When it comes to 16-bit RPGs, Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger are second to none so let's see which of the 2 is superior.
Story and characters
I can talk about these classic RPGs all day so I'll try to keep this brief. Final Fantasy VI tells the tale of a ragtag group of allies who unite in the face of true evil with hope remaining in their hearts even after the literal apocalypse occurs. There's no definitive protagonist and many fans argue that it's either Terra or Celes who the focus of the story switches between about halfway through. In my eyes, all 14 playable characters are collectively the heroes and each one is incredibly unique such as the thief Locke, the ninja Shadow, the gambler Setzer, the artist Relm, royal brothers Edgar and Sabin (my personal favourite character), and even a yeti named Umaro. It's such an astounding collection of personalities and their adventure is filled with memorable moments both lighthearted and dire.
Meanwhile, Chrono Trigger stars the silent chum Crono whose friend Lucca accidentally discovers a method of time travel after sending the princess Marle to the Middle Ages. As the adventure continues, they end up travelling to periods that range from prehistoric times to a post-apocalyptic future while meeting a handful of allies including a frog knight simply named Frog, a goofy robot aptly named Robo, a cavewoman known as Ayla, and even a demon king named Magus who you assume is the antagonist early on. Anyway, you eventually learn about a massive alien parasite named Lavos who crashed into the Earth many years ago and will destroy the planet in the year 1999 so everyone plans to prevent this from happening. You can do so in many ways which results in over a dozen different endings.
Although Chrono Trigger's delightful cast and epic high stakes time travelling narrative is phenomenal, Final Fantasy VI's story is much more personal and inspiring to me. Also, the fact that it features so many diverse characters and one of the most iconic antagonists of all time in the form of the insane clown Kefka, it easily wins this category although I highly recommend experiencing both stories.
Settings of RPGs can make or break their longevity and both Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger boast massive and varied worlds that are easy to get lost in. Final Fantasy VI is filled with gorgeous environments, quaint towns, bustling castles, and you get to experience the world in both its Balance and Ruin forms which is mind-blowing. However, Chrono Trigger is set within a handful of time periods so being able to see how the world evolved over the centuries is astounding. Learning tidbits about who is related to who as you explore each breathtaking locale makes for one memorable journey. Once it's all over, piecing the world together in your mind after visiting each time period and point of interest such as the lovely Kingdom of Zeal is such a great feeling. Because of that, Chrono Trigger wins here.
Of course, we have to discuss these RPGs' gameplay so let's focus on the battle systems. Final Fantasy VI's diverse cast has equally varied abilities yet the overarching progression system of equipping magicite in order to learn magic and summon Espers in battle makes it stand out from its predecessors. That being said, the random turn-based battles are undeniably old-school. The combat shines brightest when you configure your party to work together perfectly in order to take down particularly difficult foes. Chrono Trigger's battles are much more modern. First of all, you only commence fights whenever you physically encounter enemies in the field. The battle that ensues has players and enemies automatically move around and the key to victory lies in your ability to target multiple enemies and heal as many allies as you can with your wide range of techs. It's as satisfying now as it was back in '95 so Chrono Trigger wins here, too.
Wow, this is a tough one! Legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu did an amazing job with his Final Fantasy VI score and he worked with Yasunori Mitsuda to create Chrono Trigger's unforgettable soundtrack, too. It's hard to say which is better: the Western-sounding Terra's Theme from Final Fantasy VI or the oddly haunting Wind Scene from Chrono Trigger. One thing's for sure; I could listen to both soundtracks on a loop every day and never get sick of them. However, if I had to pick a winner then it would be Final Fantasy VI. The pieces of music at the end of the story as heard in the lengthy Dancing Mad and the beautiful ending score are a couple of the best examples of 16-bit music ever composed. It really is amazing what Nobuo Uematsu accomplished with such limited technology.
I've said this before yet it couldn't be truer than now: this is the toughest Versus piece so far but I have to pick a winner which is...
Winner Final Fantasy VI
Chrono Trigger has one of the best battle systems in any RPG even by today's standards and its complex world that you can explore within various time periods still blows my mind. That being said, the story of Final Fantasy VI is incredibly inspiring and its large cast of distinctly memorable playable characters remains unmatched in the genre. If I could choose only one game to play over and over again out of these 2, it would definitely be Final Fantasy VI although I would sincerely miss Chrono Trigger. When it comes to 16-bit RPGs, you really can't go wrong with either of these timeless masterpieces.
That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!