Chrono Cross

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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.

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.

Tropes used in Chrono Cross include:
  • Aborted Arc: There is speculation that the game was originally intended to contain a subplot going into greater depth about Serge's role as the Arbiter of the Frozen Flame. More generally, the game itself is widely suspected to have been rushed and incomplete in its later stages of development, which would why many major plot threads are resolved only in the form of a Info Dump right before the final battle that was added for the North American version of the game.
  • Actually a Doombot: The first battle with Lynx.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: FATE.
  • Alien Sky: Dual moons, one white and one red. Oddly, both Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers only have one.
    • Somewhat Justified in that the Second Moon came into existence when Dinopolis was pulled into the world during the Time Crash.
  • 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: If you haven't played Chrono Trigger, the plot will make even less sense. If you have played Chrono Trigger... well... um... you'll recognize some of the characters? The DS remake of Chrono Trigger has some added content that reinforces the link between the two games, however.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: All over the place.
  • Always Save the Girl: The player has the option to choose Harle when she asks him to choose the world or her: if he picks her, she laughs and says she knows he's lying. Subverted in what looks like a But Thou Must! situation involving Kid early in the game—the player can confess he isn't sure he can save the girl, leading to a different branch of the plot than if they jump at the chance to rescue her.
  • Angst Coma: Kid enters one after dicking about with the Frozen Flame.
  • Another Dimension: The beginning of the game revolves around the main character being pulled from his "Home World" to "Another World", an alternate timeline where he's been dead for ten years.
  • Anti-Grinding: It's impossible to Level Grind, meaning you also can't just level up to burst through difficult boss fights. Your characters do get stat gains, but they're directly linked to plot progression and gaining "stars", which expands their element grid, for completing boss fights.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: In a game with 45 playable characters, you're only allowed three in battle, and one of them must always be the main character, except in New Game+ where you can replace him.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Leena and Macha both have one as a Tech. So does Pierre.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Frozen Flame is the main one, but the Masamune also counts.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: When Marle is temporarily removed from the timestream early in Chrono Trigger, she's still alive and conscious in some sort of void. Chrono Cross explores the implications of changing the timestream and condemning people to that void.
  • Ass Kicks You: One of Macha's Techs.
  • Attract Mode: Featuring The Dream That Time Dreams.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Summon Elements require you to convert the entire field to their alignment color before use, making them an more trouble than they're worth if you're just trying to kill things. The various "field" spells (which turn the entire field the appropriate color instantly) make casting summons a lot easier, but neither black nor white have one. What they are useful for is turning enemies into "shiny" items needed to create the best equipment in the game... even if that's not anything like necessary to actually beat the game.
  • Bad Moon Rising: The theme of Harle's techs. Belthazar later exposes her as the Dark Moon Dragon.
  • 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.
  • Badass Normal: Miguel, and arguably anyone on your party who was just a peasant before joining you.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Sneff turns Serge and co. into cats during a magic trick.
  • BGM Override: Several times.
    • The game's opening Dream Sequence has a slightly altered version of "Between Life and Death", the Battle Theme Music for Boss Battles playing the entire time.
    • The song "Prisoners of Fate" plays during Miguel's Exposition Break in the Dead Sea, and then continues during the Boss Battle with him.
    • The Marbule sequence has the song "Magical Dreamers ~ The Wind, Stars, and Waves" overriding the normal music. Makes sense, as it's Source Music being played by Nikki and his band at the time.
    • "Orphan of Flame" plays throughout the entire burning orphanage scene.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Dragonians and FATE. With the added twist that the latter is a Necessary Evil for the preservation of humans.
  • 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.
  • Boss Corridor: A pleasant example on Sky Dragon Isle: a long stairway decorated with greenery and plant life. Later revisited as Terra Tower, with ghastly faces in place of the vines.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Beebas the first time you fight them. The game doesn't recognize them as a boss, but there are five of them, they will attack you between your attacks, and have around 300 HP (very high at that point in the game).
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Getting all the playable characters. It requires you to play the game three times on the same file via New Game+, and you can't actually get the characters from previous playthroughs back until near the end of the game anyway.
  • But Thou Must!: Notably averted with Kid, who you never actually have to recruit despite being a main character. She'll show up independent of the party at plot-important moments. Played for Laughs if/when you recruit Nikki; he offers to play a song for you, and your possible responses are "No thanks", "Nah", and "Maybe later".
  • Canis Latinicus: The game translates "where angels lose their way" as "Angelus Errare". In fact, that phrase is not conjugated or declined. The correct translation would be "Quo angeli errant".
  • Can't Drop the Hero: Until New Game+, that is, but his overworld model would not be replaced.
  • Catch Phrase: Peppor replaces his verbs with "shake" and Solt repeats his adverbs and adjectives (eg, "truly true" or "perfectly perfect").
  • Cerebus Retcon: Chrono Cross acts as one to Chrono Trigger as a whole as part of its Deconstruction of Trigger's Time Travel storyline. In short, it explores the questions of what happens to timelines that are eliminated by time travel, an issue raised only briefly in Trigger.
  • Character Filibuster: This was scriptwriter Masato Kato's Magnum Opus, and it shows.
  • Character Level: Notably averted, and in a JRPG at that. Rather than using XP and levels, characters just gain raw stat points from enemies, and get more slots for elements from defeating bosses. See Anti-Grinding, above.
  • The Chessmaster: Quite a few, but Belthasar probably takes the cake.
  • Cloning Blues: When it's revealed that Kid is Schala's "daughter-clone", she's unwilling to accept it at first. How it's resolved depends on your interpretation of the game's Gainax Ending.
  • Color-Coded Elements: Inverted; the colors are the elements. Red incorporates fire and magma, blue is water and ice, yellow is earth and lightning, green is wind and plants, black is darkness and gravity, and white is light and meteors.
  • Combination Attack: There are many, although they are actually much rarer in practice than in Chrono Trigger, mainly due to the game's Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The rules imposed on the player for combat don't apply to the enemy—they can basically do whatever they want. In addition, the success percentages given for your physical attacks are quite difficult to believe; prepare to miss frequently if the percentage is anywhere below 85%. This is especially blatant in the monster arena Mini Game.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Given that much of the game revolves around the nature of time, reality, and existence, it was sort of inevitable.
  • Cosmetic Award: One of the things you can find is a collection of new skins for dialog boxes.
  • Creepy Child: The Ghost Children.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: The requirements for Razzly's Lv. 7 Tech is to pick all of the bad outcomes in the Hydra Marshes—bump off the Hydra, allow the Hydra's offspring to be stillborn, and let Razzly's sister die.
  • Dark Reprise: Both versions of Arni Village use the same melody. However, Another Arni's melancholy theme reflects the sadness of Serge's absence.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the endlessly upbeat optimism of Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross's story, in which the characters are often suffer through confusion, anger, and despair, comes off as such, despite its colorful, hand-painted visuals and character designs. Fans are split on whether or not this worked in the game's favor.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: How Grobyc joins your party.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You can choose to simply punch out the Time Devourer, but he gets better. Which is bad. The right way to defeat him is... a little more complicated.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Three times, in conjunction with the three Disc One Final Dungeons mentioned below: Lynx, FATE, and The Dragon God.
  • Disc One Nuke: Several sidequests, minigames, and hard-to-find items count.
    • Before entering Viper Manor, you can get the Profiteer's Purse from Gogh's house. Then you can either use it to increase gold drops for the rest of the game, or dismantle it for 3 copper and 3 iron (the latter of which is very powerful at that point in the game).
    • A bit later on, in Viper Manor, a minigame involving the care and feeding of dragons nets you a piece of iron equipment if you get the best result... and you can just keep trying until you win.
    • You can easily acquire Serge's Mastermune way sooner than you're supposed to be able to by exploiting a bit of Artificial Stupidity on the part of the boss you have to fight to get it.
  • Distress Ball: Kid catches it a few times, although her clearly-established impulsive nature makes it slightly easier to swallow.
  • Don't Think, Feel: The advice given to the sailor guy played by Nikki in his concert/pretentious Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe skit, in order to play the song of Marbule.
  • Downer Ending: The main ending is actually not a downer ending in the least, but a number of the bonus endings are.
  • Dragon Rider: The Acacian Dragoons.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: At Viper Manor.
  • 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 True Final Boss and the relationship between the two isn't exactly obvious, this just makes the already confusing story even more so.
  • Easing Into the Adventure: Serge's bossy girlfriend wants him to make her a scale necklace.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Time Devourer.
  • Eldritch Location: The Darkness Beyond Time, and probably the Dead Sea as well.
  • Elemental Crafting: The weapon forging system ranks.
  • Everyone Is a Tomato: The people of El Nido are the descendants of scientists from Chronopolis. On an even grander scale, Home World is a splintered reality, and thus the false one.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Chronopolis vs. the Terra Tower, in the game's distant past.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The Frozen Flame.
  • Expy: More than a few, as may be expected of a game with Loads and Loads of Characters.
    • Glenn, a young greenish-grey-haired knight named for and modeled after the human form of Frog from Chrono Trigger. Like his namesake, he emerges from obscurity, claims a legendary sword, and generally kicks ass and takes names. He can even initiate Frog's X-Strike Dual Tech with Serge.
    • Guile is a complicated case. Based on Magil from Radical Dreamers, who turns out to be Magus from Chrono Trigger keeping an eye on his sister, that part of Guile's backstory was dropped during development but the Expy-ness remained. Then the DS remake of Chrono Trigger implies that Guile is an amnesiatic, alternate dimension Magus. Word of God states that Guile is neither Magil nor Magus, bringing us full circle.
    • Leah is also an Expy of Ayla. Beating the game with Leah in your party implies that she is actually Ayla's mother. Yay for time travel?
  • Extranormal Institute: Chronopolis fits the bill.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Kid's stabbing scene is probably enough to give most younger players nightmares. Even the writer expressed concern that the scene may have been too intense.
  • Fan Service: Serge's naked scene. It even has a good shot of his bare butt. Kid, Orlha, and Janice (a bunny-girl) also probably count in general.
  • Fantastic Racism: Humans and Demi-Humans do not get along, and players will experience that firsthand from both sides.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The Abyss Beyond Time, where everyone from a no-longer valid timeline rots for eternity. Yes, that includes everyone from the Bad Future that the cast of Chrono Trigger rendered null by stopping Lavos. Ouch.
  • Fetal Position Rebirth: Serge's rebirth in human form, complete with floating in a giant bubble of unexplained fluid as he rapidly grows from infancy to his actual age before waking up.
  • Field Power Effect: The colors in the field.
  • Fighting Your Friend:
    • Serge/Lynx versus Kid at the top of Fort Dragonia.
    • The boss battles against Miguel and Dario.
  • Flying Saucer: And it's plot-relevant, to boot.
  • Forbidden Zone: The Dead Sea.
  • Foreshadowing: When the Dead Sea is destroyed, ribbons of flame emerge from three triangular spots on the water. These spots correspond to Chronopolis's isles in the mirror dimension.
  • For Want of a Nail: Serge's presence (or lack thereof) is the driving force in the differences between Home and Another world.
  • 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.
  • 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 Arcadia 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.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Of time travel. Particularly the time travel in Chrono Trigger. CC asks the question "what happens to the people of a changed timeline?", and rips right into it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Good Morning, Crono: A callback to its predecessor.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: With 45 playable characters and the requirement of three playthroughs to get them, what do you expect? 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.
  • Grand Theft Me: Lynx and Serge forcibly swap bodies as a step in the former's Evil Plan.
  • Groundhog Day Loop: The ghosts of Chonopolis are stuck in one.
  • Guide Dang It: Several of the optional characters, as well as the best weapon of the game and many characters' Level 7 techs. And, of course, the good ending.
  • Happy Ending Override: Several events in Chrono Cross's backstory have unpleasant implications for the characters of Chrono Trigger, though their fates are never directly addressed.
  • Hartman Hips: Even though many of the female characters embody this trope, Lady Riddell stands out the most.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Lynx vs. Kid in Fort Dragonia.
  • Heel Face Turn: The Dragoons. Harle... kind of. And to a lesser extent Lynx/You.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Radius kindly instructs the player on Field Effect in the beginning of the game, while Solt and Peppor explain a new mechanic to you almost every time you fight them.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The whole game is, ultimately, an elaborate scheme to kill Lavos in a way that doesn't result in a Time Paradox.
    • Other supporting baddies, the Reptites and Mother Brain, also turn up in new guises.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: You can't, however, name Serge "Crono".
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Many demi-humans have this opinion. One of the endings revolves around it.
  • Hustling the Mark: How the alternate world Fargo takes your boat. It backfires.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Lots of fun places in El Nido, like Death's Door, the Dead Sea, and the Isle of the Damned.
  • 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.
  • Info Dump: The Chronopolis segment is particularly guilty of this. The apparitions on Opassa Beach right before the final battle also lay it on thick.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Fort Dragonia and, later, the Terra Tower.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The game deals with numerous different periods of time (from the far future to prehistory) in more than one timeline broken into alternate dimensions. You only actually play in two dimensions, both at the same point in the timeline, but it's an open question whether this makes it more or less confusing.
  • Joined Your Party: Those messages are personalized for each character's accent/verbal tic/gimmick. "Marcy, like, joined your party!" (has some Valley Girl speech patterns), "ZOAH JOINED YOUR PARTY." (speaks in ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME), and "Greco tagged into your party!" (is a Masked Luchador) come to mind.
  • Justified Save Point: People pray to the Records of Fate for good luck. It's a machine devised by FATE to experiment on her progeny and prevent them from interacting with the outside world.
  • Last-Disc Magic: The titular Chrono Cross, which is only effective on the Final Boss (and required for the good ending).
  • Lethal Joke Character: Poshul and Pierre, two rather pathetic characters, get significantly powered up when equipped with the proper key items. Poshul only needs one, but Pierre needs three
  • Let's Play: The Dark Id's playthrough is as hilarious as it is informative, managing to be both critical and celebratory at the same time. Serge becomes a slacker who quickly becomes the Only Sane Man when confronted with transdimensional weirdness, Kid and Leena get along like a house on fire, the villains' nebulous objectives are repeatedly mocked, the Anvilicious green aesops and "Humans Are the Real Monsters" messages are soundly refuted, AND ZOAH BECOMES A FAN FAVORITE.
  • Living Memory: Used to represent destroyed timelines. Three of them take the forms of chibi versions of Crono, Lucca, and Marle, but this appears to be primarily a Red Herring (or a Player Punch) rather than having much relevance.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: With extreme variations of relevance to the plot. Then again, if you ever wanted to form a party with an animate, talking voodoo fetish or a sentient turnip, have we got a game for you!
  • Lost Forever: A lot of stuff: characters, level 7 techs, and other things. It's actually impossible to gather the full party on your first go-around; you have to play the game three times on the same save file to get everyone... and even then, many things that are Lost Forever are huge Guide Dang It moments.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Maybe a record of how many times this trope is used in a game. Several characters are revealed to be related. Admittedly a lot of the times both parent and child know of their relations, it's just Serge & his party that get the reveal. Examples include:
    • Serge, Lynx is your father.
    • Kid, you are...uh, your own mother. Kind of.
    • Nikki, Fargo is your father. And Marcy is your sister, as well. Such varied job titles in one family!
  • Mass Teleportation: Chronopolis semi-accidentally did this to itself, creating both the Sea of Eden and the Dead Sea.
  • Mecha-Mooks: There are some in the Dead Sea, but Chronopolis crawls with them.
  • MacGuffin Title: Notable in that it is entirely possible and quite likely, if you aren't playing with a guide, to avoid getting the Chrono Cross.
  • Mind Screw: And how!
  • Musical Nod: The soundtrack contains numerous references to both Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers, some more subtle than others:
    • The opening theme, "Scars of Time", contains a passage reminiscent of part of the opening theme for Trigger
    • "The Dream that Time Dreams", "Fields of Time" and "Chronomantique" all contain the iconic main theme to Trigger
    • Lucca's theme from Trigger is used as the victory fanfare for Cross, with two different versions of it for regular battles and boss fights
    • The theme for 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.
  • Mythology Gag: The game is packed full of them, not only referencing Chrono Trigger but also Radical Dreamers.
    • Glenn's name is a reference to Frog, whose real name before his transformation was... Glenn.
    • In Japanese, Guile's original name is "Alf", a reference to the name of Janus' cat Alfador.
    • Serge's brief journey into Kid's past is a mirror of Lucca's trip to her mother's. They both involve a main character going to Lucca's house in the past in order to prevent something terrible from happening to someone important to them.
    • In Home Arni's tavern, some customers make a throwaway reference to the Radical Dreamers, Kid's gang in the titular game.
  • Never Found the Body: Home World's Dragoons have all vanished, having gone on a quest for the Frozen Flame. They're all dead, having been led to the Dead Sea and frozen by Lynx.
  • New Game+: Required not once, but twice (meaning three total play-throughs) for One Hundred Percent Completion. As with Chrono Trigger, beating the New Game+ at different points in the plotline will also result in different ending scenes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Repeatedly. Serge named the item on The Grand List of Console Role Playing Game Cliches.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Used with the Einlanzer.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Subverted with Fargo (another) as he does lock you up when you first encounter him. Played straight with home Fargo, as the most he does is cheat people of their money through rigged gambling.
    • Kid is a world renowned thief...but is never actually seen stealing anything.
  • Perfect Poison: Lynx has poison-laced throwing daggers. One slice will knock you flat.
  • Post Modernism: Throughout the game the distinction between Serge and the player is repeatedly blurred, until in the good ending it is demolished entirely.
  • The Power of Rock: Nikki's main attack, and the method of activating the Chrono Cross. Also, the way to reach the Black Dragon involves saving Marbule by having his band perform nearby.
  • Punny Name: Some of the monsters suffer from this. Many of the names fall into Incredibly Lame Pun territory as well. (A red-elemental canine monster named HotDoggity, anyone?)
  • Recurring Boss: Lynx, who is fought five times: twice as Lynx and once each as Serge (in Fort Dragonia), Dark Serge, and finally in his true form as FATE.
  • Ret-Gone: The ultimate goal is to activate the Chrono Cross with the Song of Time to remove Lavos from existence, freeing Schala and stopping the Time Devourer permanently.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator: The Dead Sea replaces Chronopolis in Home World. As Crono didn't stop Lavos in that timeline, Chronopolis likewise was never built; the sea changed to reflect that status.
  • Sad Battle Music: "Prisoners of Fate" plays during the climax of the game's Wham! Episode in the Dead Sea. It culminates in a showdown against someone who really does not want to fight you, but will kick your ass seven ways to Sunday regardless. The same theme plays while fighting Bonus Boss Dario.
  • Scenery Porn: And how! This game has some of the most astonishing hand-painted backgrounds of the PlayStation era.
  • Schizo-Tech: Contains, among other things: medieval dragoons, an early 20th-century army, an 18th-century pirate, a futuristic cyborg, a cave girl (who, admittedly, probably time traveled by accident to get to where you find her), robots from the distant future, and a modern rockstar.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A very subtle one, but not to Chrono Trigger: the "Sea Swallow", the name of Serge's initial weapon, was also the codename of the character Irene Lew in the NES Ninja Gaiden games, which the writer of the Chrono series had previously worked on.
    • Gaea's Navel is likely a Shout Out to "Gaia's Navel" from Secret of Mana.
    • One of the available window frames is the same one used in Xenogears (which was developed by the same team).
    • Starky's Japanese name is Star Child.
  • 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 Game Cube featuring some of the same developers, the same unique visual style of 3D character models set against a hand-drawn background (hand-drawn by the same person, no less), a vaguely similar battle system focusing on multi-hit combos and customizable move sets, and in the first game, the same writer. It's not exactly another Chrono game, but fans looking to recapture just a bit of that Chrono Cross feel are suggested to check them out.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Serge and Kid, though the ending leaves it ambiguous whether, in some time period or reality, they will eventually be together.
  • Storming the Castle: Viper Manor and, later, the Terra Tower.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Many fans believe that Crono, Marle, and Lucca are dead, due to Porre's invasion of Guardia and Lynx's attack on Lucca's orphanage. They also appear as "ghosts", but see the Living Memory entry above. Robo, who became the Prometheus Lock keeping the FATE supercomputer in check, is actually "killed" near the end of the game, unless it was a copy of his programming rather than his actual "self". Magus, however, is implied to be alive, though that's a whole 'nother Fan Wank.
    • Good lord, even the mascots aren't safe! Johnny's mangled corpse is strewn on an interstate in the Dead Sea, and the singing robot Gato is about to fatally short out when Serge travels back in time to Lucca's orphanage.
  • Surprise Creepy: The game starts out as a typical JRPG, introducing its unassuming hero in a colorful setting. Oh hi, wormhole. This is even echoed in the enemies: The goofy looking Beach Bums in Opassa Beach are replaced by giant flying piranhas.
  • A Taste of Power: The opening dungeon (which is a premonition of future events) has everyone armed with Mythril/Silver weapons and a few hundred HP. Of course, by the time you get to that point of the game, you can't get Silver weapons; the best you can do is Iron. Once the premonition is over, you're back to bone weapons and a few dozen HP, as well as much fewer element levels.
  • Time Crash: Trope Namer. The Dead Sea is the site of a Time Crash, where the bad future from Chrono Trigger tried to reassert itself into time.
  • Time Stands Still: One of the most chilling things about the Dead Sea.
  • Trippy Finale Syndrome
  • Tron Lines: Present in Chronopolis's architecture.
  • Unexplained Accent: Unavoidable with so many accents on display, but Kid's Aussie twang is somewhat baffling.
  • Unholy Holy Sword: The Masamune.
  • Unholy Nuke / Black Holes Suck: Blackhole.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Leena. She is the childhood friend, the first girl, and they are most definitely dating, but then Serge meets Kid and Leena is forgotten about. The poor lass even has the game's fortune teller bluntly inform her (well, her alternate-dimension counterpart, at least) that she's not getting a boyfriend for some time. Ouch. Whether she actually ends up with Serge or not depends on which ending you get.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: You can recruit a pink dog that sounds like Elmer Fudd, a glam rocker, a skeleton clown, a plant baby, a voodoo doll with a three-foot iron nail through its chest, and a psychic luchador priest, among other things. Few NPC's if any will bat an eye.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Serge just keeps falling for it. Fortunately for him, the ultimate Chessmaster in the game, Belthasar, is a good guy, so everything works out in the end... assuming you defeat the last boss the right way.
  • Vancian Magic: The Element Grid.
  • Verbal Tic: Too many to count.
  • Video Game Settings:
  • Villains Out Shopping: One of the endings is like this.
  • Warmup Boss: Mama Komodo. Incidentally, you've just finished killing all of her babies, and she's pretty steamed. Her Death Cry Echo is rather piteous, too, making this (yet another) instance of You Bastard.
  • Wasted Song: The amazing song "The Dream that Time Dreams" (frequently translated as "Time of the Dreamwatch"), which consists of melodies from the original Chrono Trigger soundtrack and the theme of Radical Dreamers done in Chrono Cross's signature style, plays in exactly two places in the game: one of the more obscure Multiple Endings, and the game's Attract Mode. At least it's on the OST...
  • Weapon Tombstone: Both Dario and his father Garai's graves (in their respective dimensions) are marked with the Einlanzer, a sword they both used. While Garai's Einlanzer is obtained through the course of the game no matter what, Glenn can retrieve Dario's after some Character Development and use them simultaneously.
  • Weird Moon: Viper Manor's suspension bridge is overshadowed by two of these babies.
  • Wham! Episode: Fort Dragonia; appropriate, as a Disc One Final Dungeon. Chronopolis is another example.
  • Where It All Began: This works on multiple levels. The portal to the Final Boss is located at Opassa Beach.
  • 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.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Schala, the Friend to All Living Things from the first game, fused with Lavos and formed the Time Devourer, which wants to destroy all of existence.
    • The DS re-release of Trigger elaborates on this a bit: because of the intense hardship of her life, Schala deeply wished for all the horrible things in the world to have never occurred... or in fact, for everything about the world to have never occurred, which gave Lavos an opening to take over her soul.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Used by a random NPC. "Lah lala lalah! / I don't need a recipe book / Because I'm the happy cook / Who feeds the people gook!
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Numerous characters will express this to you over the course of the game. Whether or not you can is the Driving Question that represents the game's central philosophical theme. It turns out, you can. Quite literally. It's a Boss Battle!
  • You Can't Go Home Again: This seems to be Serge's lot in life. In the alternate universe, none of his friends or family recognize him, and when he finally gets back, he's in Lynx's body.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: What happens if you run away from boss fights. At least it gives your party members time to heal.