Radical Dreamers is a well-written "sequel" of sorts to Squaresoft's famous Chrono Trigger RPG for the SNES. In contrast to the other games in the series, this is an "interactive novel" – a genre quite popular in Japan, but none of its console-based releases ever made it overseas. The background and description on the Chronicles fansite goes as follows: "Shortly after Squaresoft finished production of Chrono Trigger for the SNES, Nintendo put out a small add-on for the system called the Satellaview, a peripheral that allowed players to download games directly from a satellite instead of using cartridges. To keep production times down, many elements of Chrono Trigger appeared in the games Squaresoft made for it. Radical Dreamers: Nusumenai Houseki (meaning 'Unstealable Jewel'), was also placed in the same universe. |
Radical Dreamers, unlike most traditional Squaresoft titles, is not an RPG but a text adventure similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books. A player would read a few pages, then make a choice from the given options. Both navigation and battles worked this way. The one downside was that the Satellaview was only released in Japan so the game was entirely in Japanese. This would leave English-speaking players completely unable to play the game until mid-April 2003 when Neo Demiforce released a complete English translation patch for the game's ROM.
The story should seem familiar to those who played Chrono Cross as it was later reworked to form the basis of the PS1 RPG. It starts off with Serge, Kid, and Magil (who is obviously Magus to those who played Chrono Trigger) heading into Viper Manor to steal the Frozen Flame and pretty much the entire game takes place within the mansion. You'll later meet several other characters from Chrono Trigger and Cross and hear references to a few others. The story itself doesn't actualy fit into the Chrono storyline anywhere as it was overridden by Chrono Cross's."
Although it was designed primarily for Chrono Trigger fans to explain loose ends and provide a fun "side story" before Chrono Chross begins, the excellent writing (which shines through in Neo Demiforce's superb translation patch) and interesting plot should appeal to fans of fantasy-based games in general. If you think you can look beyond limited interaction to the interesting story beneath, you will probably find Radical Dreamers worthy. I never played any game in the Chrono series before playing this game, but I was still able to follow the story and be drawn into its world and colorful characters. Also, even though it is not a long game, there are seven possible endings depending on your choices. Annoying random battles are just about the only complaint I have about this game: RPG-style random combat doesn't translate well to a text-only medium, apparently. Recommended!
Reviewed by: Underdogs