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Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is another spinoff of the stupendously popular Final Fantasy franchise, and the first to appear on a Nintendo console since the release of Final Fantasy VI. Previously, the games in the Crystal Chronicles series tended to be action RPGs that focus on multiplayer action and cooperation, though later games have shied away from that requisite. Square-Enix defines the series by stating that its entries exhibit new and different ways of experiencing Final Fantasy. It could be argued they all take place in the same universe as well.

The first game, released in 2003/2004 for the Nintendo Gamecube, is the tale of a caravan (made up of characters which you create) sent on a annual mission to replenish their village's crystal with myrrh. The replenished crystal could then protect the village from the deadly miasma that covered the world for another year. The adventurers carried the myrrh in their Crystal Chalice, which was mounted with a small crystal to protect them from miasma as they traveled.

It gained infamy for the sheer amount of peripheral devices required to play the game with the maximum number of players in anything approaching a sane manner: four Game Boy Advances (which would act as individual screens for each player) and four Gamecube-to-GBA connection wires. Oh, and three other people. Innovative? Yes. Practical? Uh, no. (You could play with only two or three people, but it's obviously tougher than with four... playing with one player was also possible, without the need of a GBA, and with a Moogle added to carry the chalice for you.) It should be noted that this game is similar, in many aspects, to Gauntlet (1985 video game) Legends. The four races even correspond to each of Gauntlet's classes: Clavats to the balanced Valkyrie, Lilties emphasize Strength like the Warrior, Yukes are magic-users like the Wizard, and Selkies are speedy like the Elf/Archer.

The second, released in 2008 for the Nintendo DS (under the lengthy title Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates), stars a set of twins named Yuri and Chelinka, two children of a great seer, out to stop an ancient prophecy under the light of an ominous blood moon.

The third game is My Life as a King, which was one of the first Wii Ware titles, and the first Wii game to feature paid downloadable add-ons, and thus the "Pay + Play" mark. In many ways, it plays more like Sim City than an Action RPG. Its sequel, My Life as a Darklord, casts the player as a budding Evil Overlord who guides an army of monsters to defend a tower from invading heroes; it plays like a combination of Sim Tower and Dungeon Keeper.

Echoes of Time, a sequel to Ring of Fates, was released in early 2009 for the Nintendo DS and the Wii. Both games are functionally identical and can be played with each other wirelessly. While the DS version was met with praise, the Wii version was rightly tempered for being a blatant port of the portable game, complete with two separate "screens" on the television.

Though it was delayed and extensively reworked, The Crystal Bearers was released in late 2009. It is a single-player action-adventure set far into the future of the previous Crystal Chronicles games, in a time where magic is dead, an industrial age is booming, and the Yuke race has supposedly been eliminated after a great war. The protagonist is Layle, a hero with an embedded crystal that gives him a strange gravity-based power.

The games in the series are:

Tropes common among the series:

  • Action RPG
  • Alternate Universe: Ring of Fates introduces the idea of an endless number of worlds, even one where the moon crashes into the Great Crystal. Sound Familiar? It's possible that each game in the series is its own parallel world.
  • Charged Attack: The Focus Attacks, which are tied to the specific weapon being used. Some weapons will shoot blasts of energy, others make you leap to the target and perform a powerful attack.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Square Enix wanted to make games for the Game Boy Advance. Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi, still bitter that they abandoned their company after Final Fantasy VI to make games for Sony systems and a rival portable console, wouldn't let them. What was SE to do? Create a special development contract that required them to create at least one Game Cube game with a certain amount of sales profit going directly to Nintendo before being allowed to develop on the GBA. And the name of that Game Cube-specific title was...
  • Art Style Dissonance: The character designs are super-deformed and cute, the personalities endearingly quirky... and then the people you love the most die.
  • Combination Attack: Basic magic spells can be stacked on top of one another for added effect (two Fire spells make a Fira {or Firaga with proper timing} attack, and spells of different elements can be combined to create a Gravity spell). The basic elements can also be combined with a Charged Attack for an elemental strike.
  • Continuity Nod
  • Cute Bruiser: The Lilty race.
  • Deadly Gas: The miasma.
  • Fan Service: Female Selkies. Male Selkies too; boys in kilts? Yes please.
  • Five Races, minus one (minus two in The Crystal Bearers, or so everyone thinks)
    • Clavats are Mundane, being the clearest human analogue and the Jack of All Stats.
    • Yukes are Fairy, being a highly magical race.
    • Lilties are Stout, being both shorter and more martial than other races.
    • Selkies are Cute, being taken far less seriously by everyone else (even other Selkies), but are pretty Mundane as well.
      • Non-playable races mix things up a bit more; moogles are straight Cute, carbuncles are High Men.
  • Fragile Speedster: Selkies probably qualify for this.
  • Fantastic Racism: Selkies map approximately to gypsies, in that they're typically nomadic, and stereotyped as being untrustworthy thieves. Many of them find this assessment unfair, but they're not exactly doing a lot for their case; in the first game, if you're not playing as a selkie, then every person you talk to in the selkie settlement will pick your pocket, and if you are, your mother will send letters with advice that amounts to "be a shifty bastard and never pass up an opportunity to hork someone's purse".
  • Fur Bikini: Selkie ladies.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: Raem.
  • Humans by Any Other Name: All the tribes are called human in the games, but Clavats are the ones who look most human. Selkies are basically human as well, with the main difference being that Selkies Gotta Have Blue Hair. Lilties are harder to justify, seeming almost plant-like with onion-shaped heads topped by leafy tendrils instead of hair, but there's at least one example of them having children with Clavats. Yukes are the most different; in earlier games they appear to have fur-covered flesh but armor conceals most of their bodies (including their entire heads and faces), but by the time of The Crystal Bearers they are essentially gaseous beings that possesses suits of armor; they are able to reassemble themselves if the armor falls apart, and if their body is damaged they can get a new body. It's not known if this is a reimagining of the Yukes, or if it is a result of being wiped out when their tribal crystal was destroyed (it's also possible that only Amidatelion is capable of switching bodies due to being a Crystal Bearer); there's not enough evidence to say either way for sure.
  • Improbable Age: This can happen once you're into the 104th year and your caravan full of Child Soldiers / Recruit Teenagers with Attitude haven't aged one bit, and that includes your mom, her mom, and the entire world. Invoking Really Seven Hundred Years Old can actually be possible.
  • Item Crafting
  • Jack of All Stats: The Clavat race.
  • Level Scaling: When collecting second and third drops of myrrh from a given area, the player will find the enemies have grown stronger since theie previous visit, new enemies will appear, and bosses will unveil more powerful attacks.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the main Final Fantasy series, but only in art style.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Crystals. Subsequent games show that they can do much more than keep Miasma away.
  • Older Than They Look: With Lilties, it's kinda hard to tell. This is highlighted with a Lilty NPC in Ring of Fates, who looks like a small child even by Liltie standards but is actually an adult after the game's Time Skip.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Lilty.
  • Pretty in Mink: The Selkies
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: 100% of a Yuke's armor is this.
  • Weapon of Choice
  • White Mage: The Yuke race.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Selkies.
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