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Chrono Trigger- Retroview

Time Travel and You

By: Castomel


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 9
   Music/Sound 10
   Originality 10
   Plot 10
   Localization 10
   Replay Value 10
   Visuals 9
   Difficulty Medium
   Time to Complete

65 000 000 years or so

 
Overall
10
Criteria

Title Screen
 

   Now here's a strange distinction. Final Fantasy VI is my favourite game of all time, and certainly my favourite game for SNES. However, it is my opinion that Chrono Trigger is the best game made for the SNES. It is sound in every critical area, and leaves nothing to disappoint. However, purely on the basis that this was a game I did not own for a very long time, and thus did not play to excess, I like Final Fantasy VI better. That said, Chrono Trigger is without a doubt one of the best games I have ever played.

   In Chrono Trigger, you take the role of the young boy Crono, who lives in the year 1000 AD. One thing leads to another and before he knows it, he's bouncing around in time like some sort of quantum ping pong ball. Geordie Laforge would probably have a field day coming up with terminology for the proceedings that take place, but that aside, over the course of 6 distinct epochs, Crono assembles a group of friends who work to try and stop the evil Lavos from doing evil things(what is the attraction there? Evil has to get pretty boring after 65 000 000 years.. you think it'd take up soccer or something). At any rate, fighting in this game is similar, but not identical, to the Final Fantasy series. Different is the use of tech points, which are essentially magic points, which allow the characters to execute a variety of unique tactics in battle. There are also double and triple Techs, which allow characters to act in tandem to produce more powerful results. There is also the concept of damage done over an area in some cases, so in addition to universal and single enemy effects, several(but not all) can be affected by an attack. Very well conceived of, this system lacks any noticeable flaws and is the core of an excellent game.

 Non-combat gameplay is also solidly constructed. The menu system is very compact, and this is the first game by Squaresoft where characters could be equipped while still purchasing weapons and armour(and unfortunately, pretty much the only one). This helpful addition speeds things up considerably, and complements the gameplay nicely. There are no random battles; the world map is free of enemies, and one must walk up to creatures visible on the world map in order to fight. The only hindrance to this system is the monotony of the world map, but fortunately, relatively little time is spent on the world map, so this doesn't really make any difference.


12000 years has evidently had a large impact on the nature of gravity...
I wish MY continent did that...  

   Mitsuda rules. Not only does Mitsuda rule, but he had limited assistance from Nobuo Uematsu in constructing this game's soundtrack, so understandably, it is excellent. Many of the tracks are memorable, and each fits perfectly the area it is from. The only drawback is the somewhat tinny sound of some of the samples selected, but as the music is of excellent composition, this doesn't make any difference. The sound effects are also very good, and distinctive. The sound of Lavos... doing whatever the heck it is Lavos does, is as unique as any, and the kittens mewling are just so cute... Ahem. Before I dribble off into a big puddle of sap, let me just say one more time: this game's music is wicked.

   What sets this game apart is how original it was. I was expecting it to be similar to FFVI, but it is by no means a clone. At the time, it was fresh and new, including everything from the revamped battle system, the monster-less world map, the music, the idea of time travel, and the excellent plot, which is still by far the most complex and enjoyable I have encountered.

   The plot is, without a doubt, one of the foremost reasons I enjoy this game. The story is simply so deep in detail, and indeed thought-provoking, that it is a step above all other games. Every detail fit together perfectly, every idea well-conceived of, and it fit together to make a coherent whole. Character development was given especial play, as the storyline was able to include not only the main characters, but their ancestors, distant ancestors, and even those who succeeded them. What was the most refreshing was that there was no emperor with a badass sidekick, which, up until that time, had been a developing trend in RPG plots. 'The best' is really about all I can say.

  Translation was also seamless. With such an in-depth plot, the potential for numerous screw-ups existed, but mercifully, this was before the era of tortured thieves and such, so evidently no expense was spared in this department, definitely a good thing, since it would have been a great shame to have any of the plot compromised by poor dialogue or loose translation.


LSD is bad, mmmkay?
Why you shouldn't lick tree frogs  

  With over a dozen endings and the New Game + feature, CT has easily one of the best replay values around. The New Game+ is basically a concept whereby the game is restarted, except the characters retain their statistics from when the game was completed beforehand. This allows for the game to proceed more quickly, and also affords additional endings to be uncovered, giving CT excellent replayability.

The graphics in CT, as it is the final RPG produced by Square(at least, the final one that saw North American release)for the Super Nintendo, are top of the line, as far as the SNES's capabilities go. The art, done by the creator of Dragonball Z, is excellent, and lends the game much of its mood.(As an aside, that is the element most noticeably absent from Chrono Cross- the character art is somewhat lacking, and it shows). This serves to further enhance what is already an excellent game.

This game can be somewhat difficult at times, and there will be times where progress is slow. It is not overly difficult, however, and this difficulty is best described as moderate. This translates into a completion time of roughly 25-40 hours, at least the first time through. Subsequent playthroughs will naturally be easier as a result of the New Game + feature. There is not enough I can say about this game, other than it is supreme in my mind. There has yet to be a more solidly constructed game, and I highly recommend it.





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