Square has done it again, they have created another awesome RPG. ChronoTrigger is the perfect blend of Final Fantasy III and Secret Of Mana. The character graphics in ChronoTrigger are the best yet, along with the backgrounds. The music is of the same quality as its Final Fantasy III and Secret of Mana cousins. The control is very much like Secret of Mana including the ability to run instead of walking around.
The battle engine used is very easy to use. As long as an enemy isn't looking directly at you, you and your party can sneak around him, no more random battles that come out of nowhere. When you get in a battle your characters get in a defensive formation depending on where the enemies are attacking. After everyone has taken their positions, the battle menu appears -- it has the speed bars for your characters (from Final Fantasy III), your party's life and magic points and of course your commands.
Your commands consist of Attack, Tech, and Item. Attack is to strike an enemy with the weapon you are currently equipped with. Tech is a list of special attacks that your individual characters can use -- of course these special attacks are learned by earning tech points after battles. Later your characters will learn to use magic, magic is listed under the Tech command and is denoted by a star. Item obviously lets you choose to use items during battle. When you wait and let your other members speed bars fill up, the Tech command becomes the Combo command. Combo allows two or three characters to combine their attacks to do a lot more damage. For example if you have Crono, Frog, and Robo in your party, and let all of their speed bars become full, then choose their Triple-tech (which is listed under the Combo command, called "Triple Raid."), all three of them will attack simultaneously doing a lot more damage than if they all attacked separately. Depending on who you have in your party decides what kind of Dual-tech or Triple-techs the party is capable of. There are special items that can be equipped which allow certain party members to perform special Triple-techs that cannot normally be learned.
Your companions come from several different time era's ranging from 65 million BC. to 2300 AD:
Crono the main character, is an aspiring swordsman who is drawn into the adventure of a lifetime. He is destined to master the magic of Lightning. In his journeys a young seer proclaims that the "dark wind howls" for this young hero. If Crono's companions are brave enough they can save him from an ill fate.
Marle is actually a princess whom Crono bumps into at the Millennial Fair. Her weapon of choice is a crossbow and in time she learns Ice magic. Marle fears that something is wrong at the castle, more so than usual when Crono is put on trial. Marle is quite fond of Crono and would do anything necessary to help him.
Lucca is a friend of Crono's. She is an inventor and a tinkerer. She prefers using guns and masters the magic of Fire. She is very useful where machines are involved. Lucca secretly blames herself for the tragic accident that crippled her mother, when she was very young. If given access to a time gate, what would you do?
Frog was once a human swordsman until an evil curse was cast upon him by Magus. Frog has learned to respect his new form. He seeks the ancient Masamune (which was broken in his confrontation with Magus) with which to vanquish the one responsible for his curse and the death of a close friend. He soon masters the magic of water.
Robo is a robot who pledges himself to your quest after Lucca repairs him. As the game progresses he learns what his true function is. Do to the fact that he is a machine he does not know any magic, however he has a host of physical and laser attacks at his command. Can he overcome his programming and fight that which created him for such an evil purpose?
Ayla is a cave woman who joins your party when you aid her in driving out the evil Reptites. Though not too bright she is very strong and disdains using any kind of weapons, other than her hands and teeth. Unfortunately she existed before magic was created and therefore she has no magic potential whatsoever. She seeks a way to eliminate the Reptites forever and to stop Lavos before he arrives.
The last member of your team, by your choice, may join you or just as easily fight you. I recommend you bury your craving for vengeance and allow Magus to join your quest. Though considered evil this sorcerer seeks to destroy an even greater evil, the mighty Lavos. Magus commands the magic of Shadow and can be a very powerful asset to your party. Unfortunately he cannot combine any of his attacks with other party members unless he can find a Black Rock which will give him the power to combine his attack with two other people to invoke the Triple-tech "Dark Eternal." Magus also seeks his lost sister -- will he ever find her in time?
There are other characters who will help or thwart your attempts. Remember not all monsters are evil, such as Spekkio the Master of War, who will teach you magic if you follow his instructions. In fact he will do battle with you, be forewarned, only magical attacks will harm him. If you defeat him he will give you an assortment of useful items. If your stuck at any point in the game, the old man at the end of time will give you some advice. After you make major changes in history, be sure to check the other time lines, because you will definitely get different information from the all the different villagers.
Most of the other reviews I have seen on this game seem a bit misleading, it is said that ChronoTrigger doesn't have any character development. I feel this is an unfair statement. ChronoTrigger, in fact, has quite a bit of character development. This is done by dream sequences and flashback scenes. Also some of the characters take advantage of the time-gate in order to change their own past. It must be nice to change time without worrying about any major paradoxes, because if one shows up you just go back in time and make it right. In my opinion ChronoTrigger doesn't have as much character development as Final Fantasy III, but it has a great deal more of it than Secret Of Mana.
Now, the major things that make an RPG are, of course, its story and complexity. Take a medieval storyline and add the ability to time-travel and you have a very immersive and unique story -- in essence you have ChronoTrigger. At first the time-travel element may seem confusing with all the multiple time eras and the possible consequences to the future eras when you change the past. I am not going to tell the specifics of the storyline, and basically make a strategy guide. I feel that such "guides" ruin the impact and interest in the game, when they are released the moment the game comes out. I don't mind giving a few tips and hints though.
When you visit the Millennial Fair try not to do anything dishonest, like eat anybody's lunch, or refuse to give something that was lost back to its owner, and above all things be patient and honest.
Play Dr. Bekkler's 3rd game twice, first you'll win a cat, then the second time you will get catfood which will change your ending somewhat.
At a certain point in the game you can choose when to fight Lavos. Depending on whether you fix all the paradoxes or not, the ending will be very different.
If you beat the game the right way there will be a "NewGame+" option after you reset it. This allows you to start the game all over but you use the built up characters from one of your save files. You will start the game with your weak weapons equipped, but if you go to the equip option you can then equip the powerful weapons you previously had, as well as any armor or accessories you had. When you meet a character and they join you they will be built up in levels just like your previous game.
After you start a "NewGame+" get to the point where Lucca wants you to try the telepod. Look at the right pod and there is a sparkle, as if a power tab is there. When you grab it, you will be warped straight to Lavos. If you beat him then you are transported to the end of time where you can have some very interesting and enlightening conversations with all the programmers, artists, and musicians who created the game.
I guess the only aspect of ChronoTrigger that I am partially disappointed with is its length. I know people who have spent 70+ hours on the game the first time through. It only took me 32 hours to find everything, fix all the paradoxes and get the best ending. No doubt an awesome RPG worth experiencing, whether you are a fan of RPGs or not. I certainly hope the programmers were serious about ChronoTrigger 2.
Perhaps in a few months, if I get enough e-mail, I may write up a comprehensive strategy guide. But in the meantime I will be happy to help you out with any problems you are having in this excellent RPG!
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue is perhaps the best game ever released for the Sega CD. I know what you're saying to yourself, "Not exactly a tough pile to climb to the top of..." but here me out. It contains everything a good RPG should, and then throws in Working Design's warped sense of humor.
Let's start with the basics. The game engine itself is nothing you haven't seen before in a RPG. There are, however, a couple of features offered in combat that I have not seen before. The first allows you to pre-program tactics for fights. Allowing you to preform magic or special attacks without opening multiple option boxes. The second is character movement. Instead of standing in one spot on the screen, and slashing your sword in the air, your character must actually walk to the enemy before he can attack. Very Cool. Inventory is pretty basic, with each character handling his own inventory plus one additional character -- a small pink flying dragon named Ruby, who can carry a massive amount of items. Combat, a major factor in a RPG, occurs often. However, it goes quickly and does not become tiring. As an added plus the AI is intelligent enough to fight through a good portion of the game, giving you an excellent showing of the workings of combat.
The music is good, and has multiple tracks. The trouble is that they are rather short, meaning that any amount of time spent in one area will result in repeated listinings of some tracks. The graphics, on a sidenote, are average RPG fare with the animated sequences being the high point.
The story is definitely the game's "crown jewel." As with all Working Design's games, the text and dialouge are not directly translated, but rather rewritten. What this means to you is that the plot and humor are quickly, and concisely, developed. Did I mention the humor? With talk of "atomic diareah" and constant references to modern movies, music, TV shows, etc... that will make you smile and giggle.
The plot is pretty generic at the start. Hiro (that's you) is obviously out to save the world. Along the way, however, there are plenty of plot twists, mysteries, and rouges to meet to keep things interesting.
Lunar 2 is definately one of the best games released for the Sega CD. However, like the Eternal Champions CD, this game suffers from timing. As a format, the Sega CD is dead. A shame considering good games are finally being released for it. Make sure you give this game a look...