Humble Beginnings

EarthBound Beginnings Review (1989 & 2015)

A+map+of+Podunk%2C+the+first+area
A map of Podunk, the first area

A map of Podunk, the first area

A map of Podunk, the first area

Ash Ludwig, Reporter

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Every story has to start somewhere, no matter how small or how well known. EarthBound, the critically acclaimed game that you either love the series, or you have never heard of it at all. But while everyone talks about EarthBound and its non-localized sequel, Mother 3, barely anyone mentions the first game of the trilogy: Mother, or by its new localized name, EarthBound Beginnings. So in this review, we will talk about the first game in the earth saving RPG trilogy, Mother 1.

Story: In the early 1900’s a dark, mysterious, and foreboding shadow covered a small town in rural America. After the shadow had disappeared it was discovered that George and Maria, a young couple, had strangely vanished. Two years later George returned, without Maria, and started odd studies by himself without telling anyone of what he was doing, while his wife Maria was never seen again.
80 years later bizarre occurrences begin plaguing America, and in a rural American town by the name of Podunk lives the Great-Grandson of George, Ninten. One day during the chaos, a poltergeist attacks Ninten and his family within their home. After getting rid of the poltergeist, Ninten gets a call from his father who says that George studied Psychic abilities, called Psi, and Ninten must learn to use them in order to save the world.

Visuals: EarthBound Beginnings takes place in a 1980’s modern day America, so places  you would see in game would be akin to things you would see almost every day like hospitals, convenience stores, and zoos. Music in-game is upbeat and cheerful in towns and open areas; while in places like factories, abandoned houses, and battles, music becomes a lot more sinister. Traveling across different towns means you’ll meet different types of people, and some of these people will agree to help you on your adventure and even become your friend. Your first real ally on your quest is your Dad whom you never see face to face but by talking to him over the phone, he will save your progress. The first companion and friend you meet is a boy named Loid, a lonely kid who loves explosions and is picked on by his fellow students of the school in Merrysville. Loid helps you progress by fixing broken machines and blowing up obstacles

Gameplay: EarthBound Beginnings’ gameplay consists of two modes, exploration on the field and battles with your foes. The exploration section has players walking around in American towns, deserts and other places finding the next destination to complete your objectives. The battle sections involve your party and an enemy team fighting each other in a turn based format. You decide what each of your members will do and then depending on speed stats everyone will attack in a certain order. Depending on your strategic actions, the battle may play out in your favor with you defeating the enemy or the enemy defeats your party and you start back at the last place you saved.

Game length: EarthBound Beginnings is not an easy game. Many early enemies have attacks that whittle down your health in seconds and, unless you have your experience and levels high enough, later areas have the same problem. Another difficult thing about Earthbound Beginnings is that every new party member that joins you starts at level one. So when a new member joins, you have to go back to an earlier area and defeat past enemies just to get new members strong enough to survive enemy attacks. Lastly, EarthBound Beginnings does not clearly lay out what you are supposed to do next. Hints on what to do are vague and barely make sense if you haven’t beaten the game before.

Final Conclusion: EarthBound Beginnings is definitely not for everyone. If you’re a fan of the EarthBound series and are curious on how the series started, you might check out this game just to see the start of the series. If you like to play old RPGs that are both difficult and not very linear, EarthBound Beginnings is right up your alley. But, if you have never played a Role Playing Game before or you’re looking for a game to play in your free time, do not attempt to play this game unless you have a huge attention span and a lot of patience.

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