Review by Bassguy

"It doesn't get much better then Crystal Chronicles."

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is an action role-playing game based off of the classic turn-based, Final Fantasy series. In my opinion it has solid roots as a role-playing game although most of the game is done through battles. Besides the normal race and gender selection, there is an entire story just from random meetings along your journey. If you pick one thing it directly affects other elements, such as when and where you will meet, greet, give and receive. Although not the deepest game in the world it is very addictive and has infinite multiplayer potential. To play multiplayer you must have one Gameboy Advance and link cable for each player. This truly enhances the game-play considering you can look at different maps and menus while your buddies are fighting off the baddies. There is also the issue of the crystal chalice, which generates a protective circle that you must stay in, or you lose health. If you and your friends can work out a schedule of who carries the chalice when… you will all get along much better. The crystal chalice is taken care of by a friendly moogle in single player mode.

Story- 7/10
Although the game doesn’t have a particularly thick back-story the non-player characters you meet enhance the story and you get to make decisions that decide which way the story will go.

Game-play- 9/10
The way everything is set up makes it very simple. There are a certain amount of “hot keys” that allow you to make easy access to spells, attacks and many other things. You can scroll through them pretty fast. You lose any spells you pick up at the end of each level but it is easy to find them again in the next one. There is a very unique casting system that allows you to fuse two spells together to make a different spell… this I think is what makes the game really stand out. I myself have never seen something this cool.

Multiplayer- 10/10
If you and one, two or three friend have Gameboy Advances then this is defiantly worth checking out. You can go from fighting it up on the Gamecube screen to menu scrolling on the Gameboy Advance screen in literally a press of a button. The simple lay out and easy to pick up and hard to put down game play makes the multiplayer unique yet fun.

Graphics- 10/10
The graphics in this game, simply put, are amazing. The subtle detail put into just about every single object makes the game shine. If you want to impress your friends into breaking down and buying a Gameboy Advance and cable… this is the game to do it. Some of the best feature is while crossing a stream there is a glow surrounding you that is breathtaking. Another favorite graphic feature of mine is the sheer beatuy of every town you may wonder to.

Originality- 9/10
This game takes the simple idea of connecting two different platforms together to enhance game-play and makes it the basis of the game. They made a completely new battle engine, new spell casting system, changed the way you strengthen your character and didn’t skip anything in the graphics department. The only thing this game isn’t original at is the monsters and some of the names, but that is mainly just to keep it knee deep in its Final Fantasy roots.

Controls- 8/10
The controls are okay considering they are interchangeable between the Gamecube controller and the controls on the Gameboy Advance. If the Gameboy Advance has more buttons it would of made the hot key system work even better… but no such luck. But they do what they are supposed to do with out slowing down game play and that is all that matters.

Sound- 8/10
The soundtrack is quite nice… the first couple of hours (and believe me, you’ll want to play for many, many hours). After you’ve played for a while you will get extremely tired of the same music in the same places. But then again, that is what the mute button is for.

Difficulty- 4/10
This is not a particularly hard game, but it has its frustrating parts. Most of them time all that is needed is to go through a few more levels before you take on a level with higher “HP” monsters or just more of the same monsters. Is this a game that you can judge your game playing skills at? … No.

Replay- 10/10
Considering that there is eight character slots, four tribes (races), two genders and 8 costumes per tribe there are a lot of combinations to pick from. Each tribe plays differently and has their own specialty and set of weapons, armor, and accessories. Getting all of the artifacts and completing all of the side quests and dungeons will take a long, long time. If you have friends with Gameboy Advances and link cables this game will last you as long as you want.

Overall- 9/10
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is a solid action role-playing game. It has its niches and its quirks, but it remains intact. Despite the different path square chose there may be some obstacles for some people to use they very well designed multiplayer mode it is one of the best role-playing game I have ever played.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/18/04

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