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Mother

Developer: Ape Publisher: Nintendo
27 July 1989
Mother - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.31 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
529 Ratings / 4 Reviews
#1,832 All-time
#13 for 1989
Several years after the disappearance of an American couple, a young boy with psychic powers goes on a quest to prevent the invasion of an alien race.
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1989 Ape Nintendo  
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JP 4 902370 500998 HVC-MX
2015 Ape Nintendo  
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Picked up this game on the Switch Online NES catalog, and I was pleasantly surprised. After beating Mother 2 twice and getting thru most of Mother 3, I was already on a marathon, so the first game seemed like a necessity for me (despite all the negative reviews I’ve been seeing.) To my amusement, a lot of music and concepts in Earthbound were borrowed from this first Mother. I don’t think I would be able to properly experience this game if it were on the OG nintendo. The rewind function and emulated save points are a lifesaver if you’re trying to play this game with no online guide, and even then I found myself constantly looking at guides. A lot of ingredients are here for an absolute masterpiece of a game, but the one thing that really sets it apart from the sequels is the pacing. The plot and objectives in Mother games are usually pretty vague and unclear, but with Mother 2 / 3 there’s much more guidance by the game’s narrative. With this game it is just unforgiving trial and error. Many areas of the map are hard to find, therefore easily missed. Exploration of the open world is dreadful because of unavoidable random encounters, and it doesn’t help to find that the Run function works maybe 1/4th of the time. 75% of the PK abilities are completely useless, making combat super repititive. Enemy RNG is unforgiving and cruel. Lots of normal enemies have one move that can soft lock your whole battle or one hit KO you. If one of your companions dies you are BONED, no cup of lifenoodles here pardner. I don’t get the same adrenaline rush I get fighting bosses in 2, as a lot of the challenge feels cheap and random.

Despite all this, the experience is analogous to life itself. When all the odds are stacked against you, when nothing makes sense and disaster can come at random, the only things that keep you going are perseverance and faith. And I guess that’s the beauty of the Mother franchise… you’re not just playing a game, you’re getting a glimpse into the heart of Itoi and his spirit. I feel a strong spiritual connection to this series and it inspires me to keep going , to persevere and to meet new experiences with an open mind and a kind heart.

Wisdom, courage, and friendship, these are the most important things.

Oh and it’s by far the trippiest game on the famicom
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yungshaman 2022-06-17T02:38:15Z
2022-06-17T02:38:15Z
4.5
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Mother is an incredible feat for the year it was released. Many like to point to Kirby's Adventure as the premier NES game that takes full advantage of the system's abilities, and even pushes them to their max, but Mother, which released four years earlier, arguably does pull off these same feats, with graphical majesty, fantastic tunes, and a beast of a world to explore. I'm sure even in my twenty hours I missed multiple areas or little interactions that only enhance the game's charm. It is cryptic, it's incredibly unfair, and the story leaves gaps that are itching to get filled, but most of the game I couldn't help but sit there in wonder as to how they made a game with so much charm and passion this early in the scene. I mean, RPGs were nothing new, but this game showed how much more they could be. I was having a blast, despite the grind-y nature, for a good chunk of the run time, and that was purely because the world was so great to explore. However, by the homestretch I was completely fatigued, and it set in why one would play with codes to speed up the grind, and considering the final boss is more of a waiting game than anything, I couldn't help but think that the grinding was a majority useless. At the end of the day, though, I still look at this experience with a fondness, and considering this is my first full experience with the Mother franchise, I look forward to the same level of charm with even better gameplay. Do play with some sort of guideline, though, or you will get lost and angry, and that isn't worth it.
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FirstMate 2024-03-29T17:52:47Z
2024-03-29T17:52:47Z
3.5
4
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Yeah it's not great
Not sure honestly, it's not AS terrible as people say it is buuuuut it's only worth playing if you are TRULY interested. Earthbound is this game x10000000 so I see no real reason to want to play this. (Played switch online version)
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BrinstarHearth 2024-04-16T03:28:57Z
2024-04-16T03:28:57Z
3.0
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Ah yes, the game that Nintendo had an official NA translation for but never bothered to release it until years later. Honestly going into this one, I was expecting for it to be quite a rough time especially considering this is the black sheep of the Mother series for a lot of people. So I am pleasantly surprised to say that I honestly quite enjoyed this game... though a lot of its problems are problems for a reason.

Let's start with the negatives. When it comes to EarthBound Beginnings, one thing sticks out pretty badly especially during the early game and some of the late game: the general combat gameplay. Now functionally it's not really a horrid experience, more just a standard one that gets a little more annoying due to the circumstances around it. One of the circumstances in question being the encounter rate and WHAT WERE THEY THINKING! This is one of the weirdest encounter rates I've experienced yet, you could instantly encounter an enemy a few steps after beating a previous one and sometimes you could go on for a long stretch without encountering anyone. I almost feel like the encounter rate is just straight up bugged or not implemented with good enough care. Another circumstance is the difficulty curve and wow there are a lot of spikes in this one. The two that come the most to mind for me are Mt. Itoi (of course) and the graveyard area in the earlygame. A lot of the enemies in Mt. Itoi are just straight up brutal and can give you a horrible time if you don't have EVE with you. The graveyard area is also a place where I died a lot since I just wasn't at the level of the zombie enemies that happen to roam it. It's a good thing that you still keep your levels and experience upon death so running into a wall until you break it is a valid option in this scenario. But yeah the encounter rate and harsh difficulty spikes are probably the main reasons why people do not enjoy the game, but underneath all that is just a very standard early turn-based combat.

The combat kinda sucks early game because you do not have a second party member yet and by the time you actually beat enemies there is no reason to ever use PSI so you just spam Auto battle the whole time. However, once you do get more party members the gameplay gets a lot more fun and you can apply actual strategy based on your party members. Ninten is pretty much the all-rounder that can hit hard and also have support PSI, Ana is the big offense PSI user of the group, Lloyd can use items to do massive damage, and Teddy is out for blood and is too powerful for the game. Other than a few glorified cutscene battles and the final boss though, there isn't really anything too special about the admittedly repetitive combat in either the positive or negative direction. It works well enough and sometimes that's all you really need and for an early NES game since the JRPGs prior to it are basically just some Dragon Quest [ドラゴンクエスト] and Final Fantasy [ファイナルファンタジー] games and it's not like those have aged particularly well either.

I'd probably be more annoyed with the combat if the game did not excel in other areas and this game has many positives. For starters, the aesthetics and especially the soundtrack are great. I can continue going through some standard combat if the music that's playing on it is this good. The area music is pretty great too and this extends to some very specific area themes too. The Magicant theme is very dreamy and magical, the graveyard theme is appropriately haunting and terrifying but also in a bit of a cheesy way which is appropriate as far as EarthBound is concerned, the going inside Mt. Itoi theme is super cool and sounds quite dangerous, and the Mt. Itoi theme itself appropriately sounds like "you are going to die here". I love a lot of the story or cutscene focused music too: the eight melodies theme is great and the guitar riff sounding tracks that happen in the very beginning of the game and when you ride some vehicles are great too. I especially want to highlight how terrifying the final boss track is too, I love the atmosphere created by it. One of the best NES/Famicom soundtracks for sure.

I also want to praise the writing because the game has a really good and often emotional story that's paced very well but it also does a very good job at being super lighthearted too. A lot of the NPC dialogue is just funny and quirky in a way that feels true to any Mother game. It really gives off an excellent vibe of going on a fun yet also important adventure, maybe with some friends along the way. And that vibe is fully warranted with a lot of the stuff you do in the game: you can meet friends, go to school, have a fun airplane ride, explore abandoned factories, visit a goofy monkey cave, warp to a weird magic world where you get attacked by exploding trees, get arrested for doing something shady at a club, and DRIVE IN AN ACTUAL TANK THAT SOME PERSON GOES "here lol just have it" DESPITE EVERYONE BEING A CHILD! A lot of the stuff you do in the game is just awesome and it is surprisingly cohesive with respect to what the writing wants to accomplish. The writing is just excellent all around.

The soundtrack and writing really make the game for me even in spite of its core gameplay having a few problems while not being too unenjoyable. I'd definitely recommend giving it a shot especially if you already are a fan of Mother.
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Sothras 2024-01-02T22:48:22Z
2024-01-02T22:48:22Z
3.5
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It’s Really Not That Bad You Guys I Promise
maybe I was lucky enough to be born with the “jrpg gene” as it were but the grinding was fine and I genuinely don’t get why people complain about it - I think that the only time where the player could use more directions wrt leveling is at the very beginning grind for the second bat. playing this made me honestly re-evaluate earthbound in part - so much of it is indebted to its predecessor and while the presentation is much better, mother 1 was a lot more ambitious. seeing even the final boss mechanic present in the original was shocking to me. my takeaway? if mother skipped the famicom entirely and started development in 88 we might have seen the best game of all time. oh well, onto mother 3
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Mettaton 2022-05-25T00:25:37Z
2022-05-25T00:25:37Z
4.0
1
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time to complete: ~25 hrs
character levels at completion: ninten 35 ana 31 lloyd 32 (a tad overleveled, honestly.)
note: i have only played the sandhop translation. i will eventually replay the rest of the tomato translation after i finish mother 3 and add some postscript into the main review
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I don't know how to rate this. The writing, the music, almost everything in this game was fantastic... except the gameplay. I've been gritting my teeth through most of the playtime just to get to the next dialogue line. Even with the easy ring some parts were insufferable. Also due to a glitch i got stuck literally 15 minutes away from the end and had to watch it on youtube. A literal exercise in anger management.
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igi98 2020-08-28T16:49:35Z
2020-08-28T16:49:35Z
3.5
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Catalog

TheChomper Mother 2024-06-22T18:57:23Z
2024-06-22T18:57:23Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hoppaa Mother 2024-06-22T10:42:09Z
2024-06-22T10:42:09Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Nonoririko Mother 2024-06-21T07:10:54Z
NES • JP
2024-06-21T07:10:54Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Ellipses Mother 2024-06-20T14:26:04Z
2024-06-20T14:26:04Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
justpick1 Mother 2024-06-19T01:35:27Z
2024-06-19T01:35:27Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
eightbaka Mother 2024-06-09T06:02:18Z
2024-06-09T06:02:18Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
SOSNIC Mother 2024-06-04T22:32:35Z
2024-06-04T22:32:35Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
tackyproduct Mother 2024-06-03T21:01:37Z
2024-06-03T21:01:37Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
folded_desires Mother 2024-06-01T08:47:55Z
2024-06-01T08:47:55Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Bashkesh Mother 2024-05-31T05:51:20Z
2024-05-31T05:51:20Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sadgirl2023 Mother 2024-05-30T16:37:46Z
NES • JP
2024-05-30T16:37:46Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
craal Mother 2024-05-27T03:29:31Z
Wii U • JP
2024-05-27T03:29:31Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x Cartridge
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Also known as
  • Earthbound Beginnings
  • Earthbound Zero
  • View all [2] Hide

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  • Previous comments (38) Loading...
  • NibiruShiranui 2024-01-19 05:15:30.517622+00
    I highly recommend you to play this game with some fan-made patchs, they fix the archaid elements and made it somewhat "easier" and more enjoyable overrall, it also feature some more accurate translations and changes to the title screen if you prefer those. I strongly recommend Mother: 25th Anniversary Edition


    https://www.romhacking.net/?page=hacks&game=918
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  • omo_ree 2024-03-22 23:58:17.16643+00
    this game is a banger,i prefer the fan translation because of the easy ring tho ngl
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  • possayy 2024-04-24 17:12:02.577567+00
    It’s ok . The fact that it’s an nes game blows my mind though
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  • Bashkesh 2024-05-31 05:51:30.339523+00
    this game is fantastic
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  • elGigante 2024-06-13 22:38:40.562008+00
    Seconding what @NibiruShiranui said, the mod is really a game changer-- wish I had it on my first playthrough. I'd add on that the 25th Faithful edition might even be better
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  • Nonoririko 2024-06-21 07:10:26.580984+00
    why is ness on the switch version cover💀
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