Review by SupremeJoe
"You will be a better person for having played this game."
I say that with all seriousness. If there was ever a game that deserved a 10/10, this would be it. This is one of my favorite games ever. It's one of only a few games that I would say deserves every last bit of the praise it gets. All those 10/10's you see in the reviews screen are there for very good reason. Of course this review only adds to that huge pile, but I feel as if not writing a review for this game would be some sort of blasphemy. So here it is, my review of Chrono Trigger!
For a SNES title released in 1995, these graphics are top-notch. The sprites of your playable characters are unique and always fun to look at. Battle animations for spells and things are also very cool-looking. But what really stands out here are the graphics for the world (worlds, even) that the game takes place in. Each area that you visit shows an amazing amount of detail, and the hand-drawn backgrounds that accompany some of the maps are just stunning.
The best way to express this game's soundtrack is with a nice hearty OMG . Yes, it's really that good. Pretty much every single track fits its designated mood perfectly. "Chrono Trigger" is an invigorating, lively song that plays during the intro, while the game is showing you all the awesome things you will eventually encounter. "Peaceful Days" and "Memories of Green" are both songs that embody the sunny, tranquil days of the land you start in. "World Revolution" is a heart-pumping, thrilling track that plays during one of the game's final fights. I could go on and on, but just suffice it to say that this game has probably the best OST ever. Oh yeah, "Time Circuits" is probably my favorite video game song ever.
As far as actual sound effects go... I don't really know. In all honesty you'll probably be spending so much time listening to the awesome music that you'll barely notice the sound effects. Most of them seem to fit well, though, especially the ones in the spell animations and stuff.
Unique, gripping, and epic are all good ways to sum up Chrono Trigger's storyline. The game begins with you in control of Crono, a red spikey-haired mute with skills with the katana, being woken up by your mother to go to the Millenial Fair. It's a celebration that she wants to make sure you don't miss because you overslept. So after waking up and reminding your mother of your friend Lucca's name, you get to walk around the town and the rest of your continent without fear, since there are no random encounters on the world map in this game. ^_^ When you reach the fair you can partake in the various fun activities there, and eventually you run into a pretty young girl named Marle. The two of you go see Lucca's new invention, the Telepod, but when Marle tries it out, a strange reaction with her pendant occurs, and she is thrown into a warp portal. After bravely following suit you discover that the portal that she fell into actually took her......... back in time!!
Time travel is the main crux of this game's story, and Chrono Trigger does an excellent job of keeping it interesting with this. As far as the story goes, after some adventuring and some shocking turns of events, Crono and friends find themselves in the future. It is a grim, post-apocalyptic scene that they can't believe at first. They discover that the world was basically destroyed by a creature called Lavos, and their resolve is set to destroy Lavos and change history. And so begins the party's quest to travel through different time periods via Timegates to find a way to defeat this evil. This is only the main story, however, and by the time you figure out what Lavos is and what its purpose is, it will be basically the end of the game. But the overall story behind it is pretty cool. There also aren't a huge amount of plot twists, but there are still enough to keep the game interesting. Overly complex storylines were never my bag anyway, baby.
Speaking of the party, you only get 6 mandatory party members, and one optional character. The names that some of the characters are given are admittedly not the most original names in the world (Robo the robot, for instance), but they each have their own charm, and you should have no trouble finding a 3 person party that you enjoy. And every combination of characters has their own combination of techniques and spells (which will be explained in a bit), which prompts you to try to use every character as much as possible. Sadly, there isn't a whole lot of character development for most of your party members, and at certain points you may ask yourself whether or not the characters who join you are just along for the ride, instead of actually wanting to save the world.
For an RPG, this game sure has some great gameplay. I was hard-pressed to find any flaws, and even then I only managed to find one. Anyway, battles in this game are conducted in the ATB style, made famous by the Final Fantasy games. You have a gauge that charges in real-time, and when it fills up your character takes his turn. This causes you to think on your feet, because the enemies have their own gauges that also charge in real-time, and if you don't act fast enough the enemies will just keep hitting you. Getting into battles is the good thing, however, because instead of using the evil "random encounters" system seen in so many other RPGs, Chrono Trigger's encounters are set. You can even avoid encounters some of the time, if the enemies are visible onscreen and you're able to get around them. Most of the encounters are still unavoidable, however, but at least you know when you're going to fight something.
What really makes this game's gameplay shine is the Tech system. Your characters learn Techs as they gain Tech points, which are won through battles. Nothing special there. But what's really cool is that you can combine the Techs of two characters to get a different one. For instance, combine Crono's Cyclone (a physical attack on a group of enemies) and Marle's Aura (a basic healing spell) and you get Aura Whirl, a healing tech that hits all allies. Or combine Lucca's Fire spell and Marle's Ice spell to use Antipode, a Shadow magic attack on a group of enemies. Every character gets 3 Dual Techs with the other characters, and they're learned automatically once each character has their required tech. There are also powerful Triple Techs that you get later on, which are all a lot of fun to use.
The other cool gameplay trait is the New Game + option. Basically, once you've beaten the game, this option allows you to start a new file, but retaining the levels and equipment of your characters. What's the point in this? Well, it allows you to see the game's 15 different endings. How this works I won't tell, because it spoils part of the story. But 15 endings to work toward makes this quite a long game, even if the initial playthrough isn't the longest game ever. Granted, some endings are better than others, but you'll still find yourself playing over and over again to see them all.
The one flaw I can find in Chrono Trigger is that it's on the easy side. It's probably one of the easier RPG's you'll play. And it's not just because I've played the game through so many times either; the game is just easy. However, it never gets so easy that it takes the fun away from the game. Instead it makes the game enjoyable all the way through. In fact, maybe this isn't even a flaw, unless you like heaping helpings of challenge with your games.
Finally, if you're able to get this game on an SNES cartridge instead of the PSX version bundled with FFIV, do so. The loading times in the PSX version are very annoying (although not quite as bad as PSX's version of FFIV), and the few anime-style movies that you get are really not worth all that loading time IMO.
Buy or Rent?
Buy. Dear God, buy this game.
I give this game my strongest recommendation. You'll often hear this game compared to FFVI (FFIII in the US), but Chrono Trigger is simply in a league of its own. There are plenty of good SNES RPGs out there, and FFVI is definitely one of them, but Chrono Trigger stands above them all. I only wish that more people could have shared my happy memories of growing up playing this game. Indeed, if there's one RPG that every gamer should play in the course of their lives, it would be Chrono Trigger. Best game ever, etc. I think you get the point.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/08/06
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