I know that the previous post to this one was a game review haiku and for Chrono Trigger itself, meaning that that was going to be it in terms of “reviewing,” but I do want to talk about this powerful RPG from the SNES heydays a little more at length. I mean, I finished it up in early January 2012 a few days after GiantBomb completed their Endurance Run and have been rather silent since then, letting my thoughts and feelings about Crono, his friends, time, and Lavos stir and grow inside my mind. And don’t worry. While in this one I will be moaning and groaning about the parts I found disappointing, there will be another post devoted to what Chrono Trigger did right and why it is, many years later, still an amazing game.
Okay, let’s break this down for easy peasy squawking.
The writing (at times)
Chrono Trigger, despite all the destruction and malice that Lavos brings to the table, is actually a lighthearted tale. It opens with a festival, there’s a lot of bouncy music, and characters exaggerate in large and loud ways to get home their personalities. The writing also reflects this with Ayla, Robo, and Frog speaking with heavy dialects, which is not fun to digest. The biggest problem with the writing is that, when it came to quests and where to go next, nothing was clear. There’s no quest log, and so you just have to talk to everyone, and sometimes they will say something important, but it’s hard to decipher what is worth following and what carrot is not. I had to look up the solution to the Rainbow Shell quest because there was no way I’d ever figure it out on my own; I just can’t think that abstractly.
The old man at the End of Time could’ve been a bigger help, too.
You can obtain a variety of accessories to put on your pals, but I never really changed them out too much as it was never clear what a lot of these things did. A MuscleRing gives its bearer Vigor +6, but in no way is it made known what Vigor means. Is that the same as Power? Stamina? Strike? Tickle? Your guess is as good as mine. I did not do a ton of weapon/armor switching, focusing only on whatever pumped up my people’s Power and Defense the most. Sometimes that meant everyone wearing Nova Armors and being boring clones.
The point after this one might seem contradicting, but about halfway through the time-traveling adventure, fights became super easy. Like, just mashing the attack command for all three party members and never even glancing at dual techs or higher skills.
The final battle
Boss fight after boss fight after boss fight after boss fight. I had plenty of Elixirs and Full Elixirs and all my dudes leveled up, but man…it was grueling. No breaks or chances between to save and breath meant it was tense, and on my first real attempt to end it all I died midway through due to not paying attention intensely. My fault, but still…
DS bonus stuff
Yes, that’s right. I did not find a creepy pawn shop, sift through countless boxes of moth-ridden clothes and old VHS tapes to find a dusty–yet still workable–copy of Chrono Trigger for the SNES. Instead, I picked up the Nintendo DS version, which contains a translated version of the 1995
gem rainbow shell, as well as some bonus content. Namely, this:
- Anime cutscenes from the PlayStation 1 port
- The Lost Sanctum
- The Dimensional Vortex
- Arena of the Ages
- A new ending (bringing the total to…17, ugh)
And that’s it. I basically enjoyed everything else about Chrono Trigger, but I’ll call those aspects out in a separate post down the road. If you’re a Chrono Trigger fan, did any of these above points ring true for you as well or is it perfection from beginning to end? Let me know below in the comments. And don’t hate me too hard; I loved Chrono Trigger, but I’m still able to see its faults. That’s just one of the problems stemming from me playing the game as a 28-year-old man versus a young boyconstantly high on Mode 7 and Super Mario World.