Chrono Trigger

aka: The Dream Project

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 93% (based on 101 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 532 ratings with 13 reviews)

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

Quirky Anime-style Time Travel

The Good
Released in the mid-90s during the Golden Age of 16-bit titles, Chrono Trigger stands out in Squareenix' library of console-RPGs as one of the most original and best loved titles of all times.

Starting with a simple setting and hero, a young, sword-wielding boy who goes to a fair in his home town, Chrono Trigger goes on to create an original plot that requires no knowledge of a long-winded backstory or the history of the land it's set in as is sometimes the case with role-playing games. As a matter of fact, an important reason for the game's universal appeal and accessibility is that all plot elements needed to understand the unfolding story are created and established while players play the game.

Not bogged down by complicated relationships between characters and historic world events from the get-go, players enter a rather charming and friendly world and through their actions set in motion bigger and bigger conflicts which culminate in the game's finale. Time travel plays a major part in the adventure and even though the narrative generously glosses over the gaping logic holes and paradoxes the theme invariably creates, the game uses it well to open paths to new worlds and its characters from which a memorable cast is assembled. On his way through time Chrono enlists the help of nerdy inventor, a spunky princess, an eldritch sorcerer with unclear motifs, a chivalrous knight who has been transformed into a man-frog, a robot torn between between his programming and self-determination and a tough as nails cavewoman.

As is indicated by famed Akira Toriyama's art direction, the game's overall style is humorous and cartoony and, while never taking itself too serious, leaves some room for drama. The game's graphics are crisp and clear, creating some beautiful 16-bit scenarios and boss enemies.

The combat system, a slightly condensed version of the classic Active Time Battle that has been used in the Final Fantasy series since FFIV, allows for some challenging climatic fights in which the characters' numerous special abilities must be put to use to develop strategies. As a first in a Square game there are no random encounters while players travel the overworld or specific scenarios. Although some battles cannot be evaded, all enemies are either on screen all the time or enter visibly; a separate combat screen doesn't exist. This allows players to evade some encounters and makes travelling and exploring in general a much smoother experience. Another first is the inclusion of multiple endings depending on some of the players' decisions.

The Bad
As is the case with other Square RPGS, whether or not Chrono Trigger really is a classic "role-playing" game is up for debate. The fact that all characters are predetermined in terms of starting stats and weapons they wield and that they automatically level and learn new abilities leaves very little room for customisation. Even though there are side quests players are free to play especially towards the end of the game, the plot itself remains very linear.

The quality of the combat system varies. Boss and group battles require tactics and carefully estimating the opponents' next moves but quite a lot of fights are against only two or three weak enemies that can be defeated by repeatedly using the characters' basic attacks. Encounters like that seem to exist mostly to add game time.

Although its plot is quite original, Chrono Trigger uses of a lot of anime RPG clichés like the spiky-haired, adolescent swordsman hero, the androgynous older companion character and the rebellious princess who all learn to use epic powers that lay waste to enemies several times their size. Whether or not one likes those clichés is a question of taste, but even though Chrono Trigger light-heartedly plays with its story and conventions this can get a bit much. Another question of taste is Akira Toriyama's art style. In spite of being funny and mostly fresh, connoisseurs will notice the artist seems to be not quite able to detach himself from the Dragon Ball style he became famous for, leading to some Chrono Trigger characters bearing a resemblance to characters already established in other Toriyama franchises.

The Bottom Line
Light-hearted, simple and yet captivating, Chrono Trigger is refreshingly different from Square's more serious and florid Final Fantasy-style RPGs. Although many conventions and clichés of the genre still adhere to the game, its accessible plot developing right before players' eyes and its endearing yet not too complicated characters achieve something that is rare in games so linear: it has replay value. It is a pity Chrono Trigger was never officially available for PAL territories as it's one of the best and most memorable the 16-bit era has to offer.

SNES · by Kit Simmons (249) · 2008

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

Derivative! Simplistic! Two traits that help make this a supreme classic for all time.

The Good
Innovation and interactivity have long been what I find most valuable in games, and Chrono Trigger is almost completely deficient in both. Why put this in the "good" section?

Because narrative-driven RPGs rely almost solely on passive content. Attempts to bloat up the interactivity or innovate on the tried-and-true "plucky heroes against the foozle" formula are not necessarily good or bad on their merits, but rather live or die by how they fit with the old standby of the genre--passive content. What I mean by "passive content" is the scripted plot and its supporting graphics, music, and atmosphere--stuff I like to rail against as having usurped resources from gaming's most valuable and unique quality, interaction. Taking time to think about what games I actually -enjoy- the most, however, I find that in certain genres interactivity is the last thing I care about, and an inappropriate focus in that direction can actually spoil the game.

How does it happen? The crucial factor here in narrative-based games is that the player's motivation is not at one with the avatar's. The avatar might care about a random girl's slow vaporization via temporal dissonance, but the player doesn't, not to anywhere near the same degree. The player is invested in advancing the plot, and experiencing the passive content. This is why the player will reload to play out unexplored branches of a scripted plot, to try all the significant available paths, without much regard for the avatar's established motivations. Who cares about my supposed squeamish "goodness" when there's more delicious content to experience?

Which brings us to Chrono Trigger's interactivity--there's not much, and that's fine. You don't have to schmooze with some King Guardia simulacrum for hours, carefully massaging his "personality" stat-bundle while mowing mindlessly through a vast plain of mostly barren dialogue menus--you get all the content written for His Guardia-ness just by waltzing up and hitting a button. This is less interactive than an exhaustively subtle dialogue system complete with procedural NPC personality stat matrices, sure, but let's be honest--for some genres, it's better not to have all that crap.

Why? Because NPCs have no agency in a narrative RPG. They have no life outside the player. They simply stand around and wait for you to throw logic switches, then provide you with the requisite quest/bauble/info to throw more logic switches. They're boolean vending machines for the game script. They're never going to break free, form goals, and alter the gameworld in any significant way. They have no agency or life in the world outside of the player, and thus asking the player to relate to them emotionally via subtle mechanics is ridiculous. They are soulless robots in terms of mechanics--to ask the player to navigate a comprehensive conversation system with them would be akin to having blowup dolls require thoughtful gifts, stimulating nights out and long foot rubs from their sad misfit owners. Some reasonable facsimile of life is necessary to justify any game's demand for a player to relate to its NPCs on a more human level. Complex mechanics should not be a shameful disguise for playing tea-party with empty mannequins.

So why not give them more agency, more life? Because that kills any well-structured RPG narrative dead. The player need only waltz into the world and kill vermin for six hours before killing the foozle--if NPCs are equal agents to the player, then -anyone- could have killed such a pushover foozle at any time. Why not allow the player more freedom then? Because the amount of plot-branches would quickly become staggering, precluding the highest levels of quality in the passive content, or making all paths drably alike. If Crono could decide "nuts to Frog; screw that guy, I'm not taking him along," then all the work on the 600AD Magus sequence goes up in smoke, all Frog's passive content characterization is for naught, and alternate paths must be scripted and fleshed out with passive content to an agreeable standard. Now imagine this necessity repeated for every major plot point in the game--if there are only ten major yes/no decisions, that's 1024 discrete paths. You could lower the standard of content, make it more abstract and modular, merge the paths into only a few fleshed-out endpoints, etc.--but then many of Chrono Trigger's NPCs and much of its drama would be as faceless as some of their counterparts in Wasteland, and something valuable, for me at least, would be lost.

As great as Wasteland is, if the passive content is good enough to justify a heavily scripted narrative I don't mind at -all- if I'm led by the nose through an exclusively linear plot. If the signpost NPCs are charming, well-written and relatable even in the most non-interactive sense, then I don't care if I can't micromanage the inflection of my greeting. I don't care if the conversation always goes the way the script demands. I don't care if my avatar is mute! If the content's good enough, exhaustive interactivity isn't the be-all end-all.

Chrono Trigger's content is definitely up to that standard. This is the absolute pinnacle of 16-bit art--sprites are well-designed via Akira Toriyama, environments are lush and evocative, the music is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, and the time-travel plot, complete with varied and lovable characters, reaches mind-boggling levels of fun and JRPG charm. The battle system is remarkably versatile and deeply strategic in design, even though (as usual for JRPGs) its full subtleties are never required of the player by the actual encounters. All these isolated components are derivative, but who cares? If you can do derivative to the highest standard, then count me in. I won't praise you as innovative, but I -will- praise you as good!

The game's few innovations (and there are some) serve mainly to streamline delivery of that wonderful content. Gone are many of the random dungeon fights--a surprising number of monster encounters are realistically visible and may be avoided, drawing down the tedium of sidling up to those logic switches, keeping the focus on the content. Side quests are kept to a bare minimum prior to having an easy means of locomotion, and the main motivation for completing those that exist after the Black Omen rises is--you guessed it--a better ending! The large number of endings and constant accessibility of the final battle go hand in hand in emphasizing the value of passive content--who wouldn't want to see Nobuo Uematsu in sprite form? :-P Even the "New Game +" option's primary value is in providing the player an easy way to march merrily down those almost wholly non-interactive alternate paths, and I would wager most people who enjoy this game have done exactly that. I have!

This game was designed and fleshed out with love and awe-inspiring talent. To experience it is worthwhile even if you're dead-set against kiddy, derivative, linear RPGs. You can't stab Frog to death and take his stuff, sure, but he's a lot more memorable than Mayor Pedros, and that may well encapsulate the trade-off heavily narrative-based games are forced to make.

The Bad
There's very little I didn't like. A few sequences are tedious, such as the aftermath of the "soup-eating" contest where you must follow little footprints through a jungle of slow, unavoidable monster encounters. The Reptite palace is similarly slow in pacing, with (again) too many unavoidable encounters, complete with some backtracking. Catching the rat and the bike race in the future are reminiscent of action sequences in Sierra adventures--not exactly thrilling and incredibly frustrating if you can't hack them. The bike race is pretty, though!

The Bottom Line
Chrono Trigger epitomizes the best qualities of the 16-bit era JRPG. Sometimes, a lack of interactivity and a "childish" theme are exactly what allows for passive content of the highest quality. When the non-interactive art is at such a high level, even the most utterly linear gameplay feels somehow justified.

SNES · by J. P. Gray (115) · 2009

Still a timeless and masterful RPG that doesn't feel dated at all, regardless of whether you're a newcomer or a veteran.

The Good
The role-playing game (RPG) genre is not quite the most accessible genre in video games. Some older games like the early entries in the Final Fantasy series feel dated and are incredibly hard by today's standards. Random battles every few steps and constantly leveling up your characters keep the pace out of these old RPG's. There are a few exceptions to this rule though, and Chrono Trigger is probably the finest example of an older RPG that is still accessible and fun to play to this very day. And it does an amazing job at storytelling, too.

Released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Chrono Trigger was a big breath of fresh air for RPG fans and newcomers alike. While still being a traditional RPG at its core, it reinvented the genre in several ways and made it much more accessible and playable to those unfamiliar with it.

That is, for those living in Japan and North America. Players in places such as Europe or Australia never got to play this game, resulting in it being one of the most sought-after SNES games. Even if you could find a copy of the game on Ebay, you had to cough up some serious dough for it. The PlayStation version released a few years later suffered the same fate and also had some technical issues as it was a rather badly ported edition of the game. It was not until 2009 that Square-Enix released it in these territories via the new DS port. And this time it was ported correctly.

So what makes this game hold up so much even to a European like me who plays it for the first time ever? Well, One of the things Chrono Trigger does different is that it eliminates the random battles other RPG's constantly throw at you. Instead, you see your foes walking around the various areas of the game and you can just approach them whenever you want to fight them directly on the map. In other words: There is no battle screen. Sometimes you can even avoid them by simply walking past them, without the fear of enemies popping up out of nowhere all the time. Another massive RPG-annoyance that Chrono Trigger doesn't have is that you don't have to do too much additional leveling of your characters. Usually you can figure out the correct strategy to defeat a boss after a few tries. In many other RPG's, like Final Fantasy or Pokémon, you often end up under-leveled forcing you to grind up your experience level, which usually takes hours of boring and repetitive gameplay. In Chrono Trigger however, this only happens scarcely, keeping the pace in the game intact.

Instead, Chrono Trigger takes the time to tell a compelling story about time-travel and the quest to save mankind from certain doom. You take control of Crono, a young boy living in the year 1000 A.D. In the case of this game that means 1000 years after the establishment of the kingdom of Guardia where Chrono lives. While visiting the Millennial Fair in commemoration of the 1000th anniversary of the kingdom, Crono stumbles upon Marle, a cute yet mysterious girl who keeps him company while he checks out his inventress friend Lucca's teleporting device. After Crono is successfully teleported, Marle wants to try it out as well. However, things go horribly awry when Marle's blue pendant reacts to the teleporter and creates a rift in time and space, sending Marle back in time. Crono is determined to save Marle and goes after her. This is only the beginning of one of the most engaging video gaming quests ever made. Little does Crono know that he eventually doesn't have to save only a girl but the very future of mankind.

After a few hours of gameplay you will strand in the year 2300 A.D. where you will find a grim and devastated, post-apocalyptic future. Computers rule supreme and the few humans who still live hide in the ruins of what were once their cities. You will find out that this is the fault of a mysterious being called Lavos who destroyed civilization in the year 1999 A.D. However, since you have the ability to travel through time, you can prevent this from happening.

The story spans across several different time periods:
- Prehistory (65.000.000 B.C.): This is an age when humans and the dinosaur-like Reptites fight for supremacy over the planet.
- Antiquity/Ice Age (12.000 B.C.): Here you will find a frozen age when an evil sorcerer queen rules on floating islands above the heavens. This is an advanced age where magic and technology go hand in hand. Those who do not possess magic powers however, live under oppression and are forced to live on the cold tundras on the ground.
- Middle Ages (600 A.D.): After following Marle you get sent to a dark age where noble knights fight a war against the hordes of Magus, the evil Fiendlord.
- Present (1000 A.D.): This is an age where everything is happy and peaceful. This is where the game starts.
- The Cataclysm (1999 A.D.): An ancient evil ascents from the bowels of the earth and destroys civilization in a giant holocaust. This is what you must prevent from happening.
- Future (2300 A.D.): This is a gloomy age after the great destruction in 1999 A.D. Computers and robots now rule the earth while the last remnants of humanity are losing all hope.
- End of Time: This acts like a hub where all of time's flows come together. From here you can travel back in time to all ages previously visited.

Each world has its own unique look and feel and sometimes you can trigger an event that alters history. This can have an effect on the course of history and when you travel into the future, something might be changed in a later age. While this aspect doesn't affect the game in a huge, game-changing way, it does play an important role in the plot of the game and which out of more than a dozen different endings you get.

This forces you to travel through the various ages finding allies and level them up and eventually travel to 1999 A.D. to destroy Lavos before he can destroy human civilization. There are seven different playable characters in total:
- Crono: This is the silent protagonist of the game. He has spiky hair and carries a huge katana sword around.
- Marle: A mysterious girl whom Crono meets at the Millennial Fair in his hometown.
- Lucca: Crono's best friend and a brilliant inventress. Everything technological is her area of expertise.
- Frog: A knight from the middle ages who is turned into a frog by his nemesis, the evil Fiendlord Magus.
- Robo: A robot from the year 2300 A.D. Lucca, Marle and Crono find him completely broken. After repairing him, Lucca reprograms him. This results in Robo being much more human than one would think from his appearance.
- Ayla: A prehistoric chieftain. She has to struggle against the evil Azala and his reptites for supremacy over the planet.
- Magus: The evil Fiendlord that wages war against the king of Guardia in 600 A.D. This is an important enemy in the game, but it is possible to use him as a playable character as well.

Each character can use a basic physical attack using a weapon such as a sword. But there are also the so-called techs. These are more powerful moves but some may consume magic points. Magical techs can be learned by Crono (lighting), Marle (ice), Frog (water), Lucca (fire) and Magus (shadow) The latter can use some of the other characters' magical techs as well. Ayla and Robo can't use magical techs but will still learn rather powerful physical techs instead.

You can never have more than three characters with you, but you can freely swap them outside battles. It's important to think about what combinations to use as they influence what techs will be available. There are special techs called double techs and triple techs. Double techs have two characters join their forces to create more powerful attacks. Triple techs even combine the powers of three characters for truly devastating moves. Naturally, these double and triple techs consume much more magic power. This adds lots of depth and fun to the game without making it overly complicated.

The battle system is a variation of the Active Time Battle system from Final Fantasy where you have to wait until your time bar fills up before you can use another attack. Fast characters like Crono will be quicker to attack than slower ones like Lucca. The way you fight enemies on the map directly, instead of a battle screen like in most RPG's, gives this game an added touch. Many enemies keep on walking around during battles. You might want to wait before you attack until all your enemies are close together, then attack them all at once using a wide-range tech. This gives a new layer of depth to the game that many other RPG's don't have.

Purists can still use the old controls but using the new DS touch-control scheme works like a dream. You can find attacks much quicker since all the menus have their own screen and simply tapping them gives you a much quicker and much more intuitive way to attack. This is very useful in a battle system like this, which is not completely turn-based like in games such as Pokémon.

Other than that Chrono Trigger leaves most RPG-conventions intact. There are still numerous equipment items to find and you will still crawl through dungeons, visit towns and defeat the occasional boss. However, it is just much less complicated and much more fun than in many other RPG's from the 90's.

Visually, it's mostly the character designs that stand out. Particularly the bosses show some truly impressive sprite work. Even now they are very nice to look at. The reason for this may be the fact that they were designed by Akira Toriyama, who is best known for his famous Dragon Ball comics. Many characters in Chrono Trigger resemble characters from those comics. Take Crono for example, he looks a lot like Goku, Dragon Ball's protagonist. Marle and Lucca show some similarities to Bulma while many of the bosses reminded me of Dragon Ball villains. It's nice to see Akira Toriyama's unique style shine through and fans of his comic books will appreciate that.

It's not just their appearance though. Chrono Trigger is one of those few games that actually make you fall in love with the characters. When something sad happens, you feel sorry for them. When the cute and cheerful Marle gets all excited about something you get excited as well. When Robo turns out to be much more human than many flesh-and-blood characters in the game, you feel touched at an emotional level. While the story itself is nice, it is the characters that really make it come alive. Like many of SquareSoft's (now Square-Enix) RPG's they are all likable, believable characters with different character traits, likes and dislikes.

The quest is long, fun to play and engaging. There are several side-quests, colourful worlds, and many different endings (including all-new DS-exclusive ones) to unlock to keep you occupied, even after completing the game once. Several new areas en features have been added to the original game as well to make this version longer and better than ever. Notable is the Dimensional Vortex, a new, extra long, extra hard dungeon unlocked by beating the main quest once. Furthermore, there is a little monster battling game called the Arena of the Ages, that you can play against friends. Pokémon this ain't, but it is nice to see the developers taking time to add something to an already great package. What fans of the original may or may not like is the new transation. For newcomers at least, it is much more accurate than in the console versions, but purists may be slightly dissapointed with this. There are new endings and you can find a media gallery featuring official art for the game and a theatre function that includes those pretty cut-scenes from the PlayStation version to watch whenever you want. You can also listen to the amazing sound track of this game anytime you want.

Composed by Yasunori Mitsuda with assistance of Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, the sound track is seriously impressive. While it may sound a bit dated from a technical viewpoint, the compositions still hold up so incredibly well, you won't mind at all. From the epic main theme to the rustic theme in 1000 A.D. and from the cheerful theme of the Millennial Fair to the foreboding theme of Lavos, every song fits its scene seamlessly and creates the perfect atmosphere for every situation you come across in the game. Most impressive!

The sound effects are OK. Perhaps they are a bit dated by today's standards, but for something coming from the SNES they are surprisingly good.

The Bad
While the characters still look nice, the environments are not nearly as impressive today as they were back in the SNES age and the map screen looks downright dated. While by no means an ugly game, it is unfortunate to see nothing has been done to give the game a graphical upgrade. When you look at the impressive 3D remakes of Final Fantasy games on DS, it's kind of a letdown to see that Chrono Trigger looks exactly the same as in 1995, regardless of how visually impressive the game was back then. While I personally would not have liked the chibi style used in the Final Fantasy remakes, they could have at least polished up the edges that have become rough over the years. Don't get me wrong, it holds up well, but it could have been even better, especially if you're a European, like me, and the game is still all-new to you.

While I love how they retained the anime cut-scenes from the PlayStation version in the DS version, there's only so much of them. This is a shame as the game is so full of memorable moments, you just wish you could see more of them rendered in those pretty anime clips as well.

The Bottom Line
Chrono Trigger is amazing! Whether you are a veteran looking for the definitive edition of the game, or if you've never played it before and are just curious why all the yanks go all crazy about this game, you owe it to yourself to pick it up. It is truly one of the most impressive, if not THE most impressive RPG quest ever.

With a colourful world, lovable characters, excellent storyline, long and engaging quest, fantastic sound track and a battle system that is better and more accessible than ever before, there is no reason not to pick up this timeless classic!

Nintendo DS · by Rensch (203) · 2010

Do you like the hair?

The Good
The Good: Being a huge RPG fan, and having played many RPGs, Chrono Trigger takes the honors of being one of my favorite all-time RPGs. There are so many aspects of the game that leave gamers playing for hours on end. The storyline is incredible, and non linear events can lead to twelve unique endings, giving this game an amazing replay value. And if you'd like to see more endings, the New Game + feature allows you to start the game again -- with your old stats and items from your previous game. The replay value combined with the ever-building storyline creates a formula that makes this RPG so addictive.

In turn, the musical score is absolutely beautiful, so much in fact that you'll find yourself buying the soundtrack. It fits the mood of the scenarios in the game so perfectly that you won't have a problem with it at all. I'll recommend the soundtrack to players of the game and those wanting to get into it alike.

Usually, I'm not one to pay much attention to graphics -- I'm all for story, music, artwork, and game play. However, the graphics were so stunning that I could easily forget I was playing a SNES game. Squaresoft pushed the capabilities of the SNES so far that the graphics looked almost 32-bit when it came to some spells and the final boss fight.

The gameplay was pretty good, the controls were easy to get into. Also, the battle system is simple to operate, and can be used with a lot of strategy. Instead of having set positions in battle as such as in any one of the Final Fantasy titles, the characters get to move around on the battlefield. You get to use the postitions and ranges to your advantage, for example, toasting a ring of enemies around you. Experience was done well, and was easy to come by. Although the game tends to get a bit easy for die-hard RPG gamers, it's still a great gameplay nonetheless.

The Bad
Nothing. Nada. Nanimo. The game is THAT good.

The Bottom Line
Squaresoft and Toriyama Akira did such an excellent job, kudos to them!

If you've picked this baby up, tell people to leave messages at the door; you might be playing this one for a while.

SNES · by Iris-chan (70) · 2002

The best RPG of all-time? Quite possibly.

The Good
This game is beyond criticism. It was made during the few years when SquareSoft was in it's prime, before it moved to the PlayStation and started focusing on its Final Fantasy series.

The graphics are beautifully rich, with some of the best use of Mode 7 graphics this side of Super Mario Kart. The story is the best I've ever seen in an RPG (yes, that includes all of the Final Fantasies). An innovative concept and control system puts this game heads above the rest in it's genre, and kicks the asses of every "best RPG ever" that came before it, like Earthbound and The Secret of Mana.

The Bad
If anything remotely bad can be said about this game, it's a) the game is too short (with only about 15 hours or so needed to fully complete the game form start to finish, the ending can slip on you pretty fast), and b) with sixteen possible endings, you can be constantly plagued by wondering what might have been if you'd said no to a question instead of yes, because in this game, even tiny choices like that can result in the butterfly effect.

The Bottom Line
If you've never played an RPG, play this one. If you love RPG's play this one. If you consider yourself an expert of RPG's but have never played this, go out in your backyard and hit yourself in the head with a hammer. Then play this one.

SNES · by lechuck13 (298) · 2002

Good ol' Chrono Trigger - with a little more

The Good
Chrono Trigger is by far one the best RPGs I've had a chance to play. With a cool cast of characters and an interesting storyline, you can't go wrong with this one. Now, I admit, it's a little dated, being originally released in 1995, but there are some subtle changes with bring new life into this seemingly worn out title. The most notable ones a huge variety of extras, including the game's entire amazing soundtrack, and all of the animated cutscenes which you can access at your own free will. I found the DS interface a lot more comfortable than the original because you can finally attack an enemy simply by tapping the touch screen rather than having to find them using the pointer, which often didn't move in it's intended direction. The added side missions were also quite fun, and offered a new ending which finally made some solid connection to Chrono Cross.

The Bad
Something... Maybe not...

The Bottom Line
This game is a "must play" for any RPG fan. Now it doesn't really matter what version of the game you play, but the DS version is my favorite, and is the most accessible version at the time. The characters, storyline, gameplay, and perhaps graphics (though they are rather old and unchanged from the original) are just great, and the music quality will blow you away (they had Yasunori Mitsuda AND Nobuo Uematsu working on the soundtrack!). This game is a masterpiece and has stood the test of time (and travelled it!). If you're looking for a fun, entertaining RPG, this is a top choice.

Nintendo DS · by Idkbutlike2 (18) · 2009

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

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

The best SNES RPG, hands-down.

The Good
Chrono Trigger was one of Squaresoft's first independent titles ("Independent" meaning separate from an on-going series, such as Final Fantasy), and most definately their best. The game has solid gameplay, excellent well-rounded characters (Including Magus, one of the coolest villians-turned-good I've ever seen), beautiful music, and a great story line. I'm assuming you've read the synopsis by MobyGames, so I won't go into detail. The game also features a "New Game +" feature, which is, as far as I know, exclusive to the Chrono series. This allows you to restart the game with everything you had before you beat it. This, along with the 13 endings, adds excellent replay value, besides the game itself. This game, I say again, is the best of the best. If you EVER have the chance to buy it, BUY IT.

The Bad
There was NOTHING I disliked about the game.

The Bottom Line
This is an extremely good game.

Play it. You'll like it, and you'll thank me for it later.

SNES · by Rufus Shinra (21) · 2003

A very shallow RPG. Too easy, too kiddy, too dull.

The Good
Ah what can I say? I enjoy RPGs, and while I've always been a PC guy, there's always been a spot in my heart for them good ol' console RPGs. Chrono Trigger was a game that had been thoroughly recommended to me via friends and relatives, and I'd seen such praise about it here on Mobygames and on various message boards, I thought it was finally time that I tried it out for myself.

Right from the very beginning, this game glowed with that "SNES classic RPG" feel that I'd gotten so many times, from so many games, and for most of them I have Squaresoft to thank. Nostalgia instantly hit me as I saw the ticking of that thing in those grandfather clocks (you know what I mean - that bar with the circle on it? It goes tick-tock? Erm...anyway...) even though I'd never played this game before. I knew I was going to enjoy this romp.

So I began my game and...well, I'll finish this paragraph in "The Bad". For now, let me reflect on the good parts of the game.

It's a console RPG. If that ain't a "good" thing, I don't know what is. None of these new-fangeled game engines with wacky rules that are too confusing to understand. Nope, instead, this is a very simple game that takes absolutely no time to figure out. Once you begin playing, you understand the game. Anything "new" that the game might bestow upon you (such as spellcasting) is introduced with a warm in-game tutorial, so you're never lost. Good ol' console RPGs.

If you didn't know already, the game's plot revolves around time travel. (I'm not giving too much away here - you figure this out two minutes into the game) This is one of the few RPGs, or games in general I've played for consoles that involved time travel, and being an ol' kiddy sci-fi whacko, I loved the idea, and I felt the game did it very well. I also liked traveling back in time to see what the land was like, say, one thousand years ago...or foward in time, to see what it's like several thousand years in the future. Familiar landscapes and cities are a welcome treat. Some of your events in the past are even retold by people in the far future! This added a great thrill to the game.

You can fight the "big bad boss" at almost any point in the game, and possibly kill him (though I wasn't able to until I'd completed all the other parts of the game). I love this sort of open-ended gameplay.

The Bad
Now, where was I? Oh, right. So I began my game and was instantly disappointed. Why? Because there is absolutely no atmosphere in this game at all. Almost nothing to entrance me, nothing to bring me into this game. RPGs have a way of making you feel something about the characters in it, they have a way of making you become the character you play. I've never seen an RPG fail at this so horribly as this game. Now, don't get me wrong, the game was fun...but it completely lacked the atmosphere RPGs tend to have. Every NPC you talk to spits forth the most boring and unrealistic series of dialogue I've ever read. You never have any sense that what you're doing really matters because the people that your actions affect never seem to care about anything. Walk up to someone and they might say, "Did you hear about the weather? Yeah, it might rain. Oh, and I hear there's a secret entrance underneath a bush near the cave to the East."

I've played plenty of console RPGs, so I know that dialogue (particularly in Squaresoft games) is never really "realistic", but this is way below par. Never in the game do YOU ever acomplish anything on your own, except perhaps defeat a boss. Everyone directs you wherever you need to go, everyone tells you all the secrets, and if they're not doing that, they're dropping little "hints" that are so obvious that if you didn't get them perhaps you shouldn't be playing video games anymore.

Even worse than the NPCs in the game are the ones you get in your party, which include two annoying girls, a frog and a robot, none of which I gave a damn about. One girl is some sort of scientist, the other's some psycho hyperactive princess whom I got rid of as soon as I got more than three party members (as per the norm, you can only have three fighting at a time), and the other is some sort of robot that has feelings. Every time a part in the game comes along that requires one of my party members participates in a dialogue exchange, I want to just turn the television off so I don't have to endure their childish, boring, unrealistic and unimaginitive stories and obvious questions.

The characters are also all about five to eight years old, I would suspect. That, or they all escaped from the short bus. It's a personal pet peeve of mine in games when the "hero" is some eight year old kid with a sword. And by the way, why do you start with a sword? What happened to the whole "I wielded this sword to defend myself!" acquiring of your weapon that happens in so many classics? Link grabbed a sword to fight those ball-spitting things. That Secret of Mana kid pulled one out of the thing to defend himself. In Final Fantasy 2 you were a knight, fighting for justice or something. In this dumb game, you're just an eight year old kid who happens to have a sword with him and gets himself into a whole lot of trouble. I wonder what his mother thinks of him wielding that thing around? And another eight year old kid is armed with a pistol!

One of the "key scenes" to this game was one in which you race someone in a post-apocalyptic ruined highway. This has got to be the most overrated worthless "scene" I've ever bothered to watch. First of all, it's not a damn race. It's a two minute animation of two guys on bikes (which, to their credit, did look pretty cool for SNES games) who are constantly getting ahead of each other. There's no strategy involved here. You just try and be the one "in front" when you reach the finish line. Here's a funny story - I set the controller down and just won the race.

The game is also painfully easy. You get tons of cash for killing easy monsters, and aside from boss battles, I've never lost a fight, and typically, I just hit the "A" button until the battle is over. Strategy? Tactics? Who needs'em? Well, actually, they come in handy in boss battles...

This game has the setup for a really great story, and it almost comes together at times, but it's completely ruined by the fact that your actions seem to have no affect on anyone but your damn annoying party members. And while it's typical for console RPGs, the entire setup at times just seems way too unrealistic.

"Let's save the world!"
"Do you know how to use a weapon?"
"Nope, but let's save the world!"

Save the world? I say let'em burn. Maybe they'll give a damn then.

The Bottom Line
It's obvious that this game was targeted at a younger audience, but old farts like me still love to play these games, so guys over the age of eight still make up at least half the market. I just can't see this game appealing to anyone over eight years old, unless they REALLY enjoy console RPGs and don't mind stupid kiddy dialogue, ininteresting (and uninterested) NPCs and annoying party members.

The time travel thing is a great idea, and it comes together in some places, but not enough for me to care.

SNES · by kbmb (416) · 2003

If only we could go back in time and tell Yuji Horii to write this properly.

The Good
The opening is at least effective at establishing that the protagonist is inexperienced and unprepared for the challenges ahead of him, though this doesn't really come to anything.

Perhaps the solitary moment that stood out was when the frog-guy's backstory was revealed. While it didn't really say a whole lot about his character, it was a legitimately moving moment.

I'll also say that the soundtrack is strong, with some catchy tunes here and there, particularly for boss fights. Having said that,

The Bad
The tune for regular fights is pathetic, it's just an opening that doesn't go anywhere. Speaking of fights, they brought over that horrible Active Time system for Chrono Trigger, where attack orders are completely random and it's impossible to judge whether you'll get pummelled if you spend to long looking for the best attack, even in Wait mode. But here, it's made even worse by only having three party members active in one fight, which would make you think about who you assign abilities to except you can't even do that. The only way anyone gains an ability is by levelling up.

The fights just have no depth to them. All of the abilities are essentially the same swing of a sword but with a different elemental effect, and getting to them is a pain with all the identical names and the needlessly obtuse menu design. This should at least make one be able to make judgements as to which abilities are needed for each fight, but even that's hampered by the aforementioned lack of customisation meaning that, since only one person knows the healing spell, you'll only ever have one slot in the party free to assign, reducing any thought process on your part to trial and error. Each real fight has one and only one way of winning, but even that goes out the window as you get near the end, with some big bads making up their own rules as they go along. So basically, the only way to beat Chrono Trigger is to level grind excessively. Which is impossible because there are no random encounters.

And yes, those two moments mentioned above still stand. But apart from those, the game is pretty flat, just meandering around through contrived plot thread after out-of-left-field twist, leaving each before getting the chance to go into any narrative depth. The frog-guy is the only person here with even an implication of character development, other than that it's just the same re-used archetypes that are so done to death that the game's writer Yuji Horii had actually parodied a few of them in his earlier career(see also: Alena from DQ4).

The Bottom Line
The idea of Yuji Horii writing a game for Squaresoft should have been handled with more care and attention that was shown here. Chrono Trigger feels like it was made after a few scribbles on the drawing board with no real thought as to how the concepts would fit together.

Nintendo DS · by CrankyStorming (2913) · 2011

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Critic reviews added by Flu, Alsy, Wizo, COBRA-COBRETTI, firefang9212, Big John WV, eradix, Baron79, Utritum, Rent Hero, jaXen, bricewgilbert, Trevor Magoonbarker, Jeanne, jean-louis, Alaka, nyccrg, Patrick Bregger, Kayburt, Tim Janssen, sgtcook, RhYnoECfnW, Havoc Crow (formerly JudgeDeadd), vicrabb, Riemann80, chirinea, John Cheney, El Bosso, Rebound Boy, Yearman, Robond, Cantillon, ☺☺☺☺☺, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), Thomas Helsing.