Released in August 1995, Chrono Trigger is considered by many to be one of the finest RPGs ever produced. After an accident with Lucca's teleporting machine, our protagonists find themselves traveling through time in an effort to stop a monstrously powerful entity named Lavos from bringing armageddon in the year 1999. Along the way they find a talking frog, a robot, a cavewoman, dinosaurs, dark magicians, and a long forgotten civilization. Yet everywhere they go Lavos is watching and waiting. Can it be stopped?
Timing note: Full game runs use the game's timer at its last seen time, plus remaining real time.
New Game + runs use real time under standard timing rule from start of control. End point
is the appearance of the final damage number on Lavos.
100% definition: Complete all optional side quests mentioned by Gaspar so that he tells you the only thing left to do is defeat Lavos.
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3:34 by Yu Morimoto, done in 33 segments.
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I know I could never have accomplished this record by myself. So I would like to thank and give credit where credit is due.
I also thank all the people who visit and post comments on my Chrono Trigger topic.
Here are some more explanations for each segment.
In the next segment, the sound suddenly extremely turns to small. I'm sorry for making you uncomfortable.
I hope you enjoy the run!
Single-segment 100%: 5:40 by Kari 'Essentia' Johnson.
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I started speedrunning Chrono Trigger in preparation for Awesome Games Done Quick 2011. I'd hoped to get a submittable run soon afterward, but being a full-time mom means that I don't often get chances to attempt a 6-hour single-segment run. So it took over a year, but I finally completed this run. In a way, it's good that it took this long, because I was able to find lots of little improvements during that time.
This run is far from perfect; there are lots of little mistakes, as well as two big mistakes in Magus's Castle, but I was able to beat my goal time (under 6 hours real-time and under 5:45 game time), so I'm happy with it. Besides, there are other games I want to run. ;)
Big thanks and chocolate chip cookies to the following people:
-Roidi, whose RTA report at Ultima Garden was the basis of my run.
-Nitrodon, for testing things and finding a few faster boss strategies.
-My brother Brossentia, for keeping me and the stream chat company during this run, and for "defeating" Atropos. ;)
-All the people who watched me stream this run live, for supporting me and especially for putting up with the high-pitched buzzing caused by my old TV.
-The entire SDA crew, for all their hard work!
-And of course, my husband Denton, for supporting my speedrunning, even though it usually means he has to watch the kids for the evening. :)
SDA defines 100% for Chrono Trigger as completing all sidequests that Gaspar (the guy at the End of Time) mentions, which are the following:
<Tricks used throughout the run>
Most of the time I keep the battle speed on 1 (fastest). However, I tested every boss battle with different speeds, and found a few where it's better to turn down the battle speed. The main benefit to doing this is having more reaction time, so I can get more turns in between the enemy's turns.
Battle cursor memory
When the battle cursor is set to memory, it behaves a little differently for each menu. In the Item menu, the cursor will stay on whichever item you last moved it to, but in the Tech menu it won't stay on a specific tech unless you actually select that tech and target an enemy.
X to attack
A little-known fact about this game is that during battles you can hold the X button to automatically select "Attack".
To run away from battles quickly, hold R and L and go into either the Tech or Item menu, wait for about a second, then exit the menu. Almost every time you'll immediately escape the battle.
In preparation for Yakra, I needed Lucca to have lower HP (preferably under 30), and there are two forced battles where she can take damage. The first one (Naga-ette x4) can be really random, depending on how many times they use their Slow spell instead of just attacking Lucca. This battle wasn't the best, but it could have been much worse. The second battle (Hench x3, Diablos x2) was pretty much perfect.
Yakra: Yakra likes to counterattack, which not only wastes time but also hurts quite a bit, but he'll only do it if all three party members are alive. It's fastest to have Lucca die as soon as possible, and Yakra obliged by attacking her first. I also got more criticals in this battle than usual.
Things went pretty well here; most importantly, I didn't get caught by either guard. Those shield enemies are a pain to avoid, by the way.
Dragon Tank: The most consistent way I've found to defeat Dragon Tank is to wait for it to heal twice, have Crono attack the head 6 times and Lucca attack it once, then 3 cyclones and 2 fire whirls. Unfortunately, on Crono's 4th turn I accidentally had him attack the body instead of the head, and then proceeded to waste Lucca's next turn with attacking the head. It didn't waste much time, but it still looks ugly. Afterwards, at the bottom of the stairs normally the two guards stop you and there's a bit of dialogue, but I managed to skip all that.
You can save time here by purposely running into rats; you won't get into a battle while the "Stole a tonic" message is on the screen, and there are two places in particular where you can save a few seconds by doing this. I didn't have any tonics to spare, though, so unfortunately I couldn't take advantage of this trick.
Guardian: This took longer than usual because the game was being stingy with criticals. As a side note, I only have one tonic and one revive available to use in this battle. I got into my first unintentional battle on the way out of here, and it's not even a hard one to avoid, boo.
That first Acid should have died in 3 hits or less - seriously, Robo usually does about 6 damage. In the next battle, the ratio of Acids (orange) to Alkalines (green) is random. If you attack an Alkaline while there is at least one Acid still alive, there's a chance it will do a counterattack. I take that chance, though, if I can target a bunch of enemies with Cyclone.
R-Series: This is the first place I turn down the battle speed; it's needed so you can actually get a turn before they kill you. I attack the enemies in this order (front, back, back, front) to avoid their nasty "throw your character back and forth" attack.
I failed to avoid the Cave Bat x3 battle, which is kind of tricky to do anyway.
Heckran: I used to think I needed to turn the battle speed down to 2 here; the main problem was that during Heckran's second phase, Crono wouldn't get his turns quick enough to be able to heal before Heckran could possibly kill someone.
This is the hardest battle skip in the game; I waited a few extra seconds to be sure I'd get it.
It might not look like it, but I saved a couple seconds while talking to the chef; by running up and down, you can make some of the dialogue boxes disappear faster.
Zombor: It would have been nice if Crono had attacked the head more, but oh well.
Masamune: In the first battle, if both of them are put to sleep, it's better to attack the one of the left because he won't do anything after being woken up. In the second battle, I was lucky that the last Fire Punch actually killed him, or I would have had to deal with his counterattack
Nizbel: I found that if I waited to cast Lightning until right after Nizbel's first turn, for the rest of the battle I'd be able to cast Lightning right after he released electrocution energy, thereby minimizing the number of times Ayla and Robo attacked while his defense was up.
Afterwards in Ayla's hut, she normally stops you for a couple seconds when you try to exit; this can be avoided by talking to her and exiting while the dialogue box is still onscreen.
I don't really know why this works, but you can make the cutscenes here go about 5 seconds faster by continuously walking into Melchior at certain points.
I failed the battle skip this time. :(
Flea: I wish I better understood how this battle works. If you put the Berserker on Frog and just let him attack, sometimes Flea will get "stuck" for a while, where he just stands there and doesn't attack. In most of my previous runs I couldn't get this to happen, so I was really happy when it happened in this run. I let Robo die so Flea would stop doing The Stare.
Slash: Not much to say here. Crono, who deals the least damage, is the healer; Frog, who deals the most damage, is the only attacker near the end of the battle when Slash counterattacks every move.
The trapdoor room is the ugliest part of this run. Normally I use the pattern on the floor to avoid all the trapdoors. However, I happened to be playing on a different TV than I have in the past, and this TV was much darker and had no menu button on it, so I couldn't even change the brightness. So, since the floor looked completely black, I had to guess where to go to avoid the trapdoors, and unfortunately I guessed wrong - twice. In addition, since I'm not used to falling down, I didn't know which savepoint was the teleporter, and so I guessed wrong again. There were also a few other little mistakes: getting stuck on the second conveyor belt with the scythes, accidentally exiting a room as soon as entering it, and using Slash on the wrong enemy, so overall this is the worst section of the run. However, the Magus battle made up for all that.
Magus: During his first phase, Magus will change his weakness when he is hit by that weakness or when Frog has attacked him twice. I can only take advantage of lightning or fire weakness; oncee Magus's weakness is one of those, I let Frog attack once to lower Magus's magic defense before casting the spell on him. During the second phase, at full HP Crono can just barely survive Dark Matter. In the past, with really bad luck, this battle has lasted up to 16 minutes; in this run it was less than 10, which was great. In fact, I was so excited when Magus went into his second phase so quickly that I had Lucca cast Fire too soon and ended up healing him, whoops.
There are two battles on the second screen that are tricky to avoid, but I managed to pull both of them off.
I fight 7 battles here to learn Volt Bite before the next boss.
Nizbel II: This has been one of the hardest bosses in past runs; I had one good run attempt end here, and previous best run lost 2 minutes here because I almost died. The problem was that if I was just a little bit too slow selecting attacks, Nizbel would get too many turns and have a good chance of wiping me out before I could do the last Volt Bite. For this run I finally decided to turn the battle speed down to 2, and it definitely paid off. Also, Lucca inexplicably managed to survive this battle, which has never happened before; unfortunately, she couldn't take advantage of the extra tech points.
Black Tyrano: I don't heal after Tyrano's first countdown so that when he chomps my characters, he doesn't get healed as much. This allows me to be able to kill him before his second countdown ends, without having to do any extra attacks in between the two countdowns.
After powering up the pendant in the Zeal Kingdom, I make a slight detour to Medina to pick up a better weapon for Crono (Swallow) and a speed tab.
It's about 5 seconds faster in real time to walk across the ruins, but about 30 seconds faster in-game time to do the race. (For some reason, the race doesn't count in the in-game timer). Since I'm going by SDA timing, which using in-game time, I opt to do the race again.
I love going through this place with everyone at 1 HP. ;) The only real thing of note here is that I skip the second cutscene with the frogs by simply walking to the right of the cutscene trigger.
Mud Imp: The most annoying boss in a speedrun, ugh. This battle can go real bad real fast, especially if Hypno Wave refuses to work on the Blue Beast. (If Hypno Wave works on both beasts, the blue one will never wake up, but the red one will.) I actually had decent luck this time.
I need to defeat 3 Rubbles here; Ayla and Crono will learn Falcon Hit, and Lucca will be well on her way to learning Flare at the proper time. There are 4 Rubbles along my path, and if I happened to be extremely unlucky, the third Rubble respawns if you leave and re-enter the screen. (Fortunately I didn't need to do that.)
Giga Gaia: Turning the battle speed down allows me to defeat him before he regenerates his arms a second time, without having to do extra Napalms.
There are a few places in the game where if you press X at the right time, you can go into the menu when you're not supposed to be able to; just after Mt. Woe falls is one of those times. Doing this skips the scene fade-out and fade-in, which saves a few seconds.
I have to tell the lady not to burn the plant in order to open up the Sunken Desert sidequest.
Dalton: Crono doesn't need anymore tech/experience points...
I got into one battle here with Thrashers and Lashers that I should have been able to avoid. In the two rooms with Scouters where you have to press the switches, it's not that difficult to avoid fighting the Scouters once you figure out how. (The trick is to walk - not run - into the back of the Scouter.)
Golem Twins: This battle is all about timing. I want to keep them copying fire because it's their weakest attack, so I always need to do Fire2 right after Falcon Hit. I wait for both of them to attack before doing Falcon Hit so they don't manage to sneak an Iron Orb in there. In previous runs I started this battle with Lightning2, because I didn't think Lucca could cast Fire2 before one of the Golems would get a second turn, unless I turned the battle speed down. However, I found that I could keep the battle speed at 1, and if I waited a split second before choosing Crono's action, Lucca's ATB gauge would fill during his turn and she would be able to act before the Golems' second turn. (Like I said, it's all about timing.) This also allows both Crono and Ayla to use mid tonics right at the beginning of the battle, which means I most likely won't have to heal during the rest of the battle. Lucca is the only person who needs to survive here.
I knew it was possible to do the menu trick here, but this was the first time I'd ever managed to do it!
I bring Ayla because she can fight without a weapon, and Robo and Lucca to get tech points. The only stuff I get back is my items; that way I can equip a weapon on both Lucca and Robo so they will be able to act against Dalton, and so I'll have healing items for that battle. After leaving the Blackbird, you get all the stuff except money back anyway.
Dalton (again): Since Dalton always counters with Iron Orb, I found that if I wait for him to attack, then have Ayla do Rock Throw, then immediately heal her, there was no possibility of Ayla dying.
I don't immediately put Magus in my party, because there's 5 seconds of extra dialogue between Gaspar and Magus if he's in your party at the End of Time.
You have to have 40 silver points to get the Crono clone, so I fight Gato 3 times. Normally if you fail Norstein Bekkler's mini-game, he charges a price dependent on how long you stayed in the game. However, all my money was stolen by Dalton, so I *have* to win the game.
I fight two Krakkers before the first Lavos Spawn so Robo can learn Robo Tackle.
Lavos Spawn 1: Fire Tackle makes this battle way too easy.
Lavos Spawn 2: As someone in my stream chat put it: He's so scary, he makes you want to run away!
I now need to fight a total of 54 Krakkers (including the two I fought earlier to learn Robo Tackle). This is so that Lucca will learn Flare at the right moment later on. Ice2 is about a second faster than Fire2, and about 2 seconds faster than Lightning2, so it's best to use Ice2 when possible.
Lavos Spawn 3: Since my characters have leveled up from all those Krakkers, this battle goes faster than the first Lavos Spawn - or at least, it would have if I'd thought to heal Lucca before the battle started.
The cutscene where Crono comes back is about 15 seconds longer if either Lucca or Marle is in the party; so I switch Lucca out of the party, but the scene just feels awkward with Robo being the one to welcome Crono back.
Now, onto the sidequests! The first few sidequests are done in order to get the Blue Rock and learn Flare as soon as possible, which consequently gives access to the strongest triple tech in the game: Omega Flare.
This place has three easy forced encounters and no boss to worry about, so it's the first sidequest completed.
The all-important Blue Rock is here, plus two Rubbles that give 100 tech points each. (I've never failed to kill the Rubbles here.)
Rust Tyrano: The Red Mail that I steal here will be used for Atropos and Son of Sun. I save a bit of time by timing things so that I can select Magus's attack while Crono and Ayla are performing Falcon Hit.
Every battle here is inescapable, so it's a good place to get tech points. In most of the battles, I wait a split second before selecting Magus's attack so that I can select Lucca's attack during Magus's spell animation. I'd also like to note that I hate getting that one robot to follow me. :(
Atropos: My brother, Brossentia, gets the credit for "defeating" this boss. In other words, he held the controller while I took a much-needed potty break. ;)
Lucca learns Flare right before the boss; however, even though Robo has the Blue Rock equipped, they don't actually learn the triple tech Omega Flare until you go into the menu, which is why I do so and exit immediately.
Mother Brain: Now you can see the overpowered attack that is Omega Flare!
Son of Sun: I tested many different battle speeds for this battle, and speed 3 seems to work this best. At this speed I can usually get all 10 hits in only two Roulette rounds, without the battle being unbearably slow. I made one mistake, though: I had Robo heal himself right before the second Ice2, instead of right after, so he ended up dying. At least it was near the end of the battle and didn't make much difference. (I revived him so he would get the experience and tech points.)
Theres a bit of extra dialogue with Magus in the party, but since I need him for the battles here, it's not worth it to switch him out and back in.
Great Ozzie & Co.: Thanks to Nitrodon for this strategy. If I had simply done two Omega Flares, I would have had to sit through three counterattacks after the first Omega Flare. However, casting Dark Bomb on Flea first means that he will die after the first Omega Flare, and I'll only have one counterattack to deal with. Even though I take an extra turn with this strategy, it's still a few seconds faster.
I some stuff needed for the Sunstone, and then it's off to the Sunken Desert.
Retinite: By timing attacks so that I can select Magus's during Robo's attack animation, I'm usually able to kill the bottom part before it absorbs from the Core a second time. This makes it so I don't have to heal the Core to keep it from dying (the boss becomes much nastier if that happens). I accidentally had Magus do an extra attack at the end, oh well.
I now finish powering up the Sunstone, then go to do the last sidequest before Black Omen.
Yakra XIII: Too bad I can't use Omega Flare here. At least Marle is useful for providing defense, healing, and being a meat shield at the end.
There were a bunch of times in practice runs where I'd just mash A while talking to Melchior and accidentally select the Prism Dress instead of Prism Helms; that would be a run-killer, because I need the helmets to protect against status ailments in the Black Omen.
It might seems strange that I didn't change their equipment until after the first battle in the Black Omen. I did this so that Magus would have the Speed Belt equipped for the Laser Guards; otherwise, the Laser Guards would get to act before he could kill them.
Mega Mutant: The upper part has 4600 HP, so sometimes one Omega Flare isn't quite enough to kill him.
I re-equip the Speed Belt on Magus and change the battle speed to 2 for most of the Black Omen; this helps minimize the number of attacks enemies get before I run away/kill them. On each elevator, you'll get between 0 and 3 inescapable battles; I got pretty lucky with these (no battles on the first elevator and only one on the second). Unfortunately, I ran into two unintentional battles: Incognito x3 and Ruminator x4.
Giga Mutant: Omega Flare rules! (What else do I need to say?)
Terra Mutant: See Giga Mutant.
Lavos Spawn 4: I break the "don't attack the shell" rule with my final attack, because it saves so much time.
Zeal 1: Zeal's first attack is always Hallation, then she does Hallation again when her HP drops below half, and then her attacks start back at the beginning so she does Hallation once again. So basically, I'm in no danger of dying in this battle.
Mammon Machine: Mammon Machine stands still...for Omega Flare!
Zeal 2: This is one of the scariest battles in a single-segment run. I can't spam Omega Flare here because the hands' counterattacks are time-consuming (not to mention dangerous). I want to keep track of Zeal's HP, because when it goes below half, she does Hallation followed by MP Buster; I need to be ready to revive anyone who might die from the hands and to use a megalixir. Then once Zeal's HP goes below 4800, I can finish her off with Omega Flare.
Lavos (outer shell): Most of these are pretty self-explanatory. With auto-haste on Robo, most times it's faster to use ethers during battle than in between battles.
Lavos (inside): My main goal at the beginning is to kill the right arm before it does Protective Seal (which removes immunity to status ailments); this is usually possible by having battle speed at 2 and using Doublevbomb for the third attack instead of Omega Flare (Magus just takes too long to get his turn).
Lavos Core: A perfect battle would go like this: kill the left bit with two Uzzi Punches, damage the middle bit so he'll die after two Omega Flares, wait for the right bit to lower its defense, then get in three Omega Flares before it revives the other bits; repeat, while not attacking when the right bit has its defense up; then do a single Uzzi Punch to kill the right bit. This battle can be a real pain if the middle guy decides to do anything other than Time Warp; thankfully he only did that once.
At the time I did this run, near the end of the battle I didn't notice the right bit turn its defense off the second time, so I felt really dumb for just sitting there waiting when I should have been attacking. However, now that I've gone back and watched the run, I've realized that the right bit never actually turned its defense back ON, which is really, really strange. So when it turned its defense off a second time, I just assumed it was turning its defense on. At least I don't feel so dumb now. :P
I might be done running Chrono Trigger, but I'm not done speedrunning! I invite you to come watch my streams, where many times you'll hear me singing/humming along to the game music (with possibly some Yakkity Sax thrown in). Feel free to contact me at any of the below:
Hi, my name is Kari, I love playing and speedrunning RPGs, and I'm a Mormon. :)
New Game + 0:06:42 by John De Sousa.
The goal of this run was to look like TAS. I hope you agree that I got pretty close. Major thanks go to Yu 'inichi' Morimoto for making this run possible; without his work, I'd only be about 20 seconds faster than the previous record. I'd really rather not talk much more about the run than that, since I wrote stuff up and put it on the strategy wiki, but since I also know that 99% of you won't read it I'll touch on it here. New stuff includes:
-The candy skip. Usually when you head up to see Lucca, a mean old lady (who, I regret to inform you, is the game's true final boss) realizes you're speedrunning and traps you by enticing Marle to browse for candy at her stand, ruining an attempt. The trigger for this is not always present, so with very precise timing you can walk right by it. This trick requires extreme precision and ruined the majority of my attempts. I typically got past it once a disk, if that, and it rubbed salt in the wound by being much easier when I was practicing on an emulator. inichi said he gets it a fifth of the time, but I have no idea how. Suffice it to say this trick sucks. On a related note, one of the great things about run comments is that I get to complain about stuff.
-No, you're not supposed to be able to open the menu in cutscenes. If you pay attention you might even notice that, in addition to just being useful, closing the menu skips part of the cutscenes, making it faster to open them even if you don't do anything.
-Attack skips. I skip many enemy attacks that the previous run sits through, which saves me a large amount time. Using battle speed 2 instead of 1 is the largest such improvement, and it either makes possible or greatly helps in skipping some attacks. If you're really interested, watch the previous run and compare. Also, in the Lavos Core battle, it may seem like I make a mistake by having Marle ineffectually attack the right bit. This actually causes it to lower its defense earlier, which saves a bit of time waiting for it to do so and, more importantly, lets me kill the center bit fast enough that it only gets one attack before dying.
Also, I went and found a secret hidden ending, just for you. Enjoy.
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