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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 release 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 has been announced 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. It is set to come out on August 27, 2020.

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.
  • Auto-Revive: Having a Phoenix Down in your command slot will revive you upon dying, which is the only way to save your self in single player mode.
  • Back That Light Up: Playing with original GBAs means it's not always easy to see what is going on in your info screen.
  • 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, so he may not be as out there as you think.
  • 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: Only shows up for the multiplayer where one player can use 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.
  • 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.
  • Fusion Dance: When Raem is initially defeated, he fuses with a weakened Mio to achieve his One-Winged Angel form.
  • Gainaxing: Every single female Selkie.
  • Ghost Town: Tida, Rebena Te Ra.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Institutional Apparel: Artemicion doesn't wear any prison duds, 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Planet of Hats: Each of the four races have one, and precisely one, shtick. The Clavats are peacful farmers. The Lilties are each a Pint-Sized Powerhouse. The Selkies are all basically stereotypical Romani. The Yukes are intellectuals/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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 blue-green 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.
  • Terrible Trio: The Striped Brigands, a trio of thieves who occasionally steal minor items from the caravan. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


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