The Let's Play Archive

Chrono Trigger

by Quovak

Part 15: The Fated Hour (Part 1)

There's a very special stone that can shine its light on each generation, from the distant past to the far future...

Having reacquainted ourselves with the title character of the game, our first step is to grind in the Hunting Range for some presumably illicit substances given vaguely obfuscating names like "Petal" so as to confuse the prehistoric DEA. The result of our trade in this behind-nonexistent-doors den populated with scantily-clad women is the Ruby Vest, which cuts " "Fire" " by 80 "%" ("""""). Between this and the Red Vests and Mails, we're now so well equipped on the Communist front that we could probably take on the sun.

Oh, that wasn't a hypothetical. Our next step is to take on the sun.

This 2300 AD cave was given the title of """palace""" so as to make aggressive timesharing offers more attractive, with Empire State Building #223 having been halfway completed (in the unconventional but cost-effective top-down method of construction) before investors caught on. This chapter of the game is entirely sidequests, all of which were forced into the very last stretch of playability in one of my few substantive criticisms of the game, and my order of tackling them is more-or-less arbitrary. I'm going to be breezing in the hope of finishing this Let's Play before Quetzalcotl makes his return, so let's get this show on the laboratory that's also a road. Quest #1!

The Sun Palace's Zeal-inspired architecture hosts the rather inexplicable Son of Sun, a boss whose Japanese name (サンオブサン) was a direct Japanese transliteration of the English "Son Of The Sun" and yet still managed to be translated differently for the DS. The boss is surrounded by five fires, one of which is randomly selected as vulnerable, and attacking it deals damage to the core (attacking the core directly results in a Flare counterattack, while attacking the wrong flame results in a different counter-attack that's basically Flare). The actual damage a successful attack deals is constant and the flames reshuffle themselves after each hit, so the only actual strategy one can employ is either investing in rabbit's feet or wearing fireproof armor as you struggle not to think of the implications. Somewhere there's a crazy old man arguing that the sun's infidelity led to this cave palace, connecting the Son of Sun to the oft-whacked and deified Son of Man, and using that as a point against the federal reserve.

(It's worth noting that I have carefully chosen my screenshot LPs to revolve around a theme of attacks from semi-malevolent giant eyes. My next one, that of Petz: Catz Playground, will hopefully continue this trend)

Because the Mails were missable if we hadn't done that chest opening part well enough, we can steal a second set from bosses here in the endgame. In this case, kissing results in blackmail material, presumably incriminating pictures of him loitering with a dangerous crowd and kissing older women instead of fusing hydrogen like a good boy. Unfortunately, we can't show them to his parents because the negatives would be destroyed; we instead choose to wear them as armor because coming up with things to say about actual mail is hard.

I don't know, it's armor; what do you want from me?

Maybe it will regain its glow if we keep it in the sunlight! Might take a while, though.

The somehow still recognizable Sun Stone, no longer glowing and thus rather resembling… a stone, is best exposed to the sun via a cave with a narrow skylight as a 65 million year ice age has newly begun. The reason we humans were behind Azala's reptiles is that our public works projects were mostly just fancy and imposing ways to burn ants.

Unfortunately, a return trip to 2300 again reveals that the Sun Stone is stolen. Checking back in the previous time periods shows that the moon stone was there in 600 but not 1000 (there's also a power tab in the medieval one), meaning that it was unfortunately stolen in 786 AD and that we will never be able to retrieve it due to the excessive hand-holding of our Epoch's dial taken shortly before the current 1000 AD date and we have to get it back. What follows is one of my favorite things in the game:

This place is the Snail Stop, a 1000 AD store located next to the southern ferry port and named only slightly better than its competitor, The "Don't Buy Things at This Underwhelming Shop" Shop. Unfortunately, going back to 600 AD and demanding the chef prepare some more jerky won't work, and the average value of meat is quickly approaching almost a full percent of one of our swords. Yes, the huge influx in Wallet money makes this prove meaningless, but I feel I should have some sort of power here as the world's effective monopsony for things that aren't drinks.

Why were you starting this conversation by offering that price?
That's not how you're supposed to do it? Oh, I knew those 30,000 John Berger novel haggling lessons were a waste!

Yes, it's stupid and corny, but I love it, and if it had taken itself at all seriously it wouldn't have worked. The Nature v. Plot Device Nurture debate can finally come to a close.

Finally, the last 1700 years of a 65,000,000 year process being the clear make-or-break difference to its success, we redeposit the stone in 1000 AD, return with Lucca in 2300 AD, then return back to 1000 AD because every JRPG has to waste some of your time (It's also possible to go back in time, where a Moon Stone still waits in the sunlight, and the debate between "We shouldn't make several hundred million of these because it might cause some paradox things" v. "I was brought back from the dead" proves a wash). The immediate rewards for doing this are Lucca's best weapon, the Wondershot, and the Sun Shades, which being made of extremely bright stone are assumedly as bright as the sun. The Wondershot has a random chance of doing between 10% and 300% damage, with the chance of criticals low when the SNES is turned on and becoming better as a session continues in a biting counter-argument to conservation, while blinding Crono helps him better understand numbers like the 1.25 damage multiplier it brings to our cause. The real point of this sidequest, however, is to act as a corollary to another one, but I'm putting that off so I can sandwich in the quest that I have fewer jokes for. With that in mind, onto Sidequest #2!

There's the ghost of a lofty knight, slain by Magus in the Middle Ages, who haunts the present...

The present, which refers neither to the time period Gaspar is from nor the period he's in, holds a previously inaccessible continent now reachable with the Epoch. Choras, the melodic town off the bottom of the screen on the left, has neglected its ruins-maintainance duties, and the suddenly giant Cyrus will have none of this disrespect for classical architecture and thus angrily shows people his lance. Our usual strategy, punching things, is unfortunately to no avail, as every attack on overweight cape man results in a Miss, and a turn or two into the fight we are forced to retreat to the town so as to eventually return to 600 AD. At least we don't have to travel through the mountain pass.



Hey, bring some more soda!
Sir, I think you've had enough sugar today.
Pipe down! I'll tell you when I've had enough! Can't you see I love soda pop?

In the fine tradition of Russian boxing champions, yet another one of Taban's identical icosuplets has become so impaired by his blood sugar levels that he has begun freely distributing his possessions to anyone willing to ask. I'm going to credit our crimson attire for encouraging this sort of camaraderie, our oversized swords a minimal incentive at best. Go Smith Marx!

Before we leave to ensure that the ruin's chakras aren't misaligned, Chrono Trigger reminds us of a simpler time when couples slept in twins, domestic abuse was hilarious, going to the moon was a threat rather than a serious proposal, and women's hands were three-fingered stumps. I wish we could go back to those days, or that this paragraph even vaguely meshed with the narrative directly above. Santorum 2302.

You don't need… materials?
To be honest we were planning on just laying some of our hammers over the holes.

Embarrassingly, all four of past Taban's employees showed up to work wearing the same outfit from the same box in the past-Taban's attic where they live. We get to progress through dull castle land clearing out enemies, while occasionally returning to throw more money at the man who's taking Capitalism to its extreme. And yes, I'll admit that by this point in my comments' incongruity it will probably be a telegraphed self-congratulatory "meta" paragraph later before I'm no longer even talking about a game.

Incidentally, do cats prefer structurally expressionist architecture or brutalism? I have a cat and I would like to know.

Cyrus. I hath returned. I shall honor my promise to thee!
Glenn... Thank you...for making the journey here.
Dear Cyrus... Thou must...think ill of me.
On the contrary! You have come far, my friend. When Magus defeated me, I thought of all those whom I had left behind. King Guardia, Queen Leene, and of course, you... Your skill and dedication is superior! I can rest now, knowing that everyone is in good hands. Good bye, my friend!
Cyrus, wait! I... I...!
The Queen... Look after Queen Leene. Alas, and...farewell...G...le...n...n...

That was special!
Quite. I guess it means that a Hero's power comes from within.

Um, my friend is dead.
Hey, our spinoff stoner comedy isn't going to publicize itself.

With that, the Masamune is upgraded, and Cyrus can finally pass onto the other side. Frog's ultimate weapon being an upgraded Masamune sort of screws him over when plot-vital items reset themselves for New Game Plus, but for now it breathes new life into the Hero's Medal (which raises the Masamune's chance of critical hits) and gives Frog an excuse to lord over Cyrus' memory as a much better knight and one less substantially dead. We still haven't cleared out the ruins entirely, however, and continuing leads to more of those black pendant chests. It's impossible to get here without an upgraded pendant, so this seemingly needless check should clue you that we're supposed to unlock the cheats without opening them and go into the future, which Ghost Cyrus was haunting, for the real rewards.

Yes, I know the game still never told us about that mechanic and in fact has made it clear through giving Mails to bosses that it didn't expect us to know, but hey, it's not so bad. It's not as though opening the chests wrong is impossible to undo or that this is a necessity to get the ultimate weapon of a character we'll be forced to use in the final encounter or something. That would just be mean.

Valkerye, the spellcheck-failing ultimate weapon of a character we'll be forced to use in the final encounter (at Level 1, to be clear), raises Marle's attack power from 72 to 125, whereas the non-upgraded version causes her to annoy people by pretending to be a policeman and raises it a mere 26. We can also grab Crono the Shiva Edge, an upgrade for the Kali Blade (named after Cyrus' favorite west coast state: Kaliningradskaya oblast), which makes criticals twice as powerful as they normally are, and the Moon Armor, which blocks moons.

Yeah, I've got nothing.

With that, we have (somehow) successfully avenged our friend's anger at the roof being repainted and Frog having chosen one of the least appropriate burial locations on Earth. Onward to Quest #3!

There's an object in the Middle Ages that sparkles like a rainbow…

But there's something odd going on... Oh, can you hang on to this for me?If I don't return, come to my grave and pour this on my headstone. Gee, isn't this morbid?

You probably don't remember this character, but he briefly talked to us in a cafe the first time we went to 600 AD and apparently convinced someone to call him a great adventurer for the time he successfully went to the store and bought grapes. Toma, as he is known, is currently hanging around in the Choras inn, leaving his death wish to whoever he meet in cafes and having it amount to pouring some corn syrup in low-budget tribute (yes, it was meant to be sake) to his sad life. In my fan canon, Toma is an avowed Juggalo, and his adventuring has been handicapped by his confusion at the toroidal world and the endlessly mysterious nature of clouds. Returning to four hundred years later and fulfilling his Faygo request, of course, leads to one of the least climactic discussions ever had with the dead, as well as a clear instance of his psychopathy as a speed tab is perspective-puzzle-invisibly behind his grave.

I've located the Rainbow Shell. To the northwest of this cape is a large island called the Giant's Claw. You can find the Shell there. But beware! There are many beasts about! Time to shove off. You guys are a riot a minute! See ya!

You were able to get "great adventurer" on your epitaph for taking 34 years to find a cave and only briefly going inside?
They don't really ask for qualifications on epitaphs. I was going for "Luminary, Chemist, and World-Class Statesman" but it didn't quite fit on the rock.

This island, which strangely doesn't exist if you go forward to 1000 AD, was the point of that Pepsi-sponsored Ouija board (as a nice touch, you can come here without ever helping Toma out, but the name won't come up on the map so you'll likely never know it's an enterable place), and the somehow poorly crumpled note offers another example of people in the Chrono universe not seeing how notes work. You may remember that, some time ago, I named the Tyrano Lair as my favorite dungeon in the game, and that I'm not a fan of either mindless repetition or caves. Today I am conflicted. This dungeon is the Tyrano Lair and a cave.

When Lavos fell, this became buried beneath the earth.
Lavos fall and Tyrano Lair buried underground forever!

(Yes, Lavos was apparently just playing cosmic whack-a-mole with the most structurally sound building on Earth. In addition to one-upping Friedrich Tamms, the Reptites also discovered how to continually reference unknown German architects and keep a copper fire burning for millions of years, even further proving they're the true chosen ones; admittedly, our only real claims to heroism by this point are tenacity and having a name on the box.)

Alternate paragraph opener: No, this dungeon does not make any sense, and the less you think about these Simintovian winged apes surviving this long without anyone knowing the better. I said in the past (oh ho! okay fine not really) that these apes may be the pinnacle of evolution, but I do have to question how intellectually fit they are for deciding that a cramped, lifeless cave was the best of all biomes for a giant with wings and horns that could get stuck in dirt. Ultimately, I just have a poor opinion of any creature that willingly goes into brown and repetitive caves; I'm going to replace the rest of my commentary on this dungeon with better caves:




Oh, we're done.

The punchline to this Caves dungeon is a fight with the also inexplicable Rust Tyrano, proving either that the Reptites also beat humans to robotic machinery before anybody else, that this island is actually the result of some Jurassic Park-style meddling in the affairs of God gone wrong, or Tyrano metabolism is far less demanding than it appears and one was able to live for 65,000,600 on some rocks. This boss is, as far as I imagine, impossible without the same fire-blocking equipment we've un-egalitarianly used but incredibly trivial with, as his only attacks are eating people, a minimally dangerous shockwave attack, and a countdown to when he breathes progressively more powerful flames. I'm beginning to suspect that these bosses share a theme.

(The Rust Tyranno is no fun at all in Hide and Seek.)

With that no doubt exhilarating display of large numbers, the shell of the world's most fabulous mollusk is ours, and Ayla regains the spotlight out of sympathy for her becoming useless (her weapons, fists, are just additional strength boosts as she levels up, and as such her strength is staying constant while everyone else's jumps way up). As a consolation, the success of this game's DS port has led to rumors of an Ayla-themed Cooking Mama spinoff hitting shelves, where Ayla is able to prepare delicacies out of rocks, dinosaurs, and plot-relevant MacGuffins while attempting to evade the Reptites' quantum space lasers and overcoming the ignominy of Pica. The vast majority of kitchens will be in a cave.

It's heavy! We won't be able to carry it. Better get some help at the castle!

I get it. You want me to keep that huge shell safe here until the next century, right?
I ask for the sake of Crono. Please carry out their request.
Done! I shall obtain the shell and store it in the castle, as a national treasure. Knight Captain!
Yes, Majesty!
Go and obtain the Rainbow Shell, and bring it back in one piece!
At once, Sire!
Thank you, your Majesty! And Queen Leene too, of course!

It's probably not very clear why we're doing this, besides trying to stall while we think of a plan beyond "Get Shell Now", but the answer comes from a nameless man back in Kajar, who said: "Combine the ancient Rainbow Shell and the Sun Stone to create incredible weapons and items. But now, only the Guru of Life has the skill. Elemental power usage is forbidden." before adding "Ah! Plants are so content! I wish I could be, too." We aren't going to bother contacting the Guru of Life, of course, and our plan to attach chloroplasts to our shoes is bizarrely discarded right when we're needing it most. Instead, when we return four times as long in the future as we didn't bother correcting them on, we see this:

We opt not to disturb the guard preparing the other for his stint on Jeopardy, but we do see that, having recently watched inspiring Norwegian film Kitchen Stories, the chancellor has become paranoid that he will be made to watch more obscure films and posted guards to prevent such a thing from occurring again. The King, sadly unaware of his powers as king, is currently letting himself be held hostage by a system he controls, and we're currently let inside despite that because disowning children is really hard, okay? In a nutshell, we're basically dealing with the most inept political body since Congress. Do you know who the wittiest political satirist in the world is? It's me.

You know, at least these guards were actually blocking a door for a minute; that's almost something, right? I like to think their sprites are wearing medals from Guard(ia)ing Academy, which in this case are consolation Medals of Participation made out of tin.

I too, had no idea until I found this... It's an ancestral will. It says, "Unveil the Rainbow Shell to the people at the Millienal Fair."
What are you talking about?! We have no family heirlooms here!

I'll admit, our thousand year reign has been pretty bland. Besides, we do love our yard sales, and without our unique methods of gaining revenue the Don't Buy Things At This Underwhelming Shop Shop Courtroom may never have been made. It's a shame they're going under; I always liked not buying things there because I'm a king. Also I don't know how court works. Please don't sentence me.

So this is a forgery? Why does the defendant deny the people a glimpse of the Rainbow Shell? Because he no longer HAS it!! He sold the heirloom for cash! Witness, please!

Nadia! The Chancellor is trying to frame me!
He hurls insults! Confirm your innocence with proof!
Yes. If he hasn't sold the heirloom, it should be in the castle. Show me the Rainbow Shell, and I'll accept his innocence, heh, heh...
Chancellor! What kind of trickery is this?!

Not necessarily. It could have been moved by a different king, which is an angle I'm surprised your dad didn't try to cover. Maybe you were robbed. If foul play is involved then they probably took the shell as part of the plan to say somebody took the shell. We might be better off having your dad invoke his right to a lawyer, which does exist, because I got one. I wonder, if he's thrown in prison, if he'll be able to keep his staff.

Do you think we should have returned that guy's tools over in Choras?

(Ted Woolsey wrote at the absolute height of sophistication)

Golden Sun joke? Maybe? I didn't even make one about stealing things from Sol Sanctum, and I held off in the dungeon that was just a cave. I think I deserve at least one here. Maybe? No? Okay.

I would just like to remind the court that, while I look like the king in these portraits, I am not said king until about an hour from now. Also there is no conflict of interest here at all courts work how I say they do shut up.
I di-
Shut up!

After killing a few snakes, Marle and Ayla perform the celebratory "Shell and Paper" dance. Take a shard of the shell to use as evidence that the Chancellor is bad at framing kings, we also spy a note. Resolving child disownment is also hard:

Something here! Paper here, paper!
To Marle...? "Dearest Marle, I know things are tough between you and your father. But nothing can break your bond of blood. Neither words of anger, nor great distances. Someday, when you have children, you will understand. This special bond is part of a family tree which links us together." -Queen Guardia XXI, Leene.
Ayla know about leaving nest! Time pass, grow big, leave nest! Ayla leave nest! Dactyl leave nest too. Marle leave too? Big change! Leave nest! Have baby! Baby grow big! Leave nest too! Sure you ready leave nest? Not too big yet.

Last time we talked to the Queen she didn't know anything about Marle besides that they looked alike, and she was also writing from a position of relatively poor knowledge seeing as she didn't have kids. My assumption is that Leene, determined to leave some sort of advice and be important to this game, just hedged her bets and left notes for all possible contingencies, with Ayla choosing the one about familial squabbling over the ones about coping with bankruptcy and the proper diversification of notes. Because scenario designer Takashi Tokita was wise enough to take storytelling advice from his elders, we return to the courtroom via a cleverly placed fade-to-black. Unfortunately, however, he missed the notes about properly pacing one's sidequests and writing dialogue not about breasts; the original Japanese had Ayla comment on Marle's bust size as she looked past the note on winning third place in a topiary competition and instead merely found the Chancellor's collection of porn.

Thankfully, to save on money, famously cheap Guardia XV made that display out of sugar glass, similar to how the Chancellor used the guards for the Behind The Stained Glass wing and the Actually Where The Shell Is wing as jury members. Austerity has hit this kingdom hard.

Princess! Control yourself! You're too late! The King has been found guilty. Even kings are subject to our laws.
No, this was a set up!
Nonsense! The King's a crook!
But the treasure is right here!

Your little scheme is over, Chancellor!
Grrr...I mean...uh...
Hee hee hee! It's not the plot you think! I'm here to avenge my ancestors!

This fight isn't awful, but it's another of the few endgame places where the fact that we're Level 1 is an active handicap.The main thing to note is his high HP (about 18,000) which will turn the battle into one of attribution, in this case to Ayla who will be using Rock Throw around 50 times.

Yakra can inflict confusion as to why the Mystics' army of shapeshifters are bad at thinking of plans, and Ayla needs either Magus' amulet to stay sane or the Safe Helm to keep her alive (I chose the Safe Helm; the confusion effect is easier to plan for). We can charm a non-diverse White Mail from him and let Marle and Crono die off while Ayla's HP is kept high, and we spam Rock Throw until Yakra shifts into phase 2, when Ayla is basically stuck playing damage control because of Yakra's high speed.

Yakra, who is undoubtedly beautiful on the inside, uses a multi-hit attack (Needlespin version 13), four single-target attacks, then Chaos, and after each Chaos there's enough of a break to get three or four hits. Essentially, Ayla revives Crono, Crono throws Mid Tonics like mad (remember that by this point he has ** speed), and Ayla uses Rock Throw whenever she has a chance or when Yakra is taking his break. We have a supply of Elixirs which will soon be replaced by Megalixers, so it's worth using those instead of Ethers when Ayla's MP gets a bit low. After about 40 Rock Throws Yakra will fall.

Father... I...
No, don't say it. I was wrong to be so stubborn.
No, I didn't even think about how you felt. Um... I know it in my heart, but the words just come out wrong.
I too, have that problem. I thought you left me, but realized that it was I, who abandoned you.
But I'm here now. We'll talk about everything that's happened. About Crono, and mother, and...
Your mother... How sad! It has taken me so long to understand what Aliza meant with her last words.

...It will be a day you remember forever."
You...heard her last words?
Of course! You were so young! You ran around saying "Daddy, it's fun having all my favorite people here!" Seeing you so happy, she felt reassured, and she left us quite peacefully.
So that's how it was...
Yes, why?
I used to call you Daddy?
You did.
I'm sorry...Daddy. I'm really sorry for doubting you. be careful, now. Take care of her!
You no worry! Ayla protect Marle!
It's my turn, now...

Can't let you run the whole show. Let me make some weapons from the Rainbow Shell! Finally time for me to do somethin'. Watch and learn!

Our singular very rare lets Melchior make us one prism dress or three prism helms, and we choose the later option, as Crono is insufficiently confident in his masculinity to play nice with the one that gives auto-barrier. The helms offer increases to magic defense, which is nice, but not the real point of this quest at all:

Giving him the Sun Stone results in us getting the Rainbow, Crono's ultimate weapon and the most absurdly powerful thing in this game by far, and PrismSpecs, which further increase strength by 50%. I'll come clean and admit that I did this in a different order than I'm presenting it, so let me give you an example of how absurdly overpowered we have become:

Crono is at Level 1. One last thing:

Nah, I'm not sour about it. I probably couldn't have handled the monsters... But I WILL find the Sun Stone first!

Best of luck with that, Toma. Best of luck.