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Chrono Trigger Days#21, 22, and 23: The Wings of Time

My next three days of Chrono Trigger bring the plot closer to closure, although I’m not sure I’m near the end yet. A key part of the game changes to a more final form, and some secondary characters are starting to rise up and become major plot elements. More really good fights  and more inventive in types and combinations of enemies. But at the same time, the game suffers again from interface problems that make it a little more confusing than it should be. Spoilers within.

I left off heading back to the End of Time at a loss of things to do, so I decide to retrace my steps through Zeal. Eventually, I end up back at the Palace where I see Schala enter a locked door using a pendant she has that looks exactly like our pendant.  After she goes through the door, I try my pendant, but it’s no go. A bystander suggests that I have may have to charge it at the Mammon machine, so I quickly head back to the machine. Hitting A in front of it causes me to commune in front of it and the whole screen glows as the pendant is charged. I head back to the door Schala went through, and now my pendant opens it so that I can follow.

Inside is a throne room with several people including Schala, Dalton, and someone I presume is the Queen. She asks who we are, and a prophet in the room says that we are the harbingers of destruction. The Queen says we outsiders should not be allowed to interfere, and the royal group disappears as Dalton summons a golem to kill us. The golem is a great enemy — it mimics your attacks with its own version of your attack, but since not all of its attacks are equally powerful, you have to time your own attacks carefully to minimize the damage to the party. Very fun.  Dalton shows up with the golem is done to capture us. He traps us with a spell and promises not to kill us but to subject us to all forms of torture. We fade to black with the party in deep trouble.

We come back trapped inside the machine. Schala appears with Janos and they save us. Schala wants us to rescue the Guru of Life (also known as Melchoir), who was  imprisoned on the Mountain of Woe for resisting the Queen. The Prophet then shows up to stop us, but Schala stands between us. The Prophet agrees to let us live if we show him how we got here. We cut to showing the Prophet and Schala the gate back on the earth that got us here. The Prophet then tells Schala to put us in the gate and seal us in. We enter and she casts a spell which puts a pink pyramid over the gate.

We exit into a different cave, and I have no idea where I am. When we arrive, Marle suddenly remembers seeing more of those locked door our pendant in the future world, and we get a CS of some fiends blocking just such a door. I appears the future is my next stop, when I figure out where I am. Turns out I’m past in the distant past. I head to the village and say hi to Kino. I go to try to get some magic water to heal my HP and MP, but they are out and they tell me that’s the first time that has ever happened. Hmm… Anyway, I go back to the gate in the Mystic Mountains and return to the End of Time to heal and save. There, the old man tells me what I need is the Wings of Time for freer travel.  I don’t know what that means, but this game doesn’t throw things around idly, so I’ll keep my eyes out for it. We head back to the future to find some doors.

I don’t remember where any of these doors are, so I’m going to have to just explore the whole space.  I have to win the bike race again to get back across the map, but I do it handily. I fight my way back through Area 16 and that just shows me how far I’ve come, but everything here is simple this time around. I check a bunch of buildings and find a bunch of doors, but none of them reveal anything more than treasure chests.  I revisit the dome dwellers to see that they are growing the seed I found, and while I’m there I save. Finally, I remember that I never really found anything in that abandoned sewer area, so maybe there’s something to see there.

I go inside and get through all the fight I got through before, but end up at the same dead-end. However, this time I do some more exploration of some things that look like hallways and I realize that I just missed a hallway here because of the weird use of the faux 3d-ish perspective.  It was obscuring a hallway that I now find. Going down that hall takes me to a whole new part of the space. I see a joke between two enemies where they talk about how bad they’re going to beat me and then one of them runs as soon as they see me.  A few more fights and I exit the sewers on a new continent. There’s a Keeper’s Dome on the map so that seems like a good place to check out. Inside, I find another nu creature who ignores me and a magic door. I use the pendant to enter.

The door reveals a long hallway with several sparkles. Walking up to the sparkles starts a message. The messages tell me that Belthasar recorded these, and that he was the Guru of Reason before a disaster destroyed the magical era. He goes on to say that Lavos sat in the earth’s core feeding until summoned by Magus in 600 AD, and that Lavos is the parasite of the planet. Belthasar also created the Wings of Time. At the end of the hallway is another magic door. Entering the door I find a spaceship which must be the Wings of  Time. I circle it looking for a way in, but I can’t find a way in. After searching for a while, I try to leave the room, but then the nu shows up again. It reveals itself as Balthasar and gives us a seat so that we can use the Wings of Time to travel.

We enter the ship and the bottom screen transitions to an interface where I can pick an era to go to. It’s a pretty interface by the way — very steampunk. I choose the magical era of prehistory. An anime CS triggers where we see Chrono power up and launch the ship.  We then see the ship move through time in-game and head back to the magical era.  I leave the ship on the map and head up to a cave I’ve seen on this map before. Inside there’s a ladder that leads me to a wooded area. I find a village of the Earthbound, people without magic who are basically the slaves of the sky people of Zeal.  These are the people who have been building the Ocean Palace. Exploring their cave dwelling, I find a cave that seems to lead to the Mountain of Woe. I enter and there are a bunch of hard fights first against lizards and then an imp and lizard combination. The imp/lizard set is kind of unforgivingly hard — the imp is impossible to kill so you have to take out the lizards first.  It’s compounded by the fact that the imp at the top of the screen and blocked by the interface — grr.  At the end of the fight, the imp escapes (grr…) I follow it out to the Mountain of Woe.

The Mountain is a weird location — it has a strange filter over the screen that blurs the edges. It’s a LONG way up the mountain through a series of rooms connected by chains. Lots of fights and more treasure chests. Eventually, I end up on a huge chain that leads up to the Mountain.  The sky darkens as I approach the mountain. I enter a quite pretty cave with a crystal in the center of the screen. Marle says the crystal contains Melchoir, but then the crystal fades away and a giant robot like monster appears.  I lose this one three times because I can’t get the strategy. It’s the hardest fight in the game so far, but the trick is that the monster does a ton of damage at the beginning of every turn to the whole party, so you have to hold out and do enough damage to its arms (the parts that do damage) to disable them and then slam the head repeatedly before the arms regrow. Challenges but it feel great when you win.

When you beat the big robot thing, the crystal returns and Melchoir is freed. Of course, he doesn’t know us because he hasn’t met us yet.  He tells us that the machine is driving the Queen mad. When we finish talking, the Mountain collapses and we flee back to the caves. There, Melchoir tells us that Lavos is consuming the energy of the planet. Schala and Janos then show up to help. (Janos gets a great line about how disgusting the Earthling area is. Nice to see that character touch.) Schala says the Ocean Palace is complete, which is a terrible thing, but nothing will happen unless Schala starts it. Dalton then shows up and beats up Melchoir and Janos, mocking their ineffectiveness. He’s here to either take Schala back or kill her. We threaten to fight Dalton, but Dalton reminds us he has no problem killing Schala, and we stand down.  He disappears with Schala and Janos.  Melchoir is distraught, but we tell him that we will take up the job of stopping the Queen. I get control back and leave the cave.

I don’t really know where to go, so the castle seems like a good choice. There I find Dalton and I realize to my horror I did not heal up or save since that last giant fight. But Dalton turns out to be pretty easy to beat compared to the last big fight I had, and some careful healing gets me through without too much trouble. When we beat him, he complains about not having reached immortality and he disappears into gate he forms.  I follow through the gate and it takes me to the Ocean Palace. I do a quick save and head into the Palace.

I get a CS when I enter that shows the Queen and company down in the depths of the Ocean Palace with the Mammon machine. The Queen tells Schala to put the machine up to maximum. She doesn’t respond, and the Queens threatens her. Schala does something, and the Queen admires the activity of the machine, but the Prophet looks at her suspiciously and I sense something is up.  I get control back to wander the series of rooms that is the top floor of the palace. There are lots of elementary enemies that can only be killed with a special kind of elemental magic.  There are three switches on this floor I have to hit, and when I do, I unlock a new door that leads downstairs.  There’s a sequence of rooms and staircases going down with a fight in each room. I’m kind of cocky since my last fight and Chrono Trigger proves again it’s not a grind, because when I stop paying attention here, I lose my whole party in a fight I should win. Well played, Chrono Trigger.  I’ll beat you new time.

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