[Gaming Experience: Chrono Cross] Shrono Cross & Seraj - The Mispronounced Introduction

Chrono Cross is one of the PS1 games I played in my teenage years and the story of how I was introduced to the game is interesting.

Chrono Trigger was one of the first turn-based RPGs I played in my life (It might be the first, not counting #Digimon games.) While I struggled at the story at first because I my English understanding was minimal. I loved the art style and the battle system of it and I finished it years later when my English was better.

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Even though I finished Chrono Trigger. I didn't know it had a successor and I didn't look it up. That changed one day when my cousins visited my home and we talked about what we did since the last visit. Like usual, gaming talks started eventually.

My cousins told me about this amazing game: "Shrono Cross" (That's how we used to pronounce it.) and that they stuck few hours in it because they didn't understand English enough. They wanted me to play it with them in my next visit and translate the parts they didn't get.

For context, we live in the Arabic country Libya. All video games that were released here until early 2000's were in English. For the majority of PS1 games it wasn't a problem, but for RPGs, it was hard to know what the next objective is without reading. My English was better than most children my age so I enjoyed these games (even though I still didn't understand everything then.)

As they talked I noticed that Chrono Cross was a bit similar to Chrono Trigger. Both had "Shrono" in their name. (yeah, by then I mispronounced the word.) But I never thought they were set in the same universe, and I didn't play it yet to see that it was made by the same developers.

Then when I visited my cousins, I found that the game is different than I expected. I expected a 2D game: it was a fully 3D one. The art was very different than Toriyama's art that I felt in love with, and the characters felt, I dunno, ?. I loved the islander feel of the main character's home village.

Anyway, I played the game with my cousins and the first thing I realized is how amazing Chrono Cross Opening is. It's definitely a successor of Chrono Trigger. That the first part of the game is a dream sequence, and we're introduced to the heroine Kid, a random character and the silent protagonist Seraj, I mean Serge.

Seraj (سراج) is a common Arabic name that means Lamp/Light Source. One I read that the main character name is Serge, I mispronounced it as Seraj and was happy that they used an Arabic name for the main character! Little did I know how wrong I was...

As we played the game, I realized is that they were stuck in the first main quest less than 1 hour from the start of the game! Wow! The quest involved hunting 3 Lizard monsters and they were tricky to battle so I could understand why they couldn't progress further. After knowing what the objective is, it was easy to complete.

I got invested in Serge's quest after he leaped into another dimension and learned that he "died" 10 years ago. He met Kid, the girl from his dreams. From then, it's a history...

I find it funny that my introduction to Chrono Cross started with a series of mispronunciations. The name of the game (admittedly, that was the case for Trigger too) and the name of the protagonist. Even the main villain Lynx (I read it as Leonix.)

But I enjoyed the game... I really wish they port it for the modern platforms (it can be played on PS Vita and PS3 but they're from the last generation aren't they?) It might not be the best of what Square Enix had to offer, and CC has many flaws but it has one of the deepest, darkest takes on Chrono Trigger time travel side-effects.

What do you think?


The post's cover image is made using the game's JAP Cover Art. First screenshot is taken from here. Second is from here.
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