Chrono Trigger Review
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.