The Epoch, a time machine, launches into action and transports the party across the ages
Chrono Trigger owned by Square-Enix. 
Images used for educational purposes only.

The Wings of Time, 2300 AD

- Crono and the team have been kicked out of the Kingdom of Zeal, and the only Gate leading back into that time is sealed. What’s to be done? You need an alternate mode of transportation through time, obviously.

- Head to 2300 AD and proceed to Arris Dome, just west of Site 32 and the race against Johnny. From here you need to travel through the Abandoned Sewers. This article will help you get through if you’ve never travelled the Sewers before.

- Beyond you’ll find the Keeper’s Dome. Go through the black, sealed door in the rear of the Dome and make your way through the bits of story that follow. (Note the Magic Capsule near the black door on the left.) Ultimately you’ll wind up with your own time machine, the default name of which is the Epoch. Weeeee! Time travel is now substantially easier, though as of yet the Epoch can’t move around. When you jump through time you’ll appear in the same spot in each time period. Still, very handy.

- Using the Epoch you can now jump to 12,000 BC without the use of Gates. Head back there after you’re done playing with the machine. At this point I recommend collecting items from the sealed black boxes that you can open with the Pendant, which will be described in another article, though this isn’t compulsory for progression through the next stages of the game.

Terra Cave, home of the Earthbound Ones of 12,000 BC who have been condemned by the people of Zeal

Terra Cave

- Head west of the drop point in 12,000 BC. In the northwest you’ll find a small cave, and inside a town of sorts. There’s not a ton to do here, but you can purchase a bunch of new equipment in the first small apartment, and the last one before the bottom has a place to sleep and restore your health. The equipment is reeeeally expensive, so you may want to hold off on buying anything. Make sure you save before going through the bottommost passage.

Mudbeast Den

- This small area is quite straightforward. It’s populated entirely by Mudbeasts, powerful melee combatants that gain attack strength every time they’re hit. You want to use your strongest Dual Techs to kill them in as few hits as possible.

- Start by looking in the small chamber to the south of where you come in. On the right side is a Strength Capsule shining on the ground. To the north are two Mudbeasts, and beyond them… two more Mudbeasts. Such variety. And at the end of the tunnel…

Crono, Robo, and Ayla battle the Imp and his two Mudbeasts, the guardians of the Mountain of Woe

Mud Imp, Blue Mudbeast, Red Mudbeast

Well that didn’t take long. The Mud Imp and his two specialized Mudbeasts make a formidable team, but they’re as strong as they’re ever going to get at the beginning of the battle. The Mudbeasts work in conjunction with the Imp, typically lashing out at one character at a time to do significant amounts of damage. Attack the Mud Imp and they’ll counter with an all-hitting attack that does moderate amounts of damage. The Imp will occasionally hurl rocks at your team, and on a rare occasion he may put one of your team members to sleep. Every few rounds he’ll also heal his side of the battle collectively for 150 HP. Not a huge threat, but annoying.

Pick one of the Mudbeasts and focus all of your attacks on it. You preferably want to go with elemental attacks - Water on the Red Mudbeast, Fire on the Blue Mudbeast - to maximize the damage inflicted. Go after the other once the first is dead, healing as needed. When they’re both gone the Imp’s defences will drop substantially, and you’ll have an easy time wiping him out. (Though if you take too long he’ll just run away. Coward.) Overall, not a tough fight.

- If you’re hurting in the aftermath of the fight, return to the village to restore your health. Otherwise, climb the chain the Imp was standing on to find…

The party strikes a pose after a battle on the Mountain of Woe

Mountain of Woe

- Immediately after climbing up to the Mountain of Woe you’ll see a creature on your right called a Rubble. Rubbles immediately lock your Techs and items, forcing you to attack them with physical strikes only. They’re also highly evasive, so you will have a roughly fifty percent chance at best of hitting one. Eventually, without attacking, Rubbles will run away. You should nevertheless always attack Rubbles, as each one is worth 100 TP. Woo! Unlike other enemies, Rubbles do not respawn if you leave and reenter an area, whether you killed it or not. Equip your best hitters with Berserker Rings for maximize your chances of killing one. Ayla and Frog with the Masamune / Hero’s Badge work best.

- Directly north are two Bomber Birds. They’ll turn into Stone Imps upon defeat. No big deal overall. Follow the path further north and west to find another Rubble, then go south from the Rubble and beneath a small, natural bridge to find a chest containing a Platinum Helm.

- Return to the entrance and take a left. This path leads to two more Bomber Birds and a new screen.

- Once you’re in the new area, head left. There’s a Rubble waiting. Kill it, then head to the right and north. Two Gargoyles block your path. They’re very easy kills with physical strikes; just make sure they don’t get the chance to attack and reduce one character’s HP to one. North of them is a save point, and further north and to the right is a path to two chest, guarded by a Gargoyle and two Bomber Birds. The chests contain a Platinum Vest and a Shield Sphere, and, hey! There’s another Rubble up here! Score.

The party explores the Mountain of Woe in 12,000 BC

- Continue as far north as you can go, then turn west and follow the cliff’s edge. You’ll eventually find a chest containing a Barrier Sphere. You’ll have to kill four Gargoyles to get at it. That collected, turn back, walk a short ways east, and go south along the cliffs. You’ll find a way up to a wide expanse, two Bomber Birds, and a chest containing a Lapis.

- Head east on the rise and across a chain. Two Stone Imps and two Gargoyles wait on the other side. Follow the cliffs southwest to fight two Bomber Birds and two Gargoyles. Continue south across another chain and look to your left for a chest containing a Barrier Sphere. Check the south of this section of the Mountain for another Rubble, then head east.

- New screen. To the direct north is a chest containing a Lapis. To the east you’ll find four Death Lilies, enemies that can spark confusion but are otherwise quite easy. Check the section of island east of the Lilies to fight three Gargoyles and to find chest containing a Hi-Ether and a Barrier Sphere, then wander north. In the far north you’ll find another Rubble waiting.

- South of the Rubble are two Death Lilies and three Gargoyles, the lot of them guarding a Shield Sphere and a Shelter. Grab both, then head back north and make your way to the east. After a quick skirmish with three Gargoyles you’ll find a save point.

- The next screen has no enemies. Make your way along the path, grabbing the Time Hat and the Hi-Ether from the chests on the way, until you find a chain in the east that leads north. South of this chain you’ll find a sparkling Magic Capsule. That grabbed, wander up the chain. You can’t come back to this area once you beat the next boss, so make sure you’ve explored everywhere before proceeding.

The party prepares to face off against Giga Gaia, the boss and guardian of the Mountain of Woe in 12,000 BC

Giga Gaia

This boss looks more intimidating than he actually is. Composed of a central body and two arms, Giga Gaia fights by combining the abilities of his arms into moderately-strong, all-hitting combo attacks. That aside he can also strike single opponents with his arms, and one of his arms will restore the body’s HP every now and then. Giga Gaia’s attacks are Shadow, Fire, and Water-based, so equipping elemental vests that resist or absorb the elements will make this battle a lot easier.

Your approach can be twofold. Either you pull out your strongest Double or Triple Techs and target Giga Gaia’s arms one-at-a-time, or you use all-hitting combos that will knock them both down simultaneously. Going after the arms separately is advisable as you can take one out more quickly than both, but it’s up to your team and overall strategy. Once the arms are gone, the body will begin to rejuvenate them - and be helpless in the meantime. Smash it with your strongest attacks, then go back to whittling away the arms when they return. Repeat this process until Giga Gaia is dead meat.

Once Giga Gaia is dead you’ll meet an old friend, and after that you’ll watch a lengthy series of cut scenes that will see you rewarded with a Ruby Knife. Your next destination: Zeal Palace… and the Ocean Palace.