Chrono Cross’s Dead Sea is maybe the single best set piece on the Playstation.
After hours of Chrono Cross barely acknowledging that Chrono Trigger ever happened, here we are with the most Chrono Triggerest of locations. It is the future! It is 2300 AD (give or take a century), but now presented in glorious high definition (or whatever counted as HD in 2000). And there is Johnny the Robot Biker! Dead and smashed! Or a monitor recounting the Day of Lavos! Or Leene’s Bell, stuck in a perpetual twilight as the world collapses around that focal point! And the Chrono Kids! Crono! Lucca! Marle! They are bouncing around, and only marginally implying that their “real” counterparts have died within the last twenty years! Don’t be so morose, Chrono Trigger fans, we only ever find out one of them is confirmed dead!
But the Dead Sea is more than a simple Chrono Trigger reference. The future of 2300 AD was always supposed to be a recognizably ruined future, but could not be fully realized back in the 16-bit days. Now we have a world much like ours, but existing in a state of ruin and decay incited by a gigantic space bug. The “Tower of Geddon” is no mere dungeon, but a mundane mall haphazardly merged with other assorted debris from the area. And while dungeon malls are definitely something that happens in other JRPGs, it just serves to reinforce that this is the potential “bad future” not just for Crono and Serge’s worlds, but also our own. Fighting the ghosts of beauty contestants would only be possible in a universe that grew from something much like our present, and the Dead Sea runs with this concept to its natural, creepy culmination. Even if you never touched a second of Chrono Trigger, the Dead Sea will touch you, because you live in the world that it caricatures.
And, brother, an entire ocean that lost all its kinetic energy at once? Nobody needs to explain why that is rad as hell.
Even beyond all of this, the Dead Sea culminates with one of the most memorable boss fights in the game. After the “training wheels” of fighting a giant, angry ghost back on the Isle of the Damned, Miguel makes the scene to cap off the whole Dead Sea sequence. He is a white elemental opponent at a time when most of your party (or at least Serge) is vulnerable, and he utilizes some of the most powerful attacks available at this point. So he is likely to trash your party while wearing a fishing hat. Miguel has the significant plot importance of being your father’s pal and your girlfriend’s dad, and he has been augmented by a malevolent supercomputer from another dimension… but he is still absolutely just a dude. A dude that is going to kick your ass while sad music plays. It makes an impression.
So kudos to the Dead Sea of Chrono Cross, the indisputably best sequence in the game.
A shame it is all followed by a forgettable roach, tonally absurd Hell’s Cook, and friggen’ Grobyc…
Even Worse Streams presents Chrono Cross
Original Stream Night: May 24, 2022
Recruited this week:
Random Notes on the Stream:
- Tonight we are joined by special guest Deptford, who draws amazing comics and loves Chrono Cross… maybe not in that order.
- We are in the elephant graveyard from the Lion King for the purpose of… fighting Cervantes from Soulcalibur.
- “The secret to life is to age all at once and then stabilize.”
- Yes, twenty years ago, I spoiled myself on the Chrono Cross “Dead Sea”. Yes, it was written in ascii text.
- “Individual moments are great” – Deptford
- We will always wonder who is not at Funguy’s level, and was cut from the final roster of Chrono Cross. Also marvel as BEAT accidentally invents Turnip, “the radish dude”.
- Ample Vigour shows up around the same time as Lavos makes the scene.
- This leads to a discussion about podcasts and April Fool’s Day pranks on podcasts.
- If you want to see Xenosaga’s haunted mall, here you go.
- “Is there a textual reason the Chrono Trigger heroes are little kids?” “Nope!”
- “Grab on, sons of man.” “But there is a rabbit girl and a mushroom.”
- We are going to have to play Spec Ops: The Line at some point. We will never play Ninja Gaiden 3 (not that one).
- Never change your forum and/or twitter avatar or I will forget who you are.
- Darkwing84 is the hero we all need (also: Caliscrub appears)
- Hell Chef inspires Hell Costanza here. If it is ever used again, you heard it here first.
- “Roachester is back baby it’s good now awoo wolf noises.”
- Let us once again sing the praises of Ninja Baseball Batman. Never Three Dirty Dwarves.
- There is just no end to the Viper Manor Part 2 boss gauntlet while we talk about great moments in auditing.
- Way too many people join the party all at once. See that list above. Good luck choosing two.
- Starky and Harle have a conversation as we close out the night.
Next time on Chrono Cross: Drag on, dragoons.