Twenty years before the story, the evil Vandole Empire invaded Fa'Diel, abusing the power of Mana at the source of everything to crush all opposition.
Until the fated day when a maiden from the Mana Clan sealed the Mana Tree from the world, cutting the Empire's power source and enabling the mighty Gemma Knights to topple it with the fabled Sword of Mana. Some days later, the Dark Lord found a baby in a cave and raised him, possibly sensing his magic potential. The boy, Julius, in fact Vandole's son, learnt magic and became the Dark Lord's right-hand-man.
In Sword of Mana, it is said that Emperor Vandole wanted Mana for him alone, though whether it was the Mana Goddess herself or the leader of the Tree Maiden from the Mana Clan, or both, is unclear.
It is implied that he either used his last might to reincarnate into his son, or even that he faked his death by substituting the construct that would later serve Julius as his Shadow Double, and turned himself into an infant until he could regain power, with him and Julius being one of the same.
This could explain Julius's change of personality late in the game, and why veterans of the war call him "Vandole", but it remains unclear.
Julius is a highly powerful wizard, expert in the Dark Arts and Fire Magic, but he also displays notable skills in adventuring and swordsmanship.
He is very cold, uncaring, self-centred and power-hungry, but a perfect manipulator and the power behind the throne. He used his benefactor's thirst for power for years, pushing him to get to the Mana Tree for him to take, and befriending the heroes under disguise to approach his target, both to learn more and to seize her at the right moment.
In Sword of Mana, his chalk-white skin hints an otherworldly origin. He is less evil and genuinely friend with the Dark Lord despite their diverging goals, being a witty trickster of sorts who tests people, harshly but without ill will. He has extravagant clothing and manners, and is obsessed with Mana. Still, he is misanthropic, deriding mortals as weaklings struggling vainly against their misgivings, which he boasts to have cast aside.
The Dark Lord could seemingly soothe his dark impulses. After his death, Julius takes a turn for the worst, becoming cruel, sadistic and nihilistic, wanting to possess Mana in all sense of the word as Vandole did. Though his Shadow is far worse, likely fully reflecting Vandole’s evil.
He now enjoys forcing people to face their flaws and succumb to guilt and despair. He becomes self-righteous and self-aggrandizing, wanting to make the Mana Goddess bow down before him and to take her place.
Still, he wants to make her normal instead of killing her. He demeans the heroes but is willing to spare them, and seems to regard replacing the Mana Clan as a favour, relieving them of a burden.
Final Fantasy Adventure/Adventures of Mana
The game begins with the Hero (named Duke in adaptations) fighting as a gladiator slave in the arena of Glaive Castle. He finds his best friend Willy dying, likely for trying to escape, who warns him that Fa’Diel is in danger.
He later escapes through the monster pit, and eavesdrops Julius speaking to the Dark Lord. He states that his visions showed him the Mana Tree atop Mount Illusia, only accessible by reverting the waterfall's flow with a magic pendant, before teleporting away.
Duke is spotted and effortlessly thrown down the waterfall by the Dark Lord, surviving only by miracle. He later slays monsters threatening the Heroine (named Elena in adaptations), the last survivor of the Mana Clan decimated by the Dark Lord. Together they meet the former Gemma Knight Sir Bogard, who directs them to the Holy City of Wendel.
They find shelter in Kett Castle but Elena strangely disappears. Looking for her, Duke meets a mysterious traveller clad in red, who tells him that many girls vanished there and guides him to the Cave of Marsh to find a magic mirror. The stranger assists Duke with a sword and fireballs, and can indicate which walls can be destroyed.
The mirror reveals that the lord of Kett, Count Lee, is a vampire out for Elena's blood and that his butler is a shape-shifted werewolf, but Duke slays them and saves her.
In Wendel Temple, Sage Cibba reveals Elena's origin and that she bears the Mana Pendant that can unseal the Mana Tree. Then an airship from Glaive attacks the city with monsters, and the red stranger appears to take Elena to safety.
Suspicious, Duke follows and finds the guard stabbed from behind. The stranger is in fact none other than a shape-shifted Julius, seeking to confirm whether Elena was the one he searched. He takes Duke down with a fire blast and departs with Elena captive.
Duke is saved by Cibba, and later manages to board the airship and reach Elena’s cell, helped by many friends. But she can only give him her pendant before Julius spots him and throws him overboard with a powerful fire wave, as the airship is taking off.
Duke falls on a thatched roof and is nursed back to health, but the Mana Pendant is stolen and later taken by the Illithid Davias, a vassal of the Dark Lord who gave it to the Dark Lord's Garuda monster, just before Duke caught up to him. Fortunately, Davias' former captive can dispel the toxic fogs preventing Duke to reach Glaive Castle. He later obtains the Sword of Mana, albeit in a rusted state, and uses it to settle his score with the tyrant.
Duke retrieves the Mana Pendant, only to find that out that it is a fake. He finds Elena under Julius' magic control, and the wizard reveals that had been using the Dark Lord all along, and substituted the pendant to restore the Vandole Empire of his ancestors. (In the remake, he states his intention to make Elena his empress, whether she wants it or not.)
He forces Elena to unseal access to the Mana Sanctuary, blasting Duke away for the third time, but the boy follows him, restoring the Sword of Mana in the process. Alas it is too late, Julius has drained all the Mana Tree's power and became god-like. He transforms to an extremely powerful demon to kill Duke, only to fall under his blade.
Julius is dead but so is the Mana Tree, and Elena must become one with Mana to grow the Tree anew and save Fa’Diel, with Duke becoming its protector as a new Gemma Knight.
The Final Battle
Julius is easy to beat. He divides himself into three wizards who teleport, hurl fireballs, and must all be taken down. His second form hurls diagonal thunderbolts and sweeps down, but can be struck as he moves. His final form emerges after he is seemingly killed. He teleports, stomps the ground and double-casts the mightiest spell Nuke. Duke must hit as he appears, and Elena can heal him.
He is mightier in Adventures of Mana, albeit just as easy. His doubles must be taken down to strike him. They hurl four lightning balls, a normal fireball and a bigger, slower one.
His demon form uses energy-infused punches, diving kicks, lightning bolts, and divebombs causing blue explosions, but can be knocked out if attacked long enough. His final form fights exactly the same and Elena can still heal. Spells and Dashing or Whirling attacks are advised.
Sword of Mana
Julius only appears before entering Count Lee's castle, without disguise for the heroes know him not. He only makes cryptic warnings and it is Isabella (Belladonna's counterpart) who advises them to find the mirror. The Dark Lord is with Julius to capture Elena in Wendel, and Cibba identifies him as a Vandole after they defeat Duke.
In the airship, Julius asks Elena about the key, throwing Duke out with a dark purple energy ball. After Duke is forced to kill Devius (Davias), Julius telepathically taunts him for refusing to finish him off. He offers to heal him, but Devius choses to die. After the Dark Lord's death, Julius has Goremand steal the Pendant and goes to the Sanctuary.
The heroes and their friends reach the Mana Sanctuary, frequently harassed by Julius' Shadow, who later summons their friends and corrupts them with their despair, to which even Elena succumbs. As they are about to strike down Duke, he embraces his weakness and his relationship to them. Elena breaks the spell by calling to their allies. The Shadow calls its maker for help and Julius telepathically grants it the power to multiply and face all party members.
Duke and Elena kill Julius with the restored Sword of Mana, but he swears that he will return as long as Mana exists (as Anise does). Elena then fuses with the Mana Tree to restore it and Duke becomes her Gemma Knight.
The Final Battle
Julius alternates between close-range and atop the arena walls. He calls forth monsters, and throws fireballs send fiery waves on impact. He later leaves afterimages after him, using status moves and mightier attacks like freezing tornadoes, four petrifying magma waves around him, and the devastating Shadow Summon Irwin.
He finally turns into a flying demon who attacks with barrages of punches, and flies into space to throw a deadly explosive comet, who must be attacked when he is onscreen.
VIP Mario 5
Julius serves as the final boss of this unofficial hack game featuring Mario against many Nintendo enemies. His first demon form conjures thunderbolts dividing in two spheres, and must be jumped over as he lands and charges. He then conjures a flying demonic sword that keeps attacking and growing.
Mario must dodge his second demon form’s energy balls until he spawns two doubles, then must move so that they shoot the original. He later creates a giant energy circle and successive attacks of lightnings, tornadoes, ice and fire. Mario must propel himself with the tornadoes to jump him over. After he grows smaller, Mario must dodge his energy balls and his circle of fireballs and jump him over as he teleports around.
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King
Final Fantasy Dimensions
Final Fantasy Mystic Quest
Final Fantasy Tactics
Trials of Mana
Heroes of Mana