Sequence Breaking in “Chrono Trigger”

I accidentally finished a dungeon in Chrono Trigger last night way faster than I should have, and it actually made me feel pretty bad. That probably sounds pretty strange, but I’ll explain why in this entry.

I am head over heels for Chrono Trigger. Much like Link’s Awakening, it’s one of those games that I played in the past, but didn’t quite appreciate it until recently. It’s either a weird emotional phase I’m going through, or perhaps it’s like an age of enlightenment where I truly see the beauty behind these incredible video games. I’d like to think it’s the latter, because I want to look at all video games with this same mindset.

Anyway, more about Chrono Trigger. This was yet another game that I played using an emulator and didn’t fully appreciate for that reason. I don’t remember how long ago it was, but I ended up buying the Virtual Console version for the Wii. I’d been playing it a little on and off for a while, but it wasn’t until last weekend that I started playing it seriously. You know, I’m starting to wonder if the reason I’m seeing the beauty in these games is because I’ve been developing my own game for a while now.

The more I played it, the more I truly appreciated every aspect of it. It wasn’t until this current playthrough that I realized how much work must have gone into this game! Like, the sprite work is fantastic, the background art, the world, the visual art is beautiful, the writing (aside from some minor grammatical issues) is amazing and believable, the gameplay is solid, the story, concept, and characters are all very well written and thought out, and the music, oh my God. The music is fantastic. That’s the game that turned Yasunori Mitsuda into my favorite composer of time. (Well, that, and I discovered that he started composing music at the same age I was when I started and he’s composed music for a lot of other games I love the soundtracks to.)

You get the idea now. I love me some Chrono Trigger. (I still can’t get into Chrono Cross, sadly, but maybe that’s something I need to save for later. If anything, I’ll play it for the music since that game’s music is also by Mitsuda.) I was playing it last night and got to the future for the first time, I think the year 2300 A.D. or something. The creepy, depressing, dystopian future. I got to the Factory dungeon there (I call it the Derelict Factory since that’s the name of the song that plays there) and ended up going to the lab first instead. I got to the place that asks for you to input the “Zabie” password or whatever, and because I’ve already played this part of the game before, I knew that meant pressing the buttons ‘X’, ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘Y’.

Inputting that password unlocks a security thing, but it causes stuff to go crazy. In an evacuation attempt, Crono, Robo, and either Lucca or Marle (whichever is in your party, but who wouldn’t have Lucca in the party for this part?) are attacked by a bunch of security robots that completely trash Robo in a sad and oddly brutal scene, which follows by a somewhat difficult fight depending on who you have in your party. (It’s much easier with Lucca since she’s more on the offensive, and her Flame Whirl Dual Tech with Crono is really good for this boss, but that’s neither here nor there. This isn’t a strategy guide.)

My point in saying all of this is that I basically skipped over half the dungeon because I already knew that damn password. I’m going back there tonight to get all the treasures I missed, but I felt so bad because I didn’t realize you could finish the dungeon so quickly! It felt like cheating because I remember that dungeon being much longer. It felt ironic, sequence breaking in a game about time travel. Sort of like I went to the past but technically the future to advance things faster than they should. But needless to say, Chrono Trigger is a fantastic game, and perhaps if you haven’t played it in a while, re-visit it and remember why it’s so incredible.

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