i'm in your conscience
Strange, funny, and heartrending…
Witty, tear-jerking, and an overall fun game, Mother 3 is a complete package. It’s considered one of the greats among those who have played it. It follows up Earthbound, which was a stand-alone title in the US. A little backstory, if I may: Mother 3 was only released on GBA in Japan. Us English gamers are lucky that some devout Mother fans created a fan translation of the game to be patched onto the Japanese ROM. So, this is the only way to play the “English version” of the game.
First thing you do is name a few of the main characters. You get to name the twins, Lucas and Claus. Then you name their father, Flint, their mother, Hinawa, and the always lovable dog, Boney. Along with the family, you provide your favorite food, omelets, and favorite thing, love. Later, you name the “Thief of Justice”, Duster, the adorable monkey, Salsa, and the unruly princess, Kumatora. Keep in mind, these are the official names, so I will be referring to the characters as such. We’ll consider that our introduction to the cast.
The game takes place in the quaint little village of Tazmily, where they see no fights, no strife, not even money is a factor. But this takes a drastic turn when UFOs that belong to strange men that wear Pigmasks start to wreak havoc in secrecy. Animals are fused together into inhumane chimeras. Some creatures even become half machine and though they were once gentle, they now attack anyone that comes near. Perhaps the worst part is that families fall apart at the hands of their boredom. (And yes, the Pigmasks even mention that the place is boring and that it needs more excitement. But…a forest fire? Oh yeah. Real exciting!) I’m afraid that’s all I can tell you plot wise though. This is definitely one hell of a game with its plot, and I wouldn’t dare speak past that.
However, not all is well with the gentle Dragos after the Pigmasks get to them.
While the plot can get you hooked, let’s move on to the gameplay. The fighting system is one of the more unique systems I’ve ever played with, and it’s very addicting. Everything you battle has a certain song (and you can’t forget the trippy backgrounds, but that doesn’t tie in with the battling. Just noteworthy.). When you use the bash technique, you have to tap the A/Z button/key with the beat of the song. Some of them are pretty crazy and change tempos frequently. It’s a little difficult at first, but after playing for a while, it gets a lot easier. This style is referred to as “comboing”, if that’s how you’d spell it. And the more hits, the more damage, of course! The highest number of hits you can have in a combo is 16, so if you manage a 16-hit combo, it’s kind of a big deal. Feel free to brag, especially when you accomplish it on the more complicated songs.
With the music in mind, let’s jump guns and move to that. Honestly, Mother 3 has some of the best tracks I’ve heard in a game, and it’s only a GBA game. From Love Theme to Natural Killer Cyborg, every song is unique. I have to be honest here, but when I hear Love Theme, I get a little teary-eyed. But you’ll have to play to find out why. Moving on, some songs get more than one version, such as Strong One. The main purpose of that is for later, more difficult boss fights. The rhythm changes up a little more in the amped up versions later on. Gotta have that extra difficulty, of course. It really does stack up. Another thing, I don’t know any other game that has an actual band. DCMC, anyone? I’m sure it’s obvious what that band’s name is a play on of.
I don’t normally care for graphics too much, but I feel the need to point out the great attention to detail the game provides. For example, Duster has a gimpy leg, and you can even tell by the way he walks and dashes. Even if he’s in a disguise, you can still pick out Duster by looking for the party member running awkwardly. Another example is that when you look in the mirror, you can actually see the reflection of the character looking. Maybe I’m a little easily impressed, but I do find it a nice touch, especially for GBA. I don’t know any other games that were so careful with little things like that.
Now, for one of the most important things about Mother 3, and really the Mother series as a whole: that witty charm. Despite being a game with some serious stuff going on, you can’t help but laugh. You may have noticed this in announcements I’ve posted here at PC, but I always end them with “Thank you for reading this announcement. It loves you know.” That’s a quote from the game, however it’s written on a sign instead of an announcement. Even item descriptions are weird. Can’t think of any of the top of my head, but it’s crazy, that’s for sure. (I recall there being a sign that you get to graffiti, actually…)
Overall, this is probably the best game I have ever played. Now, I’m not saying you all will have the same opinion if you play it, but it’s definitely recommended. It’s the only reason I bothered to even download an emulator. It’s the only game I have played that has had an emotional impact on me. I felt like I connected with the characters for once. Itoi really knows how to pull at your heart, and Mother 3 got me. Hopefully after reading this review, some of y’all might decide to give it a whirl. You won’t regret it.