Back in action

Like spice, the GameSpite content must flow! Let us begin by harshin’ the ‘tards responsible for Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles.

I did not write this article, but I fully endorse its conclusion: FFCC was a great idea ruined by certain money-grubbing requirements. I am, however, holding out hope for Rings of Fate.

And now I go forage for lunch. Between my haute cuisine dinner a month ago and my week of excellent Tokyo cuisine, I think I’ve been spoiled for just about every option I have near the office.

45 thoughts on “Back in action

  1. I stopped reading when I got to the word “broken.” Broken is the new “quirky” for people who don’t know how to talk about things.

    (PS: FFCC is fun, but only with very specific groups of people.)

  2. Me and my circle of gaming friends loved Zelda: Four Swords(not to mention Gauntlet and Secret of Mana), but Crystal Chronicles put us right to sleep.

  3. “Broken is the new ‘quirky’ for people who don’t know how to talk about things.”

    I’m as keen as anyone to kick someone’s linguistic crutch out from under them, but the piece does a pretty good job of explaining why the game is, in the nuts-and-bolts game design sense, broken.

    Nintendo could atone for their sin of pretending, all through last generation, that GBA connectivity was a key innovation by releasing Pac-Man VS on Wii Ware with DS support. That’d make a sweet party game and it only requires one handheld.

  4. The only thing that really made the game crap was the chalice. I hated holing it but no one else wanted to. plus you needed an ass load of stuff to play. (4 GBAs 4link cables, a copy of the game and a gamecube. if that wasn’t enough it seems like someones battery is always about to die)

    I’m sure the article says all this. maybe I should read first post second instead of the other way around. Oh well, time to read it.

  5. Funny story about this game: about the time it came out my GBA stopped working completely. But me and one of my roommates both owned Gamecubes, and I did happen to have a Gamecube GBA player and an extra 13″ television…

    I think you can guess where this is going.

  6. No I think ‘broken’ was the word I was looking for….

    And Parish, I am really surprised you left all the Canadian history references in there (damn NEP!. You are a scholar and a gent!

    And Chady – are you insinuating that this game can be played via network? That would be cooler…

  7. I only edit for grammar and occasionally good taste. Your choice of tenuous metaphors is sacrosanct to me.

  8. Man, that made me mad about Crystal Chronicles all over again. Kind of wish Philliam would animate that “card to Yamauchi’s head” thing in MS Paint or something.

  9. I was the official Bucket Relocation Engineer when my friends played CC, as befitting my healer role. Except that one time where one of my friends picked up a healing spell, stayed in one spot, kept healing himself in the miasma and left us a man short for the remainder of the level. What a buster.

  10. Wow, me and Mr. Yamauchi think so much alike. The only difference being that I think that being alone in a dark and gloomy room, alone, and to play slow games is a good thing.

  11. I’ve never played Crystal Chronicles, so I have no basis on which to validate or invalidate the review, but I do have to object with the “plays poorer than Barry Bonds minus the muscle juice” simile. I don’t know how many people here follow baseball, but before Bonds got pumped up like a pro wrestler, he was considered prime Hall of Fame material, and a candidate for greatest active player at the time… he was just doing it more with defense and balanced hitting rather than smashing every ball out to the freeways. Now if you had qualified your simile by referring to CURRENT Barry Bonds minus the muscle juice, then maybe… although I don’t really pay attention nowadays.

    Just fulfilling my nitpicking quota for the day. Sorry about that, carry on.

  12. In case no one friggin’ noticed, FF:CC has a pretty AWESOME (FOMG) soundtrack.
    If there was something positive the article should have talked extensively about, it’s the soundtrack ;)

    Sadly you can’t appreciate it playing the game because the sound effects are too loud and are always obnoxiously interfering with the beautiful music.

    Anyone that liked the Final Fantasy 4 Celtic Moon soundtrack, some of the Suikoden soundtrack and some of the LotR movie soundtrack should take a moment out of their lives and listen to the FF:CC music.
    And this is from someone that didn’t even play the game through the end.

    This game has the Final Fantasy Mystic Quest syndrome where the game is somewhat lousy but the soundtrack pretty much makes up for it.

    If anyone wants some picks of the best tracks of the game they should REALLY (like right now) listen to:
    – Departure (da best one, fo’ real)
    – Thoroughly Blue (Highly Recommended)
    – A Sight of Wind (Highly recommended)
    – Light (Highly Recommended)
    – Oath of Eternity (Recommended)
    – Annual Festival (Recommended)
    – Ocean no Gamete (Ripped from Suikoden 1 soundtrack?)
    – Guwaito Tradition
    – Dreaming of Twilight
    – Magiga Subete
    – Hammer Noise on the Mountain Pass
    – Gentle Blowing Breeze
    – Monster Dance Rondo

    You’re still not downloading the music? Watcha’ waitin’ fo’?

  13. Well, if any of the very fine people on this wesite would kindly take a request to review a game, I would love for someone to give “Panic!” for the Sega CD the 20 out of 10 it deserves.

  14. I have a problem with this review. It’s wrong and full of factual errors. For starters there is the complaint about the chalice making inventory management impossible in battle. When you enter the inventory screen on the GBA the bubble pulls you along with the group automatically. The only way you would get left behind is if you were out in the miasma to begin with or to somehow get caught on a sharp corner. There is no need for everyone else to stop moving.
    Next there is the only one person at the shop at the time complaint. Too bad that complaint is absolutely false. Yes it’s true that most npcs can only talk to one person at a time, but shops are the exception to that rule. Everyone can shop at the same time.
    Next up we have the changing the chalice element complaint. Once you have beaten a level you DO NOT have to play it again to change the element from one of the types in that level. It doesn’t matter whether there is Myrrh in the tree or not from the main map screen any completed level will let you change. You are never forced to replay a level without myrrh.
    It is also a lie to say “you get no experience through continued playing.” Every time you finish a level you get to keep an artifact, most of which improve your stats and some of which even give you those abilities you lament loseing, hmm sounds like you are improving with play to me.
    With as many flat out errors as you have with this “review” I’m forced to wonder if you even actually played the game of if you just conjured up some hate to sound cool.
    And finally it’s not a factual error, but to the frequently used complaint about the chalice keeping the group together, it’s multiplayer on one screen. They had to keep everyone heading in the same direction or progress would be impossible. This is to say nothing to the fact that it follows the story and actually promotes teamwork.

  15. I’m not as angry as my poor editing would lead you to believe. However I do have an avatar in the forum from this game so obviously I was going to comment.

    The points still stand though. The review is chock full of things that are wrong, and it criticizes the game for doing them even though it doesn’t. People are allowed to not like FF:CC. I know that most people don’t despite the high review marks it recieved. But if someone is going to write a review of it, the least they can do is make sure their criticisms are things that are actually in the game rather than in their imaginations.

  16. The correlative for neither is nor, and you mention ffvii twice.

    Here is another mistake:
    “Its enough to make one want to throw a hanafuda card straight into Yamauchi’s brain, like a shuriken.”
    Shouldn’t it be It is or It’s.

  17. I admit its been a while since I played – since early 04 I reckon – but iI definately seem to recall shopping to be a pain in the ass. Additionally, although upon reflection maybe its not worded clearly in th e review, you do in fact have to play stages again. Sometimes the fountains or whatever that change the elemnet of the chalice are located within the stages, so you may be trapped on a continent in which you have already completed all the stages, and may need to venture forth once more inside a stage. Boo_urns I do not recall being dragged along by the bubble, even so does the screen move at full pace or does it slow down? I understand that they needed to keep everyone on task, but I dont recall have that much issue with Secret of Mana, Gauntlet, Dark Alliance and so forth. I found the poor multiplayer combined with the need to use gbas to be a deal buster for me in my ‘review’. Thanks for reading!

    Fer – yeah that should be VII or VIII, Whoops!

    Rey – The music in this game does kick ass, probably the best FF music since IV. I think I mentioned that the music was very good before getting into my bloody screed….

  18. See if you are going to make a big point about something being terrible you should check it first. In contrast to your last having played in 04 I started a 3 player game a few weeks ago and we are currently in year 7, so I do know what I’m talking about here.(Coincidentally none of us bought GBA’s just for this game and yet we all still had them.)

    Yes, there are multiple shops in each town and they aren’t right next to each other, but you can have multiple people shop at once.

    Any fountain to change the element of the chalice is available from the overworld map. You never need to replay a level to get a different element. Before you enter any previously played stage they always give you the option of changing the element of the chalice.

    Yes you may have to replay stages to get a second drop of myrrh, but that’s a very different thing than what you were complaining about.

    When the bubble drags you along you move at full speed.

    As I’ve said before, if you don’t care for the game that’s your perrogative. Just get your facts straight before you rant about things.

  19. I can only reflect from my experiences, and even taking in to consideration that the fountain can be obtained from the world map, sometimes there are situiations where the element they are offering you is not the one needed to get past the next miasma stream. Maybe to keep you out of the next area? I dunno, but it is obnoxious way to keep you from progressing and there by forcing you to collect myrrh from an already completed stage (if it is in another year of course) so you can progress or close off the year.

    Its fabulous taht you and your friends had sufficient extraneous hardware to play, but I think Nintendo/Square/Enix are putting a lot of onus on the consumer to make sure that they are able to play this game as was intended – 4player. If you have friends who arent gamers taht you want to have over for a gaming session that you need doubles, or triples or quadruples to enjoy this game. One may even ask: “Why do I need to play this on GBA anyway? What does this hardware requirement add to the game?”

    I am sure you have some opinion on that but the game could have shipped playing on regular controllers, which you are much more likely to have, should you have non gamer types over, and it would not have been, IMO, significantly different.

    I do feel silly having replayed all those stages in that game for next to nothing though :)

  20. There were specific game design reasons to limit the players access to particular levels. This isn’t just done by the miasma streams. In one year (5 maybe?) the river runs low and you can’t cross to play any of those stages. If you found that obnoxious, that’s your deal. There are valid reasons to replay those earlier stages though, once they’ve restocked with myrrh. They become harder and drop better items and artifacts. You power up much more quickly playing through 3rd cycle levels rather than 1st cycle ones.

    I’m not denying that there was a huge amount of hardware required. However, it was not impossible to find other people to play with. With 80 million GBA’s sold worldwide you are roughly 4 times as likely to know another person with a GBA than you are to find another gamecube owner. Now if you wanna talk GBA to GC cables then you are on to something. One came with this game. One came with Zelda 4 swords, but other than that you had to buy them. That extra expense does make a difference to some people.

    As to the issue of whether the game needs the GBA at all, well that’s a whole other can of worms. The inventory thing is important allowing people to all simultaneously manage their attacks and purchasing, but it’s not the only, or even the most important reason to have a gba. Constantly on that bottom screen is displayed one of 4 different radar screens. Map, treasure, enemy location, and enemy stats. The treasure and enemy location screens aren’t that hot, but especially for new players the map and enemy stats give you some serious help. Also the fact that each person only gets one forces more teamwork, even while the bonus objectives set up some rivalry. When you take these things as aggregate the additions that the GBA makes to the game does make it significantly different than if it were all just done on regular controllers.

  21. I just feel that they knew ahead of time that it was going to be a GBA connection game and they shoehorned functionality. Like you can look at your equipment but ideally if others are not intent on waiting for you you will be dragged around but effectively out of the action. Being pack mule for the chalice is no fun, you walk slower and have to put it down to accomplish anything. If your companions are less than gracious you can get screwed with pickups as well. I suppose that bubble adds cohesion, but I dont necessarily think it was implemeted well at all.

    I find replaying the stages to not be so hot as it ruins any forward momentum, its not like its metroid and you are getting new abilities taht allow further exploration, just replaying a satge, sometimes several times. Maybe they should have had more stages per continent if they insist on barricading you with the streams.

    I suppose 80 million people have gbas – I bought an auxillary so I could play this game with my wife, but assuming that I know 80 million people with GBAs, cords , or interest to play this game at all is totally diminishing returns. I have several dudes who dont game, or brely game, and may not have a gba, let alone the cord. Is the extra expense of the cords crippling? Maybe not but seeing as it adds next to nothing to the game, its a total pain in the ass.

    The cube-troller in single player feels better and you have a moogle to do all the lame stuff. Maybe they should have had a moogle in multiplayer? Or maybe the chalice just isnt that great an idea – sure in other games you have people running around you lose focus, but that doesnt change really they are just tug-o-warring the bubble.



  22. Anyone’s got a link to the 10 review, I haven’t played the game, but I would like to compare the reviewer’s views on the game with what the author of this mini feature stated. Yes, I have nothing better to do, and I need a drink.

  23. My main problem with the review is the essentially exclusive focus on the multi-player to the neglect of the unencumbered single player experience. Few if any of the complaints in the review and this cute comment squabble apply to a single-player playthrough. I never played it multiplayer, and I played a noticeably above-adequate but neither exceptionally good nor exceptionally bad game.

    But it’s true the real attractions aren’t in the gameplay to begin with. The best feature–not even mentioned yet, I’m afraid–is the voice over at the start of each area, especially the last.

  24. I’ve skipped many of sporophyte’s later comments cause it looks like we all get into an argument, but I agree with his initial thoughts. I’ve never played CC, hwoever, if this is true, then the review is flat out wrong on a number of points, and should be retracted or changed.

    This isn’t a mark against the writing–it was an entertaining writeup and I liked it… but c’mon. We need to fix factual errors.

    And sporophyte–saying that the chalice “fits into the story” is complete bullshit. The story was written that way to account for a (stupid) gameplay mechanic that had already been decided. It was in no way designed AROUND the story. Games are quite the opposite.

  25. The problem with chud_666’s review isn’t his conclusion that the game isn’t good. That’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it. The problem is that roughly half of his criticisms are of things that simply aren’t true. It is like saying RE4 sucked because you can’t run.

  26. Sorry to double post.

    Tomm while I don’t disagree with your point about mechanics come first story second, the point I was thinking in my head but didn’t make clear is that at least for me the story made that mechanic reasonable. It’s sorta like how finding energy cells in MP3 irritates many people because they are just another time sink to collect keys. For me at least the story that you needed those energy cells to power doors and elevators made the mechanic believable and acceptable. But now I think we are getting off into storytelling in games.

  27. As far as I know the only factual error was about how you can change your element at a stage that has a fountain from the world map. As far as my multiplayer experience was – we got stuck between miasma streams, we were hindered by the bubble and chalice mechanic, and we had a hard time trying to buy stuff at the same time from the same shop. Were we doing it wrong? Maybe. As i said before I can only write about what I experienced whilst playing and my opinions of said play time. Contrary to what has been said I have indeed played the gmae to completion.

  28. I agreed with most of what Chud had to say about Crystal Chronicles. Games can be quirky as long as they are fun – however this game really suffered as a multiplayer game due to the cumbersome GBA and chalice elements. I guess if I had 3 friends who wanted to sit and trudge through the difficult parts I would have finished it, but as a single player game I just didn’t find it compelling. I’ve played every Final Fantasy game available to me, and this was the first one I couldn’t get in to. I even played Mystic Quest more than once. This one just suffered from good ideas with bad execution. Thanks guys!
    P.S. – I really enjoyed the Canadian trivia….FLQ FTW?

  29. You Ninsquendo fanboys need to stop being such sheeple and open your eyes to what a terrible game this is! Or to what a terrible conversation this is. Halfway down I forgot which I was supposed to hate and just started hating everything. Welcome to GameFAQs.

    I am tired of seeing that “it’s easier to find four people with GBAs than one person with a Gamecube” stat, though. The point is that you don’t NEED to find another person with a Gamecube to play Gamecube games with them. That’s why this whole fiasco feels like such an imposition: suddenly most of the people we like playing our multiplayer games with are disqualified, and only fellow X-treme hardcore gamers are allowed in the clubhouse. For most people this is a deal-breaker.

  30. I’m tired of all the reviews of a video game review. All I want to say is that all of you should shut up and pirate a Sega CD game today and fall in love with “kick ass” all over again.

  31. It’s very interesting to read all of the comments here. I both loved and hated certain aspects of the game (and in some cases both at the same time, e.g. dance sessions!). When the game first came out, I played it with my wife, who had not played many videogames in her life. I think the simplicity of the control and attack schemes helped her get into the game. The spell system was a bit annoying, but eventually we learned to cooperate with each other, and got our timing down. We had to communicate, or else we died, which despite problems with teh overall controls is an interesting concept that I haven’t seen much in multiplayer games since then. I carried the chalice most of the time, because she was learning to play, and things worked out pretty well. It’s kind of strange, but as an introduction to gaming for her, I think it was a big success.

  32. To echo some comments, I remember being frustrated when this came out because I’d heard good things but the hardware requirements made it pretty much impossible to just try it out, since neither I nor most of my friends owned GBAs. I’ve still never played it.

  33. First and foremost, I agree that the GBA connection cable was essentially a bad idea; however, I think that Penny-Arcade put it best:

    Man: Fuck you, Nintendo – and fuck your Crystal Chronicles!
    Man: So if I want to play your game, I’ve got to buy your system? Then I have to buy four GBA’s!
    Man: Oh, yeah – I guess I’ll also need a TV!
    Man: Now I need a house to put this TV in!
    Man: And I don’t have any friends, so I’ll have to play the game with three hookers!
    Man: I can’t just sit there naked! Now I have to buy Clothes! I’ll need food if I’m going to stay conscious.
    Man: I’m gonna need a chair to sit on.
    Man: Now I’m half-million dollars in the hole, and I’m sucking dicks in the bathroom at the Olive Garden. Thanks a lot, Nintendo!

    Yeah, it’s not ideal to have to buy extra equipment to play a game, but neither is buying extra controllers or new systems, or paying for a million other things that are required to play games. I happened to have two friends that also had GBAs, and we played plenty of FFCC, Four Swords, and Pac Man vs.. The cost of two extra cords (plus the one that came with four swords) was negligible for what we got. It was a hell of a lot cheaper then buying that controller for steel battalion or paying for an actual MMORPG anyway.

    Secondly, I’m shocked that no one here has mentioned the magic system in a positive way. Getting huge spells timed right was a big part of why I enjoyed Crystal Chronicles, it really made us work together to get something done. Sure it was simple, but it did a great job bringing out the multiplayer aspect of the game. Also, I’m glad that it seems like pretty much everyone appreciated the visuals (design and graphical quality) and music. FFCC is easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing games from the whole generation.

    I think that the criticisms here are pretty on par with what I’ve read in most message boards. It’s not just you guys, a lot of people really dislike this game. I don’t know if it’s an overflow of rage against Nintendo’s accessory craze or if people just expected Square’s return to Nintendo to bring back games like FFVI, but I think that the hatred of FFCC is totally misplaced. It’s not my favorite Final Fantasy game, but it was a very fun and memorable experience.

  34. There are a ton of comments on this page.

    Anyways, I just wanted to say that I’ve been playing the new DS Crystal Chronicles a bunch and it’s pretty fucking awesome. I liked the GCN version but I had to play most of it on single player which is boring and depressing. Multiplayer was cool but a little too hectic, and we always ran into dumb stuff like batteries running out.

  35. This article is pretty awful, but most of my criticisms have been properly addressed by other people thus far. The only thing I ever bought extra for it was some connection cables. This is an excellent multiplayer game and is wonderful Secret of Mana type experience. I’ve played through the game 1, 2, 3, and 4 player. It’s odd, for all the talk of it being designed for 4 players, I found the game at its funnest with 3 players. With 4 players, things just seemed to crowded. Everything seemed to be harmonious balance with three players.

  36. Throwing up my two cents here, but Onomarchus basically hit on what I was going to say. The buildup in the review makes it sound like they did a lot of things right, but then it’s all shattered when you enter the multiplayer mode. But it sounds like the single player mode might hold some promise, but then the review never really gives any affirmation of whether it does or not.

  37. Single palyer still kinda sucks. The chalice is still a problem as you have to wait for your (adorable) moogle to chuff it around, plus he gets tired and needs to put it down every so often. I wanted to focus mostly on multiplayer as that what the game was clearly designed for.

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