Monday, May 30, 2011

Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger was one of the few RPGs I played upon its release (instead of several years later). I was fresh off of playing Final Fantasy III (more on that later), and I was already used to the Active Time Battle System. Chrono Trigger instead evolved combat for me. Though others probably experienced this with other games, (Final Fantasy Tactics, StarCraft, D&D, Advanced Wars) Chrono Trigger was the first game to really bring such things as proximity, area of effect and other tactical considerations.

So why is it, that with so many choices, I would focus on Chrono Trigger? Aside from it being my first tactical experience, Chrono Trigger was a genuinely good game. The story was good, the combat was cool and finally, the gear was interesting.

Chrono Trigger, unlike my previous experiences, really wanted you to dress for success. Most tactical experiences have a very linear gear progression. You get better armor, and you simply have that armor until something better comes along. In CT it was very difficult to get rid of some items, because you simply didn’t know when you would need it.

The story line in Chrono Trigger was very good. It follows the Monomyth, and the Departure has a decent call to adventure in going to rescue a new friend, a refusal (by simply trying to go back home instead of continuing exploration), supernatural aide in the form of the Gate Keys, and they even cross the first threshold when they go to 2300 AD and see what the future holds if they don’t do something about it. When they find out Lavos is to blame, they have reached the Belly of the Whale.

The tactical aspect of Chrono Trigger is rather simple compared to most other tactical games, but there were several considerations during battle. Some enemies were strong against physical or other types of damage. Meaning you would have to fight around those handicaps. Character position would affect some attacks. Other attacks would affect damage only in a line. Because of this, some attacks through stronger, would be a worse choice. One popular tactic was to “knock out” the defense of an enemy. Casting a water spell on a sand monster would make him easier to damage.

Chrono Trigger is simply a very good game, that opened my eyes up to different combat possibilities. Though the biggest thing that Chrono Trigger brought to RPGs at the time was combining special moves, I personally feel that it was only an expansion of the tactical combat that I mentioned earlier. Chrono Trigger is not only one of my favorite games, but a game that influences design decisions that I make.