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EarthBound (SNES) artwork

EarthBound (SNES) review

"While it is far-fetched (you're fighting against the possessed dogs with baseball bats) and pretty silly, don't let that get you down. It's still a very fun game to play."

Earthbound is a fun little RPG for the Super Nintendo. It's not a sprawling epic on the scale of Final Fantasy, rather, it's rooted almost entirely in a pseduo-Earth world. It has a kiddie feel to it, but there's a good RPG lying underneath.

In Earthbound, you play the role of Ness. You're out to save the world from the almighty evil Gigyas. You're not alone in your quest; your friends Paula, Jeff, and Poo will join you. You'll venture across the towns of Onett, Twoson, Threet, and others.

The gameplay is typical in RPG sense. You have normal attacks and magic attacks. However, magic is called PSI in this game (psychic ability). The only other new gameplay addition is the rolldown hit points meter.

The rolldown hit point meter centers around the idea of mortal-wound inflicting attacks. Say you have 200 hit points. If your opponent hits you for 250, you'll still have around 30 seconds to attack while your hit points ''rolldown'' before you die. The idea is that it takes time from when the attack hits until when you finally die. This is a new feature that would really make a lot of sense in some games, and that should be implented into them.

However, outside of the rolldown idea, there's very little new gameplay in Earthbound. The world you travel around is very uniquely different from any other Super Nintendo game, or Playstation game for that matter. Not for everyone though.

In Earthbound, you travel a sort of pseudo-Earth. Real places aren't used, and real names aren't used, but otherwise you're adventuring the real world. You weapons range from baseballs bats and yo-yo's to frying pans and pop guns. Enemies you can expect to see are rabid dogs, crows, alligators, and unassuming local guys. Yes, unassuming local guys. Items and equipment are bought from department stores with cash that you get from an ATM with your ATM card. You have to call home to your mom on the telephone otherwise you might get homesick.

Depending on your point of view, this is either good or bad. A lot of traditional gamers hate Earthbound, calling it cutsey, silly and far-fetched. Fueling this belief was the fact that it was made by Nintendo, notorious for kiddie games, and that it came PACKAGED with a free player's guide, presumably to help out all the kiddies purchasing the game. While it is far-fetched (you're fighting against the possessed dogs with baseball bats) and pretty silly, don't let that get you down. It's still a very fun game to play.

For around 20 hours. Earthbound can be called many things, difficult is not one of them. Gaining levels are very uneven. Going up from level 19 to 20 might give you 5 more hit points, while going from 20 to 21 might give you 57. There's no one point in the game where you'll be truely taxed to beat something.

Replayability is a bit higher then the usual RPG simply because it's easy to pick up and play. The humour that's sprinkled throughout the game also makes it easier to give it a second-whirl, but there aren't any side quests to make it mandatory.

Earthbound's graphics can best be described as simple. It's mostly 256-bit color, in plain bold colors. They lend a lot to the cartoon feel of the game. Music and sound effects also, as they're cheerful tunes and whirrly noises. It's not quite ''sick and repulsive'', but it can get on the nerves.

Overall, Earthbound is a very good game. There's excellent traditional gameplay in it, if you aren't really scared off by the cutesy feel. Rent it first, you might be able to beat it, but if you get an opportunity to buy it, go right ahead.

sgreenwell's avatar
Community review by sgreenwell (Date unavailable)

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