Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ghost's Angry Reviews: Mother 3 (with KoD)

This is your standard spoiler warning.  If you don't want Mother 3 spoiled for you then keep moving!  This is also my newly becoming standard length warning.  We are fairly passionate about the Mother Series and TRUST ME this is a shortened version of what all we could say about this game but... it's still long.

Ghost here!  Glad you could drop by and... Hey, what's this?

WOAH!  You mean they're actually making a Mother 4?  Holy Sweet Mr. Saturn that's amazing!  I'm glad that Nintendo has decided to take heads out of Mario's backside and continue with this wonderful franchise that...
OF COURSE!  Well isn't THAT fantastic!  Here Nintendo sits on a gold mine that has thousands of fans who absolutely adore the series and will gladly by as many games as they can throw at us, yet all we're getting are things like another Mario Party, a steampunk Abraham Lincoln, and squid animorphs that shoot out brightly colored paint.  Gag me with trout yogurt!

The least they could do is officially release Mother 3 for an American or International audience.  Now some of you may be wondering what the big deal is.  Well I'll certainly tell you as we talk about Mother 3!

YES! Finally! After three long years you're finally reviewing Mother 3.  Oh how I've waited for this moment for so long!
Well there's a big surprise.  I figured you'd show up sooner than later, KoD.
But of course!  As a Mother Fan do you think I'd just sit by and watch you review one of the greatest games of all time without putting my input into it?  The Mother series has always been a special little series near and dear to me.  The quirky dialogue, the pure randomness, the unforgettable story and characters... the Mother series is definitely one of the more underrated series of our time.
Well since you're here, you might as well help me out with the review buddy

Let's begin, my friend!  For the greatest review of all time!

The Story
The storyline of Mother 3 is a little more complex than your average game.  It's not too difficult to follow by any means it just has a lot of components to it.  Mother 3 focuses on several main people across more than one time period.  It deals with tragedy, death, fighting tyranny, redemption and random acts of insanity.  It's kind of like watching Les Miserables while tripping on acid.
The story is broken in to eight chapters and there's a LOT of story to cover here.  One of the best parts of this game is, in fact, the story so please bear with us cause this is long.

Chapter 1: Night of the Funeral.
When pig-masked men begin bombing a local forest and experimenting on the dead animals they find during their destruction, a forest fire spreads through the region.  A man named Flint goes out to see if he can rescue a child from the flames.  He later realizes that this same night his wife, Hinawa, and children, Claus and Lucas, were traveling home through the forest during the fire.  Flint and the village go into the woods to search for them eventually finding the children but find that Hinawa has been killed by a creature called a Drago; the Drago's fang still stuck in Hinawa's heart.

Just a warning for you viewers reading at home, this game gets dark... and I mean REALLY dark.  Take this scene for example.  You become somewhat attached to Hinawa as a character only for her to die tragically in this manner.  Why does this seem like it could potentially end up even darker?
What I'm saying is, Mother 3 isn't like the other two games in the series.  It's different for its own reasons, but I digress.  Just seeing the reaction of Flint being unable to handle the news of his wife's passing by attacking innocent bystanders... it really speaks to the heart of the game and how realistic this game is in portraying one would be in said situation.

Claus decides to go after the Drago that killed his mother but did not return.  Leaving Lucas behind, Flint and his father-in-law Alec go out in search of Claus.  After finding Claus' shoes, they stumble across the Drago who killed Hinawa.  However, this Drago was no longer the peaceful dinosaur creature it once was or even one who was frightened.  It was now a half-bionic reanimated corpse of the Drago created by the Pigmasks.  With the Drago defeated, Flint and Alec return home not finding Claus' body.  The camera rises and Claus' body is seen lying face down in the canyon below.

Chapter 2: Thief Adventure
While Flint is off hunting the Drago, we pick Chapter 2 up with Wess and his son Duster, a pair of thieves living in the village who made brief appearances in Chapter 1. Wess has Duster to break into Oshoe Castle to recover a prized item.  After witnessing a man hiding some money and fighting his way through ghosts and zombies, Duster finds a room with an obstacle he could not get past; a door with a bunch of pictures dancing on the walls.  Abandoning this route Duster finds what he believes is the item he was sent to find and returns to Wess who smashes the item and calls Duster a moron.  Believing Duster to be useless, Wess accompanies him into the castle which is now crawling with Pigmasks.

Wess' journey back to Oshoe Castle with Duster introduces a mechanic barely touched on in Earthbound, that of having an additional party member with you who can help you in battle but who take no damage.  Sure, Alec in Chapter One could do things to help, but Wess is different.  Despite only being a temporary party member and not having an HP bar, Wess actually attacks the enemies in battle with an item called a thunder bomb which does massive damage to the enemies.  He attacks randomly and mostly berates Duster during the battle but when he wipes out an enemy for you it feels so good.  Leading Wess back to the impassible wall, Wess realizes what the dancing pictures mean... leading to quite possibly one of my favorite things in the game.  If you, for whatever reason, questioned how good the humor in this game is... you're about to have your mind blown.
After that...scene, Wess and Duster meet up with the princess of the castle, Kumatora and travel to yet another chamber.  There, they find the prize that Wess was looking for, the incredibly valuable Egg of Light (or Hummingbird Egg as it's sometimes called without logic as to why the terms are interchangeable.)  Once they obtain it, the gloor gives way and they are eventually drained out into the river.  Wess and Kumatora wash up on shore but Duster and the egg are nowhere to be found.

Chapter 3 The Suspicious Peddler
This chapter is a little weirder than the rest.  Around the same time as the forest fire in Chapter 1, we pick up with an airship landing in the desert.  A monkey named Salsa is kicked out of the ship and electrocuted via shock collar by a man named Fasaad who is working with the Pigmasks.  Fasaad informs Salsa that he will obey and be his slave for as long as he is needed or else Salsa's monkey girlfriend will be harmed or killed.

This chapter may be very hard for some of you to swallow especially if you love animals.  Seeing how Fasaad treats poor Salsa by electrocuting him over and over goes beyond any sense of the words animal cruelty.  When I said Mother 3 was a dark game, I wasn't kidding.  This is only the third chapter though; we haven't even gotten to the dark meat of the game yet. 

The pair wanders the desert till they find a hidden tunnel that leads to the village's graveyard.  once in the village, Salsa performs dances for the crowd and makes "Happy Box" deliveries for Fasaad.  Eventually Fasaad gets rod that the Pigmasks have still not found "it."  Together Fasaad and Salsa head to Oshoe Castle to investigate the search but once there receive word that Wess and Duster have found the "it" that Fasaad has been looking for (the egg from Chapter 2.)  Upon their return to town, Fasaad and Salsa witness Wess and Kumatora being confronted by the townsfolk who believe Duster stole some money that was hidden in Chapter 2 which Fasaad had actually stolen himeslf.  Kumatora and Salsa exchange a look and that night, Wess and Kumatora free Salsa by taking his collar off and

Umm.. I hate to interrupt here but I do believe Kumatora just destroyed the controller for the shock collar.  For whatever stupid reason they didn't just remove the collar... I don't know, Nintendo Logic? 

Together Kumatora, Wess, and the now free Salsa head into the forest and take down a Pigmask Tank before they are surrounded by Fasaad and pigmasks.  Lucas and a baby Drago show up to help them.  The baby Drago cries for its mother who appears and sends Fasaad and the Pigmasks flying.

Chapter 4: Club Titiboo


Three years have passed since the events of the first three chapters and a lot of things about the town have changed.  We pick up with Flint's son Lucas who now assumes the role of the main character for the rest of the game.  Lucas' dog Boney joins him on his adventure as they learn that Duster is still missing but there seems to be a bass player in the band DCMC who looks just like Duster.  They are playing a gig at Club Titiboo
Yes folks, that's its actual name...

On the way to Club Titiboo, Lucas encounters a strange person in a hot spring who unlocks his ability to use psychic abilities known as PSI.  After reaching the club by gaining tickets through a part time job moving clay robots, a waitress who turns out to be Kumatora assists Lucas and Boney to get to the band's dressing room by way of the attic to confront Lucky who looks like Duster.  
"Lucky" finds it hard to believe he is this Duster character bur remembers leaving an egg in a clay robot for safe keeping.  Both Duster and Kumatora join the party as the other band members sing a song for Duster. At the end of the chapter, Lucas releases a bird to inform Wess that Duster has been found

Chapter 5: Tower of Thunder
Lucas, Boney, Duster, and Kumatora travel to where the broken down clay robot was still sitting.  Duster could see the egg inside, but unfortunately a bolt of lightning struck the robot giving him the energy to run faster than Usain Bolt.  While chasing the clayman, Lucas is mistaken for the Pigmask's commander and is given not only a change of clothes but the ability to walk freely around the Pigmask complex.  After running into a large Pigmask who doesn't believe Lucas is their commander and defeating him by showing him DCMC paraphernalia...no seriously that happens, the group find the clayman in a garbage dump and pull the Egg of Light out restoring Duster's memories.  Before they can even blink, a Pigmask commander finds them and once again believes that Lucas is their commander.  He immediately takes them to the Thunder Tower for assistance.  Fasaad, who is at the tower, realizes the mistake instantly and sounds the alarm.  Lucas and the crew climb the tower to escape destroying the main generator in the process.  Fasaad confronts them on the roof and orders for the Tower to be destroyed as he calls upon the airship to pick him up.
However, like the Loony Tunes villain he is, Fasaad slips on a banana peel he had tossed himeslf and falls of the tower.  Lucas' group grabs on to the airship's ladder as it's flying away but fall shortly thereafter while a masked boy watches.

Chapter 6: Sunflower Fields
Lucas wakes up in a field of sunflowers and begins walking around.  He eventually has a flashback of his mother and finds Boney in the fields with him.  Shortly thereafter, they see the ghost of his mother, Hinawa.  After chasing her ghost through the fields Lucas and Boney jump for her only to fall off a cliff and land in a hay stack.

This was definitely one of the more touching scenes in the game; to see Hinawa's ghost as Lucas chases after his mother only for the scene to end like that...  We eventually come to find out that Hinawa's ghost was responsible for the hay stack as she spoke to Wess and Alec in their dreams about where to put the hay stack.  Leave it to Hinawa to be watching over her son even in death.  The sunflowers play a constant reminder of Hinawa who Lucas is still affected by the loss of.

Chapter 7: The Seven Needles
Welcome to the longest chapter ever.  Lucas and Boney wake up in the retirement home where Wess and Alec are.  They suggest Lucas to visit the Magypsies, the race of people who taught him PSI.  Upon finding two of them, One asks Lucas to check on a needle shoved in the ground at Oshoe Castle as he/she fades away.  After arriving at the castle, Lucas finds that there was, in fact, a needle which had been pulled from the ground.  It is explained to Lucas that there are seven needles, one for each Magypsy, spread across the world which keep a dark dragon at bay.  Anyone who pulls these needles out can call upon the dragon to either abolish evil or make evil supreme.  Lucas' new goal is to pull these needles out and restore balance to the world.

As Lucas progresses, he hears word that even after three years, Flint is still mourning the loss of his wife and continues to go into the mountains in search for Claus.  You discover the entirety of Flint's life is now revolved around visiting Hinawa's grave and searching for Claus rather than spending time with his living soon who desperately needs his attention.  It's very heartbreaking to see the close family fall apart.

Along the way, Lucas and Boney go to a Chimera Laboratory, a snow-capped mountain, Saturn Valley (where the alien race of Mr. Saturns live), a volcano, the ocean floor, a mushroom island, and a jagged mountain pass.  We get to see Salsa and his girlfriend once again during these travels.  Kumatora and Duster are found once again and become party members as Lucas pulls three of the six remaining needles; however the Masked Man from the airship has pulled out a total of three himself leaving only one left.  As Lucas pulls the sixth needle, the group are invited to New Pork City!

Chapter 8: All Things...
The group arrives at New Pork City, a busting metropolis high in the clouds.  While searching around the city, they run into a man named Leder who tells Lucas the truth about the dragon, the islands, and all of the people from his village (I won't spoil this one here.)

Thus we are introduced to the main villain of Mother 3.  The person responsible for what fate befell Claus, the death of Hinawa, as well as everything else that's gone wrong with the Island.  The very person controlling the entirety of the Pigmask Army is none other than Porky Minch.  YES, it's Porky Minch, otherwise known as Pokey Minch from Earthbound.  He's back and meaner than ever.

Lucas and the gang decide to take down the main source of their problems and head to the Empire Porky Building.  After reaching the top floor and fighting off a hoard of mechanical Porkys, a very old Porky Minch appears from the ceiling in a spider-like mech saying he has become this way due to his over use of time travel.  
Hang on there buddy!  How about I take it from here?  So up till now you've made out who this Porky person is and his plan.  He wants to use the Masked Man to pull the final needle, which is deep in the belly of New Pork City, and use the dark dragon to destroy everything.  Lucas and friends head down to the depths of New Pork City in a race to the final needle.  Proceeding further, you find Flint who reveals that the Masked Man, Porky's right hand man who has been pulling the needles, is none other than Claus.  Claus had, in fact, died those three years ago facing the Drago only to have Porky resurrect him with cybernetics...that's powerful when you think about it.

Lucas and company finally have their fight with Porky, however when the Pigmask King found himself losing against the odds, he sealed himself in the Absolutely Safe Capsule for all of eternity bringing the fight to a stalemate.  The group presses on to find the final needle, but that's not all they found.  They also found the Masked Man.  Claus uses lightning to knock out everyone but Lucas to have a one on one duel.  Lucas, however, refuses to fight his brother and simply takes the beating.  As the "battle" wages on, both Flint and the spirit of Hinawa try to bring their son back to his senses.  As time passes, the voice of Hinawa begins to reach Claus and remind him of who he truly is.

I'm warning you now; if you can't handle extremely sad and emotional moments, this game will make you cry.  It could make anyone cry... even me at age 25.
In the final moments of the battle, Claus remembers who he is.  He finally removes his mask.  As atonement for the sins he had done, and following his Mother who he tried to avenge at the beginning of the game, Claus fired an intense bolt of Lightning which rebounded of Lucas' Franklin Badge and right back on to Claus causing a mortal wound.  In the saddest moments of Mother 3, Claus staggers over to Lucas, who holds him in his final moments as Claus remembers everything.  He apologizes for everything he had done before giving his final breath.  You will cry when you realize what just happened.  Claus committed child suicide.  The very music that plays during this is the Theme of Love.  It's enough to make you bawl your eyes out.  Having both Hinawa and Claus entrusting fate to Lucas, he pulls the final needle summoning the dark dragon as the game fades to black.

Gameplay Mechanics
Mother 3 is a turn-based RPG game and follows most of the standard elements of these kidns of games.  If you have played any turn-based RPGs then you shouldn't have any real problems here.  You have weapons and armor which have to be equipped, you have magic moves that eat up a percentage of the magic meter, there are items that can be used to assist you, etc.
The Mother series has a couple ideas that you don't see in some turn-based RPGs but not all, such as enemies appearing on the overworld and only attacking once they touch you.  These games also have a scrolling health bar that allows you to continue attacking or healing once hit with an attack.  This is especially good as some enemies can hit hard with mortal damage but it gives you enough time to execute a healing move before it actually kills you.  Earthbound had these elements I just didn't really talk about them when I reviewed this game.  

Mother 3 added a few new features that weren't present in Mother 1 or Earthbound.  I would like to mainly direct your attention to two of them.  The first is the addition of running.  You are given the ability to run in this game which can serve multiple purposes.  For example, by running you are able to move across the map at a faster pace for the convenience of the player.  Running is used in a few instances where you need to ram into something to knock it over or knock an item off its perch.  Lastly, if you recall in Earthbound, when you run into enemies on the overworld and you are mush stronger than them the screen would flash green and you would auto-kill them for experience without the actual fight.  Mother 3 does this differently.  If you are over leveled you can run into weaker enemies causing them to flash and have no battle at all with no experience gained from it.
The other gameplay mechanic I wish to discuss is the combo system.  In Mother 3 you can get additional hits on an enemy in battle by hitting the A button in rhythm with the battle music.  If times perfectly you can rack up to a 16 hit combo.  Every single battle song has a different beat and rhythm so finding out how the beat goes is just something you have to discover for yourself.  However, there are easy ways to find the beat such as using Duster's Hypno Pendulum which puts the enemy to sleep so you can hear their heartbeat.


Enemy Design
We can't have a game without enemies and the design of these enemies is something that definitely needs looking into.  With all the craziness going on in the Mother series these enemies are bound to be just as insane.  Let's take a look at a few of them shall we?


I see the prince from Katamari Damacy decided to make a guest appearance here.  As long as he doesn't roll Tazmilly Village up in a giant ball we'll be fine!


As if there wasn't enough homo-eroticism implied in this game... Do we really need rock hard bodybuilders who hug on each other once they take enough of a "pounding?"



 

I've seen enough hentai to know where this is going...


 
Oh look, the Bidoof of Mother 3.  




You mean I can't even go to the bathroom in peace without a creeper faced reject from the Blue Man Group wanting to do unspeakable things?



Man, Oscar the Grouch was hit hard during the recession




WHAT THE HECK?  Did Shou Tucker take over the Pokemon Day Care?  

For the 4 or 5 of you who actually got that joke... you are awesome!









WHAT THE $@#&^!
The Mother series has always been praised as being eclectic, strange, and gloriously weird.  There are just moments in Mother and Earthbound that make you question what the developers were smoking during the creation of those games. Mother 3 is no different.

Questionably Gendered Magypsies
Throughout your travels in the game you get some help from creatures called Magypsies.  They all wear brightly colored feminine clothing and long flowing hair yet some have large muscular bodies and most if not all have some sort of facial hair.  These guys...er...girls...er... I guess gender-queer is the "preferred terminology" or something like that are flat said as not female but not male either.  The Magyspies are definitely one of the more colorful inclusions in the game.


 Naked Hot Tub Time
While we're talking about Magypsies, let's focus on Ionia in particular. Ionia is the one who teaches Lucas how to use his PSI which is pretty awesome.  Unfortunately it's taught to him while both of them are in a hot spring with Ionia being completely naked.  Ionia turns Lucas around to face away from him and the screen goes black with captions such as 'don't struggle", and "endure it for a little bit."  That's some Chris Hansen nonsense there!


But I Gotta Go!
Everything about the bathroom segment of the Empire Porky Building is bizarre.  First off, it's a maze of bathrooms.  On the way you run into Pigmask enemies in bathrooms, a man sitting on a toilet, a duck toilet, a bathroom filled with ghosts, a gigantic toilet that fills the whole room, and the Ultimate Chimera from the Chimera Lab stuffed in a bathroom for no real reason




Nightmare Fuel Island
My single biggest WTF moment in Mother 3 is the part where Lucas and Company (aside from Boney) eat some strange mushrooms causing them to have one of the biggest acid trips of their life.  They hallucinate seeing menacing nightmarish versions of the people they know.  This includes Claus and Flint. You will see lines of dialog from the hallucination of Claus that says "everyone's waiting for you.  Everyone's waiting to throw rocks at you, spit in your eyes, and make your life hell.  Who's everyone?  Everyone you love."   While the hallucination of Flint says "I'm gonna beat you.  Daddy's gonna beat you, boy."  Gotta love that domestic violence...you know, for kids!  The visuals as well as the music compliment this weird trippy experience.

Porky's Brothel
While going through the Empire Porky Building, you run into a very interesting room filled with lavish decorations, a lush carpet, women in bikinis, food, and a girl fanning a palm leaf.  That's right, you just walked straight into Porky Minch's brothel!  The male centaur adds....WAIT WHAT?? A male centaur??  I guess that handles two fetishes/fantasies at once...*shudder*




Pucker Up!
There's an entire segment which happens in the depths of the ocean.  Obviously our characters need oxygen to breathe but rather than giving us a temporary ability, a water breathing potion or an apparatus that converts the oxygen in the water for them to breathe.... they have to replenish their air by getting a kiss from a merman.  I don't even...


Fridge Travel
On their quest to find the seven needles, Lucas and company travel to Snowcap Mountain.  Since that particular needle was pulled before they could even get there, the group decides to head back to Tazmilly Village.  But how you might ask?  Well... they are told that they could get a ride back in something a bit different.  A refrigerator.  WAIT...A REFRIGERATOR?  That's right!  The crew seals themselves in a fridge which slides down the mountain slope before finally going airborne.  I mean hold on a second!  Isn't this not only EXTREMELY dangerous but how do they not suffocate from the lack of oxygen in such a tight space?  Eventually the fridge comes crashing down with Lucas and friends just casually walking out as if nothing bad could have even happened to them in there.
NAH...too easy

Watering the Scenery
As Lucas and friends make their way up the massive Empire Porky Building, they come to a room where you see... umm... well just look for yourself
Yup, that's right!  Porky had fountains made of himself peeing into the water's reservoir.  I knew this game could get weird but this kind of takes it to a different level.  See it's randomness yet humorous stuff like this that makes Mother 3 kind of hard to localize with anything less than a T or even Mature rating.

The Coppertone Kid
Sometimes you just see more than you wanted to.  During Chapter 7, Lucas and the gang begin to fly away using a cage full of birds... I don't know just go with it.  During this scene however, Boney is clinging on to Lucas' shorts which fall down due to the weight of the dog exposing Lucas' butt to the players.  Given the other bizarre things that go on in this game this one's fairly tame.


Heil Porky!
Nazis are generally something you want to avoid association with unless they are of the zombie variety in a Call of Duty game.  Anything that might be seen as "Pro-Nazi" is generally avoided like the plague.  Why do I bring this up?  Well the Pigmasks are an organized evil army that are effective while still being somewhat incompetent.  And when they talk or salute their superiors...this happens

YEAAAAH.  It's just so bizarre to see that exact animation in a Nintendo game.  I'm sure there's someone out there who will defend this as something entirely different but for my money it's a Nazi Salute and I'm sure most people will agree.


 


It's My Fart in a Box!
Yes, I'm not making this up.  When you get to Saturn Valley you'll find a lot of presents lying around which you find out when you open them, contain farts.  Yes...farts.  I'm not talking just normal stink here; these farts come with their own musical toot as well.  This is one of the reasons I love this series so much.  They aren't above making at least two or three fart jokes.








When Negativity Kills
On your way to find Ionia you will find an enemy called the Negative Man which, in all seriousness, I have no clue why it even exists.  When you initiate a battle with him, you quickly see he almost never does anything to fight back as you are wailing on him.  When he does fight back he only does a measly 1 hit of damage; considering how much HP you will have at this point he might as well not be attacking at all.  What makes this enemy so different is the dialog he spews during his battle.

Holy Hades!  What is going on?!  For this guy being a throw away enemy this late in the game he sure does have a lot of health, yet all he does is sit there moaning, groaning, and crying like the defeatist he is.  I honestly wasn't sure if I should feel sorry for him and take pity or continue attacking him.  Negative Man is placed in this cave off the beaten path all by himself as if he's meant to be a hard boss... some rare enemy worthy of an epic battle for some amazing loot or a truckload of experience.  But nope, he's a pushover.




The Wooden Stallion.
During one portion of the game the team rides a coffee table down the road.  Not much to say here really just bask in the gloriousness that is this strange happening.







 Undead Feels
This one is by far the most disturbing.  In Chapter 2 you start to see enemies in the graveyard of the village.  Zombies are roaming enemies that you will end up fighting. This is nothing new for games as zombies are a constant theme throughout many gaming platforms and genres as well as the Mother series as a whole.  However it's the subtlety of these particular zombies that make them just plain wrong.  This is at the beginning of Chapter 2, only a few minutes after the recap of Chapter 1 in which we see Flint's wife and child die.  Well if you look closely at the zombies, the females are dressed like and look like Flint's wife Hinawa and the Males are dressed exactly like Claus.  THAT is messed up!

Release Shenanigans
With that cool story and obvious passion poured into the game you may be wondering where you can go to purchase this beauty.  Well.. if you aren't in Japan or can't read Japanese then you basically can't.  This is why Mother fans get so upset.  Nintendo of America has had a rocky relationship with the Mother series since it originally debuted because of their rather bizarre decisions with the series.
Mother, the first game in the series was set to have a North American release on the Nintendo Entertainment System and even went through the full process of localization and translation for English.  The game was to be called Earthbound.  However, they decided not to even release the product they had created because it was on an "outdated" system and in what they considered a "niche" market so it wasn't "worth" producing and instead decided to release Mother 2.

Mother 2 was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as "Earthbound" in 1995.  There were some licensing scares because several components closely resembled copyrighted works but they got through them ans released the game.  However, the game sold incredibly poorly because of a frankly bizarre and incredibly dumb marketing campaign for the game.  They decided to go with the "boys like gross-out humor" angle and marketed the game with slogans such as "This Game Stinks" and the like.  Obviously if you're going to market your game saying it stinks then few people are going to buy the thing.  The following are ACTUAL ads for Earthbound.  Take a look and decide for yourself if this looks like something you would like to play SOLELY based on the advertisements.

Mother 3 was later released in Japan in 2006.  When asked if there would be an International or American release of the game, they said no quoting the poor Earthbound sales eleven years prior as a reason for not releasing the game outside of Japan.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Yes I realize there are some of the same licensing scares and with every company being sue-happy as of late I too would be a little shy of something that might be a cause for concern from that aspect but that's what a localization team is for... well that and removing gambling from Pokemon because Europe ruins everything for the rest of us.
With no Mother or Mother 3 release to the US planned or even entertained and Earthbound cartridges going for over $200-$300 a pop for cartridge ONLY it seemed hopeless for this wonderful series to get any sort of exposure to a modern audience.


Then Super Smash Bros Brawl Happened

But let me back up for a moment.  Long before Mother 3 was even put into production, a little game called Super Smash Bros was being created for the Nintendo 64.  In this game you took Nintendo icons and battled them against each other.  Included in the game as a hidden character was Ness from Mother 2/Earthbound.
Ness continued to be in the series for the 2001 follow up Super Smash Bros Melee.  It was 2008's Super Smash Bros Brawl, however, that really got Mother fans exited because not only was Ness still a playable character, but Mother 3's Lucas was in the roster as well due to Mother 3 being released only two years prior.

With Lucas being included in such a milestone game series that has caused many people to purchase entire Nintendo systems to play the game, Mother fans were hopeful for a US release of Mother 3 with the added exposure of Lucas.  That didn't happen.

In 2013, Nintendo finally got through the legality of getting Earthbound re-released for the WiiU's Virtual Console after much pressure and demanding from an avid fan community.  With that wonderful win for Mother fans, we thought an English Mother 3 could be close at hand.  We waited for any news and in 2014 we got an "official word" from Nintendo on Mother 3.

At the 2014 E3 Conference, Nintendo paired with Robot Chicken to show some neat animation for their portion of the conference.  Right there smack in the middle of the animation was a dude shouting for Mother 3.
We watched hoping that Reggie's next sentence would confirm Mother 3 but instead, the short depicted Reggie eating a Fireflower from the Mario franchise and lighting the guy on fire.  Some people thought this was a humorous joke but I certainly did not.  This meant to me that Nintendo not only realizes the desire for Mother 3 and the desire for us to give them money for Mother 3, but have decided it's not worth their time and have written it off as a joke with a giant fireball of F*** YOU to the fans.  It may not have been intentional but that's what some Mother fans walked away with.


Fans to the Rescue
As you know by now, there is a massive following of not only Mother 3, but the entirety of the Mother series.  There's even a website where you can find really passionate fans of the series, a little place known simply as Starmen.net.  Anything you may want to find or learn about the Mother series you can find there.

There are few fans as resourceful as those of the Mother community.  Firefly fans were able to get the train rolling and achieved the movie Serenity, but Mother fans actually gave us the missing games themselves.

They say you can find anything on the internet.  Somehow Mother fans found the original copy of the English translated Mother 1 game and dispersed it on the internet for people to enjoy, calling it Earthbound Zero.
When it comes to Mother 3, once the people at Starmen.net received word that no English translation was even in the thought process for Mother 3, they rallied the troops and started a two year process of translating everything in the game to English eventually providing a patch for the Mother 3 ROM so that an American audience can enjoy this product.  Now here's where I MUST give Nintendo some credit.  According to Starmen.net, "high officials at Nintendo" knew about the translation project and decided to turn their backs/ignore that it was happening and no attempt to shut it down.  This is a great victory for the fan community who now had a chance to play this game.  Honestly it's a great plug for Nintendo being cool about a franchise that they really don't care about anymore by letting them do what Nintendo doesn't want to do.

I do hope one day Mother 3 is officially released locally.  However, there are so many elements of the game that could be perceived as risky such as the Nazi and drug references, the dark depressing story, the animal cruelty, etc.  These things could mean that the localizing team would have an incredibly difficult time.

Also, thanks to these same wonderful fans, we're getting a Mother 4, and while it may not be an official Mother game, I openly welcome it as part of the Mother series.


Why is Mother 3 So Important/Special?
It's hard to put into words why Mother 3 is so special to me but for the sake of the review I will try my best.  Mother has always been a series that, for as long as I can remember, has been important to me.  Important to the point of collecting all the mother related items I can for display purposes.  Mother 3 takes absolutely everything I love about the Mother series and expands upon it tenfold.  All the crazy dialog and randomness, the memorable story and quotable moments, the unforgettable characters, music, and gameplay experience of a life time, even the high replay value as well as high standards to truly say you 100% the game make this an absolutely wonderful game.  Mother 3 has all that one could as for from an RPG for the Gameboy Advance and more.

But more than anything, Mother 3 clearly stands out to me as the best in the series for one specific reason alone.  This game is different than it's predecessors.  It's dark and depressing, all while keeping the happy-go-lucky fun-for-all feeling the game has.  This is one of the few games that has literally gotten me emotional; for a game to do that is no easy task.  I still remember when the fan translation finally came out and I could get my hands on an English version of this game.  I was looking forward to this game more than anything knowing how much I absolutely adored Earthbound and Mother 1.  This game is one of those games that I will continually come back to and play time and time again.  It takes everything you know about RPGs and pokes fun at them.

 I genuinely agree with KoD.  Earthbound and Mother 3 are two of my favorite games.  The RPG genre is flooded with stagnation of franchises taking themselves too seriously, running out of ideas, sticking around too long, or just flat sucking.  It's nice to see a series with more imagination in a single chapter than the last four Final Fantasy games combined.  These games don't take themselves overly seriously and are filled with little jokes and quirks that make for a unique gaming experience.  As I stated in my Earthbound Review, several members of the creative team for the Mother series also worked on Pokemon which would explain not only my love for the series but also explain how different and powerful this experience is.

Above all, the community surrounding these games aids in the experience simply because it's not as mainstream as things like The Legend of Zelda or Call of Duty.  It's not quite as underground of a success to make hipsters we themselves with delight but it's just obscure enough that once you find another fan there's a bit of a stronger connection with that person.  I'll use a Nostalgia Critic example here; before the Lord of the Rings became movies if you found someone else who loved the books you felt like you and this other person had something interesting in common, but now that the movies were made if you found someone else who likes Lord of the Rings...well NO CRAP!  Who doesn't like Lord of the Rings now?!  The same is true here.  If you find a fan who loves Call of Duty that's no big deal because millions of people like Call of Duty, but if you find someone who loves the Mother series that means that you and this person have a little more in common and share something special. 


Conclusion
So, several hours later, there you have it!  Mother 3 is an amazing game that any RPG fan should check out at some point in their lifetime.  it's quirky and funny while still maintaining to be engaging, emotional, and challenging.  It's part of a franchise that deserves for every entry to have an international release.  It needs Nintendo to pour more love and creativity into it, but if they don't feel like doing so and continue to focus on mediocrity and casual games then I'll GLADLY take anything the fan community has to offer us.  KoD, any last thoughts?

I hope that by reading this review, you take the time to check this game out for yourself.  Not just Mother 3 but the entire Mother series as well.  The Mother series games are all amazing games and highly underrated, but don't take our word for it alone.  By all means go check them out for yourself!  Find a cartridge of Earthbound if you're so inclined.  Purchase Earthbound on WiiU's Virtual Console or find the English ROMS of Mother 1 and Mother 3.  You won't regret it.  As far as Mother 3 goes....

Mother 4 is planned to release in June of this year.  Care to join me again when it does?
Count me in!  I can't wait for its release!

Ah, it's time to part... Ciao!
Well till next time this is Ghost fading into the darkness.

===============================================================
If you wish to see what KoD is up to you can check out his Tumblr Ask Dimentio.


If you want to see my other Video Game discussions and reviews, click here!