The predecessor to Earthbound. After people played and loved the US Earthbound, they heard it was actually Mother 2 in Japan. This meant there was one before it.

Thus, some people got hold of the old one (Mother), translated it, localized it as much as they could, and released the ROM as Earthbound Zero. (Given that Earthbound 1 is what we have, it's predecessor would be Earthbound Zero)

The game is hard. Very hard. Enough said. I still haven't gotten to the second party member yet. But at least it has the same music for fighting New Age Retro Hippies. Word to your old-school console RPGs.

Around 1992, Nintendo of America was all set to release Earthbound, the English version of Mother for the NES, but they stopped production at the last minute; I guess they didn't think it would sell too well due to its cumbersome gameplay. Anyway, one prototype cart of the game was kept. Several years later, it was auctioned off on EBay.

The winning bidder was some idiot who promptly posted a message on Usenet effectively stating that he would be happy to dump the cart into a ROM so it could be enjoyed by the entire Internet community... if he recieved $600. Even though this was an outrage, and even though he had no proof of actually having the cart or the equipment to needed make a ROM image, a bunch of Earthbound fans chipped in and mailed him the money. He did dump the cartridge (and later sold it), and the ROM is now widely available on emulation sites. The only hacking done to the original is the addition of the word ``Zero'' to the title screen and the fixing of a crash bug (possibly a form of copy protection).

As stated above, it's a pretty challenging game. I got pretty frustrated with it and haven't played in a while. It also has some bitchin' music.

In fact, I have completed Earthbound Zero, and I would say that it is not really that difficult a game. It is much less linear than Earthbound for SNES, however. The game does not do much to restrict where you have to go and point you in a certain direction. It is somewhat difficult to figure out what to do next because for much of the game, there is no "next." (In my view, this is a plus.) Because of this (and this could be called a flaw), it is easy to stray into an area with monsters that greatly outclass the player. Level-building, unlike most recent RPGs, is a must.

The non-linearity of the game puts me to mind of the elderly computer-game classic Faerie Tale Adventure.

If you are having difficulty with the game, some useful information follows.






The object of the game is to find the eight "songs" scattered throughout the real world and the world of Magicant. The player must explore all the major areas of the game and poke about quite a bit in order to find them. In general, if there seems to be some important quest to accomplish somewhere, you’ll probably get a song for completing it, or at least investigating it. Once they’re all found, visit Magicant for the last time and find Queen Mary in her castle to learn some things that should be very, very interesting to anyone who’s played SNES Earthbound. (A hint: The character of Giygas in Earthbound was originally going to be called “Giegue.” Evidently that changed by the time they started work on the English version of Mother 2.)

The final areas are, if memory serves, in the very north-east corner of the map. As far as beating Giegue goes, well, anyone who faced him in the SNES game should get a feeling of deja-va.

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