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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Role-Playing Game

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Square-Enix

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q1 2004

 

 

- Good single-player and multiplayer game

- Much to do

- Some cool visuals

- Smooth control once you get used to them

 

 

- Getting four players with GBA’s assembled for multiplayer can be tough depending on how many friends you have

- Many “What the hell am I doing?” moments for those new to the Final Fantasy universe

 

 

Review: Final Fantasy X-2 (PS2)

Review: Final Fantasy X (PS2)

Review: Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance (GC)

Review: Elder Scrolls III - Morrowind GOTYE (XB)

 

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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

Score: 8.3 / 10

 

It may be a one of Gamedom’s Requirements for Game Reviewers, but until now I have never played a Final Fantasy game.  (Actually, it’s fourth on the list.  It immediately precedes, “You must have played at least three games authored by Roberta Williams.”)  But I do know a few things about Final Fantasy as a series.  Until Final Fantasy X-2, there had never been a true sequel in the series, which originally started on the Nintendo Entertainment System.  I’m not totally sure how Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (CC) stacks up to the other FF games but it is an interesting role-playing game, with many hours of play – both single and multiplayer – and has a lot of whacked graphical designs that FF is known for.

 

final fantasy crystal chronicles gamecube review          final fantasy crystal chronicles gamecube review

 

You create a character then set out on a journey to collect special plant nectar in an effort to keep your village stocked with the stuff so the force field it creates can hold back a poisonous cloud of death (known as the Miasma).  It’s a multi-year journey that will take you across many lands, crushing bad guys, solving puzzles, sending letters to your family back home, and collecting a mish-mash of items and equipment.  But you’ll also take part in some activities that should have you scratching your head if you’re new to the FF series.  Like, why am I painting my moogle?  I can do it, so there must be a point, right?  And just what is a moogle?

 

CC may be a little quirky in this regard but that doesn’t diminish the overall appeal of the game.

 

Square has long been known for its creative graphical design and CC is no exception.  CC is a great-looking game with plenty of different monsters to tackle and environments to explore.

 

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The camera is not adjustable but it always keeps your character in sight, capably handling tiered environments by making them translucent.  Some of the boss battles are quite enjoyable to watch – lots of lights and special effects.

 

The boss battles are as beautiful as they are tough, at least until you become accustomed to the control, which can be a little cumbersome at the beginning.  Throughout the single-player game, CC is played with the

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GameCube controller but the multiplayer portion is handled using GameBoy Advances.  Essentially, this acts as the “lowest common denominator” that means not all buttons on the GameCube control are put to use.  So, instead of being able to assign actions to multiple buttons, you can only assign one and scroll through other available actions, like spells.  This might sound annoying, and it can be at the beginning, but it’s easy to get used to and it does a good job gearing you up for multiplayer, which is a real highlight.

 

Square-Enix has successfully implemented interconnectivity in a way that not only makes sense, but also works because as a multiplayer game CC really shines.  The only problem presents itself when you’re trying to assemble three other friends (each with a GBA and GBA link cable) to play with.  The payoff is worth it though and with additional character swapping features, CC is a game that does whatever it can to encourage involvement with other gamers.  When playing with other players the main action happens on the TV, while inventory management happens on the GBA.  This means your buddies can watch your back while you arrange a spell and vice versa.  The GBA also displays a map unique to the player.  One can have a map pointing out treasure or item hotspots, while another might indicate boss monsters or hidden items.  This can create quite a sense of teamwork as you progress similar to other dungeon RPG’s like Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance (or even Gauntlet) – collecting booty and killing monsters along the way.

 

final fantasy crystal chronicles gamecube review          final fantasy crystal chronicles gamecube review

 

The bubbles of available fight space created by the chalice makes for a great way to keep the players moving as a unit.  Someone has to carry the chalice holding the plant nectar so the group can move around, but it also means that character can’t fight.  The vessel can be dropped but it means you’re restricted in movement because the force field it creates is only so big – there’s definitely some strategy involved.  During the single-player game you have basic control over a moogle who will carry the vessel for you.

 

Fun is always the key component to any game – if it ain’t fun, you won’t be playing it – and Crystal Chronicles manages to fill that fun component, particularly as a multiplayer game.  Those that like solo RPG adventures shouldn’t be disappointed because there’s plenty of game to be had wrapped up in a good-looking (and sounding) package.  The control could have been tweaked a little, but overall Crystal Chronicle worth a go-round.

 

- Omni

(April 14, 2004)

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