Earthbound Review

How's your Mother?


OK, I probably confused you to heck with that by-line, but in Japan, EarthBound is called Mother 2, so it all works out, OK? Well, in 1995, a young boy named Ness is in bed asleep. He is woken by loud knocking at the door, and gets up to see who it is. It just happens to be Pokey from next-door, and he tells you that a meteorite has landed on the hill just next to Ness' hometown, Onett. From here on in, everything starts to get weird. Animals have been attacking people, and Ness discovers his Psychic powers, and finally discovers that an entity called Giygas is trying to take over the world, and he'll need to travel to eight magical places to save it.

Game Statistics

  • A funny game.
  • Called Mother 2 in Japan.
  • 24-Megabit Cartridge.

Game Design
Well it's an RPG, but not in the way we think of them. It's not that swords and dragon-slaying stuff right out of Final Fantasy, it's modern, and instantly recognizable. Instead of a sword, your main weapon is a baseball bat, and instead of a dragon, you come across an enormous mole. The game's humour is definitely a large part of its charm, and from the moment you start a new game, you'll know you're in for something ... odd. This game is definitely not what you'd expect, but that is all part of the fun.

EarthBound's graphics are barely passible. They're chunky, ugly, and they're absolutely perfect. This game never took itself seriously. In the graphics or any other part. But that's what made it so good. Back to the graphics - each character consists of an enormous head and a small body, and all of them are pixellated as ever. The environments can get fairly ridiculous at times, but definitely suit the game perfectly.

The sound is actually pretty good. It consists of some of the Final Fantasy-style epic stuff, and some happy tunes that you'd expect on a kids TV show. I'd probably choose EarthBound music over most other games, because it's just not as depressed. It's hip, has a nice beat, and fits in with the surroundings excellently. For example, when you meet Paula, one of your party, you get an epic-style song, but then when you're in the arcade you get a bunch of random noise stuff that sounds great. All out, pretty good.

Control really isn't the best you can get. Rather than A being your general action key, it opens up a menu which includes a number of actions. L and R represent shortcuts to some actions, but most of the time, you just use the A button because it's what you expect to use. In battle, control is good - your options are set out in a little bar, and you just use the D-Pad and the A and B buttons to navigate. Not groundbreaking, but still functional.

There's some great satisfaction to be gained from this game. There are the eight major boss battles as well as several minor bosses, which can be quite difficult until you figure out the right strategy. Once you know what you're doing, it feels great taking down the boss that's taken you so long to beat. Obviously, there's the final battle in there, which is separate from the other eight, and while exciting, defeating it isn't as satisfying as it could be. Play it and you'll see.

Replay Value/Game Length
Like most RPG's, there really isn't much replay value to it. You might feel like replaying it 3 or 4 times a year, after you've forgotten all about what's going on, but also like other RPGs, it's long enough (and funny enough) that even if you only play it just once, it's still great anyway. Worth replaying for the great humour though, which will probably be what brings you back.

Pure excellence. Few games have ever surpassed EarthBound in my mind, and it'll definitely be a long time before I've forgotten about EarthBound. It'll probably be in my heart forever. However, it's not for everyone and some of the game's shortcomings cannot be overlooked. Some people don't like the humour, but there's something I must tell you. They're wrong. Just play it, and you'll be hooked.

Game Design 9.0
 Mechanics 9.0
 Innovation 10
 Originality 10
 Extras 7.0
 Depth 9.0
Graphics 6.7
 Character/Animation 4.0
 Environment 6.0
 Framerate 10
Sound 8.0
 Music 9.0
 Sound FX/Voice 7.0
Control 8.3
 During Play 7.0
 Menus 10
 Functionality 8.0
Satisfaction 9.0
 Challenge 8.0
 Fun-Factor 10
Replay Value/Game Length 7.0

Review by Rago

If you would like to request a review us.

This site is best viewed with Internet Explorer 5.XX or higher

Click here if your browser does not display the navigation bar to the left.