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Gabe / on Fri, Aug 22 2003 at 6:46 pm


I have been meaning to talk about Crystal Chronicles for a while now but I’ve just been playing it instead. I took a break to check out some forums and get some tips when I saw this post:

From: OSX | Posted: 8/20/2003 9:01:44 PM | Message Detail

Dont call me a newb i just wanna know.

So, you need 4 GBA’s to play multiplayer? Because if thats that case, nintendo and square have just made the biggest mistake ever…

My immediate reaction is to call this guy a fucking shitstick but then I thought “No. He’s not a shitstick, he is just uninformed.”  Since I’ve seen this same comment made by lots of people recently and I figured since I’ve actually played the game with four players I should address it here and perhaps ease some fears.

First of all yes it is true that in order to play with four players each person needs their own GBA. While it might sound odd at first, in practice it ends up being fucking brilliant. Imagine that you are playing with three other people. If you haven’t seen the game it’s not played in split screen. Picture a game like Hunter or Zombie Revenge. You’re all on the same screen fighting monsters and picking up loot. Now imagine that you need to access your inventory so that you can equip a new spell you picked up. Were it not for the GBA’s you would have to pause the game in order to bring up your inventory. Meanwhile no one else in your party can do shit because your cycling through menu screens looking for that new Ice spell you just grabbed. That’s bullshit and it would never work.

Instead what happens is that you hit the select button on your GBA and immediately you have access to your entire inventory and character customization menus via the GBA screen. You can sit there and alphabetize your items if you want and you aren’t bothering anyone else. The game is continuing on without you and your character automatically moves to keep up with the rest of the party. The other thing it allows is for multiple people to be using their inventories at the same time. I can be dropping Money for one person while he is dropping a spell for me. Fucking brilliant! This sort of thing would never be possible without the GBA.

Square also uses the GBA connectivity in other cool ways. One person in your party will have access to the map of the level you are in. It’s random so you never know who will be the navigator from level to level. You’re also given goals via your GBA screen before levels begin. Certain things like “Only use magic to kill monsters” or “don’t pick up any items”. Everyone is graded at the end of the level according to how well they accomplished these goals and the people with the highest scores get first dibs on specific kinds of loot picked up by the party during the level.

As wonderful and fantastic and totally fucking bad ass Crystal Chronicles is I will say that I think someone will die because of this game. That’s right, I believe it is only a matter of time before someone kills their friend because of his or her actions in this game. Let me give you some examples of the sort of behavior I have seen spark fights among our own group.

One of the most common ways for a fight to break out is over what we refer to as “Dropping the bucket short.” In case you don’t know the world of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is poisoned and your party carries with it a magical container (the bucket). This container creates a magic bubble around our party that all characters must remain inside if they don’t want to die. In order to progress through the level someone obviously has to carry this bucket around. While holding the bucket a player can’t really do much of anything else. They have to keep an eye on all the other players and make sure that the bubble they are casting is safely covering the entire party. Players that dash off without warning the bucket man often find themselves on the wrong side of the bubble and in a world of hurt. As you can see bucket management is a very important job. It’s easy for the bucket man to get blamed for all kinds of tragedies that might befall the group. “Well if you had just moved the bucket over here I could have killed that guy!”  This is where “Dropping the bucket short” comes in. Monster X appears on the edge of the screen and the party rushes to engage him. The bucket man drops the bucket in order to join the fray but misjudges the size of his bubble and fails to envelope the monster in it. Now the monster sits just outside the bubble firing projectile attacks into it and picking off your party one by one. Meanwhile the members of your group must now brave the poisoned landscape beyond the bubble in order to battle this beast. This is often a lost cause as not only is the monster beating up on them but the very air around them causes massive amounts of damage. It’s not unheard of for an entire party to die this way, simply because of a bucket that was dropped short.

In our group the bucket man is Robert and there have been times when I thought that Porkfry was actually going to kill him. You see Pork carries a knife that he refers to as Mr. Stabby and it’s already tasted human blood. Recently Pork produced said knife after a particularly disastrous bucket drop left our entire party in spirit form. He waved it menacingly at Robert and as the rest off us held him back he screamed that he was going to “CUT THAT BITCHES FACE!” It took quite a bit of talking and consoling before I was sure that no ones face was going to be cut.  This time everyone survived but who knows if we will be as lucky next time.

Later I’ll tell you about item hording and lollygagging and how it can lead to broken bones and punctured lungs.

-Gabe out

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