Review by Zylo the wolf
"I bought this game, and I don't even own a SNES. That's how amazing Chrono Trigger is."
There are two good reasons why I didn't get a chance to play through Chrono Trigger until Final Fantasy Chronicles (A collection that contains a port of Final Fantasy IV and Chrono Trigger) got released on the PSX in America. The first reason is because it didn't get released in Europe for some odd reason, and the other reason is because I never had a SNES to begin with. However my chipped PSX could play games from all regions so I thought that a Final Fantasy and just another square RPG would be a sweet deal. But Chrono Trigger was so much more than just another RPG from Squaresoft, it turned out to be the best on the system.
The story begins with that our hero Crono wakes up and gets himself ready for a brand new day. Today it is a festival in Leene Square so of course our young hero have to go there. Almost as soon as he's arrives there he bumps into the mysterious girl Marle, but they quickly becomes great friends and Marle asks Crono if he can't guide her in the festival area. Of course Crono is a gentleman agrees to do so. After a bunch of optional mini games they meet Crono's friend Lucca, who have invented a machine where you can teleport from one of the two portals. Marle decides to give it a try just to see if it really works.
However something strange happens. Instead of warping to the other portal Marle completely disappears and drops her pendant. Since no one knows where Marle is Crono decides to pick up the pendant and also try the machine Lucca just has invented. After that he have stepped into the portal he warps to a new world, where there are small green monsters. It turns out that Lucca have invented nothing else than a time machine. Crono's problem right now is that he have no idea where Marle is, and also he has no idea how he can get back to his own time.
I'm not going to spoil the big story for those who actually haven't played this game but still reads this review, but in some way Crono, Marle and Lucca ends up in the future, and there they meet the trashed robot called Robo that Lucca fixes and then they get to know why the future looks like a big wasteland of metal junk. In 1999 AD Lavos, a big monster that caused the end of the world. A short time later in the game the reach "The End of Time" where they can travel to different time periods, including the Dinosaur Age, the Middle Ages, The Future and present time. Their goal is to stop Lavos from destroying the world.
What makes Chrono Trigger unique is that every time period has it's own story that sooner or later connects in some way to the main plot. For example in AD 600 the story focus on a war between humans and monsters, it's in this time period where we find Frog, a knight who got turned into a frog when he was fighting Magus with his master Cyrus. Magus is the leader of the monster army and is trying to summon Lavos. Magus in particular may not be my favourite RPG character of all time, but he sure has the best plot in any game and it's when the story focus on him it is at it's best. Another important character is the sexy cavewoman Ayla who unlike all the other characters fights with her bare hands instead of using a weapon, despite this she's still the character that do the most damage with just regular attacks.
You can have at max have three characters in your party, but you can at any time outside the battles and in some events change the characters in your party. Each character has his or hers own set of skills that cost MP, and when you take them to "The End of Time" every character except Ayla can learn an element type of magic. There are 4 different ones: Lighting (Crono), Fire (Lucca), Water (Marle and Frog) and Shadow (Robo and the hidden character). Shadow is the type of skills that aren't connect to Lighting, Fire or Water and all characters got this kind of skills. This system makes the different cast pretty balanced as each character got one weakness.
But the most unique thing about Chrono Trigger is the battle system. Squaresofts most wellknown RPG series had always had random encounters where the enemies can pop up from anywhere, but here you see the enemies on when you are walking and as long as you can avoid them you won't have to fight them. However sometimes the enemies are hiding in places where it's next to impossible to avoid them and then you have to fight them.
Another interesting twist is that the enemies can move during a battle, which sometimes means that magic attacks that covers a certain area might do damage to more than one enemy. Sometimes the enemies are also to far away to be able to attack one in your party. This may sound very complicated, but the only thing that you actually will notice about it most of the time is that there are many enemies that never is still. Marle for example who uses different bow guns to attack hits them with her weapon when they are to close instead of firing an arrow.
Another really cool thing you can do in battle is that not only has each character about nine different spells, but two characters can combine two of their spells to make an even more powerful. And to top that there are also a few triple spell combos in this game, which of course are the most powerful ones. However keep in mind that this takes a turn from both character when you use it and both characters has to be able to choose their command in battle in order to use a combo. This gives you a lot of different strategies to win a battle.
You can choose to fight Lavos and beat the game almost at any time during your adventure. Maybe you are wondering why you would try to beat the game early? Because there are many different endings in this game, and most of them depend on when you choose to beat Lavos. Of course Lavos is hard, so it's best to beat the whole game once and experience the full amazing game, then when you have beat it you can start a New Game+ where you start from the beginning, but you get to keep most of the items, your characters levels e.t.c from your previous game, and now you should be able to take on Lavos early.
So what is it that makes Chrono Trigger the best RPG on the SNES? It got Akira Toriyama's finest character design in with both pretty characters and monster, it has some of Nobou Uematsu's finest tunes, if not some of the finest tunes ever been played in a game, it got a lot of different side quests, each character is unique so you want to make everyone strong, the tight plot shouldn't keep you bored one second with many unexpected twists. And the New Game + mode should keep your entertained when you have unlocked everything. I usually think about the score 4 times or more before I give a game a ten, but I giving Chrono Trigger any other score would just be a desperate cry for attention. This is the best game on the Super Nintendo!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/29/09
Game Release: Chrono Trigger (US, 08/22/95)
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