Here’s our fist video game review. This time it’s
Chrono Trigger, a Super Nintendo game
recently rereleased for the PlayStation in
Final Fantasy Chronicles. Read more for
the spoiler-free goodness.

Company Credits

Developer: Squaresoft
System: PlayStation port of SNES game
Release Date: July 2001
Game Type: RPG

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Premise

You guide Crono and his compaions on a quest to save
the planet by
helping humans defeat various threats at several
points in the
present, past, and future.

Additional Notes

This game is released along with Final Fantasy IV
(Hardtype) as
part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles. Both are old
Super Nintendo
games that have been ported almost exactly to the
PlayStation.
This ports include some FMV that the SNES couldn’t
have handled (or
stored in a cart) and an extras mode in Chrono
Trigger that includes
treasure maps, monster data, and a few other
treats.

The Bradygames strategy
guide
is pretty good. Many areas don’t have
maps, but they always
have enough decriptive text to figure out where
you’re going. The
only quibbles I have with the Chrono Trigger section
are few: the boss
and moster data was obviously copied from the
sections in the extras
area without verification. I did find one
inaccuracy. Both the
strategy guide and the game’s list quote Hekran II’s
HP as 4200, but I
found it to be in the 6000-7000 range. The second
quibble is that the
guide’s list of techs doesn’t list the amount of
Tech points you need
to learn those techs.

The Scores

As in our other reviews, our video game reviews start
with an
assessment of originality. This game
scores well in this
category. While the story is really an amalgamation
of story aspects
we’ve seen time and time again, the tech system
really sets it apart.
The various types of targeting systems and double and
triple techs are
unlike anything I’d seen at the time. The rehashed
story elements
keep the score capped at 4 out of 6, though.

The story, as I mentioned above, is a
combination of the
standard rescue people, defeat evil wizard, and
Squaresoft’s
favourite, discover your enemy is not the real enemy.
This is no
Pulitzer prize winner. However, the story is
interesting enough to
keep me playing, and it is well above the standard we
see in a lot of
video games. (The “story” section of most NES and
SNES game
instruction manuals was what, a paragraph? Plus,
the only reason it
was in the manual was because it was nowhere in the
game…) I’ll
give it 4 out of 6.

At the time of the SNES release, the
graphics were great.
Today, they’re pathetic everywhere but the FMV
sequences. It’s been a
long time since anyone’s associated sprites with
great graphics.
Fortunately, the game is good enough that they are
easy to overlook.
I give the graphics 2 out of 6.

The sound suffers the same aging
problems as the graphics
do. The synth music would sound great if it was
recorded being played
by an orchestra, but the blips, bleeps, and white
noise of the SNES
have been faithfully reproduced here. The great FMV
sound just isn’t
enough to justify giving the sound more than 2 out
of 6.

The playability of the game hasn’t
suffered with age.
The controls are intuitive and effective, and the
menu-driven system
means that things like hit detection aren’t even an
issue. The only
detriments to playability are the needlessly long
loading times and
the initial distaste at the old style graphics and
sound, which is
quickly overcome. The “New Game +” feature and the
12 possible
endings help keep the replay value up. (“New Game
+” is an option
that appears after finishing the game, which allows
you to start a new
game with the stats, items and techs from an old save
game, thus
allowing you to track down those last few secrets,
items, and side
quests without having to spend hours rebuilding you
character. 10
endings are only available through “New Game +.”)
I give it a 5 out
of 6.

The sixth category in our video game reviews is
immersion, and rates how well the game
draws the player
in. The tilted top-down view which suits the
gameplay so well is a
small handicap in light of the first-person shooters
that have become
popular since the original release of this game.
However, the game is
well designed with artwork that looks and feels like
the same world
evolving over the various time periods. The
characters, while
one-dimensional, are far more defined than most game
characters are.
I give it 4 out of 6.

In terms of the overall score, this game
rates rather
high. Some people have said it only appeals to
nostalgic players. I
respond by saying I never played this title on the
SNES, and know it
only from this release. I thouroughly enjoyed it.
If you think you
might have problems dealing with the dated graphics
and sound, I’d
suggest you rent it for a night or two and give it a
try. You’ll be
missing out on a great game. I give it 5 out of 6.
(Had I reviewed
it in the SNES era, it would have been 6.)

Chrono Trigger gets a final score of 26
out of 42,
despite the handicaps in the graphics and sound
categories.