WARNING: THERE BE SPOILERS HERE.
Review a great game. Lets take a look at that for a second. Just what is a great game? It can be a game treasured from childhood, a game that had the best game play you have ever experienced, a game in which the story just blew your fucking mind. Whatever your reason for deeming a game “great” is your personal preference alone. It doesn't matter if no one likes it or if the whole world thinks it shit doesn't stink, all that matters is that you think it is amazing.
I'm a picky fucker when it comes to games. It has to meet certain standards of my own personal criteria in order for me to even pick it up and play it nowadays. But back in the day, this was not the case. I wanted to get my hands on every game I could when I was a kid. This was back in the hay day of one of the greatest consoles ever invented, the Super Nintendo. Unfortunately, this was also at a time where money barely existed in my life. I remember looking through Nintendo Power and just drooling at all the games I wanted to play and then being infinitely crushed when I realized that I was 7 or 8 years old and there was no way to get any fucking cash to fulfill my video game fantasies. Also, my taste and knowledge in games were just beginning, so when it ever came that time where I actually got a game, like around my birthday or Christmas, I had no damn clue what I was doing. I was a product of television so naturally if I saw a show I liked, I wanted the game. This led to horrible choices(*cough* TMNT Tournament Fighters*cough*). But luck was on my side. I had an older brother. Granted, he was only 4 years older than me, so say about 12, he at least had a brain developed enough to the point where personal and deductive choice comprehended. I mean, a lot of the SNES games I love were not because I found them and played them, it's because he did. Games like Lufia, Final Fantasy II, the Super Star Wars games, Secret of Mana; the list goes on.
It was on some faithful day in my youth where my video game knowledge and experience took a rolled up hundred dollar bill and snorted the cocaine of excellence. Where my brain would evolve to the point where I finally acknowledged and comprehended was a great game was. That was the day my brother brought home Chrono Trigger. I took one look at it and said, “What is this game? Did you read it in Nintendo Power?” He replied, “Nope. I took one look at it and knew I had to get it.” Naturally, I responded with, “Ok?” He then pointed to the back of the box where it stated it was created by the minds behind the Final Fantasy series. You all remember this shit. Back at a time when a game that was made by Square actually fucking meant something. Not nowadays where it seems like they don't even know how to make a fucking video game let alone a good one. Back when it was Squaresoft, not Square-Enix. He showed me that and I got more excited than a fat kid in Wonka's chocolate factory. Hmm, now that I remember, I think I was a fat kid. Any way, he popped that bitch in the SNES and we were completely in awe of the tale that unfolded before us. Now, you have to remember, I'm the younger brother, so a lot of my time was spent watching the older brother play. And I had to do that bullshit where I could play a game, but not get a head of him on it. That shit pissed me off, but I didn't fucking care. From beginning to end, in my young mind, I knew, that this was the best game ever made. I still hold this thought to date. It's like 20 some years later and I still tell my friends that this is my favorite game. “Oh, Skyrim? It's good but not as good as Chrono Trigger.” “Final Fantasy VII? I really like that game, but it's still not as good as Chrono Trigger.”
When I saw what this site was about, I just didn't want to review a game I really liked. I wanted to go fuckin' balls out. I wanted to review the game I've held dearest to me, the game that I've beaten the most(shit, I just beat it again the other day). I wouldn't be surprised if I wasn't the only one that review this game for this event. In fact, I'm probably not alone in my opinion of this game either. Lots of spoken high praises of it. But you know what, even if everyone on the planet said this thing was gutter trash, I'd still be standing there declaring it as the best game created. Honestly, no one game really comes close in ways of perfection in my eyes. This game is one thing: an experience of a lifetime.
So, where to begin? Well, lets start with some of the appealing things about the game that one would notice without playing it. First off, the character design and artwork done by Akira Toriyama. You know, that guy that created Dragon Ball. You may also have know his work from character design on the Dragon Quest games, or Dragon Warrior as it was known in the US(look, everyone probably knows this shit I'm about to dive into, but you never know, someone may not, so bare with me). Second, the back of the box says, as I mentioned earlier, “From the creators of the acclaimed Final Fantasy series.” Along with Toriyama was Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy, and Yuji Horii, the creator of the Dragon Quest games. They were nicknamed, the “Dream Team.” So you can let this sink in, let me repeat; this game in a combination of those responsible for FINAL FANTASY AND DRAGON QUEST. The original composer was Yasunori Mitsuda, who fell ill during towards the end of his composition and left it in the hands of a Nobuo Uematsu, the guy behind all your favorite Final Fantasy songs. So, by accident, now we have Uematsu as part of this game. This is like a cluster fuck of some of the greatest minds in gaming. Mitsuda later composed the scores for other games like Chrono Trigger's sequel, Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Mario Party, and the first two Shadow Hearts games. This was a group that knew how to put an RPG together. What more could you ask for?
Ok, the creation of this game is in some of the best hands ever, so just what the hell is Chrono Trigger about? Let me just remind everyone that this is a review of the SNES version; yeah, that's right, the fuckin' OG. None of this PS1, Nintendo DS ported horse shit. The real thing. You play as a young man named Crono in the year 1000 AD. The Milleninial Fair has started and Crono's friend Lucca, a complete techie, has created a brand new invention to display at the Fair. While Crono makes his way there, he literally bumps into a girl named Marle. She has Crono show her around and witness Lucca's new invention(a device that teleports a person from one point to another). The crowd is stunned and Marle wants to take a turn. But upon activation of the machine, it has a bad reaction with the pendant she is wearing. A time gate is then torn open and Marle falls through it. Crono teams up with Lucca to travel through time to save their new friend. The duo travel back to 600 AD where times were different. War was happening and monsters and cutthroats were every where. Crono discovers that Marle was mistaken as the current queen of the kingdom for the period. Along with Lucca, they meet the warrior, Frog(or Glenn). His name is no mistake, this dude is a frog/human hybrid. With his help, they save Marle from her captors and return to their own time. Crono then learns that Marle is actually the princess of the kingdom in 1000 AD. When they return her to the castle, Crono is thrown in jail and put on trial. Regardless if you're found guilty or not, Crono is imprisoned and sentenced to death. Lucca and Marle break him out and as they are backed into in inescapable corner, they discover another time gate and go for it. Then are now shot into the future to the year 2300 AD. The world is a destroyed, desolated place with high tech cities, labs and factories that sit like decaying ruins. The group find a robot named Robo who guides them through this new found land. During this time, they find a computer that tells them just what in the world happened. Something called Lavos destroyed most of the civilization and surface of the planet in 1999 AD. With this knowledge, a plot that seemed to focus on rescuing a friend then turns into a journey of traveling through time to save the entire planet.
This game is a turn based RPG that uses the ATB(Active Time Battle) system. The same system that saw its first creation in Final Fantasy IV. Every character has their own type of weapon they can use as well as a specific element of magic. ATB would soon be the standard for RPGs at this time. So, the game in a nutshell is this: an RPG where you travel through time to defeat the forces of evil, past, present and future uses bad ass swords, guns, scythes, and even bare fists, human and robot alike. To recap, we have an awesome creation team, an awesome soundtrack, an awesome story and awesome innovative game play. Call me an optimist but aren't these the components for a great game? The best of all worlds jammed together. Hell, even the graphics at that time were completely beautiful and creative. And those are two things that help make this game so godlike; beauty and creativity.
All the broad and obvious notes about this game are set. But nothing makes a game amazing without particulars. For example, who is the greatest silent protagonist in any video game? Most people would say Link from the Legends of Zelda. Not me. I say, Crono. Link is fine and I like him as a character, but the Zelda games were basically his story. You felt like you were just Link's guide through his journeys of Hyrule. Crono is different. There is so much going on and so many characters that join you and interact with you, you don't feel like you're guiding someone through THEIR story, but that you are the character. This is the strength of the silent protagonist. Chrono Trigger pulls this off splendidly. Legend of Zelda and Chrono Trigger are the only two games I have ever played that have successful silent protagonists.
But hey, heroes are not that great unless they have good villains, right? Chrono Trigger delivers. From the villainous Reptile, Azala from the year 65000000 BC, to everyone's favorite scythe wielding magician, Magus in 600 AD. I can picture it now, Magus standing there in his castle as you approach to fight him and he says, “The black wind begins to howl...” then BAM! Right into the fight and his KICK ASS theme. They are all memorable whether it be because of their evil intent or just their goofy persona. Remember Dalton from 12000 BC? I always will. He always had those Golem bosses that he would pull out of nowhere and had you fight and his final attack when you beat him was “Burp” and the screen gets a dirty, fog effect. Or how about the Yakra that always poses as the chancellor? Stuff that I will never forget.
One thing that I think everyone remembers was Chrono Trigger's introduction of the New Game+ feature. After completing the game, you can start a new game with all your equipment and stats from the completed game. Which then lead to the numerous alternate endings this game had. Yeah, this game has over a dozen endings you can complete. Basically, you have the ability to beat the game at any point in the game. Depending on when you beat it decides the ending. I will always remember the ending where you see Frog as a human, it blew me away, him being my favorite companion in the game. Or, the ending where you beat Lavos at the beginning of the game with Crono and Marle, or challenge yourself and beat it with just Crono. Then you unlock the Developer's Room and get to talk to the game's creators. Awesome stuff that I don't see games do at all any more. Chrono Trigger defines the term “Replay Value.”
I mean, what could be said about this game that hasn't? Well, I'm sure others have said, but I will explain to you one reason why I personally think this game is the shit(here comes that spoiler mentioned at the beginning...but seriously, do you realize that it's been almost 20 years since this game came out, I think I deserve some slack on the fuckin' spoilers so here goes). Crono, the main character of the game, dies. Yeah, he fucking dies in the game. And it doesn't stop there. You can either choose to revive him or beat the game without him. What other game, as marvelous as this one, lets you do that? I mean, it is so awesome playing a game where no one is safe. When the MAIN CHARACTER DIES, you get this feeling of, “HOLY SHIT, ANYTHING COULD FUCKING HAPPEN!” Now THAT is awesome feeling. I mean, we've all played so many games that most games get predictable. Chrono Trigger throws that shit out the window and says, “what now, mother fucker?!” And shitty, pussy, Final Fantasy X doesn't count towards a main character dying, or going back to dream land, or what the fuck ever that blonde piece of human waste did; doesn't come close. No. Your hero is dead. You still have like half the game to finish. What do?
I could go on forever with this masterpiece(that's right, I said it), no fucking seriously, I'm such a dick rider for this game that as I'm typing this, I'm listening to the damn soundtrack. Chrono Trigger showed me what a great game is. It defined it for me. As time passed and I played a multitude of other games and got into adulthood where I can pretty much buy any game I want, NONE OF THEM, come close to my love for this game. I have played and beat this game more than any other. It has pretty much become a tradition where I must beat it multiple times a year. It reminds me of a more pure and innocent time. A time where everyone wasn't so desensitized to video game media. The time where not everything perfected and people still didn't have somewhat of a clue about video games. A time when the internet and Game Informer didn't fucking exist(no, seriously, I know Nintendo Power was bad, but Game Informer is just way worse). I don't think games these days are any where near the caliber they were 15-20 years ago. The way things are going, I don't think there will ever be another game like Chrono Trigger. And you know what, I'm fine with that.