Still Unlike Any Other RPG.
A culmination of concept and creativity, Chrono Trigger still gave me those “off to save the world” chills.
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #6/100
Memory is a funny thing. I didn’t play Chrono Tigger until college, the days of Xbox360 and PS3. I only did so because of the insistence of my nerdy friends — they wouldn’t let it go that I never played it. So I borrowed their copy and spent my first Spring Break traveling through time.
Whenever I recall playing it, though, I always recollect the wrong things: I envision playing as a kid in the basement of the house I grew up in. It’s easier for my mind to classify it as a childhood experience rather than an adult one. Chrono Trigger perfectly captures the spirit of imagination with its craving for adventure, wonder, and sense of importance. You too will be sent back to an unbounded childhood feeling.
The year is 1000 A.D. and the day of the Millennial Fair. Crono goes to see Luca’s teleporter invention with his new friend Marle. The machine goes haywire and sends them back to the year 600 A.D. Marle happens to be royalty, and people from this previous age confuse her with the actual Queen. After resolving some time paradoxes caused by this confusion, the gang continues to hop from age to age meeting new people from past and future.
Everything changes, though, when they end up in 2300 A.D. — the world is destroyed by some evil event called Lavos. Using technology of the future, they are able to replay the horrible events of 1999 A.D. when Lavos is unleashed on Earth and destroys most life forms.
This begins the journey through time to figure out what Lavos is, and most importantly, put a stop to it.
Chrono Trigger’s top achievement is allowing the concept of time travel thrive by not letting it get entangled in an endless recession of philosophical paradoxes. Outside of one event with Marle, the story playfully ventures forward and allows you to wallow in the excitement of time travel without having to worry about the heavy concerns that keep astrophysicists busy.
Something happened with the storylines of games when CDs became the dominant platform — they ballooned in complexity and not quality (I’m looking at you Metal Gear Solid). Instead, the commitment here is to connect you to this world, wanting you to care about the characters and its inhabitants.
Save the World Chills.
I just witnessed what was to become of the world. While we had ventured through years past and saw how history built upon itself, this is where it all ends — humans huddled in small domes fighting to survive the harsh new world. There was no continuation of the lineages and families that dominated the pre-Lavos era, and it seemed like human progress had finally been halted for good.
I returned to the earlier, kinder present day to continue our adventure to save the world. The verdant countryside, clear skies, and vibrant wildlife were quite a juxtaposition to the future of this world. Then, this music plays:
It’s called “Memories of Green” which I think is quite appropriate as a homage to those from the future who will only have stories about a world like this. The composition itself is a bit uncertain just like I was — who made Lavos and how do we stop it?
I felt pin-pricks of electricity run up and down my arms, my skin pocked by goosebumps. This is when I knew how well this game was made, as if every effort was poured into that single moment.
Music – Hello Yasunori Mitsuda!
This isn’t the only time music completely cements the feeling of a scene or situation. Mitsuda was just a lowly sound programmer that convinced Square to let him pen the music for Chrono Trigger. He actually worked so hard he made himself sick and Nobuo Uematsu of Final Fantasy fame had to finish a couple compositions while he was in the hospital.
Mitsuda’s style was more jazzy, creating a much different sound than the more classical feeling of Uematsu’s compositions. What they both share, however, is the ability to make music that ties everything together. When entering 12,000 B.C. you are greeted with this score:
Snow covers the ground and there seems to be no civilization at all…until you are transported to the Sky Kingdom of Zeal. Here you discover something akin to Atlantis — an ancient civilization that is more advanced than your present time. Obviously, something catastrophic must of happened, so who are these mysterious people?
I can’t think of how one goes about making a song that captures all that subtle mystery, but Mitsuda does it again and again.
Chrono Tigger presents on an upward slope. I’ll admit the beginning part of the game is not the most exciting, but as you go through more and more history of this world, you start to see yourself as a part of a long lineage of events and actions. The back end of the game is completely open-ended, and this forces you to travel between each age trying to solve problems over the eons of time available to you. This is when Chrono Trigger is at its most epic.
Even on replay two, I still think of this as a nostalgic adventure from my childhood. If you are looking to reclaim that imagination locked away in our now developed brains, Chrono Trigger is the gateway.
Other People’s Takes:
- Professional Moron: “For us… it’s one of the greatest games of all time. A total masterpiece, no less, and one that each new gaming generation really needs to try the Hell out.”
- NintendoBound: “Both in the grand scheme of things and in the little details of its design, Chrono Trigger is an immaculate gaming experience.”
- Super Romo Brothers: “In my biased opinion I think this game has aged well and would still be fun for people today that haven’t played it before.”