Mother 3 - Staff Review  

An Experience Worth Waiting For
by Jordan "J_Sensei" Jackson

25-35 Hours


Rating definitions 

   Mother 3, a game that has been over a decade in the making, finally came to be in Japan. Though many were hoping it would be brought over to North America, E3 came and went without any announcements of its localization despite its devoted fans on this side of the Pacific.

   The Mother series is known for its wacky sense of humor, originality, and its very young protagonists. The only game in the series to make it to North America is the second game, known as Earthbound over here. Mother 3 keeps in the spirit of its predecessors while making its own contributions to the franchise.

   One major change to the series is this game progresses in chapters. In all, there are eight chapters and a prologue of sorts. The first four chapters take place more or less simultaneously and feature two additional playable characters that are not a part of the main party, including the hero's father. Most chapters end after fighting a major boss and conclude with a summary of what is happening in the game.

Caption The Amazing Rope Snake

   The game begins high in the mountains above Tatsumairi Village with the young hero Lucas not surprisingly in his pajamas. His reckless twin brother Claus is already outside waiting on Lucas to come down and play under the watchful eye of their mother, Hinawa. The three are visiting a friend and are planning on returning home that evening, but along the way a storm breaks out, the forest is set on fire, and other strange occurrences begin happening. The boys' father Flint sets out to look for his family, and thus begins a game that ends up involving the entire world yet again.

   Battles in this game are very similar to those found in Mother 2 with a couple major changes. The first is that no more than three enemies ever appear on the battle screen at once; in the few fights where there are more, monsters will fill in as you reduce their numbers. The other drastic change to the battle system comes in the form of combos. By timing your hits with the movements of the enemy, Lucas and company can string up to sixteen hits in a combo that is capable of doubling or even tripling the damage of one hit. Luckily, the monsters normally move with the beat of the music, but some need to be first put to sleep to hear the beating of their hearts to get the correct rhythm.

   The visuals are also exactly what a fan of the series would expect. The world is somewhat cartoony, and the battles take place on psychedelic backgrounds that pulsate and move. Though the graphics are hardly advanced, they fit the mood of the game and are pleasant to look at. There are also a few short FMVs throughout the game to help further the story.

Caption Crazy Animal Skeletons
   The music of the game is also quite solid. Those that have played the other two games in the series will hear a few familiar tunes and a couple other remixes of previous songs, but the background music is almost completely new. The new songs are just as catchy as previous games, and some, like the rock and roll battle theme, are a lot of fun to listen to. The large amount of new music comes as a bit of a nice surprise considering the first two games share so much in common. While the music is new, the sound effects are pretty much the same as in the other games, which is a good thing.

   Finishing Mother 3 will not take as long as some other recent games. It can easily be completed in around 30 hours, but there is a lot to explore with so many easter eggs strewn about. The difficulty is also not as high as the other two games, but the player can expect to die at least a handful of times. Luckily, the game has virtually no punishment for death, but like its predecessors, any money Lucas happens to be carrying will be halved when you restart your game.

   All in all, Mother 3 ends up being a very satisfactory experience that continuously gets even better as the game goes on. The game is loaded with humor, but it also has a few serious moments as well. Virtually everything one could want from the game is in there from wacky monsters to the series mascot Dosei-san, known as Mr. Saturn in North America. Though the score given for the game is a 4.0, that is based only on the game by itself. Fans of the series will find much more that boosts the enjoyment to far greater levels.

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