Chrono Trigger - Retroview

An Epoch Adventure

By: Stewart Bishop

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 9
   Music/Sound 10
   Originality 9
   Plot 7
   Localization 10
   Replay Value 10
   Visuals 9
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

15 Minutes - 40 Hours (For a Single Playthrough)


Title Screen

   Ah, Chrono Trigger; If there are two games that old-school RPGamers swear fealty to, they are Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger. Both were released at about the same time, perhaps a year's difference, both drawing in fans that would soon become the legions of gamers with an uncanny liking for one, but the blatant respect for the other. This game sparked the creation of the "Chrono Trigger" team, who have given us other incredible titles such as Xenogears and Chrono Cross. What makes Chrono Trigger so successful? A ridiculous amount of sidequests, multiple endings, unforgettable characters, visual flair, breathtaking music and a little thing we call "New Game +".

   Chrono Trigger's battle system is very interesting indeed; The usual "Attack, Magic, Item" is there, only replace "Magic" with "Tech." Techs are skills that a character acquires through tech points, which are gained out on the battlefield. On to the more interesting details, certain techs can also harm enemies in addition to the one which you targetted, it all depends on their placement on the field. Taking Crono's Cyclone, for example; Crono attacks his opponent by swinging his sword around and around while circling the poor fool, and any other enemies that are in the range of the attack are also damaged. Lucca's Flame Toss targets only one opponent, yes, but any opponents that are along the string of fire will also be damaged. Even better are the Dual and TripleTechs, where you can use two or three of your characters' turns to cast one powerful Tech simultaenously. Not only are they damaging, but they usually look really cool.

   Enemies are encountered on the field, so if you're good enough, you can avoid most of them. There are some battles, however, that you may not skip, such as a creature that blocks the path to the next area, and so forth. The world map is also very simplistic in comparison with most other RPGs, and there are no random battles that occur here either. This makes it very difficult to get lost and you won't cry out in agony whenever you have to travel on foot to a place across the next continent (Final Fantasy VII, VIII and Wild ARMs 2 come to my mind.).

The Wings of Time...
The Wings of Time...  

   Chrono Trigger's music is also very excellent; it had a much more diverse soundtrack than many other games of its time, like Final Fantasy VI, where the general theme of the game was an 'emotional' one. Chrono Trigger sports songs full of emotion as well as many other upbeat and slow-moving songs. The intro music was an excellent way of preparing you for the joys of time travel.

   Time travel is a very original and exciting idea. Things that you do in the past affect the way things are in the future. Something small can trigger something very important in either the near or even very distant future. The addition of so many time periods also paves the way for numerous side-quests to be done at each of the eras. Since the characters are all from separate time zones, you can usually learn more about their histories by travelling to their specific time. This game also has one thing that I just wish were present in every RPG: New Game +. A beautiful concept; All of your characters' stats, spells and equipment can be saved as you start a new game, allowing you to go through more easily to get all of the endings. At one point, you'll become so powerful that you can beat the game in about 15 minutes. I've done it myself, and it's pretty amazing what you can do later on.

   The plot is perhaps Chrono Trigger's faulty point; Not to say that it's a bad plot, it's a VERY good plot. The only problem is that it's too much of a cliffhanger story. It leaves you wondering about far too many things. On the plus side, this makes Chrono Cross (the sequel) so enjoyable. Questions are finally answered and I suppose that Square took advantage of this to make the sequel so great. If you want closure, seek Chrono Cross.

It's So Pwitty.
It's So Pwitty.  

   A perfect translation accompanies this RPG. I especially liked Frog's old english accent, I'd actually tried to speak like him for a short phase in my life. Several unforgettable lines and the cold words that seem to just spew from Magus' lips are all about the screen, keep an eye out.

   As it was said before, this game was given the gift of New Game +, allowing for countless hours of play. Along with multiple endings and countless sidequests, it forces you to use all of the characters if you want all of your characters at **, as well as all of those flashy TripleTechs. I'm the proud owner of a completely 'perfect' cartridge; It took years of work.


Chrono Trigger's visuals are extremely well-done, perhaps the best of any SNES RPG. Bright and colorful, it makes good use of the SNES's power with marvelous techs and spells; Darkmatter makes you shiver all over. Characters move smoothly across the screen and there is virtually no slowdown, except for those really, really crowded areas.

Chrono Trigger is indeed worthy of its legion of fans that sprang forth at the very time of its birth. An excellent beginning for an excellent series, this game is incredible, and in my eyes is surpassed ONLY by its sequel, Chrono Cross. How sad it is that the PSX remake was never released here in the U.S...I would have loved those anime cutscenes. If you have an old SNES, do anything you can to get your grubby hands on this game...Except stealing of course, how could you possibly place blight upon your soul by stealing such a magnificent game? Now, go!

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