Skip to content

Chrono Trigger Days#16 and 17: Enter the Magus

Long days 16 and17 and we cover a lot of narrative ground. There’s a series of time jumps, the accomplishment of one quest, some decent backstory on a party member, and the introduction of a major set of opponents. Along the way are some of the most beautiful retro-graphic animations and scenes I have seen, and fights that are pure, unadulterated fun to beat. Didn’t I tell you how you should have bought this game already? Spoilers within.

Where last we left our heroes, we were down in the reptite woods in the ancient past of 65 million BC looking for the stolen Gate Key. (You have to love JRPG plots.)  We finish our way through the forest and get to a cave location. Inside, we quickly get into a fight with some shark-looking reptites who borrow up from the ground. When we beat them (which we do, handily), the holes they made remain, and since there are no other exits from the room, I click on one, which causes the party to jump in. This leads to a series of small rooms with hole-exits and lots of little fights. I’m avoiding battles as I can, but it’s not that easy given the size of these rooms. I finally arrive at what looks like a bottom level room, mostly because there’s a bigger reptite for me to defeat there, and because there’s a save point, which I quickly take advantage of.

There’s a staircase up here and I take it. I then hear an unmarked voice say how it’s surprised that apes could make something so advanced. (Prejudiced, much?) Turns out it’s Azala, the reptite leader, holding our Gate Key. Ayla and Azala seem to know each other and have a bit of posturing dialogue. Azala asks what the Gate Key does; I figure this is not good knowledge for my enemy to have and I choose not to tell him. I do wonder what would have happened if I had told him though. Anyway, he summons Neela,  a sub-boss, for me to fight. This is  a GOOD encounter. You have to time lightning attacks to deplete the boss’s defenses with other attacks that do damage. It’s the kind of juggling fight that makes menu-combat fun. We eventually win, and Azala flees, leaving the key behind. Ayla makes some fist-thumping kind of self-congratulations, but then she gets sick (maybe she’s still hung-over), and we transition back to the village.

In the market, I use the collections of feather and horns and such I’ve been getting in this time period to buy some slick weapons.  Once I have the new weapons, I head back to the Mystic Mountain, leaving Ayla behind to take care of her people. We find the gate still hovering over a cliff, and we jump in. We return to the End of Time, where we heal up and save.  I notice that the portal the old man told me not to go to has changed, and when I approach it, he tells me that it goes to the moment the world was destroyed. That doesn’t sound like a great place to visit right now, especially since I have the stone I need to repair the Masamune (again, got to love this JRPG story). I head back to the portal room and jump back to Medina to find Melchior. I go to his house and show him the stone. There’s a fairly long scene where Melchior takes the stone, and he and Robo (who’s in my party right now) work on repairing it. I have control through this scene, but there’s not much to do, so I just watch them work. The sword is repaired, and so now I have to go back to Frog to give it to him.

I head back to Guardia and run down to the Cursed Woods where Frog lives, avoid all the fights I can. Frog is surprised to see the sword whole and asks for a night to think things over. The game then transitions to an in-game CS where we’re in the castle and we see Sir Cyrus (the knight everyone in this time period keeps talking about) telling the King that he is going to reclaim the Hero Badge from the Frog King. He and his page Glenn travel over the map to a mountain location. There, they fight a totally new Frog monster (I was fooled, by the way; I thought he was going after my boy) and it’s clear this is a flashback.  When we arrive at the fight, we see the Magus with two of his generals facing off against Cyrus and Glenn. Cyrus has apparently just lost his sword, and he’s telling Glenn to flee. Magus casts some NASTY looking magic on Cyrus, and wow does he die. Glenn hasn’t gotten away yet, and the Magus threatens him to step up and fight. Glenn says nothing and the Generals mock him for his cowardice. They then cast a spell on Glenn to make him more resemble his true nature (a Frog, perchance?) and Glenn falls off of the plateau.

CS over, it’s the next day, and Frog wonders if he has the courage to fight, but then tells the party he’s on board with going to the Magic Cave. We head as a party back to the east where the Magic Cave is. When we get there, there’s a new in-game CS where we see Glenn and Cyrus’s relationship over time. Little-boy Glenn is surrounded by bullies — little-boy Cyrus fights them off. When Cyrus confronts him, Glenn says he doesn’t want to fight because he doesn’t want to get hit. Cyrus calls him too soft. Flash-forward several years and Cyrus is telling Glenn he’s joining the knights. Glenn won’t join him, even though Cyrus insists Glenn is the better sword-fighter, because Glenn doesn’t have the nerve.  There’s a nice shot of the sunset over the bridge to end this moment. Flash forward to Cyrus’s death where Glenn is in fact turned into Frog. The scene ends with Frog lying unconscious at the bottom of the mountain as the discarded Hero Badge floats by in the river. There’s nothing super original about this storyline, but hand it to Chrono Trigger for taking the time to develop this character and for the nice in-game CS graphics.

Anyway, Frog declares that he will kill the Magus, and we cut to an anime CS where Frog wields the sword and summons a pillar of light that splits the mountain open.  That followed by an in-game CS where we see the same thing happen again except cooler; we actually get a view of the map with a giant pillar of light exploding from the cave location. This opens a new cave, and inside are a set of hard, fun fights.  We work our way through to the other side of the cave where we find a dead soldier with a tip about a future enemy called a juggler. When we exit the cave, we’re on another continent in front of a new location, the Fiendlord Keep.  There’s a great beauty shot of the sprawling castle as we approach it.  We go inside. Once in, we explore the two wings of the keep.  We encounter a lot of creepy children very similar to the creepy nuns back in the beginning. There’s a moment where we see people from the past (my mom, the King, etc.) telling us to go back home. There are no fights, but there’s a bat that’s suspiciously following me around the keep.  A search of the castle reveals nothing to fight.

As I head back to the first room, Ozzie (a fiend general of Magus) appears.  He tells us that Magus is busy and we’ll have to deal with him instead. Then he flees. We retrace our steps through both wings of the keep, and now there be fighting. At the end of one wing is a throne room with a monster called Flea who takes form from the bat that was following us. We seem to defeat Flea very quickly when we show up, but then Flea reappears to threaten us some more. The dialogue here is weird — Flea appears to be a woman, but conversation between Flea and Marle indicates that Flea is actually a man in woman’s clothing. I will admit that a transvestite was not what I expected to encounter in Chrono Trigger, especially in a minor one-shot sub-boss. Flea takes us into this space background and we have a HARD fight, maybe the hardest so far, which I win through a careful juggling of healing and status clearing spells.  We go back to the other wing and have a similarly difficult fight (although the tactics are different) with a much less strange sub-boss called Slash. Two fights done, I take advantage of a save point before continuing.

We head back to the first room and there we find a sparkling spot that turns out to teleport us to a new part of the keep. There are a few increasingly difficult fights before we reach Ozzie. When we reach him, Ozzie calls for Flea and Slash, but when they don’t show up, he runs. We chase him into a room with a series of vertical conveyor belts with blades on them. The blades rise and lower, and when they reach their lowest point, they hurt your party. It takes me a few tries to figure this out because the feedback on the blades is weird, but you have to cross the conveyors when the blades are at their highest point to avoid damage. When we get past the blades, Ozzie runs. The next room is a strange, side-scrolling like level where we running up a series of dark, cobwebby ramps.  It’s vaguely Donkey Kong-ish, if Kong were spooky. On this ramp, I finally fight some jugglers, which are basically opponents that you need to alternate physical and magical attacks to kill.  There’s an annoying problem where the interface can sometimes obscure opponents when they are at the top of the screen, but otherwise the fights are decently challenging but not too bad.

We leave this room and enter a normal game view again. There’s a winding hall that leads to Ozzie, but when we try to get to him, he pulls a lever that opens a pit underneath us. That drops us into a room where we fight some skeletons and then have to find the sparkle spot that will teleport us back to the room with Ozzie. (Some of the sparkles in the room turn into little wisp monsters we have to fight, while others are save points.) We repeat this cycle five times: Ozzie drops us in pit, we teleport back to Ozzie. When we finally reach Ozzie on the other side, he runs again.  Then next room is another side-scroller, and that room is followed by a long hallway where increasingly difficult baddies (including lots of jugglers – not quite sure why I needed an explicit tip on these guys, by the way) come up from the floor to fight us.  There are three of those fights, and then a bunch more fights as more baddies ambush us from behind statues, until we finally reach Ozzie’s throne room.

Ozzie tells us that Magus has been summoning Lavos while we’ve been running around the keep. Ozzie then puts a shield up, and the fight begins. The shield is pretty impenetrable and we take damage when we hit it, but then I notice there are all of these pulleys in the room I can also target. When I hit them all, Ozzie drops into a pit and that’s the end of the fight. Huh. That was a bit anti-climactic. Marle points that out as well, so at least I’m not alone in that feeling. I guess that was supposed to be a comic moment.

Anyway, we save and exit the room. This leads to a long side-scrolling staircase where I outrun a bunch of bats that are chasing me. When I exit that room, we enter a totally dark space with chanting. Small lights pop up to frame my way as I walk forward. You have got to hand it to this game for the way it creates mood so effectively with this graphic style. The game cuts to a CS of Frog walking forwards as the lights pop on to reveal circle in front of him where Magus stands. This is again repeated by a much more gorgeous in-game version of the same circle appearance. I mean, it’s a really beautiful screen with an intricate glowing magic circle in the middle. I am honestly not sure why they wasted money on the anime CS scenes where the in-game ones are SO good. Still, I bow to you, Chrono Trigger.

Magus fights us, and GODDAMN that is a hard fight. It’s all about juggling health and attacks, and I resurrect every member of my party at some point. I barely win it on the first try, and it is OSSIM. When we win, Magus tells us that he is simply summoning Lavos; he didn’t create Lavos himself. But now Lavos comes, and the screen starts to pixelate and flicker as though the cartridge were failing. It’s a nice effect. The static gets worse until we eventually fade to black … and that is where my subway stops, so I’ll leave you hanging at this cliff until next time.

Posted in Hardcore.

Tagged with .

One Response

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. MMoi says

    Anime CS are also obviously an add to DS version (could not have been done on 16-bit). They seem pretty useless however.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.