The Top 25 Soundtracks 2012: Number 8

Number 8: Chrono Cross

Chrono Cross always had an incredibly high standard to live up to. As the sequel to one of the most beloved RPGs of all time, I can only imagine what the development crew felt like when they sat down for their first meeting. It'd be like sitting down to make a seventh Star Wars movie: Everything you make had better be good, or else legions of fans will devour you.

In the end, whether or not Chrono Cross was a worthy sequel to its predecessor is a matter that varies depending on who you talk to, but one thing can be said with certainty: the soundtrack definitely lived up the high standards of the first title.

Granted the soundtrack probably wouldn't have been nearly as good if Square hadn't made sure that they had the same composer from the first games soundtrack, Yasunori Mitsuda. If that name seems familiar to some of you, that's because we've already seen him appear on this list as the composer of Xenogears. So if you enjoyed his work there, you'll only find even more to enjoy with this entry as Chrono Chross is by a hair the better soundtrack.

So what is there that makes Chrono Cross such a high ranking soundtrack? Well, if I were to pick one feature and one feature only, I'd pick it's laid back, relaxed sound. Unlike most games, which tend to opt for more pulse pounding, driving music as a way to keep you involved, Chrono Cross instead has a fairly calm and even relaxing soundtrack. To be honest. it comes as a welcome change from the standard offerings of most other games. While pulse pounding is all well and good, there's something to be said about a soundtrack you can just sit down and nap to.

Chrono Cross also has a fairly unique stylistic sound. Since the game itself took the player on an adventure that stretched a massive island chain, Mitsuda created a Mediterranean style for the soundtrack, blending the sounds of places such as Greece and Northern Africa with the musical styles of Southeast Asia. The result is a unique array of percussion that resonates through the majority of the soundtrack.

There is another unique aspect to Chrono Cross that not many other soundtracks can lay claim to in that many of the songs composed have a twin, or another variant of themselves at some other point in the soundtrack. One of the key features of Chrono Cross as a game was exploring the repercussions of the time travel in the first game. While in the first game the player had been tasked with traveling up and down the thread of history attempting to keep the world from ending in an apocalypse, Cross explored the results of the first games meddling by having your characters journey between two different worlds created by a split in the time line. This meant that there is the typical home village RPG song...and then a second version of it for the other reality. While none of the counterpart pieces are indentical, they share the same melodies but explore different parts of each theme.

The last strength that should be mentioned is the breadth of emotion that the soundtrack covers. Mitsuda said about Cross that he specifically created each track to convey a certain emotional feeling, be it memory, loss, or success. Of course being Mitsuda, he succeeded, and every song in the soundtrack often carries a clear emotional mood along with it.

While Chrono Cross doesn't score perfectly in all of its categories, it does score quite highly across the board and even manages to pick up both bonus points.

Chrono Cross
Enjoyment: 4.5
Stand Alone Quality: 4.25
Composition: 4
Emotional Reaction: 4.25
Game Representation: 5
Non-Gamer Enjoyment: 1
Nostalgia: 1
Total: 4.8

Chrono Cross is a unique, relaxed and emotionally filling soundtrack that deserves its place in position number 8.

Number 8---Chrono Cross by Yasunori Mitsuda

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