If it’s not the first I’ve ever seen, it was one of the first I’ve ever beaten. One of the most underestimated and unknown RPGs is a proud bearer of the Squaresoft label. Yes, before Square Enix was a thing.No, it is not the Final Fantasy series. I’m talking about the “Chrono” series, more in particular, Chrono Cross.
Chrono Cross is a fantastic RPG that is not only beautiful to look at, but it is fun to play. With awe-inspiring screen shots, spectacular imagery, and enchanting music, this game is easily one of the best I’ve ever played. I’m not saying it’s the best, but it holds a special place in my heart.
Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart
But, that stuff isn’t the half of why Chrono Cross is important. This is first game I ever beat by myself, on my own, no help, no guide, and no brother– in fact, I beat it before he did!(Now that I think about it, I’m not sure he ever did.)
Granted, I did beat other games about the same time, but here’s a little scenario of what my gaming life was all about during the 90’s:
When growing on games, I used to watch my oldest brother, Dennis, play everything. He would work his way through Final Fantasy 1, 2(IV), 3(VI) , and Mystic Quest on the Super Nintendo. He displayed his air skills with Mario’s jump, Dixie Kong’s funky hair, and Ryu/ Ken’s Hurricane Kick. He punched out lights in Final Fight, Mortal Kombat, and Killer Instinct. Finally, when the Playstation came around, he put his skills to use with NHL EA Games and the famous Final Fantasy 7.
Yes, Dennis was a gaming master. For fourteen years, I would watch him, open-mouthed, saliva frothing as he battled Kefka, King Koopa, and conquered his foes with Dhalsim and Glacius.
However, whenever he approached the ending of a game, he would pause the game, turn to me and say, “Get out. You have to beat it for yourself if you want to see the ending.”
Crushed Hopes and Dreams
My heart would be crushed. I would curl up into a ball and sob for hours upon hours, not knowing if Cecil, Rosa, Kain, Edge, and Rydia defeated the evil Xemus, not understanding what happened after Chun-Li faced off with M. Bison, and dying to know what horrors awaited Diddy and Dixie Kong. After all, he let me watch the end of Super Mario World. Why did he stop now?
Honestly, it was kind of clever of him. What better way to keep your little sibling busy without missing game time? Just simply convince the little one that watching a video game is just as awesome as playing.
Still, this all raised a question in my mind as I mopped up my tears and broken dreams; why didn’t I try to play a game? I’ll admit, it enhances the gaming experience to beat something on your own, but really, was I worthy of such a task?
After Dennis banned me from watching him beat games, I tried to play the games I wanted to see the endings for, but everything was much too hard. I was so YOUNG and FOOLISH! I didn’t know to grind in RPGs like Dragon Warrior, I would mash on the buttons in a sad attempt to form combos, and I was slain by the simplest of goombas. I was the worst gamer ever.
Placing the Blame
I blame him, mostly. He always hogged whichever system we had, letting me watch him play. After a short time, I realized I was trying to pull off tricks my brother would on his best days. I was enthralled by the story, not the game play. He was far more skilled at these games- I mean, he had some practice. I decided if I wanted to beat a game, it would have to be one I never watched him play. Then I could go back and beat them the way I liked to play.
I had to develop my own style. I had to pick my own fighter, choose my own adventure. In essence, in order to become a gamer I had to discover and play a game on my own.
I don’t know why I picked up Chrono Cross. I’d never played Chrono Trigger. Quite frankly, I was afraid of RPGs. But when I first turned it on, a whole new world was opened up to me, and I fell in.
One of longest games of my life(up to that point), I played night and day in order to defeat this game as completely as possible. Only after I purchased the guide, years later, did I find that there were multiple things I didn’t know about and all of my efforts were fruitless, rotten, and smashed with a hammer.