By Justin Guillou / March 1st, 2014
All of these battles are accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack. Each scene and time period in Chrono Trigger has a song that fits the situation perfectly, from the peaceful Overworld theme in 1000 AD to the mysterious and sad theme of 600 AD and the eerie and atmospheric music in the distant 2300 AD. The battle themes are really exciting, and get the player ready to fight. Throughout the game, you will listen to multiple boss themes based on who your party is currently fighting. My favorite song from the game is actually Lucca’s theme. I may be a bit biased because Lucca also happens to be one of my favorite characters in any video game, but her theme is just plain awesome! It is played whenever the party accomplishes something, and just puts me in a good mood. The theme was actually remixed twice and used as the victory themes in the game’s sequel, Chrono Cross. Check it out below:
The DS version of Chrono Trigger contains several differences and improvements from the SNES and PSX versions. For starters, it has all of the bonuses from the PSX including the animated cutscenes, bestiary, sound test, ending log and tech database. Being on the DS, the bottom screen has a map of the area which gets filled as you explore it (VERY useful) the characters can be set to run by default, so you no longer have to hold a button down to run, making the experience even smoother than it already is. Also, the names of certain items, techs and enemies have been changed. For example Tonics are now called ‘Potions’ and Crono’s ‘Spincut’ is now referred to as ‘Cleave.’
The DS version allows you to customize the touch screen with shortcuts to inventory, equipment, techs or save menus for quick and easy access. Additionally, the battle menu can be moved to the touch screen, and you can use the stylus to select your actions. I personally prefer it the old fashioned way, but I’m sure many will love that feature. New to Chrono Trigger are two extra areas towards the end of the game. These do not add too much, and are optional, but they’re there for those who want to play it just a little bit longer before finishing it. Another addition is the Arena of the Ages. This is essentially a very basic monster-raising sim where you can level up your monster and have it fight against other monsters. This mode also works for two players, so, if you happen to have a friend who also plays it, the two of you can compete to see who is the real Poké-Chono Trigger Monster… Master (I try too hard…).
As far as game length goes, Chrono Trigger is actually not terribly long. Your first playthrough will probably take you between 25-30 hours. The DS version may take you a little bit longer due to the new areas. While that may seem disappointing by comparison to other JRPGs, this game offers 13 endings, with one of them being unique to the DS version, and a New Game + feature. In New Game +, you get to keep your characters’ equipment, inventory and levels. Also, you can fight the final boss at any time. You can literally go beat the game again as soon as you leave your house at the beginning of the game. Your ending will change based on when you fight the final boss. As you can see, Chrono Trigger is very dependent on player choices, and the story can be altered based on them. At some point in the game, you encounter what is supposed to be a scripted boss fight that you are meant to lose. However, if you manage to win that fight, you will get an ending. If you lose, however, a major character is killed. You have the choice in whether or not you want to bring that person back to life, and you will get a different ending based on your decision. Losing against the final boss also results in a unique ending.
The box for Chrono Trigger states: “The RPG of the Ages Returns.” I completely agree with this statement. Chrono Trigger was, and still is, in my opinion, the king of JRPGs. There is a reason people are still paying $60+ for a copy of the original SNES version. Fortunately, the DS version is much more affordable. Depending on where you purchase it, you should not need to spend more than $30 for it. The game looks good on the 3DS XL, but some of the text is slightly blurry due to the stretched out resolution. Despite that, the DS version is probably the best way to play it today, as it has an updated translation and all of the extras and bonuses from the PS1 version.
There are very few JRPGs that I played that have left a lasting impression on me. This one did. Everything about it was perfect. The story did not overstay its welcome, or go off into the land of convolutedness like many other JRPGs. The characters were diverse and memorable, and each had multiple epic moments (I could and would talk about them but many involve too many spoilers), the soundtrack was excellent, the battle system was fun, there is loads of replay value and, best of all, it holds up even by today’s standards! The sprites and backgrounds were, and still are, some of the most detailed you can find on the system it was originally released for. In battle, your characters AND the enemies are animated, and will actually run up to and attack each other! Details like that were rarely seen in JRPGs at the time. Another neat detail is that characters with ranged weapons (bows or guns) have an alternate melee attack that can be performed if they are close enough to an enemy! Once again, that kind of detail just is not seen in other games of the genre. Also, the characters have so much personality and charm to them that they turned what would have actually been a fairly cliché plot into one that is fun, interesting and memorable.
I cannot recommend this game enough. Even if you don’t own a DS or 3DS, you have plenty of other options and ways for you to play it. If you have not already purchased two copies of this game, buy one NOW!
Review Copy Purchased by Author
Chrono Trigger is available in its physical formats on Amazon:
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