Chrono Trigger: The rainbow shell connection

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

At various locations in 600 AD, the Crono Crew kept bumping into this “legendary explorer” named Toma who was trying to find some sort of rainbow shell. If it has all the colors, it must be the best thing ever — or so goes Final Fantasy Logic. But Toma apparently died on his adventures, and in 1000 AD his ghost is hanging around to give clues for the trio to finish his great journey.

Toma’s directions takes the crew to an island, where a weird discovery is made: Apparently this place is the old Tyranno Lair from 65 million BC that (somehow) survived. I thought it blew up. More the fool me.

Then again, more fool the developers, because they obviously didn’t think this through. Not only would no structure be left standing from 65 million years of decay and erosion, but the whole place is still lit and populated by dinos just… waiting for someone to fight them. Waiting for 65 million years. I honestly felt *bad* for them.

Too heavy to lift, the rainbow shell is left in the possession of King Guardia in 600 AD for “future generations” to enjoy.

Apparently, those future generations misplaced the rainbow shell, getting Marle’s dad — the current king — into deep trouble. That no-good chancellor is throwing another trial, this time to frame the king for getting rid of this heirloom. The Crono Crew races to find the shell in the castle and prove that the king is innocent.

Indeed, the shell is found in the basement. Square did a great job with the pacing of this quest, cutting back and forth between the trial upstairs and the frantic (if easy-as-anything) race in the basement.

The way to the trial room blocked, Marle takes an unorthodox approach and smashes her way in through the gorgeous stained glass window.

Turns out that, yup, it was definitely a frame-up. The chancellor was a descendant of the fake chancellor from 600 AD and out for some old fashioned revenge. This goes about as well for him as it did for his ancestor the first time.

After the battle and the king’s exoneration, there’s a really touching reunion between father and daughter. Marle apologizes for going off half-cocked on adventures and the king shares his wife’s final dying words and gives Marle permission to continue traveling with the Crono Crew. All in all, it’s one of the better (and easier!) quests in the late game, and a great way to tie a bow on some of the story threads early on in Chrono Trigger.

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