Chrono Trigger is a RPG video game published by SquareSoft released on August 22, 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
Chrono Trigger is a Role-Playing Game of the 90s, oftentimes cited by many videogame lists as one of the best games ever made, and believe me, they’re not wrong. Chrono Trigger was developed by Square, with a development team which contained three developers known as the “Dream Team”: Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series; Yuji Horii, creator of the Dragon Quest series; Akira Toriyama, the illustrator for pretty much all Dragon Quest games, but he’s most certainly better known as the man behind Dragon Ball. (Remember, this was before Square merged with Enix to become the Square Enix it is now, so this team-up was not as expected as you might think.) I’ve always felt that 2D games ages much better than the clunky polygons of the 90s (FFVII, or the original Tekken for example.) and this game is no exception. Akira Toriyama’s timeless art style is also lent to this game for the portraits, all of which are quite excellent designs.
Story-wise, it has what you would expect from a JRPG; it has the cliches and tropes associated with JRPGs nowadays, but back then, this was not much of a problem. Chrono Trigger is probably best enjoyed if you don’t criticize how cliched or dated the story is. Basically, it is about a mute protagonist, who, after diving into a time portal to save your average rebellious tomboy princess, become involved in a quest to save the world from the evil Lavos, a quest that spans the past, present and future. Time travel plays a big part, with worlds set in the middle ages as well as prehistoric times. The playable characters also ranges; you have a knight cursed as a frog, a robot, and a cavewoman, all in the same game.
In a gameplay sense, it plays like a JRPG; the battle system is notable, however. On paper, it sounds identical to the ATB system from Final Fantasy IV to Final Fantasy IX, but in actuality, it’s quite different. First off, there is no transition between exploration and battle, ala Final Fantasy XII. As a result, enemies appear in the overworld, and contact equals combat. There are the usual HP and MP, but what makes spells (here called techs) so interesting is that most of them has an Area of Effect; for example, Lucca’s Flame Toss hits in a straight line, whereas Crono’s Cyclone hits in an approximate circle, so enemy positions are also important, and since they move around, timing comes into play as to when to use which tech. Some techs can also be combined; for example, the aforementioned two techs can be combined if both characters are in the party, resulting in Flame Whirl, a fire-elemental slash with a circular AoE.