Tag Archives: Ample Vigour

Chrono Cross 09: Final Boss(es)

Big ol' tickChrono Cross was always a complicated, labyrinthian mess of a game. From the focused infiltration mission of Viper Manor to the redundant and roach-infested remix of the intrusion a few hours later, Chrono Cross never quite knows when to let sleeping dogs lie. There is a dungeon exploring a vision of the future, another dungeon exploring a different vision of the future, and then we cap things off with a dungeon that is a vision of the future and the past (and a dinosaur). And at least one of those future dungeons (it’s the last one) ends with an epic, dramatic boss battle against a morphing opponent that is clearly intended to be the final boss.

And once you beat it, then you get to fight another, more complicated final boss.

We have not come today to roast Chrono Cross’s significant pacing problems. A gigantic dungeon followed by an arduous boss fight (and six extra boss fights in between) should never be followed by talking to ghost children on a one-screen beach before fighting a threat to the universe than cannot even get enough out of its own way to pull off a unique super attack. “Lavos” reeks of a slapdash final addition to the game, and the presentation of everything surrounding it screams of a universe where a bonus finale tying to Chrono Trigger was foisted in at some producer’s behest. We already fought Lavos, guys! And the fight was a lot more interesting last time! There might have been an alien astronaut in there or something!

But, while the final opponent of Chrono Cross is incredibly lackluster, the method of defeating her is not. The Time Devourer may be conquered one of two ways: beat it senseless, or weaponize the harmony of the planet. If you choose to slice and dice what’s left of Lavos, you will see the “bad ending”, but an ending all the same. However, if you acknowledge this is a hostage situation, and the person you are trying to save is, ya know, worth saving, you will be generously rewarded with a Schala/Kid-focused ending that provides a touch more closure. And wasn’t that the whole point of the adventure? To save Schala? I mean, it kind of came out of left field, but it did all line up…. Kinda…

Look at it goLook, it would be easy to be mad at Chrono Cross for trying to have its cake and eat it too with its complicated “real” fight against a dinosaur computer and then a puzzle fight against the true big bad… but you know what? I can count on one hand the number of JRPGs that, up to this very day, end with a boss fight that requires anything but a high strength stat. Are there interesting, intricate final bosses out there? Of course, but so many still boil down to “hit it harder”. The Time Devourer is something different, and, like the rest of Chrono Cross, that is interesting all by itself.

Even if it did mean that nearly everyone else on the stream never bothered to beat Chrono Cross “the real way” before…

Even Worse Streams presents Chrono Cross
Night 9

Original Stream Night: June 14, 2022

Recruited this week:

  • Technically we recruited Poshul again during New Game+, I guess

Random Notes on the Stream

  • Welcome to the final dungeon! Let’s discuss other PS1 final dungeons… except they’re kind of samey.
  • Ample Vigour joins almost entirely through groaning.
  • Look at me!Hulk Hogan kept the Pastamania Regalia. You cannot convince me otherwise.
  • Consider “I love the idea of incel Dracula” and other Castlevania spinoff concepts.
  • The final fighting boss appears as we discuss the possibility of a very bouncy King of Fighters JRPG.
  • What is the true nature of Lavos? Is it an astronaut that looks like a heart?… Or… something?
  • The redesign of Schala for Chrono Cross is discussed… but we all agree it is terrible.
  • We beat the game! We are playing it again! BEAT is playing Smash Bros again! My Switch told me!
  • Let’s fight Lavos all over again! And discuss how Final Fantasy 6’s Cyan is catfishing a woman from a cave.
  • And that’s it for Chrono Cross…. Kinda!

Next time on Chrono Cross: Let’s take a look back at the roads not taken.

It's her
Maybe we could go to the beach sometime?

Chrono Cross 08: FATE

Face your FATEIn the end, the resolution of the story of Serge, Lynx, and the Frozen Flame is a bit of a letdown. Lynx reveals that he has been the supercomputer FATE all along, and they have arranged this elaborate plan all so Serge could… open a door. And, while it has been pointed out multiple times on the stream that this plan could have been revised to be more effective (Lynx is secretly Serge’s father mutated into the thing that Serge most fears… but wouldn’t Serge be more cooperative if he was just asked to open a door by his beloved and lost father?), it is a plausible excuse for FATE making some of their more implausible moves across the plot. Need to bodyswap a teenage boy because you can’t find a decent locksmith? Sure! At least it gives the game an excuse to shuffle the supporting characters for six hours…

But while FATE’s whole stupid plan is the stupidest of the stupid, the origin of FATE? Now that is some good stuff.

FATE is a tragedy wholly caused by the events of Chrono Trigger. In one timeline, the enterprising teens of Guardia fired up a computer terminal in some ruins, and discovered the whole of the planet had been destroyed in 1999 by a gigantic space bug. As a result of seeing this catastrophe, they then traveled through thousands of years of history, and, ultimately, destroyed the Lavos creature before it could literally rain destruction from the heavens. This created a new future where, apparently, some spikey thing popped out of the planet, three teenagers crashed a UFO into it, and then everything involved just disappeared. And that would raise some questions, right? First and foremost: what the hell happened? What was that thing? Who were those people? Nobody would be walking around 2000 AD thinking, “Wow, so glad we are not living in an apocalypse right now.” They would all be thinking, “Wait, I’m sorry? Was there a kaiju causing earthquakes for the last thousand years? Could we look into that?”

Behold the genieCenturies pass, and technology progresses. By 2300 AD, mankind has gained the scientific knowledge to look back to the past in all new ways. They find a shard of Lavos, the Frozen Flame, and grow more fascinated by the now-absent Lavos. Aided by Balthasar, a genius transported from an ancient society that was much more intimately familiar with Lavos, they create Chronopolis, a massive facility meant to study what the heck happened three centuries (and 65 million years) earlier.

Chronopolis made a number of mistakes that would never have occurred if Crono and crew were consulted more directly. Researching Lavos? You know that is going to end poorly. Transforming Mother Brain into the FATE supercomputer? Not the route you would take if you knew that another timeline saw Mother Brain literally eating people. And, while apparently Lucca was on hand in some capacity to offer installing Robo as a conscience circuit… well… Nobody ever thought Lucca was the most moral of the Crono kids. She was a heroine, yes, but one with an instant proclivity toward evil laughs. Poor decisions were made in the management of Chronopolis, and, by 2400 AD, the inevitable “Time Crash” screwed up all of history but good.

And it never would have happened if Crono just went ahead and kept his left-handed ass back in 1000 AD. The death of Lucca by Lynx, the dragon-FATE war, and even possibly the militarization of Porre all would have never occurred if our “heroes” never fought to save the world. If Crono had not saved the future, he would have saved his present.

So kudos to Chrono Cross for weaving such a poignant tragedy. The actual machinations of FATE may have been laborious and convoluted, but how we got FATE back in 1020 AD is a catastrophe worth noting.

(Even if the fun parts of the tragedy get rewritten two dungeons later by Balthasar claiming everything was “according to plan” to free Schala from the Time Devourer. But I read comics! I know a hasty retcon meant to justify a final boss when I see one!)

Even Worse Streams presents Chrono Cross
Night 8

Original Stream Night: June 7, 2022

Recruited this week:

  • Steena
  • Draggy
  • (Everyone that previously left the party, except Kid)
  • Turnip
  • Miki
  • Orlha
  • Kid (for the final time)
  • Mel


Random Notes on the Stream:

  • Fanboymaster doesn’t think we can finish the game this week. He’s right!
  • BEAT was afraid my tweet-based mentions of FATE meant we were going to do “The cooking game again”. He might have enjoyed that more…
  • Ample Vigour arrives as we beat the last dragon, perhaps with the power of the Glow.
  • “Everybody loves Lou Bega!” “Nobody loves Lou Bega, that’s why I’m doing this!”
  • There is always time to discuss cut Kingdom Hearts Jungle Stages while we fight evil Serge/Lynx.
  • There is debate on the nature of “evolution” in the Chrono Cross universe as Serge is reborn as an extremely smug baby (with no nipples).
  • Caliscrub stops by after we recruit random nonsense like Turnip and Miki
  • Toma fucked a mermaid. But that is okay. Oh, and we are at the Dead Sea/Sea of Eden now.
  • Let’s discuss Segagaga as we get to FATE HQ.
  • Oh! The El Nido Map. I love that thing! Is Gaia’s Navel the Giant’s Claw from Chrono Trigger?
  • Radical Dreamers is hiding on a terminal in another universe. Magil is confirmed separate from Guile in an actual game where Magil appears. Yay for translation mysteries finally being solved.
  • Lynx is FATE! Gasp! May as well discuss Cammy wearing pants.
  • Consider this foreshadowing for a Portal 2 stream as we talk about the reason FATE killed Robo.
  • Sonic Generations features the Time Devourer… meaning it is the sequel to Chrono Cross.
  • Love youEnjoy going back to the past to save Kid and confirm Gato and Lucca are dead! Which death is more upsetting?
  • “So did they make this game to shit on Chrono Trigger?” – Pooch
  • Talkin’ bout Dragon Quest 7 tragedies in the middle of a burning building. This is likely how I will die.
  • Okay! Kid is back! And we got a letter from Lucca meant to make us feel worse.
  • And we create the Chrono Cross! While talking about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure!
  • And we conclude with the tragedy of Banjo-Tooie while we secure Starky’s ship and fly to the final dungeon.

Next time on Chrono Cross: The end! Update nine of ten!

My nips!

Chrono Cross 07: Dragons

Chrono Cross loves imagining dragons! Look at this chonky boy (well, girl)…

She gets her own isle

The most helpful of the dragons, the Water Dragon, is all smiles and rainbows when you need to chill a volcano, but literally shows her teeth when it is time for a throwdown. And the way she “swims” through the air later? Awesome.

Only a volcano?

And speaking of volcanos, this little guy hulks out to join Master Roshi and Tung Fu Rue in the pantheon of dudes that can turn into muscle maniacs on command. This Fire Dragon is never gracious, but remains polite, when he challenges you to a battle.

Such big teeth you have

Meanwhile, this monster rules the quasi-prehistoric “Savage Land” of Chrono Cross, and is not shy about making it clear you are about to be devoured. And why shouldn’t he? Dang thing is built to deal with tyrannosauruses on the reg.

DO NOT PET

Yet the dragon living deep in the Earth is almost… roly poly? This looks like a creature that has never seen the sun (kind of literally, as it is hard to see if she even has eyes), but has spent a good amount of time getting fat on sand monsters. Sister is the size of a building!

Very unfriendly

But there is nothing friend-shaped about the Black Dragon, which dreams nightmares that cross dimensions. Chrono Cross never really does commit to whether or not “black element” is supposed to be “evil” or somehow “gravity”, but the Black Dragon cuts enough of an imposing figure that he cannot be seen as anything other than dangerous.

They did save us once

And conversely, the white Sky Dragon is appropriately divine. In a genre that frequently presents dragons as the exact same creature seven times with slightly different colors or styles even today (looking at you, Elden Ring), Chrono Cross really went the extra mile by making every dragon significantly different.

Sory, Harle

Even if they did have to involve a murder clown.

Even Worse Streams presents Chrono Cross
Night 7

Original Stream Night: May 31, 2022

Recruited this week:

  • Do Masa & Mune count?
  • Leah

Stream Notes:

  • Time to get the Mastermune! Which involves solving dumb puzzles at Viper Manor! A discussion of Final Fantasy 8 and Chrono Cross summons ensue.
  • There is a brief intermission while fighting Solt and Peppor as I run off to do… something. I literally do not remember what happened…
  • Caliscrub arrives as we try to find BEAT and defeat the possessed Dario.
  • And then Ample Vigour shows up. Dario is still standing. I have not accomplished anything yet.
  • In post-stream response to AV’s comments on the subject, my wife has confirmed that the Smurfs and Donald Duck were generally equally popular in Europe around her childhood. I am inclined to believe her.
  • CroakBEAT arrives just as we finish an important conversation about the legend of the few people that can draw duck bills. We still haven’t finished Dario. And now for more about Disco Elysium.
  • When we finally start fighting the Water Dragon, our first Dragon, we talk about crappy Killer Instinct and Mortal Kombat characters. Eat it, Dario.
  • By the time we are fighting the Fire Dragon, the stream is now just about discussing arcade games from the late 90’s
  • As we attempt to get the rock opera going, I defend Battle Arena Toshinden.
  • “Is someone thither?”
  • The concert to end racism leads to the dumbest part of the game: fighting the same lizard creatures over and over again. At least we get some summons going…
  • By the time we are fighting the Earth Dragon, we are discussing the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 film. Jim Carrey is a marvel of CGI technology.
  • We wind up hunting the Green Dragon with Leah, who may or may not be Ayla’s mother? Or daughter? It sucks. Like Sneff.
  • And this stream was a slog. I apologize if you watched it. Moving on!

Next time on Chrono Cross: Robot on Robo violence.

Please don't do that
This is just mean

Chrono Cross 06: The Dead Sea

My poor rival!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.

He is not CronoEven 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
Night 6

Original Stream Night: May 24, 2022

Recruited this week:

  • Zoah
  • Orcha
  • Grobyc
  • Riddel
  • Viper
  • Fargo
  • Marcy
  • Karsh

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
  • Looks like a hot dayWe 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)
  • Just a little spiceHell 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.

I love these guys.  Sorta.