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Why Chrono Trigger matters

Through the era of early computers, 8-bit and 16-bit consoles, many role-playing games have had their own story to tell. Whether it's about a main character proving himself as a knight, a psychic prodigy, or some other role, it's debatable which of many have told the best tale, having the best experience of playing it, and reminiscing about it as it's been played through. We could see characters having a dilemma, some kind of drama going on with them, watching them evolve. Chrono Trigger was one of the first games that introduced me to such story material in an RPG, and during a time when the Super Nintendo was a powerhouse in sales in the market.


What's the story?

Through the first hour of the game you're introduced to silent protagonist, Crono as he leaves his house for the Millennial Fair that's happening in the year of 1000 A.D., curious to rush in and check out what the fair has to offer, he bumps into the modern day princess, Marle, ruling under the King of Guardia. After seeing that Crono's friend, Lucca has developed a transportation pod, Marle attempts to try out the machine for herself, but an unexpected turn of events happens, as a mysterious pendant she wears causes the teleporter to take her back in time over 400 years in the kingdom, setting a number of events in different eras needing to be fixed for a better future. Along the way of discovering these eras, Crono makes new friends (and enemies) to save his own present, and future by stopping the apocalypse creature known as Lavos.

Chrono Trigger introduced a battle system in which the enemies will already be visible on an area map, so you'll know how many enemies you'll be fighting before the fight triggers.


How's the gameplay?

While Chono Trigger plays as a standard RPG outside of battles, discovering treasure and items, talking to people for information and the norm, a unique battle system steals the show, in which battles are triggered upon visible enemies on the map actually seeing you as you approach them, rather than a random transition animation like other RPGs,you jump into the action in a different way.

SquareSoft introduced the "Active" fighting option to allow for battles to go more seamlessly, and adding a bit more challenge, so while you wait for your time to attack, your enemies will also have a bit more time to plan a move. Aside from this, there was the inclusion of party members in battle using combo attacks, using up chunks of MP, but as a result, turning the tide of a tough fight, whether it's from a group of enemies, or a boss.

Chrono Trigger was known as the "Dream Project" in which Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii, Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama and music composers Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu all came together to work on this game. As seen here, Akira Toriyama was involved with the character design and art.


The soundtrack

Many RPGs from Square were guaranteed to have some hummable and memorable beats here and there, and Chrono Trigger was no exception, going from an ambient tune exploring the woods, to the foreboding feel of making your way into a fortress, Yasunori Mitsuda included some phenomenal tracks that were otherwise unheard of in Final Fantasy, though it did come at a cost.

At a late time in development, Mitsuda had to give the soundtrack torch over to Nobuo Uematsu as he was having some temporary health problems dedicating so much time into making the music, but luckily Uematsu himself had some great tracks of his own in the game.

Made to promote Chrono Trigger, a festival in Japan in 1996 had shown a 16 minute animated special featuring the monsters you fought in the game, going to the Millennial Fair after it closes, and having their own event.


So what exactly makes Chrono Trigger so special among the other RPGs?

Again, just the fact that it has its own story that sets itself from the other stories you've seen in a role-playing game before it. The other characters get their own time to shine as a means of character development. For example you'll see Crono and his friends go to a prehistoric era and find out where Marle's royalty started, along with the origins of Lavos being summoned, or how the once reluctant knight, Glenn got turned into a frog by the powerful wizard Magus, and avenging his friend.

We also learn of a corrupt queen in an era inbetween prehistory, in which she wants to use the power of Lavos in a trade off of allowing her own people to thrive that are ancestors of magic, only for Lavos to drive her mad with power. This is where the story truly starts to get off of its feet, engaging the player. The queen is pulling the strings of the planet's destruction, and she (and Lavos) must be stopped.

In 1999, SquareSoft rereleased Chrono Trigger in the Final Fantasy Chronicles collection for the Sony PlayStation, including animated cutscenes for the story as you progress, an enemy bestiary, and a new sound test option that were all unlockable.


The legacy of Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger still stands today as a landmark of both storytelling and endless replayability given the gameplay features it had at the time of its genre, even with Nintendo Power going out of its way to make their own strategy guide for the game, it only goes to show just how much of an impact it had for its generation.

Have you played or experienced Chrono Trigger? Leave a comment and as always, see you next article!


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ThatDude Posted on Feb 04, 2022 at 11:06 PM

Chrono Trigger is absolutely one of my favorite games of all time. IMHO it sits securely in the top 5 greatest RPGs of all time. Thanks for the trip down memory lane with this article too btw.

onipar Posted on Jan 22, 2022 at 02:52 PM

I've never been a big RPG fan, which is probably why I haven't played this game yet (despite owning a copy), but I do definitely plan to play and your article has encouraged me to do so sooner than I planned. Great stuff here!

Benjanime Posted on Jan 21, 2022 at 01:20 AM

@Mr Magic

Absolutely, the best way to play is not having seen it before ;)


i'm glad i could introduce you to the game and story in its entirety, my love ;) and thanks for providing the link to my playthrough, i love you ❤

Julie Posted on Jan 21, 2022 at 01:17 AM

I didn't have the cartridge back then unfortunately, but I played the Nintendo DS version a few years ago. And I agree, it's such a masterpiece, unforgettable. People still love this impressive and beautiful game.
One more charismatic and passionate article, my sweet love @Benjanime.❤ Impossible not loving you, my fantastic husband!❤❤
I couldn't finish the game as I'm not that skilled, but if you want to see all the amazement, here it is! Enjoy:❤

Mr Magic Posted on Jan 21, 2022 at 12:26 AM

All people have to do is play it and they'll see why it was and is such a huge hit!

Live it, breathe it, experience it, people!

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