Posted in Retro Gaming

Chrono Trigger: A grim future indeed

(This is part of my journey going playing through 1995’s Chrono Trigger. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)

To escape an unjust execution and a stifling family life, Crono, Lucca, and Marle step into another time gate and make a quantum leap from 1000 A.D. to… somewhere else. Lucca immediately determines that it’s an advanced civilization due to the technology, but this definitely isn’t the familiar Guardia Kingdom any longer.

It may be an advanced civilization, but it looks like it’s a ruined one. Smashed domes lay around the crater-ridden landscape, and either ash or snow blow relentlessly across a sunless sky. Something’s very wrong here.

The trio do discover survivors, but that’s all they are — merely surviving instead of living, huddled up inside of broken domes.

I’ll be honest, the future apocalypse map isn’t my favorite part of the game, but of course, it’s not meant to be.  It’s just so dreary and grim, what with the few remaining people facing extinction due to mutants and rampaging robots keeping them from food. Fed up with the situation, Crono and company decide to help retrieve the food from a storage facility.

Guarding the food is one massive robot — so big, in fact, that I have to yet again wonder how it managed to squeeze through tiny doorways to get here. It’s a slightly tricky fight involving some adds that have to be killed or else they can wipe the party in a hurry. At least Crono and Marle’s combined Healing Aura move allows for a party heal. Love that ability.

Unfortunately for all involved, the food in the next room has all spoiled due to a malfuctioning refrigerator. The only hope lies in a corpse sitting here clutching a single, solitary seed. Well, that’ll make a light snack at best.

Deep inside Arris Dome, the trio discover a supercomputer that not only points them toward another possible time gate but (thanks to Marle’s random switch flipping) a visual record of the “Day of Lavos.” This pulls up a video of 1999 A.D. — 999 years after Crono’s present — where a spiky monster erupts from inside of the planet and triggers a global apocalypse. Right now, it’s 2300 A.D., so the Day of Lavos was three centuries prior. Agast, the trio vow to do whatever they can to stop this horrible future from happening. But first, they have to get home and attempt to do some research on it.

It’s an indication of how dreary 2300 is that the sewers actually end up being the nicest place. There’s none of the smog, and the music is actually kind of peaceful and pleasant. Plus, there are cats to kick around for fun and sport. It’s a non-mandatory area, but I like doing it for the XP, the change of scenery, and a couple of good items (including a counter-attack accessory that I like to leave on Crono).

Naturally, there’s a robot motorbike gang along the way that wants to race Crono. I’ve always cheesed this race by not doing anything until two seconds before the end of it and then hitting the turbo button. This time? I walked the length of the highway, which is another thing I’ve never done in CT. You can get a “race recorder” that allows a second type of race mode, which shows how I’m still learning about this game even in 2020.

The gang gets to Proto Dome — the site of the second time gate in this era — but they can’t get to it because the power’s shut off. The good news is that there’s a decommissioned robot here that Lucca restores (and names Robo), who joins the group and informs them that the nearby facility can restore the power. Robo’s just one of my favorite characters, more for his fighting prowess than his personality. Still, it’s always cool to have your own personal robot when you’re traveling through time. He’s got a chunky, vaguely bug-like look to him, but he’s awesome at throwing out heals and AOE attacks like no one’s business.

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