Okay, time to get serious about this. Chrono Cross, the sequel to Chrono Trigger, released on the PS1 ten years ago, which is exactly how long it has been since I played it. My impressions back then were that it was a great RPG, but a poor sequel to Chrono Trigger, one of the greatest games of all time. Let’s see how I feel about it a decade later.
First off, in the olden days, the X button was cancel and the O button was confirm. Just starting a new game is a trial of my patience, one I seem to be losing by the amount of spittle I am forced to wipe from the TV screen by the time I actually get things going. Oh, thank God, there is an option to change the configuration. I thought I was going to have to kill myself. Also, no using the analog stick here, which is another source of frustration. You know, they made the past seem so quaint in Back to the Future, but the reality is much more abrasive. Like a cheese grater to my testicles.
I was savvy enough to keep my original memory card and game save, so I will be conducting this blog through the benefits of New Game+, which will speed things up considerably. At least, I hope it will; this game is very story-heavy, much more so than Phantasy Star was, so a lot of this blog will be simply explaining what the hell is going on, if I am even capable of doing so with this convoluted plot.
We start off with the option to rename the main character, Serge. In the interest in simplicity, I will keep the default name. An FMV starts, showing a large stone tower. Suddenly, we are inside and there is our pixalated party! Holy crap, did my eyes suddenly turn to shit? It’s really tough to believe this once was considered cutting-edge graphics. Our party consists of Serge, a young girl named Kid and a guy with a chef’s hat named Orcha, who is asking Serge why he looks so troubled. Since Serge is a silent protagonist, Orcha is in for some disappointment. Kid says something about this being the day of reckoning for Lynx and I suddenly realize this is going to one bitch of a blog.
We begin exploring and come across an enemy. I dutifully bump into him and the battle begins. No random encounters in this JRPG! Due to the a ten year absence, the first battle goes something like this: attack, attack, pray. Thankfully, it was an easy fight, but I totally need a refresher on how to play this thing. After a bit of exploring, I come across a large crystal, which I deactivate. Why? No clue. Next, I find a teleporter, which takes me to a high ledge. I am questioning suicide already.
I go to enter a pair of large double doors when an FMV strikes! In a blue-lit chamber, a smiling Serge stands over a comatose Kid with a bloody blade in his hand. Alliteration for the win! Then, Serge hears a voice, calling for him to wake up. Oh! It was all a dream! Square never gets tired of that old gag. Marge, who I presume is the mother of Serge, reminds me I am supposed to meet with Leena this morning.
Leena? Interesting, since Chrono Trigger began with Crono being woken up by Leene’s Bell ringing. This can’t be a coincidence, can it? I exit the hut to explore Serge’s village, Arni. Arni is a charming seaside village that looks like something out of Lost, if Lost were attacked by Extreme Island Makeover. I stumble across an old man named Radius, who offers to teach me about combat. Radius must be the Locke of Chrono Cross. I eagerly agree, even though it won’t matter since I am using New Game+ and will mow through this thing like Lindsay Lohan through a bottle of Jager.
The battle system is more complex than I remember. It involves using Stamina to build up an Element meter and then using different colored Elements, which are like magic, to attack enemies. I will spare you any more details than that, but it is a fun system that takes a bit to master. Also, I don’t fully understand it and you don’t need to know it for the purposes of this blog.
More exploring reveals that Serge was once attacked by a panther demon when he was very young. No idea if panther demons are a common pest or what, but it doesn’t sound very pleasant. If I were attacked by a panther demon, after I wiped the poop out of my pants, I would totally use that story to hit on chicks. In other random village gossip, there is a place called Lizard Rock to the south where a large Komodo Dragon lives. I bet I will paying it a visit soon. Also, some dude in a hut waxes philosophical about the path not taken. Very deep stuff, if I were paying attention. But since I did at least pretend to listen to his moaning and groaning, he gives me a Shark Tooth Necklace. Score!
Inside the local bar, I am told of a town called Termina and of a group of thieves that are so tough, not even the powerful nation of Porre can stop them. Porre? In Chrono Trigger, Porre was a small village near Guardia that didn’t have anything going for it except a mayor who liked jerky, which I supplied to him! Now they are powerful? Wow, things change. Also, it appears Porre took over El Nido, which is what this island is called, about 3 years ago. Those thieves call themselves the Radical Dreamers, which is such a tough name. I may even shudder.
I’m almost ashamed to say this, but I stumbled across my first recruitable party member, a pink dog named Poshul. That’s right, a talking pink dog. Even if you are a 100% completionist gamer, wouldn’t you skip this one? Just for the sake of your own pride? Especially since the pup speaks with an annoying lisp. Now, I’m not making fun of anyone with a speech impediment, but do you have any idea how annoying that is to read?
I also found a guy named Toma the Great Explorer. He was also in Chrono Trigger, but he wasn’t that great at anything. His ancestor was, but the current edition is pretty crap. Okay, time to find Leena. Apparently, Serge had promised to get her a Komodo Dragon Scale Necklace, which confirms my earlier suspicion that I would be slaying some of those beasties. Once I have her pretty bauble, she will meet me at Opassa Beach. My first quest!
Let me get things straight for a moment here: Leena is okay with me murdering an innocent creature just to harvest its scales and make a necklace out of it because all the kids are doing it??? What kind of a message is this sending? I get to go club a few Komodo Dragons and live with the guilt and she get some shiny shit. Serge better get laid for this.
Which is where we will leave it for now. Geez, only in the first village and look how much I did. This will truly be an epic blog! Hope you enjoyed the first one and check back in a week for Part II!