Chrono Trigger has long been revered as one of Squaresoft’s (now Square Enix) most epic RPGs that graced the SNES system. The game was produced by the “Dream Team” with credits given to Hironobu Sakaguchi, Masato Kato, Akira Toriyama and Yasunori Mitsuda. Shortly after a mediocre PSX port, Final Fantasy Chronicles, fell short of its mark with its dreadful loading and slowdown issues, no announcements were made for any potential re-releases.
After a long seven year waiting period, Square Enix has revisited one of their most critically acclaimed RPGs that features touch screen controls, a brand new dungeon, an extra ending and a brand new Wireless Play mode.
Chrono Trigger tells the tale of Crono, the unspoken hero who meets Marle, the spunky, tomboy-ish princess at the Millennium Fair. After browsing through various attractions, he travels through time to rescue Marle after a scientific experiment goes awry. As one might expect, he is soon thrust on an epic quest to save the world and rewrite history along the way. Crono teams up with many allies: Lucca, a childhood inventor friend, Frog, a silent but noble swordsman, Ayla, a brash tribal leader, Magus, an optional ally who is an enigmatic figure, and Robo, a machine from the distant future. Each character is equipped with unique abilities and tech skills used effectively to destroy wave of enemies and large bosses.
The game utilizes the Active Time Battle system. From the start, you can select either an Active system (enemies are free to roam and attack during your turn) or the Wait system (enemies are frozen giving you ample time to choose your attacks). Most enemies are visible on screen (with exception to those hiding or waiting for an ambush) with no random battles. A new dual screen mode is featured in Chrono Trigger DS that clears the screen of menu clutter from the original game. Attacks and tech abilities can be selected by using either the stylus with touch functionality or the standard DS controls. Rather than holding down A or B, Crono runs by default instead of walking. In the DS mode, enemies are segregated by text boxes on the lower screen that are roughly divided to show their name and relative positions. Though the DS stylus control scheme is appreciated, most will end up sticking to the tried and true control scheme.
New features in Chrono Trigger DS include an extra ending, a monster training arena, and the inclusion of two brand new areas: Lost Sanctum and the Dimensional Vortex. The Lost Sanctum, found in two separate time periods, is a rather mediocre addition that fails to add anything valuable to the overall storyline of Crono’s journey through time With respect to the Vortex, it offers a satisfying dungeon romp filled with monsters, new items and new spoilers that fills the gap for a few mysteries from the original SNES game. Accessible at the End of Time warp gate is the Arena of the Ages, known otherwise as the monster training area. You can send your monster to battle against NPC foes in a Prize match or online with a friend via a Wi-Fi connection in an Inter-dimensional battle. Prizes are awarded for victories that vary depending on the entrance fee paid before battles in the pit begin. Conversely, you can train your monster by giving it an item and sending it to a specific era on its own. Once that is done, you can return to it at a later time to check its boosted stats.
On the visual front, the game sports familiar environments, sprites and special effects from the SNES original with cut scenes ported from the PSX version. Chrono Trigger DS doesn’t push the DS to its graphical limits but is still acceptable nonetheless. The dialog has been revised for the more modern gamer; thus replacing parts of the original script. More than a decade after its release, famed composer Yasunori Mitsuda was re-enlisted by Square to manage and oversee the game’s soundtrack prior to its release. With credits attributed to Nobuo Uematsu as well, the music still sounds as epic and inspiring as it did from its original heyday.
The biggest disappointment comes from the lack of multiplayer co-op. Training your monsters in the Arena of the Ages and Wi-fi battles with your friends is largely a forgettable ordeal. The Dimensional Vortex and new areas to explore are a nice addition but they’re nothing special compared to existing worlds found within the game. However, Chrono Trigger is still an RPG masterpiece that should be enjoyed by hardcore and casual role-playing fans worldwide.
Chrono Trigger is still an exhilarating RPG to play - this is no small feat considering the game was released thirteen years ago. The compelling characters, intriguing storyline, solid battle system and unforgettable musical score makes Chrono Trigger DS a worthy addition to any RPG fan’s gaming library. The Wireless Play mode and extra dungeons are a nice addition but nothing special. The game warrants the buying price alone for the simple reason that it’s Chrono Trigger and that it retains the title as one of the greatest RPGs in gaming history.