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Chrono Trigger (SNES) artwork

Chrono Trigger (SNES) review

"Some things are not as they appear at the first sight. "

Some things are not as they appear at the first sight.

Chrono Trigger is no exception. Begin the game and witness the beauty of the graphics! Get drawn in by the awesome music, and proceed to draw yourself into the game (having to face up with the devilish hell known as challenging puzzles and long dungeons); quite different from what it is commonly seen as. Chrono Trigger itself is a much beloved RPG title for the Super Nintendo, which has been hyped ever since its release several years ago. Did it deserve all that it recieved? Read on to find out.

Begin as the silent red-haired protagonist named Crono; a seemingly ordinary young teenager, and leave your town to the Millenial Fair. Then proceed to have your life changed as you run into a girl named Marle. She has a mysterious pendant which reacts to a time machine she gets onto, and then she gets transported to the Middle Ages. Later, you discover that a strange creature named Lavos is going to destroy the world, and is about to make life hell (which it is in 2300 A.D.). Crono then embarks on a journey, along with this band of companions: Marle, who has a secret revealed shortly after she and Crono meet to stop Lavos; Lucca, one of Crono's best friends, and an ingenius inventor; Frog, a knight from the Medieval Ages who became a frog in battle with the wizard Magus; Robo, a mysterious robot with dark laser beams from the future; and Ayla, a primeval cavewoman with an amazing sense of humor and a funny way of speaking.

One of the best things about the characters in the incredible amount of depth in them. Unlike Final Fantasy VI, when you just couldn't get a feel for some of the characters, you can feel all the sadness and happiness in all of Chrono Trigger's characters. Another awesome thing added into them is that the story could not progress if you didn't have all of them. That wasn't something you could say in some FF games. Without Frog, the crucial mission to defeat Magus couldn't have taken place. Bits and pieces of the plot would be impossible without Marle. It's truly a wonderful thing that characters can be developed so nicely.

Chrono Trigger has a battle system working something like this: each character has three options -- Attack, Tech, and Item. Attack and Item speak for themselves; Tech is where the battles are really at. After the characters gain a certain amount of AP from a battle, they learn various Tech skills. JP is gained after each battle, and with enough JP you will learn a new Tech ability. That is, special attacks and various magic. However, one of the bad things about the battle system is that there are only eight Tech skills per character. That really left me wanting more. Most characters also have an element -- Fire, Lightning, Water, or Shadow. The characters can only use magic of that certain element, and can only use two spells of that element, and six other skills. Bah! Bah I say! I really felt that the battle system was okay, but it needed more magic, and a little more variety.

But it gets slightly better.

Characters are also granted the ability to combine their Tech skills and make a stronger attack. Ever feel that Crono's Cyclone attack or Frog's Leap Slash aren't good enough on their own? Behold, select Dual instead of Tech and you shall use the almighty X-Slash! And it doesn't stop there. Triple Techs can be done with all three of the characters, creating one extremely powerful attack. After a certain event in the game, the characters are allowed to battle with Crono, allowing, let's say, Frog, Robo, and Ayla to combine their powers to make a Triple Tech.

Chrono Trigger has extras and side quests galore. After the final boss is beaten for the first time, you can play through the game again and defeat it several times to get new endings, and unlock music tracks (with two unused tracks), FMVs, art, and more. As for side quests, this game has eight of them. One generic one, and one for each character (including Magus). The side quests are one of the things that add to the fun found in this game, and some of the highest difficulty that one can face when playing Chrono Trigger. My only problem with the side quests is that some of them have very little to do with the story. For example, how did Magus's side quest reveal ANYTHING about the plot or Magus himself? I'm still looking.

However, I have mentioned little but good thus far. The main thing that made me think Chrono Trigger is not what most people deem it as is how it progresses: you'll usually go to an interesting area, one annoying dungeon, then a boss, another interesting place, more wretched dungeons, several bosses, etc. My main problem with the game is that you're constantly going through dungeons and forests. To make matters worse, there are tons of enemy encounters on the way. While to a certain extent, the interesting places in the game make up for it, there are just so many dungeons and forests that soon it annoys you so much that you do not wish to proceed. This is what I felt was the main bad point about the game.

Yet another bad point I have to comment on is the low difficulty and how quickly your characters can become powerhouses. It seems every three battles or so, your characters level up, and their stats increase quite rapidly. JP is also extremely easy to gain, so you can have some of the greatest (Dual) Techs in a very short time. A lot of bosses are extremely weak and get one turn to two of all your characters', and since your attacks are so devastating they stand no chance whatsoever in a fight. Despite there being constant random encounters in dungeons, the enemies themselves aren't that tough either. Some can be killed in a single hit, and are simply much more annoying than difficult.

But now back to the enjoyable side.

The graphics in Chrono Trigger are some of the best on the Super Nintendo. Vivid colors shine onto the sky, the ground, and the mountains beautifully. Heck, even the characters are incredibly colorful, all of them being drawn in an animé style. You can see and even feel all the emotions in their faces -- sadness, anger, shock. The game even manages to look dark at times, succeeding in giving Magus's castle and its dungeons a gloomy, eerie feeling. All of the magic spells, however few they are, have beautiful light effects, as you can always see the lush colors in them.

Music in Chrono Trigger is, in a word, moving. There's a lot of variety to it. For example, there's the theme ''Showdown with Magus''. It's deep, dark, and gloomy. Making you feel the darkness that Magus attacks you with, seriously. There's also some ''rocking'' type of music, such as one that plays against a robot when you race it. I am pleased to say that I loved most to all of the music, but my only gripe is the main battle theme. Oh, my ears! My poor, poor ears! It is none other than terrible. There's an unused battle theme in this game that can be used in the extra features, and it is much betters. 'Tis a shame that it wasn't used in place of this one. Fortunately, the two boss themes are excellent. The music even adds to the game's enjoyment.

Venture several times into the game, however, and you will feel most of the enjoyment gradually slipping away from you. Chrono Trigger is really not the marvel that it was the first time once you start playing it again, simply because the great number of complex puzzles and dungeons in the game start eating away at the replay value. Then you are left with a game still quite enjoyable at times, but remaining with various tedious dungeons to go through. Very little difficulty level doesn't really help too much either. As I said, there are almost no challenging bosses in the main story, and the constant enemies aren't that dangerous either. The evil of a very low difficulty level sometimes makes itself shown, unfortunately.

I found myself wishing -- even thinking -- when I first got my copy of Chrono Trigger that it would be the most beautiful experience that had ever graced my gaming collection. One to live up to all the hype it received. Unfortunately though, it wasn't. It's still an enjoyable title, but excessive dungeons, very low difficulty, and the lack of a good magic system left me wanting more. The game is very rare nowadays, especially for the Super Nintendo. If you can find it at a fairly reasonable price though, it can still have its place in your gaming library.

It still does not reign supreme upon King Guardia's throne, however.


gbness's avatar
Community review by gbness (April 24, 2004)

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