For anybody familiar with any sense of my work, you’ll notice that I’m a traditionalist when it comes to gaming, a quality that some may find redundant and questionable. Video games, as a concept, embody innovation, and for some, sticking to a formula that has been tried and tried again doesn’t quite cut it for their entertainment (or addiction. tomatoe – tomato). As much as I agree with this ideology, I find myself always looking for game that will satisfy my ongoing struggle for that experience that not only meets my desired level of innovation, but almost transcends time and brings upon a reversion to my preteen (or, God forbid, tween) self.
For I believe my views as a traditionalist simply break down to that: discovering mechanisms of feeling like I’m 10 or 11 again, where I quite possibly spent more time gaming than I did sleeping, as memories of burning out disc motors in not two, but THREE different PlayStations come creeping their way back into my head. These motors could only be broken by the very best that Sony PlayStation had to offer. Marathon nights of gaming rapidly transitioned into marathon mornings while I shat my pants because of the sheer horror that Resident Evil provided or getting virtually lost because of the countless amount of backtracking in Castlevania: Symphony of The Night‘s reversed castle. As I enjoyed these titles, nothing compares to, in my opinion, the greatest PlayStation game of call time. I sent two PlayStations to the graveyard playing the almighty Chrono Cross (CC), and motherf**ker, I’m ready to end some more technological lives.
As a series, Chrono made its debut way back in 1995 with the best-selling Chrono Trigger on the Super Nintendo to rave reviews. Truly innovative for its time (just catching the tail end of the SNES lifespan), CT has been ported two times; once to the PS1 back in 1999 as a marketing tool for CC, and most recently, to the DS, both receiving 90% or better approval ratings. CT was able to blend both fantasy and science fiction for a truly unique experience, spanning multiple eons across a fictional world. Pitting the player as Crono, a teenage boy destined to save the world from certain cataclysmic doom (SAVE THE CHEERLEADER), the game throws players right into the time-traveling epic with an engrossing story and invigorating combat (see: awesomeness). Including FOURTEEN original, different endings, Chrono Trigger offered an immense replaybility value that even blows some current generation titles out of the water.
Then, nearly four years later to the day, Square releases one of the best rated PlayStation games of all time to continue the Chrono series. Chrono Cross dazzled the mass; out of Gamespot’s 40,000+ game library, it was one of only six games to be awarded a perfect 10. It dominated in the year 2000, winning many console awards, as well as Gamespot’s coveted “console game of the year.” The RPG was praised for its combat innovation, an engrossing, complex story, a vast array of characters, and truly memorable score.
Taking place on the tropical archipelago of El Nido, Chrono Cross, rather than incorporating time travel as a main gameplay mechanic, utilized two parallel worlds; one where the main protagonist Serge perishes and the other sees him flourish into a young man. As Serge, you must discover the secrets behind your alternate’s death through your search for the mystical Frozen Flame, while you battle the fearsome Lynx with a whopping 64 playable characters.
Yet, as much critical praise Chrono Cross received, something wasn’t sitting quite right with Chrono series enthusiasts. Where was Crono? Where was the CT’s plot continuation? What happened to the exhilarating, original combat system? And what the shit was the deal with all the cute and cuddly mutated…things…? Many fans of the original series (including myself, to some extent) weren’t happy with what Square delivered. It lacked continuity with its predecessor and introduced a slew of new characters that either were far too shallow in terms of backstory or were generally completely disconnected from the main plot. However, aside from it’s comparable shortcomings, CC provided one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had on any console, and its about damn time for a sequel.
But a sequel, apparently, is asking just a bit too much. Back in 2001, the developers of Chrono Cross showed interest in reuniting for a third Chrono game, and within in the same year, Square applied for trademarks for both Chrono Break and Chrono Brake in America and Japan, respectively. However, the trademark was dropped in the US only two years later. The, ahem, “latest” news about a possible sequel comes from a February 2007 interview with SquareEnix’s senior vice president, who stated that although its not currently in production, a sequel is possible, but only if the CC developers can be reunited. There seems to be some underlying cause to why they can’t corral these workhorses back together. Maybe some bad blood between them? Tense working conditions? Someone had sex with someone’s sister? Who knows.
That was two years ago. I guess I’ll be waitin’ this one out for quite some time.
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