Chrono Trigger

aka: The Dream Project
Moby ID: 4501
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Description official descriptions

A young man named Crono is about to enjoy a carefree day: he plans to go to the Millennial Fair, where his friend Lucca intends to demonstrate her newest scientific invention: a teleporter. Upon his arrival, Crono meets a young girl named Marle, who volunteers to be the first to test Lucca's new device. However, Marle's pendant affects the teleporter's mechanism in a mysterious way, and as a result, she is teleported four hundred years into the past. Crono and Lucca quickly recreate the time portal and follow Marle. They find out that her unexpected appearance has created some confusion, and proceed to fix the error, which in turn leads to unforeseen consequences, eventually compelling the heroes to travel to different time periods and change the history of the world.

Chrono Trigger is a Japanese-style role-playing game in which the player takes control of a party consisting of up to seven characters, developing the combat skills of its members and managing their equipment. There are no random encounters in the game: all the enemies are either visibly walking on the field maps and can be avoided by the player, or are waiting to ambush the party. No enemy encounters occur when the player navigates characters over the world map.

The game utilizes the ATB (active time battle) combat system from Final Fantasy games as one of the combat style selections offered to the player in the beginning. The other selectable battle mechanic pauses combat whenever the player accesses the menu, effectively removing the real-time element and rendering the battles fully turn-based.

As the characters grow in power, their parameters increase, and they learn new "techs" - special powerful attacks and maneuvers which cost them magic points to use in battle. Techs may target a specific formation of enemies (e.g. a line) and can be used tactically depending on the enemies' positioning in combat. Characters may execute techs individually or perform double or triple techs, where each character contributes a tech which is combined with one or two others to unleash a powerful attack.

Once player-controlled characters acquire the ability to travel freely between time periods, the game's plot develops in a non-linear fashion. From that point on the player may opt to face the game's final adversary in combat and complete the story, or perform other plot-related quests. Depending on the moment of the story when the player decides to proceed to the final battle, the game may be concluded with thirteen different endings. The New Game+ option allows the player to start the game anew after having previously completed it, carrying over levels, techs, and equipment of the characters.

The PlayStation version features an anime-style introduction movie and cutscenes, a "movie theater" mode which allows the player to re-watch these movies and listen to the game's songs, as well as an unlockable bestiary, dungeon maps, and art gallery. The Nintendo DS version retains these changes and adds two new dungeons and a new possible ending that foreshadows the events of Chrono Cross.

Spellings

  • クロノ・トリガー - Japanese spelling
  • 时空之轮 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 超時空之鑰 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 크로노 트리거 - Korean spelling

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Credits (SNES version)

103 People (97 developers, 6 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 93% (based on 104 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 559 ratings with 14 reviews)

Gotta Go Back In Time....

The Good
Released in 1995, Chrono Trigger was one of the SNES’ last good games. From long time RPG designer Squaresoft, it easily stands as the best game they ever produced. It often even exceeds their flagship series Final Fantasy. And seems to have been the model for all of there games since. With the three member party. And punk hairdo swordsmen. As well as many other features.

In Chrono Trigger, you play the aptly named Crono. Whom awakens late of the day of the Millennial Fair. He heads out with his allowance to have fun and meet his friend Lucca. (How old is Crono supposed to be?) At the fair he bumps into (literally) a young woman who says her name is Marle. You can play mini-games, and how you treat young Marle will be key later in the game, and I will mention later.

Once you meet Lucca, Marle agrees to use her teleport machine, and is inadvertently sent to the past! Crono being either brave or stupid, silently agrees to go after her. And thus begins his romp through time that will change the future, and the past.

You will travel to the past, the stone age, the future, and even to another land. Along the way you will meet many new friends and villains. You will put right the mistakes of the past to make a better future.

One of the most interesting features of the game has to be when Crono is on trial. Here is were how you Marle comes into play. Unfortunately, even if you are found innocent your fate is the same. Multiple paths would have made this truly innovative alas there are none.

You can form three character parties, really just two others besides Crono. Exploring the world map there are no enemies. In dungeons and forests and the like, you see the monsters before they attack. Therefore, battle can often be avoided but, it is best not to avoid to many fights. The game uses ATB from Final Fantasy, kind of a lame system but it does the job. In battle you can attack, use techs, items, and flee. Techs are like magic but not exactly. You will gain access to magic later in the game however. Both techs and magic use up MP. You can also combine techs to make combos. Not 100% original as Phantasy Star IV featured combos as well. At least they are used differently in CT. When a combo is available the ‘tech’ will become ‘comb’. This makes finding combos easier than in PSIV. Instead of having to experiment to find them, they are given to you. This can be a good and bad thing. Bad for those that don’t mind a little extra work. Good for those to lazy to look at a FAQ. The more powerful “triple techs” need be unlocked first.

There are not many side quests to speak of. Only about ten or so. And most of which can not be completed until the end of the game. It’s kind of funny that people always complain about PSIV’S lack of side quests, but not Chrono Trigger’s.

The Graphics in Crono Trigger are very good. Some of the best of the 16-bit era. Even better than those of FFVI.(FFIII for those in the USA.) The sprites while still “super deformed” tend to show more detail, and are more well proportioned. Areas look even better. The magic/tech effects are nice too. The game is colorful without being too colorful. It is also dark when necessary.

The Music well done. The tunes are memorable, and generally fit the situations. This is likely the best score produced for a Square game. The sound effects may not win any awards but they get the job done.

The Bad
All is not well in CT however. The game at times feels a little childish. Look at the box art, is Crono 12? He couldn’t be any older than 15. And there seems to be a developing love interest with Crono and Marle. But it never goes anywhere beyond a middle school crush.

There are also some plot holes here. The motivations of some characters is either non-existent. Or just does not make since. For instance, the villain Magus’ motivation for being evil is quite lame. I won’t divulge it here as I don’t want to confuse you.

The ATB system has got to be one of the lamest battle systems ever conceived. It is really cool when the enemies get to take ten turns before you get one…not.

This game is short. With all the side quests completed, and the best ending achieved it only clocks in about 20-25 hours. Less if you know the game well. There are multiple endings but the first time you play only about two are available. At least they add somewhat to replay value. It’s ironic that Square’s best game was made almost entirely by the Dragon Quest staff.

The Bottom Line
I would not say that this is the best RPG ever. Frankly a phrase like that should not exist. I will tell you however, that it is in my top 5 favorite 16-bit RPGS list. Probably about #3. Avoid the PS version if possible. The scattered FMVS are not worth the horrible load times you must endure. Plus the opening of the SNES version is way cooler.

SNES · by MasterMegid (723) · 2006

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.

SNES · by Bregalad (937) · 2006

One of the few good japanese style RPG's

The Good
I usually stay away from anything resembling manga or anime in an RPG, because every such game I've played has been a dumbed down, linear affair with lots of badly translated, boring dialogue and a really screwed up and unintelligible story. But Chrono Trigger changed my opinion on these kind of games. It is fairly open ended, has a great "intro level" (the amusement park right at the beginning) and features lots and lots of clever problems and fantastic milieus. The battles are turn based, a la Final Fantasy, but for once I didn't hate that system and it was actually possible to use a little battle tactics. The story and game world are among the best I've ever seen and the characters are believable enough for you to start liking them.

The Bad
The graphics are way too cute and the battle system resembles Final Fantasy too much, but other than that this is a great game.

The Bottom Line
A japanese style RPG that's actually not overly japanese when it comes to the gameplay. It features a story and a world strong enough for you to believe in and fall in love with. Probably the best RPG you'll find for the SNES.

PlayStation · by Mattias Kreku (413) · 2003

[ View all 14 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
A small issue I have with this game. Simoneer (29) Sep 29, 2010
Trivia disagreement Joshua J. Slone (4666) Sep 24, 2009
The origin of the Rick (rocket?) Roll J. P. Gray (115) Jun 2, 2008

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The SNES version of Chrono Trigger appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Chrono Cross

Exactly one week after Chrono Trigger was released on the PlayStation in Japan (November 11th, 1999), its sequel, Chrono Cross, was released in Japan (November 18th, 1999).

Cover art

Notice that the cover art shows Marle casting a Fire spell on Crono's sword; presumably a combo from the game. The only problem is that Marle cannot cast Fire magic since she uses Ice magic. Lucca is the only one who can cast Fire magic.

Chrono Resurrection

An unofficial remake/sequel to the game, called Chrono Resurrection, was planned and being developed by Nathan Lazur and his team. The game, which was to use the Nintendo 64 console and technology, had progressed to include a trailer, but on September 6th, 2004, the team had to cancel the project, due to a cease-and-desist letter they received from Square Enix, Inc.You can still visit the project's website, which includes the trailer, screenshots and interviews with the team, here.

Enix

Although the game was officially developed (and published) by Squaresoft, the development was in fact done by people from two companies: Squaresoft and Enix. If you check the credits, you'll see names like Akira Toriyama, the character designer of Dragon Warrior series, or Yuji Horii, Enix' producer.

Game Informer

Game Informer was going to put Chrono Trigger on its cover, but the cover was so amazingly well done, the artist thought that people would sell the magazine for profit. He pulled the cover back, and the cover was never released. Game Informer has the only version of this cover framed in their offices.

Millennial Fair race

At the millennial fair's racing stand, you can go faster than the runners just by walking. If you're running, you'll be able to run two turns while the runners do only one.

Nintendo DS version

The Nintendo DS version of the game marks the first time that Chrono Trigger has been released in any PAL territory. That's about fourteen years.

Nu

The game's engine featured an event tracking system, which was used to update the save screen's "chapter title", change certain characters' dialogue, and alter the maps to conform to the current point in the story. It was also used for checking bugs and consistency within the game.

If events happen out of order (if the cartridge's save RAM (SRAM) is corrupt, or if the player uses a Game Genie code to walk through walls and skip over certain events, for example), a creature called a Nu will appear in front of the doorway to Epoch's construction bay in 2300 A.D. and state that the Time Axis is out of alignment. Aside from this warning, the game will still continue, cheats/hacks included

PlayStation version

The PlayStation version of Chrono Trigger was rather unique technically from other SNES-PS1 Squaresoft ports.

First, if you popped this CD into your PC, you'd find a file with the extension ".ROM". It's actually the Super NES version's ROM! The PS1 version uses the ROM for most of its data, while the game code is PSX data. Changes were mostly made to have the anime cut scenes play when appropriate.

While there is additional data on the disc, most of it is dummy data, but it shows (quite interestingly) that Square at first intended to fully port CT as a full-fledged PS1 game, but cut the project either due to lack of time, laziness, or both.

Pre-order

Those in Japan who pre-ordered the game received a limited edition holographic foil collector's card from Square, with each card having a piece of game artwork on the front: a character's portrait, the American box cover, the battle with Magus found on the inside of the American manual, or the flight in the Epoch.

References

  • Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior (three characters from the game) take their names from the three wise men of the Bible. The characters Ozzie, Slash and Flea are, assumedly, named after rockstars: Ozzy Osborn, Slash (Guns 'N Roses) and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers). A woman you speak to in the game refers to them as "Tone-deaf, evil fiends!"
  • The Day of Lavos occurs in the year 1999 in Chrono Trigger - a very obvious reference to Nostradamus' prediction of the end of the world in July, 1999.
  • If you talk to Doreen (the big-headed creature) in Ehansa (Kingdom of Zeal, 12000 AD) several times, he'll tell you: "Am I a butterfly who is just dreaming it is human, or a human who is just dreaming he is a butterfly?" This is a quote from a famous book written by the Chinese Daoist philosopher Zhuang Zi (also known as Chuang Tse).
  • Anyone who played Chrono Trigger knows that one of the most important characters of the game is Janus, Schala's little brother. "Janus" was also the name of one of Roman gods - this god had two faces, and was therefore often referred to as "Two-Faced Janus". Later, this name became quite a common description of a person who can not be trusted -somebody who switches sides. Doesn't the name fit this Chrono Trigger character quite well?
  • When you get the Programmer's Ending, one of the characters will say something like, "If you think this is hard, try Final Fantasy II!"
  • If you go to the Millennial Fair's "Show tent" and spend 10 silvers points, you'll have a game where 3 soldiers, Vicks, Wedge and Piette, and they'll mix themselves up. Vicks and Wedge also are here in Final Fantasy 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 (and possibly other games by Square). They are all characters from the Star Wars trilogy. And this mini-game isn't found only in Chrono Trigger. Actually, it already came out with Hanjyuku Hero, a strategy game made by Square just after the very first Final Fantasy.
  • Biggs (sometimes named VIcks), Wedge and Piette, from the Fair tent, are all characters from the Star Wars trilogy. Biggs and Wedge were pilots who flew with luke(Wedge was flying the X-wing that helped the Millennium Falcon destroy the 2nd Death Star) and Piette was an Imperial officer who was quite prominent in Empire and Jedi.
  • In the prehistory you meet a cave girl called Ayla. Interestingly enough, this character seems to be based upon the main character from the popular Earth's Children novels by Jean M. Auel, which are about a cave girl called Ayla. Much like the character from the books, Ayla is a good-looking prehistoric girl with blond hair who is skilled at hunting.

Rumours

Many rumours surround the game since its development, due to its plot depth and seemingly unresolved ends. While some of these claims, such as a rumoured mountain area accessible in 65,000,000 B.C., were true, though only in the beta. Others are simply untrue.

For instance, it has long been held that at one time the traveler Toma and the princess Schala were intended to be playable characters, due to manipulation of the player character selection screen via Game Genie or Pro Action Replay codes. However, closer inspection and the aid of ROM hackers have revealed that while faculties in the code for an eighth character exist, the game is hardwired and designed specifically for the featured seven.

There is also no corroborating evidence from the beta version of the game released to stores or preview screenshots in magazines. Examination of the beta's code also establishes that no extra animations for Toma or Schala existed.

Save games

The memory card requirements on the back of the PlayStation box are wrong; a saved game takes only one block on a card, not two.

Title

Why "Chrono"? Well, there couldn't be a more appropriate name for an adventure where the heroes travel through time: "chrono" is old Greek for "time". Zeus' father, who ate his children, just like the time "eats" everything, was called Chronos.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2009 – #3 Best DS Game of the Year
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • August 1995 (Issue 73) - Game of the Month
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #29 (Best 100 Games of All Time)
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - voted #15 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
  • Game Players
    • Vol. 8, No. 13 - 1995 - Best Role-Playing Game of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2008 – Nintendo DS Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by atadota, BenK, Big John WV, Bregalad, Cameron Rhyne; CaptainCanuck; kbmb, PCGamer77, Rensch, sealboy6, Tiago Jacques and Unicorn Lynx

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Satoshi Kunsai.

PS Vita added by Fred VT. Wii added by ResidentHazard. tvOS, iPad, iPhone added by Sciere. Android added by Kabushi. Nintendo DS added by Bregalad. DoJa added by Ms. Tea. PlayStation 3, PSP added by MAT.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Shoddyan, Alaka, CaptainCanuck, Leandro S., David Lloyd, DreinIX, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto, FatherJack.

Game added July 15, 2001. Last modified April 25, 2024.