I am sitting here trying to think the best way to start this piece. I could mention the simple but effective sprites, all designed by the mastermind behind Dragonball, Akira Toriyama. Or I could mention the catchy, memorable and enduring soundtrack, with tracks that are still in many ‘best of’ lists today. Or I could mention the huge amount of content for a game first released in 1995 on the SNES, such as multiple endings and huge amounts of customisation options such as weapons, armour and accessories for each character. I think, in the end, it is the simple fact that there is just so much of this game that is good enough to lead with that makes it so good.
First released for the SNES in 1995, and later re-released for the Nintendo DS in 2009, Chrono Trigger has managed to endure the passing of time and remain one of my favourite games. Thought it was the DS version that made me fall in love with the world of Chrono Trigger, it was the base game that started this love affair, and not the (still much appreciated) extras added in the handheld version.
The game’s cast of characters includes the sword using every-man Crono, tech expert Lucca and mysterious crossbow wielder Marle, as well as later additions of a robot, a cave-woman and… a frog. Trust me, it makes sense in the game. Send this cast of colourful characters off to save the world from an ancient threat (that will happen later in time) and there’s your plot, with enough room to add some twists and turns to stop it getting too standard.
Each character has access to various helmets, armour pieces and accessories to complement their weapons and abilities, and the more you use each character combinations (in any group of three at any time) the stronger certain pairings will become, with eventual super-powerful tag-team skills being the ultimate prize.
It may be obvious from the name that a central theme of the game is time travel. Players are able to visit numerous eras, and interact with the world accordingly, which can have effects, both good and bad, in later periods. For example, planting a seed in the past would cause a forest to be present in the future. Time travel was also able to be taken advantage of from future to past, in that treasure chests could be opened in the furthest timeline, then players could travel back to get the items from a period before the chest had been opened. It was this attention to detail regarding the mechanics of time travel that make me look back on this game with very fond memories.
Chrono Trigger also featured a New Game+ game mode, where major items, such as weapons and armour pieces, carried over from the previously completed save. This meant that, for example, the player could defeat powerful enemies before they would have otherwise been able to, rewarding previously unobtainable items, as well as sometimes special cut-scenes or alternate endings.
I am sure I am forgetting much, much more that I could use to try and explain why I love this game. I have used theme music for my phone’s ringtone, and I have used game art as my PC background. I could talk forever about how much I love it, but I think the best way to find out is to play it yourself. This game is not one of my favourite games. Chrono Trigger is my favourite game, no matter how many times I play it.