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Chrono Trigger Days#24, 25, and 26: Prophesies Fulfilled

Days 24-26 are really interesting narrative moments in Chrono Trigger. The party ungoes several changes, and some major plot is revealed about where the main NPCs came from and the danger before us gets much more palpable. The artists in this game show their chops with some truly beautiful moments, but honestly, the prize this time goes to the writers who introduce some plot twists I honestly did not see coming. Spoilers within.

We come back into the game in the Ocean Palace. I head back over the screens I just went through, taking the battles a bit more carefully this time so as not to have a sloppy death. I get through them, and along the way, learn the moon stone was used to create both the pendants and the machine, and can be used to create other weapons. Masa and Mune, on the other hand, are embodiments of Melchior’s hope. Hope is a strong theme in this game.

We get a CS of the Queen down at the machine rapturous about the possibility of eternal life and Schala talking about dark energy. The prophet looks on suspiciously, and an attendant comes on screen to worry that’s it’s too dangerous to go on. The Queen immediately kills him with magic, proclaiming “Zeal will have eternal glory!” You can almost hear the “Bwaa ha ha” in the background.  When I get control back, I get to the bottom of the stairs and save.  I enter a very high-tech looking elevator heading down and do a few decent fights as the elevator descends.

I get to the bottom and there’s a quick puzzle where I have to pull two levers and hit a button in the room in order to proceed.  This is followed by two rooms of lava pits and another save, cuing me that a boss battle awaits. Said boss battle is when Queen lackey Dalton summons  two golem sisters this time to deal with me. Slightly tough fight there, but we’re victorious. Dalton reappears to deal with us himself, but a flashing red light over the screen tells him that Lavos is close and he can’t miss it. Wanting to get immortality himself, he teleports away in a beam of light.

We proceed on and enter the room with the Queen and the machine. Marle tells Schala that we’re here to rescue her, but Schala is currently trying to stall the machine.  The party starts shouting for Chrono to use the knife to destroy the machine. The knife rises up from Chrono and flies into the machine and becomes a sword (I think the Masamune). Schala warns that the sword alone can’t stop Lavos, and the screen goes white except for the characters to then slowly fade to black. Man, this game does some beautiful stuff with the limited graphics it has to work with. We come back to a swirly green background with a giant black creature, presumably Lavos.  Lavos attacks and wastes the whole party in one blow. There’s another fade to black. We come back to the same scene with Lavos and the party unconscious on the ground, and a robed figure who I think is the prophet standing before us. He says, “how long I’ve waited for this moment” and reveals himself as the Magus, here to kill Lavos. Umm…what? Magus is a good guy?

A voice asks Magus if he has the strength to do it. It’s the Queen, and she goes on to knock out Schala and join Lavos by sitting beside it.  They attack Magus, but he remains standing – “I’ve endured darkness alone to beat Lavos.”  Magus then summons his power to attack Lavos, but it doesn’t appear to have any effect. The Queen offers Magus eternal life if he joins them. At that moment, Chrono rises. Marle asks him to help Schala.  I get control back and I run up to Lavos. The game cuts to a CS where Chrono approaches Lavos. We see a flashback of Janus giving us the prophesy that one of our party would die.  A beam of light from Lavos hits Chrono, and as he watches in shock, a small blue glowing sphere leaves his chest and rises up.  And then he is obliterated in the beam. Wait, did that just happen? ‘Cause it looked like Chrono just died.  We go back to the game and we see Chrono in the beam of light. Marle and Lucca yell out, and yup, I disintegrate into black ash.  Did not expect that to happen. Schala and Magus and the remaining party exit the space with the machine, and Schala teleports them all back to the surface.

This is followed by a CS of Lavos rising from the earth. It is the same image as we’ve seen in the age of the cataclysm, but in this magical time. Meteors fall from the sky and pierce the floating islands. The sky kingdom collapses to the ground. On the land, the tides rise up in a tsunami to wash the continent away. There is a beautiful shot of the wave coming up upon the continent as the people look on. It’s the destruction of the world, shown in the game. I’ve got to tell you — there are not many games willing to go this far in terms of narrative.

Marle and Lucca awaken in a hut. An elder greets them, and they all realize that Chrono is really gone. The elder explains that Melchior and Janus were sucked into black portals, and Schala disappeared after they escaped from the palace. The Epoch (our time-travel ship) washed up on shore intact, and Marle was found with the pendant, as though it was left to protect her.  I get control of the now Chrono-less party. I leave this hut and check out the surrounding village. The snow has stopped, and there are a bunch of earthbound and previously sky dwelling humans putting the pieces recovering from the shock.  I talk to these people for a while, and then a soldier announces the arrival of Lord Dalton.  It seems that Dalton took over after the Queen disappeared. He wants the Epoch for himself. He casts a spell at us and the pendant blocks it.  Then there’s a weird moment when Dalton pulls a “look out behind you” joke and then shoots us from behind. I guess that’s supposed to be funny, but it doesn’t work, and it would have been much better to have done our capture straight. Anyway, we’re knocked out and the screen goes black.

We awaken in a cell with no equipment. There’s a staircase in our cell that leads to a small balcony on the outside of the ship. It turns out that we’re on the Blackbird, the airship of the sky kingdom, flying above the land.  I go back in the cell and click around, and I eventually find an airduct. This leads to a pretty maze of dark areas with small points of light revealing bends and exits in the ducts.  When I click A on a lit spot, I can look out of the ducts to see what’s below me.  This part of the game is basically a maze where I have to find out what exits lead to what rooms. I slowly reclaim my team’s weapons and equipment, and take out increasingly powerful guards.  I eventually catch a scene of Dalton messing with the Epoch. There’s more aimless wandering and I find my way to the outside of the Blackbird a couple of times. The second time I get out there, I start randomly hitting A in the hopes something will happen and I luck out.   A golem appears to fight me, and we engage it, but it starts making these weird statements about being afraid of heights and wanting to go home. I don’t really want to fight it, but I don’t have much choice. Finally, a dark portal opens and it flees.

CS Dalton gets the Epoch started.  He flies out of the Blackbird and the party sees him fly by.  He comes around to kill us, and he shoots at us on the wing; we CS dodge the shots.  Marle then jumps from the wing on to the moving Epoch, and the rest of the party follows suit. We fight Dalton, and right after we beat him, he is sucked into a dark portal just like the one that summoned the golem earlier. We then take control of the Epoch. There’s a nice moment where the party members call out buttons for Marle (i.e. me) to hit, and of course, they do comically unexpected things such as fire lasers at the Blackbird. This causes the Blackbird to go down, and the villagers cheer as Dalton got his due.

We CS land the Epoch. Marle is obsessed with finding Chrono again. We look around the village for signs of Chrono, and we see a villager with a plant. She asks me if she should plant it, and I have two choices: burn it (with mercy) and plant it (with hope). It’s an interesting choice, but my answer is clear: plant it.  We hear a rumor that someone ended up on the north cape. We go there and there’s a blue dot on the edge of the cliff. We approach it and Magus appears. We arm to fight him, but he doesn’t engage and instead talks about the sea.  In CS, we see all of the elders (Melchior, Belthazar, Schala) gather around the machine.  They discuss how it is too dangerous for humans to control. Janus appears despite Schala’s orders for him to leave, and the screen fades to red. Lavos appears in front of them, and then gates open that teleport them to different time periods.  Melchior ends up in the past on the fiend continent; Gaspar becomes the old man at the end of time.  And Janus goes back to the past and clearly grows up to become Magus, obsessed with destroying Lavos no matter what the cost.

Back on the north cove, Magus gives us some poetic lines about Lavos’s power. He goes on to say that we should give up or suffer Chrono’s fate, and implies in doing so that Chrono was weak. Marle threatens him for that insult, and I have the choice to fight him or not. I choose not to, and that leads Marle to say that Chrono would not want us to fight him. We leave, but Magus stops us and decides to join our party.   Now with Magus, I head back to the Epoch.  We start to fly, but we immediately notice something rising up out of the water. It’s the Ocean Palace, but now it’s all black and crackling with electricity, and it’s called the Black Omen.  A portal opens to all times and the Black Omen appears in all of them.  The party makes some lines about feeling drawn to the Omen, so I land there.  I fight my way past some laser turrets and enter the door into the ship. Inside, the Queen appears. She says Lavos is resting for a return 14,000 years in the future.  She summons a giant mutant and it wipes the floor with me.  When I reload, I decide to go to the End of Time to save and I call it a day.

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  1. Patrick says

    There’s a tradition in Toriyama character-designed arcs for villains to become allies against a greater foe, fairly simplistic when you think about it but practically mind-bending for a 10-year-old used to black and white dialectics, and it’s hella badass as well. The vibe when Vegeta joined against Frieza is similar to the vibe when Magus joins, but Magus is playable rather than vicariously watched, and he’s a great character to play. Janus, the god with two faces…

    Also the initial tour of Zeal is one of the best passive-interactive sequences ever, even better than the start of Half-Life, in my opinion.

  2. admin says

    Nice call on the Janus reference. Not sure how I didn’t catch that.

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