nigh impossible to have a discussion about Japanese role-playing games
without name-dropping titles like Phantasy Star IV, Final Fantasy VI,
and Dragon Quest V and VI. Despite releasing in the '90s, they're widely
considered the best entries in some of the most accomplished JRPG
franchises ever conceived. But there’s no other game as synonymous with
role-playing greatness than Chrono Trigger, a game that managed to
outshine its highly regarded contemporaries and land the number three
spot on our list of best games of all time thanks to its complex plot, lovable cast of characters, and ambitious technical achievements.
course, we can't talk about what made the game so great without first
acknowledging the famed "dream team" that made Chrono Trigger a reality.
Its cast of developers included the likes of Hironobu Sakaguchi,
creator of Final Fantasy, Yuji Horii, creator of Dragon Quest, and Akira
Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball.
three conceived of one of the most complex stories ever told in the
video game medium circa the mid '90s. Young Crono and crew were tasked
with saving the world from the apocalyptic monster Lavos, and had to do
so via time travel--and that adventure would ultimately culminate in one
of 13 endings. As you jumped from 65 million B.C. to 2300 A.D. and the
eras in between, you'd witness the same world evolve, with each time
period offering new places to discover. Some dungeons and towns even
persisted through time: Guardia Castle, for example, could be explored
in multiple eras, and it was fascinating to witness its transformation
over a 400-year span.
time travel was a novel mechanic, it wouldn't have been nearly as
memorable had it not been for the colorful cast of characters it allowed
Crono to encounter during his journey. The intelligent Lucca and sassy
princess Marle were introduced from the start, but only by accidentally
warping through time did Crono meet the lovably gallant Frog, broody
Magus, brawny Ayla, and, of course, the almost-human Robo who apparently
loved Rick Astley.
of these characters had a surprising level of depth, and every single
one of them had a memorable personality. Chrono Trigger's side quests
led to powerful weapons and equipment, but it also included lengthy
character-specific sub plots that provided insight and back story to each
member of the party. Discovering how Frog became a frog (fun fact: He
wasn't always an anthropomorphic amphibian), or what that dastardly
Magus was really
up to made us feel all the more attached to those characters, and those
plots lent an incredibly personal element to a game that was otherwise
quite grand in scale.