Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 15: Screenshot from a Game you are Playing Now

Screenshots are boring, so I have this awesome picture instead, because I'm currently playing Chrono Trigger and Civilization 2, and I haven't talked about this one yet properly.

Chrono Trigger is perhaps the greatest of the early RPGs. It was for the SNES, and used some new techniques to give it a bright, cartoony look that works really well. The story is complex, epic, and endearing, with surprising twists and a group of well-developed characters you grow to understand and empathize with.

In short, you are a young boy (who for no apparent reason carries a katana all the time) who, with a few friends, stumbles upon a series of time portals. While wandering around time and getting into trouble in all sorts of ways, you discover that there is a BBEG in the core of the Earth, and ultimately destroys the world. Vowing to stop this, you and your increasing band of followers set out on an epic quest across several periods of time, from the prehistoric to the futuristic, trying to find a way to stop this evil menace.

You encounter robots, true love in several forms, magic, frogs, ghosts, fear, intrigue, immortal sages, mortal sages, false prophets, disguises, golems which are scared of heights, emperors, kings, princesses, wizards, and a cat woman.

Every character has a story behind them that you can't help but love. Chrono is in fact, the most boring character there, as in true RPG tradition, you don't say anything the whole time. Everyone else though, remains fascinating to see interact, hence my favourite gaming couple a few days ago was from this game - the techie and the robot. Dawwwwww.

It's like the Princess Bride, but with more awesomeness. And strangely... no pirates.

The gameplay is quite similar to Final Fantasy, with the ATB gauge determining when you can act. One of the more interesting features of Chrono Trigger is that amongst your regular individual techniques, there are a series of Double Techniques which every pairing of characters can learn. This leads to powerful joint healing techniques (although Slurp Kiss, jointly done between Frog, the sentient frog knight, and Ayla, the sexy monkey woman, is a somewhat disturbing sight) and equally powerful offensive techniques of various types (the water-ice combo Glacier with Marle and Frog is a favourite of mine). This means that its not just the 3 individual party members you take with you at any one time that is important, but the combination they make. Yes, you can take a physical offensive, a magic offensive, and a healer, but what additional techniques can you get between them? Ayla and Marle can charm items from monsters together, but Marle and Robo can do one of the more powerful healing techniques together. It adds a layer of complexity and teamwork to the game which I haven't seen in many other places.

Overall, it never feels grindy and the story keeps up a good pace, driving you forward right till the end, however you end it. Note: there are about 28 different endings. I aim to see them all. This is a great game that I recommend to everyone.

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