February’s Nintendo Direct had something of a surprise: The reveal of Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition. Included would be a remaster of Chrono Cross, the sequel to the legendary console RPG Chrono Trigger, and the first release of Radical Dreamers, a side-story that fans in the US never got the chance to play. The announcement hit me like a tsunami of nostalgia.
It’s hard to illustrate what a big deal Chrono Trigger was for RPG fans in the ’90s. In 1995, a literal dream team of developers from two iconic franchises – Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest – came together to create something far bigger than we could have dreamed or expected. It had everything a fan of console RPGs could want at the time: great visuals, outstanding music and an amazing story with unforgettable characters.
Four years later, its sequel, Chrono Cross, was released. Many, myself included, were a little disappointed. It simply missed the magic of Chrono Trigger.
What I didn’t know at the time: Square had released a side-story in Japan called Radical Dreamers. The game was unique when it came out in 1995 for the Satellaview, an add-on for the Japanese SuperFamicom that allowed owners to download games, something especially uncommon in the ’90s. Radical Dreamers was also almost entirely a text-only game, similar to a choose-your-own-adventure book.
Sadly, it was never made available to fans in the US.
I was finally able to experience the entire Chrono saga with Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition, which comes out on Thursday for the first time in the US on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and Steam. While I enjoyed the nostalgia, this game isn’t for everyone.
Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition is a barebones remaster of the original Chrono Cross and the Radical Dreamers side-story. If you loved Chrono Trigger, but missed out on Chrono Cross, this is a fantastic opportunity to experience a pivotal, influential RPG for the first time
For gamers like myself, who felt like there was something missing when Chrono Cross came out, this remaster is worth playing in order to get that full experience.
Players step in the feet of Serge, the main character of Radical Dreamers as well as Chrono Cross. He’s joined by Kid, the leader of the group of thieves infiltrating the mansion of Lord Lynx in search of the Frozen Flame. Kid, Lynx and the Frozen Flame play a big role in Chrono Cross. Magil is the third member of the group with a mysterious background that’s revealed later in the game.
As mentioned earlier, Radical Dreamers is text-based, with the only interactivity being selecting certain actions of what to do next, such as going left or right in a hallway. There are pros and cons for each decision, but the only visual actions come in the form of basic animations such as a door opening in the background image for the text.
For those longtime Chrono Trigger/Cross fans who want to come back to that world for a small serving of nostalgia, then Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition is worth the $20. For everyone else, a quick read of the Wikipedia article about the game will be more than enough to satisfy.