In ancient times, long before the days of the massive sword wielding, spikey head Cloud…before Sora would be the Keyblade master…before the eight monarchs would battle for Legendra…before the fog swept the Kingdom of Boletaria… and before the first blight would engulf the land of Fereldan…there was one, brave sixteen year old boy, who would fight fate to save the girl he loves, and the friends he held most true. This is the story of Chrono Trigger.
Although the original Final Fantasy would be the game that set the standard for RPGs as we know them, Chrono Trigger was the game that raised the bar. Chrono Trigger didn’t have the luxury of beautiful cut scenes, orchestrated music (in fact, many would agree that the recreated sound effects of the Playstation release were inferior to the Super Nintendo version), top of the line translators, or endless pockets behind it. It had a silent hero, with a wooden sword, and one of the best stories to ever hit the video game market in any genre. The game’s sequel, Chrono Cross, had impossible shoes to fill, and although most would consider the game great, it was left in the dust by its predecessor.
Enter Crono, the original spikey head protagonist, a boy headed to the Millennial Fair to see his friend Lucca’s new teleporting contraption in the year 1000 A.D. During his travels through the fairgrounds, he would come across games, food, kittens, the infamous Gato (who beats people up), and the lovely Marle. After colliding with the mysterious blonde, Crono agrees to show the visitor around the festivities as any sixteen-year-old with a girl at his side would.
Upon meeting up with the crafty, geeky Lucca, Crono tries out her new invention. With success, Crono teleports from one portal to the next. The demanding Marle strolls up to the machine and pleads for a try. It is at this moment that I stop the story—I would not dare to ruin this game for anyone who has never played it.
Outside of its head-of-its-time storyline, Chrono Trigger has a first-class cast of characters. No groaners in this baby! In every great RPG, you have your good characters: Fei (Xenogears), Axel (Kingdom Hearts II), Balthier (Final Fantasy XII), and . Then, you have your bad characters: Ramus (Lunar: The Silver Star), Quina (Final Fantasy IX), Gau (Final Fantasy VI), Boy (Secret of Evermore) and the cast of Final Fantasy X except Auron (Final Fantasy X). Chrono Trigger is the exception to the rule. Sure, you’ll have your characters that you use, or love, more than others, but there isn’t a character that makes your brain twitch when he or she appears on the screen.
Each character gets enough development as well. Whether you are playing the swordsman, Frog, or the primitive, Ayla, you’ll have plenty of main story and side quests to go through. All of the characters serve a purpose in the central storyline. This polar opposite of Chrono Cross. Every useless character you can think of was in Chrono Cross.
The battle system, by today’s standards, is relatively basic, but was revolutionary for its time. The turn-based battle system utilized attacks and character specific techniques. Dual-Techs (an attack created by two characters at the same time, usually combining two respective learned techniques) and Triple-Techs (the same idea, but with three characters) keep the battle system interesting, and certainly a little more strategic. When you use a multi-character technique, you use all of their turns. Who needs Ifrit when we have the awesome dual-teach known as Cross Slash?
You’ll enjoy the basic battle system the same way you will enjoy Chrono Trigger’s simple, but enthralling music. There are songs in Chrono Trigger that are legendary in the video game industry, and for good reason. When this infamous game was released on the Playstation, hearing real instruments play this soundtrack was more than a treat. From the themes of characters to the background music throughout the game, the music of Chrono Trigger is, for lack of a better word, amazing.
When you piece together all of the good parts about this game, the result is pure enjoyment. Simply put. This game is easy to enjoy, and just the right length to play over, and over, and over again. Although there is one true ending to the game, there are 13 endings that you can unlock. They are all worth getting, either being hilarious, or interesting to watch.
Chrono Trigger is one of the few games out there that deserves the credit and praise it receives. If you haven’t played this masterpiece, you don’t deserve to have a soul.
The 2001 release gave us new sounds, and most importantly, anime cut-scenes created by quintessential member of Chrono Trigger’s Dream Team, Akira Toryama. After each cut-scene, you were able to enjoy the original part in the game as well. Additionally, a new cut-scene for the true ending was created, as was a bonus ending linking Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross and other goodies. It was released under Final Fantasy Chronicles (Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy IV being in the set).
Nintendo DS Release
In 2008, Chrono Trigger was released for the third time. The new dungeons, the Lost Sanctum and the Dimensional Vortex, were not exactly the most welcomed addition of the release. To be perfectly honest, they are quite tedious and boring. Some of the fixed translations are either loved or hated (mostly those who love the original so much dislike the changes) as well.
The typically well-regarded additions to this edition are the monster arena (a battle arena for the enemies of the game), a new song (originally cut from the game, “Singing Mountain”), and a special new ending that has been a myth, folklore, and legend amongst Chrono Trigger fans for over a decade. This final addition is the true gem of the Nintendo DS version.
Game Play: 5/5
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