Monday, July 7, 2008

Chrono Trigger DS: A shameless cash-in that we'll probably still buy

Last week, a Chrono Trigger remake was announced for Nintendo DS. Today, I first laid eyes on the "exciting new gameplay trailer". My first impressions? Not nearly as excited as I was at the initial announcement. I'm still in denial: The "exciting new gameplay trailer" is chock-full of gameplay videos-- all of which look, frame-for-frame, EXACTLY like the original Chrono Trigger for SNES and the Chrono Trigger remake for PS1 (when it was re-released as part of the Final Fantasy Chronicles disc).

Why fix what ain't broken, right? WRONG. Believe me, I'm as much of a Chrono Trigger fan as the next guy (as long as said next guy doesn't think Chrono Trigger is the best RPG ever made...) but I want Squareenix to put some fucking effort into it. Is that too much to ask? I really don't think so, compared to what they've already done in creating beautifully upgraded versions of past masterpieces.

Final Fantasy 1

It couldn't have cost much money to remake Final Fantasy 1 using borrowed resources from the 16-bit era for Game Boy Advance, but nonetheless I was completely satisfied with the effort put forth. After all: It was a Game Boy Advance remake. Can't really ask for much more than SNES-looking graphics in a slightly-more-widescreen format, right? The game had charm, style, and retained the retro feel by upgrading to 16 bit and remastering the excellent music-- all of which made the game feel right at home on Game Boy Advance. Although the game was unmeasurably easier than the original, (the difficulty of the original NES game, if you don't know or don't remember, was outrageous-- but I loved it) it was still an excellently polished trip down memory lane, without all the annoying pitfalls of its NES predecessor.

Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy IV is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the series, although I disagree and favor VI. However, since Final Fantasy VI had recently been the target of an excellently-done GBA rehash (graphics and gameplay right on par with the original-- a direct port AS EXPECTED because of the capabilities of the GBA-- you couldn't ask for more), and since Final Fantasy 3 had more recently been the target of an amazingly awesome DS remake (which sold like hotcakes... when compared to the hotcakes from back in the days when people used to buy millions of hotcakes worldwide from a single japanese hotcake-maker) Squareenix thought Final Fantasy IV was ready to share a similar fate. Using the DS's strengths, it was transformed into a beautiful 3d game with remastered music, FMV cutscenes, and updated gameplay mechanics to give it a truly revolutionary presentation. Held side-by-side with a screenshot of the original (see above), you can barely tell that it's the same game.

Chrono Trigger

Then there's this mess. Don't get me wrong: I have a special place in my heart for Chrono Trigger-- INCLUDING it's original look and feel, but here's my problem: If this is the product we get from Squareenix, then why did they go to so much trouble to force Chrono Resurrection into the abyss of legal threat-induced cancellation back in 2004? For those unfarmiliar with Chrono Resurrection, it was a fan-made remake of the original Chrono Trigger with relatively gorgeous 3d graphics for your PC (I loved their work so much, I stole one of their Chrono renders for the title graphic in my "Top 10 OTHER SNES RPGs" post last month). Every Chrono Trigger fan around the world was looking forward to Chrono Resurrection, and were understandably upset when Squareenix threatened the nerds who were making it with lawsuits until they were forced to cancel the project. Still, many of us held out hope, seeing a silver lining: If Squareenix wants Chrono Resurrection cancelled so bad, that MUST mean that they're planning an awesome next-gen remake of it themselves and don't want to be beaten to the punch!

A teaser site for Chrono Trigger DS opens up last week, and rumors began flying around about what it might mean. My excitement was through the roof! "Finally," I thought, "Chrono Resurrection will be avenged!"

That's when i saw this scan from Shonen Jump. I still couldn't believe it. Those were just placeholder screens because Shonen Jump didn't have any real media, right!? Then the trailer came forth on Squareenix's site to confirm my fears, and I gave up hope. The trailer doesn't even show the second screen. What can we expect from that? A crappy overworld map and no touchscreen controls?

I'm still excited for Chrono Trigger DS. I'm glad to have a new, portable version of the game (without having to emulate it), and now that my Dad has become a full-blown DS RPG nerd (and since he missed Chrono Trigger the first and second times around), he'll finally get to enjoy it. Those two things make me happy. Still, I'm bitter.

Squareenix: Where is my Chrono Resurrection?

(Note: This is a legacy re-post from my old blog, only a few old posts have been reposted)

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