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Video Game / Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles 1

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"Come, let us record your adventures in this journal. It shall be known as the Crystal Chronicles."

The first game in the Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles series, this was also the first installment of the boil-lancingly popular Final Fantasy franchise made for a Nintendo system since the SNES. It was released on the Nintendo GameCube as an action RPG, but also famously required GameBoy Advances for multiplayer. The game sold well, but the requirement is considered a big reason it didn't sell better.

The basic plot is as follows: Hundreds of years ago, the whole world became covered in a toxic miasma. If you breathe too much of it, you die. So how do the people survive? Turns out that special crystals have the power to repel the miasma. However, their power isn't endless: they must be replenished with myrrh about once a year. In order to survive, each town sends out their own "crystal caravan", to collect myrrh from myrrh trees (all inconveniently placed at the end of a dungeon) and then return home. Lather, rinse, and repeat indefinitely.


The player is from a small village, called Tipa by default, but it can be renamed whatever they want. Characters can be any of four tribes/races:

  • Selkie: Appearing as humans with oddly colored hair, they are thieves from the isle of Leuda. They use racquets as weapons, and are the fastest of the four.
  • Lilty: A short race with reddish skin and leafy hair, they are proud warriors from the city of Alfitaria. They wield spears, and are the strongest race.
  • Clavat: The most human looking tribe, they are generally peaceful, and hail from the Fields of Fum. They use a sword/shield combo in combat, and have the highest defense stat.
  • Yuke: A mysterious race from Shella who never remove their helmets, so no one knows what their faces look like, or if they have faces at all. They fight with hammers, but are primarily spell casters.

The story is told in a non-linear fashion, with information given to the player as their caravan runs into others on the road, or talks to people in town. Much of the exposition is given by the Narrator, voiced by Donna Burke, who tells the story of each location the first time the players enter it.

A remaster was released for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and the Android and iOS mobile platforms, featuring global online multiplayer with cross-play and cross-progression, additional voice acting, and new content including outfits, dungeons and bosses.

This Game Provides Examples Of:

  • Action RPG: The game is more hack and slash rather than the turn based Final Fantasy games of the time.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: De Nam thinks he can do this with Miasma by drinking the Miasma thick swamp water. It doesn't work.
  • After the End: The Miasma covers the world, and poisons anyone who breathes it. Fortunately, it's been so long since the end that society has more or less adjusted to it, as the towns protected by the crystals seem like perfectly nice places to live, and caravans traveling along roads with smaller crystals are common sights.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: In true Final Fantasy tradition, the final boss fights (as well as the entire Nest of Memories leading up to them) consist of these.
  • Antlion Monster: A giant antlion boss in the desert level, which is even named "Antlion". When you encounter it it surprises you by surfacing from under the sand and attacking. Half it's body remains underground, while it moves through the sand and attacks you.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can have 8 people in your caravan, but only 4 people can go into the dungeon areas at a time. This is justified by the gameplay mechanics, of all things; can you imagine trying to fit 8 people into the crystal chalice's tiny purification radius? Also hand-waved in universe, the caravan wagons are said to contain a small crystal to protect anyone staying behind. This is also subverted in the remaster: while you can still create 8 characters who are implied to be riding in the caravan, thanks to the changes in the multiplayer aspect of the re-release, only your active character will be acknowledged by the game.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Presumably to make the journey less lonely for single players, the game assigns the Moogle, Mog, to you as a companion for dungeons. Though his help in this regard is questionable. As the chalice carrier, Mog is designed to periodically get tired and slacken his pace, more frequently in regions that are hot (such as deserts). You can either resign to his nagging for a break and carry the chalice yourself for a couple minutes (which slows you down as well as prevents you from performing actions), or ignore him and be forced to stop every few paces to avoid walking outside of the chalices bounds and taking damage from miasma. Perhaps more frustrating are his attempts at participation in battle, should both of you be hands free. While you're doing any charged action, Mog may attempt to create spell fusions with you, however, his spells and when he choses to caste them are entirely randomly chosen and may often hamstring you if you're casting basic spells which have a wide pool of fusions. For example, if you try and cast the basic fire spell on an enemy, he may cast a random and opposing element on top of your own, often turning it into the very situational debuff spell, gravity. To be fair, this may occasionally invoke rare instances of illusory Artificial Brilliance. IF you've put together a middle tier offensive spell and IF Mog decides to caste when you are and IF that spell is of a like element, their combination may allow you the rare chance at casting top tier, room clearing spells that wouldn't normally be accessible to you then or ever for that low a charge time.
  • Auto-Revive: Having a Phoenix Down in your command slot will revive you upon dying, which is the only way to save yourself, especially in single player mode where there aren't any other players around to revive you.
  • Back That Light Up: Playing the original title with the original GBAs means it's not always easy to see what is going on in your info screen.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Some of the Selkie designs (male and female) do this. Also the female Submarine Yuke in the Remastered Edition, which reveals there's nothing to see.
  • Black Knight: Uses the trope name as an alias, to boot.
  • Bleak Level:
    • Tida, a village once not unlike the one your caravan comes from, until the year their own caravan failed to return with the myrrh necessary to keep the miasma at bay, resulting in the destruction of the town and the death of its residents. While a myrrh tree grows there now, the ruins of the place are infested with undead and assorted other monsters. The level serves as a grim reminder of what is at stake if you fail in your myrrh collecting mission.
    • Mag Mell toys with this a bit. It's just a straightforward town rather than a Dungeon Town, but it's one of the last locations you encounter in the game, and is blanketed in fog, accompanied by creepy music box-style music, and is seemingly uninhabited unless you visit more than once to find that it's actually inhabited by hibernating carbuncles.
    • Conall Curach, especially if you're playing as a Selkie. Long ago, before the Selkies settled on Lynari Isle, a group tried to cross the massive swamp to build a home for themselves away from persecution they faced from other races, and they left behind a series of signs for the next group to follow that start out hopeful, but gradually start to become broken and desperate as their journey wears on with no end in sight.
  • Charged Attack: The Focus Attacks, which are tied to the specific weapon being used. Some weapons will shoot blasts of energy, others make you leap to the target and perform a powerful attack. In lieu of an MP system, magic is also cast in the same way.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: One recurring Yuke NPC is the aptly named Amidatty the Strange. You think he's a little off-tilt, but he may be more intelligent than he seems - one of your early encounters sees him having just been swindled into buying a stale loaf of bread at a crazy price, but he insists it's a model of the world, citing the mold that grows on it as representative of miasma. A later event shows he knows its just a loaf of bread, meaning he's more of the "lateral thinking" type than the "detached from reality" variety.
  • Combination Attack: Basic magic spells can be stacked on top of one another for added effect (two Fire spells make a Fira {or Firaga with proper timing} attack, and spells of different elements can be combined to create a Gravity spell). The basic elements can also be combined with a Charged Attack for an elemental strike.
  • Cozy Catastrophe: In spite of the world being covered in poisonous miasma, the places you visit are still full of beautiful Scenery Porn, and outside of a few areas, look perfectly fine aside from all the monster infestations.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Though populated by cutesy characters and ultimately an optimistic tale, the underlying setting is incredibly dark. The entire world is covered with poisonous mist, dangerous monsters threaten every settlement, the intelligent species can only survive in the fields generated by massive crystals, the crystals themselves must be recharged every year, and the only source of this recharge energy is in deadly, monster-infested caverns guarded by powerful, ancient foes. Villages and towns send their best and brightest out into these caverns, hoping they'll come back alive, because if they don't, the entire town will likely die when the crystal gives out. Several subplots handle inherently tragic themes, including one where a father is unknowingly killed by his own child. Were it not for the pervasive theme of hope and overcoming obstacles, the game itself would be unbearably depressing in terms of the world's future.
  • Dying as Yourself: The Black Knight
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Final Battle will have the player's memories manifest into a physical form and casting Cure on them turns the memories into special magicite. When the special magicite is used, the player will either cast Blizzaga, Thundaga, Firaga, Curaga, or Invincibility with zero casting time, allowing them to attack Raem hard and fast.
  • Emergency Weapon: If a co-op player's Game Boy Advance dies in the middle of a stage, the option is available for them to continue with a Game Cube Controller so at the very least they can still finish the stage.
  • Enemy Scan: One of the "radar" options in the Gamecube version's multiplayer, where one player will have the ability to see an enemy's HP on their GBA screen as well as any weaknesses and resistances.
  • Evil Counterpart: Raem to Lady Mio. Mio only eats the occasional memory, causing minor forgetfulness, while Raem greedily devours a person's entire memories and uses them to create monsters in order to create more of the painful memories that he prefers to eat.
  • Fantastic Racism: It's said a couple times that Selkies used to be the designated Chew Toy race. In one cutscene, it's implied that they still are.
    Striped Brigand leader: The Lilties have their heritage. The Yukes have their tradition. The Clavats have their unity. And what do Selkies have? Nothing.
    • When you visit the single-race towns as the race that lives there, there are perks. You don't have to pay a Shella Mark to enter Shella, your pocket won't get picked in Leuda, etc.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The four races by default. Lilties are the fighters, having the highest physical stats by default and eventually the game's most powerful weapon. Yukes are the mages, being an entire race of Squishy Wizards. Selkies are are the thieves, with the highest movement speed and a focus on special attacks, not to mention the NPCs in their capital pickpocketing non-Selkie visitors. Clavats do a little bit of everything, though they can't reach the same level of power as the other three.
  • Four-Element Ensemble: The four races are thematically based on the four classical elements. The clavats' down-to-earth nature, earth-toned hair and eye colors, and their reputation for farming represent Earth. Lilties, with their reputation as hotheads, propensity for blacksmithing, and their hairstyles that variously resemble flames, represent Fire. Yukes, with their wings and their reputation for being spacy, represent Air. Selkies, with their hair and eyes coming in various shades of blue and teal, having their only independent settlement being on an island, and being named after a type of mythological water being, represent Water.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The four races. Selkies are Sanguine, Lilties are Choleric, Yukes are Melancholic, and Clavats are Phlegmatic.
  • Forgot the Call: Hurdy/Gurdy. He went on a quest with Leon Esla (the Black Knight) to defeat Raem and save the world, but lost his memories to Raem and became a traveling poet/con artist.
  • Fur Bikini: The lady Selkies. Also Fiona when in disguise.
  • Fusion Dance: When Raem is initially defeated, he fuses with a weakened Mio to achieve his One-Winged Angel form.
  • Gainaxing: Every single non-child female Selkie. Most noticeable in the end of year festival where the camera will pan by a dancing Selkie, at just the right angle to show off how bouncy she is. Clavats can get in on this in a roundabout fashion in the Remastered Edition with the Mira DLC character skin, which lets female Clavats mimic the half-Selkie, half-Clavat princess, who has her own gainaxing.
  • Ghost Town: Tida, Rebena Te Ra. The former is the dilapidated ruins of a town whose crystal caravan had failed in their mission, while the latter is made up of ruins of an attempt at a prosperous city where all the races were meant to live in harmony. Both areas feature plenty of undead and ghostly enemies to deal with.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Final Boss comes very close. There's a few vague hints as to their existence (mostly revolving around Gurdy/Hurdy and the Black Knight,) but both Raem and Mio don't make an appearance until the very end of the game. The pre-final boss, the Meteor Parasite, even looks like a giant flea which also came from outer space and isn't hinted at in the game at all. Justified as Raem has been making sure that no one finds the parasite so that it may continue to create miasma.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Along with naming your own character, you can also name your hometown.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Holy and Holyra spells, which also weakens undead monsters so that they're open to other forms of attack.
  • Horror Hunger: Raem.
  • Identity Amnesia: Happened to Gurdy and the Black Knight. They were originally Hurdy and Leon Esla's father, two heroes trying to remove miasma from the world. Hurdy's mind filled in the blanks and gave him the alternate personality of Gurdy, and Leon Sr. essentially went Axe-Crazy.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Selkies use lutes and racquets. See Final Fantasy IX for the inspiration.
  • Infinity +1 Element: Getting the Unknown element on your chalice. Slightly downplayed in that the element doesn't provide your party with any protection against status effects like the other elements do, but it allows you to go through any elemental gate you choose, allowing you to do whatever dungeons you feel like in any given cycle, while with the other elements you are restricted by which gates you can pass. Plus, by the time you get it, you likely have artifacts or equipment that reduce the chances of status effects anyway.
  • Institutional Apparel: The Striped Brigands wear purple and lilac striped clothes that make them look similar to escaped convicts from old-timey cartoons. Artemicion doesn't wear anything since he's a Moogle, but the stripes on his fur resemble prison stripes.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: One of the possible spells you can get in the Final Battle will make you immune to all damage for a short time.
  • Law of Cartographical Elegance: Justified. The world used to be filled with proper kingdoms and such, but the arrival of miasma destroyed most of them. Now only towns that have crystal shards can survive. There's also a limit to how much myrrh can be harvested every year, which doesn't guarantee each town's safety, and the journey to gather it is dangerous, so there's also a high risk of a town's caravan being wiped out.
  • Lost World: The region beyond the unknown-element miasma stream, containing the mystical Carbuncle city of Mag Mell and the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, Mount Vellenge.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Leon Esla, who thought his father was killed by the Black Knight, is actually the son of the Black Knight. Leon never realizes this, but his mother does, and the amnesiac Knight remembers just as Leon kills him. Downer much?
  • Marathon Level: At least three of the game's dungeons fall into this for different reasons, but almost all of them can take up to an hour to complete when first ran (though subsequent runs will knock that time down to around 40 or even 30 minutes as players learn where to go).
    • Conall Curach is a very long trek across narrow bridges, rafts, and bits of land, forming a maze of sorts where it can be difficult to tell where you've been and where to go next. And the further you progress, the tougher the enemies become, including nuisances like Stone Sahagin and Dark Flans that require casting combination spells (Gravity and Holy respectively) in order to put down faster. Though once you can figure out where to go, it's becomes easier to traverse, making only the hardy enemies your main obstacles.
    • Rebena Te Ra is a massive, ruined temple city. While the entire map isn't as large as Conall, most of your time is taken up by needing to stop and cast lots and lots of spells, both to deal with the numerous ghosts that inhabit the place, but also to solve the many puzzles that game throws at you here, at least one of which may require Trial-and-Error Gameplay if you're trying to get all the artifacts and other treasures before finishing the dungeon. In particular, playing the stage in multiplayer makes it slightly longer, as the bats in the western section of the first map are replaced with ghosts versions, requiring a double dose of Gravity followed by Holy to deal with quickly.
    • Lynari Desert is, well, a vast desert, and it takes a while to get through both as a normal dungeon as well as when you're attempting to solve the desert's puzzle, which is needed to get to the final areas of the game. The first map is a giant desert field, and if you aren't hugging the edges of the area, traversing through it (which is required at some point to make your way to the rest of the dungeon) will see you walking across largely nondescript sand. Worse still, you'll have to jump into quicksand whirlpools in order to properly progress the dungeon, and there are many of them that just spit you out at various places around the first map, which can cause further confusion.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: To finish the game's story, you must get the final element on your chalice, which requires that you cast spells on a series of tiny landmarks in the huge Lynari Desert. Gurdy's poem reveals the sequence, then gets trapped between all the other diary entries that don't tell you how to beat the game.
  • Musical Theme Naming: Hurdy and Gurdy.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Moogle characters Stiltzkin and Artemicion both originated from Final Fantasy IX. They both return in later (and even earlier) games in the timeline.
    • Remastered Edition adds a few from the sequels:
      • The Bronze variant of the male Lilty has a helmet based on Jegron.
      • The Babunny male Selkie variant is based on Gnash.
      • The female Yuke design, Submarine, confirms that they are empty armor suits by way of Bare Your Midriff.
  • Never Say "Die": Final Boss Raem goes into an absolute fit when he's defeated for the first time and screams that he doesn't want to "fade". While he could have easily just said "die", it makes sense for him to say "fade" instead since he was born from memories and memories eventually fade.
  • Non Standard Game Over: In the Nest of Memories, getting an answer in Mio's quiz wrong causes you to lose a memory as well as fight monsters. Losing too many results in a Game Over.
  • One Game for the Price of Two: Sort of. If you want to play multiplayer, you have to have a Game Boy Advance (and link cable) for each player. To have four GBAs, four link cables, and the game itself, one person would have to spend about $400. Nintendo and Square Enix were banking on the fact that the GBA was outselling the GameCube four-to-one at the time, but didn't account for the fact that many owners of one did not own the other and may not have had friends who did. This is averted with the Updated Re-release, which opts for an online-only multiplayer experience where players on different platforms can band together to tackle the game's dungeons.note 
  • Outside-Context Problem: The miasma-producing Meteor Parasite, which would've wiped out all life on the planet Lavos-style if it wasn't for the crystals.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Years pass in-game, but no one ever shows any signs of aging. You can play for several in-game decades and your younger siblings will never get bigger.
  • Planet of Hats: Each of the four races have one, and precisely one, shtick. The Clavats are peaceful farmers. The Lilties are each a Pint-Sized Powerhouse. The Selkies are all basically stereotypical Romani. The Yukes are intellectuals and magicians.
  • Player Vs Player: Despite largely being a cooperative game, there is one element that can cause competition within the group. At the beginning of each level, each player is given a random objective such as "pick up as much money as you can" or "use no healing magic." Certain objectives can create conflict and you can keep yours secret from the others as it's only listed on your GBA screen. And the incentive for scoring high on your objective is first pick of the end of dungeon rewards, which is naturally pretty nice to have. However, it's better to communicate with other players because some rewards are only obtainable by having absurdly high objective scores, including the permanent Magicite Rings with remove the need for regular Magicite once obtained.
  • Purposely Overpowered:
    • The special magicite in the Final Battle are designed to be used without any cast time and are always powerful spells since Raem has a ton of HP.
    • The DLC weapons in the Remastered Edition are all 5 (for Lilties) to 10 (for the other races) points stronger than the best weapons in the original game. This is meant to help speed the gameplay process up somewhat, as the Remaster added several new post-game dungeons to the game that are designed to be challenging even to players who decked themselves out in endgame equipment before beating the final boss.
  • The Power of Love: During the final boss fight, memory bubbles of your characters' families show up, which you can collect... and use to cast magic which either makes you invincible or shoot Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: The DLC character skins in the Remaster Edition allow for this, as all the skins are of characters who were either player characters or major NPCs that had appeared in the Crystal Chronicles games released after the original Crystal Chronicles.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Lilties used to be this, when they ruled the world.
  • Scenery Porn: It's known for having some of the best graphics on the GameCube.
  • Selkies and Wereseals: There's a race called "Selkies". Unlike mythical Selkies, they are simply a humanoid race with body paint and brightly-colored hair, as well as no apparent shapeshifting abilities. However, in their town, there is a Selkie who says something along the lines of, "We Selkies came from the sea, and one day we will return there."
  • Shielded Core Boss: Raem's true form. Only his tail is within attack range at first, but inflicting enough damage to it causes him to drop down to your level so you can fight him directly... until he resumes his former stance, requiring you to repeat the process throughout the battle.
  • Shown Their Work: Although quite a few creative liberties were taken, many of the songs in the game's soundtrack are accurate to what we know actual early music from medieval and Renaissance Europe sounded like, particularly the use of crumhorns, lutes, and recorders.
  • Significant Anagram: Both Mio and Raem together are an anagram for "memoria". Their combined form, Memiroa, is a more straightforward example.
  • Socialization Bonus: Hope you've got friends with GBAs and link cables handy for the original game, because you'll need them. Certain spells like Gravira, Graviga, and Holyra are only accessible when playing with friends since they're impossible to cast by yourself. This is significantly diminished in the Remaster: you'll only band together to tackle the game's dungeons and nothing else, so every other aspect of the original GameCube title that was affected by playing in multiplayer (such as everyone getting letters from their families/NPCs, the random map events picking different players to respond to the NPCs in each event, etc.) is effectively inaccessible in this version.
  • Terrible Trio: The Striped Brigands, a trio of thieves who occasionally steal minor items from the caravan, are trying to get this reputation. They'll sometimes try bigger schemes to shake down the caravan for exorbitant amounts of gil (with Gurdy's help at one point,) though they're generally bad at this. The Team Rocket comparisons even continue with Artemicion, the Team Pet, getting blasted off if the caravan decides to run him over when they try to block the road and hold the caravan hostage.
  • Through His Stomach: The thing that foils the Brigand's bigger plans most often. Meh Gaj releases the fake hostage at the offer of a single Striped Apple. While Bal Dat at first acted like he was annoyed at such a simple-minded move, it's actually because Meh Gaj wasn't planning on sharing. Their bigger schemes are all in service to helping create their reputation as fearsome thieves, but more importantly so they can get lots of food. They even prioritize food items, Striped Apples in particular, when stealing from your caravan. If the player doesn't have any food, they'll only take common but somewhat valuable crafting materials, presumably to trade for food.
  • Tragic Monster: De Nam might be this if he turned into a monster.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Mount Vellenge, home of the Meteor Parasite and source of all miasma. There's a second, short Very Definitely Final Dungeon after that called the Nest of Memories, the metaphysical home of Raem and Mio.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: While the entire game is mostly just hack and slash, it gets a sudden shift near the end of the game. After being whisked away before you can defeat the Meteor Parasite, Mio asks you several questions about events that happened in the game in the form of a quiz. Get a question right and you move on to the next question, but if you get a question wrong, you'll fight some monsters before proceeding. While some of the answers can be found online, the rest of the answers are based on your interactions with certain characters and you need to remember what you did either purely by memory or looking at your diary before the final battle and memorizing what was written.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Curaga. In multiplayer, it's an AOE healing spell and it's quite helpful there. In single player, it shows up only in the final battle as a possible spell you can get from your memories and its use is questionable since it heals you for the same amount of health as a regular Cure spell, though it does have the benefit of having zero charge time.
  • Variable Player Goals: While everyone shares the same primary objective, they also have their own secret secondary objectives. Whoever scores highest on their secondary objective gets first pick at the stat-boosting artifacts at the end of the level. On the other hand, the team's combined score partly determines what artifacts are available to pick from in the first place, and high scores are needed for the rarest items including magicite rings.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Raem's One-Winged Angel form totes around two of these.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The Meteor Parasite puts up a pretty big fight, but the player is yanked away before they can finish it off in order to fight Raem instead. After he's dealt with, the player is brought back to the dying parasite to deal the finishing blow.