Monday, July 6, 2009

Good and evil in Chrono Trigger

Fantasy stories are usually about the struggle between good and evil. The same is true for most RPG stories, your characters are unquestionably good and your enemies unquestionably evil. This seems to be true in Chrono Trigger as well but as you keep playing you quickly find out that not everything is as it seems.

It turns out the games first villain Magus is summoning the apocalypse bringer that is Lavos, not to eliminate the human race but to kill the beast. Even if he happens to wear a cape and his base of operation is a scary looking castle filled with bats. He even ends up joining your party towards the end of the game in a Dragon Ball like fashion.

As you travel back in time even the highly intelligent reptile species that is locked in a mortal struggle with the early humans arent really evil. As the game sets it up its more of an ecological struggle in a Darwinist sense, one has to perish for the other to prosper, as the cave woman Ayla explains it "Win and live. Lose and Die. Rule of life. No change rule". It turns out you are the one who exterminates the intelligent and civilized reptile people, a somewhat morally questionable action for a group of “heroes”.

Then its the games main villain and final boss Lavos. Even he isnt a traditional portrait of evil. He is simply a gigantic parasite who drains the life out of whole worlds in order to reproduce. When you think about it he isnt really any more evil then a tick that drains your blood to feed its children. This doesnt mean its wrong to kill him, just as its not really wrong to squish the tick thats sucked itself on to your leg. But it means that he cant really be considered an intelligent being whos actions are based on choice so they dont have a moral dimension, so he cant really seen as evil.


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