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Chrono Cross Arrives at

"We get our hands on one of the biggest import PlayStation titles of the year - Square's Chrono Trigger sequel."

Chrono Cross

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Square's Chrono Cross has already shipped to a few select retailers, and got our hands on a copy. Here are our impressions from an all-too-brief few hours of play that include minor plot descriptions of the beginning of the title.

The game opens with a fully rendered FMV intro, which Square had previously released as a "trailer" on the Web; it then starts players off in a mysterious dungeon. Gamers familiar with the demo included with Legend of Mana will have played through this part before, and little has changed. Party member Glenn has been replaced with another hulking brute; Glenn will no doubt appear later in the game, when the story warrants it. Players reach a sky room in the dungeon, where Serge experiences a strange and disturbing vision. After the vision, Serge is awakened by his mother in his hometown. He talks to townsfolk and sets off to the south to pick up Lizard Scales to make a necklace for his girlfriend, Lena. Once he collects the scales, he heads to the beach to meet Lena. Here, another vision (of a tidal wave) appears, but Serge is swept away in a vortex of light before it hits. Here is where the demo ends.

Serge is woken up by an old man and brought back to his hometown, but there's something amiss ... the music is more melancholy, and the town just "feels" different. He heads to the dock to talk with Lena, only to be shocked when she greets him with, "Who are you, traveler?" She tells you that you remind her of a boy she knew when she was young who passed away ten years ago; she always wonders what that boy would've been like if he were still alive. The deceased boy, of course, is you: Serge. A stop at your house reveals a new tenant and another shock: your mother is no longer present. In an attempt to learn more about what happened to you in this "other" world, you ask questions, gain information, and earn a new goal: to visit your own gravestone. From there, some villains show up, some heroes join your party, and a new goal is set.

Gameplaywise, the game is much improved from the demo. The atrocious load times have been slimmed down to acceptable levels, and the battles themselves unfold at a fast and furious pace. Graphically, the game isn't as flashy as those of Final Fantasy VIII, but this lack of glitz is compensated for by greater game speed. The prerendered backgrounds are colorful and vibrant, and the menus are presented in high-resolution and are simple to navigate. One aspect of the title that deserves special mention is the music; nearly every song so far has been wonderfully arranged and orchestrated, with a surprising number of Chrono Trigger themes returning in subtly enhanced form. And while some of the character designs that have been revealed so far seem ... questionable, so far the game has been nothing but RPG-colored roses.

We're playing the game as quickly as we can, so expect a review shortly.

Posted on Nov 17, 1999



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