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Chrono Cross
"It is one of those rare games where everything just seems to fall into place and will leave gamers completely satisfied with the experience. "
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Developer  SquareSoft Game Type  Strategy
Distributor  Square EA Preview Date  Aug 00
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      Chrono Cross has most of the movement of a typical role playing game on the Playstation. There are differences though. While moving around, in either the cities or dungeon areas, all of the characters in your fighting party are visible. By hitting the SELECT button you may switch which character is in the lead. Needless to say the cities and dungeon areas are fully 3D.

The world map is a typical top down view, but the cartography and detail make the world map lush and alive. While on the world map you may save your game or switch between party members. Which leads me to the characters. CC has a boatload of playable characters. Some may be hidden and others may need some incentive to join your group, but all in all there are characters-o-plenty in this game.

Another interesting feature of CC is the item system. You have three different inventory areas; Weapons, Armor, Accessories, and Items. Let's start with items first. Items are not what you may think; they are purely for key events. When you are walking around town, you may for example, see someone with really rotten teeth (this example is pure fiction and has nothing to do with the game). So, you walk up to the person and get within talking distance. Then by hitting your BOX button you pull up your items window. In your items inventory you had earlier found a toothbrush. You click on the toothbrush and voila! The man now can go brush his teeth and decides to join your party, or give you a special item. Pretty cool huh?

Next are the armor, weapons and accessory items. The weapons and armor items are self explanatory, but the accessories need a little explaining. Accessories can be rings, or amulets, or charms and such. Also accessories may be raw material items you need for making your armor or weapons. Scales, bones, or iron will be some of the accessory items you will find on your journey. When you go to a weapons shop to buy weapons, you have to supply the raw materials in addition to paying for them! I know, life isn't fair.

Shops in town also sell Elements. Elements are magical items that you can equip on your character. As your characters grow stronger they will be afforded more elemental slots. Also, elements have levels too, although the levels do not increase, they are always at the level they are to begin with. The slots in a characters "Elemental Grid" will continue to rise. You may start off with a couple of level one slots and one level two slot, but before long you may have slots going up to level five, six, seven. This is your magic, but you may only use the element in a slot once during battle.

Now we get to the nitty-gritty, the battles. First of all, all the random battles are visible. That's right you see the monsters, and to some extent you may avoid a lot of them if you wish. Just don't avoid too many, if you know what I mean.

Each character in CC has an innate, or natural, elemental attribute. Elements come in several different attributes like earth, water and light, and so on. If a character has an innate color of blue (water), then this character is naturally strong in this area, so make your choices wisely.

The battlefield also has a "color" to it. In the upper left of the screen you will see the three-ring icon representing the battlefield. As you and your opponents use magic elements of certain colors, the battlefield will change to that color, one ring at a time. In other words, three consecutive spells with a blue attribute will turn the entire battlefield blue, so now your next blue spell will be the strongest it can be, get it?

Along with elements there is the normal melee attacks. This is done in a semi-interactive way. There isn't any timed button pushes, but there is strategy. Everyone has three attacks to choose from, weak, medium, and strong. Depending on the quickness of your foe and your own hit percentage for each of these attacks, careful decisions must be made to use the proper combination. Also you all have a stamina bar. When you attack or use elements you loose stamina, so sometimes you have to choose to defend to get it back. There are no items to use on the battlefield, just wits, elements, and brute force. That works for me.

The battle system in CC is truly great. It is involving and keeps you interested due to the involvement of developing a strategy. You rarely can just start throwing spells around and win, you need to think about how to win. That is what keeps even the random battles interesting.

Finally we have the story. As we have come to expect from Square, we are presented with a deep complex storyline and character's that gamers will actually care about and feel the need to protect and project through the game.

Without giving too much away here, CC features a tale that will take our hero through two totally different parallel worlds and realms of existence. As you play through the game little bits and pieces of the story unfold before your eyes.and as we are presented with answers we are also provided with more questions. The ways that things unfold are both compelling and strangely eerie. It's one of those stories that will keep you spellbound until the end with its twists and turns and overall richness.

Of course there are also mini quests that players can choose to participate in that result in gamers obtaining some prime elements or items. These little diversions are always interesting and just add to the overall pleasure of the game.

There is really not much more that I would feel comfortable saying here without starting to get into spoilers. I will just end this by saying that Chrono Cross is a game without many peers. It is one of those rare games where everything just seems to fall into place and will leave gamers completely satisfied with the experience.

Game Options:
• Number of Disks: 2
• Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 1
• Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 1
• Multi-tap compatible (max players): No
• Link-cable compatible (max players): No
• Split screen multi-player option (max players): No
• Other accessories: None
• Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: Yes
• Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes

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Staff Opinions
CygnusXI   "Chrono Cross is a treasure. Being the sequel to a great game such as Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross lives up to my expectations.

The sound and visuals are to be relished and the interactive and thought provoking battle system is a big plus.

I won't say much about the story, but there are plenty of surprises and secrets to be found in this game and I would not hesitate at all to say get it. "
Graphics  20/20
Playability  48/50
Sound  10/10
Lastability  20/20
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