Recruiting every character to Serge's cause is quite possibly Chrono Cross' biggest endeavor. It requires no fewer than three playthroughs – made easier thanks to New Game Plus but still fairly demanding – and certain choices must be made each time to ensure your success.
With Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition now out on PC and major consoles, we knew a character recruitment guide simply had to be made. We hope you'll find ours easy to navigate, as we've grouped the cast into distinct categories which should aid you in keeping your journey neatly organized as you help to save the people of El Nido not once, not twice, but thrice.
Please bear in mind that this guide will contain spoilers, as spoilers are an undeniable part of the equation here.
Characters Who Join Automatically
This section covers everyone who hops into your party without a second thought as well as those who will unavoidably ask to join. By separating these heroes from the rest of the pack, you'll know the names of every character whose recruitment you won't need to worry about at all.
19 characters join (or request to join) no matter what you do.
|Character Name||Arrival||Innate Element|
|Serge||Unsurprisingly, the game's protagonist is yours from the get-go.||White|
|Kid||Cape Howl (Another World). Rejecting her offer to join does allow you to fetch a different character before she eventually forces her way into the party – we'll cover that further on.||Red|
|Lynx||Joins at Fort Dragania.||Black|
|Sprigg||Insists on tagging along at the Dimensional Vortex.||Green|
|Harle||Follows Sprigg's lead moments later.||Black|
|Radius||His recruitment's required in Arni (Home World) after returning from the Dimensional Vortex.||Green|
|Norris||Take Radius along with you to Viper Manor right after recruiting him.||Yellow|
|Irenes||Requests entry into your squad aboard the S.S. Zelbess.||Blue|
|Karsh||To get Karsh a bit sooner, ask him to help you rescue Riddel. He'll ask to join later on if you don't grab him here.||Green|
|Zoah||Same deal as Karsh!||Yellow|
|Orcha||Beat his more vile aspect while rescuing Riddel at Viper Manor.||Red|
|Grobyc||Opts to help after you've finished pummeling him while attempting to rescue Riddel at Viper Manor.||Black|
|Riddel||Gratefully accompanies the group after being rescued at Viper Manor.||White|
|Viper||Dad's so glad for your aid in rescuing Riddel that he up and joins after she's been saved.||Yellow|
|Marcy||The spunky girl follows Viper's suit.||Blue|
|Leah||Wants you to help her out at Gaea's Navel.||Yellow|
|Fargo||After proving his heroic deeds by helping out at Hermit's Hideaway.||Blue|
|Steena||This wise lady wises up to the chance to join Serge after you've bested the six dragons.||White|
|Starky||You can grab this quirky little guy as soon as you have access to the El Nido Triangle (Home World) by traveling to the end of the short area and grabbing a Star Fragment, then checking out the treasure chest at Sky Dragon Isle. Doing so, at this time, means he's choice-based – but toward game's end, he must be recruited, so you might as well pick him far sooner.||White|
Characters Who Join Automatically Per Certain Decisions
Chrono Cross features two instances of branching story paths, both fairly early into the adventure. In the former case, which is a rather tame narrative deviation, you can only recruit one out of three characters per playthrough. In the latter, which is more substantial, a total of three characters will exclusively join the party in one of two possible routes.
Additionally, you can only gain one character by refusing another (and the other character will join not much later regardless, meaning there's not much reason not to do this). The total in this section is ten.
|Character Name||Decision Required||Innate Element|
|Leena||When Kid asks Serge to join her at Cape Howl (Another World) near the start of the game, tell her no three (!) times before she takes a hint. Not much later, Leena insists on helping Serge instead. Note that Kid will soon join regardless of your decision!||Blue|
|Guile||Once Serge reaches Termina, either with Kid or after bumping into her here, the plan to infiltrate Viper Manor mandates the recruitment of a guide. You'll find Guile at the bar. Ask him to be your guide, and he'll join for the rest of the game.||Black|
|Pierre||Once Serge reaches Termina, either with Kid or after bumping into her here, the plan to infiltrate Viper Manor mandates the recruitment of a guide. You'll find Pierre in a spare room at the equipment shop. Ask him to be your guide, and he'll join for the rest of the game.|
|Nikki||Once Serge reaches Termina, either with Kid or after bumping into her here, the plan to infiltrate Viper Manor mandates the recruitment of a guide. Unlike Guile and Pierre, there's a bit more legwork involved; head to the Magical Dreamers' ship at the dock, chat with Miki, and agree to rescue Nikki at the Shadow Forest. If you're looking for the most plot-relevant character (Nikki's vital later on), he's worth the added effort.||Blue|
|Korcha||Agree to help Kid with the Hydra Humour. Korcha joins for a grand total of five minutes (?), but joins permanently soon thereafter.||Blue|
|Macha||Recruiting Macha means refusing to help Kid with the Hydra Humour. As a result, Korcha won't help Serge, leading to Macha taking his place like a champ.||Red|
|Glenn||Often considered either the strongest overall character in the game or at least in the running, Glenn will only join if you refuse to help Kid. Tough break, right?||Green|
|Mel||To get Mel, agree to help Kid. Technically, there's a tad more to do – say yes when prompted to find her and get Kid's Elements back, then get Kid to have a nice little chat with her at the Residential Tower a little bit later (by our estimates, just do the next plot bit and return to Guldove). We're filing Mel here even though she doesn't automatically request to join since she's part of the split decision section.||Yellow|
|Doc||Doc joins the squad by refusing to help Kid, but not only Kid heals up despite your, well, ruthlessness.||Red|
|Razzly||Save this poor fairy after a boss battle in the Hydra Marsh if you've agreed to help Kid with the Hydra Humor.||Green|
Characters Who Require Purely Optional Content
The remaining characters in Chrono Cross come in two varieties, but they're similar enough to group together in a singular category. Either you'll need to complete a sidequest for them, or they're a bit easier and ask to team up simply by speaking with them (but speaking with them isn't automatic as per the story).
This is how you'll acquire the last 16 of Chrono Cross' 45 recruitable characters total.
|Character Name||Recruitment Method||Innate Element|
|Poshul||You can grab this silly pink dog lady right at the beginning of the game! If you talk to her without the Heckran Bone key item, she'll claim to be busy. She's probably looking for the thing. You'll find it upstairs above the restaurant. Poshul's a very weird case, however. She'll ask to join if you go the Leena route at Cape Howl by refusing to let Kid join Serge. But since she's not exclusive to that route, we're filing her here – you can get her with the Heckran Bone either way.||Yellow|
|Luccia||Return to Viper Manor after the initial events there. You'll see Luccia out on the balcony, which is technically unavailable on your first trip since a cutscene kicks in upon your arrival there.||Black|
|Zappa||You'll need Radius in your party for this. Simply speak with him at Termina (Home World) anytime after Radius has joined the team. Zappa is required if you wish to forge the best gear in the game!||Red|
|Miki||The sidequest to save Home World's Marbule must be completed in order for Miki to join you.||Red|
|Draggy||The Dodo's Nest in Fossil Valley (Another World) contains a Big Egg that can, in fact, be pilfered after the Dodo's dead. Head to Fort Dragania (Home World) a good bit later on and take the Big Egg downstairs from the lift.||Red|
|Janice||Janice tags along if you win all three round at the Grand Slam. As it happens, we just so happen to have a guide on how you can do that.||Black|
|Mojo||In Arni Village (Home World), there's a Shark's Tooth key item in the (rather happy) fisherman's basement. The jolly guy gives it to you for free. With either Kid or Leena in the team, speak with the (not at all happy) former fisherman in the same spot at Arni Village (Another World). Interact with each of the three statues.||Black|
|Turnip||There's a patch of ground at Hermit's Hideaway (Another World) that you can use Ice Breath on. Do so, then take Poshul along to sniff out a plant at Hermit's Hideaway (Home World). How the heck did the first players of Chrono Cross ever figure this one out, anyway?||Green|
|NeoFio||The Life Sparkle key item can be located at Hydra's Marsh (Another World). At Viper Manor (Another World), use the item at the small pond up on the balcony where you recruit Luccia.||Green|
|Skelly||To start the quest to reassemble poor blown-to-pieces ol' Skelly, acquire the Heavy Skull by letting the guy hanging by a ladder at Fossil Valley (Home World) know you're totally the exorcists they requested. (Which makes Serge a liar. But hey.) There's a rather conspicuous skull on the screen the ladder takes you to. From here, it's a matter of finding all his remaining parts, then bringing them to his grandmother in Termina. Here's where you'll find each one:||Black|
|Pip||Unlock Pip's cage in Luccia's laboratory at Viper Manor during Kid's search for the Frozen Flame. You'll find him later, aboard the S.S. Invincible, but you'll have to chase him a few times before he relents. Strangely, he's talkative and cheerful afterward.||White|
|Greco||You can find Greco at Termina's shrine area after the aforementioned sequence at Viper Manor.||Red|
|Funguy||There's a cave beside a waterfall in Shadow Forest's third screen. It's a bit tough to see. Head inside, talk to the strange fellow who offers stew, and then return to the underground waterway that leads to Viper Manor for a Mushroom. Bring it to him and… well, see for yourself on this one.||Yellow|
|Van||In Termina (Home World), speak with this miserly kid and let him know how much you mean it about finding the legendary Frozen Flame.||Green|
|Sneff||After the events aboard the S.S. Zelbess, talk to him in the rehearsal/dressing room and he'll agree to join.||Yellow|
|Orlha||You can only do this with Lynx. Head to her bar in Guldove (Another World) and she'll challenge you to a battle, handing you the Sapphire Brooch key item afterward. Once you've got Serge back, show her the Sapphire Brooch.||Blue|
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