Review by Psycho Penguin
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Is Final Fantasy Chronicles worth buying? YES! It's one of, if not the best, premiere compliations ever released, and it is a truly great game, as it hosts two of the greatest games ever made. I'd definitely reccomend buying it!
Warning: This review will take less time to load than the average Chrono Trigger battle!
Well.. it's true. See, this game could have been classic. Hell, it was classic.. when it came out for Super Nintendo. Sadly, due to the rather rarity (ha! it's all ebay's fault..) of the cartridge, the game's price was jacked up significantly, and the only way the average gamer could get the game was fork out a decent sized chunk of money.
For that reason, a lot of gamers have been clammering for years for Chrono Trigger to come out to the Sony Playstation. It happened in Japan, but Squaresoft decided not to release it in America. People got ticked off, and along came a spider, and Chrono Trigger suddenly showed up on the American release list, along with Final Fantasy 4. Hence the beginning of the legend which was come to be known as Final Fantasy Chronicles.
Sadly, Chrono Trigger's translation from Japan to America was rather, mediocre, to put it best. The worst part of the game, in my opinion, was the shoddy loading times that came along with it. No longer do battles load right up. Now, you have to wait about five seconds for the battle to load, then slowdown will occur during the battle, and then when you finish the battle you are treated to more loading times. And that's just the battles. Let me say this game is just like Final Fantasy 6 in my eyes: great Super Nintendo game, lousy Playstation game.
Fortunately, Squaresoft really didn't change this game when they brought it on shores. If they did change it, a lot of fans would be severely pissed, and I guess they realized that, because the only thing they really added were the much hyped anime scenes, and the new bonus modes, just like Final Fantasy 6. I am glad they didn't really do much to change this game, because Chrono Trigger is one of the 10 greatest games of all time, bar none. So, the fact they didn't change it means the game still does have its strong points.
One of the game's strong points was it's great storyline. Seriously, I liked it. It involves Crono, and he is the game's main character. He starts off the adventure by waking up in his hometown, and he goes to the Millenia Fair. He runs into this girl and the adventure starts. One of the things I like about this game is how the game has you go back to different time periods to try to change history. For instance, when Crono goes back to 600 AD, he discovers from his friend Lucca that if he doesn't rescue Queen Leene, who has been kidnapped, then Marle, the girl he ran into, will be erased from history, because Marle is really Queen Leene's daughter. How cool is that? I really like the storyline in this game.
Graphically, Chrono Trigger is strong. The same complaints I have for the Super Nintendo version, I have for this one, as well. See, some of the backgrounds in the game are very bright, a little too bright and vibrant, and this may sometimes cause the average game player to get distracted and miss a key item or chest. Otherwise, though, I love the graphics in this game. The game looks just like the 16 bit version, which means it looks great. The enemy designs are awesome, the backgrounds are wonderfully designed, the character designs are classic (although a tad interesting, to say the least), and the overall look of the game is just amazing.
The added anime scenes that Squaresoft incorporated into the game just add to the loveliness of the graphics. The anime scenes are truly awesome, and are very detailed. You will definitely have a blast while watching through the various anime scenes in the game. I really enjoyed them, as the producers obviously spent a lot of time incorporating the feeling of the scene into the anime. Not to mention the fact that they are so well drawn! I was really impressed with the graphics in Chrono Trigger overall, although I wish they woulda changed the background problem I had with the original version.
Music wise, I really enjoyed the music in Chrono Trigger, as I have always considered it to be a strong point. Hell, I even bought the soundtrack for the game a couple of months back just because I enjoyed it so much. The battle theme is probably the worst theme in the game though, so of course you have to hear it most of the game. I wish Square would have used the unreleased battle theme, as it is much better. I really enjoyed the boss battle music, however, and the cool thing about the boss battle is how they varied it. The Legendary Boss battle music is some of the best music I have ever heard in a video game, bar none. I especially liked the final boss theme, it was awesome, and I listen to it a lot on the soundtrack.
Sound effects could have been better, but were very impressive nevertheless. The coolest sound effect was the sound that occured when you got an item from a chest or something. I also enjoyed the sound that played whenever you tried to open a sealed chest but it said "this item has been magically sealed..". That was a really cool sound. I wish I could say the same about the sound effects during battle, because most of them were really disappointing. Besides your average sword slashes and magic attacks, there really wasn't a whole lot of sound effects to be heard during battle. I still enjoyed most of the sound effects, I just wish there was a better variety of them during battle.
Controls in this game were very interesting, to say the least. I enjoyed them a lot though. Although for some reason I have always preferred using the digital pad to the analog pad, I still used the analog pad a lot for this game. I think the reason for this is because the analog pad worked very well with this game, more so than most of the other games I have played which gave you the added benefit of using analog control. The rest of the controls are solid, and you can customize them to your own liking, so you can probably find a control sequence that suits you best.
Chrono Trigger has always been one of my favorite games ever, and for good reason. The battle system in this game is one of the greatest I have ever had the pleasure of playing. It is deep and extremely interactive in terms of the amount of choices the game player has. One of the main points I might point out is the game's disposal of magic. Now you have Techs. There are three types of techs. Single techs, double techs, and triple techs. A single character can learn a single tech. To learn a double tech, two characters must be in battle, and they both must have the single tech needed to learn the double tech. If they both have it, they will learn the double tech. To learn a triple tech, three characters must be in the party, and they all must know the single techs required to learn the tech. How do you learn techs? Simple. You gain tech points along with experience points during battle.
The game also has other parts about the battle system, but some not as good. One of the things I did not like was how your character was limited to 999 HP and 99 MP. While most games have you get to 9999 HP and 999 MP, Chrono Trigger does not allow that. Oh well, it is not really a huge deal, it just makes the game seem like one of those old school games because some of the strongest attacks do like 400 HP, and I am not used to major attacks doing that relatively low amount of damage. Then I forget my character is limited to 999 HP, and just like that, he dies. But that's my fault, and I got used to it fairly quickly. I just wish they would have enabled the player to have more HP and MP.
Another major problem of this game which I am about to seriously go off on worse than I did my ex girlfriend, was THE LOADING TIMES. How in the hell can they just completely switch game loading times like that? For those of you with the confused look on your face, let me explain. In Japan, Chrono Trigger came out and had really good loading times. Final Fantasy 4 came out and it had horrible loading times, and other problems, like game crashes, which is why it never came out on Anthology. Now, when Collection came out, Final Fantasy 4 had AMAZING loading times (did battles even load?) and Chrono Trigger had awful loading times. That's why playing an hour of FF4 seems like nothing, and playing an hour of CT feels like playing 3 or 4.
That's why the replay value of this game suffers so much. While playing an hour of FF4 seems like an hour, playing an hour of CT seems like 4, and it hurts the replay value oh so much. The big problem with the replay value is the fact that if you have the Super Nintendo version, you will probably not want to play through the Playstation version. I think the only thing that would make you want to play this is the fact you can unlock all the different cinemas and music in the added modes by getting the different endings. That's what I did, but I doubt I am ever going to play the game again, especially since I own the Super Nintendo version.
The challenge level of this game really isn't that bad, as long as you can actually manage to stay awake while playing it. The game did seem tougher now than it did for Super Nintendo, but I think they just increased the power of the enemies or something. I am not really sure, but the game did seem kind of tougher. It is a pain in the ass to actually WANT to play this game, however, just because of the loading times and all. If you can put up with them, enjoy the buffed up challenge of this game.
Overall, I was apalled with a lot of this game, but I also enjoyed a lot of it. I like how Squaresoft made this game a lot like the Super Nintendo version, but they also fudged it up by making the loading times and slowdown as bad as it is. I liked this game, and you can't go wrong with getting this and Final Fantasy 4 for 40 bucks, but beware of the loading times. Otherwise, have fun and enjoy a trip down memory lane with this truly classic game!
Final Fantasy 4
Final Fantasy 4. Rarely ever will you meet a role playing gamer that does not have an opinion of this game. It is universally hailed by the role playing game community as one of the best to ever be released. I have a mixed opinion about this game, but for the most part I love it. I really enjoyed the Playstation version of this game a lot more than the Playstation version of Chrono Trigger. This is weird because for Super Nintendo/Super Famicom, the game I enjoyed more out of the two was Chrono Trigger, by far. It's amazing what loading times can do to a game, huh?
No one ever really expected Final Fantasy 4 to come to the Playstation. It was originally supposed to come out as a part of Final Fantasy Anthology. However, the original plans to bring Final Fantasy 4 to America were quickly derailed when some genius at Squaresoft realized that the Japanese version WAS CRAP ON A STICK. I mean, seriously, the loading times were so bad, a woman can conceive and give birth to two kids while you were trying to beat the game. Slowdown was so prevailant, it made Final Fantasy 6 look like Tony Womack beating out a infield throw to first base.
However, Squaresoft fixed all those problems by the time the game was ready to be released for the Sony Playstation in America. I guess they realized that they already had the code for the game, they just needed to fix all the insanely bad things about it. So they did, and boy did they ever. It's amazing to see how much the loading times improved for this game. It went from being very slow to very VERY fast. It definitely made the game a ton more playable and fun. The game has the best loading times on Playstation, bar none, and it loads just like a Super Nintendo game. Battles have no slowdown and load INSANTLY, like right when you get into one, the battle starts. Sometimes the battles go a little too fast! I love how they improved the loading times, as it's one of the best aspects of this game.
If you've played all the original Final Fantasies, you'll know for the most part that they're all about the same thing for the most part. Saving the world by saving the crystals. It's the same thing here, which means the storyline really isn't exactly the most original. However, it is well written, which is pretty important, especially if you're going to run the same damn storyline into the ground. Each of the characters have their own personality, which really is a change from the first three, which featured stale characters with no personalities to speak of. At least this time, each character has their own personality, from the crazy mechanic Cid, to the calm and subdued Kain who is always serious. The wide range of personalities gives the game its own unique feel.
It sure needed it, because basically the storyline is basic stuff. You are Cecil, the commander of the Red Wings. Well, you were, because once you decide to talk back to the King after you steal a crystal from the people of Mysidia, he fires you from your command post. Ah well, Kain comes with you, he's your best childhood friend. You have to deliver a package to the summoner town, so you go there, and it turns out the package is a bomb, so it blows up the town. Making things even better is the fact that you killed the mom of the only survivor of the blast. Wonderful. You really start off as humanitarians of the year, huh? Soon, the story goes to the basic "save the crystals from the evil bad guy to save the world" sequences, but at least there are some other minor story plots throughout the game, like the Cecil/Rosa and Cecil trying to find out who he is and who his real family is. Also, the whole thing with Kain, but that's a spoiler. Let me just say he's involved in a lot of twists that would make the average WWF writer get gray hairs.
The basic gameplay is a lot like any other role playing game you've probably ever played, but there's enough there to make this game a lot of fun. You get into random turn based battles, walking around on a world map and also going through dungeons. Battles are turn based, and you can use all the normal options, like attack, magic, etc. Each character has a different ability usually. Cecil can start off the game using Dark Wave, which hits all enemies for a lot of damage, Edge can use the Throw ability which enables him to throw weapons and items at enemies, Rosa and Rydia can use different kinds of magic, etc. While this is not as interactive or as fun as a job system (let's face it people, having someone tell you what you can do as opposed to choosing yourself is just not as fun), it is still decent enough, and doesn't detract any from the gameplay.
There are a lot of options in this game, it's incredible. Going into battles, you can have five characters in your party. You have a turn at fighting, then the enemies have a turn. That's what it is usually like. Not in this game. The enemies come at you in hives. They can get off a lot of hits on you with every hit you get off on them. This makes the game a lot more challenging, and fun, because the battles seem a lot more fast paced. You can have each character do different things. Like I already mentioned, each character has a special ability, and these abilities can be used in battle. I like using different strategies for each battle, that's the best way to get through battles. I love battling in this game, and the sweet loading times really help it in this department.
Leveling up really isn't as innovative as in other role playing games. It's basically the same as every other one. After every battle, you get a certain amount of experience points. Each enemy is worth a certain amount, which is a base amount. It is divided among your remaining party members. For instance, let's say you fight 3 enemies, and each are worth 300 points. You would get 900, and if you have 3 remaining party members, each one would get 300. If one died, each would get 450. Gold doesn't work the same way, as you get the same amount of gold no matter how many people survive or die. After each level up, you get your statistics increased, and sometimes if you can learn magic, you learn a new magic spell. Sometimes, you can't use a summon until Rydia is at a certain level.
The rest of the game plays a lot like your average role playing game. You get a wide variety of vehicles throughout the game. Okay, so maybe all you get is a chocobo, a ship, a whale, and an airship. But your airship gets a wide variety of upgrades throughout. It also enables you go go to the underworld, and eventurally to the moon, as well. Yeah, you get a whale. The whale lets you go back and forth between the moon. What, the pig wasn't available? Other parts of the game basically have you needing to raise enough money to buy new weapons, raise levels, go to the next place, get through it, fight big boss, win, and watch the story sequence. It's incredibly fun, no matter how lame I make it sound.
Control in this game is a breeze, and I found it really easy to control everything in this game. Every option is easily presented, and controlling the battles is as simple as can be. You can use the top 2 buttons on the Playstation controller to run, and the other buttons are pretty self explanatory. On the menu screen, finding what you need to do is very simple because of the simple layout of the menus. Sometimes, games think they have to be so complicated when it comes to the battle system and menu layout, so I am glad this game is not that way. I was really impressed with the control on this game, especially since it was both digital and analog supported.
Graphically, Final Fantasy 4 may look like a Super Nintendo game, but here's the funny part: it is! It's just a 16 bit game rehased for the Playstation, so don't expect any amazing 3D graphics. However, I really liked the graphics in the game. The world map looked great, which is more than could be said for a lot of role playing games out there (Tales of Destiny 2, I'm looking at you!) and was very detailed. The character designs were unique, and each had a nice look. Cecil had a dark blue suit with spikes with a dark blue helmet, Rosa had a white dress, Rydia had a green dress, etc. The enemy designs were incredibly solid, despite the fact the same enemy design repeated sometimes. For instance, let's say you fight a Imp. It's red. Later on you fight a Dark Imp. It's an Imp, but it's black. It's little things like that that get a tad annoying, but the enemy designs are still solid nevertheless. Combine the detailed backgrounds with solid character designs and nice enemy designs, plus a cool video sequence, and this game has some sweet graphics.
Music in role playing games has always been a very important element to me, so I expected a lot from the music in Final Fantasy 4. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed the music in this game. From the opening theme to the ending theme, the music in the game fit the feeling of the mood quite nicely. The battle theme is one of the better ones, which is good, because in my opinion the battle theme is most important. If you get sick of it quickly, you won't want to keep playing through the game. However, since the battle theme in this game is good, it's not a detraction. I loved the boss theme, and most of the music is really good. The various overworld themes are solid, as is the Big Whale theme, which is my favorite. Sound effects are nothing special, but they were solid. Most of them were in battles, as you may expect. No voice acting here, folks!
You will want to replay this game a lot when you first get into it. This is one of the few games I ever played for more than three or four hours at a time. I played this game non stop when I first got it. The lack of loading times really helped this. You'll be getting into battles so fast, you'll want to get into battles. Since battling is fun and is a great way to lose time (say your goal is to get to a certain level and watch the time fly by), you'll have a lot of game hours before you know it. This game is truly fun, and really addictive, and I can almost guarantee that you will be playing the game a lot. However, there are not too many secrets in the game, which may hamper it's multi-game replay value. Single game replay value is incredible, however. You will want to beat this game, for sure.
A lot of people know the basic story about Final Fantasy 2's challenge. Basically, there was a Final Fantasy 4 for Super Famicom, and it was tough. When it came time for Square to release the game in the United States, it was pretty much the same game, but it was different because Squaresoft decreased the challenge significantly. That's why Final Fantasy 2 is often known as "Easy Type". The Final Fantasy 4 you get with Chronicles is the hard type. The game itself is pretty easy, but damn if battles can't get to be pretty tough, especially if you are not on the level you are supposed to be. The enemies you fight get to attack at such a frequent rate, by the time you get two turns to attack, you will have already lost a lot of hit points, more than likely. That's why leveling up is so key in this game, as well as having as high a defense as you possibly can.
Overall, Final Fantasy 4 is an incredible game that doesn't deserve to be reviewed by me. It's that good. I can't say enough good things about it. The graphics are wonderful, the music is some of the best ever, the sound effects are solid, the control rocks, battling is fun, there aren't much loading times, and overall the game just plain rocks. It is pretty challenging, which could have been one of the selling points for Squaresoft if they decided to go that route. However, they didn't, which means this game won't get as much copies sold as you expect. Just kidding, by the way. This game rules and you should really go buy it. The only below average thing about it is the basic storyline, but the writing and character development more than makes up for it. Buy it, now!
I Rate This Game, Psycho Penguin Style!
Storyline - 8.5/10
Graphics - 9.0/10
Music - 9.5/10
Sound Effects - 8.5/10
Control - 9.5/10
Gameplay - 7.5/10
Replay Value - Average
Challenge - Above Average
Is the game worth a purchase? - Yeah
If so, for how much? - the 40 buck price tag.
Overall - 7.5/10
This game has received the beloved Psycho Penguin Bronze Beak of Doom.
The Last Line
What in the blue HELL is a Chrono Trigger? Heh heh.
Final Fantasy 4
-The game is truly addictive and fun.
-The lack of loading times is a really huge and great quality about the game.
-The soundtrack is one of the best ever, most of the themes are awesome.
-The graphics are as good as it gets for 1992 Super Nintendo.
-The character development and writing is definitely superb.
-Battling in this game is fun as fun can be.
-This is the REAL Final Fantasy 4!
Not So Good Points
-The basic storyline is really not that original.
-The sound effects could have been better.
-The game could have been a little longer.
I Rate This Game, Psycho Penguin Style!
Storyline - 8.3/10
Graphics - 9.2/10
Music - 9.9/10
Sound Effects - 8.7/10
Control - 9.6/10
Gameplay - 9.8/10
Replay Value - Way Above Average
Challenge - Above Average
Game Length - 25-35 hours
Rent or Buy? - BUY!
Overall - 9.7/10
Psycho Penguin Lays The Smackdown!
The Bottom Line: Final Fantasy 2 for Super Nintendo was great, but the original version of it, reincarnated for the Sony Playstation, seriously rules, and is one of the greatest games ever. Add to that the fact you get Chrono Trigger with it, and why wouldn't you buy it? Get Final Fantasy Chronicles now!
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 11/09/01, Updated 11/09/01
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