by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
I could listen to Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross’ soundtracks all day and not get tired of it for even a minute. But I’d be remiss in ignoring how Chrono Cross makes me feel. The story makes my blood boil, and though I have to go back to it once again to see if I can make sense of all the weird decisions, Chrono Cross is, from a storyline perspective, one of my least favorite games of all time. Funny that, as Chrono Trigger is one of my absolute favorites, so that paradigm is kind of entertaining in and of itself. However, Chrono Cross had amazing game mechanics, tons of characters, and had a lot of heart. Shame they borked it all up. However, we’re here to talk music today, and I have “At the End of Time”, from GameLark and Materia Collective. I’ve really come to love these albums, and this one’s definitely no exception. There are some really interesting stylistic choices, and all it makes me want to do is play more Chrono Trigger. From violins to electronic sounds, this collection is about an hour long and it’s 100% worth owning.
“Our goal with At the End of Time was simple,” explains album producer AllenBrasch. “We wanted to offer listeners a unique, memorable journey whether they’ve experienced these games or not. The album art also hints that no matter who you are, you are going to be pulled into this adventure, and you might not be the same when it ends.”
Every single one of these tracks is amazing, and while there are some songs I think could have been added, the ones they picked were remarkable. You can find this album on Spotify, iTunes, and Bandcamp.
Wind Scene by Qumu (Track 2 – Chrono Trigger 600 AD): “Yearnings of Wind” may just be my favorite overworld song of all time, from any RPG ever. The only song that remotely comes close is Tina/Terra’s theme (early game Overworld from FFVI) or the Broken World music from FFVI. No other song can match it. It’s so peaceful and soothing, despite Chrono now being in a land that “looks” familiar, but unfortunately is not. A slow fog rolls over Guardia, and Chrono desperately tries to get his bearings. The shift from the piano and soft tapping sounds shifts into a viola (it sounds to me), but that clacking sound keeps plodding on rhythmically, the ticking of a clock that fits so neatly into the story and the song. From there, we have an acoustic guitar, completing this soft, quiet song. It’s one of those rare moments that a relaxing overworld song sets the tone perfectly.
The Future is Primitive by Daniel Romberger (Track 8 – Chrono Trigger Prehistory): The electronic sounds mixed with horns made it come across like a Super Sentai/Kamen Rider show from the 70s and 80s and I absolutely loved every minute. It had the sinister intent that the Reptites had for man, and even included a haunting “But the future refused to change. . . ” that you only see in the game when you get a Game Over. After all, the future belongs to the Reptites, if you believe Azala. The blend of trumpet sounds and electronica were superb, and I think this might have been one of my favorite songs on the album, easy.
Garden of the Gods by Kain White (Track 5, Chrono Cross): While I’m amazed, even disappointed that the Chrono Cross opening theme is not on this album (because it’s easily the best piece of music in the game), but Garden of the Gods is a pretty close second. Garden of God has a peaceful, almost aquatic nature to it, flowing patiently, as does time itself. I believe this was where you fought the Water Dragon in Chrono Cross, making it all tie together nicely. The original track, Garden of God also features a heavenly choir singing lightly over what sounds like a harp, and the song fills me with tranquility in a time where I desperately need it. It’s soothing, calming, and every so often, I think that’s what we need. This version is just as peaceful, a steady beat backing the relaxing song. It’s almost like footsteps pushing forward, and I like the complete presentation of the song from Chrono Cross.
Undersea Palace by Ro Panuganti (Track 15, Chrono Trigger Dark Ages): The Undersea Palace was metal af. A palace, powered by the Mammon Machine, by Lavos itself, built on the bottom of the dark ages ocean? That’s fitting of an electric guitar provided here by Ro Panuganti. It has that same steady pace of the original song in a more metal package. The only dungeon more metal than this in the whole game is the Black Omen anyway. The chorus scaling up and down, followed by that gritty, grind sound, before shifting back to a more power metal ballad style? It’s perfection. As a lover of all things metal, this is a combination that definitely does the original track justice. I can’t think of anything darker in Chrono Trigger than running to the bottom of the ocean inside of a palace made of metal, stone and magic, to do battle with ancient evil.