Mother 3 Review
As time went by, I learned that some games aren't just about getting from point A to B to complete the game. Some games are more than just slashing and hacking your way through hoards of enemies to rescue a damsel in distress. Some games will try and bring out the emotion of the player for a more in depth experience. I have also come to realise that the most important aspects of this are the story and the music. I can't work out which does the most, though. Does the music set in motion the story you are experiencing? Or does the story bring out the emotion that the music is holding? I often think it's a bit of both. I am always on the lookout for the perfect combination of music to set the mood perfectly, with a story that will bring up pure, raw emotion enough to make a hard-core gamer like me cry. Over the time I have found games that were sad, and games that make me almost cry from very select few games (cave story is one of them), but none have made me shed a tear. And then I came across this game.....Mother 3.
This is the third game chronologically in the Mother series (hence the "3" in Mother 3), the sequel to Mother 2 (EarthBound in the UK and US). This game was never released in the US or the UK for some odd reason, but thankfully some fans of the series decided to dedicate a few years into an accurate, fan-translated patch for the game. Then somehow someone was able to make this into a ROM of some sorts without the bother of getting the Japan ROM, downloading the patch, getting the right emulator, inserting the patch etc. into this easy to play English version. Thanks! But the reason why I'm here is because I heard there was a killer story to this game, and when there is an awesome story, there is often an epic final boss and a great ending. This is Mother 3.
The story starts off by.....Oh, I can name my family? Well, I like to keep things to the original. Lucas is the soft, fragile son of Flint - who is a respectable person of Tazmily Village - and Hinawa - a very loved person of tazmily Village -, who has a twin brother, named Claus, who is energetic and hasty, almost like the opposite of Lucas. What gets my attention at this screen is the music and the little animations in the top left-hand corner. Claus and Lucas look so cute together (Awwwwww....), and you can just tell they are really close. You don't need to be a genius to see that this family is very happy and they couldn't ask for more. Nothing could tear away the happiness that this family holds, and this is where the bonding with the gaming characters truly begins. Just two minutes on the character naming screen, even before I have even started playing this game, I feel a strong connection with this happy family.....that's a record in my field. You are also asked what is your favourite home made food, and what is you favourite thing. The home made food is obvious, but the favourite thing.....you'll be surprised when that comes round!
The story starts off with an over view of Nowheres Island starting from the Tazmily Village, going over the Sunshine Forest, and ending up at Alec's house (home to Hinawa's farther). You, Lucas, are sleeping on the bed. Claus tells you to wake up and play with the Draco's (must be an odd surname for someone), and says that they brought their baby along. You get up and you get to walk around. Already I am bombarded with so much instant charm. The music sets such a welcoming atmosphere, and you get to check the area. As you make it outside, you can talk to animals, which say quite amusing things. When your done fooling around, you make your way to the Drago's who, funnily enough, look a lot like small dragons/ t-rexs. They are incredibly friendly creatures, so much so they don't mind at all if you run head on into it. In fact they like it.
However, you don't know how to dash, so Alec comes along and tells you to imagine in your mind something like a B button, hold it for a second and then release. Perfect! Breaking the forth wall! I'm sure we'll see more of that in the future. After a while, a Mole Cricket appears and challenging you to fight. This bring you to your first fight. You have up to five options: Attack (your standard melee attack), goods (food and items to help you in battle), special moves (such as various PSI moves you will learn in the future), guard (lowers melee attacks), and run (....no explanation needed). After you crush him like, well, a bug, he swears that he will become tougher the next time they meet, and runs off. Hinawa comes along and tells you that lunch is ready. She even made your favourite. Alec takes this time to break the fourth wall again and tells you personally that you can save by talking to a frog, you know, in case you weren't exploring every nook and cranny and decided not to talk to animals. After which Hinawa sends a sweet letter to her husband Flint, saying they will make it back to Tazmilly Village this evening, and releases the dove, then a mysterious flying object with a menacing tune flies over head.
By now, the charm of the game has overwelmed me. I felt that connection with the gaming character when the letter was being sent. I felt a care for these characters I hardly know. Even though logically there wasn't much dialogue to make effective character development, I felt like I've know these guys all my life and that it wasn't going to end. This game has such power, such amazing grace that it can make me feel attached to the characters within mere minutes of game play. This is it, this is the game I've been looking for. How they do it, I have no idea. If you want to know what happens next, your going to have to play it yourself to avoid me posting spoilers. Now lets look at the other good points of this game.
The graphics are just amazing. I mean this when I say the graphics are the best of any GBA game I've ever played. They are bright, vivid and cute when they want to be, but as the game progresses, the game gets darker and darker.....and darker, and boy, does it get dark in terms of....well, everything. Although the graphics retain their bright and cheery appearance, the story that goes behind every sprite makes them seem different after every chapter. Every chapter I play the village seems different. Every different enemy I encounter captures me in both awe and terror. You can fight pretty much anything, from bats to mice, from slitherhens (a snake with the head of a chicken) to Mecha-Lions, and even trees and guitars. Yes, you can fight trees and guitars. There's even a bonus boss called "Negative Man", which was amusing to kill.
The music is simply beautiful. Believe me when I say the music is the best of any GBA game I've ever played. It sets the mood for every emotional scene perfectly, with no exaggeration. The music for Tazmily Village sets a welcoming tune as if you could live there, while when things get serious, the music picks up, which means that if this peaceful music had to change to suit the mood, then something big is going up. The battle music is various, and is really there to set a different "beat" to a particular enemy. There these things called "sound battles". Each enemy has a unique heart beat which you can hear if the opponent in put to sleep. If you press the A button in time with these beats, then you'll deal an additional attack (which the attack is quite a bit lower than a normal attack). You can do 16 of these additional attacks, which adds up over time.
The game play is much like that of your average RPG, only you can see the enemies that might attack you. If you can, you can sneak up from behind and deal an extra attack before they can turn around. However, if you are not careful, then the enemy might sneak up from and they can deal an extra attack. Sometimes, the enemy might leave a present. This can range from a nut, to a bomb, to some sort of charm. Sometimes, you'll get an NPC in your party, where they can't be selected to attack or stuff like that, but they can do stuff automatically (mostly useless stuff thrown in there for a laugh), which is a nice touch. On a side note, the sparrow that gives sparrow advice is just adorable! You can recover from battles by using hot springs. Yes, hot springs. That makes two game franchises from Nintendo that heal via hot springs. Sometimes, grinding for exp can be a bit of a drag (like many other RPG's), but thanks to the Vizzed Plugin, you can use the left shift to speed through some of the battles, which really helped when I was grinding for levels (providing you saved), but I would only recommend it for that purpose only.
The story is simply a work of art. It's amazing attached you get to the game as you go along the story. There is a perfect balance of funny parts and serious parts. Parts that will make you feel happy and say, and maybe even at the same time. The connection you make to every character is a work of beauty. It's incredible how the story plays out, the music setting the mood perfectly, menacing characters coming in and changing the settings, the build-up of many things. I remember how heavily I breathed and how nervous I felt when I cam across a certain character I was chasing, I remember how happy and relived I felt when I was certain I was going to die, when help came along the way. This is a perfect example of a game that makes you honestly and truly make you feel like you are the main character of the game. This game made me personally feel like I was Lucas, or Duster, or Salsa when I came to play as them.
Overall, I give this game a 9.7/10 Personally, I think this is the greatest GBA game to ever be released. The story, the music, the build-up, everything adds up to an amazing experience that I have never felt before when playing a game. The game is a work of elegant art that touches ones heart and pulls so tenderly at the heart strings that even I cried not one, but twice when playing the game. It's.....beauty in the form of a game. I nearly had trouble reading the text because the tears in my eyes were obscuring the view in my eyes. If you hate sad moments, then this game isn't for you. However, if you want a game that pulls at the heart stings, and one that does it so well that it brings up pure, raw emotion, enough to bring a tear to your eye, to experience happiness and sadness, to experience reU
NION and lose, to experience an amazing world with both light and cheery and dark and chilling characters with the true meaning of friendship and support, than this is the game for you. To no exaggeration, this is probably the best story in a video game I have, has and will ever experience ever.