Author Topic: Chemo Cross: "Like augmenting a premature baby"  (Read 1549 times)

Tactless

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Chemo Cross: "Like augmenting a premature baby"
« on: January 25, 2012, 03:46:56 pm »
I played CC long before I had ever gotten a chance to play its predecessor, and because of this I feel I was able to digest it without noticing the bad taste it left in the mouths of a lot of CT's fans. The battle engine was gracefully designed, the visual and musical assets wonderful throughout, and it delivered a plot with a very sophisticated and realistic take on some surprisingly mature themes for a video game at the time, while still retaining a charming and believable fantasy setting. The only thing that really bothered me was the pacing; the game felt somewhat rushed, especially near the end of the game, but that didn't keep me for enjoying it.

After I played CT for the first time, I began to understand exactly why people didn't like CC, for reasons beyond just not being "Chrono Trigger 2". Of the two games I still tend to hail CC as my favorite, and in this thread I'd like to see if we can build some bridges and maybe close the gap between Cross-haters and Cross-sympathizers.

CC fans, what do you feel could have been added to the game to enrich the experience as a "Chrono" title? CT fans, what did you really enjoy about the game? If possible, I think it would be interesting to collect ideas from the community, and draft a revised, more "whole" take on the game; I like to call it "Chemo Cross".

To kick things off, I think it would've been really cool if there had been a boss fight between Serge/Lynx & Friends and the Crono & Co. ghosts. Especially given their appearance as young children, it would have been a jarring, yet satisfying experience that would've given CT diehards a direct appearance from the cast they loved (in one form or another) and simultaneously identify CC as it's own, separate individual experience.

alfadorredux

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Re: Chemo Cross: "Like augmenting a premature baby"
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2012, 06:16:26 pm »
I pretty much wrote up my "what I would have liked to see" in the form of Chrono Helix, but in brief:

-Better characterization for the PCs—even if that meant wholesale slaughter of those not relevant to the plot. Cross has too many PCs to begin with, and about a quarter to a third of them seem to have been created only because the dev team was so overstressed their minds started to go, or something. Did we really need two vegetable lifeforms?

-Reactions for Serge to the events taking place around him. Even Crono had a bug-eyed-with-shock sprite. Serge seems like an automaton by comparison, even though he goes through a lot of stuff far more personal than anything Crono ever faced.

-Actual conversations or even dramatized scenes in place of hot-and-cold-running infodumps, especially toward the end of the game.

-Better handling of the loose ends from Chrono Trigger that pop up in the game. In particular, I am disgusted that they wimped out and refused to deal with Magus and his circumstances, or even let Kid have a conversation with Lucca's ghost—something which she must surely have wanted to do.

Basically, it was a good game, but it could have been a great one if they'd spent more time on the story and less time dicking around with ridiculous and impossible plans like making everyone in El Nido recruitable.

Kodokami

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Re: Chemo Cross: "Like augmenting a premature baby"
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2012, 06:37:10 pm »
CC also came first for me, and is my favorite of the series. Yet there is still so much I would change. Instead of reiterating the same old problems everyone else has, however, I'll list a few different ones.

1) More Fargo.
2) Add depth to Lynx/Wazuki and Serge's relationship. I mean, that's his old man he's fighting! Reveal this fact to the players at some point (not at the last info dump). Pull some FFX stuff if you have to; maybe Serge hates his dad for leaving him or something. Crono never had a dad; Serge does, so pull some exposition from that.
3) More Fargo (seriously, what happened between him and Viper?).
4) Dialogue for the Guardia-Porre war. We want to know what happened. Not much needs to be explained, but something better than "Dalton did it" would be nice.
5) More Fargo.

I can probably think of more later.

maggiekarp

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Re: Chemo Cross: "Like augmenting a premature baby"
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 02:07:58 pm »
The soundtrack was good. The battle system was interesting. The colors were pretty.


...Nyyaaargh I have to say what could make it better!

-Set it to 14 playable characters, with only two or three as optional. The rest can be made into wacky plot-relevant NPCs, which worked really well in CT. No one is really that disappointed that Toma, Tata, Fritz, Fiona, Kino, Lara with robot legs, etc. couldn't join your team since they made the actual world more interesting.
- Either put the reveal of Kid being Schala or Guile being Magus earlier in the game so we can actually deal with that plot thread instead of frustrating everyone when it's over. Same goes for Lynx is Serge's catdad.
- Chibify the cast to make them more emotive, or at least make a set of reaction face icons. Something more substantial than Kid's two-pixel difference smile or frown. Ideally Serge could go back to being a narrator, but I'll pick my battles.
- Absolutely no fighting the previous cast of CT unless it comes from a misunderstanding and they help you afterwards. Actually having a physical manifestation of "our game beat that game!!" is just going to piss off fans more. It wasn't just the music that made the Miguel fight depressing.
- PUT IN SOME GOD DAMN JOKES. You can't have an emotional journey with shock, sadness, and confusion as your only feelings.
- If you're going to include bits of what happened to the CT cast, at least resolve them before the game is over. Don't half-ass it. Don't just say "well they got resolved in a different timeline!" No, that's lazy and you shouldn't even have dragged it up if you were just gonna cameo it.
- Explain Kid and Harle. What are they? What's going on? Dragons? Lavoids? Baby clone echoes? Is this an episode of Maury?
- Have Dalton fall into a lava pit or something.

Tactless

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Re: Chemo Cross: "Like augmenting a premature baby"
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 06:35:22 pm »
See, I always liked the subtle and open-ended connections to CT. It really helped stretch the game's theme of time and space being such vast concepts, and how easily you can be separated from someone without hope of hearing from them again. It had a lot to do with not being bound by the past and finding value in your own life regardless of how minute and unimportant it seems. While CT was a story about bending the laws of reality for your own, human will, CC was a story about acceptance and transcendence. It even blatantly made it clear, when the only character from CT, Robo, dies after a few lines of dialogue; his final words ,"Do it for the future", while you want to sympathize with feel completely unrelated to the game's actual conflict, and you digest them semi-apathetically, as Serge would.

It was a game meant to illustrate the ethics of time travel, and how one man's (Crono in this case) actions can seem similar to a messiah's, but later on completely warp the life of someone else (Case in point: Serge). It isn't Chrono Trigger 2, and the fact that it manages to feel that way, while it understandably upsets some fans, only impresses me further. The developers really utilized the abilities that only a game has as a storytelling medium.

Kodokami

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Re: Chemo Cross: "Like augmenting a premature baby"
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2012, 12:55:03 am »
While CT was a story about bending the laws of reality for your own, human will, CC was a story about acceptance and transcendence.
I like that.

And to put more emphasis on Serge and Lynx's relationship: I tried my best to remain free of spoilers while playing Cross. The one time I ended up looking for a hint online, I was spoiled to the fact that Lynx is Serge's father. However, I think knowing this actually aided me in visualizing the Chronopolis arc. "This is where it started"; "This is where my father lost his mind"; and "Holy shit, I have to kill my father!" When I finally reached the end, and Crono's ghost (or was it one of the others?) informs me of the relationship... This is where they decided to tell me? I was kind of disappointed, yet also relieved for knowing beforehand.

Also, since I wasn't introduced to Chrono Trigger until way later, I never paid much attention to the ghost children. I thought they were just that--ghosts, from another timeline or something. After seeing Trigger, and learning its characters, I looked back at the connection and thought, "That was nice." I didn't need more than that.

chi_z

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Re: Chemo Cross: "Like augmenting a premature baby"
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2012, 11:13:54 pm »

- PUT IN SOME GOD DAMN JOKES. You can't have an emotional journey with shock, sadness, and confusion as your only feelings.

beg to differ, it's what gives cross it unique aesthetic compared to other things. it's a video game, thus multimedia. the music does a fine job at lightening the mood now and then.


chrono trigger: "yay we saved the world"
radical dreamers: "so THAT'S what happened with Schala/Magus"
chrono cross: EVERYONE YOU KNOW IS DEAD AND EVERYTHING YOU EVER DID WAS IN VAIN. THERE IS NO GOD, YOU WERE PUT HERE AS PART OF A SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT AND YOUR ENTIRE LIFE IS CONTROLLED BY A COMPUTER. THE END.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2012, 03:07:49 pm by chi_z »

Xenterex

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Re: Chemo Cross: "Like augmenting a premature baby"
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 05:44:04 pm »
It's been awhile since I've played Cross, so I might not be able to give it the justification and memories that some parts of it deserve, but there are two particular qualities that stand out to me that I've noticed recently.

A) I've watched the sequilitis series done by Egoraptor and I think he provides enough diplomatic language and particular gaming and design concepts I can relate to and remember between Trigger and Cross and
B) my lingering recollections of the games.

Yes Cross is not Trigger 2, and I can understand to that.  However with the use of "Chrono" intentionally in its name and how its used, its intended to alert players that this is an effective 'sequal' to becoming a chrono series, even more so when each re-release of Trigger makes more 'connections' to Cross.  So, the quick-call I would say about Cross is I think its an ungraceful sequel.  I could probably ramble and maybe make a spiffy argument as best I am able with uses of rhetoric, but I think some of the concepts come off easily enough by looking at Trigger and Cross like egoraptor did between castlevania games (and between megaman and X) (and this might open up discussion about particulars others see or what to mention)

To me, I don't feel a player connection to the events of Cross, and I don't think the [main] characters do either.  Furthermore, the game doesn't have a leveling system, nor any means of really conveying an intentional growth in strength or progress, so it feels stagnant in more ways than one.  The music is nice, but often times doesn't really connect to whats going on, so it doesn't leave any lingering connections. (Btw, i listen to the soundtrack often enough,as it is nice music, but I don't think its good video game music)

The simplest improvement I can think of for the game would be to rename it, and cut out some of the lingering ties between the two games.  Keep the Cross universe and events that happen with that particular sphere, and add a bit more backstory to the game's past and set-up on the events that I get from just that game alone.  Yea, that doesn't do much for people that already played it, but if the game is better self-contained, then it can focus more on the a "new experience" esp if its ever rereleased with like revamped graphics.

More complex improvements would be giving Serge an outlet for expressing himself in the story.  I don't think he works as a silent protagonist and could use some dialogue to intact with everyone else; esp if he gets inner monologue or thought bubbles.  I think some other story-based presentations would need to be tweaked, and to have a change in character growths, story contributions, and to have inter-party connections all make more sense.

Again related back to Sequalitis; Cross is like castlevania 2 in many regards; just like how many elements of Simon's quest were revamped into later games and made to work, so could Cross elements be made and refined to make better chrono games; but these are tools that need to be used deliberately and with skill, not just tossed together because it might be neat or stir a potential moment of awe.

chi_z

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Re: Chemo Cross: "Like augmenting a premature baby"
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2012, 10:40:21 am »
how I odd, I feel as though mitsuda is the best video game composer, and cross is perhaps the crowning achievement, even better than film musics. the fight with miguel and a barber adagio for strings like tune kicks in....when you first go to telmina and glenn/riddell are mourning Garai and Dario, that tune fits perfectly. the termina themes are perfectly fitting as well, as is marbule and guldove's, to say nothing of aruni villages, terra tower, the frozen flame. the viper manor theme is a little out of place depending on the moment, but it mostly fits. shadow forest is one of the most incredible things ever, and fits perfectly. hydora marshes and isle of the damned as well, what a haunting bassoon! fort dragonia, narrow space between dimensions, I can go on and on. the normal battle music doesn't always fit but does a pretty good job, especially when the dwarves raid water isle. reminiscence during the scene with leena at opassa beach in the beginning, man oh man. and the ending is by far the best soundtrack ending ever imo.

I'm on pianofiles.com all the time trading both video game and film music scores (little bit of contemporary opera and theater as well) and it's still to me perhaps the best soundtrack, along with CT and Xenosaga (xenogears is pretty good but it's more childish and mozartean than anything, so I get bored of it rather easily, feels too 'kiddy' to me).

ZeaLitY

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Re: Chemo Cross: "Like augmenting a premature baby"
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2012, 12:06:05 am »
I'd iron out the complexity of the dimension split mechanics and the entire Dead Sea issue (that necessitates the Armageddon-Branch theory). Doing so would probably rectify a lot of Cross's disc two syndrome. There would be less influence from Belthasar in the overarching plot, or perhaps Belthasar's influence would end at the midpoint of disc two, leaving the player to determine some more substantive things instead of being handed the keys to the end of the game.