Chrono Trigger Review
Consoles: SNES, PlayStation, Nintendo DS, Mobile Phones, Virtual Console, Playstion Network, iOS
Release Date: March 11, 1995
Players: Single Player, Multiplayer (DS only)
Rating: E10+ (DS)
I decided to dust off the old Super Nintendo for a rigorous marathon of Chrono Trigger this weekend. I now remember why this game is most likely my favorite JRPG of all time. They simply don’t make ‘em quite like this anymore.
Chrono Trigger was developed by what many people consider as the “Dream Team” of gaming: Akira Toryiama, creator of the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z series, Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of Final Fantasy, and Yuji Horii, a freelance designer and creator of Dragon Quest. Beyond that, its music was composed by the legendary Nobuo Uematsu, and my personal favorite, Yasunori Mitsuda. It tells the tale of a misfit band of friends that save the world from a time devourer named Lavos. The story is one that is simple, but easy to follow, filled with some twists you will not see coming, and multiple endings for you to find. However, what makes Chrono Trigger shine is its incredible cast of characters. All of them are unique and interesting. What other game will you find a regular kid, a geeky scientist, a princess, a humanoid frog, a robot, and an Amazonian woman banding together to save the world? Not only are they all unique, they are all very well written, and have nuances and backstories that serve to further flesh out their already great identities. Overall, I loved Chrono Trigger’s story for its simplicity, but also its depth, should one choose to participate and find all of the minute details present.
Chrono Trigger is known for being the innovator of many great features that are present in many JRPGs today, such as combat that occurs directly on the map, and there is a lack of random encounters. The combat is fast paced but still requires strategy to find victory in later battles. One of the outstanding features, that I wish was present in more RPGs, is the creation of team attacks. Essentially, magic and techniques are used in conjunction with other party members in order to create new, more powerful attacks. As you fight with specific party members, more and more combinations can be found. This is great as it allows for experimentation and encourages you to use all of your party members, rather than sticking to a select few. There are tons of combinations, and I found myself wanting to find them all.
However, most interesting of all is the time travel. This was a revolutionary gameplay mechanic, and one that hasn’t been used nearly as effectively in any game preceding, withholding Ocarina of Time from that judgment. You and your party travel through different eras in order to obtain the means necessary to destroy Lavos. There are all kinds of time periods, from modern day, to Medieval times, to the Future, to the Prehistoric past. This allowed for some awesome effect to occur. For example, something that occurs in the past, such as saving an ancestor, will allow their child in the present to live. While at first you are forced to use a hub called “The End of Time” in order to move from era to era, you soon obtain the Epoch, capable of flight, and time travel. I believe the Time Travel of Chrono Trigger is what makes it stand apart from other games of the same genre. Then, when you’re all done with the game, there’s the New Game+ to keep you entertained for many more hours, and for new endings to obtain.
The soundtrack for Chrono Trigger is simply incredible. Each and every track is the pinnacle of retro musical bliss. From the opening song, to the themes of each character, to the credits song, there is not one track that wasn’t pleasing to the ear, or stuck in my head hours after turning the game off. Likewise, Chrono holds up well on the graphical front, 17 years later. The colors and art direction are top notch, and Akira’s character designs are top notch. Needless to say, you will find the game easy on the eyes however long you play it.
In my opinion, Chrono Trigger is the perfect RPG. Interesting characters, great gameplay, fantastic music, re-playability, and time travel. Time travel makes everything awesome! And this is not simply due to nostalgia either: The game holds up incredibly well on all accounts, and I simply cannot find a single flaw to it. It has also influenced gaming to an incredibly large degree. Just writing this review makes me want to go back and start it up all over again. Chrono Trigger is a must play for any RPG fan, and if you haven’t gotten to it yet, it’s available on nearly any system. Get to it!
Who is your favorite character from Chrono Trigger?