Tag Archives: BEAT

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.

Chrono Cross 05: How Pretty

So prettyChrono Cross does one thing wonderfully… and the remake mucked it all up.

As has been mentioned on the stream repeatedly, I am talking about graphics. Chrono Cross had some amazing art for its time. In fact, the word “art” seems to be the only way to describe it, as this night’s stream opens with a gorgeous environment that recalls the works of Van Gogh. And that can’t be a coincidence in a videogame where you recruit a painter named Van! Beyond the obvious exquisite dimension, we also have scenic tropical towns, imposing manors, and at least one “dragon castle” that is a stunning mixture of nature and architecture. Looking at any given screenshot from Chrono Cross shows the viewer something that might be expected at The Louvre.

(And if you think I am being hyperbolic, please keep in mind that I was at The Louvre a couple of months back. They have a lot of space to fill, and there are some real dogshit paintings in there. A scene from El Nido would beat the toga off the 7,000th painting of Jesus looking concerned.)

But immaculate thumbnails aside, Chrono Cross has some issues when you adapt its world for modern displays. This was a game originally designed to look great on a television that weighed 50 lbs. and had a display area roughly as large as a Mr. Potato Head. Once you blow that up to the contemporary display that takes up an entire exterior wall, you start to have problems. Chrono Cross is great in its micro-macro, but once its micro bits start showing, you notice things like incomprehensible banners and sub-clip art guitars. The battle arena seen in this stream features a banner that proudly displays “Welcom [sic] Iron Man”, which is not only misspelled, but makes exactly zero sense in a monster fighting tournament conquered by a bunny girl. But who can blame any of the old art directors for Chrono Cross? That banner would have been the size of a chiclet back in the Playstation 1’s day…

Lovin the alienAnd while we’re deep in the angry well, the “shiny” effects that have been added to Chrono Cross HD seem to exist only to repel fans. Absolutely no one played Chrono Cross back at the turn of the century and said, “Well this Starky alien is neat and all, but he should be so much shinier!” Chrome doesn’t work on grays, and making an obviously biological entity appear to be robotic is unmistakably an unfortunate choice.

But since these blurbs are supposed to be outlining the good of Chrono Cross, I will say it again: Chrono Cross can be gorgeous. Just pull your old CRT TV out of the basement, hook up your Playstation with an R/F adapter, and gaze in wonder at the game the way it is meant to be played.

… Or just use that old ass television to play Super Smash Bros. See if I care.

Even Worse Streams presents Chrono Cross
Night 5

Original Stream Night: May 10, 2022

Recruited this week:

  • Sprigg
  • Harle
  • Radius
  • Van
  • Zappa
  • Funguy
  • Norris
  • Starky
  • Irenes
  • Janice
  • Sneff

Random Notes on the Stream

  • We are starting with an exemplary look at graphics. See everything you just read for more information.
  • 2-D Monsters means a discussion on PaRappa beta stuff. It looks like the current best way to see what we were talking about is here.
  • Sorry, girlfriendRacism makes zero sense in this lazy plot. I mean… racism never makes sense, but this specific racism is never fully explored.
  • There is a discussion of Spider-Man and/or Bruce Campbell quipping across videogames. Either one is fine.
  • Welcome to Termina. It’s fucked!
  • Van, across two dimensions, is unhappy. Like Notch.
  • 🎵 Believe it or not, Funguy is now at home. I never thought it could be so great. 🎵
  • Winnie the Pooh is clipping out of bounds at COVID Disney World. Well, technically COVID Epcot.
  • Lavos is responsible for humans being humans… So Ayla isn’t a human?
  • Talkin’ ‘bout a strategy guide talkin’ ‘bout Final Fantasy 7’s Test 0 monster
  • Welcome to the casino pirate ship where we become cats. Not cat boys or cat men, but cats.
  • I was happy to play Marvel vs. Capcom 2 at Game Terminal near Nashville, Tennessee recently. I got the high score!
  • Street Fighter x Tekken: all exclusive characters are terrible.
  • I want Guile to be Sneff separated by dimensions. It’s not happening, but it would be cool.
  • There are a surprisingly high number of optional things to do while in cat mode
  • Fanboymaster literally cannot remember the Chief of Marbule boss battle at all… and no one can blame him.
  • MeowWe enter the monster fight arena to earn Janice. Enjoy that taking forever…
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Sometimes a sword is hot. It is the most anime game BEAT has ever played, and that is saying something.
  • We close with the “Evil Masamune” guarding/wiggling the path forward.

Next time on Chrono Cross: A special guest star for a special future.