I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed this game, even if it did take both a Gamecube and a Gameboy Advance to play. My friends Michael, Gene, and I played Crystal Chronicles every Friday night for a month or two before beating it, by the time we decided to finish the game the final boss was no real thing. The basic premise of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is that there’s this nasty substance called Miasma all up on the Earth that helps monsters and hurts whatever you are. There are four races of “people” or, more accurately, non-monsters. The Yukes, big scary magic using birds, which is what Michael played as (see above); Clavats, a mannish humanoid race of which Gene was a member; Lilties, a super cute race of apple dumpling warriors of which I was a member; and Selkies (not pictured), a pretty feminine humanoid race of gypsies and drifters, which none of us happened to be. Aside from that, the character you pick is the oldest child in a family, and you get to pick what you family does for a living. Our families were merchants (Michael), tailors (Gene), and blacksmiths (me). What your family does for a living severely effects what can be done at your home town, which we named Monroe, after my rat (aww). Each town has a big crystal which has to be suped up every year with Miasma’s natural enemy, Myrrh, to keep your town safe and sound. In the game you have a caravan which goes collecting Myrrh and encountering other travelers. Each stage has one Myrrh tree, every other year that tree gives one drop of Myrrh, and three drops equals one year passing. That’s the basic plot of Crystal Chronicles.
Aside from the basic plot there are lots of little things you can get and sub-stories to go through, none of which we did. I did go to the trouble of buying a cow for my family, who I named Mootilda, but it was totally unrelated to the flow of the game. There is a “plot” in the game about memories (how original) but happily you can ignore that plot entirely if you want to. That’s what we did, no trite plot for us, but it made the final boss fight absurdly stupid. The experience system in the game is linked to the Gameboy Advance you have to use to play, which I really enjoyed, actually. At the beginning of each stage an objective will appear on your screen such as “Inflict Physical Damage,” and if you fulfill your objective better than your teammates, you get your pick of the items at the end of the stage. I’m especially fond of this system because I almost always got first dibs. The characters design of the game was great, which is becoming par for the Final Fantasy course, but each “race” was developed as well. You get back story of the history of each race as time goes on, which really helps wed you to your character. Lilties, for example, are cute little butt kickers who once ruled the entire world. How could I not love that?
I don’t have many gender problems with the game, the only one that I can think of is that, in your family, the father is head of household. That means he runs the store and controls all the money, but that’s not wildly offensive considering some of the other things I’ve had to deal with in video games. One good gender thing about the game is that you can be a female or male of each race. With the more masculine race the female is kind of butch looking, with the feminine race the male is very effeminate. That means even hermaphrodites or trans-gender people can have a character to identify with, yay! Also, the gender of your character is totally immaterial to the game, which means you can choose on aesthetics alone if you like. True that!