Chrono Trigger - Spoof Review  

Time Travel, yes. Aliens, sort of. Espers, maybe.
by JuMeSyn

20-30 hours


Rating definitions 

   Today on Inside the Actors Studio, kindly notice a few changes. The most obvious one would be that James Lipton had to, eh, call in sick. Yes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Where Mr. Lipton had scheduled either Freddie Prinze, Jr. or the ghost of John Wayne to attend today, I’ll be doing something a bit different. The cast of Chrono Trigger will be with us today, chatting about the magnum opus that their game represents for RPGamers of 1995. As I control the audio AND the video, there will be no deviation from this course of events for the evening.

Gah!  Flashing lights… must… resist… seizure fuel! Gah! Flashing lights… must… resist… seizure fuel!

   A restless audience member raises a hand: "So we won’t be hearing Mr. Prinze, Jr. tell us about what he’s been doing without a new Scooby Doo movie on the horizon while Mr. Lipton hands out effusive praise?"
"Not on MY watch. You are of course welcome to visit the Internet Movie Database, where I am certain Prinze, Jr. worship is ongoing via the message boards."
"Oh, I see!" *Footsteps fade into the distance, the studio door slams loudly*.
"Ahem… moving on with the actual agenda of the evening, I will first speak with Lucca, the inventor extraordinaire. Lucca, what can you tell us about the events that shaped the tale now known to RPGamers everywhere?"
Lucca: "Well, it began with a very rare event; one of my inventions failed to work properly! I was trying to send people through space and I ended up sending one through time instead… oops. Sorry about that Marle! It’s a good thing Crono was so eager to go slipping through the previously untested time traveling apparatus! Of course I promptly followed once I had co-opted the art of time travel for myself – I have a reputation as a genius to uphold!"
"I cannot contradict a woman of such obvious intellectual capabilities. Can Crono shed any further light onto this situation? Indeed, Crono, perhaps you can better inform the viewers as to your mute status during the entirety of the tale Lucca has begun to tell?"
Lucca: "Aw, but that means I don’t get to tell of how I used the power of rationalism to overcome my very unscientific dislike of frogs!"
Frog: "Madam, I would very much prefer thou refrain from unnecessary remarks upon my current status! ‘Tis a wonderment that these Gallic chefs adjacent to our place of speech have been restrained from seeking mine person out as a chief ingredient!"
Crono: "I’ll answer the question, sure. And don’t forget that this all started thanks to Marle being a runaway princess wanting me to show her around the Millennial Fair! Anyway, then we had to rescue her great-great-great-great grandmother from some really hairy thing called Yakra, and then we got back to the present-day Guardiana where Marle’s father and his chancellor were really mad about her being gone! I was on trial! The chancellor even circumvented normal judicial procedures to keep me penned up!"
Lucca: "Yeah, and then I came to help you out of a jam!"
Marle: "My turn! You have NO IDEA how boring it can be stuck in a castle all day, every day! I had to get out of there – so I joined up with them after they got out of the dungeon, we found a new time portal into another era, and we met up with Robo!"
Robo: "Indeed, this is the point at which I enter into the tale. It was just before I was discovered by Miss Lucca that you three learned of the Day of Lavos and vowed to change it; a goal I was happy to comply with! Which completely discounts Miss Ayla’s involvement – but we cannot simply discuss the tale baldly like this for the entire evening!"
JuMeSyn: "You speak truth, Robo. So then: does anyone care to remark upon the soundtrack your story has been given?"
Ayla: "Sound good. Ayla like. Much sound to hear, good sound all. Yasunori Mitsuda, good music man. Ayla beat up old music man, he make bad music."
Crono: "While of course there was no way to accurately capture our likenesses at the time, the designers did a fine job. The Super Nintendo did its very best!"
JuMeSyn: "On to all the fighting and talking you had to do along the way. Who wants to field this one?"
Robo: "I was very appreciative of the designers’ incorporating our fighting a finite number of opponents. Most of the battles we fought I definitely recall dealing with, instead of random adversaries crossing our path periodically!"
Crono: "Simplicity is the best way. After all, we didn’t think too much about the fighting process beyond smacking the enemies with our weapons, using an item when we needed to, and learning those handy Techniques for using our innate abilities when smacking enemies with the weapons didn’t work! One handy thing is the way the developers incorporated our teamwork into the fighting. Sure enough, when there are only three people fighting it’s a good idea to help each other out with Techniques! Those double and triple Techs are pretty true to what we did in a fight!"
Lucca: "Yup, those Techs are really handy. It was such a pain to find enemies who would give us reasonable Tech Points though. Now that I think about it, why didn’t I invent something to help us learn Techs faster?"
Marle: "Oh, Lucca, don’t go on about all the things you haven’t invented; now that you can control the weather without a tornado every week, isn’t it enough? I just hope the players remembered that they can change the speed battles move at: it’s really intense to have time passing at all moments. Speed ratings still matter if the active time matrix gets turned off, but people can go get a drink of water without getting killed in the meantime!"
Ayla: "Use item easy. Put things on easy. Ayla like this! Oooh – Ayla see dinner!"
*A seeing-eye dog in the crowd must be quickly removed; Ayla is then allowed to smash a vending machine. Skipping the lengthy and painful scene in which she attempts to manipulate plastic wrappers…*
This is a fair, not a circus.  Thus there are no clowns in sight – hurray! This is a fair, not a circus. Thus there are no clowns in sight – hurray!
JuMeSyn: "How would you address the many ways in which the game can end? I notice, for example, that Magus hasn’t said anything yet."
Magus: "…And why would I? Time travel is fraught with infinite potentialities. The ‘game’ only incorporates a few more than ten. It is fun for someone to play and see what happens, certainly. Ineluctably the conclusion must be drawn that the developers failed, however."
Frog: "Knave! Thou dost know the lengths to which those who made this work went – how could it be that thou would belittle their toil?"
Magus: "…As it is impossible to capture the infinite variations of the universe time travel can reveal, so must any attempt to do so that fails be judged a failure. A noble failure it may be; perhaps."
Frog: "Methinks thou dost dislike the likelihood that your life shall be ended within so many of the ways upon which the time stream may wend! Dost thou know the times mine blade hath longed to lodge itself within thee!?"
Magus: "…Any time you wish, amphibian."
Ayla: "You stop now! Talk, no fight! So hard, these two to keep quiet!"
Crono: "Speaking of ‘hard’ – I hear some players didn’t think our game was hard enough. Well, we’re still alive, aren’t we? It sure wasn’t easy to stay alive through all of that, but we did it! We had to stay on top all the time to keep from dying, and I think that was plenty hard enough!"
Marle: "Yeah! Why should we have to die all the time?"
JuMeSyn: "Fair enough, I suppose. The risk of dying is all it takes to make the adrenaline flow. Now then – how long do you think it would take someone to play through the game?"
Crono: "It took days to run around that stupid Zeal kingdom with its snowstorms everywhere… argh!"
Ayla: "Hunting hard! Many animals not like to give things! Take many days to get things for trade where Ayla come from!"
Lucca: "While it actually took me several hours to invent each of my brilliant devices, and my dad didn’t ALWAYS have something ready for me when I walked in the door, I think it was a good idea to cut the time down for people who might not have their entire formative experiences ready to be shaped by these events the way ours were. So cutting it down to under 30 hours for someone who is good was a smart move."
Robo: "Don’t forget the New Game + mode! We never took advantage of that, naturally – conquering Lavos once was enough! Plus altering the space/time continuum by starting the whole thing over with all experience and Techs learned might destroy the universe… but for a game it’s a fine idea!"
JuMeSyn: "That might be about all we have time for talking about, except for one issue that bugs me. Crono – why are you so talkative tonight when you didn’t say anything in the game?"
Crono: "Ugh… would you believe it was the result of a bet? Lucca bet me I couldn’t keep my big mouth shut, and I shook her hand. Man oh man but it was HARD. I knew if I ever said anything she’d NEVER let me live it down though!"
Lucca: "All we did was bet indentured servitude for you, a lifetime’s worth of inventions for me! I didn’t think you were such a wimp about serving me for seven years!"
James Lipton: "There they are! This is the group that put me into the wrong studio! Pauly Shore made me act in his latest direct-to-video movie; how can I recover?"
Frog: "Ah, yonder man who did speak in a manner I understand not was named Pauly Shore? ‘Twas a horrible ordeal to separate ourselves from him!"
Security: "We have a Code Red, repeat a Code Red! Pauly Shore’s name was not to be mentioned on In the Actors Studio until 2015 at the very least! Apprehend the perpetrators with extreme prejudice!"
Magus: "Idiots. Time to leave."
Marle: "I hope everyone learned what they needed to, because we have to leave this time period right now! Please support our cause by playing the game!"
John Wayne: "I can’t believe I came all this way to be upstaged by such a stupid skit. I never liked television!"

   *Things topple, JuMeSyn is apprehended on charges of bringing an F-grade actor back to a forgetful public’s attention, the cast of Chrono Trigger embarks upon a great journey through time as they try not to let Ayla smash anything that looks like a vending machine, Square Enix looks into issuing a Director’s Cut of the game to satisfy people who believe the game can take plenty of additional side quests just for a lark, James Lipton can never quite recover his equanimity when dealing with actors who are clearly being overrated.*

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