Chrono Cross (2000)
- Developer: Squaresoft
- Publisher: Square
Rumblings about the imminent launch of PlayStation 2 did little to slow down the prolific output of star developer Squaresoft on the PSone. The so-called golden age of the Japanese RPG reached another of its many high points with the launch of Chrono Cross, a long-awaited sequel to the much-loved SNES RPG, Chrono Trigger. This being the Good Old Bad Old Days, Chrono Cross never graced European shores - but its rapturous response upon its North American release was, even with the benefit of hindsight, fully deserved.
Many of the original team behind Chrono Trigger came back to work on Cross, with the notable exception of character designer Akira Toriyama (better known for DragonBall Z and Dragon Quest), whose simplistic, angular creations were replaced with the more graceful designs of Nobuteru Yuki, who also worked on the Mana series and on anime classic Escaflowne. He was called upon to create an astonishing cast of 45 playable characters, each with unique battle moves, backstories and personality quirks; changing the line-up of characters you "collected" made each play through of the game different.
The game itself followed Chrono Trigger's lead in many regards, with no random battles to be found, and a complex plot revolving around parallel universes and time travel. Gorgeous graphics - which, amazingly, still look fairly good today, largely thanks to the wonderfully realised artwork rather than any technical accomplishment - and a superb soundtrack rounded out one of the most highly rated RPGs of all time. Rumours of a third game in the Chrono Trigger series have abounded ever since, but Square Enix remains quiet on the prospect. If it can live up to the quality of Chrono Cross, we'll happily sell our grannies for a second sequel.
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