Chrono Cross Element Weakness guide: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Elemental Damage explained
One way in which Chrono Cross sets itself apart from both its predecessor and the vast majority of Square RPGs of its time is with its Elemental system, which features a unique Element Weakness and Strength setup that’s subtly different to what many players will be used to from other games.
At its core, elements in Chrono Cross still function much as you’d expect for magical spells. ‘Element’ attacks are basically the game’s catch-all term for things that involve magic including spells, techs, summons, and certain magical consumable items.
Beyond what element effects are categorized as, there’s also some interesting adjustments in how this system works compared to other similar games - and that's what we're going to explain on this page.
Chrono Cross Elements Explained
At its core, Chrono Cross features six different elements - of a sort. This is less than a lot of games, which is handy - and this is actually how CC differentiates itself, really - by being deceptively simple.
The six elements are each represented within the game by a color - and that color also helps to denote what sort of physical element attacks and magic each encompasses. Specifically:
- Red Element: Fire
- Green Element: Nature, Air
- Blue Element: Water, Ice, etc
- Yellow Element: Lightning, Electricity, Earth
- Black Element: Shadow, Space
- White Element: Light, Life
A huge part of character progression in Chrono Cross is using the Element Grid to allocate elements and set them up to be able to effectively cast elements in battle. When doing this, you’ll want to constantly keep in mind the six colors, and what sort of attacks each represents.
Each character in Chrono Cross has an element they're associated with, and that determines their weaknesses. Serge is White, for instance, while Kid's element is Red, and optional party member Glenn is Green. We list all of the character elements for every playable character on our Chrono Cross character recruitment guide, which will also help you to get every playable character, if you want that.
How the Element Weakness works in Chrono Cross
Here’s where Chrono Cross sets itself apart; with how these elements interact to create an elemental weakness system. This is standard RPG fare, but the way Chrono Cross does it is just a little bit different to what you’re used to. It’s all about the opposites - but not how you think!
Specifically, most games train you to think about the elements in a rock-paper-scissors fashion, in that classic starter Pokemon sort of way. Fire beats Grass, which beats Water, which beats Fire, right? But not so in Chrono Cross!
In Chrono Cross, the element weakness setup is built around opposites. Specifically: each element has an opposite element, and the two are mutually more effective against each other. The weaknesses are as follows:
- Red = Blue
- Green = Yellow
- Black = White
So Red, which represents Fire, Lava, and the like, is both more effective against and more vulnerable to Blue, which represents Water and Ice. Black’s Shadow and Space are the opposite of White’s Light and Life, and so they are mutually deadly to each other.
This is an interesting system. The simplicity of only having three opposite pairs to keep track of means that you’ll always remember how elements work (now you’ve read this page, anyway), but it also makes combat heavy on the thinking about how you’ll proceed, as any time you’re lining up to exploit a weakness you’re likely also leaving yourself open to have your weakness exploited. It’s devious.
Field Effect & Elemental Weaknesses
Chrono Cross is never content to keep things simple (that applies even to the ways CC connects back to Chrono Trigger), and so there’s another major wrinkle in the elemental system: Field Effect.
Field Effects represent that status of the battlefield, with the big Field Effect icon in the top-left of your battle screen representing the last three elements used in that fight - though it begins with a random few elements to start.
Gaming the Field Effect by casting certain elements repeatedly can have major effects, and is even used in battle to trigger one of the Chrono Cross endings - so it’s something you’ll want to master.
If you have two elements of the same color on the field at once, that element will get a significant boost in its power. If you game the field fully to take it over, making all three elements the same for a single-color Field Effect icon, you can then unlock super-powerful skills including the elemental summons.
In short: the elemental weaknesses are always whatever is opposite in element terms - but to truly get the most out of this system, you need to engage with the Field Effect system and use all of these systems in tandem to maximize damage output.