If there was a game in my childhood that rivaled the obsessive qualities that Final Fantasy III instilled in me, that game is Chrono Trigger. Like it’s counterpart, I spent hours upon hours on this game, trying to find every item and get every one of the alternate endings (back in the days when we couldn’t cheat by looking it up on the internet). In fact, the first couple of times I rented the game I didn’t even realize that there was any more to the game than the Millennial Fair bit at the beginning. I was having so much fun with the little fair mini-games that I actually rented the game twice before I discovered that there was more game…a lot more!
I loved all of the characters in Chrono Trigger, but Magus was definitely one of my favorites. For one thing, he was an excellent addition to a party since he could use all four types of magic. For another, I simply loved his back-story. (SPOILER ALERT!) See, Magus’ real name was Janus, and as a child he was an inhabitant of the magical kingdom of Zeal. He had the misfortune to have a power-mad queen mother who decided to build a magical palace that would call forth the dread destructive creature, Lavos. She hoped to obtain its power for herself, but instead it destroyed her kingdom and warped time and space, creating a number of worm holes. One such wormhole sucked in poor Janus and sent him hurtling through time to the middle ages (many years in the future for him). He was “adopted” by monsters and eventually became their ruler, a magical villain who tormented the nearby kingdom of Guardia. Eventually Chrono and his friends take on Magus, only to discover that he has been trying to summon Lavos again, in hopes of destroying the horrid creature who decimated his life. Ironically he (along with the others) is then hurled back to the time of the kingdom of Zeal where he gets to watch the entire terrible thing happen all over again, unable to stop it, and eventually joins Chrono’s party in hopes of taking part in saving the world from Lavos’ eventual destruction.
It always struck me as this wonderful, terribly sad story. When we first meet Magus he’s a bad guy, no doubts about it, but as the story progresses we learn that he only became that way because his life and everyone he knew was taken away from him, and when it becomes clear that there’s no way he can ever change that, he decides to devote himself to ensuring that Lavos is stopped, one way or the other. Isn’t that just a great story? I always thought so, and it definitely added to the joy that was Chrono Trigger. 🙂