01. Good Morning!
Gotta say, Chrono Trigger knows how to introduce itself between the wonderful animation of the splash screen and the attract mode after. Even the logo stands out and pretty much tells you what you're in for.
Much like the Super Nintendo Final Fantasy games, Chrono Trigger uses the Active Time Battle system. I'm assuming Version 2 began with Final Fantasy V, which added the time bar to show when a character would attack next and removed a lot of the bugginess of the initial iteration of FF4.
We'll go into the battle system later in this update, and the choice here doesn't really matter since it can always be changed later.
The other thing to do first is name our protagonist. This was likely supposed to be "Chrono", for obvious reasons, but because at this point Square was still lackluster with its localization efforts we're stuck with five characters, so Crono it is.
And now, the iconic opening!
Ah, Leene's Bell makes such beautiful music!
I want you to behave yourself today!
Short and simple. At this point we immediately get control of Crono.
All we can really do right now is open and close the curtains and go downstairs. Still, it's nice that we pretty much immediately get into the game. Of course, the same is true of the NES FF games, and I'm sure there's many other examples as well. Feel free to share your favorites!
Uh...you know...! Oh, dear, I've forgotten her name!
As you may have guessed, Crono's childhood friend will be another playable character down the line. Lucca's one of the few childhood friends that isn't a romantic interest.
And if you're curious, her name is supposed to be pronounced with a long U. But I won't judge you if you pronounce it differently, hell I used the short U pronounciation for a long time.
Run along now, and be back before dinner.
As usual, you want to talk to some NPCs multiple times.
Doing this here nets us some extra spending money.
Anyway, our goal is to simply visit the fair. We won't be doing that this update, though. There's so much to explore in the overworld that I might as well show it all off!
Of course, everything in this update is optional to do. I really like how the game lets you do things in your own pace, to the point where if you know what you're doing you can breeze through this introductory area in less than five minutes.
First off, let's visit a couple residences for some world-building goodness. In case you're curious, this town's name is Truce.
But how can he rule a kingdom when he can't even control his own daughter?!
Guardia has a long lineage, and the princess is a bit unruly. Both of these things will be relevant, of course.
Lucca's a bit of an outcast, it seems. That said, I've seen nothing in this game that suggests she's a brat...
And of course some NPCs are just nonsensical, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
This shop is closed for the fair. Then again, the shopkeeper doesn't really sell anything there anyway, if he's even there to begin with, so...oh well!
There's more NPCs to chat up here.
Well get going, then!! You'll have to wait a thousand years for another Millenial Fair!
Or we could just hold another Millenial Fair the next year to celebrate the 1000-year-anniversary of Year 1AD.
Oddly enough Year 0 is completely irrelevant in this game.
Life sucks sometimes.
Crono will fold his arms whenever given a choice. Buying just plays the overworld song, which I'll show off in a bit.
We can also go to the inn, but there's no point since you can rest in Crono's home for free.
We've been having too many. Something's wrong... Hope the "Big One" isn't coming!
Apparently the earthquakes may have supposed to have been more relevant in the early drafts of the game. Here, they're just fluff. We don't have to worry about earthquakes. Life is good.
One last neat thing is this box.
Mystery of the Past
There's a few of these unopenable chests lying around the world. No one seems to really care about them.
The Mayor's Manor is basically the tutorial area, where you can learn about the game's mechanics. Also a bit of free loot.
This NPC talks about weapons and armor. Each character has their own unique weapon. In Crono's case, he favors katanas. There's Head and Body armor, which will vary on who can equip what. Finally, there's accessories, which can do some cool things and, other than a few unique ones for specific characters, everyone can equip them.
We'll get into stats in a bit, but most characters' physical damage will rely on Power. The exceptions are our Bow and Gun users, who deal damage based on the Hit stat. For them, Power is useless.
Tonics are your basic healing items, restoring 50HP. As you may expect, they're handy early-game but wane in effectiveness as you gain more HP.
Saving is like most other RPGs. You can save at save points such as this one as well as anywhere on the world map.
This game gives some nice flexibility in handling dialogue. At the very least it should make my job slightly easier in showing this game off!
Shelters are your standard "Fully heal at Save Points or the World Map" item, like Final Fantasy's Tents. As for what they look like...
...honestly this just raises more questions.
This guy shows off the areas of effect of certain skills.
As far as techniques go, positioning can matter sometimes, depending on the tech's area of effect. Some attack in a circular area, with the center point being whichever monster you select. This means finding the right enemy to select so you can affect as many enemies as possible, though the game will always show which enemies will be affected when selecting a tech on an enemy, removing a lot of guesswork.
There's other patterns as well, of course, but I won't bog things down here.
This NPC teaches about status effects.
Poison does the usual "lose HP periodically" thing, but it also gives a roughly 20% penalty on physical attacks.
From what I could find, Slow halves your speed. I could be wrong, though, so please correct me if so!
Another standard. I can't find how big a penalty you get on defense, but of course one hit will wake you right up! Of course that character won't be doing anything until then...
Confusion. The afflicted character will only use physical attacks, and even then the attack power and hit rate is significantly nerfed, making this more of a nuisance than an actual threat.
As you may expect, lowers hit rate. I cannot find any sources that tell me by how much, though.
Silence. Just at it says.
This lasts for the rest of battle, or until healed.
Fortunately this game has a cheap catch-all status healing item, so most of these end up trivial to deal with.
Like other RPGs, you can run away from encounters.
You can techniques by acquiring Tech Points from battles. Earn enough and you'll learn a new Technique! That said, the game does limit what you can learn at first.
Talking to the mayor again gets more cash (and he has a bit more in the chest behind him).
Lucca's home is...a bit of a mess.
Lucca's mom is hanging out by herself, taking it easy I guess. At least her room is clean.
Now for something useless.
This is minor foreshadowing for something essentially meaningless. This isn't the most exciting area, honestly.
Her relationship to Fritz is vague in the English version, but she's the guy's girlfriend. I'm sure we'll run into Fritz at some point.
The ferry is pointless because there's a bridge that leads to the southern continent. It's probably a leftover from an earlier version of the game, where the bridge is actually broken and thus the ferry would be the only way to go between the continents.
This is sort of true, in that the ferry ride is indeed nothing.
...I wouldn't say that to her, of course.
Anyway, this other town is named Porre.
Seems kinda messed up that you all didn't go together, but whatever.
The Snail Stop is a rather interesting name.
Another bit of foreshadowing.
This guy will sell us Jerky for an outrageous price. Pass.
North of Porre is a large empty featureless desert. A shame we couldn't see what could've been...
Says the man spending his morning drinking [s]beer[/s] juice at a pub.
...Actually maybe this guy has the right idea.
I'll be nice and let you choose this one.
> Play a sad one, Joe!
> Something upbeat, please!
The local shop has actual things for sale. Nothing we really need right now, though, the initial enemies are more than easy.
Next up, let's visit the mayor.
He kinda sucks.
Crono has no pride.
Memories of Green
Once we leave either town, the overworld music plays. It's kind a shame that you never really get to hear it unless you take the time to do so. On the other hand, the world map is both small and distraction-less, as there's no random battles and everything's small enough that you can get from Point A to Point B with ease.
Hell, you don't even need to enter this bridge. You can skip the entry point and just walk across. However, then we miss out on silly NPC banter!
Like people who want to party!
All men with blue hats are merchants. Thus says the law of Chrono Trigger. If you wear a blue hat, you must be a merchant.
The last point of interest for today is Guardia Forest. It also has some great music.
Secret of the Forest
Now let's get into one of Chrono Trigger's great innovations, the battle system.
First off, there are no random encounters in Chrono Trigger. All encounters are at set points. This does mean that sometimes you may pass an invisible threshold that brings in enemies from off-screen, but all encounter triggers will always be the same.
Also, many encounters can be avoided as a result. You don't have to fight any encounter in this forest if you don't want to. That said, now's as good a time as any to show off the battle system, so let's bother these guys and get to work.
The other thing that makes Chrono Trigger stand out is the seamless transition from map to battle. This also gives you an idea of what to expect from some enemy formations and to even let you make plans beforehand, though that's certainly not necessary here.
That said, Crono knows no Techniques for now, so all he can do is attack.
If you're curious, the attack formula for Crono is [(Power X 4/3) + (Weapon Attack + 5/9)] x 2 + RND. Of course, all decimals are truncated.
Positioning can matter for some enemies, but most will dive across the screen to attack you. Of course, your party has no issue doing the same. Physical attacks will never be affected by positioning, only techniques.
Critical Hits are also in this game and double your damage. Crono's base crit rate is 10%.
Anyway, we easily dispatch the foes and get our rewards (Standard RPG stuff, EXP for levels, GP for money, TP to learn Techniques, and a lucky item drop), and we immediately transition back to the map.
Secret of the Forest
And sometimes you'll find items sparkling in the ground. There's three types of these tabs. Power, Magic, and Speed Tabs all raise their respective stats by one point.
There's another monster wandering around here. We can't fight it...
...but interacting with it triggers a fight with some Beetles/Scarabs. Nothing interesting about these guys either.
But we gain enough TP to net Crono's first Technique!
Before we check that out, let's take a look at the menu.
The first option lets you check stats and change equipment. Power and Magic of course affect damage from physical attacks and techniques. Most techniques use Magic, but some, like Cyclone, use Power. Hit Rate affects accuracy (formula seems to be Hit Rate/Target's Evade, though most enemies have low evasion), but also affects damage for a couple characters in place of Power. Magic Defense blocks a percentage of magic damage, so a paltry 2% in Crono's case. Evasion evades physicals, of course. Stamina simply adds that amount to your defense, along with your helmet and body armor. Speed affects ATB speed, but unlike the other stats it does not gain by level and caps out at 16, though you may not want to bother getting it above 12 due to how Haste works in this game.
As for Crono, he'll naturally cap out on Power and Stamina (and also HP, MP, and Magic Defense, but then so does every other character), though you pretty much have to grind beyond the expected end-game levels to reach those. His natural magic is low however, and many of his later techs make use of the stat, so he's a good candidate for Magic Tabs. Then again, he's not a bad candidate for Power Tabs either since everyone maxes out Power besides the two characters who have no use for it.
Crono's base weapon and armor are unexciting. His starting accessory, the Bandana, adds +1 Speed. Not a huge amount, but better than nothing.
Second menu is items, then there's techs. You can use healing techs out-of-battle here, as well as see how much TP you need for the next ability. Slash will take a bit of time to learn, though after learning Slash Crono won't learn any more Techniques until the plot allows him to.
Also the technique descriptions are infamously bad in this version. This description is kinda confusing later because Crono learns a Technique called Spincut. And trust me, it'll get worse later on.
As for the numbers 2 and 3, we'll get to those in time.
Last three menu options include your standard options menu including battle speed, cursor memory, and window options, the ability to change party order (which can affect some dialogue), and the ability to save your game.
Let's try out our new technique!
The cursors will show all enemies that will be affected. Cyclone affects all enemies within a specific radius of the targeted enemy, so I end up waiting for the Beetles to come closer to me until they're close enough to each other that I can wipe out both.
Unfortunately you don't have much control over positioning in battles. You cannot move your characters, and you can't affect how the enemies will move.
In addition to being able to hit multiple enemies, Cyclone also does an extra 20% damage compared to Crono's normal physical attack, so even against single enemies it can be useful.
I've showed off enough of the battle system for now, so let's skip the rest of the encounters here.
I am glad this sign was accurate. I don't know what I would have done had there not been an open field here.
The last area we can visit, besides the fair of course, is Guardia Castle.
Can't let you through. Go check out the festival!
But that's all we can check out.
Saving gives you the chapter title of the section of the game you're in. This chapter is all about the Millenial Fair, even though we haven't checked out the Millenial Fair yet.
So next time, we'll check out the Millenial Fair!
- Category: Chrono Trigger