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   Chrono Trigger - Staff Review  

Trip My Trigger
by Michael "Macstorm" Cunningham

Chrono Trigger
PLATFORM
DS
BATTLE SYSTEM
4
INTERACTION
4
ORIGINALITY
3
STORY
4
MUSIC & SOUND
3
VISUALS
3
CHALLENGE
Easy
LENGTH
20-40 Hours
OVERALL
3.5/5
+ Story holds up well despite its age.
+ Time travel done well.
+ Battle system is fast and furious.
- Presentation seems a bit dated.
- Could have been done on the GBA.
- Not enough new.
Click here for scoring definitions 

   Chrono Trigger for the Nintendo DS is the third release of this game. Initially, it was found on the Super Nintendo in 1995, and then the second iteration came out on the PlayStation as part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles a few years later. The second version added sporadic FMV scenes and unwelcomed load times, as were a frequent annoyance on disc-based games. The DS edition has combined the FMV from the PlayStation title, touched up the game's translation, and added a little bit of bonus content to create the definitive version of Chrono Trigger, but are those changes enough to make this port worth purchasing again?

   The time traveling adventures of Crono and friends are untouched. Crono, Marle, and Lucca venture through multiple epochs and meet lots of new friends in order to right the wrongs of the past and save the future from annihilation. The plot remains unmodified from the prior two releases, but the new translation does a good job of making the game feel modern.

   For those that have never experienced Chrono Trigger before, this version is easily accessible, is portable, and will give gamers a chance to experience a well-told story of time travel. The game has very balanced pacing and does a good job with character development, at least for most party members. Each of the game's characters are unique, and the interactions and dialogue between the group members is very natural and memorable. The overall story arc is fairly linear, but offers a decent amount of side quests near the end of the game.

Whoa Prophet of Whoa

   Combat is where Chrono Trigger deviates from the traditional RPG formula in many ways. While encounters are not random, they are spaced out in predetermined areas. While this is boon to those frustrated with random encounters, it causes a problem of having to fight battles over and over when backtracking through previously visited areas. Once battle has begun, characters can take action as soon as their time gauge fills completely. Each character has a unique set of skills and strengths, so forming a favored party and sticking with that team is ideal, as the more a character is used, the more skills he learns. Along with each each individual gaining his unique abilities, groups of three can learn powerful triple tech attacks the more they fight together. The combat system might be too frantic for those looking for a simple turn-based RPG, but is solid and holds up well to today's standards, though the method of encountering enemies can become even more annoying than random encounters.

   New to the DS version of Chrono Trigger is the use of touch screen controls. All game options have been mapped to the bottom DS screen for easy access in and out of combat. While all options are simple to touch, looking away from the battle screen to touch the correct area can break the flow of play more than just memorizing which button to press and when, so thankfully button controls are available as well.

Livin' on the edge Livin' on the edge

   Chrono Trigger has always been famous for the fact that it has multiple endings which are easy to obtain via the game's New Game + feature. A new ending has been added to the DS version as well as a new dungeon that spans multiple time frames, a post-game dungeon, and a monster battling arena. The new time-spanning dungeon requires jumping back and forth between eras and consists of completing fetch quests. The post-game area feels a little more tacked on, but allows players to complete randomly generated dungeons, fight new bosses, and acquire new equipment. The arena feels even more detached, though if players can find friends to battle their monsters against, it can provide a bit of entertainment. All of these are nice additions, but they add little to the game overall. For those that are extremely familiar with Chrono Trigger, these additions are welcome, but they are not enough to make a major impact.

   The area that has remained in the past is Chrono Trigger's presentation. The visuals are still the same as they were in the game's two prior versions. The graphics are in no way bad, but this is one area that can make the game feel dated, especially for those that played it on the Super Nintendo. The FMVs from the PlayStation version have been brought over, but they seem rather superfluous. The game's soundtrack is solid, as it is the unchanged offering from Yasunori Mitsuda of years ago. Both aspects of the presentation are still decent, but considering this is the third release of this title and other games from Chrono Trigger's original era have been redone on the lowly Game Boy Advance, it just seems like this could have used a little bit of enhancement.

   Chrono Trigger is still as easy and quick to play through as ever. The additions added to this release do help, but are not enough to make the game feel fresh. For those that have never had a chance to play Chrono Trigger before, this is by all means the best version to date. For those that have played this over and over before, there is little new here. Maybe when Square Enix decides to release Chrono Trigger for a fourth time, they will consider a complete remake.

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