Review by missingn087

Reviewed: 09/12/06

Quite good! Quite good, indeed!

Yup, that's right, oddball RPG Earthbound is actually a sequel, and this is the game that started it all. Most American gamers don' know that, though, because Mother, AKA Earthbound Zero was never officially released in America, and is only available in English on a ROM. It's a sad fact that so many people haven't heard of it, for it's really a great game, though not quite as good as its sequel. Of course, any game deliberatly made to break RPG stereotypes, like this and Earthbound, has to be good. In fact, this game is the direct result of the creator playing Dragon Warrior and hating it! But anyway, let's get on to the review!

GAMEPLAY: 8/10

We begin with what is really the most important part of games, the playability. While this is the main point at which Mother falls short compared to Earthbound, it's still respectable in its own right. There's no severe menu-hopping in battles, like there is in many other RPGs, and instead of magic and swords, your characters wield bats, frying pans, bottle rockets, and psychic powers. Sure, they function the same, but it's the originality that counts. However, without the rolling HP meter of Earthbound, slow levelups, and steep enemy levels, this game is significantly harder and a bit more annoying to play.
On the field, the battles are random encounters, like the Final Fantasy games, where your enemy is invisible until you run into it. This really isn't much of a problem, I just prefer being able to see my enemy first. Actually walking around is pretty neat, though. There's a feeling you can get from RPGs, especially one that has a "silent hero"(a main character that never talks so you can put yourself in his/her place), a wonderful feeling of "I DON'T KNOW WHERE I AM IN THIS BIG, GLORIOUS LANDSCAPE!". You can't grasp exactly how great it is unless you've actually been there. I've only seen it in three games: Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Ruby, and this. Don't miss out.

STORY: 9/10

Wow! I have to say I'm impressed with this game's story. It far surpasses Earthbound's and pretty much every other RPG I've seen. Basically, about 100 years ago, in a Midwestern town in the US, a young couple was abducted by aliens. However, the aliens were friendly and treated the couple well. The woman, Maria, accepted them, but her husband, George, was suspicious. Later, a baby alien was born, and Maria treated him like he was her own, singing to him until one day George betrayed the aliens, stealing their secrets and escaping from the ship back to Earth. The aliens, not wanting Maria to betray them as well, trapped her in a world created by her mind. The baby, named Giegue, was greatly hurt by the betrayal and his mind was corrupted, resenting humankind and most of all, the song that Maria had sung to him. One hundred years later, he tries to exact his revenge on Earth, manipulating weak-minded humans and controlling animals, and it's up to George's psychic power-endowed great-great grandson Ninten to stop him. I don't know about you, but I think that's a great story that only gets better, but for the sake of not spoiling, I'll end here.

SOUND/MUSIC: 8/10

Now, this actually would have been a 6 or lower, if it wasn't for one thing that I'll get to a bit later. The sound effects here are...really unspectacular. Mostly bleeps and bloops and that generic "crashing" sound used in many NES games. The music, at the very, VERY first glance, isn't great either, but listen and you'll see what saved this section's score: The composition is BRILLIANT! The music does a great job of creating atmosphere, whether it's the regal ballad of Queen Mary's castle, the beautifully lonely sound of Youngtown, the triumphant, soaring feeling of the "Flying the Plane" music, or the "Let's go adventuring!" feeling of the general field music, this music is some of the best composed I've ever heard.

OVERALL: This game may fall short of its sequel, but don't underestimate it! It's a VERY worthy game in its own right. Plus, it also has excellent replayability due to the world's absolute vastness.

Don't miss this one! Go out and find it and know the beauty that is Mother!

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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