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Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version :: Forum Review

Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version Album Title: Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version
Record Label: NTT Publishing
Catalog No.: PSCN-5021/3 (1st Edition); NTCP-5021/3 (Reprint)
Release Date: March 25, 1995; October 1, 2004
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Written by Chris

Nobuo Uematsu was initially scheduled to collaborate with game music legend Koichi Sugiyama in this project, but Yasunori Mitsuda was the reason this didn't happen. Angry that he had only been given a sound programming and sound effects designing role in his Square scores to that date, he marched into Hironobu Sakaguchi's office one day and gave him the ultimatum that either he is given a composing role or he will quit the company. It was an arrogant move perhaps — Sakaguchi was, after all, vice president of Square and he wasn't giving his ultimatum to some insignificant co-worker — but it certainly got the message across. Sugiyama was assigned elsewhere and Mitsuda was given the job of composing for this major project, giving him one of his biggest challenges of his life.

Having took such extreme action and having been so ambitious, it was imperative that Mitsuda succeeded in this score, as his career would have been a joke otherwise. Clearly, however, despite losing half a stone in weight and collapsing at the end of it, he succeeded on a musical level and created one of the most loved RPGs ever. This was the reason why he was the creator of so many high-profile soundtracks (e.g. Chrono Cross, Xenosaga, Xenogears, some of the Shadow Hearts soundtracks) since. Now let's see what exactly made it so good...

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) A Premonition (Written by Dave)

The idea of the game is thrown in straight away with the use of a pendulum "tick-tock" sound, as it doesn't take a lot of working out to find that the word "Chrono" comes from the Greek word "khronos" which means "time." Mitsuda doesn't use anything fancy in this track; just the sound of a swinging pendulum, a rising and falling arpeggio, and some rather well-timed and effective drums and violin synth can be heard. The arpeggio dies out towards the end, and this leads us into the start of the game. The use of gradated dynamics build up in the middle of the track, as if to present the game out to us; though brief, this truly is a good opening, especially considering the limitations at the time! (8/10)

2) Chrono Trigger (Written by Dave)

This is the theme of the main character Crono. This catchy melody shows hope, pride, and enrichment through its melody. The bass instantly provides us with a proud feel, and this suggests to us straight away that this person is an important character. The main theme of this track is one filled with inspiration and honour, and when it is developed around the 1:20 mark it becomes even more prominent and uplifting. The chords in the background at this point are brilliantly timed, and in many places the chords move when the melody stays still. This is a great effect and it certainly adds to the mood of the track. This is such a fine introductory character theme, and it starts the album off with an excellent vibe! (10/10)

3) Morning Sunlight (Written by Chris)

This track begins with some sound effects, featuring a seagulls, fireworks, and wave sounds. These were most likely created by Yoshitaka Hirota, the guy responsible for composing the Shadow Hearts scores with Yasunori Mitsuda). After the slightly annoying sound effects are over, a soft melody enters, and it proves to be heartfelt and endearing. Sadly, the track ends a little prematurely at the 1 minute mark, and the melody does not develop to its fullest potential. Nonetheless, the theme has a decent effect in the game, and though a filler track on the Original Sound Version, it's not necessarily a bad one. (6/10)

4) Peaceful Days (Written by Chris)

One thing that Mitsuda has been consistently good at creating is beautiful town themes. "Peaceful Days," his very first, is not an exception and it proves to be one of the most memorable themes on the soundtrack. Very hummable and a perfect representation of a peaceful and lively town, there's little else to say about this one. (9/10)

5) Memories of Green (Written by Dave)

A solemn oboe plays the melody created in "Chrono Trigger," accompanied by an xylophone. All of it is in the minor key, almost as if something has been lost that is longed for, as the title of the track suggests. The track is ambient, and a feeling of a wide open space is created through the repeated xylophone melody in which the first note is generally emphasised. Perhaps this is Mitsuda's idea of creating a field of grass, and actually attempting to put this image into our heads. The track develops nicely, and once the violins start playing at the 1 minute mark, the idea of this longing is enhanced. Not many instruments are used in this track, and this once again reflects the idea of space, and a place of nothingness. The track is very effective, and a lot can be read into it. Good marks, but it could do with some more development and dynamic use. (8/10)

5) Memories of Green (Written by Conqueso)

The first of many overworld themes, this track plays when Crono and company is strolling the fields of the "home" era, 1000 AD. Although it's based on the excellent theme from track 2, it verges on ambience in the muted approach this track takes to the theme. Rather than grand and bombastic, it's minimalistic, with soft, echoing piano arpeggios stealing the track's focus. It's a poignant effect, although I wish it had been saved for a more memorable track, as this one doesn't tend to make much of an impression within the game. (8/10)

6) Guardia Millennial Fair (Written by Dave)

Wow! The Accordion plays such a cool melody that it gets you in the mood for playing the games straight away. This is Chrono Trigger's version of Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack's "Gold Saucer." At the Millennial fair, you can play your heart out for money, bet on people running, and drink soda until you drop when you're thirsty! It is jolly, and extremely party like. It is the beat created that forces this on you. Well composed indeed. (9/10)

7) Gonzalez's Song (Written by Totz)

Seriously, this is the best piece ever. Look at the lyrics:

I am Gato, I have metal joints.
Beat me up, and win 15 silver points.

And it repeats TWICE! Genius work. GENIUS, I SAY! (10+/10)

But the real score is like 7/10, or something. It's pretty catchy. (7/10)

8) A Strange Happening (Written by Chris)

As Marle is warped away to the past, this theme plays. It's a decent theme that is memorable and creates a substantial amount of atmosphere when played. It doesn't develop too well, however, as the initial motif is repeated far too many times for the piece's own good. Even when it finally does begin to develop, it loops prematurely. The composition itself also sounds rather amateurish and it is too light-hearted and cartoonish to really create any serious worry. It serves its purpose well in the game and is pretty catchy, but that's all. (7/10)

9) Wind Scene (Written by Dave)

This track is the map theme for 600 AD. Here we are given a track which does indeed seem to fit the middle ages rather well. The bass reflects this the most, and the melody, as in "Morning Sunlight," (another world map theme) is derived from the main theme. This adds a bit of formality to the world map themes, as they each centre around this theme. We have a wide use of musical techniques, which give the impression of something spacious, dark, and full of desire. The development in this track is great and it is one of the best on the first disc. The length of this track is what we need elsewhere in the album. (10/10)

10) Goodnight (Written by Chris)

There's nothing really to say about this one other than that Yasunori Mitsuda maintains Nobuo Uematsu's approach to sleep tracks here. You know the one: 8 seconds long, a simple melody, nothing really noteworthy. (5/10)

11) Secret of the Forest(Written by Chris)

My personal favourite on the album, "Secret of the Forest," is a beautifully developed and hugely atmospheric theme. It begins with a bass guitar playing a slow-developing riff underneath a tuned percussion descant. Progressively, the textures build up from this unsual basis, as an oriental-sounding wind melody enters. Later in the theme, jazzy melodies from a piano enter and subdued synth vocals begin to decorate everything else going on. At the 1:17 mark, the theme peaks with a poignant rendition of the "Chrono Trigger" theme, which is altogether more subtle and atmospheric than the highly vivacious original theme. After this, it moves into an entirely new passage as the bass guitar is used in a mysterious way (that sounds almost improvised) underneath a charming piano sequence. It effortlessly loops after this section at the 2:13, making it one of the longest loops in the album. An extremely diverse track that boasts fascinating use of instruments and incorporates a number of different musical influences — jazz, oriental, ambient, and new age included — this theme is not only one of the most fitting themes Mitsuda has ever created, but also one of the most musically intriguing too. (10/10)

12) Battle 1 (Written by Dave)

Well it's time to fight, and we have a rising chord sequence at the start introducing the battle. When this sequence reaches its highest point we are just ready to anticipate the entrance of a creative melody. With the xylophone rattling an accompaniment in the background and a flute reinforcing the feelings of hope and perseverance, we can really get a positive feel from the track. The main features, however, is the beat, which is very frantic and adrenaline-pumping. This all adds to the sense of battle. When we compare this to battle themes from Nobuo Uematsu, for example "Battle Theme" from Final Fantasy VI, this theme seems a bit short of the mark. However, in the game it does well, and it is another good job from a great composer. (8/10)

13) Guardia Castle ~Courage and Pride (Written by Dave)

Trumpets and Drums! What else do you need for a stately track? This track is very grandiose and it totally reflects the vibes you get from inside Guardia Castle. The timpani reinforce a steady beat, and the melody on the top of it all isn't too bad either! When the track develops its melody further, we can also hear the bass line suddenly getting quicker. The timpani bursts out notes, and some of them are repeated, but either louder or softer than before. Towards the end of the track call and response is evident, and once again through this the idea of enforcement is produced. This is certainly one of the better tracks on this disc, and it is truly a marvel of its time. (9/10)

14) Huh?! (Written by Nickthoven)

Uh... yeah. This sounds just like its title. HUH?! (5/10)

15) Manoria Cathedral (Written by Nickthoven)

This one has a very wandering, tinkling bell in it that is simply annoying as hell. The synth voices are nice, with some very interesting harmonies. This loops with only 16 bars or so, so it's short, but it's very atmospheric. Aside from the piercing bells, it is a nice track. (6/10)

16) A Prayer to the Road that Leads... (Written by Nickthoven)

This is another short filler track. It has a very sacred sound to it, hence 'prayer'. It sings nicely and has some pretty dissonance. It's fairly nice for three chords. (7/10)

17) Silent Light

Written by Chris - "Silent Light," the first true dungeon theme, is also the first of Nobuo Uematsu's ten contributions to the album. Much like "Secret of the Forest," the combination of piano and synth vocals creates a rather surreal feel throughout the track. The melodies are among the most memorable on the album (which says a lot), and though the theme is a little depressing and mysterious, it is also quite pleasant and enjoyable to listen to. (8/10)

Written by Conqueso - Uematsu's first contribution to the soundtrack, and it shows. The game's generic cave/dungeon theme, this lovely track sounds like a lighter version of "The Phantom Forest" from Final Fantasy VI in its harmonic and melodic progression. The melody is mostly carried by an active piano part, accompanied by sparse guitar and choral accompaniment. While not as beautiful or as atmospheric as its Final Fantasy counterpart, it's still an excellent track, and a relief after so much filler. (8/10)

18) Boss Battle 1 (Written by Chris)

Noriko Matsueda's sole contribution to the album shows off her jazzy flair quite nicely. Despite the fact she is a talented composer, however, Nobuo Uematsu was told to arrange this one. Perhaps the reason for this was that her style was simply too unorthodox for this mostly conventional album. Still, though not as good as "Boss Battle 2," it succeeds in being a lively, catchy, and interesting addition to the album. It's a pity that Matsueda didn't create more themes, as she really does deserve more recognition for her contributions to game music as a whole. (8/10)

19) Kaeru's Theme (Written by Dave)

"Kaeru's Theme" (Frog's theme) is truly a masterpiece, especially for its time. It represents the need to never give up, and it gives an impression of hope and glory. It is definitely one of the most grandiose character themes from the 1990's, and it is extremely effective too. Kaeru was once a noble man (hence the glory of this track). The evil and almighty Magus turned him into a Frog, and hence this track is full of passion. He wants Magus gone for good, and he will never give up! Indeed, Mitsuda has created yet another masterpiece. (9/10)

20) Fanfare 1 (Written by Nickthoven)

This is a classic theme, in my opinion. It is very majestic in that it sweeps from octave to octave in the first couple of notes of the theme. It has a resonating D that keeps coming back and really hails its attention. This is not one of my favorite arrangements of the theme, however. Check out the Chrono Cross ones...! But indeed, it is still an awesome melody. Very good for Mr. Mitsuda. (8/10)

21) The Trial (Written by Dave)

Ooh! The track opens with pizzicato strings which play in an almost mischievous manner! "The Trial" seems to haul out a feeling of confusion. An epic passage plays, and it rises all the way up in tone creating an effect of suspense somewhat. The start of this track is extremely cheeky and very fun to listen to. Then, what it develops into is beautiful, even though it is nothing more than a violin melody accompanied by 'cello, and a flute. We know that this track is a bringer of bad consequences, and it fits this purpose perfectly. (10/10)

22) The Hidden Truth (Written by Totz)

This track uses the same melody heard in "The Trial", but it feels more tense. Crono has been wrongfully accused, oh no. Yeah, completely skippable, although the beginning is nice. But if we hadn't just heard the same melody in the previous track, maybe it would be less sucky. (6/10)

23) A Shot of Crisis (Written by Dave)

This is the track where the party needs to run away, and it is a "panic" track. It has a fast metre, and is extremely energetic. The only really annoying feature are the warping sound effects which bore and annoy very easily. The good thing is that these were only added specifically for the soundtrack's release to commemorate the start and end of each disc, and although bizaare, at least they have a purpose. Apart from this, the track fits its purpose, though is pretty unattractive on a stand-alone level. (6/10)

Disc Two

1) Ruined World (Written by Chris)

Once you get past the 45 seconds of annoying 'warping' sound effects that were added to the start and end of each disc for the release of the soundtrack, this track turns out to be OK. It creates the feeling of the desolate future well with its atmospheric use of wind sound effects (courtesy of Yoshitaka Hirota, most likely) and its unsual use of tuned percussion. Though ambient, a tad repetitive, and not that enjoyable on a stand-alone purpose, it works wonderfully in the game, as Mitsuda intended. (7/10)

2) Mystery of the Past (Written by Chris)

Though some people rank this theme as one of their top ten favourite pieces of video game music ever, I would have to politely disagree. After all, the track is just 7 seconds long and comrises of one simple piano phrase. Sure, it's Uematsu, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily great. Dare I suggest that the aforementioned people are crazy, or would that be considered impolite? (5/10)

3) Dome-16's Ruin (Written by Tim)

I found "Dome 16's Ruin" to be very repetitive and uninspired. The same boring bass line plays basically throughout, while a one-note-at-a-time melody line rounds out the tune. Listening to it doesn't conjure images of a rundown factory, perhaps a frantic race instead. Either way, nothing special here. (4/10)

4) People Who Threw Away the Will to Live (Written by Tim)

The title suggests a very emotional piece — one of lost hope for survival in a ruined world. I simply don't get that sense when listening to it, however. I definitely found it to be a catchy melody though, and I enjoyed the various themes and instrumentation. It could stand to be more. It's sad though. (7/10)

5) Lavo's Theme (Written by Conqueso)

As the theme of the game's only true major adversary, one would expect this theme to be huge and threatening, and indeed it is. Beginning with massive suspended organ chords which suggest both grandeur and absolute horror, it quickly moves on to a somewhat dissonant string passage. The pattern repeats, then takes a surprising turn: all the instruments heard thus far vanish as a simple, regretful tune plays on a music box. This is replaced with lush string chords, building wonderfully back into the grandiose organ theme. This is not the most well-composed of Mitsuda's evil themes, but few capture quite the same feeling of awe. (9/10)

6) The Day the World Revived (Written by Conqueso)

The game over theme, based on the music box melody from "Lavos' Theme." On its own, it's not as effective; without the dissonance to contrast it, the melody's weaknesses are more readily apparent. It also has an irritating reverb not present in its previous incarnation. (7/10)

7) Robo Gang Jonny (Written by Dave)

This plays when you are challenged to race an android on a motorbike. It is a rather fun track to listen to. The bass is mambo-like and free-spirited, while the trumpet plays the main melody which is very cool. At the 25 second mark, the track moves to a new melody, but this soon dies away to make way for the original theme. The subtle electric organ adds style and pizzazz, and it acts very well as a section linker. This is quite a cool track I must say! (8/10)

8) Bike Chase (Written by Dave)

After you have accepted his offer this is what plays. This track is very upbeat, yet it loops very quickly. During the race it is very effective. "Bike Chase" is an inferior version of "Crazy Motorcycle" from the Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack. Both are composed by Uematsu, and it is quite interesting comparing the two as they are extremely similar. (Just except that Uematsu gained some experience on the way to composing "Crazy Motorcycle"). (7/10)

9) Robo's Theme (Written by Chris)

Despite opening with some industrial-style beats, this track is just as melodic as the other character themes. It represents the cheery futuristic robot, and though one-dimensional, so was Robo's character. Indeed, though a goofy and annoying theme, it is perfectly representative and has a memorable melody. (7/10)

10) Remains of the Factory (Written by Dave)

The first thing I noticed about this track was how it is dominated by mechanical noises. These mechanical sounds suggest that the machines are still moving, almost as if they have a mind of their own, and this seems evident as there are no humans operating them. The mechanical noises slowly build up and then disappear. It starts off very quietly, but the theme becomes very prominent and louder the further we go. The sound of the machines returns around the 1 minute 35 second mark. "Remains of Factory" seems to somewhat reflect a feel of nostalgia, and this almost suggests that this place was once inhabited. It's one of the disc's better themes. (8/10)

11) Battle 2 (Unreleased Track) (Written by Letehn)

I don't like this track at all; apart from the (fairly) interesting melodies, there really is nothing to the track. "Battle 1" at least had a catchy bass line, whereas this one is just boring and the poor sound quality just brings the whole thing down to an amateurish level. (6/10)

12) Fanfare 2 (Written by Tim)

A five-second track, and a catchy one at that! Err... (7/10)

13) The Brink of Time (Written by Tim)

The End of Time is certainly a mysterious location (if you want to call it a location). A place where no time exists. A portal to any time you desire. A place to ponder the tenuous events that await you in the future (or perhaps the past). Though somewhat dull and repetitive early on, the beginning portrays a "where or when are we?" type mood. As the track continues to the more-interesting waltz-style section, the piece begins to pick up steam. This is a location of many great and dangerous decisions, and I believe this sense of urgency is nicely represented here. (8/10)

14) Delightful Spekkio (Written by Dave)

Although you are fighting Spekkio — the Master of War — this theme seems to be very jolly. Don't worry, however, as Mitsuda hasn't gone mad — you are fighting for prizes, not your life! A recorder plays the melody wich is very smooth and full of legato passages. A xylophone joins in and plays a rather pretty passage, which reminds me of Disney's "The Little Mermaid." The accompaniment is nearly entirely percussion, and the beat created is nothing short of goofy! However, as much as I love this track, it doesn't really develop, so it loses a few marks! (8/10)

15) Fanfare 3 (Written by Dave)

This plays when you find a tab. There is something about this track that annoys me, and even though it is only 5 seconds long it really goes through me. As much as I'd like to rate this mind wrenching track well, I can't! (3/10)

16) Underground Sewer (Written by Tim)

Hang on a second, I need to use the restroom... Okay, sorry, the constant sound of running water in this piece has that effect on me. Getting back to the piece, once again Uematsu amazes me with his ability to craft music that is perfectly fitting for the situation. It begins with a simple yet very catchy introduction before transitioning into a very interesting combination of flute synth, piano synth, and another instrument I cannot place. The three instruments work exceptionally well together — I especially enjoyed the role of the piano synth as accompaniment between phrases. This theme makes up for having to trudge through this tedious section of the game. (9/10)

17) Boss Battle 2 (Written by Chris)

By far my favourite battle theme on the album, the primary key to the success of "Boss Battle 2" is the use of the solo trumpet melodies. They are extremely catchy and full of flair, and are quite aggressive and tension-filled as well. Though vaguely based around the "Chrono Trigger" theme once more, they are manipulated effectively enough to sound original and inspired. The harmonies are a little simple, being based around a repeating crisis motif, but the fine timpani part makes up for this. Overall, it's a great battle theme, perfect for the special boss confrontations during the game. (9/10)

18) Primitive Mountain (Written by Dave)

Well it is 65 million years before Christ, and indeed the track is very primitive. The dinosaur-occluded landscape is expressed well through the drum beats. These play a main role and definitely portray the idea of primitive behaviour. The melody develops well, and a bassoon plays part of the passage in a section which is rather playful; but beware of the dinosaurs, as they certainly aren't as upbeat as the music! Well done Uematsu! (8/10)

19) Ayla's Theme (Written by Piano)

Incredibly short, but it only appears when she appears. It consists of a few snare drums, trumpets, and french horns that seem to go too high. So, there you have it: an upbeat theme that suits her character. It's rubbish for listening purposes though. (6/10)

20) Rhythm of Wind, Sky, and Earth (Written by Tim)

This is another piece that fits the surroundings very well. Presumably in 65,000,000 B.C., this was about as interesting as music got. Unfortunately, for the modern era, it doesn't do a whole lot. The piece consists of a series of slightly-varying drum beats and really has no melody at all. Fitting? Yes. Interesting or enjoyable to listen to? Nope. (4/10)

21) Burn! Bobonga! (Written by Dave)

This is played during the party at Ayla's village (you could have also heard it played at the Millennial Fair). It is supposed to represent a tune from a primitive rock band. Well it certainly fits the situation and the game play, but not a lot happens I'm afraid! I wonder where they got the electric guitar from though!? (6/10)

22) Magus' Castle (Written by Piano)

Just a taster of "Battle with Magus," but much slower. It crops up when you arrive at the castle and there's little else to say as it's only 22 seconds long. (5/10)

23) Confusing Melody (Written by Letehn)

Being mostly ambient, the track's name is rather deceiving. The track is very atmospheric, and gives of the feeling of fear very easily. It gets painful after a while though, as the strings constantly dwell on the same note (B flat). (3/10)

24) Battle with Magus (Written by Dave)

"Battle with Magus" is definitely one of my favourites on the disc. The introduction is great despite the warping sound effects, and the development from here is wonderful. At one point a melody similar to that of part of "Kaeru's Theme" can be heard in it. This reflects Frog's need to defeat Magus to become the noble man he once was again. This is at the 1:59 mark, but it is not totally the same. This is a brilliant battle track to have on this disc, and it is effective in every way. It builds up anticipation and a feeling of suspense on the whole, yet it still manages to flow smoothly. What a great way to end a disc and lead us into Disc Three too. (10/10)

Disc Three

1) Singing Mountain (Unreleased Track) (Written by Gilgamesh)

The time warp intros the disc exactly like Disc Two and the shrill whines quickly fade into strong wind sound effects. Suddenly, a beautiful but somewhat sad melody appears and blends into the wind perfectly. The tone is heavy on string and very "choral" so it feels similar to the organ and cathedral tracks. Gamers will not recognize this piece because it was taken out of the game where it was supposed to be used as overworld music in the Ice Age area, below the Kingdom of Zeal (only the wind blowing SFX remains). Nevertheless, it is a very soothing and pleasant tune to listen to. (8/10)

2) Tyran Castle (Written by Dave)

Tyran castle is the fortress of the Reptiles' Clan. Nobuo Uematsu has produced a rather heavy bass, but it begins to develop into an excellent melody at the 45 second mark. The moving bass is very well mastered, as are the various slides in the melody. At 1:45 the track turns into something that is a lot more peaceful and careful, this is especially apparent when the electric guitar turns nylon. This is quite an interesting theme to have for a fortress and it shows his imagination. (9/10)

3) At the Bottom of Night (Written by TheShroud13)

"At the Bottom of Night" appears frequently in the later half of the game for a variety of sad and reminiscent situations, but I have never thought the piece was strong enough to merit its frequent appearance. While the piece is certainly appropriate to the situations it is used in and has occasionally enhanced the game situations for me emotionally, I always found its harmonic and melodic content very blas´┐Ż, and despite the attempt to get dramatic in the piece's B section, the piece always falls a few Newtons short of being truly moving. On the positive side of things, the electric piano's soft and glassy timbre is a good selection for the mood, and was a fairly impactful track at its first appearance. This is not a terrible track, but I do not think it stands as strongly as a piece which so often appears should, especially considering the importance of some of the scenes it appears in. (7/10)

4) Corridors of Time (Written by Chris)

The chine ostinato that runs throughout this track is what makes this one so good. Not only is a catchy in a goofy sort of way, it also corresponds with the melody in an unusual way, creating many cross-rhythms. The fact that the ostinato itself sounds exotic and almost sacred serves to reinforce the track's unique and memorable nature further. The melody itself is a fairly faithful rendition of the "Chrono Trigger" placed on a sitar. It's functional and fun, albeit a tad uninspired. Nonetheless, the harmonic originality of this track and its overall exotic feel make it a winner. (9/10)

5) Zeal Palace (Written by TheShroud13)

One of the weaker numbers from Chrono Trigger's famous Kingdom of Zeal sequence, "Zeal Palace" is still an outstanding sound on the soundtrack. My main issues with the piece come from the introduction. The melody meanders under a high violin note which sustains from the beginning of the piece until 0:41. Although I do not like the melody or harmony of this segment, the percussion of this part helps to make things interesting. At 1:04, the music begins transisting into the much more interesting part of the piece. The sound at this point is more march-like, with some off-kilter percussion and percussive brass. The exotic melody is also much more intriguing at this point, although rhythm still rules the tune. Unfortunately this segment of the piece only lasts until 1:48, and then repeats from the beginning. Although the intro succeeds a bit at being ominous, the piece's middle section is far more interesting, and deserved to be developed further. Still, the piece has a lot of character, and really pronounces the difference between the uneasy Zeal Palace and the rest of the kingdom, which was musically set to the fun "Corridors of Time". (8/10)

6) Schala's Theme (Written by Dave)

This is a rather oriental track. The bass line stays the same the whole way through, and a xylophone joins and plays a sequence which rises and dims. The strings play chords to the melody. However the main thing to point out is that the melody seems to give an effect of knowledge, as we learn through this how caring she is and gentle. The characteristics portrayed by the track are therefore spot on. This is a great track, but it would seem that Mitsuda has lost his touch in developing his bass lines! (9/10)

7) Sealed Door (Written by Chris)

Nobuo Uematsu's final contribution to the album is a profound one and perhaps his best. Slow-developing piano melodies lead the track, proving to be deeply evocative in nature, thanks to the way they combine a sense of melancholy, purity, and warmth. The accompaniment is light, but has an ethereal feel to it, thanks to the way textures are so carefully manipulated. It works wonderfully in the game, but fares even better on a stand-alone basis. It's better still in the Chrono Cross Original Soundtrack ("Dead Sea/Tower of Destruction"), where Mitsuda arranges it, and this proves just how successful this track was, since no other themes apart from "Chrono Trigger" and the victory theme were arranged. (10/10)

8) Undersea Palace (Written by Dave)

This plays when you are chasing Zeal through the underwater dungeons, and your aim is to stop her from waking Lavos. It sounds very energetic and it makes you feel as if you are doing something very important. At the same time it sounds very creepy and it adds a bit of suspense. The low-pitched suspended notes add to this effect. This is truly a great dungeon track. (9/10)

9) Chrono and Marle ~ Far Off Promise (Written by Chris)

Widely considered a classic, this sweet music box melody is one of the most memorable in the game and has great nostalgic qualities. Despite its effectiveness in the game, on a stand-alone basis, it is simply boring. It is repetitive, has no interesting harmonies, and no contrasts. It's just a fragmented melody, that's all, and it gets old quickly. (5/10)

10) Silvard ~ Wings that Cross Time (Written by Chris)

This is another memorable classic that is used as the airship theme within the game. Unlike the previous track, it's also very interesting on a stand-alone basis, and though it's not that interesting harmonically, the melodies themselves are varied and jazzy. Like many tracks, they are based around the "Chrono Trigger" theme, but this is not a problem, since Mitsuda varies it to a large extent. (8/10)

11) Black Omen (Written by Chris)

Retaining the jazzy feel of the previous track, Mitsuda distorts it in such a way that it sounds dark and twisted. Principally consisting of a improvised piano melody, synth vocals are also added in the melody and there are also lots of interesting electronic effects. Both interesting on a stand-alone basis and effective within the game, Mitsuda scores well here. (9/10)

12) Determination (Written by Gilgamesh)

Nothing too new here, this is simply a rehash of the "Chrono Trigger" theme, a track played when our intrepid heroes try to take on the might of Lavos by crashing their beloved Epoch into it. It's a very short track and while the extra sound effects are cool and make the "approach" seem real, there isn't anything special here. (5/10)

13) World Revolution (Written by Gilgamesh)

Here we go, the first real showdown with Lavos' inner core, gamers are expecting an epic fight theme here. Mitsuda more than delivers by whipping out a full synth orchestra; hurried percussion accompanied by bits of string and brass pave the way for a mysterious wave feel played by a bass-like instrument and portions of the main Lavos theme on the organ. If you listen to the synth wave, it produces an interesting effect as it wavers from the left speaker to the right. However, the real meat of this track lies in the epic trumpet motif that repeats and echoes beautifully with the other instrumental parts. I may be a bit biased to this theme due to my nostalgia, but it's a great little tune that is equally grandiose as it is catchy. The sudden spurts and stops of the orchestra in between are well done as it really feels like rushed heartbeat speeding up irregularly due to adrenaline. The track then bridges into a lighter but equally epic bit of Crono's theme, played by the strings and accented by the trumpet bursts in between. A few chaotic and misguided chords round off the loop but do not deter too much from this great piece. Mitsuda has not been particularly great at battle themes but this one definitely stands out as one of my favorite tracks in the album — "World Revolution" fits perfectly as one of the final fights that culminate the game. (10/10)

14) Last Battle (Written by Chris)

Yasunori Mitsuda's last battle themes always sound odd and never quite sound as epic as they ought to do. This one is no exception and in comparison to "World Revolution," it pales. Nonetheless, the unconventional approach is quite interesting and the way the techno bass line wavers between each of the two speakers definitely gives the track a distinct effect. Though it certainly lacks energy at first, as it builds up, it becomes more effective and the addition of the synth vocal melodies and various countermelodies is particularly effective. The section beginning at 1:20 is especially effective and is filled with tension. There are crazy sound effects added in several places, most notably at the end, when one finally beats Lavos and it explodes. Again, though a unique touch, like "Determination," it's not desirable on a stand-alone basis. Overall, though a perfectly good theme, it does not satisfy as the final battle theme and could have been much better. (7/10)

15) Festival of Stars (Written by Dave)

Here we celebrate our heroes success, and the theme used for "Guardia Millenial Fair" is used. Here we have a rather upbeat version of this, which is effective in every way. The moving violin accompaniment is well-matched against the syncopation of the xylophone. The xylophone alone works well to make the melody more lively, as does the piano and snare drum. When the track develops it slows down somewhat, and I suppose that it gives the idea of reflecting back upon the character's journey. This is a great track, and is nice and jolly too! (9/10)

16) Epilogue ~To Good Friends~ (Written by Harry)

This track is basically the same as "Crono and Marle ~ A Distant Promise~" with its music box and its melody but it adds a beautiful orchestral arrangement in the middle section, followed by the return of the music box that finishes the track rather marvelously. This track completely surpasses and expands on the original version and proves that Mitsuda knows how to create great arrangements. (8/10)

12) To Far Away Times (Written by Gilgamesh)

After many great tracks in the Chrono Trigger Official Sound Version, Mitsuda concludes the album with an instant classic, a truly unforgettable video game ending theme that leaves the gamer and listener wanting more. The bass and percussion hold a steady beat throughout the piece and as they intro with the fireworks, bits of string and piano slowly usher in the ending theme. This little ending motif is quite touching, bringing glad emotions along with a slight hint of sadness — a sad nostalgic longing for the adventure not to end so soon. The music fits perfectly as our heroes part with one another, each returning to his or her own respectitive time period, perhaps never to see one another again but driven by the purpose to carry on their story and legacy. The theme develops smoothly into a second motif that is equally satisfying before mellowing out softly. As the view pans out to the in-space look at the planet, the quick bass beat slowly dies down into the clock ticking pulse that opened Chrono Trigger and the original "Chrono Trigger" theme emerges for one last time in a solumn manner, similar to the 1000 AD version. The music gently fades before a drop-down wave accompanies the "FIN" on-screen. As an ending track, both for a video game and a music album, one could not be more satisfied with the way the Chrono Trigger Official Sound Version ends. The track accomplishes its purpose of "wrapping things up" very well and does it in a very suitable and memorable fashion. (10/10)


Written by Chris

Widely considered one of the top soundtracks of the SNES-era, Chrono Trigger's soundtrack has won the heart of many people and is the principal reason for MItsuda's popularity today. In many ways this is understandable: its melodies are unforgettable, the atmosphere created in various themes is perfect, and the album generally features very well-developed themes. It simplys screams 'nostalgia' throughout and creating this feeling is something that Mitsuda and Uematsu have always excelled in. Nonetheless, despite all its merits, this album has significant flaws. It has its fair share of filler tracks and Disc Two is mediocre, at best. Furthermore, a lot of the soundtrack simply revolves around simple melodies and lacks any musically intriguing material. While perfectly fitting and enjoyable, calling this soundtrack a masterpiece seems severe, as it is neither immensely creative or consistent, unlike its closest rival in the SNES-era, the Final Fantasy VI Original Sound Version. While I feel this soundtrack gets more credit than it deserves, it is still a very positive experience and is recommended for anyone who has played Chrono Trigger. (7/10)

Written by Dave

The Chrono Trigger Original Sound Version is an impressive album, which just seems to match the game every inch of the way. The main battle theme may be a bit underdeveloped, and with poor tracks on the second disc, opinions are bound to be lessened almost immediately. However, what this album brings, is the birth of a new composer for Square, which we can now see as being definitely beneficial for us game music fans. Yasunori Mitsuda is widely respected for his work on this album, and despite his poor battle theme compositional method, it would seem like the album has its own little gems. Amongst other great tracks, "World Revolution" has to be the best, as its intricacy is superb, if not inspiring. Quaint touches here and there make this album easy to listen to, and well, wouldn't you just buy it for "Gonzalez's Song" alone?! We mustn't forget about Uematsu's and Matsueda's contributions either, who also give us some good tracks. I admire this album, and I see it as a revolutionary score to mark the later days of the SNES. (8/10)

Average of Summary Scores: 8/10