out of his element, and blind faith in the cultural mythos ends up leading everyone astray. The complete failure of every side to hold their own creates a perfect backdrop for the party to show its newfound drive; we get the first real look at Crono strong-arming history into being what he wants rather than just stumbling upon disasters, and there's a clear sense of escalation from last time that effectively builds towards a climax even though we already know the end result. There are some effective parallels with the disaster that is the future, the dungeon is superb, the game strikes a perfect balance between encouraging exploration and straightforwardness, and the corny asides never interfere with the pacing, drama, or enjoyment of what's being shown. I like this game; I just occasionally whack it when the writing is weak.

Allow me! We'll ride the wind to the base of the mountain!
Good luck to you.