Looking Back: Chrono Trigger

Hey guys, I know it’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything and I’m just going to be completely honest here: I’ve been busy and unmotivated. In my downtime, I’ve been thinking about some ideas, so hopefully activity should pick up. Hopefully.

Anyway, this is the first in a series that looks at older (may not necessarily be ‘retro’) games. So, without any further delay on my part, let’s get started.

Chrono Trigger is, in my opinion, the best game on the SNES. It’s also among my favorite games of all time.

The plot, while seemingly simple for today’s standards, was amazingly fun back in the day. It’s essentially the classic ‘small-town boy saves the world and goes on an adventure’ story that we’ve seen dozens of times over, but with time travel and there are robots and cavemen. In the same game! That’s a winning combination, right there.

Another huge point in its favor was that the whole game was amazingly polished. This included the flow of the game, which contained an almost nonexistent amount of filler. A lot of games feel somewhat clunky, but Chrono Trigger never did (except a few dungeons, but I’ll mention that later). It was a fairly linear affair at first, which goals being mostly pointed out to you through NPCs or party dialogue, but this isn’t a bad thing.

It really helped the game along, honestly. No guessing for what to do next.

Late in the game, right before the final few bosses, is when everything really opens up. Most of the game’s sidequests – which I’ll go on about in a moment – appear here. It’s up to you to do however much, or however little, you wish. The game isn’t difficult enough to make doing all of the sidequests absolutely necessary, but the real rewards aren’t the items or experience you get. The true reward is the story laid out before you, especially since all (save for one) of the characters have their own small bit completely dedicated to them.

I’ve gone on about the gameplay for a while now, and while that’s one of the areas where the game shines, it certainly isn’t the only. The music, in my opinion, is some of the best of its time and one of the biggest points about the game. Let’s have an example…

That song is easily my favorite in the series. If you’re a fan of music from the SNES days or simply like what you’ve heard above, then I sincerely recommend you hunt down the OST. Misters Mitsuda, Uematsu, and Matsueda, I tip my hat to you three for creating such an amazing and inspiring score.

Last, but certainly not least, was the art. I’ll honestly admit that I wasn’t terribly ‘in’ to Dragon Ball (or any of the spinoffs or sequels) back then. I didn’t care for the art of Akira Toriyama. His style seemed odd, especially with the… not-terribly-amazing… animation quality back then. However, with Chrono Trigger, something hit. The box art jutted out of that rental store shelf the day I discovered it. Personally, I think it was the sword-wielding frog.

Seriously, he's a frog knight. Nothing is cooler.

I don’t want to end on a bad note, but the game isn’t perfect. I’ll admit this. I was playing through it while writing this up, trying to capture the perfect mindset for this article. A few of the dungeons are a bit on the annoying side and some of the ‘quests’ you’re asked to go on (such as running around a room clockwise, three times) seem a bit pointless. Granted, it could be because I wasn’t overly fond of the task (or those dungeons) as a kid. The final form of the final boss is also a bit… odd, but that’s less of a complaint and more of an eyebrow cocking.

This room is evil.


But, in the end, I’m incredibly glad that I gave this game a chance. I was a kid when it came out, and it was my first real RPG. I fondly remember the first time I played it, as a random rental choice for a slow weekend.

I also recall finding it used for about six bucks at a now-closed small gaming store. I nearly freaked out just as much when I found the Japanese version, brand new, for only twenty-six dollars at an anime convention I went to a few years ago.

One of my friends had never played it, so I purchased her the DS version for her birthday. She fell in love with it. It really is one of the best RPGs we’ve ever played.

Well, that about wraps this up. I hope you all enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. I sincerely recommend this game to anyone who has about fifteen to twenty hours to kill. I’m sure it’ll be worth it.

Take care, guys.

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6 Responses to Looking Back: Chrono Trigger

  1. Fragile says:

    Hey, Chrono Trigger!

    As someone who missed Chrono Trigger the first time around, I have to say that it stands up really well even against the games of today. Sure, some of the plot elements seem pretty generic (by today’s standards at least), but it feels almost as if it was intentional as a sort of tribute to RPGs as they are.

    I also thought the Final Boss’s final form was quite possible the most deviously clever thing ever. It was a little odd, sure, but mostly because it broke from tradition which I think made it that much better. You don’t see that sort of originality often even in today’s RPGs.

    • You know, I honestly never thought of it as a tribute to RPGs. I really should give it another play-through with that mindset.

      And about the final boss… that still confuses me. I mean, up until the final form (which I affectionately call his ‘space duck’ form), it made some sort of sense. That was just so out of left-field that I couldn’t take it seriously.

      Also, out of curiosity, when did you first pick up Chrono Trigger? PS1 or DS?

      (And, as an aside, I’ll figure out how to make these comments not need approval as soon as possible)

      Also, thanks for reading and commenting!

      • Fragile says:

        On the DS, and I only picked it up because a friend of mine loves the game more than pretty much anything else. I’m glad I did, though. It’s an awesome game!

    • I would have to say, if possible, to give the original SNES one a shot. Yeah, the translation’s a bit… odd… but I personally prefer it (I’m a sucker for Frog speaking butchered Old English).

      Glad you like it, though! Also glad you didn’t get it on the PS1. Yeesh, those loading times were awful. Took a handful of seconds for the bloody menu to pop up, if I’m not mistaken.

  2. John Sato says:

    I bought this for the DS a while back and got really quite far. Need to go back and finish it (and Golden Sun 3, but I’m less motivated about that).

    Nice review.

    • I completely forgot Golden Sun 3 was a thing.

      And I must pity you for owning the DS one. SNES’s translation is better (if only because of Frog’s ‘ye olde’ accent). Eh… Least it’s better than the PS1 port with it’s 10+ seconds of loading. For menus.

      Ridiculous, that nonsense.

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