In a time when RPGs were all based in mid-evil fantasy worlds, there was one oddball that stood out. Earthbound. A game based in modern time (at the time of its release) with quirky characters and settings. The game starts out with your character, Ness, sleeping in bed when he is awoken by a loud, pounding meteorite crashing into the hills next to his neighborhood. You go to investigate with your friends, and meet Buzz Buzz, (yes, that is his name,) a fly who has traveled back in time via the meteorite to tell you the prophecy of Lord Giygas and the impending doom he plans to bring to Earth and of a young boy can gain the power to stop him.
Well, this wouldn’t be a good game if the young boy wasn’t the main character, and so begins the adventure.
The game features different level of environments from small towns, large cities, deserts, caves, graveyards, swamps as well as many more. They are all presented very well graphically for a Super Nintendo title. The environments, characters, enemies, dialogue, and situations in this game can all be described as quirky with enemies named like Cranky Lady, Crazed Sign, and Cute Li’l UFO, you know this is a crazy, wild adventure.
Battles are initiated by having a party member and an enemy collide in the overworld. You can also gain an advantage if you collide with the enemy’s back and vice versa being a disadvantage. One unique combat feature is how a character in your party receives damage, instead of all of the damage being immediately applied, it counts down. This is significant because you can use a healing item or use PK Healing to heal a fatally wounded party member before the fatal wound counts down to zero. Each party member also has their own set of skills that reflect their character, for example, Jeff, the genius, can use items like bottle rockets in battle alongside his main weapon, which is typically some kind of gun, beam, or ray.
Earthbound’s soundtrack is just as unique as the rest of the game. You will notice right away that it has a very distinctive sound. However, like many RPGs, it has a lot of great tracks, but not all of them are praiseworthy. The soundtrack fits the game extremely well and I wouldn’t change a thing about it, despite the few flaws it has.
Overall, Earthbound is a classic with a great story, if not a tad predictable, with solid combat, quirky, entertaining environments and characters are all what make a great game that holds up to this day. With this title being on the Wii U eShop for dirt cheap compared to authentic, aftermarket Super Nintendo carts, it is now accessible to a far larger audience than ever before.