Game Review

Chrono Trigger Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by David Snoddy

Has it stood the test of time?

Without a shadow of a doubt, there will be two groups of people reading this: those who have played Chrono Trigger before, and those who never had the privilege. If you are of the former, then you’ll not find too many surprises waiting you in this remake: most of what you'll find was either included on the SNES version of yesteryear, or in the PSX rendition, but there are a few worthwhile extra features. Those of the latter group, you’ll find a whole host of wonderment that is simply unmissable.

In every way Chrono Trigger is still the masterpiece of its time. As such, what it really comes down to is whether Chrono Trigger is suited to the DS and can recapture its former brilliance. The graphics still stand out visually, the storytelling is fluent and inspiring, and it still maintains the action based game play that set it apart from the rest at release.

The game itself revolves around the life of Crono, a samurai sword-wielding adolescent whose destiny is changed after attending his kingdom’s millennial anniversary. On that fated day, Crono rushes out of bed to witness his best friend’s teleportation machine: doing so, he runs into a young girl named Marle. Immediately insisting that Crono shows her around the fair, Marle gets our noble gentleman of a hero to escort her to the time machine. Unfortunately, the time machine malfunctions and sends Marle into a parallel universe, and, being the courageous young man that he is, Crono does not hesitate in follow her into the unknown. From here, the storyline quickly evolves, and you will soon find yourself engaged in an epic journey across time and space, encountering various life forms: from a heroic Frog – yes a Frog – to a robotic humanoid from the future (alas, not Arnie).

Even with a deluge of games trying to replicate its success over the years, Chrono Trigger is still a strikingly original experience- retaining the feel of innovation from its original release. For example, the combat system within Chrono Trigger allows the characters to attack on their own or join with others to coalesce techniques and inflict mass destruction.

Perhaps the finest element in Chrono Trigger is the lack of random encounters! When exploring, you are not constantly subjected to the ordeal that is random battling: being able to skirt around the enemies - thereby avoiding combat - is such a welcome feature to any RPG. However, if you stroll past too many enemies, you will not attain the necessary experience and strength needed to progress further, so an aversion to fighting can be a bit precarious.

Another original concept in Chrono Trigger that stood the test of time is, well, time: Crono can time travel, which means his actions throughout time will have noticeable – if not immediately so – effect on the present. Whether these events shape the world for good or bad is down your abilities… so no pressure there! From the outset, this time-spanning causality will have you questioning every single action you take, lest you offset the course of time in a bad way- It’s truly gripping.

The DS version contains a hefty amount of additional features and bonus material- even more than the PSX port. By utilising the touch screen, a whole new set of controls is on offer. And then there is the extra content: a series of dungeons (the Dimensional Vortices), a monster battle ground (arena of ages), a re-mastered script, and a brand new ending – making the total number a whooping 14! Furthermore, as the DS has two screens, the command menu has been bumped to the bottom screen, which frees up the game from any clutter. The polished script generates extra depth, meaning, and humour to a plot that many thought could not have been improved upon.

In terms of visuals, Chrono Trigger is pretty much the same as it was before. However, this certainly doesn’t mean it’s inferior to titles developed specifically for the DS. On the contrary, the simple sprites are enriching when presented on the DS: Chrono Trigger matches up to most current releases on the DS. Along with the visuals is the music: bearing in mind it’s Square are behind this, it goes without saying hat the soundtrack is superb and still capable of stirring emotions in the most hardened of souls.


Chrono Trigger has stood the test of time- demonstrating the timeless sustainability that occurs when a synthesis of impeccable storytelling, gameplay, visuals and music takes place. The DS version is without a doubt the definitive edition of this beautiful work of art. Even if you’ve played it before, you should follow those nostalgic urges and pick up a copy- this is an essential purchase for any RPG fan. All in all, it’s a true masterpiece that is testament to what games should strive to be like.

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User Comments (20)



Nanaki said:

I've always heard high praise about this game, but never really had a proper look at it. I think that I will get myself a copy of this soonish.

Great review btw.



Corbs said:

I still consider this to be the pinnacle of 16-bit RPG gaming. I've still got the original Super NES cartridge I bought the day it came out as I waited outside the doors of Electronic's Boutique for them to open that morning. Great review and great game!



Damo said:

A true classic. It's so good that it puts most modern RPGs to shame!



James said:

Yeah, but it's not as good as... well, you get the idea with that.



Stuffgamer1 said:

The new translation has both good and bad points. One comes to mind that is itself both good and bad. The classic "healthy" joke is gone, replaced by a more heartfelt look at the concept of "hope." It works, but I do kinda miss the humor that was there originally.

Clearing up the truth of the alcohol references in the Prehistoric party is VERY nice, though, especially if you have Lucca in your party at the time (Robo's quite amusing as well). Sure beats some stupid "soup-eating contest!"

Leaving behind the blabber about translation, this game is awesome, and everybody with a DS should buy it.



Cally said:

I don't know how this isn't a "10". I might argue that the characters are slightly cliche and not as compelling--introspective and well-rounded--as some RPGs where motivation is explored more completely (like some of the Final Fantasies). But then, this is a shorter, more plot-driven story--of COURSE we just want to save the world, right?

Chrono Trigger is a thing of perfection and a thing of freedom at the same time--pretty much flawless, and fresh. I think people can be hard on RPGs and Adventures just because they are genres where so many things can go wrong, or some parts can just disagree with certain audiences. But who plays Chrono Trigger with any interest and manages to come away disappointed? I've hardly heard any contention about Chrono Trigger like pretty much everything else in the genre.



Firkraag said:

I'm playing it for the first time on the DS now. Being a big j-rpg buff i've played so many rpg's i've really lost count. And I can do nothing but agree with the hype over this game, it's the most enjoyable rpg i've ever laid my hands on.

If you haven't played this yet then you should, it's even worth getting a DS for.



Metafish said:

I've tried a few of Bethesda's RPG's, but none of 'em catched me.. Do you think this one will? I really like the Pokemon RPGs and Mario & Luigi RPGs

This just looks so awesome, I love the artstyle... Manga ftw



g-silent007 said:

I was at first skeptical when I found out this game was coming to the DS, but that is all past and gone this is one of my favorite RPG games ever up there with Kingdom of Hearts, this is a must play.



EdEN said:

Between this, Earthbound, Secret of Evermore and Final Fantasy VI, the SNES had one heck of an RPG run...



smithers said:

this game is so good...i had it for a while and never got into it...but all of a suden in picked it up again and now im hooked...its AWESOEM



motang said:

Excellent review. I am currently playing this game and I can't put it down.



Porky said:

Before the Conclusion I see the word "hat" its suppose to be "that".



RowdyRodimus said:

I have a complete copy of this for the SNES packed away in the "Storage Garage of DOOM!!!" that I picked up at a garage sale for a couple of bucks, but never got to play since my ex (girlfriend at the time) took my SNES when she moved.
I went to a used game store today and they had a sealed copy of the DS version for 9.95 so I picked it up.
FIrst a DS Phat for $10, then finding this for $10, Spectrobes, Sonic Chronicles and Mystery Dungeon Shiren the Wanderer for $5 each; this must be my lucky week lol



rhythmheavenfan said:

Why didn't you give it a 10/10? I think it EASILY deserves a perfect score. It certainly is the pinnacle of SNES RPG's. Good review though.



HanuKwanzMasBif said:

This... or Dragon Quest IX? This... or Dragon Quest IX? And of course, NL will probably give DQ9 a 9. SO... This... or Dragon Quest IX?



SezeMakto said:

"Marle gets our noble gentleman of a hero to escort her to the time machine. Unfortunately, the time machine malfunctions and sends Marle into a parallel universe"

I have not played the game recently, however if my memory skills still function this part of the review is completely wrong. It's like your confusing the sequel Chrono Cross with the original game, or simply remembering the game wrong for this review (it's a prominent scene in the very beginning). I'm shocked this still has not been corrected on this site after all this time.

The original purpose of the machine was to teleport a person from one pod to another, just like in the Movie "The Fly". And like in that movie, something in the Pod causes a malfunction. In this case it's Marle's Necklace, which throws her back in time instead. There is no alternate universes in Chrono Trigger (aside from minor DS version only content), that was Chrono Cross's deal. From what I understand, there was a few nods to the sequel in the DS remake, to better tie the two games and their ideas together, but I don't believe they changed the story this much. Chrono Trigger was all about Time Travel in one universe "Back to the Future" style.

However, I have yet to play the DS version, only the SNES version back in the day. I did buy the DS version and will be getting the newly announced Virtual Console version. I'm a big Chrono Trigger fan, if I am wrong, my apologies in advance. However, if I am wrong, time to start checking if I am stuck in an Parallel Universe myself.

IMHO, Chrono Trigger is the greatest RPG ever made, but I'm sure that's the nostalgia speaking a bit. The music was hella good, the sprite work and animation was far more advanced than what was seen in Final Fantasy VI (which is now growing on me in retrospect), and the story was just the right amount of awesome. Some say it's not as deep, but it makes up for any lack of depth with 100% pure charm. And it has a kick ass battle system without random battles! It was my first RPG from the SNES era, the game that made me pay attention to Final Fantasy 7 and up.

So yea, buy Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy whichever number, but buy Chrono Trigger on VC or DS first.

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