Super Nintendo Entertainment System9.60
Overall 9.60
I considered my biggest gap in my video game play history to be Chrono Trigger. It's on every greatest game ever list, many say it's the best RPG ever made. I have been meaning to get around to it and I finally took the time to play it and right the wrong of missing out on this classic. And what a classic it is. Chrono Trigger is the most exciting, fast paced, memorable and best 2D RPG I have ever played.

This game works because of the spirit of adventure that fills every moment. The story is insane if you really think of it, but it doesn't matter because the focus is on the group of characters and the mission at hand. Time travel is what makes Chrono Trigger so interesting, you don't just get one world to explore, you see that world in many different time periods and how you influence one time effects another. This is like the back to the future game I always wanted, except instead of high school drama it's about an alien asteroid that shoots lasers out of its nipples (come on laser nipples is the better plot). One moment you are in a classic sword and sorcery RPG setting then you are off to the future racing in flying cars and battling robots, then you go back to the past and ride dinosaurs and fight lizard people.  You are never in one place to long, no dungeon drags, no location overstays it's welcome, and the story never drags. I could not wait to see what crazy situation I would be taken to next.

Along with the fast paced story comes a streamlined combat system that while not super deep keeps the player engaged in the combat, not menu surfing for boring stat upgrades or customization. You learn techs as you level up, each new tech is a new skill and as you learn techs from multiple characters they can be combined ad dual or triple techs. So it becomes a balance of do you attack with a single attack with each character. Is it beneficial to do a dual attack? Do you wait for all party members for a giant trilple play. Which characters you bring changes the skills and elemental spellsyou have. Each character is assigned an elemental spell and that's it, so having the right party is important in certain fights. All the growth trees are predetermined, weapon upgrades are basic stat increases. I understand some people love spending an hour customizing every aspect of their team for a 2% improvement, I don't. Give me new powers and get me out into the game. This game does that perfectly.

The combat system must be commended as every boss is a fun interesting battle and I was constantly amazed as the variety of ways the game keeps the player on their toes. Junk mobs remain rather basic and at some point of the game super spells basically kill everything in one hit. But the bosses, all the bosses, a whole mess of bosses is what makes the gameplay so great. New restrictions, patterns, bonuses and more get thrown at you so every boss feels like a sort of puzzle to figure out. Yes once you find the optimal way of attack and defense it can get a bit repetitive but even then you have to be wary of major attacks wiping one character which changes the strategy tremendously because the tech system makes use of combos. The fights move at a quick pace, the active time battle means you better select an attack quick, thinking on the fly is a must.  Also no random battles, some fights are scripted but most of the time you see enemies on screen which you can avoid if you want.

Chrono Trigger has a sort of FFVI moment where the last third of the game opens up the world to exploration. Most of the game is linear but whennit lets loose it does so in such a great way with clear optional side stories that delve into every team member. My favorite part of the optional content is that it fully uses the time travel mechanics in fun ways. You will have to travel forward and back a ton of times changing things in one era to change the world in another. This also leads to one of the many endings you can get depending on when you decide to fight the final boss (totally up to you) and who you have in your group. Unlike FFVI which I found the final dark world segment to be sort of meandering, this keeps things moving as the new content is very clearly outlined for the player without the need of quest logs or markers, it's just smart design.

The only things really holding this game back is that it's not the deepest game. While I am no fan of deep customization I do appreciate hidden upgrades, unqiue combos of equipment that can lead to massive gains in power. This game doesn't have the same level of mystery as FFVII, with it's totally hidden team members, summons hiding in odd corners of the world and the like. While I loved the story and the characters, it's more at a PG movie level. This isn't world class writing, nor depth. Everyone is like a comic character, emotions play out in heavy handed ways and it works the way it works with a cartoon, playing on large themes not great clever writing. Also it's an old ass game, I can't even imagine the scale of this game if it were done in 3D with modern graphics, games don't attempt to go this big.

The graphics are great for a 16 bit game. The music is fantastic with a load of stand out memorable tunes. It's a rather short JRPG which can be beat in 20 hours, 30 with the optional stuff but the replay value is high with the many ways you can beat the game. I had a blast with Chrono Trigger, everything in this game is designed to give the player a rush. I miss the days where a games would try crazy ideas and not try to hit a bunch of industry standard bullet points. This is clearly a masterpiece and it stands the test of time.
Posted by Dvader Fri, 19 May 2017 21:13:16
Mon, 22 May 2017 13:06:01
"One moment you are in a classic sword and sorcery RPG setting then you are off to the future racing in flying cars and battling robots, then you go back to the past and ride dinosaurs and fight lizard people."

So it's like an 80s cartoon?
Mon, 22 May 2017 15:00:51
Excellent review and I'm glad that you finally played this masterpiece.
Tue, 23 May 2017 22:27:30
Yes GG just like an 80s cartoon.
Wed, 24 May 2017 10:06:05
It's funny I've half eyed and even played a bit of Chrono trigger. I had no idea you time travelled that far forward and back. Sounds fun. I wish Nintendo let us transfer all our VC games across all systems. I have an awesome Wii VC library going unused.
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