Chrono Trigger - Reader Re-Retroview  

Time and Punishment
by Prince Jeremy, Duke of Otterland

15-25+ Hours


Rating definitions 

   In the year 1,000 A.D., a boy named Crono awakens, anticipating the Millennial Fair where his friend, Lucca, is showing off a new invention. At the fair, Crono bumps into a girl named Marle, whom he takes to test out Lucca's invention. However, something goes wrong during the test, as Marle is sent back in time, and Crono must follow her to the past to save her, and ultimately, travel through other eras to save mankind. Chrono Trigger was one of the final RPGs for the Super NES, being a joint product of the creators of the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series, which consequently shows its status as one of the finest titles to grace the system.

   Enemies in Chrono Trigger wander the game's dungeons, and approaching them naturally starts a battle. Combat very much resembles that in the Final Fantasy series, with each character containing an active time gauge that, when filled, allows them to perform a command, including a normal attack, an MP-consuming technique, or use of an item. The party of up to three active characters can also combine their techniques into double and triple techniques. Characters gradually gain additional skills through Tech points acquired outside of battle alongside experience and money. Despite its relative simplicity, it's a fairly solid battle system, with only a couple of minor flaws such as the presence of techniques based on a character's current location but the lack of any means to move them around and set them up for such techniques.

   Interaction is spotless, with easy menus, shopping, controls, dungeon navigation, and so forth, as well as a decent idea on how to advance the main plot; no problems here.

Infestation When evil mushrooms attack

   The gameplay is a little on the derivative side, though. The battle system fuses elements from Earthbound (on-screen encounters), the Final Fantasy series (active time battles), and Phantasy Star IV (combination attacks), and Chrono Trigger wasn't the first RPG with more than one world to explore. The time travel aspect, as well as the New Game+, however, did provide some sense of uniqueness at the time.

   The story decently glues the game together, with a likable cast of characters, most having some role in the grand scheme of events and decent backstory (except maybe Crono) largely revealed through sidequests. The overall goal of the game, to prevent a being known as Lavos from destroying the world in the year 1999 A.D., also provides a clear goal. The time travel aspect provides an interesting atmosphere as well, and all in all, the plot was decent for its time even if better RPG stories have since come along.

   The soundtrack, composed mostly by Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu, is never out of place, and sports a central theme as well as many other catchy tunes (each character has his or her own theme as well), with fitting sound effects, as well. The graphics were also some of the best on the Super NES, with decently proportioned character sprites and colorful, diverse environments, despite some minor flaws such as some odd character sprites and the lack of diagonal facing for most sprites. Still, Chrono Trigger both sounds and looks excellent.

   Finally, playing time is fairly short, as little as fifteen hours or up to twenty-five hours after doing absolutely everything the game has to offer, with a New Game+ allowing for additional playthroughs. Overall, Chrono Trigger very well stands the test of time, with most of its aspects being all-around solid and very few shortcomings; even its own sequel, Chrono Cross, hardly rivals it.

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