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Chrono Trigger (SNES)

93
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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Bregalad (916)
Written on  :  Sep 03, 2005
Platform  :  SNES
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

A really upbeat title. It's my favourite game, and that for many reasons.

The Good

It's an honor for me to be able to review this game. I really don't know where to start. It's my favourite game, and it's good points are endless. Well, let's begun. The first time I played the game, it was trough a SNES emulator. Now I borrowed the real SNES cartridge from someone and completed 4 times the whole game, two times trough emulation and two times on the real thing, and I'd be ready to do it more times, if there weren't so much games I want to try or even complete right now. I usually don't mention replayability in my reviews, because Chrono Trigger is the only role-playing game I ever played more than once.

I played a lot of RPGs, and I have even a biggest list of pending RPGs I want to play right now. But still, Chrono Trigger is always in my heart. I just can't forgot this game at anytime. Well, let's come back. The first time I played it, trough emulation, I have much less experience about gaming and about RPGs that I have right now. I just excepted another RPG, my reference back in the time was Final Fantasy games, and also Secret of Mana. So I just excepted something similar, and I wasn't wrong. But I was thinking that nothing could beat Final Fantasy 6 and 7, and man I was wrong.

You begin your game in your bed, and you get up. I was instantly caught by the graphics, that are bright but contrasted (so dark places are also very dark), colorful, and very detailed. Just when I saw the Crono's cat get up, and when I saw you can open and close the curtain of the room's window, and this will change the room's luminosity, I just fell that the graphics of the game are way better than the average SNES game. The characters looks just like they do on the artwork, and I don't think there is many games where I can say this unless the recent game machines such as the PS2 came out. (for example, FF8's characters are much less finely rendered than Chrono Trigger's characters, regardless of the possibilities of the console. And well, actually the PlayStation is supposed to render better graphics than the SNES, and about the characters it is the other way around. Really). All the playable characters have countless animation frames, but some NPCs also have fun stuff with them, and the monsters are also the most detailed monsters I ever seen in a SNES RPG, especially when you take account that they are present both on field and in battle (no separate screen for battle, making programer's live harder, but really worth it !)

There is a lot of originality for them, for example, you will have two Imps playing football using a Roly as a ball (my favorite set of monsters of all RPGs). Isn't that cool enough to fell in love for the game ? Well, several monsters of the game does cool and fun things like this, while others are just walking or flying. You will even sometimes open conversation with monsters, before fighting them. It's what this make this game really great, there is no a single battle in the whole game that setup the same way as another. There is no longer boring random battles, and the screen doesn't change when a battle scene opens, making you remember what you was doing before the battle. No longer "What was I doing ?" or "Where am I going to ?" that I often ask to myself after beat a Final Fantasy battle. Also, the animation during the battle is very varied and well done, even if the playfield is still there, unlike the "dummy" background you'll found in a FF game.

All the playable characters are incredibly cool. They may be a bit cliched, but they're so fun, it's sure easy to fell in love for any of them. I'm even sure that Chrono Trigger has the best set of characters even seen in any role-playing game out there. They are plainly so cool ! Some found them too much cliched and lack of interest, but myself, I simply love them, and what I like is that the game focuses more on the gameplay than on boring discussions between characters like several FF titles (no all, however). The few discussions between characters are short and addictive, plus you can switch them to get different dialogues, that's sometimes very fun.

Controlling the game is simple, and efficient. The menus are easy to use, and you can even walk while speaking to people ! It's the only RPG that ever had this feature to my knowledge.

Now, I'll talk about the music. Man, it's great. There is upbeat tunes, nostalgic tunes, sad tunes, simple bliss tunes, fun tunes, everything is there is this soundtrack, that is the most varied soundtrack I ever seen in a game. It may not the very best, since there is still a couple of bad songs (like the ending fair one), but the good songs are WAY good. Overall it's one of the best soundtrack for any RPG. And the battle theme is the best battle theme of all RPGs, it is nearly perfect. There is almost no melody, just bass, a lot of drums, and some chorus chords then some notes played with an organ and a marimba. It's as plain as it, but a such battle-theme beat all battle theme of FF games that will be coll the first few dozen times you heard it, then it will make you mad due to the amount of battling involved in the game. It will never get on your nerves. (it happened once to me to listen it during 57 minutes trough Winamp before be tired of it).

Not only the music is good, but also the sound quality is impressive, and possibly the best of all SNES games. The sound effects are catchy, exiting and incredibly varied, they sound real (warning for those using an emulator, they're very different from the real SNES, they emulate badly the noisy sounds). I especially liked the echo in the sound effect, while the majority of (non-Square made) SNES games have just analog low frequency sound effect without echo. The game features a large set of different instruments, and pretty much all of them sound CD quality. It's one of the only SNES games where the drums sounds real (recorded with at high frequency), while others instruments are for sure much harder to simulate, but still sound great.

I seriously think no RPG have ever be able to compete with the battle system of this game, except of course strategy RPGs, but that's a different genre. It's simple, fun, enjoyable, easy-to-learn, effective and varied. You can learn some techs and some magic, then you'll be able to combine your tech with the one of a friend when both are ready at the same time (both ATB bars full). This is a combo, or double-tech that is much more effective. Even if each character has a very limited list of tech, the list of possible double-techs is endless. There is even triple-techs, but they're only available if Crono, the main character, is in your team, or by equipping strange accessories replacing the ability of Crono by other people. Each boss has his own strategy to be beat, it you don't found the good strategy, you'll probably be unable to even beat it, unless you have your levels twice up as what they are supposed to be.

Finally, the story of the game is just catchy and... so sweet ! There is nobody saying stupid stuff in towns, and you really fit in the main character that is actually speechless (like in the Dragon Quest series or Golden Sun, you just select between Yes and No). You just *are* him. Well, I didn't even notice that on my own, a friend tell that to me and I firstly couldn't believe him, even after playing one half of the game (back in the time I had played neither DQ or Golden Sun, so I wan't used to speechless heroes). The story is easily understandable, "light" and half-linear. You still have an order of events to do, but you feel like free to do as you want, even if you aren't. There is a large bunch of side-quest, but none of them is really impossible or boring like they are on some other RPGs. Overall, you can visit the past or the future as you wish, to eventually build up your characters and beat the big bad guy to restore the destroyed future. You can defeat him when you want, but it's needed to "complete" the game at least once. Then, a "New Game +" option will pop up, allowing you to begin a new adventure, but with the stats of a saved game.

Well, the very impressive thing about this game is that there is absolutely no flaw. Of course, time travel is still confusing, but the game setup it in a sweet ambiance, you just shouldn't think about the possibility or not to change the past to make the future like this, else you'll end up hating Chrono Trigger without even knowing why. Such story impossible, I know, but who cares ? It is so cool !

The Bad

Something bad about Chrono Trigger ?? Hahaha. There is really none to say here. Heh, I'm still talking about the good here, proof that there is most certainly not a single bad point in this game. Well, I'd still say that a game under New Game + option becomes rather boring at some points, when you beat each bosses in one hit. They should have added a bit more secrets and ultra strong bosses for these occasions.

The Bottom Line

Chrono Trigger is not just a game. It's a world. The game is in 2D, but the world is in 4D, because there is time travel. I won't determine if this is the best game ever or not, because there is no "best game ever". Chrono Trigger is still sure one fine title for the SNES, and it's a must play regardless if you like RPG or not. If you haven't played it yet and if you like RPG, play this. If you don't know what is a RPG, play this, you'll quickly learn it. If you hate RPGs, play this, you may change your mind. If you have already played the game, play it again. It's all I can say.