Chrono Trigger DS

Written by Joe Martin

February 14, 2009 | 08:04

Tags: #dsi #jrpg #rpg #squeenix

Companies: #square-enix

Gameplay of Time

The actual gameplay used in Chrono Trigger is far less unique than the plot and pacing of the game. That’s not really all that surprising though; first released in 1995, developers have had a lot of time to copy Square Enix’s successes.

Chrono Trigger is divided into some fairly distinct types of gameplay. There’s the exploration bit where you get to run around on the world map, looking for places where to go and occasionally crossing through holes in the space-time continuum, like they did in apparently every other episode of Star Trek.

By the way; Richard thought the above joke was a bit generic and I agree, but he said I couldn’t use the Stephen Hawking joke I wanted in my original draft, so if you didn’t chuckle at that then you know who to blame.

Combat is where the other bulk of the gameplay in Chrono Trigger lies, with the usual random encounters and staged battles punctuating the gameplay. Thinking about it, it seems weird that Crono and Co. can roam unmolested across the world map, but only run into trouble when they venture into a specific forest or desert. Ah well.

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Fisticuffs in Chrono Trigger is a deceptively complex affair, with players only able to attack when their power meters have filled up. Every character has a basic RPG stat-system that’d be familiar to anyone who’s played a Final Fantasy game and can use different weapons, with new special moves called Techs becoming available as you level up.

Actually fighting your enemies is done in a real-time format, with you having to stagger your attacks and run through weapon menus as fast as you can. Select the party member, the attack or tech, the enemy and then switch on to the next character – it quickly gets more complex and there’s all sorts of stuff about line of attack to bear in mind, but those are the basics.

Square Enix has dutifully tried to enhance the game in a few ways over the original too and Chrono Trigger DS utterly resplendent with its music libraries, bestiaries and character art. The music especially is praise-worthy and manages to easily mix together a feeling of whimsy and possibility in the early stages of the game.

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The Arena mode is one of the most confusing parts of the expanded game though – we honestly found it really hard to get our heads around how that integrates with the main game. Aside from that, Arena mode is exactly what it sounds like; monster battling.

A few extra dungeons and quests have been added to the game too, as well as what we’re told is an improved translation of the original Japanese. Not being initiaes of the NES original, spotting these extra sections proved more difficult than putting smoke in a milk bottle with a baseball bat – though that does at least mean that it integrates well, we suppose.

These extra missions are incredibly important too, as Chrono Trigger is a deep and complex game that many retro gamers will be intimately familiar with in terms of the cause and effect of their actions. Adding in a few new areas is a great way to revive the game without over-bloating just for the sake of it. Fans of the original game need not worry then; from what we can tell this is still very much the same classic JRPG that they adore, just with a little extra seasoning and a more comfortable and portable control system.

Newcomers to the series likewise will have a lot to look forward to when it comes to Chrono Trigger on the DS – providing they have compatible tastes. Chrono Trigger is a fascinating game, but it’s deeply ingrained in JRPG standards and if you can’t abide that type of thing then this isn’t for you. If you do like that stuff though, Chrono Trigger will be right up your street – but you’ll likely have already played it, so don’t expect it to blow you away like it did the first time.

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Chrono Trigger DS


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