After years of waiting, one of the most beloved RPGs from the Super Nintendo era is finally available on Nintendo’s Virtual Console. Of course, fans of Chrono Trigger are already used to waiting. After being released in 1995, fans waited five years for the game’s one and only sequel, Chrono Cross.
Despite being so revered by gaming enthusiasts, SquareEnix didn’t make it easy to find a copy of the game until recently. Chrono Trigger wasn’t re-released until 2001 on the Playstation. Unfortunately, the Playstation version of Chrono Trigger was plagued by horrific load times. Fans had to wait another seven years before it was re-released again for the Nintendo DS at the price of $40 (expensive for a Nintendo DS game, but still cheaper than the $100 the original Super Nintendo game often fetches).
Now fans of the original game and new generations of gamers can experience this masterpiece for a measly $8. Even so, over fifteen years later Chrono Trigger is still worth the $100 price tag.Chrono Trigger is the story of a young man named Crono and an unlikely bunch of friends who find themselves altering time after an accident during the Millennium Fair. Eventually, Crono’s gang find themselves in the year 2300 A.D. where they learn that human civilization was destroyed in 1999 A.D. by a creature called Lavos. As they search for a way to stop the apocalypse from occurring, they visit five different time periods and change the course of history.
The story sounds straight forward when you summarize it, but the game has much more depth to it that I’m not going to spoil in this review. While the story arcs seem to only matter in specific time zones at first, you later learn just how important and connected these events are.
This is one of the only video games I have ever played where the characters are truly memorable. You’ll find yourself attached not only to the playable characters but also to the huge cast of supporting characters and enemies. While it would be easy for a game with this many characters to lack character development, Chrono Trigger handles it nicely. Aside from the main story, there are several optional side quests that flesh out the characters. When you’re done with the main story and side quests you will know the history of every member of your party and several other characters as well. Few games offer that kind of character depth.
Chrono Trigger’s battle system was unique when it was originally released, but since then has inspired countless other video games. First, there are no random battles. Chrono Trigger wasn’t the first game to do this, but it is part of the reason the game has stood the test of time so well. Second, while the game uses the active time battle system present in many Final Fantasy games, it also includes a system of special attacks (called “Techs”). At first glance, Techs are no different from magic spells in any other turn based RPG. What makes Techs unique is how you can have two characters combine their abilities for more powerful attacks.At first, you can only use two characters to perform Dual Techs, but late in the game you gain access to Triple Techs.
The Dual and Triple Techs add much-needed depth to a tired turn based battle system. Compared to what newer games have today, the battle system is basic, but I can honestly say I have never played another game that copied the Dual and Triple Tech feature from Chrono Trigger. It is a fun addition that truly makes battles more interesting.
Outside of battle, the game plays like a standard RPG except for the time traveling bit. What you do in the past will affect what happens in the future. I cannot emphasize enough just how important it is that you complete the side quests. They may be optional, but that doesn’t make them any less impressive than the rest of the game. The side quests often showcase time travel better than the main story and add to the character development.
If you have never played Chrono Trigger, there has never been a better time to give the game a shot. The game is a steal at $8 and well worth it. This game truly deserves to be called one of the greatest games ever made.