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Chrono Trigger Days#7, 8, and 9: Domo Arigato, Mr. Robo

Lots of quick days of Chrono Trigger over the holidays. I make my way through the future, and it’s an interesting bunch of RPG elements. Some puzzles, some challenging battles, and some standard weird JRPG narrative. But the game continues to be awesome in many ways, and just doesn’t stop busting out interesting new mechanics. Spoilers within.

Rat caught, I use the new code to go through the locked door. There’s a quick fight in the new room, and then it’s an interesting little maze to get to a supercomputer. There, Lucca finds evidence on a computer that there’s another time portal at the other side of the map. Marle hits a button on the supercomputer and sees the history of Guardia. In a CS, I see the map of a future Guardia as a fiery pit opens and the land is destroyed by volcanoes and the big demon these volcanoes unleash.  It’s a beautiful set of 8-bit effects. Having seen this, Marle is horrified and asks if we agree to help prevent this tragedy. I agree (how could I say no?), but the first thing to do is return to our own time.

We exit to head to the gate, and run into the people who’ve been hanging out in the dome. In a great narrative moment, the people don’t care about how their past can be fixed; they just want to know about the food.  We give them the seed and they promise to grow it, and that spawns a kind of cheesy discussion of hope. They then give us a jumpbike key that will allow us to cross the next set of ruins quickly.  We exit to the world map.

Before we head off to the gate, I decide to try taking care of the abandoned sewers location. Someone in the game told me there was something there, but I can’t remember what. When we enter, we’re immediately spotted by some minion that runs off to report us.  There’s then a cutscene where two creatures discuss the bridge being down, and then run off. I follow, and that takes me to the start of a long hallway. There’s a note from some fisherman that tells me I need to be quiet here. I start walking down the winding hall, and there are all these objects along the way. I click A on a key to pick it up, and that causes monsters to appear in the nearby water. Oh, I get it, quiet. I do trip up one more time on the hallway where there’s something that looks like a save point that also summons monsters. I totally fell for that one, and it was clever. However, the end of the hallway appears to be a dead end . I look around for a while, but finding nothing, I give up and head back to the map.

Back on to mission, I head to the next set of ruins: Site 32. Entering, I see the jumpbike, but then a bunch of bikers show up. Turns out I can only get to the other side of the ruins if I beat the biker leader in a race. I accept the race, and that takes me to a whole new mechanic where I see the bikes in a more side-by-side perspective. We’re racing around each other, largely attached by a string, so we’re always on the same screen trading places. There’s a boost power-up that lets me get ahead for a moment. This is really fun. It’s a timing puzzle, but it’s yet another fresh mechanic in this game, and it takes a little bit of actual skill. I lose once, but then I pull it through.  And that takes me to the other side of the map.

Once across, I walk to the first dome I see. There’s a computer in there, but I’m attacked as some as I try to access it. I beat the opponents handily, but when I go back to the computer, I can’t seem to do anything.  With nothing else to do, I leave this dome and head to the other dome on this side. Entering that dome, we find a robot. I lose control for an animated cut scene where we find a robot and Lucca pulls out a screwdriver to fix it. Then I’m back on the game screen to do the same thing. Not sure why we needed that animation — kind of just a waste of time. Lucca works on the robot and fixes it.  As she does, Marle and Lucca discuss the robots, which leads to Marle’s awesome JRPG line: “You really feel for them.”  There’s a montage of Lucca working, and then we awaken Robo.  Robo is all formal with Lucca until Lucca tells him to stop. There’s a running theme of formality in this game. Robo is surprised not to see more robots and people around, but is ready to follow the orders Lucca programmed into it and joins the party.

The gate should be here, but with the power off, it is locked away from us.  Robo reveals that we can turn the power back on in the other dome, but someone has to stay here to open the door when the power comes on. I have to choose to leave behind Marle or Lucca. Marle’s a better fighter, but I take Lucca just in case I find more tech stuff to work on. Lucca, Robo, and I head north to the other dome on this side of the map.

We go inside and Robo activates the computer, which opens two elevators. One leads to the lab and the other to a factory; there’s a warning that disrupting the lab could be dangerous. I take the factory first. At the bottom of the elevator, there’s a conveyor belt of robots.  I can’t walk along the walkways around the conveyor belts because there are oil drums blocking the path, so I end up having to get on the conveyor belt. The belt pulls me into a series of three large pods, and in each pod, I have a fight with an increasing number of enemies. This is a draining set of fights because I can’t heal between them. Once I get past the three pods, I’m deposited off the conveyor belt on a platform; the conveyor belt keeps going past this. I run around on this new set of platforms fighting bugs and finding a code for a crane.  I then use the crane to remove the oil drums that were blocking my path.

I get back on the conveyor belt to get back to the other side of the map. There are now robots on the belt, but when I bump into them, the conveyor belt arm picks us up and drops me back to the three pods to fight again. This happens a couple of times before I figure out how this works. If I run into the robots on the belt, the crane picks me up and puts me back at the beginning. So I have to run backwards on the belt to avoid the robots and if I do, I get to the other side without the crane stopping me. Clever little puzzle there as well.  Now that the oil drums are moved, I can get to the final rooms, and there I pick up a new sword, and get a code to unlock a door. I don’t know what I need the code for, but I figure it’s important since I had to solve an extensive puzzle to get it, and so I head back up.

Now I head down to the lab. There are a bunch of acid creatures that take almost no damage from anything but Chrono’s wind attack. I disable some lasers that are blocking my path, and I get new weapons for Lucca and Robo.  I head further down and find a special locked door. My code opens the door and we find the power center. Robo turns the power back on, but that starts an emergency lock down. We run out of the power center past some closed metal doors; Robo holds the last one open so we can get through.

We then head upstairs to try to get out, but we are stopped by an group of robots. Their entrance is patterned to almost be choreographic — they spin and pose in a synchronized series of movements. Robo recognizes them and tries to talk to them, but they rebuff him, saying that he’s a traitor for defying his order to keep intruders out of the dome. They beat him up, and throw him into a tunnel. Lucca flips out and threatens the other robots; fight ensues. I lose the fight the first time, but then come back and win it the second (after replaying through a bunch of what you saw above — remember you have to go back to save points in this game). Once the fight is won, Lucca pulls Robo out of the shoot. He’s almost done for, but Lucca tells me to drag him back to the other dome to see if we can repair him.

We cut back to the map, where I see Chrono and Lucca slowly drag Robo back to the southern dome. There’s a fairly long sequence in that dome where Lucca frets about the damage Robo took and starts the repairs. Lucca eventually fixes Robo, and when Lucca asks what Robo wants to do next, he reveals that he’s never been asked that before and wants to come with us. Power on, we go through the now-open door and get to the portal. We go through the portal, and after spinning-vortex-transition, we end up in a weird set of rooms on a solid black background. The rooms are full of portals and gates. My subway ride is ending about now, so I save and decide I’ll figure out where I am next time.

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