Also known as: Mother 2 Gyiyg Strikes Back (Trans. Japanese) マザー2 ギーグの逆襲
Released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super Famicon)
Released in Japan: August 27, 1994, In the U.S. :June 5, 1995
Developed by: Ape and Hal Laboratory, Published by: Nintendo
Review by: Genolinkero (Bryndan Thomas)
Before we begin I would like to make it clear that this is my second playthrough of Earthbound and the enjoyment from so many of angles within this adventure is just as much if not greater than the first playthrough. The defining points in this creation include the captivating music that perfectly matches the environment, The challenging and conserving nature of the battle system, the epic story of a young hero and his friends , The modern setting for the quest with humor, art, and real-world references flooding throughout, and finally the overall effort that was put into this masterpiece of Super Nintendo RPG’s.
Earthbound is the story of Ness, A young boy from the modern day town of Onett who one quiet night is awoken by the sound of a huge crash! After going out and locating the source of the sound he finds a meteorite and a prophet from the future that informs Ness of an apocalyptic danger threatening his world. The alien Giygas has made his way to earth and plans to spread his unstoppable evil across the planet. The prophet gives Ness the Sound Stone, a device that is charged after visiting the eight power points within the world that is used to teach Ness the power to protect his home.
Ness is then thrown into a world of courage, laughter, magic, wisdom, and strength. Traveling from a farmer’s market town to a cult of blue loving painters, a zombie infested village to a tunnel of greedy monkeys, or a city in the sky to the land of the dinosaurs, the versatility of the storyline and the objectives within the adventure is absolutely brilliant. Going down the road Ness meets 3 friends that join him in his mission to destroy the evil Giygas, Paula, a magical young girl from the quiet town of Twoson, Jeff, A brilliant young man from the Snow Wood Boarding School in the country of Winters, and Poo, a young king in the empire of Dalaam trained in the art of an overall dedicated warrior.
The heroes endure more than many trials in their trip, including a large amount of strange and humorous enemies ranging from quick-footed mushrooms, to angry taxi cabs, hieroglyphic snakes, miniature UFO’s with eyes and bows, molecules, (yes, molecules), vomit, frogs, electric guitars, octopus robots, and the power of thunder and storms are just a scratch on the huge number of enemies littering this funhouse world.
The modern aspect the world is set in is something not common in turn based RPG’s in my opinion due to the lack of creative freedom. This game is taking this handicap and smacking it through the roof with a bat. The visual backgrounds capture so many real world places to an incredibly vivid dimension. Depictions of hospitals, department stores, an arcade, a popular beach, a music hall, and so much more give this project a captivating experience. Along with the background art, the sprites in and outside of battle have a beautiful amount of detail detail put into every pixel. The one thing that has been frowned upon from many players has been the lack of battle animation. Being someone who usually feeds off the quick moving visuals of Final Fantasy I surprisingly did not see this as a problem. Not only does the amount of detail into every other aspect of this game shadow the fact that battle animation is short, but the animations that are given, remembering the limitations of the Super Nintendo at the time, are spot on the form of attack. My personal favorite is the Omega version of the freeze spell. The crystal diamond spinning in the middle with the double ice crush audio gives a very satisfying bite of damage into my enemy.
Another great achievement with this game is the music score. A wonderful collection of over 150 clips of music that perfectly match every situation. The memorable Onett theme that starts your adventure with confidence, the eerie Zombie music of Threed that creeps your backbone, the busy city music of the metropolis of Fourside, and the egyptian groove of the pyramids. These and so many more will always have a place in my video game playlists.
In conclusion, Earthbound is an example of the amazing power of adventure that Super Nintendo RPG’s have brought to the world of gaming. Ness, Paula, Jeff, Poo, and all the big nosed Mr. Saturns will always remind me of the laughter and pride that I have for my enjoyment of this wonderful piece of role playing gold.