Following the exciting escape from Viper Manor and our first climactic face off with Lynx (the guy is creepy), our heroes awake in the floating village of Guldove, a peaceful community where humans and demi-humans live harmoniously.
I tend to think of Guldove as this ideal sort of place where you can always go for respite in the world of El Nido. Everyone has kind of a surfer vibe, the music’s extremely soothing, and all the weird tensions that you see popping up elsewhere in the world are just absent from this place. If the residents didn’t have a rather distinctive (and really annoying) verbal tic, it would be a veritable paradise.
Still, there are problems that have to be dealt with here. Kid’s still poisoned, and it looks like she won’t make it unless someone can provide a sample of the same venom that was used on her in order to produce an antidote. The fact that the creature that produces the venom also happens to be extinct in El Nido should come as no surprise.
This present us with the second major decision point in Chrono Cross. Our meta-knowledge of the game’s premise lets us know that the apparent answer to finding the venom that Kid needs must be in the alternate timeline, where presumably the creature isn’t extinct. That means that the player could quite confidently have Serge say that he’ll find a way to save Kid (even though in my playthrough I haven’t invited her to hang out with me, so her poisoning comes across more as the unfortunate consequences of her following me around like a bit of a creep) despite the characters not really having any clue how they’ll get back to the other timeline. Alternately, the player can make Serge say that he doesn’t know how to help Kid (he honestly doesn’t).
Now, there are some interesting things to consider at this point in the story; some of them are meta-game factors, like which characters you want to be available to recruit, and some are story factors, like how you’d like to characterize Serge’s relationship with Kid by this point. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, because the first time I played through Chrono Cross I chose to let Kid suffer because I knew that the character I really wanted to recruit was only available if I left her to die (keep in mind, I was fourteen when I played this game the first time, so that’s pretty cold-hearted), and now that I’m doing my second playthrough (okay, technically it’s more like my fourth, but New Game + is a very different experience from a regular playthrough, and better treated as an extension of that playthrough), I find myself making the same decision, but with a much stronger motivation to do it because I’ve played Serge as though he really doesn’t get what Kid’s deal is and he’s more than a little scared of the weird prophetic dream he had where he stabs her in the back. Maybe it’s just a result of being more mature, but I feel more invested in trying to role play Serge as a consistent character rather than just making the choices that are most convenient for what I want to achieve in the game on a mechanical level.
Also, I really loathe Korcha (he’s the guy who rescues your party after they escape Viper Manor, and he also chews you out for not trying to help Kid even though he doesn’t really have any idea what to do to help her either; add in the fact that he runs around in a vest and his underwear, and you have a literal manchild on your hands), and ditching Kid at this point means I don’t have to have him around once I leave Guldove.
Next stop, a visit with the requisite wise old hermit.
Recruited Party Members
Macha – Macha is a character who I’ve never used much, though she’s all around awesome. She’s Korcha’s mother, and if you decide that you can’t help Kid with her poisoning problem then she’ll take his place as your ferryperson in Another World. In the process she also grounds Korcha for being such a brat when he refuses to let you borrow his boat. Perhaps best of all, when you officially recruit her after stopping off in Termina to figure out the consequences of raiding Viper Manor, she jumps in the ocean and does a backstroke all the way back to Guldove if you don’t immediately put her in your party. Yes, this woman is so badass she doesn’t even need a boat to get between El Nido’s many islands.
Glenn – On the surface, Glenn is kind of a boring character. He’s the little brother of one of El Nido’s local legendary heroes who mysteriously disappeared many years ago, and he’s not a terribly great member of the Dragoons (it’s his forgetfulness that enables the party to infiltrate the most secure parts of the compound during the raid). None of that matters though, because Glenn is the game’s character tribute to Frog from Chrono Trigger (whose real name is also Glenn) minus all the ridiculous parts like the absurd pseudo-Elizabethan dialect, and he’s statistically one of the strongest characters in the game. You can only recruit him if you say that you can’t help Kid in Guldove.
Luccia – A quick stop by Viper Manor after recovering in Guldove (the Dragoons are totally cool with you wandering around their headquarters now; they must have short memories) nets you Luccia, the mad scientist who experiments on strange and bizarre creatures in her laboratory that the party stumbled through during their first visit. She belongs to the long tradition of mad scientists that were obviously Nazis in another life (although this is pure speculation, since Luccia’s German accent is, as with everyone, inexplicable).
Greco – While the party’s getting caught up on where they need to go next, the player can stop by Greco’s hut by the memorial for Dario and Garai. Greco is a psychic priest who oversees last rites for the dead in Termina, and immediately upon meeting Serge he decides that he must accompany the young man who’s supposed to be dead. There are worse reasons for party members to join up with you, but I can’t think of any at the moment.