Chrono Trigger’s bare bones description doesn’t do this masterpiece of a game the justice it deserves. At its heart, Chrono Trigger is a JRPG with turn based battles, towns to gather clues and items in, and dungeon mazes to crawl through. But in reality, Chrono Trigger is more than that. The battles are a nice mix of simplicity and strategy, with skills and magic spells you can combine for cooler and stronger attacks, and challenging bosses and fun dungeons to tromp around in. The time-travelling story and likable characters are also what makes the game well-renowned. Things you do in the past can affect the future, which opens up lots of possibilities for fun side quests. Replay value is high, also, with the New Game+ option that lets you start a new game after finishing up the main quest with all your levels and items intact. Not to mention more than a dozen different endings.
The DS port of Chrono Trigger is flawless, with all the graphics and sound just as you remember it. This game is a good example of the pinnacle of 16-bit gaming, and the in-game graphics of the characters, enemies, and even backgrounds reflect character designer Akira Toriyama’s (Dragon Ball Z) art style well. The translation has been fleshed out a bit to be more accurate, too. They’ve even included all the animated cutscenes from the PSOne remake. You can control and make selections using the stylus and touch screen, but if you prefer to do things the old fashioned way, the game will let you do that, too. You can customize how you view the menus and battle flow in various ways, so just about anyone will be satisfied. A new dungeon, a wireless monster battling mini-game, and other unlockable extras and goodies like a movie player, sound test, item and enemy encyclopedias round out the new stuff in this great package. Definitely a must-have for DS owners and classic RPG fans.
Needless to say, Chrono Trigger is a very special game to me, as it is with many a long time gamer. It’s a shame that you really can’t share the experience of playing a handheld video game with someone else in the room. They really can’t watch what you’re doing very well like they can when you’re playing on a big TV. I say this because when I was younger and Chrono Trigger was new on the Super Nintendo, my little brothers LOVED to watch me play it. Especially Jeff, he would always ask for me to play “Chwono Twigger” and “Mario PG (Super Mario RPG).” And when I would forget to read the text while playing (he couldn’t read yet, he was still very young), he’d yell out “TELL IT!!!” On our second playthrough, Jeff wanted to name all the characters after friends and family he knew. He was Crono, of course. I think he named Frog after me. When it came to naming the team’s time machine instead of Epoch, we knew we always rode around in my friend’s old truck, so we just named the time machine Truck. Perfect name, don’t you think? I’d have to say that Chrono Trigger is one of my favorite RPGs. I think I like Final Fantasy 6 and 4 a little better, but CT is definitely in my top five.
Chrono Trigger DS is rated E-10 for Everyone 10 and up with ESRB descriptors of Animated Blood, Mild Fantasy Violence, Suggestive Themes, and Use of Alcohol. The in-game violence is pretty mild, defeated enemies just disappear. The animated blood comes from some of the cartoon cutscenes, but it’s no worse than what you might find in, say, Dragon Ball Z. Some of the female characters, namely Ayla, wear skimpy outfits, but it really only shows in the art galleries. The suggestive themes in-game are more campy than anything. Same goes with the alcohol usage. Characters in bars and pubs talk about drinking, and instances of getting drunk and hangovers are briefly mentioned.
Chrono Trigger came out in a time where most 16-bit games were all kid-friendly. That seems to still be the case with the DS version. But because of the mountains of text to wade through in the story, and the lengthy quest overall, Chrono Trigger DS is best suited for older kid gamers anyway.