What follows is a review of one of the best RPG games produced ever by Square. Chrono Trigger was made in 1995 to the SNES platform. I’ve played with this console in my youth and it forever shall hold a special place in my heart. Donkey Kong Country, Metroid, Mario, Star Fox, great games parade.
But this is a game that I’ve missed when I was younger, because no one thought to import it, being a thinking, reading kind of a game, and not the easy arcade fun of say Earthworm Jim. Thanks to emulators I could relive the past, and what a glory it is.
The game starts pretty unseeingly, our hero being woken up by his mom. You have the chance to name him, but let’s stick to the original names: Crono wakes up, and goes to check out the Millenial Fair, where something extraordinary happens. Time travel, cause and effect and an ancient evil hidden in the Earth itself.
The story itself is pretty engaging, with many little sub quests making the world come alive, but to me it was always the characters. Even though our protagonist is mute, the rest of the ensemble more than makes up for it. Marle, the cheeky tomboy princess, Frog, noble knight turned noble-r frog or Ayle, the prehistoric warrior converse through the game, making deep revelations or just japing at each other funnily. Even this makes completing the game multiple times worth it, because only three characters can be with you at a certain times, so you miss some of the talks sadly. But it’s great to see them grow with the arc of the story, slowly realising and embracing the responsibility of saving their world, present, past and future.
The fights follow Square standards seen in Final Fantasy games, etc. A little gauge fills up depending on Speed attributes, and after that you can attack, use special abilities (magic attacks, healing spells) or items to aid you in the battle. Certain characters can do dual or even triple techs, more often than not pretty scenic. Here is a sample, the first „boss” fight of the game, where you battle Yakra, a magi who impersonated the chancellor to kidnap Queen Leene:
The huge HP is not because of cheating, but to New Game+, a mode only available after you’ve beaten the game at least once. This way you can start the game with all your items and stats intact for a different experience.
Square really pays attention to the whole game, down to the most miniscule graphical parts, as shown here by this beautiful rainbow hidden in the waterfall:
The rest, I leave you to find and enjoy.
Oh, one more thing I have to tell you all about, is the soundtrack by Yasunori Mitsuda, Nobuo Uematsu and Noriko Matsueda, which is just as amazing as the rest of the game! I caught myself more then once just humming one of the melodies to myself. Songs to watch out for: Chrono Trigger, the main intro music, Wind Scene (or better yet, the remix of it), Frog’s Theme, The Brink of Time or one of the most beautiful, a song sadly not featured in the game, just on the OST, is Singing Mountain. The sheer brilliance of it has inspired people to take the song and rethink it in strange and great ways. Check them for yourself on OCRemix.org, where loads of great game soundtrack remixes are featured as well! But CT remixes are the most numerous. Even Yasunori Mitsuda made a jazz inspired homage to his work in The Brink of Time, an entire album of jazzy Chrono Trigger goodness.
All in all, this game is well presented and very engaging. I cannot recommend it enough. It got me hooked, and I’ve replayed it three times already just to get the different endings, depending on your actions and when you choose to battle the main baddy.
Go out there and play it already! You’ll be thankful.
Now all I need is to get Chrono Cross for PS1 or the upgraded version of this game for the DS with videos and many more yummy things.