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Written by  :  MasterMegid (902)
Written on  :  Sep 10, 2006
Platform  :  SNES
Rating  :  4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars

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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.