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Chrono Trigger Day#2: Yakra Goes Down

I’m only playing this game on my subway commute, so Day 2  is only about a half-an-hour of play, but these brief two sessions (one going from and one returning home) of Chrono Trigger take me to the end of the first dungeon and show the complexity of combat. This game is surprisingly not easy.  I’m wandering around a lot trying to figure where things are and what they do, but it’s more intuitive than I expect. I admit it — I’m having fun.  Spoilers within.

So I pick up in the middle of the dungeon. There’s some clear design to the space, but it’s not yet making sense to me. The main room is blocked by a bunch of spikes that I can’t walk past.  There must be some way to remove them, but I don’t know what it is. There’s also a one-way door right off of the main room (it’s a collapsing stairway) that forces me to go a long way around to get back to the main room. I wander around fighting, but I’m just killing things and I’m not finding a way to get rid of the spikes. These battles are also quite hard, so I’m draining life and potions as I go. It doesn’t help that the monsters respawn when I travel between parts of the dungeon. It’s a clearly losing formula.

I’m about to leave the dungeon altogether to get more potions when I notice a different smaller door blocked by spikes. There’s a black skull on the wall near it. When I hit A in front of the skull, the spikes disappear. Eureka!  Inside the door are a couple of captured palace guards that are happy to be released. But I don’t have time for that — I have to find the skull that gets me into the main room. I go back to the main room, but there’s no skull in there. Going back through the maze reveals the design — the skull is in a room right past the collapsing staircase, but because of the staircase, you can’t go right back to the main room and have to go all the way around. I do, I fight a battle in the main room, and then I go through a door to a new hallway.

The hallway is full of enemies and they are kicking my ass. I have figured out that because of the grid that the game screen consists of and how enemies initiate attacks, it’s possible to dodge attackers with quick maneuvering rather than fight, so I conserve some health with clever footwork. Nonetheless, the battles I have to fight take my last potions and leave me pretty weak. There’s a save point at the end of the hallway in front of a door, and sensing a boss, I save. When I enter the room, there’s text saying that it’s time for Leann to leave this world. Walking forward we find the Queen and the chancellor. The Queen runs for cover and the chancellor makes a few idle threats before shedding his disguise and becoming Yakra, a big demon. Boss fight begin!

Yakra is a significantly tougher monster than I fought up to now, and my health is quite low. All I have left are Athenian Water items which resurrect dead allies.  I misplan the first time through and Yakra slaughters me. I reload, and learn to use my combos. I haven’t been paying a lot of attention to my tech, but there are a lot of special attacks that involve two party members and those do MUCHO damage and cost magic points (mana, you know the deal). I start hammering with those while strategically (yes, I meant that word literally) keeping my party members alive, and I squeak by. It’s quite a satisfying fight.

The Queen then thanks us for saving her, thanks the Frog specifically, and offers to take us back to the castle. I open a couple of chests in the room, one of which reveals the kidnapped chancellor and the other an item (mid-ether) that I don’t have any idea about.  We then transition back to the castle.  The King is happy that the Queen is returned, but no one knows what happened to the girl they thought was the Queen. The Frog announces that he is disgraced because he failed to keep the Queen safe, and leaves before anyone can stop him. The chancellor is upset that the villains weren’t punished and, hilariously, demands a tougher justice system.  Not much else going on here, so I leave the castle to try to find Marle again.

On the way out, I see Frog again who tells Jason that he has the potential of being a great swordsman, and then he runs off again.  After that, I wander all over the map fruitlessly. I fight my way through the forest in my crippled state. I sleep in the inn to heal up (finally). I chat with the NPCs in the inn’s bar — which leads to a weird bug where the position of two NPCs get me trapped and unable to move for about a minute when I walk into a wrong spot.  I go to the market and potion up for real.  Check the canyon and nothing. I’m leaving the canyon as my train reaches my station, so I close my DS and call it a session.

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