Saturday, December 24, 2011

Top 50 Video Game Moments: Number 22

This moment is actually one that I experienced a week or so ago, so it's still fresh. I think this spot is totally legit for it, though, so here goes.

The game is Chrono Trigger. I'd somehow managed to miss playing it until a month or so ago. The moment itself is a fairly late game spoiler, so proceed with caution if you haven't played it. Then again, if you haven't played it, and you have even a passing interest in RPGs, then you're being as silly as I was - go play it.

I'll wait up.

Shit starts getting real when you reach the floating kingdom. It initially seems to be an idyllic place where magic users make the world a better place (for magic users, that is... non-magic users are relegated to spice mining, or whatever it is that people who can't conjure fire from thin air do). There's a constant air of dread, though. It starts subtly, with various townsfolk noting that the queen doesn't seem herself lately, and a few people noting that they've found a 'new' source for their magical powers.

Then a creepy kid walks up and basically says that someone is going to die.

You know, you were a dick even when you were a little kid, Magus...
It gets worse from there. The 'new' power source for the floating kingdom is (of course) Lavos, the evil super entity who in the game's twisty timeline eventually destroys the world. You know you have to stop him, so you go on a few side quests and eventually confront the now totally power-hungry Queen and her minions in the room of the Mammon Machine (the machine which is drawing power directly from the most dangerous being on the planet). Chrono, having been given a knife capable of destroying the machine, throws the blade which....

...does absolutely nothing......except piss Lavos off.

Your party lines up to fight, and gets curb stomped*, the shadowy prophet shows up, and turns out to be Magus in disguise. He's waited for decades to come back and get his revenge on Lavos (a plot point which gets explained shortly after this scene), but he's unable to even put a scratch on the might abomination. Though the fight is hopeless, Chrono gets up and stands alone against Lavos, who kills him almost instantly. Knowing that there's just no way to win the fight, the remaining heroes are whisked away before the floating kingdom crashes to earth, setting the player up for the endgame.

* of course, if you're a high enough level, you can beat that part, but that's not how it went for me

The whole scene is done very well. The cinematic quality to it is extremely well done for the old SNES, and it was genuinely surprising to have the lead character sacrificed in such a manner (he gets better, of course). A tense and fulfilling setup scene.

If you want to relive the whole thing, I've embedded the video below.

1 comment:

  1. I have, of course, played this. For some reason, I ended up getting stuck shortly after Lavos appeared in the air and I didn't finish the game for something like ten years (I just started over, obviously). So, to some degree, the punch of the story was lost. I still do adore the way this game plays, though, and it might be time to play it again.

    I actually loved the sequel, despite the fact that endless character recruitment games aren't really my cup. I probably overrated it at the time because it looked good, it had great music and I had recently finally quit doing drugs so everything seemed fresh and vibrant and exciting.