Review by Zylo the wolf
"This game had a huge potential, but......"
Chrono Trigger is one of the most popular SNES RPGs which had everything it needed to be one of the greatest games of all time. Akira Toriyama got the job as the character designer (The man who made Dragon Ball and designed every character in the Dragon Quest series), Nobou Uematsu (Known for the Final Fantasy Soundtrack.) took care of the music and the game company was the RPG gods Squaresoft. You would think that a game with such potential would turn out to be a crappy game, but today it's still considered by many to be one of the best RPG of all time. A such a excellent game needed a sequel.
Radical Dreamers was a text adventure which was a spin off to Chrono Trigger that was about three adventurers who was going to steal all the treasures in a mansion called Viper Manor. I haven't played much of that game since it was only released in Japan and I'm not a huge fan of text based games, so I never found the connection between Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers. However a few years later Squaresoft decided to take the storyline of Radical Dreamers and add it to Chrono Cross, the "real" sequel to Chrono Trigger.
Just like how Crono was a silent hero who didn't say much, the main character doesn't say much in this game unless you can choose what he shall say. His name is Serge, but you can name him to anything you want (except Crono for some odd reason). Serge is 17 years old and is living a peaceful life in the Anri village. One day his best friend Leena asks him to meet him at the Opassa Beach. Somehow Serge teleport into an alternative world.
In this world, no one knows who he is, not even his childhood friend Leena. It turns out that a boy named Serge died 10 years ago in that world. When Serge visits the young boys grave he gets attacked by three soldiers. A young girl named Kid shows up and fights along with Serge to defeat these three soldiers. After the battle Kid tells Serge that she's just like him, a young person who doesn't have any place to call home. She suggests that they should travel together, and so the journey begins.
There are a few things that makes Chrono Cross much different from Chrono Trigger. In Chrono Trigger you could travel through time and changed the fate of the world, while you can travel between Alternative World and Home World in Chrono Cross. You usually have to travel through the two different worlds to advance in the game. While only two different worlds seems to be a little to little, it would have been confusing if there was more than just two worlds.
Another thing which is completely different between the two games is the battle system. Chrono Trigger had a battle system which was almost identical to the Final Fantasy games battle system, while it's a bit more complicated in Chrono Cross. When you attack an enemy, there are three different type of attacks that you can use: Weak, Normal and Strong. The weak attack is the one who is most likely to hit the opponent, and you can use this attack as twice as many times as a normal attack. A normal attack does more damage than a weak attack, but it's 10% more likely that the attack will miss. You can use this attack up to 4 different times each turn. The strong attack is the strongest, but also the one who is the most likely to miss.
Instead of calling it magic, there are six different type of elements in this game: Red, Blue, Green Yellow, Black and White. The Red elements are different type of fire spells, Blue are different type of water spells, Green are different type of "nature" spells, Yellow are different type of electric spells, Black are different gravity spells and White are different Holy spells. Each character and enemy also got one element type. For example character who got the White colour do more damage on black enemies and can take more damage against white enemies. The only elements that you can use as magic which requires that your character has the correct element colour are the summon spells, otherwise every character can use every spell. I hope all this made any sense..
Just like in Chrono Trigger, there are no such thing as random encounters in Chrono Cross. Instead there are enemies in the dungeons who have to bump into you for the actual battle to begin. This means that it's easy to avoid many random enemies in this game, if you are a good sneaker that is. It's kinda similar to the Metal Gear Solid games, you have to make sure that you sneak by the enemy while he's looking in another directions.
You don't gain experience in this game. Instead your characters might increase some stats after each battle, and then all the characters you have recruited will go up one level after you have defeated a boss (except those who died in that battle). Since it's possible to run away from every regular enemy in this game, and even most of the bosses, it's usually a good idea to escape if you are about to die and heal your characters before you bump into the enemy again.
I wonder if the makers of this game had recently played games like Suikoden and Pokemon when they made this game, because in Chrono Cross there are a lot of characters that can join your party. A lot of people that used to be your enemy in the beginning of the game will later be your friend, while others will join you if you just talk to them or bring them a special item. Most of the characters have their own way to talk, which means that many dialogues in the game can be slightly altered depending on which characters you have in your party.
The main problem I have with that there are so many characters is that most of the characters role in the game completely disappears once they have joined your party. Normally I don't mind that but most of the characters in Chrono Cross who joins your party has a very good reason, so good reason that you would almost expect that there are a side quest which involve that character, but there usually isn't one. You can also have a total of three characters in your party, and counting the main character that means that you have to choose 2 characters when you have 40 to choose from. I would have preferred if there was just 7 playable characters just like in Chrono Trigger.
Another problem I got with this game is the story. It had a good potential to be interesting, but it just feels that the story actually is a fanfic. There are some connections to Chrono Trigger, but those are few. There are also way to many coincidence in the storyline. I don't want to spoil to much of the story, but Kid just happens to have an amulet which allows you to travel through the worlds, but you never get to find out how she got this item. She also just gives it to you when you really need it. And then when Serge finally gets to his world, no one cares about it.
Another small things that bothers me is that the battle system is so slow. In Chrono Trigger the enemies could move on the battlefield and such things, while they just stand and let the heroes do many attacks on them, they might interrupt and do one attack on their own but they never try to defend themselves. Another thing that really bothers me is that you needed certain materials to make stronger weapons. This is perhaps the worst idea Squaresoft has ever had and I don't understand why they had to include it in both of their two sequels to their two best RPGs of all time (Note: This is just my opinion).
The only thing that is really excellent about this game is the music. Chrono Trigger had excellent music tracks and the sequel isn't any worse. Also consider that this game is a Playstation game I guess that the graphic is also really good. I'm not saying that this game is a horrible game, but this game is released on a system which has many RPGs that are much better. However I used to love this game 5 years ago, when I hadn't played so many RPGs, including Chrono Trigger. Even if I personally don't like it, I can see why some think this is a really excellent RPG.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 07/09/07
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