How to Play
*WARNING: May contain spoilers, read at your own risk!
OK, well, as you may or may not know, I never use these things myself. My usual strategy when playing a game for the first time is to press buttons until
something happens, and that is how I learn. My definition of "game manual" is: "... what is this 'gaim man-yoo-al' you speak of? Oh, you mean those things
that come with games that sometimes have pretty pictures in it?" So yeah, if this "how to play" page sucks, you know why, but I'll try my best. Anyway.
Like any other game,
in the case of SNES/SFC games) is always your "inspect/accept" button. Basically, whatever you want to
do, you're gonna hit
for SNES/SFC users). When I refer to a button, I will try to name both options (PSX and SNES), since
this game has an SNES version and a PSX re-release. There's also a ROM for the game out there, which uses the keyboard generally, so here's a table for
easy button-equivalent reference:
The arrow keys are for moving the character around, and to move between options in the menus. (SNES: ) is
used to choose an option from a list, to open chests, to talk to people, and enter areas. () is used
to cancel (i.e., get out of a menu), and to run around instead of walk (when held down). () lets you
access the menu, and () allows you to move dialogue and whatnot to the top or bottom of the screen
during dialogue sequences or in battle. / lets you switch party members later on in the game on the
world map or at save points, and sometimes in the field when the game feels like being nice. It also allows you to open the time travel menu when piloting
the Epoch. Holding L1 and R1 down at the same time will allow you to escape from most battles (but some you can't escape from). The Start button pauses
the game, and the Select button opens the world map. In the PSX version, holding down L1, L2, R1, R2, Start, and Select will perform a "soft restart,"
taking you back to the title screen.
Now, the game! When you start a new game, you get a choice of whether you want the enemies to be active or wait. Moving up and down between the two options
gives you a good enough description of what each option entails. Basically, "wait" means you can take your time to decide what actions your characters
take during battle (i.e., when the tech or items menus are open) without the enemies attacking you while you do this, whereas "active" means the enemies
can attack you no matter what you're doing.
Above is the main menu of sorts. When you press
, the above picture appears over top of another
screen. Use the arrow keys to move back and forth between the options. From left to right, the options are: Status and Equipment, Items, Tech Skills and
Magic Spells, Configuration, Party Formation, and Save.
This is the Status and Equipment screen. The first picture shows what you see the first screen you get when you choose this option. You can use the up
and down arrow keys to move between party members, including ones not currently in your party. When you find the character you want to check on, use either
the right arrow key or the accept button. On the left side of the screen are the characters' main stats. I'll be putting the stats shown in the picture
in parentheses after I name the stats, to avoid any confusion. First on the list is their name with their level next to it
(in this case, "Marle" and "LV41"). Under that is that character's current HP out of their max HP (here, 664/664), current MP out of max MP (84/84),
strength (80), and defense (108). At the bottom left is how long you've been playing the game (16:59) and your current amount of gold (143549 G).
On the right side of the screen is the character's portrait, their type of magic (only if you've learned magic already,
and only if that character is capable of learning magic (i.e., Ayla and Robo cannot learn it)) (in this case, "Water"), and their name and level again.
Under that is the character's current equipment, with their weapon at the top (SonicArrow), then their headgear (Lode Helm), then their armour (Blue Vest),
and their equipped accessory (Magic Ring). Under that are the rest of that character's stats, like power (PWR 14, helps to determine the strength stat),
speed (SPD 9, determines how quickly that character will get a turn in combat), hit chance (HIT 20, determines accuracy), evade (EV 20, determines chance
to dodge attacks), magic power (MAG 52, determines the power of that char's techs/spells), stamina (STAM 34, helps to determine defense stat), and magic
defense (M DEF 76, determines how vulnerable you are vs magical attacks). At the bottom is that character's current EXP (140434), and amount of EXP til
they level up (2649).
Highlighting one of the equipped items will bring up another menu on the left side of the screen (second picture). In this case, the Accessory slot has
been highlighted, so the other options become greyed out to reflect this. Use the arrow keys to move up and down the new list. If the new item would
change some of that character's stats, the changes will show up before you confirm your decision. Stats that would increase are highlighted in blue,
stats that won't change stay white, and stats that become greyed out are ones that would decrease from the change in item. A technical description of
what the new item does (in this case, "Strike +10") appears at the bottom of the screen.
Choosing the second option (Items) takes you to this screen (first picture). Pressing the cancel button (
will take you to the top of the screen, where you can choose to Use/Move (which you could've done without the cancel button), and Organize. Organize is
useful because it will organize your items list into the following order: HP restoration items, MP restoration items, various other restoration items (like
restore status, revive, etc.), other consumables (like Barrier and Shield), the things from 65000000 BC (like Feathers and Fangs), key items, weapons,
armour, headgear, and lastly accessories, so you can find things more easily.
Items in yellow are ones you can use from the menu. When you use an item, a new menu pops up on the right side of the screen (second picture). Here, you
can choose which party member you wish to use the item on (and yes, you can only choose someone in your current party). Use the arrow keys to move between
current party members. You can also "choose" a white-name item in this menu, but it will only show you what that item does and, in the case of weapons
and armour, who can equip those items.
The first picture shows the first screen you get when you choose the Techs option. Use the arrow keys to choose a party member (including ones not in
your current party). Use the accept button (
) to enter that character's tech menu (second picture). Here,
use the arrow keys to go over the techs. What these techs do will appear at the bottom of the screen. Techs in grey are ones that character hasn't
learned yet. Moving the cursor to a greyed-out tech will display how many skill points you need before they can learn that tech (in this case, Ayla needs
needs 214 skill points before she can learn Tail Spin). Please note that there will only ever be one greyed-out tech in the character's list at any given
time, even if they can learn more techs afterwards. All characters have a maximum of eight single techs. Techs in yellow (like Ayla's Kiss tech in picture
two) are techs that you can use outside of battle (please note that if characters that usually have yellow techs are not in your current party, those techs
will not be yellow). If you choose a yellow tech here, a new menu pops up on the right (picture three) where you can choose what member of your current
party you will use the tech on.
When you have a cursor next to a character and then use the left or right arrow keys, you can move back and forth between single, dual, and triple techs.
Picture four shows Crono's dual techs. Please note that you need to "discover" dual techs before they will show up here. If you put two characters in a
party together after they've already learned the single techs involved in the dual tech (i.e., like Frog and Marle's dual tech Ice Water involves Frog's
*Water and Marle's *Ice), then they will learn the dual tech after the battle is over. Choosing the character when the Dual Techs (or Triple Techs) menu
is open will allow you to see what characters are involved in that tech (in the case of picture five, you can see that you need Crono and Robo in the same
party if you want to do the Max Cyclone dual tech). It will also show you on the left side how much MP each character has to use to perform that dual
tech (so, in the case of Max Cyclone, Crono would use up 4 MP and Robo would use up 3 MP when you choose this dual tech).
This is the Configure screen. I'll list the icons on the left side of the screen in order first and then explain them. From top to bottom, left to
right, the icons are: Stereo, Battle Mode, Save Menu Cursor,
Save Battle Cursor, Save Skill/Item Cursor, Battle Speed,
Window Color, Battle Gauge, Control Pad, and
Skill/Item Info. Setting the Stereo option to Off will change the audio from stereo to
monoaural. Battle Mode is what I explained earlier about active vs wait when starting a new game. All of the save cursor
options mean pretty much the same thing: that the game will memorize the last decision you made in the appropriate menu and the next time you open that
menu, the cursor will still be at that option. So, say, during one round in a battle you have Crono use a Mid-Tonic. The next time you need him to use
an item, if you've set Save Skill/Item Cursor to Y (Yes), his cursor will already be at the option for Mid-Tonic.
will take you to the right-hand side of the screen, where you can change how fast the battle gauges fill up,
whether it's fast or slow. Please note that this option also applies to enemy battle gauges as well. Moving the cursor down from here, while still on
the right side of the screen, allows you to set how fast messages in battle will appear. Window Color
allows you to
change the window colour (if you'll notice, some of the windows on this page were in grey, and some in blue. That's what this does, cept you have eight
options to choose from, not just two). Battle Gauge
allows you to choose what is displayed during battle. Choosing
Off will display party member names, current HP/max HP, current MP/max MP, but no battle gauge. Choosing 1 will display party names, current HP, current
MP, and the battle gauges. Choosing 2 will be the same as choosing 1, except the location of the character names and the HP/MP numbers will be switched.
allows you to change what the buttons do (in case you're used to Japanese games where the functionality of
are reversed. Americans might think this is weird, but when you think about it, you circle the things
you want and cross out the ones you don't. So who's backwards now? :op ) for whatever reason you may have for wanting to do this.
just dictates whether or not you see the description for skills and items when you move the cursor over
them in battle (i.e., cursor-over Tonic and it will say "Restores 50 HP" or whatever it is exactly at the bottom of the screen).
The last two options in the menu are Exchange and Save. Exchange basically allows you to move your party member positions around outside of the Y menu.
If a character's block is darkened (like Robo's in the first picture), then you cannot move that particular character. The second picture is the last
option in the menu, Save. Here, you can save your game in one of three different slots. The previous saves in those slots will appear before you save,
so you don't accidentally overwrite a saved game that you wish to keep. Moving the cursor next to a slot will show the details of that slot at the bottom
of the screen, including what area of the game you were in (in this case, the Dark Ages), how long you'd been playing (14:12), how much money you had
(70016G), how many times you'd saved in that game prior to this save (90), and the current party in that saved game, including their stats.