Release: 2006 (JP Only)
Mother 3. What can I say about Mother 3 that I haven’t already said elsewhere? Well, first of all, don’t read and this and go “I’m going to pop down to my local shop and pick up a copy”. Unless you’re reading this in Japan, you won’t be able to. Coupled with Earthbound’s commercial failure and the fact that the game was released 2 years after the GBA’s succesor, the DS, the game was released in Japan, it sold very well, ainly because the series is popular and tied with it’s creator, Shigesato Itoi (who’s a big celebrity over there). I played an English fan translation ROM of the game, which may not be the translation it could have been, it’s still in English.
Mother 3 is an utter delight. The game starts off absolutely beautifully, with the 2 twins, Lucas and Claus visiting their grandfather, Alec. Meanwhile back at Tazmily Village, their father, Flint is looking after the sheep. However the night Lucas, Claus and Hinawa (the mother) begin their return home to Tazmily is when the Pigmasks show up…The set the Sunshine Forest on fire and start tinkering with the wildlife. Flint naturally tries to rescue his wife and kids, but things go wrong, very wrong…the kids are found washed up by the river and Hinawa….is killed by a chimera. Claus swears revenge on the monster and goes to kill it and goes missing, leaving a broken home of just Flint and Lucas. Before I continue, should I point out that this is a game that according to Japan’s rating system CERO, is suitable for all ages? Barmy.
The game is easily a game of 2 halves. One half (the first 4 chapters, prologue included) shows Tazmily as this carefree utopian village, the kind of place that you dream of, no matter where you live. Everyone knows each others name, there’s no bickering and it’s got beautiful landscapes and climates. Surely it’s bliss. Then, as the Pigmasks gain more influence by selling Happy boxes (seen in Chapter 3) the village changes. Chapter 4 onwards is set 3 years later. Lucas has grown slightly into a stronger individual and Tazmily is now a much bigger town, stretching far. It’s moments like this that really mean something to the player. In a similar way to when Adult Link walks out the temple of time in OoT, you feel horrified and the need to put things back to the way they were. Of course it doesn’t help that as you go through Chpater 7, the town becomes more deserted as the Pigmasks take everyone off to “The City” By the end of Chapter 7, you feel like the town is a character and has passed away.
The game is also incredibly well-designed. Graphically, it really pushes the GBA to it’s limits. It’s full of dark caves, bright villages and grimy sewers, all of which look fantastic and have a beautiful charm to them. The character designs are also brilliant, from Lucas to Kumatora (one of my favourite video games characters, you can see her in front of Pikachu in my banner), each character feels uniquely desigend, you rarely bump into a look-a-like at all in the game (save for the pigmasks)
The music, composed by long time Kirby composer, Shogo Sakai, is utterly incredible as well. It adds horror to areas like the Chimera Lab, joy to the proluge and is also a contender for “Saddest piece ever” With the love theme. If you can find a copy of the two soundtracks. Mother3+ and Mother3i, they’re really worth listening to. I’ll show you a couple of tracks.
Tatsumairi (the Japanese name for Tazmily)
Theme of Love
Theme Of Bad Boy
As you can ear, there are some exceptional pieces of music in the game. I think Mother 3 may go down as one of the most unappreciated games of all time or at least the best Japan Only game. It’s got everything a game should have, great story, great characters, great ideas. And on top of that, it compells you, it entices you, it’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry (believe me, the final battle will) and you’ll never want it to end. Which is what a perfect game should do. It was very, very difficult to choose between this and tommorrows game, I honestly don’t know if I’ve made the right choice. Mother 3 is a celebration of life, death, sorrow and happiness. It is a nearly perfect game and I can’t imagine a more fitting beginning to the proceedings than “Welcome to the world of Mother3” It’s a world alright and one that I never want to leave.