Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Chrono Trigger's US cover art, which shows Marle casting a fire spell, although in the game she casts ice spells.|
|Designers:||Hironobu Sakaguchi & Yuji Horii|
|Release date:||1995; PlayStation 2001|
|Game modes:||Single player|
|ESRB rating:||Kids to Adults (K-A)|
|Platform:||Super Famicom/Super NES; PlayStation|
|Media:||32-megabit cartridge; CD-ROM|
Chrono Trigger (クロノ・トリガー) is a role-playing game that was 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); it was re-released in 2001 for the Sony PlayStation (PS) as a part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles package, alongside Final Fantasy IV. The game has never been released in PAL territories.
Chrono Trigger is regarded as one of the best games of all time by many fans. It was made by a group referred to as "The Dream Team." The Dream Team was made up of Hironobu Sakaguchi (producer of the Final Fantasy series), Yuji Horii (scenario designer of the Dragon Quest games), character designer Akira Toriyama (of Dragon Ball and Dragon Quest fame), and music composers Yasunori Mitsuda (later known for Xenogears) and Nobuo Uematsu (of Final Fantasy fame.)
At the time of its release the ideas behind the game were revolutionary, involving multiple endings, a truly amazing variety of nearly endless items, a well-developed story that gives each character a chance to shine, a smooth and innovative battle system, almost unparalleled graphics (relative to other games of the time), and much much more.
Chrono Trigger is about a group of adventurers who travel across time to save the future. Along the way they recruit allies from other time periods in an attempt to defeat the alien parasite Lavos that is slowly destroying the planet. The player eventually gains seven playable characters (in the order that they join the group: main hero and silent protagonist Crono, rebellious princess Marle, studious inventor Lucca, android Robo , amphibian knight Frog, cave-woman Ayla, and the optional character, the dark wizard Magus). The group travels via time gates and the flying time machine Epoch to seven different time periods: the Prehistoric times (65,000,000 BC ), the Dark Ages (ice age (12,000 BC)), the Middle Ages (600 AD), the Present time (1000 AD), the Apocalypse (Day of Lavos, 1999 AD), the post-apocalyptic Future (2300 AD), and the very End of Time itself (represented as infinity).
One interesting note about Chrono Trigger is that the main character, Crono, never talks, though the other characters seem to act as though he does. This seems to be so the player can be in Crono's shoes, and talk for him. The one exception is in the "A Slide Show?" ending in which Crono says one line ("What ARE you two doing?! I thought you said something about a nice little slide show?"). Although this quirk was very common in RPGs years ago, such as Breath of Fire (except in the Final Fantasy series), Crono became almost universally identified with this peculiar 'muteness.'
Another interesting feature of Chrono Trigger is that the player can beat the final boss at almost any point in the game, using one of several means to initiate the final battle. When the final boss is beaten determines which ending of the game is shown, along with some other game-related events in some cases. A complete list of these endings and how to obtain them can be found on the Internet in many places. Once the final boss has been beaten, the player may choose to start a new game or a "New Game+", where the stats of the characters and most of the items and money are retained in the new game. This makes is easier to play the game multiple times in order to view all of the endings.
Chrono Trigger uses an Active Time Battle (ATB) system. Each character in the player's party of 1-3 attacks after a certain time period has passed. Attacks can be with an equipped weapon (such as swords and bows) or using "techs". Techs are characters' special attacks which use Magic Points (MP). There are many combo-techs that require two or three characters. Chrono Trigger also has unique battles that take place at the actual spot of encounter (not in a generic battle area). There are no random battles while wandering on the overworld map, and players can avoid most battles in the game if they choose. The positions of the enemy and of the player's party are important for many techs. For example, some techs will damage multiple enemies only if they are close together. Other techs will attack in a straight line and only damage enemies in that path. Finally, some techs can only be performed if all party members are physically close together. Some of the most powerful techs in the game target all enemies on the screen.
Chrono Trigger's soundtrack is popular with fans, and is one of the most heavily-remixed collection of music by fans on both sides of the Pacific, whose tributes number approximately 300. Ironically, Dream Team member Nobuo Uematsu signed on the project to help Mitsuda out after the latter contracted stomach ulcers due to working extremely hard on the music . Uematsu went on to compose ten songs, one with the help of Noriko Matsueda, while Mitsuda's work totaled in at fifty-four. He would later compose four additional pieces for the Extras menu of the Playstation release; two of them - One Sunny Day When We Met and A Meeting with Destiny - have been noted by famed Doom creator John Romero as being among his favorite video game music .
Super Famicom/Super Nintendo version
Some players consider one of the main problems with the game to be its short play time. It takes approximately 20 to 25 hours to complete the game, which is a very short timespan for a SFC/SNES RPG (Dragon Quest VI, for instance, takes about 100 hours), although it does take about 60-70 hours to max out everyone's stats. To mitigate the problem of length, the developers of the game created quite a few multiple endings that the player could earn, including several secret endings. The plot of each ending depends on which point in the storyline's progress the game is beaten. They also added a "New Game+" system, which allows the player to start a new game with all the various rare and powerful equipment, and the experience each character ended another game with. Money is not kept, however. This allows the player to reach all 12 endings very quickly.
The remake for the PlayStation (released in the US as Final Fantasy Chronicles, packaged with a "remastered" version of Final Fantasy IV) features anime movies spread through 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 a few unused songs
- Statistics on all of 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
- a "treasure map" which shows the locations of hidden items
Poor emulation 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, SquareEnix did not correct this problem with the Greatest Hits rerelease of Final Fantasy Chronicles.
Contrary to popular belief, the character Schala and a rumored ninth character were never playable. Top ROM hackers have investigated the game's code; entire data structures would have had to be changed for two extra characters to exist, and the code that supposedly proves this assertion, 1981-E46F, only fools the game into thinking one party member exists, allowing the options screen to scroll down two more slots. Despite this, a scrolling character menu would never have been programmed if the game was designed from the start to have seven playable characters (as seven can fit on a single screen without scrolling). Additionally, rumored sprite data and extra animations of Schala have never been found. Only two strange sprites beneath the main party's overworld sprites hint of an unused character, and no conclusions can be drawn.
A pre-release beta version was leaked to the Internet in July 1999. Large parts of the game were not programmed, and entering those unfinished areas causes the game to freeze. The music is slightly different in certain areas, and Ayla is missing as a playable character (though her sprites are in the ROM). Many NPCs are missing. The famed "Singing Mountain" area is actually accessible, complete with its music, though the area was never finished. Information on the other story, character, map, and battle changes are available in StarNeptune's Chrono Trigger beta FAQ, available below. However, StarNeptune's FAQ was created by GameFAQs users, who included several false assertions (such as the "extra playable characters" rumor, that 65000000 B.C.'s continent is much larger than its final counterpart, that much of Magus's history is in the Prerelease and was cut in the final, and others). The differences within Prerelease have been fully documented and mapped as images by the Chrono Compendium (see external links). Additionally, the ROM hacker JLukas has developed codes that enable exploration of the areas that previously caused the games to crash; they are stored at the Compendium.
Chrono Trigger features an event tracking system, which is used to update the save screen's "chapter title", change certain characters' dialogue, and alter the maps to conform to the current position in the story. It is also used for bug and consistency checking. If events happen out of order (such things can happen if the cartridge save RAM is corrupt, or if the player uses a Game Genie code to walk through walls and skip over certain events), the Nu (as Balthasar) will appear in front of the doorway to Epoch's construction bay in 2300 AD, and proclaim "The Time Axis is out of alignment." Aside from this warning, the game will continue normally, which can allow for such things as already having Magus in your party when you fight Magus in 600 A.D.
Lastly, Geiger, a longtime ROM hacker and modifier, has released an editor for Chrono Trigger called "Temporal Flux" that allows the free drawing and editing of any Location or Overworld in the ROM, the changing of any text string in the game, and the altering of event code. Though this allows most aspects of Chrono Trigger to be changed and restructured, editing event code is still very difficult, and support has not yet been added for sprite editing and other features. However, updates are planned (see external links), as Geiger aims to enable the editing of everything within the game.
Player Characters (PCs)
- Crono (クロノ kurono) - The main character. He lives with his mother (Gina, in the Japanese version) in the town of Truce, under the rule of the Guardia Kingdom. He meets Marle at the Millennial Fair and is later accused of kidnapping her. In 12000 B.C. when the party is confronted with Lavos in the Ocean Palace of the Zeal Kingdom, he sacrifices himself to save his friends. Later, the party can revive him using the Time Egg. He never talks (except in one ending), although when other characters converse with him, they act as if he did answer. He uses katanas as a weapon. Once he obtains magical ability his techs become lightning oriented. The prefix "chrono" is a common prefix to words dealing with time: chronology, chronometer, etc. Also possibly a reference to the Greek God Chronos, who personifies time.
- Marle (マール māru) - The tomboy princess of Guardia. Due to her stifled lifestyle, she leaves the castle to go to the Millennial Fair in Truce. Here she meets Crono and tries out Lucca's teleporter, but she ends up getting transported to 600 A.D. where she is mistaken for Queen Leene. This causes the search for the real Leene to be called off, causing a paradox which destroys Marle until Crono and Lucca reverse it. Her real name is Nadia, and she uses a crossbow. When she gains the ability to use magic, she learns to use Ice spells.
- Lucca (ルッカ rukka) - Lucca Ashtear is Crono's genius friend. With her intelligence she has made many devices, such as a battle-training robot named Gato and a short-range teleporter. When Marle tries out her teleporter at the Millennial Fair, the machine reacts with the pendant Marle wears and sends her back in time. Lucca fights with a gun, and when spells become available she gains the ability to cast fire magic.
- Frog (カエル kaeru) - A knight from 600 A.D whose real name is Glenn. He worked under a Knight of the Square Table named Cyrus, but later Magus killed Cyrus and transformed Glenn into an anthropomorphic frog. Frog dedicates his life to protecting Queen Leene and vows to avenge Cyrus by killing Magus. Later, he puts Cyrus's ghost to rest and can either defeat or ally himself with Magus. If when given this option the player fights and defeats Magus, Frog will become a human again at the end of the game. Frog uses a broadsword and can cast water magic.
- Robo (ロボ robo) - A robot from 2300 A.D. His original purpose was to observe the era's humans in order to find a weakness which the robots could exploit in order to exterminate the human race. After being left dormant for an undetermined amount of time, he is found and repaired by Lucca; upon his reactivation, he has no memory of his initial purpose, and joins the party. His real name is Prometheus, and his serial number is R-66Y. He uses his fist as a weapon and gains no magic (although he is equipped with laser weapons which mimic the shadow element). Robo's alter-ego "Promethius" is a clear reference to the Greek god Prometheus, who was punished by Zeus for giving fire to man. In an optional side quest, Robo is punished by his maker for having sympathy for humans. Robo's creator, "Mother Brain" has an unignorable similarity (both in name and disposition) to the Metroid supervillain of the same name. It is not clear if this similarity is intentional.
- Ayla (エイラ eira) - The chief of the Ioka village who is in a constant war against the Reptites: an evolved, intelligent race of anthropomorphic reptiles who live in her era of 65,000,000 B.C. After Lavos hits the planet, dust blasts into the atmosphere and blocks out the sun. This causes an ice age, which kills the Reptites. Ayla has no magic (as she was born before the age of magic), but she is physically very strong and is able to use Techs, which require magic points. Many players of Chrono Trigger believe that Ayla's character alludes to Jean Auel's "Earth's Children" series, the protagonist of which is a tall, blonde-haired, blue eyed, prehistoric girl named Ayla.
- Magus (Janus) (魔王 maō) - After an encounter with Lavos in 12,000 B.C., Schala's younger brother Janus was sent via a Gate to 600 A.D. Here he met a Mystic named Ozzie and with Ozzie's help recruited an army of Mystics to challenge the kingdom of Guardia. His real purpose in this plan was to gain enough power to summon and destroy Lavos. He fights with a scythe as well as a combination of all types of magic (fire, ice, lightning, and shadow). The word "Magus" is the singular form of the word "magi", which is commonly used to describe the Three Wise Men. The three wise men are doubly referenced by the Gurus of Zeal, who are mentors to the young Magus.
Non-Playable Characters (NPCs)
- Cyrus (サイラス) - A hero from 600 AD. He was a brave knight who was defeated by Magus. His friend, Glenn, was turned into a frog. Possibly a reference to Prince Cyrus II of Persia, a great historical military leader.
- Doan (ドン) - A descendent of Marle living in 2300 AD who was the leader of a group of survivors from the Day of Lavos in 1999 AD.
- Fiona (フィオナ) - A woman from 600 AD who saved the nearby woods and cared for the land. Robo helps her accomplish this.
- Janus (ジャキ) - Younger brother of Schala. He is sucked into a time warp, ending up at 600 BC, where he becomes known as Magus. A reference to the Roman god of the same name. The god, Janus, had two heads (symbolized by the Janus/Magus dichotomy), and was known as the god of doorways and gates (symbolized by the Janus/Magus transformation through the time gate).
- King Guardia XXI and XXXIII (ガルディア) - The king of the land in 600 AD and 1000 AD, respectively. Marle (aka Princess Nadia) is the daughter of King Guardia XXXIII.
- Kino (キーノ) - A prehistoric man who was second-in-command (and sweetheart) to Ayla.
- Queen Leene 90 (リーネ) - The queen from 600 AD. When Marle was taken back to 600 AD, she was mistaken for the Queen, who had been kidnapped. This caused the search for the queen to be cancelled, which in turn caused Marle to not exist until history was changed back.
- Schala (サラ) - The daughter of Queen Zeal and the sister of Janus (aka Magus). She lives back in 12,000 BC, when mankind is separated between the Enlightened Ones, who are able to use magic, and the Earthbound Ones, who are not. She is one of the few Enlightened Ones sympathetic towards the Earthbound Ones. Schala was forced by her power-hungry mother to use her magic powers in order to try and control the energy of Lavos. Schala is an important element in the plot of Chrono Cross, the sequel to Chrono Trigger.
- Tata (タータ) - A youth from 600 AD who was thought to be the Hero.
- The Three Gurus of Zeal (Belthasar (ガッシュ), Gaspar (ハッシュ) and Melchior (ボッシュ)) - three figures of authority originally living in the Kingdom of Zeal in 12,000 B.C. They served as wise men and advisors to Queen Zeal and were among the few Enlightened Ones who did not look down on the Earthbound Ones. When Queen Zeal became obsessed with harnessing the energy of Lavos, the Gurus tried to stop her, which ultimately resulted in Lavos sending each of them into different eras of the future. It is there that the player encounters them and gets valuable items and advice from them. Each Guru specialises in a different notion: Belthasar is the Guru of Reason, Gaspar is the Guru of Time, and Melchior is the Guru of Life. The three were named after the Three Wise Men, though everyone but Melchior has a slightly altered name.
- Azala (アザラ) - Leader of the Reptites from 12,000 BC who led the effort to destroy the apes (humans) to prove their superiority.
- Dalton (ダルトン) - An assistant of Queen Zeal, who wants to take over the kingdom.
- Lavos (ラヴォス) - The game's primary enemy, an alien parasite that crash landed in the year 65,000,000 BC, named by Ayla ("La" means "big", "Vos" means "fire"). It came to Earth with the intention of draining its energy and manipulating its life so that it could produce genetically enhanced spawn, which would continue the cycle in other planets. In the original timeline, Lavos slept for millions of years, gaining power until 1999, when he emerged and put the world into an apocalyptic state. However, because of the interference of many of the characters, he was summoned at two other points in time - 12,000 BC and 600 AD. While traveling in 2300 AD, Crono, Marle, and Lucca see a video of the Day of Lavos (which, of course, happened in 1999, 301 years before the year they saw it in), and decide to somehow prevent it. Magus is also after Lavos for destroying his home era of 12,000 B.C.
- Ozzie, Flea, and Slash - The Generals of Magus during 600 AD. Ozzie mostly brags and then calls an underling to fight in his place. Slash is a swordsman. Flea is a magician who looks like a girl, but claims he is a guy. These characters are references to Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Balzary (a.k.a. Flea), and Saul Hudson (a.k.a. Slash). These puns were created by Squaresoft's US division. Their Japanese names are Vinegar (ビネガー) (Ozzie), Mayonnaise (マヨネイ) (Flea), and Soy Sauce (ソイソー) (Slash), which are derived from condiments instead.
- Queen Zeal (ジール) - A power-hungry queen from 12,000 BC who attempted to control Lavos and siphon its energy for her own power. Queen Zeal is named after her most stunning personality trait. "Zeal" is often defined as "Enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal and tireless diligence in its furtherance", although the Queen's devotion to her cause throughout the game borders on obsession and insanity.
- Yakra (ヤクラ) - A monster who devised a plot to kidnap Queen Leene in 600 AD and tried to take over the Chancellor's place via a disguise. In 1000, the Chancellor is once again being impersonated by a distant descendant of Yakra, bent on revenge and on taking over the kingdom in a bloodless coup through a "trial" of the King.
- Masa & Mune (グランとリオン) - Twin beings of extreme power; fought seperately at first, and then fused together. They dwell in the Denadoro Mountains, where the Masamune resides; in actuality, they compose the Masamune, which, in addition to Dreamstone, is formed by these two 'dreams' of the Guru Melchior. The Masamune sword is a reoccurring reference in many Square videogames to the Japanese sword-smith Masamune. The frequently occurring "sister sword" to the Masamune, the Muramasa is absent in Chrono Trigger, but appears in several other Square Games.
Main article: Chrono Trigger (soundtrack)
The soundtrack to Chrono Trigger is very popular with the Chrono Trigger Original Sound Track available as well as many symphonic versions.
A side story for Chrono Trigger was released for Nintendo's Satellaview add-on for the Super Famicom and was called Radical Dreamers. The original Radical Dreamers was a very short, text-based game, available only in Japan. Radical Dreamers was remade to form the beginning sequence of Chrono Trigger's better known PlayStation sequel, Chrono Cross.
Additionally, there are a number of fan-based Chrono Trigger sequels and remakes in the works. They are:
- Chrono Trigger Remake Project
- Chrono Trigger: Special Edition
- Unofficial Chrono Trigger II
- Chrono Crisis
- Chrono Trigger: Brink of Time
- MobyGame's entry for Chrono Trigger
- GameFAQs' Chrono Trigger FAQs; Meowthnum1's includes pre-release information by StarNeptune
- Wiki for the Chrono series, including a complete guide to the Chrono Trigger Prerelease with images
- Chrono Trigger was being remade by fans in 3D but was stopped after a cease-and-desist letter from Square Enix
- Kingdom of Zeal is dedicated to another Chrono Trigger remake, and has links to other ones as well.
- List of all the endings and how to see them
- Crypt of Geiger, home of Temporal Flux.
- Rpgclassics site for Chrono Trigger
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