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:
Action Prologue: The game begins with an action/tutorial dream sequence which foreshadows an extended gameplay sequence from a (much) later dungeon.
Actually a Doombot: The game pulls this early on, when building up Lynx as the Big Bad, before the party finally fights him... a third of the way through Disc One. After beating him, it turns out you were fighting one of Lynx's cat-like "shadow" minions, which he had transformed into his own likeness.
After Combat Recovery: If the player has any healing elements left over after battle, the game will offer to use them for instant healing. Also, the games will revive knocked out characters after a battle, giving them 1 HP.
A.I. Breaker: A few bosses can be completely short-circuited by knowing how to interrupt the AI's pattern with your own actions.
There is an incredibly difficult Bonus Boss who is vulnerable to this. By using a specific piece of equipment that allows Elemental Absorption and following a certain pattern of actions in battle, you can force his AI to use nothing but debuffs that do no damage, and a move that actually heals you, thanks to the absorption armor you equipped. This is particularly handy because it lets you get Serge's Infinity–1 Sword way, way before you're supposed to.
The Green Dragon, similarly. His challenge comes from his tendency to cast Carnivore, a powerful green-elemental spell. But he only casts Carnivore if the entire element field is green. So, if you cast a weak non-green spell every time the field becomes fully green, he'll spend most of the fight casting Green Field. Or, hell, bring a dozen Carnivore traps and go to town.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Zig-zagged with FATE, the main computer controlling Chronopolis. On the one hand, it's perfectly happy to influence events to get a whole mess of people killed (and personally murder the protagonists while it's at it), but it's really just doing what it has to in order to fulfill the mission it was given — avoiding a time paradox by making sure it doesn't change history to the extent that Chronopolis never comes to exist in the future. At the same time, though, FATE seems to have been corrupted by the influence of the Frozen Flame, so it may well be insane anyway.
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 in a Row: On the world map, the two secondary party members follow Serge around like this.
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 There in the Manual: The game's plot can stand on its own, but you'll get a lot more out of it if you've played Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers. The DS remake of Chrono Trigger — which came out well after Chrono Cross was released — also has some added content that retroactively reinforces the link between the two games.
Almighty Janitor: The Sage of Marbule, mopping floors on Fargo's casino cruiseliner for a living, while in actuality being the spiritual leader of Marbule's demihumans.
Alternate Self: The game makes extensive use of Alternate Selves, given the two different timelines. Most locals to the archipelago have an alternate you can visit, though in some cases they're not around (or dead). This is true of most NPC characters as well as party members, and exploring the differences between them is a large part of the game.
Alternate Timeline: Much of the temporal nastiness is the result of two alternate futures clashing in the world's distant past. It's complicated.
Alternate Universe: The game had alternate universes replacing time travel as the main hook.
Alternate World Map: One for Home World, one for Another World. It's a bit of a toss up which counts as the "alternate", though. While you start in Home World, you're sent to Another almost immediately, and spend the first half of the game there — meaning that when you finally return to Home World, it feels strange and unfamiliar compared to what you're used to in Another.
Altum Videtur: Three bosses in the Sea of Eden are named Vita Unus, Vita Dos, and Vita Tres (Life One, Two, and Three).
When presented with the question of whether or not you're going to save Kid from Lynx's poison, you can declare that of course you will, or confess that you're not sure that you can. Though at first it seems like a But Thou Must, this is actually one of the game's branching points; each answer sends you down a different plot path (including making different characters recruitable).
Later on, Harle asks Serge what he'd do if he had to pick between saving her, or saving the world. The player pick either answer, but if he picks her, she laughs and says she knows he's lying.
Getting the good ending requires using the element colors in a specific order, which the final boss will do its utmost to screw up. However, the boss is slow and entering the steps correctly delays its turn. Generally, successfully getting at least three steps into the sequence means you're golden (so long as you've noticed the subtle hints telling you the sequence, of course).
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.
Apocalypse How: Omniversal Metaphysical Annihilation — as apocalyptic as you can possibly get. The Time Devourer intends to consume all timelines, destroying everything that exists and ever has existed or ever will exist.
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.
Artificial Stupidity: Some enemies, particularly bosses, use set patterns and react in predictable ways to specific actions. This makes it possible to defeat them ridiculously easy by exploiting their programming. See A.I. Breaker, above.
Art-Style Dissonance: The brightly-colored and often hand-painted visuals contrast sharply with the serious and often dark themes explored by the narrative.
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 history and condemning timelines to that void.
Atlantis: Dinopolis is a Reptite civilization merged into the story's universe from an Alternate Universe to counteract the influence of Chronopolis. Chronopolis promptly defeated Dinopolis and ruined it. The ruins became Sky Dragon Isle.
Attending Your Own Funeral: Though Serge isn't there in time for the funeral, Serge does visit his grave in Another World and is found there by people who know he "should" be dead.
Attract Mode: Featuring The Dream That Time Dreams, one of the best songs on the soundtrack.
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. This is mitigated by the existence of "Field" elements that turn the entire field their respective colors, meaning it only takes one turn of setup instead of three, but it's still often just as easy to kill things without summons. (What they are useful for is turning enemies into "shiny" items needed to forge the best equipment.)
Back for the Dead: Robo from Chrono Trigger, or at least a copy of his programming (as he is a robot), shows up for approximately two minutes just before being deleted.
Background Magic Field: This is actually a battle mechanic. The magic field is always of a certain elemental type, and can be influenced through spellcasting. The (elemental) color of the magic field determines how powerful magic of that type is, and in order to use Summon Magic the field needs to be the specific entity's color.
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. Allrecruitable, by the way.
Badass Grandpa: There's not one badass grandpa, but two: Radius (62-year-old Arni village chief and former Dragoon Deva) and General Viper (57-year-old leader of the Acacia dragoons).
Bad Dreams: Serge suffers a melancholy dream about Kid after seeing Lynx take over his body and stab her, and getting shunted into another dimension in the aftermath.
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.
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.
Bare-Fisted Monk: Among the Loads and Loads of Characters, a few are 'unarmed' in the traditional sense. However, not many of them are actually martial artists. The unarmed (and, in two cases, nonhumanoid) fighters still equip 'gloves' as weapons, though.
Battle Boomerang: Boomerangs are also a weapon and are one of the few weapon types that can hit multiple enemies.
The Battle Didn't Count: After Lynx swaps bodies with Serge, you're matched up against your old allies in three-to-one odds, and in the first playthrough they are going to kick your ass, period. But in a New Game+, you can win... yet Kid will somehow manage to get up and stab you anyway.
Battle in the Center of the Mind: 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 in her memories of the burning orphanage.
Battle Theme Music: "Gale" for regular battles and "The Brink of Death" for boss battles, with a variation of Lucca's Theme from Chrono Trigger for the victory fanfare. The penultimate boss has a unique battle theme, "Dragon God", and the Final Boss has no music at all.
Beat the Curse Out of Him: The Porre military has used a cursed fruit to bring out Orcha's evil nature. As soon as you beat him, he immediately regains normality.
Big "NO!": Radius screams an all-caps Big "NO!" after the evil power of the Masamune causes him to kill his best friend Garai.
Bittersweet Ending: The main ending is bittersweet in that defeating the Time Devourer necessarily hits a Reset Button on the events of the game as it recombines Home World and Another World. Serge ends up back on Opassa Beach with Leena, apparently having never been pulled into Another World in the first place. It's shown that he remembers the events of the game, but it's unclear whether anyone else involved does or not — Leena doesn't, but Home Leena never knew anything about what was happening anyway, so it's ambiguous. It's also hinted that Serge and Kid may reunite... somewhere, sometime offscreen.
Bizarrchitecture: Surely the Tower of Geddon qualifies. The building itself is the remnant of a Time Crash, containing chunks of many a future — and one aborted present. It's just as screwed up as you'd expect it to be.
Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Solt and Peppor display this kind of interplay during their boss fights. In fact, when we meet their Home World versions, they are doing this routine as a comedy duo on Fargo's ship.
Bokukko: Razzly refers to herself as boku, possibly because she's the closest thing the game has to a male fairy (who are all female). Kid uses ore while calling herself a "cute, frail girl" in one breath.
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.
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).
The Highwayman, which at first just seems to be a scripted encounter. Then you find out it's got a mountain of health, sizeable defense, and an attack that blinds the whole party.
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.
The overarching moral of the story seems to be, in a nutshell, Screw Destiny. The game's version of "fate" turns out to be a single being manipulating events to its own ends, which the game's protagonists oppose throughout the game. Where the brokenness comes in is that they end up being manipulated by a different entity, whose ultimate goals also conflict with theirs. But everything turns out okay in the end, because ultimately everything was a Batman Gambit orchestrated by a third person, whose goals do align with the protagonists'. The takeaway seems to be less "Screw Destiny" and more "pick your Chessmaster wisely".
A subplot of the game is a Green Aesop, with various demihumans complaining about humanity's disrespect for the environment. The problem is that humans seem to live quite in harmony in nature — the islands are generally lush and verdant, and there aren't any sort of environmental problems outside the few isolated times the game decides to bring up the subject. It doesn't help that the main group pushing this message, the dwaves, decide to Jump Off the Slippery Slope and use smog-belching tanks to commit genocide while obtaining themselves a new home after their original becomes uninhabitable.
Burn The Orphanage: Lynx, evil panther-man villain, burned down an orphanage (in flashback), in case you didn't already hate him enough.
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".
Call Back: The game features several Call Backs to Chrono Trigger, in particular the Dead Sea area and a portion of the game in which the player character is transported to Lucca's house.
Marcy: 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: Gah-hah-hah! Looks like she can't stand you.
Catch Phrase: Peppor replaces his verbs with "shake" and Solt repeats his adverbs and adjectives (eg, "truly true" or "perfectly perfect").
Cats Are Mean: This game might be one of the most exaggerated examples; Lynx, the main villain, is a six foot tall anthropomorphic panther.
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.
Changing of the Guard: Chrono Cross leaves the main characters from Chrono Trigger mostly out of the picture in favor of focusing on an entirely new cast not directly related to anything that happened in Chrono Trigger. This bothered a lot of Trigger fans not only for the obvious reasons, but because Cross's backstory involves events that would presumably involve Trigger's characters, but neglects to mention their ultimate fate — leaving many fans to conclude that the Trigger cast was killed.
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.
Character Magnetic Team: The game has 45 characters total, the player starts out in control of one character but has a veritable army by the time they face the Big Bad.
The Chessmaster: Quite a few, but Belthasar probably takes the cake, a rare example of the Chessmaster actually being a good guy. Belthasar manipulated 10,000 years of history across multiple parallel dimensions to make sure the protagonist would acquire the (eponymous) ultimate item needed to completely destroy the Big Badandsave Schala.
Chest Burster: One of Guile's special attacks is to teleport his wand into the enemy's stomach and then cause it to fly out.
Childhood Friend Romance: Serge's relationship with fellow-villager Leena at the beginning of the game qualifies, as it's a rather small village and they both grew up there.
Child Soldiers: Downplayed by Marcy, one of the four Acadia Dragoon Devas, a nine-year-old Little Miss Badass and arguably the game's Wake-Up Call Boss. She's definitely spoiled and prone to throwing tantrums, but she doesn't have any of the serious psychological problems that actual child soldiers have.
Circling Monologue: Harle memorably does this by teleporting onto columns around Serge and walking vertically up and down them as she tries to make him doubt his identity after Lynx switches bodies with him.
Clean Dub Name: Many a high school teacher of Japanese will tell you that in the classroom there will be no intentional emphasizing of the -shit- romaji spelling combinations occasionally found in Japanese words and names. But teenagers are immature, and will do it anyway just for lulz. So naturally, Ishito was renamed Norris.
Cleavage Window: Orlha has mini dress with large diamond cutout in the center that shows off cleavage and some stomach.
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.
Cold Flames: Played with by the Frozen Flame, whose name implies this, despite it having nothing to do with it's true nature. Given how much mystery surrounds the thing In-Universe, it's definitely deliberate.
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.
Combat Exclusive Healing: The game doesn't let you use healing elements outside of battle, but if there are unused ones remaining at the end of a battle, they are used automatically. You are, however, allowed to use expendables any time you want.
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.
The combat mechanics that players must work with do not apply to enemies. There are two main ways this plays out. One, players have to successfully hit enemies with physical attacks before they can use elements, while enemies can cast elements whenever they want. And two, players can only use a given element once per battle, while enemies can use anything they have access to as many times as they want — even Techs, which (unlike regular elements) are unique one-off abilities by definition. This has the effect that, the longer the fight goes on, the less you have to work with as your element grid runs out... but not so for your opponent.
Contemplate Our Navels: Given that much of the game revolves around the nature of time, reality, and existence, it was sort of inevitable.
Continuity Rebooter: Serge. When young, he nearly drowned; this event is what split Home World and Another World. In Home, he was saved and survived; in Another, he wasn't, and didn't. A big part of the game's plot is finding out why he's so important to both universes that his death (or survival) causes such a dissonance between them.
Cosmetic Award: One of the things you can find is a collection of new skins for dialog boxes.
Critical Hit: The game tied this to the strength of attacks. From weak to fierce, the latter has higher chances of doing a critical hit, but has lower accuracy unless you chain it from other attacks. Also, while Serge's Infinity+1 Sword doesn't have the highest attack rating, its chances of doing a critical hit the ceiling to the point that even weak attacks do criticals.
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.
Crystal Prison: Kid/Schala shows up in one of these, attached to the backside of the Time Devourer. Rescuing her without killing her in the process is how you unlock the Golden Ending.
Cult Soundtrack: The game itself is divisive, but the soundtrack is regarded by almost all who hear it as one of the best in the history of video games.
Cultured Badass: Guile is an example of this. He is a gentleman who drinks and toasts frequently. Despite his refined appearance and cultured speech, in battles, he can teleport his wand into enemy's innards before pulling it back out and turn his wand into swords to slice his enemy.
Cute Bruiser: Leah, a six-year-old cavegirl, has strength and HP values among the highest in the game.
Lighter and Softer: Compared to the other Square games of the PlayStation era, specially the Final Fantasy ones. The developers admitted that to differentiate, they aimed to have plenty of comedy in battle (leading to many silly characters, enemies, and attacks).
Darkest Hour: After the visit to Fort Dragonia. Lynx pulls a Grand Theft Me on Serge, turns his party against him, stabs Kid when she figures out what's going on, and throws Serge into a dimensional void. Even after Harle helps Serge out, he's still stuck in Home World, separated from all his friends, stuck in Lynx's body, while Dark Serge is doing god-knows-what in Another World.
Dark Reprise: Both versions of Arni Village use the same melody. However, Another Arni's melancholy theme reflects the sadness of Serge's absence.
Dead Alternate Counterpart: At the beginning, Serge finds himself transported to an alternate universe where he died ten years ago.
Death Dealer: Some characters can use 'shot', which seem to be some sort of thrown bullet. They can also use the various 'Deck' weapons, which apparently fling cards at people.
Dem Bones: One of the early Loads and Loads of Characters you can meet is the disembodied skull of a clown looking for the rest of his body parts. Naturally, he asks you to help him find them all. He appears to have been getting around until then by hopping with his jaw. Later, you get to meet his family, who has been wondering what happened to him.
Designated Love Interest: Serge and Kid can end up this way, depending on the player's choices. It's entirely possible to go through the entire game without even recruiting her. Even if you do, her relationship with Serge can easily be interpreted as platonic True Companions rather than anything romantic, which leads some players to think this way.
Deus Est Machina: Fate, which acts as the goddess of the El Nido archipelago as part of its role as the main computer of Chronopolis. It guides El Nido's history in order to avoid a time paradox where it's never created due to its accidentally being sent to the distant past during the Time Crash.
Developer's Room: The "best" ending, achieved by beating the game as soon as possible (before recruiting anyone into your party besides Serge) is one of these, with enough developer-avatars to fill a dozen rooms.
Diagonal Cut: This is Fargo's Level 7 Tech, "Invincible". Used merely as a visual effect, though, since it just deals physical damage instead of instant-kills.
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. The game is clearly building you to take on Lynx/Dark Serge and Fate itself, whatever that may be. Turns out it's the computer that's keeping everyone from being killed by the dragons. And it wasn't evil so much as trying to resolve its programming. Er... Well anyway, then you take on the dragons who are planning to destroy the Earth, only they/it aren't/isn't the final boss either because the Time Devourer ate it long ago.
Disc One Final Dungeon: The game does it twice, with Fort Dragonia and Chronopolis. Fort Dragonia is particularly notable because it's the site of the dream you had at the beginning of the game, which itself felt like Storming the Castle. The Dead Sea is also an example.
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. The Profiteer's Purse, obtained by checking the stairs in the mansion in Another Termina, is this in two ways. 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). You can either disassemble it to its base components (letting you forge far better equipment than would otherwise be possible) or give it to Serge for a 33% bonus to all money gained from battles (which adds up very quickly).
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.
The same game has the Plasma Pistol, wielded by Norris or Starky. It has the power of a late-game weapon, but can be obtained far earlier than other weapons of its power (right after recruiting Starky, in fact).
You can easily acquire Serge's Mastermuneway 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.
Disproportionate Retribution: The dwarfs believe their home in the swamp is doomed because of the Hydra's demise. How do they fix it? Genocide against the Fairies. And then they have the gall to blame you for making them slaughter innocent pacifists!
Distress Ball: Kid catches it a few times, although her clearly-established impulsive nature makes it slightly easier to swallow.
Does Not Know How To Say Thanks: Played for Laughs with Starky, an alien. When attempting to express his gratitude, he uses the phrase "You're welcome." The person he is speaking to complements his attempted courtesy, and gives him the correct phrase to use instead. A text box then pops up and says "Starky learned 'Thank You,'" as though it was an actual in-game ability.
A Dog Named Dog: The game gives us a kid named Kid. Although it's more of a nickname, not her actual name.
Domino Mask: Guile wears a golden one. The reason why he wears it is unknown, but when he takes it off, he shocks his friend so much that it shortens her lifespan.
Lynx burnt down the orphanage that Kid lived in as a child, providing her motivation to both steal the Frozen Flame from him and kill him.
Serge suffers from this in a both less and more extreme sense. His hometown of Arni Village is still around, but he can't go back because he's Trapped in Another World. Even if he opted to stay in Arni in this alternate universe, the people of Another World don't know him because he died as a child years ago. By the time he's able to return to his Home World, he has new motivations to continue the adventure.
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 Dragon God ending is stunningly bleak, it implies that the dragon god, in alliance with the demi-humans and dwarves, killed all the humans on El Nido, Serge and friends included, the game ends showing Harle walk through Serge's hometown, being looted and occupied by the non-humans, as she stops at the grave his alternate-self had been buried at. She lays flowers at his grave and says farewell, cue credits.
Down the Drain: The sewers under Viper Manor. Despite a somewhat annoying quantity of enemy encounters (which are usually difficult to avoid due to the cramped passageways), the area itself is mercifully short.
Dreaming of Things to Come: The opening sequence is Serge, Kid, and a third person infiltrating Fort Dragonia. He wakes up after reaching a plot-significant door. He doesn't go there until about halfway through Disc 1.
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.
Slash to Nikki (so as not to confuse people with the Slash from Chrono Trigger — whose name was itself changed in the translation)
Ishito to Norris
Ocha to Orcha
Tumalu to Pip
Lazzuly to Razzly
Skarl to Skelly
Snakebone Master Jyakotu to Lord Viper (just "Viper" in the profile screens)
Spriggan to Sprigg
StarChild to Starky
Van Cliff to Van
Yamaneko to Lynx
One of the bosses, the Lunar Dragon, got mistranslated to Time Devourer (despite the Time Devourer actually being the next boss)
Dung Fu: Poshul; one of her attacks which consists of kicking up a storm of "doggy doo."
Easing Into the Adventure: Serge is woken up by his mother and told he missed meeting his girlfriend as they'd planned, so said girlfriend has him to adventuring in the Noob Cave by himself. It's only afterwards that Serge accidentally gets pulled into the beginning of the real adventure...
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 except for a handful of special "consumable" elements that can be used up to five times — or if you've gotten the Chrono Cross, 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.
Edible Theme Naming: Solt and Peppor, the Shaker Brothers, who are at one time joined by Ketchop.
Egg MacGuffin: One of the first key items Serge can obtain in Another World is a Draconian Egg. Near the endgame, he can take it to an incubator in Fort Dragonia, where it will hatch into Draggy, a rainbow-colored infant dragon.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: The elemental colors are white (light/meteors) versus black (shadow/gravity), red (fire/magma) versus blue (water/ice), and green (wind/plant) versus yellow (earth/lightning). All are strong against their opposite when attacking. What this usually meant was that rather than always using characters whose affinity was the opposite of the enemy's, it was usually better to have one of the opposite, for damaging, and one of the same, who could easily survive if an enemy or boss suddenly let loose with a devastating attack.
Eleventh Hour Superpower: The eponymous "Chrono Cross" is actually an optional Element you can only get near the end of the game. Although it does refill your used Elements under certain circumstances, its main use is to get the good ending when used against the final boss, which also completely bypasses the final boss fight. It's also used in a special spot to combine party members from other saves.
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.)
Enemy Scan: The green elemental spell Infoscope, which allowed the user to see all enemies' HP.
Enigmatic Minion: Harle, for confusing and spoilery reasons. Word Of God even says that there's actually something of a connection between her and Kid, which players noted when comparing the similar build, reactions to Serge and almost identical facial features. Her eventual fate is pretty vague, actually.
Averted; fairly early in the game, you come across a multiple-choice question that appears to be one of these. However, as you're puzzling over it, you quickly discover that the correct answer is saying nothing at all.
Also played straight in the early game; a ridiculously large and ornate combination lock in a fortress is too inconvenient to brute force, having 100 combinations, but you can just head down to the barracks and learn it from a note a forgetful soldier wrote for himself.
Evil Chef: The game has a literal Hell's Cook as one of the many characters you can get to join you. You fight his Super Powered Evil Side before his Heel-Face Turn.
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.
It's only the most chilling part of either Chrono series where the party first enters the Dead Sea and sees the creepy-as-hell Tower of Geddon looming on the frozen waves.
Earlier in the game, Fort Dragonia, site of very dramatic events that change the protagonist's life forever.
Also, Terra Tower, built by the descendants of the Reptites in an alternate future.
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 Weapon: The Masamune. Originally an Empathic Weapon, it was once stolen from the kingdom of Guardia and used for evil, turning the once holy sword into a demonic, warped blade that can corrupt or take over the mind of anyone who wields it. By the time of the game's events, it was so corrupted that Lynx was able to use its evil aura to block the entrance to the Dead Sea. Removed from there by the sacred sword Einlanzer, and later cleansed of all evil influence, it was restored to its shining glory and transformed into the Mastermune.
Expansion Pack World: The game takes place mostly on the El Nido Archipelago, a group of small islands off the coast of Porre, in the same world as Chrono Trigger. The archipelago is not visible in Chrono Trigger (although its Overworld Not to Scale is amazingly simplified, with all of four towns visible on the planet). To be fair, the archipelago didn't actually exist in Chrono Trigger, as a future civilization that found itself in the distant past as a side-effect of the events of the first game terraformed the islands.
Experience Points: Characters gain levels only when defeating a boss, although the next 5-10 battles after a boss battle will generally give them a slight stat increase as well.
Exposition Break: The game had a particularly infuriating one; before you fight Miguel, you have to sit through a 5+ minute long navel-gazing monologue about how he got here, what his past is, and how he's connected to Serge. It's interesting the first time you read it, but scrolling through it gets old fast. Thankfully, since you can always escape from battle with a 100% success rate, you can always flee from Miguel if you're about to die and not have to read through it again (or even run from the boss battle and then save, after the exposition).
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-StrikeDual 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?
Fake Ultimate Hero: Pierre is an image-conscious weakling who insists that he's really the ultimate hero. While nobody takes him seriously on this claim, he is the only person who can equip the Hero's Blade, the Hero's Shield, or the Hero Medal, which hints that there's a lot more to him than meets the eye.
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. Zoah is a male example.
Fantastic Racism: El Nido's human and demi-human populations don't always get along. In some places, like Termina, they live together generally peacefully (though demi-humans are notably absent among the more affluent citizens), while other places, like the demi-human village of Marbule, are rather less welcoming.
Fast-Forward Mechanic: The game gives the player the ability to speed up and slow down the gameplay once they've beaten the game at least once.
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.
Early in the game, Lynx deliberately pulls this on the party. See Actually a Doombot, above.
An interesting variation occurs where the Dragon God is just the part of a bigger entity that exists outside time. When you kill the physical manifestation, it gloats that all it has to do is reform with its main self; however it's then revealed that its main self was killed by the Time Devourer long ago.
This is also the reason you can't just destroy the Time Devourer. Since it exists outside of time, simply beating it to death like any other monster isn't enough to put it down for good.
Serge/Lynx versus Kid at the top of Fort Dragonia.
The boss battles against Miguel and Dario.
Final Boss, New Dimension: The final boss, complements the concept by luring you into the darkness beyond time, where timelines discarded or destroyed by temporal paradoxes end up. To put it in another way, the final boss takes you outside of the boundaries of time, space, and dimension.
Find the Cure: Early on, Kid is poisoned by hydra venom, which means Serge must hunt down the antidote (or not).
Fire, Ice, Lightning: Each gains a partner element style and is put on a six-point chart. Fire (and magma) as 'Red' against ice (and water) as 'Blue'; oddly, lightning gets partnered with earth as 'Yellow' against grass and wind as 'Green', breaking the lightning/air pairing.
Fishing for Sole: One of the fisherman Korcha's special attacks has him reel in a monster that hits the enemies. Sometimes, however, he'll reel in a boot that does nothing.
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 much in the way of character development or plot significance.
Flying Face: Skelly, one of the many optional party members, starts out as this. He's an animate skull, and you have to find and assemble the rest of his skeleton to recruit him.
For Doom the Bell Tolls: The background "music" of Terra Tower consists of nothing but deep bells, somber strings, and unintelligible vocals, all the better to convey the utterly alien atmosphere of a fortress displaced across time and dimensions... and populated by ghosts and bizarre constructs.
Foreshadowing: The opening has the camera zoom in to Kid's pupil, transitioning to the burning orphanage FMV.
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.
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).
Frying Pan of Doom: Several characters use various cooking utensils as weapons, the strongest of which is a frying pan made of Rainbow Shell. Combined with a battle system that utilizes stringing weak-fierce blows together, this leads to, among things, an unassuming village girl unleashing a rapid-fire, martial arts Spam Attack with her trusty frying pan.
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.
Gaia's Vengeance: The dragon gods are quite interested in dishing this out — once they're in a position to do so, anyway.
Gaiden Game: The game is somewhat of a Gaiden Game for Chrono Trigger, being set 20 years after the "present" time in the latter and retaining only a handful of characters, all of whom show up in three scenes or fewer. What really makes it gaiden, though, is the fact that, in the end, the entire point of the story is to resolve a hanging plot thread from its predecessor (see Urban Legend of Zelda).
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.
The Gambler: Sneff throws playing cards at his opponents, and two of his moves revolve around playing cards: Big Deal, in which he tosses an entire deck, and HP Shuffle, in which he shuffles the three numbers that make up his HP (091 might become 910, 901, 190, 109, 091 and 019).
Game-Breaking Bug: Some versions contain a bug near the end of the first disc that causes the game to freeze...in the middle of a cutscene that introduces a really important plot point...right after an extremely difficult boss fight.
Gangplank Galleon: The SS Zelbess/SS Invincible (depending on which reality you were in).
The Generalissimo: General Viper, who rules El Nido with his Acacia Dragoons. He's actually a rare heroic example; he might be authoritarian, but he's a good ruler and was only after Serge because he was being manipulated by Lynx.
Germanic Efficiency: The character Luccia is a brilliant, efficient, and morally ambiguous scientist with a very distinct German accent.
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.
Girl of My Dreams: The game starts with a dream sequence dungeon featuring the protagonist Serge, a random third party member, and most significantly his future significant other, Kid.
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 Chrono Trigger.
Golden Ending: The game has two different endings depending on how you beat the final boss. The bad end simply treats you to a cutscene of the final boss escaping through a portal. If you jump through a few very well hidden hoops, then you get the Golden Ending. (After getting the Golden Ending, though, you can move on to the New Game+ and go after the 8+ other endings.)
The last time you fight Solt & Peppor (which is optional), they actually do seem to get serious. Their Cross Slash attack can do enough damage to kill one of your party members, which you might not expect. They still aren't hard, but they're not a free win either.
Good Morning, Crono: A callback to its predecessor. As with Trigger, you can find some startup cash by searching the protagonist's house.
Gosh Dang It to Heck!: The game plays the trope almost completely straight. They drop the ball with "bugger": Kid uses it liberally, possibly being unaware it is a swear word.
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.
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.
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.
A particularly infamous one. In order to defeat the final boss correctly, you have to use your elements in a specific order against the Time Devourer, the Final Boss. Each element has a color, and each color of spell emits a different tone when cast. During the final battle with the Time Devourer, you have to play a song with these tones in order to rescue Schala from within the boss. The final dungeon and the Criosphinx both hint rather heavily at this, but it's still a hellish leap of logic to put those pieces together. And it's mentioned very vaguely by a couple of characters if (and only if) you have the titular Chrono Cross with you when you meet them, and that's it.
The Chrono Cross itself is a fair example of this, as the location where it is acquired is mentioned once, not marked on the world map, completely useless in one dimension, and can only be activated past a certain point in the storyline. And without the Cross, all you get for an ending is 'Fin'. And the Cross itself comes up as a subject of conversation once, by the same couple of characters, only if you don't have it the one time you meet them. So if you use that hint to go and get it, you'll never get any in-game indication of what it does.
All of the level 7 Summon elements fall into this, being that you have to set a trap specifically for that particular spell in order to steal it. Exactly one out of the six is held by an enemy that makes any sense having the spell, and for several you have to set the stage specifically for that summon.
In fact, getting decent use out of any of your Traps tends to take a Walkthrough, since they mostly require foreknowledge of boss patterns and there's a sizeable part of the game where you're cut off from the trap shop in Marbule, during which several good elements are available to be trapped. If you don't know this is coming ahead of time, you'll miss out on HolyLight, BlackHole, and several others.
The level seven techs for the majority of the characters aren't unlocked with stars; they have to do a sidequest to find them. These range from the simple to the completely unintuitive. The only good way to reliably find them is to put characters in your party, then roam the world aimlessly interacting with everything. Not helping is how many can be Lost Forever. Leena's is lost unless you picked the right answers to her questions on Opassa Beach, at the very beginning of the game. Razzly's (when recruiting her is already easy to miss) requires you to kill the Hydra, refuse to release its offspring, and let her sister die when the dwarves attack.
Several of the characters can be tricky to recruit. Leena, a blue-innate magical powerhouse, can only be recruited if you turn down Kid three times at Cape Howl. Most irritatingly, recruiting Glenn, who is almost as powerful as Serge, requires you to leave Kid to die after Lynx poisons her.
See all those Rainbow Shells you've been picking up all through the game? Wouldn't it be nice to use those to craft things? Well, go right ahead and try. No luck? First, you have to do a sidequest for Zappa to get him his ultimate hammer. Then, you have to get 'shiny' materials, which are found by killing regular monsters with the summon elements.
Guns Are Worthless: Guns use the attack stat and are thus more powerful than in Trigger, but they are still no more powerful than other weapons of their rank.
Halfway Plot Switch: Happens more than once during the course of the game. The game starts with Serge finding himself in another world where he died as a child, and needing to figure out how and why it happened. Then Serge's body gets switched with Lynx and you need to find a way to undo it. Then you finally defeat the guy who's been presented as the Big Bad most of the game, only for the dragon gods to merge together to form the "Time Devourer" resulting in another Big Bad to face who has nothing to do with the first. Then you defeat that Big Bad, and discover you have to save Schala from the true Time Devourer, who was manipulating the false one.
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.
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.
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.
Hello, Insert Name Here: The game plays it somewhat weirdly: The names you give the characters are explicitly nicknames, which explains why there are several cases of characters who already have names getting naming screens. You can call anyone anything you want... with the exception that the game will not let you give Serge the nickname Crono.
Heroes Want Redheads: Leena, the redhaired Girl Next Door, is Serge's girlfriend at the start of the game. She's seemingly dropped in favor of Kid (a blonde), but it's never made particularly clear, and the game has Multiple Endings where Serge may or may not end up with either of them anyway.
Heroic Fire Rescue: There's an optional scene with Kid that involves doing this. Bonus points for it being a burning orphanage. For Chrono Trigger fans, though, it's a bit of a Player Punch, given that said orphanage is Lucca's house.
Heroic Mime: Serge's title on the status screen is actually "Silent Protagonist", though he does apparently speak a few times when answering questions or explaining things to other characters — though we never see his dialogue. One of the biggest shocks of the game is when he actually says something... because Lynx has pulled a Grand Theft Me and is now inhabiting his body.
Hide Your Children: Averted, the game features a nine-year-old girl. As a Boss Battle. Go ahead and beat the crap out of her. She even shows up again in another Boss Battle, with her co-workers, a big brawler and an axe swinger, and is considered at least equal in power to them.
The Radius is unbeatable during the tutorial battle in the beginning of the game. Even in New Game+, where Serge may well be powerful enough to destroy the Final Boss singlehandedly, you can't take Radius down. If you survive for a few turns after he starts trying to knock you out, though, he'll compliment you and simply end the battle.
Immediately after Lynx pulls a Grand Theft Me on Serge, swapping their bodies, you end up fighting your own party. Even if you manage to beat the odds and take them down (which is far from easy), you still lose when Kid drags herself up and stabs Serge-in-Lynx's-body before collapsing again.
Immune to Fate: Being at the very center of the maelstrom of fate, Serge is able to buck its control. Fate spends almost the entire game trying to reestablish control over him, first having Lynx steal his body, then just trying to kill him.
Improbable Power Discrepancy: Used extensively; the party fights the Dragoon Devas, effectively the strongest people in El Nido, in one of the first arcs of the game, and it only escalates from there.
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.
Serge's two best weapons are an odd case — the spectral swallow is the rainbow shell version of his basic weapon, while the Mastermune is a special one granted by a plot event. The spectral swallow has a higher base attack rating, but the Mastermune has a much better critical hit rate, making it do more, but less consistent, damage. It's a bit ambiguous which Infinity-1 and which is Infinity+1.
Glenn can acquire the legendary holy sword, Einlanzer, which constitutes a character-specific Infinity-1 sword. The Infinity+1 version is dimension-hopping in order to get a second one, and then using them simultaneously.
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.
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.
In Medias Res: After naming the main character, you're thrust into a sequence where he, Kid, and a random potential party member are going after Lynx. Eventually some strange events occur, and.. Serge wakes up in his bed at home. Naturally he was Dreaming of Things to Come.
In-Series Nickname: In the North American version, certain children from your village will add a "y" to the end of the main character's name. This works fine for the default "Serge" (which becomes "Sergey") and most other names you can give the main character, but can result in some odd nicknames (like "Marcoy" or "Tonyy", for example).
Interdimensional Travel Device: The Astral Amulet that Kid gives you early in the game, but it can only be used on Opassa Beach. Serge uses Kid's Astral Amulet to travel between his world and the other world which was created 10 years ago due to a universal split where Serge is alive in one universe and dead in the other. See Schrödinger's Cat.
Interface Screw: The Flu status ailment, which would cause a slight amount of this when moving on the overmap.
Interface Spoiler: The game's blacksmithy screen displays huge box reserved for characters who can equip a particular weapon; you know that you're not anywhere near the end of the game until that box is mostly filled in, which makes things like the Disc One Final Boss rather less effective than they might have been otherwise.
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.
I Shall Taunt You: Kid insults some guards until they open the cage she's stuck in, at which point the party kills them. Poor guys.
Item Crafting: Whenever you buy equipment you have to give up the necessary materials to forge. You can also disassemble them to get the materials used to make them. Note that the very best buyable equipment requires "shiny" materials. These can only be obtained by disassembling certain accessories or by using Summon Magic to kill foes, which can be annoying to actually accomplish — especially since you can only use elements once per battle, so if you unleash a summon and your target survives, you don't get the item.
Thus the life force called Serge was not even allowed to be born into this world. Fate has no forgiveness for those who dare stand against it...
It's a Wonderful Plot: The early part of the game revolves around figuring out why Serge is dead in Another World, but the differences between the two worlds aren't really driven home until you end up back in Home World some time later and get to explore it, revealing the significant differences caused by Serge's death (or lack thereof).
I Will Find You: At the end, Kid promises Serge that she'll use her newfound powers to find him in the timelines, no matter how long it takes.
In Viper Manor, Karsh scolds the player if they try to loot the chest in his room while he's sitting right there. He'll let you loot it, but only after pestering him a lot.
The same thing happens on Zoah's room. However, no matter how many times you try, he will not let you open it. Coming back to the mansion and you still can't open it. Only Zoah can open it; you have to not only have him in your party, but have him in the lead, in order to get it. It has his level 7 tech inside.
Law of Cartographical Elegance: The game takes place in a small section of the Chrono Trigger world, so there's at least some reason. That, plus you never get an airship, and apparently there's only one strait that leads to the greater world, which conveniently has a strong current inwards, and your watercraft are never strong enough to go against it.
The Law of Conservation of Detail: Subverted. Of the portraits that characters have, forty of them are playable characters, five of them are alternate versions of the playable characters, and twenty six of them are NPCs. Of the NPCs, one is unimportant: a shopkeeper you meet early on. Throughout the game you become convinced she'll be important, but she never does, being the only one of the Loads and Loads of Characters who isn't. She is, however, related to Funguy. Every single NPC with a character portrait seems to be related to one of the PCs.
Lazy Backup: Normally you can only switch party members at save points, unless the plot calls for a certain character, at which point they just walk on from offscreen. This leads to some strange moments, such as the fight with Bonus Boss Dario. Depending on your party composition, up to two extra party members will walk up right before the fight to explain the plot, but then will just stand there as your party gets slaughtered without doing anything. A very sad example, given both this particular plotline and the fact that he's That One Boss.
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 Chrono Trigger, 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.
The Legend of Chekhov: Some of the local legends recounted to the protagonists are correct but... slightly skewed.
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.
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 Statue: One of the playable characters is a statue (or more precisely, a voodoo doll) that comes into life if the player shows its owner an item acquired from the owner's counterpart in a parallel reality.
Load-Bearing Boss: Defeating Miguel causes the time distortion in the Dead Sea to explode spectacularly.
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.
The Home World Termina theme's intro doesn't get much use. You'll hear the Home Termina theme quite a bit in the one in Another World after Porre takes over it, but that's a shortened version that opens with a crescendo of bagpipes that normally plays after the part cut in this situation. The easiest way to hear it is during a small scene in which Glenn is asking for bellflowers from a merchant at the entrance of Another Termina, but the music for that version kicks in right after the conversation ends. As for Home Termina, for some reason later in the game its music is replaced by Fossil Valley's music, "Drowned Valley."
Losing Your Head: One skeleton character, which you have to assemble, starts off as a talking skull.
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 hugeGuide Dang It moments.
There are two points where making a choice that enables you to get some characters will result in you losing others: when making a plan for sneaking into Viper Manor you get to choose one of three possible party members, and after Kid is poisoned by Lynx there are two paths, one of which leads to three characters, the other of which leads to three different characters. There's a New Game+ option that makes up for this by letting you recruit every character from all playthroughs you've done on that file, but it only becomes available about halfway through the game.
Conversation options can lead to stuff being lost forever even if it's not clear that they're important at the time. Just using Leena as an example, giving the wrong responses to her questions in the beginning of the game will result in the loss of her level 7 tech, and agreeing to let Kid join the party after your first encounter with her will keep Leena from joining at all.
Shadow Forest, like most of Chrono Trigger's forests, is actually very accessible to human foot traffic in the game, but retains its ancient pristine cloud forest feel.
Gaea's Navel is far more remote and inaccessible, located on a plateau island with steep cliffs on all sides, complete with an unspoilt Lost World on top.
Lost World: Gaia's Navel is at the center of an inaccessible island (you have to be flown there). It's basically 65,000,000 B.C. from Chrono Trigger in the modern day — it even has a younger Expy of Ayla, Leah, who joins your party and is implied to be her mother.
Lovecraft Lite: The Time Devourer threatens to consume all space and time, ending everything in all timelines. Naturally, Serge & co are out to stop it.
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:
Nikki, Fargo is your father. And Marcy is your sister, as well. Such varied career paths in one family!
Lunacy: Harle, the harlequin minion of villain Lynx, has a lot of moon-related imagery in her tech attacks and the like. Late in the game, this is revealed to be because she is the Dark Moon Dragon, created by the other six Dragons to be a servant of the Dragon God.
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.
Mad Libs Dialogue: A very interesting non-voice version of this. Because there are Loads and Loads of Characters, and many characters have their own VerbalTics, the side character dialogue was dynamically "tinkered" with for each character, allowing some to call the Silent Protagonist "Sergey", "Mister S", "Sir Serge", etc., and others to drop their g's, add a lisp, or speak all in capitals. Although this generally was pretty good, there were a few goofs where you might have two apostrophes in a row, for example, or a name that ended in two Y's, or a name that just didn't work with a Y at the end (Franco turning into Francoy, for example).
Magic Knight: Characters have to make physical attacks before they can use their spells, and they can all cast spells, making everyone a Magic Knight.
Magic Music: A mermaid song is used to rid a town of monsters. And then of course, there's the song that defeats the final boss and gets you the Golden Ending.
Pip starts off as a cute little bundle of fluff and is as powerful as it sounds. You can evolve him using a not too complex, but tedious method into an Archangel, Archdevil, or Holy Beast form. They are also as powerful as they sound.
Magitek: The highest sort of technology, such as that used by Chronopolis, is intimately tied with magic, to the point where the question of where the magic begins and where the tech ends is mostly academic.
Making a Splash: The blue innate encompasses both water and ice, similar to Chrono Trigger. Any character can equip blue Elements to use in battle. Irenes, a mermaid, is the only character who uses water in her special attacks.
Marathon Level: Terra Tower, a Reptite city dragged into time from another dimension. Not only is is very, very long, but it's also full of enemies and minibosses that take long to defeat.
Masked Luchador: Greco (a Meaningful Name, especially with his ward Romana — wrestling pun). He's also both a psychic and a priest. Did we mention Chrono Cross can be kind of weird?
Mass Teleportation: Chronopolis semi-accidentally did this to itself, creating both the Sea of Eden and the Dead Sea.
The game features an interesting exception in from of Skelly: while he is both a monster due to being an animated skeleton as well as a clown, he's presented in a wholly sympathetic light, all except one of his body parts you need to collect to assemble him have complimenting item descriptions and he has a loving grandmother to boot.
Harle (short for "harlequin") also counts, technically, as she's revealed to be the Seventh Dragon.
Monster Is a Mommy: The game actually uses this in a positive way: After having to kill a monster that's the Last of His Kind, they find that its last act was to give birth (hopefully to a self-sufficient brood), and continue the species. Oddly, you only discover this if you have a certain character in the party, and doing so deprives them of their Last Disc Magic.
Monster Town: Marbule, a place where only Demi-humans lived. This trope is also played with when you're forced to play as Lynx and the majority of possible recruitables are Demi-Humans, in which case human settlements are the Monster Town for you. Aesop, much?
Moon Logic Puzzle: Beating the Final Boss (correctly) requires you to essentially play a song by casting elements of certain colors in a specific order. While the sequence in question appears repeatedly in the game, it's never explicitly tied to the final boss itself, leaving the player to make that connection themselves.
Multiple Endings: The game has two "normal" endings for your first playthrough, and then numerous additional endings you can get during New Game+, based on when you defeat the Final Boss (which is available right from the beginning during New Game+).
Mundanization: The ending has someone, apparently Kid, in our world shown realistically.
Murder the Hypotenuse: This is apparently played straight when Karsh murdered Dario in the Isle of the Damned. Subverted when it turns out that Dario was possessed by Masamune at that time, and when he declared his intent to slate the Masamune with Riddel's blood, Karsh went berserk and struck him down.
Mushroom Man: Funguy. He was originally a normal human, but became a humanoid fungus after eating an enchanted mushroom.
Musical Assassin: Nikki. His weapon was, of course, a guitar (the guitar pick, if you wanna get technical), and his basic attack was playing it. His first special was to bludgeon someone with it, Hendrix-style. Irenes did something similar with her harp. And of course, there's bunnygirl Jan, who beats on a drum with a carrot.
Musical Episode: The Marblue sequence involves Nikki and his band performing some Magic Music in order to allow the party to fight monsters that are normally incorporeal.
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.
Musical Spoiler: After the incident at Opassa Beach where you first travel between the dimensions, the first clue that you're not in your own world anymore is that the overworld music has changed from "Fields of Time" to "On the Shore of Dreams ~ Another World".
Musical Trigger: This is how you get the best ending. In the fight against the Time Devourer, each element color plays a corresponding note when used. You free Schala by using them in the right order to play a specific tune.
Mutual Disadvantage: The game had three sets of opposing elements (Red/Blue, Green/Yellow, Black/White), each dealing increased damage to its opposite and taking reduced damage from itself.
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.
My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The player has to attack multiple times in order to build up enough energy to cast high-level magic and skills, and can only use one element per turn. The computer can ignore all of this, casting immediately without building up energy, casting multiple times per round, and sometimes casting spells that require having a certain innate without being that innate — eg, Grobyc (a black innate) casts Vigora (which requires a blue innate caster) during his boss battle.
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.
Naked on Revival: Serge is very much naked after the Dragon's tear grows a new body for him. He somehow gains a full set of clothes by the time he walks out to greet his companions.
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.
Never Trust a Title: This is less the case here; while the eponymous item arguably spends less time relevant to the story than the Chrono Trigger, it is of much greater overall significance what with being the piece of Phlebotinum that's supposed to reintegrate the timelines and kill the Time Devourer off once and for all.
Speaking of misleading titles in Chrono Cross, one would not expect a song called Scars of Time to be so damn funky!
Noble Top Enforcer: Harle. She even becomes a temporary party member when Serge's party members leave due to plot reasons.
No Ending: The normal ending treats you to a brief animation of the Eldritch Abomination final boss escaping through a portal, then a title card saying 'Fin'. The good ending, meanwhile, is firmly cemented in Gainax Ending territory.
Nominal Importance: As mentioned on the trope page, character portraits: with a note to the strange case of the Element shop owner in Termina who has a portrait and name but no real significance. In addition, Leena's portraited brother Una isn't important to the plot. On the flip side, Solt and Peppor, who are reasonably significant (certainly moreso than Lisa or Una), inexplicably lack portraits.
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).
No Recycling: Non-RTS exception. You can "disassemble" old weapons and armor at the blacksmith, receiving the various raw materials needed to forge new items.
You also have the option of using Kid's memories to travel back in time to her orphanage, which is Lucca's old house.
Not Quite Dead: It's revealed that Lavos, the giant space tick that was destroyed by Crono in Chrono Trigger wasn't quite dead; instead, it fused with Schala and became the Time Devourer. The Devourer itself is also an example; killing it the normal way doesn't work. Due to the nature of the Chronoverse, there will always be a timeline where you didn't kill the Devourer, and it'll just come back from there.
The 'Dragon of Fire' fight. While the first time you fight him he's fairly small and humanoid, partway through the second fight he will change into an even larger (and cooler) dragon in the style of muscle growth.
Happens again to Dark Serge/Lynx, who transforms into a bizarre-looking giant purple humanoid embedded into the floor.
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...
But, for a certainty, back then, We loved so many, yet hated so much, We hurt others and were hurt ourselves... Yet even then we ran like the wind Whilst our laughter echoed, Under cerulean skies...
Optional Party Member: There's an impressively long list of optional characters, and each has dialogue parts in his/her own dialect and speaking style, even in the game's ending. With New Game+, it is more than possible to have even certain villains as party members. In fact, you need to play the game at least three times to be able to recruit everyone.
Orcus on His Throne: FATE has already succeeded in opening the seal to the Frozen Flame using Serge's body, and she can control the mind of every single inhabitant of El Nido via the Records of Fate. What reason could she possibly have to let Serge and his small army infiltrate Chronopolis, other than brag to them in person about erasing Prometheus? And for an almighty, otherdimensional creature of Gaia's Vengeance that has vowed immediate annihilation upon humanity, the Dragon God seems pretty content just chilling atop Terra Tower, keeping an eye on the Frozen Flame, and waiting for the heroes to arrive.
Mind, that last one mentioned is averted in one of the bleakestMultiple Endingsever if you just leave it to its business instead of taking it out before killing the time devourer.
Or Was It a Dream?: This is the ending if you end the final boss battle correctly. A very confused Serge will wake up next to his girlfriend on the same beach where the plot kicked off, with her telling him that he fell asleep for a few minutes and never left her side.
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: The game has dwarves that pilot tanks, wield worker tools in battle, and are short and stocky like normal. They also live in a swamp and seem to hate the fairies (the closest thing the setting has to elves, enough to capture them to feed their protector Hydra and murder them for living space.
Our Mermaids Are Different: Mermaids (but no known mermen) are considered ordinary, albeit aquatic, demi-humans. They do not transform on land but can still somehow transport themselves as though walking (necessary for the playable character Irenes), and they can have children with humans (in fact, two of the other playable characters are Irenes's nephew and niece.) The children appear perfectly human (although the son is mentioned to be inhumanly beautiful). No explanation for any of this is even attempted.
Out-Gambitted: The Gambit Pileup occurs when two factions compete on manipulating entire civilizations (and one of fiction's greatest Unwitting Pawns) to further their schemes across time and space, little realizing that they themselves are being played by a Chessmaster who nobody had accounted for, despite making little effort to hide himself and even having exposition-heavy chats with the protagonist on several occasions.
Overly Long Fighting Animation: The game has a few of these, especially the summons. However, this game is notable for including a fast forward button in New Game+, which makes fights much more enjoyable when you've seen all the animations anyway.
Overly Pre-Prepared Gag: Solt and Peppor serve as tutorial fights several times. Each time results in Peppor giving instructions on how to best hurt your party, and Solt failing at this in every way possible. This happens five times or so throughout the game. Upon finding the two in Home World, they perform a stage act. Both stand still, and Peppor hits Solt every couple seconds. They do this until you leave the room, and will keep doing it at random as part of the show. Much later in the game, a person in the audience delivers the punchline: "I thought they were a joke at first, but you start liking them after a while!"
Overworld Not to Scale: The game is set entirely on a single archipelago, so its map is limited to the archipelago, but it is freely explorable (and with no Random Encounters!) and there are a variety of destinations.
Pan Up To The Sky Ending: The game has this in its perfect ending—after you free Schala from the Time Devourer and the two worlds are reunited and restored, but before the end credits roll, Serge ends up back on Opassa Beach with Leena right when he passed out at the start of the game, and as he's asking about things he wasn't supposed to remember from his adventures, you get the pan.
Paradox Person: Serge, at least after falling into an alternate timeline where his counterpart died ten years ago. While this naturally disturbs everyone in that timeline's version of his hometown and leads to interesting conversations with a fortune teller ("You're not dead or anything are you? [...] You just might be the key to the destruction of this entire planet"), it also renders Serge vital to the plans of numerous forces hoping to use him to their advantage.
The Password Is Always Swordfish: There's an odd example of a password. At one point, the party (disguised as guards) meet another set of guards in front of a treasure room. They are asked the password, and given some logical-sounding choices. None of them work; the password is entered by just standing there until the guards acknowledge that silence is the password.
Patchwork Map: Perhaps justified by each island belonging to a particular elemental dragon.
Path of Inspiration: The Records of Fate (the Save Points) were set up as a way for the residents of the El Nido archipelago to not only record what they did, but also get any information they need. Naturally, this is all a part of the supercomputer FATE's plan to keep the people of El Nido (and YOU) in that area and never wander into the rest of the world that Chrono Trigger took place in.
Pause Scumming: There is a gambling minigame where you have to stop the roulette spinner at the right spot to win prizes. If you pause when the red tip is between west and south and then immediately stop the spinner, you'll win every time. Makes it trivial to get a lot of Denadorites to craft some of the best equipment.
People Jars: There's a scene where Serge switches bodies with Lynx. This leads to a sequence where Serge-as-Lynx has to clone himself and take over that body. We see that body grow in a jar until, at Serge's exact age, the jar shatters. This scene was popular with the female fans.
Perfect Poison: Lynx has poison-laced throwing daggers. One slice will knock you flat.
Subverted with Another Fargo 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).
The game, which mostly isn't about Time Travel at all, nonetheless features the Dead Sea, a chunk of an alternate future stuck in temporal stasis, allowing you to walk around on a tsunami. The (B)end of Time itself returns as a secret area to house the Bonus Boss.
The Darkness Beyond Time, meanwhile, is where paradoxical timelines are discarded, also, the Dream/Time Devourer, a merger of Lavos and Schala, waits here to consume all time and space.
Player Character Calculus: There's a three-character party but a mind-boggling 40-something recruitable characters. It takes multiple playthroughs to unlock them all, some requiring mutually exclusive paths.
Playing Card Motifs: Sneff throws playing cards at his opponents, and two of his moves revolve around playing cards: Big Deal, in which he tosses an entire deck, and HP Shuffle, in which he shuffles the three numbers that make up his HP (091 might become 910, 901, 190, 109, 091 and 019).
The save points play an almost identical role to those in Xenogears. That is, mind control.
The titular Chrono Cross is an element usable in battle to recharge other party members' elements for a second use.
Poirot Speak: The game does this constantly, and most conspicuously with Pierre and Harle, the two characters with Gratuitous French accents. They even use the word moi for both 'I' and 'me'. This is because the text was actually in standard English, run through an "accent generator" that replaced particular words or word beginnings/endings with others. This allowed the localization team to just translate one line and alter it, rather than translating 44 of them.
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.
Poor, Predictable Rock: Appears when you think too hard about it. All of the guards in Viper Manor except two of the top three are Yellow-innate. This is because they're (almost) all members of a small pool of "monsters" and "monsters" of the same type always have the same innate. However, they're all human, and humans throughout the game have all sorts of different innates, so it really makes you question Viper's hiring policy. Even certain plot characters among his guard force (Solt, Peppor, Ketchop, and Zoah) are Yellow-innate for some reason. Viper himself is Yellow-innate! It's just begging for a task force trying to break in (say, Serge and Kid) to load up on Green elements and storm on in. Only Karsh and Marcy seem to get away from this trope at all.
Post Final Boss: The fight against the Lunar Dragon (somewhat inexplicably renamed the Time Devourer in the English localization) is an epic Final Boss fight, spanning several locales and stages, and packing a lot of hard-hitting attacks and Elements. Afterwards there's the fight against the real Time Devourer (the Lavos one), who doesn't hit nearly as hard, and who is defeated by playing a song.
Postmodernism: Throughout the game the distinction between Serge and the player is repeatedly blurred, until in the good ending it is demolished entirely.
Power Floats: Masked magician Guile hovers serenely while the rest of the party is jogging.
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.
Preexisting Encounters: The game often gave the player the option to avoid fights if they wished. Sometimes, though, monsters jump out from out of nowhere and ambush the party in pre-determined locations, and other times they are visible but unavoidable.
Public Domain Artifact: The Masamune returns, having been corrupted at some point between the games since it was created with a piece of Lavos. After going on a quest, Masa and Mune's sister Doreen merges with them to transform the Masamune into the Mastermune, Serge's ultimate weapon.
Punny Name: Some of the monsters suffer from this. (A red-elemental canine monster named HotDoggity, anyone?)
Puzzle Boss: The final boss could be defeated by force; however, this results in a bad ending. Only by using spells of the six different elements in a specific order, then using a seventh, special element, could the boss be truly defeated. This proves to be quite difficult, because the boss's spells mess with the order, so you have to either hope that the boss uses elements that complement the sequence, or have characters fast enough to complete the sequence without being interrupted.
The game also features the Bonus Boss Criosphinx. To defeat him, you have to respond to his riddles with an Element of the proper color. The order of the colors to answer his riddles is the same order that is needed to activate the Chrono Cross to defeat the last boss. Of course, the game never directly tells you this, so it is still a massive Guide Dang It. You can defeat him with brute force, but it's not easy.
But it should be noted that simply casting the right spells isn't enough. You have to cause enough damage to kill him while playing his game. Otherwise, he runs at the end of the puzzle. If you cast the wrong spell, however, he will proceed to nuke you with high level earth spells until you are dead, which will happen VERY fast if you don't have the earth absorbing armor on.
The Queen's Latin: The game translates different Japanese dialects into differently accented versions of English. One major character, Kid, speaks with an Australian accent. And it's all done through text - the game has no voice acting.
Ragnarok-Proofing: While Chronopolis is at least ten thousand years old, it can be argued that its AI caretaker took precautions to keep it in working order. The same cannot be said for Terra Tower, which was sealed under the sea for that same amount of time and whose defense mechanisms (of a more organic, rather than electronic, form of technology) were up to the task when freed.
Razor Floss: Marcy utilizes string-based attacks as her techs, for cutting, sending energy bursts through them and even shifting earth.
Really 700 Years Old: Sprigg looks like an elderly woman, but considering she's 224, she looks rather good.
Real World Episode: Used in rather bizarre fashion in the good ending: after discussing the fact that the Chronoverse consists of infinite parallel realities, Schala (or some alternate-dimension variant of her) is seen wandering the streets of a real-world city in her search for the amnesiac Serge - the implication being that our world is one more of the infinite potential realities, and that the player himself might be an alternate-world version of Serge.
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.
Recurring Riff: The thematic Chrono Trigger theme is reused several times, as well as Lucca's victory fanfare theme. In addition, CC's theme for bustling Termina is reminiscent of Guardia's Millenial Fair in CT, and the first ending theme contains parts of "Schala's Theme", which makes perfect sense. In addition, since CC started life as the game Radical Dreamers, many themes from the original Satelliview game are remixed for CC, including the main theme, the battle theme, "Frozen Flame", and "Star-Stealing Girl".
Redemption Demotion: The game has several examples, due to the incredibly huge number of characters you can recruit. Probably the biggest example is Grobyc. As a boss, he has thousands of hit points and attacks that can annihilate your entire party repeatedly. Afterwards, he has the usual 400 or so HP and can no longer use the oh-so-broken Vigora.
Regional Bonus: The NA version contained additional dialogue to clarify background information and cover plot holes present in the Japanese version, as well as the addition of a trio of optional bosses from Chrono Trigger who can be fought in New Game+.
Required Party Member: The game has this with Serge (and later, Lynx, after Serge's body is swapped with Lynx's). He must be in the party for the entire game, and there's no way to remove him. Playing on a New Game+, though, will earn you an item that allows you to switch Serge out for someone else in battle.
Ret Gone: The ultimate ending of the game involves using the power of the Chrono Cross on the Time Devourer — the paradox-created remnant of Lavos, fused with Schala — in the Darkness Beyond Time. This forcibly ends the paradox in favor of Lavos having always been defeated once and for all by Crono and his friends in 1999, while freeing Schala at the same time. This basically makes it so that the Big Badnever actually existed, and everything that happened due to his influence is likewise undone as if it never happened.
Rewarding Inactivity: There's a segment, while infiltrating an enemy base, where someone asks you for a password and a list of choices pops up. The correct answer is silence — leave it alone for a few seconds and they'll let you in.
Ribcage Ridge: Fossil Valley, one of the earliest places the player visits, has a gigantic dragon skeleton as part of the background. No live ones are ever encountered because the specific species of dragon is long extinct (barring one egg that the player can hatch).
Riddling Sphinx: There's a Sphinx optional boss that you can beat through straight combat, or by correctly answering its riddles by hitting it with the proper color elements. The order of the answers to the riddles is the same as the order you need to use elements in the final battle to get the True Ending... not that there's any indication of this.
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."
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.
Save Point: The Save Points are actually part of the storyline.
Scenery Censor: The game gives you a good shot of Serge's naked body, including his butt, but with his arm covering his penis.
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.
Scratch Damage: The game lets you hear the odd strike sound when a weak enemy hits your Rainbow Armoured characters for that wonderful 0 damage. It still counts as a hit for disrupting your attacks and so on, but no damage is inflicted.
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.
Seeker Archetype: Guile is always in search of enigmas. Even in his ending speech, he says that he will be searching for a new enigma.
Sequential Boss: The game features the Dragon God/Fused Dragons who has seven different forms (though they all look the same): one form for each Elemental Color in the game, except White, which gets two forms.
"At the manor, I have learned that the world is full of enigma not yet beheld. Mysteries without tricks. Something beyond human perception... That is what I seek... I will continue to accompany you on your journey, in hopes that I will come in contact with such undiscovered enigmas..."
Sexy Jester: Harle wears a mostly skintight outfit, and "pants" that cover her legs, but are completely transparent.
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.
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).
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.
Silk Hiding Steel: Lady Riddel. A sweet and elegant girl, daughter of General Viper, who is hands-down one of the strongest magic users in the game.
Skippable Boss: It is possible to get the Black Dragon's relic without fighting him: just bring along a party of non-humans. Unfortunately, doing so means he'll never leave the area, and the player will never obtain a rare item required to forge Prism equipment (the best in the game).
Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: One character's ultimate attack is the destruction of the entire universe. It does do a lot of damage, though, even compared to a giant Venus Fly Trap or a tidal wave.
Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: The game is an absolutely free universe that's presented as a deterministic one thanks to an absurdly powerful supercomputer from the future.
Actual Poshul quote: Me will use my Pwetty-Miwacle-Power-X! Me will do it, Sergeipoo!
Smurfing: The cats on Fargo's ship, once you are transformed into a cat and can understand Cat, speak Japanese or English (depending on your translation), except they end almost every sentence and veil swears with "Meow."
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.
Songs in the Key of Lock: Each element has a unique tone when cast in battle. Playing the Song of Life with these tones when fighting the Final Boss will instantly win the battle and free Schala from Lavos. This unlocks a better ending than the player would get by killing the boss.
Being able to pull it off successfully is hard because the boss can interrupt (or help) the melody with his own magic.
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 the remnants of Lavos, paradoxically both killed-and-not-killed by Crono and friends in 1999, and powered up by keeping Schala sealed inside itself.
Species Loyalty: Pervades the universe, with humans, mystics, demihumans, dwarves, and fairies each only looking out for their own.
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 recommended to check them out.
Spotting the Thread: A spoileriffic example: Kid doesn't realize that Serge and Lynx have swapped bodies until the suddenly talkative Serge mentions the name "Lucca", which up to this point hadn't been said by anybody. She can't really do anything about it, as before she realizes what really happened she gets stabbed for her troubles. Also, seeing Sergestart to talk is usually a Spotting The Thread moment for the player.
Sprint Shoes: The game has an interesting variation in the Time Shifter, which you receive automatically at the beginning of a New Game+. If you hold down R2, it literally fast-forwards everything- you, your enemies, dialogue, the environment, etc., both during and outside of battle (with the exception of pre-rendered cutscenes and, thankfully, the background music). It can also slow everything down in a similar manner, which is the easiest method of completing the feeding mini-game's hardest difficulty.
Cursed: A cursed character takes stamina damage along with regular damage.
Silenced: There's element-specific silencing; the Anti- elements will prevent one character from using that color element until battle ends or the status is removed, and there's one type of element that can seal all elements.
Meta-effect: The Flu status will mess up your controls while on the field.
Other: Fatigue, which had a massive impact on stamina; regeneration is slowed and attacks take more stamina. Thankfully, it's very rarely seen; it's probably the most dangerous status ailment if you don't have a Purify or WhiteOut element allocated.
Star-Crossed Lovers: Serge and Kid, though the ending leaves it ambiguous whether, in some time period or reality, they will eventually be together.
Stepping Out for a Quick Cup of Coffee: Nikki's personal storyline involves his desire to learn a song that will make the monsters haunting Marbule tangible, so that they can be destroyed. The only person who knows this song is Marbule's Sage, who is now a janitor on a cruise ship. The Sage initially refuses to teach it to Nikki, but (after Nikki proves he honestly wants to help) declares he has to sweep the upper decks... "while I hum myself a tune".
Stop Poking Me: There's a secret item early in the game: if you keep trying to open the chest in Karsh's room while he's present, he tells you to leave it alone and counts how many times you attempt it until he finally gives up after 20 attempts, allowing you to have the Dragoon Gauntlet inside instead of having to wait later in the game.
Story Branch Favoritism: The game's story branches at two points — you can pick one of three options for a guide to Viper Manor, and you can declare that of course you'll save Kid from Lynx's poison or else confess that you don't know how.
In the first case, Nikki's route through the Shadow Forest is the longest and most developed, including an entire dungeon (including boss battle with Zoah, who you won't meet until later otherwise). Guile's route has a brief climb up Viper Manor's seaside cliffs, while Pierre's route consists entirely of a boss battle and nothing else.
The second case is more complicated. Announcing that you'll handle the problem leads to a dungeon that you don't get to play otherwise, but saying you're not sure allows you to recruit a highly plot-relevant character.
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 decide to save Kid after she's poisoned by Lynx, no matter what or admit that saving her seems impossible. Again, the choice you make will determine the characters at your disposal.
Stranger in a Familiar Land: An odd example. The hero gets sucked into an alternate dimension where he died as a child and everything's different...except that the next 20 hours of the game are in Another World and it takes that long to gain the ability to return to Home World. The player never really gets the opportunity to explore Home until then. Serge is a Heroic Mime, so we don't know his thoughts on this, but meta-wise this trope is in force for the player.
Suddenly Voiced: Happens to Serge. Justified in that when it happened Lynx had traded bodies with Serge, and it's actually Lynx talking, not Serge. Even so, Serge's party members don't seem to catch on that he's suddenly very talkative...
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.
Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: In Chrono Trigger, the Masamune is holy sword that Only The Chosen May Weild (with its true power unlocked, at least). In Chrono Cross, Masamune has become an Evil Weapon whose evilness is so powerful that its mere presence acts as a barrier, its evil aura preventing the heroes from approaching it. This change is said to have been caused by it being stolen and used in a variety of atrocities over the years. At first you need the Einlanzer to counter it, and eventually you get an opportunity to beat the evil out of it.
Summon Magic: The Summon Elements are useful not only for sheer damage, but because killing enemies with them makes them drop Shiny materials, needed for Item Crafting the game's strongest weapons. Sadly, they're loaded with drawbacks: you need to have the entire field in their color (which means if you're interrupted after casting All(X Color), you have to start over) and you can only cast so many at a time.
Superdickery: The game starts with a dream sequence in which we see the protagonist, Serge, killing one of his friends. Later in the game, we get to actually see the scene come true, but it turns out that one of the villains had managed to switch bodies with Serge. The victim doesnt die either, she just gets wounded. Badly.
Super-Strong Child: Leah is one of the youngest characters but also the physically strongest. She wields an axe and throws big rocks single handly.
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.
Tailfin Walking: Averted - mermaids don't walk while on land, they hover. (You can see some "magic sparkles" around Irenes's tail when she's moving.)
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.
Talking Is a Free Action: The enemies are refusing to attack since they're the ones giving the rules and game information; apparently the heroes just stand there and listen.
A Taste of Power: The game begins with a dream sequence with Serge, Kid and one randomly selected character, at a somewhat elevated level and powers. This opening dungeon has everyone armed with Mythril/Silver weapons and a few hundred HP. Once it's over, you're back to bone weapons and a few dozen HP, as well as much fewer element levels.
Temporal Paradox: The game is a particularly confused case, involving as it does four, maybe five different factions manipulating an Unwitting Pawn across two dimensions. The Chronopolis research facility attempted a time experiment that ended in a Time Crash, hurling it back in time about fourteen thousand years and forcing it to carefully manage history to avoid any paradox that would prevent its future existence. But then someone meddled in a pivotal event and split the timeline in two, so that in one dimension Chronopolis still exists, while in the other a time-frozen slice of Chrono Trigger's Bad Future has come to fill the void. Also, this may unleash a force that could destroy all of existence.
Ten Thousand Years: You learn at Chronopolis that the El Nido triangle was created out of open sea by researchers 10,000 years ago.
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.
Think Nothing of It: When Kid thanks Korcha for his help and gets an "It was nothing" response, she replies "Hmph. Thanks for nothing then."
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.
Tragic Monster: Lynx. Originally the hero's father, Wazuki, he came in contact with FATE at the same time his son was healed by and genetically bonded with the Frozen Flame. This, combined with how close he came to seeing his son die while he was helpless to prevent it, broke down his willpower enough to allow FATE access to his heart and mind, until she was able to eventually corrupt him completely, turning him into her human incarnation and reshaping him to look like a demi-human via the DNA of the very panther demon that had tried to kill Serge. By the time of the game's events, absolutely no trace of his former self or personality is left—not only is he a complete and irredeemable villain, he initiates a Grand Theft Me to possess his own son's body. And in a twisted irony, the man who had been so determined to save his son's life he was willing to risk the creepy robot-manned city from the future ended up being the one who drowned him in Another World. You have to kill him, of course as FATE, never knowing who he was until an eleventh-hour Reveal after the fact.
Uncommon Time: The soundtrack frequently experiments in polyrhythm and unusual meter - "Viper Manor" is in 5/8 and 7/8 time, for instance. The most cited example is the game's love-it-or-hate-it main battle theme, "Gale" - a polyrhythm of 9/8, 3/4, 4/4, and 5/4 times.
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.
Ungrateful Bastard: The fairies. After saving them all from certain death by rampaging dwarves, they yell at you for happening to be humans. The dwarves blamed the humans for killing their marsh, but instead of going after them, they went after their fellow demi-humans the fairies. Yet Serge's party is the one who takes the blame, even for killing the dwarves who were attacking!
Unicorn: The game features a rare Unicorn summon that increases the party's Magic Defense.
Universal Poison: Poison takes off 1 HP for every stamina point an ally or enemy uses. Similarly to Robo in Chrono Trigger, Mojo (a voodoo doll), Grobyc (a cyborg), Skelly (a skeleton), and several plant people can be poisoned as easily as everyone else.
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.
Useless Useful Spell: The game features 'sealing' elements, which shut off elements of a specific color. This will seem ridiculously useful, until you realize that these are only worth using against bosses, which are usually completely immune to sealing. Even more so for SealAll, which shuts off all elements on the battlefield; however, using it in a boss fight tends to result in it missing the boss but leaving your party sealed. There's a boss battle that exploits it's immunity with SealAll and can get you offguard if you're not using an accessory that gives you immunity to an specific element color seal.
Vancian Magic: The Element Grid. Each character has a set number of rows and columns in which "elements" can be set. Each element can only be used once per battle (except for "consumable" elements, which act like items do in other RPGs). And even consumable elements have a limit of five uses per slot.
Vanity Is Feminine: Pierre is first met admiring himself in the mirror, and joins your party stating they will be the thorns decorating his lovely rose. He turns out to be Miles Gloriosus; a phony and all but useless in combat. However, if you get him a complete set of 'Hero' equipment, he becomes Agent Peacock. This only works for him.
Verbal Tic: A large number of characters, thanks to the game's accent-filter dialogue.
The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Terra Tower. Another floating edifice, constructed by the now extinct Dragonians, risen by the power of the Dragon God, and inhabited by the embodiment of the forces of nature as well of the already mentioned Dragon God.
Victory Guided Amnesia: With the Dream Devourer defeated, the dimensions merge back together and time is rebooted to the opening sequence of the game. Serge is shown to remember the events of the game, but it's ambiguous if anyone else does.
Video Games And Fate: Serge spends most of the game being manipulated by others, including via the Save Points themselves (the Now, Where Was I Going Again? message is supposedly generated by them), suggesting that everything is predestined and free will is an illusion. Then you break into the dungeon where Fate (the "goddess of destiny") lives and stab her to death. Seriously, it's a Boss Battle and everything. It's hard to get more Screw Destiny than that.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Port Town: Termina, though technically you can't board a ship there. For a more accurate example see Guldove, where Korcha/Macha bequeaths their canoe.
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 (confusingly) 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 and Divine Dragon Falls are both unmarked on the overworld; you wouldn't know to enter unless you keep mashing X.
Shifting Sand Land: Earth Dragon Isle. A fairly blasé attraction; there is no dungeon, town or Dragon to fight here, only the Criosphynx once you've returned to Home World.
Ship Level: The Ghost Ship, later followed by the S.S. Zelbess casino liner.
Under the Sea: El Nido Triangle is a sunken, colorful coral reef which holds a crashed flying saucer.
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.
Video Game Stealing: Three characters (Kid, Fargo, and Mel) are capable of stealing items. To avoid abuse from the "can always run from enemy" system, running will cause you to drop the item. A bit annoyingly, you can only use steal once per battle (like all other techs), even if you can simply run from battle to reset your chances if you miss.
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 (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.
Violence Is the Only Option: Averted twice. In two battles (one the final boss, the other a bonus mission), it is possible to defeat the enemy by main force but more rewarding if a non-violent method is used.
Visual Kei: One of the characters you can pick up in your Loads and Loads of Characters journey (and one that is arguably fairly plot-important) is Nikki, a Visual Kei bandleader and guitarist who is equal parts shoutout to hide (he's a redhead with eye makeup very much like hide's, and plays a yellow heart guitar) and Nikki Sixx from Mötley Crüe. In the Japanese version he was named Slash instead of Nikki, which made him a shoutout to the Guns N' Roses guitarist and to hide.
Waiting Puzzle: At one point, while you are infiltrating Viper Manor, a guard asks for a password and a dialog box pops up with a few plausible-sounding choices. The correct, choice, however, is to not pick any of the options and just wait a few seconds instead, as the correct password is silence.
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 something of an 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.
Welcome to Corneria: One of the Devas will chastise you for searching his personal treasure while he's in the same room. After the fourth time, he will reply "That's the Xth time you've looked at my treasure." After your 21st attempt, he'll finally give up and let you have it if it means you'll leave him alone.
The pot and barrel in the Arni restaurant insist they are a pot and barrel upon inspection. Only after the third inspection will they unwillingly hand over their contents.
Also, on the S.S. Invincible during the Ghost Ship attack, one of the pirates tells you something, then, if you talk to him again, says "You wanna hear it again?" before repeating himself. He adds this line every time after the first, making it a lampshade hungstraight.
Wetware Body: Lynx turns out to be the host of the FATE computer system which has been manipulating the islands for thousands of years.
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.
What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: As if it wasn't bad enough to choose to base her design and programming off of the maniacal, human-destroying Mother Brain from the Bad Future, for some reason Balthasar and Lucca chose to name the supercomputer in charge of protecting the future and preventing the Day of Lavos from ever happening...FATE. Once thrown into the past by the Time Crash, she initially continues to follow her programming, ensuring the people of El Nido (descendants of Chronopolis' workers) did not interfere with the Zenan mainland and thus change the future...but then through the Records she sets herself up as a goddess, manipulates and experiments upon the people so as to understand life (and eventually become a new sentient lifeform), and once cut off from the Frozen Flame decides as a goddess she is justified in doing anything to regain its power and carry out her mission.
Where It All Began: After completing The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the portal to the final boss opens up on Opassa Beach, which is just off the silent protagonist's hometown, and where he attempted to meet his girlfriend at the very beginning of the game.
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.
White Hair, Black Heart: Karsh looks like one of these at first glance, being the first humanoid boss you fight (not counting Solt and Peppor, who fight alongside him), along with having the standard silver hair. However, he's not evil, just efficient at his job (and ashamed of having to kill his Brainwashed and Crazy best friend), and later, he joins the party.
A Winner Is You: The normal ending: the Time Devourer breaks apart and vanishes into a portal, then you get a black screen with the word 'Fin' in the corner. Getting the good ending is a big Guide Dang It.
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!
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.
Wrestler in All of Us: The game had a boss whose moves were all given professional wrestling names. With no attention to what the moves actually were. His move "powerbomb", for example, is more of a frog splash that hits the entire party.
It also has Greco, an ex-pro wrestler priest based off of the real life Fray Tormenta.
X Marks the Hero: Glenn. Due to Sprite Mirroring, it's hard to say whether he has these on both cheeks or just one. And this is only the kid brother of the really heroic knight.
Yin-Yang Bomb: This is a feature of an optional character, Pip/Tumalu. You can evolve him as light/light, dark/dark, or light/dark (or dark/light, works the same way). The third is often considered the best standalone. Also, to get the Good Ending, you have to pull this trope off with all three Element colour conflicts (white/black, red/blue, yellow/green; these represent light and space/gravity and hell, fire and lava/water and ice, and earth and lightning/nature and wind.
You Bastard: The game throws this at you after you kill the Hydra - not only is it revealed that it was the last of its kind, but it was pregnant.
Your Favorite: Inverted in one optional ending: the player can ask Harle for "your specialty" when she asks what he wants for dinner.
You Will Not Evade Me: What happens if you run away from boss fights. At least it gives your party members time to heal.
Yowies and Bunyips and Drop Bears, Oh My: The game featured a boss fight with a Bunyip. It started the fight as a fire-elemental, vaguely salamander-like thing. Then it opened its mouth... and kept opening its mouth... and a giant cyclopean shadow monster grew out of its body.