Chrono Trigger: A new hope

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

With Crono dead and a world mostly destroyed due to Lavos’ hissy fit, the outlook in 15,000 BC is pretty gloomy. Yet there are survivors — both among the population and in the Crono Crew — and so there is also hope.

Forget it; I spoke too soon. Dalton the Jerk somehow survived as well, and he’s declared himself king over the world. Dalton pulls a “LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!” cheap move, knocks everyone out, and then stashes them on his mighty flying Blackbird plane. King Force One? I’m going to call it that.

Not sure why Dalton didn’t just kill everyone, because now the crew can climb through the vents and go on a murder spree all over the ship. Pew pew, Lucca says, while she disintegrates another baddie.

Meanwhile, Dalton spruces up the stolen Epoch with wings. He gets ready to take off and the game starts playing the Chrono Trigger theme, and there’s a funny bit when Dalton breaks the fourth wall by insisting that the music change to his own frantic boss theme instead.

The long and the short of it is that Dalton gets his butt kicked yet again, and the Crono Crew takes over a new-and-improved Epoch. One that can shoot laser cannons, apparently, as evidenced by the fact that Ayla accidentally blows up the Blackwing.

Down on the world below, Magus is found to be both alive and melancholy. There’s a major choice in the game as to fight him or not, but as I’ve never had Magus join my party, I’m going to decline this time around. There’s an illuminating cutscene in which the fates of the various advisors to the Queen of Zeal are shown after the Lavos incident. A series of time gates pop open and send each one of them to a different period — one to 1000 AD, one to the end of time, and one to 2300 AD. Also, Janus is sent to the middle ages, where he is surrounded by fiends.

This all ties back to Magus, because Magus the fiendlord, you see… is Janus. He’s the little boy who grew up in 600 AD, all while being separated from his sister and vowing vengeance on Lavos. That’s a pretty spectacular twist. And now he’s officially part of the Crono Crew, ready to help us put Lavos down.

The little boy who predicted Crono’s death then hints at the possibility of bringing Crono back. Now, according to stories of the game’s development, Crono’s death was originally intended to be permanent. Players would go back to when he was slightly younger and recruit that version for the rest of the game — and then return him to finish out his timeline and die soon thereafter. That would have been pretty neat, but Chrono Trigger is about to take us in a different direction. This IS a time traveling RPG, after all.

AWW JANUS GOT HIS KITTY BACK SO PRECIOUS

Ahem. As the crew takes off in the Epoch, the Ocean Palace — which I guess survived? — rises above the ocean and a series of vortex swirly things open up in various eras. Nobody knows what this means, so it’s off to the End of Time to figure out how we can get Crono back!

After some crotchety hemming and hawing, the old man at the End of Time — Gaspar — gives the party a time egg to hatch. Guess it’s better to call it a “Chrono Trigger,” because “Time Egg” would’ve been a dumb name for this game.

Back in the present — 1000 AD — the crew has a very awkward conversation with Crono’s mother, who for whatever reason isn’t informed that her son was obliterated by a giant space tick about 16,000 years ago. Huh. Wonder why. At least the team can snag that snazzy Crono doll duplicate that they won from the fair so very long ago!

The long and the short of it is that with the egg, they’re able to travel back to the exact moment of Crono’s death… and in that paused moment, swap out his body for the doll duplicate, which is destroyed instead.

With that, Crono is saved and the team prepares for the final battle against Lavos!

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