|Chrono Trigger (PS1)|
Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Ball series were both based on the design work of manga artist Akira Toriyama, who was also the character designer for the insanely successful Dragon Quest series. Apparently he's a good luck charm for RPGs.
But unlike practically every other 16-bit console, the Super Nintendo never did get its own CD drive, so the original version of Chrono Trigger couldn't actually have any animated video clips like this. To be honest though it's not a massive loss.
In Japan his name is spelt the same as in the game title (basically Kurono), but in this English version poor Chrono here is just going to have to spend the rest of his life known as 'Crono', as it has been decreed that no one in this world shall have more than five letters in their name.
The Grand List Of Console Role Playing Game Clichés. To be fair though this game was so influential I get the feeling that list is going to basically turn out to be a Chrono Trigger novelisation.
Crono's mom reminds him to go see his friend Lucca, who's invited him up to see her new invention. Unfortunately I'm not actually Crono, I just play him in a video game, so I have no idea where this person is or how I'd even recognise them.
Final Fantasy VII. There isn't actually a separate town map to walk through, as all the buildings are accessible from here instead.
|Final Fantasy VI (SNES)|
Also no random battles! I can wander anywhere I want without being hassled by attention seeking monsters.
SOON, AFTER A BIT OF TRAVELLING.
LATER, AFTER A LOT OF TRAVELLING.
10G free cash! Totally worth the trip.
It's funny how the sprites were practically the same scale for six years. I like how the only difference between the Final Fantasy 1 and Final Fantasy 2 fighter class hero is that they part their hair differently.
Oh, and just to put this into perspective, six years later Square's JRPG characters looked like this:
|Final Fantasy X (PS2)|
I actually like the voice actor generally, but damn this character really grates on me.
But just out of curiosity I reloaded a save and this time told her to fuck off. But it turns out that option's only there to make you think that you're actually making some of the decisions. In the end the only possible choice is to take her with you.
Though I like this shop. It's fast, straightforward, shows the effect of new gear, uses words instead of vague icons, and I can even equip items without leaving the screen.
It turned out that visiting the shop was all I needed to do to open up the path to Lucca's experiment, which turned out to be... not actually a time machine. Which surprised me.
It's apparently very important that I jump into the portal right now, despite having no possible way to get back.
Weirdly, all battles actually take place on the actual level in this, there's no swish transition to an alternate battle map. I can't move characters around once a fight's started though, as it has a classic Final Fantasy style menu controlled battle system. I'm not a magic user, but I can spend MP to use Techniques which work the same way. Though with only 8 MP I think I'll be sticking with the 'Attack' option for the time being.
There's no random encounters in this and all the enemies are visible on the level, so it's possible to actually walk around fights. Well run actually, as the game has a sprint button (thank fuck). Though the enemies all come back if I leave the area and return.
Despite only having a minute's head start, Marle is nowhere to be seen, so I guess I'll just have to go door to door until I find her.
SOME ADVENTURING LATER.
It seems that the real Queen Leene has gone missing, but now that everyone thinks that she's been rescued, the search parties have been called off. Meaning that just by being here we've changed history so that Leene is never rescued, which is bad news for the timeline.
But if she never existed, how was she able to come back in time and prevent her existence? Plus why does Crono and Lucca still remember her? In fact why are we even here chasing someone who we haven't met and who never went into the past? Bloody time travel...
Fortunately a noble frog called Frog came to my aid and we made short work of the counterfeit convent. Though I'm not sure about his accent. I realise we're 400 years in the past, but how come he's the only person here who talks in ye olde English?
Anyway time to storm in through the secret door and save the Queen!
It's weird how I find grinding far less tedious than repeating a boss battle twice.
EVENTUALLY, DEEP BENEATH THE SINISTER CHURCH.
Whatever, I've got a level 7 crew here with full health and MP, and a pack full of potions. This shouldn't take long.
So I'm going to have to put more thought into who I bring out with me when I'm actually given a choice, so I get pairings that works well together.
EVENTUALLY, BACK IN THE PRESENT DAY.
But my celebration was cut short when Crono was arrested by the present day Chancellor for kidnapping Marle. Man, I just have no luck with chancellors.
The trial actually went pretty well, as the best evidence he could throw at me to attack my character was that I refused to tell a little girl where to find her missing cat at the fair (he's a silent protagonist though, c'mon).
So now Crono's trapped in here with a save point, a health/MP restoring drink that he refuses to take with him and a mysterious package left by a friend... which turned out to not contain a file, lock pick or explosives. And of course they took all my weap... oh hang on, nope all my gear is still here. Weird.
Incidentally I was all set to whine about the save points needing me to go into the menu to save, but they actually don't in this. I just activate them and the save option comes up. Doesn't even pop up with an annoying message. Again Chrono Trigger beats Final Fantasy VII!
Oh right, I'm meant to be escaping from jail before I get executed aren't I? Well I'm still armed so I'm pretty sure I can take these two well trained, well armed knights in a fight (seeing as I'm a teenager with fighting spirit). All I need to do is annoy them enough to get them to open the door for me.
Let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out let me out...
SOON, AFTER THEY LET ME OUT.
A SHORT, HEROIC ESCAPE THROUGH A TIME GATE LATER.
There's no way we're going to survive here for long, and going back will just get me executed, so I'm going to need to find another time gate somewhere.
SEVERAL FUTURISTIC DUNGEONS LATER.
Turns out that a giant lava porcupine called Lavos broke through the planet's crust and annihilated the world's cities with a shower of nuclear needles. All I need to do is kill this guy, and the world is saved. Three hours in and I seem to have finally encountered the main villain of the game.
To the time portal!
The gentleman by the street lamp explains that this is the end of time (which doesn't really explain anything), and that I got dumped here because I brought too many people through the time gate (I found a cool robot for my team). But this actually works out great for me because there's another bloke here who can give me magic powers, and a row of portals that can take me all over time. Pretty convenient actually.
This present day gate opens up on a different continent (in a cupboard), so I'm safe from that bastard Chancellor for now. But now that I'm a master of space and time, why bother screwing around here when I can just take on the final boss directly?
It probably won't come as a huge shock to learn that I liked Chrono Trigger. It looks and sounds great for a SNES game, the interface is slick and user friendly, and I really struggled to find anything to whine about. It's been a very story driven game so far, but I spent far less time stuck in cutscenes than in something like Final Fantasy VII. I'd be given a few lines of dialogue after I completed a task, then let loose again to sort out the next crisis. FFVII was just so keen to involve me in drama between the characters, while this is like "Fuck yeah, time travel! Let's go save the world!"
I wasn't that keen on the battles though, which is a bit of a shame seeing I spent most of the game exploring dungeons, but I suppose that's more because I've gotten tired of the standard JRPG turn based combat rather than any flaw in the game. I got through most fights by just tapping attack until it was over, then topping up my HP with potions afterwards. In my defence, with limited MP and an almost guaranteed boss fight at the end of each area, it didn't exactly encourage me to use Techniques.
But yeah, gold star for this one for sure. I can't believe it took Square fourteen years to get around to releasing it in Europe. It was apparently the third best selling game of 1995, were they honestly worried it would bomb?
Feel like saying anything about Chrono Trigger? Comments are welcome.