The Brink of Time

Well, this is different.

This area is pretty small. There's this weird room with three pillars of light...

...and an old man sleeping under a street light. The door behind him won't open, and the path to the southeast leads nowhere.

At least there's a bucket and save point available.

I guess nothing to do but wake up the old man.

What do you mean, "guest"...? And, WHERE are we?

All lost travelers in time wind up here! Now, where are you from?
We're from Guardia Kingdom, circa 1000 A.D.
I come from 2300 A.D...
When 4 or more beings step into a time warp, the Conservation of Time theorem states that they will turn up...

Disturbances in the space-time continuum have increased recently. Far too many folks are just popping in here... I fear something is having a powerful effect on the very fabric of time...

Basically, this little conversation is an in-game justification for why we're stuck with three-person parties. Of course, if you think about it too much, there are a few problems with this explanation...

Also, despite the old man saying people are popping in here every so often, the only people that are ever here are him, our party, and another individual we'll meet shortly.

But not to worry. All time periods connect here... You can visit your friends whenever you wish! But you can never travel in groups greater than 3...
So, one of us must stay.

We've now unlocked the party-swap feature. At this point, we can press Y at any time, no matter what era, to change our party. It's an incredibly convenient, quick, and wonderful feature that I really wish more games would copy. No hub you have to go to, you don't even need to go to the menu, you simply press Y and you can change your party.

As I mentioned last update, the only limitations are that Crono must be in the party, and is always the party lead, and that at certain points in the plot some characters will be required for slot 2. The order of the party doesn't matter gameplay-wise, but it does affect dialogue since the game will generally have whoever's in the second slot initiate conversations, rather than the "this character takes priority" system that many other games, most comparably FF6, favored.

Each character has a line when you dump them. Robo's is dull, Marle's is the oddly-translated "Decide, Crono!", and Lucca's...well, that's best saved for the JERK run.

Don't forget. Press the Y Button to switch party members.

You see those lovely pillars of light? Those hook you up to different eras. Once you've been through a Gate, you can always use it to come here.

The bucket is a special case, in that it's the earliest available chance to take on the final boss. But more on that later...

In addition to pressing Y, you can talk to whoever's left behind and swap them in that way. Doing this also gets you different music, depending on whether you talk to Marle, Lucca, or Robo.

Anyway, that's it for the End of Time. Guess we'll head on back to-

Get used to this. This is the closest thing the old man has to a catch phrase.

After this, the room behind us finally unlocks and we can meet the other person residing in this bleak place...

Oh. Alright.

Delightful Spekkio

I'm Spekkio. The Master of War! I've seen all kinds of battles from here.

Crono's not going to chance offending the guy since, well, who knows how powerful a being who resides at the very end of time itself can be?

Also the choice doesn't actually change anything.

You are strong of will...! That's why the Old One let you through.

But in time, people began to abuse their powers. It got so bad that no one was allowed to use magic except wizards. But you have it...determination, I mean! Magic needs power of the heart. It needs inner strength.

Eh, not quite true, but let's not worry about that for now.

You, with the punk hairdo! You're "Lightning." The one with the ponytail is "Water." The one with goofy glasses is "Fire."

Think "MAGIC," and, starting from the door, walk clockwise along the walls of my room 3 times. Don't lose track, now.

Yeah, this part can be a little shoddy, but generally you should get it by a couple tries in.

Anyway, our characters have learned magic, which unlocks their third techs and thus lets them continue learning techs for the rest of the game.

Hell yeah!

Delightful Spekkio

Spekkio's got three attacks: Fire, Ice, and Lightning. These happen to be the same attacks that Lucca, Marle, and Crono just learned. Otherwise, he's completely immune to physical attacks, so the idea is to use those magic attacks we just learned to burn through his 800HP.

Ice has a base formula of (LVL + MAG) * 4.4, and is pretty much going to be Marle's main source of offense for a good while, at least until her bows eventually catch up.

Fire has a base formula of (LVL + MAG) * 4.4, a good bit better than Flamethrower. Unlike Marle, Lucca will have plenty of offensive options in future techs that will override Fire.

Lightning has a base formula of (LVL + MAG) * 4.8, slightly stronger than Slash, though also lacking the multi-target options. It's slightly buffed to compensate for Crono's lower Magic base, so that he can still contribute in magic-only fights such as this one. Of course, it makes you wonder why he has lower Magic in the first place, but details...

Anyway, Fire and Ice unlocks Marle and Lucca's first Dual Tech, Antipode.

Remind me to show off the description text for that one when I show it off.

Fanfare 1

That was most embarrassing!

Spekkio has rewards when you beat him, usually including a Magic Tab.

You guys are too much! Bring newcomers to meet me!

One last detail, Spekkio has several forms based on your level. This is actually his second form, shown if you're between L10 and L19, inclusive. If you make it here under L10 (which you kinda have to go out of your way to do), his form is a frog like the comic relief ones in the 2300AD sewers. He has three more forms for every ten levels, with that last one staying from L40 to L98. Then there's a special form at L99 with some really great rewards (which you obviously don't need at that point since you vastly outlevel everything anyway, but still).

The Brink of Time

Well, well! People who lived long ago ALL enjoyed such powers...

And you must hurry. The longer you remain here, the harder it will be to change that which must be changed...

The old man seems to know a bit about our goals, but I guess residing at the end of time itself gives you some sort of insight into the inner workings of the universe.

Anyway, Spekkio wants newcomers. Let's get Robo some magic!

You've got great strength, however, since I can't measure your inner character, I can't give any magic to you. But your laser weapons will suffice. They can inflict "Shadow" type damage.

A bit of a translation error, it's more because he's not descended from the race that casts magic, since...well, he's a robot, he's not descended from anyone. However, he does end up having some surprising variety in elemental attacks the other three don't have...much later in the game. Still, Laser Spin's lower base attack combined with Robo's low Magic stat means his attacks aren't going to cut it in magic-based fights like with Spekkio. It's more a useful tool to clear random encounters than anything to stand up to Fire/Ice/Lightning.

Anyway, we have three time periods to choose from. Eventually, we'll get more as we link some gates to here.

The middle one, of course, is where we just came from, so there's no point in going back.

The first is kinda intriguing, but honestly there's nothing worth showing off by going here early. Trust me, we'll visit here soon enough.

The last one does take us back to 1000AD, but in an entirely new area. Still, the time period is what we want, so close enough, right?

Next time, we go back home!