Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack


Review by · December 1, 2014

I’ll preface this review by stating that Chrono Cross is THE soundtrack that brought me into the world of video game music. My head was filled with the tracks long after I put my PS1 controller away. The reason: Yasunori Mitsuda’s compositions express not only how magical music can be when tied to a gaming experience, but also how that same music can be enjoyed in its own right. This album was my first real understanding of that idea, and I can do nothing but appreciate the impact it’s had on my attitude toward the world of VGM.

In the beginning, Mitsuda welcomes the listener with “The Scars of Time” — a flute hints at adventure but quickly gives way to a violin navigating the terrain of tumultuous drums. There is a sense of longing and danger in the track that makes for an iconic opening song. A good portion of the other pieces have a tropical feel brought on by drum beats and an overall calm tone. These tracks often have a pairing of focal instruments that make them similar but unique. Take “The Grasslands of Time: Home World,” for example. The beats provide a foundation for the interplay of guitar and steel drums to call to mind a relaxing beach shoreline. On top of that, Mitsuda incorporates themes from Chrono Trigger which adds to the enjoyment of several of these pieces for those familiar with his previous work.

Some criticize Mitsuda for being too repetitive. I agree and disagree. Mitsuda is clearly a versatile composer: you can juxtapose the whimsical “Termina: Another” with the solemn “Those Who Have Departed” or the adventurous “Time of the Dreamwatch.” And what some would call repetition, I call consistency. Does “Voyage: Another World” sound similar to “On the Shores of a Dream: Another World?” Yes, the style of the guitar renders the two comparable; yet, it doesn’t hinder the fact that both tracks are excellent. Chrono Cross is rife with piano, strings, and guitars, and I don’t fault Mitsuda for consistently relying on these instruments to produce his style. I particularly like his heavy use of guitars in the album as seen in “Guldove: Home,” “Chronomantique,” and ” RADICAL DREAMERS ~Le Trésor Interdit~” to name a few.

Although I’ve heard many great albums, Chrono Cross is one of the few soundtracks I’ve come back to time and time again. I listen to it to relax, to get me through long flights across the country, or to get lost in the emotions of the music. It’s an album that continues to endure in my life and in others I know as well. I don’t see that presence fading anytime soon.

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Brad Hayes-Raugh

Brad Hayes-Raugh

Brad was part of the RPGFan Music team in 2014. During his tenure, Brad bolstered our music review offerings by lending his unique voice and critique of the world of RPGs and VGM. Being a critic can be tough work sometimes, but his steadfast work helped maintain the quality of reviews RPGFan is known for.