Genre: Role Playing Developer: Square Enix Co., Ltd. Publisher: Square Enix USA Classification: G Release Date: 6th Feb 2009 Platforms:DS
Average of 18 Ratings
Login to submit your review score
The Good bits
Truly epic story.
The Bad stuff
The portable game you can't leave your home with.
When I was young I had every game I could ever want. Moonwalker, Barbarian, Wonder Boy in Monsterland - Yeah, I only had a Sega Master System and a Commodore 64. My aunt had a Mega Drive, and I knew some kids at school with a Super Nintendo, but they were wasting their time in my young opinion.
As time has passed I've found out certain things - apparently the NES was better than the Master System, apparently Moonwalker is only ironically cool, and there is a way to get past the fifth boss in Wonder Boy in Monsterland. It also didn't
take long before I found out Australia has missed out on a whole pile of games.
One of those games was Chrono Trigger, an RPG developed by Square (now Square-Enix) for the Super Nintendo. In many people's minds, Chrono Trigger was a must play title for any gamer worth his salt. Chrono Trigger's release on the DS means I'm now a gamer worth his salt.
Chrono Trigger plays like a typical Console RPG. You explore different areas, fight enemies with a menu based attack system, and take quests that move the story forward. Unlike Etrian Odyssey or Fallout 3 your character is pre-made - there are no stats to decide upon or skills to choose. Each of the seven characters that join your party is better in a particular fighting situation - some are strong with magic, others are better fighters, and while most of the ordinary monsters you fight will be easy enough for any team, some bosses will require very good tactics to even scrape through the fight.
There are two different Battle modes, turn-based - where each person on the battlefield waits their turn to fight based on their speed/agility - and Real Time Battle mode where anybody on the field can fight as soon as they have waited long enough, meaning if you take too long to choose your move the enemy is likely to get a second attack in. You can avoid fighting almost any monsters outside of boss fights, although if you want to win said boss fights you probably don't want to avoid too many. The elimination of customisation and the simple approach to battle is designed to draw the focus to the story.
And what a story. Chrono Trigger follows the adventures of the silent protagonist Crono, who travels back in time to rescue a girl he just met, and ends up having to traverse through the past, future and present to save the universe from a timeless lovecraftian horror - a common issue for both time travellers and dudes who help chicks they just met.
The story is huge, and while a little cliched at times, it is excellently told, and with a lot more creativity than is expected in a handheld video game these days. It's more advanced when you factor in its 13 different endings - 1 more, apparently, than the Super Nintendo version. Another ending was added to give Chrono Trigger more in common with its sequel "Chrono Cross" - another game which never came out in Australia, although it probably will eventually, such is Square Enix's affinity for rereleasing their old games.
Added to the DS version of the game are several new items, quests and dungeons. They have also added the Arena, a monster training ground where you raise a creature to fight online against friends and win prizes. There is also an unlockable Extras section containing a cut-scene viewer, music player and an encyclopedia of information about the game, everything from different enemies statistics through to treasure locations in different time periods. Naturally, as with almost every DS title, touch screen controls were also added. Inside battle they are used for selecting commands, which works about as well as the control pad does, and allows the top screen to be devoted entirely to the battle.
Outside of battle the touch screen has two functions - around the outside of the screen are different menu options allowing you to access your items, equipment or switch out party members with the press of your thumb, which is much easier than using the control pad. The centre of the screen is supposed to let you use the touch screen to move, it ends up as an exercise in awkward confusion. It's much easier to stick with the D-pad anyway, the slower paced nature of the RPG genre makes it simple enough to move your thumb over to your preferred menu tab - there is very little twitch timing required.
Chrono Trigger is a near flawless epic. It sets out to involve the player in an epic story and it does an excellent job of doing so. Even now, 14 years after the game hit Japan and the US, the game is a shining example of how RPGs should be done.
I do have an issue with how the game carries across to a portable format - you're more likely to be engrossed in the game and miss your stop/station if you play this on public transport than if you played Touch Screen Mini-game compilation 3, but I say screw it, it just means more time to play on the return trip.