Chrono 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, 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
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.
- 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.
Maybe we could go to the beach sometime?