Human organs, Grandmas, and more: Going, going, GONE! Preview

Human organs, Grandmas, and more: Going, going, GONE!

Thanks to online auctioning and exchange sites, old games are getting a second

lease on life. Old games can now come out from drawers and shelves and into the

hands of greedy collectors willing to pay vastly huge markups. It’s a tough call.

As a gamer, perhaps an emulator will suffice, but there’s still just something

about having the original game. Sometimes things will be good, like the beautifully

mint Genesis set I recently scored; and then there’s the bad, like the first born

child you’ll give up for Dracula X or the rare PC Engine LT.

One of the higher priced games is Chrono Trigger. But the reason behind

the inflation is that this is one damn good game. In fact, it’s my favorite

RPG, bar none. And now a sequel cometh our way.

Chrono Cross is the follow up to the SNES original, taking place 20

years after Chrono Trigger. You’ll find some nostalgic references to

the original. For example, there’s still money hidden under the bed. The hero

is still silent. And the room you start out in is oddly familiar. Nonetheless,

the story is self-contained, meaning you won’t have to play through Trigger

to understand Cross.

Serge is a typical boy, growing up along the coast in a sea side town. He

has a childhood sweetie, friends and neighbors who cherish him. But the vision

of a blood covered sword in his hand and a dying girl before him sets in motion

events that will change his life. Everything that he knew will crumble away.

The original Chrono Trigger featured battles that started immediately.

You would walk around on an overhead map, and battles would take place on the

same screen. Chrono Cross opts for the familiar ‘screen dissolve’ that

we see in nearly every RPG today. It still has those overhead style maps, but

as the colors melt away you are brought to a 3D battlefield. The dissolve happens

quickly and time isn’t wasted on too many pre-battle tracking shots. You get

right into the action. I like the cut of that jib.

Chrono Cross is turn-based without any timing mechanisms. You have

a choice between a light, medium, or heavy attack. Each of these is listed by

the percentage chance of connecting. Choose a light attack and you will have

a 90% chance of hitting. But choose heavy and you only have 70%, with the increased

risk of completely missing. The light attacks will help you build up your attack

percentages, but it isn’t always as easy as 1, 2, 3. This limited randomness

creates a solid sense of strategy and gameplay that’s more than following the

same sequences.

And the graphics? Square sure can do those FMVs. We know that. Thankfully, the FMV is less overblown, now seemingly employed as more of a storytelling tool.

The in-game graphics do a great job of matching the FMV. This allows for better transitions between the two. Backgrounds are well detailed and characters are well animated. The use of 3D and 2D graphic composites work really well. When major characters talk, a little picture of their heads is shown in the text squares.

Chrono Cross does look very impressive. If the final version continues

what I’ve sampled so far, then this will be one to wait for. But while you’re

waiting, there’s still Chrono Trigger. Just don’t pay too much for it,

if you know what I mean.