Chrono Trigger DS Hands-on: Blast from the Past

By Aaron Linde, Jul 16, 2008 3:19pm PDT With such an extensive roster of remakes and revisions of classic titles both released and in development, it seemed inevitable that Square Enix would eventually return to its classic SNES RPG Chrono Trigger. Inevitability aside, it's a well-deserved retread.

As previously revealed, the title's Nintendo DS appearance is a straight port—no fancy 3D graphics, no voice acting. Simply the game as you likely remember it or a bit crisper, thanks to a sharp LCD screen.

Chrono Trigger DS takes advantage of the hardware in ways seen in other Square Enix DS RPGs, restricting the top screen to the game itself while map navigation, menu options and battle control are pinned to the system's touch screen.

While rooting through an unsuspecting neighbor's house or exploring a dungeon, a detailed map offering a full overview of the surrounding geometry will guide you on the bottom screen, surrounded by the various menu and navigation options. When engaged in battle, your characters' various attacks, spells, and tech abilities are mapped to buttons, as are the enemies you're targeting.

It might not seem like much, but with virtually every menu and informational tidbit on the touch screen, the top screen is free to display the field of battle with limited interference from a complicated HUD. Aside from the environment, characters and enemies, the only information displayed on the top screen are small indicators over the sprites designating turn order and available hit points, leaving a wealth of visual real estate over the game's original SNES counterpart.

Shacknews was assured by a Square Enix representative that all of the content available in the PlayStation port of the game—released in North America as part of Final Fantasy Chronicles—will be incorporated into the DS version, including the fully animated cutscenes directed by character designer Akira Toriyama.

Square Enix also noted that several new pieces of content are being planned for the game, though they could not specify what those elements may be.

The game's touted multiplayer element, meanwhile, is said to incorporate actual gameplay—I made a point to ask Square Enix if the game's wireless function would be a simple mail function or item trading, which they flatly refuted. More details were not be made available, but it appears that Chrono Trigger's multiplayer will be something substantial.

Chrono Trigger is slated for a release this holiday season at a $39.99 price point.

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