Imagine, just for a moment, being roused from your peacful slumber by the chime of bells, the blast of fire crackers, and the calls of seagulls. Together, these sounds blend together in perfect harmony. You had forgotten, today is the day of the Millennial Fair, a celebration of Guardia’s first 1000 years of existence. Excited, you leap out of bed, kiss your mum goodbye, and before your know it, your on a journey through time!. Along the way, you meet a cast of interesting, albeit a bit whacky, characters such as Frog, a knight in shining armor with a tendency to rib-bit, Ro-bo, a steam powered robot from the future, and Ayla, a prehistoric babe from the year 65,000,000 B.C. With the help of these characters and others, you successfully save the world from its obliteration at the hands of an event known only as Lavos!
This is the world of Chrono Trigger, which in my expert opinion is, the best Japanese RPG ever made. Developed by Square, the makers of Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger saw its first debut on the Super Nintendo, March 11th, 1995 in Japan (I was six, turning seven in four days,) and in the U.S. on August 22nd of the same year. The team that designed Chrono Trigger has been described as the “Dream Team.”
The Script was penned by Masato Kato, composed by Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu (of Final Fantasy fame), directed by Kazuhiko Aoki, supervised by Hironobu Sakaguchi (creator of Final Fantasy). The artwork was designed by Akira Toriyama, the man behind such anime and manga as: Dr. Slump and the Dragon Ball series. If you follow Japanese RPG’s closely, chances are you’ve heard of all these men before. Their combined skills created a revolutionary game, it had multiple endings, a unique fighting system and side quests (side quests might not seem like much now, but back then, they where impressive).
After the Super Nintendo became a relic of the past, Chrono Trigger disappeared until 1999, when the people at Square decided they should re-release the game on the Play Station 1(PS1). The PS1 game was identical to the SNES version of the game, except for a handful of animated cut scenes, a bestiary, and a music library. The game as whole remained unchanged. It was embraced by fans and others alike for its animated cut-scenes. However, the game suffered from abnormally long loading screens. Whencompared to that of either a SNES emulator or the original SNES cart of the game, it just couldn’t compete.
So what’s the point? Why am I blubbering on and on about a game that’s nearly 14 years old now? Well, as of November, Chrono Trigger has been re-re-released. This time on one of the best systems of the current generation, the Nintendo DS. The game retains all of its original look and sound (the resolution has been turned up a little, making the game look a lot clearer), in addition to all of the added features of the PS1 version (without those blasted load screens). To top it off, the men and women over at Square, have added two new dungeons, another ending, and a less that exciting virtual pet mode. For all of you who have not experienced this fabulous game, I would highly recommend buying the DS version. For those of you who have played the game before, buy it again… Hopefully if the DS version does well in retail they will revisit the Chrono world once again.
Please, join me next time when I dive deeper into the world of Chrono Trigger and talk about some of the fun projects its fans have undertaken to keep it alive all these years.