Chrono Trigger DS - Reader Review  

Times, They are a-Changing...wait a sec!
by Shawn Denney

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20-40 Hours
+ Still one of the best games around
+ Entertaining story
+ The pinnacle of SNES graphics returns
+ Time travel that actually works
+ Battle system still shines
- Not much new
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   Back before there was Square-Enix, there was Squaresoft and Enix. Who would of guessed, right? Anyway, Squaresoft made Final Fantasy, and Enix made Dragon Quest. The two company’s reached an agreement to take developers from both and make a game. Dragon quests director Yuji Horii and Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi worked together for this project. The soundtrack was composed by Final Fantasy’s Nobuo Uematsu, and master musician Yasunori Mitsuda. Art work was done by Akira Toriyama. They were called the “Dream Team”. The result was the one and only, Chrono Trigger. Now, almost 15 years later, a port of the game is arriving on Nintendo DS.

   The story of Chrono Trigger follows our red haired hero Chrono. One day, he gets awoken by his mother, goes to a fair, accidently travels through time, saves the past, present and future, and everything in between. The way it is pulled off is brilliant and still shines today. This is a true testament to the story from all those years ago. During Chrono’s travels, he meets an interesting cast of characters including a caveman (although she’s female…does that make her a cavewoman?), a talking frog, a evil sorcerer, and a few regular old friends.

Team attacks…why don’t more games use them? Team attacks…why don’t more games use them?

   Chrono Trigger uses a form of the Active Time Battle System (ATB) used in the Final Fantasy series. A few differences between chrono trigger and most other games include the fact the there are no random encounters, attacks can be combined for double or triple techs, and characters/monsters actually move during battle. The encounters take place on the same world that you are playing through. This means there is no screen break, no separate arena to fight in. You run into an enemy walking around, and its go time! The characters/monsters move around of their own accord, and while this doesn’t really seem to have any effect at first, it actually does. First, depending on how close/far an enemy is the attack animation might change. Secondly, some attacks do range damage, and thus position is actually important to make the most of those attacks.

   The sound in Chrono Trigger is awesome. Every song fits the game perfectly. From the happy fanfare to the mellow apocalyptic drone, the game never misses a note. However, every song is still the exact same as it was on Super Nintendo. You won’t find any Orchestrated Soundtrack here. This is a little disappointing when you think about what might have been, but what we have is a soundtrack that sounds just as awesome as it did 15 years ago (cause it is the same soundtrack!).

   Chrono Trigger DS is a port. You won’t find any new graphics here. No re-drawn sprites. No 3-D rendered worlds. Just Super Nintendo graphics at their finest. While I personally love sprites, and have no qualms with this, I can see why people would question a port job rather than a remake. Final Fantasy IV got the 3-D facelift and it looks marvelous. It is a little perplexing why Chrono Trigger didn’t receive the same treatment.

You know you want to have abridge like that You know you want to have abridge like that

   Chrono Trigger is not the hardest game you will come across. In fact, it’s one of the easier ones. From start to finish, you shouldn’t have really any problems. Then, with the new game + feature, the game is a breeze. Speaking of new game +, this feature is a bit more robust than most games that have a new game +. For example, in Chrono Trigger you keep all levels, techs, and equipment. Can you say beginning baddie ownage?! Also, one of Chrono Triggers call to fame is it’s multiple endings. Each one requires you to finish the game at a different point. This would be impossible (well, technically someone could grind enemies for a bazillion hours and get strong enough but who would do that?) if the game did not have the new game + mode.

   Some new features have been added to this version. First is the inclusion of the Anime cut scenes which were found on the playstation 1 version, but not the original SNES version. Second is the added touch screen control option. Stress the word option, because you do not have to use it. It is their only for those that want to. Third, is a new dungeon. Fourth, a new ending. And finally, the monster battler arena. From all of these, the only one that I found to be truly a worthwhile addition was the new ending. It does a much better job of linking Chrono Trigger to its sequel, Chrono Cross.

   Chrono Trigger is one of the best RPG’s ever made. However, this version doesn’t really add anything to the experience that wasn't there 15 years ago. So if you have never played it before, this is a must own. For those of you who own a copy of the Super Nintendo version or the Playstation 1 version, your $40 could be spent better elsewhere.

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