Recorded using Snes9x 1.43+ improvment7
Emulator sync settings:
* Use wip1 timing * Allow left/right up/down * Volume envelope height reading * Fake mute desync workaround * Sync samples with sound cpu
* Aims for fastest time * Manipulates luck * Takes Damage to save time * No programming errors used * No warps or passwords
Thanks & acknowledgements
First off I would like to thank marshmallow from the SDA for his awesome console run of this game. It was his movie which motivated me to start mine. His run was very useful for showing me just how many enemy encounters can be avoided by following certain routes. His run also showed me how many battles you can run from after they have been initiated. His strategies for Yakra and the Guardian fights turned out to be quite useful. I would like to thank tilus for his TAS of the Japanese version of the game. I found the strategies he used in the Mud Imp and Golem Twin fights to be very helpful. Thanks to Saturn for his 100% Chrono Trigger ZSNES movies. I learned several things from his run, mainly the effectiveness of the berserker which is the most valuable accessory in my opinion. Thanks to everyone on the forum for your constructive criticism of my test run. This run is over 20 minutes faster than my test run.
About luck manipulation
In most tool assisted RPGs, the player has the ability to control the attacks of their enemies and their characters own critical hit rate. Chrono Trigger is different than most RPGs in this aspect. In almost every battle, waiting a certain amount of frames or pressing different buttons will not change an enemy’s attack or create a critical hit (view the Magus battle for an exception of this rule). You can change how an enemy’s behavior by using items and specific techs at certain times. Critical hits will only happen after a fixed amount of attacks have occurred and this cannot be changed no matter what once a battle has commenced. Increasing of decreasing critical hits can be done by equipping certain armor/accessories and will vary depending on your character’s current level.
In any RPG speed run you want to decrease the amount of time spent leveling up. In this run there are only a few times when I actively level up. Before I enter the cathedral I fight two voluntary battles to learn firewhirl which saves a bunch of time against the nagettes. Right before the Nizbell II battle I level up to learn volt bite which is the fastest way to kill him. When I get to mount Woe I fight two rubbles which give 100 tech points each, to learn falcon hit. I use falcon hit on the next three bosses to save a whole lot of time. At the tail end of the game I bring Magus to the Giants Claw to level him up for the Lavos fight. This is very time consuming but it necessary to be able to survive Lavos’ initial attacks. Every single other non-mandatory battle I run from or avoid altogether.
In a speed run, it is important to only pick up items which will save you time later down the road. If an item doesn’t save you time then there is no reason to waste time obtaining it. The following items/weapons/accessories/armors were crucial for saving time in my run.
Items Shelters: I pick up 3 of these before I can buy them in the middle ages. The shelter maxes out all your character’s HP/MP. The three that I pick up were carefully planned to minimize the amount of time spent collecting them. Speed Tab: I collect two of these to use on Magus to increase his speed for the Lavos battle. When I am leveling up in the giant’s claw, the speed tabs allow Magus to attack before the enemy can get an attack in. Power Tab: 1 is obtained in guardia forest to increase Chrono’s attack power high enough to kill the enemies in the forest with one cyclone hit instead of two. The second tab is acquired automatically from the chef which I later use on Chrono to make the falcon hit powerful enough to kill Giga Gaia’s hands in one hit.
Steel Saber: Obtained to speed up the Yakra/Dragon tank battles. Iron Sword: Obtained to speed up the Yakra battle. Lode Sword: Chrono’s main sword for every battle up until the Slasher is obtained Lode Bow: Only good for the Guardian battle. Mirage Hand: Make Robo’s attacks more powerful for every fight he is in for the rest of the game, this one weapon saves a considerable amount of time. Slasher: Increases Chrono’s speed and attack power. The speed increase saves a huge amount of time in later battles. Swallow: This is by far the most controversial weapon obtained, because it takes close to 2 full minutes to get. The time spent collecting this item is acceptable however because it makes every battle after the Mud Imp fight considerably shorter. This item increases Chronos attack power, and provides and even larger increase in speed over the slasher. Doomsickle: Without this single weapon, the run could have easily been 30 minute longer. To beat the lavos core, you need to have a physical attack to take out the left bit, and without this weapon Magus would not be able to do it alone. As a result I would have needed to level up my entire party and this would have taken ages to do. The doomsickle triples in power when both members of your party are dead and provides a shorter animation sequence over any magical attack.
Dark Mail: Allows Frog to survive Magus’ dark matter attack. Meso Mail: Very strong defensive armor, and takes no extra time to obtain. Gloom Cape: Magus’ strongest armor, easy to obtain.
Powerglove: This allows Crono to take out the R series with four cyclones instead of six. Beserker (2 obtained): One of the most powerful items in the game. When equipped the character’s speed and power increase tremendously. Not only that, but this item makes the character attack at the very first possible frame. This item helps in the owning of Zombor, Nizbel, Slash, and Flea. Silver Stud: Cuts magic usage, which is good for Crono in the Giga Gaia fight. Also allows Magus to only spend 4mp with his lightning 2 attack when leveling up in the giant’s claw. Silver Earring: Frog needs this to survive Magus’ dark matter attack. It is also useful for other characters later on. Speed Belt: Speed +2, puts Ayla’s speed on par with Crono’s for very fast and effective falcon hits. Wall Ring: Ups Magus’ magic defense by close to 200%. Without this Magus could not survive Lavos’ heavy magic attacks. Dash Ring: Automatically obtained after getting the wall ring, it is somewhat useless at this point in the game.
The strategies I used in all boss fights were the fastest ones possible for my low level characters. I tested literally every single attack/tech/double tech on the boss and calculated the animation time verses the damage inflicted. I played some boss over 40 times and picked the string of attacks which ended the battle quickest. Here is the logic behind my strategies:
Yakra: I deemed using Firewhirl, while it does good damage is too time consuming and causes Yakra to initiate his “droooo” attack which is long and does much damage. I attack only when my characters are close enough to him that he cannot counterattack. I use Lucca only a couple times before she gets taken out. Once Lucca is dead Yakra enters his second attack form, which does not counter attack no matter what. From here on out I have frog and Crono relentlessly attack him until he dies. I do not heal at all during the battle which saves quite a few seconds.
Dragon Tank: This boss can be a pain because he will kill my characters if I do not heal at least 3 times. Anyways this is a simple strategy, simply take out the head to prevent him from healing and then take out the wheel to stop him from running us over. Firewhirl is used because I cannot get a critical hit at that point in the fight.
Guardian + Bits: This is another battle without needing to heal. You saw me get the lode bow and lode sword in the ruins and this is where they shine. I take out the side bits using regular attacks and measure their damage so that I do not attack with Crono on a bit with little HP left. So if one bit is about to die I switch sides and attack the healthy bit then have Lucca take out the damaged bit. I just turbo the crap out of the A button to kill the guardian.
R Series: Most people would think I am crazy not to take out one full row of robots by using cyclone twice in a row on them. But I figured killing one row will result in a series of attack which are very time consuming and damaging. So I decide to damage each row one time and then take them all out within two turns. I heal one time during this battle.
Heckran: The only thing that works on this guy is magic, with slash being the only other exception. I use slash at the beginning of the battle to alter who he attacks. As you can tell I managed to get him to attack all my characters evenly instead of teaming up on any one person. I switch to lighting after a couple rounds. Antipode does the most damage and is a shorter animation than casting fire or ice separately. I can use aura whirl during his defensive mode, because I if attack during that time he will counter it.
Zombor: This strategy works insanely well, all thanks to the berserker. Using antipode on the top eliminates it before he can attack with his “doom doom doom” attack. Crono goes berserk on the bottom half to take it out very fast.
Masa/Mune: Hyno sleep prevents any counter attacks at all from the brothers. Oddly enough antipode is the fastest way to kill Mune by about 2 seconds, but as you will see I need Robo for the Masamune fight.
Masamune: Truly this fight is the strangest battle in the game. Usually this battle requires a lot of healing, but I didn’t even heal a single time. He stood there like a rock and let me pummel him with critical hits from Crono and Robo, and fire from Lucca. Using the slash attack eliminates his tornado energy, which is a one hit kill for all characters if it is not dispersed by the slash attack.
Nizbel: The power of the berserker sees no bounds. I absolutely love this battle because I only have to control one character. Ayla and Robo do some much damage with the berserker equipped that the battle only lasts a couple minutes.
Flea: Good old Frog does all the work for me. For some reason Frog’s critical hit rate is around 70% with the berserker equipped. I had to manipulate luck a little to get Flea to only attack three times at the end of the battle.
Slash: I just turbo the A button and it is as fast as possible to kill his first form. His second form requires some healing but I attack the same way as I did in the first round.
Magus: This is probably my favorite battle in the game (love the music). By waiting a certain amount of time I can manipulate magus to attack using shadow. This is great because shadow only hurt one character and I can counter with rocket roll which does some hefty damage to magus. I use lighting a few times towards the end because the wait for another shadow attack was too long. Magus’ second form is very hard, without the dark mail and silver earring on frog he would perish. But since frog can survive dark matter I can spank magus with regular hits from both Robo and Frog. At this low level, Crono cannot survive dark matter.
Nizbell II: I choose to level up before this battle to earn volt bite. Without volt bit the battle would take over ten minutes because Nizbel’s defense rises with every attack which is not lighting.
Azala/Tyrano: I use hyno sleep to bypass the first portion of the fight, huge timesaver. I use voltbite and napalm only after he removes his defense, because when his defense is up you cannot do more than 50 points of damage to him. I calculated the amount of attacks I would use after he does his fire attack to me. For some reason his defense goes up but not all the way up. Voltbite does only half as much as it used to. I attack him just enough times to take him out after he removes his defense for a second time.
Mud Imp/beasts: Well this can be the most difficult battle in the game were it not for tilus’ strategy. I used hyno sleep to remove the blue beast from the battle. The mud imp has ~1,000 hp and once he dies so do the beasts. I use antipode/lighting on him which inflicts close to 250 damage.
Giga Gaia: He is a pushover with the swallow/falcon hit combo. I use napalm just enough time to avoid him bringing back his hands again.
Dalton: Four falcon hits and he is toast
Golem Twins: Another very difficult battle was it not for hyno sleep. I start off with lighting to change their attacks from physical to lightning, it gets me enough time to cast hyno wave. Once asleep I can falconhit them and use hyno wave right after to make them completely harmless. You see me cast hyno wave twice in a row, this is not a mistake. If I don’t do it twice in a row, after the next falcon hit only one golem will be put to sleep.
Lavos: As you can clearly see, characters at these levels cannot survive lavos. There is no way to manipulate lavos’ attacks. Marle and Ayla die because they are so low leveled but Magus can survive because he has the wall ring and his best armor. This is proof that fighting lavos during the ocean palace disaster is impossible. Magus’ doomsickle triples in power once both of your teammates are dead. I use the doomsickle on the right arm to do 4,000 damage because it has 4,000 more HP than the left. I use dark mist to take out both arms at the same time. I turbo attack the head until he is dead.
Lavos Core: The only way to win this battle is to kill the right bit, but the bit is protected during the fight. To remove its protection you must kill either of the other two bits. Once his defense is gone the right bit gets owned with the doomsickle. This is why I put magus in the third player position, so the animation sequence is shorter to attack the right bit.