The Let's Play Archive

Chrono Trigger

by Quovak

Part 8: The Rare Red Rock

In what unquestionably comes as a great surprise, it turns out that Tata, said to be the legendary hero, is in fact just a sad and aimless kid who spends his time hanging around in bars cafes. Learning nothing from the actual hero's mistakes, he opts to carelessly hand his Medal over to the first person he sees, though in fairness we are accompanied by a humanoid robot so he might have grasped that we may be relevant to the plot. I must say, I do admire him for keeping up the ruse even through the "climb this monster-infested mountain entirely unarmed" phase of the deal. Most children who wanted to be heroes would have probably just feigned cancer and appealed to the medieval equivalent of the Make-A-Wish foundation, when it wasn't dealing with an onslaught of "I wish this war wasn't happening next door to me" and "I wish that my family didn't have quite so much cholera."

Upstairs, Tata's grandfather lets slip a bit of foreshadowing that will never show up or be mentioned in conversation again, which would be less than remarkable except for the fact that this isn't even Woolsey's fault for once. There is something called the RX-XR, but it has very little to do with space, ships, spaceships, or ships that could possibly be located in or near space, and it would probably be rather hard to ride. Despite lacking in payoff, this element of Tata's imagination is key to understanding his motivations, with the boy impersonating the actual hero because he just wanted to be a galactic flying ace. The success of this burst of pathos ultimately set the stage for later stories to explore similar motivations, culminating in one of the most memorable lines in a game we all know and love:

Timeless. Tata, good luck with living your dreams.

En route to Frog's house-bush, we can also meet one of the best characters in the game: the Nu. There is nothing I don't like about these characters. Nothing.

Frog has two meaningless-to-differentiate lines depending on whether we've been here before, and for some reason if we haven't the medal is suddenly a badge. In other words, if you ever needed further proof of his particular neurosis, Ted Woolsey even seized upon an opportunity to retranslate his own retranslations. At least he didn't put an extra rock and dinosaur sprite in the way.

Aye... Then thou hast seen the lad. Yet there's nary a thing I canst do against Magus. The legendary Masamune is required to fight Magus. And I've no right to wield it. Please leave now...

(Thanks for this graphic go to Asclepius, who took less than a day to respond to my call that someone should make this. On a completely unrelated note, Frog is a frog, and thus it occurs to me that somebody should send me twelve dollars.)

A broken sword... A part of the Masamune! Something is written in archaic script. I will translate......... R...o...i...h...c...l...e...m? System error! I reversed it! It says "Melchior!"
Melchior? That guy in Medina Village? What does this mean, Crono?
Nary a soul remains to mend'eth the Masamune angst.

Truth be told, I have no idea why Frog has this. At all. As far as I'm aware, the kids are the sword, and I would imagine that a Masamune-recovering Frog would have thought to grab more than the equivalent of a very easily handled broken bottle. If you have Robo in your party, he'll accidentally "reverse" the text on the hilt, while if he's absent the name will be read normally by a Lucca who has no apparent difficulty "translating" "ancient script". Robo's tragic dyslexia will eventually be movingly addressed by no-one pretending to care.

In other news, yes, we will take this mountain path roughly 1,926 more times before the end of the game. Somebody slaved over that path - loved it - and probably either fellated or bowed respectively to the director so that he could have it appear every half hour without fail. This path was was probably given a name - not just "Mountain Path", but something endearing, like Richardson - and affectionately coded with comments consisting entirely of hearts and perhaps a few Keats-inspired odes. Somebody on this team printed out the sprites for this pathway and slept with it under his pillow. It was his source of guidance in a world of uncertainty, his logotherapeutic anchor before the suffering of the absurd, and the remnant of a fantasy to which he would retreat when the real world left him behind.

Seriously Melchior, why would you leave swords out anyway? People could just take them. Are those even your swords? You are a terrible salesman.

Why would YOUR name be on that sword?
... It's a...long story. You do want to hear this story, right?
Yes! Tell us about the Masamune! Can you fix it somehow?
Hmmmm... It might be possible if we could get our hands on some Dreamstone, which the sword is made of. It was a red stone that was once used as money. Unfortunately, it hasn't been available for a very long time. I doubt that you'll ever find the red stone, but if you bring some to me, I will fix the Masamune. Keep the sword with you until then.

Um, what was that story about the Masamune?
Ah, sorry. The Masamune comes from a prior era, as do many of my other swords. I stock dozens of them of many varieties, oftentimes with blades. They also typically have handles, and occasionally the blade and the handle will be attached with extrusions to guard the hands. These swords are-
That's nice. We're really just interested in the Masamune.
Oh, right. Well, I'm glad you're here. It's currently 4:43 PM on a Tuesday, with a light zephyr approaching from the East, and-
Trees are a form of plant life in the order Arboreum, characterized by their thick branches and canopies of leaves. Over a hundred thousand extant species have been proposed, with many others theorized to exist as well.
Forget it, we're getting nowhere.
Where did I put the rest of my swords? Where did you put my medicine? You're not my son. Get out of here.

This translated conversation may well be the most mangled in the game, which given what we've had to work with is saying something between a lot and ridiculously a lot. The original conversation actually vaguely followed itself, "Used as money" was originally "more valuable than gold", and, as mentioned last update, the Masamune wasn't the Masamune. The sword was initially the Grandleon, a Western name slightly more fitting for an obvious Calipurn/Excalibur knockoff, but it was changed because Ted Woolsey wanted to see if anybody at Square would notice. The experiment proved a failure when Square forgot they had any plans to release an English language Chrono Trigger at all, having been too busy dealing with more important markets like Latvia and the betting pool on the number of hairs on Akira Toriyama's head.

Do you guys think I could do some adventuring someday?
Sorry Lucca, conservation of time and all.
But I… I built the time machine.
We'll be back right after we retrieve the rock more valuable than the money that it apparently is.
And then?
Then we're going to fight an evil warlord to win a war and save the future.
Can I at least be there for that?
Will we have to level up?
… Maybe…?
Then no.
I don't think we're going to stay friends anymore.

Because rocks are notoriously easy to lose, we get to travel back to the prehistoric and once again fall 87 feet down a sheer cliff. My guess is that Crono either has Chell-style shock absorbers on his ankles or, given that he doesn't have Chell-style shock absorbers on his ankles, is probably getting dangerously close to not having ankles. If I were them I would probably go back to the future and bring a trampoline.

Wh...what are those?
Half human, half dinosaur... An unlikely life form.

Not having any impressive Civil Wars to reenact, Guardia's historians have long since contented themselves by dressing up as lepers and occasionally running a race. As a result of this outreach, these enemies are probably familiar, and Laser Spin (yes, a technique Robo has at Level 12) instantly kills all five of them. This ambush is somewhat less than entirely threatening.

Unsurprisingly, then, we need to be rescued by someone, specifically someone in video gaming's least practical battling attire since any other video game female's battling attire. With that, it's time for more of what I'm sure all of you missed: Anime!

Despite boasting the most appropriate sound editing since Roger Moore did a barrel roll in a car, this anime fails to live up to my perfectly reasonable standards, depicting our rescuer as using a club against the suddenly far-less humanoid reptiles when she does not in fact use a club. This probably sounds like obsessive nitpicking akin to complaining that they got the number of flowers wrong (there are seven), but the entire point of this new character's fighting style is that she can't equip weapons, instead transmuting her fists into various types of stone and metal as she levels up. Normally this would be only a minor occurrence for me to write twelve paragraphs about, but there's something at play behind these strange incongruities and the fact that Crono looks to be around 29. It's possible that, after ten years, Toriyama didn't remember what game he was drawing and was just told to make a new 17-episode highlight reel of DragonBall Z.

Goodness! She is tough!
Her fighting capabilities far exceed those of humans!
Uh oh...they're coming our way!
Now they're after us!

Regardless, we immediately kill all of the remaining reptiles in another attack. Really, she might as well have rescued us from some grass.

You strong. What name? Crono, huh? Good name. Me? Me…

Despite an inability to learn magic and the fact that her fist-club will never level up, Ayla is one of the most useful party members in the game. She boasts high stats, the highest physical strength of the group, and the ability to act as a backup healer when playing a game wherein she learns how techs work. She also has one of the game's nicest hairstyles, spending hours using the finest in caveman-perming technologies to absolutely nail the 80s businesswoman look that thankfully failed to survive past the 1980s. Hey, a man can dream.

Me Ayla. Ayla like strong people. So Ayla like Crono!
Get away from her, Crono!
You strong too. Ayla respect strong people. Men and women.
Oh, brother...
You different, but strong too.
It's because I'm a robot.
"Rawboot?" What that? Ayla don't know.
It's a machine that looks like a man.
What you say?! No rubbish or Ayla, head go boom! Crono, where from?
Uh, how can we explain?We're from many days ahead of tomorrow.
Ha ha, you funny. Ayla like funny people. Come to village! We talk and eat. Dance! Eat! Fun!!
Thank you but we can't. We're looking for a Dreamstone.
Stone? Plenty stones! Here, there, at village. You take plenty. Crono come, Ioka village this way.

Yes, Ayla's response to whichever member of our party isn't Crono or a piece of uncooked footwear could be interpreted as Ayla being bisexual. In the original translation, in fact, Ayla spent more than a little bit of time being bisexual, at one point interrupting one of the more emotional scenes in the game to comment on Marle not having large enough breasts. You know, I take back every complaint I have ever had about anything regarding Ted Woolsey and his original translation. Woolsey, you have earned back my respect, and I forgive all or at least some of your earlier lapses in judgement.

Except the soda thing. That's still absurd.

Oh, and just for reference, this is the world where the entire human population is spread out over a series of four huts.

In glorious celebration of our having been attacked by lizardmen, we get to attend an(other) honorary festival, which might seem a tad strange from a group whose only exposure to outsiders are said outsiders trying to kill them. Then again, these parties do extend equal drumming opportunities to fishmen, so maybe they're just more progressive than we ethnocentrically tend to assume.

Poetry is dead.

Our resident unpolished galoshes, as always, are going to completely ruin our fun, pointing out that we shouldn't be wasting time 65,000,600 years before 899 years before our deadline. Why can't you just let us enjoy our fish and giant lobster party in peace? Next you'll be warning us about butterfly effects and risks to our immune systems or something; I wonder if I can drink from that pool of mud.

In equally disappointing festival news, this is an actual line in the game. Oh, Woolsey. You were doing so well…

Unsurprisingly, this is another censorship issue, with the soup in question originally being a "Rock Crash cocktail", which the DS version comes closer to approximating by calling it "Skull-smash" and noting that "Next day, skull feel like smash!" One can only imagine the success the Surgeon General would have if she only adopted such terse and evocative phrasing.

All in Ioka village fight. No fight, go to Laruba village. Don't know where village is. Always hide. Azala want to destroy Ioka AND Laruba. But Ayla no lose. Only when Ayla dead, give up! Enough. Meet Crono today. Good day! Eat, party, sing, dance! Crono, you look for red rock? Rare, red rock sign of power. Ayla strongest in Ioka village. So Ayla's rock! You want, you challenge Ayla! You win, then Ayla give to you. Bring plenty soup! Party now, so eat! Crono and Ayla have soup race!

With that moving display of elocution, it's time to power through cocktails from gigantic refilling gourds so as to prove how strong we are. Between this and her eventual mental measurements of Marle's minimal mammaries, we can pretty safely establish that Ayla was defining the frat boy archetype long before Crono ever thought it was cool. The music they're playing is probably a prehistoric and somehow less sophisticated LMFAO.

Shockingly enough, however, the cirrhosis contest doesn't exactly go swimmingly. The SNES version offers few clues as to how everyone involved blacks out suddenly, but I like imagine that Ayla just used my personal favorite recipe; it's a big hit at parties:

A Chef Who May Or May Not Presently Be In a Snit posted:

Jurassic Pork Soup

•1/2 cup rum
•10 onions, sliced (can substitute 2 pints rum)
•12 tbs. vermouth
•6 bay leaves (can substitute 1 cup whiskey)
•4 fresh thyme sprigs (can substitute rum)
•5 cups non-Woolseyfied cider
•4 cup absinth (can substitute rum)
•9 tbs ethanol (can substitute spirits)
•4 lbs Jurassic pork (can substitute Cretaceous)
•1 1/2 lbs grated Gruyere (can substitute rum)

Mix with deathwish, croutons. Serves two.

Oh no! The Gate Key is gone!
Whomever left these prints took the Gate Key! It's too risky to use the Gate without it.
Crono! Let's go find Ayla!

Wait, you weren't affected by the soup. So you just… you just slept. Just because. While everyone else also decided to sleep.
I just wanted to fit in.
I'm pretty sure this qualifies as inaction. Don't you have laws against this sort of thing?
I just…
Also, your case is wrong.
I... What?
It wouldn't be "whomever", just "whoever". You're clearly attempting to sound smart so as to act as an overly formal contrast to the casual approaches the rest of us take towards human interaction, giving us a constant reminder of your fish-out-of-water status as emphasized by your design, but "whomever" is the accusative case while you wanted the subject nominative. "Whomever" is acting as the subject of the sentence but would only make sense as the direct or indirect object, as can be tested by alternately replacing the word with "he" and "him", rearranging the sentence, and determining which is more appropriate. Since you're using "whomever" to replace "He took the gate key" rather than "Him took the gate key", your usage is incorrect. You would only use whomever if the sentence were, say, "I will give the gate key to whomever I please."
I see, so-
Which you did.
You let them steal it.
You're terrible.
Also, I think if you ever use "whom" in actual conversation you're legally giving up your right to ever have friends.
What Marle says is also entirely true.

We'd let you sleep, but a valuable item has been stolen.
Wh, what? Must be Reptites! Crono come with Ayla! We settle with Reptites! Who else come?

You know, at least in the future one of us had to guard a door. Why can't all of us come again?
Time conservation.
We brought a robot back in time to annihilate monsters so that we can turn the tide of a war and un-create the future in which you were made. I think we threw conservatism out the window before we got to the fair.
Fair enough. I suppose you can take whomever you want.
Never mind, three people is fine. Robo, you don't get to come on adventures anymore.

Poorly coming into this urn repository lets us trade various enemy drops for weapons, where my suspension of disbelief is stretched slightly further than a game involving time-traveling amphibians ought to allow. I can accept a mechanical arm made out of stone, and I'm sure that there are at least ten thousand of these if you go to the proper servers in Minecraft, but I'm not sure I'm ready to embrace the idea of a prehistoric ruby gun. Does the gun shoot rubies a la eXistenZ's (it physically pains me to type that title) skeleton gun that shoots teeth? Is this a sneak preview of pre-ice age Damien Hirst covering a normal gun in rubies so that he can get more petals for it? A gun designed for shooting Neil Patrick Harris and making my references increasingly incomprehensible and unhinged? I turn my nose up at this absurdity; time to go kill legions of dinosaur men.

While we're helping the blond-haired blue-eyed master race beat up a race of people who look different because about three of them did something bad, I want to take this time to blatantly steal a point I made in my Golden Sun LP, which is that Chrono Trigger has game flow down to an art.

With a few exceptions, such as the momentum-killing factory level, Chrono Trigger is fast paced enough that areas don't wear out their welcome but detailed enough that it doesn't feel rushed or schizophrenic. Part of how the game accomplishes this is by clearly balancing short- and long-term goals with various levels of completeness, which avoids the Golden Sun problem of your actions feeling disconnected from any meaningful progression while still allowing for a great deal of variety. It's incredibly easy for the player to track why something is happening and care about the results, even when it's disconnected, and this sequence is a perfect example.

Our ultimate goal is to save the future. This is extremely far off in terms of game progression, so we have a mission to keep us grounded and motivated.

Our method for saving the future is stopping Magus from summoning the monster that destroys it, and our method for doing that is to engage ourselves in a war. This allows us to get a definitive sense of progress as bridges are rebuilt, plots are uncovered, battles won, etc, which makes it clear that we're definitively making progress rather than marching in place until the arbitrary event flags are switched on.

The stumbling block is that Frog, a tremendous warrior whose help will be invaluable, refuses to fight and considers himself a failure. Our way of dealing with this is to reforge the Masamune, a mythical sword that Frog will need to make headway, and in order to reforge the Masamune we need Dreamstone. In order to get Dreamstone, we challenge Ayla, then our Gate Key is stolen and we need to get it back. If you're rolling your eyes and wondering when I'm going to get back to the endlessly hilarious commentary you all know and love (fun fact: subordinate clauses are largely unrelated to cats), it's because the game does such a good job of making this clear that "Why am I doing this?" is never in question and an elaboration seems completely unnecessary. An hour ago we were in a factory and now we're chasing dinosaurs in the past to stop a warlord in a castle. Why doesn't this feel forced? Because Chrono Trigger knows how to pace a game.

The example I like to use and that readers of my other LPs are probably sick of is Flower Sun and Rain, in which Stephen Charbonie openly discusses the concept of an event flag, says the line "Digital games require flags too. That is why I am going to trigger a flag for you.", and suddenly enables you to talk to a bartender who wouldn't bother responding to you before. The lack of self-awareness makes most progression in JRPGs seem even more forced than that intentional satire, but Chrono Trigger doesn't have that problem because its logic is clearly laid out for us to follow every step of the way. Chrono Trigger is thus infinitely better than Golden Sun or any of its ilk, and deserves to be held as a model for how JRPGs ought to work.

In other news, fuck this game. Fuck it so goddamn hard.

Kino! What you do?! Say NOW!
Ayla... Kino take Crono stuff.
Why take?!
Kino like Ayla best. Ayla like Crono, but Kino not like... Ayla no like Kino...
No! Ayla like Kino BEST! No more do bad stuff, okay?! That wrong!
Sorry Ayla! Sorry Crono!
Give back stuff to Crono!
...No have... Reptites take! Run into trees...there!
Ayla go too. Kino go back village. Kino protect village when Ayla not there.
Okay, Ayla!
Kino is man... so if Ayla die, Kino chief then.
Chase Reptites! Get back Crono stuff!!

Lest you ever feel like faulting Ayla's enthusiasm, there are 17 exclamation points in that 13-line exchange. If this were the present they would probably be standing five feet away from each other shouting through bullhorns.

Thankfully, my fears about the game again prove unfounded, as this is basically the least offensive maze in the world; I wouldn't even consider it one had the game not yelled at me about it. It only lasts about two screens and would be painless even if there weren't footprints to chase, and we'll see another dungeon like it the next time we come back, so the only thing worth noticing are the gigantic flying primates with horns. How did they not become the dominant species, exactly? They're gigantic flying primates with horns. I cannot think of an evolutionary disadvantage these monsters have, besides being the species we're currently attacking with lightning and guns. Yeah, come to think of it I suppose that would do it; score 1 for vigilante intelligent design.

The Forest Maze is really just a bottleneck to make sure you've had the gate key stolen; if you try to go in earlier the first screen won't scroll to the right and you won't be able to proceed. The main dungeon for this visit is the Reptite Lair, which is a cave.

Square, I think we need to have a little talk.

...About why you haven't continued making games that make even bad concepts work. This three-room dungeon is equally painless, the gimmick being that lanky men in beetle costumes dig and fill in holes and that jumping down them lets you get items and fight different numbers of enemies. In particular, it's possible to get a Ruby Vest, a very useful armor which cuts fire damage in half and furthers the idea that the Aryan supermen have the gaudiest of all fashion senses. I'm still waiting until they combine this fashion with the meat.

We don't get to take any of these items, however, because we need to take the hole which results in the fewest unavoidable fights. Ayla gets to single-handedly kill dinosaurs with her fists, Crono can electrocute them to dramatically lower their defense, and Marle can... provide moral support. While being dead. There's a reason she didn't exactly get the lead role in the Guardian cheer squad.

Chrono Trigger, Metal Gear Solid you are not.

Ah, the apes have arrived! Hmm. You're nothing like Ayla... Tell me what this is, at once!

Liars! No one would talk that easily. This should loosen your tongues.

Azala's relatively fatal methods of interrogation may seem ineffective, but similar methods have been attempted throughout history with uniformly existent results. The CIA at one point attempted to use this method against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but protests from the ASPCA and National Zoology Council convinced them that the technology simply wasn't there.

Nizbel, Azala's pet half-tricerotops-half-DomZ Sarchopogus, isn't insanely difficult, but this boss absolutely demands the use of a legal pad, preferably an Up & Up™ Heavyweight 70 Sheet Legal Pad available at your local Target™ for only 2 dollars and 87 cents plus tax. Nizbel has 4200 HP and takes less than 10 damage from a normal attack, so unless you want a battle of att extreme tedium you'll need to use and monitor the effects of Crono's Lightning spells.

When shocked, Nizbel takes about 250 damage per hit. Incidentally, this and another battle like it is (probably) why Gaspar wouldn't let us leave the end of time without learning magic, though it would be possible to only get Crono and one other character equipped with said techs (by having Robo be the third character in the mandatory Spekkio meeting). I always like it when games let you screw yourself over, as long as it isn't the type of thing you can do inadvertently or irreversibly, because it makes the game feel more open and your choices more of your own. I would experiment with this type of magic limitation but, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, I tend to prefer the way Chrono Trigger works when it's actually allowing me to have fun.

After a few turns, the apparently ungrounded battery-Nizbel unleashes the stored-up lightning, resets his defense statistics, and kills Crono and Marle dead. Marle can be left taking a cat nap on the dirt, while Crono gets revived and lingers around 50 hp. Crono uses lightning, Ayla wails on Nizbel, Crono uses Mid Tonics on Ayla to protect her from the effects of lightning, and Crono gets repeatedly whacked.

At the end, Ayla will have to finish Nizbel off in 8 hp chunks, hence the need for precise bookkeeping; this 500 EXP would take a surviving Crono all the way to level 6, and, an equal travesty, his debits would scarcely line up with the credits recorded on the general ledger. Just to add some foreshadowing into the mix, this boss is merely a preview of another boss who happens to be by far the worst element of this game; at Level 1, fighting said boss (clarifying edit: not Nizbel, the boss for which Nizbel acts as a Coming-Soon Trailer) will take me about three hours.

There isn't a joke there. I just wanted it to be clear how much I hate myself.

Thank goodness! It looks all right.
I fight anytime, Azala! Ayla no lose!

I'll never forget you! Thanks!
Sorry, Crono! I try be strong now. Just like Crono!
Come again, Crono! Party! Eat! Dance! Fight! Fun!

This line from Gaspar might be a bit subtle, so in case you missed it:

There we go. It would be a shame if that wasn't made clear.

HOW on earth did you get the Masamune... ...and the Dreamstone? No, don't tell me. I don't think my heart could take it.

As you may be able to tell from the amazing music in that Tindeck link you didn't click on, this sword-mending process is starting to build to a rather significant shift in tone. Robo tries putting the Dreamstone in a cup while Melchior admires the sword-wall that at least one person reading this can probably beat, and before long we transition to the strongest piece of storytelling in the first half of the game. As such, I'm going to pretend to largely shut up for this; you can interpret this as only use three times as many words as a normal LPer instead of four.

Take a good look! THIS is the Masamune!
How strange. My sensors are picking up...spiritual energy emanating from the Masamune.
This weapon represents considerable power... Your actions may either save or destroy life. Wield your sword with full knowledge of the consequences!

Hey, could have some more stuff?
Tell me… is my daughter happy?
Um... Sure.

I must ponder this turn of events. Remain'eth here the night.

Yes, it's time we took back the Medal from the Frog King. And I'd like to see that mythical sword for myself.
But Cyrus, the kingdom needs you! And Leene and I need you. You must return to us!
As long as there is life in these bones, I shall return! By your leave...

Prepare yourself, polywog! En guarde! Nirvana Strike!
GRAAAACK…! How dare you pick on a helpless amphibian! Filthy medal! I won't forget this!

(As you can probably surmise from the use of the word "medal", the Badge of Courage and the Hero Medal are one and the same. Woolsey.)

Glenn, escape while I keep them at bay.
B, but...!
If you stay, they'll get us both. Go on, Glenn!
You'd better worry more about yourself, Cyrus!
Come on, Glenn! GO!! The Queen. Take care...of...Leene...
Harumph! What's the matter? Aren't you going to try your luck?
Gyah, ha ha... Cat got your tongue kid? How about it, Magus? Can't you give him a more fitting form?
All right, why not? There's always time for a little fun.

10 years hath passed... Can I do it? I've changed so much. Alas, poor Cyrus...!

Before we tackle Magus, there are a few loose ends to address.

First, we can teach Frog to use water, completely undermining the "look inside yourself" element in favor of Spekkio more-or-less making everything up on the spot. We can also figure out that, since nobody from the middle ages has ever been mentioned IN any context, Gaspar emphasizes words in HIS sentences purely at random. Sounds awkward, but WHO am I to judge?

Lest we were enjoying ourselves too much, we can continue to farm for shelters, selling them and various weapons to buy the requisite five thousand Mid-Tonics and a handful of Heals, which cure status effects. In a somewhat ambiguous example of translation continuing to be hard, Frog currently has a tech called Heal, which has nothing to do with status effects and instead simply restores a bit of HP. In some ways, this game might have been better served if Woolsey had simply opened up

We can also get a magic tab by turning on Line Mode and lifting up the truck by the SS Anne. It probably would have been easier to just put the magic tab in the Cathedral, but that would have introduced clarity, and clarity does about as much for the sales of a JRPG as making the box out of panthers.

And now I seriously am going to shut up because this is probably the best scene in the game.

Glenn, there're times when people simply have to grit their teeth! hurts when I get hit. They...
You're a marshmallow, Glenn...

That delusion didn't last long. This line was also changed pretty significantly during the translation (stop me if you're noticing a theme), with Glenn's original line being more along the lines of "It hurts when they hit me, so I don't want to hit them back because then all of us would be hurt instead of just me." The change to a simple "Things hurt" perhaps makes more sense, but it comes at the expense of a major character arc; Glenn initially had to overcome his problems with kindness and empathy and learn that the real way to solve problems is by stabbing everything. The primary casualty was the loss of an inspiring training montage with Mike Haggar.

I knew you were going to enlist! You'll make a great warrior!
Why don't you join, too?
I...don't think I'd make the cut.
But, why? You're better with a sword than I am!
I don't know... I think I'd really lose it if I had to hurt someone.

I'm not sure if this was an intentional mirroring, but I like the fact that this explanation doesn't celestially justify Frog's path in life at all. Frog doesn't deserve the Hero Medal; he found it entirely at random in much the same way that Tata did, and he came from more or less the same place of naiveté. Frog seizing onto the Hero Medal is more important than what the medal means, so the fact that he finds it in his possession means less than the people who brought it to him in the first place. Alternately, maybe the Gods were behind it; it's usually fairly hard to say.

A few people disagreed with my justification for Frog's Ye Olde English, which was that it fit his character of being simultaneously larger-than-life and a bit of a buffoon, but this is how I interpret his backstory. Glenn is a complete and utter weakling with little competence and a long list of insecurities. He idolizes Cyrus and tries to play right-hand man, but it's obvious that Cyrus is pulling all of the weight.

Glenn watches Cyrus obtain the Paladin Emblem and charge into battle with the full support of Guardia behind him, finally seeing him struck down and having to endure a transformation. Frog is noticeably shaken, but he sees the Savior's Laurels and decides to take Cyrus' place.

Thus begins an odyssey of leaping from rafters, throwing swords in people's faces, and generally acting like a caricature of a hero. He's certainly effective, but he's still largely insecure and hides behind the facade of what he imagines a hero - that is, Cyrus - to be. Notice that Frog doesn't speak in his affected and pseudo-archaic style before picking up the Hero Medal, and notice that it only takes one failure to convince him that he doesn't deserve even an iota of the heroism he's spent ten years attempting to embody. It doesn't even matter that he ultimately makes things right.

So Frog plays up his personality but doesn't have a huge amount to back it up. He feels reliant on meaningless trinkets to give his sense of heroism some worth, and his protection does nothing to stop an enemy base from being built ten feet from the castle and the queen from being kidnapped directly under his watch. He has nothing to base his heroism off of besides the pedestal on which his childhood self placed Cyrus, and thus he thinks that a true hero must be like the knight captain of his dreams.

But then, when your party shows how much he's valued, as Frog, not as the flawless knight we know he's not, his determination once again grows. The party's efforts in bringing him the Medal and sword mimic Cyrus' sacrifices attempting the same, and Frog realizes that being Cyrus is less important than being Glenn. He's going to keep the affectation, but this is where he starts to simultaneously get serious and let his hair down. He doesn't know what he's doing, has no real grounding, and holds himself to impossible standards that he fails to meet, so he does embody the qualities of a little kid who's finally getting back at the bullies - A buffoon, yes,

...but also the type of warrior who will cut a mountain in half.

And somehow I think our future holds a a bit less getting whacked being weak.