Part 12: Break The Seal!!
They take energy from Lavos. Lavos not get weak?
But we can't get back to that time. What can we do?
Marle's line doesn't make a lot of sense when she doesn't have a good exposition-giver to play off of, but better characters than Ayla propose that the key to defeating Lavos must rest in that era, presumably not having been paying much attention to how nobody there knows anything about him at all. As far as Zeal is concerned, Lavos might as well be a God, or a natural resource, or about as mystical as we find the sun, and it's unlikely that they've put much thought into "defeating" the entire reason for spending their leisure time on things other than dying from ice.
Regardless, our goal is to find a way back to the era, and if you were paying attention last
Wait a minute. I've seen the design on the doors this pendant opens, somewhere else... Let's check it out, Crono!
Naturally then, Marle's going to tell us exactly where to go (the game directly shows a picture of the building and its environs), even though the whole point of this section is to revisit all of the areas you've seen and specifically pointing you somewhere might seem to undermine that. The place in question is somewhere that Marle has very definitively not been, and I fully intend to delay the journey as long as possible. With that in mind, this update's over; see you in a month.
Now that the pillar of light is sealed, you'll be needing something that will transport you through time. I recall someone working on such a device. The Wings of Time, I believe he called it. I'm afraid he became a tad psychotic spending so much of his time doing research.
By this point, I think it's safe to say that Gaspar made up nonliteral hyperbole literally everything involving these gates. Even after unlocking the End of Time, the 65,000,000 BC - 12,000 BC portal completely bypassed it, and the Proto Dome time gate has no complement and probably would have taken us here regardless of how much metal we happened to bring. Gaspar, the Guru of Time, had nothing to do with and only a passing interest in the construction of a time machine, and he's also so non-curious that he's never thought to explore forty feet to the left and try out the theories he "believes in".
You know that friend of a friend who awkwardly stands around when you're setting something up, and when you give him something to do he stares at something like a vacuum cleaner in complete disbelief as though he's completely flummoxed by the idea? Gaspar isn't very much like that; he's actually a character in a video game. Moving on.
This isn't directly stated, but our upgraded pendant lets us finally open up these chests, and no, I'm not even remotely sure how that process works; perhaps we just hit the two together a few times until the black casing falls off out of sheer
[Picture of dog not displayed]
This Heckran Cave chest contains a Wall Ring, which, in addition to being a remarkably efficient way to propose to someone (sheetrock is much more affordable than gems), increases magic defense by 10 (Crono's default is 2). The items in these chests are why the hardest parts of this challenge are behind
Unfortunately, highly-localized sign-high landslides have blocked off the path to an earlier box. The same team that carved a mountain in half would never want to scuff up their jeans here, so we instead have to travel 1600 years in the future so as to travel back in time and wind up ten feet away. I
Look Square, I'll give you a pass on this, but only because it's so non-mandatory that I never knew about it the first few times I played the game. But this is dangerously close to Golden Sun territory.
(The box contains a strength-increasing Power Ring).
Softening the blow significantly is the fact that we wanted to visit here anyway, as it contains the single greatest item in the game. You may be wondering what exactly makes this so wonderful, so allow me to present to you an ode. I won't even italicize it; pull out your nearest lyre and play along:
Thou capital, thou king, thou saving grace
Thou grand access'ry locked behind this door
An un'whacked savior, which despite the place
May cheer a weak man's journey evermore.
What faults will mend to elevate thy rank
Past Antipode, or mountain-cutting frogs?
What respite from our masochistic goal
Or counter to attrition-laden slogs?
What charity compels unbridled thanks?
What gen'rous love? With ardor I extol:
At level one we poor results endure
From battles, weapons, shelters, on and on.
With few techniques we cling to the allure
Of besting Lavos 'fore our denouement.
We've whacked our weak as every fight concludes
Eschewed elective brawls and more besides;
Dealt single-digit damage to a boss,
Though winning, cursed the goalwe now intrude
Upon your small abode to end the loss
Of Square-begot enjoyment. Cease to hide.
The Wallet lets us seize upon revenge
For every man and mystic in our way.
A rhyming ode is hard; but soon you'll enge-
-ender yourself to us upon this day.
No; I'm done letting thou butcher the concept of poetry.
The wallet turns experience points into films deemed suitable for general audiences, particularly young children, unlike this LP because I'm now going to say that the Wallet is fucking great. In a normal game, this accessory is the type of thing you wear for one battle and then forget about, but for obvious reasons it's absolutely vital for this challenge. The whole party is immune to gaining EXP as long as one character is wearing the wallet, but tech points are acquired as always and we can finally put away the legal pads and let characters live or die as they will.
There are other things to find in the future, like a Charm Top, which improves the chances of stealing good items and is apparently meant to be the "Alluring Top" bra (I'm not sure if this was a wonky translation issue or a censorship one), and Golden versions of our Erngs and Studs, the latter of which decreases MP cost by 75%, but our ability to actually fight enemies is far more important. I'm not going to grind for tech points just yet, but there is one very important thing worth doing right away.
Where are your metal joints now, Gato?! Where are your metal joints now?!
Going back to the medieval era lets us open more of these chests, which results in something moderately annoying. After we open them, we can choose whether or not to take what's inside, and if we don't then an upgraded version of the reward awaits in the future. There's no indication of this (okay, maybe some NPC tells us in between his stories about wanting to fly legendary space calculus robots) and the upgraded items are missable until the end of the game, but here's my feeble defense on Square's behalf:
1. The difference between vests (the un-upgraded item) and mails (the upgraded ones) is pretty minor. From the description, you may think that, say, a Red Vest cuts damage from fire attacks in half, but it actually makes fire attacks heal you by 50% of the damage they would have done (the Red Mail makes it a one-to-one healing spell). Most of the time, the two are practically identical; you're immune to the fire attack either way.
2. Needing to go to the past, then to the present, then back to the past means more opportunities to walk that mountain path. I love that mountain path!
3. Not knowing about this doesn't rob you of getting two items, as you can simply open the chests in the present and then open them again in the past. No, causality is entirely unimportant; go away.
4. Strategy guides make money and we have shareholders to care for.
Ultimately, we can get red (fire), white (lightning), blue (water), and black (un-American) vests and mails for the next chunk of the game, by which point our ability to survive has increased about ninety-fold. Speaking of things the game doesn't tell us about, remember that giant forest crystal back in the Mystic Village? That also gets destroyed by our Mammon-enhanced pendant; it probably would have been easier to give people keys.
Originally there was going to be a dungeon here, but it was cut late enough in development for ancillary components to remain on the cart. Instead, this Nu offers us the choice of one of two treasures, we choose the Safe Helm, which cuts damage from physical attacks by 1/3 (the alternative is a weapon for Crono called the Swallow), and the Nu departs without so much as saying goodbye.
I can't help but feel like we failed some test of character and missed out on the chance to get both items and the keys to the sun. Oh well, let's get back to stealing and killing things.
I understand your pain. But the king really only cares about his realm... Yes, even when your mother, Queen Aliza passed away, he worked all day!
No one could do that! It's inhuman!
Oh, child, it's ancient history now...
Tell me more!
This may be difficult... Well, Queen Aliza's condition suddenly changed for the worst. She desperately wanted to see the king one last time, but he couldn't find the time to drop by... Said he had some work to do... But knowing nothing about death, you waited faithfully by your mother's side... Aliza passed away in sorrow... It's as if the king indirectly killed her... Such a shame...
WHAT...!! Father KILLED? ...MY MOTHER...?!!
But what do I know! There are reasons for everything, right dear? Now...so glad to see you back again. Please go and visit the king.
The segue into this conversation is a bit awkward, but the Chancellor is saying he understands the frustration she voiced the last time we were here (that the King is so concerned with how a princess ought to act that he willfully ignores Marle's desires). The rest is just rubbing salt in the wound because the chancellor's a bit of a jerk.
In an interesting note, yes, they actually used the word "killed". In the Woolsey translation of Final Fantasy 6, the word was only used twice: Shadow talks about having killed his emotions and Kefka commands Celes to kill your party on the floating continent (they also never used the word "dead", though Atma says "Die"). Chrono Trigger features much more direct usage of "die", "kill", etc, even though FF6 is the game where Kefka burns down a village and murders one of his own generals because it's fun. Just an observation. Woolsey wasn't allowed to use the word "beer".
W, what do you want! I'm not giving in to your demands!
It's your fault for leaving the castle! And letting these...hoodlums in here. You might as well beg for bread on the street corner!
Stop it! They're my friends!
They're a disgrace to this family!
Father, you, you...
Dammit dad, putting the needs of
You, ...you killed mother!
Get... OUT OF HERE this instant!!! I never want to see your face again!
We're no longer family! Do as you wish!!
Following that lovely display of Jerry Springer: 1000 AD Edition, we can get the upgraded red mail and see that the king has angrily stormed off to his room so that he can disapprovingly grumble to the walls. I'm not sure he fully understands how this whole disowning thing works.
Incidentally, you may think it odd that we were allowed back into the castle after having been imprisoned as a terrorist and escaping by beating guards to death, but rest assured: the game came up with
I'm your lawyer, Pierre. The King has been so gloomy since Princess Nadia's disappearance... Listening to my story, he has concluded that it was NOT a kidnapping... It's taken time, but I think he understands. Still, the Chancellor's acting weird. He may give us some trouble
I'm your Let's Player, Quovak. and I'm not entirely sold here. Even if I was imprisoned as an innocent man I did break another person out of jail and beat up about a dozen hired guards. We also just took this mail from you in direct violation of Guardia Code Title 18 §1708, and I'm pretty sure Ayla's outfit violates some obscure ordinance that hasn't been enforced since 761.
The next stop in my increasingly impractical sequencing is the Hunting Range (we didn't come here earlier because we needed the wallet to fulfill the increasingly irrelevant gimmick of this thread). The hunting range is inhabited by a grand total of two things, who drop one of very few somehow valuable other things which can be traded for e.g. guns. I'm sure you're crushed that it took me this long to show off.
If you stick around for a few minutes it starts to rain, which prompts the appearance of a Nu at one of several possible locations. If you get to it and defeat it you can get a Third Eye, which allows you to detect Heaven Smiles, and a few of all four animal parts to again trade to the merchants for e.g. guns. There have to be some disadvantages to an economy based on killing frogs, but it would probably be worth it for the Williams Jennings Bryans of the era, advocating a move away from the scale standard in favor of storing wealth in horns, and the ease of Quantitative Easing (breed more frogs).
As a side note, the grammar in this section is just impossible to take seriously. Who in 65,000,000 BC uses an oxford comma? Come on.
The only other thing worth doing here is learning a few techs. I'm mostly holding off on that because there's a much better tech-gaining spot a short while down the road, but for now it's a good plan to learn a few healing techniques (particularly Slurp Kiss, for Frog and Ayla) and Charm, which is essentially this game's Steal command. It too is represented by Ayla blowing a kiss; she's kind of Marle's never-granted one-trick pony.
Well, we've put this off long enough. We actually have to go down here now if we intend to advance, though it's thankfully incredibly simple. The game rather bizarrely expects you to come here right after getting the Bike Key, and the difficulty curve is generous even then. Have some noise:
Look, these monsters are the same ones you murdered to get a two claws once. If they can reason, or be taught to, what separates the monsters you slaughter from the sentient frog you accept as fellow knight? Perhaps a more inclusive way of addressing your differences would work better than-
You aren't even in this time period with us. Nobody cares. Shut up.
Most of this dungeon is entirely uneventful, but this one room entirely redeems it. Joseph Attackedbyfishmenstein's note suggests that, having been attacked by Slash-inspired River Zoras, he ran into a corner to write large-print notes with the pen and paper he brought with him into a sewer, and in order to avoid making the same mistake we're instead going to use swords (take that, Bulwer-Lytton). The frogs above were complete non-sequiturs, by the way.
This level would have been one of the most difficult to pull off without the wallet, because avoiding battles necessitates not petting cats. These monsters really don't pose any problems even the first time we come here, but in the interest of playing along I'll avoid anything (like meowing cats) that makes noise.
Including a can next to a metal box and some cheese, which somehow alerts a squeaking rat that the Zoras refuse to fight. At the end, it's probably worth going to save...
And the save point ringing sound alerts Nereids, which you might remember as the name of this wall scroll girl in Golden Sun if not for the fact that it was in the entirely unmemorable Golden Sun. I do love it when games play tricks on you like this; we don't even have to listen to New England football teams talk about meme theory.
There are also perspective puzzles. These are less fun. And dumb.
Coming through the sewer like they own it! They must have a death wish! We shall teach them a lesson!
Let's show 'em. HEE HEE!
Just let them come through here! They'll be chopped liver! Hahahahahaha!
What, you thought the Third Eye thing was a joke?
And with that, Krawlie has experienced more development than the average JRPG protagonist. See Camelot, this is what your games were missing: Pathos.
On the other side of the sewers, as I briefly showed off in an alternate reality some time ago, is an overly imposing mountain and the Keeper's Dome. The latter contains a "Strange Creature", who despite the moniker speaks perfect English and is exactly like the dozen Nu we've met before. Crono is a very judging man.
The foreshadowing scene that occurs if you come here earlier is still too spoiler-filled for me to show off, but its payoff is the notes behind this door. Balthazar, always a sucker for theatrics, apparently neglected to write on paper in favor of chiseling his messages into gems; while this successfully endeared him to the people of Zeal, it failed to catch on or ensure continued funding for his work.
I am Belthasar, the Guru of Reason. I once lived in the kingdom of Zeal. A great disaster in Zeal somehow threw me into this era. To my surprise, Lavos exists here, and, I suspect, in other periods as well. Aeons ago, Lavos descended from the heavens. Burrowing deep into the the world's core, he began to consume our planet's energy, and grow stronger. Lavos disappeared briefly when he was summoned away by a mighty wizard who lived in Guardia, in the year 600.
I don't understand this sentence. For one thing, how would Balthazar possibly know this, particularly down to the year? Secondly, even if he did know, we stopped Magus from doing so and thus clearly overwrote a timeline in which he did (I always assumed that us going back and stopping Magus was the default timeline from the moment we got out of bed and that we only fulfilled our role, but this isn't made explicit and it's possible we did overwrite an alternative in which Frog just does all the work himself, undeterred by the Queen snafu we caused. Overthinking that now that I'm writing an LP, I'm not sure how the Masamune would fit in as it wouldn't have been repaired without our help, but maybe he was confident enough not to need it. Who knows?) Finally, even if everything did happen exactly as described, why was this pertinent enough to mention in a log? Presumably if he had enough gem-space he also would have included every time Lavos shifted its weight.
In 1999, Lavos claims this area, and reigns from high atop Death Peak. Lavos continues to replicate...... like a giant parasite, he is consuming our world. Forced to live here, I continued to conduct research on Lavos. But I am growing old. And it's impossible to keep sane in such trying times. So before I lose it completely, I shall safeguard my data, and my ultimate creation... How I long to return home... But I have grown frail... So you...YOU, who have opened the door! I leave things in your hands. Only by mastering time, itself, do you stand a chance against Lavos.
I must say, it's refreshing to see a protagonist being chosen for greatness not through fate or his dad's marginally unethical science career but in the same way I won a free iPod nano: by being the 1
What do you think he means when he says we're all heros?
Do you think he meant Heroes?
No, I'm pretty sure he's getting at something else.
Open, now, the last door, and take what you find there. My last invention... My Wings of Time ...
Scared you, didn't I? It's me BELTHASAR. I copied my memory into this thing. What do you think? Anyway, there's something I need to explain. Namely, how to transcend time! Press the Y Button for the time gauge. Then use the L&R Buttons to select an era. Oh, yeah! Before you go, why don't you name my time machine!
I'm going to keep this as the Epoch, though I am going to use my thread canon abilities to rename Belthasar to Balthazar. I've been calling him the latter this whole thread, Word says that Woolsey's version is incorrect, and the Z makes him sound extreme or something, who knows? I've also gone back and modified his concept art appropriately:
The Epoch's dial is incredibly stylish and comes conveniently pre-labeled with only the time periods we like, with 12,000 BC having been labeled "The Dark Ages" by somebody who lived there and knows exactly the things that took place. The one setting we haven't visited is the Day of Lavos, which is also conveniently the only absolute time setting when everything else is relative and moves forward depending on when we are. Maybe Crono et al are just consciously keeping them moving so as to avoid the risk of meeting themselves and causing a paradox.
Or not. Maybe it just isn't well explained.
A dramatic hallway acceleration and an unpictured explosion of flames work to belie the fact that we're in a completely enclosed room and our time machine lacks the ability to actually move. All things considered, it seems like that was a fairly significant design flaw; we basically just unlocked a few gates that need maintenance and our time travel ability hinges on this as an area where there's never been a tree.
Having accomplished that more-or-less nothing, the machine drops us off in the exact place we were before, but the skyway is now closed in what is probably overkill for just us. This wasn't a very useful skyway anyway, unless the Zealots ever felt a tremendous need to play their version of Golden Sun 2 by not having fun in caves.
In case you haven't picked up on it yet, my last LP was of the Golden Sun games and I didn't think they were particularly good.
It's a callback, you see.
The skyway may be non-operational, but this ladder has been recently rebuilt, and, in a sharp repudiation of Broken Windows-style policing, little resulting solace has been gained. Investment in surprisingly nice furniture manufacturing also did little to help the economy. QE3?
Alas, switching out Marle for Frog isn't enough of a stimulus, though it does allow us to switch out Marle in favor of the best character: Frog. There isn't much more we can do for Algetty, but we may yet be able to save Melchior, who Schala told us was banished to Mt. Woe for opposing the Queen's tendency of referencing Bible verses not involving him.
On a interesting and related note, Algetty is, according to people who obsess over Chrono Trigger too much, a perversion of the Latin for "to be neglected", which is either an indication of severe but understandable Jewish Mother-inspired guilt tripping or a Zealot attempt to really rub salt in the wound.
Further neglecting the neglected ones brings to a boss fight, where Ayla shows off her buttermilk-coated physique and charms the monsters R'bow Helms and Mermaid Caps (they decrease lightning and water damage and are thus completely useless given that we already have mails and vests for that). We can continue charming for a speed tab, and eventually wind up with an entire new wardrobe and some trophy boyfriends who will maul us as soon as they stop being kissed. We've apparently stumbled into the 12,000 BC ice cave equivalent of Reddit.
Inspired by listening to Wiz Khalifa mixtapes, Ayla can also accuse the beasts of adultery and decide to cast the first stone, which is actually picking them up by the waist and causing the once-smitten monsters to suddenly become offended by Ayla choice of last geological era's fashion. Unloading techs and healing is all you really need to win this fight, and the only real strategy is to ignore the Imp completely; he'll run away when the others are dead. Fuck, this really is turning into Golden Sun.
Mt. Woe is flying, but we have no misgivings about lazily sauntering up a cold wet metal chain in the middle of a windstorm in the snow. You know what they say about chains, right? They're only as strong as they're Weak (Well, it was something like that, at any rate).
Some day, we'll finally rescue Melchior and get to see the high point of the high point of the game.
See you next year!