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  -Part 1 :: [08.08.03]
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"In response to all this, Hamlet simply replies 'The mortals...they understand not...', then bids Hagrid farewell. Strangely, Hagrid doesn't seem to find this comment odd at all. Now in control of the swishy bishie, I nab some Protein from behind Hagrid's hut (and yes, that was intended to sound dirty)."
     -Ben, Breath of Fire IV Part 5

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Chrono Trigger : Part 3
By Ryan
Posted 07.19.04
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Last time, eleven months and 1300 years ago, Punk and his plucky party of pixilated pimpettes "narrowly escaped" execution, were flung generations into the future, learned about the impending world-ending, saved some people with a bunch of seeds, raced against a transformers reject, and even solicited a golden manbot's robotic aid. Whew. Now, in order to return to 1000 AD, our adventurous company must venture into an old, abandoned factory to turn on the power that will allow us to open the door sealing off the BigBluePortal that will send us to another stop in our totally linear completely random journey. This concludes the "recap within a recap" portion of the hour. Now back to your regularly scheduled program. Watch The Frog.

When Punk, Lucca, and Kosmo enter the factory, they immediately notice a large computer and two conveyor belts leading into its dark recesses. Two laser beams are blockading the belts, and even though the lasers are low enough to be safely transcended by a small child, the party has somehow reached an impasse. Punk and Lucca feign resignation and prepare to retire to the safety of the Proto Dome, until Kosmo, being the advanced robot that he is, makes the computer deactivate the laser security system. Good thing we brought him along, otherwise they would never have been able to solve this brain buster. Even though Lucca operated all sorts of high-tech machinations in the last recap all by herself. But since when has consistency been high on the list of values for this game, anyway?

So, what is highest on the list?
Sloppy Exposition
The Game's Designers. Pass the Blitzbong.


At the end of the two conveyor belts are two elevators. Punk "chooses" to go down the left one, because I know that the right side involves lots of slow-moving conveyor belts and monster battles, all to find a password that I've had memorized since the first time I played this game (more on this below). Come on, CT Purists, you know you cheat at this part too! Just think of it as being saved from a paragraph of me bitching about How Much OMG I HATE Dungeons.

After walking through a little corridor, the party comes to another computer that allows Kosmo to open up a ladder leading to another lower level. Much fighting of spiked "Acid" monsters ensues, and Kosmo deactivates another set of lasers. Another elevator ride. Riveting stuff. On this floor, a computer asks me for the password "ZABIE."

Now, on the Super Nintendo version of Chrono Trigger, this part made sense. ZABIE translated to XABY on the controller. See how smart that is? In the Playstation version, the password translates to Triangle, Circle, X, Square. Note the lack of sense being made. On a related topic, the Zabie=XABY password allowed the Super Nintendo player to bypass the entire first half of the dungeon, which ends in finding the computer that reveals the cute little mnemonic. That sound you just heard was the combined wailing of the three PSX gamers who never played the old-skool SNES version and had to do the first half of the dungeon to get the password. They are to be pitied. And then laughed at. I'm looking at you, Sam!

So, after I use my super-fab memory skills to enter the password, a door slides open and the party comes across the power generator. It even has a handy little ON/OFF switch, right in front. How convenient. Punk flips the switch, the whole place starts bleeping like a defective SUV in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and Kosmo jumps up and runs around like a little girl. Did anybody honestly not see that coming? The alarm, that is, not the girlish running. Never mind.

Anyway, Kosmo tells Punk that the security system has been activated and that the party should leave. Like, five minutes ago. Instead of actually running in an expedient manner, however, the party merely pretends to run away and instead stops every few steps to watch cool things happen like giant steel doors slamming shut as the party passes, Kosmo getting wedged between a set of closing doors so that Lucca can squeeze her way through, and rabid fanboys screaming at them to hurry the fuck up already. Oh wait, that was me. Of course, all this happens in a full 32 bits of glory. Escape scenes just aren't as cool in two dimensions, I suppose.

Well, the crew somehow makes it out of the gauntlet of closing doors. With all the bothersome "suspense" out of the way for the time being, I am given control of the party again. Punk makes his way down a high tech corridor and up the ladder Kosmo opened earlier, and the running away continues. Will we ever escape?

Just as I begin to think that I can't handle the mounting tension for one second longer, two rows of three palette-swapped Kosmos appear from tubes in the wall and block the party's path. Punk readies his sword and Lucca whips out her gun, ready to tear the robots a new one with the combined phallacity of their weapons, but Kosmo stops them. "These are my friends!" he beeps, and walks up to the nearest KosmoKlone, jovially spouting serial numbers and bowing like a moron. His attempt at congeniality is met with a punch in the face.

The 'Klones inform Kosmo that he is defective, you know, since Lucca took away his beer and shined up his rudeness, crudeness, and general social unacceptability. Fellas, ain't it always the way? Suddenly, your buds want nothing to do with you, once your woman stamps all the football and porn out of you and confiscates the La-Z-Boy. But they're just jealous because they aren't getting any. Bamp-Bamp-Chicka-Bamp and all that.

Kosmo whines a little bit about how his buddies don't want to come to his stag parties anymore because Lucca keeps his manhood in a jar on the fireplace mantle, and the 'Klones end his bitchfest by dog piling on him all at once. Despite that description, scene looks considerably less like an Abercrombie and Fitch commercial (maybe it's the lack of festive pullovers and glamour shots?) and more like Kosmo is getting the ever-lovin' tar kicked out of him. Because he is. Kosmo tries to crawl out of the mosh to Punk and Lucca, who have sheathed their weapons in favor of staring into space while the scene unfolds, only to suffer more brutality at the hands of his former comrades. Burn.

Kosmo eventually bites the proverbial dust and one of the 'Klones pushes him into one of the tubes lining the passageway. Sad music hits the Cosmic Soundtrack. "Now to take care of the intruders..." another 'Klone bleeps. "No," Lucca cries poignantly, brandishing her gun, "Let's take care of you!" This is a fun scene, because, you know, Lucca's sex toy got demolished and she's all angsty and empowered and junk. Punk is just excited to kill stuff, as evidenced by the readiness with which he holds his long, hard implement.

Boss music starts, and the 'Klone War begins. The KosmoKlones are all close enough to each other for Punk to hit most of them with his spinning Cyclone attack, and when he and Lucca combine their Techs to perform Fire Whirl, the robots go down easily. Please take this opportunity to create your own joke about flamers twirling around to defeat their opponents, not entirely unlike the French Olympic gymnastics team.

After the battle, Lucca thrusts her head into Kosmo's chute and pulls him out. She assesses the damage and decides that for the time being, she and Punk might as well take Kosmo back to the Proto Dome, because the game designers have to account for the fact that some stupid players may have brought M!Sue along instead, in which case they would have to take Kosmo back to Lucca, because, as we all know, M!Sue is useless. Smooth, game designers. Real smooth.

The next few scenes involve Punk and Lucca dragging Kosmo's beaten form across the world map, and I'm sure that being pulled over five miles of gravel and debris doesn't hurt Kosmo in the slightest. Also, Lucca totally just pulled him out of the tube on her own, so wouldn't the two burly young teens working together at least be able to carry him or something? I mean, honestly. Is a little consistency too much to ask?

Proto Dome. Punk and M!Sue both take a mental holiday while Lucca sets about re-repairing Kosmo. He asks if she can repair him, and Lucca tells him not to talk, like they do to those critically ill patients that they are too chicken to break the news to on ER. Taking her advice to heart, Kosmo keeps on blabbing and bleeping. He asks if Punk, M!Sue, and Lucca are trying to save the planet, and I'll be fucked if I can find a reasonable explanation as to how the hell he knows about that. Now you're just being sloppy, Square.

"I don't know how far we'll get, but that's the plan." Lucca responds, ever the optimist. Throughout the scene, Sad Music is playing, as if the game designers think we are dumb enough to believe that Kosmo, with his custom sprite, and a number of yet-unlearned techniques, could actually die. ...The first person to send me an email about Aeris is going to get a supersized kick in the ovaries.

Lucca asks Kosmo what he's going to do when he's repaired, and Kosmo exclaims that "nobody has ever asked [him] that before." I can't imagine how it could never have come up in the past, during Kosmo's glamorous days as a mindless, Terminatoresque security guard, but maybe that's just because I'm much too sober to be analyzing this game. Anyway, the screen goes dark so Lucca can actually do something to fix Kosmo besides walk around him, fiddle with his gadgets, and make him shoot off sparks. ...You just interpreted that the wrong way, didn't you?

When we rejoin the four heroes, the music gets all perky and wannabe techno. The music is trying to be like KOS-MOS's boobs! It's Kosmo's theme, which I'll take as a subtle hint that he isn't dead. The overt hint would be the fact that he's standing in the middle of the room and bowing and greeting the characters just like he did in the last recap. I'm drowning in symbolic meaning over here. If by "symbolic meaning," you mean, "cheap vodka."

Kosmo informs the party that he will be accompanying them to wherever they end up going, dammit, because there is nothing left for him in the future, but we all know it's because he doesn't want to leave his super-sezzy savior's side. She's got his manhood in a jar, remember. He's as good as enslaved. With that little detail out of the way, the party traipses into the back room and approaches the BBP. Mind-numbing victory music screeches in the background.

In synchronous movement, the four all spin around and mimic Lucca as she produces the BBP Wand, which causes the BBP to open wide and engulf the party, and damned if they don't all look like mental ward patients on an outside visit, twirling around in a serenely lobotomized manner. Gag me. "Hang on to your shorts!" Lucca yells. Further gagging from yours truly. (Oh God, the combined wank factor from the other three party members must be frying her brain. We need to ditch a character, STAT!)

Speaking of gagging, the BBP tries to close around the massive unit that just got shoved inside of it, and after a few tries, it manages to swallow, albeit with a blue flash and electrostatic sparks that indicate that something has gone wrong. (I'll refer to the electric sparks effect as "Old Sparky" when it crops up in future recaps.) After a trippy ride on the BBP's Lava Lamp-like interior, the screen goes dark.

Instead of emerging from the BBP in the same place in the distant future/past like what normally happens, the party drops in from the top of the screen to land on a glowing white pillar of light. The pillar of light is stationed in an offshoot of what I can best describe as a very drab rendition of the back patio of a half-timbered cottage. Only the patio is floating through space. Punk, Kosmo, M!Sue, and Lucca take in their melancholy surroundings and Kosmo wonders aloud where the hell they are.

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