What do you get when you join together an average boy, a princess who doesn’t want to be a princess, a girl following in her father’s footsteps as an inventor, a frog, a robot, a girl from 65,000,000 BC and time travel? You get an amazing RPG from the SNES era known as Chrono Trigger.
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Now before you steer away after seeing that this is a game for an older console, hear me out. The newer versions do have animated cut scenes in some areas and the game is still pixelated and in sprite form but the story line is brilliant. Okay, I know it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like JRPGs and time travel, it’s worth a go.
Chrono Trigger was developed by Square (which has since become Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and released in 1995. It was later ported to the PlayStation in 1999 in Japan and packaged with Final Fantasy IV for the PlayStation in a compilation called, Final Fantasy Chronicles in 2001 in North America. It was again ported to the Nintendo DS in 2008 for North America and Japan and in 2009 for Europe and Australia. This game has since been ported again to mobile devices, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s virtual console as well.
Chrono Trigger starts with our protagonist, Crono, in the year 1000 AD during the millennial festival of his kingdom in Truce. There he goes to see his friend Lucca at the festival where she and her father will be unveiling their latest experiment, a transporter of sorts. He runs into a girl named Marle (Crono at this time doesn’t know she’s really the princess) who asks if he will spend time with her at the festival.
After agreeing to let her join you (no, you don’t have a choice) you can then venture around the fair some more as Crono and Marle. You can check out one of Lucca’s experiments, a battling robot named Gato. He will recite you a cute song about beating him up to earn 15 silver points (which can be redeemed later for the games currency). Other things you can do include, betting on a race of characters that runs in a square when you enter Leene Square, strength test (ring the bell), dancing to prehistoric music, a button mashing soda guzzling contest, and if you have enough silver points you can venture into Norstein Bekkler’s Tent of Horrors, which you will need to visit later anyway.
Eventually, you will hear that Lucca’s experiment is ready to be viewed and you can then head to the top of Leene Square with Marle. Crono is volunteered to try out the new invention and is teleported from the pod on the left side of the screen to the one on the right. Impressed by this, Marle decides she wants to try but something goes awry with the teleportation devices and the pendant she is wearing and a portal is opened sending Marle to another time period.
Crono journeys after Marle while Lucca tries to figure out what went wrong and this is the start of Crono and his friends’ adventures through time.
Throughout the game, your party will change certain parts of the fictional history set in place by venturing all the way back to 65,000,000 BC and all the way up to The End of Time after accidentally traveling to the year 2300 AD and witnessing, on a computer, the destruction of the world by Lavos and realizing that they can then prevent this from ever happening.
Throughout the game you will battle dinosaur like creatures from the prehistoric era, you will battle robot and robot like enemies, and magical beasts.
Each character will have a special type of weapon they will use, as in most RPGs, but most of them will also acquire magical skills later on in the game.
Chrono Trigger uses offers both an active and wait mode to choose from in the beginning of the game. The difference, from what I have seen is that in wait mode, while you are choosing which special skills, or ‘techs’ as they are called in this game, enemies won’t attack you, whereas in active mode, they are capable of attacking you.
As for running into enemies, this game is a little different than a lot of RPGs. You do not run into enemies on the world map while you are traveling. You only run into them within the dungeon, forest, or wherever you have specifically chosen to travel. Also, enemies are almost always completely visible, allowing them to be avoided at times. However, every once in awhile, the monsters will jump out from a bush or fall from a tree.
Moving on to character weapons and techs. The protagonist, Crono, uses a katana and will later wield the magical power of lightning. Marle battles with a crossbow and learns to use ice as well as healing magic. Lucca uses a gun and hammer and will learn to cast fire magic. Frog will use a broadsword and learns water (perfect for a frog, huh?) and, like Marle, healing magic. Robo, because of his technological composition cannot actually acquire magic but his laser attacks mimic shadow magic and he is able to mimic fire, lightning and healing magic as well. Ayla uses strength alone as she does not wield a weapon of any sort and she cannot use magic either because she was born well before humans were able to use magic. There is one more optional character that you can recruit to your party, but for the sake of not spoiling anything I will leave that character out.
You might notice that the character styles resemble familiar characters from popular shows such as Dragon Ball or also that they resemble characters from a game called Dragon Quest and that is because they have a few of the same team members, Yuji Horii and Akira Toriyama. Other familiar aspects from games like Final Fantasy may be noticed as well and this is because of a few different reasons. Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy both were developed and published by Square as well as having some of the same team members including: Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy and Nobou Uematsu‘s (who has composed music for many Final Fantasy games) compositions can be heard in some of the game’s tracks.
Chrono Trigger has a beautiful soundtrack. Each character has their own unique theme. The entire soundtrack is immensely powerful whether you are listening to the main theme, the battle music or the world map’s music. It does an excellent job of getting you pumped up for whatever may be coming your way and making you feel the emotion that is conveyed inside of the game.
Example: Crono’s Theme
I have an extremely hard time picking lists for anything, top 5 or 10 anime or books, things like that. However, this game is not only nostalgic for me, it never gets old. This game is my #1 game while all of my other favorites are tied. So if you like powerful RPGs that have some feels involved and you want a game where you can feel like you can change the world, I highly recommend this game.
You can go original nostalgic and try play it on the SNES (which, by the way, is extremely expensive), you could go for wanting the nice animated cut scenes and a cheaper version by buying it on the PS1, you can go mobile by finding it on the iOS store or GooglePlay (that’s up to you, but I personally do not like playing good RPGs on mobile, or you can check out the DS version which has the animated cut scenes as well as a bit of extra side story line and extra dungeons.
Good news! It’s now on Steam as well!!