This could be really fun or really embarrassing. This is the first multi-part post I’ve tried to do and it’s about a video game near and dear to my heart. I wanted to wait until I was done with it, but as I’ve stated before, I tend to not finish video games. If that happens here, I want to at least get a bit out. So, if this is it, take it as it is. If I finish I’ll put up a part II.
So here it goes.
One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about my android phone are emulators and roms. I started playing Pokemon FireRed a while back (probably need to write something on that all by itself) and that was a ton of fun. Eventually, I got bored with it but started thinking of some of the games that meant the most to me and how much I’d like to revisit them.
An annoyingly large amount of work later, I had the Chrono Cross intro playing on the screen.
This may or may not be a game your familiar with. I played it the very first time when I was about eleven or twelve. There are several games, that for one reason or another, I never bought and this was one of them. Instead, me and my friends just rented it over and over and over. My best friend and I were really into JRPS at that time (it was the age of them after all) but never had I played anything like Chrono Cross. From the story to the characters to the combat, it was a game me and my friends played and passed around for a good year or two. It was one of the few games we got the strategy guide for (the twenty dollar, thicker than the Bible, Prima strategy guide, you know what I’m talking about!) and one of the few that needed the strategy guide.
The combat is nice but not too tough, in fact a lot easier than I remember. That wasn’t why we needed the guide. We needed the guide because of the fucking story. I know that sounds nuts, but unless you’ve ever played it, you have no idea. Chrono Cross has something like 40 characters and no matter how you play out, you can’t get them all. While the story line (and dozen endings) don’t vary too wildly, the game is nonetheless different depending on how you play it. We all had favorite characters that the others didn’t even know about. That’s not too big a deal today, but back in 99 when you were still playing on a Playstation, it was pretty damn cool. Couple that with all the hidden loot, special attacks that could only be unlocked through story elements, and a ridiculously sprawling story, there was so much to miss.
That was what was so beautiful about Chrono Cross. It was an epic, a story that isn’t afraid to go a little nuts. It has all those crazy, batshit things that could only come from Japanese culture mixed in with time travel and alternate realities. There is a moment (The one with Lynx and the dragon tear) where everything about what you’ve been doing changes. It was the boldest thing I’d ever seen a game do up until that point.
The story is the best part, but the combat isn’t too shabby either. Like the early JRPS, you can either attack or cast a spell, in this case coming as elements. Where it differs is that each character has a grid, which any element (spell) can be placed. There are stats behind it that drive the power of these forces, as well as the character’s innate element, but it allows for all characters to be flexible. When it throws a big boss at you or another unique event, Chrono Cross really shines.
I’m close to the midpoint, but I’m enjoying it quite a bit. In some ways it really does show its age, but in many others it really holds up.
If you’re looking for a classic, give it a look.