Ghost here! Glad you could drop by and... Hey, what's this?
The least they could do is officially release Mother 3 for an American or International audience. Now some of you may be wondering what the big deal is. Well I'll certainly tell you as we talk about Mother 3!
YES! Finally! After three long years you're finally reviewing Mother 3. Oh how I've waited for this moment for so long!
Well there's a big surprise. I figured you'd show up sooner than later, KoD.
Well since you're here, you might as well help me out with the review buddy
Let's begin, my friend! For the greatest review of all time!
The StoryThe storyline of Mother 3 is a little more complex than your average game. It's not too difficult to follow by any means it just has a lot of components to it. Mother 3 focuses on several main people across more than one time period. It deals with tragedy, death, fighting tyranny, redemption and random acts of insanity. It's kind of like watching Les Miserables while tripping on acid.
Chapter 1: Night of the Funeral.
Just a warning for you viewers reading at home, this game gets dark... and I mean REALLY dark. Take this scene for example. You become somewhat attached to Hinawa as a character only for her to die tragically in this manner. Why does this seem like it could potentially end up even darker?
Claus decides to go after the Drago that killed his mother but did not return. Leaving Lucas behind, Flint and his father-in-law Alec go out in search of Claus. After finding Claus' shoes, they stumble across the Drago who killed Hinawa. However, this Drago was no longer the peaceful dinosaur creature it once was or even one who was frightened. It was now a half-bionic reanimated corpse of the Drago created by the Pigmasks. With the Drago defeated, Flint and Alec return home not finding Claus' body. The camera rises and Claus' body is seen lying face down in the canyon below.
Chapter 2: Thief Adventure
Wess' journey back to Oshoe Castle with Duster introduces a mechanic barely touched on in Earthbound, that of having an additional party member with you who can help you in battle but who take no damage. Sure, Alec in Chapter One could do things to help, but Wess is different. Despite only being a temporary party member and not having an HP bar, Wess actually attacks the enemies in battle with an item called a thunder bomb which does massive damage to the enemies. He attacks randomly and mostly berates Duster during the battle but when he wipes out an enemy for you it feels so good. Leading Wess back to the impassible wall, Wess realizes what the dancing pictures mean... leading to quite possibly one of my favorite things in the game. If you, for whatever reason, questioned how good the humor in this game is... you're about to have your mind blown.
Chapter 3 The Suspicious Peddler
This chapter may be very hard for some of you to swallow especially if you love animals. Seeing how Fasaad treats poor Salsa by electrocuting him over and over goes beyond any sense of the words animal cruelty. When I said Mother 3 was a dark game, I wasn't kidding. This is only the third chapter though; we haven't even gotten to the dark meat of the game yet.
The pair wanders the desert till they find a hidden tunnel that leads to the village's graveyard. once in the village, Salsa performs dances for the crowd and makes "Happy Box" deliveries for Fasaad. Eventually Fasaad gets rod that the Pigmasks have still not found "it." Together Fasaad and Salsa head to Oshoe Castle to investigate the search but once there receive word that Wess and Duster have found the "it" that Fasaad has been looking for (the egg from Chapter 2.) Upon their return to town, Fasaad and Salsa witness Wess and Kumatora being confronted by the townsfolk who believe Duster stole some money that was hidden in Chapter 2 which Fasaad had actually stolen himeslf. Kumatora and Salsa exchange a look and that night, Wess and Kumatora free Salsa by taking his collar off and
Umm.. I hate to interrupt here but I do believe Kumatora just destroyed the controller for the shock collar. For whatever stupid reason they didn't just remove the collar... I don't know, Nintendo Logic?
Together Kumatora, Wess, and the now free Salsa head into the forest and take down a Pigmask Tank before they are surrounded by Fasaad and pigmasks. Lucas and a baby Drago show up to help them. The baby Drago cries for its mother who appears and sends Fasaad and the Pigmasks flying.
Chapter 4: Club Titiboo
Three years have passed since the events of the first three chapters and a lot of things about the town have changed. We pick up with Flint's son Lucas who now assumes the role of the main character for the rest of the game. Lucas' dog Boney joins him on his adventure as they learn that Duster is still missing but there seems to be a bass player in the band DCMC who looks just like Duster. They are playing a gig at Club Titiboo
On the way to Club Titiboo, Lucas encounters a strange person in a hot spring who unlocks his ability to use psychic abilities known as PSI. After reaching the club by gaining tickets through a part time job moving clay robots, a waitress who turns out to be Kumatora assists Lucas and Boney to get to the band's dressing room by way of the attic to confront Lucky who looks like Duster.
Chapter 5: Tower of Thunder
Chapter 6: Sunflower Fields
This was definitely one of the more touching scenes in the game; to see Hinawa's ghost as Lucas chases after his mother only for the scene to end like that... We eventually come to find out that Hinawa's ghost was responsible for the hay stack as she spoke to Wess and Alec in their dreams about where to put the hay stack. Leave it to Hinawa to be watching over her son even in death. The sunflowers play a constant reminder of Hinawa who Lucas is still affected by the loss of.
Chapter 7: The Seven Needles
As Lucas progresses, he hears word that even after three years, Flint is still mourning the loss of his wife and continues to go into the mountains in search for Claus. You discover the entirety of Flint's life is now revolved around visiting Hinawa's grave and searching for Claus rather than spending time with his living soon who desperately needs his attention. It's very heartbreaking to see the close family fall apart.
Along the way, Lucas and Boney go to a Chimera Laboratory, a snow-capped mountain, Saturn Valley (where the alien race of Mr. Saturns live), a volcano, the ocean floor, a mushroom island, and a jagged mountain pass. We get to see Salsa and his girlfriend once again during these travels. Kumatora and Duster are found once again and become party members as Lucas pulls three of the six remaining needles; however the Masked Man from the airship has pulled out a total of three himself leaving only one left. As Lucas pulls the sixth needle, the group are invited to New Pork City!
Chapter 8: All Things...
Thus we are introduced to the main villain of Mother 3. The person responsible for what fate befell Claus, the death of Hinawa, as well as everything else that's gone wrong with the Island. The very person controlling the entirety of the Pigmask Army is none other than Porky Minch. YES, it's Porky Minch, otherwise known as Pokey Minch from Earthbound. He's back and meaner than ever.
Lucas and the gang decide to take down the main source of their problems and head to the Empire Porky Building. After reaching the top floor and fighting off a hoard of mechanical Porkys, a very old Porky Minch appears from the ceiling in a spider-like mech saying he has become this way due to his over use of time travel.
Lucas and company finally have their fight with Porky, however when the Pigmask King found himself losing against the odds, he sealed himself in the Absolutely Safe Capsule for all of eternity bringing the fight to a stalemate. The group presses on to find the final needle, but that's not all they found. They also found the Masked Man. Claus uses lightning to knock out everyone but Lucas to have a one on one duel. Lucas, however, refuses to fight his brother and simply takes the beating. As the "battle" wages on, both Flint and the spirit of Hinawa try to bring their son back to his senses. As time passes, the voice of Hinawa begins to reach Claus and remind him of who he truly is.
I'm warning you now; if you can't handle extremely sad and emotional moments, this game will make you cry. It could make anyone cry... even me at age 25.
Mother 3 is a turn-based RPG game and follows most of the standard elements of these kidns of games. If you have played any turn-based RPGs then you shouldn't have any real problems here. You have weapons and armor which have to be equipped, you have magic moves that eat up a percentage of the magic meter, there are items that can be used to assist you, etc.
Mother 3 added a few new features that weren't present in Mother 1 or Earthbound. I would like to mainly direct your attention to two of them. The first is the addition of running. You are given the ability to run in this game which can serve multiple purposes. For example, by running you are able to move across the map at a faster pace for the convenience of the player. Running is used in a few instances where you need to ram into something to knock it over or knock an item off its perch. Lastly, if you recall in Earthbound, when you run into enemies on the overworld and you are mush stronger than them the screen would flash green and you would auto-kill them for experience without the actual fight. Mother 3 does this differently. If you are over leveled you can run into weaker enemies causing them to flash and have no battle at all with no experience gained from it.
Enemy DesignWe can't have a game without enemies and the design of these enemies is something that definitely needs looking into. With all the craziness going on in the Mother series these enemies are bound to be just as insane. Let's take a look at a few of them shall we?
I see the prince from Katamari Damacy decided to make a guest appearance here. As long as he doesn't roll Tazmilly Village up in a giant ball we'll be fine!
As if there wasn't enough homo-eroticism implied in this game... Do we really need rock hard bodybuilders who hug on each other once they take enough of a "pounding?"
I've seen enough hentai to know where this is going...
Oh look, the Bidoof of Mother 3.
You mean I can't even go to the bathroom in peace without a creeper faced reject from the Blue Man Group wanting to do unspeakable things?
WHAT THE HECK? Did Shou Tucker take over the Pokemon Day Care?
For the 4 or 5 of you who actually got that joke... you are awesome!
WHAT THE $@#&^!The Mother series has always been praised as being eclectic, strange, and gloriously weird. There are just moments in Mother and Earthbound that make you question what the developers were smoking during the creation of those games. Mother 3 is no different.
Throughout your travels in the game you get some help from creatures called Magypsies. They all wear brightly colored feminine clothing and long flowing hair yet some have large muscular bodies and most if not all have some sort of facial hair. These guys...er...girls...er... I guess gender-queer is the "preferred terminology" or something like that are flat said as not female but not male either. The Magyspies are definitely one of the more colorful inclusions in the game.
While we're talking about Magypsies, let's focus on Ionia in particular. Ionia is the one who teaches Lucas how to use his PSI which is pretty awesome. Unfortunately it's taught to him while both of them are in a hot spring with Ionia being completely naked. Ionia turns Lucas around to face away from him and the screen goes black with captions such as 'don't struggle", and "endure it for a little bit." That's some Chris Hansen nonsense there!
Everything about the bathroom segment of the Empire Porky Building is bizarre. First off, it's a maze of bathrooms. On the way you run into Pigmask enemies in bathrooms, a man sitting on a toilet, a duck toilet, a bathroom filled with ghosts, a gigantic toilet that fills the whole room, and the Ultimate Chimera from the Chimera Lab stuffed in a bathroom for no real reason
Nightmare Fuel Island
My single biggest WTF moment in Mother 3 is the part where Lucas and Company (aside from Boney) eat some strange mushrooms causing them to have one of the biggest acid trips of their life. They hallucinate seeing menacing nightmarish versions of the people they know. This includes Claus and Flint. You will see lines of dialog from the hallucination of Claus that says "everyone's waiting for you. Everyone's waiting to throw rocks at you, spit in your eyes, and make your life hell. Who's everyone? Everyone you love." While the hallucination of Flint says "I'm gonna beat you. Daddy's gonna beat you, boy." Gotta love that domestic violence...you know, for kids! The visuals as well as the music compliment this weird trippy experience.
While going through the Empire Porky Building, you run into a very interesting room filled with lavish decorations, a lush carpet, women in bikinis, food, and a girl fanning a palm leaf. That's right, you just walked straight into Porky Minch's brothel! The male centaur adds....WAIT WHAT?? A male centaur?? I guess that handles two fetishes/fantasies at once...*shudder*
There's an entire segment which happens in the depths of the ocean. Obviously our characters need oxygen to breathe but rather than giving us a temporary ability, a water breathing potion or an apparatus that converts the oxygen in the water for them to breathe.... they have to replenish their air by getting a kiss from a merman. I don't even...
On their quest to find the seven needles, Lucas and company travel to Snowcap Mountain. Since that particular needle was pulled before they could even get there, the group decides to head back to Tazmilly Village. But how you might ask? Well... they are told that they could get a ride back in something a bit different. A refrigerator. WAIT...A REFRIGERATOR? That's right! The crew seals themselves in a fridge which slides down the mountain slope before finally going airborne. I mean hold on a second! Isn't this not only EXTREMELY dangerous but how do they not suffocate from the lack of oxygen in such a tight space? Eventually the fridge comes crashing down with Lucas and friends just casually walking out as if nothing bad could have even happened to them in there.
Watering the Scenery
As Lucas and friends make their way up the massive Empire Porky Building, they come to a room where you see... umm... well just look for yourself
Sometimes you just see more than you wanted to. During Chapter 7, Lucas and the gang begin to fly away using a cage full of birds... I don't know just go with it. During this scene however, Boney is clinging on to Lucas' shorts which fall down due to the weight of the dog exposing Lucas' butt to the players. Given the other bizarre things that go on in this game this one's fairly tame.
Nazis are generally something you want to avoid association with unless they are of the zombie variety in a Call of Duty game. Anything that might be seen as "Pro-Nazi" is generally avoided like the plague. Why do I bring this up? Well the Pigmasks are an organized evil army that are effective while still being somewhat incompetent. And when they talk or salute their superiors...this happens
It's My Fart in a Box!
Yes, I'm not making this up. When you get to Saturn Valley you'll find a lot of presents lying around which you find out when you open them, contain farts. Yes...farts. I'm not talking just normal stink here; these farts come with their own musical toot as well. This is one of the reasons I love this series so much. They aren't above making at least two or three fart jokes.
When Negativity Kills
On your way to find Ionia you will find an enemy called the Negative Man which, in all seriousness, I have no clue why it even exists. When you initiate a battle with him, you quickly see he almost never does anything to fight back as you are wailing on him. When he does fight back he only does a measly 1 hit of damage; considering how much HP you will have at this point he might as well not be attacking at all. What makes this enemy so different is the dialog he spews during his battle.
Holy Hades! What is going on?! For this guy being a throw away enemy this late in the game he sure does have a lot of health, yet all he does is sit there moaning, groaning, and crying like the defeatist he is. I honestly wasn't sure if I should feel sorry for him and take pity or continue attacking him. Negative Man is placed in this cave off the beaten path all by himself as if he's meant to be a hard boss... some rare enemy worthy of an epic battle for some amazing loot or a truckload of experience. But nope, he's a pushover.
The Wooden Stallion.
During one portion of the game the team rides a coffee table down the road. Not much to say here really just bask in the gloriousness that is this strange happening.
This one is by far the most disturbing. In Chapter 2 you start to see enemies in the graveyard of the village. Zombies are roaming enemies that you will end up fighting. This is nothing new for games as zombies are a constant theme throughout many gaming platforms and genres as well as the Mother series as a whole. However it's the subtlety of these particular zombies that make them just plain wrong. This is at the beginning of Chapter 2, only a few minutes after the recap of Chapter 1 in which we see Flint's wife and child die. Well if you look closely at the zombies, the females are dressed like and look like Flint's wife Hinawa and the Males are dressed exactly like Claus. THAT is messed up!
Release ShenanigansWith that cool story and obvious passion poured into the game you may be wondering where you can go to purchase this beauty. Well.. if you aren't in Japan or can't read Japanese then you basically can't. This is why Mother fans get so upset. Nintendo of America has had a rocky relationship with the Mother series since it originally debuted because of their rather bizarre decisions with the series.
Mother 2 was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as "Earthbound" in 1995. There were some licensing scares because several components closely resembled copyrighted works but they got through them ans released the game. However, the game sold incredibly poorly because of a frankly bizarre and incredibly dumb marketing campaign for the game. They decided to go with the "boys like gross-out humor" angle and marketed the game with slogans such as "This Game Stinks" and the like. Obviously if you're going to market your game saying it stinks then few people are going to buy the thing. The following are ACTUAL ads for Earthbound. Take a look and decide for yourself if this looks like something you would like to play SOLELY based on the advertisements.
Mother 3 was later released in Japan in 2006. When asked if there would be an International or American release of the game, they said no quoting the poor Earthbound sales eleven years prior as a reason for not releasing the game outside of Japan. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Yes I realize there are some of the same licensing scares and with every company being sue-happy as of late I too would be a little shy of something that might be a cause for concern from that aspect but that's what a localization team is for... well that and removing gambling from Pokemon because Europe ruins everything for the rest of us.
Then Super Smash Bros Brawl Happened
But let me back up for a moment. Long before Mother 3 was even put into production, a little game called Super Smash Bros was being created for the Nintendo 64. In this game you took Nintendo icons and battled them against each other. Included in the game as a hidden character was Ness from Mother 2/Earthbound.
With Lucas being included in such a milestone game series that has caused many people to purchase entire Nintendo systems to play the game, Mother fans were hopeful for a US release of Mother 3 with the added exposure of Lucas. That didn't happen.
In 2013, Nintendo finally got through the legality of getting Earthbound re-released for the WiiU's Virtual Console after much pressure and demanding from an avid fan community. With that wonderful win for Mother fans, we thought an English Mother 3 could be close at hand. We waited for any news and in 2014 we got an "official word" from Nintendo on Mother 3.
At the 2014 E3 Conference, Nintendo paired with Robot Chicken to show some neat animation for their portion of the conference. Right there smack in the middle of the animation was a dude shouting for Mother 3.
Fans to the RescueAs you know by now, there is a massive following of not only Mother 3, but the entirety of the Mother series. There's even a website where you can find really passionate fans of the series, a little place known simply as Starmen.net. Anything you may want to find or learn about the Mother series you can find there.
There are few fans as resourceful as those of the Mother community. Firefly fans were able to get the train rolling and achieved the movie Serenity, but Mother fans actually gave us the missing games themselves.
They say you can find anything on the internet. Somehow Mother fans found the original copy of the English translated Mother 1 game and dispersed it on the internet for people to enjoy, calling it Earthbound Zero.
I do hope one day Mother 3 is officially released locally. However, there are so many elements of the game that could be perceived as risky such as the Nazi and drug references, the dark depressing story, the animal cruelty, etc. These things could mean that the localizing team would have an incredibly difficult time.
Also, thanks to these same wonderful fans, we're getting a Mother 4, and while it may not be an official Mother game, I openly welcome it as part of the Mother series.
Why is Mother 3 So Important/Special?It's hard to put into words why Mother 3 is so special to me but for the sake of the review I will try my best. Mother has always been a series that, for as long as I can remember, has been important to me. Important to the point of collecting all the mother related items I can for display purposes. Mother 3 takes absolutely everything I love about the Mother series and expands upon it tenfold. All the crazy dialog and randomness, the memorable story and quotable moments, the unforgettable characters, music, and gameplay experience of a life time, even the high replay value as well as high standards to truly say you 100% the game make this an absolutely wonderful game. Mother 3 has all that one could as for from an RPG for the Gameboy Advance and more.
But more than anything, Mother 3 clearly stands out to me as the best in the series for one specific reason alone. This game is different than it's predecessors. It's dark and depressing, all while keeping the happy-go-lucky fun-for-all feeling the game has. This is one of the few games that has literally gotten me emotional; for a game to do that is no easy task. I still remember when the fan translation finally came out and I could get my hands on an English version of this game. I was looking forward to this game more than anything knowing how much I absolutely adored Earthbound and Mother 1. This game is one of those games that I will continually come back to and play time and time again. It takes everything you know about RPGs and pokes fun at them.
I genuinely agree with KoD. Earthbound and Mother 3 are two of my favorite games. The RPG genre is flooded with stagnation of franchises taking themselves too seriously, running out of ideas, sticking around too long, or just flat sucking. It's nice to see a series with more imagination in a single chapter than the last four Final Fantasy games combined. These games don't take themselves overly seriously and are filled with little jokes and quirks that make for a unique gaming experience. As I stated in my Earthbound Review, several members of the creative team for the Mother series also worked on Pokemon which would explain not only my love for the series but also explain how different and powerful this experience is.
Above all, the community surrounding these games aids in the experience simply because it's not as mainstream as things like The Legend of Zelda or Call of Duty. It's not quite as underground of a success to make hipsters we themselves with delight but it's just obscure enough that once you find another fan there's a bit of a stronger connection with that person. I'll use a Nostalgia Critic example here; before the Lord of the Rings became movies if you found someone else who loved the books you felt like you and this other person had something interesting in common, but now that the movies were made if you found someone else who likes Lord of the Rings...well NO CRAP! Who doesn't like Lord of the Rings now?! The same is true here. If you find a fan who loves Call of Duty that's no big deal because millions of people like Call of Duty, but if you find someone who loves the Mother series that means that you and this person have a little more in common and share something special.
ConclusionSo, several hours later, there you have it! Mother 3 is an amazing game that any RPG fan should check out at some point in their lifetime. it's quirky and funny while still maintaining to be engaging, emotional, and challenging. It's part of a franchise that deserves for every entry to have an international release. It needs Nintendo to pour more love and creativity into it, but if they don't feel like doing so and continue to focus on mediocrity and casual games then I'll GLADLY take anything the fan community has to offer us. KoD, any last thoughts?
I hope that by reading this review, you take the time to check this game out for yourself. Not just Mother 3 but the entire Mother series as well. The Mother series games are all amazing games and highly underrated, but don't take our word for it alone. By all means go check them out for yourself! Find a cartridge of Earthbound if you're so inclined. Purchase Earthbound on WiiU's Virtual Console or find the English ROMS of Mother 1 and Mother 3. You won't regret it. As far as Mother 3 goes....
Mother 4 is planned to release in June of this year. Care to join me again when it does?
Count me in! I can't wait for its release!
Ah, it's time to part... Ciao!
Well till next time this is Ghost fading into the darkness.
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