Chrono Trigger

aka: The Dream Project
Moby ID: 4501

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

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Videos

See any errors or missing info for this game?

You can submit a correction, contribute trivia, add to a game group, add a related site or alternate title.

Credits (SNES version)

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

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 93% (based on 102 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 538 ratings with 13 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

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

14 years later and it's still the best game ever

The Good
Chrono Trigger is a Role Playing Game by Squaresoft, released originally for the Super NES in 1995. It was only released in Japan and USA. It was also re-released on the PlayStation, but again Japan and USA only (and I did never get any chance to play that version). We Europeans had to import carts for a ridiculously high price to get a change to play the game, but fortunately we found another way to do it, and I really fell in love for it a long time ago back then when I was about 14. Although nobody could understand me because not many people would have played it on their SNES.

Because CT was very successful, and because Square Enix just remade all older Final Fantasy games a ridiculous amount of times, they thought it would be a good idea to remake another game and that due to it's high reviews, and they had to remake Chrono Trigger for the Nintendo DS in 2008. In 2009 the game finally made it to Europe, officially. Although I'm often sceptical for those remakes (why can't them release originals instead ?), I can finally say that I'm a hardcore fan of a game that was released, so that's a good thing. A remake must satisfy two rules to be worth buying. First it must not ruin anything that was good in the original in any way. Second, it should add new content that is significant and don't feel displaced. Chrono Trigger DS does follow both of these rules.

Note that I assume you already have some idea about what Chrono Trigger is. If you don't, please check my review for the SNES version, which will go into details about how good the story and gameplay is. I will focus this review on the remake only.

First of all, I'm very glad that during gameplay the graphics and the sound are intact. The font had changed to become smaller (which is good because the screen is smaller too), but that's pretty much the only graphical change I've noted. And that's a good thing, because the graphics are absolutely awesome ! They are probably some of the best 2D graphics in the top-down perspective ever made ! Because most games stopped to use the top-down perspective after the PlayStation / N64 area came (games were either 3D, isometric or side-view 2D, which cannot be compared because not the same thing). The GBC was inferior to the SNES graphically so it couldn't compete with it, and the GBA would be the only competitor, but developers somehow forgot the way to do 2D top-down graphics between 1995 and 2001. The only competitor could be the Golden Sun games for the GBA which have awesome graphics. Being surpassed by only two games in 14 years is really some accomplishment not many games can claim.

The sprites are so detailed that they look exactly like on the artwork, and animate smoothly. Some of the best spells/techs are still absolutely awesome to watch. The backgrounds are detailed too, but they're not up to the modern DS standards, but anyway that doesn't matter because they looks very good. I'm very glad Square Enix did not remake this game with 3D graphics like they did for FF3 and FF4, because the DS have weak 3D capabilities, and they would probably end up with lame results. So thanks Square to have keep the original 2D graphics.

The only complaint I'd have is for the fake 3D in the motorcycle minigame. On the SNES that cheap fake 3D was the standard and the only thing the console was capable of in the 3D department, so there were nothing to complain about. But on the DS, it really looks horrible to have such cheap fake 3D when the console is able to render actual 3D graphics ! They should have quickly remade that scene using some true 3D graphics at least for the characters.

While the gameplay happens on the top screen, you also get a map on the touch screen which is nice. The menu has changed to a different interface that uses both screens, and after you get used to it it works very well, there is nothing to complain about that. You can access to the sub-menus directly by touching the screen on icons if you want. In battle you can choose between new and old interface, which is a good thing. I choose new because it frees the top screen from the battle menus. I remember it was an annoyance in the original how much the menu would hide some large area on the screen. Now it's fixed !

For the sound it's exactly the same as on the SNES, and I'm very glad about that. The FF5 and FF6 advance games really sounded like insults to their SNES counterparts with horribly aggressive instruments, and I'm very glad to see CT wasn't doomed to the same fate, because the soundtrack of Chrono Trigger contains not only some of the best game music ever, but some of the best music ever composed by humanity. You need external headphones to get good quality with basses tough, which is in my opinion preferable to the "aggressive slapping bass method" used in FF5 and FF6 advance. There is even 5 brand new pieces of music in the game, and this is awesome !

What is a very good thing to note is that they re-translated the game to get some things cleaned up and more detailed. The story of CT is really awesome while being simple enough. With the new translation it seems more clear at some places, but some items and tech were renamed weirdly. Overall I prefer the new translation for cut-scenes, but the old for items, tech and enemy names. That's somehow subjective tough.

Unlike the FF-advance games, the new content, other than the few improvements stated above, is really worth mentioning. The best content comes first : You get some awesome FMV cutscenes, and with orchestrated music ! This is SO sweet !

Then they added a new detailed bestiary with a list of what any enemy can do to attack you, a new arena where you can build a monster to fight against other monsters (for some reason I didn't find it that entertaining), and a bonus mode. This mode features original artwork of the protagonists, a music player, a big library of all items, equipment and all techs and combos with screenshots is available. Finally there is a list with all endings you completed with screenshots, and a view mode where you can explore all maps of the games with the touch screen and see the treasures you could have possibly missed.

That's not all, there is 5 new areas to visit, that are cool, don't feel too much out of place, contains new treasures and I won't tell more because it could be a spoiler.

The Bad
Nothing really.

The Bottom Line
Even 14 years later, Chrono Trigger is still the best game ever made in my opinion. In fact it should just as well be the best work of art ever made by humanity. Even if you played the SNES version countless times (I guess I beat it about 5-6 times) the DS version is worth a buy for the new content.

In most RPGs it's great to beat it once, but you have no reason to return doing the whole quest. At best you'll just load your last saved game and try to kill the final boss again to watch the ending again, or just go to some places to remember the good times when you were actually playing that game actively. But Chrono Trigger is an exception to that. Because cutscenes vary in function of who you have in your party, and because the battle system is so awesomely good while being very simple, and because not 2 battles engage the same way, the game is incredibly fun to play again and again even if you know everything already.

So in fact, everyone, from the guy who never played a video game in his life, to the hardcore fan of the SNES version and beat it 20+ times while being very sceptical to the remake, must absolutely get this game for the DS, to either discover or re-discover it. There is no excuse not to buy the game. Unlike the FF advance games, nothing that was good before was ruined, and there is actual new content worth mentioning. The new dungeons don't feel completely out of place like they did on the FF advance games. There is new FMVs and new pieces of music, and a bonus mode any fan of the game will love.

The only excuse you may have to not get this is that if you played the SNES version and hated it, then you probably won't like it more on the DS because it's the same. Even if you don't like Japanese RPGs at all, at least borrow this game from someone and see how you like it, because it's really the best of the genre in my opinion, so you may completely change your mind after seeing it.

Nintendo DS · by Bregalad (937) · 2009

[ View all 13 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
A small issue I have with this game. Simoneer (29) Sep 29th, 2010
Trivia disagreement Joshua J. Slone (4656) Sep 24th, 2009
The origin of the Rick (rocket?) Roll J. P. Gray (115) Jun 2nd, 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

Related Games

Chrono Cross
Released 1999 on PlayStation, 2011 on PSP, PlayStation 3
Richman 4: Chao shi kong zhi lv
Released 2000 on Windows
The Wheel of Time
Released 1999 on Windows
Trigger Witch
Released 2021 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch...
Chō Jikū Yōsai Macross
Released 1985 on NES
Chō Jikū Yōsai Macross 2036
Released 1992 on TurboGrafx CD
Tower of Time
Released 2018 on Linux, Windows, 2020 on PlayStation 4...

Related Sites +

Identifiers +

Contribute

Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Satoshi Kunsai.

PS Vita added by Fred VT. Wii added by ResidentHazard. iPhone, tvOS, iPad 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 15th, 2001. Last modified November 29th, 2023.