Authors Note: This is a day later than expected. Sorry! Never fear, as future #TBT reviews will be posted on Thursday. Thanks for your patience as I work the kinks out!
When I decide I wanted to review older games, it seemed logical to start with my Top 10 list. Chrono Trigger has stood as my favorite game since it was released in 1995. Prior to this, I had never really gotten into an RPG, but Chrono Trigger hooked me. The graphics, story, gameplay, and soundtrack were all the best I had ever experienced, so much so, that 20 years later it is still my favorite game.
Chrono Trigger revolves around our mostly silent protagonist Crono and his band of friends going on a time-travelling adventure. Taking place in the kingdom of Guardia (in different times), Crono and his pals travel through time in an effort to (spoiler alert for a 20 year old game) defeat alien baddy Lavos. Learning Lavos (who arrived on the planet long before Crono’s time) will destroy the planet in the future, Crono and the gang attempt to defeat Lavos in their own time, thereby preventing the destruction in the future.
The gameplay of Chrono Trigger is familiar to anyone who has played a JRPG. Genre standbys including Active Time Battle, an overworld map, physical and magical attacks, and a party are all present. However, Chrono Trigger does add a unique splash to many of the gameplay components. Special magical and physical attacks, called “Techs”, can be done cooperatively. The two or three person attacks can turn the tide of battle and look spectacular. Time travel is a part of the game (through time gates or with your handy time machine Epoch) and actions done in the past influence the present and future. Side quests are also a large part of the adventure. These quests help tell the backstory of Crono’s party members and friends. The stories are compelling, entertaining, and a great way to build the world around Crono.
The presentation of Chrono Trigger is impressive, even today. The graphics are some of my favorite 16-bit art. Each age and time feels unique, and the visuals create a sense of presence and weight that contributes to the storytelling. The music is iconic, and when combined with the visuals, create a depth of immersion you will find in few games. I still find myself listening to the soundtrack at work, and specific songs regularly trigger fond memories of gameplay moments.
In addition to just being a great game, Chrono Trigger established a couple game trends that we still see today. “New Game +” was coined by Chrono Trigger. Previous games had a New Game + mode but they all called it something different. Additionally, the original Chrono Trigger has 13 different endings. Which ending you see was based on when you went to fight and defeat Lavos. Since I have always been bad at video games, only a few of the endings were options for me on my first play through. With New Game + though, all of the endings become a possibility.
Chrono Trigger is the kind of game that I cannot list any areas of fault. Not every part of the game is perfect, but I do believe the entire package is as tight a game experience that exists. Even if you do not like RPGs, I still believe it is worth a try as Chrono Trigger is still easily avaiable today (iOS, Google Play, Nintendo DS, PSN Store) if you do not have a Super Nintendo. If you do play the port on PSN, the load times are a bit long, but the DS version is quite good.
Have you played Chrono Trigger? Does it make your Top Ten list? Tell me what you think below or hit me up on Twitter.