Sometimes, we all miss games. This is exceptionally true when they come out after you’ve lost interest in the platform they are on. This would be one of those games for me, since by the year the game came out, I had moved onto PCs for the most part. So when I found this title available for my DS I have to admit, I was interested. But it had to wait due to everything else portable I’ve wanted to play (including multiple Persona and Phatnasy Star titles). But this game’s time has come…. and proved why classic games are truly classics. Come on in and have a read.
Story: This is a day the entire kingdom looks forward to… the Millennial Fair begins! It’s time to celebrate the kingdom’s 1000th anniversary! But a chance meeting with a beautiful girl that day will lead Crono on the adventure of a lifetime. It started as a fun enough day of fair games and shows, but then the two of them joined Crono’s inventive friend who’s show was to demonstrate her brand new teleportation device. When the girl volunteered to try it out, a malfunction involving her pendant made her disappear! To save her, Crono picks up the pendant and repeats the process, being thrown through time into the past.
Before long, you will find issues in the past to solve, fixing history so as to allow your present to happen, more portals to different times, and a creature who’s awakening will cause the world as we all know it to end! What’s a hero to do? What else? So get your time-travel gear ready. It’s time to save the world before it even knows it has to be saved, save the present from those who would alter it for their own gain, and save the past to allow it all to even happen!
The general flow of this game’s story never really stops and it is very well written, especially for it’s time. You will never find yourself bored with the events going on as you play. Plus as an extra bonus, this was one of the first games to offer a plus mode and multiple endings! While the first time you play you wont have a lot of choices in how everything finishes, the plus mode opens up at least 7 additional endings you can get, depending on what you do and when you do it. Even today most RPGs do not have more then one ending… and at most have 2 or 3. Chrono Trigger really outshines the rest by how replayable this makes it.
Graphics: Chrono Trigger is a classic RPG that released originally for the SNES, but that is not the release this version is based on. Instead, it is a port of the re-release for the original Sony Playstation. In both cases, the art and in-game graphics of the original remain basically untouched, and make for a nice retro-game look combining the old-school that never really went out of style with a Dragonball Z feel that let’s the game’s look stand out among the many RPGs in the SNES library. But in addition, you now get a handful of animated cutscenes running at full speed. These too, look very good, though the resolution of the DS screen will limit how good to some extent.
Almost all of the game is displayed with a birds-eye-view on the top screen, leaving the bottom screen to display a map of your current area (be it the room/corridor you are in or a world map) giving you the advantage of not having to wander around blind of what is beyond the scope of your screen. In addition, this is where your menu controls remain while not in the main game, freeing the top screen for stats and other information without cluttering either display.
In combat, you will see the battle on the top screen while all controls and stats display on the bottom one. This proves a little more problematic, as both include details you will need to be effective in the fight. Still, it overall is comfortable for gameplay and in case you do not like this setup, you can restore “classic” mode which will make the interface match what was on PSX and SNES.
Sound: Just like the graphics, the sound comes basically untouched from the SNES days for this game. Well orchestrated midi music that was standard of the system will greet you with all the charm it had and still retains. Nothing is going to stand out as something you would want to hear when not playing the game, but everything (be it music or ambient sound) will fit the mood and events going on exceptionally well.
Sound effects, on the other hand, take a hit from this same porting process. There are not many sounds in this game since it was an SNES RPG, so do not expect anything to amuse you too much in this realm. Even the cutscenes seem devoid of these, which is a real shame as the CD-ROM format this was ported from would have allowed for some nice touches here.
Gameplay: Most of the game will have you controlling Crono and his team as you wander around in towns, dungeons, and the world map in a birds-eye-view playing field. While doing this, you will generally have access to your controls by whatever means fits your use best… buttons or touchscreen.
While the movement around the map is nothing new, the battles will prove very engaging. There are no turns in this game, Instead each character has a timer and when it fills up, what you can do to control them appears in the bottom screen. And unless you are in one of these menus the battle doesn’t pause, adding timing dynamics not only to the battle itself, but to the strategies you will have to apply to win these battles.
And while most battles will use this effectively, it’s the bosses that makes this really shine. You could effectively call this game the “Mega Man” of RPGs in this regard, where you will have to figure out what each boss especially weak to (or strong… or even healed by if you are unlucky enough), as well as the patterns the boss will take in battle. You will learn your enemies to defeat them.
Sadly, though, this game does suffer some in this regaurd as well. While the timing mechanics make the battles stand out from other RPGs and keeps the combat deep, I couldn’t help but take issue with the fact that there is no guard command. When you have enemies who warn you with a count down that they are about to unleash hell with a super attack, and you have no real way to brace yourself for for it. You just have to wait, which left me feeling like something was missing from time to time.
Still this is a minor complaint since between the timing mechanics, patterned bosses, status ailments, items, and techniques used on you and at your disposal, battles feel pretty full and dynamic for the most point and compliment the map parts exceptionally well.
Bugs: I have a few notes I need to make here, though Im not sure how much one of them is a glitch… but oddly, both in this case are actually beneficial to you, the player!
The ship that won’t stay dead: While I honestly can not be sure if I found a bug or could have done something insane to the story, I have to make a note about an issue I saw late in the game. There are several ways to get to the last boss, and I decided on the longest way… fighting through a ship that is omnipresent…. in short, it’s the same no matter what time you go through. And when you beat it, it does dissappear… only for the time you are in. I do not know if Im supposed to have tried to take the thing down in each time, but I after beating it and seeing it go away, I was able to visit it in another time and use this for leveling purposes. I honestly don’t know if it would have made a difference if I took out the boss again or not.
SHEEP!: This moment is going to piss off a lot of gamers. In the last quarter of the game, you have to climb a mountain, but if you cant get behind cover, you are blown off the mountain. The aggravating part is that the cover is a set trees you have to run between, and to take cover you need to be centered behind the trees near perfectly. It’s frustrating, it’s uneeded, and it tarnishes an otherwise AMAZING title. BUT there is a bug that makes it endurable. If you don’t talk to the sheep so it turns into the first tree, you are in cover as long as you are next to that sheep, regardless of if you are in front, behind, or on either side of it. Just don’t talk to it, and the bug will help you.
Overall: Chrono Trigger is hailed as the best RPG of all time by many gamers, and is almost always in place 1 or 2 of any site’s list, and it certainly deserves a lot of praise. Im not sure I would put it that high in my own list, but it wouldn’t be far from (and so far I would call it the best of the 16-bit RPGs I have played). This is a game that if you have any interest in RPGs, you should play through. If not, you might just still like it. It really is that good.
out of 10