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Chrono Trigger Days#30, 31, and 32: Beyond Death Mountain

Days 30-32 of Chrono Trigger bring me right up to the edge of the final battle. It’s a lot of clean-up, but the clean-up is filled with both good battles and lots of terrific narrative. This game is incredibly tight; there’s almost no quest in the game that doesn’t connect to a larger objective or advance a party member in a meaningful way. There is no grind in this game, just interesting gameplay the whole way through. Spoilers within.

I left off just getting my swank helmets from Melchior, and I decide that it’s time to try to actually find Death Mountain. It’s more searching through time, but wouldn’t you know it — it was literally right next to Belthazar’s dome in the future time. That was awfully silly of me.  I go to the mountain and it’s a snowy landscape. I get about 25 steps up the hill before a wind blows all of my characters off of the screen. I try a couple more times without avail, so I head back to Belthazar to see if he has more info. When I talk to him, he approves of my doll and then sends some programs up into the mountain to help me. When he finishes, he asks me to put the construct he’s inhabiting to rest. I have the choice to turn it off or not; I feel weird about effectively helping Belthazar commit suicide, but I decide to accede to his wishes. It’s a very simple moment — the construct goes from snoring to not. I leave to return to Death Mountain.

When I get there, I see that the one of the program characters (these little white things they use all over this game) is sitting on the path up the mountain. I click on it, and it turns into a tree and tells me I can hide behind the tree when the wind gets strong.  I’m not really sure how to use these trees, so I look it up online. (I figure I’m just going to experiment until I figure out what “stand behind” means, and there’s no challenge to it, so there’s no harm in looking it up.)  You have to run into the tree when the wind blows to be safe. It’s still quite hard to get right since you have to be exactly lined up with a very narrow tree, and I fail a lot before I make it.  Once I get up, I end up fighting a spawn of Lavos. It’s a hard fight that I die in once, but I then figure out that I have to hit the head and not the spines to kill it.  After that, the trek up the mountain are more fights, a slippery walkway, and one more Lavos spawn that I then have to push into a wall (once it’s dead) to climb in an interesting sokoban moment. Nothing too hard, but very fun.

We arrive at the top of the mountain, and we take out the Time Egg and the pendant. Nothing happens at first and the party begins to despair, but then an eclipse appears and we cut to the moment when Chrono was killed. The party switches the doll they made out for Chrono, so the doll is destroyed by Lavos and Chrono is brought back to the future.  We reappear on the mountain with Chrono safe. There’s a very touching moment where the screen goes dark except for Marle holding Chrono and trying to explain to him all of the things he missed and then hugs him. I get control back and head back to the End of Time to save.

I speak to the old man and he tells me that I can go and fight Lavos if I want either by entering the bucket here at the End of Time or by flying to the moment of the cataclysm in 1999. I can also go take on the Black Omen, but he mentions that there are additional points where we can get some more power. We’re near the end, and that means only one thing: clean-up time.  I take the remaining quests in the following order:

1) Ozzie. I head back to Ozzie’s fort to take him down.  I go back through all of the starting rooms and this time I don’t fall for the treasure chest trap. When I get to the fight with the three enemies at once, I beat it by taking out one lieutenant at a time.  His partners gone, we chase Ozzie into a final room. He puts up the same shield he did the first time I fought him, but this time when I hit a switch behind him (this dropped him in a pit the first time), it turns out it’s a trap and I fall into a pit. I reappear in an earlier room and find my way back to Ozzie, but before I can fight him a cat runs and throws a different switch which drops Ozzie into a pit of his own. So we defeated him…I guess?  End of clean-up one.

2) There’s a forest in the Middle Ages that a woman named Fiona is supposed to regrow.  I go to visit her and she says that nothing can grow in that desert. I head out there and find a sinkhole. I jump in and there are a bunch of monsters to fight. Defeating them all leads me to a boss demon hat has been sucking the land dry.  I die once in that somewhat straightforwardly tough fight, but the second time I defeat it. Having cleared up the sandpit, I go back to Fiona, but she says that she will need someone to help her repair the land for centuries. I get her hint, and I swap Robo into my party. Robo volunteers to stay here and work the land, and we can pick him up in the future. I leave Fiona’s hut and see Robo working the land on the map. The Epoch takes us to the future to see how he’s done.

When we get to the present, there is a forest where there was a desert and there’s a shrine in the middle. The shrine is to Fiona, and Robo is deactivated in the middle of it. We take him and reactivate him. We cut to a campfire scene where the whole party is sitting around. Robo mentions that he has had a lot of time to think, and he believes that the gates didn’t come from Lavos, but from something else that wanted to witness the important moments in time. Ayla mentions that when someone dies, they see their lives flash before them. Marle takes that as a point to ask about what times other people would want to revisit, but Lucca doesn’t want to play along and shuts the conversation down. Hats off to the writers on this game for some truly great characterization here.

I get control of Lucca alone and take Lucca to another part of the camp. There’s a gate there, and I go through it. We’re back at Lucca’s house in her room. I read a note in there from Lucca’s diary where she complains about how her father is obsessed with his inventions and upset that the girls aren’t into science. I go downstairs and realize that this is a memory. I see Lucca’s mom get caught in a machine, but young Lucca can’t stop the machine because she doesn’t know how it works. Lucca’s mom loses her legs, and Lucca as a result masters machines. We cut back to the present where Robo comforts Lucca, and Lucca calls Robo a friend. A little hokey, but it works.

3)  We go back to the future to take out that sun thing. It’s a center eye surrounded by five flames. You always miss the eye if you attack it directly, and most of the flames counterattack you when you attack them, but one flame causes the center to be damaged when it’s hit. The trick is to find that flame despite the fact that the flames change position from time to time.  It takes me a few times to figure that out, but I get it and get a moon stone as a result. Remembering that a moon stone is just a drained sun stone, I go back to the ancient past and put the moon stone in a sun cave to charge up. I then start jumping forward in time to watch it develop. There’s nothing to see until the present where the stone is missing.

Now,  I forgot to mention it before, but I completed a little mini-plot point last session. There was a woman in the Middle Ages looking for jerky for her family.  I bought some jerky and had the choice of selling it to the woman or just giving it to her. I decide just to give it to her to be nice. She thanked me and promised to remember it. Well, when I’m looking for the sun stone in the present, I see there’s a glow coming from the mayor’s house. Remembering how greedy the mayor was, I figure I’m going to pay through the nose, but it turns out my generous act in the past changed the mayor, and he freely gives me the sun stone. Nice to see that plot tie up. I put the stone back in the sun, take a second to complete a little Zelda like side-quest by giving tools to a carpenter that needed them, and head into the future.  When we get there, the sun stone is ready, and Lucca makes herself a wicked gun with it while her father makes a damage-enhancing accessory.

4) Final cleanup: Back to those ruins. The castle still has holes that I can’t cross, but the carpenter who I gave tools to agrees to help rebuild the castle for a small fee. Turns out that Zelda-like quest wasn’t useless. The carpenter will only rebuild areas that are free of monsters, so there’s a back and forth between fighting the monsters and bringing the carpenter back.  A bunch of fights and repairs later, we find the castle contains Cyrus’s grave. Frog goes up to the grave and Cyrus’s ghost appears. Frog is ashamed, but the ghost tells Frog he’s a better warrior than Cyrus ever was. Cyrus asks Frog to look after the Queen, and he disappears. Masa and Mune reappear and say now that Frog has proven his strength, their true power is unlocked, and they form an even more powerful version of the sword.

That’s the last of the subquests, and now there’s nothing left to do but take down Lavos. This seems like a good place to stop. Get ready for a long final session next time.

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  1. Will says

    It’s really interesting to read these, from the perspective of someone who venerates this game, and has it practically memorized. For instance, you assume that the scene of Lucca’s childhood is only a memory, but it’s playable… and if you can figure it out, you can drastically change the way the scene plays out. This fresh perspective, from someone who hasn’t played CT to death, is really cool.

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