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How to Recruit and Evolve Pip in "Chrono Cross"

Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.

In a game with so many playable characters, you wouldn't expect too many of them to have unique mechanics. This is largely true, though Pip is one of Chrono Cross' neat exceptions. Though for the most part Pip plays the same as everyone else in combat, this pint-sized lab project can change and evolve depending on how you use him throughout the game. He's also one of the very few characters that you can use throughout almost the entirety of Chrono Cross, making his evolutionary capabilities all the more intriguing.

This guide will help you locate, recruit, and evolve Pip. You'll need to put in a bit of work to attain all three goals. Fortunately, Pip's mechanics shouldn't take up too much of your time if you leave him in your party.

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Recruiting Pip

You'll first meet Pip early in the game, during the trip to Viper Manor. Once you've gone through the main entrance and tried to access the inner manor via a spinning combination puzzle you'll be dumped into a cage. You'll be freed one way or another, and with disguises donned you can explore the lower levels of the manor.

Take a right from the cage and go through the rounded, barred door. You'll be facing a hallway with several doors and a robot barring your path. Go in the first room and you'll find a treasury. There's a shining, suspicious Silver Pendant hanging on the wall, and if you try to grab it you'll be dumped into another cage in the next room over. This is Luccia's lab, and though she'll let you out she'll also pit you against two Neo-N-Bulbs. Defeat them and Luccia will permit you to leave.

Before you do, check out the left corner of Luccia's lab. Inside a small cage is Pip, and he'll explain that he wants to get out and see the world. Agree to unlock his cage and he'll say that he will escape captivity once he sees an opportunity. Come back here after you've completed Viper Manor and Pip will be gone.

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You won't see Pip again until you board the S.S. Invincible, which requires Korcha's boat. Head to a conspicuous patch of empty water on the world map to the east of the largest island and you'll be prompted to check the fog. Do so and you'll be brought on board the S.S. Invincible, and after one normal battle and two boss battles (Polly and Fargo) you'll be dumped in the brig. Soon after the Invincible will be assaulted by a ghost ship, and phantasms will flood aboard, forcing you to fight your way to the deck.

On your way through the Invincible you'll need to go through the arsenal. Down here you'll find Pip, anxiously trying to hide from ghosts. You'll need to hunt him down several times as he runs around the arsenal, trying to evade you. (Be sure to check behind the stairs when he runs off to the right. He can be hard to see.) Eventually you'll chase him to the bottom-left corner of the room. Speak to him there and you can recruit him.

Once the game shifts and Serge is displaced for Lynx, Pip becomes the only character from the beginning of the game that you can re-recruit. Return to the S.S. Invincible and check below decks. Pip is waiting for you in the same room where you started out in the Invincible after being captured.

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Evolving Pip

Once you have Pip in your party you can use him like any other party member, and he starts out as a White-Innate fighter. He doesn't stand out all that much...

... at least, not at first. Pip's unique physiology allows him to grow and evolve over time, and his subsequent form changes based on which Elements Pip uses in battle, as well as which Elements are used on him. Pip will transform twice over the course of the game if you use him enough:

  • If Pip uses more White, Green, or Blue Elements, he will sprout angel wings. Continue to use these same Elements with and on Pip and he'll eventually become an Archangel. His level seven Tech will be Heaven'sCall.
  • If, on the flip side, Pip uses more Black, Red, or Yellow Elements, he will sprout little devil horns. Continue to use these same Elements with and on Pip and he'll eventually become an Archdevil. His level seven Tech will be Hell'sFury.
  • Alternately, it's possible for Pip to achieve an in-between form. If you evolve Pip on one side and then switch to the other he'll grow butterfly wings in his third form, and become a Holy Beast. For example, you could start Pip off on the angelic route, then begin using only Black, Red, or Yellow Elements after he has transformed once. This will end in him becoming the Holy Beast. His level seven Tech will be CanonCannon.

Pretty nifty, eh? There's more. Though Pip starts off as White-Innate, his final Innate Element will shift based on which specific Element he used the most. So if you used Blue-Elemental moves on and with Pip consistently, he'll wind up as a Blue-Innate Archangel when you achieve his final form. This makes Pip one of the most versatile characters in the game, though making the most of him will take a while.

Warnings

There are two things to keep in mind when developing Pip. Both may make you rethink using this little guy, neat as he is.

New Game+

Pip does not retain his forms when shifting to a New Game+. Whenever you start a new game Pip will revert to his base form as a White-Innate. There's nothing you can do about this, so if you plan on using Pip over multiple playthroughs you'll just have to go through the process of evolving him all over again. This can have a dramatic effect on Pip's final stats, as he receives superior stat boosts when he's fully-evolved.

The Pip Glitch

Once Pip fully evolves, as just noted, he is supposed to gain better stat boosts whenever he goes up a Star Level. Unfortunately, Chrono Cross is bugged in such a way that the game does not continue to statistically recognize Pip's evolution once you've turned the game off and turned it back on. His stat grid will be reset to that of his base form, resulting in a Pip that's weaker than he should be. Depending on when you evolve Pip you can also miss out on his level seven Tech, whatever it may be. Though their are custom mods to fix this online, officially these glitches have not been patched by Square Enix, and that seems to still be true for Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition.

Should this stop you from using Pip as a party member? If you like him, then no. The evolutions are still neat, and Chrono Cross is an easy enough game that you can get through it with virtually any combination of characters. Just be aware that Pip will almost always be one of the lower-tier members of your party, regardless of how you evolve him.

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