Chrono Trigger
  • Genre:
    • RPG
  • Platform:
    • SNES
  • Developer:
    • Square
  • Publisher:
    • Square
  • Released:
    • JP 03/11/1995
    • US 09/27/1995
Score: 100%

This review was published on 12/14/2008.

On September of 1995, Square released one of the greatest role-playing games of all time: Chrono Trigger. It was the culmination of the "dream team," a team assembled out of some of the greatest in Square and Enix's ensemble. Onlookers were impressed by the fantastic art and stellar animations provided by the legendary Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame. Many were blown away by the wondrous score, rivaling Square and Enix's greatest audio works. Most of all, the game was decidedly fun to play, encapsulating all the enjoyable aspects of an RPG whilst omitting the less palatable portions.

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As its name implies, Chrono Trigger is a remarkable tale of time traveling shenanigans, perhaps the greatest of them all. Exploring the vast rivers of time will take you through many different environments; a reptilian-inhabited prehistoric era, medieval times, robotic futures, and much more. Each time period is faced with its own perils and villains, giving the game a nice varied feel. All the while, you are learning of a greater plot as you make your way through history. The more pedantic of you may cringe at the time traveling element, but the game does a fairly good job of avoiding the typical pitfalls of a time traveling tale.

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A game like this need not boast many innovations, but it did. Fights were not randomly encountered like most RPGs of the time, and on top of that, they were fought on the very same screen. This may not be out of the ordinary for action RPGs, but for a turn-based, menu-driven one, it is. To this day, very few games have replicated this facet of Chrono Trigger's battle system, which fills me with wonder. The sprites were large and very well animated, another RPG rarity of the time.

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One of the main game play features is that of the "duel" and "triple" techniques. Every character in your party has a unique set of techniques, or "techs" for short, that they learn as you gather points in battle. Your characters can combine these combat abilities to create much more powerful attacks. For example, one member in your party casts fire magic on the sword-wielding protagonist, who then slices his foe with a nasty fiery blade offensive. The combinations are numerous and the effects vary tremendously, so it's advantageous to experiment with different party setups. Additionally, enemy formations during a fight will make a difference, as many attacks have an effective radius, such as shooting all foes standing in a straight line or hitting everything in a circle.

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The linearity breaks up toward the endgame, allowing you to partake in a plethora of side quests. Each and every side quest is lovingly crafted with immense detail, often expanding on a character's back-story and rewarding you with plenty of powerful items, making them well worth the extra time. Chrono Trigger is the de facto trend starter of the "New Game +" mechanic seen in most games today. In case you haven't a clue, "New Game +" refers to starting a New Game with all of your levels, equipment, and items from your last jaunt through the game. This mechanic allows those players who still crave more to breeze through the game at a much quicker pace, so that they can have a greater focus on the story. It also has a little something to do with the fact that the game has around 14 or so different endings, most of which present "what-if" scenarios. Here's a bit of a tip: you can attain almost all of the endings in your second play-through, providing you know when to complete the game.

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I'm not one to overly praise a game, but there really aren't any negative things I can say. It's a classic, a legend, a perfect example of what an RPG should be. Find a way to play this game, and savor it.

Word Count: 657

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