RPG party members–they come, and they go. Quite frequently, actually. That’s just how some tales twist, after all. Very recently, I lost Harle in Chrono Cross (sorry, uh…spoilers?), and the whole happening was quietly handled in such an undermining manner that I couldn’t believe she was no longer selectable as a part of my team, despite being there only minutes before a cutscene occurred. But I checked, and she was magically replaced in my merry band by Viper, and no one even asked me if that was okay. Grrr.
Now, to be more specific on Harle’s vanishing act, about three-fourths through the game, she asks FauxLynx a Serious™ question. I thought I picked the answer that would most please her, but she said I was lying, and the next scene is her crying on Fargo’s S.S. Zelbess, watching as the gang sets off to fight some dragon-god bosses. Starky tries to figure out what’s wrong, but Harle won’t give up the details…and then, that’s it. She’s no longer there, no longer in your party, no longer accessible. And I’m the only one that notices. I am holding out hope that she reappears down the line–don’t tell me!–maybe before the final battle, but I really liked having her in my party as a potent healer and damage-disher. She was all about zee moons.
Harle’s suddenly vanishing act reminded me a bit of when Gremio bites the flesh-eating spores bullet in Suikoden, as well as when Sephiroth decided to poke Aerith a bit too hard in Final Fantasy VII. It kind of comes out of nowhere, and suddenly you are short one constant face and voice. Worst of all…you don’t get any of your stuff back. Whatever items, armor, and elements you had equipped goes buys the farm along with its bearer. So long, multiple counts of HellBound, Gravitonne, RecoverAll. You will be missed. Not that I can’t afford to buy more, as money in Chrono Cross is and never will be an issue, but it hurts seeing your hard-earned stuff taken away.
I’m now in the home stretch, but it is a little daunting. Basically, you have to go fight six element-themed dragons to get them on your side or gain a thingy from them. If I have this right, you can fight them in just about any order you want. Think the White Dragon has to be last though. Regardless: the world(s) are your oyster(s). I took on the Water Dragon first, beating it relatively easily, but now I don’t know where I want to go next. This type of openness can be a real danger to me, as without any guidance I could just wander around on the overworld map for all eternity, basking in the game’s beautiful soundtrack. I also don’t know who I am going to replace Harle with, as Viper is just okay. Maybe Zappa or Zoah? I don’t know.
Time marches on, and I creep closer to finally completing Chrono Cross. Can’t let these dragons and their “come at me, bro, in any order” mentality deter me. I will save the world(s). I will. For Harle.