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Chrono Trigger (SNES) artwork

Chrono Trigger (SNES) review


"Ever had the longing to travel through time? If so, you probably found it difficult; due to the fact most don’t know how to build a time machine. But don’t let your head hang in sorrow, there is one alternative. You could just play one of the greatest RPGs to ever grace video games. Vortexes and the space continuum may seem more appealing, but don’t let those thoughts deceive you. Chrono Trigger managed to revolutionize role-playing games, and stands the test of time to this day. "



Ever had the longing to travel through time? If so, you probably found it difficult; due to the fact most don’t know how to build a time machine. But don’t let your head hang in sorrow, there is one alternative. You could just play one of the greatest RPGs to ever grace video games. Vortexes and the space continuum may seem more appealing, but don’t let those thoughts deceive you. Chrono Trigger managed to revolutionize role-playing games, and stands the test of time to this day.

Everything begins with your everyday spiky, red-haired kid, Crono. He wakes from his quiet slumber in expectations of a big day. The Millennium Fair has arrived, but what our young hero doesn’t know is the fate of the world is about to rest in his hands. A colorful assortment of companions stand to accompany Crono on an epic journey. What awaits them is an adventure full of ruthless enemies, hidden kingdoms, and time travel. The plot thickens with a medley of twist and turns sure to surprise even the most skeptical. Despite the complex plot, charming dialogue and quirky moments make Chrono Trigger endearing to many. How often do you hear of a knight-frog who adds ‘eth’ at the end of every other word? And it certainly helps that the game boasts a slew of multiple endings. Take all of these ingredients, put them in the pot, stir until they have a nice creamy texture and voila - you have a riveting story that drives the game along quite well.

When you’re not busy unraveling a plot shrouded in mystery, you’ll be kicking butt and taking names. The Chrono Trigger battle system is derived from Final Fantasy II in that it has an active time battle system. No need to wait turns, looking clueless. Who ever needed turn-based anyways? Hold on, there’s chess and the Civilization series...scratch that last though. But some strategy is added when you’re left thinking quick on your feet, attempting to avoid any small hindrance. It almost conveys that Square Enix could look into the future. How exactly did they know real-time video games would step into the limelight? Hmm...weird. But wait, the fierce warrior in you is asking, “what about the skills?”

One of the most appealing factors about Chrono Trigger is the assortment of skills and magic. And no, we’re not talking Siegfried and Roy magic. As you progress, your characters will learn to tap their inner potential, being those trusty mystic abilities. Everyone has their own specialization, such as Crono with his lightning proficiency. There aren’t a huge amount of spells, but what’s there fills any void. Unfortunately, you’re not granted with these powers from the get go, but you’ll have your plate full right when you embark on the game. Instead, numerous abilities will be at your disposal. This could be swift blade attacks for our swordsmen, or technical tricks for your brainy friend in the game. All of this is easy on the eyes - to an extent.

Everything takes place on that classic Nintendo system. The phenomenon that was the 16-bit era was reigned supreme by the Super Nintendo, and Chrono Trigger was one of those games that captured its true capabilities. In video games today, the game may not be a technical marvel, but the artistic direction holds up. The big reason is Akira Toriyama. The genius behind the Dragon Ball series struck gold once again when he started work on Chrono Trigger. Just through imagery, Toriyama managed to create unique characters, full of personality. This may sound odd, but it’s true. Also, there is a definite similarity between Dragon Ball and the game. What this leads to is a world full of vibrant colors and unique enemies, engaging right at the first sight. If one were to play the game right now, they’d still find themselves impressed by the visuals; that speaks volumes. Both eyes and ears will be in for a real treat though.

Chrono Trigger’s singing, “the hills are alive with the sound of music.” Sure, there are your standard sound effects. While those are well done, the music takes center stage. From cheery town tunes to dreamy scores, the soundtrack never falters. Best of all is that each stage in time has its own sound, including some percussion driven tracks for the prehistoric age, and eerie arrangements that create immense ambiance in the future. It helped that acclaimed Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu lent a hand, but a man by the name of Yasunori Mitsuda was the mastermind. And he should certainly be given much credit, because one would be hard-pressed to find a better musical score in video games.

Although the game isn’t very long, it finds a perfect remedy for this dilemma. You know the feeling when you play a game and it ends so suddenly? All those troubles are omitted with Chrono Trigger’s multiple endings. Never before have you seen so many possible turnouts to a story. Depending on what course of action you take, the conclusions can take various forms. Remember that food you took off the table? Or that one person you bumped into? It all plays a factor in the end, enticing one to come back and play the game again and again...about fourteen times.

In the end, all of this shapes up to create one of the great classic video games; any system, any genre; any era. For its time, Chrono Trigger embarked into new territory, paving the way for future RPGs. But what’s important is the game passes the test of time. With its enthralling story and fun gameplay, any person could look past the it being 11 years old. Even if you don’t have a Super Nintendo, going on Ebay and buying one with the game would be a wise decision. Getting it will be something you won’t regret...ever.

Rating: 10/10

amlabella's avatar
Community review by amlabella (September 17, 2006)

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