Review by: Jonathan Hynes
Published: February 19, 2004
With Square Enix’s Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, gamers searching for a traditional console RPG will be in for a disappointment, as this outing has less in common with its namesake than another title of theirs, Kingdom Hearts, or even Nintendo’s own Zelda franchise. Still, the action / RPG mechanics will be, for some, a welcome departure from the Final Fantasy formula, though the emphasis on Game Boy connectivity has many worried that the single-player element won’t live up to the series’ lofty standards.
A toxic substance called miasma is central to the game’s storyline, as it divides the land into regions, virtually cutting off travel between counties to all but those who carry the sacred chalice. This sacred container is vital to collecting myrrh from ancient trees; this highly sought after substance is used to recharge the crystals that protect each town from the poisonous miasma. As a protector of the chalice, it is your mission to overcome all opposition and amass enough myrrh to rejuvenate your village’s crystal on a yearly basis.
Selecting a character may seem a little odd at first, as the classes used aren’t in-line with traditional Final Fantasy titles. There are four basic types of characters to choose from: Lilties (warriors), Yukes (wizards), Selkies (ability specialists) and Clavats (balanced). Aside from obvious differences in fighting styles, there are other features and nuances that are unique to each set of individuals. One of the more noteworthy examples is the weapons and armor system: to keep a magic user from turning him or herself into a physical powerhouse, most of the game’s equipment is restricted to certain classes. Some of the most devastating swords, for instance, are only available to the Lilties.
After deciding on a class, you must then choose your family’s occupation from a list that includes farmers, tailors, ranchers and millers. This selection will almost certainly come into play throughout the course of the adventure, as each provides some sort of benefit to the gamer. For example, if you’re from a family of blacksmiths, you’ll be able to craft new weapons and armor at a significant discount.