Time travel is a common trope in fiction but what matters is the execution, and that’s what Chrono Trigger excels at.
Now 25-years-old, Chrono Trigger made its debut on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and sold over a whopping two million copies in Japan, capturing the hearts of the gaming community with its unique combat system, memorable cast and captivating plot.
Chrono Trigger was later released on PlayStation (PS1) and Nintendo DS in 1999 and 2008 respectively, allowing its fans to relive the nostalgia and first-timers to play the classic game on a more modern console. The game has also gone on to make its way to PC and mobile devices.
The game kicks off with its silent protagonist Crono waking up and going to a carnival fair where he meets the kingdom’s princess, Marle. In a teleportation demonstration gone wrong, Marle gets sucked into a mysterious portal that sends her 400 years back in time where she gets mistaken for her ancestor.
What starts off as a time travel shenanigan at a carnival fair quickly evolves into a mission to save the world, and the player gets to recruit a diverse cast of party members from different timelines including a human-turned-frog, a cavewoman and a robot from the dystopian future.
Like most RPGs, Chrono Trigger has a turn-based battle system, but takes it up a notch with its real-time combat, where each of your party members has a time bar that fills up during battle, where your party members can only take actions when the bar is full.
This is important because the longer you take to decide on your party’s action, the more turns your enemies will get, which means the more damage your party will take.
If you leave your game on without pausing it during battle when you’re off elsewhere, you’ll come back only to find out the monsters have wiped out your entire party.
Another unique thing about the combat system is the monsters are constantly shuffling about during battles, and you can use this to your advantage. If you catch your enemies at the right alignment at the right time, you can attack multiple monsters simultaneously instead of just one.
But be careful — if you wait for too long, you risk receiving more damage because your enemies will attack you more frequently. The key is to find a balance between waiting for the perfect moment to strike and attacking as fast as you can. If you prefer to take your time fighting monsters without worrying about taking extra damage, you can turn off the real-time battle system in the game setting.
Chrono Trigger has 13 endings and you can unlock any of them depending on the choices you make. Players have the option to beat the final boss early in the game, but unless you’ve been levelling up like mad, trying to take on the final boss at this point would most likely end up with your party getting wiped out.
The battle starts off easy, giving you a false sense of security. Then the difficulty level slowly builds up until it goes through the roof, leading to the boss crushing your party effortlessly.
While most RPG side quests have little to no impact on the final outcome, Chrono Trigger side quests certainly do, and not in a way you would expect. The side quests also flesh out the characters, making the game more enjoyable.
Local gamer Mohammad Akmal shared his experience and nostalgia of beating the game on DS a while ago after having played it halfway through on PS1 as a kid.
“It was a rewarding feeling and I felt like I travelled in time to my childhood and finally closed a door since I didn’t beat the game before,” he said. “I enjoyed the game a lot honestly. It’s just I’m curious about another team I should try out. I’m the type of person who feels bad for characters I don’t pick and I feel bad about it!”
Luckily, there’s a New Game+, which means players can start a new game after beating the game the first time while keeping all the items from their first playthrough.
You can even unlock an ending exclusive to the New Game+, which is also one of the most interesting of them all, to say the least.