Chrono Trigger recently turned 20 years old as it originally came out on March 11, 1995, in Japan. Over the years, the classic JRPG has been ported to multiple platforms with some new additions and enhancements added along the way. So what are the best and worst versions of Chrono Trigger? Let’s take a look at each iteration.
Why Chrono Trigger is Worth Playing
First off, let’s talk a little bit more about Chrono Trigger. The project was headed by an all-star list of famous Japanese developers. The names include Hironobu Sakaguchi (creator/director of Final Fantasy) Yuji Horii (designer/writer of Dragon Quest), Akira Toriyama (artist behind Dragon Ball and Dragon Quest) as well as Nobuo Uematsu (composer of Final Fantasy). While assembling an all-cast team does not always work out, the stars aligned when it came to this game.
Chrono Trigger broke several new grounds, the first of which is the combat system. Instead of loading into another screen for battle, you fight enemies on the same area where you engage them. The actual combat uses the Active Time Battle mechanism in which your turn is determined by how fast your speed meter is filled up. If you wait until multiple members of your three-person team are ready to act, you can perform powerful Double or Triple Techs.Another innovative aspect is time travel as you get to jump across seven different time periods in order to recruit new members, explore new locations and alter history. This is especially neat when you considered that, after beating the game once, you will be able to fight the last boss at different points during the story to unlock new endings via the new game plus (a feature that has been implemented in many games have used since).Even by today’s standards, Chrono Trigger is still an excellent game as the gameplay, graphics and audio aspects have held up well over the years. It is also perfectly paced as you will always be exploring new interesting locations while the campaign is relatively short (should take around 24 hours the first time through) with plenty of replay value. Fans of the JRPG genre, or games in general, should definitely check it out if they haven’t already.
SNES and Wii Virtual Console Versions
Chrono Trigger was released first for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on August 22, 1995. It would eventually be made available on the Virtual Console of the Nintendo Wii on May 16, 2011. While it does not have the extra features that were added in the later iterations, the original version is still perfectly playable and better in some ways when compared to the Android, iOS and PSOne releases. With that said, it is the most expensive version as the cartridge has became a collector’s item over the years. So you may want to download the original from the Virtual Console instead.
You can check out the price for the SNES release of Chrono Trigger with this link on Amazon.
Final Fantasy Chronicles and PSN Versions
To get PlayStation fans familiar with the series before the launch of Chrono Cross, Square Enix released Chrono Trigger along with Final Fantasy IV under the collection named Final Fantasy Chronicles on June 29, 2001. The same port would be made available for download on the PlayStation 3, PSP and Vita starting on October 4, 2011.
The PS1 version added anime cut scenes along with an extras menu that lets you replay unlocked cinematic and songs from the game. Unfortunately, the port was plagued by long load times when opening the in-game menu, entering into new areas as well as transitioning in to and out of battle. While it is still playable, the downtime can really hinder the experience. You can get the disc release, which can be played on the PS1, PS2 and PS3, here.
Nintendo DS Version
Square Enix eventually ported the game to the Nintendo DS with all of the extras from the PS1 version along with some exclusive content on November 25, 2008. The company decided to update the rough translation while adding in two new areas (Dimensional Vortex and Lost Sanctum), a monster-training mini-game with Arena of the Ages, automatic running in addition to an extra ending that ties the first installment to Chrono Cross.
Thanks to the improved translation and added features, Chrono Trigger offers plenty of incentives for those who have already played the original to death to play through the new version. You can purchase the DS release, which is compatible with the DS and 3DS platforms, with this page.
iOS and Android Versions
Chorno Trigger was also ported to smart phones with the iOS version releasing on December 8, 2011, while the Android port came out almost a year later on October 29, 2012.
The iOS and Android releases are straight ports of the Nintendo DS version without the inclusion of the anime cut scenes. Instead of a traditional game pad, you have to use the touch screen, which is nowhere near as accurate. Not to mention that your hands will block off a portion of the screen. So, unless you can’t play the game on any other platforms we mentioned above, you should avoid the iOS and Android versions.
Overall, we suggest getting the Nintendo DS iteration if possible. Otherwise, the original and Virtual Console releases should be great as well. If you can deal with the loading issues, the PS1 and PSN versions are capable too, especially since you can play them on multiple PlayStation platforms. Lastly, iOS and Android ports should be skipped unless you have no other options to play the JRPG. You can find our rankings, from the best to worst versions, for Chrono Trigger below.
- Nintendo DS Version
- SNES and Wii Virtual Console Versions
- Final Fantasy Chronicles and PSN Versions
- iOS and Android Versions
Chrono Trigger is one of the rare classic games that are timeless and have aged well over the years. You should check it out if you somehow managed to skipped the JRPG over the past 20 years. Just make sure you play the Nintendo DS version if you want to get the best experience.