I decided to go on a tiny old school gaming splurge, and finish Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. I had played Cross previously, but never finished it and kept hearing about how great Chrono Trigger was as well. It’s pretty obvious that I liked Chrono Trigger from my other review, but lets talk about how Chrono Cross really follows through as a sequel.
At the beginning I was confused about the time period and where this fell in with Chrono Trigger, since in Trigger you go through a bunch of different timelines that are clearly labeled. It is not immediately explained what timeline you’re in, and if you played Trigger you can kind of just assume that you’re in the corrected timeline that resulted from Trigger. This turns out to be the case, but the world in which Surge lives is the bad one and there is no real ‘time’ traveling like in Trigger.
I actually really missed time traveling in this game since it was a big part of the last one, though you can see the Epoch in Viper Manor under the desk in the library if you search for it. The battle system is also a bit different particularly for its time (as in when the game was made, it was pretty unique). In Cross you use elements, which are magic attacks that do more damage if they match your attribute color. The attribute color changes on the character, so to have a diverse party you need to pay attention to your attributes. It adds a level of strategy that Trigger didn’t have.
One point of interest in the game included the Bend of Time, which was similar to the End of Time from Chrono Trigger, only you can go to places you have previously visited instead of different times. This is mostly for fighting previous enemies to strengthen Sprigg’s doppelganger ability. Toma is actually seen in this game as well! He’s properly travelling the world here and not just sulking at a bar. Of course, that may be because this isn’t the original Toma, but his descendant! The new Toma is seen in Marbule, both before and after The Song of Marbule concert.
Other than the silent (seriously silent, when Lynx talks via Surges body everyone should have realized something was very wrong) protagonist, there is another rather mysterious character that we actually see in Chrono Trigger. If you have played Trigger, then you know about the scene where Lucca finds a baby in the woods with a pendant, right?
Well that baby grows into Kid, a character that will join your party. Kid is pretty awesome, though she does seem to have many secrets. SPOILER! Turns out she is a Schala clone. Some refer to her as Schala’s daughter clone, but at the end of the game Kid legitimately changes her whole personality and, to me at least, becomes a complete Schala.
Surge starts a relationship with Kid, and some interesting Archives can be found in Chronopolis where Serge and Kid were in Radical Dreamers together in an alternate timeline. I wish we had gotten to see that timeline, as it sounds pretty interesting. I have no idea how that would get incorporated properly, and it’s probably just the fan in me wanting more.
There are some similarities between Trigger and Cross, such as the fact that Terra Tower looks a lot like Black Omen and that Luminaire is still around, though a bit nerfed in Chrono Cross. FATE would also be familiar to players who have previously played Trigger. Belthasar creates this supercomputer from Prometheus (Robo) in the future. In Trigger, Mother Brain is the early form of FATE. Cross really ties together with Trigger near the end, with a particular emphasis on Lucca, showing how she tied the two timelines together with her input on FATE and such.
As for the characters from Trigger… well. They are all dead. You get to see the ghosts of Chrono, Marle, and Lucca from the first game and Robo is technically still alive within FATE for a bit. f I had known I would hear ‘Robo’ Prometheus die in Cross, I would have played him more in Trigger. It really made me want to jump right back into Trigger and connect all the story line.
In a flashback you even get to see Gato! …A very injured Gato, but Gato! It’s kind of sad because all those characters you previously played and had connections with are basically gone. Even Magus has a pitiable fate, having never found Schala like he wanted. Though there is some talk about how he was in a previous timeline in the Radical Dreamers with Kid, but developers took him out of the game for some reason. Literally only Schala survives from the previous game and only because she was within the Time Devourer.
All in all, I think this game ties in well with its predecessor and does an okay job at explaining the story line now and what happened to the previous timeline. There are some issues with the story, but I think they are made up for with the more strategic battle system and overwhelming amount of recruitable characters.