Well, today (8/11) marks the birthday for the American release of one of the best JRPGS of all time: Chrono Trigger.
So let’s talk about it.
This game kicks ass. It’s got everything I love: an art style done by Akira Toriyama (AKA the creator of Dragonball) time travel (y’all know how I feel about Doctor Who) and initiative turn-based combat.
There’s much more, but we’ll be here forever if I talked about it all. So I’m just going to ask: why are there only two good versions of this game?
As it is a Square game (still Squaresoft at this point) it is no surprise whatsoever that this game has been ported onto more recent hardware for the sake of selling more copies. They’ve done this for basically every Final Fantasy game, so of course they’d do the same for Chrono Trigger.
Here’s the sad thing: there are only two good versions of this game. Those are the original SNES version and the DS version. Both run well and capture the magic of the game perfectly.
Unfortunately, there are three other versions: the PS1 version (which was packaged with Final Fantasy 6) the Windows version (which you can find on Steam, if you don’t care that you’re playing the slowest version of a good game) and the Mobile version (which I don’t even need to explain why that sucks, do I?)
Here’s the biggest problem with these ports. A problem that doesn’t sound so bad, but for a JRPG it is a huge problem: loading times.
EVERYTHING in these ports takes forever to happen. Opening a menu sends you to a black screen for thirty seconds until the menu actually opens. Entering combat takes what feels like ten minutes before the enemies actually appear and you can kill them. Entering and leaving buildings and towns are the same story as opening the menu: a long black screen that leaves you screaming to play the game.
You may think this doesn’t sound like a big deal. Just be patient. It’s not a problem.
To that, I ask: have you ever played an RPG? Or any game, for that matter?
To have the gameplay grind to a halt every time you try to do literally anything is infuriating to say the least. And for an RPG where you may need to grind EXP quickly for an hour or two in order to get stronger, having everything slow to a crawl is a death sentence, no matter how good your combat or story is.
And I assure you, the combat and story in this game are amazing.
So if you want to experience this classic for the first time, don’t play these versions. It’s a bit of a dive, but if you want the best experience, you need to play either the SNES version (hope you have an old SNES on hand) or the DS version (hope you haven’t thrown out your 3DS yet).
Which you totally should. This game is a classic for a reason, and if you haven’t played it yet…
Fix that. Immediately.