I finally finished Chrono Trigger, and only 12 years late. Not too bad. Much like Super Mario World, this is another classic that deserves the accolades it has received. I only hope Link to the Past and Final Fantasy 4 are Chrono Trigger good. Though because of the game’s quality characterization, I am now slightly depressed.
It has been pretty uncommon in my life, but now and then a game comes along that affects me like a great movie or novel does. Now that there is no more to see, what happens to the characters? Crono, whose name is a typo because of the apparent five character limit in the game, was the standard silent protagonist and I don’t give a damn about him. But Frog, Magus, Lucca and Robo I do care about. The game’s ending was almost like these new friends’ deaths. Maybe it’s better this way since I’m still coping with the guilt of not saving Lucca’s mothers legs and trying to justify recruiting Magus even though it damned Frog to live and die in his current form. But those are the breaks of time travel, right? Some things need to happen and just because you can change something doesn’t mean you should. I hope Frog and Lucca see it that way, too.
Chrono Trigger also reminded me of all the other dear friends who left me. Minsc’s absurd voice still plays in my head, often followed by Boo’s squeak. Morte’s one liners and Dak’kon’s philosophy are still lucid in my memory. Ryo Hazuki mattered to me more than any character in a GTA game ever did, say what you will of the game play mechanics in each. Even Twilight Princess, which was an excellent game, lacks any characters I really care about. I don’t care to know what else happens to that Link after the credits roll. But I honestly dread the last Ace Attorney game starring Phoenix Wright, and after every case closes I’m sad to see the participants go their own way.
Chris Crawford argues that a good video game is interactive above all things. He may side with Miyamoto – Zelda doesn’t need characterization, it has awesome puzzles. This is true, yet ten years from now I won’t remember any of those puzzles. I still have scenes from decade old character heavy RPGs etched in my brain. I can see Alys on her death bed, and Rune and Chaz on top of a building discussing life while looking out at the stars. And now, I am certain that for many long years I will recall Robo traveling to a future in which he may no longer exist.