The Dimensional Vortex, a dungeon exclusive to Chrono Trigger DS

Appearing after you’ve beaten Chrono Trigger DS once, the Dimensional Vortex is one of two new dungeons exclusive to the DS version. It’s a step above most other locations in terms of overall difficulty, though if you can beat Lavos you can likely survive in this place. It is also nowhere near as annoying as the Lost Sanctum.

The Dimensional Vortex appears in three different time periods: 
  • 12,000 BC (near the Surviving Village)
  • 1000 AD (near the Millennial Fair)
  • 2300 AD (near the Geno Dome)
Each vortex leads you to a combination of well-worn terrain and new locations, as well as opportunities to strengthen your party, specifically Crono, Marle, and Lucca. Completing all three vortices also opens the path to a superboss that ties Chrono Trigger to its sequel, Chrono Cross.

The party enters the DImensional Vortex in 1000 AD, an optional dungeon in Chrono Trigger.

Dimensional Vortex - Random Locations

Every time you enter the Dimensional Vortex you’ll start by running through a chain of locations, typically from earlier in the game. You’ll hit a random chain each time. The areas you find depend on the time period you visited to enter the Dimensional Vortex. The areas include the following sections:

Strath, a unique area inside the Dimensional Vortex in Chrono Trigger.

12,000 BC
  • Dactyl Nest - Play through as normal.
  • Fiendlord's Keep - Play through as normal.
  • Guardia Forest - Run to the exit in the south.
  • Manolia Cathedral - Hit the switches in the two side chambers, play the organ in the central chamber, go through the northern door.
  • Mountain of Woe - Go backwards through the area to the southwestern chain.
  • Site 16 - Play through as normal.
  • Strath - New area. Head south and stick to your right until you find trees, guarded by some Imps. Run south and east through the trees to find a chest containing an Angel Tiara. Return to the main path and continue south, fighting Imps along the way, to discover the exit.
  • Sunken Desert - Run to the exit in the north.
Hallowed Falls, a section of the Dimensional Vortex in Chrono Trigger.

1000 AD
The party answers quiz questions inside the Curious Village, a small area in Chrono Trigger.

2300 AD
  • Ancient Keep - New area. Take a left at the entrance and follow the hallways north. You can find a Hi-Potion in the northeast corner of the area. Head back west from this chest and go south, east and south to find a chest containing 50,000 gil. Pass through the wall on your left as you go back north to find a chest containing an Elixir. Head back north, then go west to find a route to the area's central chamber. Look to the right of the stairs to find a hidden passage to a chest containing a Master’s Crown. The exit is behind the thrones in the central chamber.
  • Arris Dome - Play through as normal.
  • Curious Village - New area. Answer four questions to get through. Get any wrong and you'll have to fight three groups of Nus to proceed. The answers for each of the questions can be found in this section of the guide.
  • Denadoro Mountains - Play through as normal.
  • Fiendlord's Keep - Play through as normal.
  • Forest Maze - Go backwards through the area to the northwestern exit.
  • Heckran Cave - Play through as normal.
  • Mudbeast Den - Play through as normal. (No boss at the end.)
There are no chests or save points in these old areas, just enemies. Occasionally you'll have to work backwards through an area, rather than starting at the earliest point. You can't backtrack to a previous area once you've gone through it. The enemies in these locations tend to be very weak to your party, so try to take the quickest route through each area and avoid encounters.

Once you've played through five of these areas you'll find a Nameless Cave. These are quick rest spots, each with a save point on the right and portals to the north and west. The western portal takes you back to your starting era, while the northern portal leads to the final dungeon area for this vortex.

Although you'll recognize the majority of these spots, there are a few new ones. You'll find chests in them, alongside new enemies.

The Frozen Cliffs, a unique section of the Dimensional Vortex in Chrono Trigger DS

12,000 BC - Frozen Cliffs - Enemies

  • Bone Knight - 1,050 HP - Immune to Shadow
  • Chaos Mage - 1,400 HP - Absorbs Shadow
  • Pink Imp - 870 HP
  • Slate Imp - 900 HP
  • Snowbeast - 4,000 HP - Absorbs Water
  • Soul Stalker - 900 HP - Immune to Shadow
  • Wonder Rock - 2,500 HP - Drops / Charm Lumicite

  • The Frozen Cliffs are a northbound climb with a neat piece of music that you won't find anywhere else.
    Climb the first set of handholds to the east, then make your way to the west side of the next stretch of ground. There are two ladders. Go down the southern ladder to find a guarded Megalixir, then climb back up and further up the second ladder. Beyond it is a third, and at the top of the third ladder and to your left is a chest containing a Lapis. Head east and keep climbing ladders until you find a clearing full of Imps. The handholds to the left of the clearing leads to the next screen.

    Keep climbing. After a battle with some Bone Knights and off to the east you'll find a slope. Stepping on the slope will slide you south to the next screen. Check to the west a ways before doing this to find a ladder down a cliff. At the bottom you'll find a chest containing a Hi-Potion. Go down the slope to slide to the next screen.

    A slope along the Frozen Cliffs, a section of the DImensional Vortex in Chrono Trigger.

    You'll appear in a wide area covered in slopes. You can move to the east or west to hit ledges and stop sliding. There are four caves you can enter, three along the slope and one down the cliff wall in the south, and most of them will take you back to the first area of the Frozen Cliffs. There are two exceptions, and we'll check out both of them.

    Start by going west on the slope, to the nearest cave. This cave will take you to a new area. Climb south of the cave's exit to find a chest containing a Shadowplume Robe. East of here, past some enemies and on a lower landing, is an Elixir. Follow the lower route east and it will eventually lead you to a ladder. If you go up the handholds you'll find a sloped path back to the clearing with the Imps, near the beginning of the dungeon.

    Return to the sloped sliding area and make your way as far east as you can go, where you'll find another cave. This drops you out near some enemies, as well as handholds. Ignore the handholds and check to the left of the enemies, where you'll find the entrance to a cave, disguised as the edge of the screen. Follow the path inside the cave to find several items:
    •  A Venus Bow for Marle, down a hidden path on your right 
    • Megalixir via another hidden path near the end, on your left 
    • Turbo Ether at the end, north of the small pedestal and on your right
    (This area will look familiar if you checked the Winding Cave in the Lost Sanctum, earlier in the game.)

    Head back the way you came, back outside the cave, and drop down on the far right to find a Hi-Ether. Head west to fight another set of enemies, and to drop down again. At this point you should recognize the terrain, as heading a bit further east leads to the long set of handholds up to the shortcut back to the clearing with the Imps.

    The party discovers a snow field in the DImensional Rift, a dungeon in Chrono Trigger.

    Ignore the slope back to the Imp clearing and check the eastern edge of the screen. You'll discover a wide snow field. Head southeast, past the first few enemies, then walk along the southern edge of the bounding geography until you reach an intersection of three areas. There are three corresponding glints in the snow, and the one nearest you is a Magic Capsule.

    Look north of here and you'll find a Snowbeast blocking a corridor further east. Snowbeasts get stronger with each hit, so try and take it out with powerful Techs. Swing south after bypassing the Snowbeast to get at the second sparkle in the snow, which is a Speed Capsule. Look northeast of here, along the edge of the map, to find a hidden path to a lower section of the snow field.

    Southwest of the cave that brought you here is a Snowbeast. Look to the east of the Snowbeast to find a chest containing a Regal Gown. North of the Snowbeast is the third sparkle, which is a Strength Capsule. Run all the way west, to the opposite end of the snow field, then look along the northern boundary to find a chest containing Athenian Water.

    Head south of the last chest to find the third, final section of the snow field, guarded by more enemies. Southwest of the ramp leading to this area, not far from another Snowbeast, is a chest containing an Elixir. Head all the way east of here to find the exit.

    Almost done. On the final screen of the Frozen Cliffs you'll run into a battle with two more Snowbeasts, and they're guarding a warp point to the north. Step into the warp to appear in the Twilight Grotto, a small rest area with a save point.  The Gate further north leads out of the Dimensional Vortex, and north of that is a cut scene. Marle automatically joins the team, and you’ll see why when you hit the next boss.

    Led by Marle, the party takes on the Alabaster Shade deep within the Dimensional Vortex

    Alabaster Shade

    HP: 16,000
    Weakness: Fire, Shadow
    Immune: Water
    Charm: Haste Helm

    A copy of Marle. The Alabaster Shade uses the following attacks:
    • A crossbow shot to one target
    • Recuperate, which restores the Shade's HP
    • Icefall, a Water attack against your whole party
    Though it has speed on its side and is immune to Water attacks, the Alabaster Shade is not very dangerous. Only characters with a weakness to Water attacks and / or a very low Magic Defense will take much damage from Icefall. The Alabaster Shade simply doesn’t have the heft to dish out much damage. 

    Marle isn’t much use with her Water magic, so have her use her healing Techs and Haste to support your other party members.. Fire is your weapon of choice in this fight, making Lucca a staple fighter for the team. Magus is good backup if you don't have Lucca, or if you'd prefer to go after the Shadow weakness. Nail the Alabaster Shade with a collect of Fire-based Dual Techs and it'll go down in a hurry. Don't rely on normal attacks, as the Alabaster Shade is quite evasive.

    Defeating the Alabaster Shade gives Marle bonuses to Speed, Accuracy, and Stamina. You’ll be kicked back to 12,000 BC after the fight.

    The party enters the Volcano, a dungeon inside the Dimensional Vortex in Chrono Trigger.

    1000 AD - Volcano - Enemies

  • Deathcreeper - 1,000 HP - Absorbs Water
  • Dire Rat - 710 HP
  • Fireball - 1,000 HP - Absorbs Light, Fire, Shadow
  • Red Ghaj - 3,500 HP - Absorbs Fire

  • A fiery area full of monsters that are surprisingly not all that vulnerable to Water attacks. That said, giving your team Fire protection can't hurt. 

    Head north from the entrance to the second screen. Take a right at the first pack of Dire Rats and follow the path north. In the north and on your left is a small cave with chests containing Athenian Water and a Master's Crown. The crown is a male-only accessory that you shouldn't miss.

    The party battles a Red Ghaj, a powerful enemy in Chrono Trigger.

    Return to the larger, lava-filled room. Walk east along the north end of the screen, then head south. Check on your left to find a hidden path to a Strength Capsule, on the edge of the lava. To the right of the capsule is a hidden path to a jungle cliffside ledge, which leads to a chest containing the Dreamreaper, Magus's best weapon.

    Take the southeastern path out of this chamber to another lava-filled room. Head north, then east, past some Fireballs. Follow the path along the edge of the chamber until you see three Fireballs moving in a small circle. Southeast of the Fireballs you'll find a small, secret side chamber with a chest containing the Spellslinger, arguably Lucca's best weapon. Head back the way you came and look for the exit in the south.

    The next chamber over contains a series of rope ladders. Make your way up until you see a long ladder on the west side of the screen. Climb it and you'll find a sparkling Strength Capsule at the top. Go back down and use the ladders in the east to get at a group of Deathcreepers. Down the ladder near the Deathcreepers is a chest containing an Elixir.

    The group finds a switch inside the Dimensional Vortex, a location in Chrono Trigger.

    Up the ladders you'll find a cave to another section of the Volcano. Next to the entrance to the next area you'll find a switch. Inspect the switch to lower the lava to the south, allowing you to run west (and get into a fight with a Red Ghaj). This passage links back to the entrance of the Volcano. Head north, to the first large, formerly-lava-filled room, and use the rope ladder north of the Dire Rats to get into the drained pit. To the east is a cave with a second switch for you to trigger.

    Return to the upper level and make your way east, to the second lava-filled chamber. Head north and east along the edge of the lava. This time you'll see a ladder as you walk along the northern edge of the screen. Go down and check to your right for a chest containing a Hi-Potion, then enter the cave to your left. The bridge in the next area leads to some monster battle - notably two Red Ghajs - and a warp out of the Volcano.

    You're now in another Twilight Grotto. Save when you find the save point, then proceed north. An unexpected, familiar face is waiting before you leave the grotto.

    Once-King Dalton (sigh) makes one final attempt to foil the party in the Dimensional Vortex

    Once-King Dalton

    HP: 26,000

    What a chump. A returning face from 12,000 BC, Once-King Dalton makes a last-ditch attempt at revenge on your party. He uses the following attacks:
    • A windy slash attack against a single target
    • A non-elemental fireball attack against one target
    • Iron Sphere, which cuts one target's HP in half
    • Nether Blast, Shadow spells against one or more targets
    • Deep Freeze, Water spells against one or more targets
    • Scorch, Fire spells against your whole party
    • Plasma, Light spells against your whole party
    • Second Wind, which triggers Dalton's second combat phase
    • MP Buster, a counter against spells that drains one target's MP
    • Violent Belch, a counter against your whole party (only used when Dalton is out of HP)
    Dalton is less of a gimmicky boss than before, taking a bit of a page from Magus in that he can employ all four elements. He does not absorb elemental damage, however, and his spells don't hit very hard. Dalton gets a bit of a boost at the halfway point of the battle, after which he'll counter attacks with MP Buster to steal the attacker's MP.

    Dalton doesn't hit hard enough - especially not in the first half of the fight - to pose a significant threat. Spells work well throughout the battle, though once Dalton starts sapping everyone's MP with MP Buster you should switch to normal attacks. As long as you keep everyone above 300 HP or so this battle is a piece of cake.

    Restore everyone's health at the save point once you defeat Dalton, then carry on north. The game forces Crono into your party, if he wasn't already there, and you'll need to take on a second boss.

    Crono's doppelganger, the Steel Shade, takes on the party in the Dimensional Vortex

    Steel Shade

    HP: 20,000
    Weakness: Shadow
    Immune: Light
    Charm: Prism Spectacles

    The doppelgangers continue, this time channelling the might of Crono. Unlike Dalton, this fight is not a joke. The Steel Shade uses the following attacks:
    • Normal melee attacks
    • Energy Blast, an attack against a single target
    • Rend, a physical attack against a single target
    • Thunderfall, a Light attack against your whole party
    • Scintillation, a strong Light attack against your whole party
    Steel Shade is a fairly powerful foe, not because he does a lot of damage with each attack, but because he counters all physical attacks Even high HP characters with lots of defense will lose ground after a while. Equip your team with items that will resist or absorb Light to negate the effects of Scintillation, ithe Steel Shade's only really dangerous attack.

    Ideally you want to approach this fight with a few powerful attacks. The Steel Shade is weak to Shadow, so Magus's Darkmatter and any Shadow Dual Techs from Robo do well to bring it down. Otherwise, just stick to your best Dual Techs or Triple Techs and avoid anything that does Light damage. If you bring Ayla along you can Charm some Prism Spectacles from the Steel Shade, the only other time in the game (aside from the Rainbow Shell scenario) where you can get this accessory.

    Besting the Steel Shade grants Crono an increase to his Strength, Speed, and Accuracy. It also boots you out of the Dimensional Vortex and back to the coasts of Guardia.

    The Dimensional Vortex as it appears in 2300 AD

    Temporal Research Lab - 2300 AD - Enemies

  • Iron Maiden - 10,000 HP
  • Prototype - 3,500 HP - Weak to Light
  • Searcher - 1,650 HP - Absorbs Shadow

  • Taken directly from 2300 AD, the Temporal Research Lab forces you along conveyors to complete the area. The enemies in this area have high HP counts, particularly the Iron Maidens. Light is useful against the Prototypes, but other than them you're just going to have to slug it out with your strongest Techs.

    In the second room you’ll find the first of the conveyor belts. Jump on the northern belt, then onto the eastern belt when you debark. You'll run into a battle with a Watcher. Take the southern conveyor from here, then walk through the right wall. This will take you into the Millennia Woods from the Lost Sanctum, where you can find five chests, most of them through gaps in the trees:
    •  50,000 gil, just south of the path back to the Temporal Research Lab
    • Turbo Ether, on the north side of the first clearing, through some trees
    • Megalixir, through trees on the west side of the map
    • An Apocalypse Arm, arguably Robo's best weapon, near the south end of the map, just before it curves back north
    • Another Megalixir, in the northeastern clearing
    The party explores the Temporal Research Lab, an area in Chrono Trigger.

    Return to the Temporal Research Lab. Ride the conveyors north, west, south, west, north, north, east, north, and west. This brings you to a door to a new area. To the west you’ll find several sections patrolled by robots, and the robots will knock you into a pit and force a battle if you don’t move while they’re facing the opposite direction. Stay out of their line of sight or you'll have to start over.

    Run west past the robots to find a room that requires security clearance. Enter the code B, A, L, and L. (If you're playing on PC then just press the red, bottom-right button on the menu that pops up.) Head back the way you came, past the patrolling robots, and your party will be trapped inside one of the rooms. An alternate team will have to step in for a while, and to free the first team you’ll have to make your way to the northeast corner of the conveyor room. Go south, east, north, and all the way east to get there.

    The party enters a maze inside the Temporal Research Facility, an area in Chrono Trigger.

    Beyond the northeastern door in the conveyor room is a small maze. Step onto the shining spots to jump around the area. This path will get you through:
    • Step on the first sparkle to the north
    • Step on the sparkle to the left at the next intersection to find a Magic Capsule
    • Return to the intersection and step on the right sparkle
    • Step on the far-east sparkle in the corridor with the disappearing robot
    • Step on the southern sparkle
    • Step on the right sparkle to find a chest containing a Regal Plate (recommended, it's a great piece of armor), then use the eastern sparkles to return to the entrance
    • Repeat the steps listed above until you can run north
    • Go through the northern door to exit
    Done. Beyond the door you’ll have to fight five battles in a row, most of which are best handled with Light attacks. Crono or Magus should make short work of these enemies. The one exception is the Iron Maiden at the end, which has no particular weaknesses. Go after it with your strongest elemental Techs, and avoid physical attacks, as it will use Osmose on attackers. 

    Inspect the northern computer after defeating all of the enemies to free the original group of explorers. This will also unlock two laser barriers. Make your way past the patrolling robots again, this time sticking to the south end of their platforms, and look for a door in the southwest.

    The final hallway of the Temporal Research Facility consists of two more battles against familiar enemies. As you run north down the hallway you'll see arcing electricity blocking your path in occasional bursts. Touching the electricity takes 30 HP away from your party members, so try to avoid these arcs as best you can. (Though it's not a huge deal if you get hit.)

    At the end of the hallway is the Gate into the Twilight Grotto. Heal and save when you hit the save point, then head north. Eventually Lucca enters the party, and when you enter the final room of this area of the Dimensional Vortex you'll see why.

    The Crimson Shade, mimicking Lucca, faces the party in the Dimensional Vortex

    Crimson Shade, Eggsterminator

    • 12,000 (Crimson Shade)
    • 10,000 (Eggsterminator)
    • Water (Crimson Shade)
    • Fire (Eggsterminator)
    Absorbs: Shadow (Eggsterminator)
    • Fire (Crimson Shade)
    • Light (Eggsterminator)
    Charm: Nova Armor (Crimson Shade)

    The last of the three shade battles, Lucca's doppelganger is likely the most difficult of the lot - and it's largely because she brought a friend along. The Crimson Shade and the Eggsterminator use the following attacks:
    • A single-target gun attack (Crimson Shade)
    • Shadow Fire, a Fire attack against the whole party (Crimson Shade)
    • Explosion, a strong Fire attack against the whole party (Crimson Shade)
    • Recover, which restores HP to the Crimson Shade (Eggsterminator)
    • Attacks that inflict Poison / Blind / Lock on one or more of your party members (Eggsterminator)
    • Permeate, which removes status immunity from a target (Eggsterminator)
    • Osmose, a counter that steals some MP from the attacker (Eggsterminator)
    The Crimson Shade uses Lucca's spells, and can do a reasonable amount of damage with them. The Crimson Shade is not the problem, however, but rather the Eggsterminator. Though it does virtually no damage to your team, the Eggsterminator pesters unprotected parties with a bevy of status ailments. It also counters attacks with Osmose, and can heal itself and the Crimson Shade. The fight takes a long time if you're not prepared, and even then the Eggsterminator can use Permeate to prevent your status protection from working.

    Equip items to resist both status ailments and fire, then use your most powerful Dual or Triple Techs - preferably those that inflict magical damage - to smash the Eggsterminator. Techs that involve Lucca's Fire should prove especially useful, as the Eggsterminator is weak to Fire attacks, though you can also use Water attacks to hit both of them simultaneously. By and large you should ignore the Crimson Shade altogether until the Eggsterminator is gone, then finish her off with everything but Fire attacks. Marle, Frog, and Magus are all useful for this half of the fight, but a flurry of neutral attacks also work fine.

    Defeating the Crimson Shade boosts Lucca's Speed, Magic, and Stamina stats, and boot you back to 2300 AD. 

    The party learns of a new threat from the Old Man, the steward of the End of Time in Chrono Trigger.

    The Dream Devourer

    Return to the End of Time after completing all three Dimensional Vortices. The Old Man calls the party over, and if you speak to him he'll tell you that the bucket leading to the Day of Lavos is acting erratically. If you use the bucket from now on you'll be given two choices:
    • Travel to the Day of Lavos and fight Lavos, as normal
    • Travel to Time's Eclipse and fight a new boss, the Time Devourer
    The Time Devourer is an enemy unique to the PC, Mobile, and DS versions of Chrono Trigger, and is the most powerful boss in the game. It also serves as a tether to Chrono Cross, so if you've been wanting an explicit link between Chrono Trigger and its sequel, read on - in the next section of the guide.