Chrono Trigger is one of the most popular RPGs of all time. One of the things that I really like about it is that it appeals to gamers that aren’t fans of the genre. There are folks that have stopped gaming for years, but the mentioning of Chrono Trigger is always enough to bring them back to the good ol’ days of Squaresoft and the experience the game provided. The game is timeless. This is RPG royalty for a reason.
Crono is a young man living in the year 1000 AD in the Guardia Kingdom. Today is the day of the Millenial Fair, and Crono is heading off to celebrate. During the fair, he bumps into a young girl with a mysterious pendant, named Marle. The two decide to explore the fair together. The main event of the fair is the telepod, an invention created by Crono’s best-friend, Lucca. Crono, the brave man that he is, tries out this latest devise. After it is successful, Marle gives it a shot. However, something causes the telepod to react to Marle’s pendant, and she gets swept into a mysterious portal! Crono goes after her, only to wind up in the year 600 AD! Who is Marle? What is with her pendant? How can he travel through time?
A time travel plot leaves the game open for a bevy of unanswered questions and paradoxical quirks, but the classic plot moves at a brisk pace and never has a dull moment. Crono meets a cast of lovable characters from across time. The fun interactions with them are excellent. Conversations over the course of the game change depending upon which of the seven characters are in your three-person party. This created an endearing dynamic and gave each character a sense of distinction.
For a 16-bit game, Chrono Trigger was ahead of it’s time. Today, the graphics are still able to compete with the big players. This is a stunning looking game featuring beautiful sprite work and spell effects. Personally, I’m not a fan of Akira Toriyama’s portrait work, but it’s a small hiccup in an otherwise gorgeous game. Chrono Trigger has equally excellent music composed by Yasunori Mitsuda. The soundtrack is one that I never grow tired of hearing.
Chrono Trigger continues to shine with its game play features. Battling in Chrono Trigger is similar to the Final Fantasy titles from the same era. The Active-Time Battle system makes a return in Chrono Trigger, but there are a few characteristics that make it different from Final Fantasy and the basic attack, skills, and item commands. First, encounters can be avoided by not touching certain enemies. Also, certain skills effect an enemy group, thus allowing you to finish off more enemies than usual with a skill. Furthermore, the location of an enemy can effect which character in your three-team party they attack. These little quirks add an extra hint of strategy to the game. Battles progress smoothly and are always exciting. Unfortunately, they are also easy. Chrono Trigger is an easy game, even during the final dungeons. Skills and magic are absolutely lethal, and due to the fact that you are constantly receiving magic restoring items from enemies alongside the money and experience points, your normal attacks become nothing more than an afterthought. Your characters can also perform double attacks and triple attacks, causing insane damage to your enemies, as well. Despite this fact, the battles are still fun. Learning new skills, seeing each character in action, and watching a devastating triple attack unfold holds a level of excitement that is hard to replicate. Outside of battle, Chrono Trigger plays like a traditional RPG. There are towns, dungeons, treasures, equipment, etc. It’s standard stuff that is made easy thanks to clean menus and a simple interface.
When all is said and done, and you receive one of the eleven endings, you can begin a New Game Plus. This allows you to start from the beginning of the story, but with all of your items, skills, and levels. Getting everything will require you to play the game multiple times. Since the game is very short, running around 15 hours, playing the game more than once is a joy. Chrono Trigger is a classic, bottom line. No matter your gaming style, Chrono Trigger has something for everyone.
Overall, 10/10: Chrono Trigger is RPG excellence.