What is this game, anyway?
Radical Dreamers is a text-based adventure game taking place after Chrono Trigger. It was originally released for the Satellaview on June 1, 1996. It aims to tie up a loose end from Chrono Trigger, and features two recurring characters from that game. The story follows the thieves Serge, Kid, and Magil as they sneak into a large and foreboding mansion to find the Frozen Flame. For a full record of what happened, see Chronology.
Is there a ROM for Radical Dreamers?
Yes, someone ripped a ROM image of Radical Dreamers perhaps via the Satellaview. It has spread across the internet, and now comes with various packages. You won't find a link here, however.
This game is in Japanese, though! How do I play it?
Radical Dreamers wasn't translated in English until April 2003, when Neo Demiforce completed his work on the game. You can find his patches and upgrades at Patches (Radical Dreamers).
How does Radical Dreamers relate to CT and CC?
Radical Dreamers is a sequel to Chrono Trigger based off a small sub-plot. Chrono Cross isn't a sequel to Radical Dreamers, but rather it is a newer, longer, somewhat different version of it that borrows the main scenario for the first part of the game. The scenario of Radical Dreamers was sort of ported to Chrono Cross, and the quest for the Frozen Flame appears as well.
What is the gameplay like?
Gameplay consists of text-based scenarios presented to the player through the narration of Serge. The player must then choose from a list of possible actions. Depending on the selections made, the player may enter a new area, be presented with a new situation, or may have to choose again if the previous choice was incorrect. Combat is text-based as well, allowing the player to select from options such as "Fight," "Magic," "Run," and often more complex situational commands like "Run my knife into the goblin's chest!" or "Quickly slash at its hand!" As a result graphics and animation are minimalistic.
What about the music?
Radical Dreamers features more ambient and delicately arranged pieces than Trigger, and is a forerunner to Cross's style. Some of the themes between the games are excactly alike (a list can be found at Music (Chrono Cross), with the only difference being the instrument programming. The music was composed by Yasunori Mitsuda, the same person who did the music of Chrono Trigger, Xenogears and Chrono Cross. If you like game music, there isn't a published CD of the soundtrack, since there are only 16 short tracks and this game was never popular. You can find the .spcs at Music (Radical Dreamers).
I heard this game sucks!
Radical Dreamers requires more patience than the usual run of the mill RPG, and also requires an open mind. As a text adventure, it is more of an art piece than a run and gun video game. Just enjoy it -- the atmosphere, the feel, the intricacies of the plot, the music -- all are arranged for a particular experience. Let it ride! And read Importance of Radical Dreamers too.