Earthbound; either you’ve played it a million times, or you’re like “Earth What?”. I fall into the “can’t ever stop” category, having played it dozens of times since I was a kid. This game is known as Earthbound in North America, released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo. It is the second game in a Japanese trilogy known as “Mother”, but came to be known as “Earthbound” in North America. If you have a copy of Earthbound, hold on to it as they go for a minimum of $200.00 on Amazon.com, and are virtually impossible to buy anymore. So find a friend with a copy, or try a ROM emulator version or video game re-sell shop.
The game begins in a small town called Onett, and follows the life of a boy named Ness who sports a red baseball cap and a striped shirt. AHH the lights may be turning on if you are a Super Smash Bros fan, this is that Ness, not to be confused with the character “Lucas”, who originates from Mother 3. Ness is a typical American youth with a typical American family and a typical American shaggy white dog living in typical American suburbia (maybe he is Canadian, let’s not generalize here). One night when Ness is fast asleep he is awoken by a large crash. Now Ness is a good kid and goes to check on his family, and then investigates the incident. At the top of the hill, a large police brigade have formed and block the crash site, and if you speak with them mostly they just complain about being hungry (typical). Nothing much to see here so back down the hill we go, only to be woken up a second time by his neighbour Pokey, who is hysterical since his young brother Pickey is missing. This leads to an outing to find the brother, where the group will meet a bug named Buzz Buzz who gives Ness the RPG shpiel about him being the chosen one to save the world from an alien invader from the future. The bug gives Ness a stone and tells him to take it to eight sanctuaries in order to gain enough power to stop Gigyas, with the help of a girl and two boys he will meet along the way. So now Ness knows what he must do, and the game truly begins.
Video Introduction to the Game
Things You’ll Like
Character Customization in this game is fun, and even though it ain’t no Skyrim, it’s still awesome. You can pick the four main character’s names, the name of Ness’ dog, his favourite food, and his favourite activity. Now the last two sound useless, but they actually come up in the game, you’ll see.
Financial Support! You never actually meet Ness’ dad in this game, but he is always there in spirit and just a phone call away, and even saves your game for you! But most importantly, Ness’ dad generously fills his bank account, which is important because stuff in this game aint’ cheap. Ness can use this money (which he actually has to withdraw from an ATM machine – life skills you guys) to buy hamburgers to fill his Hit Points, better weapons (AKA better and shinier yo yo’s, slingshots, and baseball bats), and hotel rooms to restore health after a long day of fighting – although it seems weird to me that a kid is allowed to rent a hotel room.
So now that you know how to buy weapons, but how does Ness and his buds fight? Well if you are a fan of Final Fantasy you will like this game, as it’s a turn-based system that takes place in a separate screen from the home world. What makes it even more exciting though is that the screen has the funkiest moving tye-dye like backgrounds, along with some pretty crazy music. It’s almost so bad that it’s good, if that’s possible. Although it is a “slow and strategic” implement instructions strategy, when a character is injured, their Hit Point meter will start to roll down, which means if you are quick enough and can heal them right away, they won’t take the full, or possible fatal, damage right off the bat. So if all four of your characters have been mortally wounded and their meters are rolling down, and then you magically beat the enemy, their meters will stop where they are since the fight is over, and nobody (except the baddie) has to die. Yay!
Teleportation is in general a good thing I think, and because Ness his friends cover a lot of ground in this game, the ability to instantly travel is crucial. However, to achieve this, they must run in a straight line for about two screens, which can be quite difficult to do without hitting a random person or a fire hydrant, or maybe a building. Later on Ness gains the ability to just kind of spin in a circle and then fly off to his desired destination, so just do your best with the “run and hope for the best” initial teleportation strategy.
Things You Won’t Like
This is one of my favourite games ever, so this is probably nitpicking, but one of the things I do not like about this game is when Ness gets homesick. Now the fact that this was even incorporated in the game is cuter than annoying to me, he is a young kid after all, but it can also be seriously annoying when you are in the middle of a dungeon, low on supplies, and Ness has lost all motivation to fight. He is the heavy hitter of his three friends, so this can be a bit of a nightmare, but as long as you give his mom a call every once in a while, it shouldn’t happen to you. So call your mom Ness!
Another small con of the game is lack of inventory space. However this might not really be so bad as you can call Ness’ older sister, as she conveniently works for a storage company, and they will even come pick up three pieces of inventory for you, even if you are in the deepest darkest dungeon. Now that’s service.
This game has it all, from time travel, magic, irritating cameramen (once you play it you will know what I mean *cough fuzzy pickles *cough) and zombies taking over an entire town. I try to avoid too many spoilers in my reviews, as I think it’s best to discover these things for yourself; so do try to find this game if you can! Or cough up 200 bucks and buy it from Amazon (ouch).
And now I leave you with an important tip. When you play this game and you get to the dusty dunes desert – do not, I repeat do not attempt to find the trout flavored frozen yogurt in the monkey cave alone – USE A GUIDE. Trust me, even with a guide this part can be confusing. And for those of you who do not know what the heck that means, I’m not insane, that’s actually a real thing in the game. So don’t you wanna play it now?
9.5 / 10