August 27, 1994 March 20, 2013 (Wii U Virtual Console) March 4, 2016 (New Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console)
June 5, 1995 July 18, 2013 (Wii U Virtual Console) March 24, 2016 (New Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console)
July 18, 2013 (Wii U Virtual Console) March 3, 2016 (New Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console)
EarthBound (Japanese: ＭＯＴＨＥＲ２: ギーグの逆襲Mother 2: Gyiyg's Counterattack) is a 1994 role-playing video game developed by Ape and HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a sequel to 1989's Japan-only Mother, and is the second entry in the EarthBound series. Set in a fictionalized and hyperbolized version of America, EarthBound involves four children led by the brave Ness, prophesied to save the world by collecting eight melodies strewn across the world.
After a difficult and long development period of five years, EarthBound was published in Japan and the United States. English localization was led by Marcus Lindblom, who helped translate EarthBound’s goofy tone. While successful in Japan, EarthBound was a commercial disappointment in the United States, where a $2 million advertising campaign was held to promote the game. Additionally, EarthBound received lukewarm reception. A Japan-exclusive sequel, Mother 3, was published in 2006 for the Game Boy Advance. EarthBound’s protagonist, Ness, would also be featured in the Super Smash Bros. series as a playable character.
EarthBound, and the Mother series as a whole, amassed a cult following of fans, mostly through Internet forums such as Starmen.net. Retrospectively, it has received acclaim, with critics highlighting its varied soundtrack, script, and tone. EarthBound was packaged in the Japan-only rerelease Mother 1+2, and did not recieve an international release until 2013, being published on the Wii U Virtual Console and the New Nintendo 3DS.
Spoiler warning:this article or section may contain major plot or ending details! Proceed with caution.
Buzz Buzz appears moments after a bright light engulfs the meteor
The story begins when Ness is awakened by a meteor that has plummeted to the earth near his home, whereupon he proceeds to investigate the crash site. When Ness gets to the crash site he discovers a police road block and Porky Minch (Rendered Pokey Minch), his friend and neighbor, who tells him to go home. Later, Ness is woken up again by Porky knocking at his door, demanding help to find his brother Picky. They find him near the meteor behind a tree and wake him up. Then the three encounter an insect from the meteor named Buzz Buzz who informs Ness that he is from the future where the "universal cosmic destroyer", Giygas, dominates the planet. Buzz Buzz senses great potential in Ness and instructs him to embark on a journey to seek out and record the melodies of eight "sanctuaries," unite his own powers with the Earth's and gain the strength required to confront Giygas.
With this goal, Ness travels into mainland Onett, which is under terror by a gang known as The Sharks. The mayor of Onett frantically asks Ness to put a stop to their antics, in exchange for a key through a police-created barrier. After an encounter with The Sharks' leader, Frank Fly, Ness battles the Titanic Ant and reaches the first sanctuary, Giant Step. However, because the way to the sanctuary was barricaded before Ness entered, the Onett police chief Captain Strong lectures Ness on trespassing through the barrier. Ness, however, asks Strong to allow passage to Twoson, and Strong forces Ness to battle his five strongest men, plus Strong himself, to prove his strength. Ness defeats all six men, then proceeds to Twoson, where he discovers that a young girl, named Paula, has been kidnapped. Paula's father suspects that Everdred, the shady owner of Twoson's Burglin Park, is responsible, and Ness confronts Everdred in the park.
After battling and defeating Everdread, he reveals that Paula has traveled to Happy Happy Village, but has not returned, suspecting that the cult of Happy Happyism has captured her. Ness attempts to reach the village, but finds the bridge leading there broken. What's worse, an iron pencil statue is blocking the other route. Returning to Twoson, he encounters and befriends Apple Kid, a sloppy yet inteligent inventor who finds himself hungry and unable to sell an invention. After being helped, Apple Kid gives Ness the Pencil Eraser, which allows Ness to bypass the Iron Pencil statue and enter Happy Happy Village. There, Ness finds Paula imprisoned in a cabin by the Happy Hapyist Cult, but is unable to open the cell she is in. Paula tells Ness that the leader of the cult, Mr. Carpainter, possesses the key, and gives Ness the Franklin Badge necessary to confront him. Just outside, however, Ness discovers that Porky (who has been promoted to a "high position" of the cult) is working against him, and sends two cult members and a crow to attack Ness. Ness defeats the cultists, then confronts and defeats Carpainter, who agrees to free Paula. Together, Ness and Paula then enter a nearby cave and battle the Mondo Mole, who guards the second sanctuary known as Lilliput Steps. Returning to Twoson, Everdread gives Ness a wad of bills, and Ness uses the money to help the Runaway Five, a band performing at a theater and stuck there through a massive debt, become free from this debt, and the band out of gratitude helps the two arrive in Threed.
In Threed, the two find the area dark and overrun by the undead, before finding a suspicious woman in the Threed hotel. Though they try to confront her, they are ambushed and captured. While in captivity, Paula sends a telepathic message to a boy named Jeff, who resides at a boarding school in Winters. Jeff responds to the message and, with the help of his best friend Tony, begins to travel to the labratory of his father, Dr. Andonuts, and even encounters the unshaven dungeonmaker Brick Road along the way. Entering his father's lab, Jeff acquires his father's Sky Runner in order to reach Threed. After crashing the Sky Runner, Jeff rescues Ness and Paula and joins their group. After returning to Threed, Ness enters the southern area of Threed and encounters a Boogey Tent, then receives a phone call from Apple Kid, who delivers to Ness the Zombie paper. Ness gives the paper to various Threed officials, who use it inside of a large tent to lure and trap the zombies in the area. This opens the way to a mysterious passage.
The three of them travel through the passage after defeating a Mini Barf to Grapefruit Falls, which is home to Saturn Valley, a land populated by a strange race of creatures called Mr. Saturns. There, the party learns that a monster, known as Master Belch, has been kidnapping and enslaving the populace. Ness and the group infiltrate Belch's Base to defeat Belch and free the enslaved Mr. Saturns. This is sucessful, and the party subsequently battle and defeat the Trillionage Sprout to reach the third sanctuary, Milky Well, above Saturn Valley. With Master Belch defeated, the zombies in Threed disappear and allow the party to travel to Fourside. Unfortionately, a large traffic jam forces Ness and the party to travel through the desert in order to reach the city. Through the desert, they find the excavator George Montague trying to dig for gold, and asks for food from the party. They give him food, then travel the rest of the way into Fourside.
Upon reaching Fourside, the group enters the Monotoli Building and find Porky again, now in cohorts with the city mayor, Geldegarde Monotoli, who has been corrupted by the strange Mani-Mani Statue. Not wanting Ness to interfere, Porky forces the group out of the Monotoli Building and into the desert. Back there, they find Montague again in a much deeper hole, who explains in a distress that five large moles are infesting the mine. By defeating the moles, Montague gives Ness a diamond, which he uses to again help the Runaway Five out of debt. The Runaway Five then gives a final show alongside the singer Venus. Wishing to celebrate, the three of them visit a department store, only to have Paula kidnapped by the Department Store Spook, who also creates a blackout in the store and causes monsters to appear. Ness and Jeff proceed to the spook and defeat it, but find that Paula is no longer with it and is now with Monotoli himself. After hearing various rumors that Monotoli visits the Fourside cafe often, Ness and Jeff arrive at the cafe, only to find a wounded Everdread, who had stolen the Mani-Mani Statue from Carpainter in Happy Happy Village, but found the statue stolen from him by Monotoli. Everdread tells Ness to check behind the cafe's counter, which warps them to a weird, hallucinogenic counterpart of Fourside known as Moonside. Navigating through the city, Ness and Jeff discover and destroy the Mani-Mani Statue, which causes Moonside to disappear.
Back in reality, Apple Kid once again calls Ness about a new invention called the yogurt dispenser, albiet it only is able to dispense Trout Yoghurt at this time, and sends it to Ness through the "neglected class" of Escargo Express. However, the delivery boy carelessly drops the dispenser in the desert, forcing Ness to return there yet again. There, he encouters a talking monkey that takes him to Talah Rama, a wise sage that gives Ness the yogurt dispenser and teaches him PK Teleport. Ness and Jeff then return back to Fourside and gives the dispenser to Monotoli's maid, who allows Ness and Jeff to enter the Monotoli Building free of charge. Navigating the building, Ness and Jeff battle various Sentry Robots before encountering a Clumsy Robot, who, despite its weak appearance, is surprisingly powerful. Fortunately, the Runaway Five barge in and turn off the robot, and Ness and Jeff proceed to Monotoli's office. Inside, Monotoli cowers in fear due to losing the Mani-Mani Statue, and allows Paula to rejoin Ness. Monotoli also explains to Ness that the statue constantly told him to not allow Ness and his friends to enter Summers, concluding that Ness should go to Summers in order to slow Giygas's plans. Although the Mayor tells Ness and his friends to use his helicopter to reach the city, Porky takes the helicopter for himself and escapes, leaving Ness with no way to get to Summers. Fortunately, Paula gets an instinct that they should return to Threed, and travel there with the Runaway Five. After returning to Threed, Jeff repairs the Sky Runner, and they set flight for Winters to discover the fourth sanctuary.
Ness, Paula, Jeff and Poo travel through Summers
The group then cross the ocean and arrive in Summers, and the nearby port town of Toto, where the group enters the Stoic Club and meet a mysterious lady that sells "Magic Cake". Ness eats the cake, but falls unconscious and dreams of a far-off land known as Dalaam. There, a young prince named Poo, who must complete his training at Mu by the request of his master, begins to meditate and encounters the spirit of his ancestor, who successively cripples various parts of Poo's body as part of the training. Afterwards, Poo has completed his training and returns to normal, then is instructed to join Ness and his party on their journey by his master. Poo teleports to Summers and finds Ness before joining his group. Ness then enters the Scaraba Cultural museum and obtains a set of hieroglyphics telling the group about Scaraba, a country with a mysterious pyramid containing the mystical Hawk Eye. The group then hears a phone call from Mr. Spoon of Fourside, who tells Ness that he has discovered something amazing, but will only show it if the player gives him the signature of Venus, a singer at the Toppolla Theater. The group gains the signature and are able to discover the fifth sanctuary, then travel back to Dalaam to discover the sixth sanctuary.
After returning to Summers, the four enter Toto, where they procure a boat and travel to Scaraba, but encounter a mighty Kraken along the way. After defeating the Kraken, they arrive in Scaraba, where they explore a pyramid in the desert and gain the Hawk Eye. Outside the Pyramid, Ness and his party encounter the Star Master, who requests that Poo leave the party with him in order to learn PK Starstorm. Poo leaves, and the rest of the party discover Dungeon Man, previously Brick Road. Dungeon Man briefly travels with them before becoming entangled in various trees. Despite this, however, Ness and his friends acquire a submarine within Dungeon Man and travel into the Deep Darkness, a path leading them under the earth. Using the Hawk Eye, Ness is able to navigate through the Deep Darkness, where they once again encounter Master Belch, now known as Master Barf. After battling Barf, Poo suddenly reappears and finishes off Barf by unleashing PK Starstorm. With Barf defeated, they find Tenda Village, a small community populated by extremely shy creatures known as Tenda. Apple Kid then calls Ness again, telling him that he is now working with Dr. Andonuts to create a machine known as the Phase Distorter. Suddenly, Apple Kid finds himself and Andonuts kidnapped by Porky, who also steals the prototype phase distorter. Returning to Winters, the group infiltrate the Stonehenge Base and battle the Starman Deluxe, the overseer of the base. After defeating the Starman Deluxe, Andonuts and Apple Kid are rescued, and Apple Kid gives Ness the book of overcoming shyness.
Returning to Tenda Village, Ness gives the book to the village chief, who reads it to the entire tribe and allows all of them to overcome their shyness. This enables Ness to speak to the villagers, who allow passage to a dark, ominous cave, which contains the seventh sanctuary. The group then enters the Lost Underworld. There, they discover more Tenda and a talking Rock, who tells Ness of his destiny to unite the sanctuaries. Ness and the group then reach the final sanctuary, but Ness falls unconscious and enters a strange world composed of his dreams afterward known as, Magicant. There, he travels to the Sea of Eden and encounters his nightmare, the embodiment of Ness's evil. After defeating it, Magicant vanishes, and Ness absorbs the power of all eight sanctuaries, becoming incredibly powerful before awakening.
After awakening, Ness and the group return to Saturn Valley where Dr. Andonuts, Apple Kid, and various Mr. Saturns have created a new Phase Distorter, a time traveling device. Unfortunately, however, they find that the machine does not work, as it is lacking a critical component: Zyoxinite, a rare material only found in asteroid deposits. Recalling the asteroid in Onett, Ness returns to his home, only to find the area invaded by hordes of Giygas's soldiers and its inhabitants locked in their homes. Ness makes his way through the invaded town and reclaims the meteorite, then returns to Saturn Valley to give the material to Dr. Andonuts. After upgrading the machine, Andonuts explains to the kids that the machine cannot warp them to the past in their current form, as living things cannot withstand time travel and it would likely destroy their human bodies. To remedy this problem, Andonuts proposes to them to have their souls transplanted into robotic bodies, though not without warning them that he doesn't know whether or not the process is reversible. Despite this critical warning, Ness, Paula, Jeff and Poo are willing to take the risk.
Now in the form of robots, Ness and his friends use the Phase Distorter to travel to the Caves of the Past, the lair of Giygas and his men. Upon reaching the end of the cave, they encounter Giygas and Porky, who informs the group that Giygas became so powerful that his mind was completely destroyed, referring to him as an "all-mighty idiot", and can only be contained within the ominous Devil's Machine. The group battle and defeat Porky, who then shuts off the Devil's Machine to release Giygas, trapping the kids in a chaotic dimension composed of his own indefinable being. Since Giygas is too powerful for Ness and his friends to overcome by fighting, Paula begins to pray, reaching out to the inhabitants of the Earth, including family members and friends, who all pray for their safety, and eventually, she reaches out to the player. The combined prayers of both Earth's inhabitants and the player reach Giygas and exploit his weakness, which turns out to be human emotions. Giygas begins to loose his grasp on reality and begins to deteriorate, causing Porky to panic and escape through time travel. Giygas then vanishes from existence, along with the damage he had done to Eagleland and the rest of the Earth. As a result, the souls of Ness and his friends depart from their robot bodies, travel back to the present and return to their respective bodies. After bidding each other farewell, the heroes return to their homes.
After the ending credits, Picky Minch comes to Ness's house in the middle of the night and gives him a letter from Porky that says "Come and get me loser. Spankety, spankety, spankety!", and the game ends with him and Ness pondering what has become of him.
EarthBound takes place on Earth in the year 199X in the country of Eagleland. Throughout the game, there are four playable characters come to compose the party in the game; Ness, Paula, Jeff and Poo. Ness remains the lead character, a silent protagonist, for the entirety of the story. He is a young boy from Onett and is characterized by his love for baseball. He also possesses psychic abilities strong enough to affect cosmic events. Paula is the second main character in the game. She is a young girl from Twoson where her mother runs a preschool out of their home. Like Ness, she also possesses powerful psychic abilities. Jeff, the third character to join the party, is a young boy who resides at a boarding school in the northern country of Winters in the region of FoggyLand. The son of the famed professor Dr. Andonuts, Jeff is a child prodigy who can fix almost anything. The last character to be acquired is Poo. He is the oldest of the group, a residing prince from the distant land of Dalaam in the far east region of Chommo. He is presented as a powerful martial arts master.
Jeff - A boy from Winters. He is unable to perform PSI attacks -- instead, he relies on his high IQ to help the team. He can also Spy on an enemy to learn about its stats. Jeff is able to repair certain items that would otherwise be unusable and then use them in battle. To attack, he uses various types of Guns. He is the son of the famous scientist Dr. Andonuts.
Unlike the original Mother, EarthBound has enemies appear directly in the overworld, rather than appear in random encounters. If Ness touches an enemy, he will enter the battle screen. The battle system is mainly the same as in Mother. Ness can fight the monster, use PSI, or run if the enemy is too powerful. If Ness defeats the boss of the area, the enemies will run away from Ness if he approaches them. Additionally, if Ness is at a higher level than the enemies, he can kill them instantly.
Can't Concentrate - Renders a party member unable to use PSI.
Cold - Causes a party member to loose 3-5 HP each turn. In the overworld, this occurs every four seconds.
Crying - Decreases the accuracy of regular attacks.
Diamondization - Renders a party member immovable.
Confusion - Causes a party member to become confused, causing them to accidentally hit members of their party.
Homesick - Causes a party member to waste their turn thinking about home. This ailment can only be applied to Ness.
Mushroomization - Same as Confusion.
Nausea - Same as Cold, except party members loose 15-25 HP.
Poison - Identical to Nausea.
Paralysis - Renders a party member unable to use normal attacks.
Possession - Renders a party member to be haunted by a spirit, causing them to attack members of their party.
Sleep - Renders a party member unable to do anything.
Sunstroke - Identical to Cold.
Unconscious - Occurs when a party member has zero HP, causing them to be unable to do anything. If all party members have this, its game over.
HP (Hit Points) - Shows how much damage a party member can withstand.
PP (Psychic Points) - Shows how much PSI a party member can use.
Offense - Shows how much damage a party member can inflict.
Defense - Shows how much damage a party member can resist.
IQ - Determines how much PP is gained when leveling up.
Vitality - Determines how much HP is gained when leveling up.
Guts - Determines the likelihood of an attack being a hit.
On March 20, 2013, EarthBound was re-released in Japan for the Wii U Virtual Console, and on July 18 of the same year in North America and Europe. The re-release was highly publicized, with Shigesato Itoi himself doing a live stream of playing the game. The game received some minor edits from the original SNES release: a line of text in Burglin Park was slightly tweaked, and the PSI animations were softened to reduce the risk of seizures.
Furthermore, in March of 2016, Earthbound was re-released again in all three regions for the New Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console service.
Earthbound was included as one of the games on the Super NES Classic Edition (known as the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe and Oceania and Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Famicom in Japan), released on June 26, 2017.
Music Sampling Controversy
EarthBound has been noted to feature a number of samples/homages to other songs. For example, the Onett trumpet player plays Symphony No.9 Movement 2, the music that plays while fighting Frank or a New Age Retro Hippie bears some resemblance to the beginning of Johnny B. Goode, and the Megaton Walk sounds remarkably like a segment from The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. These samples of music caused controversy for Nintendo of America when the company tried to approve the game for digital distribution on the Wii's Virtual Console. Hirokazu Tanaka stated in an interview, "The sampling issue is a little sensitive because, well, I don't know for sure, but it sounds like that is one of the reasons EarthBound is not able to come out in America." During the Nintendo Direct announcing EarthBound's approval for the Wii U Virtual Console, Satoru Iwata mentioned the fan outcry being one of the reasons.
Although the game was a success in Japan much like its predecessor, the game initially had very poor sales in the West which even prevented the game from being released in PAL regions, the cause was due to RPGs not being very popular in the west, and an odd marketing campaign.
However due to a dedicated fanbase and the series representation in the Smash Bros series, the game became an incredible success with its Wii U Virtual Console re-release. The game received a GameZone score of 10/10 and the Nintendo World Report gave it 9.5/10, while receiving a GameRanking score of 88%. Critics praised the wacky humor, characters, and unique real-world setting, considering it as not only one of the greatest RPG games of all time, but the most original. They also praised how the game can shift from being "dark and serious" to "lighthearted and silly". EarthBound became one of Nintendo's best selling downloadable games in the Virtual Console lifespan, constantly topping the charts of the Wii U's most bought downloadable games, and is commonly referred to as the example of a cult classic.
The ESRB, the American rating system for video games, rated EarthBound for the Wii Virtual Console. This rating, however, was a mistake. The game was later confirmed for a Wii U Virtual Console release, scheduled for late 2013.
EarthBound had an infamously odd marketing campaign in North America, which included the tagline "This game stinks!" (a reference to the included scratch-and-sniff cards).
The game has several checksum to avoid abusing the previously mentioned map glitching to complete the game. The player must fall down the hole in Lumine Hall, and must have defeated Ness's Nightmare.
EarthBound takes place in a fictional land called Eagleland. Many fans think this is a parody of the United States of America, but Shigesato Itoi stated that the game is not necessarily set there. This is why party members like Poo appear to come from different cultures.
Mother 2 was available as a downloadable game for the Nintendo Power, a Japan-only flash-memory cartridge that allowed owners to purchase Super Famicom games at a lowered price.