Review by Drakken688

"Blending amazing storytelling with superb graphics and sound, Chrono Trigger shines in every aspect."

Chrono Trigger is a true classic that is regarded by many as one of the best RPGs of all time. It is my personal favorite, and I still consider it to be the greatest RPG ever made. It is the RPG by which all other RPGs should be judged by, in terms of gameplay, story, sound, and overall quality. I\'ve wanted to write a review of Chrono Trigger for a long time, but I was afraid I wouldn\'t do the game justice. Well, I\'ve finally decided to try my best to write a review that captures the essence of this amazing game. Believe me; it\'s better than I make it sound.

To sum up the story: It is the year 1000 A.D. You play the role of Crono, a spiky-haired teen who lives with his mom and cat in the kingdom of Guardia. At Guardia\'s Millennial Fair, he meets Marle, the king\'s tomboyish daughter. Together, they go to see Crono\'s friend Lucca\'s new invention, which is a transportation device that will beam someone from one pod to the other. Marle offers to try it out, but the mysterious pendant she wears reacts to the machine\'s energy, and she is pulled through a portal opened up by the pendant. Crono goes through the portal to try to bring her back, and ends up 400 years in the past! After the three friends are eventually reunited, they discover that a parasitic creature called Lavos is sucking up the planet\'s energy. So begins an epic journey across time as they try to stop Lavos before he brings about his day of Apocalypse on the earth.

Chrono Trigger is unique in many ways. One thing you\'ll immediately notice is that there are no random battles. You can see the enemies on the screen, and battles are only initiated when you get too close to an enemy. This eliminates the time-consuming and often annoying process of fighting an enemy every so many steps, as in most RPGs. This feature makes Chrono Trigger a lot more fun to play. Battles are also fought in the same environment that you are in, and start immediately after making contact with the enemy. There is no \'\'battle screen\'\'. I found this to be a pleasant change from the usual boring battle screens found in the majority of RPGs. Another great thing about Chrono Trigger is that you actually get to see your characters attack the enemy. For example, Crono will jump at the enemy and slash it with his sword, Lucca will fire her gun at the enemy and you will see the bolt come out, etc. This distinguishes it from some other RPGs at the time, like Final Fantasy IV, in which your character would just move his arm and hit the enemy without even touching it.

The battle system itself is very easy to use. Battles are either active or passive, depending on what you choose at the beginning of the game. In active battles, the enemies will attack even while you are making your decisions. In passive, you can decide what to do without worrying about being attacked. There are the standard attack and item commands. One different feature is the \'\'technique.\'\' As characters gain ability points, they will learn new techniques. Some of these are single techs, like individual magic spells, while others involve multiple characters. Some techniques can only be learned by equipping eggs found in the game. Many of the technique effects are simply stunning, like Crono\'s Luminaire attack.

Another unique aspect is the element of time travel. Many times throughout the game, you will need to travel forward and backward in time in order to complete certain tasks. This can be done by using the time portals scattered throughout the land, or by using the Epoch, which you will get later on in the game. The first time you go through a time portal with three or more members in your party, you will be taken to the End of Time. This is sort of like a main base for your party. You can restore your hit points and magic points, save your game, talk to the Guru of Time for advice, or battle Spekkio to test your fighting abilities. You can also warp to any of the locations that you have discovered warp portals for. Needless to say, you will be coming back here a lot. One interesting thing about Chrono Trigger is that you can go directly to the boss the very first time you arrive at the End of Time. This allows you to fight Lavos very early in the game, although you won\'t be able to beat him at that point.

Chrono Trigger\'s graphics are some of the best on the SNES, rivaled only by another of Square\'s RPGs, Final Fantasy III (or VI, whichever you prefer). The sprites are well-done, and the backgrounds are crisp and detailed. The perspective is from an overhead view, much like the aforementioned Final Fantasy III. The world map is also from an overhead view, with important places clearly shown. Like I said before, the technique effects are very well done, as are all the battle effects. The text is fairly large and easy to read, which is always a good thing.

Chrono Trigger shines in all aspects, but one area where it really shines is music. Out of all my years of playing video games, I\'ve never played a game with better music than Chrono Trigger. Every song in the game is well-done, and many of them are simply masterpieces. There are a large variety of musical styles in the game, and each song fits perfectly with its situation, conveying the feeling that it is supposed to. Magus\' theme is dark and foreboding, perfect for his character. The song playing while in Guardia Castle is one of my favorites, with a triumphant feel to it. The music playing during major boss battles conveys a sense of awe, importance, and urgency. The regular battle music is catchy, like many of the songs. The overworld map themes are actually some of the best in the game, better than most other games\' best songs. The music is so good that I actually have the Chrono Trigger soundtrack, and I highly recommend getting it if you can. I still listen to it all the time.

Chrono Trigger\'s replay value is very high, for a number of reasons. There are about 12 possible endings you can get, depending on what you do during the game. Playing over and over again just to get all the endings alone is worth it. A great feature that adds to the replay value is New Game +. Once you beat Chrono Trigger, you have the option of starting a new game using the stats, items, and level of your characters from any save file. You keep everything except for key items. This makes playing through again and getting all of the endings a lot easier. This is also necessary in order to get some of the endings, like beating Lavos at the very beginning of the game. Chrono Trigger is also relatively short, which helps when playing through multiple times. There are many sidequests in the game. Most of them aren\'t necessary to finish the game, but you can get some very valuable items if you take the time to complete them.

Polished. That\'s what Chrono Trigger is. Superb, breath-taking, extraordinary. All these words could be used to describe how awesome this game really is. If you\'re an RPG fan, buy it. You\'ll be doing yourself a huge favor. The complete SNES version is still fairly expensive, but it was also re-released with Final Fantasy IV (another great game) on Playstation. The collection is called Final Fantasy Chronicles, and I highly recommend getting it if you can find it. If you have the money for the SNES version, by all means, get that instead. In fact, get both of them if you can. Chrono Trigger is just THAT good.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/06/03

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