Hello and welcome to The Starlight Megaphone‘s Spring 2021 playthrough–a chance for newer readers to participate in site-wide playthroughs from early in the life of The Starlight Megaphone, and a chance for older readers to return to games that have not had a site-wide playthrough in many years. Two previous site-wide playthroughs have been selected from our vaults: Chrono Trigger (May 2013) and Chrono Cross (October 2015), with the addition of Radical Dreamers: Le Trésor Interdit (‘the forbidden treasure’).
Below, we have a brief explanation about each of the three site-wide playthroughs that we are revisiting. Each one concludes with links to the original discussion threads. We’ll be selecting a few classic comments each week to read on the podcast, along with some of the comments from our own playthrough of these three titles. Please comment below with your progress, thoughts, and reflections on any or all of the games we have selected. You may also make use of our Discord chat’s #events channel as a place for conversation or simultaneous play.
In 2013, the site staff finally agreed to a group playthrough of what is very likely the most perfect JRPG ever made: Chrono Trigger. The reluctance to play through Chrono Trigger was indeed born out of a recognition that the game was too perfect to critique: with so few flaws–and those so minor!–it was felt that there simply would not be enough discussion around the game to make for a compelling playthrough experience. And so it proved: the Chrono Trigger playthrough had surprisingly low engagement, despite the participants agreeing that the game was exceptional in every way.
The Chrono Trigger playthrough benefitted from the 2008-2009 release of the definitive Nintendo DS edition, prior to which the game had not been officially released in Europe (although the SNES version had been released in Japan and North America in 2005). In 2013, many gamers owned Nintendo’s 3DS handheld, which played DS titles, ensuring wide availability for playthrough participation. The later release of Mobile (2011-2012) and PC (2018) editions have broadened the game’s availability still further, although it is no longer available natively on any current game console.
Chrono Trigger is available on SNES (cartridge), PS1/PS2/PS3 (PS1 CDs), PS3/PSP/PSV (PSOne Classics), Nintendo DS (cartridge), and PC/Mobile.
Read the Chrono Trigger original posts and comment threads here: Peaceful Days.
In 2015, two years after the Chrono Trigger playthrough, the site staff decided that the series deserved resolution. Although, at that time, Chrono Cross remained unreleased in Europe, the site pressed on with a playthrough, with participants using original discs or the digital 2011 PSOne Classics edition. European readers and staff members looked on in misplaced envy as the American and Japanese participants slogged their way through the turgid mire that is Chrono Cross.
Now, a modern remaster ensures that European gamers can finally play the hit 2022 follow-up to the 2009 Nintendo DS classic, Chrono Trigger! The new remaster boosts higher resolution graphics and text, a remastered (only in the literal sense of a higher bitrate) soundtrack, a new piece of music composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, and numerous quality-of-life cheats and boosts which will allow players to disable random battles and speed up the game, but which otherwise leave the dismal story unchanged.
Chrono Cross is available on PS1/PS2/PS3 (PS1 CDs) and PS3/PSP/PSV (PSOne Classics); a remastered and updated “Radical Dreamers” version is available on PS4/XBO/Switch (digital) and PC (digital). An English-language physical release in Asia will be available in late April.
Read the Chrono Cross original posts and comment threads here: Under Cerulean Skies.
Released only in Japan via the Super Nintendo’s Satellaview system, Radical Dreamers is a text-based adventure of the sort that would now be classed as a ‘visual novel’. The story, principally written by Chrono Trigger writer Masato Kato, attempts to resolve the story of Chrono Trigger by tying up loose ends. However, Kato’s resentment at the long hours of ‘crunch time’ needed to complete Chrono Trigger led him to write a much darker story for Radical Dreamers. Additional scenario writers were drafted in to write side stories, which better matched Chrono Trigger’s tone. The result was less than cohesive, and the gameplay failed to satisfy Kato.
Until now, Radical Dreamers has only been available outside of Japan as an emulated game with a fan translation. However, elements of the game were included in Chrono Cross, with the events of Radical Dreamers taking place inside of an alternate universe in Chrono Cross. In fact, Radical Dreamers characters Serge, Kid, and Magil were meant to be the central protagonists of Chrono Cross, although these plot elements were changed during the development of Chrono Cross.
When presented with requests to re-release Radical Dreamers and in new territories, Kato resisted the idea, pointing out that the game would need substantial improvements, in his estimation. However, with Kato having left Square Enix after his work on Final Fantasy XI: Rise of the Zilart, Square Enix felt that they could move ahead without his blessing, and Radical Dreamers is at last seeing a new rerelease, where it is being met with a highly positive reception.
Radical Dreamers is available PS4/XBO/Switch (digital) and PC (digital) as part of the Chrono Cross: Radical Dreamers Edition remaster. An English-language physical release in Asia will be available in late April.
This is The Starlight Megaphone‘s first playthrough of Radical Dreamers!
We encourage readers to play one, some, or all of the games included in our revisitation of classic The Starlight Megaphone content and our playthrough of games only now released in the West. In particular, we urge you to read the comments posted during the original playthroughs: do you agree with the original comments? Is your approach to video games different from those of our readers who posted their views a decade ago? If you commented on those original posts, has your opinion changed? Please let us know your thoughts in the comment thread below!
The aim in this playthrough is to complete as much of these games as possible in about two months, ending on 27 May. Instead of milestones, we encourage you to play at your own pace–but please keep us updated about your thoughts and progress as you play these three games. That will help to sustain our discussion, and will motivate others to join in and play along at their own pace.
Please join in with us and comment about your experience! The playthrough time frame is intended to allow anyone and everyone to participate, regardless of speed of play or familiarity with the games. Comment and tell your friends!