Review by quickmanNT

"Unique Gameplay, Killer Graphics, but suffers from few although annoying flaws"

Introduction - It's been awhile but Square has made its return to a Nintendo Console. Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles marks Square-Enix's third contribution to Nintendo and although it's unique gameplay mechanics and awesome graphics hold this game together and although there are a few flaws, they are noticeable and may hinder your experience.

General Gameplay: Crystal Chronicles strays away from the typical RPG formula as well as not being a full fledged Action RPG either.
The controls are easy to follow and easy to catch on to with using only 4 buttons to use all actions in the game. Using commands are a breeze switching back a forth between each command using the L and R shoulder buttons although.

You are limited to a confined space though as the deadly poison reeks through the world and only a crystal chalice to create a small barrier.

Spells are picked up through the bodies of fallen enemies but disappear after a ''level'' is complete.

The difficulty of the game is well balanced as the game starts off fairly easy, teaching you to learn the ropes of how the game goes and then later on it throws you into a pit of unbearable doom with tough enemies and bosses blocking your path.

''Leveling up'' is done very different as you have to pick and choose an artifact at the end of each level which directly increases one of your stats, gives you more command slots, or increases your HP.

Upgrading items isn't as simple as give money to shopkeeper A to buy armor B and equip to C. You have to find the materials (bronze, iron, alloy, etc.), find the crafting scroll for it, bring it to a blacksmith, pay a fee to get it crafted and enjoy!

Your family is an important aspect of the game as sending items or money will net you a more loving family and better gifts to boot.

Single-Player Gameplay: Different features are added to single-player that help you greatly on your quest (being able to pause the action while in the menus and having a moogle carry the chalice for you). In Single-Player, things can get repetitive after a while when you get the hang of things and it can be also engaging as you will have to revisit some game areas more than once to be able to have the right materials or money

Multi-Player Gameplay: Features include: each person having a map on their GBA showing a different thing (treasures, enemies, weaknesses, general map), a member of the party must carry the crystal chalice and everyone MUST use a GBA to play multiplayer. Teamwork is especially important as it means the difference between life and death. Switching through menus can get some getting used to as you have to focus your eyes on the GBA screen, but thanks to some ingenious planning, you will still keep up with the group even though they are moving, but it won't keep your from getting killed in a tough fight that's why it's essential to only keep the commands you need in the slots to minimize the shifting around.

Story - The game actually has a pretty good story, but not like typical Final Fantasy like some of you are used to. Deadly poison shrouds the world and only hope for survival is through the crystals. You are a member of a crystal caravan in search of myrrh trees that fuel the crystals and protecting the town for one year longer. Throughout the game you will randomly encounter events that help enhance the story line and give you some background information and such.

Graphics/Sound - All I can say is WOW! Some of the best effects seen in a video game. Cut-scenes are done using the in-game engine and look great. Music uses some ancient instruments and are peaceful and serene fits with the style of game although it's kind of odd when you are tensely fighting hordes of monsters and all you hear in the background is the serene music...

Play Time/Replay Value - This game can be finished in about 15 to 30 hours depending on your skill level and how fast you fun through the levels. Takes a bit longer if you want to go collect and see everything.

Final Thoughts - This game is decent as a solid single-player game, but shines as an engaging multiplayer game, if you don't have any one to play with that has GBAs and links you may want to stray away from this title or rent it first to see if you can handle it's repetitive nature. If you have at least one other person you can play with every once in a while (that has a GBA and a link), then by all means get this game for it will net you some of the most memorable moments seen in a videogame. After a few hours of playing and getting into the game you will be yelling for a heal, high-fiving each other after a tough fight and crying after you die from a incredibly difficult fight.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 02/16/04

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