Chrono Trigger on SNES vs DS: Which is the Definitive Version of the Classic RPG?

SNES vs DS Chrono Trigger

Chrono Trigger on SNES vs DS: Which is the Definitive Version of the Classic RPG?

Most fans consider Chrono Trigger to be one of the best RPGs of all-time and a contender for one of the best games ever made, but choosing which version to play can be somewhat tricky. In addition to the SNES original (which is now somewhat of a collector’s item), players can experience Chrono Trigger‘s excellence on PlayStation via the Final Fantasy Chronicles collection, on Steam via the excellent PC release, on mobile devices via the equally excellent iOS and Android ports, and finally via the DS re-release of the game from 2008. It’s the DS re-release that is under the microscope as we pit Chrono Trigger on SNES vs DS to see which is the definitive version of one of gaming’s all-time classics.

Importantly, both versions of the game contain the same great content that helps it continually rank as one of the best RPGs of all-time, with the DS version only adding features that the SNES release doesn’t include. Interestingly, the DS release comes from the source code for the SNES original rather than the PlayStation port. And while both the PS1 and DS versions feature the same new cutscenes featuring animation by artist Akira Toriyama, the DS version’s features made possible by the hardware’s dual screens help to differentiate it from all other versions of Chrono Trigger. Still, there are many who prefer the SNES original, without any alterations to the game’s original vision.

Chrono Trigger on SNES vs DS: Side-by-Side Comparison

SNES vs DS Chrono Trigger

Releasing in 1995, Chrono Trigger is one of the last RPGs to arrive on the SNES in the console’s lifespan, as well as one of the last games from Square during one of the studio’s most highly-regarded periods. The SNES would see the release of Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI, as well as the arrival of Secret of Mana and, of course, Chrono Trigger. That all of these games remain beloved classics to this day speak to the level of quality inherent in each title, but perhaps none has taken on the same mythical importance as Chrono Trigger. The release of the game on Nintendo DS in 2008 would prove to be a massive event for Square Enix, seeing it become one of the best-selling games of the year despite being a remake of an almost15 year old title.

CharacteristicChrono Trigger on SNESChrono Trigger on DS
Release DateMarch 11, 1995November 20, 2008
PublisherSquaresoftSquare Enix
DeveloperSquareSquare, Tose
Review Aggregate Score96%92%
Total Sales2.5 million units1.34 million units
Includes Animated Cutscenes
Unique FeaturesOriginal VersionDual-Screen Inventory, Mini-Map, Additional Dungeons
Use Original Source Code
How Long to Beat23-77 hours23-77 hours

Chrono Trigger on SNES vs DS: 5 Must-Know Facts

Here are 5 must-know facts about Chrono Trigger on SNES vs DS:

  • The DS version of Chrono Trigger uses the same source code as the SNES original in order to preserve the game in its true state. The PS1 version has notoriously lengthy load times and some other aspects that make it one of the weakest versions of the game, and the DS re-release is intended as a definitive version by Square.
  • The DS release features some additional dungeons that players can tackle in the endgame, adding a bit of context to the game’s story that is not present in the SNES original. Additionally, the use of the animated cutscenes from the PS1 release help to develop the game’s cast of main characters.
  • Players who experience Chrono Trigger on its original Super Famicom/SNES cartridge need to do so with use of a single screen. With the DS featuring dual screens, its version of Chrono Trigger includes unique functionality that makes use of the second screen for inventory or map management.
  • The SNES original is far and away the best-selling and most critically successful version of Chrono Trigger, selling more than 2.5 million copies worldwide and maintaining a critical aggregate score of 96%. The DS version has a strong critical reception but roughly half the sales.
  • The most readily available version of Chrono Trigger is now the Steam release, which includes all of the same content as the DS version but does not allow for the dual-screen features, making the DS version remain unique among all releases.

Chrono Trigger on SNES vs DS: Version Differences

While both the SNES and DS releases of Chrono Trigger (and, all the other ports as well) include the same core gameplay, there are some subtle differences between the original and later versions. For instance, the SNES original does not include the cutscenes featuring animation by character artist Akira Toriyama, nor does it include the two additional dungeons that feature in every re-release of the game from the DS version onwards. However, because the DS version uses the original’s source code, many consider it to be the best alternative to playing the game on a Super Famicom or SNES, as it maintains the performance and feel of Chrono Trigger‘s initial release. As a result, most versions after the DS port follow closely in its footsteps.

Chrono Trigger on SNES vs DS: Fleshing Out the Story

The DS version of Chrono Trigger adds two new dungeons — the Lost Sanctum and Dimensional Vortex — as well as a monster fighting arena, the Arena of the Ages. Aside from these new dungeons that attempt to add some greater context to the game’s story and characters, the DS version also features a new translation that attempts to be more accurate to the game’s original script. Further, the anime-style cutscenes that feature in the PlayStation port of Chrono Trigger also show up in the DS version, helping to give some personality and subtle character development to the game’s incredible cast of playable characters.

Chrono Trigger on SNES vs DS: The Dual-Screen Advantage

One of the main reasons that several longtime Chrono Trigger fans continue to hold the DS release of the game in such high regard is thanks to the hardware itself. The DS gets its namesake from the device’s dual screens, and Chrono Trigger‘s release on the platform makes great use of their functionality. The most critical of the new features made posisble by the DS’ two screens is the inclusion of a mini-map on both the overworld and within dungeons, helping players identify area layouts as well as areas they’ve already visted. The other feature that the dual screens make possible on the DS version are using the second screen for inventory management and combat, giving players greater control over both mechanics.

Chrono Trigger on SNES vs DS: Sales and Reception

To say that Chrono Trigger is a good game is an understatement, as it stands as one of the best-selling RPGs on both the SNES and DS and continues to show up time and again in the “Greatest of All-Time” lists for RPGs, SNES games, and the history of video games as a whole. The SNES version outsells the DS version by a rate of about 2-to-1, with 2.5 million units sold versus the DS version’s 1.34 million. Additionally, the SNES original has a review aggregate score of 96% in comparison to the DS re-release’s 92%. While both scores are excellent and indicative of the game’s overall quality, the SNES version of Chrono Trigger‘s sales and critical reception go to greater lengths to support the game’s continued place as one of the best titles in the genre.

Bottom Line

Even though the DS version of Chrono Trigger features some excellent functionality thanks to its dual screens, includes the cutscenes from Akira Toriyama, and has gone on to serve as the basis for other future ports of the game, the definitive version of Chrono Trigger is still the SNES original. Few games arrive in a state that can be considered “perfect”, and part of Chrono Trigger‘s mythical quality rests on how it is one of the rare examples of a practically “perfect” game. Everything that Chrono Trigger‘s “Dream Team” set out to accomplish, they did, resulting in a fitting swansong to the SNES and creating a game that would withstand the test of time as one of the world’s best RPGs. The original vision for the game is best played on original hardware or via emulation, but the DS version is a close second.

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