It's hard to deny that Square was a behemoth of RPGs back in the PSOne era. With titles like the Final Fantasy series, Parasite Eve, and Xenogears, Square was a company that consistently delivered high-quality innovative variations on the RPG genre. In the late 1990's, the Square logo was enough to warrant a game purchase.
Two great examples of Square's undeniable commitment to quality are Final Fantasy IX and Chrono Trigger.
Final Fantasy IX is considered by some to be one of the most underrated games to ever be released. It marked Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi's triumphant return to the series, and brought the more cartoony "old-school" character look back. (You have to love those Black Mages.) In fact, Sakaguchi himself admitted that IX was his favorite Final Fantasy game.
Square also re-released the Super NES hit Chrono Trigger during the PSOne era, adding some gorgeous anime cutscenes and bundling it with Final Fantasy IV. Chrono Trigger is still considered one of the finest RPGs to ever have been made. It featured characters designed by Akira Toriyama, creator of Dragon Ball, and a time-traveling element that broke the boundaries of what the RPG was capable of. With this innovative mechanic, it offered much more replay value than its RPG counterparts. In fact, this was the game that introduced the world to the "New Game Plus" feature.
The two games I mentioned above have quite a few things in common. Both were released by Square, both graced the PSOne, and both drew heavily from the traditional RPG formula. However, the reason I chose to mention these two games in particular is another thing they have in common: I've never played either of them.
I have decent enough excuses for missing out on these titles. Chrono Trigger actually spent a good deal of time at my apartment, yet I was working a lot of overtime back then, and my unemployed roommate was hogging the game the entire time. I would go to work only to come home and find that my friend had advanced several hours further while I was away. I couldn't keep track of the story in the meantime, so I just let him do his thing and ignored it. I was planning on picking it up once he got done with it, but I sort of forgot about it. He eventually moved out and took Chrono Trigger with him.
Final Fantasy IX, on the other hand, just completely slipped by me. I had been completely blown away by Final Fantasy VII (as many of us were back then). Even though I'd found Final Fantasy VIII to be less impressive, I was still very much looking forward to the next game in the series. I would normally have picked up IX when it released, but I'd gone through four PSOnes by that point, and my fourth had already kicked the bucket by the time Final Fantasy IX came out. I didn't ever get around to playing it.
While I may have some legitimate excuses to have let those games pass me by in the first place, I've had plenty of time to catch up since then. I just never did. As a video game journalist, (and one who has always adored PSOne era JRPGs) I feel obligated to play through at least one of those titles as soon as I possibly can.
This summer, I have decided to finally make this happen. However, I'm stuck with a dilemma: I will most likely only have time to play through one of these games. I must decide between Final Fantasy IX and Chrono Trigger.
And that's where you come in.
Cheat Code Central readers have the opportunity to determine which of these titles I will play. Just click the banner at the top of this page and you'll be redirected straight to the forums to cast your vote. This voting period will last a week, ending on July 18. Once the numbers have been tallied and my fate has been decided, I will play through whichever game is chosen by the readers.
I will also be writing about my journey, and offering my own personal perspective on why the game was great in the first place, what it did that was unique, and how it holds up when compared with modern gaming trends.
If you want to keep tabs on my journey, I will be actively participating in the forums. You can follow my progress and even jump into the conversation on the forums page. Return often, as I promise to remain pretty active in the forums.
Happy voting. I look forward to beginning a long overdue RPG adventure and sharing my experience with the Cheat CC community.
CCC Editor/Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*