27 April 2010

Radical Dreamers – Super Nintendo

I knew Chrono Cross was the sequel to Chrono Trigger, but there was another game that was related to one of my favorite series. It was a side story to the game Chrono Trigger. My curiosity was peaked and was then devastated when I found out that the game, Radical Dreamers, was never released in the United States. Luckily emulators and roms exist, and I know I’m not the only person who would have wanted to play this game in English. I searched the web and found a translated version of the game.
I didn’t know what to expect from the game, and I was very surprised to learn it was a text based game. You didn’t control a little pixel man and you couldn’t swing a sword. There were words; lots of words on a background picture that changed depending on where you told Serge, Kid and Magil to go. I was playing a picture book. I really wasn’t thrilled with what I was playing at first. I didn’t get to run around and talk to people and fight enemies that popped out of nowhere. All I had were choices. I needed to give it a chance though, so I pushed through.
Turns out, choices aren’t so bad after all. I like to read and I’m a sucker for stories. I’m sure parents wouldn’t be upset if their children played more games like this one. It’s a little book on a TV screen. Not as nice on the eyes, but it’s still a good read. As I played, I saw where many different ideas and concepts of Chrono Cross came from. Kid and Serge were together even before they were reborn into El Nido.
Thankfully I’m a patient person, because you need that to play this game. Traveling in this game took a while because it was text based, and you had to read whatever passage appeared in each room. The entire game takes place in one area, Viper Manor. I got lost easily since many areas look the same. I’d get to an intersection of hallways and forget which areas I’ve searched. If you go the wrong way, you have to read your way back to a new area. I was often tempted to keep a notebook with me just to make sure I remembered where I went.
Despite the small frustrations, I enjoyed everything that was happening. The choices made playing this game a different experience every time. Fighting monsters was fun in this game. Since all the action was in words, they didn’t have graphics to hold back the details. The beauty of a book came out in a video game. I got to imagine my own experience instead of having it shown to me. Your choices led to many different outcomes. When I ran into a trap, I had to make sure I figured out how to either escape or disarm the trap or else it was game over. I was often thankful for the emulators save states.
Radical Dreamers is not a typical video game, but it’s games like this that make me appreciate the Chrono series. The main games are great, and this game is just a taste of what made Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross such memorable gaming experiences. It’s a quick but complex game. It’s definitely worth the Internet hunt.
By Heather Aug

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