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Your Companions, from left to right: Frog, Ayla, Lucca, Robo, Marle, and Crono.note 

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Chrono Trigger is an RPG for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System; it was developed by Squaresoft in conjunction with several members of then-rival Enix and released in 1995. The game tells the story of Crono, a Heroic Mime who meets a young girl named Marle at his hometown's Millennial Fair, a festival thrown to celebrate the dawn of the year 1000 AD. When a teleportation device made by Crono's best friend, Lucca, goes out of control and sends Marle four hundred years into the past, Crono jumps in after her, kicking off an adventure throughout time that will span millions of years.

Chrono Trigger was the last hurrah for the golden age of epic JRPGs on the SNES, and the crown jewel in a hit series of Square games that included Final Fantasy VI, Secret of Mana, Super Mario RPG, and several others that no one bothered to release outside Japan. The game features art and character designs by Dragon Ball mangaka Akira Toriyama and music by Yasunori Mitsuda, Nobuo Uematsu, and Noriko Matsueda. Also unique is the battle system, which combined the Active Time Battle system of Final Fantasy VI with position-based special moves known as Techs, often requiring the player to wait and time their attacks accordingly to maximize damage output.

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Square followed up Chrono Trigger with two sequels. The first, Radical Dreamers for the Satellaview, didn't originally see the light of day outside of Japan like the Satellaview add-on itself, though a translated ROM is available online. The second, Chrono Cross for the PlayStation, incorporates parts of Radical Dreamers. An HD remaster of Chrono Cross for Nintendo Switch, Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One is to be released on April 7 2022, including the previously unreleased-in-English Radical Dreamers. Chrono Trigger itself has a PS1 port that adds a number of brief anime cutscenes and a few plot modifications to get it in sync with the then-still-in-development Chrono Cross. Square Enix published a long-awaited Updated Re-release in late 2008 for the Nintendo DS; this re-release retained the good parts of the PS1 port, re-translated the script to overcome the hurdles of both censorship and memory limitations present in the mid-1990s, and threw in some bonus dungeons and a new ending for good measure.note  Since then, it has seen releases on Apple's iOS platform in 2011, Android in 2012, and Steam in 2018.

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This has nothing to do with the series about a nun and a demon despite said series having a name that falls into the same naming convention as the games.

Useless trivia: this was one of the last Square games to be developed on Apple hardware before they switched to Silicon Graphics workstations. Square is notable as one of few Japanese developers, if not the only one, to develop games on Apple computers, and at least one Square employee did all of his work on the Apple II well into the SNES days.

Please read before viewing: this page contains numerous spoilers from Chrono Cross, which are not labeled as such outside of the spoiler markers, so read carefully from this point forward if you don't want to have Chrono Cross spoiled. Please try to mark any spoilers involving Chrono Cross if you hide a spoiler from that game.


Chrono Trigger contains the following tropes:

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  • 1 Million B.C.: 65,000,000 BC is a visitable era in the game. It has all the expected features — bow-legged cavemen and hot cavewomen who speak in You No Take Candle, who coexist with Dinosaurs. The twist was that the Dinosaurs are a civilized race who are in the middle of a stated war of racial survival with the humans.
  • Abandoned Laboratory: The Keeper's Dome. You can visit it on your first trip to the future, when Belthasar is still alive, but you won't get far as he and a Nu are the only ones who are present in the building.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: The maximum level is 99, represented by a double-star (**). By the time you reach the Final Boss, you'll probably be around level 50 and just finished with maxing out everyone's Tech Points. Even the DS and PC remakes, which add Bonus Dungeons and Bonus Bosses aplenty, won't get you much further than level 60 if you do everything. You have to grind a lot to reach level 99, especially if you want to do it on one playthrough. You need to exploit the respawning of a group of enemies in a dungeon, or run through New Game+ several times to get anywhere close to the maximum level.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Abandoned Sewers runs between two continents; Krawlie runs the show down here, but he's a pushover. This area is used to travel between the continents where the Arris Dome, Keeper's Dome and Death Peak are located.
  • Abusive Precursors: During the final battle against Lavos, it's revealed Lavos manipulated human evolution as a form of energy harvesting when it crashed into it in 65,000,000 BC. It's also revealed that Lavos has done this on other planets as well.
  • Action Commands: One minigame, and a few tasks in the factory stages, require button input sequences in a certain amount of time.
  • Actually, I Am Him: "The Guru of Time... I believe that's what they used to call me... ages ago..."
  • Adaptive Ability: Golems and Jugglers have either high magic defense and low physical defense or the opposite at any given time, and switch depending on the last attack they received.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: The Black Omen, depending on when one visits it (600 AD-2300 AD); having tech far in advance of everything else, despite being 12,600-14,300 years older. It used to be the Ocean Palace of Zeal which had antigravity, central heating, laser guns, and airplanes in a time when everyone else lived like cavemen.
  • After the End: In 2300 AD, Chono, Lucca, and Marle watch a video that shows Lavos destroying the planet after it awoke from its slumber in 1999 AD. Seeing this inspires them to meddle with the timeline in order to prevent this from happening.
  • Age of Reptiles: The party travels to 65 million BC, where they learn that the world used to be ruled by a humanoid reptile race called the Reptites, who had a technologically advanced civilization far superior to that of contemporary humans. However, the Reptites went extinct due to Lavos falling on their lair, leaving humanity to thrive thanks to Lavos changing some of them so they could use magic.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Marle is worried Robo will do this when the party first finds him, but Lucca reassures her that she'll make sure he doesn't. All the other robots, including Robo's fellow R-series, and later Atropos, are this, as is Mother Brain, the rogue AI who reprogrammed all of the robots, except Robo.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: When the Kingdom of Zeal is demolished, Dalton flees inside the Blackbird and tries flexing his muscle over the remaining refugees. Shortly after waking up in the Last Village, the party is rounded up and taken to the airship, with their gear stolen. You can reclaim your belongings by climbing through the ventilation system.
  • The Alcatraz:
    • Guardia Castle's prison tower serves as this once Crono is imprisoned following his trial.
    • The Mountain of Woe. Queen Zeal weeds her garden very thoroughly as she uses it to imprison Melchior.
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Subverted. While the people in prehistory are rather simple-minded compared to later time periods, they aren't stupid or completely primitive; they're already showing the signs of a somewhat early form of currency and trade, for starters. Ayla in particular exemplifies the "simple but not stupid" statement above. Not to mention that the weapons and armor you can buy from them are stronger than the armor you come in with.
  • All in a Row: This happens when the party is walking around as three members are seen standing in the line.
  • Alternate Timeline Ancestry: One ending has the entire events of the game rebooted, with humans now replaced as the dominant species by Reptites, their world's equivalent to dinosaurs. Despite this, the world, towns and events are all identical to what they were originally, with Crono and Marle (also Reptites) pretty much replaying the exact opening events of the game exactly the same.
  • Alternate Personality Punishment: Ozzie VIII is the leader of Medina when you first meet him, using his kinship to the first Ozzie to boss the other monsters around. It's possible to dethrone Ozzie in the past so when you return, Ozzie VIII is now a servant being bullied by the other monsters. While the player and the PCs know what happened, it's a Bewildering Punishment to Ozzie VIII since he was never a bully in this timeline.
  • Alternate World Map: Drastic changes in continent arrangement take place over mere thousands of years. Not too surprising, considering the Eldritch Abomination lurking underground causing all kinds of earthquakes, Floating Continents that come crashing down, and an apocalyptic event that encases the world in continuous winter for centuries after. The only time periods that don't involve some kind of major cataclysm between them — 600 to 1000 to 1999 — all share the same continental layout.
  • Always Close: Happens quite a few times. No matter how long you take getting there, you always get to Magus's inner sanctum just before he completes the ritual to summon Lavos. Regardless of your expedition through the Ocean Palace, you'll arrive just before the Mammon Machine is overloaded, though throwing the Ruby Knife into it probably doesn't help things. And trying to get the evidence to save Marle's father will always involve breaking in just before the King is dragged away to jail.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
  • Amoral Attorney: The Chancellor functions as one: bribing witnesses, twisting the facts, summarily executing people who are found not guilty, etc. Pierre, the actual lawyer, is the one trying to help you. It makes more sense when you realize that it isn't actually the Chancellor; it's Yakra XIII posing as the Chancellor.
  • Amphibian at Large: One of Frog's attacks drops a giant frog on the enemy, doing more damage the less HP he has.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • At least in the SNES version: Dalton uses the iconic phrase "We have lift-off, Houston!!" as he engages the modified Epoch for the first time. In the Chrono Trigger universe, there is no such place as Houston. Then again, Dalton has an awareness of the fourth wall.
    • The presence of stoves and refrigerators in 1000 AD, the (relatively) advanced state of 600 AD, and dome cities in 1999. Justified in-universe due to Lavos advancing the evolution of humanity.
  • And Man Grew Proud: The destruction of Zeal. This set the species back some 16,000 years.
  • The Anime of the Game: Downplayed. Time and Space Adventures: Nuumamonjaa, a short OVA which stars a Nu and a Kilwala attending the monsters' own Millennial Fair. The only characters from the game that appear are minor NPCs and monsters.
  • Anti-Debuff: Several pieces of equipment prevent a single status ailment, with the higher-end ones preventing them all. The Final Boss has an ability that removes this immunity, which he often follows up with a confusion-causing spell.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In 65,000,000 BC, Crono has to win the Dreamstone from Ayla by beating her in a drinking contest with prehistoric alcohol. To do this, the player has to rapidly press the A button. Failing enough times will cause Ayla to say that she can't drink anymore, and Crono wins by default.
    • Should a character be forced into the party for story-related reasons, the party select screen will always come up so that the player can quickly rearrange their party members.
    • Magus' Castle is a dungeon filled with enemies vulnerable to magic, including the trope-naming Barrier Change Boss. When Frog joins the party, if you fight the first battle in the Magic Cave before you take him to learn magic, he'll marvel at his teammates' ability, and an uncredited line will say he can use it too if they go to the End of Time, dropping a none-too-subtle hint that you're going to need it.
  • Apathetic Citizens:
    • The citizens of Arris Dome don't care what you found in their basement, or that you risked your life down there. They're all starving, so unless you are bringing them food, they don't care what you are or what you did.
    • The residents of Zeal would rather bask in their own luxury than be concerned about messing with questionable energy sources, or even about the simple idea that "what goes up must come down."
    • The NPCs' blasé attitudes towards the Black Omen is justified as, from their perspective, it has been there as long as they can remember, and hasn't caused anyone any trouble.
  • Apocalypse How: One inevitable Class 2, and the arrival of Lavos is probably a Class 1, all things considered. The ruined world of 2300 AD is the result of a second Class 2, working its way up to Class 4. This doesn't even factor the Time Devourer.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The video of the Day of Lavos shows it rising up in 1999 AD and destroying the world by blasting all of the domes with laser beams.
  • Applied Phlebotinum:
    • The Masamune turns out to be forged with the Dreamstone along with enchantment by the wind spirits Masa and Mune.
    • The eponymous Chrono Trigger or "Time Egg," as well as anything involving Dreamstone or time travel technology.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Your party cannot have more than three people in it at a time. This is Hand Waved in-game that groups larger than three cannot make it through the time warp without being spit into the End of Time, and they only have a single Gate Key. Once they find the Epoch, which only has three seats, their destination can only be time periods which can be accessed with the Gate Key. Afterwards, there are multiple instances where the entire party is present in an area other than the End of Time, but the game mechanics remain unchanged as to how many can fight together.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: In 1000 AD, society seems largely modern (with Lucca's inventions going into sci-fi territory), but everyone except Lucca and the Dragon Tank are using swords. This is most glaring in the dungeon scene; while most royal soldiers wear military uniforms, the dungeon guards wear plate armor and carry swords and shields. The explanation for the dungeon guards is found if you talk to the soldiers in the castle after the Rainbow Shell quest; the dungeon guards were actually monsters that Yakra XIII brought in.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: After you save the world, Crono wakes up in his bed and is awakened by a royal guardsman, who tells him that his stay of execution has expired and now his sentence will be carried out. Crono is brought before King Guardia XXXIII, with Marle begging for her boyfriend's life... only for the King to reveal he knows all about what's happened. Various Character Witnesses from across time appear to vouch for your story, and Lucca then presents herself brandishing the Gate Key. The King tells you that instead of being executed, he's going to throw you a grand parade on the last night of the Millennial Fair.
  • Art Evolution: There are some subtle differences in Akira Toriyama's character designs for the SNES and FMV and DS releases. For example, compare Marle's original artwork with the DS artwork.
  • Artifact Alias:
    • The name "Marle" is a pseudonym invented on the spot as part of her Princess Incognito cover and is quickly revealed as such. Yet Marle answers to that as if it were her given name for the rest of the game. Only the king, the Chancellor, and the soldiers call her "Nadia", which is her real name.
    • Even after proudly stating, "Mine name is Glenn!", Frog goes right back to answering to whatever the player has named him.
  • Artifact Mook:
    • During the Rainbow Shell quest, it seems really strange to be fighting Nagas and Vipers, enemies that appeared in the 600 A.D. Cathedral at the very beginning of the game. That is until you fight the boss, Yakra XIII, who is the descendant of the boss of the Cathedral.
    • Giant's Claw, the area where you find the Rainbow Shell, has enemies otherwise seen only in the prehistoric era. Like the above, this is because the area is the ruins of the Tyranno Lair.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: In 65,000,000 BC, there are both cavemen and reptites. The latter are a race of technologically advanced reptiles that resemble many Stock Dinosaurs.
  • Ash Face: Occurs when the unfortunate victim of the 80 point minigame is lowered into the fire.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority:
    • Ayla explains that the strongest person in the Ioka tribe gets to be chief, be they man, woman, or child. She's the strongest of the Ioka, and thus the chief.
    • How Magus, a small, timid 10-year-old human boy, becomes the undisputed ruler of a horde of barbaric demons.
  • Atlantis: Played with in the magical Kingdom of Zeal. The society has all the trappings—great wisdom and knowledge, unique technology (in this case, magic) which allows them to dominate the world, Crystal Spires and Togas, and an arrogance beneath all the beauty that ends up being its downfall. Rather than being a regular island (or continent) nation, however, it's a Floating Continent—except for the Ocean Palace, which is already under the water rather than having sunk there after an earthquake and flood. And rather than being merely one of the greatest cultures of the time, it was the only culture due to existing during the Ice Age. That said, the floating kingdom does fall, and the palace is damaged during the awakening of Lavos (only to rise in another form as the Black Omen), and this sets back humanity's progress for centuries; there's a reason (besides the truth the player learns about the Queen and the source of her power) the original translation for this era was the Dark Ages.
  • Attack of the Town Festival: The Millennial Fair in 1000 AD is never attacked, but the festival in 65,000,000 B.C. gets ransacked by Reptites while everybody sleeps off a night of drinking and dancing.
  • Auto-Doc: In the ruined future, there's a machine called an Enertron which heals all your wounds and can sustain your life, but still leaves you as hungry as you were when you stepped inside. This explains why there's still people around in a future that has literally no food.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The standard boss theme will certainly get the blood pumping. "World Revolution", and "Lavos Core" are even more grandiose.
  • Automatic New Game: If there's no save data, it goes straight into the action/wait options and then begins the game's opening cinematics.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Crono's Shiva Edge/Suzaku does four times the damage when it has a critical hit. However, it's impractical because its critical hit rate is one of the lowest in the game, a mere 7%.
    • Lucca's Wondershot deals random amounts of damage.note  While it has the potential to be devastating, it is equally likely to deal single-digit damage.
    • The damage for Robo's Crisis Arm is based on the last digit of his HP. If it's a 9, he deals a large amount of damage. If it's a 0? No damage at all.
    • The New Game + comes with a catch: Frog's upgraded Masamune disappears from your inventory, as it's a plot-relevant weapon. Needless to say, when you get it back, it's reduced to a paltry 75 attack stat.
    • The Accessory-induced Triple Techs, as one character in the party will have to sacrifice an inventory slot in order to use them.
    • Triple techs in general become this once you get to a high enough level. By the time you reach Level 55, many characters will be able to inflict enough damage in a single attack to kill most enemies anyway. Some will have full-screen attacks or Dual Techs that can rival some of the triple techs in terms of damage. Eventually, having each character execute a powerful attack on their own becomes more effective than having all three combine for a single attack. The triple techs which are considered the most useful by the fanbase do something besides cause damage.
  • Awful Truth: The final fight with Lavos yields this shocking fact: every living being on the planet has been shaped and cultivated by Lavos, who harvests their genetic material to evolve. Lavos then sends its spawn into space to repeat the cycle.
  • Background Music: Lampshaded. After Dalton modifies the Epoch and gets ready to test it, the Heroic Theme plays, to which he exclaims "No, no, no! Stop the music!" at which point the crisis theme starts and he comments "Ah! Much better!" in response.
  • Background Music Override:
    • After seeing the video of the Day of Lavos, the titular track plays as the heroes decide to change the future and bring down Lavos, with the heroic track continuing to play until the basement has been left.
    • There's a section of the Fiendlord's Keep where the normal battle music is overriden by the minimalist dungeon music, and nearly every sound has an echo effect added to it.
    • The Ocean Palace dungeon is probably one of the most memorable instances of this. The game double dips by replaying the Ocean Palace BGM during King Guardia XXXIII's trial, adding a sense of urgency to Marle's efforts to clear him.
    • Bring Magus to the boss battle against Zeal; he'll banter with Zeal for a bit before the fight, where his theme replaces the more bombastic Boss Battle 2 theme.
  • Backtracking:
    • Mainly the segment after getting the ability to open sealed doors and chests. Not especially onerous once the Epoch can fly, but most will do this before that.
    • The optional Lost Sanctum in the remake is horrible about this, since it involves sending you back and forth through the same screens (and forced battles) over and over again.
  • Bad Future: 2300 A.D. is completely ruined owing to Lavos awakening in 1999 AD. It also functions as Mordor for Lavos and its spawn on Death Peak, since a good number of its offspring can be found there.
  • Bad Present: The "Successor of Guardia" ending, which can be interpreted as either hilarious or horrifying. A grainy film projector shows Queen Leene walking down the aisle with Frog, turning Marle's family line into a weird bunch of frog hybrids.note 
  • Bait-and-Switch: Lara, Lucca's mother, sits in a chair all day because her legs were crushed many years ago. You can choose to Set Right What Once Went Wrong and save her in the past. If you do, and return to the present to see her, she'll remain seated in the same chair, implying that You Can't Fight Fate... until she stands up and starts walking around.
  • Balloonacy: This happens in the "Reunion" and "Beyond Time" endings if you wrecked the Epoch. In the former, Marle is carried away and winds up at Death Peak to see Crono returning, while in the latter, Crono and Marle float away above the clouds.
  • Bamboo Technology: A stone robot arm and gun made by Neanderthals can be traded for in prehistoric times. Schizo Tech doesn't begin to describe this one.
  • Begin with a Finisher: Lavos' first form always uses "Destruction rains from the heavens!", a Herd-Hitting Attack, as its first attack.
  • Behind the Black:
    • An early puzzle involving spikes; the characters would've easily been able to see a way around were it not for a video game screen.
    • In the Ozzie's Fort sidequest, it's near impossible to see Magus's equipment room, even though your party still can see it.
  • Big Bad: Lavos, the Eldritch Giant Space Flea from Nowhere that crash-landed in Prehistory, causing the Ice Age that wiped out the dinosaurs, and will destroy the world in 1999 AD unless it is killed first.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Fiendlord's Keep is crawling with the dead. Some even plead with you to put them out of their misery.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Lucca shows up to break Crono out of jail shortly before he's due to be executed. If you choose not to escape, she saves the day. If you do, she's still a big help.
  • Big Fancy Castle:
    • Fiendlord's Keep is a Disc-One Final Dungeon. The camera pans up to show how big and ominous it is before you're allowed to enter, there's a droning Background Music Override through the whole thing, and there's a Climax Boss at the bottom.
    • Zeal Palace. For one, it's floating in the middle of the sky due the the civilization harnessing the power of Lavos. Also, it's even more advanced than time zones centuries in the future.
  • Big "NO!": Marle's reaction after she watches the Day of Lavos recording leading to her idea to stop it. This is also her reaction upon discovering she's now part-frog in the "Successor of Guardia" ending.
  • Bizarro Universe:
    • The "Successor of Guardia" ending. Thanks to Frog marrying Queen Leene while still in his frog form, everyone in the present day thinks Marle is wearing a disguise, and the player hears a frog croak each time. This includes Marle, much to her chagrin, even though she wasn't one when she left the Present.
    • The "Legendary Hero" ending flashes back to the showdown at the Fiendlord's Keep, except this time, Frog is replaced with the diminutive Tata. In addition, Crono is now standing in for Magus, complete with Marle and Lucca as his molls.
    • In the "Dino Age" ending, life goes on for the subjects of Guardia except they're all Reptites, Planet of the Apes-style.
  • Blamed for Being Railroaded: After Crono first sees Marle, the only way to move on is to have him bump into her, something that is used against him in his trial. That said, if you admit that you were the one who bumped into Marle, one of the jurors will vote "Not Guilty" instead of "Guilty" since you owned up to it.
  • Blatant Lies: Midway through the Sun Stone quest, you realize that someone in 1000 A.D. stole the Moon Stone before it could be fully charged with the sun's light. If you travel to Porre, the mayor will deny knowing anything about it, even though you can see his house glittering with the light of the nearly-charged Moon Stone on the world map. He becomes more honest and willing to part with it if you teach his ancestors about generosity using some Spiced Jerky from the Snail Stop.
  • Bleak Level:
    • The blue-tinted melancholy of 600 A.D. This era is most similar to the present in terms of continents and town placement, but the skies are overcast with mist and the theme music ("Yearnings of the Wind") can be best described as "pensive". This is a kingdom which is preparing to be snuffed out at any moment.
    • The Future, particularly the Arris and Geno Domes, which are a desolate wasteland. Everything is brown and dying, the people can barely hang on, and there's ruins of civilization everywhere.
    • There's something to be said for 12,000 B.C.'s frozen wasteland after Lavos ruins the civilization of Zeal's elite.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: The courtroom in Guardia Castle in 1000 AD has a stained-glass window in the background. Marle bursts out of the window just before the fight with Yakra XIII.
  • Bombardier Mook: Inverted. Lucca and Frog share the Dual-Tech "Line Bomb", wherein Frog leaps into the air while Lucca throws a horizontal line of Megaton Bombs. Frog streaks through the air and detonates the bombs on the targeted enemies.
  • Bonsai Forest: Those dense forests you see on the map appear to be made of very short trees when you're actually in them.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • One for each playable character, except Ayla. Some are added in the Updated Re-release, namely the bosses in the Dimensional Vortexes and the Dream Devourer to connect things to Chrono Cross.
    • Spekkio counts, since you're never required to defeat him. Which is good, as many players consider his final form (a Nu, which he assumes when someone in your party is Level 99) to be harder than the Final Boss. This is due to his tendency of spamming Hallation and then immediately follow it up with Luminaire or Dark Matter, frequently resulting in a Total Party Kill.
  • Bonus Dungeon:
    • In an unusual example, the Black Omen is both this and the final dungeon. On one hand, it wraps up Zeal's arc and leads directly into the final battle against Lavos. On the other hand, you have two alternate methods of fighting Lavos without stepping foot onto the Black Omen, and leaving the dungeon unfinished doesn't affect the ending at all. It's still worth clearing up to three times (1000 A.D., 600 A.D., and 12000 B.C., in that ordernote ) because the best armor in the game can be stolen from the Boss Rush at the end.
    • The remake features the Lost Sanctum and the Dimensional Vortexes. The former is a giant Fetch Quest, but has a lot of endgame equipment. The latter is where character-specific bosses besides Ayla can be faced.
  • Boss Bonanza: The Black Omen, where you fight: Mega Mutant, Giga Mutant, Tera Mutant, Elder Lavos Spawn, Queen Zeal first form, Mammon Machine, and Queen Zeal second form. After that, you are automatically rocketed out of the Black Omen to fight yet another Boss Rush against Lavos – the very Boss Rush that starts the final fight against Lavos.
  • Boss Corridor:
    • "Neuga, ziena, zieber, zom..." A very memorable pitch black room in the Fiendlord's Keep, with blue flames that light up as you pass by.
    • The Black Omen has a long hallway filled with creepy holograms (or perhaps even clones) of nearly everyone in the party. Except Magus.
    • The interior of Lavos' shell is a straight shot to the Final Boss, during which a pulsating heartbeat gets louder and faster as you get closer to Lavos.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Iron Maiden in the DS version. They hit like a truck, steal MP to counter, and have the highest HP (10,000) of any non-boss in the game. There is a point where you will fight two of them at the same time.
  • Boss Rush: Lavos's first form. Amusingly, Lavos mimics the bosses exactly, so the first few go down almost instantly.
  • Bowdlerise: The North American SNES translation did this a fair bit. The DS remake and PC port restored most of them:
    • The drinking contests are all with alcohol in the Japanese version. The SNES English version turns the fairground drinks into soda, and makes the traveler Toma have you order him a soda.
    • The prehistory concoction known as skull-smash (because "next day, skull feel like smash") gets turned into prehistoric soup. It also bowdlerises Lucca and Ayla's reactions during this segment — in the uncensored version, Crono and Ayla have a drinking contest, and Lucca gets drunk on skull-smash. In the SNES version, it's an eating contest, and Lucca simply eats too much. It also changes from Lucca and Ayla's heads hurting from a hangover into stomachaches from over-eating.
    • A Running Gag in the Japanese version is Lucca offering a Suspiciously Specific Denial to being attracted to women. In the SNES version, these jokes are entirely gone.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: A few of them from the remake.
    • Crono's Dreamseeker sword is obtained after defeating the Dream Devourer, which is not only the last Bonus Boss which you can fight, but also far and away the hardest enemy in the game. The sword deals only slightly more damage than then Rainbow, but has a nine-in-ten chance of a critical hit as opposed to a seven-in-ten chance. In any case, you only get the best weapon for Crono after you'd need it most.
    • Defeating the shadow clones of Crono, Marle, and Lucca in the Dimensional Vortexes gives the respective party member a stat boost. Since each of these clones is a Bonus Boss of no small difficulty, you're probably already strong enough to tear through everything else you could face if you can beat these clones for the boost in stats which they provide.
  • Broken Bridge:
    • A literal case of Zenan Bridge in 600 AD. The first time you go to this time period, the bridge is busted, and you can't cross. Only after coming there for the second time is the bridge repaired.
    • Trying to cross Site 32 before investigating Arris Dome will trigger a never-ending loop of Random Encounters until you give up and go somewhere else.
    • The unforgiving winds on Death Peak ordinarily need you to hide behind trees to avoid the winds. Get caught in the winds, and you're blown back down. If you try to climb Death Peak before you're supposed to, the winds will just blow you off the mountain, no matter where you are.
  • But Thou Must!:
    • Even if you know exactly the right things to do to gain a "not guilty" verdict during the trial, you still have to fight your way out of prison, because the judge sentences Crono to three days of solitary confinement for running off with her, and the Chancellor just orders for Crono to be executed anyways.
    • Ayla will not allow you to forfeit the Drinking Contest if you lose to her. However, there's an Anti-Frustration Feature where losing too many times just makes Crono win by default.
    • You can freely explain to Azala the purpose of the Gate Key, but she'll just retort that no one breaks under interrogation that quickly.
  • Call-Back: Janus' first words to you mention "the black winds [howling]", indicating that he will grow up to become Magus.
  • The Call Has Bad Reception: King Guardia XXI sits out the game's second act, having been struck in the back by an arrow while leading his men against Magus. The bedridden King puts all of his hope into "the Hero" to find the Masamune. While it's obvious that the Hero is Frog, the player must endure every NPC proclaiming Tata the kingdom's savior. He gets as far as the Denadoro Mountains before fleeing in terror. This whole farce is a nice inversion of the Holy Grail myth, with Tata being the would-be Galahad.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Marle tries, but she Cannot Spit It Out. By the time she gets a chance to talk to her father again, she's got a better grasp of the situation and hugs him instead.
    • If an Optional Party Member is present for the fight with Queen Zeal, Magus will tell her exactly why she's pathetic, then resolve to kill her out of mercy. This is notable in that she has no clue that he's actually her son.
  • Campfire Character Exploration: During the Fiona's Forest sidequest, leaving Robo in the past to plant a forest ends with the party around a campfire. There's little they talk about, but it ends up with Lucca discovering a red Gate to the day her mother lost her legs. If the player is quick enough, Lucca can save her mother, restoring her legs in the present. Robo then comes up to her and comforts her whether or not she succeeded, and gives her an item he made.
  • Candlelit Ritual: Magus's rite to summon Lavos involves a series of braziers burning blue flame surrounding his circle and the path leading to it. The flames light automatically as the party approaches.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Crono can't be removed from the party at all until the end of the Ocean Palace, where he's seen getting obliterated by Lavos. His rejoining the party afterwards is completely optional. Even if you do get Crono to rejoin, he can be switched out with other characters.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Lucca bears a pretty strong resemblance to Arale Norimaki from Doctor Slump. Akira Toriyama provided the character designs for both works.
      • Also due to Akira Toriyama illustrating both games, a few characters have lookalikes in Dragon Ball as well. Crono's face, in particular, resembles that of Son Goku in the anime cutscenes.
      • Magus would be a dead ringer for Piccolo if he were bald.
      • Frog even gets this treatment. While we never see his face, Glenn in the animated ending cutscene has a hairstyle that suggests his character design would be a recolored adult Gohan.
    • Uberhulks have no relation what-so ever to the "product identity" Umber Hulk.
  • Capture and Replicate: Yakra XIII captures the Chancellor and poses as him mainly to serve as an Obstructive Bureaucrat in his aim to destabilize the kingdom. You can expose and kill him and free the real Chancellor during the Rainbow Shell subquest.
  • Cardboard Prison:
    • Guardia Castle's security really isn't the best. When Crono is jailed at the beginning, you either trick the guards to escape, or Lucca will bust in and take out most of the guards. Even if you stay put, there is a hole leading to the adjacent cell, and from there a gaping hole leading outside. In fact, the most valuable chests are accessible via a giant network of loose stones and holes in the walls.
    • The Blackbird's brig isn't much of an improvement. You can fake an illness to get the guards to come in, setting up a sneak attack from your team, or you can pull an Air Vent Escape through a completely unprotected vent in the ceiling.
  • Causality Mechanic: There are several spots of this, most notably sealed chests that can be opened multiple times, but only if you do it from the furthest date first.
  • The Champion: What Cyrus is to Queen Leene and Glenn, particularly when he was younger. Frog later takes up this role towards the Queen.
  • Character Select Forcing: Most of the game requires Crono to be at the front of the party. Robo, Frog, and Ayla also need to come along for a few dungeons during the plot, and while you're in the Blackbird, you can't switch characters at all.
  • Character Witness: During Crono's trial, how you acted during the Millennial Fair will determine your verdict. Later, during the King's trial, the Chancellor learns his lesson and instead calls forward his own cronies, who have been paid to give false testimony.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • After the Ocean Palace, the doll you can win at the Millennial Faire becomes a plot point. You need to use the doll of Crono to swap out the real Crono just before he would have been vaporized by Lavos to save Crono's life.
    • Various seemingly insignificant things you can do at the Millennial Faire, such as eating the lunch you find near Gato's arena, bringing back the little girl's cat, and trying to walk off before Marle finishes buying candy, will work for or against you when you're put on trial for allegedly kidnapping Princess Nadia.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Melchior manages to pull it off twice. At first, he seems like a mere merchant, but then it's revealed that he's the man who forged the Masamune, and thus can repair it. Then, still later, it's revealed that he's one of the time-displaced Gurus, the Guru of Life.
    • The old man at the End of Time turns out to be another one of the Gurus, specifically he's Gaspar, the Guru of Time. And he gives you the Chrono Trigger egg to resurrect Crono after his death.
    • The seemingly insane old man in the ruined future also turns out to be one of the Gurus, namely Belthasar, the Guru of Reason. You can't actually meet him again, but he installs his mind into a Nu and in that guise, gives the party the Wings of Time. This area is completely optional when you first visit the future though.
  • Cherry Tapping:
    • In a horrifying inversion, the game does this to you via the Nu. In battle, Nu will either deal ((Current HP) - 1) damage or 1 damage. So be prepared to be hilariously and humiliatingly killed by taking 1 damage while having only 1 HP. Thankfully, there's a modicum of fairness in this skillset, as there are actually two kinds of Nu enemiess: one deals ((Current HP) - 1), the other 1, and they don't coordinate their attacks.
    • Several of the end-game bosses and enemies have the ability to do this to you. Especially humiliating and noticeable if you're over-leveled, since most of their attacks would do scratch damage to you. Zeal's second form in particular is rather annoying, because hitting her with an Area of Effect attack will result in her casting ((Current HP) - 1) and MP Buster on you, leaving your character with only 1 HP and nothing else. She usually follows this up with a life drain spell.
  • Chest Monster: The unnamed enemies in the Fiendlord's Keep that are indistinguishable from Save Points until you touch them.
  • Chokepoint Geography:
    • Sites 16 and 32 in 2300 AD are mountains of rubble. The only way through is one way that's already been dug through, during which the encounters are all abut unavoidable.
    • The Fiendlord's Keep is a series of hallways and corridors. There's really no way to avoid the worst of the worst encounters, though there are a few optional ones you can breeze past.
  • Climax Boss:
    • Magus, fought in 600 AD as the Fiendlord and the Barrier Change Boss, all in an attempt to prevent him from creating Lavos. Actually, summoning Lavos, but the party doesn't find that out until it's too lateand they're sucked through a Gate.
    • The first encounter with Lavos. It's probably going to be over in one turn, but it's a Wham Episode in the story for what happens once the fight is over.
    • Queen Zeal, fought at the end of the Black Omen dungeon. She's meant to be a precursor to facing Lavos, and beating her means a direct line to Lavos itself.
  • Colour-Coded Timestop: Freezing time to rescue Crono after his first direct encounter with Lavos is done in monochrome.
  • Combination Attack: Every combination of two characters has three Double Techs they can perform together once they have the appropriate skills (a spin slash and a flame thrower make a burning spin slash, for example). And every combination of Crono and two other characters (plus a few other trios that require special accessories) can do a Triple Tech, although you probably won't use those that often.
  • Commonplace Rare: Spiced Jerky. Once a signature of Guardia Castle's Master Of Kitchens, at some point he will sell the recipe, which will find its way to the owner of the Snail Stop in Porre. You only need one piece, to finish a sidequest. Prior to that, you can use another piece on the Chancellor's advice as a peace offering to King Guardia XXXIII, only to accidentally worsen the relationship between him and Marle when he reveals it's bad for his health. Oops.
  • Cognizant Limbs: A good portion of the bosses have multiple parts, such as: a head and two hands; a body and legs; a large main body and two bits; or a head, a wheel, and a body. Since these require many different strategies, it probably contributed to the lasting appeal of the game.
  • Cool Gate: The assorted Time Gates, both on the map, and when you're traveling through them.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments:
    • You're visiting the same places, having survived millions of years. Though credulity is strained when an area that suffers a massive meteor impact gets reused in a later era under the pretense of being "pushed underground" in the incident.
    • The inner workings of Lavos share the same textures as the mountain regions in the game.
    • The first half of each Dimensional Vortex consists of screens from various times and places (and appropriately weak enemies) seen previously, with the second half being unique.
  • Copy Protection: In the SNES version, if the game detects that its running on a cartridge copier, the first Gate animation will loop endlessly. This also works as an anti-cheat as it will also trigger if certain Game Genie or Pro Action Replay codes are usednote . This was recycled for the remake, though the detection method isn't the same.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run:
    • Death Peak requires you to hide behind trees in order to not be blown off the mountain.
    • In the Guardia prison, you can hide in cutouts to sneak up on the guards and knock them out instead of fighting.
  • Counter-Attack: Equip the Rage Band or Wrath Band accessories, and the equipped character may counterattack when they take damage. Some enemies also have their own counters, while bosses occasionally enter Counter-Attack phases you can wait out due to the active combat system.
  • Coup de Grâce Cutscene: The Dragon Tank doesn't just vanish like most enemies. After you've defeated it in normal battle, it triggers a sequence where Crono takes a flying leap to the top of the machine and plunges in his katana for the final blow. This causes the whole bridge to explode.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • Pretty much everything about the cover, which was based on the beta version of the game, is wrong. A pink-garbed Marle is shooting a fireball (even though she has water-based powers) to complete the Arc Impulse triple tech with Crono (wearing a cape) and Frog against the Heckran (can't even be fought when Frog is in your party) in a snowfield (while the Heckran lives in a cave). A Bonus Dungeon in the remake allows you to legitimately do what the cover shows, because you go to another snowy mountain area, where a Heckran-like monster lives. However, it's a snowbeast, so using the Ice-elemental Arc Impulse on him is a hilariously bad idea.
    • One of the scenes depicted in the manual — Crono sleeping, Frog tripping, Lucca repairing Robo, and Marle bringing tea — happens in "The Oath" ending, which is non-canon.
    • Ayla is often seen with a large wooden club in her artwork and one FMV scene, even though she never uses such a weapon in-game. In fact, she uses no weapons except her Fists, which upgrade to Iron Fists and then Bronze Fists.
  • Crapsack World: The Future. Not only are the last few remaining humans starving to death in decaying ruins, but mutants pounce on anyone traveling between shelters, and robots are systematically hunting down humans in order to recycle them in factories.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Marle meets Crono when the two of them bump into each other. It's best to talk to her first, then pick up her dropped necklace.
  • Crater Power: After a fashion. Lavos demonstrates its might by slamming into the Tyranno Lair, leveling the entire plateau and replacing it with a charred crater.
  • Creepy Child:
  • The Cretaceous Is Always Doomed: It doesn't happen overnight, but Lavos' arrival eventually causes an Ice Age which lasts over sixty million years. The Enlightened Ones use magic to inhabit the sky, above the never-ending blizzard, but the collapse of Zeal results in the destruction of that civilization.
  • Critical Hit: Complete with a more vicious attack animation for all characters. They're a core element of late game, as well, with the availability of weapons with high crit chance and the potential to increase it with certain items.
  • Critical Hit Class:
    • Upon reaching Level 96, Ayla gains the ability to deal 9999 damage when she scores a critical hit.
    • In the DS version, Robo can find a weapon that can do max damage on a critical hit, except the critical rate is rather low, and the base attack stat is significantly lower. There are, however, accessories that boost the critical hit rate of the character they're equipped to.
    • Crono's ultimate weapons, Rainbow and Dreamseeker, give him a huge critical hit rate, to the point that he pretty much only does double damage from then on. The Rainbow has a seven-in-ten crit chance, and the Dreamseeker has a nine-in-ten chance.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dalton. On the few occasions he actually stops swaggering and posturing, he proves to be an incredibly powerful magician. Powerful enough to cause the fall of the Kingdom of Guardia by turning Porre into a military state.
  • Crystal Prison: Exiling the Guru of Life to a mountainous wasteland wasn't enough for Queen Zeal. She also imprisoned him in a crystal on the highest peak.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Zeal. Not many crystals, but it definitely has spires and togas for the Enlightened Ones. It's also far more advanced than even a civilization 14,000 years in the future.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Frog, cursed with his eponymous form, gains the ability to jump absurdly high distances and use his tongue as a grappling hook and healing implement. In fact, he delivers a Take That! to Magus during their first battle, telling him that he actually enjoys his new form now.
  • Cute Machines: Robo and Atropos XR are both drawn as rather cute looking by Akira Toriyama. Atropos even has a bow on her head.
  • Cute Monster Girl: The Nagas, according to the old man NPC who wants the Naga Bromide.
  • Cutscene Incompetence:
    • In the prehistoric era, the party is "hopelessly outnumbered" by eight Reptites, even though they'd just defeated five of them moments before.
    • In Zeal, when the party gets captured by Dalton, they've taken out monsters and the Fiendlord by this point, and yet get captured by a few guards.
    • When the party lets Dalton take Schala after he threatens her life. He obviously wouldn't kill her, since Schala is the only one who can control the Mammon Machine, but he tells them "I do not fear the Queen".
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • The Masamune's power. The sword is capable of cutting a cliff in half, and it's not even the most powerful form that the Masamune can take.
    • Practically everything Magus does before his powers get drained by Lavos. With enough grinding you can eventually get him back to his former power level and have fun spamming Dark Matter on everything you see.
    • Dalton. He's such a wimp in his boss fights, and yet on two different occasions, he nullifies the entire party with a flick of his wrist.note  He's even fated to score an Offscreen Moment of Awesome when he turns Porre into a military state and brings down Guardia with it.
  • Darkest Hour: After the Fall of Zeal. Crono is dead and obliterated by Lavos, Zeal is destroyed, and your party barely escapes. Schala used her powers to teleport the rest of the party out of danger, but was caught in the Ocean Palace as it caved in. You've lost the Epoch, the time gate out of 12,000 BC is on an island you can't access, the remnants of Zeal's army, led by Dalton, are trying to conquer what little remains, and the closest thing you have to an ally is someone you've been trying to kill for a large portion of the game. Things get better, but for a while it looks pretty dire.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The fiends are shown to be this. In 1000 AD, most of them hate humans, and only the imps with a Gate in their closet are friendly to the party. Later in the game, this is shown to be due to Ozzie's poisonous influence making them bigoted against humanity. If Ozzie is killed in an optional sidequest, the fiends in Medina are shown to be friendly and good-natured after 400 years without his racism.
  • Deader Than Dead: Crono, after being disintegrated by Lavos, has nothing left of him to bury. Of course, since the game is about time travel, "dead" and "gone" are not the same thing, thanks to the Guru of Time giving the rest of the party a Time Egg to bring him back.
  • Death by Looking Up: The Dome Supervisor in the bad ending.
  • Death Mountain: Death Peak. For one, it's called "Death Peak". For two, it's where Lavos and its spawn are currently making a shelter.
  • Decade Dissonance: The Kingdom of Zeal's Enlightened Ones and the Earthbound Ones existing in the dark ages side by side. The non-magic Earthbound Ones were forced to live on the surface by the Enlightened Ones, where they have to scrape out a living for themselves in the wilderness. A comment from an NPC in the Earthbound Village implies that things weren't always this way, but at the time of the game, only Schala and the Gurus treat the Earthbound Ones as equals, until after the Ocean Palace, where the Enlightened Ones lose their magic and learn to co-exist with the Earthbound Ones.
  • Delayed Ripple Effect: When Marle disappears, it takes a little while before the causality catches up to her. Strangely, it's the only time the trope comes up in the game; every other change in the time stream happens instantly.
  • Desperation Attack:
    • Damage dealt by Frog's Frog Squash and Ayla's Dino Tail techniques increases as their users' HP decreases. Their combination attack lowers the threshold for more damage.
    • The Master Mune Triple Tech requires your whole party to be at low HP to inflict maximum damage. What makes this technique the epitome of Awesome, but Impractical, however, is that the party required to use this technique is Marle, Robo, and Frog, meaning that if you can dish out maximum damage with this technique, Frog Squash is already primed to do the same, and the other two should be getting your party back on its feet.
    • One of the treasures gained from the Geno Dome sidequest is the Crisis Arm, which has a similar effect listed. However, a glitch means that the weapon only reads the last digit of Robo's HP, meaning it does the same damage at 999 HP as at 9 HP. The remake keeps the bug and gives the weapon a description that makes this more explicit.
  • Detectives Follow Footprints: Happens when your Gate Key is stolen by Reptites, as they left a lot of footprints for your party to track down. The section of the game is even called "Footsteps! Follow!" in the save menu.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Crono gets nuked by Lavos, leaving the rest of the party to save the world without him. He can be saved via Tricked Out Time and a Chekhov's Gun, but this is optional.
  • Developer's Room: The ending you get if you defeat Lavos at the first possible chance in a New Game+, or in the Hopeless Boss Fight encounter. After you satisfy yourself chatting with the game's developers, one of them will give you the appropriate reward for someone who beat the game so quickly — a hyperspeed credit roll which details the entire staff who worked on the game in only a few seconds.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Items which exist over multiple time periods obey causality.note  If you take an object from the past, it won't be there in the future, but the same item can be obtained twice by taking the one in the future first.note 
    • Frog has an ability called Slurp Slash, where he grabs the enemy with his tongue, drags them to him, and slashes them, knocking them back to their starting point. If you try it on a stationary object, like the winches in the fight against Ozzie, Frog will instead pull himself to the object, crashing into it and still dealing a chunk of damage. Additionally, if Slurp Slash misses its target, Frog will have a unique animation where he's forcibly pulled towards his foe with a surprised look on his face.
    • When imprisoned in the Prison Towers, Crono is intended to break out of his prison before his execution day commences and stealthily sneak out of the prison while fighting off other guards until he regroups with Lucca at the entrance. If the player chooses to wait until execution day, however, the guards will take Crono to the guillotine and commence the execution, only to be foiled by Lucca at the last second. The enemies of the prison will all be defeated beforehand as Lucca will have taken them down on her way to rescue Crono.
    • In the Blackbird, your party is stripped of their gear, and taken prisoner. You are rendered helpless and have to resort to stealth to continue to get your gear back. However, Ayla has been ripping things apart with her bare hands until this point, and will be more than happy to continue to do so if she is in your party, though she does lack armor and therefore takes more damage as a result.
    • If you try and take on the Black Omen in 2300 A.D., Queen Zeal will actually come out and mock the party for failing to remember that the apocalypse already happened and attacking the Omen now would be pointless.
    • The Black Omen obeys the same laws as items. It ceases to exist after you defeat it, but only in time periods further ahead. The Omen can, in fact, be explored three times, allowing three times the Charmed loot off of Zeal.note 
    • Early in the game, you can talk to Melchior while exploring the fair with Marle, who will take an interest in her pendant and ask if you can convince her to sell it. She'll understandably refuse, which will count against you in trial. But if you take the pendant after crashing into her and attempt to sell it to Melchior before talking to Marle, he'll instead say that the pendant is too valuable to you, and that he doesn't have any money to buy it.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Take the handmaiden's word for it. The Chancellor is very devout. After all, he goes to Manolia Cathedral to pray every day.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo:
    • Lavos' origins remain a mystery, and some of its powers are fairly inexplicable. It's an Eldritch Abomination from space, and that's all that's known about it.
    • The Black Omen, a UFO powered by the equally-cryptic Mammon Machine, is somehow cobbled together from the remains of the Ocean Palace.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Crono and his friends discover an ancient, city-sized alien that has leeched genetic progress from and plans to destroy all civilization. Their response is to begin Level Grinding until they are of sufficient power to stab it in the face.note 
  • Didn't Think This Through: Ozzie did not put much thought into planning his pit-traps in the Fiendlord's Keep. The "prison cell" he sends the party into via pit-trap contains harmless enemies that yield high amounts of experience and money, chests with helpful items, and one of the four fake Save Points is actually a teleport to freedom.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Mainly the Black Tyranno boss, but other dinosaur-type creatures also have fire-breathing capabilities. In the sequel it becomes more prominent. In the alternate universe where the Reptites never ceased to exist because Lavos never fell, they evolved into a species named Dragonians.
  • Disappeared Dad: Crono lives with his mother. However, Crono's dad is never seen nor mentioned.
  • Disaster Democracy: With Zeal blown to bits, 90% of the planet's surface now underwater, and their magic gone, the surviving Enlightened Ones have no choice but to throw in with the Earthbound Ones, who know better how to survive in the icy climate.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Magus is notable for being a Wake-Up Call Boss and a Barrier Change Boss. Stopping him was supposed to prevent Lavos being created. But as the party finds out too late, Magus was trying to summon Lavos instead of create it; Lavos came to the planet in prehistoric times.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Practically a back-to-back sequence of them across each era barring the Present: the Fiendlord's Keep in the Middle Ages, the Tyranno Lair in Prehistory, the Ocean Palace in Antiquity, and Death Peak in the Future. All in that order.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The original game freely gave you them if you were just willing to grind for it. Right from the start, Crono can buy a Silver Sword from Melchior — the best available sword for the first three story arcs. And right after that, when you arrive in Medina Village, there are overpriced items that are strong enough to take on the end boss of the game. Usually, you wouldn't be able to afford it, but enemies in the Abandoned Sewers of 2300 AD drop obscene amounts of money.
    • The Ice Water double tech (Marle + Frog) can wipe out most mobs of enemies in Magus' Castle in a single casting, and for a paltry MP cost of two points each.
    • Items formerly unavailable until the endgame can be earned in the DS exclusive Arena of the Ages if you're patient enough.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Marle's "Allure" technique can cause Confusion on an enemy by Marle repeatedly tapping her own butt.
  • Doing In the Wizard: As one might expect from a JRPG, there's magic abilities involved. As one likely would not expect, this actually has an entirely non-supernatural reason in-universe, namely that Lavos' secondhand contact with humanity resulted in latent mutation that awakened this potential within mankind as a whole. This, incidentally, is why Ayla can't use magic: she was born before Lavos crashed down.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: All player characters bar Crono have a short one of these before the final confrontation with Lavos:
    Frog: (SNES translation) My life retain'eth its meaning!
    Marle: (DS translation) This planet is our home! And we're taking it back!
  • Domed Hometown: 1999 AD and 2300 AD feature cities enclosed in domes or made of domes.
  • Doomed Hometown: Planet in this case, as Lavos destroys it in 1999 AD.
  • Doomed Predecessor: The Rainbow Shell sidequest has you meeting Toma in the Middle Ages, who'll give you his spirits and tell you to pour it on his grave. Once you find his grave in the Present, his ghost will reveal that he found the shell, but the place was full of monsters.
  • Downer Ending: The remake has an additional ending, which sets up the drastic changes in the lead-up to Chrono Cross.
  • The Dragon:
    • Ozzie is one to Magus. (Sort of. Ozzie is kind of a goofball who causes as many problems as he solves.)
    • Dalton is one to Queen Zeal. He clearly has aspirations of being the ruler of Zeal himself, but the Queen considers his efforts to be beneath notice.
    • Queen Zeal, to Lavos. Zeal constantly extols the virtues and power of Lavos. Meanwhile, it's not clear if Lavos know Zeal even exists.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Ozzie goes underground after Magus disappears and, for all intents and purposes, assumes control of his forces. Later, you can break into his fort and kill him, which pacifies his descendants in 1000 AD into being much nicer.
  • Dream Team: A meta one. This game has character designs by Akira Toriyama; music by Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu, who finished the soundtrack when Mitsuda fell ill; story by Masato Kato, the creator of the Dragon Quest series; and design by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series. And this happened nearly a decade before Square Enix existed.
  • Drinking Contest: Two. One is a minigame at Leene Square, the other is a story sequence that you literally cannot lose.
  • Drone of Dread: "Confusing Melody", the music for the Fiendlord's Keep, is a low droning melody that serves as a Background Music Override until you reach the Climax Boss fight.
  • Dual Boss:
    • Masa & Mune after fought as two enemies, then combine into one right after beating them.
    • Azala and Black Tyranno are fought at the same time. It's the only time you can confront either of them.
    • The Golem Twins are two of the same enemy that were faced beforehand. You don't necessarily have to win the fight, but doing so nets you some juicy rewards.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: The world is always the same, but you travel through multiple different eras through time travel.
  • Dub Name Change: Several liberties have been taken with the pronunciation and meaning of names.
    • Some names are closer to the katakana pronunciation, with some creative interpretation added. Maru/Marudia becomes Marle/Nadia, Eira becomes Ayla, Sara becomes Schala, and Jiru becomes Zeal.
    • Jaki/Maō becomes Janus/Magus.
    • Gash, Hash and Bosch become Melchior, Gaspar and Belthasar, after The Three Wise Men.
    • Vinegar, Soy Sauce and Mayonnaise become Ozzie, Slash and Flea, after rock musicians Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, respectively.
    • Silvard becomes Epoch, fitting the theme of eras in time.
    • Lucca's battle robot, Gonzalez, becomes Gato.
    • Frog's signature weapon, the Masamune. Should come as no surprise that a Western knight sword is wrongly named after a famous Eastern katana. In the Japanese version, it's named Grandleon, which makes more sense.
    • The Sky/Heaven element becomes the Lightning (SNES) or Light (DS) element.
    • The Demons to Mystics (SNES) or Fiends (DS).
  • Duel Boss:
    • Frog versus Magus at the North Cape, if you bring Frog to the confrontation. If you don't, the whole party fights against Magus instead. However, it's possible to just refuse to fight him in either case, saying that killing Magus now wouldn't change what happened in the Wham Episode. Doing this gets Magus to join your party.
    • For Robo, there's an optional sidequest in the endgame where he faces Atropos at the Geno Dome one-on-one.
    • It's possible to face Lavos with only Crono in the New Game+. You have to choose between this and the Ocean Palace fight for the Developer's Ending.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: When Marle's sucked into the time portal at the beginning, Crono jumps in headfirst to save her even though they only met a few minutes before, though this is more due to Crono's inherent heroism than anything she'd said or done.
  • Dungeon Bypass:
    • Waiting out the three days while Crono is in jail ultimately skips half of the dungeon as he's taken to the execution site in a cutscene afterwards.
    • Piloting the flying Epoch to 1999 allows the party to skip the Lavos Boss Rush.
  • Dying as Yourself: Before dying, Atropos briefly shakes off Mother Brain's control over her systems long enough to give Robo a permanent stat boost.

    E-K 

  • Easing into the Adventure:
    • Good morning, Crono! Don't forget to feed the cat.
    • Crono and company first embark on the (comparatively) simple task of retrieving Marle. Rather than receiving a medal for his heroism, Crono's reward is a death sentence, so the party haphazardly flees into a random Time Gate, uncertain of whether they can ever return. It ends up depositing them in the Future and that's when Lavos enters stage right.
  • Easily Forgiven: Although Magus is the main antagonist for most of the game, he can join your party if the player chooses to let him. If he joins, none of his past misdeeds are brought up by the other characters for the rest of the game.
  • An Economy Is You: Highlighted by the fact that no matter what time period you are in, people will sell robotic arm attachments, guns, and crossbows.
  • Egg MacGuffin: The Chrono Trigger, or "Time Egg", is a leftover relic from Zeal which the Guru of Time (Gaspar) has hidden up his sleeve. Its plot function is to resurrect Crono after he dies.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Lavos, a planetary parasite with powers over space-time that exists only to feed on the planet, even dictating evolution on the planet just to have a better meal. Fitting the Lovecraftian ideal even further, he's a source of immense magical power for an entire civilization.
  • Electricity Knocks You Out: Mentioned tangentially by one of the Ioka cavemen in 65,000,000 B.C. as a hint to the player:
    Lightning stun dinosaur! You know?
  • Elemental Crafting: With the penultimate sword for Crono being crafted out of a sparkly Rainbow Shell. His truly ultimate sword in the remake is made of dreams.
  • Elemental Powers: Fire, Ice/Water, Light, and Shadow.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Though the sequel made a bigger deal about innate elements, the rule still applies. Fire takes more damage from Ice/Water, and vice-versa. The same is true for Light and Shadow.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: Present in the Ocean Palace and its counterpart, the Black Omen. A couple of pre-determined encounters that you have to face in a row.
  • Emergency Temporal Shift: Lucca, a jailbroken Crono, and a runaway Marle are pursued by the castle guard. Left with no choice, they enter a Gate which sends them to the Future, where they learn about Lavos and the planet's destruction, and then meet Robo.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: In the end, the future refused to change. You'll be seeing these words and the end of the world if you get a Game Over after learning about Lavos.
  • Enemy Chatter: The enemies in the Abandoned Sewers, as well as Dalton and his goons, chatter quite a bit about the party.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: The chancellor invokes this at Crono's trial to get him to look like a villain, saying that Crono stole a guy's lunch at the Millennial Fair.
  • Enemy Mine: You can recruit Magus if you refuse to fight him the second time, and you shouldn't expect him to ever apologize for trying to kill you. Or anyone else, for that matter.
  • Enemy Scan: The Sight Scope displays enemies' HP. Lucca starts with it. It doesn't work on bosses, however.
  • Energy Weapon: Robo's Laser Spin technique, various enemy attacks in 2300 AD, and some lasers that act as barriers to progress in the factory stages.
  • Equipment Spoiler: A merchant that can sell you scythes appears shortly before you can recruit the Optional Party Member that uses them.
  • Equipment Upgrade: The Masamune is upgraded from the Sword of Plot Advancement to Frog's Infinity +1 Sword when its full potential is unlocked towards the end.
  • Even the Guys Want Him:
    • In a secret room in the Manolia Cathedral, you can find some fiends worshipping a statue of Magus:
    Oh, great Magus, Magus the Great ♪
    Your eyes are brighter than the stars ♪
    Your flowing hair, like waves atop the sea ♪
    Even those miserable sunny days abate ♪
    When we feel your seething hate ♪
    Even brightened halls hold no fear ♪
    Just so long as you are near ♪
    Magus, oh Lord Magus ♪
    You are our Fiendlord and Savior ♪
    • On the heroic side, we have Cyrus, the original commander of Guardia's royal knights. By all accounts, this guy was the (second-) biggest badass the Middle Ages ever produced. His relationship with Glenn was very complex, and while it was strictly platonic, Frog's behavior is almost that of a grieving spouse.
  • Eternal Engine: The Derelict Factory and Geno Dome are both working just fine, despite being three hundred years without any maintenance.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": A few of the game's authority figures are listed only by their titles: The Chancellor (both of them, that is), the Dome Supervisor (never seen face-to-face, but hinted to be Marle's descendant and Doan's ancestor), the corrupt Mayor of Porre, and the "Old Man" chieftain of Laruba Village.
  • Everyone Is Related: Would you believe that the Guardia Royal Family has basically controlled the same continent for over sixty million years? And that most of your party is related to them in some fashion?note 
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Crono's Cyclone and Confuse attacks, and the various Dual Techs based off them — but averted by his "Cleave" attack which is, ironically enough, called "Spincut" in the original translation.
  • Evolutionary Stasis: Humans haven't changed one iota in 65 million years aside from the development of magic, and there's a number of other species that haven't changed at all either except for color. This is justified when you fight the final boss - turns out Lavos has personally controlled humanity's evolution since its crash landing in 65,000,000 BC. Apparently, the original form of man serves it best for its meal.
  • Evil Chancellor: Sort of. It runs in the family, too, since Yakra and Yakra XIII are both faced during the game, both doing the same thing.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Lavos is not a power source. Trying to get energy from him might give you eternal life, but it'll also piss him off enough to destroy your civilization.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: Fiendlord's Keep, apart from a few candelabras, is barely lit with anything. The only place that is well-lit is the area just before the Fiendlord himself, which lights up torches the closer you get to him.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Ozzie. Also worth mentioning is the creepy, distorted laugh that echoes throughout the Fiendlord's Keep. Another also occurs in the Guardia Castle prison and Norstein Bekkler's tent and is borrowed from Kefka.
    • If you interact with the throne in the Giant's Claw, the leading party member will indulge in one.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Magus appears to be this at first, but his motives are a bit more complex.
  • Evil Takes a Nap: After violently crash-landing on Earth in 65,000,000 B.C., Lavos burrows its way into the core of the planet and spends a very long time sleeping until he finally erupts in the Day of Lavos, 1999 A.D., an event which devastated the whole planet to the point where even Earth's ecosystem is dying. There are a few other points along the timeline when Lavos is awakened prematurely, and he is not happy about it.
  • Exposed to the Elements: You have to wonder how well Ayla's holding up when you take her into the Ice Age, but then again, none of the other party members are adequately dressed for those conditions, and they never say anything about it either.
  • Expy: Since Akira Toriyama provided the character designs, this is to be expected:
    • Crono looks like a red-headed version of Goku, so Super Saiyan God Goku.
    • Marle is Bulma.
    • Lucca is a teenage Arale.
    • Robo strongly resembles some versions of mech armors used by Pilaf or the Red Ribbon Army. He also looks a lot like Auta Magetta from Dragon Ball Super.
    • Ayla is blond Launch. Or Android 18 with larger hair.
    • Magus is Piccolo.
    • Melchior resembles King Kai.
    • Slash looks like Cui.
    • Lavos's second form bears a resemblance to Cell's Imperfect form.
    • One of the animated cutscenes featured in the "Beyond Time: ending shows that Glenn is pretty much a green-haired Vegeta. Interesting in that human Glenn's sprite, which was designed first, had long hair.
    • One of the NPC sprites is Android 18.
    • The Blue Imp enemy resembles Emperor Pilaf.
  • Extreme Doormat: Schala is extremely meek despite being a very talented magic user. It helps that her mother is Queen Zeal, who is already insane.
  • Extreme Speculative Stratification: The Kingdom of Zeal, occupying the era of 12,000 BC, has a populace of elite "Enlightened Ones" inhabiting Floating Continents festooned with Crystal Spires and Togas, and use their powerful magic to make an easy life, while the non-magic "Earthbound Ones" are forced to wear rags and live in caves. Things used to be more fair, until Queen Zeal rose to power and rearranged society around the worship of magic and its ultimate source, Lavos. They get their comeuppance, though: trying to use Lavos as a power source proves not to be a good idea and Zeal is sent crashing into the ocean.
  • Eye Lights Out: All the R-Y model robots, including Robo, have this happen to them when they break down.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Possibly Crono, Lucca and Marle in the "Legendary Hero" ending. Without Frog to take on Magus, Tata does it instead, only to find the three sitting in his throne room. Lucca and Marle then ready their weapons while Crono laughs.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: One minigame's reward is cat food, which you are often told you need to collect. Regardless of how much you actually collect, it/they will still run away in the "Beyond Time" ending.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Thanks to Tata finding the Hero's Badge, everybody thinks that he's the legendary hero. Once Tata gets a little taste of how dangerous adventuring is, though, he's more than happy to give up the badge and title. Turns out he got it from Frog, and just liked the attention.
  • Fan Sequel:
    • Chrono Resurrection was a fan-made project to remake key parts of Chrono Trigger as a Nintendo 64 Tech Demo Game with awesome 3D graphics and remastered music. However, near the end of 2004, they received a Cease and Desist from Square Enix, and were forced to drop the project.
    • Crimson Echoes, a Fan Sequel, was due to be released at the end of May 2009, but now that's gone too.
  • Fanfare: Lucca's theme is treated as such, frequently used as a triumphant announcement or a sign of victory. Even Chrono Cross used her theme as the victory theme for battles.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • There are hints of it between the humans and the fiends (intelligent monsters). Darkly justified; in the Manolia Cathedral in 600 A.D, you can find a non-hostile Naga whose one line is to burp loudly and comment on how the remaining human prisoners in the room with her look very tasty.
    • The Enlightened Ones of Zeal literally look down on the Earthbound Ones, who can't use magic and live in the Ice Age below them. When the party meet them, one is surprised by Crono's magical gift and pities how primitive it has to be.
  • Fantasy Aliens: Though Lavos is treated as an Eldritch Abomination, it is really just a very powerful alien from another world.
  • Fartillery: Dalton has access to fart attacks, but he saves it as a Taking You with Me attack.
  • Feed It with Fire: Virtually every monster associated with an element. Can become problematic since not all of them are color-coded.
  • Fetch Quest: The original had the grace not to include any, but the Lost Sanctum in the remake consists of nothing but fetch quests.
  • Fighting Across Time and Space: During the final battle with Lavos, the background sometimes shifts to a time period you visited, which indicates the attacks Lavos is going to use (physical for prehistory, magical for future, slow from Antiquity, half-HP from the Middle Ages, and random status effect from the present).
  • Fill It with Flowers: Fiona tends a large forest in the middle ages and fears for its survival. She is able to preserve it thanks to Robo's help.
  • Final Boss Preview: On top of the fight with Lavos at the Ocean Palace, the remake has a potential Final Boss Preview for Chrono Cross with the Dream Devourer, the precursor to the Time Devourer.
  • Final-Exam Boss: Lavos. At first, he imitates nearly every boss in the game, including their HP.
  • Finishing Move: Crono pulls one of these against the Dragon Tank. He jumps up, stabs it in the face, slices his sword through it, then jumps off as sheaths his sword. This causes the tank to explode.
  • Fire/Ice Duo: Marle and Lucca have ice and fire techs, respectively, using them together as a Yin-Yang Bomb causes Shadow damage.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: There's Water, which counts as the same element as ice, and "Shadow." Lightning is actually a Bowdlerised version of the original Japanese "Heaven" element. The remake has sort of a middle ground, as Lightning has been changed to "Light."
  • Fission Mailed:
    • Losing the battle against Dalton's Golem has no effect on the plot, while winning earns you some extra EXP.
    • Lavos in the Ocean Palace is supposed to be a Hopeless Boss Fight. Winning that fight zaps you to one of the extra endings.
  • Five-Man Band: Crono, Frog, Ayla, Lucca, and Marle make up the base group, with Robo functioning as a hybrid Team Pet and backup Big Guy, and Magus as The Sixth Ranger.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • When you first leave 2300 with Robo, the first time you've tried bringing four people through a Gate at once, it crackles ominously as it closes. Immediately thereafter, you find yourself shunted to the End of Time, where the Arbitrary Headcount Limit is explained.
    • In the Ocean Palace, when Schala gets shocked by energy from the Mammon Machine, the Prophet shows concern for her, foreshadowing the reveal that he's actually Magus, AKA Janus, her brother.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: The Black Omen rises to the top of the clouds just as Zeal Kingdom collapses into the sea. All the worst traits of that civilization are preserved in this museum of freaks. On a more positive note, the Three Gurus work independently throughout time to fix the damage done by the Queen.
  • Floating Continent: Both Zeal and the Mountain of Woe from 12,000 BC are floating in the air. But what goes up must come down. Lavos sees to that when its pre-emptive awakening causes the entire continent to fall.
  • Flunky Boss: Many, many bosses, including the Final Boss, have "Bits" that assist the boss in attacking, counterattacking, or defense, and often can be revived by the main boss. Lavos has numerous spawn to assist it in the Boss Rush, some of them bipedal creatures. In the final battle, Lavos is disguised as one of the spawn.
  • For Science!: Lucca and her father's mindset is to do a bunch of crazy experiments for the sake of scientific knowledge. One of these kicks off the plot when it accidentally opens a gate from 1000 AD to 600 AD.
  • For Want of a Nail: Some of the time travel effects are this. Ozzie's defeat, should you do the sidequest to complete it, will cause fiends and humans to get along much better in the future. Some adjust around it, such as what drives Lucca to science.
  • Foregone Victory:
    • Both battles against Ozzie, unless you don't realize that there are other targets.
    • There's the Golem Boss, won't attack during your battle with it because it's afraid of heights.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The attractions of the Millenial Fair are based on areas of the game the player will eventually get to, starting with Leene's Bell, constructed in 600 AD. Gato has a passing resemblance to the R-Series robots from 2300 AD; and the tribal dance shares similarities with the setting of 65,000,000 BC.
    • There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in the second visit to 65,000,000 BC: when going to hitch a ride from the Dactyls at Dactyl Nest, you can see a distant, red twinkle in the sky. This is Lavos, approaching the planet.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Spekkio takes the form of an enemy close to the player's level. If the party is critically under-leveled by the time they meet them (levels 9 and under), they will see a frog. Spekkio's final form requires grinding to Level 99 to see it. What form they take also dictates how hard it will be to defeat them, should you choose to fight them.
  • Four Is Death: Occurs at least four times:
    • No more than three people may time travel at once, or else they go to the End of Time (which isn't as bad as it sounds, more of a limbo for time travelers).
    • Magus and his henchmen.
    • Dalton has four golems.
    • Four Lavos Spawn.
  • Friendly Fire Proof: Generally played straight with your party's devastating magic attacks, but some enemy attacks will strike other enemies if they're between you and the attacker. Heck, some enemies will attack and even kill their compatriots before even bothering to attack the Player Party.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: In the original English script, there's "soda" and "soup". In addition, Lucca's father, Taban, is shown to have a worrisome fondness of lemonade in one ending. This is all discarded in the remake, and it's all referred to as alcohol.
  • Funny Background Event: Bring Magus along when Frog powers up the Masamune in the Hero's Grave sidequest, and he'll turn away and cover himself with his cloak.
  • Fusion Dance: Masa & Mune. The implike creatures actually powerslam into each other, resulting in a body like a steroid pumped bodybuilder's.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: Future food isn't even food. The Enertron provides the necessary energy for life, but everyone's perpetually hungry.
  • Futureshadowing: The Millennial Fair is swarming with these, such as the "Unga Bunga!" dancers on the east side who are performing Ayla's tribal dance from 65,000,000 BC. The most notable one is the swordsmith, Melchior, who recognizes Marle's pendant and implores her to "keep it safe!".
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Lucca invents a teleporter — it only malfunctions because of Marle's pendant. She's also capable of repairing robots from over a millenium in the future.
  • Gaia's Lament:
    • No sun, no food. A simple yet insurmountable problem for Doan and his comrades in the future. Lavos' eruption blocked out the sun and choked the atmosphere with soot.
    • In the Dark Ages, the magical floating kingdom of Zeal used to draw renewable power from the Sunstone, but mothballed it in favor of the Mammon Machine's energy. Queen Zeal also did away with the Gurus for preaching about living in accordance with nature and crap like that.
  • Game-Favored Gender: The ladies get the Prismatic Dress, which reduces all magic damage by 1/3. In the remake, the ladies also get the Angel's Tiara, which grants Auto-Haste and total status immunity, and Lucca gets the Elemental Aegis, which makes her completely immune to magic. The men get no such exclusive equipment.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • When running around the Blackbird, special care must be taken to not be noticed, or you'll be captured and thrown back to your cell. If you have Ayla in your party, she will be able to engage in battle, although she is the only one able to do so. This is in spite of your characters' ability to cast magic, or in Robo's case, use his inbuilt laser cannons.
    • During the "Day of Lavos" footage, he launches a bunch of spines in the air, which alone is enough to reduce most of the domed cities to ruins and leads to the end of civilization. When you actually go to 1999 AD to fight him, he does have a "Rain Destruction" attack which hits the whole party, but is obviously way weaker than whatever he used in the video.
    • Marle can cast the healing spell Aura before she learns to cast magic in the story. I mean, come on, you need a healing spell.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: In the "Reunion" ending. Marle desperately fails to convince anyone to join her in saving Crono while they all return to their eras. Disappointed, she returns home with Lucca. The camera pans back to Gaspar, who notices that everyone had left, either while he was recovering the Chrono Trigger, or accidentally leaving it behind. It all works out though, because the party tracks Gaspar down, and Crono is restored offscreen.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • The Guardia line. This is a plot point, as Marle's uncanny resemblance to Queen Leene screws up history until Crono and Lucca rescue the real one with Frog's help.
    • Yakra, the monster that haunts Manolia Cathedral in the Middle Ages, has a descendant in the Present, Yakra XIII, which is just a blue Yakra.
    • Ozzie, whose descendant is the mayor (or janitor) of Medina Village in the present. The only difference is that somehow, the present Ozzie is blue.
  • Gender-Restricted Gear: The Prismatic Dress, which provides the most powerful defensive option (permanent Magic Barrier, reducing magic damage by 1/3) is only usable by women. The men have Nova Armor, which provides status immunity and only marginally less defense than the best armor in the game.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: They become more numerous the further you progress in the game. This includes the Cave Imp, Giga Gaia, just about every boss fight in the Black Omen except the last two, etc. Ironically, the literal version of this is well-integrated into the plot.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: Zeal's destruction in 12,000 BC causes a tsunami to flood most of the world. Only a few survivors remain, bridging the divide between the Earthbound Ones and the Enlightened Ones.
  • Global Airship: The Epoch, once Dalton modifies it with wings and the party steals it back.
  • Global Currency: Even works across all time periods, although some shopkeepers will be understandably suspicious before taking your money anyway.
  • Global Currency Exception: In 65,000,000 B.C., you can only buy weapons by trading animal parts, which the monsters drop instead of gold.note  Meanwhile, in 2300 AD, while the merchants will take your cash, they will question its value.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Queen Aliza did this on her deathbed as King Guardia XXXIII reveals to Marle when they reconcile:
    King Guardia XXXIII: Ah, your mother... Aliza... I'm ashamed to admit it, but it's taken me until now to understand what she meant with those final words. "Someday, when Nadia is older, she'll bring someone she loves to meet you. Welcome the two of them with open arms." She said that would make it a day you would remember forever.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Queen Zeal wants the power of Lavos for herself, treats it like a god, and actively antagonises the party in an attempt to stop them from reaching it. It's also shown that Zeal treats her daughter Schala like crap, even exploiting her powers to do more terrible things.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: The Knight Commander wears gold armor. If you agree to help him at Zenan Bridge, he'll give you his helmet of the same make.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: Ozzie, Slash, and Flea. This is especially the case the second time you face them during the Ozzie Fort sidequest.
  • The Good King: King Guardia XXXIII is not the most emotionally-available parent around, but his ancestor King Guardia XXI is beyond reproach. Unfortunately, he's up to his neck in a war with the Fiendlord.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The trope namer is one of the opening lines in the initial translation of the game, where Crono's mom wakes him up to go to the Millennial Fair. Later, Crono has a bizarre dream where the exact scenario plays out with the Mysterious Waif instead of momma. And when you finish the game normally, this is again replayed, but this time with a soldier waking him up. Oddly, advertisements for the remake referenced the line verbatim, even though the actual phrase isn't used in the retranslation.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Lucca's mother was crippled 10 years before the events of the game by getting stuck on a Conveyor Belt o' Doom. The Fiona's Forest sidequest allows Lucca to teleport to that exact moment, and you get a chance to stop the machine. Mess up, and the screen will fade to black accompanied by an agonizing scream.
  • Got the Call on Speed Dial: The party invokes this in the "Reunion" ending. With Crono dead, their Time Machine destroyed, and every Time Gate closed permanently, the party builds their own time machine and reunites the old gang to go time-hopping one more time to search for a way to bring their dead comrade back to life.
  • Grandfather Paradox: In the Middle Ages, Crono has to stop Marle from being erased from existence by saving the era's queen, her ancestor. Marle inadvertently causes the paradox when she appears in 600 AD: the guards mistake her for Leene, and take her back to Guardia Castle. But since Leene is Marle's ancestor, her premature death causes Marle to be erased from existence once the Delayed Ripple Effect catches up with her.
  • Grave-Marking Scene:
    • Pouring Toma's favorite spirit over his tombstone causes him to appear for a proper goodbye. He's still a card, even in death.
    • This is what ultimately powers the Masamune up to full strength. The sword seemingly feeds on emotions, and Frog's desire for vengeance paled in comparison to hope.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body:
    • Frog's Bubble Breath and Bubble Burst dual techs involve lifting Robo or Ayla, respectively, in a bubble, then dropping them on an enemy.
    • Several enemies will pick up one of their allies to throw at you, or pick up one of your party members to throw them at a different party member.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • The Guardia prison guards, big time. "Dangerous criminal on death row? No need to take away that razor-sharp katana that he's carrying."
    • Dalton's guards strip you of all of your gear. For the extra layer of security, they divide it up and keep each stash under guard. Dalton is not as stupid as he looks. The sentry still falls for the oldest trick in the book, though:
      Frog: Owww! Belly button...pain...ohhh...! (K.O.) You Fool!. Frogs haven't belly buttons!
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Touch, but do not open, a sealed chest in 600 A.D. before going to the same chest in 1000 A.D. to find an upgraded version of the item you'd find otherwise. A great trick the game only hints at by saying, "The item is reacting to the pendant" if you approach it in the Middle Ages, when the obvious course of action is to open the 1000 A.D. chest first and then go back to 600 A.D. Since not all sealed chests are upgradable, you may already think you won't be given a confirmation as to whether or not to open the chest at all. Worst of all, one of the upgraded chests contains Marle's ultimate weapon.
    • Saving Lucca's mother. Without Save Scumming, you only get one shot at doing this, and the moment in question comes after a very lengthy cutscene, which means retries will take a lot of time. Figuring out what to do is hinted at in another room in the house, but you probably won't enter that room first before setting off the time-limited cutscene. How you enter that code also requires thinking outside the box; after hitting A to continue past the "Enter password" script, you actually enter the buttons L-A-R-A, each key followed by a chime sound.
    • Getting the Golden Gemstone accessory requires you to complete the Hero's Grave sidequest. Then you have to put Frog in the lead position and travel to the long-since completed Denadoro Mountains until you encounter the Freelancer who throws rocks at you. Your hints at this from NPCs or elsewhere are nonexistent.
    • In order to acquire the Silver Gemstone, you have to return to the Laruba Ruins after defeating Giga Gaia at the Mountain of Woe. Here, you'll find a Nu who has it. The Nu also allows you to change the names of the characters.
    • The "Memory Lane" ending. Nearly all of the Multiple Endings accessible in a New Game+ playthrough are reached by defeating Lavos during relatively broad "windows," such as "after defeating Boss A, but before defeating Boss B." However, this particular ending can only be viewed by defeating Lavos after witnessing Schala open the door to the throne room, but before taking the party's pendant to the Mammon Machine — the latter action is normally done immediately after the former, and it's extremely unlikely that the idea of "I think I'll backtrack out of here and defeat Lavos right this moment" would naturally occur to anyone in the absence of a guide. And if you try to leave Zeal Palace after powering up the Pendant, you learn the Queen has ordered for the palace to be locked down while she's away, and you can't leave.
    • Norstein Bekkler gives you a cat for winning one of his games. After getting the cat, he then rewards cat food for each win to prevent Crono's cats from running away. It's hard to understand how much food is being consumed by the cats to keep them satisfied and how it attracts more cats to Crono's house, causing players to become confused as to how they got more cats in one moment and then end up with less of them the next time they return home.
  • Gusty Glade: The foot of Death Peak. You'll need Belthasar's help here before the game will let you keep going.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Initially this is played straight with Crono and Frog using swords, and Marle and Lucca using a crossbow and gun, respectively. Robo then mixes it up with his laser attacks, and then Ayla smashes this with her mighty fists. And Magus has fairly high physical attack power, but all of his Tech attacks are magical.
  • Hate Plague: The ability of Lavos and his spawn to inflict Confuse invokes the tendency of Eldritch critters to drive people to madness. This is of course reflected in the Mammon Machine, whose malignant aura perverts the brain of Queen Zeal.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Yakra XIII starts the game off as an Evil Chancellor and adviser to King Guardia. During the very first time travel, when the heroes meet the first Yakra, his family swears vengeance after he is defeated. Yakra puts Crono on trial for abduction, and despite it being possible to get a Not Guilty verdict, he tricks the Warden into thinking Crono was convicted and must be executed. He also sentenced another young man to a similar fate, whom Crono and Lucca can rescue. Later, Yakra strains the relationship between the King and his daughter Marle. Then, he decides to trick the people of the Guardia Kingdom into convicting the King and forcing him to sign his kingdom over. It's only when Marle and her friends step in that the King is saved.
    • Queen Zeal is never treated with anything but contempt by the story. There's hints that her mind has been corrupted by Lavos, but she makes no attempts to break free, constantly torments you, and is cruel to her own daughter. She's the warm-up for the final boss, and is never given any sort of justification for her behavior.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The Elder's House in Crono's hometown plays the role of the "Training Hall."
  • He Was Right There All Along: When you enter the Magic Cave, a bat begins following you, and is present when you enter the Fiendlord's Keep. That is Flea.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Magus. As a child, he blocked out his magical power because he hated what it was doing to his mother and sister. After he was sent to 600 A.D., he embraced that same power in order to destroy Lavos, becoming much like his mother in the process.
  • He's Back!: After getting the Hero's Badge back and seeing the Masamune reforged, Frog picks up the latter with renewed determination and, with his theme song blaring, he leads the charge to Magus' Castle.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose:
    • The fight against the first Golem cuts you a little slack. The battle can be tough if you don't know what you're doing, but even without grinding, it's not a Hopeless Boss Fight. However, since the plot requires that you be captured at the end of the sequence anyway, you won't be given a game over for losing. If you win, the game won't quite declare that The Battle Didn't Count, as the Golem stays dead, but all that changes plotwise is that Dalton takes you out with his Cutscene Power to the Max instead.
    • During the prehistoric Drinking Contest, if Crono finishes his bowl before Ayla does, you win! If Ayla does, then thou must challenge her to a rematch, and if you lose too many times, Ayla can't go on and forfeits.
  • Heal It with Water: Marle and Frog are the two Water-aligned party members, and they are the only ones with dedicated healing spells. Marle functions more like a White Mage, with a more dedicated healing and support arsenal, whereas Frog is more of a Combat Medic, where he can dish out damage and keep the party alive.
  • Healer Signs On Early: Even before the party learns magic, Marle, the first person in the party other than Crono, can learn the Aura tech. Though she's unavailable for the first true dungeon, you get Frog for that one, who learns the healing Slurp Tech.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Slight amusement can be found in naming Marle, Frog, Robo, and Magus their real names, once you've played through the game and know what they are.note  The remake allows six-letter names for characters, as memory issues limited the original to five letters, allowing the player to name Crono as he was intended in the Japanese version ("Chrono").
  • Here We Go Again!: The "Beyond Time" ending. After saving the world, Crono's mom (and cat(s)) fall into a Time Gate and disappear. While everyone else freaks out, Crono does a Fist Pump and races to the time machine without pause.
  • The Hero: Crono through and through. He doesn't hesitate to go after Marle when she disappears, he readily agrees to save the world from a seemingly-omnipotent Eldritch Abomination, and he is the first person to disagree when the Melchior in 12,000 BC says that there's nothing that can be done to save Schala. Exemplified at the beginning of the game: When Marle's "pieces" tried to escape before being sucked into the time rift, Crono's "pieces" dashed right in.
  • Hero Killer: At the Ocean Palace, Lavos kills Crono. Though it's possible to get Crono back, since time travel means "dead" and "gone" are not the same thing.
  • Heroic Mime: Crono has the other characters react to him as if he can talk when the player is offered choices to answer, but he never gets any on-screen dialogue. The only exception is in the "Memory Lane" ending, where he gets all of two lines.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Crono dies fighting Lavos, getting his body vaporized by the monster in order to give his friends time to escape. Thankfully, the party finds a way to bring him back, if the player so chooses.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Laruba is a tribe of people in prehistoric times who want to hide from the reptites rather than fight. Even most of the Ioka tribe doesn't know where they are, all for the sake of keeping them hidden.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Against the Golem Boss and King Dalton, which you fight on a massive airship. The former is a Zero-Effort Boss, since it's too afraid of heights to attack you.
  • High-Class Gloves: Queen Leene and Marle wear long gloves with their royal dresses.
  • The High Queen: Marle acts like one when she's mistaken for Leene. When you rescue her, Leene herself also acts this way.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the Tyranno Lair, it's possible to drop a pair of monsters on each side of a hallway into a pit, sparing you the battle. Later, a trap switch sends you into a cell a few levels down, where the same monsters are now waiting for you.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Magus's weakness to the Masamune. Not just when you fight him — in the Northern Ruins, if Magus is in your party, he will recoil behind his cape when the Masamune begins emitting light, not dropping back to normal until Masa and Mune are gone.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Luminaire causes Crono to cast a massive light dome that deals a massive amount of damage to all opponents.
  • Homemade Inventions: Lucca and Taban's house is covered in high-tech machinery. One of them cripped Lucca's mother Lara by crushing her legs. It's possible to Set Right What Once Went Wrong with a sidequest, sparing Lara from this fate.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • You can technically fight Lavos at any time upon reaching the End of Time. You'll most likely get squashed until you use New Game+; fighting Lavos at various points in the story is how you unlock the various Multiple Endings.
    • Fighting Lavos at the Ocean Palace. It's technically not a hopeless fight, just incredibly difficult. The story dictates that you lose this fight, and Lavos has higher stats than normal in this encounter just to make sure, but if your stats are high enough, you can actually win, which will earn you the hardest ending — a visit to the Developer's Room.note 
    • The battle against the Ghost of Cyrus in 1000 AD is impossible to win. You can't even damage the boss, and the fight ends automatically after a few turns. You have no choice but to use time travel to get around him.
  • Hope Spot: Subverted. The party reaches the summit of Death Peak and uses the Time Egg, only to have it shatter and disappear, leaving them standing alone with their hopes of bringing Crono back equally dashed to pieces. Right as the party begins mourn this twist of fate, a supernatural eclipse occurs out of nowhere, and they realize the egg didn't shatter. It hatched.
  • Hope Sprouts Eternal:
    • In 12,000 BC, after clearing the Ocean Palace, you can find an Enlightened One who is wondering whether to plant a seed or burn it. If you advise her to plant it, then her descendant and Robo will restore a great forest between 600 and 1000 AD.
    • In 2300 AD, the party don't find any food for the people of Arris Dome, but they do find seeds that can be used to grow food again.
  • HP to 1: Various enemy attacks throughout the game reduce a character to one hit point. A Nu enemy can deal either one damage, or [Max HP]-1 to a character, and nothing in-between.
  • Hub Level: The End of Time takes on this role once it's introduced. For much of the game, you need to cross through it when going between time eras, it's got free healing and a save point, and features an endless source of advice in case you forget when you were going to go next.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism:
    • You can cure HP, MP, or both in Guardia Castle by ordering one of three dishes.
    • In the Crapsack World that is the future, you can sleep in a machine that restores all of your HP/MP, except it notes: "But you're still hungry!"
    • You can also regain all HP and MP by drinking "happy water" in 65,000,000 BC.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place:
    • There's two very ominous-sounding mountains in the game: Death Peak and the Mountain of Woe.
    • The Black Omen. In-game, however, if you go to the present while the Black Omen is around, it's been around for so long that no one thinks much of it.
    • Geno Dome is pretty benign, even a little odd, in its localized name. In Japanese, though, it's Genocidome, underscoring the installation's purpose.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • In Robo's sidequest, Robo's fight with Atropos in Geno Dome has Atropos briefly overcome Mother Brain's programming before Atropos shuts down.
    • Frog attempts one on Cyrus' ghost in 1000 AD. It doesn't take; it's a Hopeless Boss Fight, and there's no option but to flee.
    • The extra "Dream's Epilogue" ending in the remake, when Magus FINALLY finds Schala.
  • Ice Magic Is Water: Humans have affinity with either water, fire, light or shadow. Of the two water types in the main cast, Frog's magic is mostly water based, and Marle's is ice based, though both can use it for healing as well.
  • An Ice Person:
    • Marle, in a complete contrast with her personality, uses ice magic.
    • Ozzie is another possibility, given that he encases himself in what looks like a large ice crystal when you finally corner him.
  • Identical Grandson: A necessary evil thanks to technological constraints — people and their ancestors and descendants are often just palette swaps of each other. However, in one case, this is used as a deliberate plot point with Marle and her ancestors of the Guardian royal family bloodline.
  • Idle Animation: The party does this when they don't move around on the overworld. Crono waves his hands as if trying to get your attention. Lucca sits down and reads a book. Marle just sits down. Robo seems to power down, Frog inflates his throat repeatedly and Ayla dances. Magus poses with his head to the side.
  • Improvised Lightning Rod: Crono and Frog have a Dual Tech called Lightning Rod ("Spire" on SNES) in which Frog leaps at the enemy and impales them with his broadsword, then Crono hits the sword with a lightning spell.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • No matter what verdict Crono receives during his trial, he will still be sentenced to three days in prison, which the Chancellor takes advantage of to manipulate the Warden into thinking he's been sentenced to death instead.
    • During the Fiona's Forest sidequest, it is revealed that the reason why Lucca's a scientist and engineer today is because she was powerless to stop the machine that crippled her mother. You are given a chance to rectify this, and if you succeed, a diary entry reveals that Young Lucca still dedicated her life to science, for almost the exact same reason.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt:
    • The conveyor belts in the factory areas are understandable enough. But one has to wonder what they're doing on the Blackbird, which is supposed to be a military-grade airship and the symbol of the aerial might of Zeal.
    • Played with in the Ozzie's Fort sidequest. A pair of monsters spawn on conveyor belts. Before the battle menu pops up, the conveyor belts drop the poor mooks into pits. The battle music slowly peters off and the party just stands there as if to say "Did that really just happen?"
  • Industrialized Evil: The dark secret in the bowels of Geno Dome: The robots are gathering up humans and placing them on a conveyor belt to be slaughtered. This process will continue ad infinitum, with digitized screaming to complete the picture, until you kill Mother Brain.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Justified. Like the Sun Stone and Forest Ruins, the black sigil boxes were scattered over the globe when Zeal fell in 12,000 BC, gradually re-surfacing over the eons. In some cases, NPCs comment that the boxes have been passed down for generations and no one has been able to open them.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The remake retroactively does this for almost all the party's best weapons from the original version of the game, since it introduces even stronger ones. Frog and Ayla's best weapons are the same in every version. Additionally, the remake also adds the Dinoblade for the former, which is his second best weapon.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: As noted above, excluding Frog and Ayla, the remake adds even stronger weapons for the rest of the party:
    • The Dreamseeker for Crono. It has a 90% critical hit rate.
    • The Venus Bow for Marle. It always deals 777 damage.
    • The Spellslinger for Lucca. It deals damage based on the last number of her MP.
    • The Apocalypse Arm for Robo. It deals 9,999 damage on critical hits, but its base attack stat and critical rate are low.
    • The Dreamreaper for Magus. It deals 4x the damage on critical hits.
  • Informed Flaw: Everybody thinks Lucca and her father are a pair of incompetent mad scientists, most likely because Taban built a machine that ended up accidentally crippling his wife. However, Lucca is seen inventing different types of offensive weapons, hypnotic devices, and an item capable of controlling tears in the fabric of time. Meanwhile, Taban develops increasingly effective suits of body armor for his daughter to use. In the original translation, they do still have a reputation, but it's not as bad. They even still have this reputation if you use time travel to make it so the inciting incident never came to pass.
  • Inn Security: One of the possible enemy encounters in the Fiendlord's Keep? Fake save points.
  • Instant Flight: Just Add Spinning!: The staff-wielding mooks in the Kingdom of Zeal can use their staves as rotors to hover.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • After pursuing Marle when she disappears in Lucca's teleportation device, Crono unknowingly ends up traveling through time to the past. While you have no idea where you are until you speak to a few NPCs, saving the game at this point will give you the chapter title "The Middle Ages".
    • Checking the data for the Hero Medal shows that it can only be equipped by Frog. This can be done before you meet up with him to assemble the Masamune.
    • In the SNES version, Magus' name is not spelled in all-caps like other NPCs during one of Frog's flashbacks. This is a very subtle clue that he is recruitable later on. Additionally, after the Kingdom of Zeal crash lands, you gain access to a dealer who sells scythes among other things. Scythes are the Weapon of Choice for Magus, who can join your team shortly after.
  • It Only Works Once: Dinosaurs are weak to electricity in the past. The dinosaurs found in the present are pretty much immune to that weakness, and will turn it back on you very quickly.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here:
    • The Fiendlord's Keep, which comprise of several towers merging from a giant chasm.
    • This is played more or less straight with Ozzie's Fort, as it really is a tower.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: The Millennial Fair in 1000 AD never stops until you beat Lavos.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: In the end, the future refused to change.
  • Joke Item: The Mop, which is acquired by charming a Nu. It's a weapon for Crono with an attack rating of 1, which is lower than his starting weapon. There's no trick to getting good damage out of it and it doesn't unlock any secret techs or quests. It's just a mop.
  • Joker Jury: Much later, after leaving the Rainbow Shell with King Guardia XXI for safekeeping, the Chancellor of the Present accuses King Guardia XXXIII of selling it off, and nearly gets himself elevated to regent in his place. It's eventually revealed that the Chancellor is really Yakra XIII wanting revenge for his ancestor's failure, and the Rainbow Shell hasn't gone anywhere, Yakra XIII just had guards keep people away.
  • Jumped at the Call: Crono, Lucca, and Marle see a recording of the world's destruction by an unimaginably powerful creature from beneath the Earth. What's their response? "Screw that, we'll stop it!"
  • Just Toying with Them: Upon encountering Slash in the Fiendlord's Keep, he taunts Frog and then engages the party in a fight. Once the party proves its mettle, Slash decides that "for the first time in ages" he might have to actually get serious about a battle, and he grabs the sword hanging prominently over his throne to start fighting for real.
  • Jury and Witness Tampering: In the Rainbow Shell sidequest, King Guardia XXXIII is put on trial for selling the kingdom's royal treasure for petty cash. During the trial, the player gets to see that the prosecution's star witness was in fact setting up the king on orders from the Chancellor. And then it turns out he isn't the real Chancellor, but a disguised descendant of Yakra, the very first boss the heroes defeated to save Marle's ancestor, Queen Leene.
  • Kangaroo Court:
    • Early on, you're put on trial for kidnapping the princess. You can actually win the trial, based on what kind of behavior you had during the fair with Marle. However, even if you're acquitted, you still do time for running off with the princess and the Chancellor switches around the paperwork to arrange an execution.
    • During the Rainbow Shell sidequest, the Chancellor learns from his previous attempt at trying to imprison Crono, and explicitly tampers with and hires people to bear false witness so he can put the King behind bars for good. Thankfully, Marle and her friends are able to expose the Chancellor's corruption before it's too late, making the verdict meaningless.
  • Karma Houdini: Considering all the headaches he causes, the fact that Dalton just sort of runs away following his last boss fight and faces no comeuppance for his role in the game's events is something of a letdown. It's even worse in the remake when it's revealed that he runs off to Porre and helps turn them into an advanced military nation that eventually conquers Guardia, the homeland of Crono, Marle, and Lucca.
  • Keeping the Handicap: Upon fighting Magus, Frog, a human cursed into a giant bipedal frog, thanks Magus for it, as he claims his achievements would never have happened in his human form. However, the Beyond Time ending shows him as a human.
  • Kid Hero:
    • Crono begins the game by receiving his allowance from his mom.
    • Subverted when you go back to 600 and hear about the Hero, Tata, a young boy who has the Hero Medal. It's really Frog's medal, which he abandons after getting beat up by Magus. Tata just finds it and gets hailed as a hero, but flees for his life once you follow him.
  • Kill All Humans: The robots led by Mother Brain in 2300 A.D. decide that humanity had its chance and failed, so the best thing to do is wait for Lavos and its spawn to leave the planet, take care of the last meatbags, and build a new android civilization.
  • King Incognito: Marle is Princess Nadia, daughter of King Guardia XXXIII. She gives her name as "Marle" because she wants to have a normal day outside of the castle. Lucca figures it out pretty quick, but Crono doesn't.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Frog is devout to the king and queen of Guardia, wields a broadsword, and devotes himself to saving as many people as he can. He even gets down on himself for failing to stop the Fiendlord.

    L-Q 

  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The remake shows the Optional Party Member along with the rest of the party in some of the earliest pictures used to demonstrate special techniques, even though their joining the party is supposed to be a twist.
  • Laughing Mad:
    • The Confuse ("Chaos" in SNES) status effect causes a party member to start laughing.
    • Queen Zeal, Dalton, and even Lucca are prone to evil cackling quite a bit.
  • Lava Adds Awesome:
    • The Ocean Palace is carpeted with lava, with metal catwalks separating you from it.
    • The Dimensional Vortex in the Present has a volcano in its second half.
  • Lazy Backup: Played straight for all but one instance: the future Dimensional Vortex locks your active party behind a door, which is when the rest of the party shows up to flip the switch on the other side of the facility. Particularly bizarre as you can instantly switch out when not in combat, despite it being implied the switched character had to take the closest gate to catch up to you.
  • Leaked Experience: Characters not in the active fighting party receive only 75% of the experience and no tech points.
  • Left the Background Music On: Dalton, when he modifies the Epoch. The time machine starts playing Crono's theme when engaged but Dalton quickly calls for a change.
  • Leitmotif: Not only does each time period, character, and geographic location share leitmotifs, you can match some of them up based on how they sound:
    • Crono's theme is echoed by the 1000 A.D. Overworld Theme.
    • Magus's theme is similarly echoed by the 12,000 B.C. Overworld Theme and Schala's Theme.
  • Libation for the Dead: One sidequest involves pouring out a bottle of spirits on Toma's grave.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The Abandoned Sewers in 2300 AD has a section in which making a noise will alert enemies to your presence. This includes the chime that the save point makes.
    • Dalton is able to do this when he catches the game playing the wrong music.
  • Legendary Weapon: The Masamune, a sword capable of smiting evil and crucial to defeating Magus. It can supposedly only be wielded by The Chosen One.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: During a brief moment in Ozzie's Fort, when he winches up a pair of monsters like he did repeatedly earlier in the Fiendlord's Keep: the battle music starts up but since the monsters immediately land on a pair of conveyor belts that send them crashing back downstairs, it quickly grinds to a halt.
  • Levels Take Flight: The Blackbird is a huge skybound ship. It starts as a No-Gear Level after your party is stripped of all of their stuff, and you need to use an Air-Vent Passageway to get it all back. It culminates in battling Dalton on top of the Epoch in mid-flight.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: "Thunder stun all dinosaur! You know?" So says a cavewoman in prehistory. It's a hint as to how to defeat Nizbel.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Lucca and Crono, according to the former. There's some Ship Tease between the two of them all the same, though Crono/Marle is the Official Couple.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Defeating Giga Gaia causes the suspension chain to snap on the Mountain of Woe, which collapses into the sea.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: Robo does this early in the game, holding two automatic doors closing horizontally. After the doors slam close, Robo simply lets out the excess pressure, and moves on.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: For whatever reason, instead of just using a text dump of the English localization, the PlayStation port instead stacks a real time translation software on top of it, taxing the system's RAM more than it has to and drastically increasing the loading as a result.
  • Loads and Loads of Sidequests: The game has practically the whole last half of the game composed of sidequests. Doing them gets you better equipment, including excellent weapons and armor.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: It's possible to run through any forested area without hearing more than 18 seconds of "Secret of the Forest".
  • Look Behind You: How Dalton captures the party if you beat the Golem in the first meeting. He does it again after proclaiming that he's the new king of the Fallen Zeal.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: Square lays it on pretty thick with names like "Zeal Kingdom" and "Mammon Machine." All of it rests at the bottom of the sea now.
  • Lord British Postulate: The Apocalypse Arm, Bronze Fist, and Venus Bow can be used to actually kill some enemies (such as Puzzle Bosses) that reduce other physical attacks to Scratch Damage. You'll only have the opportunity to do this in New Game+, though.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • Crono's mother's name, Jina, is never used in the English versions.
    • Jaki becoming Janus, Jiru becoming Zeal, and Silvard becoming Epoch creates allusions to Classical Mythology, zealotry, and time, not present in the original names.
    • Magus conveys a powerful wizard, but loses the meaning of Demon King, or Maō.
    • Ozzie, Slash and Flea lose their condiment Theme Naming of Vinegar, Soy Sauce and Mayonnaise.
    • The three Gurus lose their Onomatopoeia theme naming of Gash, Hash and Bosch.
  • Lovecraft Lite: An Eldritch Abomination from space crash-landed on a primeval planet and harvested life and eventually civilization, draining it of all energy. In the future, it will emerge and rain destruction on the surface, condemning any and all survivors to slowly die of starvation on the now again infertile planet.. Worst of all, it's part of its reproductive cycle, so your planet wasn't the first and likely won't be the last. Fortunately, this is a JRPG. It stands no chance against a ragtag bunch of time traveling teenagers with attitude.
  • Loyalty Mission:
    • Frog gets this twice:
      • He first joins Crono and Lucca as a Guest-Star Party Member to rescue Queen Leene, but then retreats to the Cursed Woods because he failed to prevent her from being kidnapped in the first place. Fetching the Hero Medal and reforging the Masamune snaps him out of his funk and gets him to join the party permanently.
      • Much later, freeing the ghost of his old friend Cyrus from its torment gives Frog additional closure and, incidentally, the Masamune a much-needed power boost.
    • Robo gets two:
      • The first starts out as an unrelated sidequest to restore a forest. However, it turns out that such a restoration is a job that will take many centuries. Thus, Robo stays behind to see it done. When you meet him again, he's gained quite a new perspective on life.
      • The second is in 2300 AD, where you go to the Geno Dome. Here, Robo learns his real origins and the purpose for which he was made, but chooses to side with his human friends and defeat his creator.
    • The Rainbow Shell quest turns out to be this for Marle, since it ultimately ends with her saving her father from being unjustly convicted of selling the Shell, and thus repairing her relationship with him.
  • MacGuffin Title: The titular Chrono Trigger is a Time Egg that allows the characters to save Crono after he dies by going back to the exact moment that Lavos killed him.
  • Made of Indestructium:
    • Since Gato must survive to give out silver points afterwards, he can't die no matter what the party hits him with. A Luminaire to the face? Still standing. Warp the fabric of space and time with a Dark Matter blast? Shrugs it right off. Blow up the entire screen with a triple tech? What else you got? Lucca built him really sturdy.
    • The sealed chests. Families have had them for hundreds, if not thousands of years, but have never managed to open them.
  • Magic Kiss: Ayla's Kiss ability heals your party members' health. This works regardless of gender.
  • Magic Knight: Five of the seven characters can learn magic, including sword-wielders Crono and Frog. Robo and Ayla can't learn magic; the former is a robot, and the latter was born before humans evolved to use magic.
  • Mainlining the Monster: The Kingdom of Zeal used Lavos as a power source once they discovered it, instead of the sun energy they had been safely using for years.
  • Marathon Boss: If the player doesn't opt to ram the Epoch through the outer shell, facing Lavos head-on via traveling to the Day of Lavos results in him fighting with the patterns and stats of a large number of bosses from across the game, to the point that the player's allowed to switch party members between each fight just because of its sheer length. The actual Final Boss battles with Lavos don't last anywhere near as long usually.
  • Marathon Level: The Black Omen is a straight path; all you have to do is fight. In addition to the huge assortment of enemies, you have to endure elevator ride skirmishes, clones of Heckran and Son of the Sun, wall panel robots, seven bosses and Lavos itself.
  • Mayor of a Ghost Town: Doan, being the descendant of the Arris Dome's director. Some other people remain, both there and in Trann Dome, but the latter has no implied leader.
  • Mayor Pain:
    • Porre's Mayor is leeching off of the town. He becomes a hindrance in the present day when the Sun Stone goes missing after eons of undisturbed sleep. The Mayor plays dumb, but if you travel back to the middle ages and give the Spiced Jerky to one of his ancestors for free, he will learn the value of charity and hand over the Sun Stone without complaint.
    • Ozzie VIII is a fat, selfish pig, much like his ancestor. He seems to lack all credibility as a elder apart from his relation to the "Great Ozzie", and the servants in his house all despise him. Ozzie's ignominious death changes history; Ozzie VIII is reduced to a housekeeper and now is subservient to a Blue Imp.
  • The Maze: The Reptite Lair is a web of cave portals and deadfalls.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Janus comes from the two-faced Roman god of gates and doors, and indicated transition.
    • Magus has mystical connotations, and is the singular form for the three Magi that visited Jesus in Christian mythology who, in another case of Woolsey's influence, are named Belthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar.
    • Magus's two Japanese names keep this trend. Janus's Japanese name is Jaki, which basically refers to an evil imp, or small demon, and his title is Maō, which basically means "Demon King".
    • Queen Zeal, as "zeal" means great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. And she is certainly enthusiastic about her devotion to Lavos.
    • The people of Zeal named their power extractor the Mammon Machine.
    • The Hero of a time traveling plot is named Chrono (or Crono), which literally means "time."
    • Frog's original name was Glenn, and is referred to as "Grenn" in promotional materials. 'Grenn' is short for the French word for frog "grenouille".
    • Toma, the pair of adventurers who the party run into in 600 and 1000, are part of a long line of Tomas, and supposedly they all look exactly the same. (One shows up in Chrono Cross as well.) The name is derived from T'om'a, an Aramaic term meaning 'twin'.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Robots are in three different time periods, thousands of years apart.
  • Medical Monarch: Marle is the party's first healer, and she's a princess in 1000 AD.
  • Medieval European Fantasy: Both 600 AD and 1000 AD fit the definition, despite the presence of various anachronisms. The "Present" is not that dissimilar from the Middle Ages. 600 AD is an even more clear-cut example, since the technology level is more traditionally medieval, without electricity, unlike the Present as presented in-game, which has some degree of modern technology like refridgerators and electrical ovens.
  • Metal Slime:
    • The Rubble enemies found at the Mountain of Woe, which pose minimal danger to your party and yield a large amount of Tech Points. The only problem is they have obscenely high evade stats, and will always lock out all of your abilities other than regular attacks.
    • The Watcher and the Nomads in the Black Omen form this collectively. The Watcher is easy enough to kill, although it will lock your techs to make killing the Nomads more difficult. The latter is the true Metal Slime, since while they're relatively easy to kill compared to the Rubble, they'll also run away after a few turns.
    • The Wonder Rock gives 10,000 EXP and drops the Lumicite Shard, which is needed to make the Elemental Aegis for Lucca. However, it has several thousand HP, it will counter every attack with a powerful eruption, and it will run away if you're not careful.
  • Minigame Zone: Leene Square is full of carnival games. Some involve wagers: One becomes mandatory for a sidequest late in the game, although the only cost of failure is 40 Silver Points.
  • Mirror Match: In the remake, at the end of the Dimensional Vortexes, Crono, Lucca, and Marle each have a battle against a shade version of themselves. It's not one-on-one, however.
  • Missing Main Character: For most of the game you Can't Drop the Hero, but towards the end of the main quest, Crono is removed from the party after he dies from fighting Lavos for the first time, forcing the player to choose another party member to replace him. Notably, the quest to get Crono back is optional; it is possible to complete the rest of the game without him.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Kidnapper in this case. As soon as Crono returns from the past for the first time after saving Marle, he's arrested for kidnapping her. This is due to the fact that the Chancellor is now a descendant of Yakra in disguise, and since you went back in time and stopped the original Yakra from impersonating the Chancellor, his broodlings took it upon themselves to finish what he had started. The "mistake" is actually an act of revenge.
  • Money Spider: Except in 65,000,000 BC, where the local equivalent of currency is dropped instead.note 
  • Monster Town: Medina Village. Most of the residents don't like you until you change history so that it was founded by fiends who didn't mind humans.
  • Montage Out: The "Beyond Time" ending has one of these set to the wonderful ""To Far Away Times"/"Outskirts of Time", showing quick glimpses of the cast resuming their lives after Lavos' defeat. The animated cutscenes, which is set to a remastered medley, goes into more detail. This includes Crono and Marle's wedding, Ayla getting Kino to propose to her, Glenn being knighted as a human, and Lucca finding a mysterious infant.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Traveling directly from the Present to the Future near the beginning of the game is a particularly notable example of this, especially when you discover the main problem with Enertrons.
    • Within the same segment of the game, you fight a powerful Guardian boss to find that the guy who went down to bring back food died (leaving behind a widow and their child) and the entire food stores have gone rotten, with the only hope for survival that the people have left is some seeds you found down there. Then you discover the true nature of where you've ended up. Pretty heavy stuff. Then you leave Arris Dome and get into a hover bike race against "Johnny", a wacky robot/trike hybrid with an inexplicable beatnik personality.
  • Mook Maker: The conveyor belt in the Derelict Factory will endlessly produce enemies until you shut it off or go past it.
  • Mugging the Monster: After Janus is stranded in 600 A.D., he's immediately set upon by Ozzie and a few low-level monsters. Given that we already know by this point what Janus is capable of and what he eventually becomes, we can infer that this ended very badly for those Imps who were approaching him.
  • Multiple Endings: There are 13, many of which can only be attained in a New Game+. Variations for a couple of these depends on whether Crono is dead, Magus is in your party, if you completed certain quests, and the method you used to reach Lavos. Quite a few of them are joke endings, while two others are just glorified credit reels. The thirteenth ending is featured exclusively in the remake, in order to tie things more to Chrono Cross.
  • Multi-Stage Battle: Lavos's first form is battled on a weird rippling blue surface, while his final form is confronted on a trippy hyperspace-like background that has terrain from past levels randomly appear on it. You're probably in temporal freefall at that point. Lavos' attacks vary depending on the background.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: The characters speculate that the Gates are the result of this for the soul of the planet itself.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The imps whose closet you come through to get to Medina Village aren't nearly as hostile to you as anyone else in town. They warn you that the demons may attack you; several do. The shopkeeper in particular charges outrageous amounts of money for his services.
  • Namedar: Ayla's off-the-cuff name for Lavos, it means "big fire" in her dialect, evidently passes into the lexicon. How the name survives over 65 million years is Hand Waved, as Zeal rediscovers Lavos after some time of using solar energy.
  • Natural End of Time: The End of Time, which also functions as a Place Beyond Time. It's where Gaspar, Lord of Time, resides.
  • Never Found the Body: Dalton, who gets sucked into a portal. The only villain who doesn't get irretrievably dispatched on screen. Now does his bringing down Guardia using Porre make a bit more sense?
  • New Game+: The game is both the Trope Namer and Trope Codifier. After beating the game once, you have the option to start the game over with all of your equipment, items, money, techs, and experience points. It's also the only way to see many of the game's Multiple Endings.
  • New World Tease: You can't actually explore 1999 AD. Well, not legitimately.
  • News Travels Fast: Since this is a time travelling game, anything you do that changes time, everybody would naturally know about.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • After rescuing Queen Leene, the Chancellor in 600 AD insists on creating a criminal justice system after his kidnapping to deter criminal and monster activity. By 1000 AD, the system has been corrupted into a star chamber under the Chancellor of the time, thus causing major trouble between the kingdom and the heroes until it's revealed that the Chancellor is fake and is actually Yakra XIII, a descendant of the original Yakra, in disguise.
    • Upon discovering a video in 2300 A.D. that shows how the world ended in 1999 A.D., the party decides to save the future. This caused several events to go downhill.
    • Subverted by the heroes when they invade the Fiendlord's Keep in an attempt to stop Magus from creating Lavos. After defeating him, they learn that Magus only summoned Lavos in an attempt to destroy him. Lavos then wakes up, and causes Magus and the heroes to be sucked into a giant Gate. Magus curses Crono and company for interfering, but it's heavily implied that in the original timeline that Lavos destroyed Magus. The heroes' interference actually saves Magus from being killed.
    • Ayla heads to the secret Laruba Village to gather reinforcements, but the Reptites follow her there, setting fire to the whole village. Ayla vows to make amends.
    • In the original timeline, Zeal and its Queen were destroyed by Lavos. Thanks to the heroes' actions, the Queen survives and the Ocean Palace becomes the Black Omen, a monstrous floating labyrinth that simply sits over the entire world.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In the original timeline, Lavos trapped the three Gurus and Janus in different eras of time once he was summoned in Zeal. These seemingly arbitrary placements become the key to destroying Lavos once Crono and his friends begin time-travelling.
  • Ninja Prop: You can sneak through a section of the Abandoned Sewers, which is full of monsters, as long as you don't make any noise. This includes touching the save point, as the little chime that sounds will also get their attention.
  • No Bikes in the Apocalypse: Played relatively straight. There are interstates and highways in the future, but nobody left to drive on them; in fact, the Sites are mostly composed of ruined streetlights and rusted-out cars. The party eventually borrows a turbocycle from Johnny, but are required to race him to use it.
  • No-Gear Level: Dalton wisely disarms the party before tossing them into the dungeons of the Blackbird. Scattered throughout the Blackbird are chests containing each hero's weapons, your items, and your cash. You need to find at least one of these equipment chests to participate in combat, unless you brought Ayla, since Ayla's weapons are her bare hands.
  • Non-Combatant Immunity: At one point, the party is captured and stripped of their gear. You are free to sneak around the ship, although getting caught will get the party thrown back in jail. Once you find someone's equipment, though, getting caught by a guard triggers a battle, allowing you to defeat them and go on. This is also true if you have Ayla in your party, because she fights with her fists.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Geno Dome, an endgame dungeon, is not actually a dome. Both the outside and the inside resemble the Factory dungeon from earlier in the game rather than the ruined dome cities of the future.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: A consequence of the game originally coming out before the Internet really took off. By now, most fans know what was intended.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Taban's machine in the accident that crippled his wife suffers from this. He leaves it unattended in the family's entryway, it remains connected to a power source, it automatically activates when sensing something on the belt, and requires a password for the emergency shut-down.
  • No-Sell: The Elemental Aegis gives Lucca complete immunity to elemental magic, which makes even Spekkio's final form a cakewalk.
  • Nobody Can Die: Toyed with, particularly in the scenes where you are chased by guards you cannot battle. Most humans will turn out to be monsters in disguise before you fight them. This becomes somewhat ironic in that major characters can die and many of the nonhuman enemies you are allowed to kill freely are shown to be sentient.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • The "Middle Ages" (600 A.D.) are in the middle of what, exactly? It falls between 12,000 B.C. and 1000 A.D., and, chronologically, is in the final 1% of the entire span of time seen in the game.
    • The Dark Ages. At first, anyways; once Lavos emerges, it becomes much more appropriate. This is averted in the remake, which renames the era "Antiquity".
    • Geno Dome, despite being called a "Dome," like the other towns in the future, is not actually a futuristic city. It looks more like the Factory dungeon, both on the inside and on the world map.
  • Non Standard Game Over:
  • Noob Cave: Manolia Cathedral is where you acquire a third character and face Yakra, the first boss.
  • The Nothing After Death: Marle goes somewhere she describes as cold, dark, and lonely after she is erased from existence. She questions whether that's what death is like.
  • Notice This: Invisible capsules hidden throughout the landscape occasionally glint to announce their presence. Two NPCs are the only hint you get to go to Manolia Cathedral after Lucca meets up with you.
  • Nun Too Holy: Manolia Cathedral. They're not nuns; they're monsters in disguise who have kidnapped the Queen.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: Averted. The notion that there is some moral obligation to "respect the flow of history" is never addressed. Though considering that the main goal is to stop The End of the World as We Know It, there's little need for hand-wringing about morality.
  • Offstage Waiting Room: The people you don't have in your party must wait in the End of Time, a creepy place where time ends, with only each other and Gaspar to keep them company.
  • Older Is Better: 65,000,000 BC stone katanas are better than modern steel or iron one.
  • Ominous Floating Castle:
    • Zeal Palace. The BGM is one of the more ominous tracks used in the game. The palace stands upon the highest peak in the floating rocks that make up Zeal.
    • They don't get more ominous than the Black Omen. Originally an undersea power plant plugged into Lavos' power, it's been warped into a futuristic airship but can't go anywhere, rendering it little more than a flying arcology.
  • One Bad Mother: Mother Brain, a rogue AI who has decided to Kill All Humans in her belief that they are not needed in the world she will create in the wake of Lavos' rain of destruction.
  • One-Time Dungeon:
    • The Prison Towers. Once completed, you cannot backtrack that area, even after completing all of the Guardia quests.
    • The Fiendlord's Keep. once you 'defeat' Magus, the botched reawakening literally swallowed the place by a colossal Time Gate.
    • The Tyranno Lair in 65,000,000 B.C. is destroyed when Lavos crashes into it (although its boss reappears in the Giant's Claw dungeon later on).
    • Mt. Woe in 12,000 B.C. is no longer accessible after the chain anchoring it to the ground breaks and it falls into the sea.
    • The Ocean Palace in 12,000 B.C. is no longer accessible after Lavos awakens, destroying it and the Kingdom of Zeal.
    • The Blackbird as the heroes accidentally shoot it down after recovering the Wings of Time and finding that Dalton not only installed weapons but altered the controls while failing to label the buttons.
    • The whole Antiquity 12,000 BC sequence up until the Black Omen. Once the Ocean Palace is destroyed by Lavos, all of the available locations, including the dungeons are gone due to the world's destruction. Post-Ocean Palace, you are unable to backtrack until you complete the Blackbird, which also falls under this trope. After revisiting Magus at the North Cape (fought or joined), you can try to backtrack, but there is almost nothing to explore outside of the Black Omen since all locations were destroyed..
    • The Sunken Desert gets patched once you let Robo help out Fiona after defeating Melphyx.
    • Once you beat the boss of Geno Dome, Robo shuts the place down permanently, putting an end to its human-processing operations but also effectively killing the robots and computers inside. Including whichever one was responsible for opening the front door.
    • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon is also a possibility, depending on which time period you finish it in. Completing it in the earliest time period (12,000 B.C.) prevents you from finishing it in the other two (600 A.D. and 1,000 A.D.) Going from the most recent time period to the oldest allows you to complete it 3 times total.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Inverted with Lavos, who becomes smaller and less visually intimidating as your progress through his different forms. Queen Zeal manages to pull it off straight.
    • Spekkio starts as a frog, then moves up through various recolors of large and imposing mooks. Once you've reach level 99, his final form is a pink Nu.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: If Frog is in your party during the second battle with Magus, he insists on fighting him alone. If he's with you during the Ocean Palace incident, he's not happy when Magus is almost done in by Lavos. "You cannot die at the hands of some other foe! You're mine to defeat!"
  • Only Shop in Town: Each town has one place to buy and sell things. This even holds true in the Bad Future. There is an exception at the game's start: Melchior is peddling his wares at the fair, and his stuff is a grade or two above everyone else's.
  • Optional Party Member:
    • If you are completing the entire game normally for the first time, you can choose to not have the following party members: Magus, if you choose to fight him the second time; Crono, once he's killed by Lavos, doesn't need to be revived; and Robo, once you let him stay behind in the Middle Ages to reforest the land.
  • Orphaned Etymology: The years are expressed with BC and AD. The epoch of this system is apparently the founding of Guardia, but what the letters stand for in this world is anyone's guess. 600 A.D is also called the "Middle Ages", without any explanation of what it's in the middle of.
  • Our Founder: The ever-changing statue in Medina Square. It starts out as a monument to Magus, then changes to Ozzie, then finally vanishes once Ozzie is taken out of commission.
  • Our Hero Is Dead: Crono dies during the course of the game while fighting Lavos. Of course, this being a game about time travel, it is entirely possible to bring him back. Or not, if you don't feel like it.
  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind: After Crono, Marle, and Lucca jump into the 2300 A.D. portal when Crono escapes from jail, the guards seem to forget about them, as later you can go to Guardia Castle and nobody will attempt arresting Crono. If you talk to the soldiers and other people in the castle after they stop chasing you out, they'll say that the king pardoned Crono after being pleaded to by Pierre, and that only the Chancellor really believes Crono is guilty to begin with. This is before the Chancellor is discovered to be Yakra's descendant, which makes it more clear that the Chancellor just doesn't want you snooping around.
  • Outside-Context Problem:
    • Lavos is an extraterrestrial planetary parasite, making him a literal Giant Space Flea from Nowhere. Lavos' existence is known to various people at various times, but nobody knew its purpose until 1999, when it woke up.
    • The party when they arrive in any time period that they're not native to. Their one big defeat happens because they aren't out of context to the people of Zeal since they can do magic, have Magitek that rivals the tech from Robo's time, and Magus is there to warn them about the heroes before they even arrive.
  • Palette Swap: Almost all the bonus bosses are palette swaps of earlier bosses, plus the various species of Underground Monkey.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Magus disguises himself as a prophet in 12,000 BC by basically putting a hood on his cape. It doesn't even fully cover his hair. Of course, it still works, since no one in the time period knows who he is, and his past self is a child.
  • Party Scattering: This happens after the Fall of Zeal. Crono is dead, Magus is missing, and the three party members who get captured by Dalton are separated from any form of time travel for a while.
  • Paying It Forward: At the beginning of the game, there's a rich Jerkass who gives you 10 gold if you dance like a chicken. His children hate him, his wife is worried about how this affects their family, and there's two treasure chests in his house. Later in the game, you can run across the man's ancestors who ask you if you can spare some food. If you give her some Spiced Jerky for free, she swears that her children will learn to be generous towards strangers. If you return to the present, the man now preaches helping the needy and sharing alike, his children love him... and his wife is worried that his generosity will impoverish them.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Averted in the long run. Although the examples below show loot being unobtainable during a single playthrough, New Game+ allows you to attempt to get these items an unlimited amount of times:
    • If you're going for the upgraded items in the sealed chests, it's a bad idea to loot them right away.
    • Certain items, like the best elemental absorb armors, can only be acquired by charming. If you forgot to charm their holder, you can forget about them for that playthrough.
  • Personality Powers: The amphibious Frog is a Water innate and dark magician Magus is Shadow, and Crono, one of the fastest characters, is aligned with Heaven, Lightning, or Light, depending on version.note 
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Several, based on what stage of the game you're at:
    • You can visit 65,000,000 BC as soon as you access the End of Time, several dungeons before you actually need to go there. In 65,000,000 BC lies the Dactyl's Nest, an area you're not supposed to visit until the second time you arrive at the time period. The enemies there give three times the typical amount of EXP than battles in the next storyline dungeon do, at only a mild increase in difficulty. There's also the Nu in the Hunting Range. It can't kill you, but you can defeat it for a lot of Tech Points. It's somewhat difficult to find, however.
    • The Fiendlord's Keep has a chamber (right-hand path from entryway) before the room where Flea's fought that has three groups that drop 413 experience each (which is decent), but each one also often drops a Mid Ether (restores 30 MP in battle), 720 gold (which is nice), and give 11 TPs for icing on the cake.
    • While taken aboard the Blackbird, you can encounter mooks which, despite posing a minimal threat, still give more EXP than their challenging recolors from the Ocean Palace.
    • The Geno Dome starts with a conveyor belt which has five sets of enemies, which reward a total combined EXP of roughly 10,000, far greater than any other location in the entire game. It also gives a decent amount of TPs. A garbage chute at the end of the belt allows you to travel back to the beginning and reset the enemies, making it the perfect location to grind.
    • In the Black Omen, there is a hall which puts you against three enemies every time you walk through it. If you're strong enough to beat them all before they can escape, you can learn all your Techs easily. It also contains an enemy from whom you can steal Strength Capsules, items that give a permanent +1 bonus to your Strength attribute.
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: The Reptites are killed off because of the fall of Lavos, which is depicted hurtling through outer space before plunging as a fiery rock through the sky. The world isn't Earth, but it's similar enough that this event occurred 65 million years ago like the actual extinction of the dinosaurs. For contrast, the rulers of said dinosaurs were bipedal and sentient. Lavos happened to land on their capital, killing the majority of them, and the resulting Ice Age finished the job.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Leene's dress is loaded with frills and ruffles. Marle also sports one a few times, but she apparently wears her everyday clothes underneath it in case she feels the need to run off. In the Imagine Spot about why Marle vanished before your eyes, this is the standard gear for Guardia's female royals.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Marle whacks things with her crossbow if they're too close to shoot at. Lucca, using a much smaller pistol, uses a hammer instead.
  • Place Beyond Time:
    • The End of Time. So it's said, it's where time travelers who didn't follow the rules are sent.
    • Lavos itself and the Black Omen. Unlike other areas of the game where you can loot a chest in both the future and then the past, the Black Omen will remember when you have defeated portions of it. Lavos' shell will also remain broken, even if you destroy it in 1000 AD and try to fight him again in 600 AD or 12,000 BC. Interestingly, Queen Zeal is not affected: you can fight her up to three times and she will remember it like it is the first.
  • Planar Shockwave: Fire II and some other magic spells feature this as part of their visuals.
  • Planet Eater: Lavos, whose species crashes into worlds like meteors, burrows deep into the core, consumes energy for millennia while leeching genetic code from the strongest native life forms, then sends its offspring into the void with an extinction event.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Crono and Lucca are Like Brother and Sister. At least, according to Lucca. There's still some Ship Tease between them, though.
  • Player Headquarters: The End of Time functions this way once your party goes beyond three people.
  • Player Nudge: Just after getting Frog and going to storm the Fiendlord's Keep, Frog will ask if you're using magic, even if you didn't use it in battle, with the game throwing down a none-too-subtle hint that you should bring Frog to Spekkio to have Frog learn his own magic. Since the dungeon ahead requires exploiting elemental weaknesses, and Frog is a required member of your party until you clear it, you're going to need him to know those spells.
  • Please Spare Him, My Liege!: Schala begs for the lives of the protagonists when the Prophet tries to kill them. Even the cat meows as if to ask the same. There's a reason this works.
  • Plot Coupon: A special note has to be made for the eponymous Chrono Trigger, which does absolutely nothing besides advance the plot. Other notables include Marle's Pendant, the Hero's Badge, and the Masamune. Naturally, you don't get to keep any of them in a New Game+.
  • Plot Hole:
    • Marle's disappearance in 600 AD is the sole occasion that a wholesale reality rewrite happens in front of the protagonists before the triggering event even occurs. In every other occasion, anyone who's traveled through time remembers both the world before and after, and the changes don't appear until the trigger has occurred and the new future is visited.
    • Characters will reference seeing a door at the Keeper's Dome in 2300 AD. Visiting this area during the time you were in that era is not only completely optional, but no one even suggests that you should go there at any time. If anything, you're told at the time to avoid Death Peak, which is near said dome.
    • In New Game+, the characters will make their usual statements upon fighting Lavos... even if it's early enough that they shouldn't know what it is yet.
  • Plotline Death: Crono dies fighting Lavos. You don't even have to get him back. If you don't, though, the first thing Marle and Lucca do after taking care of Lavos and sending the other three or four characters to their home times is hop into the Epoch and head to "get Crono back".
  • Polluted Wasteland: 2300 AD is this after Lavos destroyed nearly all life on the planet in 1999 AD.
  • Port Town: A ferry operates between Truce and Porre. Once history is changed and relations with Medina thaw over, it's revealed that Medina is in the process of adding a ferry as well.
  • Portal Network: The Gates and Pillars of Light linking the time periods via the End of Time.
  • Post-End Game Content:
    • New Game+ is a huge one. It allows you to fight Lavos any time that you want, and seeing many of the Multiple Endings is only possible on this mode.
    • The remake has the Dimensional Vortexes, bonus dungeons where you can get the best endgame equipment and fight the toughest enemies.
  • Power Floats:
    • Most of the characters hover while casting magic.
    • Magus does it all the time during his run animation.
  • The Power of the Sun: The Sun Stone, which was used as Zeal's superadvanced power source until it ran dry and they turned to Lavos' power instead. The party can repower the Stone and use it to make Lucca's Wondershot and the stat-multiplying Sunglasses. It can also be combined with the Rainbow Shell to produce the Prism Spectacles and Crono's Rainbow.
  • Power Stereotype Flip: Lucca and Marle — the impetuous ("hot-headed") princess is a Water/Ice innate where logical, scientific-minded Lucca sets things on fire.
  • Precap: One of these plays if you leave the game on the title screen long enough.
  • Pre-existing Encounters: The Trope Codifier for JRPGs. All the encounters are pre-scripted and appear at the same point and with the same enemies every playthrough, and many are also avoidable and allow you to see their contents beforehand. On the other hand, quite a few battles are unavoidable ambushes set at fixed points, which respawn every time you change "screens". Some rare enemies only appear at random, although it's still your choice to fight them or not.
  • Princess Classic: Schala, to an extent, as well as Queen Zeal before her Start of Darkness.
  • Prison Episode: Two of them.
    • One occurs after a Kangaroo Court trial, where Crono can perform a Prison Break and escape.
    • You're thrown into the Blackbird after clearing the Ocean Palace. It's a No-Gear Level at first, and you need to recover your equipment before you're allowed to fight the enemies.
  • Prophetic Names:
    • Crono, for a hero who saves the world via Time Travel.
    • The Kingdom of Zeal, full of zealots secure in magical ability and worshipping an Eldritch Abomination.
    • The Mammon Machine, which provides the kingdom with the magic which makes it prosperous, at the cost of enslaving them to an evil entity.
    • Janus, who is a deceitful, untrustworthy boy. That also turns out to be the past self of one of your early antagonists.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: In the Reunion ending. It's done to revive Crono.
  • Puzzle Boss:
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Ozzie, Slash, and Flea. They're different from others in that they're fairly competent, but still pushovers compared to the hero group.

    R-Z 
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The Sun Palace and Sealed Pyramid, both relics of Zeal Kingdom, slowly unearth themselves as the continents drift.
  • Ramming Always Works: Sorta. Ramming Lavos with the Epoch only skips a replay of several earlier boss battles; the core is still alive. The Reunion and Beyond Time endings change to reflect whether you did this or not.
  • Randomized Damage Attack:
    • Lucca has the Wondershot that deals random damage. It can deal either very high damage or very low damage. How much it does is based on play time.
    • The enemy Nu only has two attacks. This attack either brings a character down to 1 HP, or does 1 damage.
    • Lucca and Robo have weapons whose damage is based on the last digit of their MP/HP, respectively.
  • Reactor Boss: The Mammon Machine in the Black Omen.
  • Recurring Location: Crono visits the future site of Leene Square at the beginning of the game. In The Legendary Hero ending, Robo is seen walking around a futuristic Leene Square; he and Atropos reenact Crono and Marle's Crash-Into Hello.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Reversed. Marle uses ice magic but is extroverted and passionate; Lucca uses fire but is more cerebral and scientific.
    • The are the Red Beast and Blue Beast in a certain boss fight. You can probably guess which elements of magic they each are immune vs. weak to.
    • In the remake, there are two bosses literally called Red Demon and Blue Demon who can revive each other. The only way to kill them is to beat them at the same time.
  • Redemption Demotion: Magus isn't quite as hardcore when he joins your party as he was in his castle, though he's still quite probably the strongest character in the game. He had, of course, had some of his power drained off by Lavos.
  • Reduced MP Cost: The Silver Stud cuts MP costs by half, while the Golden Stud reduces it to 25%. It is one of the best accessories to have.
  • Redundant Rescue: Depending on how you play it, Lucca showing up to bust Crono out of prison is either a Big Damn Heroes moment or this.
  • Redundant Researcher: Toma makes himself redundant due to the heroes' temporal shenanigans. He's looking for the Rainbow Shell, as are the party, and he's the one who actually finds out where it's located. However, he dies before he can retrieve it. When the party pours a bottle of spirit on his tombstone in 1000 AD, his ghost tells them where the Shell is, and they are the ones who retrieve it, thanks to his information.
  • Reforged Blade: The Masamune, once you get its blade, its hilt, some Dreamstone, and take them to Melchior.
  • Remixed Level:
    • When you last leave the Tyranno Lair, it's reduced to a smoldering crater that is visible from space. Lavos' impact buries the castle underground, where it eventually becomes accessible again in 600 AD. It's actually more of a merging of the trap-filled caves of the Reptite Lair and the prison/throne room associated with Azala; the outdoor areas of Tyranno Lair were obliterated.
    • The Ocean Palace is seemingly nuked by Lavos, but is quickly transmogrified into the Black Omen.
  • The Remnant:
    • After the survivors of Zeal huddle together at the Last Village, Dalton arrives on the scene with several minions to declare himself the de facto King. Defeating him and blowing up the Blackbird results in the destruction of the last of Zeal's forces.
    • Sometime after Magus' defeat, Ozzie, Flea, and Slash flee to their own castle, and Ozzie renames himself Ozzie the Great. After Ozzie's death, the fiends no longer hate the humans and both co-exist peacefully in the Present.
  • Required Party Member: Generally, whenever someone joins you, you usually have to take that person to the next dungeon. For example, when Robo joins you(the first time you have more than three party members at once), he and Crono are required for the Factory, and you can choose between Marle and Lucca for your third member.
  • Resistant to Magic:
    • The Barrier status reduces magic damage by a third. The three girls in the party can find a dress that automatically gives them this status.
    • Different defensive gear reduces elemental damage taken by various amounts, with the Elemental Aegis nullifying all elemental damage (but can only be equipped by Lucca).
  • Ret-Gone:
    • Briefly happens to Marle by way of the Grandfather Paradox in the first part of the game: She happened to land at the point where her ancestor Queen Leene had been kidnapped. Because Marle looks so much like her ancestor, everyone mistook her for their queen and called the search off, leading to Marle being erased out of existence shortly after her reunion with Crono. Fortunately, the queen had not been killed yet, so Crono, Lucca and Frog managed to save her and return Marle to existence.
    • In the ending, Lucca fears this will happen to Robo because they stopped the Day of Lavos and thus changed the future. It doesn't; he's still just fine, and even overlooks a now much-better future with Atropos.
  • Retro Upgrade: Robo, a robot from year 2300, can be equipped with stone arms you find in prehistory and they're the best weapons you can find (at the time).
  • Robo Family: Robo and his fellow R-series robots are never actually called "brothers",note  but they do share a bond — or at least they used to.
  • Robot Names: Robo is also known as R66-Y. Then it's revealed that he was Prometheus, which is not on the list of standard robot names.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Battling the Black Tyranno on top of the Tyranno Lair, and later an outer space duel with Queen Zeal.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: Spekkio, who becomes more powerful when the lead party member's level reaches a level divisible by 10. Needless to say, you'll have a far better chance of beating him at levels 19, 29, 39, etc. than at 10/20/30.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: The Sites in 2300 A.D. along with bits of random destroyed buildings in the overworld. In contrast to the futuristic domes, these places look exactly like what a modern day city would look like.
  • Run, Don't Walk: Don't try running on the second Death Peak obstacle, though.
  • San Dimas Time: Your adventures in the past seem to have a checkpoint system — you can go back to 65,000,000 BC/12000 BC/600 AD, yes, but you won't have to do anything more than once. Also, there are a few instances where one can tell that time took place while you weren't in a specific time period; for instance, the Broken Bridge in 600 AD gets fixed "while" you're having adventures in 1000 AD and 2300 AD.
  • Sand Is Water: The desert wasteland just beyond Fiona's villa will suck you in like it's deep water.
  • Save Point: Save points are marked by a group of four star-like lights together. In Magus' castle, a pit trap takes you to a large room with four such Save Points- one is an actual save point, two lead to encounters against enemies that look like save points and the last teleports you out of the room.
  • Save the Villain: Ayla tries to do this to her mortal enemy, Azala, but Azala refuses.
  • "Save the World" Climax: Crono wants nothing more than to go to the Millennial Fair, but ends up roped into a time traveling quest to save his planet from annihilation at the hands of an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Saving the World: From Lavos. In this case, the world is actually rather small, but visiting it in multiple different timelines gives the feeling of having a lot to explore.
  • Scavenger World: The future, though most of its inhabitants have given up hope and are simply sitting around, waiting to die.
  • Scenery Gorn: The Future of 2300 AD has rendered nearly all plant life dead, with what little remains of humanity holed up in the ruins of the domes of 1999.
  • Schizo Tech:
    • 1000 A.D. is the "modern world," with a mix of medieval and modern architecture: castle, modern military uniforms, refrigerators, and swords and guns together. On the outer edges of science and magic, there's even a robot and human cloning.
    • The "Successor of Guardia" ending reveals that apparently, color film was already invented by 600 AD as that ending shows it being used to film Frog's wedding with Queen Leene. Additionally, the color film in 600 AD was able to survive 400 years without much wear and tear.
    • There are guns found throughout time. There's even a "Ruby Gun" in 65,000,000 BC. There are also robot arms in this time period.
    • From one walkthrough:
    [600 AD, Tata and the Frog]: "Grab the Mirage hand. It's a nice weapon for Robo. Ponder why they've got robot parts laying about in the middle ages while you equip it on him."
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • At the beginning of the game, Lucca tells you to step on the left Telepod. Oh, but look! There's a twinkle on the right one, surely it won't hurt to collect a hidden item before getting the plot underway, right? Right?
    • In Ozzie's Fort, the final room has a treasure chest (containing a Full Ether) out in the open. Only problem is, it's guarded by an axe machine operated by Ozzie. The axe won't outright kill you, but it'll render your whole party's HP to 1. You can choose to do one of the following: A) Fall for the bait, get the Full Ether and just heal the damage off, or B) Head to the end of the room, have Ozzie tempt you even more and have a random Imp fall into said trap, causing Ozzie to run away, leaving the chest unguarded.
    • In the Sewers, one passage will feature enemies that will attack if the player makes any noise whatsoever. Not only will interacting with the cat cause enough noise to draw in the monsters, but so will using the Save Point at the end of the passage, since save points chime when used.
    • While it accomplishes literally nothing story- or game-wise, talking to King Guardia XXXIII, and later giving him Spiced Jerky, after the Chancellor implies he may have killed his wife, drives a wedge between him and Marle, the Spiced Jerky being bad for his health. It's so meaningless and optional that you can even miss it and it won't matter in the long run.
  • Science Fantasy: You start in the fantasy realm as a Magic Knight rescuing a princess, but end up with a time machine and Robot Buddy saving the world from an Eldritch Abomination from space.
  • Scratch Damage:
    • Averted; if you have high enough levels and high-end equipment, weaker enemies will routinely deal zero damage.
    • Some enemies have such high defense that you deal this to them. Fortunately, there are some weapons that ignore armor, and some enemies have weaknesses that, when exploited, will lower their defenses.
  • Screw Destiny: This is practically the first thing out of Marle's mouth upon seeing the Day of Lavos recording.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Dalton attempts to summon the Golem Overlord, and gets sucked into a time portal.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • You can head straight to the Prehistoric era right after getting to the End of Time a good while before you are actually supposed to go there and thus grind for significantly greater rewards than you would get if you followed the storyline, which makes the next several sections a complete cakewalk. There's even an area in the Prehistoric age itself that you aren't supposed to go to until after the next section that makes even the first intended visit pretty easy.
    • You can go to Medina Village where the shops sell advanced weapons and armor for over 65,000G a piece. You don't get these normally until you reach Algetty, but you can get them if you bother to grind for money.
    • It is possible to do one of the Fated Hour quests early. You can do the sidequest to revive Fiona's Forest in 600 AD the moment you reach the Kingdom of Zeal and tell a particular person to keep a plant. It's more challenging to do the sidequest, but it lends itself to getting some of the best helmets.
  • Sequential Boss:
    • Lavos. Depending on how you approach things, a Boss Rush may also be involved.
    • Queen Zeal's boss fight is followed by the Mammon Machine, and then Zeal in her One-Winged Angel form. Not only that, but beating her immediately triggers the battle with Lavos, fusing two sequential bosses together.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • Crono sets to prevent the assassination of Queen Leene before Marle's wiped from existence.
    • In the middle ages, the great forest in South Zenan was destroyed by Magus' army. Fiona pledged to carry on during her husband Marco's absence in the war and regrow the forest by hand; however, she died before she could complete her mission and the wasteland continued to grow. If Fiona's ancestor was convinced to keep a plant in 12,000 BC, the true cause of the desertification is revealed. After killing the fiend who was causing the Sunken Desert to form, Robo offers to stay behind in the past and tend to the fields, pointing out that the party can easily pop back to the present and pick him up. In the new present, the forest has overtaken the desert completely, and a shrine stands in tribute to Fiona and Robo's sacrifice. As promised, the rusty robot is waiting to be reactivated on an altar.
    • Lucca was indirectly responsible for her mother, Lara's, paralysis as she could not figure out how to shut off her father's machine in time. To atone for her failure, Lucca became a mechanics expert; Lara remained bitter over the incident and her daughter and husband's obsession with "silly machines." Lucca can give her younger self a boost by entering the passcode to stop the treadmill, saving her mother and allowing her to walk, while young Lucca decides to study machines to prevent further accidents. In the Moonlight Festival epilogue, Lara invites Taban to dance.
    • Although the humans eventually drove back Magus' horde, relations between the two clans remain frosty, and a growing number of fiends are still worshiping the memory of their dear leader. After the party takes Magus out, Ozzie becomes the new leader; killing him removes all lingering influence over Medina. Fiends are no longer hostile to humans and the store prices have dropped to sane levels at last.
    • Lavos' final defeat saves the future and averts the robot apocalypse. This is confirmed in The Legendary Hero ending with Robo and Atropos sitting in a futuristic Leene Square.
  • Shoot the Medic First:
    • A helpful strategy to take down many of the bosses, many of whom have small "healing units" that need to be taken out before taking out the big boss.
    • Averted with Mother Brain. While the displays that keep healing her for 1000 HP a pop are a huge nuisance, destroying all three of them will let her pretty much screw your whole party in two turns.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ayla, the cavewoman, is named after the heroine from The Clan of the Cave Bear, who is also a cavewoman.
    • In the English translation, Magus' henchmen, the Quirky Miniboss Squad consisting of Ozzie, Flea, and Slash, reference the rockers John "Ozzy" Osbourne, most famously of Black Sabbath, Michael "Flea" Balzary, most famously of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Saul "Slash" Hudson of Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver. The NPC who tells you about them goes so far as to say that "they're tone-deaf, evil fiends!"
    • Since Akira Toriyama did the character designs, Crono looks like Goku,note  Marle wears one of Bulma's early outfits, Ayla looks like Bad Launch, and Lucca looks like Arale from Doctor Slump.
    • Listen to the music played during the trial scenes. Then, listen to "The Trial" by Pink Floyd.
    • Robo's theme sounds a lot like a certain song re-popularized on the internet.note 
    • Lavos' second form is likely a shout out to the Guyver series or the Super Sentai series. Not only does he look a lot like a Guyver, his chest blaster attack also requires him to literally open his chest to shoot the beam, much like mega smasher from the Guyver series, and it also happens to be his strongest attack. His second form also bears a striking resemblance to Imperfect Cell.
    • A minigame at the Millennial Fair can spawn the NPCs Biggs, Wedge and Piett.
    • If you are playing the SNES version of the Rainbow Shell sidequest, when Marle and the others head down to the Guardia Castle basement, the snakes are named Dumb and Dumber.
    • The names of the three gurus, Belthasar, Gaspar and Melchior share their names with the biblical wisemen who went to see the Christ child in the new testament. Melchior's name in particular is subtle foreshadowing that the humble swordmaker is far more than he appears.
    • The Knights of the Square Table are simultaneously a nod to Arthurian legend and to the game's development company.
    • Tata, the would-be Kid Hero in the middle ages, looks like a hero from in a Dragon Quest game, another franchise Toriyama did art designs for. His role derives from the Erdrick trilogy with the Hero's Badge mimicking the Erdrick Seal, and his "quest" to defeat Magus parallels with the Edrick's quest to slay Baramos (and later Zoma). His idle sprite even walks perpetually in place like the sprites from the earlier Dragon Quest games did, when no other sprite in-game does this.
    • Robo is almost certainly based on Tik-Tok from Return to Oz.
    • Two rooms in the Fiendlord's Keep are obvious references to Donkey Kong, with a side view (instead of the top-down view used in the rest of the game) of platforms which Roly enemies roll down, and broken ladders you can use to avoid them.
    • The name of the save point after fighting Magus is named, "Forward to the Past".
    • Mother Brain is an optional boss in the Future.
    • The monster musician in Porre 1000 AD claims to be the piano man.
    • In the "Memory Lane" ending, Lucca remarks "Theeeeeeeeere's Johnny!" upon seeing the racer cyborg from 2300 AD.
    • After the Reptites are defeated, one of the Ioka villagers' reactions includes the phrase, "Happy happy joy joy."
  • Sidequest:
    • Most notably, the one to resurrect the main character Crono from his death at the hands of Lavos is entirely optional.
    • Most of the game post-Zeal, even the Black Omen, can be considered a sidequest, since you can face the final boss very early in the game. That said, the sidequests are helpful for leveling your characters and getting their best weapons so you stand a chance of beating said boss on your first playthrough. And at the very least, none of them feel particularly pointless.
    • The remake introduced the Lost Sanctum, two villages and two mountains full of Fetch Quests: Find an item, take it to the guy on top of the mountain, walk back down the mountain to the village. Now climb the mountain again to talk to the guy again to figure out what you need to fetch for him next. Get the item, climb to the top of the mountain, be told it's the wrong item, climb down the mountain. You spend as much time traveling through the same four or five screens as you do on the rest of the game's sidequests combined. At least the rewards are usually worth it.
  • SI Prefix Name: The Black Omen has a series of bosses named the Mega Mutant, Giga Mutant, and Tera Mutant. They behave very similarly and look identical, but each one is stronger than the last.
  • Situational Damage Attack:
    • Lucca has the Spellslinger which does damage based on the last digit of her MP.
    • Robo's Crisis Arm's damage depends on the last digit of his HP.
    • Frog's Frog Squash technique and Ayla's Dino Tail both do damage inversely based on their overall HPs, making them effective Desperation Attacks.
  • Skippable Boss:
    • After the Fall of Zeal, the battle against Magus on North Cape can be skipped. When the boss asks if you want to fight, replying "No" will have the party leader remark that it won't solve anything right now.
    • The Boss Rush that begins the Final Boss battle against Lavos can be skipped by crashing into its outer shell with the Epoch. However, doing this destroys the Epoch and prevents you from going back, making it a Point of No Return.
  • Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Humanity in the future is completely reliant on technology taking care of their needs because most life is dead. Robo is the most self-sufficient character in the party, capable of attacking with nearly every element but water and healing both single targets and party wide.
    • Magus is the Token Evil Teammate and even him joining at all is at the player's discretion. So he has no double techs while his triple techs require an accessory which only does just that at a point when accessories are vital to a character's effectiveness. His teamwork is completely in the player's hands.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Heavily idealistic. Chrono Cross's Darker and Edgier tone is one of the reasons it's polarizing.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Death Peak looks like Christmas Town, especially once you use the Chrono Trigger. There is one path in particular which will give you a hard time.note 
  • The Slow Path:
    • Robo makes use of it in order to restore the forests back in the Middle Ages. He stays behind with Fiona to labor at reconstruction, as the rest of the party simply hops in the Epoch and zooms forward to 1000 AD when Robo's work is complete and their friend is enshrined as a hero. He's in a somewhat dilapidated state, but not beyond Lucca's ability to repair him. He also uses his 400 year sojourn to try and reason out the puzzle of the Gates and their relation to Lavos, speculating the existence of The Entity being the party responsible for their existence rather than Lavos itself.
    • The Nu in the Lost Sanctum trains for 65,000,600 years after you beat him.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!: In the SNES version, Azala says "Damnable red star... Fall, why don't you?!" when talking to the red star in the sky that begins gradually approaching during the boss fight with her.
  • Smug Snake: Dalton is one as he's shown to be arrogant., yet nowhere near as powerful as he thinks he is. He uses Look Behind You and hiding behind his golems in order to win his fights; when fighting Dalton himself, he's far from challenging.
  • Snow Means Death: Snow or ashes are swirling around the world map of 2300 AD, but Death Peak is the only section in which snow is visible. It works on a thematic level, too: The party is journeying into limbo (or death itself) to retrieve Crono by using the Chrono Trigger to save him from his fate of being obliterated by Lavos.
  • Snowball Lie: Tata uncovered the Hero's Badge and began wearing it around town. All of a sudden, everyone's hailing him as the hero who will win the war against Magus and shoving him in front of the sick King, who implores him to go find the Holy Sword of legend. Not helping matters is his father, who soaks up all the credit for "raising a hero". Tata finally gives him an earful once the truth is out.
  • The So-Called Coward: Frog was supposedly a coward back in his human days, yet he's one hell of a warrior. This is made clearer in the remake, when he tells Cyrus he doesn't fight back against his childhood tormentors because he's reluctant to hurt them.
  • Sociopathic Hero:The only thing Magus seems to value is his sister Schala, and he is willing to work with, exploit, manipulate, or destroy anything if it means his affection's benefit.
  • Soft Glass: Marle jumps through a stained-glass window when she makes her entrance into the courtroom. And yet, she's perfectly fine.
  • Soiled City on a Hill: Zeal Kingdom, the poster child for imperial hubris, collapses into the sea after Crono cuts off power to the Ocean Palace.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Some characters will leave the party and take their equipment with them. You'll get them back when they rejoin the party.
  • So Near, Yet So Far: You can defeat Lavos at any time after you visit the End of Time. However, until you get through the plot proper, expect to get curbstomped. In a New Game+, this is taken Up to Eleven: you can fight Lavos from the very start, and defeating him at different points in the story gives you the various Multiple Endings.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The music that plays at the end of the trial is the same whether you are sentenced to death or simply three days in jail. In the first case, the music fits, but in the second case it just comes off as overdramatic since the Chancellor doesn't falsely have the sentence changed to death until after the music starts.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • In the original English translation, the Tent of Horrors' first minigame's first knight was mistakenly localized as "Vicks" instead of "Biggs", making the intended Star Wars reference more vague. Additionally, the French translation named Piett as "Piette".
  • Songs in the Key of Lock: Yakra's hideout is hidden behind the pipe organ. The hideout also contains another pipe organ which you have to use to make another door appear at the back of the dungeon.
  • Space Zone: Played with during the Queen Zeal fight. The battle arena is quite clearly floating over the earth, which doesn't effect the party's temperature or ability to breathe.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the once-Japanese-only RPG Live A Live, also developed by Squaresoft. That game only got an English release in 2022 as a remake, which means a lot of the spiritual elements were lost on American audiences at the time of Chrono Trigger's initial release.
  • Standard Japanese Fantasy Setting: Zigzagged. Because the game revolves around Time Travel, it creates a hodge-podge of many different tropes, from both Fantasy and Science Fiction. The three main protagonists are a Master Swordsman with Divine Magic, a Rebellious Princess with both archery (and a rare crossbow at that) with healing and Ice Magic, and a Gadgeteer Genius Gunner with Fire Magic. They are joined by a Magic Knight cursed with the body of a Frog, a robot from the future with a variety of weapons, a female cavewoman that fights with her bare hands, and a literal Maou that once led the demihumans to war against humans. The time periods they travel to vary from a post-Industrial early modern society, a medieval kingdom, an ancient magic society of Precursors, a prehistoric society, and a ruined future. The only thing the story lacks are actual "gods"; it's postulated at one point that some unknown "Entity" is manipulating events (speculated in the sequel to be the spirit of the planet itself), but they also speculate that is dead or dying. The only other worshipped entity, Lavos, is explicitly an alien parasite.
  • Standard Post-Apocalyptic Setting: The Future era is a wasteland of ravaged cities and highways under a permanent cloud cover and populated by aggressive robots, hideous mutants, giant bugs, and talking rats. Humans survive in the ruins of domes thanks to machines that keep them healthy (and the party can use them to fully heal for free) but don't prevent them from being hungry. In this case, the apocalypse wasn't caused by the robots or the AI known as Mother Brain (who operates a factory rendering humans down to their component parts) but by Lavos awakening, and visiting the era is what prompts the cast to prevent the Bad Future by defeating Lavos.
  • Status Buff:
    • Power, magic, and speed stats can be permanently increased with capsules that can be found or stolen.
    • Lucca's Protect, Marle's Haste, and Magus's Barrier spells, which provide a temporary boost to physical defense, speed, and magic defense, respectively.
  • Status-Buff Dispel: One of Lavos's attacks is "Curse", which removes a character's protection from status ailments.
  • Status Effects:
    • Standard ones like poison, anti-magic, confusion, and slowing down turns. But there's also "Lock-All", which prevents your characters from doing anything but attacking. However, only Metal Slimes of the game can use Lock-All.
    • Many of the high-end gear have a blanket anti-status effect. The Final Boss has a move that removes the immunity.
  • Start X to Stop X: Lavos' presence is what brings magic into existence on the game's world, but when Spekkio gives the party the ability to use magic, for those who are capable of learning it, that is, they put it to good use against Lavos. In fact, Magus' attempt to summon Lavos was specifically so that he could destroy it.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: The Blackbird becomes this until you get at least one character re-equipped; being caught without a means to fight back sends you back to your cell. Having Ayla in the party, however, subverts this entirely, as she can always fight.
  • Stolen Good, Returned Better: Dalton steals the Epoch. But when the heroes steal it back, it can fly.
  • Storming the Castle: The party does this at the Fiendlord's Keep, Tyranno Lair, and Black Omen.
  • Stuck Items: Every slot is filled and can never be fully unequipped, except on the Blackbird where it's (temporarily) done for you during the No-Gear Level part of the dungeon.
  • Suddenly Voiced: In the Memory Lane ending, Marle and Lucca rate several of the game's male characters based on who they think are studs and duds. When it comes time to rate Crono, he crashes the proceedings and has a few lines of dialogue that the player can see.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Bamboo Technology: The technology of 65,000,000 is in many cases more advanced than that of 2300. Elixir (called "Sweet Water" in this time) can be had for the asking, they can make powerful robot arms out of stone and awe-inspiring guns and armor from rubies, and Dreamstone is common enough to win in a drinking contest. And none of this is magical, since magic doesn't exist yet. The net result is a sort of Garden of Eden, where Stone Age crafts have the power of futuristic technology and Magitek.
  • Super Empowering: Spekkio can unlock the latent magical abilities of the descendents of Zeal. He can't do anything for Robo (who isn't a biological descendent of Zeal), Ayla (who was born millions of years before Zeal), and Magus (whose magical powers are far from "latent").
  • Super Window Jump: A particularly well-known example, when Marle jumps through the stained-glass window of the Guardia Castle courtroom during her father's trial.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: The save room in Guardia Prison is accompanied by an "owner's manual" detailing the weapons and weaknesses of a "Dragon Tank". Also, inspecting the Supervisor's unconscious body nearby yields five Mid-Potions.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Masamune, hailed in-universe as the only weapon that can defeat the Fiendlord. Using it on Magus causes his Magic Defense to drop.
  • Take It to the Bridge:
    • Zenan Bridge, once it's fixed, hits all of the symbolic marks: the bridge is a bottleneck through which Ozzie's troops attempt to invade Guardia; a flashback between Cyrus and Glenn takes place on the bridge, as Cyrus announces he's going to become a knight; lastly, King Guardian XXI leads a procession across the water during the game's ending.
    • The Dragon Tank is fought on the connecting bridge between Guardia Castle and the prison tower. When the tank explodes, the Chancellor rushes in to make repairs, but ends up on hanging for dear life when the bridge collapses.
      Chancellor: Don't fool yourselves into thinking you've gotten away with this!!
  • Take Your Time: An interesting variation on this due to the time traveling nature of the plot. You can travel to several time periods both distantly before and distantly after Lavos's apocalypse, you can attack Lavos at nearly any point in the game after getting the Epoch, and one of the Gurus explicitly tells you to take as much time as you need to prepare for your confrontation with it. For once, time is not of the essence — but you only get one chance, so you'd better make it count.
  • Talking Animal: The rat in the Arris Dome talks, for no reason.
  • Teaser Equipment:
    • At the very beginning of the game, Melchior is visiting the Millennial Fair and has a Silver Sword for sale. Unless you farm money for a long time, you won't be able to afford it until you've progressed through at least one more dungeon.
    • The first time you arrive at Medina Village, the shopkeepers sell weapons three tiers above what you'll currently be using, for 10 times the gold you'd expect. This is because the fiends of the village hate humans after losing a war 400 years ago. After you've changed history to make fiends no longer hate humans, the prices become more reasonable, but by then, the gear is outclassed.
  • Technicolor Blade: Each of the Infinity Minus One Swords are golden. Crono's Rainbow is forged from the Rainbow Shell.
  • Techno Wreckage: The various Domes in the future. All of the factories are still humming along, probably because of Mother Brain and cohorts maintaining them.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Lucca's invention that sets the whole plot into motion, plus a few magic-based teleporters in Zeal.
  • Temporal Duplication: It's possible to leave Robo in the Middle Ages to tend to a forest and get him back in the present (that is, 400 years later). Going back to the Middle Ages results in seeing Robo tending to the forest but not interacting with you (even if your bring his future self to his past self).
  • Temporal Paradox: One briefly causes Marle to disappear early in the game. And, according to Chrono Cross, the heroes create one when they defeat Lavos. Outside of the storyline, abusing the past/future mechanics to do the same event multiple times (take an item, beat the Omen) is also a paradox, since the first instance is now no longer possible in linear time.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Atropos, who is pink and has a ribbon that she bequeaths to Robo upon death, which increases his stats.
  • "Test Your Strength" Game: There's one at the Millennial Fair. Because it's a video game, it's actually a test of the player's timing- Crono moves back and forth, and the player has to hit the button when he's at the farthest point from the game.
  • Title Drop: When Gaspar gives you the Chrono Trigger, a creation made of pure potential in the form of an egg that Gaspar says may or may not bring Crono back to life.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: If Ayla is with you during the Rainbow Shell sidequest, after her speech about growing up and having children, she will grope Marle and comment about her not being "big enough" for that yet. Then again, Ayla was comparing Marle's bust to her own, so the bar is set pretty high.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: It's a pretty consistent bet that whenever someone's theme plays, they're about to have a moment of awesome. Except when Lucca's theme plays, which means that everyone is about to have one.
  • Theme Naming: Ozzie, Slash, and Flea are named after rock stars in the English localization. In the Japanese version, they're named after condiments.
  • Third-Person Flashback: During the trial, all the flashbacks of what you did are in third-person because they were actually coming from somebody else's descriptions.
  • Tick Tock Tune: "A Premonition", the title tune, contains the sound of a ticking clock to the beat for the first few measures of the song.
  • Time Abyss:
    • Lavos and its innocuous counterpart, the Nu:
      This creature sleeps beyond the flow of time.
    • The Black Tyranno is first fought in 65,000,000 B.C., then in 600 A.D. as the Rust Tyranno.
  • Time Stands Still: An item received very late in the game has this effect, but It Only Works Once.
  • Time-Travellers Are Spies: Due to Crono's outlandish clothes, the castle guards think he's a spy for the Fiendlord. And everyone thinks he's a provincial bumpkin due to not knowing when or where he is:
    Where are you, you say? Even a half-wit should know this land for Guardia!
    [...] Then might you show the good grace to stop wandering about pestering folk with moronic questions?
    You don't know the great Sir Cyrus? From what depraved village do you hail?
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Explored here. In essence, the article concludes that there are several points in the game where the established laws of time travel in the game's universe have to be bent or broken for events to proceed as they do. One significant instance occurs early in the story, where Marle accidentally erases herself from existence just by showing up in the past. After Lucca and Crono set things right again, the entire concept of time travel being that precarious is completely jettisoned for the rest of the game.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Frog is a Failure Knight when you first meet him, and is even said to have been Drowning His Sorrows. He gets much, much better; not that he wasn't badass before, but he's able to split a mountain in half and take on alien Eldritch Abomination creatures near game's end.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: Following a lead from Gaspar, the party has the option of journey to the top of Death Peak with the Chrono Trigger. At first, the egg shatters and does nothing. After a minute or two, the sun is eclipsed, and when the darkness evaporates, you're back in the Ocean Palace facing Lavos, now frozen in time.
  • Tragic Bromance: Frog and Cyrus were very close friends before Magus killing the latter. As result, Frog started to change his personality since he blamed himself for Cyrus' death.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Zeal appears in the game's opening sequence, although it's still a surprise when your party winds up in the ice age.
  • Training Boss: Spekkio, whom you can battle over and over after you meet him. However, you won't get anything for it after the first victory against each of his forms other tha Silver Points for the fair.
  • Training Dummy: Lucca's singing combat training robot Gato, who can be fought any time at the Millennial Fair for 15 Silver Points and a few EXP. He can only attack with a spring-loaded first from his navel, and is always unharmed at the end of it; even if you use Magus's Black Hole move, he'll reappear after the Battle. That said, Gato is there to teach you about how enemies can move around during a fight, and that enemies will counterattack some of the time.
  • Trauma Inn: All the inns are capable of completely healing the party.
  • Treacherous Checkpoint:
    • The Abandoned Sewers is full of subterranean monsters who will attack the party if they make any sound. After avoiding various noise-making hazards, Crono and friends may gladly walk into a Save Point, which makes a characteristic "ding". It cause the monsters to "hear" it and rush out to attack. Once the monsters are defeated, however, it works as well as any other save point.
    • In Fiendlord's Keep, falling through a trap door in one room will land you in a large cavern with four apparent save points, one in each of the four cardinal directions. One is a save point, a second is actually a teleporter that will take you to the room you fell from, and the other two trigger battles with multiple fake save points. These switch around every time you fall into the room.Hint 
  • Trick Boss:
    • Flea's henchmonster, who exists only to cast MP Buster on you before the real one shows up.
    • The Golem Overlord counts, but not the other Golem-type bosses. The Golem Boss is too afraid of heights to attack you on the Blackbird, and it's impossible to lose.
  • Tricked Out Time: This is done in order to bring Crono back from the dead with the use of his Doppel Doll and the Chrono Trigger.
  • Triumphant Reprise: A strange example in that the song itself isn't any different, just use differently. When you first travel to Antiquity, the ice-covered ground is without a BGM, while the floating kingdom of Zeal has a beautiful and mystical theme, symbolizing the divide between the people who live above and below. Much later, after Zeal is destroyed and the once-Enlightened Ones forced to live on the surface with the Earthbound ones, the theme is played almost continuously, symbolizing the newfound unity between the two peoples.
  • Turns Red: Some bosses use stronger counters when low on HP. Crono's shade uses Rend, which doubles the damage it deals, while the Dream Devourer goes from removing all the attacker's MP to confusing and damaging everyone.
  • Uncommon Time: "Sealed Door" starts in 5/4 and then goes to 6/8; "Battle with Magus" has segments that alternate between 5/8 and 7/8.
  • Underground Level: The Reptite Lair and the Giant's Claw. The latter turns out to be leading to the ruins of the Tyranno Lair.
  • Underground Monkey: Lots of 'em, Spekkio most notably. His faces are all re-used enemy sprites, colored pink.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • Any time you need to escape from confinement, there will be stealth elements. However, in both of the escape attempts, you are completely free to bash your jailers' heads in.note 
    • The jetbike race in the future is a racing mini-game.
  • Unfinished Business:
    • Frog's friend Cyrus lives on as a restless, and very dangerous, ghost after his murder, but Frog can help him rest in peace, upgrading the Masamune in the process.
    • Toma's ghost is still seeking treasure. He's been waiting 400 years to divulge the location of his final quarry to the party; only then will he rest.
  • Universal Driver's License:
    • The Jetbike in 2300 A.D., though Johnny will only allow Crono to drive it.
    • Somehow, all of your party members are able to pilot the Epoch, including Ayla.
  • Universal Poison: Poison is used in much the same way as it is in the Final Fantasy series. The interesting thing is that Robo can be poisoned as well.
  • Un-person: The reason why Queen Zeal declared the banishment of the Earthbound Ones after they cannot perform magic. Only the Gurus and Schala don't agree with Zeal and treat the Earthbound Ones as equals.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Flea, one of Magus' henchmen, is quite a bit offended when Frog introduces him as female. To make matters even more jarring, when asked about his/her gender:
    Flea: Man or woman, it's all the same. Power is beauty, and I'm deliciously strong!
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • The player's party consists of an anthropomorphic frog, a self-aware humanoid robot, a cavewoman in a bikini-slash-cat costume, and — optionally — a world-threatening dictator who Looks Like Orlok. No one cares. Crono's mother has more to say on the odd ensemble of Crono's time-displaced sidekicks than the entire rest of the NPC cast, and even she doesn't seem too worried about them. This is especially evident with Magus, as while people will now suddenly know whatever name you've chosen to given him, they pay no mind to him, even when he's the one they're talking to.
    • It gets a bit ridiculous during the Hero's Grave sidequest where Frog talks with the ghost of Cyrus. Bring Magus along for that part and he won't even as much as comment on why the infamous leader of the fiends and known conqueror, not to mention his own killer, is tagging along with them. Magus himself just stands there like nothing's wrong and only reacts at the end by covering himself with his cape when the Masamune shines brightly as part of a power-up sequence.
    • During the Rainbow Shell sidequest, once you discover the shell, you need to get help from King Guardia XXI to move it. Have Magus leading your party, and when the King initially balks, Queen Leene will ask him to do it as a personal favor for Magus, the guy who nearly destroyed their entire kingdom.
    • There's the Black Omen; since it appeared in 12,000 B.C. and stuck around ever since then, from the average schmuck's point of view, it's always been there. Only our time traveling heroes even know it's not "supposed" to be there.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • The PS1 version added animated cutscenes. These were kept in most of the subsequent rereleases.
    • The remake added the Lost Sanctum, the Dimensional Vortexes and a new English script. The DS version also has exclusive content like the Arena of the Ages, the Dojo, and a bestiary.
  • Urban Ruins: The Bad Future of is first seen when the heroes have to go through ruins populated with robots, mutants, and giant rats. There is a stretch of abandoned highway clear of debris used as a racetrack by the local gang of robot delinquents.
  • Urban Segregation: In 12,000 B.C., magic users live on the Floating Continent Zeal, while non-magic users live on the Earth. They both suffer the same fate when Zeal collapses into the sea.
  • Utopia: The "elite get the utopia, poor people live on the ground" subversion. But don't worry, the utopia comes to them.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Whether it's enslaving the less fortunate or siphoning energy out of the planet (or from other sources), no cost is too great.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Black Omen is a gigantic, black aircraft, but once it's raised in 12,000 B.C., peasants in later time periods are rather blasé about it, since it's been in the sky for hundreds of generations and no one sees anything unusual about it. Also, it's in no way required to fight the Big Bad, you can complete it three times in different time periods, and even entering it is completely optional.
  • Victory Pose: Crono and Robo fist pump, Marle and Ayla hop for joy, Frog flexes a muscle, Lucca strikes a "look at me" pose, and Magus twirls his cape.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • There's a poor lost kitten separated from its sad little girl of an owner. Doing this earns you favor with the jury in Crono's trial.
    • When Crono is breaking out of Guardia Castle's prison, he stumbles on a man named Fritz who is stuck in a guillotine. Freeing him will see him repay you later once he's returned to his family-run store in Truce.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
  • Villain World: If you try to break into the Black Omen in 2300 AD, Queen Zeal will just chortle at you, saying that Lavos has already won.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Flea. The remake adds hints of a Depraved Bisexual/homosexual to his dialogue.
  • Voodoo Shark: The remake gives an explanation for the deaths of the main cast alluded to in Chrono Cross and the rise of Porre as a military power a mere five years later. It was Dalton. Somehow, he managed to create an army that killed the same heroes who defeated him already when he had far more advanced technology and resources from his own era.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Dragon Tank can be this during a first playthrough. Unless you were leveling up a lot, the battle forces you to use items. At least with the battle with Yakra, you had a healer (Frog).
  • The Wandering You: The Lost Sanctum requires you to go back and forth through its areas in order to complete the quests.
  • War Was Beginning: Time travel version: the war with Magus is a mere historical footnote in the present day. This makes for a rude awakening when your first time portal deposits you four centuries in the past, where war is still being waged.
  • Warmup Boss: Yakra is the fight boss of the game. He's not that difficult to defeat, but he does counter your attacks with a party-wide charging attack.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: The Kingdom of Zeal, a series of Floating Continents, of which the largest has two waterfalls coming off it. Oddly enough, walking around on the surface of 12,000 B.C. you won't find any torrential downpours falling out of nowhere.
  • Wearing It All Wrong: The game has a certain helmet called "Ozzie Pants" which is among the best helmets in the game, but cause confusion. While it isn't directly stated, it is implied they are underpants.
  • We Buy Anything: Even if we're in a time period in which we have no idea what this does, or it's obsolete.
  • Weak to Magic: The Juggler enemies can switch between Stone Wall forms that either take high damage from physical attacks and little from magic, and vice-versa.
  • Weapon of Choice:
  • Weird Moon: It's always shining over the Fiendlord's Keep, and it's huge at that.
  • Weirdness Search and Rescue: When the party first winds up at the End of Time, an old man, who's really Gaspar, gives a basic explanation of the time travel system and later keeps track of what you are supposed to do. Conveniently, this is the first time the party has a chance to time travel freely, rather than being pushed into the gates by outside events.
  • Wham Episode: The Ocean Palace. The party arrives too late to stop the Queen from awakening Lavos with the Mammon Machine and their attempt to stop the Machine with the Ruby Knife, which is revealed to be the Masamune in the process, fails. The Prophet is actually Magus, though this was telegraphed. What certainly isn't telegraphed, however, is the fact that he shares the party's goal of destroying Lavos. Lavos destroys Zeal and much of the surface of the planet is flooded. And on top of all this, Crono, the Player Character who for the entire game so far has always been the lead character in the party, is erased from existence by Lavos. Also, after this point, aside from getting kidnapped and robbed by Dalton and taken prisoner on the Blackbird, the rest of the game becomes markedly less linear and it isn't required to do all of the remaining content to beat the game. Even reviving Crono is optional.
  • Wham Line: Three of them.
    • The first is after you bring down Magus in the Middle Ages:
    • The second is at the Ocean Palace when the Prophet appears after Lavos hands your party their asses on a plate (assuming you aren't in a New Game+ and aiming to defeat him there) and reveals that he is actually Magus:
      The Prophet: I swore long ago...that I'd destroy you! No matter what the price!
    • The third is if you decide to skip the fight with Magus in 12,000 BC.
      Magus: Wait. I'll accompany you.
  • Wham Shot:
    • When Marle brings up the recording of the Day of Lavos on Arris Dome's supercomputer:
    • When your party uses the Ruby Knife against the Mammon Machine, suddenly the Ruby Knife transforms into the Masamune.
    • In the aftermath of the Ocean Palace, the significance of what happened is driven home when you are sent to the party select screen and told to make a party without Crono.
  • What an Idiot!: Why, yes, talk to King Guardia XXXIII when the Chancellor insinuates the man might have killed Marle's mother? Oh, did that not work out? Give him some Spiced Jerky as a peace offering, he loves that stuff. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • What Does This Button Do?:
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Whatever happened to Schala? Radical Dreamers was conceived to rectify this. Due to Masato Kato not being satisfied with it and the short amount of time it took to develop it, the Mind Screw that was Chrono Cross was created, with her playing and even larger role in it than in Radical Dreamers.
    • What happened to the Lost Sanctum and the Reptite survivors after 600 AD? No clue.
    • Dalton just kind of disappears in the original version of the game with no further mention of him after his final boss fight. The remake eventually has him come back in one of the Dimensional Vortexes in order to provide a bit of an explanation as to his eventual fate.
  • Where It All Began: Lucca's telepod, where Marle disappears to start the plot, and where everyone says goodbye during the Moonlight Parade.
  • A Winner Is You: Averted in all endings save one: beat Lavos immediately after arriving in the End of Time, and all that will happen is the screen will fade to black while a Nu, a Kilwala, and a frog play around while the credits roll. That's it: no character interactions, no ramifications to the timeline, nothing.
  • Wiper Start: Turns out Dalton added more than wings to the Epoch. Sadly, you never use the newly-installed lasers on anything else.
  • With Catlike Tread: A particular path in the Abandoned Sewers is covered in trash and stray cats which, if you step on them, will awaken angry monsters in the water. Touching the save point also triggers an attack.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: The initial dynamic with Crono and Lucca as friends and Marle as the stranger.
  • Womb Level: Lavos itself is preceded by a womb-like cavern, with a pulsating heartbeat getting louder and louder as you get closer.
  • Worldbuilding: There is a surprising amount of this nested into the ever-changing dialogue of every NPC character in the game. The arrival of Lavos in 65,000,000 BC is even foreshadowed by an NPC saying, " Red star in sky. See during daytime!" on the second time that you visit the era in question.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: In the "Beyond Time" ending, the credits scroll over the nighttime Moon Festival, rendered in gorgeous Mode 7. It gradually pans out to reveal the planet floating in space, this time unmarred by Lavos' eruption.
  • World of Technicolor Hair:
    • Lucca sports purple hair.
    • Frog has green hair in his human form.
    • Magus has greyish-blue hair.
    • Queen Zeal, Schala, and Janus have blue hair.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: It is implied that gold became an obsolete currency in the future because the survivors don't recognize it as a valid medium of exchange. Thankfully, they'll still accept it as they really can't be so picky in their desperate condition.
  • Worthy Opponent: In "The Oath" ending, when Frog confronts Magus alone, Magus reveals his view that nobody is worthy to rule the planet. Apart from himself and his opponent.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: In the "Dream Project" ending, a soldier representing Yukio Nakatani adds this:
    Yukio Nakatani: Thanks for playing! Are you a girl?
    Crono: "Yes."
    Yukio Nakatani: (Lunges at you and falls back.)
    Crono: "No."
    Yukio Nakatani: (Lunges sword at you full force.)
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: There's no good explanation why the Sun Stone is useless after 65,001,000 years, but useful after 65,002,300 years.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The original English script gave Frog an accent like this, even moreso than other characters in his era. Oddly enough, Frog talks normally in the flashback scenes to the time before his transformation. The Japanese version did not have this, and the remake, which featured a new translation, did not retain it. However, Frog still sounds more formal than he did in the Japanese version, like nearly everyone from the Middle Ages.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The bad ending:
    In the end, the future refused to change.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Subverted. Crono, Marle, and Lucca are forced on a linear path from the moment the former two return to Guardia Castle until you arrive at the End of Time. From that moment on, you can go home again if you want.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Antipode (Ice+Fire) creates Shadow damage.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: Besides the hardware limitations in terms of character sprites, some of the main characters' official artwork strongly resemble Dragon Ball characters. This makes sense considering Akira Toriyama provided the character designs for both works.
  • Your Size May Vary: When you fight Lavos, he takes up about half the screen and seems to be about as large as a big house, certainly small enough to fit inside the Mammon Machine room at the Ocean Palace. However, his appearance in the Day of Lavos recording and the cutscene prior to his fight display a city-sized Lavos splitting the earth. He left a small-continent sized crater after crashing on earth in Prehistory. The upgraded Epoch, which is almost as large as Lavos's battle sprite. may be crash landed through its shell inside of him. Its insides sprawl at least over four screen heights, certainly larger than Leene's Square. And his first of two final forms is also about as large as he is on the outside.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The Golem Overlord doesn't even attack. It just counts down from 5 to 1, at which point it does nothing. It complains about being afraid of heights, so if the player doesn't attack, it eventually runs away. You can't really lose, but if you don't beat the boss before it runs, you miss out on some free EXP.


Good morning, Crono, your sentence is being carried out today.


 
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The Day of Lavos

Our trio of heroes escape into a time portal to a ruined and polluted world where mankind is nearly extinct. They happen upon a recording dated 999 years beyond their time which reveals a horrible truth: THIS is the future that awaits their world.

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