"The slight lag is but a minor flaw. Two great games in one? Sounds enthralling to me!"

Chrono Trigger. A Square game not named Final Fantasy but quite possibly their greatest achievement ever. Final Fantasy IV. Classic Final Fantasy at its absolute finest. Both in one game. Both as good as ever. Almost. The fatal flaw is that these are well.... ports with a few useless cutscenes thrown in. Final Fantasy IV is not really hindered by the lag. Unfortunately Chrono Trigger is. The specific problem is when you enter battle there will often be a slight pause and when you go to your menu it can take up to 5 seconds. Fortunately, Chrono Trigger is a good enough game to make Final Fantasy Chronicles a worthwhile purchase regardless.

Chrono Trigger

Storyline: You are Crono, the mute antagonist and you are living a normal life with your mom. You go to the local fair to see your genius friend Lucca's new machine. At the fair you bump into a fleeing princess and eventually due to a malfunction of Lucca's machine, you all go back in time. The story unfolds from there, what may seem as a petty medieval war against Magus, the badass wizard soon turns into a fight for humanity and for the protection of the world. Your main opponent will turn out to be Lavos, who may just seem like a big space bug to squash to you, actually has some secrets. Every time period revolves around Lavos, Lavos is the glue of the game. Tragedy, power and destruction have been caused at the hands or uh, claws (?) of Lavos. You will travel into medieval times, into the decimated future, into the prehistoric era and into the realm of the magical kingdom of Zeal. The adventure is epic and the storyline is incredible. The cast is equally as awesome. Even Crono has a little bit of development despite not talking. You get a robot and a frog with a sword on your team as well. How cool is that?

Game Play: Chrono Trigger's game play is unique and innovative. First I'd like to point out a few differences from other RPGs. First and foremost, there are no random encounters. Random encounters are often an annoyance. Having no random encounters in this game is a very nice breath of fresh air. Instead, you fight random battles by running into your enemies who are visible on the screen. Of course, there are required battles throughout the game but honestly, that's okay. No random encounters is amazing. Also, unlike other Final Fantasy games up until that point, your characters will actually physically strike your foe as opposed to waving their weapons up and down and then damage appears for your enemy. This adds realism and make the adventure more epic.

This is an RPG, so you do plug the commands in and the characters do damage. You get experience after battle and if you get enough experience, you gain levels. When you gain levels your stats increase such as your H.P., attack, defense, speed or magic. Another way to increase your stats is by equipments you can buy or win in the game. You can have up to three people in your party at a time. There are the basic commands of attack and item but there are also techniques you can use. Of course, this will take away MP. Most of the characters will also eventually learn magic down the road. For example, Crono gets lightning magic, Lucca gets fire magic etc. It's quite basic so far but one aspect of the game play where Chrono Trigger stands out is the ability for your characters to use double or even triple techs. As you might have guessed, characters can combine forces and unleash devastating attacks on your enemies. While these are useful, it does count as a move for all the characters involved in the techs. The game play is superb though, it's unique and original and it makes the game fun.

Soundtrack: The soundtrack to this game is beyond incredible and is easily a contender for the best soundtrack of all time, even today. The same guys who composed this brilliant soundtrack have great track records with other musical masterpieces like Xenogears. The music to this game is exquisite and every theme fits perfectly. The regular battle theme is amazing and puts you in a “pumped up” mode which can't be said about several regular battle themes. The boss battle themes are also amazing and the music of the areas you visit is also incredible. The theme when you are at the magical kingdom of Zeal is legendary in terms of quality. The themes that play during the battle with Magus and Lavos are extremely epic and add a lot to the atmosphere. Extraordinary. The sound si good too. While I personally didn't see much discrepancy between gun shots and sword slashes, there at least was some. Lavos's cry may be no laugh of Kefka but it is classic.

Graphics: This was at the end of the Super Nintendo's lifespan so you would expect some great graphics. They aren't PS1 graphics but they are the best the SNES had to offer. Square has always been graphically talented and this is no exception. The graphics to this game surpass any RPG before it. Square made a valiant effort to make this game beautiful and they did not fail. The details are great and the backgrounds are awesome as well. Small minor, seemingly negligible details truly add a lot to the game. I personally love the facial expressions on the characters.

Difficulty: This game is not too hard, some battles like Magus require some strategy but other than that, the game is pretty smooth sailing. All the great games biggest weaknesses seem to be difficulty and sadly, this game is no exception. It wasn't so much that the bosses didn't have enough H.P., it was more of the fact they didn't really hurt you that much and so you could just own them with your techs. It is unfortunate but quite possible to overlook.

Final Fantasy IV

Story/Characters: You start out with a dark knight named Cecil. Cecil is considered to be one of the best heroes of all time. Cecil goes on these missions for the king but soon realizes that he can't do the evil deeds for the king. I won't spoil anything important, but Cecil ends up leaving the kingdom and once he climbs Mt. Ordeals, he becomes a paladin. The storyline involves crystals and you must race to protect the crystals from falling into the evil hands of Golbez. You aren't doing this alone though! You'll get friends along the way who have their own story and development. A thing that irks me about the story is that they can use the same excuse to explain why certain things happen (Once again, I do not wish to spoil anything) when they could have though of a different plot twist. Oh well, the story is classical and you'll love it. The characters are great too!

Graphics: You must remember that these graphics are not today; it was at the very beginning of the SNES. The graphics were good for their time, the towns and world map were drawn good, the creatures you fight were out of proportion but I liked it as it allowed you to see a creature with vivid colors and shapes. I was impressed; this game was a notch or two above the NES Final Fantasy games. However, after playing Final Fantasy VI, I noticed that it was possible for Square to do a better job for the graphics on the SNES but you have to give this game credit. The graphics were good for its time.

Game Play: The game play is really simple. In fact, it really doesn't get simpler than what it is. You can purchase and equip weapons, shields, helmets, vests, and other accessories to raise your stats and you acquire new moves by getting to a certain level. Simple, no? I think the system could have been a little more complex but you may like the simplicity. It all depends on whatever floats your boat.

Music/Sound: These were great aspects of the game. For sound, the weapons and attacks were for the most part, realistic and well done. The music is even better. Final Fantasy IV reigned supreme for best Super Nintendo music until Chrono Trigger. There are several different town music tunes, the boss battle and big boss battle are just awesome and the final battle is also excellent.

The conclusion speaks for itself. Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy IV are two great games that you are bound to enjoy. The game can be still bought for very cheaply. There is no reason not to get it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/05/06

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