Chrono Cross

Gear up time travelers, your adventure awaits!

By Jeff Hagadorn

Chrono Cross

    The long awaited sequel to Chrono Trigger looks to be shaping up quite nicely, what with its many surprises and a beautiful look in store for us as well. With Legend of Mana's impact still fresh in our mind, Square's "Summer of Adventure" has started off well. Now, with the upcoming addition of Chrono Cross to the library of Playstation RPG's, it appears it will go out with a bang. Today, RPGamer will be taking an in-depth look at Square's latest wonder.

Into the wind....

    Chrono Cross, Square's newest fully polygonal RPG seems to be coming along well -- with a story line just as pretty as the graphics. Our hero (known as 'Serge') begins the story with a quick little trip through a dungeon, where he meets the game's other main character, Kid. After this meeting, Serge is thrown in to an alternate dimension, in which he finds out he had expired nearly a decade ago. Along the way, Serge notices that this secondary universe is quite different than the one he originated in, and due to his 'death,' things here are not exactly the same as they used to be. This causes Serge to depart on an Epic adventure which leads him to meet many new faces and venture into places that were previously unknown to him. Many of these characters seem to avoid or join you depending on who you talk to and who you don't, as well as the actions you take over the course of the story.

In a house
Wandering around the house

      Many RPG veterans may be pleased to hear that Chrono Cross will not feature a random battle system. Instead, the monsters are visible on screen ala Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete and SaGa Frontier. Fans of the previously mentioned games may remember that this is sometimes a blessing and a curse. While it is easy to avoid the monsters, this may lead the gamer to become lazy and avoid more fights than one should. This may make the game somewhat harder, as the player may not be at a sufficient strength level to defeat a certain boss for example.

      The battle system consists of a turn based system with a few innovations added into the mix. One example is the way magic is acquired and utilized. As the player successfully hits the enemy, the option to use magic will become available. Depending on the level of the attack (explained later), the power of the spells available will increase or decrease. This is determined by the measure of an on-screen elemental magic bar. As one may infer from this, the spells are element-based, with a unique color representing each element.

Kid prepares for the assault

      Another example of the innovation applied to Chrono Cross is the use of 'stamina points'. At the beginning of a battle, the player is given seven stamina points for each character. These stamina points are depleted as the player attacks, thus calling for one to use a bit of strategy. Those of us who have played Xenogears may notice a resemblance to the attack point system. Another similarity between the two is the use of strong, medium, and weak attacks. The strength of the blow determines the probability of a successful hit, with weak attacks being more likely to succeed, and strong ones less likely. The player may use any combination of moves until the seven stamina points provided at the beginning of the round are used.

      Demonstrating some of the most colorful and appealing graphics on the Playstation, Square's time-thrashing follow-up title is definitely a pleasant trip. The story will bind you from start to finish, with a cast of over 40 memorable characters and dozens of equally memorable events. Be ready, Square fans, Chrono Cross will be coming to your local retailer August 17!

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