Review by UltimaterializerX
"Unlike most remakes, Final Fantasy Chronicles manages to deliver on its intended purpose; the classic games you love, with added perks and few flaws"
If you seriously try to find either Final Fantasy IV or Chrono Trigger's original American SNES releases these days, the only logistic chance you'll have at either of them is to pay an arm and a leg. Square took note of this during the Playstation days, and thanks to a wave of old Square titles remade into Playstation games, gamers can now enjoy a multitude of classics that they may not have gotten their hands on before. And unlike the failure that was Final Fantasy Anthology, Final Fantasy Chronicles is actually a good game.
Final Fantasy 4 isn't quite as rare as Chrono Trigger is, but you'd be hard-pressed to find the Final Fantasy Chronicles version of the game anywhere else. For the most part, FF4 will be exactly like you remember it, but with some minor changes. First, and most obvious, is the fact that you'll be playing the hard version of the game. The enemies hit harder, they're smarter, and they're a lot faster than they were in the SNES version of the game. It isn't uncommon for an entire group of enemies to get off an entire round of attacks to every two ally actions that you input. The enemies are greased lightning in this game.
The story is exactly the same as it is in the SNES version of the game, and there are no additions for subtractions to the plot from the SNES version. However, a hardcore fan of the SNES version of the game will notice minor changes in the script every now and then, likely so the game would feel more Americanized. Unfortunately, most of these changes make the game read a tad worse than in the SNES version, but it's nothing that drastically alters the gameplay or the story in the least. On the more positive side of the spectrum, there are a lot of other text changes that are an improvement over the SNES version, so it all evens out. The biggest example of this is the fact that the names of the spells are now correct; "White" has been changed to "Holy", "Weak" to "Wind", "Nuke" to "Flare", et al. You'll also see the full compliment of secondary character abilities, which is something that a lot of the characters did not have in the SNES version of the game.
The other major thing that every player will notice will be the inevitable lag that rarely comes from a cartridge. Cartridges are able to directly input a command to the console, whereas on a CD, the console has to search for what is going on. This will cause lag in many areas that were not seen in the SNES version of the game, including when you enter the menu, surf the menu, enter a random battle, and so on. If there is one major flaw to FF4, it would be the lag. However, you get wonderful opening and closing cutscenes that are more than worth the price of admission.
Aside from these facts, everything is almost exactly the way it was in 1990, save for a couple of extremely minor differences that you'll likely never even notice. But while Final Fantasy IV is an amazing game in its own right, the true selling point of Final Fantasy Chronicles is Chrono Trigger.
The very mention of Chrono Trigger in and of itself causes a lot of hardcore gamers to be overwhelmed with nostalgia, simply because most hardcore gamers that remember the 1990s remember the splash that the game made with its obscene price tag. The opening price of Chrono Trigger on the SNES was $75, which is absolutely obscene given that most SNES games used to cost, on average, about $30-40 at the time. Yet despite the price tag, Chrono Trigger would grow to be an extremely popular RPG that would see demand reserved for a select few games. In a way, Chrono Trigger's demand never truly died, because despite how popular the game was, Square's perfect use of supply and demand coupled with the hefty price tag caused Chrono Trigger to constantly be a rare, expensive find. Even to this day, if you're lucky enough to find a copy of the game, the price will still be obscene, and it wasn't until the days of emulation did Chrono Trigger branch out to a wider audience.
To this extent, Final Fantasy Chronicles is a godsend. The folks at Square were nice enough to not only remake the game, but to release it as part of a collection at an extremely good value in comparison to the SNES cost. And with the exception of one major issue, FFC's version of Chrono Trigger is nearly perfect.
Many remakes promise something new from the game you're about to replay, but it often turns out to be little more than a bonus cutscene or a couple of unlockable features that aren't all that impressive, such as the FF6 Bestiary in Final Fantasy Anthology. FFC's version of Chrono Trigger takes this mentality and throws it out of an airplane.
When you first turn on the game, you are greeted with a gorgeous animated cutscene. As you play through the game, instead of seeing the cheesy SNES animation during some of the game's major sequences, you're greeted with animated cutscenes as you go, which is a gigantic bonus. And of course, there is a wonderful scene waiting for you at the end of the game as well. This is different from most remakes in that typical remakes have a bonus scene at the beginning and end; Chrono Trigger has them all over the place.
Chrono Trigger's enhancements are also far more beneficial than FF4's. In the SNES version of Chrono Trigger, there were a few grammatical mistakes within the script that are nowhere to be found in the FFC version of the game. You'll also find that just about all of the minor display glitches that were in Chrono Trigger, most notably the ones in the 2300 AD era, have all been fixed. Aside from these points, virtually everything in the FFC version of Chrono Trigger is exactly the same as the SNES version, with one very notable exception.
The lag in the FFC version of Chrono Trigger is absolutely unbearable when surfing the menu. There is slight lag in other parts of the game, but slight lag isn't much of a bother. However, given the time you need to spend in the menu in any RPG, lag while in there is enough to drive a man insane. However, this is something that simply tales getting used to, and by the time you're finished with the game, you'll barely even notice that it's there. It has no effect on the gameplay whatsoever, but rather an effect on convenience.
Overall, Final Fantasy Chronicles is a must-have title. The only real flaw in either one of the games is the lag; aside from that, everything else is about as goof as you'll remember, and in some ways, the games have the potential to actually be better than what you remember. With the sole exception of the lag, nearly everything in both games is either on par with or better than their SNES counterparts, and at a value that is nearly impossible to turn down. This is arguably the best remake ever made, and if you read all the way through this review before buying the game, you've already waited too long.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 05/26/05, Updated 09/27/10
Game Release: Final Fantasy Chronicles (US, 06/29/01)
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