List the Plot Holes: The Narrative Failures of The Worst Game Ever, Chrono Cross

Note: This entire post will contain spoilers for the Worst Game Ever, Chrono Cross and it’s prequel game, Chrono Trigger.

The plot contradicts both itself and Chrono Trigger because:

– The red stone materials were never part of Lavos. This is explicitly shown in Chrono Trigger.

– Serge shouldn’t have been able to cross worlds in Lynx’s body.

– You never meet the Lynx of your world. It’s assumed that he was frozen in the Dead Sea…. too bad that he’s not there with the rest of them. I know, I checked.

– The necklace that Kid uses is the same as Marle’s. If Schala gave it to Kid and Kid was zapped into the future then how could Marle have ever gotten it? Furthermore, how could the events of Chrono Trigger have ever happened in Chrono Cross if Kid has that necklace?

– Schala has blond hair and wears a white dress. This is an absolutely stupid contradiction that just shows ignorance and laziness.

The suspension of disbelief required is absolutely ridiculous in this game:

– Serge never reacts to any given scenario even when characters ask him too. It’s hard to believe that he always reacts in the same shocked way over and over. The Silent Protagonist is a failure in this game because Serge is asked to give his feelings and can only ever reply with “…” as if that’s a satisfactory response.

– Kid pulls a knife on the Dragoons who come to take Serge into custody since he’s a mysterious intruder. They act as if Kid is in the right when she literally pulls a weapon on the equivalent of police officers.

– Kid uses Viper’s daughter as a hostage and yet is somehow said to have ‘saved’ her. Viper’s daughter wouldn’t even be in danger if not for Kid literally placing a knife to her throat and using her as a hostage.

– Kid magically forgets the switching of bodies. When next you see her, she’s helping Lynx (in Serge’s body) to cause a war that’s killing innocents by the thousands and comes to literally bomb your small group of escaped refugees with their war ships. Some of the refugees are sick and injured. Somehow Kid is unable to see the difference between a Serge who is amassing a massive army and killing hundreds of thousands of innocents to the Serge that she was camping and sharing stories with in the early parts of the game. All Kid is focused on is murdering Lynx (You in Lynx’s body) and doesn’t give a damn about the innocent refugees.

– You save a group of Faeries from fire-breathing mechanical Dwarves. You literally stop a genocide. Somehow, the Faeries blame the humans for everything with no explanation on how humanity had anything to do with Dwarves slaughtering Faeries in droves. This is like a sick joke on the very real problems of mass genocide that has unfortunately become more of a problem in recent years.

– Why would Schala save Serge but not a suffering and crying Magus in 600 AD? She saved Serge because she was reminded of Magus… instead of saving the actual Magus. Also, romancing the person who reminds you of your brother is… rather creepy.

The letter Lucca gave Kid makes absolutely no sense. The first part is about how imperative it is that Lucca essentially writes her last will in testament in hopes that Kid understands the dangers. The latter half consists of a good luck and that she’ll share important information with Kid later… despite the fact that this is suppose to be her last letter before her imminent death.

The destruction of Guardia and deaths of the CT cast do not even make sense. Some warlord from some other timeline came to help the goofey idiot from the Antiquity era. Some warlord is more powerful than Lavos? Really? That doesn’t even make sense. It isn’t even elaborated upon further. Just something we’re expected to believe. Furthermore, the darkness beyond time concept makes no sense. Why would people in the erased future want to come back when in CT they clearly expressed wanting to just die? Masato Kato obviously never had any real part of the story. I even doubt his claims of making the 600 AD era. I think he just robbed from Yuji Horii. It’s no surprise that Chrono Cross came up with a concept that was ripped straight from Dragon Quest 6.

The dialogue of the game is stale and uninspired. It becomes a bit pretentious at times since characters like Lynx never get to the point of what they’re trying to say. Even worse, when he takes the body, instead of focusing on his so-called goal to succeed in his objectives… he decides to go around doing stupid crap because he suddenly likes having “feelings”. Instead of being a serious villain, as he’s presented, he just goes on and on about feelings when he could have won. Fate does this while knowing that the Dragons are looking to usurp power to destroy him.

Continue reading

Chrono Cross: Revisiting the Serge is Janus Theory

Why the Serge is Janus theory clears away plot contradictions, nicely intersects with the plotlines, and how both Chrono Trigger DS and the main game of Chrono Cross clearly validate the likelihood of Serge being Janus. I present to you Revisiting the Serge is Janus Theory, a.k.a. The Most Disturbing Chrono Cross Theory Ever

About Me and my disposition towards Chrono Cross:

If you’re familiar with my previous work, you’ve probably heard of how stupid awful Chrono Cross is by my many attempts at bashing the plot. Some of you may be thinking “Why the hell does this idiot spend so much time hating on a video game? Why can’t you get a life, loser!” and to that I say . . . you just can’t argue against my genuine criticisms because they’re the harsh truth. You use ad hominen to bash me because you can’t stand the fact that I’m right. In fact, every single time I engage with this fanbase it’s either they resort to bashing on Chrono Trigger because of their own laughable insecurities and pretending Chrono Trigger’s fame is somehow to blame for the legitimate hatred of Chrono Cross or the fanbase quite blatantly doesn’t even address the criticisms and claims I’m somehow a “troll” or being rude for taking the time and effort to post 10 to 20 minute videos to highlight my legitimate criticisms. Chrono Cross fans just can’t stand the fact that I’m right about the Worst Game Ever, Chrono Cross! They can’t stand the fact that Masato Kato is a shit writer. That’s why they highlight age-old reviews that video game companies pay or give incentives to get high ratings on even back then in the early 2000s, that’s why a good chunk bash Chrono Trigger, that’s why they use nonsensical fanon that has nothing to do with the content on the Chrono Cross discs like the Chrono Compendium, and that’s why they refuse to engage with my criticisms. After all:

  1. I stick to the main plot of Chrono Cross in my criticisms and judge solely on its own merits. The only time I point out inconsistencies with Chrono Trigger is when the plot of Chrono Cross specifically relates to a plot point in Chrono Trigger.
  2. That’s why these people can’t defend this completely awful dumpster fire of a video game that is Chrono Cross. They cover their eyes and ears and whine about “trolling” whenever legitimate criticisms are brought to them as a way of safeguarding the unsalvageable mess of trash.
  3. Over the years, it’s become clearer and clearer that Masato Kato is a shit writer who was never serious about storytelling. Evidently, he’ll whine and shit on Yuji Horii for how Horii made time travel in Chrono Trigger and try to steal the man’s work and claim it all as his own when all he did was write the script of Chrono Trigger (i.e. the dialogue, for those of you who ignorantly don’t know what a script is) and he’ll steal the hard work of Soraya Saga to claim that he wrote her parts of Xenogears, and then maybe he’ll shit all over Ninja Gaiden’s plot by writing Ninja Gaiden 3, but he sure as shit won’t ever be a great story writer. He’s no Yuji Horii. Yuji Horii has gone on to create masterpiece after masterpiece and proves his talent with his hard work. His time travel stories, while a bit nonsensical in some parts, are still far above the shit writing of Masato Kato. In fact, every parallel universe story from other series are way better than Masato Kato’s shit writing and I’ll be making a blog post highlighting games that delve into alternate universe storylines in the future.

My contempt for Chrono Cross burns metaphorically as hot as the surface of the sun. I have nothing but loathing for the Worst Game Ever. However, after my initial stint on Gfaqs, I have never once taken the bait and acted destructively as Chrono Cross fans. Evidently, many of these people claim Chrono Cross is about empathy, compassion, and love for those of us who are different and yet they fail to embody all these lessons when anybody criticizes their precious little pile of bad writing. Do you feel angry at me for speaking honestly and truthfully about my opinion? I’ve received so many “F U” comments in various forms and been insulted for “trolling” for simply specifying point-by-point facts in which the game fails as a narrative. Indeed, this so-called “compassion” that this game purports to give its fans is proven wrong throughout social media websites: Gamefaqs, Reddit, JRPG Facebook Groups, and so forth. Ahem, you can see my youthful antics in full galore, I feel kind of bad about it now, but it doesn’t excuse the personal insults that were thrown my way back then. Anyway. over and over, it’s insulting personal attacks, arguments of being too superior to me to challenge my views, or criticism of Chrono Trigger as if that somehow makes Chrono Cross’s failings better — Hint: It doesn’t! My experience has increased my confidence that Chrono Cross fans simply defend the indefensible and they know it. They don’t argue to challenge my views, because I am right. Chrono Cross is the Worst Game Ever created in all of Human History!

However, I’ve deigned a boon for these insufferable fans who clearly have no valid argument to defend the Worst Game Ever, and decided to absolve them of their agony in loving such a stupid, pathetic, and piece of crap game by sharing a fan theory that was originally told to me by a close friend who finished the game and informed me that Serge was Janus and how Lucca’s Letter was the ultimate proof. Taking this theory to heart, I had inquired about it on gfaqs forums as an early teen only to find myself rebuked by frankly illogical arguments made from dumbass Chrono Cross fans who are so stupid that they use Chrono Compendium instead of the game’s content itself. After finishing Dragon Quest XI (y’know, a superior game from a more accomplished developer and story writer like Yuji Horii) and thinking of how much better Final Fantasy IX is to the shitpile that is Chrono Cross (y’know, since Hironobu Sakaguchi is also a more accomplished and superior story writer and developer than that fucking idiot Masato Kato) I couldn’t help but think over how — as much as I hated to admit it and as much as I had wanted to deny it — well . . . The Serge is Janus theory fixes all plot holes, makes the plot more sensible and uniform, changes utterly ridiculous events that Chrono Trigger fans especially hate into events that seem perfectly plausible and legitimate, and the content Masato Kato added in the Chrono Trigger DS helped make it possible in a . . . subtle way.

To be clear, the Serge is Janus theory predates both myself and the friend who mentioned it to me. In fact, many diehard Chrono Cross fans or fans who had freshly completed the game had taken away that Serge was somehow Janus due to time and dimension shenanigans, but were never able to curtail the arguments of naysayers. Well, CTDS has provided a possible theory, and to be honest, it seems to have been staring fans and haters in the face for awhile now.

Onto the Serge is Janus Theory By Jarin Jove:

You may be wondering, why would I do this? Why would I make the time and effort to go into an in-depth analysis to prove myself wrong about Chrono Cross’s plot after rudely bashing its fans, creator, and the content of the game itself and making it quite clear that I absolutely hate the game? Because I don’t want to be a destructive asshole who ridicules with personal attacks like the aforementioned Chrono Cross fans, I want to constructively destroy and combat The Worst Game Ever and prove, once and for all, why it deserves to be called the Worst Game Ever!

Noteworthy Timeline events to keep in mind:

1004 AD – Lucca finds Kid and makes the orphanage.

1005 AD – Guardia Falls. Overlord from another timeline helps Dalton to destroy Guardia with the help of an Overlord / Emperor who time traveled.

1006 AD – 4-year Old Serge is Attacked by the Panther.

1010 AD – Kid saves Serge from drowning in Home World while the other Serge dies in Another World.

1015 AD – Kid orphanage burned down and Serge saves her as Lynx burned it down.

For this theory, I make five key assumptions about the plot and Masato Kato’s own story at face value:

  1. FATE is a supercomputer capable of predicting the future, acting on those future predictions, and all its subsequent actions are based on this logic and have a singular purpose that is being fulfilled as Balthasar intended.
  2. Janus was willing to do absolutely everything to save Schala, no matter what the cost. This is a completely reasonable and almost wholly obvious assumption. Kato himself claims to have written the Zeal Arc and much of Chrono Cross is based on Zeal with the endgame apparitions in Chrono Cross saying it all began in Zeal.
  3. Serge loves Kid. And since Kato said this was really a boy meets a girl story, this is a fairly innocuous assumption that is repeatedly defended within the content of Chrono Cross itself through Serge’s actions in the game’s story and by many Chrono Cross fans themselves who claim as much about the story and how great the ending is when depicting the love between Serge and Kid.
  4. The Time Bastard Theory — in brief, the theory that two alternate selves can’t exist in the same universe after going back in time to change the future and that each universe creates only one person per universe as these universes diverge — has been debunked by Masato Kato himself in Chrono Trigger DS. The shocked expression of Magus in your party and his recognition of Schala being trapped provide ample evidence of this in the added secret ending of Chrono Trigger DS, which will be shown below.
  5. Lucca’s letter was left by the developers on purpose and wasn’t an accident. The context of her intimate knowledge and familiarity with Janus gives significant in-game evidence that Janus did join the party in the Chrono Cross timeline. The letter strongly implies that he grew so acquainted with Lucca and likely the others that they even casually talk to him using his real name. Lucca is so confident within the letter that she makes it clear that Janus will definitely always protect Kid. She uses his real name out of endearment and familiarity.

Now, after thinking over how to begin the topic, I feel it is best to just dive right into the theory itself. Please be sure to keep those five assumptions in mind as the basis for the conjecture and implications within the parameters of this theory. Onward to poisoning everything you love about your precious piece of shit through constructive feedback and theorizing! >:D

First, let’s start with Masato Kato’s added content in Chrono Trigger DS, which shows us a Magus from another universe discussing how he’s from a timeline where they’ve already beaten Lavos and he’s unsure if the dark presence ahead will be your future timeline or not. The Magus in your party does react to him and is shown to be genuinely dumbfounded by the existence of another version of himself.

Continue reading

Negative Review: The Worst Game Ever, Chrono Cross!

Chrono Cross is a sequel to the fabled game Chrono Trigger. This game attempted a different approach from most sequels by changing the focus of the story and characters completely. Like all Squaresoft games of the PS1 era, the battle system attempts to be unique and original to stand out from the rest of the games during their time.

Plot: The story is horrendously executed. I’m sorry to say that there is just no way around it. Chrono Cross fails to hold the players attention or even explain what the hell is going on. Normally in role-playing games created by Square it becomes captivating almost immediately. At least with other PS1 Squaresoft titles, it keeps hold of the player’s interest with mystery and character growth but unfortunately this game utterly fell flat in that regard.

Often times you’re told to keep moving with no understanding of where, how, or what you’re suppose to be doing in the story. Characters will randomly tell you vague hints on what to do sometimes but half the time you have to look through just about everywhere to find out what you’re suppose to be doing at all. There simply isn’t a rhyme or reason to any of the story events that make any of it sensible. It’s tedious and just plain annoying to go through. The game simply fails at giving direction half the time and the times it does are basically tantamount to: “Oh hey! You know, we should go to X location! We might find something their at X location! Let’s go to X location! Come on!“. Two obvious problems follow: It simply isn’t given enough explanation on why and the game gets the name of the location wrong at times. That is absolutely infuriating as it worsens the entire issue.

Issues that the game tries to focus on such as racism just degenerate to discourse that simply states: “All humans are at fault for everything!”. There is just nothing more to it at all. No explanation of why, how, or what humans did to warrant such hostility. The only explanation you will ever get is: “Everything in the entire world is the entire human races fault!” as if it were a given. We’re expected to take this statement at face value when your group, including your human hero, stops an ethnic cleansing of the the fairy population committed by fire-breathing mechanical dwarves (No, seriously . . . fire-breathing mechanical dwarves) and are blamed for causing the entire mess. Both the dwarves and fairies blame your group because you’re human with the only explanation being “Humans are at fault for everything!”. I’m left to honestly wonder if one of the themes of this game was misanthropy.

Gameplay: The turn based battle system is just a horrendously executed waste. It attempted to be “unique” and forgot common sense during the decision-making process of the gameplay. Random encounters are rendered useless with no level-ups allowed outside of boss battles. Any items or usable magic spells you may obtain are pointless because boss battles give you enough money to simply buy these items or magic spells in town shops. Participating in more than one or two of these random battles per dungeon will yield a wholesome supply of raw materials for forging items such as armor. But overall, it’s a grand waste to even implement this armor forging system because none of these items are really all that difficult to obtain. It makes the entire forging system feel tedious.

To explain more in-depth: The magic system gives you a tree of customizable options to put magic spells you want in a particular section of this tree so that the more physical attacks you use, the more open this tree becomes in battle, and the more magic points you get to unleash stronger magic attacks. It sounds interesting but the execution is dreadful. You must wait at times to attack if you’ve run out of stamina which makes the gameplay feel slower. It has a “magic field” system that makes using the same “magic element” stronger in battle. The field can go up to 4 dimensions but this only creates a system where spamming the same magic elements will make you win the battle quickly. There really isn’t much thinking required despite the so-called deepness of this game.

This magic system, which attempts to be unique like everything else in the game, is just a downgrade from the standard turn-based rpg battle system. How many normal attacks you accurately hit on an opponent determine the level of spells you can cast and there is no restraint to stop you from using your strongest spells all the time in this framework. In fact, the more of the same spell type you use, the stronger it becomes on the field making use of different spells rather useless for normal battles. Even then, you won’t need any of this because the random battles are laughably easy and, as mentioned before, don’t give you any experience points and are thus feel like a waste of time.

The physical combat in battle is just painful to play. It’s the three-point system. Weak, medium, and strong physical attacks. The weaker hits are more accurate and for every hit all of your attacks will become more accurate by small incremental percentages. Unfortunately, it’s poorly executed. It really just means you have to click the attack button three times instead of just once for normal enemies to go down. Accuracy against weaker enemies never does increase so you’ll have the same accuracy against enemies no matter what because there is no leveling outside of boss battles.

This makes the gameplay an aggravating chore. It should be called many things but fun definitely isn’t one of them.

The Characters: Out of 44 characters only 3 or so of them get any real development as characters. Even then, I’m being lenient in this regard. Most of them are just given funny accents to appear unique. The problem is that when all of them try to look unique they all result in becoming bland and forgettable. The characters outfits and accents don’t really fit well with the story or the setting they are in. Characters are defined by personality and none of these characters really have any.

An example, what is a Mexican wrestler doing in a circus and why does he suddenly want to join you just because some child died in an accident? I wish I was joking about this. It really makes no sense. The stupidest part about all of this is that you can only have three characters in battle at a time so you won’t even be using over half these characters. So what was the point in having a roster of over 40 characters?

Many of these characters have the same one-liner dialogue throughout the story. They all seem to be in favor of the mary-sue heroine at all times despite when said heroine wants to kill you and a group of sick and dying innocent people. The morality of the game seems to just be agreeing with anything and everything the heroine’s horribly broken ideology says is right. This really gave me a negative opinion on this game. The story felt like a childish melodrama without any thought or consideration on tone, settings, or differences in opinion. The player is simply expected to believe that one person has all the right answers and ignore the implications of human rights crimes. No, I’m not exaggerating. She tries to bomb refugees hiding in a secluded island at a certain point in the story and the refugees include two innocent children. We’re expected to believe that she’s just being innocently deceived into doing these actions by a villain in the story but that ignores a very fine detail: she tries to bomb refugees fleeing from a war. The “morality” of this game is significantly flawed.

As you play the story, you’ll start to realize that common sense and intelligence just doesn’t exist with any of these characters. Most of them are just RPG archetypes and have no interesting qualities to speak of. If you find one or two interesting then it might just be because you like the archetype that’s being represented like the terminator-styled robot with super saiyan hair but you can’t expect deep characterization from any of the characters here . . . or sanity.

The main character is one of the worst aspects of the game. He’s a silent protagonist and just doesn’t mesh with his environment or the story. The player is given questions and concerns but all the main protagonist can really say is “…” as an answer. It just shows how no critical thinking was involved in this game’s development. This is particularly bad for a company like Squaresoft of the PS1 era. The simple fact is that games such as Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, and Final Fantasy IX managed to make picking a variation of choices in a well organized manner. The characters had some similar qualities to the silent protagonist type of style and were well portrayed in the game. In fact, Chrono Trigger was one of the most remarkable with this on the Super Nintendo. The plot didn’t focus too much on Crono’s characterization so you weren’t met with expectations such as those required for characters like Cloud, Squall, Zidane, and the main protagonist of this game, Serge. It’s easy to see that this game was not developed by the original game makers of Chrono Trigger because of it’s downright shoddy handling of this story’s silent protagonist. Sorry Masato Kato, but Hironbu Sakaguchi, Akira Toriyama, and Yuji Horii have all proven to be more capable at creating a good plot and interesting characters.

Side notes:

– The equipment system, as mentioned prior, is rather poorly implemented. To create armor and weaponry you must find raw materials to forge them. These materials, however, are very easy to find. You may wonder, as I did, why such requirements even exist instead of the standard and more efficient “buy and wear” in standard RPGs. It just reinforces the fact that this game tried to be different and edgy without any concern for common sense. It’s just plain befuddling.

– The story itself, or rather whatever bits and pieces you are given, didn’t seem too bad in the beginning. It appeared to be interesting enough but the actual story segments are far too apart from each other. The story drags it’s feet around. After you’ve finished your convoluted and confusing jumble of a journey the plot tries to resolve itself by large boxes of text at the very end of the game that tries to make sense of it. You just aren’t given any understanding at all on what the events mean, why they’re important, why you even need to be their, or what your actions have caused for 99% of the game. This completely ruins the tone, setting, and overall interest of the player. The worst factor of this is that because the game lacks any character depth in the villains, their motives and actions don’t make any sense either. So, you’re left with a confusing mess of a so-called story by the end of it. The entire experience is a trainwreck.

– Defenders of the game will tell you that it does make sense but you’ll find their just as horribly confused as you are. In the end, they’ll probably direct you to a website filled with fan theories of information that contradict the game. The problem with that is the game’s plot is self-contradictory. First issue is, the game’s plot contradicts Chrono Trigger since Lucca was clearly homeschooled by her genius father, the Time Guru was Gasper and not Balthasar (rather damning contradiction since Gasper was very significant in Chrono Trigger), and the Dreamstone was never part of Lavos. In fact, Chrono Trigger explicitly shows that the rocks existed as a natural resource before Lavos even crash landed into the world. More importantly, if the time pendant was lost in the “Darkness Beyond Time” with a certain character, then Marle could never have inherited the pendant from her family line and thus both games could never have happened.

– Some of them you have to do extra sidequests to obtain extra story explanation. However, these in-depth events aren’t delved upon enough and don’t give much to go on either. Overall, a very pathetic way to rid itself of story gaps. The fact they had to rely on gigantic boxes of text at the end cements this issue. Chrono Cross forums may point you to fan theory websites that make-up their own stories based off poor analogies and not any honest attempt at thematic analysis. Most fans are left arguing over fanon, fan-made theories about the game, than any genuine criticism about the contents of the game itself . . . to the extent that they’ll contradict events in the game because they like their fanon theories.

– Important information: There are bad batches of this game that will crash on you during the first dungeon. I had the unfortunate experience of purchasing one of these unplayable batches. I was able to continue on by using my PS3 to play Chrono Cross instead of my PS1 but this created the unfortunate glitch that locked my spells so that I couldn’t use them during the entire first dungeon or boss battles. After the first dungeon, I went back to playing on my Playstation 1 and the problem appeared to stop. But, this is another nail in the proverbial coffin. This game is unplayable by normal standards. If I didn’t have a PS3, I wouldn’t have been able to resolve this issue at all and even then I encountered glitches because of it. So yes, this game does deserve this score because it is unplayable for some people who were unfortunate enough to get the bad batch like I was.

Final Score: 1 out of 10. 1/10.