Chrono Trigger


Review by · October 30, 2001

Square seemed to consistently produce quality on the Super Nintendo, and Chrono Trigger is no exception. Regarded by many as one of the best experiences the role-playing genre has to offer, Chrono Trigger can still compete with the games of today in spite of being released in 1995. It is a wondrous journey through space and time to a land only the human imagination can reach.

Chrono Trigger features a fascinating plot that takes the gamer through the prehistoric ages to the end of time itself. You follow Crono and his gang of heroes as you brave throughout time in order to save the world. It’s executed simply; there are no logical time travel theorems applied, so all you science buffs looking for “accuracy”, look elsewhere, though you’ll be missing out.

Squaresoft makes time travel fascinating, and the game’s fantastic yet not overly complex plotline will grip you to the end. The simplicity is what keeps the awe. Seeing the future world and how it turns out is shocking and amazing in its own sense. Science fiction doesn’t get much better than this trip through the ages.

Chrono Trigger’s cast is basically compromised of a mute hero, a robot, a frog knight, a cave woman, a princess, an inventor, and a dark magician. None of these characters receive the depth and development of a character in a game like Square’s own Xenogears, but CT has one of the most memorable casts in RPG history.

Maybe it’s the classic character design by famed artist Akira Toriyama? Perhaps it is the distinct personalities each character has? Somehow even Crono never “speaking” (he has no text boxes but he does respond to characters), evokes some kind of emotional response, and he’s one RPG protagonist that will not be shelved away in the back of our brains. The villain doesn’t get any real development, but development really isn’t applicable; you’ll know what I mean if you play the game. Square managed to concoct an unforgettable bunch of heroes, but since I can’t pinpoint exactly why, it can’t get a perfect score here.

Chrono Trigger is blessed with one of the finest video game soundtracks ever created. Yasunori Mitsuda’s magical creation is a masterpiece. The character themes, overworld themes, battle themes – they’re all classics. From the first sound of the ticking clock to the last horn blow, it’s magical. The MIDI quality for a SNES game is unsurpassed; I don’t think any other game for the console has better sounding music or sound effects. The sound programming is simply unequaled on the console. Awesome melodies, cool beats, and great sounding stereo separation make for one hell of an audio treat. Mitsuda and his men made a masterpiece.

Chrono Trigger is also blessed with another great gift: fun gameplay. The ability to see enemies and being able to evade them makes areas in CT that much more interesting to go through. The battle system is also entertaining; the combos make for interesting battles even though if it was stripped down, it’s the same basic battle system used in RPGs. The use of the ATB bar is another plus. Dungeons are designed extremely well and don’t drag on with stupid mazes or awful puzzles. Fun and addictive, this is the best kind of gameplay the RPG genre offered, and still can.

Chrono Trigger probably has the best graphics on any American SNES game, the winner being Star Ocean, which never saw the light of day here. The colorful sprites, funny character animations, and lush backgrounds are captivating. The backgrounds are detailed and full of motion. And the palette use is amazing; so many colors, it’s like looking at a painting half of the time. The battle animations are equally as gorgeous, with fluid movements and great-looking spells that really push the SNES’ graphical capabilities. It’s a 2-D treat, even today.

Square did another excellent localization job for Chrono Trigger. The text is always vibrant, if not too much, and there are rarely any grammatical or spelling mistakes. The only small, small downfall is that since the game was also oriented at younger children, the text really isn’t very adult-ish. That’s not necessarily bad, but it would have been nice to see some more adult language. Also, having Frog be the only person in the entire Middle Ages speaking Middle English was kind of odd…

The biggest complaint people have about Chrono Trigger is that playing through it and getting all the secrets can be easily done in about 18-20 hours. Well, I say look at the replay value: with multiple endings, Chrono Trigger’s replay value is the highest the RPG genre has. The control throughout the game was dead-on, with no problems navigating and the smooth fluid movement only made it easier, with the eight-directional movement. The game isn’t overly difficult; only a few bosses required serious leveling up and strategy, but that really doesn’t detract from the gameplay that much unless you’re looking for a huge challenge. It’s more of a fun task to find the secret side stories to each character and complete the quests.

Overall Score 97
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Robert Bogdanowicz

Robert Bogdanowicz

Robert was part of RPGFan's reviews team from 2001-2005. During his tenure, Robert bolstered our review offerings by lending his unique voice and critique of the world of RPGs. Being a critic can be tough work sometimes, but his steadfast work helped maintain the quality of reviews RPGFan is known for.