The Final Verdict: Chrono Trigger vs. Final Fantasy III

Since the dawn of time, mankind has sought to answer one simple question: “Which classic Super Nintendo RPG reigns supreme — Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy III?”

Families have been torn apart trying to answer this very question. Best friends have turned against one another, sending each other to the hospital — or worse — when heated debates turn ugly. Indeed, nations have been forced to the brink of civil war by opposing factions arguing the merits and virtues of their Squaresoftian  champion.

And now I dare to step into the fray? Yes. Yes I dare.

Chrono or FF3 ... only one can be victorious.

Chrono or FF3 ... only one can be victorious.

Before we begin, I must state that both Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy III (and don’t give me none of this VI bullshit … the cartridge I played on back in seventh grade was labelled “Final Fantasy III”, so that’s what the game is called) rate among my favourite games of all-time. But clearly, only one game can be superior. Only one cartridge can be the king of 16-bit Japanese role-playing awesomeness. But which one?

Well, back in 1995, I would have told you that FF3 was the greatest game ever made … or at the very least, ranked somewhat higher than Chrono Trigger (and other top contenders such as Earthbound and Secret of Mana). But as the years go by, my video gaming pallet has become more sophisticated and refined, and I have come to realize — and wholeheartedly accept — that Chrono Trigger is the undisputed champion of SNES RPGs.

There is simply no arguing this fact. If you think FF3 is a superior game to Chrono Trigger, you’re wrong. End of story. Now, I don’t fault you for thinking that way, but trust me, you’re mistaken.

Allow me to explain:


While it definitely works, there’s absolutely no denying that the battle system in Final Fantasy III is rather conventional, and some might say antiquated, even by 1994’s gaming standards (as it’s basically a refinement of all of the previous FF games that came before it). Fight, Magic, Item, Defend, plus each character’s unique ability. That’s about it. Sure, there were some Espers thrown in here and there, but for the most part, the battle system was pretty dull and no different than scores of other RPGs.



And you can’t forget about the random battles — the bane of any sane RPG player.

Seriously, my party just wants to take a nice walk in the field during a sunny day on the outskirts of Narshe, but nooooooo, those pesky Lobos and Leafers won’t back the fuck off.

Chrono Trigger, on the other hand, was a breath of fresh air. For starters, no random battles! Even better, no more warping to a separate battle screen! The enemies are right there in the dungeon — if you bump into them, you fight them. What a concept! Even when the battles forced are upon you (such as baddies jumping out from behind trees and whatnot), it never feels as tedious or grinding as the battles in the Final Fantasy games.

Sure, while Chrono has its fare share of “scripted battles” that are completely unavoidable, they aren’t “random”, and that’s a big thumbs up in my book (my book is actually just a collection of thumbs oriented in various directions, by the way. Quite grotesque, now that I think about it).

Triple Tech! And boom goes the dynamite.

Triple Tech! And boom goes the dynamite.

Once a battle is initiated, of course, there’s Chrono Trigger’s amazingly kickass battle system, which allows different characters to combine their skills into face-shattering Dual and Triple Techs. Unlike FF3, your party is not simply a collection of individuals bashing their weapons in turn against the monsters’ skulls (Auto-Crossbow, Aurabolt, rinse, repeat). Instead, your party can (and must) work together, with each character’s skills complementing another in a variety of ways.

It all comes together to keep battles fresh and interesting (and not to mention visually stimulating .. the simple act of seeing Chrono actually leap towards the enemy and slash at it is much more engaging than watching Cyan simply wave his sword in the general direction of the bad guy).

Winner: Chrono Trigger


For its time, FF3 was an impressive looking game, but it certainly does not hold up to the ravages of time as well as Chrono Trigger. I think the main thing that really gets me about FF3 is the blockiness of the characters. It’s as if all of the characters were shoved in to a tiny box at birth and forced to grow into that shape in the same way that Chinese women bind their feet.

A little known fact ... Terra and Locke are made out of Lego.

A little known fact ... Terra and Locke are actually made out of Lego.

Chrono Trigger completely blows FF3 out of the water in this area. While there’s no denying the fact that many of the characters look like Dragon Ball rejects (unsurprising given Toriyama’s involvement in the game), the anime-inspired sprites in Chrono Trigger simply have more personality than FF3’s Lego-men.

When it comes to audio-visual stimulation, however, the real champion is the music of Chrono Trigger. Magus’ theme, the Tyrano Lair, Frog’s theme, Zeal, the Boss themes … all true classics. Sure, Final Fantasy III has the opera house scene, and the final battle with Kefka, and many other great  pieces of music, but as a whole Chrono Trigger’s score contains more well-crafted and memorable pieces than FF3.

Winner: Chrono Trigger


Final Fantasy III has a pretty solid cast — Terra, Locke, Edgar, Sabin, Cyan, Seles, and Shadow are all great characters with well-rounded back stories (Mog, Gau, Relm, Strago, Umaro, Gogo … well, they suck anyway, so who cares about them).

The black wind begins to howl ...

The black wind begins to howl ...

In fact, some proponents for FF3 tout this is an advantage of Chrono Trigger, stating that Chrono’s characters are one-dimensional and boring. And yes, this might true of Chrono (a generic deaf-mute), Ayla (a generic cavewoman), and Robo (a generic robot), but I counter with the almighty trump card — Magus.

In fact, I believe that Magus is actually the true main character of Chrono Trigger. Chrono is just some dude who happened to be in the right place at the right time, but Magus is central to all of the major story events and his presence is felt throughout the entire game (in particular, the Frog / Cyrus storyline, as well as pretty much everything to do with the Kingdom of Zeal). Plus, going from a mysterious Fiendlord threatening Guardia’s safety to a sympathetic figure looking to avenge his homeland and family makes him a truly awesome and memorable character. The fact that he becomes a playable character is just the icing on the cake.

Winner: Magus (I mean, Chrono Trigger)


As a general rule, RPGs usually suffer from rather low replayability. For starters, the games take dozens of hours to complete, so the notion of slogging through the entire game again can often be disheartening. Combined with the fact that the core game experience won’t change drastically with each playthrough, most people won’t pick up the controller again for quite some time after the final monster has been defeated.

Chrono Trigger breaks the mould by allowing you to defeat the final boss at pretty much any point over the course of the game. In addition, it offers the always welcome New Game + option, allowing you to smash your way through the entire game with beefed up characters and weapons in order see more than a dozen different endings (or just to see how quickly you can complete the entire game, I suppose).

You're useless, Gau. Go away.


FF3, on the other hand, offers the same experience time and time again. While it’s a solid game and I’ve played through it numerous times, it usually comes down to using Terra, Edgar, Sabin, and some other character to plow through the game. Only the sick and twisted would subject themselves to using Relm or Gau in their main party, and while I suppose trying to beat the game with various combinations of shitty characters is a form of replayability, it’s also a form of torture — meaning it gets no points from me in this category.

Winner: Chrono Trigger


No matter how awesome the rest of the game is, if the final boss sucks,  your perspective of the entire game will have changed considerably (and probably for the worse). Luckily, both Chrono and FF3 offer extraordinary climactic showdowns.

Kefka's final form. Watch out for "Fallen One"!

Kefka's final form. Watch out for "Fallen One"!

The last battle in Final Fantasy III is quite epic, no doubt about it. The initial battle up the tower of monster corpse things, the extremely bitchin’ music, and of course, Kefka’s final angel form … all truly awesome, but in the end, it feels rather empty. After all, Kefka’s already kicked the world in the balls — what’s beating him really going to do? Not a whole lot, really. No more lasers from the sky, I suppose, but the world’s still in the shitter, with or without Kefka in charge.

Seriously ... WTF is this supposed to be?

Seriously ... WTF is this supposed to be?

The last battle in Chrono Trigger, however, provides a real sense of finality and a culmination of everything you’ve achieved up to that point. During Lavos’ first form, you have to fight all of the major bosses throughout the game once more. While many other games have done this (the Zelda series, for example, among others), the combination of the epic (yet somehow haunting) music, and the fact that Lavos is emulating the bosses (instead of your party fighting boss clones or what-have-you), makes for an interesting and impressionable last battle experience.

Yes, once inside the Lavos shell, things fall apart somewhat as you end up fighting some goofy looking alien thing with ill-defined evil intentions, but hey, the music is cool, the changing backdrops are sweet, and the swerve job of making one of the tiny pods the true last boss is an interesting touch that really throws you for the loop the first time through.

Winner: A Draw, I Guess


Without question, each game has a plethora of good things going for it, and just so it doesn’t leave with hurt feelings, I intend to write a post outlining many of the cool things about FF3 that make it one of the top games of all-time (but just not better than Chrono Trigger).

But in the end, the engaging battle system, the lush graphics, the beautiful score, the memorable characters, and the sheer replayability of the game all lead to one decision — the true champion of SNES RPGs is and forever will be Chrono Trigger!

Chrono Trigger is victorious. Fuck you, Heckran!

Chrono Trigger is victorious. Fuck you, Heckran!


24 Responses

  1. […] we have a plant with a name so long its seeds come in bin bags: The Final Verdict: Chrono Trigger vs. Final Fantasy III posted at Steve McCutchen’s Cavalcade of Awesomeness. There’s nothing else I can […]

  2. One shitty comparison if I ever saw one 🙂

  3. damn, i don’t know why they compare them…
    FF3 suck eggs. It live up the series’ fame. Nothing else.
    Chrono Trigger is highly superior.

  4. Am I the only one who thinks this “comparison” was incredibly biased? =/

  5. Gau, Mog, and Relm are actually among the FF3’s best characters.

    Sketch is trash, but Relm still has some great equips and the best magic stats in the game– even better than Terra’s. Teach her some good spells and watch her nuke everybody.

    Gau is time-consuming to raise, but if you teach him good rages, he can be an awesome healer, a tank, or just kill everyone with all kinds of awesome, broken spells your party shouldn’t have yet– with NO mp cost.

    (I had him using Fire 2, Ice 2, Bolt 2, Aqua Rake, and Bio before I even got to the magitek factory, and later on in the 2nd half, you can teach him Pearl wind, Meteor, Flare, Aero, fire/ice/bolt3, Cure 3, Quake, etc. before anyone else.)

    Gau and Mog can also equip the best armor in the game (the snow muffler).

    Even though Gau, Relm, and Mog, are better than most people give them credit for, I can’t defend Umaro, he really does suck.

  6. Ummm… Not that I disagree with the verdict (Chrono Trigger kicks any other RPG’s ass) but your comparison wasn’t really fair… And ummm… HIS NAME IS CRONO, NOT CHRONO! It wasn’t a mistranslation, or a misspelling, it is his name, stop trying to change it!

  7. Ok, this is the worst comparison I have ever seen, now really. Whoever made this is biast for Chrono Trigger. Chrono Trigger has better music? More well crafted? No way can Chrono Trigger so much as touch VI’s music. I mean, the music of Chrono Trigger is mostly just made up of holding one key down at a time. Far more effort was put into the music of VI. Not to mention that VI has better music as well.

    So Magus, the generic RPG villain, is the sole reason why Chrono Trigger has better characters? A bonus character at that.

    Chrono Trigger characters look like they’ve been ripped straight from Dragon Ball Z. Who chares if VI characters look like Lego? Lego rules!

    I could replay VI again and again for the sheer love of it. If the only reason to replay Chrono Trigger is to get different endings, then what’s the point.

    Lavos as a final boss is just a final boss. He is not a very good villain. All he does is fall to Earth and then millions of years later burst up through the crust again. Hies paln? To eat. Wait-that doesn’t sound like a very good villain! Is he even a sentient being? Kefka on the other hand, is based off the flaws of humanity. The world has allready been kicked in the balls? Yeah by man-not just some bug from outer space. IT portrays the horrers that humanity can do. And the final boss is based on the Divine Comedy, a religious inspiration. God himself telling you that life is meaningless? Now that’s something you’ll really think about. Beating him isn’t going to do a whole lot? After he’s gone, magic becomes extinct, but the world starts to heal and everyone starts to rebuild again. They were finally allowed to live life, free from tirany.

    I’ve got the feeling that you haven’t even played VI. I have played both Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy “III” (really VI) and VI blows Chrono out of the water and throught the atmosphere!

    • Call him generic all you want, at least Magus has a backstory and motivation, which is more than you can say for Kefka. Oooh, he’s crazy and greedy and wants to blow up the world! How did he get that way? Why does he dress like a clown? Nobody knows!

      • uhh they do tell you why.its because he was worked on in a magitech/magicite facility and he went bat shit why dont you read up on the games your arguing about buddy

      • Kefka dressed like a clown because he WAS a clown.

        He was originally the Emperor’s court jester, which Edgar says in the original version of FF3 at the first Figaro scene with Kefka.

        It is explained in several scenes and a few interviews with NPC characters that Kefka was infused with magitek power by Cid in one of the early experiments, but “something” went wrong with the experiment and drove him insane.

        That’s what makes Kefka one of the most evil villains in the history of gaming, or any fiction. He doesn’t kill for power or greed, like a Sith lord or whatever. He actually doesn’t want power or possessions at all, except as a means of destruction.

        He kills because he’s crazy and enjoys killing people, and that’s that.

  8. Wow, I am truly shocked at your reasons for liking CT over FF3. CT had a very interesting plus, it’s ability to alter things between eras. The dialogue was terrible much of the time though. Ayla spoke broken English 65 million years ago? Robo has emotions? The repair people for the ruins don’t automatically update their dialogue so you have to pay them twice if you get ahead. And why is it that when you go back to 65 million years ago it’s actually 65 million years ago PLUS however much time you had spent there? Time travel mechanics are very strange and the game doesn’t try to correct this (or even explain it) in any way.

    FF3 allowed you to craft your characters however you pleased. It provided a huge bestiary, a huge inventory and allowed you to spend as much (or as little) time in development as you chose. FF3 was huge compared to CT in almost every element. You complained about the random battles and my solution? MOOGLE CHARM = NO RANDOM BATTLES.

    What about the place where you earned the offering? How awesome were the ruins there?! The characters were developed and each had a personality. You had almost 20 characters you could choose from. Shadow’s background was awesome, all the dreams? Cyan losing his family? A flying casino? The dragons? There was so much more effort put in to expanding the realm of FF3.

    When I read your reasons for liking CT better I think “lazy, simple, attention-deficit.” I bet you liked Mystic Quest too though…huh?

    • Sure, you could use the Moogle Charm, but then you’d gain no experience.

      My point about the random battles is that it draws you out of the experience — it’s almost like breaking the fourth wall, if you wall. Stumbling across an invisible enemy is far less engaging than actually seeing that enemy wander around the dungeon, knowing full well that you can either fight or avoid that enemy if you want to.

      And come on, let’s be reasonable here … Mystic Quest was an abomination of a game, plain and simple.

  9. wow… i really love Chrono Trigger

    I’ve never finished but it’s a really good game…
    i remember when i’ve played for first time, i didn’t known anything about rpg, so i beginned to play and i was facinated….

    I hope once to ending it…

  10. I just got through playing FF3 for the first time last week. For some reason, I never got to playing Final Fantasy back when it came out originally. Probably because the game never got released here in Europe, so I never even heard about FF until FF7 got released for the PSX in 1997. Neither was CT released here officialy, but I read a review about it in a local gamers magazine, and could rent an import at my local videostore. I loved it immidiately and still consider it to be my favorite game of all time until this day.

    Still, I always wondered about FF3 since people always name these 2 games as the best 16 bit RPG’s ever, or best games ever. So I finally got down to it some weeks ago during my time off work and started playing it.

    I must say, I also immediately liked FF3. Even after 16 years of it original release. This finally was a proper RPG again. The genre I was dying to play again after the huge disappoinment of FF13 earlier this year. It is really amazing to see how they fucked up the FF series starting withFF X2… seeing this game from the good old days made me realize that again more than ever before.

    However, even though I liked it, I quickly felt during the first hours already that Chrono Trigger would probably be the better game of the two.

    Graphics, music, storyline, fun, style, playability, I think it was all better in CT. Furthermore, I I also was quite disappointed with the 2nd half of FF3. I mean, the whole world gets destroyed, your whole team is gone… it all just felt quite depressing and less interesting from that point on to me. I really liked the colorful and upbeat graphics & feel of CT alot more. The first half of FF3 comes close to it.

    Also, like the reviewer said, if you beat Kefka, you’re still left with a shitty and upbeat world, so what’s the point? FF3 felt like an empty victory to me when I finished the game. In CT, beating Lavos really is the culmination of everything you’ve played for up until that point. You save the world and get a very happy ending. Or 13 other different endings if you start with a New Game+

    Also, another thing I didn’t like as much in FF 3 was that there were so many charcaters in FF3. (Not as bad as Chrono Cross, but still.) It seems so pointless too. They all learn the same magic spells from the same Espers, so they all do exactly the same thing in the end. In the final battle, all I had to was cast Ultima 3 times around from 4 characters and it was done. In CT, every character has it’s own unique magic skills that the other ones don’t have. Makes it alot more interesting to battle in CT since there is alot more variation. Specially if you start combining those styles and characters in Dual or Tripple Techs. Then the battles and the gameplay really becomes alot more fun than FF3.

    So I agree with the reviewer. My verdict would be CT a 10 and FF3 a 7,5. Good game, but CT is better in every aspect imo. I am sure some people will disagree, and that this discussion will go on forever for many years still to come, but this is just my 2 cents about this topic 😉

  11. Interesting article I use interesting lightly. I am 29. I owned both FF3 and Chrono Trigger. I honestly do not believe it is even a fair comparison. Two completely different games.

    Trying to pick one over the other is like choosing one of your own children over the other. It’s impossible. The music in chrono trigger is decent, in most cased of the game, it is bearable to listen to. Which is a plus if you play any RPGS from the 90s because music that is easy on the ears goes a long way.

    The story of the two I feel cannot be directly put into comparison. You have what is basically three main characters, The rest are sub main characters given what time period it is, and actually two of them are main characters by dumb luck. Ayla and Robo. They are alright in there own respects I suppose, but thee saving grace in a lot of ways is the battle system, not just the interaction of battles, the combo maneuvers that can be done. If they didn’t have this aspect, alot of these characters would be quite dull on their own.

    The idea of warping time travel into the players hands and being able to literally change the outcome or realize something MUST be changed to continue with the story was fantastic. A++ to chrono trigger there.

    That’s not to say it isn’t one of the best rpgs if not games in general on the SNES.

    When you compare it to Final Fantasy 3, there are a slew of interesting characters. The music is romantic and comical, and remarkable when it needs to be.

    The crude thrashing you have to make to get through I will admit was poorly thought out. It was lazy on the part of square, but I cannot fault them either. It was based around the idea that at X level you won’t be around area Y so who cares if there are fights there. It isn’t exactly true of course. They should have designed something to deal with that. But they didn’t and as far as I can’t remember I don’t recall it being that bad. Maybe I had to fight those stupid rabits after the raft ride. shrug No big deal to me really.

    As far as replay ability, that part of your article really struck a nerve. I am sorry being able to blast your way through the game over and over again but just really strong is just as equally annoying as fighting those level 1 twats when you are level 15-20. It was innovative, but ultimately a waste of time.

    The transporting methods in FF3 vs CT are given to FF3. Sure there are parts in CT where you get that warm fuzzie feeling just like when you get to hear Mel Gibson give his freedom speech, but the excite for me at least dies off.

    Every single time I replay final fantasy 3 I never forget the feeling I had when I first met setzer, or when you find him the second time and how you feel in the world of ruin, the despair.

    If choosing between games of the the old and new was strictly on graphics and interface alone We’ed all pick FF7 and go home.

    Your depection of the bosses is quite one sided. In Chrono trigger Lavos leaves you feeling just as empty, because you already know what the differences in the world will be like if you don’t do your job. The down fall of both bosses though isn’t story driven or back history, it is each games battle system. Lavos can be hard or a cake walk depending on the people you decide to play with. In FF3 Kefka can be hard or a cake walk depending on how long you waited after gathering 12 people. I have beat lavos and kefka in just about every concieveable way. If you want to get to the nitty gritty about it, beating Kefka with just 3 people is much MUCH more epic than Lavos will ever be. The alt ending is quite a show.

    I do wish FF3 would have continued on with a some more story after wards to show the rebuilding process. You have to remember the world was destroyed but it was KEPTED in ruins because of Kefka’s everwatching presence.

    Anyway I was just out tonight on the web playing my emulators and such and began looking up stuff and somehow decided to search for chrono trigger vs final fantasy 3. I have to say your article is extremely misleading. You are CLEARLY a chrono trigger baised fan. And that’s ok. I’ll be the first one in line to debate a FF7 fan into oblivion if they try and tell me its better than Gran Turismo 2.

    However your article leaves me thinking you actually took away alot more with chrono trigger than you orginally thought. On a purely techincaly aspect CT wins. But what would you have had square do, take a risk on their FF franchise with this new battle system? What if it would have failed? It doesn’t translate correctly either. That was the way it had to be done for FF3. To make up for this blandness, you get the best RPG story of all time. Sorry CT doesn’t win the story match up, not by a long shot. Back to the Future did a better job of a Time Traveling story.

    In your little pictures you also label Gau as Useless, clearly someone who hasn’t dug deep enough into what Gau can really do. You ever strap him with all of the Snow gear and let him run rampant on Stray Cat? A 9999 hitter that takes 1 damage. Yeah, he’s pretty crap though. Unlike your emo god Magus there who I can clearly remember just being plain mediocre. Story wise (if you go to find it) you really learn alot about Gau. Story wise as well Magus has a compelling history.

    I really challange your judgement with characters in FF3 however. I will give you that Relm sucked, her story was cute and thoughtful but her abilities blew, unless you really enjoyed seeing what happens on a vanished opponent. Strago sucked only to those who didn’t want to take the time to evolve him. Umaro I never liked because I dont like NPC chars in my PC group. Gogo was a god damn machine, I don’t know wth you are on about with that. Mime is like a god card in this game. Mog is fantastic as well, put him on auto pilot and you can have free cures all day long.

    I don’t understand round 3, if you are trying to debate story or funcionality either way its totally baised. Which is ok, its your article :).

    As far as round 2, lets be real, there is less than a year difference in release dates. You make CT sounds as if we were comparing gaunlet on the nes to final fantasy 7 here. Final Fantasy 3 had a standard it ran with. I will never fault it for that. There is no doubt in my mind if FF3 was remade in a full 3d glory, all previous incarnations of the term RPG would be cut down like wheat before the sicle. WOOSH.

    In regards to round 1, One might say the battle system for chrono trigger was needed because of the lack of depth there really was for teh characters. Lets be honest how many people went around rocking robo, chrono, and maryl. Or other sub part combos. I particularlly like the

    ” Unlike FF3, your party is not simply a collection of individuals bashing their weapons in turn against the monsters’ skulls (Auto-Crossbow, Aurabolt, rinse, repeat). Instead, your party can (and must) work together, with each character’s skills complementing another in a variety of ways.”

    Are you really trying to suggest there was grinding in Chrono Trigger? If so I almost want to flat out say you never played either game.

    Anyway, it’s late, I’m tired, and just thought I’d post. I love Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 3 Equally. I love chrono trigger for MOST of the reasons you said. I hate magus, I love frog.

    In closing, to me, you have much more vivid memories about chrono trigger than you do FF3. For what reasons it is unknown, it might be there is a lot less going on with CT than there is with FF3. FF3 is a very complex story. Both games are rewarding however and I would love to see them both get the 3D make overs they deserve.

  12. I just played through both games over the last few months. I was very disappointed in Chrono Trigger. Lots of people say its the best RPG ever, so i was expecting greatness. It was honestly ok until you get the Epich and have the ability to fight the end boss half way through the game. Talk about anti climatic. Also, the whole time travel thing to me is a weak concept. The end of time is some old dude on a lamp post? the master of war is a creampuff? the whole game plays out this way and the character development is equally disapointing. I didnt even mention the 650000 bc characters…. CHEESEY at best. Also, its super easy to avoid battles making the game very easy to manipulate. and thats the key word. Chrono Trigger is super easy to manipulate.

    Then I popped in Final Fantasy 3 and it rocked my world. FF3 has better storyline, better gameplay by far, much better music. CT music is horrible at best. I also found FF3 to be much more challenging because of the random combat. There seems to be more adventure seeking the rare monsters as well. I enjoy that you have a theif early in the game thats not some lame CHARM spell. And one final note, in FF3 when you kill an enemy, they die right away. In CT the enemy just sits there for a second then dies. very annoying.

    FF3=clear winner or this debate.

  13. If you call Gau a “Shitty character”, as you did in section 4, you don’t understand him at all, and have probably never played FF3 in a low level game either.

    Gau is easily THE most powerful character in Final Fantasy 3 in a low level game with equipment, because of his max physical defense and his absorb/cancel aspect of his rages.

    If you want to go no equipment low level game, then it’s Gogo, Sabin, Strago in that order.

    I do agree that Chrono Trigger is the better game.

    However, the FF3 characters would easily defeat any of the Chrono Trigger characters 1v1 with similar gear and character levels.

    Natural magic only Terra or Celes are strictly better than any 1 character in Chrono Trigger, and they could probably even 1v2 or 1v3 some Chrono Trigger character combinations. (even if you adjusted the CT character’s stats to 9999/999…)


    Instead of giving them all Espers, play natural magic only, and don’t teach anyone Ultima.

    Try to finish the game with a level 6 Terra in your party.

    Ultima is a broken spell that never should have been in the game. The higher levels and Espers should be viewed as “optional powerups” for weaker gamers. If you find them to be overpowered, just don’t train them. It’s as simple as that.

    Believe it or not, it is mathematically possible to defeat final Kefka with characters WEAKER than level 6, and without using Ultima, Quick, or Life 3. The problem is you just cannot get to final Kefka any lower than level 6 without cheating.

  14. LoL….i think Final Fantasy VI’s gameplay isn’t generic as RPG of its time, i finished both.. FF6 gameplay is really great, it has awesome customization unlike chrono, it has more weapon of choice, and the use of espers are really great…. well i do agree to you that chrono was really impressive with no random battle and such..but the combo techs late game aren’t really useful.. chrono has little customization, weapons and some accessories only. but the gameplay of both is great.. you just pissed me off when you say FF6 gameplay is generic, if you mean battle-gameplay, then it could be true

    Then, after i read the audio-visual section, i was sure you are very biased… the F***!, how in the world CT’s soundtrack is greater than FF6?…maybe it’s just opinion, but maybe 85% of people who played both will say FF6 sounds is better.

    And then the character…you just nailed nailed how to be a biased idiot.. just because of magus? a bonus character? yes, he has background and it was good, also frog.. but hell no characters of CT are better than “SOLID” cast of ff6?… CT has a silent protagonist, english speaking ancient woman(well, ayla’s dialogues’ are funny), robot with emotion , marle and luca almost no story…funny how you compare. And for the villains… kefka (and ultros) are one of the unique and great villains of all time..nuff said.. CT only has queen zeal, magus and lavos..

    don’t believe steve’s opinion, completely biased

  15. I have to say, I kinda agree with the author of the article…
    Every body is entitled to his/her opinions, his arguments are rather convincing, Chrono Trigger has a sence of freshness to it you don’t find in Final Fantasy 6 even though Final Fantasy 6 has a more mature… dark ambiance.

    The author clearly stated that he played Final Fantasy 6 way before Chrono Trigger, so he is putting his nostalgic feelings aside. He’s being Impartial and yet FF 6 fans start accusing him of “Laziness” and “Having no logic” etc…

    Well, I want to thank the author for his work, and I say Good work !

    PS : I’m actually one of the few to prefer Chrono Cross over Trigger, it’s my favorite RPG even though its battle system is weird…

    Thanks Again for your article.

  16. Ff6 is best much best you is saying this chrono trigger is much bad and easy you are fanboy? But chrono trigger is good too

  17. Sweet article. I love having an excuse to devote brain time to this question as an adult, almost twenty years after I first came across these games.
    Gameplay-wise, I couldn’t agree more. If story is your prime concern in an RPG, the fewer meaningless battles you get stuck fighting the better. CT and the overworld map are the best. As for the rest of it?
    Both are total classics, but the graphics are more problematic in ff3 than CT. And the reason why is that Chrono Trigger’s visuals worked better with the tone of the story.
    I mean think about it. FF3 is a moody, intense, tragic epic with adult characters facing gruesome losses…. The villian wins, destroys the world and kills off almost everyone’s loved ones somehow or other… Not a light-hearted tale! The music is pretty, but somber, as would be fitting. There’s really not a lot of humor, and what there is feels like a distraction or an annoyance 1/3rd of the time. (Really, who thought any moogle-based gags were funny?) The whole thrust of the game is to godsmack you with just how dark it’s gonna be by the time everything is wrapped up.
    Contract that with CT, which, though often poignant, is much, much more of a feel-good action adventure romance, George Lucas/Steven Speilberg type story. Our heroes main are younger and largely untroubled, except for some pretty normal teen drama, let’s face it. (Her dad doesn’t approve of her BF? Harsh!) Even the score som\unds like hard rock. (Blue Oyster Cult and Floyd come to mind, especially for the forest music and the totally rocking Tyrano Lair theme.) So what if the characters are cute looking! It’s way less jarring than the cute little lego blocky guys from FF3 dealing with murder and mind control. (Which personally I found more appealing than the 3d sprites in the later FF games, but I can’t seriously call it a strength.)
    CT works better within its own perameters. And I think it’s more replayable because it’s more fun! C’mon, FF3 is epic, but psychologically oppressive. It’s the same reason why people like rewatching Star Wars more than Dune. No comment on the quality of either, but if you’re gonna sink in that much time, why not enjoy some bubblegum?

  18. I feel like this review is biased, but before I say anymore about it, I’m going to go play both the games objectively and see what I think about his points. It’s been too long since I’ve played Chrono Trigger and I’ve never actually completed Final Fantasy VI, so I don’t think I’m qualified to criticize the author until I go and play them both fully.

  19. I had never played CT or FF3, until I played Chrono Trigger last winter. I had a copy of FF3 sitting with my super nintendo, so I dusted it off and just now finished a run through.

    Pretty much everything in this article is spot on. I think the FF3 music (specifically on the Veldt) was almost on par with some of it from CT.

  20. I was fortunate to play both these games on the SNES when they were first released and although Chrono Trigger may have been the more innovative title I have to say FFIII is the overall better RPG. First of all, the characters all have more depth and personality, the story is more compelling and emotional, the overall size of the game dwarfs Chrono Trigger. Kefka is one of the greatest and maniacal villains in the history of gaming, the soundtrack to FFIII is a masterpiece and to this day I still get a lot of the music stuck in my head. I loved Chrono Trigger, it was a fun game but I just think FFIII had more depth and substance, and a more moving powerful story.

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