What I disliked about Chrono Trigger

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.

Unclear stats

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)
None of it is stellar. The anime cutscenes are a weird and kinda jarring, especially when you see Crono and his goofy hair in motion. The bonus areas…well, I didn’t even find them. Unless they only pop up in New Game+. So, good job there. I tried Arena of the Ages for a pinch, but it’s basically Pokemon diet, and not even near as gripping. Otherwise, it’s easy to not miss it, but at least I was able to have a copy of the game for portable purposes.

Multiple endings

I only toss this under the bus because I really don’t have time to play this game more than once, and I definitely don’t want to do that final battle again just to see a new ending. Maybe I’ll YouTube some of ’em…

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.

11 responses to “What I disliked about Chrono Trigger

  1. I’ve never really had any problems in terms of clarity, figuring out what I need to do, or how stats worked, and I’ve never really had any need to look anything up about the game at any point.

    The final boss is easier than Super Mario RPG. Heck, pretty much everything is easier than Super Mario RPG, which was a kiddie game, pretty much.

    You do realize that there’s a New Game+ where you keep all your stats and stuff, right? It could easily take less than an hour to get to another ending…

    • Have never played Super Mario RPG before so I can’t really compare the final fights.

      So, for New Game+, it’s possible to beat Lavos the very first time you are able to fight him? I figured I’d still have to level everyone up for a bit.


    Just kidding. They’re all understandable quibbles, actually. Although I find it kind of funny how you thought that you were overpowered and them immediately went into how the bosses whooped you. But, having playing this game like a billion times, I still know what you mean.

    The only thing you can’t fault is the multiple endings. Not having enough time to see them all isn’t the game’s fault. And like ruroremy up their says, you can bust through the game pretty quickly with New Game +.

    • Yeah, the slam against multiple endings is really just a back-handed cry at my slowly decaying allotted amount of videogaming time as life trudges on. Even still, I don’t really know or see the correlation between beating Lavos at X moment in time to earn X ending.

  3. lol…. such stupid criticisms. you couldn’t figure out the stats, but then you feel your guys are too overpowered…. but then you complain about how the final boss is too hard. contradict yourself much? and then you moan about how u don’t have time to get the multiple endings which is arguably the best part of the game (yet you have plenty of time to write this post nitpicking the game). u know what they say, opinions are like assholes, everyone’s got one…. whatever. probly going to unsubscribe now

    • Sorry to disappoint. I did state clearly up front and at the bottom of this post that I loved Chrono Trigger and will be writing soon about everything it did right, I just had some problems with it along the way. Guess it’s easy to miss that when you’re only seeing red.

  4. I think people missed this part:

    “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.”

  5. Pingback: What I loved about Chrono Trigger | Grinding Down

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  7. Kinda late to the discussion by a few years but hey I randomly found this.

    I loved the heavy dialects. The SNES version also had different interpretations. I’ve seen some of the changes to the DS one and I don’t like it as much but still flavorful imo. To your point on figuring out where to go, the developers probably wanted you to hunt a little bit. The rainbow shell is an optional end game quest with really powerful gear. They probably didn’t want you just to stumble upon it. This game was meant for multiple play through’s and finding new things each time.

    Stats are pretty easy. Vigor is really the only confusing one. It doesn’t take long to look up a guide. I love looking up guides to games I really enjoy anyway.

    Being overpowered depends on how fast you are running through the game. If you skip a ton of fights and rush through it can actually be a little difficult. If you don’t skip fights and grind yea it’s easy, but I enjoy having an easy mode sometimes.

    Bonus stuff: yea the animations aren’t the greatest but realize they were made a long time ago. I don’t have the DS, I play on the ps2 version. The extras were ok but yea I mainly use it as a port. Even though the load times on ps2 are annoying.

    Multiple Endings: I feel like you are judging this game from a 2012 perspective vs a 1995 perspective. This was innovative for the time it came out. It gave replay-ability to people like me who were kids at the time and had a lot more time on their hands. It’s very unfair to critique the game for this and kind of weird to mention it as a critique even though you prefaced with a clause. They are optional and is just the icing on top of the cake. With a title “what i disliked about chrono trigger” to go on and critique it’s conflicts with your time is a little off putting and not a fair critique.

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