Reviews: Chrono Trigger

Greatest. Game. Ever.

Everything about Chrono Trigger is excellent, from the music to the visuals, to the EXTREMELY unique gameplay (Hell, it introduced the new game + feature), to the characters, to the plot, to the bosses, etc. Just the whole concept of the game is a nerd's wet dream, with music by Nobou Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda, art by Akira Toriyama, Yuji Horii was the scenario writer, and the game is designed by Hironobu Sakaguchi. Truly the greatest dream team ever assembled in the realm of video games.

Get it on the Wii VC, get it on DS, get it on emulator, (if you are REALLY patient and don't mind loading times much) get it on PSN, and if you're a real hardcore fan like me, get it on SNES. Funny story: I actually have owned the SNES cartridge since day 1. That's how cool I am 8)

Also, the only possible problem this game could have is the fact that it's kind of short for an RPG, but that's made up for because 1) You'll NEVER have to level grind and 2) If you use new game+, you could get about FIFTEEN EXTRA ENDINGS. This is truly an even better game than even the likes of Final Fantasy 6, Megaman X, Link to the Past, Earthbound and Super Metroid; I give it an 11/10.

The Greatest JRPG ever

I just beat Chrono Trigger for the first time, and I can say unequivocally that it is the greatest JRPG ever. The reason for this is that it is old school Final Fantasy without the excesses of the series. The tediousness of other Square RP Gs is gone, as is the feeling that you are playing a book or a movie, depending on whether you are gaming on a SNES or a Playstation. The plot, which does not suffer in relation to the more drawn out RPG's, moves quickly from point to point, and time period to time period. And the combat, between the active time system from FF 4, the almost complete lack of random encounters, the way the fights play out without visibly changing screens, and the tech system, is the most involved of any turn-based RPG I've ever played.

This trimming of the fat also applies to the side quests. While there may not be as many side quests a in other RPG's, the ones that are present all feel important to the plot, to the game world, or to the arc of one or more characters.

The graphics are the sexond best for a SNES RPG, after Super Mario RPG. This is largely thanks to the Manga-inspired character models by Akira Toriyama, of Dragonball fame. The models are not the static and squished sprites of that era's Final Fantasy games, but detailed models that animate in ways that bring the characters to life just through their expressions. As a result I found a certain death scene and its aftermath to be more emotional that a certain famous scene in FF 7.

So the gameplay is like Final Fantasy, but better, the story is on par with Final Fantasy, but better paced (and with a very well used time travel element), and the graphics are top notch. But there is one element that dies not live up to the hype.

The music. Don't get me wrong. The soundtrack really is fantastic. There are many catchy tunes, and Frog's theme in particular is outstanding. But the soundtrack has been hyped elsewhere as one of the greatest of all time, and by that standard it does fall short. I would not put the music in quite the same league as say, FF 6, or any Zelda game. On it's own merit it's still great though.

Chrono Trigger is a great game. It is so good, that it has single-handedly raised my regard for the entire genre.

One of the best games for the SNES, ever

Chrono Trigger is, without a doubt, my favorite game on the SNES. Seriously, this is better than Kirby Super Star and Mega Man X combined. I'm not kidding. The graphics are tight, the music is orgasmicular, the controls are pretty easy...what's not to like about this?

OK, so some of you might remember my Cave Story review. Cave Story is also a great game, but I kinda goofed up there. I couldn't review as much of it as I liked thanks to time constraints, but I have no such issue now. Expect to see more points and criticisms here.

  • Gameplay: 8/10.

OK, hear me out before you reach for your pitchforks and torches. The game does a pretty good job of teaching you the basics, and the gameplay was really fun at the beginning. You had to think before you did anything. Levels didn't consist of just random encounters, they had traps that I thought were really sneaky and clever. Bosses made you stop and consider all sorts of factors, like boss patterns (Magus being the best example) However, gameplay began to decline when you got to the Ocean Palace and finally reached "spam Luminaire/Flare/Dark Matter" levels at the Black Omen.

  • Music and General Atmosphere: 10/10

As I mentioned earlier, the music was "orgasmitacular". The composer worked so hard he got an ulcer, and his hard work really shows. The music isn't great in the "catchy" sense, though. It just has this mix of flow and timing that just clicks together and makes the experience seem right. Point is: music is amazing. Atmosphere is similar: the graphics and dialog really help express whatever the game wants to express. The game essentially has the power to make you feel things.

  • Story: 9.5/10

The story is masterfully crafted, and I have yet to see anything like it (Oo T comes pretty damn close, though) CT really serves as a prime example of "how to use video games as a storytelling medium". It does have a few plotholes (time-travel mechanics are kind of inconsistent, plus the whole Schala thing but that's a different bag of worms), but nothing that hinders the gameplay or story a whole lot.

  • Overall: 9/10.

This game is great. Get it on Virtual Console or for the DS. You won't regret it.

A Classic, And It's Easy To See Why

I'm not really an RPG person. I never finished a Final Fantasy because of annoying characters, boring Level Grinding, a sense of confusion over what I was supposed to be doing, or some combination of the above. But Chrono Trigger avoids these problems, perhaps making it an RPG so good that even people who don't usually like the genre can enjoy it.

The story is simple but effective, a quest to change the future that ends up improving the past along the way. Combat is lively thanks to happening in real-time, incorporating area-of-effect attacks, and of course the Tech system. If you don't shy away from enemies, your party will usually be strong enough for whatever boss you face next, though they'll still but up a good fight. And even though you're faced with a crop of sidequests before the end of the game, the overall plotting is nice and tight, and the sidequests in question tend to be tied into one of the characters, allowing them to add to the story instead of just padding out game time.

The characters themselves deserve mention, as they all manage to have genuine depth and personality beyond their name and innate element. Though you can summarize them with a single Wiki Word, there's more to them than that simple description, and no one on the list of examples is quite like them. You may find yourself enjoying the New Game Plus feature with different parties just to see how the cast interacts with each other. Throw in superb graphics for its time and an absolutely phenomenal soundtrack, and it's easy to see why this game's a classic, a game that's comparatively short compared to the four-disc epics of today, but oh-so-sweet.

The DS rerelease manages to improve an already Woolseyied translation and throws in animated cutscenes, which don't necessarily add much, but at least feature remastered pieces of an already excellent soundtrack. The bonus content is more problematic: the Lost Sanctum is tedious, I was never interested in the Pokemon-esque arena, and though the extended endings help bridge the gap to Chrono Cross, they don't add much to Chrono Trigger. But overall I would say the new version is preferable to a simple port of the SNES version, and a must-have for fans of the original or anyone interested in a great game.