Chrono Cross is CRAZY. look at this description of one of the bosses from Chronopedia:
Dragon God is a race of cybernetic organisms in Chrono Cross. Originating as a Dragonian science, these mechanical reptiles were built to tame, govern, and manipulate the physical world. Born as one beast, the Dragon God eventually split into six: Fire Dragon, Water Dragon, Earth Dragon, Sky Dragon,Black Dragon, and Green Dragon. Of the same DNA, it is believed a seventh dragon emerged. Undeniably containing its genetic pattern, Harle is believed by some to be this creature, but she is only an offspring of the DNA, not a separation of the original being. (http://chrono.wikia.com/wiki/Dragon_God)
...What? This is some Greek mythology bullshit right there folks. Didn't Chrono Trigger have a straightforward story? Wasn't it understandable and easy to follow? Let's make a short synospis right here:
Chrono Trigger: There's this big alien parasite feeding on planets, it attacks earth, you travel through time to kill it.
There. There you go. The whole thing, right there. Now let's try the same thing with Chrono Cross:
Chrono Cross: There's this being called the Time Devourer, it wants to destroy time and space using Schala, you travel through two dimensions to kill it, but not really.
Disclaimer: Before I start making fun of CC's story, let me tell you, it's one of my favourite games of all time. The story is convoluted and dumb in spots (and filled with Deus Ex Machinas and MacGuffins), but there are some really neat ideas here. And the world is super colorful, and the music is amazing. It all has this Hawaiian feel to it, it's super original, and there's nothing quite like it.
Here We Go...
Now, you don't have to elaborate on CT's story all that much. There are nuances, sure, but more or less that's all you need to know. How do you time travel? You have a time machine. Why does the parasite feed on planets? Cause it's an alien animal, it just does. Nature and shit. Why do you travel through time to kill it? You need to understand it to kill it. There you go.
With CC it's a bit more complicated. What's the Time Devourer? Well... It's a... uh... It's a part... of Lavos that merged with Schala... I guess? It resides in a place beyond time, it's like a black hole where all the aborted timelines exist. Why it wants to destroy time and space? It... feeds on time, space and dreams. Yeah, it feeds on DREAMS. That's kind of dumb. Why is it using Schala? I don't know. She's special I guess (because of course that's the explenation).
Why do you travel through dimensions? I don't know. This guy, Balthasar, you know, from CT, devised this super-grand-master plan to repair all timelines and free Schala, and to do so he had to split one timeline into two dimensions. Also, multiple timelines exist within this one timeline. So not only we have two dimensions of one timeline, we have a couple timelines on top of each other here.
Okay, why "not really"? Well, you kind of set Schala free which repairs all timelines and re-integrates all dimensions. You don't really kill her. How do you do that? By using the Chrono of course! What is it? Well... What is a Chrono Trigger? An egg full of potential? It's a MacGuffin. It's a Norstein Bekkler's clone from CT. How is it possible? Who cares, just go with the flow.
Okay, so CC is crazy, but what was all that about dragons at the begining? What's that anime stuff doing there? Well, here's where it gets a tad complicated (ha!). See, I'm not quite sure. Let's see...
[Dragon God] Engineered to crown the city of Dinopolis, it was activated before 2400 A.D.; given sentience, it was able to think and speak on its own. In 2400 A.D., Dinopolis and the Dragon God were both pulled into the Keystone Dimension in 12000 B.C. byThe Entity to counteract the introduction of Chronopolis into the era; a war ensued between the Dragonians and the forces of the time fortress. In the ensuing battle, the actual Dragon God was defeated and somehow consumed by the Time Devourer; a physical avatar remained. (http://chrono.wikia.com/wiki/Dragon_God)
What the hell is a Keystone Dimension? And what's Chronopolis? Okay, Keystone Dimension is the original, main timeline of both CT and CC. So basically, they were pulled from their own timeline where reptites killed humans, and into the timeline we all know and love. What's a Time Fortress? It's Chronopolis. Who's the avatar? That would be Harley. More on that subject later. Now shut up.
Okay, Chronopolis was invented by Balthasar in the good future (after Bro-... Crono and the others save it). Let's read about it:
Belthasar drew up an elaborate plan to create a device known as the Chrono Cross that could free Schala from the parasitic creature. He decided to use Chronopolis as a magnificent instrument to this end; the institution would travel back through time, create and populate islands, and indirectly allocate the necessary factors needed to create the Chrono Cross. (http://chrono.wikia.com/wiki/Chronopolis)
So the islands of Chrono Cross (called the El Nido archipelago) were created by the Chronopolis to create... sigh, to create the Chrono Cross.
How... Why... What... How did he even know that... What?
Oh, and there are these two huge things called The Frozen Flame (a part of Lavos that got chipped off a long time ago) and FATE (a super computer controling the Chronopolis).
Now, by this time you're probably laughing. Why the fuck would you overcomplicate this so fucking much? What the hell is even happening? Maybe now's the time to talk about Chrono Trigger's sequel. No, not CC, we're talking about Radical Dreamers. A PS1 digital novel released only in Japan. It served as a sequel to CT, and expanded upon its story.
So what's it about? Well, it's about this girl Kid and her buddies Serge and Guile. They're thieves called the Radical Dreamers, and they really want to steal the Frozen Flame because they heard it's totes awesome. Can grant wishes and all that jazz. But ho ho dear reader. There's this dick called Lynx that won't let them. And ho ho ho! Kid finds out she's Schala that was... changed into... a child and sent through time by... the... Frozen Flame.... What?
Kid learns of her heritage as princess Schala of Zeal, a meek girl who was coerced to help awaken Lavos with her magical power. As Zeal collapsed, Schala was wracked with anguish and guilt for her role in the incident. Nearby in the Ocean Palace, the Frozen Flame felt her grief and changed her to a baby, sending her to the modern era where Lucca found her. (http://chrono.wikia.com/wiki/Radical_Dreamers:_Nusumenai_H%C5%8Dseki)
Now look, this was only a story that inspired Chrono Cross. We have none of that stupidity here.... Right?
Wrong. Serge is our main protagonist, Kid is a CLONE of Schala (Schala can clone herself in the place beyond time, and can send her clone into a timeline, but she can't help herself? Well that's dumb), and yes, Lynx is here. (By the way, apparently the Frozen Flame was a part of Chrono Trigger, but CONVINIENTLY we never hear about it. Apparently there's only one guy in CT (in the prehistoric era) that refers to it as a weid rock he found near the Lavos crater. During the Ryan/Patrick endurance run they mistake it for a sun stone quest clue).
Now Lynx is a WHOLE nother fucking story. He's this weird cat creature that's evil and a real dick. He needs Serge (our protagonist) to switch bodies with him. Oh jeez. Again with this shit. Why can't this story be. Fucking. NORMAL?! Yes, he wants to switch bodies with Serge. Not because he's a weird fox creature and doesn't really fit in to the rest of the CC universe, it's because Serge is the Frozen Flame's arbiter.
Okay, okay. I know. I know, believe me. If you were to make a game or a story about ONE of these concepts, it would probably be pretty cool. I mean, multiple timelines, split dimensions, supercomputers controling all life (yeah, FATE turns evil- shocker), it's all cool stuff, but you can't just dump all of it into ONE FREAKING GAME. I barely understand any of this, and I've played the game three times!
What was I talking about? Oh yeah. The arbiter. So I guess the Frozen Flame picks the first person it sees as a chosen one or some crap like that. And hey, it just happens that Serge found himself at Chronopolis when he was just a kid (after Chronopolis was sent into past, and yeah, the Frozen Flame powered the Chronopolis). Now Prometheus (Robo from CT, yes he resides in Chronopolis) was suppose to keep that stuff under lock, but Balthasar said it would be wicked cool (not an actual quote) if Serge was the arbiter, cause it's a part of the master plan. By the way, Lynx is Serge's father. Dun-dun-duuuun! He was manipulated and later transformed into a cat creature by FATE, after he killed Serge in the second dimension of our timeline. What? Nevermind, let's continue.
Okay, what about Kid, the... sigh, the Schala clone. You know what? No. NO.
Why would you even do that to one of your main characters? Why is this so convoluted and far-fetched? She doesn't even resemble Schala. look:
Right? She looks nothing like...
Wait... What? Why did they change Schala's hair? She had purple hair in CT. And why does she look like a twelve year old? And for that matter...
...why does Crono and the gang look like they were 8?
We will never get the answers to these questions. They probably didn't give a shit, that's my bet. If I were a Japanese developer, I'd probably say something about Lavos, hair-bleaching energy and stuff like that. Yeah, if you squint hard enough it all makes sense. Right. Chrono Cross is a game about squinting. It ALL makes sense if you squint hard enough. Let's Norstein Bekkler the shit out of this story. Want a clone? Here you fucking go. I'm in a GOOD MOOD today, so HERE'S A FUCKING CLONE.
So, Chronopolis. What happened with it?
As planned by Belthasar, the resulting catastrophe phased Chronopolis far into the past of 12000 BC Lavos, awoken in the Ocean Palace disaster, used the Frozen Flame in the facility to do this in hopes of mucking with the timeline.Dinopolis was shifted in to the Keystone Dimension by the planet to counter Chronopolis's introduction into the past; once the staff of the time fortress became aware of their surroundings, they dispatched a force to deal with theDragonians. The battle was soon won; FATE divided the Dragon God into six components (...) (http://chrono.wikia.com/wiki/Chronopolis)
Okay. I don't get the logic, but it KIND OF makes sense. I hope you're following all this.
So basically this enormous instalation called the Chronopolis, which was planned to be used as a time controling facility was created to... Well... Control time. But not really- because as it was created Baltasar found out about the Schala/Lavos fiasco. And then he said- hey, I'll create El Nido (those are the islands of Chrono Cross, that's where the game takes place) to create the Chrono Cross! But in order to do so, I have to transport the Chronopolis into the past. And so he did, and the entity (God? The planet? Nobody knows. But it was mentioned in CT during the campfire scene), governed by the laws of time space I presume, countered that enormous paradox by transporting a huge facility (governed by reptites (aka Dragonians)) from another timeline into El Nido.
That is really freaking far-fetched game. And we have to just take all that in. It doesn't happen in the game, it happened BEFORE the events of the game.
Sigh. What's next?
FATE also aspired to construct its own paradise; though its primary objective was to not disturb history until the future came by not making contact with theZenan mainland, FATE drew up a plan that would allow it to create its own civilization and preclude any outside contact. It terraformed the archipelago of El Nido and selected several staff members to populate the islands. FATE also devised a system of manipulation over the island's future inhabitants; called the Records of FATE, these machines could rewrite personality and memory when accessed, ensuring that FATE would dominate the lives of its people. The population it had selected was then wiped clean of its memory and dispersed throughout the islands (...) (http://chrono.wikia.com/wiki/Chronopolis)
Now that's a really cool fucking idea. I REALLY like that. If the whole game was about this? None of this Time Devourer, clones, Cat people, Dragon nonsense? That would have been amazing! I mean, there's so much potential here for some hard-ass science fiction! But no, the game just slaps us in the face with a couple sentences and then carries on with its nonsense. The nerve.
Either way. What's up with those Dragons? Well, the reptites had this Dragon God uber super being that they kept in their little fortress. It was then divided into six less powerful dragons by FATE. How? I DON'T KNOW. Stop asking me these questions! Squint damn you! SQUINT!
So the dragons want to anihilate the humans. Makes sense, they were made by Reptites- Reptites hated humans in CT. And they hated humans because we're apparently twisted by Lavos. Like, we evolved super fast because... Lavos. So, in order to do some espionage shit in El Nido they create Harle, an inconspicuous MIME/CLOWN that speaks with a goddamn FRENCH ACCENT. YEAH. Nice going dumbasses. She blends in quite nicely. Holy shit.
So we have FATE and Lynx as one party, Harle and Dragons as the second party, Kid and Baltasar as the third party and Lavos/Time Devourer as the fourth party. There's a bunch of shit happening in this game at the same fucking time. And that's not all of it. On top of that, there's the return of our favourite MacGuffin Chrono Trigger (second MG in this game! Nice!), the Masamune (Now corrupt) and a whole thing with Guardia and Porre fighting a war, which is way beyond me giving a shit. I mean, there are far more important things happening here! A war?! Who caaares?!
This Is INSANE! ABORT! ABORT!
Okay. This is where things get weider... Believe it or not.
See, I've never told you how the original timeline (Keystone Dimension) split into two. Well Baltasar told kid to go back in time with 2pa... Epoch, and save Serge from being murdered by his father- Lynx. This event was so important to the timeline that it was split into two- one where Lynx killed Serge, and one where Serge survived. So the timeline split into two. Here's... something:
When Home World split off, the conditions of its future were shaped so that it would end in obliteration by Lavos, a reversal of Crono's quest to stop the beast. This resulted in Home World's Sea of Eden reflecting the ruined future; Chronopolis never existed in Home World, replaced by this vision of destruction. (http://chrono.wikia.com/wiki/Chronopolis)
Why would anyone even ATTEMPT to unerstand this hodgepodge of keywords slapped together by a madman?!
I'm done. That's it. I tried to see what's going on in this game, I did. I really did. And I did try to explain it- but I didn't even know how to start! This is IN-SANE. I've TRIED. But I guess it has come to this...
I have to play it AGAIN. This time documenting its weird stupid convoluted plot. Make no mistake though- I do love the game. It looks and sounds FANTASTIC. Too bad it has an inferiority complex and wanted to one-up its predecessor by throwing a bunch of ideas tohgether hoping it would kind of work and be deep and shit. You can't do that Chrono Cross. You have to EXPLORE some of these ideas. Give them depth beyond empty sentences on a computer screen.
Besides, the thing that makes CT really stand out is Lavos. Three hours into the game you see his stupid fucking face, and you know. You know you'll fight that ugly son of a bitch at the end of the game. And on your way there- it's nothing but Lavos this- Lavos that. Even the sound he makes makes your skin crawl. Everytime he shrieks, shit is going down in the story, so at the end of the game it's a Pavlovian-like response to that sound. You just want to run.
Let's compare and contrast, in Chrono Cross you find out about the Time Devourer nonsense a couple hours before the end of the game. Lynx is the main antagonist for 90% of the game, and that cat looking motherfucker isn't really that scary. He's kind of stupid looking.
Bah, whatever. The game's still cool. So there you go. Maybe I'll understand more after playing it again. See ya!