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Chrono Trigger Day#13, 14, and 15: The Quest for the Stone

Next three days of travel are time hopping questing.  The plot of the road I’ve gone done runs all over the place, and involves more and more challenging opponents. Old characters return and brand new party members are introduced. The game retains a host of interesting narrative touches and small set-piece mechanics, and I even think I’m seeing a full-fledged theme here. If you haven’t already gleaned this, Chrono Trigger is very, very good, and you shouldn’t be waiting for me to finish these if you haven’t played it yet. Buy it. Spoilers within.

I pick things up back on the bridge, but this time I’m successful against the big creature at the end and have access to the south of the continent.  There are villages over the bridge, so I start talking to people. There’s  a bit of talk about how Sir Cyrus disappeared, a bit of talk about a frog creature some saw drinking, and a lot of talk about this unlikely hero Tata who had the hero badge and went off to a magic cave to find Masamune, a sword that can supposedly defeat the Fiendlord.  I see two different inns with two different prices, so it’s clear it pays to shop around. I also meet a family that’s looking for jerky, which tells me I could have chosen not to give the jerky to the soldiers. There is just a ton of minor interesting choice in this game.  I’m not finding the cave right away, so I go back to the End of Time to save before I keep looking.

I go back after saving to retrace my steps and find clues in the residences that take me to the mountains.  A valid complaint about this game is that locations on the map are anything but obvious, so while the game does use that in interesting moments (see below), there are a lot of times you could wander aimlessly just because you don’t realize that one random spot on the mountain is actually the place you need to be.  Anyway, I head into the mountains, which have a weird terrain — green paths with these strips of black on the ground that I can’t identify as a real terrain.  It’s another maze like set of paths. As I head up a random ladder, I see a kid run down screaming and exit off the map. Was that the “hero”? Something is chasing the kid, and the next thing that happens is a fight.  When I win, the boy appears again to say that there’s a tougher fight coming, and when he leaves, there is.  That boss is a tough one, but I make it through.

There are lots more fights up the mountains and the maze gets more difficult as there’s a waterfall that drops me back down to the bottom when I get too close. I fall for that twice.  Eventually, I find the cave and the save point right outside of it tells me I’m in for a fight inside. Saved and healed, I enter.  Inside, there’s a kid (Masa) running around, and deeper in, there’s a sword in a stone.  When I approach the sword, the kid blocks me and asks if I’ve come for it. I decide to tell the truth and say yes.  A second child (Mune) appears from behind the sword, and they call me a buffoon for trying to get it to make myself a hero, since how one uses a sword is more important than the sword itself. The kids decide to test me, and turn into two fiends. We fight, and I take down one of them, which immediately takes down the other, as they are powerless without each other.  They decide to fight me for real, and they form a whole demon boss.  That’s a hard fight with a mid-fight change, but I win.

When I beat the demon, it becomes the children again. They ask if I’ll be a proper owner — are they the sword? The sword disappears and is replaced by a sword fragment. The kids then tell me they will take me to bottom of the mountain, and we are borne by wind up and off the screen and reappear on the map. I head back to the village where I find Tata, who gives me the Hero badge. He says he found the badge when it was dropped by a drunken frog, and then he acted like he was the hero because everyone treated him like that.  Talking to loads of people reveals that the frog is in the cursed woods. I had gone to the cursed woods before in my exploration, but I avoided the battles because there was no reason to fight. This time, I fight everything just in case. More interesting stuff — enemies that attack their allies to heal, enemies that have a riposte attack when you hit them. The variety is great. I clear the woods and after a little sniffing around, I find a hidden entrance behind a bush.

The entrance leads to a cave dwelling underground, and in that dwelling is Frog. Frog says that he can’t fight the Fiendlord because he can’t wield Masamune even when I reveal I have the Hero Badge. When we finish talking, I notice a sparkle on the screen, and clicking there, I find the other half of the sword. Robo deciphers a word on the sword “Melchior” who was a character that I encountered in Medina.  It seems that he’s connected to the sword, so I bet he can repair it. I head back to the End of Time to save, and then go to Medina village. There’s a little bit of wandering around, and then I find Melchior’s house. Melchior tells me that he can recreate the sword, but he needs a stone from a long time ago. I remember seeing that there was a portal to the ancient past in the End of Time, so it’s back through the portal and then to a new time period in the distant past.

When the spinning vortex clears, it reveals my party manifesting over a hole, and we do a classic cartoon realize-there’s-no-ground and drop.  When we land, we immediately see a bunch of half-human/half-dinosaurs.  We fight them and they are tough. As soon as we beat then, more show up. But then we cut to an anime CS where a primitive looking woman shows up and hands them their asses. When the CS ends, we see the primitive woman’s sprite come on screen and kick away a few opponents before disappearing. I fight and defeat the remaining enemies. The girl returns and reveals her name is Ayla. She respects strength and thus likes Chrono, but does not understand that we’re from the future.  We mention we need a stone, and Ayla says there are many stones in her village.  She runs ahead to take us to the village, and we follow, working through several fights on the way.

We exit this area to the map and navigating the map shows us a village with a bunch of buildings. I visit the huts where I am told that the chief has the stone, and the chief turns out to be Ayla.  When we find Ayla, she takes us to a festival, which is a very pretty scene where NPC dancers and musicians. It’s very nice early Nintendo art. Ayla tells me to enjoy myself, but I can’t really find much to interact with meaningfully. I talk to Lucca who gets drunk, and Marle who goes to dance. Ayla tells me that her village (the Ioka) are the fighters, but there’s another village (the Laruba) who hide. At that point, Ayla offers me a challenge to prove my strength and when I accept, it turns out to be a drinking contest where I have to hit A as fast as I can. I remember my Atari Decathlon and I rock it. When I outdrink Ayla, she gives me the stone I need, but she offers me one more drink, and when I CS drink it, we all pass out.

My party wakes up in the field and Lucca observes that someone stole the Gate Key, which means we can’t get back to the future. There are reptite tracks around, which indicates they are the culprit. I go to find Ayla who’s asleep and whom I have to click several times to wake up.  Ayla joins my party to retrieve the key, and I leave Marle behind. It’s interesting to me that the only other human members of my party are all women. Lucca, Ayla, Marle — Frog and Robo are male (at least I think they are male), but they aren’t human. Anyway, we wander around the village again looking for information.  They reveal the reptites are in the forest maze, and that someone named Kino is missing. Taking the hint, it’s back to the map to go to the Forest Maze.

In the Maze, we find Kino. Kino reveals that he stole the Gate Key, and that he did it because he was jealous of how Ayla liked me. Ayla punches Kino and tells hem that Ayla likes Kino best.  She then sends him back to the village to keep him out of trouble, and when he leaves, she frets that when she dies or has a child, Kino will be chief. It’s an interesting narrative moment, both in the complexity the characters show and in Ayla’s last line. There is a definite Henry V kind of theme here about the responsibilities of the powerful and the restrictions they have. It’s quite deep for a JRPG, but between Marle’s story, the king’s questions about his age, Frog’s response to his failures at his duty, and now Ayla, it’s hard to ignore.

Once the conversations are over, we follow the animal tracks into the maze and wander around for a while, fighting, finding treasure, and getting lost. Still lost when the subway stops and that’s the end of this post.

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2 Responses

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  1. Patrick says

    Best parts of the game are coming up. Wait until you meet Magus, it’ll get interesting.

  2. Romero says

    I can’t wait to continue reading about your experience. This is my favorite RPG of all time. The best is yet to come.

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