Tuesday conversation: Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI?

Ah, the golden age of RPGs!

Which ones were your favorites?  Which ones did you play non-stop?

For me it was Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV (FF2 in the States), Final Fantasy VI, Earthbound, Secret of Mana, Lufia 1 (and, through emulators, later Lufia 2), Shining Force (and, through emulators, later Shining Force 2), Phantasy Star IV, and Ogre Battle.  Later I really got into Final Fantasy VII and am among the many who think Square Enix would be absolutely stupid not to remake it with HD graphics.

Speaking of remakes, which games would you love to see remade?  Older games had to rely on plot, character development, better musical scores, and innovative game play in order to thrive.  Now, it’s often all about graphics.  When companies have take the best of the old world and given it a new outfit, the results have generally been good.  I’d love to see a Chrono Trigger remake and a Final Fantasy IV remake.

Also, to settle arguments elsewhere in my life…

Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI?

A Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time?

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • otocump

    FFVI, emphatically this.

  • b00ger

    Chrono trigger hands down. Some of the best music in a video game, ever. Frog’s theme. Robo’s theme. Those songs still pop into my head on occasion. Also FF7 for the win.

  • James

    I’d like to see a HD remake of Breath of Fire 3.

  • Josh

    FF VI, hands down. You should check out Hero Muzik Vol 1, the themes from FFVI redone. http://neosonix.bandcamp.com/releases

  • Rowan

    Wasn’t Final Fantasy IV remade for the PSP?

    I like Chrono Trigger better, I can’t actually remember any FF game that well other than 7, even though I know I played them, but I played Chrono Trigger many times. I think my favorite RPG of that era was Tales of Phantasia, though (even though I like turn based RPGs better than action RPGs.) [I still can't really say lightning without thinking of how it sounded when they cast lightning in ToP.]

    Sucks there really aren’t many good turn based RPGs being made anymore. I’ll be getting Persona 4 Golden for my Vita after I play through the games I’ll get free if they ever get around to updating the playstation store for PS+ on the Vita.

    • Bryan

      I also miss turn-based RPGs. The slower pace allowed for more involved strategy, where you’d have to plan a few moves ahead instead of mashing mindlessly at buttons.

      And to settle the dispute, Chrono Trigger is far superior to FFVI, though pretty much any Square game from that era is golden.

  • Annatar

    I couldn’t choose between the two. FFVI has been one of my fav games for a long time, but Chrono Trigger was one I just recently played on the DS. I think it’s a tie.

  • Tanet

    Hmm, it is close, but I enjoy FF6 more then CT. Also link to the past easily over ocarina. AndI would love to see both legend of the dragoon and chrono cross given hd remakes.

  • Nate Frein

    Chrono Trigger, definitely. I was also very happy with Chrono Cross on the PSX.

    All time favorite RPG tho? Xenogears.

    I’m not sure I really feel the need to see any of those old RPGs remade. They were well crafted, used the technology they had effectively, and told the story well.

    It’s nice to see the stories ported onto new platforms (especially the really old ones) but I think that generally, going back and remaking them with better graphics just invites the same kind of nonsense as George Lucas’ butchery of Star Wars.

  • kagekiri

    Chrono Trigger! I actually played it a console generation or so after its SNES release via emulation, and I’ve played it on various other platforms its been re-released on since.

    It’s got a fairly straightforward fighting/gear system (no crazy element requirements like in Chrono Cross), there’s not too much you can miss that you won’t be able to grab the next time (like characters/weapons in many other RPGs), not much of having to “click” everything looking for secrets, not too much stress of picking a story choice that you won’t be able to see the impacts of until 5 hours down the line (Mass Effect style choices drive me nuts) or endings that will require you to save before any major decisions, etc.

    It’s a lot shorter than it felt when I was first getting into RPGs after graduating from Pokemon, but it was definitely my gateway into being a JRPG fan on a larger scale.

    I liked FFVI, but my save habits killed my ability to play…I didn’t save much and relied on 1 save state slot, then accidentally saved instead of loading during a definitively un-winnable battle, which stopped me about midway through the game. I’ve still yet to finish that game, despite doing fresh restarts-to-full-completions of Chrono Trigger on at least 3 or 4 separate occasions. Losing it all was crippling to my enjoyment.

    • kagekiri

      Oh, and for Zelda, I lean Wind-Waker.

      It was the first 3D Zelda I got despite being an N64 preteen, mostly because it took until I was a high schooler for my mother to stop immediately saying any games/anime/Japanese things were evil gateways to demon possession. And as I experienced Wind-Waker first, it was hard going back to a significantly less polished and less good-looking Ocarina of Time.

      I did end up getting the 3DS remake of Ocarina recently…so hopefully I’ll be able to better evaluate it without graphical bias (which I unfortunately retain for most 3D games). I love pixel art and play old sprite based games with no issues, but low-poly 3D graphics are generally eyesores; e.g., I prefer the classic 16-bit looks of Chrono Trigger and FFVI to the 3D of Chrono Cross and FFVII.

      • Stogoe

        Wind Waker is my least favorite of the Zelda games. There’s simply too much empty space – sailing around in an empty blue sea with nothing around for hours on end was negative fun. What little actual gameplay there was was fun, but I expected much more than four dungeons and a bloated sailing minigame. And Tingle. Ocarina of Time had twelve dungeons in a vastly smaller disk space. And no Tingle.

        I played a little of Chrono Trigger on emulator, but never finished it. Never played Final Fantasy.

    • Nate Frein

      I was actually a very big fan of the overall design and execution of the Mass Effect series.

      But it definitely scratches a different itch.

  • Rowan

    Oh, I just thought of one that needs a remake or a sequel.

    Skies of Arcadia. yeah, it had a remake/port already (a port with some extras added, and SoA:Legends is what I played instead of the original.) but that was just to the gamecube, so it doesn’t really count.

    The ship to ship combat was awesome, the characters were good, the story was good, the setting was great. I know airships in RPGs is a bit cliche, but not only do you get yours in like the first 30 minutes, but the game actually uses them (you’re air pirates). I never got to finish it though, because of some point on the last level I saved right before I opened a chest containing an uber-deadly bandit guy I couldn’t beat, and didn’t have a save point where I could actually avoid the (optional) confrontation.

    • Stogoe

      I loved Skies of Arcadia (Legends). Though it fell into the trap of RPG Death effects – the enemies could one-shot my characters, but enemies were immune to player character death effects.

      The ship combat was amazing, though. Really well done.

  • Alex

    I haven’t played any of those except Final Fantasy VII and I absolutely did not enjoy that game. Been meaning to check out Chrono Trigger and Phantasy Star IV, I enjoyed the first 3 games in the latter series when they were released for the GBA.

  • Brice Gilbert

    Sadly I was at the age where turn based games seemed stupid to me at the time Trigger and 6 were out so my realization that I loved that style of game wasn’t till Final Fantasy VIII so my views are all skewed. To the point that VIII is my favorite FF and Cross is my favorite Chrono. I played 6 after I had played 7 and 8. Then played Trigger after Cross so i’m all messed up.

  • Ryan

    FF6 over CT. I just replayed CT on the DS, and it was good, but felt too simple. FF 6 has a lot more depth, was a lot longer and had a better story. CT had group attacks (which is something I also liked about Phantasy Star 4) and different endings, but I’d still give the edge to FF.

    My favorite RPG from the old-school era would be Tales of Destiny 2 for the PS1 (Tales of Eternia if you’re feeling pedantic.) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Phantasy Star Online on the DC and Shadowrun for the Genesis are some of my other favorites.

    If you’re on an emulator kick, definitely check out Seiken Densetsu 3 and Front Mission Gun Hazard, both Snes games that never made it over here but got great fan translations.

  • panamafloyd

    No love for Suikoden here? Heck, I even enjoyed SK IV.

  • Carys Birch

    Chrono Trigger for sure. FFIV… I had a frustrating experience with early, and for a kid, it made it hard to stick with it. Chrono Trigger though, I totally loved. (You are still hungry.)

    Also Ocarina of Time. First Zelda experience for me and it might not be an exaggeration to say it changed my life.

    Something I’d like to see remade: Riven, the second Myst game, in 3D graphics.

  • CottonBlimp

    Ocarina of Time is definitely better. In general, it really stands up as a still amazing game. It’s so full of personality, random side characters stand out way more than was typical of NPCs which gave all the towns a lot of depth and warmth, and made it that much more distressing to see those towns ravaged in the second half of the game (FFVI did this too, but I don’t think it was as effective).

    I lean towards FF6 for the deeper battle system, but Chrono Trigger was pretty amazing in other ways.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    In order, Chrono Trigger, and Ocarina of Time.

    FF6 was a decent game, but I loved how CT had you going into different eras and exploring some different paths to the ending (and, IIRC, has multiple endings available).

    As a life-long Zelda fan, I’ve enjoyed almost every game I’ve played. LttP was a good game, don’t get me wrong, but I found OoT to have a bit more… oomph… to it. Plus, the change from top-down sprite-based format allows for a lot more dynamic gameplay and interesting dungeons and crazy-ass puzzles.

  • pjmaertz

    Ocarina of Time for sure over Link to the Past. Majora’s Mask is also pretty damn sweet, pretty much the closest thing to a “Groundhog’s Day” video game that we have.

    The first RPG that I remember getting super pumped for was Star Wars: KotOR. It delivered an epic game in every way (Build lightsaber! Force Choke! Be evil as fuck!), had an enemy just as BA as Vader or Palpatine (Darth Malak is missing half his damn face, and he’s mean as hell!), and had a better written story than anything in the Star Wars universe since Empire.

    Ever since then I’ve been an RPG fan, willing to give BioWare boatloads of my money for anything they put on the market.

    • Stogoe

      The Clocktown music from Majora’s Mask was amazing, especially all the ways it changed as the days progressed.

  • http://polyskeptic.com wes

    Chrono Trigger and Ocarina win it for me, but neither can hold a candle to playing Secret of Mana with two friends. That’s one of my fondest childhood memories.

  • Sithrazer

    Both are great, but if I had to put one ahead of the other it would by FFVI over Chrono Trigger by just a little bit.

  • B-Lar

    Secret of Mana people. 3player simultaneous RPG gold in a cartridge. Mario RPG that began the paper mario series is worth a mention and I still get link to the past out every now again to see if I can still remember where everything is.

  • icecreamassassin

    This can be easily answered. You merely have to ask – who would win in a fight, Lavos or Kefka?

    Seeing as how Lavos eventually presents a threat to the entirety of all timelines of existence (even the discarded timelines), I’d say Lavos has an edge of Kefka and his maniacal laugh.

    Of course, the *real* answer to RPG superiority is Dragon Quest 6.

    Now you’ll excuse me as the universe appears to be giving me a wedgie.

  • Heather

    Final Fantasy IX always has a place in my heart as it was my first Final Fantasy.

  • Bulkmaster

    Chrono Trigger/Lufia & the fortress of doom are great. I recommend Tales of Phantasia on an SNES emulator

  • Dave B.

    CT or FFVI? Tough call!
    Opera House VS The Trial?
    Frog & Magus’s themes VS Terra’s theme and Dancing Mad?
    Discovering the post-apocalyptic world VS watching the apocalypse and being helpless to stop it?
    Crono’s death VS Celes’s attempted suicide?
    Ultros & Chupon VS Flea, Slash & Ozzie?
    Kefka VS Lavos?

    Both had some great moments, awesome music (that I still hum regularly) and together represented many hours of my childhood… But for purposes of this discussion, I’m going to have to come down in favour of Final Fantasy III (or VI to you using Japanese numbering. My SNES cartridge still says III).

    Both games, however, obliterate Final Fantasy VII when compared, even if we handicap the two SNES games by putting them on an old CRT television where the red doesn’t work anymore and using a controller with a sticky ‘X’ button. (Among many other complaints, compare how Cloud’s removal from the team differed in gameplay from Crono’s death – in one the team grew stronger and learned how to operate without the de-facto leader, even after his entirely optional return, and in the other they reinstate the character voted most likely to betray the team and everything they’ve worked for to the enemy so long as the enemy asks first and make him a permanent fixture of the team again.)

  • Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    Chrono Cross, no competition. I still haven’t seen all the possible endings for that game. Ocarina edges out Link, but not by much.

    My favourite will always be FFVII though, a pox be upon the naysayers. I spent hours on the sidequests, hunting and maxing out the rare materia, racing and breeding Chocobos, killing the Weapons, loved it!

    Honourable mention to Secret of Mana (multiplayer woo!), Legend of Dragoon, and the Tales series (Tales of Phantasia, SNES, all the way up to the recent Tales of Vesperia, xbox360, multiplayer with real-time combat).

  • Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    Sorry, I meant Chrono Trigger (its 4:30am, not thinking very clearly). Although Chrono Cross was bloody good too.

  • Poppy

    I have always liked Chrono Trigger more than FFVI. I never found FFVI to be that enjoyable from either a story line or from a game play point of view. Even that mess Chrono Cross was better than FFVI.

    Terra was so unrelentingly irritating that I hated any part of the game she appeared in. Half the cast was annoying. *sigh* Kefka was the only entertaining part of that game. I loved him.

    • Bryan

      I thought Chrono Cross was BA, even if it had little to nothing to do with the first game. The combat system is complex, challenging, and innovative (haven’t seen anything like the Element Grid or whatever in any other game) and the story, while hella confusing, is also incredibly detailed and worth playing through the game for. And the graphics were gorgeous for the time; I remember being blown away by all the beautiful tropical colors when I first started playing.

      • Poppy

        Well, I can’t argue with those points. Visually CC was gorgeous and had some kickass moments. The elements system was interesting but the story was just so mixed up and incoherent.
        It is like they put five different plots into a blender and hoped for the best.