Review by SCCAN85

"Only the strong can survive against fate!"

INTRO

The long awaited sequel has finally came in and did it please every ones hunger? For the most part, no. Compared to its prequel, I'd say that many people were disappointed with Chrono Cross, but I can step up and proudly say that I enjoyed this game. Now I think this game is nothing ''great'' as Chrono Trigger was but this is new and definitely a worthy sequel. Now I luckily won this game for free from another sites review contest where the winner gets a free game. I chose Chrono Cross and finally after receiving it in the mail I was very eager to play. I, as did many, want this to be the same as Chrono Trigger but right when I saw the back of the case I knew it was going to be very different. Not that different is a bad thing, but I personally think there are a lot of not so good things about Chrono Cross. Chrono Cross is an RPG developed and published by Squaresoft. Chrono Cross came out recently in August of 2000, about two and a half months ago. Chrono Cross is much different than Chrono Trigger, but does that make it bad? You be the judge of that! Read on and make the right assumption for yourself.

STORY: (8/10)

I was expecting more of a ''deep'' story from this, but I guess the story isn't so bad. Here's how it goes. You, Serge (or whoever you name him) starts out in Fort Dragonia and you and two other people make it to the top of the tower and suddenly, Serge stabs the girl! What is this!? Then he wakes up in a small village called Arni. Whew! It was just a dream. The village seems very peaceful and everyone knows him and he meets his friend Leena and they later meet up at a secluded beach. Then while the two are talking a strange event happens causing Serge to plunge into a vortex taking him into another world! How is he going to get back home!? Why did it happen to him!? All these questions will be answered and they aren't very good answers either. Now it's pretty hard for me to tell you the story because all the ''ties'' within it become revealed later in the game and everything connects together at the end. The 48 characters all have something to do with the story and the enemies are good too. Overall, the storyline isn't what I'd call perfect but it's pretty damn good nonetheless.

GAME PLAY: (8/10)

The game play for Chrono Cross is unlike any other. I don't really know if that is a good thing or not, but there are only few similarities between Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. The battles are fun and trying to get the best ending with all 48 characters is always fun, while going along with the story of course :). The story is mainly the only thing that follows along the same line with Chrono Trigger. That and the techs. I'll guess I'll start off with describing the battles.

Battles - The battles in Chrono Cross are somewhat similar to Xenogears in a sense (if you've played it you'll know what I'm talking about). When choosing the Attack command you are able to choose between a weak, medium, or fierce attack. They are labeled 1 - 3 with 1 being weak and 3 being fierce. There's a catch to that though. Each character has a limit of seven stamina points which allow the person to attack. For example if you attack in the order of weak (1), medium (2), fierce (3), and weak (1) you'd use up all of your stamina points for that character. The stamina doesn't run out but while the other person is going stamina recovers during an attack by your team. There are three people allowed on battle and you should take notice of who you put because players have different elements and HP, as well as other stats. You can use elements during battle as well (look down for info. on elements) but when using an element it uses up all your stamina points. You could attack with a combo until you have 1 stamina point and then use an element (I do that usually). Also, as you attack and your stamina goes down your element level goes up but not permanently. There are 8 levels of elements total and if you attack with a weak attack (1) then your element level during battle goes up 1 so then you can use the elements that are allocated in element level 1. It won't go all the way up to eight unless you have that many levels outside of battle. Confused? I hope not, but in case you are reading on should clear your confusion of elements. In battle you can do double techs or even triple techs. Techs are sort of like limit breaks and each player gets 3 techs but they are allocated in three different levels. The first tech for every character is on the 3rd level of elements. Now what do you get after battles? Well, you don't level up at all. You might be confused but if you've played Saga Frontier then you'll know how this works. After a battle you gain HP or Strength or Resistance by 1 point or how many points (it depends) but they are some type of levels. After important events or important battles (mainly) you will gain an element level which gives you an extra element slot, but it varies on where it is at depending on who the character is. Then after leveling up each fight gives you HP +1 or some other stat plus 1 until about three of four fights where it gives you more points for more stats. Then you don't receive anymore points until you gain another element level. I'll talk a bit more about battling in the next section so just stay tuned.

Elements and other battle info. - OK, there are six elements and they are wind (green), yellow (earth), water (blue), fire (red), holy/neutral (white), and dark/evil (black). Each character in the game has an element. The main character Serge is a white element. This means that his techs are white elements and same applies for other characters. If Serge fights a black element character then Serge has higher attack advantage on his opponent and at the same time has a disadvantage of lower defense. Same thing applies for green, yellow and blue, red. Elements are like magic and you have to allocate them. Elements are packaged for certain levels and when you get them they say what level they are for. For example aqua ball magic is a level 1 element but can be used in the second level and so on. During battle, you can only use an element once unless you have an elemental item which allows you to reuse the element. An elemental item is an element but can be consumed so it's like an item. When using elements in battle it changes the field effect. The field effect circle has three levels and in them are colors of any element (red, blue, green, etc.) and if the field effect is blue, then the character with a red element has an advantage. If a field effect has all three levels filled with the same color (let's say white) then you can use a summon element. You can only use summons when all three levels of the field effect are the same color. One drawback of using summons is that it takes up a element level, but you can gain it back by going to an inn. There are four different types of elements and I will list them. There's 1) normal elements which is just magic and can be allocated in the level its given. Then there's 2) consumable elements which I already explained. Then there's 3) summon elements which I again explained. Then last but not least there's 4) trap elements which you use to capture another element if that element is used during battle. That's all about elements!

OK, before I finish up this section *phew* I'll just say a few small things. The world map is not very big and the game isn't very long but it took me 45 hours. There aren't many towns, but the ones that are there are basically like other RPG towns. You can't get every character once around the game. To get them all you have to play the game again and again. Overall, the game play is pretty good, but it could've been done better. I like the element system but sometimes it can get frustrating.

CONTROLS: (10/10)

The controls are pretty much perfect in every possible way! I encountered no problems whatsoever while I was playing this game. I like how you get the option to see if you are in either your 'HOME' world or 'ANOTHER' world by pressing select. What I really like about the controls is that they are swift and easy to control. Serge didn't stutter at all when I made him run and the menu never went crazy on me. While allocating you can also choose the option of just auto - allocate instead of just going through one by one allocating elements which saves a lot of time. Also, during battles if you happen to go really fast while choosing the combo to execute the game does not slow down and immediately takes in what you entered which is awesome! The configuration is very basic and even a beginner would easily comprehend the button configuration. Overall, the controls are top notch!

MUSIC/SOUND: (10/10)

The music for Chrono Cross is literally breath taking and astonishing at the same time. The soundtrack may not contain many songs, but the very few amount that it does have is so deep and truly amazing. I don't know who composed it, but this music rules! I especially like the intro music with the accustic guitar and then with the flute and all. Also, the music in the 'HOME' world map is a translated version of a song in Chrono Trigger. Actually, when thinking about it most of the tracks are from Chrono Trigger but just redone and improvised very much. Now the sounds aren't as great as the themes, but they are excellent as well. During battle the sound of a slash from the main characters swallow (his weapon) sounds definitely painful as well as realistic. Magic sounds and other attacking commands sound very realistic and very detailed. The FMVs have great sounds effects and add to the realism in the game. The waves flowing gently towards the shore in an FMV in the beginning reminds me of the beach and to me if a game can do that it automatically gets a 10 for excellency! Overall, the sounds and music themes of Chrono Cross are superb in every way!

GRAPHICS: (10/10)

Now these are what I call awesome graphics! Ever since Final Fantasy 8 graphics have been great but not as great as Final Fantasy 8. I'm proud to say that Chrono Cross did not disappoint me in this category, but some people may have felt that Square spent too much time on graphics. If that's the case their hard work paid off because these graphics look great! The colorful backgrounds and designs of the character are utterly awesome and the elements as well as the summons look so cool that you'll use an element just to see it! Everything from a spider coming through a crack in the wall to a huge building is very detailed, which adds the effect of realism and also my interest. About the spider in a cracked wall thing ... during battles before you actually get into battle the game shows off its unique graphics by giving two or three screen shots of the area you are battling in and of course something can be noticed. In sewers you can see spiders crawling up the wall or even birds flying off trees. I'm impressed with how much detail is in these graphics. I like the character designs a lot because they are all innovative and look very well. There's nothing much else to say other than everything looks great! Overall, these graphics are probably the best graphics or tied with Final Fantasy 8.

CHALLENGE: (5/10)

Well, RPGs aren't meant to be too hard but Chrono Cross is almost as easy as Final Fantasy 7. For those of you who haven't played Final Fantasy 7 let me just say that it's a pretty easy game. The only real challenge in this game is trying to figure out where to go sometimes because the game doesn't even hint what's the next destination sometimes and it could get frustrating. Another challenge is getting every single character and every ending. There are a total of 16 endings and you have to play New game + to get every single character. The bosses aren't hard at all (some are, but most are pretty easy) and neither are the normal monsters. I, for one, never died in this game at all and even if you do it doesn't mean anything really. Overall, I think that the challenge is very easy .... possibly too easy but for a novice it's just right.

REPLAY: (10/10)

Now this is what I call replay value! I've never seen so much possibilities for replaying an RPG in my life until I came across Chrono Cross. If you are familiar with the prequel, Chrono Trigger, then you might remember how it had New game +. Chrono Cross delivers the same experience and once you beat the game you are allowed to start a new game +. New game +, for those of you who are clueless right now, means that you start a whole new game like you first did but this time you start the game with all the weapons, items, stats, elements, etc. that you had before beating the game. Isn't that cool? So when you fight monsters in the beginning of the game that were hard for you, you can tear them up in less then 10 seconds! It's fun, but can get boring. The main point of new game + is not to beat monsters quickly. The point is to get all the sixteen endings and to get all the 48 characters in the game on account that you cannot acquire them all your first time through. If I think it's kind of boring then why do I give REPLAY a 10? Well, it's simple. It's a great idea and not many RPGs have replay value and I know that many of my friends like new game +, so I decided to give it a 10 because most of you will probably like it too.

PROS
- Fun battles
- Awesome music!
- Fills in mysteries from Chrono Trigger (for those who have played Chrono Trigger)
- High replay value
- Awesome graphics!
- New element system
- 48 characters and 16 different endings!

CONS
- Story could've been a bit better
- Duration of the game can be too short (Although it took me 45 hours to beat)

SCORE 8 + 8 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 5 + 10 = 61 61/7 = 8.71
Rounded to 9

OVERALL: (9/10)

I hope this review has helped you to make a decision to either buy, rent, or not even think about Chrono Cross. Trust me though it's an excellent game with only a few flaws which I mentioned up there ^. Even though I received this game for free I still encourage all of you who are RPG fans or beginners to go out and rent or buy this game because it's very fun. I would say it's the best RPG tied with Legend of Mana that has come out this summer, but that's just me. I think the price for this game is around $40 so if you don't have your eyes set on something else I suggest you set your eyes on this game! That's basically all I have to say and once again I hope this helps with your decision, whatever the outcome may be. Thanks for reading and have a nice day!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/10/00, Updated 11/10/00


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