A fated night ten years ago...
Badly hurt by a demonic panther, Serge is taken by his father to the island of Marbule in hopes of a cure. A horrific storm blows him completely off course, and he finds a strange place of the future. Inside he finds a Frozen Flame. Serge is healed, and the universe is divided.
Ten years go by for the boy, and not too much has changed for him. Standing on the beach where he was attacked with his sweet heart, he hears a voice calling to him. voice from another place...another time...And he gets taken there. When he runs into a girl name Kid, he becomes entangled in a plot that will either save the world and join them again, or destroy everything. Is it the work of the dark panther Lynx, or something much older, and more destructive?
Chrono Cross was released in 2000 in America, and was our first sequal to the masterpiece Chrono Trigger. It was set into development immediately after the release of Xenogears in 1998, though brainstorming for the project was being done as early as 1996 after the release of Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers. Square's managers selected a team, appointed Hiromichi Tanaka producer, and asked Kato to direct and develop a new Chrono game in the spirit of Radical Dreamers. Kato and Tanaka decided to produce an indirect sequel, rather than remaking the classic Trigger. Kato felt that using a different setting and cast for Chrono Cross would allow players unfamiliar with Chrono Trigger to play Cross without becoming confused. Also rather than using time travel in this game, they went with another fresh scenario, using time travel as a back story, rather than a focal point of it. This might have upset a few fans, but in all honesty, this was a great idea.
The game itself is set in the world of El Nido, where a boy name Serge lives. At some point he was mortally injured, was taken by his father to a Dr. In route they got blown off course, and Serge was healed by the Frozen Flame. This split the universe into two parallel worlds. And the story of the game unfolds between the two. This was actually a great idea for a game, and has actually been something most companies have been wanting to do, but just could not find a way for it to work out. Squaresoft found a way!
Gameplay found in Chrono Cross is that of the standard RPG ATB system of the time, but with some differences to it. Characters and enemies fight without a determined order. You can be in the middle of executing your attack, and a enemy will interrupt you. After the enemy has attacked, you then resume yours. Rather than having a menu full of items, magic, and such, everything is grouped together in Elements. Chrono Cross has six different colored Elements that consist of special attacks or skills, magical attacks, and consumable items. To use these, you need to successfully hit a enemy a certain amount of times. This opens the grid to certain levels, where you can then use the elements allocated to it. This was something very different from anything previously done, and was very easy to get the hang of. Each character in the party had their own elemental attribute as well. This meant that the elements of the same color were stronger with those character. Also only certain elements could be allocated to the character of the same color. This included, but was not limited to Summon elements.
Speaking of characters, what a cast! In Chrono Cross you have 45 different playable characters! This is the most I have seen on a platform game ever. It is certainly the highest amount of characters covered in Final Fantasy Kingdom. You would think with so many, they would be bland and boring, with no time for personality or back story development. But the characters in Cross are actually very well done for being so many. Each one has a unique personality, and plight of their own that draws them into the story.
The story itself is done very well also. There is twists and turns at every point. Just when you think you know what is going on, you are thrown for a loop. This was certainly done well enough to keep the player involved in the game. You want to know what is going to happen next, as well as find out where everything is heading. In the game are several spots where the story splits, and you have to choose which path you want to take. This will open new characters to gain, as well as close off some others. Once you begin down a certain route, you could not go back and do it the other way. This brought up the replay value to great highs. with the return of the new game plus from Trigger, it made it more likely to have the player see all these different story splits.
Graphically Cross is better than most of the games produced for the Playstation at the time. It is certainly better quality than that of Final Fantasy IX released the same year. Everything is very well colored, and has a vivid quality in it. The animation of the environment, characters, and enemies are top notch as well.
The only thing that seems to suffer, and it is not that badly is the music found in the game. Quite a few people have stated the music in Chrono Cross makes them want to take a nap, because of its quiet melodic tone. My roommate even commented in the same area when I was playing it for the website! Though it is not the keep you on the edge of your seat fare of most RPG's the music is none the less well scored. It actually fits the game and story very well. I would find it difficult to place any other type of music within Chrono Cross, without it feeling not right.
Upon release, Chrono Cross was met with great critical reception. Gamestop gave it a perfect 10.0, and EGM gave it a gold award for a 10/10/9.5. In July 2007, Game Rankings had Cross ranked at 92%. It shipped 850,000 units, and was released in the Greatest Hits titles. The only bad points critics had were the vague ending, confusing narrative, and some more confusing plot elements. But the praise for it certainly out did these minor complaints. Is it better than Chrono Trigger? That is something you would have to decide for yourself. Is it worthy of being a sequel to Chrono Trigger? You darn right it is worthy! Get it, play it, LOVE IT!