Sections

Daily Classic: How Chrono Cross Triumphed Over Destiny

As a sequel to upbeat Chrono Trigger, this gloomy RPG should have been a wreck... yet somehow, it wasn't.

Article by Jeremy Parish, .

As the sequel to Chrono Trigger, Squaresoft's Chrono Cross should have been a guaranteed hit, right? Wrong; by all rights, it should have a total disaster. That it was any good at all, in fact, should go down in the books as something of a minor miracle.

Chrono Cross' very existence posed several challenges. For one thing, the staff behind its creation only represented a fragment of the original talent behind 1995's Trigger; the key staff behind the previous game had largely moved on by 1999. At the end of the Super NES era, Trigger stood out because it represented a collaboration between two RPG "rivals," Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy: The former's creator, Yuji Horii, teamed up with the guiding force behind the former, Hironobu Sakaguchi, to build an RPG that combined the best of both franchises into something unique.

They did so with aplomb. Chrono Trigger possessed the simplified accessibility and relatable character writing that continues to define Dragon Quest, but it married these elements to the scale, pomp, and experimental design that had become Final Fantasy's stock in trade. Two schools of RPG discipline united in a singular work that sent players hurtling through millions of years of history to save the human race while at the same time feeling personable and fun. Trigger's systems offered flexibility but never became bogged down by fussy complexity, and despite spinning a massive tale about time travel and paradoxes, the plot deftly avoided needless convolution, presenting the most accessible, people-pleasing take on time paradoxes since Back to the Future.

Chrono Cross began life as a remake of the original Chrono Trigger sequel, Radical Dreamers, which only a handful of people played because it was exclusive to a Japan-only Super NES download service.

But Horii and Sakaguchi had nothing to do with Chrono Cross. Instead, the sequel was left in the hands of Masato Kato, who had previously served as the sequel's lead writer and director. While Kato was certainly no hack – this was, after all, the man who planned and wrote Trigger's scenario and script – his post-Trigger work betrayed an inclination for considerably more baroque plot twists than Trigger had featured. His work on both Final Fantasy VII and Xenogears demonstrated far more elaborate (one might say "inscrutable") stories than anything in Square's 16-bit oeuvre, and it was this intricate approach to narrative, not Trigger's, that Kato carried through into Chrono Cross.

It's hardly fair to lay the abandonment of accessibility entirely at Kato's feet, however. Even more crucially than its change in creative leads, Cross also had to contend with a cultural change in RPG design and at Square in particular. The runaway success of Final Fantasy VII – which not only stood as the most successful game to date at Square, but one of the highest-selling releases on PlayStation, period – meant that publishers insisted that nearly every RPG to come down the PlayStation pipeline had to be huge and epic. "More, more, more" became the guiding philosophy: More arcane mechanics, more characters to recruit, more elaborate plot twists. The power and capacity of PlayStation relative to the cramped consoles that had come before sparked a veritable orgy of self-indulgence in RPG design.

Chrono Cross didn't simply reflect this trend; it embodied it. Here we had a game whose skill system made Final Fantasy VIII's Junctions look childishly simplistic, granting each character a handful of unique skills but otherwise making them entirely customizable. Each character possessed a huge grid of empty skill slots into which practically any ability in the game could be assigned, and the level (that is, location on the grid) of a given slot determined the relative power of the skill slotted into it. Combat operated on an incremental system in which players could spend a character's stamina on actions of varying levels of power, potentially even going into negative stamina in order to trade a turn for the change to execute an immediate high-powered combo – a system not unlike Bravely Default's, but much more elaborate. Add to that a feature in which the elemental designation of combat actions in turn determined the elemental nature of the battlefield, complex rules for activating summons, individual elemental affinities per character, secret combination attacks drawn from Chrono Trigger, and many other nuances, and you ended up with a system far more complicated than Trigger's low-friction design which simply gave each protagonist a handful of skills and a variety of ways to use them together.

This hyena-thing's bug-eyed expression is a natural reaction to trying to understand Chrono Cross' combat system.

Rather than adopting Trigger's reductive approach to party-building, Cross went the opposite direction. Players could team up not with six allies but with more than 40. Few were well-defined, however, and many were locked away behind obscure requirements and side quests. Cross' expansive party options felt like an attempt to mimic Suikoden or Pokémon, but minus all the characterization and character-specific traits that make those games' rosters so compelling. In the end, Cross offered about the same number of worthwhile characters as Trigger, but those few were practically lost amidst an army of chaff.

And then there was the story, which took Trigger's plot and explored every possible horrible outcome that could have resulted from its lighthearted time-travel romp. Rather than spanning millennia of time, Cross took place across two different realities (that is, branched timelines), and the "proper" reality turned out to be the one where the game's protagonist had died in childhood. Meanwhile, just about every character from Trigger turned out to have been murdered – including Robo, whose virtual personality is deleted right before the player's eyes – while a small and innocuous village on Trigger's mainland formed a massive army to crush the kingdom of Guardia, oh and by the way the planet itself hates mankind and will go to any length to make sure all humans are exterminated one way or another. Going from Chrono Trigger's happy-go-lucky save-the-world plot to Cross' we're-all-screwed grimness is like following up a Super Friends marathon with Man of Steel.

Whatever you may think of Chrono Cross, its visuals were as appealingly colorful as the story was dark. And of course the soundtrack was extraordinary.

Taken as a sequel to Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross is actually kind of horrible. It's not that Cross missed the appeal of Trigger so much as it isolated that appeal and then systematically set about destroying it. It seemingly went out of its way to undermine everything people enjoyed about the previous game. But that was kind of the point of the story: Crono and his friends from Trigger meddled in history with unforeseen consequences, and it was ultimately down to a boy who wasn't even supposed to be alive to set things right. In the end, Cross' story amounted to little more than resolving Trigger's biggest plot hole: What happened to Princess Schala after her self-sacrifice in the Ocean Palace? By resolving that mystery, players ultimately would heal time and set things right, and by all accounts the horribleness that spans Cross' tortuous plot would never have happened at all.

So if it plays nothing like Trigger and ultimately its entire story is wiped from reality, what's the point? Sure, if you say it like that, Chrono Cross sounds awful. But in truth, it's an excellent game. Bleak and dissonant when taken as a Chrono Trigger sequel, yes, but it's probably the purest example of PlayStation-era RPG design you'll ever find. Its elaborate systems seem like the very definition of "over-engineered," but they work together in unison to keep the game a constant challenge; the toughest battles work almost as puzzles, each with many possible solutions. The characters are the definition of slight – most of them have little personality outside of a hokey accent – but the core cast has purpose, while everyone else is there in case you want to have a giant voodoo doll, mushroom man, or baby alien in your party for some reason.

You can not only say no, you can keep saying no every time Kid tried to force her way into your party, and the story keeps on going.

Most of all, though, Chrono Cross is a game about predestination. You can experience a shocking amount of trivial variety in each playthrough of the game, ranging from three different ways to approach the first major quest, to potential party members being devoured by monsters if you choose the wrong path. Yet the story always turns out the same. You can go to preposterous lengths to avoid allowing female lead character Kid into your party, but in the end the story ultimately revolves around her; despite your best efforts, you'll inevitably be drawn into her plot, although the game allows you to put it off for an impressive amount of time, accounting for a ludicrous number of minor story variants where Kid is involved. In other words, it basically amounted to a BioShock plot that was much more subtle about its message.

Chrono Cross may be a bleak and unsatisfying sequel for many Trigger fans, but it wholly embraces the strange, experimental, low-budget side of Square's PlayStation golden era. While clearly a far more modest production than your standard Final Fantasy – look at all the content recycling, including all times the pre-rendered cutscenes are reused! – that same B-tier status allowed the team to do their own thing. Whether it was appropriate to go off into the weeds of arcane game design in the form of a sequel to one of the most beloved RPGs of all time is certainly a matter for passionate debate. Take it on its own merits, though, and you may find Chrono Cross has the same anything-goes weirdness about it that makes Final Fantasy X-2 and Lightning Returns so interesting. In other words, your mileage may vary, but those who cotton to its peculiarities will probably love it.

This article may contain links to online retail stores. If you click on one and buy the product we may receive a small commission. For more information, go here.

Comments 42

Comments on this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

  • Avatar for Kirinn #1 Kirinn 4 years ago
    Great little write-up. I'm one of those on the side of really digging Cross, despite all its weird decisions and complications.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for cscaskie #2 cscaskie 4 years ago
    What was the start of all this?
    When did the cogs of fate begin to turn?
    Perhaps it is impossible to grasp that answer now,
    From deep within the flow of time.

    But for a certainty, back then
    We loved so many yet hated so much
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves.

    Yet even then we ran like the wind
    Whilst our laughter echoed
    Under cerulean skies....

    Goosebumps. Every. Time.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for AxiomVerge #3 AxiomVerge 4 years ago
    I recall liking this game more than Squaresoft's other PS1 games. It had an amazing soundtrack, too! One of the few soundtracks I actually imported. I also loved the body-switching sequence where you become the villain for a time.

    It always bothered me how the protagonist doesn't talk, though, even in Chrono Trigger. Penny Arcade summarized my feelings well when they said, "Blink once for yes, twice for no."
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for toddciolek #4 toddciolek 4 years ago
    Chrono Cross is the tale of a boy fighting to exist in a game that has no reason to. The battle system is unsatisfying and bluntly artificial, as though it's the incomplete, percentage-filled debug version of Xenogears' button-mashy combat. The weak characters suck dry even the storyline's handful of well-executed moments. The dual-world dynamic is never used to any interesting effect. It's just kind of...empty.

    But boy oh boy, is it ever a pretty game.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Macuelos #5 Macuelos 4 years ago
    I never got to finish this game, though I've tried to play it more than once. Pretty sure the Time Devourer is trying to stop me from setting right what once went wrong.

    The absolute best thing about this game is definitely the music; Mitsuda did a wonderful job. On the other side of the scale, the story isn't bad... were it standalone. As a sequel to Chrono Trigger, everything about it gets mauled to bits and is spat in the player's face, leaving a sour taste. But forget it's a sequel, see the three apparitions on the beach and the Prometheus Circuit as something not connected to another game, and it gets sad. Not because everything about Chrono Trigger gets torn apart, but because the story wants you to be sad.

    Alone, it's great. In connection with Chrono Trigger, not quite as much.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for scottskocy03 #6 scottskocy03 4 years ago
    I played CC through fresh for the first time in forever last year and it holds up well. The first few hours are especially good, having a dreamlike and poetic feel to them. That tone kind of falls apart later in the game, but up through Viper Manor it is excellent.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #7 jeremy.parish 4 years ago
    @toddciolek Man, you're nuts. Xenogears' battle system was the sloppy rough draft version of Chrono Cross. When I played this game, I finally understood what the hell they were going for (but failed to achieve) with Xenogears.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for jeremy.parish #8 jeremy.parish 4 years ago
    @scottskocy03 Probably not coincidentally, up through Viper Manor is the part that was based on Radical Dreamers. Kato clearly had trouble building that visual novel into a larger RPG.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Roto13 #9 Roto13 4 years ago
    I ended up liking this a lot more than I liked Chrono Trigger. (But then I was never a rabid Chrono Trigger fan like 90% of 16-bit JRPG fans seem to be.)
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for scottskocy03 #10 scottskocy03 4 years ago
    @jeremy.parish Maybe I should get around to playing Radical Dreamers. I've meaning to for years.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for cscaskie #11 cscaskie 4 years ago
    @scottskocy03 The best part about playing radical dreamers is that you get to hear the same battle music as Chrono Cross, but 16-bit. The game is another story, as it's really just a visual novel.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #12 cldmstrsn 4 years ago
    Absolutely love this game and is definitely a worthy sequel. The soundtrack still warms my soul even after 14 years of listening to it.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for cldmstrsn #13 cldmstrsn 4 years ago
    I really love this website. Writing about these classics and being able to look at it differently after so many years, its great to read and its great to see.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for docexe #14 docexe 4 years ago
    I have to agree with the conclusions of the article. Taken by itself, the game is not bad at all, it's actually quite good and I actually liked its peculiar combat system. It’s one of the most creative ones I have seen in any RPG. The music is excellent, the graphics are nice, and I even liked its particular sense of world building.

    But the storyline and its particular connections to Chrono Trigger… yeah, I hated it A LOT. That word you used (“self-indulgence”) is more than an apt descriptor of how the game revels in its particular themes of fatalism and predestination, in complete opposition to the message of the first game. Not to mention how incredibly convoluted the damned thing can be at times.

    It’s somewhat similar to what I was saying in the recent articles related to FFXIII on the site: This is another case of a game that is not bad by itself by any means, but as a sequel to one of the most beloved games of all time, it lefts a lot to be desired.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SpoonyBardOL #15 SpoonyBardOL 4 years ago
    I should really give this game another shot. It disappointed me way back when it first game out, I finished it but the whole thing left a rather sour taste in my mouth and I never really revisited it. I honestly couldn't get over how it kind of spat on everything that happened in Chrono Trigger, whether or not all the bad stuff was undone in the end.

    I think what disappointed me most of all was how it didn't match my own vision of how a sequel to Chrono Trigger involving alternate realties would be, which was entirely my own fault. I imagined a game with a relatively small world and cast, but with multiple alternate realities, some wildly different than the others. The actual game just gave us two realities and they were different in mostly subtle ways. The game I always envisioned was probably too ambitious for the realities of PSX game development at the time, but I do still kind of pine for the lighthearted alternate dimension rompy sequel that never was.

    But maybe it has been long enough to return to the game and give it a fresh look. Back when I first played it I wanted to get all the characters possible in a single playthrough, and meticulously following a walkthrough very likely affected my enjoyment of the game. Maybe it will be a lot better if I just dive in without caring so much about getting as many people as possible along the way. Perhaps I'll go all the way to the end with Pink Dog and Fishing Kid!
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for pdubb #16 pdubb 4 years ago
    I've played through CC 2 1/2 times. The only way I figured out all of the nuances of the story was by reading the Chrono Compendium. If you blink for a second (or are 17 with a very low attention span) the story will leave you behind.

    But man the music was phenomenal.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Scimarad #17 Scimarad 4 years ago
    I remember liking Chrono Cross quite a lot at the start but being pretty disappointed with it by the end. I can't particularly remember why, though.

    Soundtrack was fantastic, though!Edited February 2014 by Scimarad
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for MetManMas #18 MetManMas 4 years ago
    1999...The Year of Lavos. I mean, Kato.

    While I find Chrono Cross's story hard to stomach now, it's still got a solid battle system as well as some great art design and music. Hell, Chrono Cross is Exhibit A for why I was unimpressed by Final Fantasy X's own brand of tropical setting and stupidly dressed characters.

    Speaking of characters, while most of your party gets next to no development there's a lot of diversity in who you can recruit. A straw voodoo doll, a fat pink dog with two tails, a skeleton jester you assemble piece by piece, a luchador priest, a furry critter that evolves like a Pokémon depending on what elements it uses, a mushroom man, a Japanese rock star, a plant monster who looks like a doll, a cartoon alien with his own giant mecha...It's like the art team had a giant dart board with insane ideas all over it.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for kidgorilla #19 kidgorilla 4 years ago
    I finally picked this up a little over a year ago and got about halfway through before getting side tracked. I was front loaded with the sad nature of the plot ahead of time, and maybe that had something to do with it, but I actually liked the bleaker tone. I certainly don't think it works for every game, but it definitely worked for me.

    And that overworld music. Man...
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #20 Kuni-Nino 4 years ago
    Nice write-up on CC, Jeremy. For all the reasons you stated, it's why CC might be my favorite RPG of all time. The story is my favorite part and you represented it well. Not every character is well-developed but there are characters like Kid and Serge that are developed enough to drive the story.

    It's a shame that some detractors misrepresent the game simply to prop up CT. I know that's how fans are especially when dealing with sequels, but I can't stand it when discussions get hyperbolic and dismissive regarding CC's quality.

    Thanks for the balanced piece. Loved reading it.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Stealth20k #21 Stealth20k 4 years ago
    Great write up
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Daedalus207 #22 Daedalus207 4 years ago
    I played Chrono Cross before I played Chrono Trigger, so while I'm sure I missed a lot of the throwback references, I feel like I was better able to enjoy the game on it's own terms. I have to agree that it was one of the best JRPGs on the PS1, and the ridiculously good music is still fun to listen to.

    Can I link to YouTube in the comments? A few musicians that I follow recently did a medley of Chrono Cross selections that gives me goosebumps:
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for MapleSyrupMan #23 MapleSyrupMan 4 years ago
    This is my favourite game of all time. (Well, that or Majora's Mask.) Devastatingly brilliant.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for gatotsu911 #24 gatotsu911 4 years ago
    @kidgorilla I think the game does a pretty good job of signaling its comparatively dark and melancholy tone relative to Trigger from very early on, with the intro movie and opening level pretty adequately preparing you for what's to follow. And I loved it.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for gatotsu911 #25 gatotsu911 4 years ago
    @toddciolek Todd, you're stone-cold crazy on this one. While I can appreciate that Xenogears' combat is at least faster-paced, Cross' also has some semblance of strategic depth, even if it is a mess. And I can't even fathom the view that the dual-world dynamic is never used to any interesting effect when even the minor subplots that it introduces (like your quest to communicate between the next-door neighbor who's a happy-go-lucky fisherman in your world and a cultist desperately searching for spiritual meaning in the other, all based on the catalyst of your avatar's tragic death or absence thereof in childhood) I found more hauntingly memorable and thought-provoking than the entire plots of most JRPGs.

    And I'm totally happy with the game being more driven by its world and backstory than its characters. Even many of the optional party members have moderately interesting backstories if you care enough to actually put in the effort to explore and find out about them, but by and large the desire to unravel the mysteries of the world and its inhabitants moves the narrative forward more than any individual characters' struggles, and that mode of storytelling for some reason seems to be less appreciated in JRPGs, I guess because it's more unusual. The same happened with Shin Megami Tensei IV just last year, with the way so many people gave a lukewarm reception to what was actually a pretty fascinating and well-thought-out narrative for the game.

    I like it, though, because I think it's a narrative style better suited to games as a medium than character-driven stories. The technology and narrative techniques inherent to video games can more convincingly bring life to the contours of a particular time and place, and the stories associated with it, than the internal struggles of particular characters, and they can do so in a way that grants the player some agency and personal stakes in the game's proceedings. Which is far better, as a use of its medium, than sitting back and scrolling through dialogue while the characters narrate their interior monologues in Xenogears.

    tl;dr I love Chrono Cross, warts and all. I think I feel the same way about Chrono Cross that Earthbound fans feel about that game; the shortcomings in the game design don't bother me so much as the fact that there's nothing else out there that even comes close to emulating the sensory and emotional experience of playing it.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #26 SatelliteOfLove 4 years ago
    The 3 steps to enjoying Crono Cross For What It Is:

    1. YE GODS, it be the greatest OST that will ever be recorded! No, your assertation contrary to this is wrong!

    2. Have in your mind that it's not Chrono Trigger's sequel.

    3. Drink in Yasuyuki Honne's delicious background work.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for gatotsu911 #27 gatotsu911 4 years ago
    Also: Jeremy, kudos for pointing out the ways in which Chrono Cross's theme of the interplay between free will and predestination seeps into even the gameplay. You end up in the same place no matter what, but the freedom you have is in how you get there. And at the end, you get one final choice about whether you'll overcome your final struggle with violence, or find another way.

    Also, the fact that the game does several things thematically that are very similar to BioShock, only it does them much earlier and (imo) much better.

    Speaking of which! I'm going to get bold here and say that Chrono Cross contains a more intelligent, sensitive and nuanced depiction of racism in its world than BioShock Infinite. By far. And that's impressive when one of the "races" is essentially furries.Edited February 2014 by gatotsu911
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Dogislander #28 Dogislander 4 years ago
    Absolutely wonderful. I love this game dearly and it really plays up the difference between Eastern and Western sensibilities as far as themes and symbolism are concerned. Games like Bioshock will hammer the same points AGAIN and AGAIN with all the grace of a sledgehammer, but a lot of these games trust the player to parse out the meaning for themselves. The art direction, the music, the overall tone is just achingly beautiful and it's one of those games that I grow into more and more as they years go on. Cheers, Jeremy.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Dogislander #29 Dogislander 4 years ago
    @gatotsu911 Right on. "Nuanced" is definitely the word. It really reminds me of Resonance of Fate, in that the more you try to piece together bits of info from diff NPCs, the deeper your understanding of that world. Great stuff. Screw Bioshock's heavy-handed minstrel show.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Elliot-G #30 Elliot-G 4 years ago
    Tons of respect for this one. Chrono Trigger is one of my personal favorite games of all time, and despite how different Cross is, I love it to death. It's dark and desperate in a lot of ways, but at the end of the day, you set things right. I actually appreciate that it goes a completely direction than CT, because I don't think they could have made a game that lived up to it by simply doing the same thing all over again.

    Also the music is goddamn amazing.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for whitestreak #31 whitestreak 4 years ago
    Bought an overseas copy (while drunk) and paid a lot, even though I never had a Playstation. I just had to play the sequel to my beloved CT. When the opportunity arose, I was excited, then disappointed and then both in equal measure. The mechanics are annoying (because the percentages aren't even close to being realistic, an 80% hit chance will miss every time), the music and graphics gorgeous, and every time a proper plot point arises you will sit up and think. It just happens so god d^mn rarely. The pacing is awful, and for long periods you don't really understand why you are going where you are going; then there are information dumps so big you cannot even digest half of them.

    I appreciate the game, and if I had a PS I'd probably play it again. But the writing is pretty lousy.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for HAMMERCLAW #32 HAMMERCLAW 4 years ago
    Probably my favorite RPG of that era, and one I still own and play on occasion. Funny how, back then, we looked forward to better hardware and better games,only to realize, looking back, how privileged we were to play games in that era, unbothered and unfettered by the complexity of modern internet gaming, and the wonderful and intimate experience we had playing alone with just a console and a game and our imagination.Edited 2 times. Last edited February 2014 by HAMMERCLAW
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for Dr-Lame #33 Dr-Lame 4 years ago
    I was so excited for Chrono Cross that I imported the Japanese version despite the fact that I was only in my first semester of Japanese at the time, and couldn't understand the story at all. I only played the beginning of the game in Japanese, but naturally I bought the English version as soon as it came out, thrilled to finally be able to experience Chrono Cross in my native language.

    By the time the credits rolled, however, I was pretty disappointed. I remember finding the story difficult to understand, and though I had played Chrono Trigger years earlier, I never managed to sew together the threads of the two narratives in my head. I had some fun with the battle system, but I also found it a bit too slow and unwieldy for my tastes.

    With that said, how could I argue with all of the people here in the comments who loved the game? I can't, and I won't. It's clear that this was a great experience for a lot of people. As Jeremy said "your mileage my vary".

    Even though I left the game disappointed, Chrono Cross is one of those games that just sticks in my memory. I may not have liked the game in the end, but it really had an impact on me. I think that comes from the fact that even now, the game remains a mystery to me. It was over before I ever had a chance to really parse it (and I was flummoxed by the ending), but I just couldn't bear to jump into New Game + mode to try to untangle it all.

    So there it remains in my memory, a tangled mess of a gaming experience, as disappointing as it is intriguing. Like a lot of people here, I still get goosebumps watching the opening. I may not have really enjoyed Chrono Cross, but I'm honestly happy I played it.Edited February 2014 by Dr-Lame
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for abuele #34 abuele 4 years ago
    I surely love different, and that's what showed me the way to this game. The first time I played it, I really enjoyed the RPG's of the era, the engrossing factors, the characters, basically I could only take one at a time from beginning to end.

    That was not the case for Chrono Cross, for it showed on the other hand, that if you don't like what you´re playing it is OK to leave and move on to the next thing.

    I get what Square was trying, it is great they did it, and they should still be doing it, which is not the case (except Bravely Default).

    This game was confusing, it perplexed me with every battle and by the time I realized I was going to recruit many characters and some of them would be hiding and missable, I stopped playing, crammed the disc in its case and forget about it.

    My old age now gives me wisdom to understand that the game wasn't trying to steal the lighting of Chrono Trigger, but to try something different, should I give it another go?, I will need to consider it.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for curryking3 #35 curryking3 4 years ago
    This article hits right in the feels...

    Right in the feels...
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for HAMMERCLAW #36 HAMMERCLAW 4 years ago
    @abuele If you do try to play it again, by all means get the guide! It will save you a ton of frustration and missed opportunities.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for DiscordInc #37 DiscordInc 4 years ago
    I remember being excited for Chrono Cross when it originally came out, even though I didn't have a Playstation at the time. I watched a friend play through some of the opening hours, and it looked interesting, even though I wasn't sure what it had to do with Chrono Trigger.

    Fastforward a bit, and I've seen a lot more of the game, but I've never actually played through it myself. I do want to though, since the more I learn about it the more fascinating it sounds. Just wish that I didn't have so many other games I want to play right now.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for joevillarosa17 #38 joevillarosa17 4 years ago
    I had this game shortly after it came out. It was one of the first RPG's I ever owned (probably the first) and I remember falling in love with the characters and the themes. At the time, I didn't even know about Chrono Trigger, so none of those specific elements got in the way of me enjoying every minute of it. Overall a sad story, but a story that makes you happy when you realize who you've become after it's over.

    I love this game.

    Sidenote: this site is great. i don't know how it passed under my radar.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for crisspoyner86 #39 crisspoyner86 4 years ago
    After playing the DS version of CT I loved the anime scenes and would love a Chrono Trigger the anime movie. But seriously someone must have thought that the only way to have a sequel was to shit on the first game, Michael bay Transformers Dark of the Moon style grumpy shit syndrome because someone did not like their ideas and refused to put them in CT, seriously I will never acknowledge CC as in any way connected to the CT, I mean come on, Crono gets his arse kicked by Daltron the biggest pussy from CT and our heroes with a few exceptions dead? Bullshit. CC could of been set in a distant reality or another planet as Lavos might of been one of many. There you have it, new characters, story and no need to ruin the first game, I could not play CT for months after playing CC (kept thinking to myself "what is the point might as well just let Lavos win"), now thanks to that POS (excluding visuals and music, especially the music damn that was good) we wont get a 3rd game, here's how I would have done it, CC should of been another universe with a different Lavos who fed on the psyche of living beings (aka Dream Eater) instead of life force. Last but not least the never to be made Chrono Brake/Break would be both CT and CC universes being united to fight the ultimate Lavos a Reality Eater that feeds on the multiple realities and universes in the multi-verse, that is how you build it up from CT, to CC and finally CB without wrecking a beautiful game with "oh well everything you did in that game was wrong, no happy endings for your heroes and pretty much jumping the gun on a reality eating monster when there was a possibility of a sequel in the works. I mean where do you go from "Lavos MK2 is devouring time and space" Masato needed a Naysmith to reign him in and maybe someone should of pointed out that not everyone was a FF7 fanatic, I know many people who did not like FF7 and would of loved a non doom and gloom emo creating theme of FF7/CC, I fucking hate emo shit what is fun about "everything sucks and nothing matters"? imagine a movie like that? Hell I have seen movies like that and they were shit, Butterfly Effect anyone? I play games to have fun not be miserable and made to feel stupid for liking a previous game and wanting a happy ending. Why play a game to get miserable when I can just watch some News on TV and hear about child rape and abductions, murders and natural disasters if I want to become depressed. So CC no, Chrono Trigger yes, now days it seems most RPG's fall into so doom and gloom you want to kill yourself or over happy, brightly coloured, aimed at 5 year old kids crap, where is the middle ground gone? Can't I have something that is a bit more "Hey you won and it means something" with "oh crap the world is ending" mixed in not just one or the other, thanks FF7 you created the Emo trend of adult RPG we see today which means the more lighter RPG are aimed at kids eg. Sudeki (which wasn't a bad game and graphically holds up to this day) End Rant.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for TheLastMinister #40 TheLastMinister A year ago
    @toddciolek

    Sadly, agreed. I actually liked the game a lot up until the body-swap back, when I realized... the game really doesn't do it for me. The fighting I was able to force myself to deal with, but at this point of the game the lack of color in any of the characters started to really bite at me. Visuals and music were breathtaking, and helped me carry on through to the end. Still have several tracks from the OST in my playlist today.

    Without the ties to the Chrono universe, would have been much more enjoyable. As it stands... it just doesn't belong. (technically maybe it does, but at least the game's own ending eliminates any pain or suffering any of us had to go through, right? sadly doesn't carry over to any real life pain or suffering we had to go through to get that ending).
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for TheLastMinister #41 TheLastMinister A year ago
    @SatelliteOfLove

    Tried a second playthrough after reading this article, and followed the steps you laid out above. Was actually able to enjoy it more consistently all the way through...

    If you can't follow step #2 entirely, just remember that in the "true" ending, our friends from Trigger are probably doing just fine. Otherwise, "Flames of Eternity" or "Crimson Echoes" provides a decent interquel / true sequel.
    Sign in to Reply
  • Avatar for TheLastMinister #42 TheLastMinister A year ago
    @crisspoyner86

    Lol. Hell of a rant, that.

    If Radical Dreamers is based on the world where Crono died and wasn't brought back before defeating Lavos, this must be based on the one where you beat Lavos whilst massively under-leveled. Maybe we didn't go through the Black Omen?

    If you haven't played through, check out either "Flames of Eternity" or "Crimson Echoes" for a better sequel to CT, and potential interquel between CT and CC.

    Who knows, maybe in another decade we WILL see something along the lines of "Chrono Break". It has happened before, but don't hold your breath. Just move on with life and check in perhaps once a year.

    That's what Crono, Marle, Lucca, Prometheus, Glenn, Ayla, and maybe even Janus would want you to do, after all...
    Sign in to Reply

Comments

Close