||Chrono Trigger -
Chrono Trigger stands
the test of Time
| Battle System
| Replay Value
| Time to Complete
20 - 120
|Even the game's
logo is cool.
Chrono Trigger, released by Squaresoft in 1995,
was one of first – if not the first – console RPGs to
successfully base a game around the time traveling theme.
Not just relying on the gimmick of being able to cross eras,
however, Square crafted what is arguably one of the most enjoyable
console RPGs in history. With
its innovation and dramatic moments, this old gem can compete with
(and overcome) the glitz and glamour of today’s RPGs, CGI movies
One of the innovations that catapulted Chrono
Trigger to success was the battle system, and its Tech system.
Techs can do more than affect just one foe -- some have a damage
radius, and some have trajectories that skewer a whole line of
enemies. For instance,
Chrono's Cyclone technique travels in a circular motion and any
enemy caught within that circle's radius is sliced, and Chrono's
Slash technique is a projectile that mows down multiple enemies
lined up one behind the other. Even more devastating are the
multiple Techs. When learned, Double and Triple techs combine the abilities
of two and three party members (respectively) – too cool.
Feel like dishing out pain with Crono's Cyclone Tech, but want to
toast the enemy just a little more? It can be done by combining
Lucca's fire ability to pull off Fire Whirl, making Crono a spinning
flame. Or combine the opposite forces of Lucca's fire and
Marle's ice to execute the double tech Antipode. Multiple
techs not only show off cool special effects, but they do more
damage especially when one of the techs involved exploits the
enemies' elemental weakness. However, magic is different from the Final Fantasy series –
each character has a specific set of spells, so Crono (designated to
Lightning) cannot cast ice. It’s limiting in some respects, but it keeps the game from
being confusing and slow-paced.
On to Gameplay.
Random battles have been tossed. Now enemies are visible
(except for some ambushes). If
you’re sneaky, you can find a way around monsters.
World Maps have no battles.
I found that unchallenging – but it didn’t detract from
the overall enjoyment of the game.
The menus are user friendly and character management is a
snap. It makes the game move
along at a very brisk, dynamic pace, definitely great for those who
get aggravated easily. In addition,
where other games might have overdone time travel, making it too
cumbersome, Square tied this facet into the story and game
Yasunori Mitsuda-san’s exquisite soundtrack
just makes the game better. Certainly
it’s in my top 5 list which includes Xenogears and the Castlevania
series. At times, the
music can be a bit too cutesy and cheesy, and I think the battle
music was too plain. But
overall, the brilliant music fits scenes perfectly and stirs
emotions. I was
entranced while listening to the Kingdom of Zeal’s music, which I
felt was more stunning than the (magnificent) scene it accompanied.
Chrono Trigger was also innovative and
original; as mentioned, it was the first (or one of the first) time
traveling RPGs. It's tech battle system was never done before,
and battling enemies right on the map was a nice dynamic
touch. No matter how many people tell me that it's fight
command is just as blah as any other Final Fantasy game, I say that
a game that uses old tricks but incorporates astounding new ones
still gets originality points.
|One of Frog's
techs. What the...!?
The music, visuals and originality were good
enough to get me to totally ignore the plot.
This was actually not so bad of a thing, because the plot was
“not bad” at best. Square
did an excellent job of tying loose ends together and making time
travel work well. However, save for a couple of dramatic moments and shocks,
the story had a pinch of cliché and a touch of “eh” to it.
Without the soundtrack and visuals I might not have been
interested in the story.
However, I’d still play Chrono Trigger a
million times over. Chrono
Trigger sported multiple endings – any game with over 10 endings
has got to be something to see (and I’m sure there’re at least
17). New Game +, a
feature added on when you finish the game, allows you to start at
the beginning of the tale with everything else intact (items,
character levels, etc.).
The sounds keep the game pleasurable.
Battle strikes and spell effects sound beefy and painful. I
still haven’t managed to get annoyed Square’s pointer noise.
The sounds have a general cartoony feel that gets tedious,
but not irritating.
Then there are the visuals.
Excuse my drooling. Ever
since I played FF6, the only RPG that ever came close to being its
visual equal on the SNES was Chrono Trigger.
Lush forest greens and beautiful sunsets, waterfalls and
rivers only add to the vast amount of color used. CT's great character design was done by Akira Toriyama (Mr.
|Save the future by
saving the past.
As great as the game was, there’s no denying it
was easy. Avoiding
enemies half the time won’t jeopardize you too much and those
wanting challenge will complain.
Of course, that’s why there’re a multiple endings and New
Game + to keep you playing. In fact, you could take as long as you
to complete Chrono Trigger. There
are several odds and ends to be explored, much like the second
halves of FFIV and FFVI. Or,
you could go the alternate route and rush to a 20-hour victory.
Chrono Trigger is truly a classic.
While some people say it’s too easy, they can get a kick
out of playing around with the many different things the game has to
offer. An easy game
shouldn’t mean it’s bad, as long as the game has enough to
entertain the player. I
had a memorable time playing it, and I think I’m feeling nostalgia
creep up on me. ’Scuse
me while I dust off my SNES controller.