EarthBound (SNES) review
"At seemingly random moments, a man will descend from the sky to take a photograph of your party before vanishing the way he came. One NPC's desire to create a memorable dungeon leads to him changing his body into one. This is one of those games that can be difficult to put down simply because you'll want to experience the next bizarre situation."
EarthBound didn't reinvent the JRPG wheel, but clever presentation may sometimes make you forget that. Ape and HAL Laboratory created a game that was loaded with the usual tropes, but the title explored them in a manner that obscures the timeworn path players are traveling as they play. You’ll once again find yourself controlling a small-town youth who is destined to save the world, for instance. He rescues a princess from captivity near the start of the adventure, though, and the duo then enlists the aid of a genius and an underdeveloped fourth character on their way to a final confrontation with an unspeakable abomination that hates things like love and other positive emotions.
The big twist is that all of this action takes place in an interesting version of a modern-day Earth. Ness, the main protagonist, resides in a suburban town boasting attractions such as a library, a burger joint and few concerns more pressing than an annoying gang of juvenile delinquents and a mayor who is more concerned with keeping tabs on how the public perceives him than actually doing his job. The aforementioned "princess" is really a precocious preschool prodigy, while the rival apparent is the spoiled, obese son of Ness' next-door neighbor. Along the way, you'll run into a bizarre cast that includes a cult that seeks to paint everything blue, a debt-ridden band reminiscent of the Blues Brothers and a quintet of moles made up of members who each believe themselves to be the third-most powerful of the group.
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (December 30, 2012)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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