Review by Ofisil

"As fun as your mother..."

Mother is a RPG developed by Ape Studios / Nintendo. Mother is a Japanese only game that made it ashore through a translated Rom for emulation, (as EarthBound Zero). It is considered one of the best NES RPGs of all time, (its SNES sequel is considered to be even better), and to say the truth I've never really understood why. I mean, hell yeah its original in many ways but a good game? And believe me folks I've tried… I've really, really tried to see what's good in this game.

Story: 7/10
Presentation: 2/10

Mother has both an original and a simple plot. It's original because it doesn't take place in a Might & Magic kind of world but in a 80's-90's rural American town and because its very wacky with the player having to deal with weird enemies like hippies, inanimate objects, funny dialogues and many more. At its core though it is very simple, just a team-up-with-the-chosen-ones-and-kill-the-evil-dude kind of game. After a small intro about things that happened in the past, you see a small kid that awakes in his house that now trembles from a mysterious power. You soon have to confront the lamp of your room, realizing that something is wrong here. After a few more fights, (and after the house stays put), you set of on a journey to… well that's the problem here… there isn't any real explanation here. You just go out and start fighting random encounters, strengthening your character and so on. And as for the NPCs you'll meet. Yeah they are wacky alright but they don't really offer anything to the game. 99% of the time they don't say anything really helpful. The problem is that Mother's plot despite being simple is relatively good but that gets obvious in the last few hours of the game since the first 30-40 are all about fighting enemies and collecting some songs.

Gameplay: 1/10
Replay Value: -5/10

People say that the game is revolutionary when it's nothing more than another typical and unoriginal NES RPG. You know… you go around talk with people, roam in the overworld or crawl in a dungeon and fight, fight, fight, fight aaaaaand fight. The only thing that is different is the way this game looks. Instead of Orcs and Goblins we have hippies and farm boys, instead of swords and bows we have baseball bats and boomerangs, instead of Magic we have PSI, (different name, same thing), instead of health potions and elixirs we have hamburgers and orange juice and so on, but at its core the game is just another boring RPG. The thing that completely breaks it is the fact that you must fight a LOT. There are parts in the game where the only way to survive is by grinding for a lot of time in order to level up and not only are battles extremely boring but they also happen way, way too often, sometimes even after 2 steps. Next the dungeons… gargantuan labyrinths full of worthless items, items that fill your very, very limited inventory's space too soon forcing you to either use the, drop them or go back to town and store\sell them which in most occasions is out of the question. So what exactly is what make people love this game so much… its different look?

Graphics & Design: 6.4/10
Sound & Music: 5.5/10

I kind of like the graphics of EarthBound despite being very, very, VEEERY simple. Most areas like plains or interior areas have 0 “texture”, instead they have 100% solid colors. For example grass is just a green area without any other colors. However what it lacks in detail is gains through its unique look and design. Some areas really look otherworldly and are a nice break from the stereotypical Final Fantasy “fantasy” settings. The enemies you'll fight range from weird ones, like hippies, ladies with bags, aliens, pseudo zombies(?), and stuff like that to simple critters like bats, snakes, dogs that can get quite boring to look at. Audio-wise I'm not so impressed like most people are, in fact I'm quite disappointed since the game's plot revolves around music too much and the available music is below average at best.

[+]:
-Simple but good looking

[-]:
-The plot takes a backseat in the first 2/3s of the game
-The game is just another bring old school RPG
-Too much grinding needed
-Very high Random Encounter rate. Boring battles
-Average overall design and music themes

Also Play:
Chrono Trigger (SNES)
Final Fantasy 6 (SNES)

Overall: 2.8/10

Mother is as cool and fun as YOUR mother is… unless your mother is Lara Croft that is…


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 01/31/11

Game Release: Earth Bound (US, 12/31/98)


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