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Mother 3

by Maple Leaf

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Original Thread: A Lesson on Togetherness: Let's Play Mother 3



What is this beautiful, promising game?

Mother 3 is a game that was released only in Japan long, long ago during the mystical time of 2006. It was created for the Gameboy Advance, a platform not-unfamiliar with RPGs much like Mother 3. Its music and other sounds were handled by the established HAL Laboratory company (responsible for such un-ironic gems as Kirby: Canvas Curse and the Super Smash Brother series). The scenario and gameplay was the brainchild of Nintendo's Shigesato Itoi.

Mother 3 is the indirect sequel to Mother 2 (released in America as Earthbound for the Super Nintendo), which is itself an indirect sequel to the Japan-only game Mother. If you've played Super Smash Brothers Brawl for the Nintendo Wii, you've almost definitely at least heard of the game: the game's main character, Lucas, was playable, and he had an assortment of trophies and stickers from his own game (and massive, colossal, why-would-they-do-this spoilers right there in his trophy description )

But it's Japan-only! I don't know their moonspeak, and I want to follow along!

For various reasons likely revolving around copyright laws (regarding music, specifically), since Japan's system is apparently vastly different from America's, the chances of Mother 3 ever seeing release in the west is very slim without receiving a lot of heavy editing. But if you want to enjoy this fantastic Gameboy Advance RPG in all its translated glory, then you're in luck! These handsome fellows crunched the hours and put in the effort to translate the entire game, front to back and top to bottom, into English for you. They'll walk you through all the steps necessary to play this game in beautiful, easy English for your enjoyment.

I eagerly await the telling of this heartwarming tale about family and togetherness, but who are you?

My name, or at least on Something Awful, is Maple Leaf. An avid gamer since the young years of 1994, I was first introduced to Earthbound via my local game shoppe that had an enormous, colourful box of the game available for rent. I only had the game for a few days, in which time I didn't get especially far, but I was enamoured with the sounds and visuals (which, to me back then, mattered more than the story). I wouldn't hear of Earthbound again for several years, until I learned the magical science of the internet and exploited it for my own personal gain.

After playing through it a few times, I had assumed that was the end of my Mother-playing adventure, until I was directed to the gentlemen at, showcasing their translation for a game I was scarcely aware of past a moderately popular fighting/party game. Remembering the emotions Earthbound's story had managed to draw from me, I didn't hesitate to play through Mother 3 several times after.

How do you plan on translating this magnificent game into a story-format?

The same way Travis343 did his above-and-beyond LP for Earthbound: novelizing it, essentially. (Archive link) Mostly screenshots with most of the words in-between. I will try my hardest to get videos of the boss battles and the more important scenes, but my computer starts choking running some of the what-should-be-easier programs and applications; I can only promise my effort, no more.

Also, Travis's LP was adorned with many colourful and expressive pictures he had drawn himself. My expertise is limited only to storytelling; looking at something I drew myself is roughly equivalent to stabbing yourself in the knee, so by myself, I can't do what he does. But by no means will I let that slow me down - I promise to deliver the story in a way that will make every Earthbound and Mother 3 enthusiast proud.

That said…I'm more interesting in telling the tale than, say, getting every hidden item or documenting every enemy. Every literary choice I make is for the purpose of the story. I'll still be getting side-quests, but they'd be marked as "bonus" chapters ahead of time. "Bonus" chapters will not have any weight on the story, so don't be surprised if they're never brought up again.

When can we expect updates to this story?

To be honest, I wouldn't have any specific schedule to keep - I would rather base my updates on how much content I can comfortably fit in, rather than pushing one out every date/time regardless of having too much or too little. Optimistically, I'd shoot for an update at least once a week, but plans can change, for the better or the worst.

So let's talk about the game for a little bit.

Well, to start with, the game was made by the same dudes and dudettes who made Earthbound for the Super Nintendo, as I mentioned earlier. The game had a promising start as a release for the Super Famicom in 1994, but then the Nintendo 64 happened, specifically its addon, the 64DD. That went nowhere fast (although it was related to giving the world the Playstation 1), so it was moved to the plain ole' N64, with the title "Mother 3: Fall of the Pig King", or just Earthbound 2 in English. After months of screwing around with nothing to show for it, the game was ultimately cancelled before reviving for the GBA.

The playstyle, controls, and graphics are all generally the same from that game: you view the map from a top-down angle and control the player character across colourful, lively, vibrant lands towards the endgame. The music is, personally, a step up from Earthbound (and I don't mean sound quality since the GBA's speakers were shit), but that's not exactly fair since there's something like twelve years in between them. And yes, the battle backgrounds are as funkadelic as ever.

Not a terrific amount is different between Earthbound and Mother 3, gameplay-wise: you walk around, you talk to people, you open chests trash cans birthday presents and receive their spoils. Each character has a limited amount of space to carry stuff. Same with the battle screen: you don't see yourselves, but you see your enemy and you see your own HP and PP. I shouldn't have to explain Hit Points, but, they're your life. If that number hits zero, you're dead. PP is your magic: if the number you have is equal to or greater than the cost of the spell you want to cast, then you can cast it. We won't be getting any magic until a good deal later into the game, though. And there's a cool meta-trick you can do with your HP meter, but you can only reasonably pull it off once your numbers are in the sixties and seventies, so I'll have to get there when I get there.

But there are some differences to the game, of course: it's not just a skinned Earthbound. On the overworld, if you hold B for a moment, you'll see your character(s) crouch in place. Release it, and you'll start running. While it's not a big deal, at least you won't have to spend the money - or, more valuably, the space - on Skip Sandwiches.

One enormous difference, though, is in its battle: in Earthbound, if you choose to attack, you just attack. You might get a critical SMAAAAAAAAAAASH, but otherwise once you made the input, it's out of your hands. Not so in Mother 3: intuitively, if you can time your button presses in-game after you attack to the beat of the background music, you can score more hits on the opponent. You use the background music as a weapon. You can chain attacks up to 16 hits, racking up incredible damage all the way. And - purely for aesthetics - each character plays a different sound when they strike. For example, when Lucas attacks, he makes an…acoustic guitar? sound.

As for the plot…well, we'll get to that, won't we?

Another neat thing that comes with Mother 3 is, right off the bat - you don't even have to make a new file - is that the game comes with a Sound Player on the main menu, underneath New Game and Load. From here you have access to all 250 soundtracks available in the game, and you didn't have to lift a finger to get to any of them. The only trade-off is that you won't be able to see their names until you play them in the actual game, but that's hardly a punishing downside.

What's even more is that you can save your favorite songs and tracks into a playlist (only one, unfortunately) right there in the game, and you can listen to them all like some kind of pseudo-walkman, which would be cool if Western Mother 3 wasn't confined to computers. It even comes with repeat and shuffle options!

I'll be posting the soundtracks along with the LP as we go, so you can listen to the background music as you read along. I'll skip a few, 5-to-10 seconds jingles and soundbytes, but I'll still be posting the bulk of them.


The Most Loveable Little Scamp - A remix of a song you hear near the end of the game. Very dark; it sets the mood wonderfully. Good job on this!

No Bugs Or Crackers In The Cinema Please - A pretty chill-turned-lo-fi-retro remix of the song that plays inside the cinema of the final city. Captures the feel of the theatre when you first enter it pretty well; also a good job.

Beautiful Toilets - The music that played during everybody's favourite toilet dungeon near the very end of the game, remixed and awesomeized.

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