- Chrono Trigger is a beloved action-adventure game that holds a special place in the world of speedrunning.
- The specific speedrun discussed in the article is an any% glitchless run by player Bdewd.
- RNG manipulation and strategic movements are key tactics used in the speedrun.
- Bdewd achieved an outstanding run, beating the previous record by 7 minutes.
- Glitchless runs have become more popular in Chrono Trigger speedrunning.
For a game that focuses heavily on time travel, it seems apt that the impact of Chrono Trigger has extended far beyond its release. Following the adventures of the titular character (although oddly, his name lacks the “H”) through parallel time periods, aided by his friend’s time machine, Chrono Trigger takes Final Fantasy-esque RPG elements and puts a fresh spin on them. This includes combo attacks, multiple endings, and, of course, the time travel mechanics. The SNES game is a much-loved action-adventure among retro gamers and RPG fans. However, it holds a special place in the heart of another community as well – the world of speedrunning. Lots of glitches and strategies have emerged since its inception, and speedrunners still enjoy competing for the world record today. We’re going to jump into one of the most amazing world-beating Chrono Trigger speedruns at full speed. Buckle up, and enjoy the ride!
What Type of Speedrun Is This?
There are many different kinds of speedruns that gamers can take on. They range from those that forbid the use of glitches (i.e., glitchless) to those that have strict rules on the amount of completion that must be obtained (i.e., low%, any%, or 100%). If those runs aren’t challenging enough, players can even opt to do a deathless run, where they must complete the title without dying once, or even a blindfolded run, which is basically as crazy as it sounds.
However, the run in question here is an any% glitchless, courtesy of player Bdewd. The rules for a glitchless run largely depend on the specific title. In the case of Chrono Trigger, this means a few things. Firstly, emulators can’t be used, as these afford certain benefits, such as infinite saving and loading, and manipulating the frame rate. Secondly, and most importantly, there are a bunch of glitches that can’t be used, or the runner will be disqualified. These glitches are described briefly below.
Glitches Used in Chrono Trigger Speedruns
- Menu Glitch – This glitch allows you to open the menu during boss transitions so that you can select your next moves while waiting.
- Unequip – By using a combination of buttons, you can empty an armor slot, which you normally can’t do. Strangely, this gives you a boost to your magic defense, which can be helpful when fighting certain enemies.
- Fadeout – This trick relies on opening the menu as you move from one location to another, allowing you to move your character while the screen is still fading out.
- Overflow – By being killed and then revived while holding the Green Dream accessory, the game allows you to use items on enemies. If you use a recovery item like an elixir, you can “overflow” a boss’ maximum health, which kills them instantly.
- Swap – This trick lets you save time during cutscenes by prematurely regaining control of your character.
Understandably, not being able to use these glitches puts a player at a disadvantage. However, different categories of speedruns are assessed on their own merits, rather than being directly compared. As such, it’s still very possible to achieve a record-breaking run, as we’ll see shortly.
- After 13 years, the role-playing game of the ages returns with Chrono Trigger for the Nintendo DS
- Crono meets an adventurous girl named Marle and accidentally travels back in time 400 years
- Past, present, and future worlds collide as Crono tries to save the planet
- Revised version of the groundbreaking Active Time Battle (ATB) System delivers exhilarating combat
- Special Tech skills and powerful combos, known as Dual and Triple Techs, encourage strategic battle plans
Bdewd’s Chrono Trigger Speedrun – The Specifics
There are a lot of good things going on here and a lot of strategies pulled off successfully. One of the main tricks is to manipulate the RNG. This is usually done through “overkilling” an enemy, i.e., at 00:10:05 when Lucca attacks an enemy that Crono would’ve finished off by himself. This switches up the RNG, which leads to favorable results later on, such as critical hits landing and finishing off enemies in less time than normal.
RNG manipulation is also accomplished by skipping certain fights, such as the fight sequences at 2:14:33. Speaking of fight scenes, Bdewd avoids a slurry of them at 1:13:42 through some extremely precise diagonal movements. This is challenging to pull off, but shaves a lot of precious seconds off the final time.
A fairly risky part of the run comes at 00:14:04. Bdewd could’ve run directly through the middle of the enemies to save a few seconds. He opted not to do this, however, as it can be hard to execute properly.
A neat trick that Bdewd does utilize, however, is his naming strategy. The timer doesn’t begin until after Crono’s name has been selected. Therefore, there’s an opportunity for some thoughtful tactics here. By naming Crono as “Z”, Bdewd can name Robo as “o” later on fairly quickly. This may not seem like much, but every second counts during a speedrun.
All in all, Bdewd achieved an outstanding run here, obtaining several gold (record-beating) splits. For example, the Masamune split at 1:19:40, and the Resetosaurus Rex split at 1:34:45.
Overall, not many mistakes were made during this run. Some unfortunate things occurred, such as the juror declaring Crono “not guilty” at 00:23:30, which adds some extra dialogue boxes and runtime. However, this can’t really be avoided and is left up to the RNG. A more concrete mistake comes at 3:57:35. Bdewd lost around 20 seconds traveling back to Fiona’s house, as he forgot to pick up some items. Although a significant amount of time could’ve been saved, Bdewd still beat the previous record by a fantastic 7 minutes, only 11 days after it was set.
Extra Info About Bdewd
Bdewd has been part of the speedrunning scene for over a decade. He focuses mostly on speedrunning Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI, although he has tried his hand at some Zelda titles and other games in the Final Fantasy series. You can find more of his videos on his YouTube and Twitch profiles.
History of Chrono Trigger Speedruns
As with a lot of titles, it didn’t take long for speedrunners to start tackling Chrono Trigger. This is partly due to the popularity of the game, and partly because speedrunning as a whole really began to take off in the late 90s. To begin with, runners were focused on finding as many tricks, glitches, and tactics as they could to help them speed through the game. One of the most notable exploits, the “Black Omen” glitch, was discovered in 2000. This allowed players to skip past a huge section of the game. Inevitably, this led to runtimes much shorter than previously possible.
Although glitch strategies have been refined over the years, glitchless runs have become more popular. These offer a unique challenge that can’t be found when breaking the game. All in all, Chrono Trigger might not be the most played speedrunning title, but it remains a beloved classic, bolstered by the adoption of streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube.
|RNG manipulation, skipping fights, precise movements, naming strategy
|Extra dialogue boxes due to RNG, forgot to pick up items at Fiona’s house
|Beat the previous record by 7 minutes
The image featured at the top of this post is ©P.Cartwright/Shutterstock.com.