Review by TRichter
"A game you'll never forget!"
Chrono Trigger (CT) is one of the most popular SNES games. Even now, many years after its first release, there are still many big fans of this game, and I'm definitely one of them! This game comes along with a very simple and very easy to understand gameplay, a great story, wonderful characters, very good graphics and a fantastic soundtrack. I believe that CT is one the few games, you will never forget. It has its very own and very unique atmosphere, which makes this game a truly unforgettable experience. Okay, as you can see, I love this game. Now let's come to the review, and like always let's start with the graphics:
The graphics are great, really great. The backgrounds are beautiful, the animations and the whole style of all characters are the game is simple fantastic. CT is one of the few SNES games, where you can really see the emotions of your characters, you can see, if there are happy or sad, and I can truly say, that I've never seen such brilliant animated characters on the good old SNES. Because of the time travel story (see story section for details), there are many, very different looking places, where this game took place, all of them are made with a great love for details and all of them having there own special graphical style. Another thing I absolute love about the graphics of CT are the magic effects. They are big, they are cool and some of them are very innovative and a fun to watch. Brilliant work on this whole section!
The soundtrack of CT deserves a 10, plain and simple. If there would be an award for the best gaming music on the SNES, CT would be a really serious candidate for winning. The soundtrack is a masterpiece. It fits always perfect in the gaming situation and helps to create those very specific atmosphere, that makes CT such a strong gaming experience. This soundtrack comes along with tons of great themes, like all character themes and all battle themes. The dungeon themes are a little bit unconventional, but they are all sounding great and you can hear them for hours without getting nerved. I believe, that I will never buy a video game soundtrack CD, but if I would, CT would be my first pick!
Sound Effects: 9/10
Very good work on this section. Everything in this game sound great, no matter if you hit an enemy with your sword, if you shot an arrow with a crossbow, or if you just open a chest. There are same special sounds, like the howling of the wind which are fantastic done. They are sounding so brilliant, they let you forget, that you are playing a SNES game. Not kidding! Like I love the graphic of the huge magic effects in this game I also love the sound effects, used for the magic in this game. Overall: The sound effects a brilliant work, worthy of the high technical standard of the game.
The story is simple but it is also very touching and very involving, for some reasons. I don't think, that it is the story alone, which makes this game so addictive. It the brilliant atmosphere created by the graphics, the wonderful music together with the story. Time traveling plays a very important role in the story of CT and I must say, that this whole travel worth and back through time aspect is wonderful done. The way the game forces you to travel through time, to get along with the story, is logical and easy to understand. The game doesn't tell you: ''Go back in the past! Why? Don't know, find it out!'' If you go back in the past or choose to travel in the future you have a reason of doing this, either you need to find an item, which does not exist in the present anymore, or you have to battle a powerful magician to rescue the future of the entire world. Only at the beginning you are traveling forth and back through time via accident, but soon you can choose in which time period you want to go. Oh, I forget to give short summary of the plot (without real spoilers of course): Young boy travels with good friends through time to save the future of his world, from a very evil being, which has come to this world, many, many years in the past (and if I say many years, I mean many years). As I said simple, but simple does not always mean bad.
I've used to cover the characters within the story, but CT forces me to make an exception, because this game features some of the most wonderful characters, of all video games. I am not talking of just SNES games, but of all games for all platforms. Everyone of your heroes has his or her own personality, is talking and acting in a specific way, and it is a real pleasure to watch how they make it through this game. While in most video games, which are containing you more then one character you can actually play, there is always at least one guy or girl, many people hate, I know nothing about a CT character who is really hated by many people. They are all so fantastic done, you just have to like them, no matter if you look at the big android from the future or the noble, cursed to look like a frog swordsman from the past. For me, I can say, that no matter how old I ever get, I will never forget the characters of CT, because the have given me a really great time.
The most important section of any game ever made, the gameplay department. CT comes along with an almost perfect gameplay. Yes, I say almost, because it has some flaws, but we will talk about this later.
CT is a round based RPG with a battle system very similar to the Final Fantasy games. Interesting thing about CT is, that this game (unlike the Final Fantasys) contains no random battles. All battles are set, and you always see your opponents coming and in many cases you can even try to avoid them. You see all parts of the game in a birds eye view, similar to the one of Secret of Mana. When you enter a battle the graphic does not chance, like in most other round based RPGs. The monsters are just lining up, your characters are lining up and the battle interface shows up on the screen. While in battle everyone of your characters needs a specific time before he or she can act (like in all RPGs your characters can act faster, if their levels get higher), when this time comes, he or she can choose between three commands: Attack (clear thing), Tech (special techs of the the specific character) and item (should be a clear thing too). While the commands ''attack'' and ''item'' should not need any further explanation, the tech command does. Every character learns techs, by winning a special amount of ''ability points'' from defeated enemies (we know this system from many other RPGs too, not very innovative). Those techs contain magic techs, like bolt attacks as well as physical attacks. It is important to know about the nature of your tech, because some enemies are immune to magic, while others can be hurt by magic techs. But this game features another thing about techs: double and triple techs. Yes, you can use two characters to perform a tech together. The effects of these tech varies a lot. Some of them are healing the whole group, while others deliver a powerful magic blow against all enemies on the screen. To get a double or triple tech, each of the the two or three characters must have mastered a special single tech. If you put two or three characters with the right techs together in your team, they will automatically learn the double or triple tech, when they enter the next fight. So this game comes along with a hug amount of different techs, and I'm not lying, when I say, that I didn't see all techs during my first play through this game. Another special thing of CT is that it is important where your character is on the battlefield and where your enemies are. For example: Your main character is able to use a cyclone attack with his sword, which damages all enemies within a specific radius. So some enemies must stand near to each other, to let your tech be effective. So you have sometimes to wait a little, before using a specific tech, what gives the game another tactical aspect.
A problem of the whole gameplay is, that it is very simple and it gives the player nearly no influence in the development of the characters. You can only choose, if you want to use the character and what equipment he or she gets. There are also some tabs, found through the entire game, allowing you to raise one stat of one character for one point. You can decide who should get such a tab, but that's it. All other aspects of character development are covered by the game. For real hardcore RPG fans these game system may be a little to simple, but of course it is very, very great for beginners.
Oh, I forget to mention the side quests, which you can play near the ending of the game. The side quests of CT are fantastic. They are entertaining, sometimes challenging and definitely the best side quests on the SNES.
Difficulty: Easy / medium
The game is easy for RPG veterans and comes along with a medium difficulty for RPG beginners. But this does not mean, that you should not play this game, if you are a RPG expert. I've played a good numbers of RPGs for myself and I'm still a big CT fan and I'm still enjoying playing this one. But although this game is not hard overall, you will have a hard time, if you didn't spend enough time with gaining levels, but there is always a way to win battles, even on lower levels. The game contains also some boss fights, which can be called challenging, without being too hard.
Replay value: 10/10
I don't know any game with such a high replay value. You may ask why, simple, after you solved the games once, you can use your powerful characters from the end of the game, to start it over again, smashing everything in your way and getting tons of new endings, depending, when you decide to go after the final boss (this game is about time traveling, remember, you can defeat the final boss at almost any point in the game). This feature gives the game a real high replay value.
This game is not so great because of the fantastic gameplay (which is really good, don't get me wrong), but of its high replay value and fantastic atmosphere, which is difficult to describe with words. I believe it is the best thing, when you are just go out and get this game, to see for yourselves!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/03/04
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