FAQ/Walkthrough by mbrocket

Last Updated 2014-06-15

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For enemy and item info:
http://starmen.net/mother2/ebdb/
For game mechanics:
http://starmen.net/mother2/gameinfo/technical/equations.php
A video walkthrough:
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=8444EB8D30C3AE30

How to Use This Walkthrough

If you are stuck: Check the Outline at the beginning of each section, or read the more detailed Walkthrough under a subsection.

For strategies on how to defeat an enemy: See the Enemies list under a subsection.

For information on items: Search the Item List or Jeff's Tools

Controls

L: Talk to NPCs, check containers and objects, advance dialogue, and select menu options. This is a handy multi-purpose button.
Directional pad (D-pad): Moves your characters on the field and cycles through menu options.
A: Opens the main menu outside of battle; selects menu options and advances dialogue.
B: Shows HP/PP and money carried on hand when pressed outside of battle. Cancels and closes menu windows or answers "no" when asked a question. Also advances dialogue.
Select: Same as the B-Button.
X: Displays a map of the current town. This works only after you receive the Map in the first town.
R: Ring your bell when riding a Bicycle.
Start/Y: No function.

Main Menu Options

Open the main menu by pressing A outside of battle. The menu options are as follows:

Talk to: Talk to any non-player character (NPC) you're standing next to. You can also just press L to talk to people.
PSI: Use special psychic (PSI) abilities. PSI moves are automatically learned as characters get stronger, and they cost psychic points (PP) to use. The PSI moves usable outside of battle are Lifeup (recovers HP), Healing (cures ailments), and Teleport (travel to another town).
Check: Open gift boxes and other containers to obtain any items they hold, or examine objects to interact with them depending on the situation. You can also press L to check objects.
Goods: Open the inventory menu (see the next section for info).
Equip: Equip your party with weapons and armor. An item must be in a party member's inventory before he or she can equip it.
Status: Open the status menu, which shows detailed information on each party member.

Inventory Menu

Press A outside of battle to open the main menu and select Goods to view your inventory. Select an item with A to access some options:

Use: Use the selected item, or give the item to an NPC in some situations.
Give: Transfer the item to someone else's inventory, or give the item to the same character to move the item to the bottom of the list.
Drop: Get rid of the item. Keep in mind that dropped items can't be retrieved. Items that can be found in only one place in the game can't be dropped but can be stored (see Escargo Express).
Help!: View a short (and sometimes humorous) description of the selected item.

You can access any party member's inventory outside of battle, but each character can use only what is in his or her own inventory during a fight.

Status Menu

Select Status from the main menu to view each character's attributes and abilities. The information shown in the status window is as follows:

Level: A character's level is a measure of his or her strength. When characters increase in level, their attributes increase and they may learn new PSI abilities.
Status Effect: If a character is afflicted by an ailment, such as poison or paralysis, it will be shown beneath their level.
Hit Points: Hit points (HP) represent the amount of life a character has. When HP reaches 0, the character falls unconscious and can't do anything. HP can be restored while conscious by eating food, using the PSI move Lifeup, resting at a Hotel, or talking to certain people. Unconscious party members can be revived by going to a Hospital, using certain medicinal items, or using the gamma or omega version of the PSI move Healing.
Psychic Points: Psychic points (PP) are needed to use PSI abilities. Much like HP, PP can be recovered by resting at a Hotel, eating PP recovery food items, or talking to certain people.
Experience Points: Experience (exp.) points are earned by fighting and defeating enemies. When a certain amount of exp. points is accumulated, a party member increases in level.
PSI Info: Press A while in the status window to view short descriptions of a party member's PSI abilities. Press B to return to the status window.
Attributes: The status window also displays each party member's attributes.

Battle System

The battle system in EarthBound is similar to turn-based fighting systems of many RPGs. Each character takes turns attacking to decrease the enemies' HP, and enemies are defeated when their HP reaches 0. Like your party members, all enemies have attributes and maximum HP and PP values, but they do not increase in level and get stronger.

When your party wins a battle, they're awarded experience points and possibly receive an item dropped by an enemy. If the party loses a battle, they'll lose 50% of the money they were carrying and will return to your last save point with only Ness conscious at 0 PP.

Approaching Enemies

Battle begins when your party makes contact with an enemy on the field. If the party and the enemy meet face-to-face, battle begins normally. If the party approaches an enemy from behind, you'll have one free round where the enemy won't attack. If the enemy approaches the party from behind, the enemy will get one free round instead.

Weak Enemies

Most enemies that are significantly weaker than the party try to run away, making it easy for you to approach them from behind or avoid fighting. If the enemy is weak enough, you'll get an instant victory. Approaching an enemy from behind increases your chances of getting an instant victory, while no instant victory will be awarded if an enemy approaches the party from behind.

Rolling HP Counter

Party members' HP are shown on a rolling drum display that counts up or down when a character takes damage or recovers HP. A party member will fall unconscious only if their HP counter reaches 0. Thus, if you recover someone who has taken mortal damage quickly enough, the character will avoid falling unconscious.

Surviving Mortal Blows

When a party member receives damage greater than the amount of HP he or she currently has, there is a slight chance the character will survive with 1 HP remaining. The probability of this occurring is greater with a higher Guts attribute.

Battle Menu Options

Bash/Shoot: Use a party member's standard attack. Bash is displayed when equipped with a melee weapon, while shoot is shown when using a projectile weapon. Bash attacks have some chance of getting SMAAAASH!! hits that inflict 2x to 3x more damage to most targets. The probability of getting SMAAAASH!! hits is increased with a higher Guts attribute. Shoot attacks can't get SMAAAASH!! hits, but their damage isn't reduced by shields.
PSI: Use a party member's PSI abilities.
Goods: Open a character's inventory. Each party member can use items only in their own inventory during battle.
Defend: Spend a turn defending instead of attacking. While defending, damage inflicted by some types of physical attacks is reduced by 50%. Damage inflicted by PSI attacks isn't affected. The following attacks don't seem to be affected either:
Jeff's shoot
Jeff's Heavy Bazooka
Bottle Rockets (all types)
Bombs
Super Bombs
Yo-yos and Slingshots
"biting attack"
"take a bite using its poisonous fangs"
"bite you hard"
"charge forward"
"tear into you"
"peck at your eyes"
"fire a beam"
"growl and lunge forward"
"stomp with its huge foot"
"jab with a spear"
"utilize a paint attack"
"burst into flames" (death action)
"explode into bits" (death action)
Run Away: Attempt to escape a battle. This isn't guaranteed to work, and important fights can't be escaped. You have a greater chance of running away from slower enemies than from faster ones, and your odds of success increase the more rounds you spend in a fight.
Auto Fight: Let the computer control your party during a battle. The computer relies on standard attacks and uses PSI only when someone is heavily injured or is afflicted by an ailment. Press B to cancel.

Offense

Determines the amount of damage the character's physical attacks inflict. The higher the number, the greater the damage.

Defense

Determines the amount of damage suffered from physical attacks. The higher the number, the less damage received. Defense doesn't reduce damage from PSI attacks, such as Freeze or Fire.

Speed

Determines the order of turns in battle. Usually the character with higher Speed attacks before a slower character, though this isn't always the case when Speed values are close to each other.

Characters with higher Speed also seem to dodge enemy attacks and Bottle Rockets more often. Bottle Rockets inflict less damage or don't work at all on targets faster than Jeff.

Guts

Determines the chance a bash attack will be a SMAAAASH!! hit or the chance a party member survives a mortal blow with only 1 HP left. The higher the value, the better the chances.

Vitality

Determines how much a character's max HP increases when leveling up. When Vitality increases, the character's max HP increases significantly:

Vitality increaseMax HP increase
00~3
14~20
220~30
330~45

In general, max HP is about 15 times Vitality (e.g. if Ness has 10 Vitality, he should have about 150 max HP).

IQ

Similar to Vitality, except it affects max PP:

IQ increaseMax PP increase
00~2
13~7
28~20

In general, max PP is about 5 times IQ (an exception is for Ness near the end of the game, when his max PP is about 10 times his IQ).

For Jeff, who can't use PSI, IQ determines what broken items he can repair. Each broken item has an IQ requirement that Jeff must meet before he can repair it.

Luck

Luck determines the success rate of some PSI moves and items. Characters with higher Luck are more likely to avoid taking damage or being affected by moves such as Defense Down or items such as the Counter-PSI Unit (source: starmen.net).

Town Services

Almost every town in the game offers the following services:

Drugstore/Shop/Marketplace

Drugstores offer not only medicine but also weapons, armor, food, and whatever else you might want. You can also sell your items at a 50% markdown.

When buying weapons or armor, your party members' HP/PP windows either flash, stay the same, or dim. A flashing HP/PP window means the selected item will improve the character's stats; otherwise, the window stays the same. A dimmed HP/PP window means the character can't equip or use the selected item.

Hotel

Conscious party members can sleep at Hotels to restore HP and PP. Hotels in towns that appear later in the game are usually more expensive than in earlier towns, though some places let you sleep for free.

Hospital

Go to a Hospital to cure any ailment or revive unconscious party members. Hospitals in towns that appear later in the game usually charge more than in earlier towns, though some places provide treatment for free.

The people in a typical Hospital are:

  • Receptionist: Talk to the receptionist near the entrance of most Hospitals to revive someone unconscious.
  • Doctor: Doctors can cure colds, poison, nausea, and sunstroke.
  • Healer: The blue-haired Healers' treatments are soften (cures diamondization), restore feeling (paralysis), and purify (possession).

Healers cure mushroomization as well. When he sees a mushroom growing on someone's head, the Healer offers to buy it for $50. Answer "yes" to remove the mushroom.

ATM

Almost every Hotel and Store have an ATM. Your balance automatically increases as you win fights and never decreases as long as you don't withdraw any money, but cash carried on hand is cut in half when the party loses a battle.

Telephone/Pay Phone

You can use a telephone to call family members or request commercial services. Black phones found in most Hotels are free, while tan phones in most stores cost $1 per call.

The people you can call are:

  • Dad: Call Ness's dad to save your game.
  • Mom: Call Ness's mom when Ness is homesick to make him feel better.
  • Escargo Express: Escargo Express stores unneeded items for you. Call Ness's mom to learn their number. Call Escargo Express to request a deliveryman to either pickup or drop off items. The deliveryman can carry up to 3 items and charges $18 per delivery.
  • Mach Pizza: Mach Pizza shops can be found in the early towns of the game. Go inside and talk to the cashier to learn their number. Call Mach Pizza to order either a small or large Pizza (medium pizzas are always sold out). Small Pizzas recover 120 HP for one person, while Large Pizzas recover 240 HP for the entire party. Delivery takes about 3 minutes.

Party Members

Without special equipment, all party members are vulnerable to Fire, Freeze, Flash, Paralysis, and Hypnosis.

Ness

Offense: high
Defense: medium
Speed: low
Guts: high
Max HP: high
Max PP: medium
Luck: high

The main character of the game is a strong physical fighter with good survivability and a powerful standard attack. Ness's high Offense and Guts make his bash effective even against bosses, and his high Vitality gives him enough HP to stay alive in most fights without trouble.

In terms of PSI, Ness is more of a defensive and support character. He can learn the moves Lifeup and Healing to recover HP and cure ailments, and he has several abilities that can debilitate enemies with status effects. He has only one PSI ability that inflicts damage to enemies, but this move can quickly deplete Ness's PP if you're not careful, and it occasionally fails to work. It's often better to save Ness's PP for Lifeup and Healing and use his PSI attacks only against bosses and groups of enemies.

Ness's main weakness is his low to mediocre Speed. He usually attacks last or second to the last among the four party members, and he may sometimes fail to save someone's life in time if one of his friends is low on HP or mortally wounded. You can compensate for this weakness by having your fastest party member always carry some food.

Use any Guts Capsules you find on Ness to increase his chances of getting SMAAAASH!! hits, and equip him with the Night Pendant to protect him from Flash; given the effectiveness of Ness's bash, it will hinder your party if he starts uncontrollably crying. Furthermore, you don't want him to be instantly defeated because he has the best chance of reviving or healing everybody else.

Paula

Offense: low
Defense: low
Speed: high
Guts: medium
Max HP: low
Max PP: high
Luck: high

Paula is the main PSI attacker in your party. She acts as the main line of attack against most bosses and can make short work of some strong normal enemies. As such, you should keep Paula well protected, or else you might find yourself severely handicapped in tough fights. You can think of Ness and Paula as forming the anchor of the party, with each character's strengths making up for the other's weaknesses.

Unlike Ness, Paula has a weak standard attack and poor survivability. To help Paula stay alive, equip her with your best armor and give her any Vital Capsules you find to boost her HP. Protect her from Thunder and Fire with the Franklin Badge and the Flame Pendant as well.

Paula's strong points are her Speed and IQ. Her high PP allows her to use PSI attacks often, and her high Speed is critical when you need to put up a shield to defend against powerful enemy PSI attacks. Give her Speed Capsules or equip her with armor that increases Speed if she isn't able to put up a shield in time to protect the party from the PSI attacks Fire and Starstorm.

Paula's special ability is pray, a move that causes some random effect that can help you or hurt you. Use this ability only as a last resort. The different prayer effects are as follows:

Subtle light: Recovers 6% of max HP for all allies. This seems to occur the most often.
Warm light: Recovers 12% of max HP for all allies.
Golden light: Recovers some HP for a single ally. The amount recovered is equal to the difference between the target's max HP and Paula's current HP (source: starmen.net).
Mysterious light: Recovers minuscule PP for all allies.
Dazzling light (type 1): Flash alpha on all allies and enemies. The battle dialogue window describes this light as enveloping Ness and his friends.
Dazzling light (type 2): Moderate damage to a single enemy. The battle dialogue window describes this light as chasing an enemy.
Mysterious aroma: Puts all allies and enemies to sleep.
Heaven rending sound: Makes all allies and enemies feel strange.
Heavy air: Slightly decreases the Defense of all allies and enemies for the duration of the battle.
Rainbow colored light: Revives all unconscious allies and defeated enemies to full HP.

Jeff

Offense: high
Defense: medium
Speed: low
Guts: medium
Max HP: low
Luck: medium

Jeff is a scientific whizz kid who can repair broken items and use tools that no other party member can use. He is unable to use PSI, but he is the only party member who can utilize guns, bazookas, and Bottle Rockets, which are one-time use weapons that can inflict 150 to over 1000 HP of damage depending on the type of rocket used.

Jeff's guns can boost his Offense to the second highest or sometimes even the highest among his friends. His shoot can't get SMAAAASH!! hits, but it's more accurate than bash, its damage isn't reduced by shields, and it doesn't revert enemies feeling strange to normal.

In boss fights, Bottle Rockets usually make Jeff your biggest offensive force. Bottle Rockets are sold throughout the game at a cheap price, and they inflict enough damage to take away about a quarter to half of most bosses' HP.

The Heavy Bazooka is another noteworthy item for Jeff. Obtained by repairing the Broken Bazooka found near the Fifth Sanctuary location, the Heavy Bazooka can inflict more damage than Jeff's shoot, and it never runs out of ammo.

These are Jeff's most powerful items, but his other tools can be useful in more specific situations. I describe each of his items in Jeff's Tools.

Most of Jeff's best weapons can be obtained only by repairing broken items. Each broken item requires Jeff to have an IQ above a certain amount to be fixed, and Jeff automatically repairs something if possible when the party rests. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee Jeff will repair something if his IQ meets or exceeds the requirement, so try to rest somewhere free when you want him to repair something. Many repaired or broken items can't be thrown away and can only be given to Escargo Express if you want to get rid of them.

Jeff's main weakness is Speed, and he almost always goes last or second to the last among his friends. His Vitality is the second lowest in the party, making him somewhat vulnerable against stronger enemies but still manageable compared to Paula. Equip Jeff with your second best armor to keep him alive.

Jeff's special ability is spy. Spy reveals an enemy's Offense, Defense, and PSI vulnerabilities and takes any item the enemy might be carrying. Be sure to use spy before using status affecting PSI attacks such as Flash or Hypnosis because those abilities are unlikely to work on enemies not vulnerable to them.

Poo

Offense: low (but high growth rate)
Defense: medium
Speed: high (very high with the Cloak of Kings)
Guts: low
Max HP: high
Max PP: low
Luck: low (very high with the Bracer and Diadem of Kings)

Poo is mostly a PSI specialist who has a versatile set of offensive and recovery PSI abilities but low Offense. His Freeze and Starstorm can inflict heavy damage to most normal enemies and bosses, and his Lifeup and Healing can keep everyone alive and healthy. Unfortunately, Poo has less PP than Ness and Paula, so be sure to buy Bottles of DXwater (recovers 40 PP for only Poo) or use PSI Magnet when going through long dungeons.

Poo's biggest weakness is his low Offense. While his Offense has a high natural growth rate, his bash will likely remain weaker than Paula's unless you spend time leveling him up. The Sword of Kings, Poo's only weapon, can offset this weakness, but this weapon is extremely rare and increases Offense by just 30. To offset his weak bash, give Poo offensive items, such as Super Bombs, Mummy Wraps, and the Monkey's Love, or use Freeze.

Don't equip Poo with the same weapons and armor the other party members use--they actually decrease Poo's stats. There are only four items Poo should equip: the Sword of Kings, the Cloak of Kings, the Bracer of Kings, and the Diadem of Kings. Only the Sword of Kings can be difficult to get; the others are found in gift boxes.

Don't use most food items on Poo because they recover only about 6 of his HP. Only a few food items work for Poo, and they are actually better for him than for everyone else. These items are:

Brain Food Lunch: recovers about 600 HP and 100 PP
Bottle of Water: recovers about 10 PP
Bottle of DXwater: recovers about 40 PP

Medicinal items, such as Secret Herbs, and PP recovery items other than the ones listed here work normally.

Poo's special ability is mirror, which allows him to acquire an enemy's stats and moves. Its success rate is about 50%, though it doesn't work on bosses and on stronger enemies. The only worthwhile use I've found for mirror is to use it on enemies that can recover HP without using PP. Otherwise, most enemies susceptible to mirror are weaker than Poo and not worth mimicking.

Status Effects

This section gives information on all the status effects in the game and how to deal with each. They are listed in alphabetical order.

The cures listed under each status effect are the most practical ways of removing the status effect rather than all of them. Characters and objects that cure almost everything for free such as the Saturn Valley doctor or the Instant Revitalizing Device are generally not mentioned.

Cold

Effects:

  • Inflicts 4 HP of damage each turn in battle
  • Inflicts 2 HP of damage every 4 seconds outside of battle

Cures:

Catching a cold is a problem in only one place early in the game. Use Healing alpha outside of battle or after you have defeated any enemies that can give you a cold to cure this status effect. If you have Cold Remedies, use those up before using Healing when travelling away from town.

Crying

Effect:

  • Reduces the accuracy of a character's standard attack by 50%

Cures:

Ness and Jeff are hindered the most by crying. If you're fighting normal enemies and only one person starts crying, it can usually be ignored. If both Ness and Jeff start crying and you're fighting more powerful enemies, either use PSI attacks or use Healing beta on Ness (Jeff can use the Heavy Bazooka if he has it).

This status effect doesn't seem to reduce the accuracy of some enemy attacks, such as "tore into" or "lunge forward."

Diamondize

Effect:

  • Affected person can't do anything

Cures:

Diamondization is equivalent to being unconscious, except HP isn't depleted. Use Healing gamma, a Secret Herb, or a Cup of Lifenoodles to restore anyone diamondized as soon as possible.

Feel strange

Effect:

  • Affected character sometimes targets a random character--self, friend, or foe--with whatever move used

Cures:

  • Healing beta
  • Get bashed
  • End the battle

Feeling strange isn't much of a problem if only one person is affected by it. In those cases, ignore it and have the affected character defend or stick to standard attacks. If multiple party members start feeling strange, end the fight as soon as possible with your strongest PSI attacks or use Healing beta.

Homesick

Effect:

  • Ness randomly wastes turns in battle

Cures:

  • Call Ness's mom
  • Visit a Sanctuary spot

This status effect occurs rarely but randomly. Call or talk to Ness's mom to cure homesickness. Regularly calling Ness's mom doesn't prevent homesickness.

Mushroomize/mashroomize

Effects:

  • Same as feeling strange in battle
  • Rotates movement controls outside of battle

Cures:

  • Talk to a Healer in any Hospital
  • Talk to the girl in Peaceful Rest Valley
  • Wade in a hot spring

Mushroomization is much worse than feeling strange because it persists outside of battle and can't be healed by PSI or items. The best course of action is to defeat mushroom enemies first in any battle. Luckily, this status effect is a problem at only three places in the game.

If someone becomes mushroomized, get rid of the mushroom before venturing into dangerous territory if possible or have the affected character stick to using standard attacks, Lifeup/Healing, or food items.

If a party member is mushroomized, your movement controls change after a few seconds. From what I can tell, the button assignments on the control pad seem to rotate either to the left, to the right, or by 180 degrees. For example, if the button assignments rotate to the right, the control pad works like this:

Up = move left
Right = move up
Down = move right
Left = move down

Nausea

Effects:

  • Inflicts 16~24 HP of damage each turn in battle
  • Reduces the accuracy of standard attacks by 50% (source: starmen.net)
  • Inflicts 10 HP of damage every 2 seconds outside of battle

Cures:

Heal anyone nauseous with Healing beta or a Refreshing Herb outside of battle or after all enemies that can cause nausea are defeated.

Numb/paralysis

Effects:

  • Renders a character unable to physically attack, use items, or defend; PSI is still usable

Cures:

Use Healing gamma or a Secret Herb on anyone paralyzed as soon as possible. Equipping items such as the Travel Charm or the Great Charm protect from the PSI move Paralysis but not numbness caused by Flash.

Poison

Effects:

  • Inflicts 16~24 HP of damage each turn in battle
  • Inflicts 10 HP of damage every 2 seconds outside of battle

Cures:

Use Healing beta or a Refreshing Herb outside of battle or after any enemies that can cause poison are defeated.

Possess

Effect:

  • A Tiny Li'l Ghost attacks a party member each round in battle

Cures:

  • Healer in any Hospital
  • Saturn Valley doctor

There are very few enemies that can cause possession, and it's more of a nuisance than a threat. The Tiny Li'l Ghost has 2 attacks: a standard attack that usually inflicts 1 HP of damage and a "reach out with its icy hand" attack that can solidify one person. The ghost has high Speed and usually attacks first in each round, even in battles near the end of the game when the party is at higher levels. The Tiny Li'l Ghost attacks only once per round even if multiple party members are possessed.

You can cure possession by going to a Healer at a Hospital and selecting the purify option. You can also go to the doctor in Saturn Valley and have the ghost removed for free.

Special attacks or PSI moves that target the entire party, such as Starstorm or Fire, also damage the ghost and may defeat it, though shields that protect the entire party also protect the ghost. The Tiny Li'l Ghost has about 100 HP.

Sleep

Effect:

  • Affected character can't do anything for a random number of rounds

Cures:

  • Healing alpha
  • Receive damage
  • Wait a few rounds
  • End the battle

Sleep is usually nothing to worry about and can be ignored. Someone who has fallen asleep may wake up if physically attacked.

Solidify

Effect:

  • Incapacitates a character for a single turn (occasionally more)

Cures:

  • Wait 1 or 2 rounds
  • End the battle

Solidification poses a minor threat and can be ignored. It usually lasts for one turn, but some attacks such as the Arachnid!'s spider silk can immobilize a target for two or more turns.

Sunstroke

Effects:

  • Inflicts 4 HP of damage each turn in battle
  • Inflicts 2 HP of damage every 4 seconds outside of battle

Cure:

Sunstroke can randomly occur whenever you're in a desert and you see beads of sweat spouting from the party. Press B or Select to check for sunstroke if you start seeing the screen flash red. Don't bother to buy Wet Towels for healing sunstrokes; Healing alpha is sufficient.

Unable to concentrate

Effect:

  • Prevents PSI use for 4 rounds

You will rarely, if ever, see a party member become unable to concentrate. Only a few enemies can cause this status effect, and attacks that disrupt concentration tend to have low success rates.

A person carrying the Brain Stone is immune to this status effect.

PSI Rockin

PSI Rockin is Ness's special PSI attack. It inflicts significant damage to all enemies on screen. This ability is named after whatever you enter as your Favorite Thing at the beginning of the game.

PSI Rockin is powerful, but it can be a drain on Ness's PP and becomes less useful when Paula joins Ness and offers a more versatile set of PSI attacks. Try to conserve Ness's PP for recovery PSI instead for the most part. Don't use PSI Rockin except in boss fights and against groups of normal enemies, and stick to PSI Rockin beta for its low cost and decent damage.

This attack sometimes fails to work: the higher the target's Speed, the more likely PSI Rockin will fail (source: starmen.net). While some normal enemies have enough Speed to often avoid damage, the failure rate against bosses is usually low enough to ignore.

Counter: There are only two enemies that can use PSI Rockin. I discuss them in the walkthrough.

alpha
Level Learned: 8 (Ness)
Damage: 40~120 HP
The alpha version of PSI Rockin is useful during the beginning of the game before Paula joins Ness. Use it in early boss fights and when you are overpowered by a group of enemies.
beta
Level Learned: 22 (Ness)
Damage: 90~270 HP
This ability is the most cost-effective version of PSI Rockin and is useful against groups of enemies and bosses for most of the game. Go with this move for general use even after PSI Rockin gamma and omega are learned.
gamma
Level Learned: 49 (Ness)
Damage: 190~450 HP
PSI Rockin gamma and omega are usually too costly to use until the very end of the game. Use these attacks only once or twice against bosses or in emergencies.
omega
Level Learned: 75 (Ness)
Damage: 430~920 HP

Flash

Flash randomly causes all enemies on screen to start uncontrollably crying, feel strange, become paralyzed, or be instantly defeated. Some enemies are vulnerable to Flash and are almost always affected, while others are resistant.

Flash will most likely cause uncontrollable crying, but in my experience enemies aren't hindered enough by crying to help much. The later versions of Flash have a decent chance of instantly defeating something, but the PP cost and unreliable success rate of Flash limit its usefulness; better alternatives are usually available.

Counter: PSI Shield sigma will suffice. The Night Pendant protects from Flash and can be found near the middle of the game--equip it on Ness. Note that enemy moves equivalent to Flash, such as "emit a glorious light," can be defended against only with Flash protective armor and not a PSI Shield.

alpha
Level Learned: 18 (Ness)
Status Effects:
Cry (~85%)
Feel strange (~15%)
beta
Level Learned: 38 (Ness)
Status Effects:
Cry (~60%)
Feel strange (~10%)
Paralysis (~15%)
Instant defeat (~15%)
gamma
Level Learned: 61 (Ness)
Status Effects:
Cry (~45%)
Feel strange (~15%)
Paralysis (~20%)
Instant defeat (~20%)
omega
Level Learned: 67 (Ness)
Status Effects:
Cry (~35%)
Feel strange (~10%)
Paralysis (~15%)
Instant defeat (~40%)

Fire

Fire inflicts mediocre damage to an entire row of enemies. Some enemies are vulnerable to Fire and receive extra damage, while others are resistant or almost immune.

Use Fire when you want to soften up a row of enemies weak against it. Follow that up with standard attacks to defeat multiple enemies in a single round. Fire is also usually the best PSI attack against bosses resistant to Freeze.

Counter: PSI Shield sigma will suffice. Fire protective armor (e.g. the Flame Pendant) can help protect Paula and Jeff, who have low HP. Note that Fire equivalent attacks, such as "breathe fire," can't be defended against with a PSI Shield, but damage is reduced by Fire protective armor.

alpha
Level Learned: 3 (Paula)
Damage: 25~40 HP (60~100 HP to susceptible targets)
beta
Level Learned: 19 (Paula)
Damage: 50~80 HP (120~200 HP to susceptible targets)
gamma
Level Learned: 37 (Paula)
Damage: 70~120 HP (180~300 HP to susceptible targets)
omega
Level Learned: 64 (Paula)
Damage: 100~160 HP (240~400 HP to susceptible targets)

Freeze

Freeze inflicts significant damage to a single target and has a 25% chance of causing solidification (source: starmen.net). Some enemies are vulnerable to Freeze and suffer extra damage, while others are resistant or almost immune.

Freeze is arguably the most useful PSI attack in the game because of its low PP cost and effectiveness against bosses. Use Freeze when Paula or Poo's standard attack is weak or when facing strong enemies that give you trouble. For enemies resistant to Freeze, Fire is usually the best alternative.

Counter: Only a few enemies can use Freeze. Use PSI Shield sigma for protection or take advantage of the rolling HP counter and defeat the enemy as quickly as possible.

alpha
Level Learned:
1 (Paula)
15 (Poo)
Damage: 55~90 HP (150~230 HP to susceptible targets)
Status Effects: Solidify (25%)
The low PP cost and high damage of Freeze alpha make it effective against non-boss enemies in the early and middle parts of the game.
beta
Level Learned:
11 (Paula)
15 (Poo)
Damage: 110~180 HP (270~450 HP to susceptible targets)
Status Effects: Solidify (25%)
gamma
Level Learned:
31 (Paula)
33 (Poo)
Damage: 170~250 HP (405~675 HP to susceptible targets)
Status Effects: Solidify (25%)
omega
Level Learned: 46 (Paula)
Damage: 230~350 HP (540~900 HP to susceptible targets)
Status Effects: Solidify (25%)

Thunder

Depending on what version of this attack you use, Thunder summons 1 to 4 lightning bolts that either hit a random enemy or hit nothing. The probability that each bolt will strike something increases with the number of enemies on screen (source: starmen.net):

1 enemy: 25%
2 enemies: 50%
3 enemies: 75%
4+ enemies: 100%

Thunder also eliminates any PSI Shield protecting a target in one strike, though PSI Shield beta and omega reflect damage before disappearing.

Thunder alpha and beta are somewhat useful for eliminating PSI shields early in the game before Jeff gets the Neutralizer or the Shield Killer. However, because of the randomness of Thunder, it may sometimes be better to repeatedly use Freeze alpha instead to eliminate a PSI shield.

For inflicting damage, use Thunder gamma against groups of enemies not vulnerable to Fire or as a low-cost alternative to Starstorm. Based on the above probabilities, you should probably use Thunder only when facing 3 or more enemies.

Thunder gamma is probably the only version of this move good enough for general use. Thunder alpha and beta don't hit enough targets to be very reliable, while Thunder omega is less damaging and less cost-effective than Starstorm without being much cheaper in PP cost.

Counter: The best protection is the Franklin Badge, which should be kept in Paula's inventory for the most part. PSI shields usually shouldn't be necessary. Note that PSI shields don't protect against Thunder equivalent attacks such as "Electrical shock attack."

alpha
Level Learned:
8 (Paula)
15 (Poo)
Effect: summons 1 lightning bolt; eliminates PSI shields on hit
Damage: 65~170 HP per bolt
beta
Level Learned:
25 (Paula)
15 (Poo)
Effect: summons 2 lightning bolts; eliminates PSI shields on hit
Damage: 65~170 HP per bolt
gamma
Level Learned:
57 (Paula)
41 (Poo)
Effect: summons 3 lightning bolts; eliminates PSI shields on hit
Damage: 115~280 HP per bolt
omega
Level Learned: 55 (Poo)
Effect: summons 4 lightning bolts; eliminates PSI shields on hit
Damage: 115~280 HP per bolt

Starstorm

Like Ness's PSI Rockin, Poo's Starstorm inflicts significant damage to all enemies on screen. Starstorm is actually a little better than PSI Rockin because Starstorm has a 100% success rate, has smaller damage spread, and costs less PP. However, Poo also has less PP than Ness does, so this attack is still costly to use. Use Starstorm only in emergencies. It's usually better to conserve Poo's PP for Freeze and Lifeup/Healing.

Counter: Always use PSI Shield sigma or omega when facing an enemy that can use Starstorm, and be sure Paula has sufficient Speed to go before the enemy attacks. If Paula doesn't have enough Speed to put up a shield in time, equip her with the Rabbit's Foot found in the Seventh Sanctuary Cave or the Crystal Charm sold in Scaraba. If you get hit by Starstorm, use Lifeup omega or give priority to recovering Ness and Poo before their HP counters reach 0 (Ness will probably survive this attack most of the time). Those two characters can then revive Paula and Jeff.

alpha
Level Learned: n/a (Poo learns this at a certain point in the game)
Damage: 300~435 HP
omega
Level Learned: n/a (ditto)
Damage: 580~860 HP

RECOVER

Lifeup

Lifeup restores lost HP and keeps you alive. It's an essential ability, and how you use it can make the difference between winning and losing a fight.

At low levels when Ness has little PP, you'll get into trouble if Ness can't use Lifeup while away from town. To avoid wasting PP, try to think 1 or 2 rounds ahead in battle and estimate the maximum possible damage your enemies can inflict, taking into account the likelihood that Ness or the enemy will attack first. Use Lifeup or eat food when someone's HP falls below this maximum.

If you have any food, use those up before resorting to Lifeup while away from town. Save your best food for recovery during battle and use your weakest food to recover after fights. Give some food to your fastest party member before entering difficult fights just in case someone gets mortally wounded.

Once Poo joins the party, have him use Lifeup instead of Ness when possible because Poo has higher Speed and can recover PP with PSI Magnet or Bottles of DXwater. In later parts of the game, take advantage of the rolling HP counter and avoid using Lifeup until someone's HP falls below 150 or 200.

Counter: A lot of enemies can use Lifeup alpha, but it's usually not a problem. Just concentrate your attacks on one target at a time.

alpha
Level Learned:
2 (Ness)
15 (Poo)
Recovery: 70~120 HP
Food items such as the Hamburger are good alternatives to Lifeup alpha in the early parts of the game. Always carry some food to prepare for major fights or travels away from town.
beta
Level Learned:
20 (Ness)
15 (Poo)
Recovery: 230~370 HP
gamma
Level Learned:
39 (Ness)
46 (Poo)
Recovery: max HP
omega
Level Learned: 70 (Ness)
Recovery: 310~470 HP for all allies

Healing

Healing removes a single status effect from one person. Healing can't cure all types of status effects, but the number of ailments that Healing can cure increases with each successive version of this move.

The rule for using Healing is simple: use the move that heals an ailment with the lowest PP cost. Listed below are the status effects each version of Healing should be used to cure.

A few items can act as alternatives to Healing: Refreshing Herbs for curing poison and nausea, Secret Herbs for paralysis and diamondization, and Cups of Lifenoodles and Horns of Life for reviving someone unconscious. Buy 1 or 2 of these items when they're available if Ness or Poo haven't learned Healing moves that cure these ailments.

Counter: The only time Healing should give you trouble is when an enemy uses Healing omega to revive an already defeated enemy. Fortunately, this happens rarely and only near the end of the game. Just defeat the enemy that can use Healing omega first.

alpha
Level Learned:
10 (Ness)
15 (Poo)
Cures: cold, sleep, sunstroke
beta
Level Learned:
24 (Ness)
15 (Poo)
Cures: poison, nausea, feeling strange, uncontrollable crying
gamma
Level Learned:
53 (Ness)
36 (Poo)
Cures: unconscious (restores 25% of max HP), diamondization, paralysis
Healing gamma has a chance of failing when reviving someone unconscious, so this move is best used to revive someone outside of battle.
omega
Level Learned: 52 (Poo)
Cures: unconscious (restores full HP)
Healing omega can revive someone unconscious with a 100% success rate. Use this move when reviving someone in battle.

PSI Magnet

PSI Magnet steals PP from enemies. While each use of PSI Magnet might not recover much PP, frequent use of it can make a noticeable difference in maintaining your PP while far from a place to rest.

Use PSI Magnet against enemies that don't pose much of a threat (e.g. paralyzed enemies) or when Paula or Poo's bash is ineffective. PSI Magnet omega is also very effective when facing a group of weak PSI using enemies such as Foppies or Pit Bull Slugs.

If you find this move tedious to use, you can either hunt for Magic Truffles in Deep Darkness (if you didn't find them all already), buy Magic Tarts in Summers, or buy Bottles of DXwater for Poo in Scaraba or Deep Darkness.

You can also recover PP by hunting for Magic Butterflies. Magic Butterfly rooms/areas are often found near the middle of Sanctuary caves and other dungeons. Repeatedly walk away from and return to these areas to make Magic Butterflies appear as many times as you want.

Counter: PSI Magnet can be a problem when Ness is at low levels. Defeat any enemy that can use PSI Magnet as soon as possible when away from town to avoid being left stranded without PP.

alpha
Level Learned:
15 (Paula)
21 (Poo)
Effect: drains 2 to 8 PP from a single target
omega
Level Learned:
24 (Paula)
27 (Poo)
Effect: drains 2 to 8 PP from all enemies

ASSIST

Shield

Shield protects from some forms of physical attacks. All versions of Shield reduce damage by 50%, but beta and omega also reflect 50% of inflicted damage. The battle command defend can be used with Shield to reduce damage even further.

Each use of Shield protects from 3 physical attacks (up to a maximum of 8 attacks), though a SMAAAASH!! hit eliminates a Shield in one strike. Also, shields that reflect and shields that don't can't be used together. For example, using Shield alpha and then Shield beta on the same character gives you a reflecting shield that protects from 3 hits rather than 6.

Shield doesn't reduce damage inflicted by all types of physical attacks, though beta and omega always reflect physical damage. Damage from the following attacks aren't reduced by Shield:

Jeff's shoot
Jeff's Heavy Bazooka
Bottle Rockets (all types)
Bombs
Super Bombs
Bag of Dragonite
Yo-yos and Slingshots
"biting attack"
"take a bite using its poisonous fangs"
"bite you hard"
"charge forward"
"tear into you"
"growl and lunge forward"
"fire a beam"
"peck at your eyes"
"stomp with its huge foot"
"utilize a paint attack"
"jab with a spear"
"burst into flames" (death action; no reflection)
"explode into bits" (death action; no reflection)

The battle command defend also doesn't seem to work against these moves.

Counter: Some later enemies have Shield alpha or beta on them from the beginning of battle. Attack with Freeze to bypass the shield, or use Jeff's Neutralizer or Shield Killer.

Also, before you use a Bag of Dragonite, keep in mind that Shield beta and omega reflect its damage.

alpha
Level Learned:
12 (Ness)
15 (Poo)
Effect: protects a single character
beta
Level Learned:
34 (Ness)
16 (Poo)
Effect: protects a single character; reflects 50% of inflicted damage
sigma
Level Learned: 15 (Poo)
Effect: protects all allies
omega
Level Learned: 51 (Poo)
Effect: protects all allies; reflects 50% of inflicted damage

PSI Shield

PSI Shield absorbs all damage inflicted by PSI, and PSI Shield beta and omega reflect 100% of damage back to the PSI user. The shield doesn't protect against Assist or Recovery PSI moves or the following PSI-equivalent attacks:

"emit a glorious light" -- equivalent to Flash omega
"breathe fire" -- Fire gamma
"shoot out a spray of fire" -- Fire omega
"crashing boom bang attack" -- Thunder beta
"electrical shock attack" -- Thunder beta

Only PSI protective items such as the Franklin Badge, the Night Pendant, and the Sea Pendant protect against these attacks.

Each use of PSI Shield protects from 3 PSI attacks, up to a maximum of 8 attacks. Shields that reflect damage and shields that don't can't be used together.

Only PSI Shield sigma is good for general use. The other moves either don't offer enough protection or cost too much PP, though PSI Shield omega can defeat any Starstorm user in a single round.

Counter: Use Jeff's Neutralizer or Shield Killer to eliminate an enemy's PSI Shield; Thunder can also eliminate a PSI shield in one hit, but its randomness can make it unreliable. Keep in mind that some enemies are protected with a reflecting PSI shield from the start of a fight.

alpha
Level Learned: 6 (Paula)
Effect: protects a single character
beta
Level Learned: 51 (Paula)
Effect: protects a single character; reflects 100% of damage
sigma
Level Learned: 27 (Paula)
Effect: protects all allies
omega
Level Learned: 60 (Paula)
Effect: protects all allies; reflects 100% of damage
PSI Shield omega costs too much PP for general use. The damage reflection can be useful against some enemies that use Starstorm, but most enemies shouldn't require the 42 PP cost.

Hypnosis

Hypnosis can put someone to sleep. Characters that are asleep can't do anything until they wake up after a random number of rounds or after being attacked. Some enemies are vulnerable to Hypnosis while others are resistant or immune.

Hypnosis can be helpful when facing a group of enemies. If an enemy is susceptible to Hypnosis, putting that enemy to sleep can reduce the number of foes you have to deal with while you concentrate on defeating its cohorts. As with most status affecting PSI moves, use Hypnosis only against enemies that are vulnerable to it (use Jeff's spy ability to see an enemy's PSI weaknesses). Hypnosis is not very helpful in battles against a single enemy because a sleeping enemy can wake up if attacked.

Counter: Sleep can usually be ignored; use Healing alpha if you need to wake someone up.

alpha
Level Learned: 4 (Ness)
Effect: targets a single character
omega
Level Learned: 27 (Ness)
Effect: targets all enemies

Paralysis

Paralysis renders a character unable to physically attack or use items, though PSI is still usable.

Paralysis is one of the most powerful status-affecting abilities because paralyzed enemies waste most turns doing nothing, and some powerful enemies are vulnerable to it. Unfortunately, like most status-affecting moves, Paralysis has a low success rate against many enemies, and you should check with Jeff's spy to see if an enemy is susceptible to Paralysis before using it.

Counter: The Travel Charm, Great Charm, and Crystal Charm can be equipped for protection, but those items should be replaced with Flash or Fire protective armor later in the game. Heal any paralyzed party member with Healing gamma or a Secret Herb as soon as possible.

alpha
Level Learned: 14 (Ness)
Effect: targets a single character
omega
Level Learned: 29 (Ness)
Effect: targets all enemies

Offense Up

Offense Up increases someone's Offense by a small amount. The increase in Offense is cumulative with successive uses of this move, but it stops working once someone's Offense is increased by a certain amount. Generally, you can use Offense Up up to 4 times on one person.

Offense Up isn't very useful because the increase in Offense it provides doesn't make much of a difference. You're usually better off attacking rather than investing in stats increases.

Counter: All stats increasing moves don't make much of a difference and can be ignored.

alpha
Level Learned: 21 (Paula)
Effect: increases the Offense of a single character
Offense Increase:
6% of current Offense the first three times
4~5% of current Offense the last fourth time
0 for the fifth time and after
omega
Level Learned: 40 (Paula)
Effect: increases the Offense of all allies
Offense Increase:
6% of current Offense the first three times
4~5% of current Offense the last fourth time
0 for the fifth time and after

Defense Down

Defense Down works just like Offense Up except it lowers enemies' Defense and sometimes fails to work. Defense Down stops working once someone's Defense is decreased by a certain amount. In general, you can use it up to 5 times on a single target.

The problem with Defense Down is the same as that of Offense Up, namely the decrease in Defense is too small to make much of a difference.

Counter: All stats reducing attacks don't pose much of a threat and can be ignored.

alpha
Level Learned: 29 (Paula)
Effect: targets a single character
Success Rate: 80~100% (lower for some targets)
Defense Decrease:
6% of current Defense the first four times
4~5% of current Defense the last fifth time
0 for the sixth time and after
omega
Level Learned: 54 (Paula)
Effect: targets all enemies
Success Rate: 80~100% (lower for some targets)
Defense Decrease:
6% of current Defense the first four times
4~5% of current Defense the last fifth time
0 for the sixth time and after

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