Sunday, July 25, 2010

Too Little, Too Late Episode 6: Chrono Trigger Review (SNES/PS1/DS) [Archived]


I've been wanting to get into the Chrono series for quite some time, and I was finally able to get myself a copy. Actually, I did have Chrono Trigger for years on the PlayStation, but I just never had any time to play it due to the busy round and about school schedule. So when the game came out for DS, I took my time and knocked out some RPGs I was working on at the time and then got a copy of the game to finally play through it as I had the chance.

Too Little, Too Late: Episode 6
By: Grover



The story of Chrono Trigger is simple, yet very complicated. Like the title suggests, it's a story that heavily involves time travel. You have Crono (Chrono in JP) who is your typical silent protagonist who is the strong swordsman. Marle, who is Crono's love interest and the princess healer chick, but she can be one hell of a damage dealer with her bow as well. Lucca who is Crono's childhood friend and is a genius with machinery. Robo who is a futuristic robot with insane amounts of HP, Ayla who is from prehistory who is a bisexual savage chick who was born before magic, Frog who is from the middle ages and was turned into such by one of the main enemies in the game, and Magus who I can't explain too much of without spoiling a good part of the story.

When something malfunctions with testing a time machine of Lucca's creation in 1000 AD (what is considered the present in terms of the game) while Marle is inside, Crono uses the time machine as means to go back in time to save her. Little do they know, that Marle was captured in the past because she was confused to be her own ancestor, who herself was also captured in that time period. (Which starts its own paradox). As the game progresses, it is shown that the events of the past affect the future in subtle ways when shown in the story, and the player gets to witness it firsthand, even some sidequests in the game can drastically change how the future of the same area looks.

It is notable that the characters were designed by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball and Dragon Quest fame. Parts of the story (in the PS1 and DS version) have anime sequences with the cast taking part making this similar in quality to that of the Lunar series which was released after Chrono Trigger.

Score : 20/20



*Note this game play is from the DS version. The SNES/PS1 are identical save for the slightly (in my opinion) more confusing user interface.

With that being said, Chrono Trigger is very easy to get into. And what turned me off from the original game on the SNES and PS1 was the extremely confusing interface in terms of combination techs. Combination techs are when two or all three members in the party execute an attack at once, taking all of their MP and their turns simultaneously. The DS version makes the combination techs more understandable and easy to use.

What I don't like about the gameplay is that in the later parts of the game, it gets very non-linear all of the sudden, and it goes from "holding your hand" on where to go next to pretty much on a "You're on your own" kind of perspective. Personally, I don't like the pacing of that, but I can safely say that's pretty much my ONLY complaint about the game, and that's a good thing.

Score: 15/20


Innovation to Genre

This RPG introduced the idea of New Game+. That's where once you complete the game, you can replay the game from the start, with all your character data, items and equipment being saved. This is an innovation in itself because it encourages the game to be played multiple times.

This concept was used in many future releases, such as FFX-2, Vagrant Story, and even the sequel to Chrono Trigger itself, Chrono Cross.

Score: 20/20



The music of Chrono Trigger was composed by Yasunori Mistuda with some compositions added by Nobuo Uematsu and Noriko Matsueda.

I'd have to say the music within Trigger is very well done, and it reflects the music of the eras very well.

Not to mention this is the game that came up with countless Internet memes. Most notably what became known on the internet as the "Robo Roll" and "The Brian Peppers Theme".

Some other themes I like:

Antiquity: (12,000 B.C.)

Score: 20/20



Chrono Trigger has more than one ending. Take that back, it has WAY more than one ending. There are about 13 endings, if I remember correctly. And the only way you can really experience each ending is to complete the main story, start New Game+ and sequentially fight the end boss at earlier parts of the story. (The final boss of the game can be fought at any time, but it's advisable that you do not in your first playthrough, you'll probably be killed anyway.) Some of the endings are interesting, but I won't spoil it for you if you've not played it. But they are definitely worth seeing.

Score: 20/20



Chrono Trigger was released in what I consider to be the golden age of RPGs, right before the 3D era and in times when games like Final Fantasy IV, VI, Lufia, and the first two Breath of Fires were the premier RPGs on the market for the Super Nintendo. Before it's re-releases, Chrono Trigger and its SNES contemporaries were going for quite a pretty penny, and they probably still do. They're very rare games if you're looking for the SNES originals and for a good reason. I highly recommend this game, and if you're a hardcore RPG fan, this is one you definitely cannot miss.

Final Score: 95/100 ( A. Recommend!)
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