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Chrono Cross

video game review video game review video game review video game review Video Game Review: Chrono Cross Publisher: Square Soft
Category: Role-Playing
Platform: PS1
ESRB Rating: Teen    Release Date: August 2000

Overall Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 4

Review by Darvan
4 Stars out of 4

Well I'll admit i never actually played the first in this series, Chrono Trigger, so I was a little reluctant in picking up this game. Sure I heard all the hype and all the rave reviews, but i figured this came from people who played the first one. But considering there was nothing else I liked on the rack I picked it up.

Well ...... I wasn't overly impressed ..... until about an hour into the game. In the beginning I'm sure people are going to get put off by the element system and how the stamina points work, but to these people I say give it time. The games true glory will show itself and the battle system will seem like pure genius.

Why the battle system seems confusing at first is because of the way it throws away the idea of regular turned based gameplay like other Square games, and most of the PSX rpgs. Instead you start out with 7 stamina points at the beginning of battle and 4 diff options you can use. Attack, where by you will be presented with 3 additonal options. A weak attack and medium attack, and a fierce attack. Each attack is assigned a different hit percentage. The weak which takes out 1 stamina point has a high hit percent, the medium has a regular hit percent but takes out 2 stamina points, and fierce attacks have a low hit percent and take out 3 stamina points. But as you use attacks the hit percent of weak and fierce will go up. So this offers a new strategy in the gameplay. Also after you get one effective hit your element level will go up. So that means you can use elements. The more levels you get up in battle, the more powerful elements you can use. Weak attacks make you element level go up one, medium attacks make the level go up 2, and fierce attacks make your element level go up 3. So a good strategy earlier on in the game would be to to make a weak attack, then a medium attack, thena fierce attack, then use a powerful spell and you renemy has been hurt pretty bad.

The element sysem is also something new to RPG's. Its kinda like the materia system in FF7 though. There are 6 different types of elements found within the game which each have there opposite elements.

They are red which is opposite to blue, yellow which is opposite to green, and finally white which is opposite to black. Red is more fire based, blue is water based, yellow, earth and lightning based, green is usually more geared towards plants etc. Finally white is kinda like holy elements while, black is gravity based. Withing these colours there is tech skills, summons, and basic magic elements. To be able to use these element you have to build your grid level up within battle. For instance, a level 1 attack gives you 1 grid level, level 2 will give you 2 grid level etc. This creates a lot of strategy game play within the battles. For instance for a very strong attack you could attack with level 1 attack, then level 2, then finally level 3, and then you would have 1 stamina point left, which you could use for a level 7 or lower element attack. Now for the different type of elements. The tech skills characters naturally learn, while summons you have to find. Also to use during batle the whole field must be the same colour, which can be tough to do , but it is very rewarding. Thankfully the summons are not that long either, just a short 10 second attack.

The story is very different from what RPG mainstreamers are used to, very different indeed. With enough plot twists to make the movie the Sixth Sense a fairy tale. It continueally surprises and amazes. Which is no easy feat, especially when you consider there is over 40 different characters able to join your party.

The gameplay is also a really good departure from the norm. There are a lot of side quests, which in the end make up for quite a long game. It took me a good 50 hours to beat. The game ranges from easy to overly hard. Especially on some of the side quests. Considering you only level up after boss battles aswell can make it hard to beat some of the bosses. But when you find a good stragety you'll usually comeout on top.

All these aspects of the game add up to be what could be considered one of the best games on the playstation. Right up there with Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider (the first one), and Final Fantasy 7. That is why I give this game 4 out of r stars.

Review by Tom Allen
3½ Stars out of 4

Chrono Trigger was the first winner of's Game of the Year award back in 1995. Beating out the premiere titles of the Sony PlayStation, Square's classic RPG captured the hearts of players with its fun characters and intriguing time travel plot. Who can forget the frog character?

Chrono Cross is the long-awaited sequel that many thought would never come. The game is successful on many levels and is quite possibly one of the best RPG's ever made.

As in Chrono Trigger, the enemies are in plain view on the field and dungeon screens. You can avoid battles by simply walking around the enemies. Even better, you can run from any battle at any time, so Chrono Cross will not make you a slave to combat.

The battles feature other twists as well. Magic is handled through color elements of blue, red, yellow, green, black, and white. An oval icon is located on the top-left of the screen. The icon is divided into three sections which are filled with the colors of the three most recent elements used by both you and your enemies. If the entire oval ever becomes one color, the effect is similar to the limit breaks of Final Fantasy 7. Basically, your characters become more powerful and are able to summon guardians.

Perhaps the best battle addition is the choice of three different automatic healing strategies. You can set the game to automatically use healing items after each battle under certain conditions.

The rest of Chrono Cross is fairly conventional. The art direction is colorful and spritely, invoking the feel of Secret of Mana or the original Chrono Trigger. The landscapes are particularly lively in the towns, where small animated objects are littered throughout the screen. The cartoony look results in a slight lack of detail, however. Some of the majestic towns beg for more detail and closer views of the architecture. Still, the overhead view retains that classic adventure feel which is important for this series.

The music features a combination of original scores and adaptations of Chrono Trigger themes, all of which are composed by the original composer, Yasunori Mitsuda. Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu also contributed.

With more than 40 characters, Chrono Cross is truly epic in scope. Each character has a unique personality, and in that respect, the game certainly continues the legacy of the original, charming classic. While the premise of the game is not terribly interesting, its execution will convince you to go along with it, as the game is filled with fascinating plot twists that affect the characters in a tangible way.

Chrono Cross is clearly the best PlayStation game of the year. With such company as Final Fantasy IX, Grandia II, Skies of Arcadia, and Valkyrie Profile, Chrono Cross is the final piece of proof needed to certify that the year 2000 was the best yet for RPG's.

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