One of the greatest video games of all time has just hit an important milestone in its history. The undeniable masterpiece JRPG Chrono Trigger is now twenty years old! Yup, it was released on March 11, 1995 and found its way westward in August of the same year.
What’s so amazing about Chrono Trigger is that despite its age, it’s still far more approachable and enjoyable than a large selection of today’s offerings. If you are a gaming veteran with 30 years of experience under your belt or a bright-eyed youth just budding into the world, Chrono Trigger can and will appeal to you, unless you just hate RPGs.
Then I can’t help you. Nobody can.
No matter the version, be it the original Super Nintendo cart, the loading-time plagued PlayStation version, the mobile port, or the definitive Nintendo DS version, Chrono Trigger still feels like it could have been released today for the first time and still be a hit. Sure, it would be considered a nostalgic throwback to the 16-bit days and not the timeless classic fans consider it to be, but I still believe that it could slither its way into the annals of video game history in an almost similar fashion.
Besides Final Fantasy VII, it ranks right up there as Square Enix fans’ most requested game for a HD remaster or a full-blown remake, but I never have and never will support that request. Throughout the years, we’ve seen plenty of remakes that replace the pixelated character sprites of a classic with higher resolution art, but I find it easier to think of games where the revamped graphics look and play worse. I think of Chrono Trigger in a similar fashion to the cheaply animated art found in Citizens of Earth or the mobile phone version of Final Fantasy VI, and it just makes me grumpy.
Chrono Trigger’s sprites and backgrounds are the life-blood of its legacy, just as important as its story, and they remain part of the reason it is so timeless. No high resolution artwork could ever do them any justice.
The fact of the matter is that the creative atmosphere in gaming is totally different than it was 20 year ago, and it would be tough to recreate the situation Chrono Trigger was born into. Square had mastered the ins-and-out of the Super Nintendo’s technology and could really push the console to its limits. Enix was still a separate and rival company, but the two collaborated on a singe project with their best people wanting to outshine one another.
Nowadays, Square and Enix are one in the same, and that competitive drive burned up with their merger.
Let’s not forget that the entire credit roll is made up of A-listers rom the genre as well. It includes legendary figures like Director Yoshinori Kitase, Designer Hironobu Sakaguchi, Composers Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda, Writers Yuji Horii and Masato Kato, and even Artist Akira Toriyama. Fans of JRPGs should be able to recognize these names from countless classics over the years, and they all combined their brains at their creative peaks to make Chrono Trigger the absolute best possible game imaginable.
Final Fantasy’s production value and storytelling, Dragon Quest’s accessibility and speed, and even original improvements like the death of random battles and the best New Game+ system of all time. Chrono Trigger is pure, flawless gold, and it was creative lightning in a bottle that can never be duplicated again.
I mean, do we remember Blue Dragon?
With that in mind, who is your favorite character from the game? As a young boy when I first played it at about 10-years-old, I was in love with Frog and Robo. They were the awkward oddball characters, and I always tended to gravitate towards them in my teenage years.
The last time I played Chrono Trigger though was on the Nintendo DS, but this was in the post-Mass Effect and FemShep world. I have more balance in choosing my genders when in comes to gaming as an adult, and I found myself using Lucca when I never even gave her a second glance in my youth. Her fire attacks are top notch, and her Flare ability combines marvelously with Frog’s Frog Squash ability. Battle abilities aside though, she is just a cool character.
She has a grasp on technology regardless of the age the group time travels to, and without Lucca, there is no Robo. Our brainiac reprograms the lovable bucket of bolts to become a member of the team. It falls on Lucca to rescue Chrono and Marle not just once but several times, including the chance to take part in the game’s most exciting fight against the Dragon Tank.
Plus, I have a better appreciation for the subtleties of Akira Toriyama’s character designs beyond just muscles and spiked hair. Lucca definitely has the best “Toriyama” fashion sense in that regard, and she could have appeared in the early days of Dragon Ball or Dr. Slump and blended right in. She looks like she could be Arale-chan’s big sister or even Arale-chan all grown up.
Or maybe it’s just the glasses. She has really cute glasses.
Anyway, it comes down to either Lucca or Frog, you know, because he is a muscle bound, sword swinging, chivalrous amphibian. That’s kind of hard to beat.
Who’s your favorite character of the gang?