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Googleshng - August 24 '00- 1:00 Eastern Daylight Time

A very high percentage of people today went out of their way to assume I'm female today. Apparently this is because I reminded you all that I have cats, and because I like Roger Zelazny... I really don't see what's particularly feminine about either of those. Liking Roger Zelazny just means I read a lot and I'm a huge nerd, and I find that having a lot of cats can be associated with old age, not gender. I only know of two, maybe three people over the age of 60 who don't have at least 5 cats. In any case, don't bother sending anything in tomorrow on the subject because...

Tomorrow, Ryan Mance will be guest hosting. He's been contributing a number of things to RPGamer lately, and most notably is finishing up the Americanization of a Chrono Cross Guide he wrote. He also has imported (and I believe won) a copy of FF9, but if you want to ask him questions about THAT, send them to him directly! While it's somewhat futile considering my job, I DO make an effort to avoid spoilers on games I haven't won yet. Which reminds me, I recieved a number of letters about the end of Chrono Cross today. As soon as I accertained this, I deleted them without reading any further. I think the next time someone sends me letters of a variety I specfically ask not to be sent, I'll block all mail from them. Cruel true, but in this case, all you had to do was wait 24 hours. By the time tomorrow's column is up, I will have won Chrono Cross, so feel free to resend all those things I've been deleting. 8)

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Chrono Cross
This is a lot of characters.
Elements
Goog, before I ask my question, I wanna say that you are the greatest, nicest, and most beautiful Q&A host in all the land (heh, maybe she'll print it now).
Ok, on with my question. Can you PLEASE explain the element system in Chrono Cross? I have no idea how it works!

-John "I like to see her..um... arms jiggle!" Dill-

Googleshng:
OK! This is my kind of question! Actually, I just happen to have already written up a long detailed explaination for a friend of mine, so I can just cut and paste, fair warning though, that means you get to see my rabidly explaining something to a friend writing style:
Between fights, you get to attach "elements" (spells/items) to your element grids. This is basically an improved version of AD&D's spell system. The element grid for each character grows differently, 1 cell added each time you beat a boss, with the maximum dimentions being 8x8 (but nobody gets it totally filled) Each column is a level. So, basically you eventually have 8 levels, with varying numbers of spells per level. Each spell has a level and degree of varience (like "1 +/- 7" or "4 +/- 1"). These give the range of where you can put them. Some spells get used up, which basically means they're items. 1 slot holds 5 of that item. Plus there's unique abilities for each character which are always equipped and can't be moved.
Then, during the fights themselves:
Everyone starts with 7.0 stamina. Every character has their own stamina recharge stat, but they're close enough to 1.0 for most to begin with. Spell: 7 stamina, everyone else's stamina goes up by their recharge rate. Strong attack: 3 stamina, everyone else's stamina goes up by rechargex3, spell meter goes up by 3 if it hits, Medium 2, 2, and 2, Light 1, 1, and 1. Defending brings up everyone's by a bit. Plus, if an attack hits successfully, and you attack the same monster again right after (as opposed to attacking soething else, letting another character do something, or having a monster hit you), you have higher chances to hit. Since the basic chances are like 90 75 60 without bonuses, and Strong attacks do twice the damage of mediums I believe (which do 3 times strong, or some ratio like that) when attacking, you tend to start light and build up to strong, or you can go light medium strong spell (ending up at -6 stamina). There's tons of cool permutations. Spells are relatively simple. Obviously, you have to charge up to use them. Except for items, which you can obviously use up to 5 times, otherwise that'd be an odd limit, but every other spell can only be used once per fight. However, you shouldn't just power up to use your best spells because... There are 6 elements.
Every spell, character, and monster has an element.
Black (demonic stuff) opposes White (light/holy/meteors), Red (Fire) opposes Blue (water), Green (wind/plant) opposes Yellow (earth/electric).
If you cast a spell of your element, it does better. Spells of the opposing element do more damage to you, and here's the really cool part:

In the upper left corner of the screen is the element field. Basically, it's a record of the last 3 spells cast, and it starts with stuff reflecting the terrain (A beach would be say, Blue Blue Yellow). Anyway, these affect spells being cast. If there's a bunch of blue up there, red spells will be diminished (but they make it partially red) if there's a lot of red, red spells do good. So, if you're fighting a fire monster, it'll probably cast fire spells, and you'll cast water. Whoever casts spells faster ends up doing more damage, and it's good to time your best spells so that the field is mostly the right color. This also means if you don't cast any spells, boss spells will start to REALLY HURT. In FF8, Summons take forever, and if you're fighting a boss, you do nothing but summon. CC also has summons but uh... you don't see them often. Plus they're short. Let me put it this way. I'm 22 hours in. I have summoned something ONCE. It killed the boss I was fighting. In addition to all the normal restrictions on spells:
Summons cost MP. Specifically 1 MP, and your Max MP is basically equal to the number of bosses you've killed. The scary part is that you have 15 MP before you even have 1 summon... did I mention this game likes making you fight many bosses in a row?
You can't equip summons unless you're of the same element. So, only my mermaid can summon my frog thing.
and finally, you can't summon something unless the element grid is all the right color. So, if you want to summon the giant frog to kill the fire monster, you'll have to cast 3 water spells then summon it, before it casts one of it's fire spells and messes up the pattern.

Ahem, I think that about covers it, don't you? 8)

The great delay in the sky
Dear Googleshng,

Nooooo....they {Nintendo} finally cancelled Earthbound 64, after years of dangling tantalizing screenshots in front of fans of the series. Let us mourn the death of one of the most stylistically bizarre and appealing series ever to grace Nintendo...well, there's always SNES Earthbound...sniff...

sadly lacking the Apple of Enlightenment,
MasterZero

Googleshng:
That is quite the shape. Earthbound 64 was a game I was planning to get if they ever released it. On the bright side, I just heard mention of an even more anticipated sequel on Nintendo's next system. 8)

CC and RZ
OMG!!!!

Goog's a Zelazny fan!!! I think I'm in love....hehe. (I'm of the firm opinion that you're a girl...no proof, but who cares. Since you won't tell, you might as well be. ^_^)

ANYWAY...to add an actual semi-relevant question, is there any way you could tell me what it is that's similar between Zelazny books and Chrono Cross (I don't have it yet), in as much of a non-spoiler fashion as possible? If it's a small spoiler it'd be okay, but if not, I'll wait. Thanks a lot!

"Don't wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects."

Syd

Googleshng:
Well, the specific thing I was refering to there is quite possibly the biggest spoiler in the game, but if I wanted to go out on a limb, here's some other vaguely Zelaznyish things about Chrono Cross: There are two parrallel worlds. The politcal/military balance of the worlds are constantly changing. The characters are all freaks. It gets VERY sureal at times, and, of course, one major character is a morally ambiguous jaded loner who smokes. Actually I'm surprised to see how many Zelazny fans read my column. Nice to know.

So many Escaflowne letters!
Oh almighty slime-like rpg god, your lowly servant needs help.

I seriously hope I'm not the only one having this trouble, but do you know where to get Anti-somthing elements in CC? I seem to have alot of trouble summoning anything other than FrogPrince, so I can't get the other Shinystuff for my Rainbow Armors.

Also, on a side note, in Xenogears (which I got about a week before CC came out... I'm sorry) Is it possible to leave the final dungeon? I'd like to know because I try going to the Desert Island at the end of the 2nd CD, but a dragon always kills me. Most letters say I level up alot in the final dungeon, but i don't want to go past a point of no return.

-Ultros, wishing he could say "Fungah"

Googleshng:
I'm not sure how far you are, but Anti-elements are extremely common at the point I'm at. The other option would be to just fight things that don't cast spells that often. If I'm wrong on any of what I just said, PLEASE don't correct me, I'm sure Ryan will tomorrow. As for Xenogears, there is an exit, save point, and shop, all RIGHT before the last boss, so don't worry.

Goodbye blinking title. You will be missed.
Hello Google,

Concerning Chrono Cross, what is your prize if you feed the dragons 100 times in the Viper Dragoon Place? I didn't feel like spending hours practicing perfecting my dragon feeding. Also is there any really "easy to miss" or "super secret" characters in Chrono Cross? I really don't want to miss any!

Jason Swanson

Googleshng:
All you get for feeding 100 dragons is some iron armor... which you can of course break down and make into some other kind of iron equipment. Not really worth it, but feeding the dragons isn't really as hard as it seems. As for missable characters, well, there's tons. Good thing there's plus games eh?

FF9
Hi Googleshng.

Have you noticed that with FF9 the hype doesn't seem to be as much as normal for a big title? In fact, there seems to be very little spoiler-type info about. I remember with FF8 and CT and even Zelda64 that I knew a LOT about the game before it came out...but with FF9, nothing! Is this on purpose by Square or am I just so lazy that I'm missing all the information about?

~tsd

Googleshng:
Well, Square did state that they didn't want any walkthroughs, guides, and so on to be printed for FF9, which, while obviously is a futile goal, DOES seem to have been at least partially successful. Still, tomorrow's guest host imported the game, so he can tell you all you want. Just remember to send FF9 questions to him directly, not to me.

Quickies

Hey Goog,

Everyone should re-direct there hatred for Fox for butchering Escaflowne smurfed you are at them.

-Radrisol-

People have started to complain about the Escaflowne letters. It really was making up the bulk of my mail. Today I managed to avoid it, and that link there should vent off the rest. 8)

What are those Frames I keep running across in CC?

Natron

They add to the customization menu. Sick of the wooden frame on everything? Switch to one of those. Reminds me of FM3.

Coyotes in the back yard?!? Where in the heck do you live?!?

Actually, coyotes live all over the place. My house has woods behind it, and the ocean in front of it. Nice area... and the coyotes aren't really much of a problem.

What good is a tilde if I don't have my BOOM!?

Ramrod Zombie

Such a great line.

One could always navigate the Logrus, but that would leave you temporarily mentally unbalanced.

The Eternalm

Chaos isn't exactly down the street either.

how many kitty cats do you have?

5. Tiger, James, Tally, Tippy, and Lucifer.

Hmmm, you gotta be a chick. No self respecting guy would have that many cats. That's kinda sad....got any human friends?

Well, there's just the entire RPGamer staff, relatives, not to mention a colorful individual who would most likely break your nose with his forehead if he heard you saying that. 8)

The Last Laugh:


Well, I have a job interview in about... 12 hours, so I really should get to sleep. Send in letters for Ryan, and don't forget, if you send anything FF9 related to me, I will be forced to block mail from you. I really don't appreciate having been told that [BLEEP] is [BLEEP] in Chrono Cross.

Oh, and on another note, Space World has started, so be sure to keep checking back here constantly for all the Nintendo related info you can stomach... that pertains to RPGs... it's not ALL Pokémon! Honest! 8)


Googleshng "Job hunting" @rpgamer.com
If liking Roger Zelazny makes you a girl, I don't know any guys. 8)

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