Review by DJellybean
"Fans demanded it. Square questioned it. Sqaure EA releases it."
Like Anthologies, Chronicles offers yet two more of the most sought after RPGs in gaming history. Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger come packaged in a nonchalant 2-disc box with no music CD, unlike it's predecessor...which may or may not discourage fans since the last music CD was clearly not in favor of the fans.
The music seems to remain unchanged, yet Chrono Trigger seem to have at least one bonus track that wasn't apparent in it's SNES counterpart. Oddly enough, it sounds louder and more clearer on the cart than it does on the PSX, and it's a shame Square didn't do much more with the music. Yet as subtle and as soft as the themes may be, they are still as enjoyable and pleasant...and adding to the overall atmostphere in the game, whether it's the Theme of Love to Victory Fanfare...it's the kind of music that's hard to hate and a perfect match for each title.
Graphically, the game turns out as accurate as the previous SNES coutnerparts. Yet as you might have known, FMV sequences were added to the games, but Chrono Trigger adds about 20 minutes worth of animated cut scenes scattered through the game...all illustrated by popular artist Akira Toriyama. FFIV's opening cut scene is actually a retrospect of what is to later occur in the original intro(much like FF6's amazing FMV intro), yet what was shocking was that it was ridiculously short compared to it's other SNES Final Fantasy counterparts. Chrono Trigger's FMVs didn't fare perfect either, the FMVs that ran through my PS2 seemed choppy and seemed to skip a lot of frames. The intro wasn't done too well in terms of quality, the sound effects that were remnant through the intro FMV hampered one of the best themes in any game, Chrono Trigger - Main Theme. It's still uplifting however, but the sound effects could have been left out along with smoother frame rates in the introduction FMV.
The only replay value that is apparent comes from Chrono Trigger. Chrono Trigger is filled with multiple endings, 2 FMV endings along with an ending that is suppose to connect Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross, to make Chrono Cross more like a sequel...even though after playing through Chrono Cross, it expands Chrono Trigger...not continue from it.
New to Chrono Trigger is the Omake(Bonus) mode, much like FF6's Omake mode, you can view bestiaries...see movie trailers, etc. However, fans who gushed away $30-$50 for a Chrono Trigger OST are going to be displeased somewhat, as all 69 tracks can be heard within the game's Omake mode(provided you beat the game first)...but to ease some pain, those music files can only be read by the Playstation of some type of software on your computer.
Unfortunately, Final Fantasy IV doesn't offer many new features. The memo feature allows you to save temporaily on the PSX, which is prefered since it is horrendous waiting for the game to save and load. There's also a few small sprite animations that play during the loading time of the save file, but much like the re-release of Final Fantasy IV, it isn't much to brag about.
Final Fantasy IV receives a greater gameplay boost this time since it doesn't have to deal with censorship. The text, while dramatically changed, still holds the same meaning as the storyline remains un-altered, yet a little more mature. However, some text that was suppose to happen(like text found on the opening scene of SNES' FF2 compared to PSX's FF4) was completely cut out.
Aside from that, Final Fantasy IV is now more difficult to complete and contains more items and monsters to further complicate a somewhat linear gameplay engine the SNES counterpart had. New abilities are also added, like Cecil's Dark(DrgnWave) attack which hits all opponents but drains a portion of his HP. Palom, Porom, Gilbert, and other characters also have an extra ability up their sleeve, yet it doesn't effect the gameplay too much to have much of an impact.
The game's story is pretty linear, yet complicated enough to avoid much embarrassment like it's younger brother, Final Fantasy V. Gameplay is very balanced in this game, and the storyline does a great job of changing characters yet keeping the chemistry throughout the game. Like you would never go on a fight without having a healer, mage, fighter, etc. Each character is equipped with it's own abilities, Kain's ability is Jump, which lets him avoid all attacks during the duration of his Jump attack, Rosa uses white magic, Rydia is able to summon and use black magic, Edge is able to throw and use Ninja magic, etc. The stats and HP values grow accordingly to each character's attributes rather than give everyone the ability to become a Knight and have insanely high HP values(not that there's anything wrong with that).
Final Fantasy IV incorporates a dash feature by holding down the ''O'' button in towns, dungeons, and caves. Final Fantasy V had this feature, but the problem with it was that it hastened random battles at a higher ratio, but Final Fantasy IV seems to have somewhat remedy that problem. It's not what you call ''dyno-mite!'' but it's a nice feature to have and it's a saving grace for those players who wish to get through the game faster.
While I only have a Playstation2, Final Fantasy Anthology ran much better on the PS2 then it did on the PSX, and the same holds true for Final Fantasy IV. Yet Final Fantasy IV is probably the best looking SNES to PSX port that I've seen. There is virtually no load times between battles and the menus load up almost as quickly as it's SNES counterpart. The only real gripe about this is that saving the game takes incredibly long, and longer than any title on the PSX in recent memory. Aside from that, FF4 shouldn't really bare any slowdown problems.
Chrono Trigger doesn't differ much(if any) from it's SNES counterpart in terms of gameplay. Each character has three commands, Fight, Tech, and Item. Yet each character has their own set of techs...usually divided into attack or recovery...few of them incur status effects. Each tech(except for the initial ones) must be earned with tech points received after each battle to learn them. The most unique feature about techs is the ability to combine them with two or all three party members to inflict severe damage to the opposition...yet some techs cannot be learned and can only be used when a certain Rock is equipped.
Chrono Trigger is considered by many to have one of the best storylines in any RPG, an epic that spans across time with events that occur in the past effecting the future can intrigue anyone if given enough time. The translation of the game is pretty much the same as Ted Woosley's job with the SNES cart, so there isn't much to gripe about since he's done a great job with previous titles(Final Fantasy VI).
Chrono Trigger was considered as the best running SNES Squaresoft RPG on the PSX, yet Final Fantasy IV was considered the worst with horrible load times and glitches. The roles seem to have reversed in the US version as Chrono Trigger is hampered with horrendously long menu load times and battles run very slow...the game pauses for about five seconds before each battle and three seconds after every battle won. Some techs even cause the game to slow down a bit, not really noticable, but it's a shock considering how some people who imported Chrono Trigger previously mentioned what a remarkable job Squaresoft had done on the game's transition...despite it being a copy and paste title. Load times between areas aren't too bad, but are slugishly slow compared to it's SNES counterpart.
Both games have a two player feature(much like SNES' Final Fantasy V and III(VI)) in which you set certain characters to either controller slot 1 or 2. This may help or hinder the gameplay since RPGs were meant to be played alone. Personally, I prefer to play alone since there are a lot of moments in RPGs that I rather witness and experience myself then with another player as cheesy and emotional moments usually feel awkward with someone around you.
Final Fantasy Chronicles is indeed worthy of the retail price that it sells for. Even for those who previously had the carts should take this title into consideration since memory cards these days are more reliable than batteries and it's a collection that would fit into any RPG library. Anyone new to these two titles should definitely pick this title up...especially those who have played Chrono Cross but never picked up Chrono Trigger(nor played the ROM) as this title is most likely to fly off the shelves considering the publicity this title received was nearly doubled that of Final Fantasy Anthology(and people still have trouble finding that very title today).
Sure Square is milking money out of us, but it was the fans' demand for the titles...and if you're happy, that's all that matters.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/29/01, Updated 07/01/01
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