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CHRONO CROSS
 
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Chrono Cross

Editor's Choice: Gold
Publisher: Square EA
Developer: Squaresoft
Featured In: EGM #123
Players: 1
Supports: Dual Shock
Best Feature: Stunning music
Worst Feature: The game ends
Web Site: www.sqea.com

The original Chrono Trigger for the Super NES was hailed as one of the best-looking RPGs of its time when it hit five years ago. The same thing can be said now of its sequel, Chrono Cross. The game's rendered backgrounds are on par with Sony's Legend of Dragoon and the polygon characters are jaw-dropping. They look as close to their prerendered counterparts as possible on this system. And when you consider the impressive enemies are fully rendered in real time, as well as the battle backgrounds, that's no mean feat. Admittedly there is some slowdown, but nothing that detracts from the overall experience. Musically CC is stunning. This is the best music to come out of Square since FFVI. The writing, on the other hand, is just decent. The localization crew tried to give each character a unique accent; something that really doesn't work in a text-only RPG. Certain characters, especially Kid and Harle, simply read horribly. Broken English and poor French don't make for an enjoyable reading experience. However, the characters are well-developed and very likable right off the bat. Not surprising, since Square's the master of good character development. Another thing they excel at is creating the tortured villain—one who, in his own mind, is just in attaining his goals. Chrono Cross' Lynx is no exception. But it's the time-travel aspect that really makes this game stand out from the crowd. You can never get lost in Chrono Cross, because getting lost always means it's time to visit the alternate dimension (which you can normally do on a whim). It's almost eerie to watch a rich character's alternate-dimension-ego suffer from poverty or disease in another time. It draws the worlds together over the span of 35-plus hours in a way no other RPG has done before. Chrono Cross is one of the last great RPGs on the PlayStation. Much like their Super NES days, Square's going out on the PS with a bang!

Square may have become its own worst enemy. As it stands, this is the one RPG that could steal Final Fantasy IX's thunder later this year. Chrono Cross is a masterpiece, plain and simple. This game introduces you to a world with two possible futures, both tragic in their own way. The result is a superb story line weaved around different time periods and fates. I particularly like the unique battle system in CC. There is no magic, but rather the ability to use different colored elementals once each during any fight. Opposite colors are more effective against one another, as are people with opposite innate colors. Of course, people who are innately red do best with red elementals, etc. On top of that is the "field effect" during battle. As elementals are used, the field becomes endowed with the same color. Turn the entire field a certain color and like-colored elementals are more effective, opposite-colored less. It all seems confusing at first but after a couple of hours becomes intuitive, proving that games don't have to be as cumbersome as Vagrant Story or FFVIII to have depth. Graphically, the best thing I can say about CC is that we ran it on a PS2 with texture smoothing on and the characters looked no better than before. That in itself should tell you how good the models and colors are. And like Vagrant Story, true completists will find themselves playing CC over and over again to unlock all its secrets.

Greg rating: 9.5

Yes, I barely played the original Chrono Trigger (and yes, I'm ashamed), but the fact is you don't need to in order to fully enjoy Chrono Cross. There just isn't a weak link to this game. The translation is top-notch (complete with events and humor). The sound effects are crisp and visceral, and the music inspired. And the battle system? Totally unique, strategic but never cumbersome; in a word: genius. Graphically no game looks like it—not only is every location, character, and monster lovingly rendered and expertly textured, but the whole game has a bright, colorful style that makes me notice how drab and cold even some of my favorite RPGs have been.

Mark rating: 10

As an ardent fan of the original Chrono Trigger (it's my favorite RPG of all time), I had nothing but the very highest expectations for Chrono Cross. So it shouldn't be taken lightly when I say that the game completely blew me away. Chrono Cross is beyond incredible. The graphics? Stellar – the best I've seen in an RPG so far. The music? One of the finest game compositions ever. The gameplay? Never before have I played an RPG as deep as this: There is just so much to do. The elements system and everything involved with it is pure genius. Next to the original, Chrono Cross now stands as my second favorite RPG of all time. EGM readers: Buy this game!

Sam rating: 10

Visuals: 9 Sound: 10 Ingenuity: 9 Replay: 8
 
Electronic Gaming Monthly   [posted on: Aug 08 2000 12:00:00:000AM]

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