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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles – Review

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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - Review 1

Gamecube you might ask? I was digging around and have decided to go through my prior-gen games to find ones that would be interesting to play again, and then hopefully do a few “retro?” reviews every week to encourage people to either get out their old consoles and start playing, or to hunt down the long forgotten games that you may not have heard of and are now burried at the bottom of most game websites. My first choice was Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, a game that when I got it, I had an on and off play habit, often enlisting the aid of my brother to get the unique multiplayer experience from it. So, after all these years, is it still a worthwhile play? Read on to find out!

Long ago, miasma swallowed the world. Its very touch was fatal, and it claimed many lives. But we have since discovered a way to hold it at bay. Crystals protect us from miasma. Smaller crystals now guard the villages of the world, while greater ones guard the cities. We all live our lives within the embrace of the crystals’ blessing.

The power of the crystals is not limitless, however, it gradually diminishes over time. We must rekindle the crystals radiance each year by purifying them with myrrh. In turn, they protect us from the miasma for another year. But myrrh cannot be found just anywhere. We must seek it in the dark depths of dungeons, across forbidding mountains, even beyond the sea.

This task falls to groups of young men and women sent off each year by every town in the world. It is their duty to collect myrrh and bring it home. They are known as crystal caravans.

This is the tale of one such caravan and its adventures.

The storyline was present all the way through the game, however for the most part, it was just something you would keep in the back of your mind whilst you were completing the levels. The essential goal of this game is to collect three drops of myrrh each year through three of approximately 20 levels which each change in difficulty and complexity as the years continue onward. During your travels, the storyline is further progressed through meeting travellers from other towns caravans and just solo travelers. The story starts off with the creation of up to eight different caravaner’s who travel for the town Tipa in order to collect the Myrrh, each of the characters have their separate families with each of them taking up one of eight professions within the town which determine their house, interactions and gifts given each year to their children. There is however, for obvious reasons, absolutely no main character development, and even until the end of the game, there is no real development of any characters at all, both main and secondary. Considering the type of game this is, it is acceptable, however even the final boss makes you wonder what links there were to it during the game.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - Review 2
Clavat Character Designs (Male and Female)

Graphic designs for this game are absolutely beautiful, for a Gamecube game, I must give my compliments to the Square Enix team for solely this. For each race (There are four: Clavats, Lilties, Yukes and Selkies), there are four character designs for each gender with a total of 32, of which you must choose eight. All the character designs are pretty unique and generally give each character a distinct look. The landscape environments all have unique designs and follow standard environments one would expect in this game such as river, desert, night time, castle, dungeon etc and they generally have a different requirement in terms of strategy for each, with one going as far as having to sort of decipher a riddle that is shown throughout the game and seems irrelevant until you use it. What I found most interesting, was while most games look so-so on current-gen TV’s, this game actually still looked pretty good on a 32″ TV.

The music within this game is a lot different from a lot of recent Final Fantasy games, as the opening shows, it is a lot more softer music that suit the non-modern environment of the world. Of course, there is some face paced battle music in some levels which are enjoyable. There is however, one or two songs in the later levels as a main level theme which is high enough pitched that after a few minutes you may be putting the mute button on. The opening and ending themes are both enjoyable, and I encourage you to watch the video above to see the opening of the game. The only voice acting in the game is at the start of every dungeon, I think it is the same person that sings the opening song, does a short blurb relating to some story with a close or loose connection with the level, pointless stuff but it is sort of effective.

The gameplay involves you running around a dungeon, defeating enemies and then defeating a boss to collect a drop of myrrh. After the collection of three drops, the year will end and the next year will begin. To prevent you from farming the same three locations, each location only refreshes the drop after every few years, and gets more and more difficult as the years go on, therefore increasing the replayability.

Fortunately, there is no MP/AP bar in this game, and the use of all magic is unlimited. In the worlds, you can find balls called magicite which relate to spells such as cure, life, fire, blizzard etc which then allow the character that picked it up to use the spell indefinately. Some spells show more usefulness in multiplayer however and therefore you can fuse two magicites together to get more powerful spells such as Holy and Gravity. There are generally a few of each ball in the game world for effective division among party members in multiplayer.

There are other features in the game such as a mail system where you can mail your family items in order to get bonus items at the start of each year, a blacksmithing/tailoring system where you can collect items to make your own weapons and artifact collection, which are items you collect in the worlds and are your primary source of stat leveling up.

Of course, the main draw to this game for some is the Gameboy Advance link system, where you can connect your GameBoy Advance systems into the Gamecube/Wii(??) device and then play up to four player adventuring. Some benefits of this include:

  • Multi-tasking, so you do not have to worry about using both magic and physical fighting at the same time.
  • The GBA system allows you to see hidden treasure etc depending on the colour of your moogle.
  • Generally, allows you to be more attentive in levelling up your families, especially important ones such as blacksmith and merchant.
  • You can compete for the best artifact where every player has a secret goal which can range from “Use Magic Spells” to “Get hit by enemies” and the more points you get, means the earlier you can pick your artifact over your friends.
  • Isn’t it more fun doing multiplayer?

Basically, I am not aware of any places except stores that still stock Gamecubes that you would find these cables, but I must say, this game has some of the most addicting multiplayer gameplay out of any game I have played before.

In terms of replayability, the game can be played indefinately, so you can go up to year 9X and still continue, despite being overpowered. However, this game can be completed in something like 5-6 years if you are willing to go that fast, but personally, it is fun just playing through the increasingly difficult levels!

Score

Storyline: 7
Characters: N/A
Graphics: 8
Music: 9
Gameplay: 10
Replayability: 9
Personal Opinion:
10

Overall Score: 9

Sam
Sam
Founder of The Otaku's Study. I have been exploring this labyrinth of fandom these last fifteen years, and still nowhere close to the exit yet. Probably searching for a long time to come.
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