Chrono Trigger 25th Anniversary
Which is the Best Boss Fight in Chrono Trigger?
Happy 25th anniversary to one of the most important games of my, and many others’, childhood. Chrono Trigger was my first foray into the JRPG genre, and even putting my nostalgia aside the game holds up phenomenally well today. It bleeds style, and the story and characters are gripping. Throughout the game, you encounter a whole host of very different boss fights as Crono cuts through anything standing between you and saving the world. Whilst the playable characters are iconic, so too, are a good few of the boss designs, and with all the effort put into some of the set pieces, there are some truly incredible scenes found along the journey.
So today we’ll be running down the top 10 Chrono Trigger bosses, ordering them by how epic and memorable their fights are. This list is celebrating the fantastic boss designs and fights from the original game, so we won’t go into the extra content from the DS, mobile, and Steam versions; but know the Dream Devourer would’ve certainly challenged for a top spot here.
It might be surprising to put Ozzie in a ‘top bosses’ list, since he’s a comedy fight in the end, but that’s exactly what makes him so memorable. One of three ‘Generals’ the party needs to fight their way through, this slimy green big boy consistently antagonizes the party, even sending another boss (the animated cluster of bones Zombor) after them. But despite being great for a laugh, Ozzie and the other generals do rule over a large army of fiends, and they do present multiple roadblocks on their journey forward.
The multiple encounters against Ozzie are preceded by some comedic trap rooms, his gimmick being overly convoluted traps that somehow end up backfiring on him. He’s the cowardly villain, running from fights and sending his lackeys after you instead. There’s never really a direct fight against him, instead when you finally corner him he freezes himself in ice. The battle turns into finding the right things to hit to open a trap door below him and drop him out of your way.
It’s great to run into fights that don’t follow the same formula as others, and the laughs are more than welcome. He may be the least ‘cool’ of Magus’ Three Generals in design, and by far the easiest since he’s effectively all stage hazards rather than an actual fight, but at least chasing Ozzie down is very satisfying and his antics stick in your mind a lot more than Slash.
9. Masa & Mune
Legendary brothers, who can combine into a mythical sword for Frog to wield? Hell yes, plus a rad two-part boss fight with the duo combining into a larger form. The idea of these great warriors testing out Frog and eventually forming the ‘Masamune’ sword for him is an incredible story that weaves itself through the central plot of the game. The boss fight can cause a little trouble, but overcoming it is so satisfying, and the party’s potential feels so real here.
It’s fairly early on all things considered that the party takes on Masa & Mune, and after defeating them they acquire the ‘broken Masamune’ sword. Carrying this with them, it’s a good while before the events leading to it being able to be put back together come up, but Masa & Mune’s knowledge is shone upon the party every now and then. Whilst the fight is fairly straightforward, these two sticks around for a significant portion of the game, and have more staying power than Ozzie.
8. Azala & Black Tyranno
It’s a giant dinosaur with a lizard mage riding it, what more is there to say? The boss fight comes at the end of the 65 million BC section of the game, toppling the reptite overlord and taking out her terrifying pet. The fight is a slobber knocker, a great mix of difficult and enjoyable combat flows. Without taking out the lizard wizard the task of taking down the Black Tyranno becomes almost impossible, so players need to approach the fight with thought. Not exactly on the epic scale of some of the higher-rated fights, but an incredible one nonetheless.
There’s a lot of building towards this, with Ayla having a personal stake in things and the entirety of this 65 million BC jaunt coming to a head with this fight. It’s a difficult fight, one that tests the party’s resolve and strategy, and coming out on top feels triumphant. It’s the most iconic fight in the time period, so much more daunting than all the other reptites, and a fight long-coming as the party has been chasing Azala through her lair.
7. Mother Brain
An optional fight, but one every player should track down anyway. Mother Brain is every sci-fi dystopian nightmare, a central computer that brings about the uprising of robots against humans. Lavos seemed to pay the robots no mind, and so Mother Brain grew in power whilst humanity wilted in the future. By 2300AD she’d built up a massive army of robots, and it’s down to Crono and his friends to save the future. Sure, you could argue that defeating Lavos would change everything about this future, but defeating this spectacle of a boss is great fun anyway. The fight itself is pretty simple once you work out the trick to it, but her vicious counterattacks can cause players a lot of trouble.
Out of all the optional bosses, this is the most impressive fight. Plus the side story of an AI building an army of robots in order to cull the humans is always a fun plot to explore. Being able to talk with all these suffering survivors, as well as the encounter with the R-Series robots almost identical to our buddy Robo who talk of their disdain for humans, gives a certain weight to this fight that a lot of the other optional fights lack.
Now for everyone’s favorite general, the most striking and memorable out of him, Ozzie, and Slash. After cutting through creatures that take on the visage of your party members purely to mock them, the player encounters the feminine Flea, who has one of the coolest sprite animations with his cloak billowing around him. Flea is this enigmatic being with boundless flair, and his mocking of the party while openly laughing sets up a fight well. When the battle begins, the floor fades away and is replaced by a starry expanse of sky, adding more illusory elements to the scenario.
The fight itself is a battle against status effects, with Flea able to aoe poison, charm Crono, and put the other party members to sleep in rapid-fire. It’s a different kind of difficulty, and the change in pace is welcome. His damage isn’t insane, and the fight is pretty hard to actually lose, but juggling offense with healing status effects brings some spice to the fight. Definitely the most memorable of Magus’ three generals, and between the billowing cloak and the frequent laughing animation he stands as the coolest looking one as well.
5. Mammon Machine
Now we get into the monumentally impactful bosses, a big step forward towards the denouement of the game. In addition to an incredible name, the Mammon Machine is developed as the object drawing dark energy from the menacing entity Lavos and providing it to ‘The Enlightened Ones,’ as well as corrupting Queen Zeal. The pursuit of immortality is fairly standard stuff for big bads, but finding out your buddy Melchior was the man who built it and then getting sucked inside to float among all that dark energy adds layers to the selfish goals of Queen Zeal.
There’s a lot that goes on in the desperate search for a way to end the machine, and it comes to a head in a fight floating within the same sort of vortex area that Lavos slumbers in. The battle has Mammon Machine raining death down towards the party, and there can be no questioning you’re on the road to the final battle after taking it out. It gets a high spot for its iconic design and that evil aura it emanates all throughout the game.
The secondary antagonist of Chrono Trigger, the queen of the Kingdom of Zeal. The maniacal matriarch steadily gets more and more twisted as she pursues both power and immortality, she rules with an iron fist and manipulates whoever she can to reach her ends. She’s a powerful villain to come up against, someone unbearably cruel who still has a devout following nonetheless. Once the Black Omen is raised from the water she gains at least some sort of higher power, being present in all timelines and ready for the party to try to bring her down.
She comes at the party in three forms and serves as a difficult shield for Lavos. Each form further hits home that she’s corrupted beyond redemption, now a godlike being in her own right, and taking her down bring this confidence and determination to go straight on to defeat Lavos once and for all. Every piece of the ending sequence falls into place so well, and the Zeal fights are no exception.
3. Giga Gaia
This boss comes as the first gigantic step up towards the monolithic Lavos, suddenly the party is fighting this humongous creature that rises up to the top of the Mountain of Woe they stand upon. Whilst it may not be a fight that sends ripples through the timelines and the story, it’s where the scale of things starts to become apparent. Though the fights against Zeal have more gravity and impact on the finale of the story, Giga Gaia just ekes her out as the beginning of the ending sequences, the fight that shows the party they truly have a chance against the godlike being of Lavos.
Giga Gaia gains such a high spot for the cinematic scene it sets, the jagged rock atop the mountain leading to this humongous being intent on crushing the party. Taking it down piece by piece is how Crono and the gang become victorious, and the final act of the game takes shape as you fell the giant.
Magus is… Pretty much the raddest dude, and you get to have two very climactic battles against him. When you get to the first fight he’s performing some ritual in a badass magic circle with blue fires spread about the darkness. He seems to have a Cloak of Billowing, and unleashes some insane spells on the party. Everything builds up to these fights, Crono and his crew hunt him down to get some answers (and he even ends up as a party member, which only makes him greater). His second fight, should you choose to challenge him, takes place on the edge of a cliff above the beautiful ocean.
Being able to fight, kill, spare, and party with Magus make him one of the more interesting characters in the game, even though you don’t spend that much time with him as an ally all things considered. As the rival, the Vergil of Chrono Trigger, Magus fills the role and brings his edgy style to it. Whilst Lavos and Zeal are the main two antagonists, Magus has a comfortable spot as the villain who has sent ripples through the lives of many (including our boy Frog, being the one to turn him into what he is today) and yet a common enemy serves to change his ways. Despite Magus being so insanely iconic, there’s one more who sits head and shoulders above him…
Of course, Lavos, the final boss, sits atop the throne. The looming horror of this cosmic beast is constantly above the party, with every action leading towards a hopeful solution to the destruction of the world. Along the way the party tangles with Lavos and it’s spawned a few times, but what really seals this being as the number 1 boss in the game is the trippy final fight. Blowing a hole through what we all believed was the monster in its entirety, Crono and the gang wander in to another form enraged by its wavering hold over the fate of the world.
Through a few different stages and eventually floating through some timeless space locked in vicious combat, Lavos has all the grandeur that a final boss needs. Whilst reality destroying god-beasts are par for the course in JRPGs, they’re still incredibly satisfying to come up against with a party you’ve grown so close to.
Though there are some ups and downs, the whole game builds magnificently to a thrilling finale, and Lavos taking on the properties of different threats you’ve encountered even further cements the game as a very together and cohesive experience. To cap the whole experience off, Lavos truly is the greatest of the Chrono Trigger bosses. One of the greatest JRPGs of all time, so much within Chrono Trigger remains iconic even 25 years on.
Be sure to also check out our other ranking of the Chrono Trigger characters.