(This is part of my journey going playing through 1995’s Chrono Trigger. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
On a quest to restore power to Proto Dome (and thereby gaining access to the time gate), Crono, Robo, and Marle enter the nearby factory to see what can be done. Like the sewers, it’s a less grimy and less depressing place for 2300 A.D., and there are a lot of nooks and crannies to explore for loot, XP, and quest progress.
I just love having Robo on the team. Not only does he offer up cures (and party-wide ones if teamed up with Marle’s tech), but he’s got my favorite single-character skill in the game: laser spin. This shoots out a series of laser beams that hits EVERY bad guy on the screen, no matter how they’re positioned. It’s not super-powerful, but it’s highly effective in softening up packs of mobs without having to worry about where they are.
So let’s talk about this crane, because it ended up being the bane of my trip to this factory. For whatever reason, the PC port of Chrono Trigger fiddled with the classic set up of passwords that you occasionally have to input with the keyboard. Here, I simply could NOT get the crane to operate — and without it, I couldn’t get these barrels moved and proceed in the game. I spent over an hour searching Google, Steam forums, Reddit, etc. for an answer, but it was only when I went back to the room where the password was shared did I then realize that the game had completely redone what the password was. Such a pointless change, but at least I was able to proceed. I’m still giving this conversion team the side-eyes, though.
It seems like everything in Chrono Trigger is good news/bad news. The good news? The crew gets the power back on. The bad news? It sets off all the alarms and Robo’s former robotic associates rush out and beat the bolts out of him. At least Lucca is able to put him back together (again), and everyone’s ready to leave 2300 A.D. for greener pastures.
The group of (now) four jump into the time gate, but instead of sending them back to 1000 A.D., electricity sparks out and they are dumped into this near-featureless void. Welcome to the end of time, where people go when they violate the only-three-people-per-time-gate rule. Which is totally a thing and I did not make that up. You travel with four or more, and you end up here.
Can I just say that I am in love with the End of Time? Hands-down, it’s my favorite place in the game. Otherworldly areas have great appeal to me, and even though this one is small and minimalistic, it’s really charming. The tranquil music, the old Exposition Guy, the convenient time portals… it’s all a nice break from frantic adventures. It’s a good hub that makes navigating the different time eras a lot easier.
The End of Time’s other resident is Spekkio, some weird… sheep thing? Always looked like a sheep to me. Its sole purpose is to activate the magical ability that lay dormant within each of the non-robotic characters. He references a kingdom of magic that existed long ago and is no more. At least now my party has magic spells, which are another combat layer on top of attacks, items, and techs.