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Chrono Cross anaylsis

Posted: Sat May 07, 2005 4:06 pm
by Pisces
Okay, people...some have urged me to post a topic on this game explaining and defending several aspects of the story of Chrono Cross, etc., mostly because I've played the game several times and have spent a good long time noticing how the game intersects with Chrono Trigger's story and the subtleties that were actually put into the writing.

G1 is a big fan of this game, as am I, and many others. Unfortunately, this game often gets compared to CT and people criticize CC unfairly, when in truth the story to CC is actually very well-layered and thought out. It IS, however, a completely different TYPE of story than CT, and the plot of CC is a lot subtler and difficult to map out, and there have been many people who have (unfairly) dismissed the game as full of holes and the characters hollow.

In truth, regardless of how well you keep track of WHAT EFFECTS WHAT in the plot, the strongest points of Chrono Cross actually lie in subtler shades, in its themes and the HEART of its tale. As a creative mind in theatre and film, both games, Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, are one of my dream-projects for turning into films.

There are a lot of aspects of the story and the characters that get completely missed because they aren't explained "out loud" in the game. They are things you have to connect yourself from the aspects the game DOES give you, like being given 2 and 2 and having to make 4 yourself.

I really think it's unfair that people compare CC to CT, as the two stories are very different, like apples and oranges. However, when put TOGETHER, the two complement each other perfectly. So...I shall begin...


Point 1: The Two Games

To begin with, you must look at the very types of stories the two games create. Chrono Trigger creates a wonderfully epic story from small characters. The unlikely group of people by fate (or providence, more likely) who go off on the grandest adventure ever -- they not only explore their entire world, but in multiple epochs throughout time. And they defeat a grandscale evil that threatens their entire world. The story is very adventurous and epic.

CC, on the other hand, has a story that takes a completely different approach. CC does not happen in different eras, and it only happens in a limited (in fact, rather teeny-tiny) section of the world, a small archipelago of islands. Chrono Cross is the story about a key person, Serge. It is smaller scaled than CT, but only on the surface level. The story of CC (unlike CT) is more subtle and subdued, and also more psychological and surreal. A lot of the story of CC is more difficult to grasp, especially for fans who were expecting a sequel to CT. The elements of CC are very abstract and sometimes hard to follow. This does not make its story less worthy than CT's. It simply is different.

However, these differences work together to complement one another. CT took a grand story and left an unresolved issue, the issue of a single being (Schala) and there are those who've never given up on her -- and this is NOT an invention that they made up for CC -- in CT, Belthasar, even in the ruined version of the future year 2300, is hoping to find Schala again and mutters about missing her -- also, the game ends with Magus endlessly searching for her. Chrono Cross then takes the events of Chrono Trigger and shows us the CONSEQUENCES of actions. The future has been changed, but at what price? Every action has a reaction.

In Chrono Cross, we see the grandness of Chrono Trigger being INTERNALIZED. It is taken into a small world, showing how large even the fate of two people - Schala and Serge - and how their lives intertwine, can be affected by large things, and how in turn their small connection, their story they share as merely two people, can affect the entire world.

We come full circle from Chrono Trigger showing us small people affecting the large world into Chrono Cross where we see the large events affecting two lives, and those two lives in turn affecting the whole world again. The point is made by Schala in the end -- There is no such thing as a pawn. The game series shows us stories of how everything we do, the smallest things, can affect others on a large scale. Chrono Trigger shows us this on the outside. Chrono Cross shows us this on the inside. Chrono Trigger is concrete. Chrono Cross is abstract. The two complement each other perfectly. And both are amazing tales.

Point 2: The Connection

My next point: what is the heart of Chrono Cross? The heart of the story is NOT the Dragons versus Fate, or Lavos's backup plan, or Serge being the Arbiter, or even what happened to Schala...

The heart of Chrono Cross is a connection made by two people. The connection made between Schala and Serge. It is the connection made when Schala's mind was nearly destroyed by Lavos in the Darkness Beyond Time, but my something amazing, something wonderful and moving and humane...she HEARD him...

Schala heard Serge's cries of pain, as a young boy, when he was wounded by the panther demon. She heard his dying pains. She heard them from across OVER TEN THOUSAND YEARS OF TIME and across SPLIT PARALLEL FUTURES, different worlds. This sound filled her heart and left her with one last shred of humanity.

This connection is what created the entire story of Chrono Cross. This "possibility" is what Belthasar foresaw and what allowed him to create Project Kid in order to save Schala from the darkness. Lavos was expelled from the future, but he still exists in the world, on a different level, an internal one. He exists with Schala. The darkness still taints the light of their world and of the future.

This connection is what caused Kid to appear. It set the possibility of salvation into motion.

There is also an amazing loop created in the irrevocably linked stories of Serge and Kid (the essence of Schala):

In the game, we know that Serge, in the future where he is still alive, was saved from drowning by some mysterious woman, when he was ten. Later in the game, we see Serge going back in time to save Kid from the burning orphanage -- the scene that follows, in my opinion, is breathtaking, as it is one of the moments where their connection is strongest. By the end of the game, we learn that it is actually Kid, in the future, who is called back in time to save Serge from drowning. This creates a loop where their lives are eternally linked together. Serge cannot exist without Kid, and vice versa.

There are scenes where Serge (as Lynx) is sorrowfully remembering Kid, BEFORE he switched bodies and she hated him. A lot of people mistake this scene as a cheesy love-connection that comes out of nowhere. This is not true.

That scene has nothing to do with romance. Not a thing. That scene is Serge feeling lost. He has ceased to be Serge, and what's more, the "missing piece" to his own existence, Kid, has not only been removed from his life (which is in limbo at that point, as he is neither himself nor in a world where he is alive)....but her enmity has now turned against HIM.

The connection they share is established throughout the game -- in Serge's opening dream, when he first sees Kid at Cape Howl, in the scene where she shares her lonely and cynical view of life and being alone in the world...

The heart of the story lies at the fact that Schala healed Serge long ago, when he was a child, and now it is Schala who needs to be healed, which brings me on to my next point...

Point 3: The Mark of a Beauty and the Mark of a Beast

There is one character in Chrono Cross who is the game's greatest mystery and whose fate is actually strongly linked not only to Serge, but also to Kid. This character is, actually, MORE entertwined to Kid's fate than even Serge is, because of the nature of who this character actually is.

This character is Harle.

Harle is one of the story's greatest devices and the use of her character is actually so subtle that there is a major story point that many people completely miss, the first time they play the game--

Harle and Kid are, in essence (not physically), the same person.

This is not my speculations. This is not game-theory. This is true. It is never SAID in the game, but it is true and solid, nonetheless.

There are people who argue about "interpretation" of clues, etc. But from a WRITER'S standpoint, I can tell you this:

A writer does NOT put clues and subtle hints into a story unless they WANT you to think that way and believe that that is the truth A good writer wants to engage their audience and make them solve some of the puzzle themselves.

To continue with my point...Harle was created by the Six Dragons on the night of the Storm...

The night of the Storm was the night that Schala's spirit found Serge's dying spirit from across time and dimension...

This was the night the Fate computer was shut down, and the Dragons gained temporary access to the Frozen Flame...

The Frozen Flame is the ESSENCE of the Schala/Lavos combined soul, the planet's love/enmity combination....

The FLAME created Harle, used by the Dragons. Harle is the "seventh Dragon", but look at what the Dragons are:

They are the elements of the planet. The seventh element (Cross Cross) is the element that will "harmonize" the planet again.

What, in the story, needs to be harmonized again? Schala.

Harle is another daughter-clone of Schala, but she is the opposite of Kid, which is why she and Kid are constantly ready to claw out another's eyes.

If you really pay attention to the story, this can be deduced not only from clues but from logic.

If you look at Harle, other than her eye-color, underneath the makeup, her facial structure is identical to Kid's. In addition, the fortune-teller in Termina gives the EXACT same fortune to Kid and to Harle -- "In your eyes I see both the mark of a beauty and the mark of a beast. Be careful not to bring about your own destruction, my dear."

Many of you already realized this point, but it leads on to my next, which goes into why this connection between Harle and Kid (and Serge) is so crucial...

Point Four: The Burning Orphanage and Frozen Flames

Harle and Kid are opposites, but not in an obvious way. It's not a black-and-white division, they are both very complex characters, both with light and dark sides.

Kid is generally good-natured and wishes to help others (such as Serge), but beneath all this she is carrying a strong and deep-seeded hatred, the result of her past being destroyed and those she loved being taken from her. Deep within, she feels lost and alone and darkness.

Harle, on the other hand, is very taunting and self-absorbed, full of quips and stings, strutting and mischievous. But underneath that, she hides a level of humanity and sadness that wishes for an answer. She has a love for Serge that she hides, and a love for the world. She secretly prays for an answer other than what she knows will come to pass.

When Serge's fate is reversed, so is Kid's and Harle's. The two sides of Schala are constantly at odds, but the amazing thing is that, because of Serge, there is a "good side" that continues to help and lead on. Once Serge is abandoned by Kid, Harle steps in.

There is a culmination of this duality of Schala that appears at the scene after Fate is destroyed and Kid is near the Frozen Flame. The "planet's anger", which is the enmity rooted in Schala, is about to awaken from Kid's contact with the Flame, and Harle understands this. She pleads with her to stop, but the enmity side of Schala is too strong, and is unleashed.

At this moment, you'll notice that Harle is "called" by the other dragons, and if you watch carefully, after saying goodbye to Serge, Harle actually disappears INTO the Frozen Flame, becoming one with it again.

The moment she does this and the "Flame" (with Harle embodying it) flies off to join the other dragons, Kid falls into a coma.

Kid's coma is also rooted within her soul, and is part of the Schala-duality.

This brings me back in another circle, b/c this brings us back to the burning orphanage...

Kid remembers Lynx burning her home, taking all her loved ones from her, making her alone in the world, and she is possessed by this. But there is something she doesn't remember, but which Serge SEES, when he goes back in time to save her...

There is something deeper keeping Kid's soul trapped within itself. There was another who stole her past from her and destroyed everything she loved. Harle.

And the irony of this is -- Harle and Kid are created from the same soul, from Schala, and they represent the duality of that soul. It was Harle who destroyed Kid's past and gave Kid the darkness she currently has. This in turn goes back to the Schala/Lavos love/hate mindsplit.

The theme is weaved through the story....planet versus humanity....Fate versus Dragon....Harle versus Kid......Another World versus Home World.....the Tear of Love and the Tear of Hate....etc....etc....

....phew.....anyway, this is all I'm going to post FOR NOW, as this much took me well over an hour. I want this thread to unlock discussion (and so does Mickey). And feel free to ask me questions, I'd be glad to answer.

Re: Chrono Cross anaylsis

Posted: Sun May 08, 2005 1:23 pm
by Sonic#
I suppose my main questions right now are inclined toward clarifications, since I haven't played the game in a while (and darn you for your influencing me to want to play it again, lol).

The first thing is, what is the origin of the Frozen Flame? I believe it's Lavos, but if that is so, then why does it and Harle go to join the dragons? Is it because Lavos is connected to the planet's fate through Schala, and the frozen flame is a part of her too?

And then, I know there's that point when Serge makes the connection with Schala, when he's a very young child and brought into the Dead Sea. Then there's another point, and this is where the split between the two dimensions occurs. I must be misunderstanding something, but why did that split occur? Was it because there was just one Kid to save the Serge of the past, just as there was only one Serge to save the Kid of the past? That is, in the unbreakable connection of time and dimensions, only one link was made?

Another thing, going back to the beginning, when you mention Chrono Cross being about how grand events affect individuals, and how those individuals affected in turn affect the world... is that a reason for there being so many characters? I know so many people complained about there being all of these people that you see so little of, but at the same time, they all had at least some purpose in the game, whether it's to reconcile two lost lovers (Dario and... ah, mindblank), to heal the enmity in the Masamune (Radius, Dario, and those like that), to build a contrast between humans and ... animorphs (forget the name again) that is complementary, but not good and evil, similar in relation as Kid and Harle are? That is, all of these balanced game elements are about, more than the balance between some good and some evil, but the relationships between everything, built on in smaller fashions by all the possible character interaction throughout the game, from the characters you see to the fisher and the writer in Arni Village?

Now, I may be misremembering things, so if these questions don't make sense/are made irrelevant based on circumstance, sorry. ^_^

Posted: Mon May 09, 2005 9:15 pm
by love a riddle
I admit that Chrono Cross was a personal disappointment to me, but it's refreshing to be able to read something well-thought out and well written supporting it, and catching all of the things that I, in my prejudice, missed.

I really can't add anything, but that's a very good topic. I don't remember much of the game, but I do remember the awesome music. And character designs. And Glenn. And that's about it.

Posted: Wed May 11, 2005 12:41 am
by Pisces
...........>_< I just wrote up like a half-hour reply to your questions, Sonic, and my internet connection busted up, and the text is all gone.

...sigh, I'll get back to them later.

Re: Chrono Cross anaylsis

Posted: Wed May 11, 2005 3:38 am
by Jenner
Sonic# wrote:why did that split occur?

I believe the Dimension Slip was created by the Hate aspect. Remember these are two forces at odds.

So the hate side of Lavos is all pissed that Schala felt humanity and was all "No. bi*ch, you fail and he dies!" So a universe in which hate wins is created, and a universe in which love/humanity lives is parallel..

that, at least, is my assumption of it.

Posted: Wed May 11, 2005 4:55 pm
by Pisces
Actually, there is a logical reason for it, though very difficult to grasp because we usually think of Time as a straight line, and that game plays not only with parallel lines but with crossovers and loops.

That PARTICULAR split (there are several split futures that get involved in the game, but you only travel in two of them) was created because of the Kid/Serge lifesaving loop.

I'll have to get into it later. I'm at work now.

Posted: Wed May 11, 2005 9:00 pm
by Jenner
Pisces wrote:I'll have to get into it later. I'm at work now.

Lazy jerk.

Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 8:33 am
by love a riddle
I'm actually replaying through Chrono Trigger right now, and planning on replaying Chrono Cross right afterward so I can try to analyze it somewhat.

Posted: Mon May 16, 2005 6:33 pm
by Pisces are some answers to Sonic's questions...

1) The Frozen Flame is what was created when the Schala/Lavos being was formed. It was the essence of Lavos. If you remember, Lavos wasn't only a physical threat to the planet. He is able to affect time itself, and the way Lavos lives is by feeding on planets. Not just the planet itself, but the planet's ESSENCE. Lavos contaminates the DNA found on the planet with its own and chose humans to serve its purpose. It feeds on the development, the civilizations, and most importantly, the DREAMS of a planet. Once it has finished, it breaks from its shell much like a parasite leaving the host and leaves the planet decimated, ruined not only physically but spiritually, leaving it devoid of dreams and hope and growth.

This basically means that Lavos is extremely powerful. Lavos is able to grant power and dreams. And in Chrono Trigger, there was one being in particular who had the greatest access to Lavos's power. Lavos's "chosen one", so to speak. The perfect Child of Lavos. This was Princess Schala.

Lavos foresaw that Crono et al would prevent his awakening in 1999, so he used Schala as a back up. By pulling Schala into the Darkness Beyond Time with him in a lost future, Lavos's power strengthened. The two forces joined as one, and the enmity that was created gave birth to the Devourer of Time and also a physical link to that lost future - The Frozen Flame.

The Frozen Flame was basically a link created from the essence of Lavos was still tied to the world through Schala. It was the manifestation of the love/hate that existed, the enmity between Lavos (with humanity) and the Planet.

Harle does "fly into" or "merge" with the Flame in the scene at Chronopolis, and this is because the other Dragons are "rejoining" when the Flame awakens. The Flame awakens because of Kid coming into contact with it. Schala's anger awakens in Kid. The Dragons (as stated by Belthasar in the scene atop Terra Tower) are more or less under the influence of the Flame. Belthasar tells you that the true Dragon God was "devoured" long ago.

2) The time split between Home World and Another World occurs 10 years ago, when Serge was 7. This was four years AFTER the panther-demon incident and his contact with the Frozen Flame. When Schala came into contact with Serge, the Flame created a copy of Schala in Serge's time and world.

Now the reason time was split later...there are actually a LOT of splits, b/c there is a lot of Time Travel, and this is what creates alternate futures, but the game, although it includes the events of several futures, only travels throughout TWO worlds...the worlds where the fate of Kid and Serge are intertwined, and here is how...

Serge and Kid are connected through a time loop. Kid would have perished in the burning orphanage, but Serge was sent back in time to save her.

HOWEVER, Serge was drowned by Lynx at Opassa Beach when he was 7, so there was no way for Serge to grow up and save Kid unless he himself was saved.

Serge was saved by Kid. In the future, after the ending of the game, Kid goes back in time to save Serge from drowning.

This creates the loop and the split. There has to be some sort of cross-split. Time is split any time the events are changed by time travel. Kid does not exist (she is dead) in Home World, and Serge does not exist (he is dead) in Another World.

But Serge is temporarily drawn into Kid's world. This is the only way he is able to cause the events of the story to happen and for him to go back in time to save Kid, so that both of them may exist.

Basically, it's the result of a major time glitch. This is why Serge is drawn into Another World. His fate is tied to Kid's, even though they do not exist on the same time line. They CAN'T exist on the same timeline until those events b/c time travel creates split worlds by its very nature. If only one had saved the other, they would both be alive on the same timeline. But because of the loop, they have to exist on different ones...because it isn't truly a loop.

Time cannot go in a "loop". It can only create a CROSS PATTERN (that forms a sort of "cross loop") between two different time lines, which is what Serge and Kid created.

Question number 3 I'll answer later...

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 5:12 am
by Jenner
In other words, Eric is still lazy. :P

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 4:32 pm
by Drake-Dark
:x :boom mind is blown:


Posted: Sun May 22, 2005 1:25 am
by Magus00
Chrono cross had some great music, but the game it self wasn't nearly as good as Chrono Trigger :|

Posted: Sun May 22, 2005 4:34 am
by love a riddle
I just replayed through CT.

Is the "entity" they speak about the Planet itself? It would make sense... from what you've written, Lavos sucks the life, hopes, and dreams of the Planet itself, so the Entity would make sense.

Also, how did Marle end up with a pendant similar to Schala's, if not actually Schala's pendant? At the end of CT, Lucca finds Kid with the pendant/astral amulet.

The game, while good, wouldn't stand up today with it's somewhat primitive storytelling against other games. Then again, most other games these days suck at storytelling also, with few exceptions.

Hopefully I can work up the courage to go through Cross again. I really didn't like the star level system...

Also, were there any major changes besides names from the JP to NA versions of the games?

Posted: Sun May 22, 2005 3:25 pm
by Sonic#
Magus00 wrote:Chrono cross had some great music, but the game it self wasn't nearly as good as Chrono Trigger :|

Eric wrote:A lot of the story of CC is more difficult to grasp, especially for fans who were expecting a sequel to CT. The elements of CC are very abstract and sometimes hard to follow. This does not make its story less worthy than CT's. It simply is different.

Apples and oranges. If you could back up your claims with some reasons why, like Eric painstakingly has, then I would listen.

I will agree that the music is nice though. I received the soundtrack in the mail today, and have crrently listened through the first CD. Once I listen to all three a couple of times, I'll start asking questions about how the themes intertwine, or patterns that I notice that might be story-significant or emphasizing.

love a riddle wrote:Is the "entity" they speak about the Planet itself? It would make sense... from what you've written, Lavos sucks the life, hopes, and dreams of the Planet itself, so the Entity would make sense.

Also, how did Marle end up with a pendant similar to Schala's, if not actually Schala's pendant? At the end of CT, Lucca finds Kid with the pendant/astral amulet.

The game, while good, wouldn't stand up today with it's somewhat primitive storytelling against other games. Then again, most other games these days suck at storytelling also, with few exceptions.

When I first played through it, I interpreted the Entity as being the player itself, but then, there's no reason why it can't have multiple levels. It could also be a foreshadowing of FATE, but I'd have to see the scene again in order to give reasons why I would think that.

As for Marle's pendant being the same as the one that the baby received, I'm not sure.

Posted: Sun May 22, 2005 10:32 pm
by Magus00
I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the game it's just that I thought chrono trigger thats all:(

Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 9:05 pm
by Dark Sin
Personally i have played both CC and CT and i have to say that CC did not get good reviews from myself. but i read the points that was listed above and i could understand it. but i still think that CC disappointed me in the gameplay category. but Pieces did make some good points.

Posted: Sun May 29, 2005 7:20 am
by love a riddle
I'm currently replaying through Chrono Cross right now, and I still have a few questions.

Are the Dragonians the same as Reptites?

Also, I still don't completely get the entire thing. Are the Dragons really incarnations of Lavos?

Posted: Tue May 31, 2005 4:54 pm
by Pisces
Yeah, unfortunately gameplay affects opinion very much, and much of it is a matter of preference.

Personally, I loved the gameplay of CC, once I got used to it. (At first, I hated it.)

Anyway, I was mostly analyzing the game from a story point of view, but I understand that's not everything that affects a game.