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Chrono Cross features standard role-playing video game gameplay with some differences. Players advance the game by controlling the protagonist Serge through the game's world, primarily by foot and boat. Navigation between areas is conducted via an overworld map, much like Chrono Trigger's, depicting the landscape from a scaled-down overhead view. Around the island world are villages, outdoor areas, and dungeons, through which the player moves in three dimensions. Locations such as cities and forests are represented by more realistically scaled field maps, in which players can converse with locals to procure items and services, solve puzzles and challenges, or encounter enemies. Like Chrono Trigger, the game features no random encounters; enemies are openly visible on field maps or lie in wait to ambush the party. Touching the monster switches perspectives to a battle screen, in which players can physically attack, use "Elements", defend, or run away from the enemy. Battles are turn-based, allowing the player infinite time to select an action from the available menu. For both the playable characters and the computer-controlled enemies, each attack reduces their number of hit points (a numerically based life bar), which can be restored through some Elements. When a playable character loses all hit points, he or she faints. If all the player's characters fall in battle, the game ends and must be restored from a previously saved chapter—except for specific storyline-related battles that allow the player to lose. Chrono Cross's developers aimed to break new ground in the genre, and the game features several innovations. For example, players can run away from all conflicts, including boss fights and the final battle.
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