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Video Game: Chronocross
What was the start of all this? When did the cogs of fate begin to turn? Perhaps it is impossible to grasp that answer now, from deep within the flow of time...

Chrono Cross, a Role-Playing Game developed by Square for the PlayStation, is the follow-up to Chrono Trigger. More specifically, it is a remake, or re-imagining, or sequel (sort of — it's confusing) to Radical Dreamers, a Visual Novel based on the Chrono 'verse, handled by Masato Kato, the only returning creative lead from Chrono Trigger.

The story revolves around Serge, a village boy who accidentally blunders into an Alternate Dimension while trying to get a gift for his sweetheart. This other world is mostly similar to his own, but has a number of very important differences. For starters, in the other world, he's dead. This scenario leads to Serge trying to learn why he's so important to both timelines, getting dragged along on an adventure by a certain pugnacious Aussie girl, mastering the art of dimension-hopping between his Home World and Another World, and, just maybe, saving all of space and time.

There's much more, including a scythe-wielding cat-man with a personal interest in Serge, an ambiguously aligned harlequin, dragon knights, pirates, a Mexican wrestler, cyborgs, musicians who fight with The Power of Rock, dragons, robots, a masked magician, dinosaurs, an undead clown, aliens, a living turnip, and a grand total of 45 playable characters. There isn't room on the page for the charts and diagrams necessary to explain all the tangled plots and overlapping schemes going on.

Chrono Cross is finally available on the PSN for those who missed the game the first time around. There were rumors of a sequel when Square registered a trademark for the term Chrono Break, but it has since faded into Vaporware and the trademark has since expired. Much of the team that made this game (aside from Kato) would leave Square after this title and form Monolith Soft.

This game provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: There is speculation that the game was originally intended to contain a subplot going into greater depth about Serge's role as the Arbiter of the Frozen Flame. More generally, the game itself is widely suspected to have been rushed and incomplete in its later stages of development, which would explain why many major plot threads are resolved only in the form of an Info Dump right before the final battle that was added for the North American version of the game.
  • Abusive Precursors: Inverted - The Dragonians are the evolved descendants of Chrono Trigger's Reptites who managed to thrive in an alternate timeline. They left behind a fort and sunken city as relics of their war with Chronopolis. The Dragons pretend to help out Serge's and Lynx's party, but only insomuch as it gets them closer to knocking on Chronopolis' door.
  • Accidentally Broke the MacGuffin: The Dragon's Tear, which is the only means of Serge getting his old body back from Lynx, is shattered after Lynx uses it in Fort Dragonia. The party needs to lift a second one from Home World in order to reverse it.
    • Dismantled Macguffin: The shards from both Dragon Tears (the Tear of Love and Tear of Hate) are combined to forge the Chrono Cross.
  • Almighty Janitor: Miguel's still wearing his fisherman duds, despite being awesomely powerful and immortal.
    • The Sage of Marbule is a literal example, biding his time by mopping up floors on Fargo's casino liner.
  • All Myths Are True: Subverted; some of the legends you hear early in the game about the Frozen Flame and the Dragon Gods turn out to be perversions of the truth, if not outright falsities. Unfortunately, this has the side effect of making the game's already dense narrative even more confusing.
  • All's Well That Ends Well: The ending shows Serge right where he began, presenting a gift to his girlfriend on the beach.
  • Alien Sky: Dual moons, one white and one red, despite both Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers only having one. This is actually a plot point; the Second Moon came into existence when Dinopolis was pulled into the world during the Time Crash.
  • All There in the Manual: If you haven't played Chrono Trigger, the plot will make even less sense. If you have played Chrono Trigger... well... um... you'll recognize some of the characters? The DS remake of Chrono Trigger has some added content that reinforces the link between the two games, however. Also necessary for truly understanding the plot and main characters is playing Radical Dreamers.
  • Altum Videtur: FATE's three flunkies in the Sea of Eden are named Vita Unus, Vita Dos, and Vita Tres.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: All over the place.
  • Always Save the Girl: The player has the option to choose Harle when she asks him to choose the world or her: if he picks her, she laughs and says she knows he's lying. Subverted in what looks like a But Thou Must situation involving Kid early in the game — the player can confess he isn't sure he can save the girl, leading to a different branch of the plot than if they jump at the chance to rescue her.
  • Angst Coma: Kid enters one after dicking about with the Frozen Flame.
  • Another Dimension: The beginning of the game revolves around the main character being pulled from his "Home World" to "Another World", an alternate timeline where he's been dead for ten years.
  • Anti-Grinding: It's impossible to Level Grind, meaning you also can't just level up to burst through difficult boss fights. Your characters do get stat gains, but they're directly linked to plot progression and gaining "stars", which expands their element grid, for completing boss fights.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: In a game with 45 playable characters, you're only allowed three in battle, and one of them must always be the main character, except in New Game+ where you can replace him.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Leena and Macha both have one as a Tech. So does Pierre. Riddel has a variation; her high accuracy/low power physical attack is a chastising 'thwock' with her staff.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Frozen Flame is the main one, but the Masamune also counts.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: When Marle is temporarily removed from the timestream early in Chrono Trigger, she's still alive and conscious in some sort of void. Chrono Cross explores the implications of changing the timestream and condemning generations to that void.
    • The game asks the player point-blank, what right does humanity have to exist if it comes at the cost of countless other species, or even civilizations? Allusions are made to Azala and the demise of the Reptites, and the Mama Komodo/Hydra bosses serve as grim nods to Lavos (who was, if you'll recall, also a mommy). The MacGuffin sword of legend, the Masamune, has become so desirable than men continue to spill blood for it. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any Fridge Horror or Inferred Holocaust from CT that Kato didn't salvage and painstakingly meditate on.
  • Ass Kicks You: One of Macha's Techs.
  • Attract Mode: Featuring The Dream That Time Dreams.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Summon Elements are impressive-looking, but require you to convert the entire field to their alignment color before use, making them more trouble than they're worth if you're just trying to kill things. What they are useful for is turning enemies into "shiny" items needed to forge the best equipment... even if that's not even remotely necessary to beat the game.
  • Bad Moon Rising: The theme of Harle's techs. Belthazar later exposes her as the Dark Moon Dragon.
  • Bad Present: Another Arni. The ripple effect of Serge's death casts a pall over the village. Even a fisherman's giant catch of the day (a swordfish) has gone missing.
    • The opposite is true for Lynx: Home World is under occupation by Porre, Viper's statue has been removed, and the Manor has been demolished. None of this has any relation to Serge—or indeed the player—until this point, as Serge's movements in Home World are restricted to Arni Village.
  • Bad Future: According to Miguel and Balthazar, unless the Time Devourer is surgically removed from the timeline, the Dead Sea will eventually overtake reality. Merging the timelines and temporally removing Schala from the Time Devourer to implant her into the new perfect timeline counts as surgically removing it from all timelines since it no longer can reach out to them from the Darkness Beyond Time.
  • Badass Family: Fargo's family (consisting of the man himself, his children Nikki and Marcy, and his sister-in-law Irenes) make up one very badass family. All recruitable, by the way.
  • Badass Normal: Miguel, and arguably anyone on your party who was just a peasant before joining you.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Sneff turns Serge and co. into cats during a magic trick.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind / Battle Amongst the Flames: After Kid comes into contact with the Frozen Flame, she falls into a deep coma. Masa and Mune determine that the only way to revive her is to delve into her subconscious; this deposits Serge back in 1004 AD, where Lynx and Harle are busy setting Kid's orphanage on fire.
  • Betting Mini-Game: Fargo's roulette wheel. Amusingly, once it's no longer rigged, it's possible to cheat the house by pressing pause in mid-spin.
  • BGM Override: Several times.
    • The game's opening Dream Sequence has a slightly altered version of "Between Life and Death" (the Battle Theme Music for Boss Battles) playing the entire time.
    • The song "Prisoners of Fate" plays during Miguel's Exposition Break in the Dead Sea, and then continues during the Boss Battle with him.
    • The Marbule sequence has the song "Magical Dreamers ~ The Wind, Stars, and Waves" overriding the normal music. Makes sense, as it's Source Music being played by Nikki and his band at the time.
    • "Orphan of Flame" plays throughout the entire burning orphanage scene.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Dragonians and FATE, with the added wrinkle that the latter is a Necessary Evil — a bulwark against the Reptites and their alternate universe, which seeks to invade this one.
  • Bigger Bad: The Time Devourer. Might qualify as a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, were its existence not foreshadowed in the previous game.
  • Bonus Boss: Dario can be fought as one, as can Ozzie, Flea, and Slash (Magus' lackeys from Chrono Trigger). The Criosphynx on Earth Dragon Isle is one that doubles as a Puzzle Boss.
  • Book Ends: The opening and ending cutscenes both begin with a few lines from a letter to the protagonist/player in the form of a journal, signed Schala "Kid" Zeal. Oddly, this Framing Device is never brought up outside of those two brief scenes.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Lucca's fanfare has been recycled for the victory theme which plays after a battle. Word is the theme was originally intended to be Trigger's victory fanfare, but the idea was dropped; thus, no music plays at all.
  • Boss Corridor: A pleasant example on Sky Dragon Isle: a long stairway decorated with greenery and plant life. Later revisited as Terra Tower, with ghastly faces in place of the vines.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Beebas the first time you fight them. The game doesn't recognize them as a boss, but there are five of them, they will attack you between your attacks, and have around 300 HP (very high at that point in the game).
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Getting all the playable characters. It requires you to play the game three times on the same file via New Game+, and you can't actually get the characters from previous playthroughs back until near the end of the game anyway.
  • Broken Aesop: The Green Aesop the dwarves preach about (pollution and destruction of their forest) doesn't hold up so well with the fact that they use heavily polluting technology and try to wipe out the fairies.
    • What doesn't help the aesop is that, aside from the one city being, well, a city, as well as the poisonous swamp the dwarves lived in, the world looks great for a world humans are "destroying". This makes it look like the demi-humans are just insufferable jackasses that can't accept humans living any way but the same way as them. One of the endings even makes it look like the demi-humans are just jealous of humanity's work in building what they did, but didn't want to do the work themselves!
  • But Thou Must: Notably averted with Kid, who you never actually have to recruit despite being a main character. She'll show up independent of the party at plot-important moments. Played for Laughs if/when you recruit Nikki; he offers to play a song for you, and your possible responses are "No thanks", "Nah", and "Maybe later".
  • Canis Latinicus: The game translates "where angels lose their way" as "Angelus Errare". In fact, that phrase is not conjugated or declined. The correct translation would be "Quo angeli errant".
  • Captain Obvious: Marcy, before their battle, "I HATE YOU !!!!!! I hate your friends, your mom, your dad, your grandma, your grandpa, your great-grandma, your… I HATE THEM ALL !!!!!! I hate you ! I despise you ! I REALLY, REALLY, ABHOR YOU !!!!!!" Karsh's astute observation? "Gah-hah-hah ! Looks like she can’t stand you." Yep, that sure is what it looks like.
  • Can't Drop The Hero: Until New Game+, that is, but his overworld model would not be replaced.
  • Catch Phrase: Peppor replaces his verbs with "shake" and Solt repeats his adverbs and adjectives (eg, "truly true" or "perfectly perfect").
  • Cerebus Retcon: Chrono Cross acts as one to Chrono Trigger as a whole as part of its Deconstruction of Trigger's Time Travel storyline. In short, it explores the questions of what happens to timelines that are eliminated by time travel, an issue raised only briefly in Trigger.
  • Character Filibuster: This was scriptwriter Masato Kato's Magnum Opus, and it shows.
  • Character Level: Notably averted, and in a JRPG at that. Rather than using XP and levels, characters just gain raw stat points from enemies, and get more slots for elements from defeating bosses. See Anti-Grinding, above.
  • The Chessmaster: Quite a few, but Belthasar probably takes the cake.
  • Cloning Blues: When it's revealed that Kid is Schala's "daughter-clone", she's unwilling to accept it at first. How it's resolved depends on your interpretation of the game's Gainax Ending.
  • Collapsing Lair: FATE immediately senses Miguel's defeat and reaches out from across dimensions, destroying the Dead Sea to prevent the heroes from snooping around in there.
  • Color-Coded Elements: Inverted; the colors are the elements. Red incorporates fire and magma, blue is water and ice, yellow is earth and lightning, green is wind and plants, black is darkness and gravity, and white is light and meteors.
  • Combination Attack: There are many, although they are actually much rarer in practice than in Chrono Trigger, mainly due to the game's Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The rules imposed on the player for combat don't apply to the enemy — they can basically do whatever they want. In addition, the success percentages given for your physical attacks are quite difficult to believe; prepare to miss frequently if the percentage is anywhere below 85%. This is especially blatant in the monster arena Mini-Game.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Given that much of the game revolves around the nature of time, reality, and existence, it was sort of inevitable.
  • Cosmetic Award: One of the things you can find is a collection of new skins for dialog boxes.
  • Creepy Child: The Ghost Children.
    • The dollike Tragediennes are found lurking around the Tower of Geddon's theater area. They wear tattered petticoats and behave as if they're part of some macabre Beauty Contest.
      "My greatest accomplishment is the BLACK HOLE!"
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Lynx levitates Serge in this position just before sending him in his former feline body into the Dimensional Vortex.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: The requirements for Razzly's Lv. 7 Tech is to pick all of the bad outcomes in the Hydra Marshes — bump off the Hydra, allow the Hydra's offspring to be stillborn, and let Razzly's sister die.
  • Dark Reprise: Both versions of Arni Village use the same melody. However, Another Arni's melancholy theme reflects the sadness of Serge's absence.
  • The Dark Side: At first the Masamune was a sword of heroes, but was stolen from Guardia's vault following Porre's invasion. After being bathed in blood numerous times, the sword was tainted a polished red. Now it feeds on carnage, driving its wielder insane.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the relentless optimism of Chrono Trigger, Cross's story — in which the characters are made to suffer through confusion, anger, and despair — comes off as a completely subversion of Trigger's themes, despite the colorful, hand-painted visuals and goofy character designs. Fans are split on whether or not this worked in the game's favor.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Of time travel. Particularly the time travel in Chrono Trigger. CC asks the question "what happens to the people of a changed timeline?", and rips right into it.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: How Grobyc joins your party.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You can choose to simply punch out the Time Devourer, but he gets better. Which is bad. The right way to defeat him is... a little more complicated.
  • Dimensional Traveler: It's unclear if Kid is one, though she possesses the Astral Amulet and is seen wandering around Tokyo circa 1999 in the credits. Serge and co. can jump between worlds once they obtain the item.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Three times, in conjunction with the three Disc One Final Dungeons mentioned below: Lynx, FATE, and The Dragon God.
  • Disc One Nuke: Several sidequests, minigames, and hard-to-find items count.
    • Before entering Viper Manor, you can get the Profiteer's Purse from Gogh's house. Then you can either use it to increase gold drops for the rest of the game, or dismantle it for 3 copper and 3 iron (the latter of which is very powerful at that point in the game).
    • A bit later on, in Viper Manor, a minigame involving the care and feeding of dragons nets you a piece of iron equipment if you get the best result... and you can just keep trying until you win.
    • You can easily acquire Serge's Mastermune way sooner than you're supposed to be able to by exploiting a bit of Artificial Stupidity on the part of the boss you have to fight to get it.
  • Distress Ball: Kid catches it a few times, although her clearly-established impulsive nature makes it slightly easier to swallow.
  • Don't Think. Feel: The advice given to the sailor guy played by Nikki in his concert/pretentious Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe skit, in order to play the song of Marbule.
  • Double Agent: After exploring both Home and Another World, it soon becomes clear that Lynx was one of these—in Another, he was supposedly aiding General Viper and the Acacia Dragoons against the armies of Porre, preventing them from invading and occupying, but in Home he led Viper and the Devas to their doom in the Dead Sea, thus allowing Porre to occupy Termina and destroy Viper Manor. All of this was just a smokescreen so he could get hold of the Frozen Flame and, later, Serge.
  • Downer Ending: The main ending is a downer in the sense that Serge doesn't remember his adventure, or the friends he made; but overall, the coda is upbeat. A number of the bonus endings are solidly depressing.
    • It's actually hinted that perhaps Serge does remember his adventure, as he mentions Terra Tower and FATE to Leena, who has no idea what he's talking about. It's also hinted that Serge and Kid may reunite...sometime offscreen.
  • Dragon Rider: The Acacian Dragoons.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: At Viper Manor.
  • Driven to Villainy: The dwarves have learned a thing or two from human savagery: Always kick around a weaker race! Like fairies, for instance.
  • Dual Wielding: Glenn uses the legendary sword Einlanzer for his ultimate weapon... and can also retrieve its alternate-timeline counterpart and use them both at once.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: One goes between parallel worlds although there was only one point at which you could travel between them, and you didn't receive the ability to do so until late in the game. Despite being parallel worlds, one side could affect the other e.g. cooling scorched ground on an island in one world allows plant life to grow in the other world.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The penultimate boss, the Dragon God, is labelled "Time Devourer" in the North American release. Given that the Time Devourer is the Final Boss and the relationship between the two isn't exactly obvious, this just makes the already confusing story even moreso.
  • Easing Into the Adventure: Serge's bossy girlfriend wants him to make her a scale necklace.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Regular enemies will go down pretty easily, but bosses will completely destroy you. Most of this sudden difficulty in bosses comes from the fact that elements can only be used once per battle note , which means in long fights you'll tend to run out of both firepower and healing (enemies, of course, don't suffer from this limitation). This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that you can flee with 100% success from any battle, bosses included — but that just keeps you from getting a Game Over, rather than helping you actually beat the boss.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Time Devourer.
  • Eldritch Location: The Darkness Beyond Time, and probably the Dead Sea as well.
  • Elemental Crafting: The weapon forging system ranks.
  • The Empire: Inverted. The Porrean occupiers, as personified by Norris, are reasonable enough folks when you actually sit down and talk sense to them. (After all, the Dragoons are a military junta in their own right.)
  • Equipment-Based Progression: You only level up by defeating bosses, not mooks, preventing you from Stat Grinding. The only way to get stronger is to forge stronger weapons/equipments.
  • Everyone Is A Tomato: Home World is a splintered reality, and thus the false one.
    • The people of El Nido are the descendants of scientists from Chronopolis, having had their memories wiped; They continue to be closely monitored by FATE who, ala The Truman Show, subtly manipulates their actions through the Records of Fate and controls the weather patterns, ensuring that no one ever leaves the islands.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Chronopolis vs. the Terra Tower, in the game's distant past. The former was treated as an 'infection' within time itself, with the Dragonians being brought in to act as antibodies.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The Frozen Flame has an unerring knack for completely hosing anyone foolish enough to meddle with it. For this reason, Balthazar ensures that it is being kept under lock and key in Chronopolis, with only Serge being granted access. FATE dispatches Lynx to find a back door around this problem, and events get off and running.
  • Evil Is Visceral: The Isle of the Damned is the burial place of Garai, one of the Dragoon Devas who was slain by a possessed Radius. The island soon became contaminated with Garai's vengeful energies, reddening the landscape with blood and animal skeletons and turning the waters black.
  • Expy: More than a few, as may be expected of a game with Loads and Loads of Characters.
    • Glenn, a young greenish-grey-haired knight named for and modeled after the human form of Frog from Chrono Trigger. Like his namesake, he emerges from obscurity, claims a legendary sword, and generally kicks ass and takes names. He can even initiate Frog's X-Strike Dual Tech with Serge.
      • Turnip is also another expy of Frog, even speaking like he did in the original game.
    • Guile is a complicated case. Based on Magil from Radical Dreamers, who turns out to be Magus from Chrono Trigger keeping an eye on his sister, that part of Guile's backstory was dropped during development but the Expy-ness remained. Then the DS remake of Chrono Trigger implies that Guile is an amnesiatic, alternate dimension Magus. Word of God states that Guile is neither Magil nor Magus, bringing us full circle.
    • Leah is also an Expy of Ayla. Beating the game with Leah in your party implies that she is actually Ayla's mother. Yay for time travel?
  • Extranormal Institute: Chronopolis fits the bill.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Kid's stabbing scene is probably enough to give most younger players nightmares. Even the writer expressed concern that the scene may have been too intense.
  • Fanservice: Serge's naked scene. It even has a good shot of his bare butt. Kid, Orlha, and Janice (a bunny-girl) also probably count in general.
  • Fantastic Racism: Centuries after Magus' attempt to lead a Mystic revolt, the tables have turned: now the Mystics operate under the seedy moniker "Demi-Humans" and are treated as second-class citizens, mopping floors for a living. In short, humans and Demi-Humans do not get along, and players will experience that firsthand from both sides.
  • Fatal Family Photo: A researcher in Chronopolis' lobby area promises his daughter that he'll be home shortly. Needless to say, he keeps missing his flight.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The Abyss Beyond Time, where everyone from a no-longer valid timeline rots for eternity. Yes, that includes everyone from the Bad Future that the cast of Chrono Trigger rendered null by stopping Lavos. Ouch.
    • The researchers inside Chronopolis unwittingly triggered the Time Crash in their attempts to gain mastery over time. They are now doomed to reenact that day's events over and over for eternity.
    • There are no Dragoons in Home World. Nor are there any Divas, or Lynx, or General Viper. How in the hell did they all disappear? The answer is never spelled out in words; you get to see the horror for yourself: Lynx and Viper, searching in vain for Chronopolis and the Frozen Flame, blundered their way into the Dead Sea (which had taken Chronopolis' place in Home World). The Dragoons spent too much time here, and became frozen along with the rest of the scenery.
  • Fetal Position Rebirth: Serge's rebirth in human form, complete with floating in a giant bubble of unexplained fluid as he rapidly grows from infancy to his actual age before waking up.
  • Field Power Effect: The colors in the field.
  • Fighting Your Friend:
    • Serge/Lynx versus Kid at the top of Fort Dragonia.
    • The boss battles against Miguel and Dario.
  • Flat Character: One criticism of the game is that it sacrificed quality for quantity in regards to the playable characters. Many of the characters sound interesting — a luchador-turned-priest, a surfer bum doctor, a chef with an evil alternate personality — but lack any sort of development or significance to the plot. Zoah has this the worst of all; even fans who generally enjoy the game's characterizations make fun of how we know absolutely nothing about his past or personality, just that he shouts all the time.
  • Flying Saucer: And it's plot-relevant, to boot.
  • For Science!: The facility chief of Chronopolis can be overheard worrying about the repercussions of the project failing (or worse, succeeding) but he nonetheless feels it is imperative to push on.
  • Forbidden Zone: The Dead Sea.
  • For Want of a Nail: The difference between Home and Another worlds are all related to Serge's presence or absence, respectively. Not all the changes are a direct result of it, but they're all wrapped up in the events leading to him being around (or not).
  • Funetik Aksent: Practically every character, due to disc space limitations — rather than write out every character's dialogue for every possible situation, the programmers wrote algorithms for different verbal tics. An almost-tidy way to make different characters speak differently.
  • Fusion Dance: The Time Devourer is a fusion of Schala and Lavos. And the Dragon Gods fuse once FATE falls.
  • Futuristic Superhighway: A crumbling interstate in the Dead Sea. This is where Lynx's party fights the Highwayman.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: The dragon gods are quite interested in dishing this out — once they're in a position to do so, anyway.
  • Gainax Ending: No surprise here, as Masato Kato did work for Gainax previously. The game's final Cutscene shows the Time Devourer is defeated, you merged the worlds together again, and... now there's a girl running around Tokyo? Yea, good luck figuring that out. One of the developers has since explained that this ending is intended to make players "think about the reality of their own world", and that part of the ending is to make the player think that there might be a Kid in their world. Presumably a reference to the game's themes of alternate dimensions and such.
  • Gambit Pileup: There's at least half a dozen plans working at cross purposes throughout the game. In rough order of Unwitting Pawn-ness: the Acacian Dragoons and Porre are trying to Out Gambit one another via Lynx, who is actually trying to break the restrictions on FATE, while the dragon gods manipulate Serge, so that he'll free them by killing FATE, all of which was part of a plan by the Prophet of Time meant to result in the final defeat of the Time Devourer.
    • How the plot plays out and how it relates to Chrono Cross is explained in detail here. You may want to set some time aside.
  • Gender Restricted Gear: Dresses which only females can wear, all of which give sizable bonuses to magic defense.
  • Ghost Ship: Subverted then played straight. While sailing through dense fog, the party runs across a ship rumored to be a ghost ship, but turns out to be a pirate vessel using the legend to its advantage. The pirates are then attacked by an actual ghost ship.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: The Dead Sea was in the middle of getting pummeled by these when it froze. Also, one of these is seen heading right for Serge on Opassa Beach during his first crossover between dimensions.
  • God Guise: The inhabitants of El Nido seek guidance from the Goddess of Fate, going so far as to directly ask for advice from the aptly-named "Records of Fate". Little do they suspect that they're actually communing with a Master Computer from 1400 years into the future, the artificial intelligence FATE.
    • The Dragon Gods serve as the patron saints of El Nido; Sky Dragon Isle is in fact a shrine to the head honcho dragon. They are later revealed to be an evolved species of Reptite, Ayla's implacable foes from the Chrono Trigger.
  • Good Morning, Crono: A callback to its predecessor. As with Trigger, you can find some startup cash by searching the protagonist's house.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: With 45 playable characters and the requirement of three playthroughs to get them, what do you expect? Skelly actually requires that you uncover each of his remains before he'll join. There's also the "Hero" equipment you need to outfit Pierre with before he'll be of any use.
    • A more straightforward example is the need to fight all six Dragon Gods and obtain their relics before you are allowed to enter the Sea of Eden.
  • Gotta Kill Em All: Fort Dragonia is full of elevators, so climbing the structure isn't the problem. Powering the elevators, however, becomes another matter entirely as each generator is guarded by a boss.
    • The Dragons act as examiners before your trip to Chronopolis, challenging Serge to see whether he is fit to confront their enemy, FATE. The real trick is actually locating them, though; the Dragons are scattered across both dimensions and hiding somewhere on their respective islands.
  • Grand Theft Me: Lynx and Serge forcibly swap bodies as a step in the former's Evil Plan.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: No one in Chrono Cross can be truly called evil, apart from, perhaps, the Masamune itself. And even then, the sword has been corrupted by years of abuse.
  • Groin Attack: Many of the playable characters are rather short, and most enemies' attack animations aim low to compensate so it'll look like they're actually connecting instead of damaging the blank air above them. Okay, great...except everyone except those shorter characters get swatted in the crotch. It gets worse: certain short enemies fight with their tongues.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The ghosts of Chonopolis are stuck in one.
  • Guide Dang It: Several of the characters (including some who have significant plot importance!), as well as the best weapon of the game and many characters' Level 7 techs. And, of course, the good ending. Ironically, the actual official player's guide goes out of its way to not explain how to accomplish the True Ending, vaguely hinting at it instead.
  • Happy Ending Override: Several events in Chrono Cross's backstory have unpleasant implications for the characters of Chrono Trigger, though their fates are never directly addressed.
  • Hartman Hips: Even though many of the female characters embody this trope, Lady Riddell stands out the most.
  • Hate Plague: The Masamune brings out the worst subconscious desires in people. Radius was compelled to stab his closest friend Garai in the back, thus claiming the sword for himself and becoming the head Diva.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Lynx vs. Kid in Fort Dragonia.
  • The Hecate Sisters: The islands in the Sea of Eden have maiden/mother/crone statues. The statues don't do anything and have no plot relevance - apparently this was included for symbolism for symbolism's sake.
  • Heel-Face Turn: The Dragoons. Harle... kind of. And to a lesser extent Lynx/You.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Radius kindly instructs the player on Field Effect in the beginning of the game, while Solt and Peppor explain a new mechanic to you almost every time you fight them.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The whole game is, ultimately, an elaborate scheme to kill Lavos in a way that doesn't result in it eating alternate incarnations of itself to survive. In the end Serge has to interweave the good parts of every timeline together to create a perfect timeline Ret Goning them from existance and pulling Schala out of the now has only one life Time Devourer(now incapable of eating timelines since there's only one leaving it trapped in the Darkness Beyond Time) in the process. Other supporting baddies, the Reptites and Mother Brain, also turn up in new guises.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: You can't, however, name Serge "Crono".
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Many demi-humans have this opinion. One of the endings revolves around it.
  • Hustling The Mark: How the alternate world Fargo takes your boat. It backfires.
  • Hypocrite: The dwarfs. Everything they accuse humans of, they do themselves, and the game NEVER addresses it.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Lots of fun places in El Nido, like Death's Door, the Dead Sea, and the Isle of the Damned. (To say nothing of "Where Angels Lose Their Way").
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: How Kid realizes (just when it's too late) that Lynx has switched bodies with Serge:
    Kid: How do you know Lucca's name? Not once did I ever mention Lucca's name to you...
  • I Say What I Say: When you bring some of your party members to meet their counterparts in the alternate universe, they will sometimes do this—for example, the two Radiuses immediately spar to test each other and laugh in unison after complimenting the other's skills.
  • Improbable Weapon User: A few characters fight with "domestic" implements (like brooms, mixing spoons, and frying pans), several others use instruments (a guitar and a harp, for example), and one uses carrots. Serge's swallow, a spear with curved blades on each end, is actually a boat oar — it's based on eku-jutsu, a real life Okinawan fighting style using boat oars.
  • In Harmony with Nature: In a timeline where Lavos didn't kill off the reptites, humans were wiped off the map a hundred million years ago, and the Dragonians live in idyllic coexistence with other species.
  • Info Dump: The Chronopolis segment is particularly guilty of this. The apparitions on Opassa Beach right before the final battle also lay it on thick.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: The Astral Amulet that Kid gives you early in the game, but it can only be used on Opassa Beach.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The game deals with numerous different periods of time (from the far future to prehistory) in more than one timeline broken into alternate dimensions. You only actually play in two dimensions, both at the same point in the timeline, but it's an open question whether this makes it more or less confusing.
  • Joined Your Party: Those messages are personalized for each character's accent/verbal tic/gimmick. "Marcy, like, joined your party!" (has some Valley Girl speech patterns), "ZOAH JOINED YOUR PARTY." (speaks in ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME), and "Greco tagged into your party!" (is a Masked Luchador) come to mind.
  • Justified Save Point: People pray to the Records of Fate for good luck. It's a machine devised by FATE to experiment on her progeny and prevent them from interacting with the outside world.
  • Karma Houdini: Played straight with the Dwarves if you bring Razzly along when fighting them the second time as they learn of the hydra baby and return to the hydra marshes. This is after they attempted to slaughter the entire fairy race and succeed with several for no real reason, attack the party unprovoked (this time), and engaged in rampant hypocrisy by using a massive smog belching tank against them after spending most of their screentime preaching about protecting the environment, and all they get is a light beating for all their crimes. Averted without Razzly, as they just die.
  • King Incognito: The "Sage of Marbule" is by all appearances anything but. Like the rest of his clan, he now holds the ignominious title of janitor. After testing Serge's strength, he agrees to reclaim Marbule for his people.
  • Last Disc Magic: The titular Chrono Cross, which is only effective on the Final Boss (and required for the good ending).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During the opening FMV, Kid reaches out her hand toward the camera, clearly to Serge—but it also doubles as an invitation to the player/audience to join in the adventure.
  • Legacy Boss Battle: Ozzie, Slash and Flea, a group of recurring bosses from the original game, can be found and fought in the Bend of Time. Since they're only found during a New Game+, they're harder than in the original game.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Poshul and Pierre, two rather pathetic characters, get significantly powered up when equipped with the proper key items. Poshul only needs one, but Pierre needs three
  • Let's Play: The Dark Id's playthrough is as hilarious as it is informative, managing to be both critical and celebratory at the same time. Serge becomes a slacker who quickly becomes the Only Sane Man when confronted with transdimensional weirdness, Kid and Leena get along like a house on fire, the villains' nebulous objectives are repeatedly mocked, the anvilicious green aesops and "humans are bastards" messages are soundly refuted, AND ZOAH BECOMES A FAN FAVORITE.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Although Serge doesn't remember, he has visited Chronopolis before: fourteen years earlier, Schala's influence formed an electrical storm over the island, blowing out its defenses and causing Wazuki and a young Serge to stumble upon it.
  • Living Memory: Used to represent destroyed timelines. Three of them take the forms of chibi versions of Crono, Lucca, and Marle, but this appears to be primarily a Red Herring (or a Player Punch) rather than having much relevance.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: With extreme variations of relevance to the plot. Then again, if you ever wanted to form a party with an animate, talking voodoo fetish or a sentient turnip, have we got a game for you!
  • Long Game: FATE expertly toys with El Nido in order to keep history on track, as well as working to unlock the Frozen Flame from her vault. Meanwhile, her Dragonian rivals patiently wait for Chronopolis' defenses to fall so they can swoop in and snag the Flame for themselves. And operating behind the scenes is the Prophet of Time, still working to destroy the Time Devourer and save all creation.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The amazing song "The Dream that Time Dreams" (frequently translated as "Time of the Dreamwatch"), which consists of melodies from the original Chrono Trigger soundtrack and the theme of Radical Dreamers done in Chrono Cross's signature style, plays in exactly two places in the game: one of the more obscure Multiple Endings, and the game's Attract Mode. At least it's on the OST...
  • Lost Forever: A lot of stuff: characters, level 7 techs, and other things. It's actually impossible to gather the full party on your first go-around; you have to play the game three times on the same save file to get everyone... and even then, many things that are Lost Forever are huge Guide Dang It moments.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Briefly touched upon in Trigger, it comes back into play during Kato's meditations on nature and man's relation to it. Since man reached the top of the evolutionary ladder with Lavos' help, they are viewed as a virus by the Mystics (now called "demi-humans", having been brought under human subjugation), the dwarves, and the Dragonians.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Maybe a record of how many times this trope is used in a game. Several characters are revealed to be related. Admittedly a lot of the times both parent and child know of their relations, it's just Serge & his party that get the reveal. Examples include:
    • Serge, Lynx is your father.
    • Kid, you are...uh, your own mother. Kind of.
    • Nikki, Fargo is your father. And Marcy is your sister, as well. Such varied career paths in one family!
  • Made of Evil: The Masamune fell into the wrong hands sometime after the fall of Guardia. It has since absorbed so much blood that its aura has become malevolent. You aren't handling the sword — the sword is handling you.
  • Mass Teleportation: Chronopolis semi-accidentally did this to itself, creating both the Sea of Eden and the Dead Sea.
  • Mecha-Mooks: There are some in the Dead Sea, but Chronopolis crawls with them.
  • Macguffin Title: Notable in that it is entirely possible and quite likely, if you aren't playing with a guide, to avoid getting the Chrono Cross.
  • Mind Screw: The huge amount of twists, info dumps and timeline-related madness eventually turn the game's plot into this trope.
  • Musical Nod: The soundtrack contains numerous references to both Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers, some more subtle than others:
    • The opening theme, "Scars of Time", contains a passage reminiscent of part of the opening theme for Trigger
    • "The Dream that Time Dreams", "Fields of Time" and "Chronomantique" all contain the iconic main theme to Trigger
    • Lucca's theme from Trigger is used as the victory fanfare for Cross, with two different versions of it for regular battles and boss fights
    • The theme for Fort Dragonia contains a very brief passage reminiscent of part of "Burn! Bobonga!". This makes an obscure sort of sense, since the latter was associated with the 65,000,000 B.C. time period when the Reptites lived, and the Dragonians who built the fort seem to be descendants of the Reptites.
    • The theme for the Dead Sea bears some subtle resemblances to "The Sealed Door" from Trigger
    • The theme for the Earth Dragon's Isle contains passages from the Lavos Core boss theme in Trigger, which is perhaps a subtle hint as to the Dragons' ultimate fate.
    • The Dragon God's boss theme contains nods to the Millennial Fair theme from Trigger
    • "On the Shore of Dreams" and "The Dream that Time Dreams" contain passages from "Faraway Promise ~ Dream Shore" from Radical Dreamers
    • "Jellyfish Sea" contains a brief portion taken from "Epilogue" in Radical Dreamers
    • The pieces "Gale of Battle", "Infiltrating Viper Manor", "The Girl who Stole the Stars" and "The Frozen Flame" are straight-up reused from Radical Dreamers; not surprising, since Chrono Cross is essentially an expanded remake of that game.
    • "Life ~ A Distant Promise" contains a brief portion right after you successfully use the Cross and free Schala from the Time Devourer of "Schala's Theme". If the Info Dump right before this hadn't revealed the identity of the Time Devourer's prisoner, this would have been a Musical Spoiler for any players of Chrono Trigger.
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: There are several branching points in the game where party members from the other path become Lost Forever (though New Game+ has a feature where you can use all the party members from any of your playthroughs, if only near the very end of the game).
    • Before entering Viper Manor, you can recruit either Nikki, Guile, or Pierre, and once your guide is chosen the other two characters cannot join your team (until New Game or Continue+, that is).
    • After Viper Manor, your choice with regards to saving Kid yields Korcha, Razzly and Mel on one path, or Glenn, Macha and Doc on the other.
    • You have to choose between recruiting Karsh or Zoah at one point, but the other character can join a while later.
  • Mythology Gag: The game is packed full of them, not only referencing Chrono Trigger but also Radical Dreamers.
    • Glenn's name is a reference to Frog, whose real name before his transformation was... Glenn.
    • In Japanese, Guile's original name is "Alf", a reference to the name of Janus' cat Alfador.
    • Serge's brief journey into Kid's past is a mirror of Lucca's trip to her mother's. They both involve a main character going to Lucca's house in the past in order to prevent something terrible from happening to someone important to them, there's even a machine that requires the same password that it did in the first game.
    • In Home Arni's tavern, some customers make a throwaway reference to the Radical Dreamers, Kid's gang in the titular game.
  • Never Found the Body: Home World's Dragoons have all vanished, having gone on a quest for the Frozen Flame. They're all dead, having been led to the Dead Sea and frozen by Lynx.
  • New Game+: Required not once, but twice (meaning three total play-throughs) for 100% Completion. As with Chrono Trigger, beating the New Game+ at different points in the plotline will also result in different ending scenes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Repeatedly. Serge named the item on The Grand List of Console Role Playing Game Clichés.
  • Non Standard Skill Learning: Very many of the ultimate or signature attacks are only obtained through doing a sidequest, some of which can be impossible to get if you don't make the right decisions during gameplay. In fact, getting the special ability for one character, Razzly the fairy, requires that you choose the worst option out of a quest in the previous disc and results in many innocent deaths (it's the tragedy that ends up empowering her).
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Solt and Peppor act as tutorial "boss" battles throughout most of the game,being very stupid, incompetent and very easy to beat. However, their last appearance as an optional boss battle drops this and puts them up as actual threats, though they don't reach That One Boss level.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Used with the Einlanzer.
  • Patchwork Map: Perhaps justified by each island belonging to a particular elemental dragon.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Subverted with Fargo (another) as he does lock you up when you first encounter him, but doesn't actually steal or do much afterwards. Home Fargo, despite not being a pirate, is more a criminal due to his rigged gambling.
    • Kid is supposedly a world-renowned thief. We never see her steal anything, though one of her techs steals an enemy's item (this might be getting into Gameplay and Story Segregation).
  • Perfect Poison: Lynx has poison-laced throwing daggers. One slice will knock you flat.
  • Pokémon Speak: The felines aboard the Zelbess can be understood fully once the party becomes cats themselves. They are seen harassing the ship's cook, who can't keep them out of the kitchen air ducts.
    "Who gives a meow about this guy's policy, meow."
  • Postmodernism: Throughout the game the distinction between Serge and the player is repeatedly blurred, until in the good ending it is demolished entirely.
  • The Power of Rock: Nikki's main attack, and the method of activating the Chrono Cross. Also, getting through to the Black Dragon involves having his band perform nearby.
  • Punny Name: Some of the monsters suffer from this. (A red-elemental canine monster named HotDoggity, anyone?)
  • Recurring Boss: Lynx, who is fought five times: twice as Lynx and once each as Serge (in Fort Dragonia), Dark Serge, and finally in his true form as FATE.
  • Ret Gone: The ultimate goal is to activate the Chrono Cross with the Song of Time to interweave the best fragments from all alternate timelines to create a perfect timeline while erasing them from existence, freeing Schala and stopping the Time Devourer permanently(who is now stuck in the Darkness Beyond Time without Schala's power nor any alternate selves to feed on).
  • Ripple Effect Indicator: In 1020 A.D., Serge was rescued from his untimely demise on the shores of Opassa Beach, causing Home World to branch off from Another World. The blurring between the two worlds still exists at Opassa Beach; Belthasar dubbed the distortion Angelus Errare — "Where Angels Lose Their Way."
    • The Dead Sea replaces Chronopolis in Home World. As Crono didn't stop Lavos in that timeline, Chronopolis likewise was never built; the sea changed to reflect that status.
  • Rule of Three: Chronopolis's Cloaking Device is maintained by three adjacent islands, each guarded by a facsimile of FATE's face. When the Dead Sea is destroyed, ribbons of flame emerge from three triangular spots on the water. These spots correspond with the 3 islands in the mirror dimension.
  • Sad Battle Music: "Prisoners of Fate" plays during the climax of the game's Wham Episode in the Dead Sea. It culminates in a showdown against someone who really does not want to fight you, but will kick your ass seven ways to Sunday regardless. The same theme plays while fighting Bonus Boss Dario.
  • Scenery Porn: And how! This game has some of the most astonishing hand-painted backgrounds of the PlayStation era.
  • Schizo Tech: Contains, among other things: medieval dragoons, an early 20th-century army, an 18th-century pirate, a futuristic cyborg, a cave girl (who, admittedly, probably time traveled by accident to get to where you find her), robots from the distant future, and a modern rockstar.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: It could be difficult to ask for advice on beating SonOfAGun since its' name contained 'fag' and was thus blocked on many a forum.
  • The Shadow Knows: During the opening FMV, a wonderfully subtle bit of Foreshadowing occurs when Serge at Fort Dragonia falls to his knees and clutches his head: his shadow on the wall is briefly overlain by, or turns into, the silhouette of a cat. This becomes less subtle upon reaching the actual scene in the game, however, since not only will the player have already seen by that point Serge's face morph into Lynx's in the Dragon Tear in Viper's study, but the same scene from the FMV is accompanied by the snarl of a big cat.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A very subtle one, but not to Chrono Trigger: the "Sea Swallow", the name of Serge's initial weapon, was also the codename of the character Irene Lew in the NES Ninja Gaiden games, which the writer of the Chrono series had previously worked on.
    • One of the available window frames is the same one used in Xenogears (which was developed by the same team).
    • Starky's Japanese name is Star Child.
    • The scene on the balcony of Viper Manor, wherein Lynx has Serge backed into a corner and is extending his hand to him only for Serge to choose to jump off the edge, is extremely reminiscent of Vader and Luke at Cloud City at the end of The Empire Strikes Back; thanks to Serge being a Silent Protagonist it even includes the soundless fall, with the only thing missing being Lynx saying "We Can Rule Together". Considering everything, the parallel is appropriate.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: This is averted 99% of the time since all characters will always reliquish accessories back to you if they drop out from the group. However, only one of them takes the weapon and armor away forever (till you get a New Game +, that is): Harle, right after the Acacian Dragoons join the team.
  • Sound Stone: The Frozen Flame has a 'good' counterpart in the Chrono Cross, which sings a melody capable of shattering the final boss.
  • Spacetime Eater: The Time Devourer, which is Lavos from the previous game powered up with Schala.
  • Spell Levels: The Elements system assigns each element a level from 1 to 8 indicating what area of a character's element grid they can occupy. Most elements also have a 'margin' that allows them to be equipped higher or lower than the intended level (with matching effect on its actual power).
  • Spell My Name with an S: Seen with the soundtrack of all things; there are a lot of different translations floating around for the track titles. The best example is probably "The Dream That Time Dreams", aka "Watching the Dream of Time" and (more nonsensically, but ironically probably the most popular translation) "Time of the Dreamwatch".
  • Spiritual Successor: The developers' original goal for Chrono Cross, as it had been for Radical Dreamers, was allegedly not so much to make a full-fledged sequel to Chrono Trigger as to make another game set in the same world, hence the immensely different style, tone, story and gameplay. Even after its release, the developers were adamant that Chrono Cross was not Chrono Trigger 2. Chrono Cross itself got its own Spiritual Successor of sorts in Baten Kaitos, a game (with a sequel of its own) for the GameCube featuring some of the same developers, the same unique visual style of 3D character models set against a hand-drawn background (hand-drawn by the same person, no less), a vaguely similar battle system focusing on multi-hit combos and customizable move sets, and in the first game, the same writer. It's not exactly another Chrono game, but fans looking to recapture just a bit of that Chrono Cross feel are suggested to check them out.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Serge and Kid, though the ending leaves it ambiguous whether, in some time period or reality, they will eventually be together.
  • Storming the Castle: Viper Manor and, later, the Terra Tower.
  • Story Branching: There are three ways to sneak into Viper Manor early in the game, depending on which character the player asks for assistance. Each route progresses through a different area and gives the player a different party member in the process. Afterwards, another branch happens when you must choose whether to save Kid at the cost of destroying an ecosystem. Again, the choice you make will determine the characters at your disposal.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Many fans believe that Crono, Marle, and Lucca are all dead, due to Porre's invasion of Guardia and Lynx's attack on Lucca's orphanage. They also appear as "ghosts", but see the Living Memory entry above. Robo, who became the Prometheus Lock keeping the FATE supercomputer in check, is actually "killed" near the end of the game, unless it was a copy of his programming rather than his actual "self". Magus, however, is implied to be alive, though that's a whole 'nother Fan Wank.
    • Good lord, even the mascots aren't safe! Johnny's mangled corpse is strewn on an interstate in the Dead Sea, and the singing robot Gato is about to fatally short out when Serge travels back in time to Lucca's orphanage.
  • Surprise Creepy: The game starts out as a typical JRPG, introducing its unassuming hero in a colorful setting. Oh hi, wormhole. This is even echoed in the enemies: The kid-friendly "Beach Bum" enemies in Opassa Beach are replaced by huge flying piranhas.
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: On the Overworld Not to Scale, a perpetual hurricane obscures the player's view of The Dead Sea.
  • Take Our Word for It: Long before you ever get to the sidequest pertaining to it, you are told by Nikki that he is seeking the ultimate song, which the Sage of Marbule later describes to you as an amazing, powerful, magical song that can save Marbule and restore it to the demi-humans. When you finally recruit Irenes later and she enables you, through Fargo, to help Nikki learn and then perform the song, you'd be forgiven for thinking (despite all the build-up) that the song will just be performed off-screen, because no song could really be that good and it'd be better to leave it to the imagination, right? No, the song is played, complete with a long in-game scene...and it's just as awesome and inspiring as you were told it was. Enough so that it plays continuously through the battles that follow.
  • A Taste of Power: The opening dungeon (which is a premonition of future events) has everyone armed with Mythril/Silver weapons and a few hundred HP. Of course, by the time you get to that point of the game, you can't get Silver weapons; the best you can do is Iron. Once the premonition is over, you're back to bone weapons and a few dozen HP, as well as much fewer element levels.
  • Technicolor Blade: Rainbow weapons.
  • Theme Naming: Those Two Guys, the inept Solt and Peppor...who are joined by a one-time boss (and much more serious threat) named Ketchop in the path where you choose Pierre to lead you through the Viper Manor gates.
  • Time Crash: Trope Namer. The Dead Sea is the site of a Time Crash, where the bad future from Chrono Trigger tried to reassert itself into time.
  • Time Stands Still: One of the most chilling things about the Dead Sea.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Solt, Solt, Solt. Shows up for a fight without any Elements, mistakes a TurnBlack element for an attack element, screws up a summon, and when Peppor takes matters into his own hands and shows up with BlackHole, Solt manages to screw that up.
  • Trippy Finale Syndrome: Kid is still wandering throughout space-time, looking for Serge. Her search has brought her to modern day Tokyo.
  • Tron Lines: Present in Chronopolis's architecture.
  • Underrated And Overleveled: Present despite the lack of character levels. All characters join with stats appropriate to the point in the game you recruit them, meaning that late-joiners such as Orcha the Viper Manor chef will start with higher stats than characters who join earlier but should logically be much stronger, like the Four Devas of the Acacian Dragoons.
  • Unexplained Accent: Justified with so many accents on display, but Kid's Aussie twang is somewhat baffling given that she's from the Zenan continent.
  • Unholy Holy Sword: The Masamune.
  • Unholy Nuke / Unrealistic Black Hole: Blackhole.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Leena. She is the childhood friend, the first girl, and they are most definitely dating, but then Serge meets Kid and Leena is forgotten about. The poor lass even has the game's fortune teller bluntly inform her (well, her alternate-dimension counterpart, at least) that she's not getting a boyfriend for some time. Ouch. Whether she actually ends up with Serge or not depends on which ending you get.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: You can recruit a pink dog that sounds like Elmer Fudd, a glam rocker, a skeleton clown, a plant baby, a voodoo doll with a three-foot iron nail through its chest, and a psychic luchador priest, among other things. Few NPC's if any will bat an eye. One Let's Play sums it up nicely by asking "How often can you say 'And then the luchador clotheslined the pirate in the throat for the win' and be completely serious?".
  • Unwitting Pawn: Serge just keeps falling for it. Fortunately for him, the ultimate Chessmaster in the game, Belthasar, is a good guy, so everything works out in the end... assuming you defeat the last boss the right way.
  • Vancian Magic: The Element Grid.
  • Verbal Tic: A large number of characters, thanks to the game's accent-filter dialogue.
  • Victory Guided Amnesia: With the Dream Devourer defeated, the dimensions merge back together and time is rebooted to the opening sequence of the game. All of the party members are separated and forget about their time together.
  • Video Game Settings:
    • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The waterways beneath Viper Manor.
    • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield / Final Boss, New Dimension: The Darkness at the End of Time.
    • All The Worlds Are A Stage: The Dragon God, in a call back to Chrono Trigger's final boss.
    • Big Boo's Haunt / Meat Moss: The Isle of the Damned.
    • Big Fancy Castle: Viper Manor. Oddly, after the first visit, Serge can waltz in and out unsupervised.
    • Bleak Level: The Dead Sea took this trope to new heights.
    • Broken Bridge:
      • Home World's Fossil Valley is under patrol by Porrean soldiers, so you can't get through there. It's only when Serge travels between dimensions that he can walk through it unmolested.
      • Can you say Death's Door? Dark Serge placed the Masamune there; the thing is so radioactive that Lynx has to fetch the Einlanzer to counter its effect. That still leaves the door, which requires a Plot Coupon to unlock.
    • Casino Park / Gangplank Galleon: The S.S. Zelbess. Only a "level" in the sense that you fight one enemy on it - the Sage of Marbule.
    • Cave Behind the Falls: Divine Dragon Falls.
    • Chokepoint Geography: Fossil Valley is the only road to Termina until you acquire a boat, Fort Dragonia can only be reached by passing through Mount Pyre, Chronopolis/The Dead Sea is encircled by jagged rocks, and Gaia's Navel sits atop impassable cliffs, making it inaccessible until the party can fly to it.
    • Disc One Final Dungeon: Three times, with Fort Dragonia (the first visit), The Dead Sea, and Chronopolis.
    • Fantastic Nature Reserve / Prehistoria: Gaia's Navel.
    • First Town: Arni Village.
    • Gravity Screw: The Dimensional Vortex looks like an M.C. Escher design as painted by Vincent van Gogh.
    • Hailfire Peaks: Mt. Pyre, should you choose to exploit a key item and cause the magma to freeze over. In a fit of sadism, the treasure chests also freeze, preventing you from ever opening them.
    • Hub City: Termina. It's the first major stop once the player leaves Arni, it's where the majority of characters are recruited, it's where Serge must find a guide to Viper Manor, it's clearly a center of trade and politics as well as being the de facto capital of El Nido (Viper may have a manor he rules from, but the presence of his statue in Termina and the numerous times dragoons and Devas are seen there suggests it's where he has most of his political power), and its invasion by Porre (whether trying to prevent it, ousting them after the fact, or trying to maneuver through it post-occupation) is a major event in the game no matter which world you're in. Even its name implies as much.
    • It's All Upstairs From Here: Fort Dragonia and, later, the Terra Tower.
    • Monster Arena: The Grand Slam.
    • Monster Town: Marbule, once it's repopulated.
    • Noob Cave / Palmtree Panic: Opassa Beach.
    • Nostalgia Level: Played for Drama for the most part.
      • The Dead Sea is a museum piece from the Day of Lavos. Crono's party briefly popped by here in Trigger, and a monitor in one of the buildings actually shows footage of Lavos. Then things get trippy: the last area of the Dead Sea is an apocalyptic-looking Leene Square, and what appears to be a Trigger Time Gate.
      • Lucca's house makes a reappearance in Kid's nightmare, except this time it's on fire.
      • Garai's grave sits atop a cliff overlooking the ocean. This place acts as an Internal Homage to many Trigger sidequests: the purification of the Masamune, Cyrus' restless ghost, Toma's grave site, and Frog and Magus' duel on the cape.
    • Ominous Floating Castle / The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Terra Tower.
    • One Time Dungeon: The Dead Sea.
    • Port Town: Guldove.
    • Recurring Location: Viper Manor's round library. For some odd reason, Belthasar is a welcome guest in here, along with the Neo-Epoch (which is squirreled away in a Bookcase Passage). An Eldritch version of the library appears in Terra Tower.
      • The grassy arena on Sky Dragon Isle plays host to several battles: The Sky Dragon, Starky's "Mega" form, the finally the Time Devourer itself. (The latter is fought on Terra Tower's peak, which turns out to have been a sunken Sky Dragon Isle all along.)
    • Remixed Level: Quite a few, obviously. Most are just duplicates of the same map, even Home World's Hydra Marsh, which is still a toxic wasteland even with the Hydra alive. Viper Manor was demolished in Home World, leaving only the sewer and prison intact.
    • Secret Level: The Bend in Time allows you to revisit old enemies. Useful for Sprigg's Morphs and leveling up Pip.
    • Ship Level: The Ghost Ship, later followed by the S.S. Zelbess.
    • Swamps Are Evil: Hydra Marsh.
    • Techno Wreckage: The Tower of Gheddon is an amalgamation of fused buildings, including a shopping mall and a theater.
    • Tomorrowland: The Dead Sea is a remnant of alt-1999 A.D., and Chronopolis is supposed to have stayed in the year 2300.
    • Under the Sea: El Nido Triangle.
    • Where It All Began: This works on multiple levels. The portal to the Final Boss is located at Opassa Beach. In fact, the game concludes with Serge and Leena back on Opassa Beach, as though the whole adventure didn't happen.
  • Villain-Beating Artifact: You can kill the Time Devourer just using force, but using that method, it's able to come back(by eating alternate versions of Lavos). The only way to kill it permanently is using the Chrono Cross([[spoiler:which interweaves timelines together extracting Schala from the Time Devourer and erasing any alternate Lavos from which it can feed on).
    • Of course the scene pans away from the Time Devourer to Schala and Serge once Schala is free since it's no longer a threat thus leaving the now powerless Time Devourer stuck in the Darkness Beyond Time.
  • Villains Out Shopping: One of the endings is like this.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Son of a Gun. If you didn't take the one guy with a powerful Black element, the odds of you doing more than 10 damage at once are minimal. (He only has 300 HP max, thank the Entity.)
  • Warmup Boss: Mama Komodo. Incidentally, you've just finished killing all of her babies, and she's pretty steamed. Her Death Cry Echo is rather piteous, too, making this (yet another) instance of You Bastard.
  • Weapon Tombstone: Both Dario and his father Garai's graves (in their respective dimensions) are marked with the Einlanzer, a sword they both used. While Garai's Einlanzer is obtained through the course of the game no matter what, Glenn can retrieve Dario's after some Character Development and use them simultaneously.
  • Weird Moon: Viper Manor's suspension bridge is overshadowed by two of these babies.
  • Wham Episode: Fort Dragonia; appropriate, as a Disc One Final Dungeon. Chronopolis is another example.
  • Wham Line: "Yes...I'm fine..." Not so much the line itself, but the fact that it's Serge who says it. Naturally, it quickly becomes clear that something is very wrong.
  • Where The Hell Is Springfield?: The El Nido archipelago is located somewhere in the Chrono Trigger world, but the game never clarifies where in the world map it's located, particular in reference to the Zenan continent and it's oft-mentioned country of Porre.
    • Again, this is justified by FATE's meddling; the entire archipelago was artificially created in a bare patch of ocean, so it wouldn't have been possible to spot it in Trigger. By game's end, the whole region turns into a war zone being fought over between temporally-displaced factions.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Schala, the Friend to All Living Things from the first game, fused with Lavos and formed the Time Devourer, which wants to destroy all of existence.
    • The DS re-release of Trigger elaborates on this a bit: because of the intense hardship of her life, Schala deeply wished for all the horrible things in the world to have never occurred... or in fact, for everything about the world to have never occurred, which gave Lavos an opening to take over her soul.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Used by a random NPC. "Lah lala lalah! / I don't need a recipe book / Because I'm the happy cook / Who feeds the people gook!
  • Working Title: Project Kid is the name of a project In-Universe.
  • World Half Empty: Surprisingly, Home World is mostly bleaker than the world in which Serge died; Porre has invaded, the Dragoons are wiped out and Termina is under occupation. Worst of all, The Day of Lavos will actually occur in Home World's future - something Crono and co. fought to prevent.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Numerous characters will express this to you over the course of the game. Whether or not you can is the Driving Question that represents the game's central philosophical theme. It turns out, you can. Quite literally. It's a Boss Battle!
  • You Can't Go Home Again: This seems to be Serge's lot in life. In the alternate universe, none of his friends or family recognize him, and when he finally gets back, he's in Lynx's body.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: What happens if you run away from boss fights. At least it gives your party members time to heal.

    Creator/Monolith SoftXenogears
CentipedePlay Station NetworkChrono Trigger
Radical DreamersCreator/Square EnixEhrgeiz
Radical DreamersScience Fiction Video GamesClean Asia
Castlevania 64UsefulNotes/The Fifth Generation of Console Video GamesDragon Quest
Chrono TriggerVideo Games of the 1990sCivilization
CastlevaniaTropeNamers/Video GamesChrono Trigger
Chocobo's DungeonPlay StationChrono Trigger
Radical DreamersEastern RPGCIMA The Enemy

alternative title(s): Chrono Cross
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