ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Underrated Game of the Week: Chrono Cross by Squaresoft

Updated on June 14, 2013
Chrono Cross original cover
Chrono Cross original cover | Source

Am I writing about this game because I happen to be playing it? Yes. Still, that shouldn't negate how good of a title Chrono Cross actually is and how much it deserves a higher place on the grand pedestal of JRPG classics like its predecessor Chrono Trigger along with Final Fantasy VII and Persona 3 among others. As everyone knows greatness in games doesn't come from one avenue. It takes multiple successes to create something that stands out. So why does this game qualify?

History

Chrono Cross has conflicted origins in Chrono Trigger
Chrono Cross has conflicted origins in Chrono Trigger | Source

Before learning the good stuff, it is best to understand why it is underrated in the first place. Chrono Cross came out in 1999 right in the middle of the Final Fantasy golden age. It is easy to see why fans didn't give it a second glance. Also throw in the fact it was originally considered a direct sequel to the classic Super Nintendo title Chrono Trigger, and when fans found out the two games were actually quite different, that likely decreased the buzz as well. Cross shipped 1.5 million units between Japan and other countries. Given successful titles of that time went somewhere in the 3 to 7 million range and it's sad to say the game never really got off the ground.

Did the reviews reflect this lack of enthusiasm? Not by a long shot. Several reputable magazines and game reviews gave Chrono Cross very high marks. Electronic Gaming Monthly called it a "masterpiece" while GameSpot gave it a perfect 10. At that time it was just the seventh 10 awarded by them to a game among 40,000 other titles. Modern day powerhouse IGN gave it a 9.7 rating and the prestigious Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave it a 36 out of 40. That is high praise from high places. The primary complaint about the game was with its "vague" ending and its lack of connections with Chrono Trigger. Some might call that nitpicking but the gripes are legitimate all the same.

The Plot and Characters

Source

Without going into too much detail and spoiling everything for those who haven't yet played it, Chrono Cross follows the exploits of Serge. The 17-year old boy is a native of a village called Arni. While running an errand for a girl who is fond of him, he ends up on a beach and goes through a bizarre experience that renders him unconscious. When he awakens and returns home to Arni he finds that nobody recognizes him. He later discovers that he has somehow slipped into an alternate world where he died at age 7. People view him as a ghost, not knowing the truth of his origin, and Serge later discovers his slipping into that world wasn't an accident. It is soon revealed his impact on the fate of both worlds goes far deeper.

What sets Chrono Cross apart from a lot of other games is its characters. Most JRPGs stick to a central cast of no more than ten. Cross breaks that tradition by introducing 45 different characters, each diverse in their own way and having a story arc to explore. There is Kid the Australian-accented thief who first befriends Serge, Harle the jester who accompanies her deep French drawl with an air of mystery, Greco the pro wrestler, Fargo the pirate captain, and Razzy the fairy among many others. One might think such an overload of personalities would weigh the game down but somehow that never happens. Each story is able to enrich the main plot as it goes. It is a remarkable success given it's unique approach.

Musical score

Adding to the allure of the two worlds is an incredibly overlooked soundtrack by Yasunori Mitsuda, one of the few connections the game maintains to Chrono Trigger. In a six month period he constructed an amazingly diverse list of tracks that moved from bright to dark, Far Eastern to Celtic and so on. Mitsuda wanted to enhance the beautiful scenery of the game's worlds with each track. A favorite story involves the ending song "Radical Dreamers - The Unstolen Jewel" bringing game director Masato Kato to tears. It ended up winning the Gold Award for Playstation game music in 2000 and was so good Square released it again in 2005 by popular demand. To top it off, the main theme titled "Time's Scar" was rated as the Best Video Game Music of All Time by Hardcore Gaming 101.

Conclusion

Did the Chrono series deserve deeper exploration like Final Fantasy?

See results

Why do I write about this? It is about expressing how lucky I was to have played this game. What some may not understand is it happened by complete accident. Where I used to live was a video store that I frequented. They had a solid gaming section, especially in the Playstation department. At the time I had just made it through Final Fantasy IX, another underrated title for another day, and was interested to see if there were any other JRPG type games I could at least try. Lo and behold I stumbled upon Chrono Cross. The rest is history. Here I sit, 13 years later hyping it as if it were released last week. It isn't a perfect title. None are. Instead it is what gamers want: thrilling, challenging, diverse, and beautiful to the senses. The only drawback is not enough people know about it.

You're welcome.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Mai 

      3 years ago

      away an especial diuncsot on Market Samurai; The Best Keyword Research and Analysis Tool (Read my Market Samurai Review here). This diuncsot doesn't come from the Market Samurai guys. This diuncsot is directly from

    • EJ Lambert profile imageAUTHOR

      EJ Lambert 

      5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      My pleasure, B.A. Happy gaming!

    • B. A. Williams profile image

      B. A. Williams 

      5 years ago from USA

      Well that was an interesting read, and a reason I will check out the game. Thanks for sharing the interesting facts.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)