Chrono Trigger has one of the greatest scenes in any SNES game with Frog and the Masamune
Great Moments in Gaming is a column wherein we look back at some of the great gaming moments that have made a significant impact on our view of this medium and how we have come to understand it. This time around, we’re looking back at Frog and the legendary Masamune in Chrono Trigger.
Chrono Trigger has long been regarded as not just one of the greatest RPGs of all time but also one of the greatest games ever made. Filled with epic moments and fantastic quests, Chrono Trigger has only Final Fantasy VI to compete with for the title of best RPG of its era–and that’s some good company.
Of course, there is one moment in the game that stands above the rest. The jaw-dropping moment when Frog severs the mountain in order to enact retribution and justice upon his sworn enemy, the dark sorcerer, Magus. However, to talk about the power of the moment, we need to first recall all of the Chrono Trigger backstory that lead up to it.
Frog was once known as Glenn and served as a squire to the legendary knight Cyrus, who also happened to be his closest friend. When Cyrus was struck down by Magus, and Frog cursed with his new amphibian likeness, Frog awakened to find Cyrus’ hero badge floating in the river before him. From that point on he swore he would make himself worthy of it, as well as the legendary sword Cyrus once wielded, the Masamune.
In fact, reforging the shattered Masamune is the only thing that will get a disillusioned Frog to rejoin your party after he loses hope early on in the adventure. The quest to obtain the blade and have it reforged with dreamstone takes up several hours of in-game play time and sees the party travelling all the way back to prehistoric ages in order to find the catalyst needed to repair the Masamune.
There are fantastic battles against reptilian overlords and even a tense encounter with the spirit at the very heart of the blade itself. It all feels worth it, though, when the party finally presents the Masamune, all shiny and new, to a shocked Frog, now living in his chosen exile.
As the gang gathers at the base of a mountain, the last obstacle between Frog and the reckoning he brings, Frog unsheathes the Masamune and finally shows the world its true power. Holding it aloft and pointing it skyward, Frog shakes with the power of the blade as it emits an ethereal blue light that pierces the heavens. Then, grasping the hilt with renewed strength and vigor, Frog swings the blade at the mountain itself, cleaving it in two and opening the pathway to Magus’ Castle.
Today there are two versions of this scene: the SNES original and the animated PSX version. While both have their charm (and are linked in the preamble paragraph of this article) it is the original that blew the collective minds of children and teenagers alike when they first played Chrono Trigger back in the 90s. Like Super Metroid and A Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger was just filled with moments like this, moments that showed what the SNES was truly capable of when pushed to its limit.
It’s one thing to tell us of a legendary sword. Hell, the quest for the legendary sword is one of the oldest tropes in the fantasy genre. Chrono Trigger actually shows us why this coveted sword is the mythical blade of legend, though, and the scene makes a profound impression, one fondly remembered by legions of gamers to this day.