I remember sitting at my friends house in 6th grade as he showed me the awesomeness of Final Fantasy III on the Super Nintendo. Yet another epiphany for me. I didn’t think video games were capable of telling long, engrossing, complex narratives. To this point the most complex game narrative I played belong to Legend of Zelda, which half the time forgot tell you what was going on. After FF3 (due to improper numbering actually FF6), I looked for any game I could find in the role-playing genre. The only information I had to go on was the game’s creator, Squaresoft. In November of ’95 my grandmother took me to the mall to pick out a game for Christmas. I saw the Square logo on a brand new game, Chrono Trigger. Knowing nothing about the game other than what the cover showed, only going by the promise of the Squaresoft logo, I knew I had to get it. The wait to play it on Christmas day was excruciating.
Santa came and I tore into my presents, knowing exactly what I was looking for. Upon finding my prize, I secreted away to my room for the rest of the day. I came to find that you play Crono, a silent protagonist from the year 1000 A.D. After attending an exhibition for your friend Lucca’s science project at the millennium fair, something goes wrong, a portal is opened, and the girl you were with and met moments before is sucked in. Being the hero, you chose to go after her, into 600 A.D.
Chrono Trigger is about time travel. Portals have opened up across the world taking you from the prehistoric 65,000,000 B.C. to the desolate future of 2300 A.D. In your travels you discover a parasite is living under the earth. In 1999 A.D. he explodes to the surface after eons of sucking away the planets life force. It is your job to discover how this came to be, and how to stop him. The game play was revolution, but the intricately woven time travel story was astonishing. Back to the Future being my favorite movie, how was this game not made for me?
Each time you saved, the name of your save file would change, a title reflecting the current chapter. The second to last chapter was by far the best. The Fated Hour. All possibilities of time travel came to a head. Save a woman in 600 A.D., she lives to finish her work, turning what was a desert in present 1000 A.D. to a sprawling forest.
A 60+ hour RPG? I beat it in a week. Upon completion the New Game + feature was unlocked (first ever I believe). It allowed you to replay the game with all the items, techniques, and skills you previously collected. With this you had the option to beat the game at any point in the story unlocking one of 18 endings. 18! The hunt was on. Didn’t defeat the reptile uprising in 65 million B.C.? They won and everyone’s evolved to reptiles in the present.
In case you think the characters look familiar, it’s because their design was done by Akira Toriyama of Dragonball Z fame. Chrono Trigger is available as a download for Playstation, Wii, and purchase on the DS. Get a copy, now.
Caught another one.