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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.


Chrono Trigger SNES End of Time
Chrono Trigger SNES The grim future...
Chrono Trigger SNES Intro trailer - what's this big thing?
Chrono Trigger SNES Map - 1000 AD, present

Promo Images

Chrono Trigger Screenshot
Chrono Trigger Screenshot
Chrono Trigger Screenshot
Chrono Trigger Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "The Dream Project" -- Working title
  • "クロノ・トリガー" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Derivative! Simplistic! Two traits that help make this a supreme classic for all time. J. P. Gray (120) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
Quirky Anime-style Time Travel Kit Simmons (264) 4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars
A really upbeat title. It's my favourite game, and that for many reasons. Bregalad (972) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
Do you like the hair? Iris-chan (72) unrated
A very shallow RPG. Too easy, too kiddy, too dull. kbmb (435) unrated
Gotta Go Back In Time.... MasterMegid (902) 4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars
The best RPG of all-time? Quite possibly. lechuck13 (357) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
The best SNES RPG, hands-down. Rufus Shinra (23) 4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars

Critic Reviews

All Game Guide 1998 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
The Video Game Critic Oct 18, 2005 A+ 100
Nintendo Life Nov 07, 2009 10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars10 Stars 100
Game Freaks 365 2000 10 out of 10 100
Original Gamer Aug 31, 2009 9.9 out of 10 99
Netjak Jan 05, 2005 9.7 out of 10 97
Total! (Germany) Oct, 1995 1.25 out of 6 95
Nintendo Land Sep 12, 2003 94 out of 100 94
Geeks Under Grace Sep 15, 2014 9.2 out of 10 92
Cubed3 Jan 29, 2003 8 out of 10 80


Topic # Posts Last Post
A small issue I have with this game. 18 Zovni (10633)
Sep 29, 2010
Trivia disagreement 2 Unicorn Lynx (181490)
Sep 24, 2009
The origin of the Rick (rocket?) Roll 8 The Fabulous King (1337)
Jun 02, 2008


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.


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.


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.


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.


  • 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.


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.


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.


  • 4Players
    • 2009 – #3 Best DS Game of the Year
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • August 1995 (Issue 73) - Game of the Month
  • 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 Web Sites

Satoshi Kunsai (2074) added Chrono Trigger (SNES) on Jun 06, 2002
Other platforms contributed by Fred VT (25922), ResidentHazard (3565), Sciere (711236), Kabushi (256017), Satoshi Kunsai (2074), Bregalad (972) and MAT (221039)