Review by BrakZero

"Two excellent RPGs in one package — not to be missed."

Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger... two games that are easily among the best role playing games of all time. These games were released for the Super Nintendo, but just like Final Fantasy V and VI were put together to make Final Fantasy Anthology, Final Fantasy IV was put into a package with Chrono Trigger to make Final Fantasy Chronicles. Now, fans can experience both great games on their PSX. But are they exactly the same as the original? No, but they were pretty close. Also, there was no soundtrack included with the two games. This was a big disappointment to many, although Chrono Trigger sort of had a built in soundtrack.

Final Fantasy IV

Graphics
When FFIV was first released as FFII in the US, the graphics weren’t better than every game on the market. They really weren’t that spectacular, because Square just didn’t have enough time to make their NES to SNES changes. Yet they turned out satisfactory. The character and environments were all pretty good, with enough detail to keep you from groaning. The graphics are exactly the same on FFC, which is a good thing. It’s much better to have it look like the original. While some people might start complaining because they want their precious 32-bit graphics, they got 16-bit instead. So like I said, the environments have a nice amount of detail put into them, as well as the characters. The characters couldn’t do much on screen, though. The only thing they could do is bow their head down, which is a sign of sadness. They can also hug and kiss, which is briefly seen with Cecil and Rosa, the hero and the heroine. The enemies all looked clear and sharp, with a lot of detail. There were a couple of added FMV sequences, but they weren’t too great. Overall, the graphics were pretty good for their time, although they would lose pathetically if put up against today’s standards.

Audio
Final Fantasy IV had one of my favorite soundtracks from a video game. Every single track from the game seemed to blend right in with the game so well. Each track seemed perfectly suited for its situation. And since I like the music so much, it was only natural for me to feel angry when I heard no soundtrack was included as it was in the FFA. That’s a real disappointment, because this game had a soundtrack that should truly be heard by everyone.

Most sounds in FFIV were found in the battles. These were all good for the most part, because they fit in well with the spell animation. Other than the battle sound effects, there wasn’t much sound.

Story
This is why FFIV shines like the gem that it is. FFIV’s story is incredible. It starts off with Cecil (The main character), who is in command of an airship force called the Red Wings. He is ordered to steal a crystal from a town of mages, and he had to kill some mages to get it. He and his crew don’t understand why they must kill innocent people, so Cecil questions the king upon his return. However, the king decides to be a freak, and fires Cecil from his post as the commander of the Red Wings. His friend Kain barges in and tries to back Cecil up, so he sends Cecil and Kain to a village with a Bomb Ring. When they get there, a big surprise awaits them, and the adventure goes on. With a ton of plot twists and great character development to go with it, FFIV has one of the best storylines in the series. Now that FFC has been released, new school Final Fantasy gamers can experience the amazing stories of their favorite games’ predecessors.

Gameplay
With the release of FFIV on the PSX, fans of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX can see how the old school games played. FFIV is a perfect example of old school FF. For starters, the crystal plays a major role in the story. The crystal appeared at the end of FFIX, and the idea obviously came from this game and FFV. Also, there are character classes. Each character has a default class that can’t be changed anytime throughout the game, with one exception. Depending on a character’s class, they have unique abilities that can help you in your quest. For instance, Rydia, who is a summoner, has the ability to summon monsters to help you in your battles. I personally like this system of abilities much more than FFVII or VIII. In that game, you can set any ability for any character. This takes a lot of challenge out of the game, since you can’t just have any character run around with the best magic spells. The character class also determined the equipping capabilities. Meaning that you can’t have a white mage running around swinging a sword at everyone. Only knights can equip swords, and they can equip heavy armor as well. A white mage would have to wear robes rather than armor. Get it?

There is a new feature installed for the PSX version — a dash feature. Like with all the current Final Fantasy games, the player has the ability to dash by holding the O button. This new feature pleased fans, because the previous FFIV had slow walking. But the biggest new feature was the fact that it was the Hardtype version. The previous version released for the SNES was known as the eastype, which was censored and made easier for Americans. But the Hardtype was released with FFC, which had new items, new and improved enemies, and a new dialogue. This is fortunate, because the original version wasn’t that challenging. This new and improved version is much more fun and challenging.

There was no special type of battle system for FFIV. It was a simple system in which each character simply takes turns at attacking with their abilities and weapons. No materia, no espers, no jobs, no Guardian Forces, or anything! Magic is simply learned when characters reach new levels.

Loading Times...
When Final Fantasy Anthology came out, the loading times for the games were very slow. So when Final Fantasy Chronicles was confirmed, fans worried about the loading times. Luckily, FFIV had virtually no loading times. There was no load time between battles, nor was there any load time when bringing up the main menu. However, saving your game onto your memory card took a ridiculously long time. However, a Memo feature that was seen in FFA was installed onto FFIV. Using it, players can save using the Memo file, then save onto their memory card when they were about to shut off their Playstations.

Overall, Final Fantasy IV is an amazing game which turned out well on the Sony Playstation.

Chrono Trigger

Graphics
The graphics in Chrono Trigger are great! When this game was originally released, the graphics were the best! The graphics made all the other games on the market look boring. They look like early Playstation games. All the characters and the environments were spilling with detail. All the animation, all the enemies, and everything else looked amazing. Square had taken full advantage of the Super Nintendo’s capabilities to make the best graphics for the SNES, and the graphics for the PSX version look pretty much identical to the original. With the exception of the anime scenes, of course. They’ve taken Akira Toriyama, a well-known manga artist due to his widely popular Dragon Ball series, and had him draw the anime scenes. He was the original character designer, so he had already played a part in the development. You can see the resemblance from the characters, as they look much like Dragon Ball characters. So, Chrono Trigger sports anime rather than normal FMVs.

Audio
Chrono Trigger had an excellent soundtrack. The songs fit in pretty well with the situations. Some songs are memorable, such as Frog’s Theme and battle music with Magus. Those are two tracks that I found to be very good, and stand among some of the best music from a video game. Luckily, there was a music box function in the Extras mode, which allows you to listen to every track in the whole game after finishing the game. I would’ve preferred to have a separate soundtrack compact disc, but an in-game music box is the next best thing. Now we can all listen to our favorite songs from CT!

Story
A good story is always needed in every good role playing game. CT doesn’t fail to have a great story. CT has one of those stories that are so simple, yet can be so deep at the same time. Unlike the sequel, Chrono Cross, Chrono Trigger’s story wasn’t hard to understand. It was simply about a boy named Crono, who awakened one day to go to a millennial fair. At the fair, he bumps into a girl named Marle and becomes friends with her. They go together to see an invention by Lucca, Crono’s friend. When Marle tries to use the invention, her pendant reacts to the machine and she gets sent through time. Crono goes after her, and a whole adventure begins. Many plot twists arise throughout the game, causing the game to be much more interesting. Overall, the story is great!

Gameplay
The battle system in Chrono Trigger was based on the Tech system. In battle, every character has three commands: Attack, Tech, and Item. Attack triggers a weapon attack, and Item allows the character to use an item in battle. Techs are the unique thing. Each character has his or her own unique techniques that are learned through Tech Points, which are awarded after a battle. Once you get enough tech points, you can use your new tech. Many of these new abilities are elemental magic. Most characters have his or her own magic element. For instance, the main character Crono uses Lightning magic. Anyway, many techs can be combined to make Double Techs and Triple Techs. This adds a whole new twist with the gameplay. For Double Techs, two characters perform their own techs and combine them to make one, new, powerful technique. Triple Techs are the same, but a player must use three characters rather than two. (Hence the name) And if that’s not enough, they’ve even thrown in certain accessories that must be equipped to use triple techs!

Like Final Fantasy IV, they’ve added new features. Chrono Trigger had a large Omake (Bonus) mode, which allows players to browse through some special features, including a music box. However, almost all of the modes were inaccessible until you complete the game. And there wasn’t a new dash feature installed, because Chrono Trigger already had a dash feature!

Loading Times...
Unfortunately, Chrono Trigger didn’t have load times like Final Fantasy IV did. It had a big slowdown when opening the menu, and there was a few seconds of loading before and after every single battle! After playing the game for a while, you should get used to the slowdown, but it’s still much better on the SNES. Luckily, saving your game doesn’t take as long as FFIV. Since saving doesn’t take that long, Square decided that a Memo file was not needed, and therefore didn’t install one.

Overall, Chrono Trigger is one of the best games of all time, which would’ve been much better on the PSX if it were not for the load times.

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Final Word
Final Fantasy Chronicles is a great package with two amazing RPGs. Any RPG fan who hasn’t played these two games should take advantage of the PSX release and get this package! I can guarantee that you won’t be displeased with these two games.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/07/01, Updated 07/07/01


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