It was on this day – March 11, 1995 that Squaresoft first released Chrono Trigger for the Super Nintendo. A game that proved enormously successful with both critics and fans alike, with the game still being held up as among not only the greatest SNES titles or 16-bit RPGs, but one of the greatest games of all time. In recent months I have written posts about a brief history of a particular game along with my own personal recollections surrounding the game, such as Super Mario Odyssey, Resident Evil 4 or even the Sega Dreamcast. This time however, I am going to create memories rather than share old ones…
A couple months ago I wrote up a list of some of the games I was embarrassed to have never played, with Chrono Trigger being included in the list. For as highly regarded as the game is, I had never played it, though I had known of the game and the adoration many have for it. Chrono Trigger is a game that I had long MEANT to play, but always found a way NOT to. I have even avoided much in the way of game discussion around it, outside of general gameplay and it involving time travel…that’s it. I have never owned the original SNES version of the game, which my local game store sells for $140 cartridge only, but found myself a copy of the Nintendo DS version(along with a free copy of Chrono Cross!) this past January for $95 less than the SNES one. Having recently completed Final Fantasy VII for the very first time as one of my #MaybeInMarch games, I wanted to make a focused effort to not just complete more games, but I want to put an extra focus in completing some of those big intimidating RPGs like Persona 5, Final Fantasy X, and The Witcher 3. Think of it as a little “spring cleaning”….not like there’s much else coming out the next few months, right? So, for my next backlog completion, I AM going to complete Chrono Trigger before the end of March…
I have been playing Chrono Trigger for just under ten hours now and what I appreciate most is it has what may be some of the most supremely satisfying combat and overall gameplay in any RPG I have played, not just 16-bit, but of any gaming generation. I am currently using the Classic gameplay controls versus the newer touch commands introduced for the DS version and using the Active battle setting works just like in FFVII so there is such a fluid and intuitive feeling when engaging in battles with the various enemies across Guardia. As I have played more and more RPGs, I quite often find newer 3D RPGs not to have the same satisfying feeling in battles. There’s something about the older 16-bit games that have such a fine balance of simplicity in simply taking turns attacking each other, but there’s a level of depth to it as well as you have to plan strategize attacks, magic, item use, and equpiment optimization. Speaking of equipment, a seemingly minor feature that I love but don’t seem to ever notice in other games is the ability to directly equip an item while buying and selling from a merchant; I can buy several weapon or armor upgrades for my party, then quickly equip and turn around and sell the lesser equipment without having to jump through as many navigation screens. This is something that even saying out loud sounds insignificant, but generally, the less time spent navigating menus and managing inventory, the better.
As of now, I have just made the journey back the village of Porre after defeating Masa and Mune and collecting the broken Masamune blade. I am already impressed by nearly everything Chrono Trigger has shown thus far; I’m really enjoying the combat, the combat and story are engaging andthe characters are interesting(Crono, Lucca, Marle, Robo and Frog!). The graphics are still wonderful and have held up remarkably well, the fact the game features several shorter animated cutscenes is impressive. The soundtrack is beautiful and has been firmly stuck in my head since beginning the game, particularly the Magus Castle theme. I fully intend to write a couple more posts as I make my way through the game, or at the very least, a single post after completing the game with my final impressions.
I’m really looking forward to spending more time playing Chrono Trigger and sharing my thoughts. If you’ve played Chrono Trigger, what are your thoughts on the game? Let me know. Thanks for reading!
(Here’s a playlist of the entire soundtrack I listened to while writing this…)