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"The Dream of Zeal is alive!"
Sargon (to Melchior and Belthasar)
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Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes is a Fan Sequel to Chrono Trigger, taking place before Chrono Cross. Through a series of fateful events, its formal release to the public in May 2009 after five years of development was cancelled when the developers reported that Square Enix supposedly sent them a Cease and Desist letter.

Though the project was cancelled under fear of litigation, the incident led to massive backlash in three forms, one consisting of fans of both the series and the project railing on Square Enix for shutting down the project, another consisting of skeptical fans thinking the whole thing was a publicity stunt for attention (in particular, noting inconsistencies with actual C&Ds sent by Square Enix and the plethora of non-C&D'd projects based on Square Enix properties), and a third consisting of copyright-supportive fans and legal brains railing against the modders for using Square Enix's stuff in the project. It generated significant coverage in high-profile gaming blogs that led to the mod getting notice from Slashdot and Google News.

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Eventually, a months-old and seriously-buggy alpha was leaked in late May and spread virally online and in file-sharing, and then a comprehensive playthrough video of the entire 98% complete beta version of the game was uploaded in many 10-minute segments on YouTube. A copy of a beta version that was 95% completenote  was leaked to filesharing sites and Reddit on January 17, 2011.

A different team started an alternate project consisting in modifying Crimson Echoes, with a slightly different story and events. The project is named Chrono Trigger: Flames of Eternity and has the tagline "The Rage of the Ages burns for Eternity..."

If a Trope already applies to Chrono Trigger proper, it probably shouldn't be duplicated here.

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Crimson Echoes provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: As a result of some unclear change during the five-year Time Skip, Glenn no longer likes being called Frog, and thus his default name is changed to "Glenn" to reflect this. Of course, since Hello, [Insert Name Here] is in effect, you could rename him "Frog" anyway, and set up the following:
    [party1]: Frog!note 
    *cue "Frog's Theme" as the player confirms Glenn's in-game name as "Frog"]
    Frog: Don't call me that! My name is Frog!
  • Accidental Murder: Schala gets hit with this in Magus' Flame Trial, but it may or may not be an illusion. Prior to this, the Frozen Flame sent the real Schala to the Darkness Beyond Time to create the Dream/Time Devourer.
  • Action Girl: Ayla, again. This time with bigger, badder techs!
  • Action Mom: Ayla gave birth to a kid during the Time Skip, a quiet kid named Noah.
    • In Flames Of Eternity, since Kino was not killed off, a second kid is added, named Lea, who invents the game of Backgammon.
  • Actually a Doombot: Kasmir has survived his many years as Fiendlord by using illusions of his image instead of showing up himself. It's not until the penultimate battle of the game that he's FINALLY fought in person and put down once and for all.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different
  • Artifact of Doom: The Frozen Flame, obviously. Lots, and lots, and looooots of DOOM.
  • Author Tract: KING ALPHARD ZEAL, BITCHES!!!
  • Back from the Dead: Schala is revived at the very beginning. At the end, Magus catches King Zeal as he falls out of the Darkness Beyond Time after the Final Boss Battle and heals/revives him.
  • Badass Army: The Vanguard, started by the equally as badass Glenn.
  • Badass Boast: "Death is nothing to the Reaper!"
  • Badass Normal: Sometimes it seems like Agent 12 is getting more done than the player's party.
  • Bad Future: Happens twice. First the Vanguard Timeline, because the Masamune never became a Hero's sword; then the Reptite Timeline, because Lavos was destroyed in Prehistory and the Frozen Flame resonated with the Dragon Tooth in 1 Million B.C. And it's telling that King Zeal is responsible for both.
  • Big Bad: Unlike Trigger and Cross, it's not Lavos, but rather King Zeal. Unlike the rest of his family, he's even able to control Lavos.
  • Blatant Lies: The members of Project Xamoltan claim to observe historical events and never interfere, contrasting them with our heroes. However, the very first time we see a Xamoltan, he's directly participating in and interfering with a historical event, wiping out humanity and sentencing Marle to death. Of course nobody from the current timeline is aware of this, and since it's never brought up again it may just be a Plot Hole.
  • Bonus Boss: In Flames of Eternity. you can fight at certain points in time through hidden portals against foes from the original and its updated rerelease for the DS. And yes, you can actually fight Lavos as the Dream Devourer after the final fight. He is found at the Leene Square just like in the New Game+ of the original game, but not as strong from the DS rerelease
  • Breather Episode: The party in prehistory, which comes after the restoration of the original timeline after its swapping with the Reptite one. However, another Wham Episode follows...
  • But Thou Must!: Most of the time the player is offered a choice of what to do, the end result is the same regardless of what he picks.
    • When asked to save Ayla or attack the Big Bad, the hero will actually refuse one of the choices and pick the other anyway.
    • Subverted in the Mystic-Porre conflict in the Middle Ages: whichever of the three options Glenn chooses (support the Mystics, support the Porreans, or remain neutral) will have a direct and obvious effect on the game's future, while having more immediate pros and cons as well.
    • There's also a particular case in a side quest: you can either allow Cedric to murder a good man so he can annex Choras into Guardia, or if you intervene, Agent 12/86 refuses to let you return to Chronopolis until you fix the timeline by poisoning that same good man.
  • Butt-Monkey: Dalton
  • Catch Phrase: If you watch the YouTube videos, whenever something shows up incomplete or erroneous, one of the developers will usually have a note pop up: "Uh... 2%!" Sadly no longer the case with YouTube's annotations having been removed.
  • Character Development: All the main characters, even freaking LAVOS, get this.
  • Character Focus: Each playable character gets at least one chapter in the spotlight, during which they are the Hero You Can't Drop. Developer notes indicate that they didn't want anyone to be specifically considered the main character. (In pursuit of that, they even went so far as to avert Crono's Silent Protagonist habits.)
  • Continuity Porn: To the original game, its sequel, and as of Flames of Eternity, the DS version.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Trigger, this game is MUCH darker. Partly the result of Grey-and-Gray Morality.
  • Deader Than Dead: Anyone sent to the Darkness Beyond Time. Like Schala and King Guardia XXXIII.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In game, many characters, most notably Crono, Lucca, and Magus. In real life, most of the editing team, to the point where it seems like they're almost MST3King FaustWolf's playthrough of the beta.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Kasmir's reason for helping Zeal in the Darkness Beyond Time.
    Kasmir: I have no place in time anymore. This feels productive.
  • Determinator: King Zeal. And it runs in the family, since Magus also qualifies.
  • Developer Room: The Crimson Echoes staff from the Chrono Compendium have their own special room, and make individual cameos throughout the game.
  • The Dragon: Dalton is fished out of the Dimensional Vortex and gets to make good on his threat to use Porre to destroy Guardia. Later, Kasmir takes over this role, especially after Dalton dies.
    • Dragon with an Agenda: That's not to say Dalton doesn't have his own endgame in mind, by the way. He wants a land to rule, and if he can't rule post-Zeal Antiquity, he'll settle for Porre in the Present.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Four characters from Chrono Cross appear in the Present:
    • Norris is revealed to have a brother, William Ishito, who mentions joining Porre's "Black Wind" unit to keep an eye on what Porre is up to after the lab is destroyed.
    • In the Choras Inn in the Present, we see a young Toma XIV trying to get a freaking drink since he's too young to know alcohol's bad for you, only for the barkeep to offer him exclusively non-alcoholic soft drinks.
    • Luccia and her brother, who created Grobyc, are the children of the head researchers of the Porrean lab where Toma XIII and Coyopa are imprisoned. The parents are killed when the lab goes boom.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: The disregard practically everyone has for timelines that are not their own. This is eventually addressed as a serious ethical question.
  • Fan Interquel: Takes place between Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, in 1005 A.D. the year Guardia fell.
  • Flanderization:
    • Possibly with Magus, whose only purpose in life and in breathing is to find Schala, and even when she's found he won't stop obsessing over her. Some people may find his obsession over Schala... unsettling.
    • Inverted with Ayla, as she actually developed a personality.
  • Foil: The Xamoltan, a trio of Reptite time-travelers from an alternate timeline, serve as foils to Crono and friends. Especially their desire to only go back in time to observe, study, chronicle, and learn, while Crono's party does so specifically to meddle and attempt to "improve" the future of the timeline.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you've played Chrono Cross, you may already be aware of a lot of the plot twists that will eventually come around, such as Guardia's fall or the existence of the Reptite Timeline. The fact that the game manages to bring these events about, and not come off as a rehash, is part of its appeal.
  • Future Imperfect: Toma is not happy to find out his own museum got its information so cringingly wrong.
  • Generation Xerox: Toma from the Middle Ages and Toma XIII in the Present. Why this carries over from Trigger is that Toma XIII is promoted from interesting detail to plot coupon, as Toma I helps save his descendant from the Porre lab.
  • God Save Us from the King!
    • For fuck's sake, Alphard!note 
    • Marle's Flame Trial shows her future as a terrible monarch obsessed with blaming Porre for her father's death. note  and letting Guardia slip into ruin in the meanwhile. The game is deliberately vague as to whether this is an accurate prediction of Marle's future, or just a Mind Screw by the Frozen Flame. But, in any case, it probably drove Marle to relinquish Guardia's throne without protesting much. She may have thought that, if it was really her future, she was still in time to change it and avoid even worse suffering to her people.
  • Good Morning, Crono: What's a Chrono game without this Trope?
  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: The second half of the game is drowning in it. There is a distinct vibe of "nobody is right here, even if we think we're trying to do the right thing". King Zeal calls out the party on it in a long-winded Author Tract shortly before the final battles, and even the creators admit some of them would have sided with Zeal over Crono and the gang. Aaaaand then there's DALTON...
  • Heroic Mime: Averted, as (unlike in Chrono Trigger) the hero Crono does speak in this game. Quite a lot.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Once Toma comes to Chronopolis and goes all What Does This Button Do? on everything, most of the staff becomes nowhere to be seen, citing "sudden headaches".
  • Left for Dead: Marle, when she is captured by the Reptites. Her final moment is never shown. When Crono finds her skeletal remains over 1,000 years later he goes berserk, killing two (innocent!) Reptites in his grieving rage. He and his friends then go back and prevent it all from happening.
    • The same occurs in Flames of Eternity, but Crono manages not to kill, but to just scare the two Reptites away.
  • Level Grinding: Kind of a necessity at the beginning, especially during the "Magus Chasing Dalton" arc, as the first boss is surprisingly tough if you don't. Luckily it's only a fifteen-second walk between the Beast Forest and a free HP/MP full restore and an item shop. It gets better quickly, though.
  • MacGuffin: The Dragon Tooth. The PCs are sent to track it down and steal it to power Chronopolis in place of the weaker Dreamstone and before that, the stolen Frozen Flame, but other than being a power source and "Reptite artifact" it never really does anything. It's even destroyed for a time, due to a temporal mishap, though this gets retconned off-screen shortly after; the developers admit when they wrote the script for its destruction they had forgotten the reason the PCs went after it in the first place was to find a new power source for Chronopolis, and Hand Waved Agent 12 tracking it down and saving it from destruction off-panel.
    • In Flames of Eternity, the issue is given a better resolution by showing Agent 86 handing over the Dragon Tooth to Belthasar in the party's presence.
  • Master of Illusion: Kasmir. Glenn has trouble taking him down because most of the times he's fought him it's been a fake.
  • Mind Screw: The Flame Trials. They are all deliberately vague, according to the developers, and it's left up to player interpretation as to whether they're accurate portrayals of the various characters' situations or merely illusions of their fears and worries conjured by the Frozen Flame to mess with their heads. Ayla's Flame Trial averts this, as she's the only one in the party with enough clarity of heart/mind to see through the illusions.
  • Missing Main Character: The fangame forces you to fight solo with Marle for a single chapter. The developers admitted that Marle was not intended to be a solo character.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Fall of Guardia. Also, the Reptite Timeline flips the game's previously upbeat nature upside-down.
  • Mr. Exposition: Belthasar and Mother Brain/FATE.
  • The Nothing After Death: The Darkness Beyond Time. Even a Chrono Trigger cannot resurrect those sent there.
    King Zeal: To the Darkness Beyond Time. Forever Zero, Eternally Null. Entire possibilities, subsumed into a temporal Netherworld.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
    • Marle nearly allows what is to become Guardia to be conquered by a corrupted Antaeus Porre when her shout, meant to warn Cedric of a surprise attack, ended up distracting him and allowing Antaeus to knock out Cedric and steal the Frozen Flame.
    • King Zeal calls out the party for constantly changing history left and right when they were fighting Lavos in Trigger, since each annulled timeline was sent to the Darkness Beyond Time. Lavos himself does it to Crono at the end of Crono's Flame Trial.
    • Agent 12/86 blocks access to the Gate leading back to Chronopolis if the party prevents Cedric's murder of Cambyses Choras, as history was changed to have a Choras-run kingdom instead of the Guardia they know. In order to return, they have to poison Cambyses' drink.
  • Parental Abandonment: Crono's father is killed in the Fanon backstory. Schala and Janus' father was taken by Belthasar, who also faked the death of the latter as he remembered it in order to prevent undesirable changes in the timeline.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling:
    • The first area of Huacan Factory with the Acids and Alkalines. Nerfed quite a bit in the 98% beta, but left intact in the alpha and subsequent rebuilds.
    • Modnar Forest, a side area near the end of the game populated with a unique element to the Chrono series... random encounters. The enemies there aren't too hard and they give on the order of 4000-6500 experience points per battle, a great way to level up for the final dungeon.
  • People Jars: Magus, when captured by Dalton.
  • Random Encounter: In Modnar Forest only. If you pay attention, you'll notice they aren't really random but triggered by a timer — in fact, you can even stand still after one of these fights and you'll get into another one after a little while. Still, one of the many impressive feats of additional coding in the game.
  • Ret-Gone: At one point, all of humanity is driven extinct by the emergence of a new parallel timeline.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Existence: Time Traveler's Immunity states that anyone who time travels is fated to arrive even if their departure is overwritten, and the more you time travel, the more TTI you have. In Trigger this was why Crono and Lucca are still able to both remember that Queen Leene was supposed to be rescued and that Marle existed, as well as act to restore history. In Crimson Echoes this is why Sorin shows up in the Reptite Timeline despite the timeline being rewritten.
  • San Dimas Time: Hand Waved by stating that the stationary Time Gates travel forward through time at the speed of the normal passage of time. And if someone goes back in time to a year that the Gates don't "currently" exist in (even if they existed there when the characters were five years younger), Gates cannot be found. This has the effect of ensuring that events in all Gate-connected timelines are happening at a concurrent speed from and equal interval to one another, so that time actually elapses while time travelers are away for the same duration as other people wait for them. This form of San Dimas Time is only averted using a Time Egg (one was originally used to save Crono in Chrono Trigger). Lucca and Belthasar can make imperfect semi-stable Time Eggs, but only Gaspar can make perfectly stable ones.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Expect to die. A lot. Less in Flames of Eternity, but the enemies are still strong.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The chapters regarding the Reptite Timeline, where Lavos was eradicated in Prehistory and humanity never rose to power with magic or technology, thus resulting in a Dinotopian civilization centered around reverence of the power of Nature are appropriately entitled "An Emerald Dream".
  • And there are loads more references to Naruto, Bleach and Gurren Lagann in the game as well, as these three inspired some pieces of ZeaLitY's own beliefs, like Might Guy's "Springtime of Youth" catch phrase, quoted by the Mistress Of Kitchens in the Present.
  • Side Tracked By The Golden Saucer: The Colosseum in 2305 A.D. and Choras Casino in 1005 A.D.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In Chrono Cross, Crono and Marle were implied to have been killed when Guardia fell. In this game, Guardia still falls but Marle doesn't try to fight back for the throne, instead going with Crono into the Dreamtime to help deal with the aftermath of King Zeal's meddling. Lucca, though, stays behind, as her fate was sealed in Cross.
  • Sudden Interquel Death Syndrome: Kino. Apparently this was so the creators could tease a Glenn/Ayla pairing.
    • Averted in Flames of Eternity, probably because killing him off was rather pointless. In return, he and Ayla get an extra kid named Lea who invents the game of Backgammon.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Justified as the role of Main Character is not with one person this time, Crono finally gets his own lines. Ironically, this is also Justified in-story with how the Big Bad's secondary plot is quickly foiled.
  • Technicolor Science: The Vision Serpent, in an attempt to recreate the hologram effect that Mother Brain had in Trigger.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Mystic Knights. After a game of having their butts kicked by the heroes, Ozzie, Slash, and Flea pull themselves together and kick a lot of butt in their reappearance, Justifying their Bonus Boss status in Cross.
  • Tricked Out Time: How King Zeal is still alive even though his one(!) mention in Chrono Trigger stated he was dead. Belthasar went back and recreated his death with the obvious exception of King Zeal ACTUALLY being dead. Considering King Zeal's Face–Heel Turn afterward, one can't help but think this was a TERRIBLE idea.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Lucca, shown during the Flame Trial.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Belthasar in King Zeal becoming the threat he is in this story.
    • Marle nearly avoids accidentally becoming this by taking down Antaeus Porre herself and allowing Cedric to take credit for it after her shout ended up distracting him and causing Antaeus to knock him out and steal the Frozen Flame.
    • In a twist, Glenn is this by founding the Vanguard, which becomes corrupted by its mission to preserve order. Even worse, it foreshadows some pretty nasty revelations about Belthasar in the process.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: But he was so strong he didn't really need to. King Zeal is fought three times through the game: a Hopeless Boss Fight at the beginning, a Bonus Boss that doesn't count plotwise later, and phase one of the final battle with the same stats each time. Of course, he gets a One-Winged Angel form, too.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Belthasar. From the point at which the party (plus Schala, minus Ayla) is finally fully collected to Chronopolis, you see the building of the insane Gambit Pileup that is Chrono Cross with his relentless desire to "fix" everything that goes wrong in the timeline, regardless of the consequences. This is Lampshaded both by Melchior in his everyday conversation — "Keep an eye on him, he's under a lot of stress lately" — and later when the group meets Gaspar. A case could also be made for King Zeal.
    • In a way, the player party qualifies as well. Unlike their Reptite Timeline counterparts the Xamoltan, who limit themselves to using time travel for learning and observation, Crono's group specifically uses it to change the past, inadvertently dooming every alternate timeline they create and then unmake to the Darkness Beyond Time. invoked
  • Wham Episode: The Fall of Guardia and the Reptite Timeline.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Your characters get called out quite a few times, whether it be your foil asking how you can destroy a timeline and the countless people that would not be born because of it or Glenn yelling at Crono for murdering two random (innocent!) Reptites in a fit of rage after finding Marle's corpse.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: King Zeal. In spades.
    • Marle might have counted, given what we see in her Flame Trial, but since the developers intentionally made it ambiguous, we can't include it.
  • Written by the Winners: Marle was not happy to find out her ancestor Cedric Guardia, aka King Guardia I, was quite the bloodthirsty asshole and not the hero the history books claimed, or that his feud with Antaeus Porre was because the latter thought he was taking things too far, or that this is all because the Frozen Flame messed with Cedric's head, which is cemented when Antaeus was corrupted by the Flame after stealing it from Cedric.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Averted. Glenn no longer speaks in old-esque English, and his dialogue is closer to his style in the original Japanese Trigger. Completely played straight in Flames of Eternity, however, in the spirit of Ted Woolsey's translation.

Alternative Title(s): Chrono Trigger Crimson Echoes

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