Tag Archives: radical

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 02: The Raid

Party with a rockstar!The raid on Viper Manor is the totality of the plot of Radical Dreamers (and for more information on Radical Dreamers, tune in next article/Friday – Giggling Goggle Bob). Kid, Serge, and some magical boy venture into the lair of Lynx the Probably Cat Man, and, by the end of the adventure, they are all fighting over a magical artifact in the ruins of a lost civilization. They are in the basement. It was a long night. Regardless of how this all happened, with Chrono Cross being a sort of remake/expansion of Radical Dreamers, it seems only natural that a good portion of the game would be given over to what was the entirety of the previous game. And does it work? Well…

This series of essays is meant to say positive things about Chrono Cross, so we are not going to address the issues involved here. Like, it would be unsporting to point out that, divorced from the context of Radical Dreamers being so important (which would have been accurate for at least the entire American audience), Vipor Manor fails to justify its inclusion. The ultimate finale of this raid is discovering that there never was a legitimate treasure to steal, and Kid is fatally poisoned for her mistake. That is a huge plot beat… but one that could have happened practically anywhere. And if you are not stealing treasure from this creepy old manor, you are just… what? Annoying some soldiers in their home? Chatting with a weird librarian? Fighting a strangely high number of sentient doors?

But there is a lot to like here. The dragon feeding minigame, for instance, is one of the few minigames in Chrono Cross that isn’t a complete waste of time, and it does an excellent job of breaking up the “intro” dungeon from the “real” raid. The costume change into soldier garb is handled oddly (everybody has to redress every time a battle starts?), but it does afford an interesting espionage vibe for the general proceedings (and stealing door codes). And speaking of vibing, the fact that Vipor Manor is such a perilous place during your night-based raid, but is practically little more than an overgrown town during the day illustrates just how perfectly this section of the game sets the mood.

This isn't too badAnd, while it can take up a lot of time (watch that stream), the encounters are location appropriate. There are trapped chests, doors, and some manner of evil lamp that descends from the ceiling. The presence of a literal army of NPCs negates the solitary tension that permeated Radical Dreamers, but there is never a point during this adventure in Chrono Cross where you feel safe at the manor. Even when solving some of the stranger puzzles in the basement, there is the feeling that you could be forced into a battle with a slightly-larger-than-regular robot at any time.

Character introductions are also a huge part of the raid. Lynx is seen for the first time after some small amount of buildup; but we also have initial encounters with General Viper, Luccia, Pip, Marcy the Final Dragoon, and the venerable Harle. We even include one helpful old man that can be easily recognized by fans of Chrono Trigger, Balthasar the “prophet”. There is a lot to take in at Viper Manor, and someone had the good sense to space these luminaries out across the adventure.

And couple this all with the fact that there are three different characters/routes into Viper Manor (thus becoming the main reason you would ever try a New Game +), and you can see why Viper Manor is the centerpiece of Chrono Cross. So much of this game feels half finished, but Viper Manor is the one place that feels complete.

Could there ever be a version of Chrono Cross that matches the incredible breadth of this mansion raid? The world will never know…

Even Worse Streams presents Chrono Cross
Night 2

Original Stream Night: April 12, 2022

Recruited this week:

  • Kid (temporary)
  • Nikki

Random Notes on the Stream

  • Now we are 100% in the HD version, featuring Lucky Dan.
  • Ample Vigour stops by for the first time during our Chrono Cross phase.
  • Solt and Pepper appear as BEAT utters the phrase, “built to fail, motherfucker.”
  • A complete discussion of GameFan and its amazing management style occurs.
  • Italian Elon Musk will save us all.
  • Art Wars! Character portraits vs random background upscales. Why do things look the way they do?
  • YummyWe vote “rock star”, so Nikki once again becomes part of the party.
  • Fanboymaster says Chrono Cross’ original design called for 60 characters… let’s not imagine that world.
  • Nikki should be Slash should be David (Bowie).
  • Caliscrub stops by
  • Legend of Mana vs. Chrono Cross is likened to a videogame “toy” vs. prestige production.
  • Skullduggery frame is acquired. We will use this forever.
  • Radiata Story elves may or may not buy you a sandwich.
  • An in-depth discussion on the meta nature of Star Ocean and its 70 sequels is mentioned.
  • “Good graphics do what they are supposed to do.”
  • As a point of fact, I will not accept insulting Darkwing Duck.
  • To elaborate on what I would not remember during the stream, I was talking about early Newgrounds hit, Pico’s School.

Next time on Chrono Cross: Get up on the hydra’s back.

Alas, I knew him

FGC #064 Elevator Action 2

Feel the excitement“Elevator Action” has always been an oxymoron. Elevators are not for action, elevators are for waiting, for loading screens, or, in an easy way to identify a beat ‘em up, for beating a swarm of enemies while making vertical progress. Elevators are great for sitcoms and dramas, because you can “trap” two (or more) characters and force them to bounce off each other and/or resolve issues, but in reality, even the reality of a video game, elevators are always going to be boring. “Elevator Action” may as well be “Doorway Panic” or “Paint Dries Z” as far as exciting titles go.

Honestly, the original Elevator Action did nothing to dissuade the idea that elevators could be filled with action. It’s not a bad game, and I should probably give more credit to any game that is literally as old as I am, but it’s not exactly action packed, either. One screen, vertically scrolling along, and the best you can hope for is to open a door at precisely the right moment, assuming you can successfully enter a door at all. In a weird way, this may have been the first game to utilize “stealth” as part of the gameplay, so maybe we can trace Elevator Action to Metal Gear Solid and its many imitators.

Most recently, there was Elevator Action Deluxe, which I picked up during some PSN flash sale. It’s one of those “the same game, but with modern conveniences” quasi-remakes that you often see pop up with old coin-op titles. It’s basically the thirty year old game, but now there are different layouts and a few random switch-ups, like a high score and This is no fun“challenges” for each stage. Or maybe I’m wrong, I played it for like ten minutes, and then woke up the following morning disoriented and playing Bubsy for some reason.

So, when I received the request for Elevator Action Returns, I actually confused the requested game with Elevator Action Deluxe, and audibly sighed at having to wring something interesting out of that snoozefest. But a quick trip to Wikipedia saved me the bother of playing that digital NyQuil, and I found that Elevator Action Returns, aka Elevator Action 2, was an arcade game that was released in 1994.

Which… disqualifies it under the “no games I don’t own” clause. Lame.

Oh, wait! There was a Saturn version… but not in America. Never been a big fan of importing, as my belief is that, in the wholeness of time, every game ever made will be rereleased with an English translation, one way or another, Amen. So, back to square one.

But! Elevator Action 2 was included on the Playstation 2 Taito Legends 2 collection, and I own that! Yay! I can’t even remember why I own that game, though. Was it just for another copy of Puzzle Bobble? Qix? Or could I just not ignore the incredible draw of Violence Fight? No matter, I’ve got a copy of Elevator Action 2 to play, technically, so, for the first time in the FGC, let’s play a game I know absolutely nothing about.

Oh.WELCOME TO ACTION COUNTRY

Oh. This is good.

Is this… is this what joy feels like?

Alright, time to spread the gospel.

Ladies and gentlemen, Elevator Action 2 is a really, really great game.

First of all, there’s the overall aesthetic. For reasons that I can only begin to speculate, everything here hews pretty close to 80’s GI Joe, with a dash of Die Hard-esque action movie spice. The main characters are Edie (short for Edbecca) Burret, the action girl in camo pants with the fastest draw and some pyro tendencies; Kart Bradfield, a dandy, blonde-haired gentleman who has the best running speed and hair; and Rambo, back in action under the alias Jad the Taff. All three are loaded to the bear with not only their requisite weapons, but all manner of GI Joe flourishes, like those single-lens headset communicator things and three total kneepads spread amongst three people. And, of course, there’s nothing uniform about this elite squad: Rambo looks like he just stepped out of Smash TV, while Kart is wearing a kicky leather vest that is sure to make all the other commandos totally jelly.

GET IT!?Then we’ve got the stages, which start out Elevator Action shaped and then just go ahead and do whatever the hell they want. The first level, yes, is pretty much what you’d expect from the title, but level two brings the gang to a generally explosive airport that is predominantly horizontal, with only a few stories to explore all that elevator action. Stages continue like this, with a scant handful of areas where it really feels like there’s an emphasis on the titular elevators. What was focused on, however, is all the little things that I can’t imagine being even noticed in the noisy 90’s arcades. There’s graffiti everywhere, further adding to the “decaying urban” retro-futuristic 80’s aesthetic, and crumbling ceilings and dingy subways that really drive home the fact that Kart is going to hop right in the tub the minute he gets home. Even beyond the world-building, there are a number of little easter eggs hidden about, like elevatoring straight through an in-use bathroom amid one of the more hectic moments. Elevator Action 2 contains more detail than should be allowed in a game sharing floor space with Primal Rage.

But it doesn’t matter if it looks pretty, how does it play? Great news on that front, as this may be the most unbridled fun I’ve had with a FGC game yet. First, and most importantly, you’ve got a life bar, so no more instant deaths… though you will die instantly if you leap down an elevator shaft or stand beneath a descending elevator, but, seriously, do that, and you deserve to lose your credit. And don’t worry, while you’ve got some body armor, the majority of your enemies are going down in a hit or two, so it’s time to get all First Blood on the legion of bad guys. In fact, and this may be the greatest compliment I can give an action game, the whole experience feels vaguely like a deliberate, measured, and more forgiving Contra. Burn, baby, burnEven better than Contra (what an odd phrase), there’s even a number of different options in your toy chest, so if you’re not so much into riddling your opponents with bullets, you can stomp them with elevators, lure them into mines, or kick over those Michael Bay barrels for explosive results. And why not put away your pistol, and whip out a grenade or rocket launcher? The sky is the limit, which is convenient when you’re dodging mooks with jetpacks.

If I had to complain about anything about this game, it’s length. The game is a mere six levels long, which is ideal for arcades or someone who plays at least four video games a week, but I could see being a might disappointed if you shelled out for this game back in the Saturn days. I completed this game in about a half hour, and with, I believe, eight credits. Even using expensive tokens, that’s like a whole four bucks, so I would likely be a bit miffed if I paid ten times that in 90’s dollars for the home experience. Of course, I do own the game as part of a compilation of 38 other games, and I think I got it for a Jackson, so I technically paid… 51¢ for Elevator Action 2. I’d pay that for Jad the Taff alone!

Minor gripe aside, I have nothing to complain about. Elevator Action 2 puts the action back in elevators, and that’s something the world sorely needed.

FGC #64 Elevator Action 2

  • Radical!System: Sega Saturn for the real console port, Playstation 2 or Xbox for the compilation with the arcade version. Pick your poison.
  • Number of Players: And it’s two player! I know I’ve said this before, but I would really like to get some two player elevator action going to complete the experience, and see if it’s double the fun with a buddy. I’m guessing it’s at least 75% more fun.
  • Favorite Character: I wound up using Edbecca the most, as her ability to shoot the fastest is ideal in a game where you fire off about 10,000 rounds in response to a door opening. Conversely, Rambo is on notice, because he moves about as fast as a real life elevator. Going down?
  • 64th FGC Entry: And, for the first time in a while, the article has absolutely nothing to do with a N64 game. Poor planning!
  • Elevator Action Bloodlines: I want to say the final boss and head terrorist of Elevator Action 2 is supposed to be the disgraced “hero” of Elevator Action 1. Or, maybe not, and they just shop at the same tailor. Whatever the case, I simply cannot disparage a man in a red suit.
  • Missed opportunity: It’s a shame there’s no 90’s style commercial for this game. It would really complete the trifecta.
  • Violence Fight? It’s a real thing, and it’s as bad as you imagine.
    VIOLENCE!  FIGHT!
  • Did you know? Jad the Taff isn’t just some made up Engrish, it’s denoting that Rambo is currently disguising himself as a Welshman. There’s no such excuse for Edie Burret, which, presumably, has a pronunciation that sounds vaguely like “any bullet”. And the other guy, obviously, is named after Super Mario Kart, released just two years prior.
  • Would I play again? Hell yes. Want some elaboration? Please reread the article. I’ll wait.

What’s Next? M Yesa Aravena has chosen… “Clock Tower; any one in the series”. Huh. That’s not very specific… but I’ll see what I can do. Please look forward to it!

See you next mission