Review by ShadowFox50

"Not the warm return we were hoping for...but still a great game!"

So, at first glance, you might exclude FFCC from being a ''usual'' Final Fantasy game. Well I don't blame you. It sure isn't turn based, or has the engaging story, but hear me out, and decide if it's Final Fantasy enough for you. But don't forget also, that this game is MEANT for multiplayer.

I'm sorry but the story for this game is almost downright pathetic. Yes, it DOES have one, but they could've gone without it. So it goes that towns are protected from deadly miasma by giant crystals. The thing is, miasma is all across the land, AND the crystals need to be replenished by special water called Myrrh. Each town sends a group(caravan) of people to fetch Myrrh for their crystal every year. Three drops is enough for the year, and each Myrrh tree drops one drop. So that's where you come in. You're a caravaner set out to get Myrrh, and finally learn what a caravaner REALLY needs to do.

You get to choose what tribe your character comes from, what gender your character is, and the appearance of your character from a list of four appearances for your appropriate type of person(i.e meaning different appearances from a male Clavat and female Clavat). The tribes are:
Clavat-Best starting defense
Lilty-Best starting attack
Selkie-Shorter focus attack charge up and longer range.
Yuke-faster spellcasting and best starting magic.

Hmm...that didn't seem THAT pathetic.

Well, it sure isn't turn-based(thank you!), but reading that last outburst you might think I'm biased with it. I have to admit I am, so you'll know what kind of person this is coming from. Anyway, the game is easy to pick up and play, with using all the face buttons, the triggers('cept Z), and the Control Stick/D-Pad. The A button does the action selected, the B button does various different actions depending on the situation, the L and R triggers pick the action for the A button, the X button gives three commands to your moogle(carry chalice, drop chalice, come here), and the Control Stick OR D-Pad controls your character. Of course this changes in multiplayer though, where the ''Y'' button is replaced by the select button on the gba.

All this seems great, and trust me, it is, but you have a limited amount of space to work. There's this chalice, which holds a crystal that protects you from this miasma(more on this in the ''story'' section later on), and you have a fairly good amount to move before going out. But in one player mode, a little moogle carries the chalice, meaning that you barely have to worry about wandering out of it...unless you want to fuse spells with your little buddy which means the puffball dropping the chalice.
Attacking and using magic both use the A button, but you have to select the command with the L and R buttons. You can do a simple three hit combo, or hold A for a focus attack that differs for every weapon(oooh ahhh). This applies to magic too where you hold A, use the Stick/Pad to direct the targeting circle as desired, then release A to unleash the attack. Also, your favorite -ara, -aga, and -aja spells return!

There is no leveling up in this game however, well not the traditional way. Instead of beating up monsters to gain experience, you find artifacts through the level to raise your stats. However, you can only pick from one of the many you found to level your character up, and you choose at the end of the level. In multiplayer, first dibs goes to the one who achieved their ''secret objective'' the best, which are like ''Take physical damage'' and ''Defeat enemies with spell fusion''. So if you're playing multiplayer and find an artifact that grants you one more heart, you better get to that radar screen on your gba to find out your objective.

The graphics of Crystal Chronicles are GORGEOUS. No you might not understand how beautiful they are. I might be overreacting a bit, but they truly are among the best on GC. The magic effects are astounding, well the stronger ones that is, and the characters are detailed enough so they won't look like lifeless dummies. But what really gets me though are the effects from the chalice. When you reach the border of the circular aura that protects you from miasma, ripples form from your character, and it stays there for a long while until you return inside(or outside) from the border. Some other awesome effects are when walking behind the giant crystal in your town, you can actually see yourself in each of the little different sections of the crystal, making it actually SEEM like a crystal. But the best seems to be the ''glass orb'' that happens when you get to the middle of a miasma stream...see for yourself once you get it.

Music:7 favorite part of a game. FFCC seems to have good music, well by my tastes that is. I have no idea what genres they go under though, but the music fits the mood of each level well. For example, the mines have a somber cello that seems to be playing for the slow pace the level is, and outside levels with more active monsters have livlier tunes. BUT while some may fit the tune well, others will get tedious and annoying, forcing you to turn down the volume and turn on the radio.

Final Fantasy, or just a wrongly named game?
While you might think this is not a major issue, it seems to be one as it has the ''Final Fantasy'' name. There are no chocobos, but have almost everything else a FF game is ''supposed'' to have nowadays. Old enemies return such as Ahrimans and Tonberrys, and weapons of familiar name have returned also, which you'll find out. The stronger spells have the the suffixes you'd expect them to have, and the graphics are gorgeous. Crystals seem to have a large use here, and the Moogles make an adorable return. So it seems this is more of a FF game then you know.

Yes, all games aren't perfect, even this one. So here's a list of what I think are the negatives of this game:
-Although all players need a gba in multiplayer, it excludes those without one. It makes complete sense to have one, but you kind of feel bad for those who don't have one.
-The ''defend'' command could be assigned to the unused Z button instead of a regular A button command.
-If you do not replay levels to level up with artifacts, the levels become INCREDIBLY difficult, with bosses starting to seem ''cheap'' at times.
-The chalice seems a bit annoying at time in multiplayer. Since your Moogle buddy isn't there, one of you have to pick it up to move it. Meaning a lot of ''you pick it up'' arguments.

Yeah you have your calculator out averaging out the scores aren't you? 7.25 was it? Well sure the overall doesn't equal the average, but this is what I feel it deserves. It seems to be worthy of the Final Fantasy name, and has some downsides, but is still a great game. Rent or Buy you ask? If you love hack 'n slashes from the Gauntlet view, then buy this at all costs, it's among the best. If you are searching for a good game that differs from the typical, then you should try this game and rent it. If you are a FF fanboy who hates change and likes to interact with your character's feelings then I suggest you avoid this. But I recommend it anyway as it is fun to play, and is ''cute'' enough for your girlfriend to play.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 02/23/04

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