Trigger Time

Remember that long lost RPG, Chrono Trigger?
March 01, 2006
Released in Japan on March 11, 1995 for the Super Famicom and in North America on August 22, 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The game was re-released in 1999 for the Sony PlayStation (PS) in Japan and in 2001 as a part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles package in North America, alongside Final Fantasy IV. The game has never been released in PAL territories.

Chrono Trigger was supervised by a group referred to as "The Dream Team", consisting of Hironobu Sakaguchi (producer of the Final Fantasy series), Yuji Horii (director of the Dragon Quest games), character designer Akira Toriyama (of Dragon Ball and Dragon Quest fame), venerable producer Kazuhiko Aoki, and Nobuo Uematsu (of Final Fantasy fame). Other noteworthy people involved in the game development were the music composer Yasunori Mitsuda, who composed over 80% of the score, and scenarist Masato Kato, both unknown at that time but later famous for Xenogears and Xenosaga.

At the time of its release the ideas behind the game were seen as revolutionary, involving multiple endings, a dramatic story with multiple character-enhancing side-stories, a novel battle system, and detailed and beautiful graphics. It also makes many references to names and events in mythology, legends and history.

It is still hailed by fans as one of the greatest games of all time, despite the "primitive" graphics by today's standards. Chrono Trigger placed highly in all three versions of IGN's top 100 games of all time. The first version in 2002 listed it as the fourth greatest, the second in early 2005 as the sixth, and the third in late 2005 as the thirteenth.

Chrono Trigger is about a group of adventurers who travel across time to save the planet's future. Along the way they recruit allies from other time periods in to defeat the alien parasite Lavos that is slowly destroying their world. The player eventually may recruit up to seven playable characters: Crono, the main hero, Marle, the rebellious princess, Lucca, the genius inventor, Robo, the robot outcast, Frog, the amphibious knight, Ayla, the wild cave-woman, and, optionally, the dark wizard Magus. The group travels via time gates and the flying time machine Epoch to seven different time periods: the Prehistoric era (65,000,000 B.C.), the Dark Ages (12,000 B.C.), the Middle Ages (A.D. 600), the Present time (A.D. 1000), the Apocalypse (A.D. 1999), the post-apocalyptic Future (A.D. 2300), and the very End of Time itself.

The titular Chrono Trigger (also known as the Time Egg) is a small device that manipulates the flow of causality. As Gaspar explains, the Chrono Trigger will have an effect equal to the effort one puts into its use; no more, no less. Crono, who perishes at the hands of Lavos in 12,000 B.C., is critical to the space-time continuum and his friends spare no expense in their efforts to revive him (or more correctly, prevent him from ever dying). The Chrono Trigger, receiving both these sentiments, hatches and thus revives Crono to life. It should be noted, however, that this event is entirely optional and prompts different endings depending on the player's choice. Chrono Trigger's sequel, Chrono Cross, later explained that the phrase "Chrono Trigger" is a reference to anything that has the power to affect its will and change history.

Super Famicom/Super Nintendo version
The original version of Chrono Trigger is a 32 Mbit (4 MB, which is quite large for a SNES game) cartridge with battery-backed RAM for save games. It does not use any special on-cartridge coprocessors. A popular misconception about the Super NES version of Chrono Trigger is that it is rare. eBay auctions frequently describe the game as rare, and the prices have gone as high as $50 for the cartridge alone with a complete version going for well over $100 in some cases. The game is not as rare as some believe, and one rarity guide actually lists the game as not very rare at all. This rarity guide was compiled using auction data from sites such as eBay to determine the scarcity of these games. On a regular basis there can be 40 or more cartridges being sold on eBay at one time, which is as high as some of the most high profile and lower priced games for the Super Nintendo system. When the original Super Famicom version was slated for release in Japan, individuals who preordered the game received one of several limited edition holographic foil collector's cards. Each card had a piece of game artwork on the front: either the American box cover (commonly referred to as the "snow battle"), the battle with Magus found on the inside of the American manual, a flight in the Epoch, or a character portrait. Also a contributer to the 'rare' nature of Chrono trigger is its never having been released in Europe despite there being a strong RPG following there (especially since the release of final fantasy 7) and as such in Europe it is rare.

PlayStation version

An enhanced port of Chrono Trigger for the Sony PlayStation was released 1999 in Japan. This port with the original translation by Ted Woolsey was released in the US together with a "remastered" version of Final Fantasy IV as Final Fantasy Chronicles in 2001. It features anime cutscenes done by original character designer Akira Toriyama's Bird Studio spread throughout the game at key sequences and an "extras mode." Each ending reached unlocks more of the following:

* All 10 of the added anime movies
* 69 songs from the game, including the extras menu songs
* Statistics on all the monsters
* A list of all of the endings with a screenshot from each
* An art gallery with 16 anime-style drawings of characters
* A list of all characters' techs
* Descriptions of the bosses with strategies
* A "treasure map" which shows the locations of hidden items

Poor conversion of the cartridge to the PlayStation's compact disc medium caused many common actions, like opening a menu screen or beginning a battle, to take several seconds due to load time, much to the unpleasant surprise of many gamers. Baffling fans, Square Enix did not correct this problem with the Greatest Hits re-release of Final Fantasy Chronicles. It should be noted, however, that the Japanese port of the game had no loading times.


There have been a few notable attempts by groups of Chrono Trigger fans to unofficially remake the game for the PC and with a 3D graphics engine. The most prominent projects, such as Chrono Resurrection [9], and Chrono Trigger Remake Project [10] were forcibly terminated by Square-Enix with a cease and desist order. Some fans hope that Square-Enix has plans for an official remake of Chrono Trigger. However, other fans view a possible official remake as being detrimental to the series. Masato Kato and his team have stated that while making Chrono Cross, they were focused on innovating and not rehashing old games in their work. This, coupled with Kato's status as a freelance scenarist and Yasunori Mitsuda's status as a freelance scorer, strongly suggests a hypothetical remake would not be headed by the original creators or team.

More Articles From System
An unhandled error has occurred. Reload Dismiss