Chrono Cross-ing

Yesterday I decided I wanted to play a video game. The problem is that Mister E and I have very different tastes in video games. He likes open world games that take months to finish, which to me are quite dull because I have no interest in watching the back of someone’s head for 200 hours and watching him gather [x] number of [useless items]s for whichever NPC is whinging on about needing them. I like JRPGs, which he thinks are boring and samey, and he apparently thinks they make terrible fashion choices. It could be worse; one of us could be really into 3rd person shooters or MMORPGs. Half of my relationship philosophy can be summed up in the phrase “at least he’s not playing WarCraft.”

Most of my favorite JRPGs are on the PlayStation system, and Mister E plays exclusively on the Xbox these days. However, he did have a PlayStation 2 that was stuffed in a cabinet under the aquariums so I thought I’d try plugging it in. I had an old copy of Chrono Cross, which was one of my favorite games to watch RJ play back when we were married and also the only game I ever tried playing on my own. I remembered it being fun, so I popped it in to see if it was still fun.

Chrono Cross is a JRPG from Squaresoft (now Square Enix) that was originally released for the Playstation in 1999. It’s about a guy named Serge who goes to meet the girl he likes on the beach and ends up being taken to another world where things have turned out very differently. General Viper is still in power, the festival hasn’t been cancelled, and Serge died ten years earlier in an accident. Not only that, but people keep telling him that he has the power to destroy the world. Good times.

It’s an interesting game in that its combat system works by letting you use the different “levels” of your magic (Elements) based on how many times you are able to hit your opponent in combat. For example, if you hit them three times you can use three Level 1 spells or one Level 3 spell. You arrange and stack your Elements however you like – you can either buy or find them – and no one is limited to a certain color or class of magic.

It’s also interesting that you can recruit dozens of characters over the course of multiple playthroughs. If you play several times you can have all the characters in your extended team, and the choices you make during the game affect who you can recruit. It doesn’t change the overall plot, but you do get to see each character’s backstory over the course of the game if you have them.

When RJ first played it, we had the game guide. If I want any sort of help during this playthrough I’m going to have to rely on GameFaqs, which is honestly giving me a little bit of a headache. The volume of it is terrifying me, so I’m thinking I’m just going to play it however and see what happens.

This may not be the best idea I’ve ever had.

So far I’m having fun with it. I fell into the old trap of being reminded I have to eat because I’m sitting in front of the television for hours, so we’ll see how this plays out. I spent a while explaining all this to Mister E when he woke up and found me on the accursed beanbag, and now he’s interested in seeing the game. I’m just glad I hooked up the PS2 so he can finally play Parasite Eve.

Now if I could just get my hands on a copy of Final Fantasy VIII, I’d be super-happy.


One thought on “Chrono Cross-ing

  1. Completely agree about Final Fantasy VIII, I’ve been playing the shit out of that game on my PSP (including an 8h stint on the plane trip yesterday from Mumbai). I tend to take forever to complete that game — I like to draw 100 of each newly-encountered spell on each of my active characters. The ones who don’t have a high MAG stat only draw 0-3 of a spell at a time, so it tends to take a while. If you have a PSP handy it’s only a $5 or so digital download on PSN. I’ve got about 22h into it and I’m just starting Disc 2 (with an average level of around 15 in my party — since the enemy difficulty scales with your average level it makes sense to keep things as low as possible, though it limits your maximum SeeD rank)

    Chrono Cross was great — it was the 2nd of the Playstation era RPGs I played (not counting Final Fantasy VII and VIII — but I played the graphically better PC versions of those). Great party customization, an intuitive and quite strategic battle system, and endless replayability. And to get the “real” ending there is no other choice but to look up how to do it — it’s so unintuitive in terms of the colors of magic you have to use in sequence that there’s no way you could accidentally trigger it. I remember being very disappointed with the easy-to-get bad ending, but liked some of the others on my 2nd and 3rd New Game+ playthrough. I also liked how the game limits how strong you can get at any given time in the storyline, so you can’t just powerlevel and plow through everything.

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