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Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes

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Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes is a fan hack that has got a lot of attention lately due to an apparent cease and desist order from Square Enix. At the end of May, a version of the hack "leaked" onto file sharing websites. Here I share some of my impressions after playing the hack for a few hours.

By: Evan G
Last updated: June 1, 2009

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Select a chapter by talking to these characters

I'll say it right now, I am very sceptical about this supposed cease and desist order given to the makers of this hack. I personally think that it was just a way for them to draw widespread attention to their hack, and to bring about drama. And certainly, much drama ensued. Personally, I care not for drama, and I think that they should have handled this situation far differently. But I guess I am just not a scene guy.

Anyways, a beta version of the hack was leaked at the end of May. Comparing the game to the videos of the more final version of the hack, it is apparent that things are fairly well shaped up in the leaked version. If you look at the screenshots below, there are definitely some glitches that were worked out.

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Leaked versionFinal Version (taken from the Youtube videos released by the hacking group)
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I seriously doubt Frog would say something like "crap". And Glenn?

The story seems to be well developed, and decently written. However, I think it would have been good if they included more background information (why exactly has Porre gone all evil?) They also conveniently brought back Dalton with no explanation.

The biggest problem with this game is that they made it too hard. Even in the Youtube videos, they acknowledge it is very difficult and used a New Game+ to make them. I died several times in the first battle, even after I grinded to level four. It is like playing the original Dragon Warrior game, except you can't upgrade your weapon to the Bamboo Pole. The Beast enemies attack quickly, have a large amount of hit points, and gain attack power every time you attack them. The only option to end a fight quickly is to use magic, but since you are at a low level, after a couple of fights you run out.

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Die feeble Magus!

The first boss is the famed Golem Boss, which means to kick your ass. I first got to it at level four, and found out quickly the only way to do serious damage is to use the lightning attack. If you are quick enough, you can get the shot off before the Golem Boss uses the orb attack that halves your HP. However, it makes little difference as the lightning attack takes off at least 70 HP. This means that you have to be insanely fast to be able to do a lightning attack and heal yourself before the Golem Boss attacks twice.

After dying about 10 times in the first area, I got fed up and made a cheat in ZSNES to keep my HP from decreasing. I found out it takes about six lightning strikes to defeat the Golem Boss. That would require quite a few Mid-Tonics. I proceeded to the next area, and again found that the enemies were far too difficult (the Lasher counter attack takes off about 60-70 HP). The puzzles in the area also requires that you have a photographic memory of the original game. A wrong turn makes you fight a Golem, which is pretty much instant death.

After browsing some of the other chapters, it was pretty obvious that the battle maps are a very small component of the game. However, due to the insane difficulty of the early fights, it is highly unlikely most people would have the patience to go through this incomplete hack. Probably the only way to beat this is to cheat, and at that point, why have battles at all? The original Chrono Trigger had just the right balance in the difficulty level in that you could die if you did not know how to defeat certain enemies, but grinding was not necessary.

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The burning question is whether or not this is worth playing. I think that this is a pretty good effort to make an unofficial continuation of the storyline from the original Chrono Trigger. The effort in making this hack is pretty obvious. However, when it comes down to it, this hack is incomplete, and has many glitches. I also ran into areas that are incomplete. Due this and the great difficulty in fighting the enemies, I recommend watching the playthrough videos that the hackers are making rather than playing the leaked hack.

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HP recovery square, you'll be needing this a lot.Death, again and again.

Bibliography

  • Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes official website (link)
  • Youtube page showing videos of a playthrough of the completed hack (link)
  • Topic discussing the cease and desist order on Romhacking.net (warning: drama!) (link)
  • Chrono Compendium - Chrono Trigger fan site (warning, even more drama!) (link)
  • Coverage of the cease and desist order on Joystiq (link)

© Evan G. This site made by a Canadian, and fueled by beer. Do not use material on this site without permission.