Final Fantasy ranks as the most popular RPG series worldwide. Square
Enix intends to expand the gameplay boundaries of its beloved
franchise with Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles for the Nintendo
In a daring move, Square Enix has ripped the series from its RPG
roots and dragged it kicking and screaming into the action/
adventure genre. Gone are the cumbersome random encounters leading
to turn-based battles. In its place is a truly awe-inspiring epic
unlike any you've ever played.
In a world ravaged by plague, the people depend on a blessed
crystal. In order for this crystal to maintain its sparkle and
power, Mirula Droplets are constantly needed. Every year, the
Crystal Caravan travels forth to collect the precious Mirula
Droplets in the darkest, deepest caverns of a far-off dungeon.
The player and as many as three friends must make the vital
excursion to save the villagers' lives, traveling through a
wilderness overrun by monsters and other perils. Final Fantasy:
Crystal Chronicles delivers the stirring story and stunning
graphics fans have come to expect from the Final Fantasy series.
* All Fo(u)r One
Crystal Chronicles jettisons turn-based combat. Instead, the action is
all real-time and takes place in a three-quarter perspective. In its
current form, Crystal Chronicles requires four players, but will likely
allow for fewer players in future revisions.
Unlike many cooperative multiplayer games, Crystal Chronicles does not
employ a split-screen system. Instead, players must travel together in a
Complicating matters mightily is the poisonous cloud that blankets the
world. The only thing protecting you and your friends from atrophy is a
magic crystal that generates a small force field. Should any member of
the group leave the protected circle, they will be fully exposed to the
* Control Yourself
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles has garnered a lot of attention for
being Square Enixs first Nintendo GameCube title. More importantly,
Crystal Chronicles creatively exploits Nintendo GameCube/Game Boy
While Crystal Chronicles is fully playable with the stock Nintendo
GameCube Controller, players are encouraged to break out those Nintendo
GameCube Game Boy Advance Cables.
Players can use their Game Boy Advance systems to control their
character data and view character information. Some clues may only be
available to one, two or three players, who will have to share the
information they receive on their personal game screens.
Due to the limited number of Game Boy Advance buttons, Crystal
Chronicles employs a simple yet effective control scheme. You can cycle
through your attack and spell abilities with the L and R buttons.
Pushing the A Button will activate whatever ability you currently have
selected. When using standard attacks, holding down the A button allows
you to charge up an attack.
Both offensive and defensive spells can also be powered up.
While charging up, your character is vulnerable to attack. Therein lies
the beautiful multiplayer strategy, as your fellow travelers must
* There's no "I" in Teamwork
While much of the gameplay involves hacking and slashing through
colorful monsters, Crystal Chronicles is essentially about teamwork.
Remember the magic crystal that protects your party from harm?
It works like a charm, but someone has to carry it wherever you go. This
would not be such a big deal, except that whoever carries it is not able
to attack or defend.
Since one person is basically responsible for the movement of the
group, the rest are responsible for keeping that person alive and well.
On more than one occasion, we were howling at the crystal bearer to move
in one direction while we ran about casting healing spells.
* Final Thoughts
As you might imagine, Square Enix is being very secretive about this new
title. Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles embodies the strategic gameplay
and artistic qualities of its predecessors while daring to venture into