While it's officially a sequel to the immensely popular Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross is completely its own role-playing game with over 40 characters, a branching story line, and multiple endings. Like its predecessor, the game is about crossing through time and setting things right. This story focuses on Serge's quest for the Frozen Flame, which will give the beholder the power to bend space and time. Serge wants the power to save himself from dying in a parallel universe but, as you can guess, nefarious forces are also vying for the Frozen Flame to suit their own purposes.
Chrono Cross features the stylish character designs and wondrous cut scenes that gamers have come to expect from SquareSoft, but the game also has a number of gameplay innovations. Though the battle engine is essentially turn-based, characters don't have to wait their turn to cast a spell or make an attack; battles are moderated by stamina. Also, the repetitive battles with lesser monsters that make so many RPGs sag can be easily avoided because all monsters can be seen on the screen.
Chrono Cross, the sequel to the Super Nintendo classic Chrono Trigger, turns out to be well worth the wait. Taking off 20 years after the first game, Chrono Cross follows a boy named Serge across parallel worlds--both the world in which he lives and one in which he drowned 10 years earlier.
Chrono Cross will wow players with beautiful prerendered graphics and a unique battle system. Elements replace magic and items in battle, and using the same element three times in a row will ultimately increase your power. In addition to using elements, the accuracy of physical attacks is determined by probability, with easier-to-land weak attacks setting up fierce blows.
The plot, while a bit slow to develop, is full of interesting characters. Players will need to travel between the two worlds to advance the plot. While many of these areas will initially appear to look similar, you'll find them to be quite different upon closer examination of the details. For instance, a plant that is extinct in one world thrives in the other.
My only qualm with Chrono Cross is that, despite the complexities of the battle system, veterans will have an easy time with early battles. Still, there's much to like about this SquareSoft epic. --Robb Guido
- Lavish, vibrantly colored graphics
- Unique battle system involving elements and casting away role-playing clichés like experience and magic points
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- Easy battles due to powerful offensive and cure elements
- For hours, players will be saying, "Get to the time travel stuff"