Secret of Mana is the beloved sequel to the Game Boy classic Final Fantasy Adventure, or Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden in Japan. It stars a warrior, a young girl, and an imp on a quest to restore balance to their chaotic world overrun with the power of Mana. Mostly, though, they walk around and smack legless rabbits and mushrooms with their weapons. The game has been a classic for over 24 years, and its brilliant music and excellent co-op adventure make it perfect for family get-togethers.
However, Secret of Mana is also an excellent holiday choice for the single greatest cameo appearance in a video game of all time. Yes, none other than Santa Claus appears in this video games, though not as you might expect him.
Roughly two-thirds of the way into the game, the trio of unsuspecting heroes stumble upon a weird place called the Ice Country, a land far to the north inhabited by a population of walrus people and a chubby old man who lives in the woods. After stumbling into town, none other than Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer himself comes charging into the scene to tell you that his boss has been kidnapped by a horrible giant, and humbly asks that you rescue him.
Rudolph’s boss? You mean… Santa?! I get to save Christmas in a Final Fantasy game?!? Hell yeah, let’s go!
After a brief crawl through the Ice Country’s dungeon, the Ice Palace (go figure), the Frost Gigas awaits at the top. This hurly, burly ice giant is the obvious target of our mission, and he doesn’t go down with a whimper, either. His Level 6 Acid Rain and Freeze spells wreck havoc on the party if they are not prepared to counter it with appropriate armor.
Like most Final Fantasy bosses, he goes down in the end, only the major twist has yet to be revealed! The Frost Gigas didn’t kidnap Santa. The Frost Gigas WAS Santa! Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick reveals he only wanted to use the power of Mana through the Fire Seed to grow the biggest Christmas tree ever for the children. Ultimately, he discovered that the abuse of the mythical energy corrupts those who wield it.
Negative feelings of children not believing in him warped his body and his mind and twisted him into the monster that he became! Rankin Bass never told you that story, did they?
In the end, everyone, including Santa, learns a valuable lesson: don’t abuse the power of Mana for Christmas, and believe in Santa Claus or else he’ll turn into a horrible, destructive ice giant!