Chrono Trigger is supposedly one of the greatest RPGs of its era, and maybe one of the greatest of all time. It was developed by a team commonly referred to as the “Dream Team,” including Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series, and Akira Toriyama, the character designer of the Dragon Ball television series. Similar to the rare DC / Marvel crossover, this game features a crossover of talent from Squaresoft and Enix, which were then separate companies. If you want to try a classic 16 bit RPG, and aren’t ready for a multi-entry series like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger is a great place to start.
The game is about time-travel, and the plot is straightforward. An evil villain named Magus ends the world, and Crono, the main character, and his friends, go back in time to stop Magus, thus saving the world. Eventually you learn of Lavos, a giant slug-like creature that destroyed an entire civilization. A character named Queen Zeal wants to harvest the power of Lavos to achieve immortality, and that along with Lavos’s destructive path must be stopped. One interesting feature is that the world map changes, depending on the era you have traveled to. Time-travel occurs in your time machine, the “Epoch.” There’s a place called “The End of Time,” with an old man who just stays there, wise enough not to do any time-traveling himself.
Battles aren’t random… enemies are visible prior to the encounter. That said, enemies usually can’t be avoided. The game doesn’t require much grinding – deliberate battling to level up characters. A problem I have with similar RPGs from the same time period is I tend to get stuck in one place and not know where to go. In Chrono Trigger, I used a GameFAQs guide, and didn’t struggle to find the right path forward. The overworld is small and doesn’t change based on time. The text-based guide helped me catch little things I might have otherwise missed.
The Android version may be a port of a port – a port of the Nintendo DS version of Chrono Trigger. There is some graphical filtering, and I would have preferred the unfiltered art. A nice addition is being able to select “AUTO” in battle. During simple battles that require only the “Attack” button, you can select “AUTO” to play out the fight without manual attack selection. Actually, in the Android version, during battle, attacks are selected by directly pressing the menu option, and the enemy you wish to attack can be directly pressed as well. This is a change from the original game, where options are selected with a D-Pad.
For a long time, Chrono Trigger for SNES was a coveted cartridge, hard to find and very valuable … and for good reason ~ it’s a fantastic game. If you are a little intimidated to jump into the numbered Final Fantasy series with fifteen entries, but still want to play a Sakaguchi classic, Chrono Trigger is the place to go. Now that there are DS, PC, iOS, and Android versions of Chrono Trigger, the SNES cartridge might be a little less valuable. But the more people that can play this game the better. I had a great time.