Review by Leetdude

"This IS the best Squaresoft game ever, load times or not."

Back in the day, I owned both Final Fantasy IV SNES version (hereafter known as Final Fantasy II) and Chrono Trigger for my ultra awesome, and still working, Super Nintendo. I still own them, but I wanted something more. While both games are completely awesome, there was something being left out of Final Fantasy II. I needed the Japanese hardtype version. I also wished for the animated scenes from the Chrono Trigger remake in Japan. After enough time of waiting, Squaresoft released Final Fantasy Chronicles, a compilation of their two finest games ever. What's more, they were both updated even further than their original wonder. Besides the normal stuff, Chrono Trigger was given the animated scenes that I wished for so long, as well as many other cool features, such as the music box, which lets you here the ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL soundtrack to the game, and the wonderful Bestiary, or list of enemies on the game. Final Fantasy II was even further improved, sporting an all new, unedited translation, and the difficult version of the game, to boot! No matter how terrible the load times are (and, believe me, they aren't nice), the updates more than make up for it, and bring you an even better version of Square's finest pieces of work of all time.

FINAL FANTASY IV:

I really don't want to review the Graphics in this game, but I have to say something about them, so I'll say this. Don't expect much. When it came out, it was already seriously behind its time in terms of Graphics. Here we are, ten years later, and we have the same Graphics. Who am I to complain? I fell in love with ports a long time ago, and I prefer the original Graphics to updates anyway. This gets a big not applicable score from me. The sprites are small, the enemies are no more than decent, and the backgrounds aren't anything truly special. On top of that, the mode 7 in the original has been slightly brought down in this version. Although I'm not holding this against it, it's still fairly important to note.

Forget every problem you have with the Graphics. The music in the game is some true perfection! The awesome, unforgettable composer of the Final Fantasy series contains some of his best work in this classic. For one, I especially liked the boss battle theme. It truly sports a sense of urgency that many of the others don't have, such as Final Fantasy VI. The airship theme, while being awfully simple, is still a true masterpiece, and it has a sense of amazing power to it. Some of the sound effects are awfully simple, though. While the power of Bolt 3 or even Bahamut still comes through even today, the average sound of swiping the enemy with your sword or hitting them with an arrow just doesn't cut it sometimes. Oh well.

The story can be either good or bad, changing in the eye of the beholder. I liked it, personally. The story revolves around Cecil, the captain of the Red Wings, a group of airships working for the most powerful nation in the world, Baron. When ordered to take the Crystal of Water from a helpless nation of wizards, Cecil does so, but questions the actions he did. When he talks to the king about his worries, the king bans him of his position until he delivers a ''Bomb Ring'' to the village to the north with his friend Kain. Obviously, the game gets a lot deeper than just this. Obviously, it will end up in a cliche plot to take over the world. But even so, it's a good overall plot. The clunker, really, is the unexplainable ability of at least two characters to be alive after falling from a great height or blowing up a bomb on their back. Yep, blow yourself up and stall your enemies to save your buddies, and survive? That's realistic, all right. I really should note that the Final Fantasy Chronicles version has an immensely improved translation from the original. Besides keeping the awesome, yet rare, plot updates that the Japanese version had, such as some of the history on Kain, it has a true translation that kept in nature to the characters in the game. They even knew to keep the only awesome line from the old translation, ''You Spoony Bard!'', in the game! This is some good stuff!

It's an RPG. There is no point in actually reviewing the Play Control in an RPG, so I will simply make a complaint here. Overall, the Play Control is quite good, like all RPGs should be. If an RPG actually has bad Play Control, it really should be noted. But this RPG has mostly great Play Control, so no real problems. It should be noted that in the original version, the game had extremely slow characters. However, in this update, you now have a button to run, making that entire point useless! Hooray!

There's something about this game, as well as every Final Fantasy game before VI, that gives it a completely different aura, feeling, or otherwise liking from Final Fantasy games after Final Fantasy V. Something that is completely different from the latter games that makes it more enjoyable. This is probably because of the simple Graphics, but whatever it is, it makes the game more fun to play through than the future Final Fantasy games. This particular game does it the best. The medieval element to the game, with the touch of technology, makes for some of the most enjoyable areas and enemies in any Final Fantasy game. The only problem here is the large number of random enemy encounters in the game that can really make you angry. Too bad, though. Fortunately, it doesn't ruin the rest of this game's Game Play, which is pure genius. The only problem I had with the Game Play came from the update, which is some bad load times. Very painful, indeed.

The original, US edition of Final Fantasy II had a real problem with difficulty, because it got translated as the ''easytype'' version of the game, meant to be an introduction to new players of role playing games. Square USA must've thought that it wasn't bad enough, because they released Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, even easier, to take its place. However, this version is the original Japanese version, with many notable difficulty changes for the better. This version isn't nearly as easy as the original, and sports some truly great points in terms of difficulty.

This game has more Replay Value than most RPGs that I have played. This is mainly because of the large number of secret items that you have about a 1 in 64 chance of getting when you fight a particular enemy, or Sneak from them. Such items, equipment, or magic is fun to get. The biggest one, which may take up hours of time, is the Pink Tail, which can be traded for the best armor in the game. In a single room in the final area of the game, you have a 1 in 64 chance of fighting a Pink Puff. If you do, you have a 1 in 64 chance of winning a Pink Tail from them. It's always exciting to fight a Pink Puff on this quest, which adds greatly to the Replay Value, since it will probably take you many hours to get the Pink Tail. The 1 in 64 items add immensely to the already wonderful Replay Value, and WILL keep you coming back.

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CHRONO TRIGGER

As with Final Fantasy IV, this is a game that must be rated not applicable for Graphics. However, it isn't a huge disgrace to its time, as the former game was, as well. Chrono Trigger, having an awesome character designer who also designed Dragonball Z, has some extremely nice looking anime-style Graphics going with it. In terms of 1995, the original release of the game, the spells and bosses were top notch, something never seen before, even in Final Fantasy VI. Some of the backgrounds are very nice as well. However, some true ''new school'' people will still consistently bash the Graphics in the game, so I can't give it a 10, as I wish. I'll just put not applicable, as you aren't SUPPOSED to expect wonderful Graphics in a port.

The music is probably some of the best music in a video game ever. There are very, VERY few bad songs on the entire track. There are also many wonderful songs. From the introduction music to the final battle, the game has incredible music. It also has one of the best songs in a video game ever, Magus's theme. Likewise, the sound effects are perfection to the extreme. Crono's sword sounds wonderful, as does Robo's punches and Ayla's bites. The spells sound even better (check out Luminaire and Antipode 3!). I truly enjoy the music in the game, even more than I enjoy the music in Final Fantasy IV. It should be noted that the soundtrack to the game is coming out very soon, making for true enjoyment of the already incredible soundtrack, even after Napster has died.

Crono Trigger has an excellent story. The plot revolves around a random boy named Crono bumping into a random girl named Marle. Because of an accident with a machine that is supposed to teleport you to another position and a certain pendant, both of them are sent back in time 400 years. When Crono finally finds Marle, she disappears. Because she came and looked so similar to her ancestor, the search for her ancestor was stopped and the ancestor was killed, thus she never existed. Crono and his friend Lucca who figured out how to use the pendant to travel in time search for Marle's ancestor. When they find her and recover Marle, another problem teleports all three to the future, where there is nothing but bleakness. They find a computer which has a record of what happen, and determine to stop this evil creature before it ruins the world. If that is not a wonderful introduction to the story, I do not know what is. It gets much deeper later, including a wizard from the past, a kingdom which gets it energy from this world-destroying creature, and the prehistoric reptiles bent on conquering the world. If that is not deep, show me something that is.

There's no problem with the Play Control in Chrono Trigger. It controls as an RPG is expected to. Since all role playing games SHOULD have great Play Control, it's no longer being counted for a game. I'll just say that there's no problem here, and the game has just fine control.

Chrono Trigger has the best game play I have ever seen. From the gripping music in the introduction that convinces you to start to the final battle, you will be gripped in to play through the excellent game. This is standard in almost all RPGs. The best part of the game, though, is the technique and combo attacks. Rather than having the standard attack and magic system, each character has many trademark attacks and magic. These attacks and spells can be combined to make ''combo'' attacks, which gives a unique experience each time you play through the game with different combinations of your characters.

Chrono Trigger was never an extremely difficult game, and is just the same in this version. While some people think that the game is tougher somehow in the update, I don't see that it is so. I find it the same, just as I expected it. It's not an actually completely easy game. It's hard enough to enjoy, even if you are expecting something difficult. The difficulty also allows new role playing game players to come in and enjoy it immediately.

This game has excellent replay value. Though the game is somewhat easy, playing through the game again will not be a chore because of the fact that there is very rarely three set characters to use, and you can exchange them. Playing through some of the areas with different characters changes them quite a bit. Plus, there is the excellent New Game + feature, where you can get different endings as well as play through the game with higher stats from your previous games, allowing you to get the best characters possible. That new game + option alone is a wonderful reason to play through the game again.

OVERALL SCORES: Both Games
FINAL FANTASY IV:
Graphics: N/A
Sound: 8/10
Story: 18/20
Play Control: N/A
Game Play: 27/30
Challenge: 14/15
Replay Value: 15/15
Overall: 82/90

CHRONO TRIGGER:
Graphics: N/A
Sound: 10/10
Story: 20/20
Play Control: N/A
Game Play: 30/30
Challenge: 13/15
Replay Value: 15/15
Overall: 88/90

OVERALL: 170/180, 94 4/9%, rounded up for personal preference: 10/10

Both Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger are wonderful games that may have been passed up in the past, but shouldn't now that you have another chance to play them. The wonderful feel of the games in the day of the Super Nintendo, combined with the wonderful extra features, will make even those who already own the cartridge versions want to play and own this version. The perfection of Chrono Trigger, combined with the wonderful Final Fantasy IV, will make for an epic experience with this awesome port of two already wonderful games. I would suggest this to anybody looking for a wonderful RPG to play for a long time.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/19/01, Updated 07/19/01


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