Chrono Trigger turned 25 on March 11, which has had me fascinated about this basic Japanese role-playing recreation (each time I’m not spending my time freaking out in regards to the present worldwide pandemic, anyway).

I don’t know many JRPG followers who wouldn’t put Chrono Trigger of their prime 5. It was a collaboration between Square and Enix again earlier than they had been one firm. This resulted in lots of the greatest minds in JRPG historical past engaged on the identical recreation, like Final Fantasy mastermind Hironobu Sakaguchi and Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii. The end result was some of the stunning and epic experiences of the 16-bit period.

But why, 25 years later, do folks nonetheless discuss Chrono Trigger a lot? What is it that made folks fall in love with this recreation? The soundtrack actually performed a component, as did the (then novel) nonrandom enemy encounters. But I believe that the pacing is what actually helped make Chrono Trigger so standard.


These days, we frequently consider JRPGs as experiences that may be near 100 hours lengthy. Compared to them, Chrono Trigger is succinct. You can end with the most effective ending (Chrono Trigger has bunch of endings you may unlock by completely different means) in about 20 hours.

Even amongst its contemporaries, that’s fairly breezy. Final Fantasy VI, for comparability, will take most individuals at the least 30 hours to complete. Now, I’m not saying that shorter or longer is healthier. But Chrono Trigger managed to create some of the dense RPG adventures ever. At virtually each second, one thing attention-grabbing occurs. Even with its comparatively quick size, it seems like some of the epic experiences you may in have in gaming. You undergo a number of dungeons, time durations, and watch a number of smaller tales intertwine and mix into a bigger narrative.

The RetroBeat: Chrono Trigger is the fast-paced blockbuster of JRPGs

The RetroBeat: Chrono Trigger is the fast-paced blockbuster of JRPGs

Above: Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest had a child, and it was superior.

Image Credit: Square Enix

The size and pacing assist to make Chrono Trigger extra accessible than many different RPGs. If one thing like Shin Megami Tensei IV is Lawrence of Arabia — a protracted, slow-paced drama — then Chrono Trigger is Jurassic Park … or possibly Back to the Future could be the more proficient analogy. Chrono Trigger is a fast-paced blockbuster. It’s filled with plot twists and motion. If ever there was an RPG after I’d desire a large tub of popcorn to get pleasure from whereas taking part in, it will be Chrono Trigger.

I’m not attempting to short-sell Chrono Triggers different superb qualities. It has a tremendous solid (the noble Frog will all the time stay certainly one of my favourite JRPG characters). And once more, the soundtrack is an all-time nice. The battle system is enjoyable, particularly with the intelligent teamup assaults. And I don’t imply to suggest that it has a foul story. Just like how Back to the Future and Jurassic Park provide enjoyable and inventive narratives, Chrono Trigger’s story is lots of enjoyable. But I don’t discover it to be all that deep or considerate.

But lots of JRPGs have enjoyable tales, memorable casts, and catchy music. That quick pacing is what makes Chrono Trigger stand out. Even 25 years later, I can’t consider a contemporary JRPG that accomplishes a lot in so little time.

Now, excuse me whereas I hearken to “Frog’s Theme” on repeat for the remainder of the day.

The RetroBeat is a weekly column that appears at gaming’s previous, diving into classics, new retro titles, or how previous favorites — and their design strategies — encourage at the moment’s market and experiences. If you have got any retro-themed tasks or scoops you’d prefer to ship my method, please contact me.