Tag Archives: Chrono Trigger

The final sidequests in Chrono Trigger are deceptively tough

Yup, another progress report for Chrono Trigger. Last night, thanks to the excessive use of the Dual Tech called Ice Sword and by stocking up my team (Crono, Marle, and Ayla) with fire-resistant armor, I was able to kick Rust Tyrano’s rusty butt, discover the Rainbow Shell directly behind it, and bring said treasure back to Guardia Castle. I expected some kind of reward right there and then, but was surprised to learn that I’d have to do some time-traveling to see if anything was to come of the legendary shell. Ah, this sidequest was not over yet. Back in the future, the trial of the century is happening; I won’t spoil what happens next, but it was a nice moment for Marle and her father, and as a reward, I got Melchior to make her a new dress from the Rainbow Shell.

Again, just like last time, I’m now at some crossroads. Here’s the list of Chrono Trigger sidequests available to do before taking on big ol’ smelly, the it of the hour, the not-so-lovable Lavos:

  • Ozzie’s Fort – Finished this one and even found the secret room that housed all the best gear for Magus, a dude I am so not interested in using. I tossed him into my party once for a few fights and then got rid of him. No Dual Techs? Get outta here.
  • Northern Ruins – Thanks to Epoch, I found a ruined castle with the ghost of Cyrus in it. We fought, I did no damage to him, and the battle ended after a bit, with Frog trying to make contact with his old friend who was sadly having a case of the jimmy arms. That was it. Nothing else seemed to happen, and I’m not sure what it is we’re doing wrong–I figured having Frog in the party was the trick to getting this sidequest started. Guess not.
  • The Sunken Desert – I went into the quicksand hole, cleared out some enemies, grabbed all items from the treasure chests, and then died fighting the skeleton boss there, the infamous Retinite. He’s kind of a boney jerk. Couldn’t figure out a good pattern to beating him, as physical attacks raised his defense and water spells lowered it, but by the time I got something going there I had to call it quits in order to heal up my peeps. And then mass destruction was dropped on our heads. Dead, dead, and dead.
  • The Sun Stone – Haven’t even attempted this one yet. Not sure what exactly I’m supposed to do.
  • The Rainbow Shell – Just completed it last night.
  • King Guardia’s Trial – Same as above, which seem to go hand-in-hand with each other. I picked the Prism Dress over the three Prism Helms. Hope that was a good decision. Wait. Why can’t Melchior make all the items? It’s not like the Rainbow Shell got used up to craft the dress. It’s still in Guardia Castle’s basement. I can see it. It’s right there.
  • Geno Dome – I dropped Robo into my party, headed to that nasty vision of the future, and started this sidequest proper. Mother Brain–no, not that one–contacts Robo at the Geno Dome, curious about his human companions, and the gang begins exploring. I got pretty far into the factory, but then the game threw some switch puzzles at us, and I couldn’t really figure out where to go next. So I left and haven’t been back.
  • The Black Omen/The Final Battle – SO NOT READY YET. Though I think I did accidentally stumble into the final fight once already. I fought Lavos for a good twenty minutes or so, getting pretty far down his line of changing battle formations, but he got us in the end, destroying the world yet again. Kind of worried that my party is still not up to snuff in terms of equipment and experience for the finale. Ugh.

Not really sure what to do. I’m still itching to see this game come to a conclusion, but a few of these sidequests are strikingly unclear. I know in my heart of hearts that I’m missing a ton of items and story bits by not tracking down every place and puzzle to unravel, but I think I am just going to fly to The Black Omen next and see what my group can do. Now, the true question remains: should I take it on in 12,000 BC, 600 AD, or 1,000 AD?

Alpine climbing Death Peak just to save a friend

I’m happy to report that I’ve made further progress in Chrono Trigger, a game I had hoped to have completed in 2011 and am now resolved to see ended in early 2012. And I’m almost there, I think. Maybe. I dunno. Seems like the game is explicitly telling me to go take Lavos down now and at the same time offering half a dozen new sidequests to do before the big final battle. Crono is at some crossroads, in short. But before all that happened, I did make it to the top of Death Peak, and all I got to show for it was a good friend back. Well, that and some new gear, but let’s talk about not walking diagonally for a bit.

Death Peak has two tricky parts to it. The first involves climbing up a snowy hill and hiding behind trees to avoid being blown back to the overworld map by huge gusts of icy wind. This took me over ten times to conquer, and each time my gang of heroes was tossed off the map I’d gasp a little. Eventually I began cursing at my 3DS and threatening to throw it out a window; Tara is a witness to all this, too. See, the problem is that you can’t run diagonally in Chrono Trigger, only up, down, left, and right, making moving quickly an arduous task. And you have to line up your party directly behind a tree when the wind picks up while continuing to press up to prevent from sliding downhill; maybe this was easier on a SNES controller, but the circle pad on the 3DS is too slippery and, conversely, the 3DS d-pad is too stiff. If only they could run at an angle instead of having to stop, feet planted firmly in the snow, and then change direction, and then change direction yet again. You have only seconds to get to tree safety. It was frustrating, and I was pleased to reach calmer winds on the subsequent screen.

But then, just a little ways further up Death Peak, you have to traverse across a slippery bridge without falling off, going from the far right of the screen to the far left in one fell swoop. It’s not easy. Again, a lot of blame falls on the stiffness of the d-pad and the slipperiness of the circle pad. Or maybe I just suck at walking. In truth, when I step onto ice or slippery terrain in real life, I become a 96-year-old man without a cane, moving in inches, eyes straight down, always in fear of falling and hurting myself. I have a history of slipping and hurting myself, so there’s that excuse. Eventually, I was able to make it across and release the breath I was holding. The rest of Death Peak was moderate, and I can’t really talk about what happens thereafter as the story details are extremely spoilery, but things get better despite the constant looming Lavos.

Back at the End of Time, Crono and the gang are tasked with putting an end to our little fire-loving alien beast thing. Or doing a number of other tasks, of which I’m not sure how many are vital or even interesting. I started one, heading back to the medieval ages to deal with Ozzie, Flea, and Slash for a second time. I think I took them down for good, but I was kind of under the impression that since [spoiler name] is now part of the gang they’d want to join up and help us fight the good fight. Alas, it didn’t work out that way, their stronghold got raided, and they disappeared into darkness. For good? Don’t ask me.

Call me crazy, but I think I’m ready to take on Lavos now. Unless someone nudges me towards a specific sidequest. My team of Crono, Marle, and Ayla is pretty top-notch, and I’m interested in seeing how different of a fight this version will be compared to the first time I tried to take him on. I’m so close, guys and girls. Wish me luck, or tell me to go somewhere else. Otherwise, it’s time to save all the times.

Staying one time-leap ahead of the Chrono Trigger Endurance Run

Well, it happened again. Chrono Trigger got away from me. You could also say that I got away from Chrono Trigger. Either or, really. And that’s a shame, as I was making such strong progress, certainly getting further into the time-traveling RPG than ever before. Here are the links to prove it, too:

Such progress. Such dang good progress, but then some other videogames came out and grabbed me by the throat and threatened to end my existence if I didn’t give them lots of love and attention. Like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Professor Layton and the Last Specter, as well as that bonus mini-RPG thingy known as London Life. So I did. I loved them, for hours upon hours, and I still love them and am continuing to love them, but I’ve completed two out of the three so far and just took out the Layton cartridge from my 3DS for the first time in over a month. I immediately popped Chrono Trigger back in, so it’s ready and waiting.

The biggest motivation for me making a bigger dent in Chrono Trigger stems from the fact that GiantBomb is doing an Endurance Run of the game, and I’m watching, but only up to a point; once they get to where I am, I’ll be out, but right now, considering that Patrick and Ryan are lost in dino-land instead of back in their own era, I got some time. Last night, I hopped off some pterodactyls and ventured deep into the Tyrano Lair to rescue Ayla’s friend Kino. I also survived a room of invisible transporters and took down Nizbell II, who was a little annoying. Didn’t figure out his pattern into mid-way through the fight, where lightning-based attacks lowered his defense, but any other kind of attack raised it. I spammed Lightning II and Ice II in the end, with Ayla using Kiss more than enough to earn her a reputation back home. I then saved my progress and turned in for the night, but I’m back. You hear that, Chrono? I’M BACK.

And so, my mission statement is now this: to finish Chrono Trigger before 2011 ends. I can do it. I must.

Magus and his castle of crazy

I don’t know what I expected to find in Magus’s Castle, but certainly not references to tone-deaf rock stars, traitorous loved ones, and a boss fight that required an attention to reading. But that’s Chrono Trigger for ya, always charming and never without surprises. Shame on me for waiting so long to get into this game.

Right. That castle. It’s 600 A.D., and the gang, having secured Masamune, are now ready to go after Magus and his goons. One’s first stroll through the castle’s hallways is particularly eerie, with loved ones and little children turning into monsters which you must then murder. No questions asked. Hopefully those really weren’t people we knew, but rather just illusions. After exploring for a bit, Magus’s henchmen show up, and they are named Ozzie, Slash, and Flea; yeah, this game was totally made in the mid-1990s. Flea and Slash are not too tough, each requiring a wee bit of strategy, but with Frog and Crono swiping away and Marle holding back to heal, heal, heal, they were all torn asunder in time.

However, getting to Ozzie is a laborious affair. First, there’s a gauntlet of enemies to burn through, then a room with giant blades to avoid, stairs to climb, and then another room full of trapdoors that, when you cross them, Ozzie will pull a switch and send your team falling to a room below. Oi vey. Actually, this wasn’t too terrible, as it was a good way to grind, with Crono earning Lightning II by the end of it all. The sparkly enemies in this room can’t hurt you, meaning free experience and Tech Points. After that, it’s more stairs and another gauntlet of enemies. And then we finally get to battle Ozzie, which is amazingly simple; never attack him, but instead target the switches around him.

Finally, we get to the legend himself, Magus. On my first attempt, I completely flubbed and lost within a few turns. My bad…I wasn’t reading the text below. See, I thought he was just casting spells, but he was actually announcing the type of spell he was currently weak to until he switched it up again. So, when he says, “Absorbs all but water!” you should have Frog cast Water on his magical ass. However, it took me far too long to realize that when Magus announces he will absorb all but light, he really means lightning. I think the developers couldn’t fit the full word in the text box? Silly me was searching every menu for a “light” spell.

With Magus defeated, another portal appeared, sucking Crono and team back to the past. At what point should I try to fight Lavos again? Is there a canon ending I should go after? I’m kind of confused about all that.

Pushing a button until your fingers fall off is Ayla’s idea of a fun time

Initially, I liked Chrono Trigger‘s Ayla. She’s got one helluva introduction, dropping in all Tarzan-like and beating up a bunch of wicked dinosaurian creatures. And she likes to party. Party hard, that is. Especially when soup is at hand. I mean, I love brontosaurus cock-a-leekie just as much as the next guy, but she really takes the meal to heart. More on that in a moment.

Upon arriving in 65,000,000 BC, you’ll be attacked by the aforementioned beasts. They aren’t too tough, not surprisingly weak to lightning, which is the greatest tip one could heed during their time in the prehistoric days. After Crono and gang get their collective butts saved, Ayla will take them back to Ioka village to speak to the chief and…well, party. Evidently, Ayla knows where this Dreamstone thingy is, but to get that information out of her, Crono must first beat her in a soup-guzzling contest. And that all boils down to doing one action perfectly and repeatedly: pushing a button.

I hate pushing a button repeatedly in rapid succession.

Usually, the first attempt is a failure, as it’s not clear just how fast the button needs to be pressed. To beat Ayla, seems like…pretty fast. That girl can guzzle. I failed my first three attempts to out-guzzle her, and by then, my hands were cramping. One has to remember that I’m playing Chrono Trigger on a Nintendo 3DS, so I’m not just mashing a controller, but an entire system. Had to be careful not to break it. For my fourth try, I rested the 3DS in my lap, turned it sideways, and used my pointer finger to hit the button again and again and again. That did it, but still required a lot of effect, and my hand was already tired at that point. All for soup and a Dreamstone and to wake up the next morning with a soupy hangover to find that all of Crono’s stuff was stolen. Greaaaaat.

Let’s look at some other games that have featured this tormenting gameplay element and their lasting impression on me. Yes, let’s:

Metal Gear Solid

The button-mashing sequence in Metal Gear Solid is one you can fail and continue on with the story. However, there’s a great consequence for failing. Snake gets captured by Liquid Snake and is strapped into a machine that can shock the living skin off him. Ocelet wants some answers, and if Snake doesn’t give them, Meryl will die. But if he speaks and gives in, then all will be fine–so to speak. When being tortured, your options are to press the circle button repeatedly to recover strength or press select to submit to Ocelet’s demands. You will be tortured for a limited period of time, and you must press circle nonstop to survive the torture sequence. You have to live through four intervals, and then you have to take a break to ice your fingers.

Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game

Actually, I didn’t mind the button-mashing in SPVTWTG because it actually felt rightly implemented. Sometimes a group of enemies will suddenly dogpile Scott or Kim (like you’d play as anyone other than them), and to break free you have to mash the attack button with a fury that one sparks when one needs air and just can’t reach it. Same goes for when you want to kick off a super hit combo, mashing X again and again until you are flashing and somewhere in the the high 60s. Still, after a few of these encounters, your thumb does get sore.

God of War

Hydras can only be defeated by button-mashing. It’s true. Look it up. Actually, not even your thumbs are strong enough to pierce their heads on ship-made pikes; I remember having to wedge my PS2 controller against my leg and use a combo of other fingers to get the speed I needed for Kratos to do some killing. There’s also some button-mashing for larger enemies, not just bosses, plus when the going gets rough you’re always rolling around and swinging those chains like a madman. It’s enough to break one’s hand.

There used to be turbo controllers for the PlayStation 1/PlayStation 2 that could help players get around button-mashing sequences–basically cheat–but those days are gone. Or maybe they aren’t. I don’t know. I’m not big on buying more controllers than I ultimately need, and the stock that comes with the version is generally sufficient. I am just waiting for the day when this mechanic goes away or stays where it belongs, in social games like Mario Party 17, where it’s a race to fill up a balloon with air or something, and to do that you gotta be the fastest at pushing a button.

A tale of two Masamunes

Yesterday was a “stay inside the house under blankets and play videogames” kind of day, but only after Tara and I got some respective work done. She cleaned her studio room a bit, set up the Nintendo Wii, and helped with dishes and laundry. I also helped with laundry, straightened up, made some mediocre mac and cheese for dinner, frantically searched for that freakin’ stereo AV cable to hook up the PlayStation 2, drew some characters from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and worked a bit more on my October challenge of drawing 31 horribly bad horror comics. Busy, but getting stuff done is good. And it all meant that we could reward ourselves with some gaming time come nightfall.

I forgot to mention that earlier in the day I put on a Chrono Cross playlist, and Tara exclaimed that she had to play the game again now. Further proof that Yasunori Mitsuda holds all the power. All he needs to do is slip in some brain-washing message about marching against the government, and down goes the United States.

So, browsing our PS1 memory card collection, we found two save files for Chrono Cross: one for like nine hours, and a second one for about nineteen hours or so. The latter was definitely that one we wanted, but I’d missed out on a lot of story bits so I sat back while Tara ran around as Lynx (as Serge); she had some things to do before heading over to the Dead Sea, such as finding the captain, participating in a monster team battle thingy, and learning how to go down ladders. I flipped open my 3DS to make some progress in Chrono Trigger. Yup. We’re totally dorks like that.

Anyways, in Chrono Trigger, I was making my way up through the Denadoro Mountains, fighting off rather tough Ogans. Hint: use Crono’s Lightning tech! At the peak of the mountain, there’s a cave, and in that cave, there’s a sword. It’s protected by two kids, one named Masa and the other Mune, and Crono and gang will have to fight them twice to earn the right to take this sword. After discovering that it’s nothing but a broken blade, we’re off to Melchior to see if he can fix it. Sure, not a prob–he just needs a Dreamstone, a type of rock that hasn’t been seen in many, many years. Okay, got it. 65,000,000 BC, here we come!

I stopped there, and when I looked up, Tara was making her way into the Isle of the Damned in Chrono Cross, a place that sounds a lot scarier than it really is. Though something scary and evil does reside there. Wanna guess? A sword called Masamune. How freaky is that. Crono just got the broken blade in Chrono Trigger, and Lynx just learned a little history about a sword with the same name in Chrono Cross. It’s like a John Cusack movie, like it was all meant to happen like so. I have no idea if the two swords are canonically connected, or if it is merely a nod to the former game. According to GiantBomb.com, Masamune has appeared in just under twenty games so far. Hmm…could just be a coincidence, too.

I wonder what other odd happenings will pop up the next time we sit down to play two games from the same franchise at once. If we plan accordingly, maybe we can get the end credits of each game to scroll harmoniously. Granted, now I want to go back to my nine hour save file and play more Chrono Cross than Chrono Trigger–I just absolutely love the battle system in that game, and nobody else has come close to matching its beauty.

Stress is creeping in at the cracks

I’ve not been having a good week so far, and the stress is eating at me from beneath my skin; it’s only a matter of time until I am nothing more than walking bones, another mindless automaton for some hero–some chickabiddy in shiny, expensive armor–to slay. A few swipes of the sword and down I’ll go, surely, a pile of my former self. I’d fight back, but the thing with skeletons is that they draw no conclusions of their own and take no initiative. And sorry, hero, but I don’t drop any good loot. Unless you’re looking to craft something from my bones. By all means, please do. Give my existence kind of purpose because, as of late, I’m beginning to believe I don’t have one.

This horrible mindset is what blossoms when you spend day after day changing your old mailing address to your new mailing address to only discover, much to your horror, that only some mail is coming through, some is being returned to sender, and that if I want to get a better guarantee on mail being delivered to Grimmauld Place, a form for the USPS has to be filled out. A form. However, I also then got confirmation from the USPS that my new mailing address has been confirmed. Whaaa. Conflicting information is conflicting. Also, this is the first time in, oh, like 10+ years of receiving mail that I’ve had to fill out a form for envelopes to get stuffed into a tiny box. I’d ignore all this hassle and get a P.O. box at the local office, but I already went to a lot of trouble with changing addresses and paying cash-money for mail to be forwarded. Fun times.

Which, I guess, leads us to videogames. Seems like with each day that passes, Grinding Down becomes a little less focused on solely gaming, with my personal life creeping in at the cracks. To be honest, I don’t know how I feel about this, but it’s somewhat inevitable. As a 28-year-old being, I can no longer just play games all day long. I have to sleep, to eat, to go to work, to work, to come home from work, to eat, to shower, to try and make a name for myself–whether through art or writing or simply having everything fall magically and happily into place–and then sleep again. Gaming was a whole lot easier when it was just that: playing a game for as long as I wanted. Maybe taking a break because it was dinner time, and Mom made her marvy tuna noodle casserole, but then kicking back for the remainder of the night for some grinding or item collecting or what-have-you. Now, not only is there the actual videogame to consider, but the game of balance, of time, of giving all you can safely give.

This week, I’ve been using my videogames as both a distraction and dose of relaxation. They are a reward for what little success–or failure–I accomplish every day, and I’m so thankful for them. Don’t want to know what kind of monster I’d turn into without ’em; certainly something worse than a skeleton and bigger than a breadbox.

Getting lost again in Bastion‘s colorful world of Caelondia was heavenly, and I’m already ankle-deep in New Game+ mode, focusing on completing all those mini-challenges in the Bastion’s Shrine. It’s fun to discover the narrator saying different things the second time around, and the button-mashing is actually surprisingly therapeutic. Sometimes it’s more than button-mashing, but for the most part, you just wipe out everything in your path, and a single button pushed over and over again can do that. Watch out, Squirts. The Kid…is back, and he’s got a machete leveled up to the max.

Just finished up my third complete playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas, siding with NCR all the way to the end. Immediately after skipping the credits, I created a fourth dude named Rhaegar who will ultimately be the pawn for siding with Mr. House and getting to try out all those new weapons in the Gun Runners’ Arsenal DLC. Here’s the tagged skills I selected for this build: Guns, Lockpick, and Explosives. If only explosives actually blew doors off their handles and cracked open safes, then I wouldn’t need Lockpicking, but alas, that skill is vital for both XP and moving forward.

And then there’s been some more adventuring in Chrono Trigger. Right now, the game is saved outside a place imaginatively called…Magic Cave. I’m saving that experience for the right time, which could very well be tonight. I don’t know. We’ll see if I even make it home alive; the stress, the stress. It’s still eating at me right now.

For the love of spritework

I’ve been thinking about sprites lately–no, not those kind–and why I absolutely love them, mainly to the point where a new game in 2011 with classic spritework is much more appealing to me than, say, just another modern title with all the latest tech, such as fancy lighting, particle effects, draw distance, and so on. Yup, even more than Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It’s hard to say if it’s all based on nostalgia or if it’s the artist in me appreciating that these moving images and interactive items on-screen were hand-crafted to be as is, to be simple yet recognizable, to still be able to stir emotions.

For nostalgia’s sake, I definitely grew up on sprite-based games. Earthbound, Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Secret of Evermore, Mega Man X3, NHL ’94, Breath of Fire II, Secret of Mana–really, the list could go on. Blame this on the fact that the SNES was my first console ever, and that I ate up a lot of games on it. It’s where I became a gamer, grew my skills; I knew only sprites, and I had a hard time letting go. I think a lot of us did.

One of the first games I ever played on my PlayStation 1 was Beyond the Beyond, a strangely named RPG that I had rented for a few days. It tells the story of Finn, a young, unexperienced knight caught up in an ancient war between the Beings of Light and the Warlocks of the Underworld. Fairly traditional, and not just in story–the game, despite being released on an advanced console, looked like something one would play on their SNES. I was excited about this. I wasn’t ready for the future, for 3D gaming, for stuff like Battle Arena Toshinden and movable cameras. It wasn’t a great game, but it looked like what I had already learned to love, and that was enough for me to give it a try. I also fell hard for Suikoden and Suikoden II on the PlayStation, both of which feature gorgeous spritework paired with fantastic tunes.

When I moved on to the PlayStation 2, there were significantly less sprite-based games for that system. Maybe because that console had finally gotten a strong grasp on 3D gaming. A few still got my attention. Odin Sphere was repetitive as hecktown, but dang is it a beauty to behold. Marvel VS. Capcom 2 got a lot of play at friends’ houses. Can’t really think of others, unfortunately.

I’ve recently picked Chrono Trigger back up on the Nintendo DS and am enjoying traveling through time again, even if I’m rubbish at it. This is a game that’s eternal. It looks fabulous, just as it had when it released in August 1995, just as it will in twenty more years, and another thirty after that. These sprites are colorful and charismatic, eye-catching, easy to get. Only can sprites make a giant tick-boss look freaking amazing.

And now, in the current era of gaming systems–Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS/Nintendo 3DS–I’m still always on the lookout for good ol’ sprite-based games. And they are still coming out, especially on the handhelds sideline. Really looking forward to Professor Layton’s London Life, which is a bonus add-on for Professor Layton and the Last Specter, coming out this October. It’ll be unlocked from the start, promises over 100 hours of gameplay, and basically screams, “Hey, you like Earthbound? Here’s a new Earthbound!” Mmm mmm, looks delicious.

I dunno. Maybe it is just the artist in me appreciating art over connect polygons. Maybe it’s seeing something that can last a lifetime and beyond. Maybe I just miss being a kid, holed up in my room, a SNES my closest and most constant friend. Do you love sprites or new games still rocking sprites? If so, why? Speak up, Grinding Down readers. Maybe we can get to the bottom of this.

Crono and the gang help Lavos with his “destroy the world” Kickstarter

My head absolutely hated me yesterday. I blame it on a combination of sitting in morning traffic as the sunrise burned out my eyes, a severe lack of substantial foodstuffs, a lot of staring and straining, and then another drive, this time into the blazing sunset. Either way, once home for the night, I was drained, and I’m not afraid to admit I was curled up in bed by like 8:30 PM, my 3DS in hand. I figured I had some time before Mr. Sandman came, and a recent reminder in Grinding Down‘s comments section nudged me to pop out the cartridge for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner Overclocked and drop in Chrono Trigger.

Now, I’ve not touched this game in almost a year. Shocking, sure, but unfortunately, sometimes I forget about games. Or, y’know, get distracted by…getting married around said time. Anyways, having no memory as to what I was supposed to do next, I took Greg Noe’s ancient advice and went under the ocean through a cave, popping up…kinda back where I started, with the Millennial Fair still happening and all the weird monster-people no longer running the shops and living in the houses. Hmm…all right.

I traveled around a bit more, fought some monsters back in dinosaur-time land, got Crono up a level, purchased a new sword for him and a new set of armor for Lucca, and then found myself unsure of where to go. Not feeling up to getting out of bed and abandoning my blankety cocoon of warmth and good feelings, I headed back to the hub known as the End of Time to see if anyone there could steer me in the right direction. Nope, but there was this one interactive section that asked if I’d like to go fight Lavos. Um, as in Lavos, the main villain of Chrono Trigger? Yeah, sure…why not. He’s the bad guy, we’re the good guys–I don’t see any reason to put this off for another dozen hours or so.

Crono, Robo, and Marle travel through time to…a desolate and wasteland-like scrap of ground. Looming before them is a giant, uh, tick monster, presumably Lavos. For some reason, Lavos made me think of a lava-based beast. Oh well. We do battle, and all seems fine for a while, with Lavos changing battle plans every now and then. But then our trio’s attacks begin to do less and less damage, and I missed an opportunity to have Marle combo-heal everyone back to full health. She quickly falls, then Crono, and then Robo. Curses. I figured that was it then, game over. Nope, instead it fades to a cutscene of some scientists monitoring the world map, now freaking out over the coming destruction. One man doesn’t escape the building in time, and a list of razed places are rattled off. Then the world faded with color, telling me this:

Dang. I guess that’s just one of the many endings in Chrono Trigger. Probably considered a bad one. Maybe I’m not meant to fight Lavos just yet (though a part of me feels like I still could’ve put up a decent fight if I hadn’t brainfarted out on keeping Marle ready for healing the team).

Well, that was that. Tara came upstairs and it was now time for more episodes of Cheers and then some good ol’ sleepy sleep. I promise to look up an online walkthrough later on and get our gang going in the right direction; I do like this game, especially its music and combat system and the way battles just happen on the same screen, and I don’t want it all to end with the destruction of Earth. I promise, I don’t.

30 Days of Gaming, #8 – Best soundtrack

To be completely honest, I usually don’t listen to a lot of videogame music unless I’m hearing it as I play the game. For me, there’s plenty of other things to listen to–currently digging Freelance Whales and lots of Connie Francis and Regina Spektor–and if I was to generalize, I’d say that a good portion of videogame tunes are unlistenable when they stand alone.

That said, I simply adore the soundtrack from Chrono Cross, the 2000 follow-up to Chrono Trigger. Composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the official soundtrack features 67 tracks spanned across three CDs, hitting about three hours of music in total. That’s a whole lot more tunes than some games get. A few tracks subtly recall themes from Chrono Trigger, but it’s the new stuff formed for Chrono Cross that really make it unique, memorable. I’ve found it’s wonderful background music for drawing and writing, ranging from up-tempo town songs to battle music to somber undertones.

My personal favorite is titled “Reminiscence ~ Sentiments which Cannot be Erased,” a haunting piece of piano and echoes. Please listen to it as you continue on with today’s post:

One of the hardest things to write about is music. I know this for a fact; as a journalist for my college paper and alternative zine, I covered concerts and new album releases. These ranged from holiday choir specials to the latest Butch Walker CD to seeing a bunch of bands play live at summer festivals. At times, it was a grueling task. Describing how music is heard, understood, taken to heart–it’s a complex process, and it can be very hard to not seem overenthusiastic or fanboyish or simply in love with pretty sounds. Plus, how can I, someone who can’t sing, really critique those that can? So, yeah…writing about music has its tricks. It can also lead to pretty lazy sentences like, “The drums were totally kicking!” Not that I did that, ever, but the temptation to play it slack was always there. Music is meant to be heard, not read.

For this post, it’s best if I just link you to some of the finer moments from Chrono Cross‘ soundtrack:

“Dream of the Shore Bordering (Another World)”

“Leaving the Body”

“Garden of the Gods”

Enjoy!