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Chrono Trigger Review

Developer: Square Publisher: Square
Release Date: September 20, 1995 Also On: None

Ever wonder what would happen if a group of talented artists and idea makers from different companies got together to form somewhat of a “Dream Team�? That is exactly what happened when Yuiji Horii of the Dragon Warrior games, the famous character designer Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball Z, the talented music composer Yasunori Mitsuda of Xenogears and Chrono Cross, and Nobuo Uematsu of the Final Fantasy series got together. Their brainchild is now known as Chrono Trigger. I have only started playing this game in 2004, eight years after the game’s release. Is this game fun on the SNES even today?

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Chrono Trigger is primarily the story of a silent red-haired boy named Crono who lives in Truce Village at 1000 AD. In the beginning of the game, Crono and his friend, Lucca, and an energetic young girl named Marle, find a way to travel through time. Knowing how awful the future is, it is up to Crono and friends to save our future from the impending doom. I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but I can easily tell you that it is one of the best stories I have ever seen in a game. There is a hint of philosophy in this game, and there is a lot of symbolism, though I can’t tell you that the symbolism was intended.

Through the entire game, Crono meets new friends and enemies in each time period. The game’s cast of characters is magnificent. Each character is memorable, witty, and unique. Frog and Magus (both characters in CT) are by far one of the best characters ever created in the history of gaming.

Chrono Trigger’s gameplay is still going strong. Chrono Trigger gives you the option of two battle systems. The first one is the Active Battle System (ABS), where there aren’t any turns, and where you and your enemy could only attack if your time meter is full. The other system is the Turn Based Battle System (TBBS), which is common in most other RPG’s of that time period. I really liked the option of actually choosing the way you want to fight, and that they don’t force you to play their battle system. I chose the ABS, but if for some reason you don’t like the ABS, you could always choose the TBBS. If you chose the ABS, you also have the option of determining what speed you want to play at. If you feel that the battle system is too fast, then you could make it slower. If you feel the battle system is too slow, you could make it faster. Customization rocks.

Another radical thing that the “Dream Team� did was that it eliminated random battles. This is one of the greatest advancements in RPG history. Only the monsters shown are the monsters that you fight. This abolishes a ton of stress and anger. A lot of monsters have unique ways of being defeated. For example, some enemies can only be defeated by magic. It’s hard to remember enemies that were exactly the same except with a different model.

The “dungeons� in CT are creative, interesting, and just plain fun. They aren’t too long, but they aren’t too short. Each one has a unique feel. Another interesting feature is that if you could go through the same dungeon a different time, then there will be different enemies. Now that it has a lot of sense towards it. Imagine if you could go 1000 years into the future. Do you think that there will be the same animals in that cave as there were 1000 years ago? The team that created this game paid a ton of attention to detail. On another positive note, monsters are only found in dungeons. You don’t have to fight a single monster when you’re in the world map, unlike most RPG’s, where there are monsters everywhere.

Believe it or not, the bosses in this game are actually cool. The bosses aren’t too hard, but not too easy. They are not too lengthy, but not too short. Each boss has a number of tricks up his sleeve, and there is always a good strategy to beat them. The wondrous thing is that you don’t even have to use a strategy guide to beat these bosses. All you have to use is your brain.

In CT, you can get up to 7 playable characters. However, you can only control 3 at a time. I have played games with a similar situation. Get a number of playable characters, and if you don’t play as them when you have the chance, they don’t level up. That creates a huge problem later on in the game, where you have a couple of super strong members, while you have some terribly weak members.

The “Dream Team� created another astounding solution. The 3 members of your party get 100% of the experience points when you kill a monster, and the other members not in your active party get 75% of the experience points.

Another unique advancement the “Dream Team� made was with the attack power of the characters of the game. In most other RPG’s, your level pretty much decides your attack power. More powerful weapons only increase your attack power. CT takes a much different approach by making the weapon the deciding factor of your attack power. I simply love this solution. Now, you could just buy a new weapon from a store, and beat a boss without having to do all that annoying leveling up. When you level up, your HP increases, your MP increases, and a couple of other things change, but not your attack power.

Chrono Trigger has some of the best graphics on SNES. I particularly love Akira Toriyama’s character design, but that’s just me. If you liked Dragon Ball Z, you’ll be right at home, because a lot of the characters look like would-be Dragon Ball Z characters. Each battle, you can see unique environmental conditions. You get to see the wind blowing through the grass. You get to see great fog effects. You get to see great snow effects. Most SNES games didn’t have most of this.

Chrono Trigger’s soundtrack is at the “to die for� level, if not greater. There are a ton of tracks, and each one is marvelous. Each track’s mood ranges from joyous to some depressing tracks. If the games of today cared this much about their music, they just wouldn’t just put some rap or pop songs. They would actually take the time of composing unique tracks like in this game.

Last but not least, is the game’s replay value. While the game is short the first time around (I got about 20 hours the first time I beat it), there are 13 endings in the game. Once you beat the game the first time, you have the option of playing the New Game+ mode (another fabulous creation made by the “Dream Team�). In this mode, you actually get to keep the same stats when you beat the game. This makes getting all the other endings a whole lot easier and increases the replay value. In all my years of gaming, Chrono Trigger was the first RPG where I actually wanted to replay the entire game more than once. Now that’s saying something.

The team made a game that was revolutionary in so many ways, it’s hard to count. With a grand storyline, one of the best casts of characters I had ever seen, exquisite character design, a very fun and customizable battle system, an engorgement of unique monsters, awesome bosses, great graphics, a superb soundtrack, and a great replay value makes Chrono Trigger a great example of what a real classic, and game, for that matter, is and should be.

Graphics: 10
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 10
Final: 10
Written by Simon Review Guide