A sequel that more than lives up to the original. Chrono Trigger was one of the best RPG's ever made -- if you can find a copy, used, you'll probably pay upwards of $50, and it was new 6 or 7 years ago.

You return to the same world, starting with a dream sequence. Travelling with Kid, and some other guy, you are exploring a temple or ruin of some sort. After unlocking a simple puzzle, you wake up in your own bed soon afterwards. Amusingly enough, the first three lines after the screen goes black are the same lines Chrono's mom said to HIM in the beginning of Chrono Trigger.

Anyways, this game deals with parallel worlds, the second world being the one where something major has changed everyone's life. The same people, for the most part, but their lives have taken a drastically different path. I don't want to give any of it away, though, because it is a positively magical game. I have only played it two nights and I'm already 6 hours in, it is addictive, engaging, and best of all, actually FUN.

The battle system is somewhat reminiscent of an FF title, or Chrono Trigger, but new, at the same time. Replacing materia or guardian forces, or spells are elements. They are placed in an element grid, which grows in size two-dimensionally as you progress through the game. As you make a successful hit, you gain the number of element levels equal to the amount of stamina you spent on the hit. There are three levels of attack, the highest being the least likely to hit, but with each successful hit, the hit rate increases. Using any element costs you 7 stamina, usually putting you into the negative, and reduces your active element level by the level of the element used. You can boost an element's power by placing it higher on the grid, but of course, then it costs more to use. You may only use an element once per battle.

I haven't made it to summoning yet, but I have received Techs. The techs are special attacks locked in place on the element grid, the first one being the equivalent of a 3rd level element. Supposedly, like Chrono Trigger, there are Double Techs and Triple Techs (involving more of your characters).

Also like Chrono Trigger, you can SEE your enemies and try to run around them. No random battles popping out of nowhere.. Hoorah! And.. there really isn't experience. Your "growth level" is based on the toughest monster you've defeated.. so you can skip all the wimpy guys, kill the big guys, and end up almost in the same place as the person who fought everything. Also a big plus in my book.

Finally, let me say for the record, that SquareSoft is the GOD of computer animated characters. The full motion video clips are almost seamlessly slipped into the gameplay, like FF8 did very well, and are even MORE breathtaking. And the music was composed by the guy who did the soundtrack for Xenogears, among other things -- very very good stuff.

This game rules. I rarely RANT about games like this, but Chrono Cross has lived up to ALL the hype, and the high standards set by its predecessor. PLAY IT. You know you want to.

Concerning whether or not certain characters are the same characters from Chrono Trigger... First of all, the game prevents you from naming Serge Crono. Why? I don't know. It's kind of obvious that they are not the same person.

Secondly, Leah, in her ending sequence (not really a big spoiler - everyone has a few lines to say at the end if you use them in the final battle and get the good ending), says that it's time for her to return home... and that she already has a name for her baby. AYLAAAAAA!

Anyhow, as far as the Guile/Janus (Magus) debate goes, Guile doesn't say much in the very end that would lead me to think that he's Magus... Also, Guile uses a wand instead of the usual scythe that Magus used. The only thing that I really see is that Guile's Japanese name, Alf, or what I'm guessing is Arufa, is the shortened name of Janus' cat, Alfador.

I don't know if Guile said something else during the game, so if anyone else can point anything out I'd love to hear it.

Oh, and Glenn is NOT Frog. Somewhere in the game, I think it was Glenn's mother or maybe it was Dario who said that Glenn was named after the legendary knight who lived 420 years ago.... THAT was Frog.

This is mostly speculation, mind you... I didn't make the game!


Addendum- concerning the node about auto-accents, that is true. If you get the Programmer's Ending, you'll be able to talk a character that explains their accent generator. The programmer's ending is attained in a New Game + by defeating the final boss at the very beginning of the game.

While Chrono Cross takes up many of the threads woven by Chrono Trigger, it is not exactly a sequel per se. It was predated by Radical Dreamers, the actual sequel to Chrono Trigger on the Super Famicom than never made it to the States.

Aside from that, it happens to be a kick ass game; easily one of the best I've ever played. It has a kick ass play system, and the plot is simply stunning. You don't often find such plot complexity in a video game, and all the twists and turns, not to mention the sheer number of characters, reminds me of Tolstoy, or Robert Jordan.

One of the best features is the fact that you can avoid the random battles that become so tedious in the Final Fantasy series. Now don't get me wrong, I love Final Fantasy, but it can get extremely annoying when you're really high level, and are trying to complete some archaic sub-quest, only to be drawn into some stupid battle every five steps. In Chrono Cross, you can see "battles" as enemy creatures on the World Map. If you run into them, then you go into Battle Mode. Otherwise, both parties go their merry way. Some are harder to avoid than others, but almost all of them can be.

All in all a great game, with some serious replay value, and the "good" ending is really kick ass. That scene as the credits are rolling where she's waiting at a cross walk, fufilling her promise to somehow find you, is truly awesome. Gotta love video games :0)

SPOILERS WITHIN

The Chrono Cross is a item endowed with the power of the lost seventh element color, and an essential item for beating the game of the same name. To get it, go to Divine Dragon Falls in Another World once you have both the Tear Of Hate and the Tear Of Love. Place them both on the provided altars to receive the Chrono Cross. The Chrono Cross serves two purposes...

First, it allows you to save Kid from within her nightmare. I won't go into it any more than that.

Second, you can use it to defeat the final boss in short measure, and in doing so, get what's referred to as "the good ending". If you're playing the game and have the Chrono Cross equipped, you'll notice that every time you cast a spell, there's a ringing sound, and then a small sphere appears at the top of the screen.

When you defeat Aquator, notice the order in which the colors light up on pedestal. If that isn't enough, watch the order in which the next boss uses elements. When you fight the final boss, cast a string of colored elements in this sequence, and follow that up with the Chrono Cross. It's not quite as easy as that, because the final boss likes to screw up the order with his own elements. Just get a bunch of different colored low-level elements so you have something to work with.

By the way, the color sequence listed in the above write-up is wrong. I don't really think I should give it away... well, OK, how about this: I'll pipe-link it below, and you can scroll over it if you want.

final element sequence for Chrono Cross

Name: Chrono Cross
Developer: Square
Platform: PlayStation

Chrono Cross, while certainly a well-done RPG and worthy any Square fan's collection, falls short in many categories. It is billed as the sequel to the ever-popular SNES game Chrono Trigger, although really it's more of a direct sequel to Radical Dreamers. I don't really understand the decision to base so many references in Chono Cross on Radical Dreamers. The fact that it was a relatively obscure game, released for a relatively obscure SNES add-on called the Satellaview, makes me wonder how they expect North Americans to catch any of the references. While we don't see Crono, Marle, Magus or any other classic Chrono Trigger characters, we do see Serge, Kid, Lynx, the Frozen Flame, and that horrible battle music theme, all of which are directly imported from Radical Dreamers.

First of all, the positives about Chrono Cross. The graphics are pretty well done. Movement blurs and special effects add to it, and the FMV sequences are stunning, as usual in a Squaresoft game. It should be noted that Chrono Cross is far less reliant on FMVs to convey crucial story points than Final Fantasy IX was. Chrono Cross is, though, unfortunately limited by the PlayStation's inherently underpowered graphics, CPU, and 2X CD-ROM drive.

The musical score was excellent. You don't often hear music in a video game that conveys the mood and fits the scene so well. The music in the latter Final Fantasy games seems to be getting more and more bland, but Chrono Cross has possibly the best score in an RPG to date. The one blemish, really, was the truly awful battle theme. And this is unfortunately the most often heard piece of music in the game. The boss battle music was good, and almost all the other town/overworld/dungeon themes were excellent. The only other two exceptions were the music heard in both the Home World and Another World when you're using your boat to move between continents.

The story was also extremely well done. I still think that if the graphics, music, and story of Chrono Cross were all placed into the same gameplay engine used in Chrono Trigger, we would have had one hell of an RPG. Anyway, your main character is Serge. As per series tradition, he is a silent protagonist. He "reflects the will of the player." I don't really mind this stylistic choice, as it spares you pointless and extraneous emotional rants from the main character that have become commonplace in other RPGs. There are other, more talkative characters as well. Kid, the obligatory scantily-clad female main character, will accompany you for a good portion of the game. Lynx is Kid's arch-nemesis, and he has some strange connection with Serge as well. Beyond that, though, the rest of the characters in Chrono Cross are transient. They come and go and have almost no direct relationship to the story. There are, in total, 43 playable characters., many of whom are just random people you pick up on a side quest. That basically destroys any hope of character development, which hurts the story a bit. Chrono Cross takes place in El Nido, ten years after the events in Chrono Trigger. Shortly after talking with a friend on Opassa Beach, Serge discovers that he has fallen through a dimensional portal. Soon after, he meets Kid, and gets caught up in her quest to find the Frozen Flame and exact revenge on Lynx. I won't say more, for fear of spoiling it, but suffice it to say that it will be very satisfying to those who've player Chrono Trigger. If you haven't, you won't be completely lost, either. The story is probably the coolest part of Chrono Cross, I just wish they could have spared us the fetch quests towards the end of disc 1, and the ear-splitting "concert" on the S.S. Zelbess.

And now for the bad and the ugly. The gameplay is the weakest link in Chrono Cross. Your party consists of 3 characters. For a good portion of the game, you must include Serge and Kid in these three. The worldmap and areas work similar to Chrono Trigger - nothing out of the ordinary. Also, as in Chrono Trigger, enemies appear on the screen, and you only initiate a battle with them if you collide with them, unlike the totally random battles in Final Fantasy games. However, battles are still a necessary part of Chrono Cross. Square has eschewed numerous successes with ATB-based battle systems in favor of a different system in Chrono Cross. Every spell, item, and ability is now an "element". Some elements are consumable (like potions and tonics of yore), other are spells to cast in battle, still others are innate abilites. Elements can be purchased in towns or captured from enemies. You equip them on characters not unlike materia in Final Fantasy VII. Each element can be used once per battle. Each element also has a specific elemental color (blue, water; red, fire; yellow, earth; green, forest; white, holy; black, evil). Each character also has an innate color, and using elements of their own color will amplify their power. Now, for the battle system itself. Rather than ATB, each character has a stamina meter. Commands be issued to any character who still has stamina left. Attacks and element usages deplete stamina. Each physical attack landed on an enemy, however, recharges the other party members' stamina. Using an element causes all the stamina of that character to be depleted, and deadwood to show up in their meter. This must be cleared before stamina will build up again. If everyone's stamina drop below the level where any actions can be used, everyone's stamina is recharged, but all the enemies get an attack.

Ok, so it looks fine on paper, but in implementation every battle is monotonous, drawn out, and takes forever, even for puny little enemies. You can run away with 100% success from any battle, but the enemies on the screen will not disappear. Also, some bosses will let you go and prepare for the better, while others will just immediately initiate combat again. All in all, the gameplay engine is almost all subpar - making Chrono Cross just another face in the crowd as far as this goes.

Well, that's about it. There is one other thing that I found funny, and sad, about Chrono Cross. In the instruction booklet, on the 'Credits' page, I found a reference to the English Auto-Accent Generator. What this means, I believe, is that all the charatcers who speak in exaggerated, annoying accents (probably about half of them) had their accents automatically created by some regex parser that some tech working at Square wrote. Innovative!

A typical Square game, really. Incredibly good in some areas, and really crappy in others. None the less, it will keep you entertained for a good while. Just have the mute button handy for battles.

Chrono Cross was released in Japan on November 18th, 1999, and in North America on August 16th, 2000. No European release is planned.

My review of Chrono Cross. Please give me feed back. This will help me with what I want to be after college. Well, here we go:

Story: I gave a 9.5/10
A story that doesn't revolve around the characters? I'm not sure if there is another game like this but this is my first game this way. With over 40 characters, it's a little hard to use the characters for story plot. Only 2 actually have some importance to the story. Serge and Kid. And the story itself doesn't require you to go out and play Chrono Trigger first, (although there are many references to CT).

Music: I gave a 9/10
Yasanori Mitsuda did a great job with the soundtrack. The music for CC only made this game much more magical. Not a song I didn't like which is rare for any game or artist these days.

Characters: I gave a 6/10
43 characters is quite a bit for one to use. Most of us don't really use most of these and only select a few for main use. However they are imaginative and some are just cool altogether (Pip and his evolutions). The many characters lead to the story to be independant, which goes to show just how good the writers at Square are.

Gameplay: I gave a 8/10
What can I say? The battle system is different and unique. With many variations of elemental combinations, this game can be tricky your first time through. And no exp. in this game. This means no leveling up for hours so you can beat the pants off of who ever you are having trouble with.

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