GSQ4: Star-Crossed

Chrono Cross: Star-Crossed
I’m sure some hysterical zealot over at the Chrono fansites will flip out about this article, because while it’s ultimately about how awesome Chrono Cross is, it is occasionally critical. And as every good fanboy knows, loving a game is an all-or-nothing proposition. Admitting that the games you like have flaws is like giving up the battle before you even take up arms! Blah, blah, blah.

27 thoughts on “GSQ4: Star-Crossed

  1. Yet another interesting read.

    I actually kind of hate Chrono Cross’ gameplay, but at the same time I find the mechanics downright fascinating when viewed from the outside. When and if I ever wrap up NetHack, I’m almost* tempted to revive the LP…

    *This is the key word, it probably will not happen.

  2. Spot on.

    The most depressing thing about the article is the assertion that the Chrono series is probably dead. Myself, I want one more attempt and a proper sequel, not an “elseworld” story. And the Schala story could be handled better. Cross may have tried to tie up that loose end but there still isn’t any closure for the character of Magus.

  3. There’s so much that’s great about Chrono Cross that its failings are that much more crushing… The main problem being that characteristic PSX RPG sluggishness that can’t even be fixed by the inclusion of a fast-forward button.

  4. This article really hit home for me. I rushed out to buy CC on day 1, and played it pretty much non-stop, but the entire ending sequence really soured me on the game. It practically made it retroactively not fun.

    But then, a few years ago, I gave it another shot, and loved the game for what it was. Come to think of it, the same thing happened with FFVIII. I haven’t yet convinced myself to give Xenogears another shot, though.

  5. My opinion of CC has been a bumpy one. When I first played through it I was amazed. The atmosphere the games creates (graphically and sonically), the battle system, and the plot were all top notch. However as I was given time to ponder the game I had just played I started to become offended by the choices made regarding CT’s involvement CC. This article’s commentary on it was spot on. So my opinion of the game dropped from A level to more like a B-. A couple summers ago I took it out for old time’s sake since I didn’t have anything better to do. I didn’t finish the play through. I stopped sometime before the poo hit the fan a little over half way through. What I realized is that the first part of the game really IS a true sequel to CT in it’s approach. It is magical and wondrous. If only that had been kept up.

  6. I tend to pretend these days that Chrono Cross isn’t really even related to Chrono Trigger. Really, they are two VERY separate games, and this article does a good job of pointing that out.

    Interestingly enough, I don’t outright hate CC. It’s a pretty spiffy game. It’s just not CT, and that is, and probably always will be, the major bone of contention people have with it.

    Great read.

  7. I don’t remember NOT liking this game specifically. I do remember I had no idea what the blue blazes was going on with the story, but that wasn’t the problem I had with it.

    My problem was a shoddy memory card that consistently corrupted my save file. I could get to the battle with Miguel in the neo-futuristic-city-lab place than the save file would corrupt. I do not know how many times I played to only that point, but I got to the where I could get there in under 8 hours. This continued until I finally took the memory card and threw it into the bottom of a box somewhere and bought a Sony branded one.

    After that, and no more corrupted save files, I managed to beat the game. However, like Mr. Parish and others, I thought it was a complete mess of a story that made no sense what so ever. I’ve realized too as I’ve gotten older that no matter what I am playing, watching, or reading I prefer the story to stay fairly simple. Mainly because I’ve seen to many stories be ruined by “complex, emotional, epic, etc. drama”. Blargh.

    My attitude now is keep the stories simple, but compelling without the angst and without the convoluted, overly philosophical mumbo-jumbo.

  8. Maybe it made more sense in the original Japanese.

    Wait. You played it in the original Japanese.


  9. I actually really love Chrono Cross, including its confused mess of a story (though I had to play through it twice to understand it, so your criticism is apt). The game even incorporates save points into its narrative and, in a bizarre twist that can only happen in an RPG, the main plot point happens because Serge’s dad forgets to save!

    I also don’t mind the ravaging of the first game’s cast, and kind of like the two sides of the time-travel bit these games take, but there is a way to keep Cross’s story intact and have it “never happen.” There’s a place in Chronopolis where you discover a transmission from the Radical Dreamers universe and your party ponders that maybe there are more worlds than they’re aware of. Maybe Crono and crew are still alive and well somewhere out there.

    Okay, the whole thing is convoluted and stupid. I still like it. Forty characters is way, way too much, though.

  10. I think the story would make more sense in a foreign language I don’t know. I agree with just about everything in this article. I do, however, really love this game. I don’t think I could articulate my thoughts better than what Mr. Parish has written.

    No wait I disagree with the quality of the characters. Yeah they are blank slates, but the sheer variety of teams you can put together is much of the fun. Who cares that the half the characters have five lines of dialog between them, I’m gonna make a party with a mushroom man and a clown skeleton.

  11. As a Trigger fan that was unhappy about what Cross did to the franchise story, it hurt even more to see Square go into Chrono Trigger’s various re-releases and add in elements to make Cross’ story seem even more inevitable.

    The Playstation version of CT had an additional ending that outright says that Porre kills everyone in Truce. The DS game goes one step further, making it that the (hilariously inept) Dalton was the man who actually led Porre against Truce. Basically, the main characters of Chrono Trigger wound up getting killed by a joke character.

    It’s these things that really bothered me about Cross (in addition to the fact that I couldn’t get into the battle system and I kept dying when trying to get the Masamune), but I do want to give the game another try one of these days. Maybe someday I’ll play it to completion.

  12. Funnily enough I just got to this article in GameSpite Quarterly #4 while on lunch break today. It is an extremely well written piece of games criticism, and I say that as someone who has never liked Cross no matter how many times I force myself to try it. That is the key to great criticism, I think, if you can disagree and still find it engaging and thought provoking.

  13. Well, I played Chrono Cross before playing Trigger, so I loved it, nonsensical plot and all. I loved the aesthetics, I loved the music, and I loved the gameplay. And, hell, I liked the characters, even if most of them were incidental.

  14. I fully agree with Chrono Cross being the polar opposite of Chrono Trigger, but I disagree with the implication that this is a bad thing. I loved Chrono Cross–and its story–but I never cared much for Chrono Trigger. Maybe that was due to incidental or unfair reasons, but holding Chrono Trigger in no high regard prepared me to embrace and enjoy Chrono Cross to the fullest.

  15. Ah, the music and visuals of Chrono Cross! Still better on both accounts than the majority of games that come out today, 10 years later.

  16. I never played CC (never had a PSX) but I love the soundtrack. I still listen to it fairly regularly. Reading this article (and other Parish CC articles) make me wish it’d be released somewhere where I can give it a go. Until then I guess I’ll play CT a few more times on NG+.

  17. “The Playstation version of CT had an additional ending that outright says that Porre kills everyone in Truce. The DS game goes one step further, making it that the (hilariously inept) Dalton was the man who actually led Porre against Truce. Basically, the main characters of Chrono Trigger wound up getting killed by a joke character.”
    They merely say that Porre takes over Truce. Your assertion that everyone is dead is undermined by the fact that Lucca clearly survives this horrific event. That and in the Chrono Cross flashbacks to the orphanage, there are little kid drawings of the Chrono Trigger cast which you must then ask: why would these little kids draw people who have been dead for years?

  18. You didn’t mention the music! One of the best videogame soundtracks ever. I actually got the soundtrack for this, Chrono Trigger, and Xenogears and then realized they were all by Yasunori Mitsuda. I guess I just really like his music.

  19. Chrono Cross injected life into the RPG genre. Everything was starting to get all drab and lifeless and BAM, something interesting comes along.

    Of course, I played it before Trigger. But it was still fantastic.

  20. People who don’t like Chrono Trigger baffle me. It’s like meeting someone who doesn’t like the Beatles; it’s so rare and interesting to talk to such a person that I’m not even mad or disappointed. It’s one of those fun reminders that we’re all beautiful unique snowflakes, etc.

  21. By all means I love Chrono Cross’s visual style, musical score, colorful albeit underdeveloped playable cast, and very intriguing take on turn-based combat, but I feel it definitely could’ve been a better game without the Chrono Trigger connection. The game’s story and dialogue just feels so, so negative compared to Chrono Trigger’s, and the big emphasis on human/demihuman racism from both sides for varying reasons led to way more NPCs than usual whose faces I wish I could punch off.

    It’s not a good sign when a big part of the dialogue’s inspired from that brief dialogue in 1000 A.D. Medina Village and I feel like strangling the original CT trio I loved when ghost children versions of them call me a murderer and crap. =/

    Aside from the annoying story/plot/dialogue stuff, I like Chrono Cross. The attack points system is interesting, there’s a wide variety of equippable spells, the star levels earned after boss fights make sure you don’t get too overpowered (save New Game +), there’s a wide variety of characters so you’re sure to find someone to pal around with (whether skeleton clowns, bunny girls, straw voodoo dolls, or talking pink dogs), and it’s one of the best looking and sounding PlayStation games around…..Even though some of the more rushed aspects stand out a bit.

  22. >>That and in the Chrono Cross flashbacks to the orphanage, there are little kid drawings of the Chrono Trigger cast which you must then ask: why would these little kids draw people who have been dead for years?

    I’m pretty sure there was a picture of Ayla, who most certainly would have been dead for years.

  23. Do you ever read the comments, or just breeze through to see if someone commented on a spelling error? I like how before a game comes out, people automaatically decide if it’s going to be good or bad. Of course, when people insisted that Circle Of The Moon was the greatest thing ever, their first reaction wasn’t to spam the Internet. :)

    Really happy to see Symphony on that list, because I love that game :). Rondo Of Blood also holds up really well. Dunno about what everyone else thinks, but I played Chrono Trigger before I played Final Fantasy VI. I still can’t get into FFVI. The only games on that list that I’ve beaten are Chrono Trigger and Mega Man 2, even though I own most of them. I should really finish Super Metroid.

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