We're all familiar with New Game Plus by now. You beat a game and get to start over with all of your experience, gear, characters, etc. But Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross take that mechanic and tweak in quite a few neat ways.
In Chrono Trigger, wayyyyyyy back in 1995, after beating the game, you could start over and play through the game again with your current levels, gear, and your characters. Since there were so many different endings to the game depending on when you fought Lavos or other actions taken during the game, New Game Plus makes getting to the different endings so much easier and much quicker.
In your first playthrough, you can challenge Lavos at any point once you get your time-travelling ship, Epoch. But since it's your first playthrough, you're going to be under levelled and will most likely die. But on your second playthrough, once you get the Epoch, you can challenge Lavos right away, beat them, and then be on to your third playthrough. There are other parts in the story where you fight Lavos to get different endings as well, but I won't spoil anything for y'all. The game is pretty darn old, but still. No spoilers here!
Chrono Cross is an entirely different beast. Chrono Cross has a total of 45 party members to recruit. You read that right. FOURTY- FIVE RECRUITABLE PARTY MEMBERS. You will not be able to get all of them on one playthrough, so of course New Game Plus is there to save the day! Chrono Cross does things pretty differently though. It uses both "New Game Plus" and "Continue Plus". Both can be utilized to get new endings or more characters.
New Game Plus is just like it sounds: a brand new playthrough using your stats, gear, and elements from your first playthrough. However your characters will not carry over. Since some characters will not join your party depending on whether or not you have other characters and other choices in the story, you'll need to utilize Continue Plus to combine the characters from your New Game Plus save with the characters from a save file from your original playthrough once you've gotten the Chrono Cross element in your new playthrough and reached a certain point in the story.
Just like Chrono Trigger, you can challenge the final boss at any time by using the Time Egg (a key item given to you once you start New Game Plus) at the purple spot on Opassa Beach. So once you get the characters you want and find any missable goodies, head on down to Opassa Beach and lay the smackdown on the Time Devourer and watch those credits rolllllll.
If you haven't played either Chrono Trigger or Chrono Cross, you need to drop what you're doing and check them out! I'm sure everyone's played Trigger at this point, but don't skip on Cross. Once you learn the combat, it's incredibly addictive and collecting the different characters is as satisfying as completing a PokeDex.
The fact that these games from so many years ago had multiple endings was already mind-blowing. But the fact that the developers made it so much easier and quicker to just skip to the final boss whenever you want is such a treat. Other games would have you play through the entire 40+ hours a second or third time and that can be tougher than chewing on drywall.
Okay, that's it. PEACE Y'ALL.