Mother 3 Review

Mother 3

The legendary Mother 3 is known for never coming out in the US. Nintendo may never release it, but dedicated fans have translated this turn based RPG into English for anyone with an emulator. After completing Mother 3 I was left with a whirlwind of emotions. The emotion most prominent was anger because Mother 3 is one of the greatest RPGs ever made and Nintendo not releasing it in America is a disservice to the history of Video Games.

Mother 3 Dragos

Mother 3 opens with the disappearance of mother Hinawa and her two children Lucas and Claus. Their father, Flint goes searching for his family near their home on the Nowhere Islands. The Village of Tazmily is unique with the whole town living harmoniously with the earth and living selflessly. Everyone is kind to each other and extremely polite. This completely changes while Flint goes into the woods North of the village searching for his family. Strange men in Pigmasks set the woods on fire and begin to introduce many new concepts to Tazmily Village. The pigmasks introduce money, which therefore creates both greed and crime. Each chapter of Mother 3 stars a different character until Lucas takes over as the main character. Each new character offers a unique perspective on the ongoing change of the world around them. Eventually, Lucas and a group of misfits go against the modernized corrupted world around them and seek a way to stop the leader of the Pigmask Army (Who ties the series together.) Mother 3’s story is a roller coaster of emotions as the game explores the worth of happiness.

Mother 3 Sunflower

The gameplay is very similar to the previous game Earthbound (Mother 2). It is a turn based RPG that has a few unique twists. The health points are on a countdown so even if you take mortal damage you can still make actions or heal yourself as your health points deplete. You can also tap to the music during battles to perform combos. With the soundtrack in Mother 3 being as great as it is, this mechanic is tons of fun as you try to find each enemy’s unique beat. Each enemy is bizarre and unique just like Earthbound (Looking at you Jealous Upright Double Bass!) and the Mother series’ signature Psychodelic backdrops. It creates an experience unlike any other as you travel to many diverse locations from the crumbling ruins of a castle to the futuristic town of New Pork City.

Mother 3 Battle

The presentation is excellent with Mother 3 easily being the most beautiful Game Boy Advance game ever. The art style is timeless and the animation is top notch. Special kudos go out to the translation team for the English writing and script. It is heartfelt, hilarious, and every word keeps the player invested with this wacky group of characters.

Mother 3 is a lost classic that has found new life thanks to some dedicated fans. Mother 3 constantly keeps the player on their toes with amazing writing, active combat, and a colorful presentation that is oozing with personality. Nintendo better give Mother 3 a chance in the West because many gamers are missing out on this timeless classic.

Final Score: 9.8/10

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Earthbound: Retro Review

EarthBound_Box
The moment was when I was playing as Jeff, the genius mechanic, and was stuck trying to figure out how to get past a large lake. I was armed with a pack of bubble gum, a couple of broken toy guns, and a monkey. I gave the monkey a piece of gum and he blew a bubble balloon and flew away. He hovered over the lake with his bubble balloon until Nessie emerged from the water. Jeff, the monkey, and the pack of gum then enjoyed an elegant cruise on the back of Nessie. It was this moment when I realized I was bat-shit crazy in love with Earthbound.

Earthbound was released in 1995 and is a traditional turn-based RPG. The story revolves around the crazy events of a crashed meteorite and the destiny of a young child named Ness. Ness and 3 other friends are tasked with saving the world from the destroyer of world, Gigyas. As the game progresses, Gigyas’ influence spreads and his evil is able to possess anything and everything. Ness and his friends can be attacked from all sorts of enemies ranging from cranky old ladies to piles of puke to poltergeist street signs. The story revolves more around the character interactions than the actual plot, which remains paper thin. To combat this, Earthbound’s writing and dialogue is fantastic. The characters Ness meets along his journey are hilarious and completely bonkers. The game’s setting takes place in suburban America, but it seems Japan has no idea what America was actually like. Earthbound forms a strange, twisted version of America that was built on Japanese’s perception of American pop culture. It creates an America that is eerily similar to the pop culture obsessed America of today’s modern age. The writing and setting are some of the many ways Earthbound was incredibly ahead of its time.

earthbound

Earthbound’s turn-based battles are a successful experiment with the RPG standards of the time, coughFinalFantasycough. The battles are executed in first person and have some non-traditional elements. The health box is really cool allowing Ness to combat fatal blows if the player can heal themselves before the health goes to zero. Considering the game is also incredibly difficult this tension gets amped up making every enemy interaction incredibly satisfying. Ness and his friends also use non-traditional weapons when taking out enemies. Ness wields baseball bats, while Paula uses frying pans. These weapons keep the tongue firmly planted within Earthbound’s cheek, but do little to change Earthbound’s horrible accuracy rating. One of the largest reasons for Earthbound’s insane difficulty is the accuracy of the characters. Ness and his friend will miss their attacks 40%-60% of the time. It helps adding stress and panic to the fights, but leads to many crucial moments being deflated by cries of “YOU’VE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME!”

earthboundbattle

Earthbound’s difficulty is brutal, but fair. Although, some strange design decisions make the game more difficult than it should be. The inventory is incredibly small with many key items taking up space with the player unclear on if they’re ever going to use it again. The enemy respawn rate is incredibly high with enemies appearing on screen mere seconds after defeating them. The difficulty is stressful, but the goal to get stronger is firmly planted within the player’s brain and makes the grind surprisingly fun. Facing lower level enemies is considerably less stressful since the battles are skipped automatically. This mechanic is genius with battles going straight to the “You Won!” screen and by-passing a ton of needless fights. It’s a shame this mechanic hasn’t been implemented in modern day RPGs since it is such a damn good design choice.

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The game’s presentation is childish, but fits Earthbound’s tone of “I’m completely bonkers.” What seals the deal though is the game’s soundtrack, which sways between honky tonky jingles and strange sci-fi noises. Earthbound isn’t afraid to dive into weird psychedelic with trippy backgrounds and weird neon aesthetics making an unpredictable appearance to the delight of the player. Moonside is the perfect example taking an existing level and turning it on its head. Neon lights, teleportation and strange enemies will melt your mind as Earthbound constantly changes.

Earthbound is a traditional turn-based RPG, but it is like nothing you’ve ever played before. The brutal difficulty is matched by innovative design and the unpredictable nature of this game will surely bring a smile to your face. The writing is witty, the presentation is trippy, the scenarios are insane, and Pokey is a douche. Unfortunately, I just realized how irrelevant this review is since nothing can quite possibly prepare you for the insanity of Earthbound. The only thing I can say that holds weight is play this game right now. Earthbound is a classic that is greatly ahead of its time.