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Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack :: Forum Review

Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack Album Title: Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack
Record Label: DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (Reprint)
Catalog No.: SSCX-10040; SQEX-10047/9
Release Date: December 18, 2000; June 29, 2005
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Written by Chris

Despite becoming a freelance composer after the release of the Xenogears Original Soundtrack in 1998, Yasunori Mitsuda still collaborated with Square Enix to produce his second major solo effort, the Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack. As the soundtrack for the third game in the Chrono series (following Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers), the Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack was to combine melodies, elements, and styles heard in the music for Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers together with Mitsuda's newly established Celtic styles that were inherent to his future works.

The consequent album produced was to prove a big hit for Chrono fans and Mitsuda fans alike. This was quite deservedly so, as, while undoubtedly rusty around the edges, the sweeping musical beauty surrounding this soundtrack blew many fans away. The album boasts many strong features — top-notch sound quality, extensive instrumental use, inspired melodic crafting, and emotive track-by-track development — and these ensure that it may not be Mitsuda's most unique Original Soundtrack, but still his most heartfelt.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Chrono Cross ~Scars of Time~ (Written by Jared)

This soundtrack is worth buying because of this track alone. This piece stands up with the very best of Uematsu, marking Mitsuda as a very capable composer. You can feel the emotion of this track flow right through your body. I think that the instrumentation is the key here. The choice of flute, guitar, and violin really bring out the emotional value of this piece. In addition, the style of the melody is unique. I like how it still keeps every bit of emotion as the beginning after it changes to a faster, more active pace. The track starts of mellow with a lovely guitar and flute melody and then comes some upbeat drums and strings that really get this track moving. It sets the stage for a great violin section that makes this track great. The melody that a violin plays is very memorable and very pleasing. It harmonizes nicely with the rest of the track. It gives it a kind of old, sad feeling, which fits with its title. However, I do feel that the track ends too abruptly, though it doesn't make too much of a difference to the overall experience. A great and memorable track I'd recommend to anyone. (10/10)

2) Between Life and Death (Written by Gilgamesh)

This is the boss fight music and the player hears this theme very early in the game. It's not a bad tune and I think Mitsuda succeeded in developing background music that really gave the players tension as opposed to composing an epic fight theme. It worked quite well while I was desperately trying to find the proper color element to use. There's lots of percussion and a hurried/strong orchestra, and my favorite part is when the human-like chants come in. It is probably the best battle music in the game, but it still can get just a bit repetitive. And the music eventually loses its "spice" on a re-play (New Game+) since the regular boss battles eventually get easier and less tense. (7/10)

3) Arni Village ~ Home (Written by The Mourning Sage)

This track is quite a nice town theme that starts out with a great acoustic guitar solo. At around the 0:30 mark a flute takes up the melody, which happens to be a very subtle arrangement of the main "Chrono Trigger" theme (meaning that "Chrono Trigger" is not played straight out). This is a nice laid-back theme that very well represents a village. Underneath the laid-back approach, however, there seem to be some feelings of sadness and hope present that give this track more depth. The tender flute melodies are especially effective. And it never really gets repetitive either. (9/10)

4) Fields of Time ~ Home World (Written by Gilgamesh)

Fans of the original Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version will most likely recognize this track immediately. Mitsuda recycles old material from Chrono Trigger ("Chrono Trigger" in this case) and spices it up here with a more "tropical" feel. A marimba-like instrument accompanied by light guitar and "shaker" percussion plays the central, "mellow" section of "Chrono Trigger," the track played in the intro video to Chrono Trigger. The phrase gets a bit repetitive but the tune finally relaxes into a slightly hastened version of "Chrono Trigger." A nice remix for Chrono Cross but nowhere near as good as the original. (7/10)

5) Lizard Dance (Written by The Mourning Sage)

I personally find this track to be very repetitive but nicely upbeat. It starts off with a mallet ostinato that plays throughout the entire track, and more and more parts are gradually added, starting with an ostinato played by what sounds to be a harpsichord that ends at around the 0:30 mark. A drumbeat is added about twenty seconds into the track to give it more of a beat, and that is appreciated. After the harpsichord ostinato ends, a flute takes up the "melody" of the track until the track loops at 1:15. This track is very repetitive and gets annoying kind of quickly, but for what it's worth the track has a nice beat. Listen a few times, and from then on you may want to skip it. (6/10)

6) Reminiscing ~Uneraseable Memory~ (Written by Tim)

I can't seem to remember where this melancholy piano track plays. What I do know is that though simplistic, this is easily one of the most emotional tracks in the entire game. From the gentle rolled chords to the minimalist but effective left hand, this track just pours with emotion. One of my favorites. (9/10)

7) On the Beach of Dreams ~ Another World (Written by Gilgamesh)

Wow, this is definitely one of my favorites from the Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack. There's a quick synth choir opening before a soft guitar begins playing harmony against a beautiful baseline. Finally, an absolutely wonderful violin melody kicks in — the melody itself is hard to describe but there's a bit of sadness to it. The imitation vibrato is done very well and there's just a memorable quality to this track. It's used perfectly as Another World sub-overworld background music — perfect for your ears as you change party members and spend several minutes changing everyone's equipped elements. (10/10)

8) Arni Village ~ Another (Written by B Major)

This track is a beautiful composition. I never thought a bass guitar, an accoustic guitar, and a piano could sound so good together. A synth also plays the role of some background harmony. This track gives the image of a peaceful village by the shore of an ocean, which is exactly what is depicted in the game. Overall, this track is a worthy addition to this soundtrack. (9/10)

9) Ephemeral Memory (Written by Gilgamesh)

A gentle soft piece played by what sounds like a "glassy" electric piano. The melody is very gentle and sweet though it displays that hint of sadness, much like the rest of Mitsuda's tracks thus far on this CD. A clarinet joins in eventually and does so with wonderful touch — not too loud or imposing, but bold enough to be heard. A great relaxing track though just a bit boring and not too memorable. (7/10)

10) Lost Fragment (Written by Piano)

Wow, I have never heard such a good guitar synth. A short introduction by the guitar leads into the melody being played by a Cello. This gentle piece uses a mode in the melody to add a bit of flavour. I'm not sure what flavour, but it's a tasty one. (9/10)

11) Drowned Valley (Written by Chris)

This is another of Mitsuda's Celtic inspired themes. It features some of his characteristic heavy flute use. While I am fairly indifferent towards the first section, the second section is extremely well composed and features some colourful chord progressons. As ever with Mitsuda in this Original Soundtrack, it is the use of instrumentation that is the key feature to the success of this theme. (9/10)

12) Termina ~ Another (Written by Gilgamesh)

This is another wonderful, lively track that is quite refreshing to hear following all the gentle, soft, and moody tracks thus far on this CD. While I love Mitsuda's slower and more mellow pieces, this one proves to be quite a catchy little town tune. Quick percussion, banjos, and bagpipe-like (or accordion-like) instruments definitely give Termina a "busy" but exotic feel and it suits the harbor settlement nicely. I also really like the "boing" effect given off by one of the percussion instruments. My only nitpick about this track is that the music can just get a bit tiresome after spending over thirty minutes exploring the town. A small and minor setback. (8/10)

13) Departed Souls (Written by Chris)

This is a soft and mellow track used within the game in order to represent the loss of loved ones. It begins strongly with a harp duet, which is extremely realistic thanks to superb synth used throughout this soundtrack. As the theme progresses it eventually blooms into a much thicker passage. Here, the strings take the leading role and continue to play the melody of "The Dragoons," which is heard in Disc Two. This passage is even more touching and is full of both sadness and hope. Again, this is another superbly manipulated track from Mitsuda boasting a huge amount of musical features. (9/10)

14) Forest of Illusion (Written by Djinova)

As the name implies this is a forest theme of some sort. It has a hypnotizing effect on the listener but in a way that it is penetrating rather than relaxing like a lullaby. The track gets really repetitive with the continuous bing-bong-sound; however, it has been done on purpose in order to characterize this forest theme. I had the feeling that it shall seduce the party into its ruin. The association with the Sirenes in Odysseus' adventures comes to mind when the synth voice joins in, thus adding to the luring effect. It's not a bad track at all as it fulfills a certain purpose, but it surely isn't made for constant replay (unless you want to get a crisis, because the bing-bong-sound is really loud in my opinion, a case where high tones get annoying quickly). The sound quality is excellent though. (9/10)

15) Snakebone Mansion (Written by Chris)

This theme was originally heard back in Radical Dreamers and was one of the most memorable tracks on that game. Although no official soundtrack was released for Radical Dreamers, rips have been made that demonstrate how Mitsuda has integrated a number of themes from that game into the Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack. Its addition to this album is distinctly a welcome one and, although it has been barely changed from the original, the improved synth for this album and stronger instrumental choices ensure this track is more haunting and mysterious than ever. Still, with prolonged listening it becomes a little lacklustre and it needs a little more 'oomph'. (8/10)

16) Victory ~A Gift of Spring~ (Written by Chris)

This delightful gem was heard back in the Chrono Trigger Original Soundtrack as what was commonly known as "Lucca's Theme." This revival, although short, maintains the original's melodic beauty and is ideal as the game's victory fanfare. This beats the Final Fantasy "Victory Fanfare" any day! (9/10)

17) Lost in Time (Written by Gilgamesh)

A soft and mysterious track that does a fairly good job in setting up suspense for the player or listener. I like the varied choice of instruments though overall, the track is quite boring and uninteresting to listen to as a piece by itself. Many of Chrono Cross's latter tracks fall into this category, great addition to the game, hard to listen to on its own. (5/10)

18) Galdorb ~ Another (Written by Djinova)

The first thing I noticed about this track is its incredible similarity to "Breezy" from Final Fantasy VIII; you could believe its initial melodic line is a direct rip-off. Nevertheless it is something I'd rather care less about. It seems, in addition to that, there is something else Yasunori Mitsuda cares less about; the whole musical force rests on merely two ordinairy instruments, the guitar and the oboe. The barely audible guitar fret noises are not noteworthy either in that context. Astonishingly enough or arguably not, the track never gets boring, as the soothing, tranquil nature of this track is well-expressed through this minimalist style. As often with tracks from this album, the awesome synth may account as well for the great listening pleasure. Simplistic tracks are like a sphere: it's hard to find spikes or edges of complexity, that make those tracks breakable for critics other than being plain. (9/10)

19) Hydra Swamp (Written by Djinova)

This is one of those tracks that contributes to the wholeness of a sound album rather than having a solid quality on its own. It is a pure ambient track, as something like a clear catchy melodic line is hardly present, even though the "Radical Dreamers" theme makes a short and rather subtle appearance around 1:16 to 1:26. The track develops well, the instruments are diverse but remain sufficiently unintrusive for the listener to enjoy the atmosphere created (again, this could have been for the synths). All in all, Yasunori Mitsuda managed to create a relaxing track that is not slow (going against the stereotype). Somehow I feel this track should accompany a desert rather than a swamp. (8/10)

20) Fragment of a Dream (Written by Djinova)

Bing Bong. Bing Bong. it's music box time. This track is certainly a unique one from Yasunori Mitsuda, featuring a minimalist style by using only the music box as a result for a lovely melody, which is taken from the "Radical Dreamers" theme. The ever reminiscent and nostalgic character of this "instrument" is acknowledged by everyone's intuition, so in this case it's no exception as the bing-bong sound is as innocent and childlike as it is pure and clear. The music box never plays a flowing melody, as distant memories are single fragments, that often have no connection with each other. I don't blame this track for its relative shortness either; it is appropriate for this style, which adds to the effect of reminiscence. (9/10)

21) Voyage ~ Another World (Written by Chris)

This is a prime example of just how soothing Mitsuda's more relaxing themes can be. As ever with Mitsuda, his instrumentation choices are sensitively chosen. In this case, the instrumentation ensures light and feathery textures are created throughout. The way it develops is certainly not too brash — each section transitions from the next effortlessly. Still, as 'voyaging' themes go, I will always favour "Voyage ~ Home World" for its greater sense of life and vigour! (8/10)

22) Ghost Ship (Written by Talaysen)

This track is actually quite interesting because it's seemingly simple. It consists of two things, a simple string instrument background and other instruments taking turns playing on top of it. The vision I see from hearing this track is the party sneaking around in some damp area, which I suppose a ghost ship would be. This track does well to set up that environment's feel. (9/10)

23) Deathfire Mountain (Written by Chris)

This is one of those tracks that is likely to fit the scene well within the game but is a rather dull addition to the Original Soundtrack. It is one of the more ambient themes in this soundtrack and it employs use of some ethnic instrumentation to represent this mountain. However, somehow it seems rather weak against ambient tracks from giants like Sakimoto and Soule. Maybe this is because of the fact that it still adheres strongly to a melodic basis and clear cut structure just like most of Mitsuda's other themes. The fact it doesn't take a particularly long time to loop doesn't help either. (7/10)

24) Fortress of Ancient Dragons (Written by Conqueso)

Easily the best dungeon track on the first disc, this complex track looks forward to Mitsuda's soundtrack for the game Xenosaga (particularly its final boss theme) with its frequent change of mood and style. Beginning with subdued male voices and vibraphone, the piece quickly changes to a jazzy piano riff with drums and bass. Throughout the track, the two groups of instruments, the choir and organ on one side and the drums and bass on the other, fight for dominance. Although it's a very cool track, it's hampered, as most of the dungeon tracks are, by a weak, barely-there melody, and a rather poor way to end the first disc (since the next track is not much of a track at all). (8/10)

25) Grief (Written by Conqueso)

A very short cue "sung" by a synth children's choir which plays at a crucial point in the game. Effective as it is in the game, it's not much to listen to on its own. (3/10)

Disc Two

1) Beginning of a Dream (Written by Conqueso)

Another very short piece. I don't actually remember hearing this in the game, but it's very pretty, in a melancholy way, despite its length, and it sets up for the next track well. (6/10)

2) A Narrow Space Between Dimensions (Written by Conqueso)

Rarely do I find a track as tender and as moving as this one. This touching guitar solo, unlike the previous substantial track, is very simple, but in its brief one minute and fourteen seconds is packed some of the purest emotion in the entire soundtrack. Taken in the context of the game, with the protagonist's seemingly hopeless plight and his blurred surroundings, this track goes from being just a superb track to being one of the finest melodies Mitsuda has ever written. (10/10)

3) Termina ~ Home (Written by Chris)

Just like "Termina ~ Another," this theme has heavy Celtic influences with its folky melodies and heavy bagpipe use. The composition is solid throughout what with Mitsuda carefully balancing the predominant Celtic style with his more trademark melodic influences. Essentially it manages to be a theme that represents the scene well but also remains quite memorable at the same time. Still, I imagine it would get quite tiresome if its use within the game is too heavy. (8/10)

4) The Dragoons (Written by Djinova)

This superb track starts off very energetically and heroically. As often with Mitsuda tracks, the melody is led by various wind instruments, which add the special legendary feel to those tracks. Once again, taking the outstanding synth quality into account, those instruments justify their potential to the fullest. Without question, similarities to "Leaving the Body" are present, especially when the second part enters after 0:56, which is quite just as moving and "lasting" as the before-mentioned. All in all, as typical with almost any track it's the melodic line and instrument use, that render this one a complete success. It sounds like it came directly from an orchestra. (9/10)

5) Voyage ~ Home World (Written by Conqueso)

Like "Termina ~ Home World," this track doesn't use the same melody as its Another counterpart, but that does nothing but help its overall effect. With its leading electric guitar and pulsing strings and percussion backing up the ever-present acoustic guitar, the music actually paints the picture not of a laid-back cruise like the Another track, but of an epic journey, exciting and exhilarating. (9/10)

6) Galdorb ~ Home (Written by Djinova)

"Galdorb ~ Home" is a simple and virtually monophonic track. As the clear and bright sound of the guitar dominates, it places the drums and acoustic bass far in the background. Still, those instruments are not totally lost, but add to the earthly flavour of this piece of music. With merely guitar music and some background beats, the track can't help much, but have to be melodically filled, in order to make up for this supposed loss. And it does fantastically, as the melody is one of the most memorable ones in this soundtrack. Arguably, it shines even brighter and stands out for itself with only the guitar playing it. In comparison to "Galdorb ~ Another," this one is more "confirmative" and not as mellow as the previous. (9/10)

7) Marbule ~ Home (Written by Djinova)

Another clear and bright piece finds its way into this soundtrack. This one has a special Scottish feel to it. A memorable melody, some standard instruments, and an uncommon one are all that is needed to create this track. The track is far from anything peculiar, but it's just enjoyable to listen to, not least for the fact that the instruments sound incredibly real again. (8/10)

8) Zelbess (Written by Chris)

This track is so cheesy that it is untrue. Still, it's fairly likeable nonetheless. Yes, fairly. It is undeniable that its main asset is its catchy (and corny) melodies, but the ethnic influences running throughout the track are also quite a positive feature. It seems suited for its purpose within the game while aboard the SS Zelbess in the Home World. Still, prolonged listening can certainly prove both tedious and annoying. Don't say I didn't warn you! (7/10)

9) The Splendidly Grand Magic Troupe (Written by Gilgamesh)

A short lively track used for Sneff's small stage performance. With the opening gong and the use of strings, this track has a distinct "Far East" feel to it. Otherwise, it's just a simple tune for a small event in the game and isn't much to listen to on its own. (2/10)

10) Nap (Written by Gilgamesh)

Not much to say about the "sleep" music except that it's short and sweet. Very relaxing like all other sleep tracks but nothing that makes it stand out from others. (5/10)

11) Chronomantique (Written by Gilgamesh)

A very interesting variation of the original "Chrono Trigger" from Chrono Trigger that focuses on the middle "mellow" section. Structurally similar to the Home World track, it takes the theme and gives it a very tropical feel with the use of a gentle guitar, strings and shakers for percussion. I actually like this slower and more relaxed version of the theme compared with the Home World track — however, players hearing this in the game will not hear the track in its entirety. This track is ONLY used during auto-controlled boat travel (which is very short). My only wish is that more original Chrono Trigger themes could have been carried over and re-arranged rather than taking the "Chrono Trigger" (despite its greatness) and remixing it over and over again. (7/10)

12) Dilemma (Written by Djinova)

The "hurry" track of Mitsuda? The fast beats manage to deliver a sense of urgency. Other than this, "Dilemma" neither offers a great deal of mysterious danger nor a really adrenaline-pumping, blast away piece of music. It stands somewhere between definition and no definition, being not effective as a track that should compel the player to run. It features some hum-hum synth voices, something that has appeared before in "Between Life and Death." Some ethnic influences can be heard as well, indicating it is created and made by Yasunori Mitsuda. (7/10)

13) Optimism (Written by Gilgamesh)

A lively, bouncy type of music with bits of "marching elements" thrown in towards the end. Works quite well as background theme music for the more goofy characters although it's not the most fantastic track out there. I personally find the melody a bit stale but it serves a better in-game purpose rather than a stand alone track. (3/10)

14) Isle of the Dead (Written by Chris)

Ambient themes can be intriguing to consider if they either employ use of interesting musical features or a wide variety of appropriate instrumentation. Unfortunately, though, Mitsuda isn't particularly successful in either respect. How many times before have we heard plain arpeggios and broken chord sequences being used as the central part of an ambient theme? Yes, far too many times before. How many times before have we heard supposed tribal drum beats being used lifelessly in such themes? Indeed, tonnes of times before as well. If Mitsuda had cut the cliché here and experimented a bit more then this theme might have considerably more lasting power within the soundtrack. (6/10)

15) Dead Sea/Tower of Destruction

Written by Djinova - Let's forget about the stereotypes for a moment and enjoy this excellent ambient piece of music. The track starts with a stereotypical piano solo. It introduces emptiness and solitude with a melody that is very melancholic. In the background, the constant blowing of the wind creates a "sharp" contrast to the piano and to the bells later. The bells themselves sound like the bells of death. There are many other interesting facts about this track. But, all in all, Yasunori Mitsuda manages to create a great ambient track that draws the listener into a world where destruction has left its footprints; silence. (10/10)

Written by Totz - I gotta say, I hate this game, but the "Dead Sea/Tower of Destruction" makes everything worthwhile. Everything about it is great, but let's focus on the music, right? I can't say one bad thing about this track. It's atmospheric enough to provide some suspense, but it's also ambient enough to blend into the surroundings and it doesn't get tiresome to listen to, even though you have to listen to it for a relatively long time in the game. Its great instrumentation helps you build that suspense feeling you get when you're there, crossing it, in hopes to find out why that place is the way it is currently. Overall, a fantastic track, that'll make you forget about the weak, weak pieces that come right before it. (10/10)

16) Prisoners of Fate (Written by Gilgamesh)

Ah, another beautiful sad piece written by Mitsuda. The string melody expresses such sorrow and it grows more and more powerful/epic as the cymbal "rushes" come in. What I especially like about this track is its dual use. It works great for a depressing scene (obviously) but is also utilized very well in key "story" battles during the game. These battles are really unnecessary and are simply the result of tragic circumstances surrounding the character being fought — the music expresses this feeling very well. A great track with memorable qualities that really added to the game. (9/10)

17) A Light Already Lost

Written by Jared - This very short track is very basic, and doesn't have any outstanding properties or melodies. The guitar sounds depressing and adds a sad feel to the track; however this get no chance to fully develop, due to the tracks short length. If longer and more developed, this could have been a good piece. It's not much to listen to on its own. (6/10)

Written by Totz - If I'm not mistaken, this is the "Game Over" track, and it does its job well. The guitar sounds very melancholic, and the sudden ritardandos just add an extra touch that is, well, great. There's really not much to say about it, so I'll stop here. (10/10)

18) Island of the Earth Dragon (Written by Chris)

Remember that I was critical of "Isle of the Dead" a few tracks back? Well, unfortunately, my opinion about this track is largely one big 'ditto'. Still, despite its simplistic, tedious, and hardly ground-breaking nature, this track does benefit from some excellent instrumental contrasts. Mitsuda uses some marvellous gradations of texture in conjunction with this to create a lot of atmosphere in places. Nonetheless, this is probably the only thing that prevents it from being unofficially labelled 'dire'. (6/10)

19) Navel of the World (Written by Jared)

When I first heard this track, I was startled by its instant upbeat tempo. To me, this track has a lot of potential; however, it repeats and gets very annoying due to the incredibly upbeat tempo. That's not to say that this is a bad track, however. It has good synth and a unique feel to it. Overall, this track could have been better and had a little more development. (7/10)

20) Gale (Written by Totz)

If there was one thing that made battling in Chrono Cross not a waste of time was the battle theme. This track is a great example of what makes a battle theme work: it's upbeat, it's exciting, and it doesn't get old fast. If you want it to get boring, listen to it for like seven months in a row. While writing this review, the track has looped five or six times, and I didn't want to stop hearing it. Overall: excellent track. (9/10)

21) Victory ~A Cry in Summer~ (Written by Jared)

I found this to be a very effective victory fanfare. Its upbeat and exciting, with diverse parts playing in it, even though it is so short. I believe this fanfare rivals the classic Final Fantasy "Victory Fanfare." It may even beat it. (9/10)

22) Marbule ~ Another (Written by Chris)

This track proves once more that it is definitely setting themes that Yasunori Mitsuda truly excels in. This track is a luscious blend of feathery textures, delicate timbres, and light harmonies, together with an emotive melody that features fragments of the "Radical Dreamers" theme. As ever, the composition is of highest quality and I expect this will set Marbule in the other world very well. (9/10)

23) Magic from the Fairies (Written by Chris)

This track is a 13-second interpretation of the first phrase of the "Radical Dreamers" main theme on synth vocals. This supposedly plays an integral role in the game but has little effective purpose in the soundtrack, considering it is so short. No marks are warranted here! (N/A)

24) Etude 1 (Written by Chris)

This track is exactly the same as the previous one except with the melody on a distorted electric guitar supported by a simple bass guitar accompaniment. (N/A)

25) Etude 2 (Written by Chris)

This is the final one of these three short tracks. This is similar to "Etude 1" except the bass guitar provides a strummed chordal accompaniment. The textures are therefore a little thicker although the melody is exactly the same. (N/A)

26) Magical Dreamers ~The Wind, the Stars, and the Sea~ (Written by Jared)

I must say this track really suprised me. After the ancient, sacred feel of most of the tracks, this one came in with guitar, bass, and bongos. It seems to be extremely experimental. Well, the experiment worked. Its a very effective track worth a listen, however is does loop fairly soon and doesn't really develop into anything. Overall, a decent track. (7/10)

Disc Three

1) Garden of God (Written by Djinova)

A holy feeling emanates from the airy, fairy texture of this track. Yasunori Mitsuda uses only the harp and high female chant to paint the picture of a sacred place, because both have a strong relation to god and heaven. Whereas the former is considered the instrument angels play, the latter represents the voice of them. Both are heard in churches sometimes. In conclusion, this track can't get more stereotypical as it stands. But it doesn't matter, as it scores considerably in terms of uniqueness in the world of video games. Let someone listen to this track and tell him/her to imagine the scene to it. I bet the results are alike. On a personal note, this track has a soothing melody and is very relieving. Experimentation with music may be progressive, association with music is the place to call home. A composer should seek either extremes, the first to improve his abilities and second to confirm his abilities. Yasunori Mitsuda confirmed it. (10/10)

2) Chronopolis (Written by Jared)

I wasn't really fond of this track. It was boring, repetitive, and took way too long to develop into anything. Once it developed into something, it went right back to the beginning and repeats. A very annoying techno riff plays throughout the entire thing, with distant pounding sounds on every fourth beat. Then, you get the first sign of development; a piano comes in and begins playing arpeggios. However, this is even more annoying than the technobeats, and takes a lot away from the track due to the flat notes and dull sound. When it develops, its a great track, though only for about 20 seconds. It has more complexity and diverse parts playing. Once that very short good section is over, it returns to the annoying formula the rest of the track uses. (4/10)

3) Fates ~The God of Destiny~ (Written by Chris)

This track is very much like "Navel of the World" heard in Disc Two — indeed both are fast-paced action tracks and are characterised by Mitsuda's Celtic influences. Luckily this one develops to its full potential unlike "Navel of the World" and therefore loops later. Some of the development felt a bit awkward and thoughtless, however. This is particularly so in the xylophone passage — it is melodically incoherent and also fails to smoothly transition from it back into the main theme. Other than this, however, the track proves to be a decent and original action theme, which this Original Soundtrack seems to need more of. (8/10)

4) Jellyfish Sea (Written by Gilgamesh)

A very calm sounding and soothing track, much like what you would expect the bottom of the ocean to feel like. The instrument choices are perfect and the addition of "echo" type sound effects really help to bridge the music with the graphic scenery. However, the track serves an ambient purpose as opposed to a melodic one. Nothing interesting really develops out of the "calm" state and this tune isn't that great to listen to on its own. (7/10)

5) Burning Orphanage (Written by Jared)

This was quite an interesting track, with several elements not commonly used in this Original Soundtrack. Several of these elements lead to a very creepy sounding piece: the loud pipe organ, the male and female vocals, the percussion, and the the strings playing staccato notes. However, the track gets very annoying, due to the fact that is repeats about three times. Once it fully develops, it repeats that same section over again. The track does have fairly decent development at the beginning; however, as instruments are added one-by-one until all sounds are playing at the same time. However, this track is not very pleasing to listen to, at all. (5/10)

6) The Girl Who Stole the Stars (Written by Chris)

This track is very similar to a track used in "Radical Dreamers" except with improved sound quality and addition of female vocals. The instrumentals are a little too much on the redundant side — the piano's ostinato quickly gets very repetitive. The violin and flute make up for this to some extent although they are quite melodically indistinctive. The addition of vocals give this track a unique uplifting atmosphere; however, they are not necessarily always the most pleasing to listen to. Overall, the track is quite a beautiful one that creates a huge amount of atmosphere. This is not to say that the track doesn't have serious musical flaws, however. (9/10)

7) The Dream that Time Dreams (Written by Gilgamesh)

It's interesting how the "secondary intro" track was placed here so late in the third disc. If I remember correctly, this is the theme that plays during the "demo-like" movie if you don't hit START after the opening cutscene — very similar to Chrono Trigger's opening cutscene. In fact, this track is analogous to Chrono Trigger's opening track, "Chrono Trigger." In a very epic manner, an in-game theme ("On the Beach of Dreams ~ Another World") is remixed and used. The arrangement is very well done — a strong and bold string section takes the main melody and the section is repeated several times before the classic "middle" "Chrono Trigger" comes in softly. Definitely works well in tying back to roots from the old game with this theme. Overall, a very good track to listen to. (9/10)

8) Dragon's Prayer (Written by Jared)

Here is yet another oustanding track heading up to the end. It is very creepy and mysterious, and is one of the better developed tracks on the album. The variety of instruments used here is unique, from oboe to acoustic guitar. It adds a lot to the mystic and frightening atmosphere of the piece. This makes great listening, and will hold your attention simply because its interesting and unique in the way it develops and plays out. One of the better tracks on the album. (10/10)

9) Tower of Stars (Written by Chris)

A church bell rings charmingly throughout this track signifying the final tower of the game. After a solo introduction, the bells are soon joined by suspended string notes in typical ambient fashion. Eerie and faint vocal passages are also heard giving this track quite a climactic feel. Its format is repetitive and there is such little variation throughout that its shelf-life is undoubtedly limited. Nonetheless, its ideas are powerful and it would represent the final dungeon of the game adequately. (7/10)

10) Frozen Flame (Written by B Major)

Aha! We have come to one of my favorite tracks on the Original Soundtrack! The smooth oboe melody is nicely accompanied by the piano in some parts, and the upbeat harp in the background makes this track both enjoyable and smooth to listen to. I am sure anyone who listens to this will instantly fall in love with this track, and I think that it should have been played more in during the game. (10/10)

11) Dragon God (Written by Jared)

Wow. This is one of the greatest battle themes ever composed. Ever. It starts with wonderful string parts, with percussion in the background. A weird vocal part comes in with it all, and adds a creepy, ancient feel to the piece. After that, a gothic sounding string part comes in, making the piece even more frantic and evil than it originally was. This is simply great because of the awesome use of percussion, string, and voice. My only problem with the track is that it loops way too soon. However, it does have good development. To top it all off, it sounds great and is in awesome quality. Overall, one of the most effective and enjoyable battle themes ever composed, and is a close second for best track on this album. (10/10)

12) Dark Realms of Time (Written by Gilgamesh)

Sigh. After hearing great and epic "final battle" music passages from Mitsuda like "World Revolution" or even the preceding "Dragon God," this SFX-only track played during the final fight with Lavos was a major letdown. Sure, the sound effects are cool and all the attacks/spells have echoes to them — my guess is the programmers wanted to achieve a state of hopeless "nothingness" and that's what they got. However, music (in my humble opinion) will always do a better job at creating tension and adrenaline over pure sound effects. I was really looking forward to another epic confrontational piece by Mitsuda. (1/10)

13) Life ~A Distant Promise~ (Written by Talaysen)

This track does a good job of setting up an evolving feeling. I can see it going with some kind of scene. The track starts out with slow gentle fragile bell tones, which one may recognize as from "Radical Dreamers." Then the tones speed up while the piano gradually joins them and eventually leads into a sad version of the same theme heard in "Radical Dreamers." It does a good job of portraying that sadness with the violins Mitsuda seems so fond of. Eventually there is a pause and the theme picks up again, but without the relatively fast piano/bell tones in the background. In essence, this just helps further the sad theme of the track. After this, a lone instrument (an oboe?) joins in as the upper voice, still sad, but it sounds more like it's symbolizing hope. This then leads into a more majestic portion of the track, still slightly sad, but majestic nonetheless, complete with percussion to enhance it. Had the track stopped here, it would have been better, but after the majestic portion it returns back to the more sad theme and repeats again. Not remembering where this was played in the game, it baffles me.

Overall, this track does a very good job of evolving to what one can imagine is behind it. Having forgotten what really happens, I hope I was still able to describe it fairly closely solely based on the music. This, in my opinion, is what a great composer is able to do: Generate a physical setting or emotional mood through music. (10/10)

14) Reminiscing ~Uneraseable Memory~ (Written by Chris)

This track is merely a repeat of "Reminiscence ~Uneraseable Memory~" reviewed on Disc One. The purpose of this was intended to tie up the Original Soundtrack with a recapitulation of a familiar theme. In reality, this turned out to be quite a pointless thing to do, however, and it neither adds nor detracts to the Original Soundtrack. (N/A)

15) Radical Dreamers ~Unstealable Jewel~ (Written by Djinova)

This is the beloved "Radical Dreamers" theme in its purest form. A strong focus has been placed on the melody. Therefore the only instrument of accompaniment is the acoustic guitar, which is characteristic of creating sharp and distinct tones. Furthermore, the smooth, clear and strong voice of Noriko Mitose was really able to draw out the essence of this theme. It's sad, but not overly dreary. There are people who criticize it of being rather bland and uninspired, but in my opinion Yasunori Mitsuda knew what he was doing, when he adopted a rather minimalistic style for this popular theme. With sadness towards the end, emptiness is what's left, therefore the composition doesn't have to be complex. If not anything else there is definitely one word to describe this piece; beautiful. (8/10)

16) Fragment of a Dream (Written by Tim)

"Fragment of a Dream" is simply a music box-style rendition of a very familiar theme in the game. In fact, this same piece is repeated on Disc One. Why this happened, I have no idea. The music box method has been popular in many Square titles. They tend to use it for sad or flashback scenes. In general, this is a fairly catchy tune, but it's over simplistic nature doesn't take it beyond mediocrity. (N/A)


Written by Chris

Out of Yasunori Mitsuda's four most major soundtracks (Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Xenosaga), it is the Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack that stands out the least in terms of musical valuability: it is neither as fresh and innovative as Chrono Trigger, nor as epic and experimental as Xenosaga, nor as diverse and refined as Xenogears. A number of factors — its release only a year after Xenogears, its inclusion of several direct and more subtle arrangements from Chrono Trigger, and the technological limitations that prevented Mitsuda to experiment with more abstract instrumentation — explain why this is so. However, despite not being musically landmarked and particularly consistent, this will always be Mitsuda's warmest and sincerest of works for me. Its peaks — from "Chrono Cross ~Scars of Time~" to "Radical Dreamers ~ Unstealable Jewel" — make it an unforgettable achievement and an emotional experience. In addition, its instrumentation together with its impeccable sound quality really do this album a musical favour. This album is one that everybody should consider, and while not every track will appeal, there is more than enough to satisfy everybody. (8/10)

Written by Djinova

This album isn't a fan's favourite for no reason. As with most role playing game soundtracks, this one manages to spark off all sorts of emotions and feelings upon hearing. Yasunori Mitsuda combined his compositional brilliance with his celtic, ethnic influences to create a unique soundtrack. From a blasting, mind-blowing introduction with "Chrono Cross ~Scars of Time~" to a beautiful, emotional end with "Radical Dreamers ~ Unstealable Jewel," almost everything in between is within this soundtrack. Being the sequel to Chrono Trigger, the reincarnation of some beloved tunes have found their place in "Chrono Cross ~Scars of Time~" or "Victory ~ A Gift of Spring Spring" for example, which is another big plus for this soundtrack. Taking aside the composition, this soundtrack is blessed with such an extraordinarily real synth that the potential of an instrument has been drawn out to the fullest. Therefore, everything sounds better and the instruments carry over the emotions with maximum effect. Otherwise it's hard to say why it's such a brilliant soundtrack. What are you still readin'? Go and listen to it. (9/10)

Written by Gilgamesh

Hmmm, overall I have mixed feelings about this Original Soundtrack, contrary to what many others may think. On the good side, this album is packed with beautiful themes, opening immediately with the breathtaking "Chrono Cross ~Scars of Time~" track. There are many other great soothing and mellow themes that really evoke a sad/thoughtful response from the listener, whether playing the game or listening the Original Soundtrack on its own.

Being the sequel to Chrono Trigger, there were also a few carried over themes that translated quite nicely. While the overall quality of sound and "richness" was great throughout the album, I also felt that it was lacking a certain "oomph" to it. I felt all the strong tracks were either sad or depressing and that the happier tunes were not catchy enough. The album is clearly missing the energetic and classic character themes that Chrono Trigger had and I felt many of the stronger tracks fell into the category of ambient background music. Most of the battle sequences are below average, in my opinion, and there is an obvious letdown during the climactic battles (FATES and Lavos) compared with their Chrono Trigger counterparts (Magus and World Revolution). "Dragon God" and the regular boss battle do salvage some "fighting" points in my book as they were great for creating tension during the heat of battle. Finally, my last issue is the loss of momentum towards the end of Disc Three of the Original Soundtrack.

While the tracks are simple and clean (I loved the remix of "Schala's Theme" into the seven elements), it really lacks the "hero" type ending music that other RPGs have. Then again, Chrono Cross is a different type of game and many people do enjoy the "originality" of style regarding the direction the Original Soundtrack took towards the end. Overall, you will either find this album ABSOLUTELY AMAZING if you really like Mitsuda's style or you will find this Original Soundtrack to be a collection of great tracks and theme with a few "bumps" in the middle and towards the end if you prefer a more "balanced" and traditional style of Role Play Game Video Game Music. Nevertheless, it is still a MUST have for any video game music collector. You will not be disappointed. (8/10)

Written by Jared

Wow. What can I say about this jewel? It's superb in so many ways. Mitsuda really shows his talent and skill in this soundtrack with many diverse themes. It opens with the absolutely wonderful "Chrono Cross ~Scars of Time~," which is one of the best tracks ever composed for a video game, in my opinion. It's so emotional, and really opens the soundtrack in a good way. To me, this piece is as impressive as "Liberi Fatali" from Final Fantasy VIII, albeit in a different way. Throughout the soundtrack we get many amazing themes, each one different from the last, and each one in amazing quality. The synth used is superb when compared with the PlayStation-era Final Fantasy games, and the music is just as amazing. The soundtrack ends great too, with tracks such as "Dragon God" and "Life ~A Distant Promise~." While not as impressive as the opening to me, it's still great and a very worthy close to the album. Overall, this is one of the best Original Soundtracks one could ask for. I highly recommend it to everyone. (10/10)

Written by Tim

I remember when I first received the Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack many months before the game was released in the United States. I listened to it casually for a few weeks, but it's brilliance didn't hit me until I started playing the game. It was then that I knew I had an instant classic on my hands. This album runs the gamut of the music spectrum — from the frightening, to the emotional, to the upbeat. Since there are so many characters in the game, there aren't many specific character themes, but the abundance of truly memorable town and location themes really makes up for this. As an added bonus, many of the greatest themes have multiple arrangements in the game since you're seeing them during different eras and under different circumstances. While the themes remain fairly similar to each other, Mitsuda did an outstanding job of adjusting the arrangements to fit the mood. Furthermore, in other games' soundtracks, there always seems to be at least several pieces that just seem out of place in the context of the game. This simply isn't the case in the Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack.

I simply can't imagine strolling through Serge's home country without hearing the beautifully gentle strings of "On the Beach of Dreams ~ Another World," or playing through the emotional (and extremely challenging) battle with Miguel without the riveting "Fates ~The God of Destiny~" playing in the background. All the music just seems to fit together so perfectly, and since nearly every piece on the soundtrack is memorable in its own right, you'd be hard-pressed to find another soundtrack that tops this one. There are many that are similarly brilliant (including Mitsuda's excellent Xenogears album), but none that rise above this one in my opinion. (10/10)

Average of Summary Scores: 9/10