Earthbound Review!

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Schlupi, Mar 16, 2011.

Mar 16, 2011

Earthbound Review! by Schlupi at 4:48 PM (5,482 Views / 0 Likes) 29 replies

  1. Schlupi
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    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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    Schlupi’s review of... Earthbound.


    Hello Gbatemp! This is my first published review here, I hope you enjoy it! I decided that I would take a stab at this and I wanted to start with something I know best. [​IMG] Tell me what you think of it.

    Earthbound was released for the SNES system in 1995. The game was bundled with a great, grand, colourful box. The game was marketed heavily; more than any other Super Nintendo game at the time, and it was sold with the phrase “This Game Stinks.” Despite heavy promotion, coupons, games, merchandise, and a misleading commercial, the game was doomed with pitiful sales and all the copies were cleared out of stores at bargain prices (I remember when I was young I saw it for 30 dollars new at Best Buy in 1999). With the motto “This Game Stinks” I wonder why...

    It was not until Super Smash Bros was released in 1999 that Earthbound’s fanbase began to really grow. Upon clearing Super Smash Bros on the Hard difficulty, without using a Continue, you unlock Ness. Considering Super Smash Bros was made by some of the same people as Earthbound, I am not surprised that they included him in the roster. People started to gain interest in Earthbound, and they soon fell in love with the game for it’s unique, quirky story, bizarre and hilarious dialog, and trippy battle scenes. By the time Super Smash Bros Melee came out, Earthbound’s value soared and became a valuable gaming centerpiece for any retro collection. The game became immensely popular. People started hoarding SNES games at this time, because they were going cheap. Retail outlets and rental stores sold games dirt cheap to make room for their new N64 stock. Earthbound was lost in the midst...


    [​IMG]
    Earthbound box. Bright and colourful.



    I had Earthbound when I was a young boy. I grew up with video games, playing NES and SNES since my birth in 1992. It was one of my favorite games in my (or my Dad’s?) collection. I had to part ways with it in order to get a GameCube (my Dad had me sell all my NES, SNES, and N64 games, over 300 games, JUST for a GameCube). I wanted Melee so bad I could not resist. I got dollars and pennies for all my valuable SNES and NES collection... it was not until recently I acquired a copy of Earthbound to call my own once again.

    [​IMG]
    Ahhh... reunited at last.

    The game starts up with a fuzzy red screen, almost as if the television is acting up. As you continue to watch, you see a newspaper headline:

    [​IMG]

    At this point you know the game is going to be strange (although, the UFOs do not make any sort of appearance in the game [​IMG]). You start out by naming your characters, the default names are Ness, Jeff, Paula, and (hahaha I though it was funny when I was little) Poo. You also name your dog, favorite food, and favorite thing. The defaults are King, Steak, and Rockin. The game starts it’s introduction scene, playing eerie music displaying a colourful town, called Onett. The game is said to take place in 199X, showing that this is one of few RPGs that take place in a modern setting.

    You are greeted by a young fat boy named Pokey Minch (or Porky, if you wanna be anal about “original” naming), who says you should go look for his little brother. He also seems to want to check out the cool meteorite that crashed at the top of the hill in town. When you examine it, a (Not) Bee named Buzz Buzz appears. He tells you how he has traveled from the future, and it is your job (along with three other destined children) to save the world from an evil alien named Giygas. On the way home you are attacked by the game’s mascot character, the Starman. Buzz Buzz easily makes quick of him, showing off his superior strength. You bring Pokey and his brother back home and Buzz Buzz is simply squashed by their mother (ok, maybe he was not so strong after all).

    In his dying breath, he leaves you the epic item known as the “Sound Stone”. He tells you your duty -- You must collect the Melodies from “Your Sanctuary” locations spread across the land. Along they way you must meet your friends, and join forces, resisting evil... and ultimately harness the power of the Earth once all the melodies are gathered. You gather up your stuff, daylight commences once leaving the house, and your adventure begins here with epic fanfare.

    That is the premise of this game, in a nutshell. It makes more sense if you play it.

    The gameplay is similar to that of the Dragon Quest series, whereas the battle is turn based and your party is “facing” the enemies. You don’t see your party members, but you do see their attacks flying in an array of flashy colors. The enemies are single sprites, who are anything from ants to aliens; the enemies are bizarre to say the least. There are Hippies, who use Rulers to measure things easier (does NOTHING in battle), Bats that cause themselves to be confused by sizing up the situation, dinosaurs, dogs, and even enemies that are just straight references (Diamond Dog boss is so “David Bowie” about it [​IMG]). You level up and gain new abilities, called PSI, which are basically psychic powers that Ness, Paula, and Poo have; Although Jeff only uses tools and explosives, he does not have psychic powers. The battles feature waves, swirls, and blobs of trippy colours that make battles a very unique and interesting experience each time. Countless songs in battle and in the game in general pay homage to popular music in history -- for example, one of the battle themes have an opening riff that sounds just like Chuck’s Johnny B. Goode. The game is littered with references that a cultured person can appreciate.

    The humour of the game is very unique. The writer, Shigesato Itoi, took years upon years to perfect his script. He has a very unique style of writing and it is definitely portrayed in his games. Every NPC says something interesting -- some baffling, silly, or even insightful. A lot of them even break the Fourth Wall. Review critics and fans alike praise the game for it’s dialog, which really sets it apart. I myself find the game hilarious, and I have played through it at least eight times and I laugh every time. It never gets old to me. The characters in the game are also great. They are colourful and varied and never fail to impress.

    The game’s controls are simple, the L button checks things and talks to people. the A button brings up the menu, where you can do the same, along with checking/using items, equipment, and checking stats and PSI. the B buttons shows health, and the X button brings up the map (once acquired in Onettt Library). In battle you use A to select things, B to cancel. Curiously enough there is no run button, despite the game’s predecessor and sequel (Earthbound Zero/MOTHER and MOTHER 3, Earthbound is MOTHER 2) having one. Nobody knows why Earthbound has no run button.

    The game commands outrageous prices on Ebay. The cartridge alone fetches 100-125 average at the time of this writing, and the price is only going up. The guide goes for 60-80 in good condition, and together they go for 150-180. A full set, in good condition, goes for 400 and up... and don’t even get me started on the other games and merchandise. Things as simple as figures, plushies, and keychains fetch 40-100 dollars. If you are a collector get a copy NOW. I have been monitoring sales for years now and the price keeps going higher and higher. Just two years ago you could get the game alone for 70 bucks. Almost double that now...

    There are modified WADs for a Wii Channel and dozens of emulators you can play the game on, whether on the Wii, PS3, PC, iPhone, DS, or PSP, you can play Earthbound on just about anything. I highly encourage playing this game (any the other two in the series) for any RPG fan. Hell, I suggest it for ANYBODY who wants a unique gaming experience. The game is a timeless classic, and it is my favorite game of all time. I promise you it is worth your time. Make sure to keep an open mind, though, because just like any good RPG, it takes time to capture your attention. You may be turned off by the somewhat simple graphics (they are great, just not as good as some other titles at the time, like Chrono Trigger, Star Ocean, etc). but they are great once you get used to them. The music composure is amazing and there is nothing else like it.

    I give the game a 10/10, Just because I can. [​IMG]

    Stay tuned for my next reviews, I plan to make tons more (from Flash carts to games, systems, movies, and more) and I hope you all enjoy them. I will work on my writing, so I don’t drag on and on ( I tend to do that [​IMG]) and I will gladly except constructive criticism.

    Thanks for your time, enjoy your day Gbatemp!

    -Corey K-
     


  2. Cyan

    Global Moderator Cyan GBATemp's lurking knight

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    Strange review in my opinion [​IMG]
    You are explaining the beginning of the game and stopping on little details like character's names.
    I think it's a really personal (re)view of the game [​IMG]

    Personal note :
    I think it's missing an ingame screenshot to let your readers see what the game looks like. (it's a very different style than the existing games, it makes it very "modern" looking. It could shock at first glance, but it's fine to play with it.)


    I only played Mother (Earthbound zero) on NES, and didn't finish it yet.
    I like the game too, and wish I could finish it one day, and then play Mother 2 and 3.
    Musics are great on NES too. There's a vocal album of the nes game, I often listen to it.


    One thing I would like to add on Earthbound (snes one), is that this game had a massive amount of anti-piracy measures, it was rare at that time to have AP in a game !
    if it detected a game copier (usually with the ram size), it added a lot more random spanning enemies, deleted your savegame purposely and crash the game, etc.

    see here for copy protections and some screenshots :
    http://starmen.net/mother2/gameinfo/antipiracy/

    edit :
    Damn, I've the music sticked in my head now !
     
  3. injected11

    Member injected11 Crescent Fresh™

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    Wasn't it because you needed to use an item to run? (Skip Sandwich)
     
  4. Schlupi
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    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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    @ Cyan

    It is very much too personal... and you're right, I should have had some in game screens. Silly of me to forget them. I will take that into account next time, and like I Said, I sometimes drag on on little things. I was trying to write up an itro to the game and it ended up being half the review. >_>

    And I totally forgot about the AP. I tried it with it one time and it is HILARIOUS. So many battles... I should have included that.

    I will take all this into account in my next review, thank you very much!

    And about running... yeah. The Skip Sandwich and SS DX let you run... but WHY would I want to do that when I COULD just hold Y (unused) to run? lol.
     
  5. dib

    Member dib GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    My counter-review:

    Earthbound is-was-still-is a listless, dull RPG that was dwarfed in scope and entertainment value by too many games on the market to have been considered relevant at the time, and offer very little reason to approach today.

    We're talking about a console that saw the rise of top series like Ogre Battle and Lufia. It's marked by many more landmark RPGs like Chrono Trigger, three of the most memorable Final Fantasy entries, Super Mario RPG, and Secret of Mana. And it offered even more obscure hits like Star Ocean and Terranigma that wouldn't be discovered until years later thanks to the internet.

    Yet for this monumental turd they tapped game mechanics dating back to the first jRPGs on the NES. Combat was sluggish and inept. You literally feel the seconds slipping away, accumulating into minutes and hours of wasted time. The static battles have all the charm of a 1980s Commodore 64 adventure game. The visuals were not even close to par for the era, and look shoddy and ugly, as if drawn in MS Paint circa Windows 3.1.

    It's no wonder why it was a commercial flop in its own time. Yet it's become a staple of best-of lists today fueled by basement dwellers on nostalgia trips and juveniles giggling uncontrollably at the word 'poo'.

    In other words, it's a 'cult hit' among gullible types that mistakingly consider its creator an under appreciated genius instead of a vagrant who once got lucky with a job in the video game industry. The fact that in sixteen years he still hasn't produced one notable work seems to go completely unnoticed by them, who will undoubtedly continue to praise the man for reasons that are mysterious and unknowable to the rest of us.
     
  6. Schlupi
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    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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    [​IMG]

    You just broke my soul and shattered my spirit.

    I think I'll go die now...

    Also, you are wrong. Itoi did MOTHER 3 just 4 years ago...
     
  7. dib

    Member dib GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    That's why I said "notable". Mother 3 turned out to be so remarkable that it was only produced in Japan to the enthusiasm of middle aged men with printouts of this plastering their bedroom walls.

    The closest thing to an achievement in his career is the fact that he's managed to convince somebody to pay him to make a game more than once.
     
  8. Schlupi
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    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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    I am so hurt.

    Your trolling makes me ache inside.

    I will get you back. Don't worry, I will get you back. >:)
     
  9. shadowmanwkp

    Member shadowmanwkp Your roms are on another rom site

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    *claps* i like it how you review a game, without talking about the game itself. It's called a review, not a comparison of other games that you like better or so you could troll other people.

    On-topic: The review is quite short and you go into what makes you a passionate fan of the mother/earthbound series. You don't really go deeply into the game, but readers do get the gist of what makes the game good. Although the RPG genre is quite saturated, earthbound does give a fresh spin to it, but in essence it is still the same as its predecessors by heart. And this is why I think the review is good, you don't really focus on the gameplay of the game, because RPGs are usually six or half a dozen if it comes to gameplay, because the story and setting really sets it apart. And just like you said in the review, you have to play the game to get the game.
     
  10. Cyan

    Global Moderator Cyan GBATemp's lurking knight

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    yes, don't mind dib comparison with other games.
    Every games have a counter part to make it looks pale.

    He has the right to not like this game too, he said the game was bad, not that you shouldn't say that you liked it.
    He wrote his own review on this game, up to other users to take each sides in consideration and make their own idea [​IMG]

    Just write what you like and don't worry.
    Every one can tell his own opinion.

    Take the other users remark for your future reviews, like detailing each part of the game (graphics, music, gameplay, etc.), try to have a more neutral view on each parts because every person can think different if you use too many of your feeling it will look biased or not a good review, because users won't feel the same thing as you.
     
  11. Anne Noise

    Member Anne Noise GBAtemp Regular

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    Mother 2 / EarthBound remains my favorite game of all time. I cosplay'd as Ness at Fanime one year, and most people recognized me from Smash Bros. :/

    Good review, but I'm not sure it sells the game at all.

    Edit: Woah, dib, what?

    I can't possibly disagree with almost everything you said here. I think the spritework has held up phenomenally; though I don't think they pushed the power of the SNES at all, I think the style holds up quite well.

    And I don't even know where to begin with calling it "juvenile." There's very little juvenile humor in the game, and I don't even know how to get around the idea of juveniles giggling uncontrollably at the word 'poo'." Sure, it's not the most mature game, but it's not immature either. It's got a quiet, dignified humor and awareness.
     
  12. Shabutie78

    Member Shabutie78 GBAtemp Fan

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    great review. but in the future if you do end up making more reviews, try not to be as biased. [​IMG]

    also, try to give more detail about the game. not just why you like it or your experiences with it. this is more of a blog than a review, now that i've skimmed it again.
     
  13. Schlupi
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    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0XMKhhFHT4...feature=related

    HA! I lulzed at the fact that this guy totally backs up dib's bashing. [​IMG]
    (middle aged man looks lonely, loves Earthbound lol) Don't actually WATCH the video -- the guy is really annoying.

    I will do a review on MOTHER 3 next, and I will take everything you guys said into account. Thanks for your help and I will take these things into account. [​IMG]

    If I find my camera, I would put recordings of gameplay instead of pictures... it would do a better job.
     
  14. FlashX007

    Newcomer FlashX007 GBAtemp Maniac

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    Great job Schlupi! I liked the review and don't listen to people like that. Whatever you think and like always counts first before anybody so don't let anybody get to you like that. Good luck on your next review.
     
  15. KingdomBlade

    Member KingdomBlade Blade v3+ (I R SHMEXY)

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    To be honest, I don't like the review. I mean, I know that reviews should display your opinion, I get that, but since you have blatant bias I find it hard to get invested in the review itself. It's not a bad review at all, but if you had taken a neutral standpoint, I would have really liked it. You probably should have inserted the least bit of negativity into the review to even it out. Remember to take an objective standpoint when reviewing anything.

    Like when reviewing an Acekard, don't say "THIS IS SHIT BECAUSE IT'S WORSE THAN THE SUPERCARD", say "This may lack the features other cards may have, but its great when you take into account its cheap price."

    The game itself was good. Not the BEST per say, but great. I've played better games on the SNES, but this one is well hidden and thus, what people may define as a "cult game".
     
  16. Vigilante

    Member Vigilante TempLurker

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    Latest review I have seen so far,but this just shows your great love in the game.
     
  17. dropper

    dropper Newbie

  18. DrOctapu

    Member DrOctapu Magnificent Bastard

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    More background knowledge than actual review, there. The Mother series is great, though.
     
  19. yifan_lu

    Member yifan_lu @yifanlu

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    I've been playing Mother 1 because so many people talk about how good it is. I don't find it THAT enjoyable. Is earthbound better then mother 1?
     
  20. machomuu

    Member machomuu Drops by occasionally

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    It's a matter of preference and opinion. In other words, you'll have to try it and find out.
     

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