If Chrono Trigger sounds like a familiar title, it should be since it was originally released in 1995. Back then it was one of the preeminent titles in the role playing game (RPG) genre. In 2009 Square-Enix has re-released what is widely thought of as one of the greatest role playing games of all time for the Nintendo DS. It was an excellent game back then and is still a great game now. Square-Enix took the best aspects of the Super Nintendo version and merged it with the PS One port making this version the best one yet.
The storyline revolves around a group of adventurers who must stop a global catastrophe. This plot may seem familiar as it is found in most of the Final Fantasy stories, but the premise generally makes for enthralling game play. What makes this game special is the story line’s deep plot and character development. As you play Chrono Trigger you start to develop a vested interest in these characters and their stories. In addition there are multiple endings giving the game a replayability factor. Did I mention the game also involves time travel?
The general premise of Chrono Trigger involves your characters trying to repair the broken time stream and prevent the end of the world. Gameplay starts with Chrono and his female friend Marle wandering around the town’s festival. From here a teleporter accident occurs throwing Marle back into the past. Chrono chases after her and they inadvertently change the future. From this point your time spanning adventures begin. Unlike the worlds of Final Fantasy, the events of Chrono Trigger take place on an alternate Earth.
The player will travel back and forth through time and gaining new allies, equipment and powers. In all there are seven playable characters that will become members of your team; several of which are from different time periods. Time travel has certain ramifications such as events in the past have major effects on the future. For instance plating a tree in the past may yield a forest in the future.
Like most RPGs the story starts off slowly and builds momentum as you play the game. Since Chrono Trigger is played across different time periods, there are a variety of different back drops to keep things exciting. In all there are five different eras your characters will adventure in. Time periods range from the prehistoric to the future and in between. In these epochs, your characters will traverse forests, cities and of course dungeons.
In Chrono Trigger the DS interface changes the control paradigm of the original version as there are now touch-screen commands available. The upper screen is where the game action takes place while the bottom screen displays the game map, menu options and character status. The characters can be controlled via either the touch screen or the control pad.
The dual screens allow more gameplay to be visualized than in the original console control scheme. If you long for original style of gameplay, then you choose the classic mode of game play, which is similar to the original versions. In classic mode, the character’s action meter builds on the screen, and actions are selected on the same screen as the one where the monsters are displayed
After 13 long years, the role playing game of the ages finally returns with Chrono Trigger for the Nintendo DS. This chapter begins when a newly developed teleportation device malfunctions, and young Crono must journey through time to rescue a mysterious girl from an intricate web of past and present perils. Enhanced with Nintendo DS’s dual-screen presentation, stylus controls, and a host of great new features, this classic tale returns to a modern, portable platform.
And so the Story Goes. . .
Through a chance encounter amid the festivities of Guardia’s Millenial Fair in Leene Square, the young hero, Crono, meets an adventurous girl named Marle. The two decide to explore the fair together and soon find themselves at an exhibition of the Telepod — the latest invention by Crono’s long-time friend, Lucca.
Marle, fearless and brimming with curiosity, volunteers to assist in a demo. However, an unanticipated malfunction sends her hurtling through a rift in the dimensions. Taking hold of the girls pendant just before she’s whisked away,
Crono bravely follows in pursuit, but the world into which he emerges is one of four centuries ago. In Chrono Trigger prepare yourself to journey into the forgotten past, distant future, and even to the very End of Time.
The Worlds of Past, Present and Future
In Chrono Trigger you’ll journey back to Prehistory (65,000,000 B.C.) where humans and reptiles battle to wipe each other from existence. Antiquity (12,000 B.C.) is an age where the world is divided between people whose continent is buried in snow, and the magical kingdom of Zeal, a highly advanced civilization. The Middle Ages (600 A.D.) is an era of swords and sorcery, a dark time when the armies of Fiendlord rule over the land.
The Present (1000 A.D.) is the time period in which Crono, Lucca and Marle live. It is a bright and peaceful age. However, in the Future (2300 A.D.), an era of despair has taken hold with rogue machines ruling the world. After the day of the apocalypse in 1999 A.D., the prosperous civilization of humanity crumbled and the remaining people struggle to stay alive. And, finally, there remains the End of Time — a place with no era to call its own. This confluence of time’s streams transcends spatiotemporal boundaries. It is here at the gravitational center for all temporal flotsam that Spekkio — the Master of War — serves as your guide on time’s treacherous roads.
Battle Systems and gameplay
This game utilizes a revised version of the groundbreaking Active Time Battle (ATB) System. Chrono Trigger features exhilarating combat in which the clock is constantly ticking. Characters must first wait as the ATB gauges charge, and then perform an action. This makes strategic timing a crucial element in your battle plan. In addition to standard attacks, each character has an array of special Tech skills and powerful combos known as Dual and Triple Techs. Cooperate with other characters to unleash over 50 unique and devastating moves!
Chrono Trigger utilizes great story-telling, interesting characters, action-packed gameplay, and the unique controls of the Nintendo DS to deliver a fun and well-rounded role-playing game on a portable platform.
Game control is simple to pick up and grasp, but if you need help there is a tutorial available in the beginning town. The characters are easily maneuvered throughout the game. Combat is managed with basic RPG commands such as Attack, Item, and Magic. In addition, there is the Tech system, which combines magic and abilities to give your characters new and more powerful attacks. The trick to beating the tougher enemies is to use the right combination of basic and combination attacks.
Chrono Trigger allows the player to use the RPG standard turn based fighting system, where the player and the game’s AI take turns picking either offensive or defensive moves. If you want to speed things up and add a little more challenge to the game, then you can activate the Active Battle System where enemies can attack at any time but you characters power up more quickly. This requires the player to make quicker decisions with the Active Battle System.
My one complaint is the on screen buttons can be pretty small and touch to press with bigger fingers, but I guess that is why they included a stylus with the Nintendo DS. In addition some puzzles require the use of certain characters to advance through the stages.
Graphically the game looks pretty similar to its predecessors with the animated scenes from the Playstation version mixed in with the SuperNintendo game play. The animations are well done and the environments are very detailed; almost too detailed as sometimes items can be overlooked on the smaller Nintendo DS screen.
As a bonus Square-Enix added additional features to Chrono Trigger such as a new village to visit, additional areas for three of the characters to explore after the game is beaten and a monster raising game. Unlike other role playing games, Chrono Trigger is designed for replayability as they include a feature called New Game + which allows you to restart the game with all your party’s equipment and experience. This allows the player to unlock the story’s alternate endings by enabling your team to beat enemies that you were not strong enough to vanquish before.
There are several must have video games in every gamers’ library and Chrono Trigger is definitely among them. The Nintendo DS version takes this classic role playing game and improves the control interface as well as providing new content. Even, if you are not a fan of the Role Playing games, you should give Chrono Trigger a chance. Who knows it may convert them to a fan of the genre.
One of the all time classic RPGs
Plenty of extra features and add ons
Improved control scheme