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Tips for Buying EarthBound

March 9th, 2009 | EarthBound, Images

We already took a look at EGM’s laughable review of EarthBound, so let’s check out GamePro’s review this time, thanks to TBird!

There’s just something about mid-90s game journalism that makes me wonder if these things are written by children and then slightly fixed by an adult or something.

gamepro-eb-review gamepro-eb-review-pg-2

A few things that really stand out as facepalmy:

  • Big Footprint? Seriously?
  • PROTIP: Be sure to go back to the meteor to look for the bee after you take Pokey back home!
  • Pump up your lifebar!
  • Threet… and EGM called it Threex. Geez.
  • EarthBound is just a “portover” of an 8-bit game
  • Many references to “the computer”
  • All the main characters look the same except for different colored hair!
  • “Libraries are a good source of information. Be sure to stop by every local library.”
  • Sexual innuendos abound!
  • I’ll just end the list here 😛

I dunno about you, but to me this totally reeks of “oh god I waited to the last minute to do this review I’ll just play the first part and BS my way through it like I would a report for school”. Look for yourself – every pic is from Onett. Aside from the mention of Twoson and “Threet”, there’s nothing to show that Sir Scary Larry even played past “Big Footprint”. Even then, people in Onett do mention Twoson by name, and who knows where “Threet” comes from 😛

I’ve noticed that article writers write a certain way when it comes to the EarthBound games and haven’t REALLY played them. Between the EGM article, this article, and this MOTHER 3 article, you can almost feel the writers trying to grasp for straws to make their word count quotas and their deadlines. I don’t know if this is limited to just EarthBound, I kind of doubt it. Still, it would’ve been nice to have some well-written EarthBound reviews back then. There’s a lot more to the game than “sexual innuendos” and “what do I get to kill”.

And that ends my review of this review 😉

POLL: Do you think this reviewer ever got past Onett?

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78 Comments to GamePro’s EarthBound Review

Xi said on Mar. 9, 2009

“Oh! The pain…Everything is getting dark…”

Har har har! Such humor! @_@

Darien said on Mar. 9, 2009

The worst thing about that review was clearly its lack of a giant “What do I get to kill?” header. All reviews should have that.

Man, takes me back. I used to read Gamepro back in the day. And I’d forgotten that, even all the way back in the halcyon days of 1995, hack reviewers were already whining about the lack of voice acting in games.

HAK2 said on Mar. 9, 2009

i REALLY want to go back and facepalm these people with a fly swatter. this writer was worse than the last one.

i mean, they knew about mother, but not Mother 2?


Izumi said on Mar. 9, 2009

“Never pass up a butterfly. Touching it restores -all- your PSI points. Also, if you’re near the mouth of a cave, go in, use numerous PSI attacks, then exit the cave and refill your PSI meter”…alternately, “exit the cave and die horribly while searching in vain for a super butterfly that will restore your PP 100%.”

Yep. No way he got past Onett. Oh, GamePro…

somaticdefilement said on Mar. 9, 2009

“Unintentionally halarious adult humor.”
Oh yeah, we all know jokes are never actually MEANT to be funny…

Undrentide said on Mar. 9, 2009

I dunno what I want to snipe at, because there is so much wrong. I guess I’ll go with the “Eat everything you can to pump up your life bar” This guy must have some form of retardation. Even at the age of 6 I wasn’t that much of a fool

Xi said on Mar. 9, 2009

If I had been a subscriber to either of these magazines in 1995, when I was 8, I probably would have avoided this game like the plague. I wonder how much of an affect lazy half-hearted magazine reviews like this, back before you could get multiple reviews within 5 minutes on the internet, affected a game’s general reception.

Nick Drake didn't have a car said on Mar. 9, 2009

Why are you surprised game reviews are machine generated with a couple of blank spaces for the game’s name

Viewtiful_Justin said on Mar. 9, 2009

This is insulting. Seriously. The whole review smacks of someone who couldn’t care less. Wow. I want to find this Scary Larry guy and see if he still feels the same way about it being a kids game.

What a tool.

rayefrenzy said on Mar. 9, 2009

This made my monday morning.

Poe said on Mar. 9, 2009

He calls the service charge for the Escargo Express “hefty”? It’s only 18 friggin’ dollars. That’s less than the price of 3 cookies.

Jotokun said on Mar. 9, 2009

Wow… not only did he wait to the last minute, he also did alot of time wasting in this. Notice how he mentions to learn PK Rockin before you fight frank on top of having all that food. That sounds like he did alot of unneeded level grinding, and was unaware of lifeup.

AbstractedThought said on Mar. 9, 2009

Hilarious! Full of misinformation, typos (Threet? Famicon?) ignorance, and even a little hostility!

We need more stuff like this Mato. Who need anti-depressants when you can just read ham-handed articles and reviews?

TBird said on Mar. 9, 2009

I’m glad people find this review as painful and funny as I did. I can’t believe I still had it. I threw out most of my old game mags, but it was in with my comic books.

Mato passed over one of the most insulting lines. The reviewer says that the monsters look worse than Dragon Warrior 1!

Poe said on Mar. 9, 2009

Jotokun – I always learn PSI Rockin’ before I fight Frank, so that was a good strategy to mention for people like me who like to breeze past that battle.

Jimi said on Mar. 9, 2009

What I can imagine happening is that he, as you said, waited until the last minute about the review, tried to get as much information from other people as possible, played a very limited amount (I was thinking the whole time, it doesn’t even look like he got past Big Footprint) and probably misheard Threed from someone who actually did play the game.

And don’t forget that the service charge for the Escargo express is very hefty!

Stuffgamer1 said on Mar. 9, 2009

That review was PAINFUL! I never did like Gamepro, or EGM for that matter, and I still don’t. It’s pretty obvious why with writing like that, huh? My family got Nintendo Power back in the day (still does, actually), and as I recall, theirs was a quality review. Their in-depth previews were good, too.

Seriously, you’d have to be freaking BLIND to say this game looks 8-bit. Compare any screenshot you like from Earthbound and Mother 1. MASSIVE difference! I’m so tired of graphics snobs anyway. I thought REAL RPG fans didn’t put graphics as top priority (because we don’t)!

Xi said on Mar. 9, 2009

Until we achieve photo-realism, artistic 2d graphics will always age the best. Don’t forget, FFVII was considered pretty sweet graphics once…

mitch said on Mar. 9, 2009

Did anyone else read this review in Stan Lee’s voice?

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Mar. 9, 2009

@Mitch: “He’s not the Hulk! I’M the Hulk!”

FMO said on Mar. 9, 2009

I especially love the “hefty” escargo express note. He obviously didn’t get past Onett. How old was the guy when he wrote this anyways?

shadowdeku said on Mar. 9, 2009

I understand why the review only includes Onett, but just the way its written shows that its a half-assed review. I hope this guy got fired from GamePro, they have better work than this.

DoseiSan said on Mar. 9, 2009

They lost my respect entirely at “the game is a portover of an 8-bit Japanese Famicon title”.

A “portover” of a “FamicoN” title!?

And it isn’t even.

Dang, this review sucked. :/

AnnK said on Mar. 9, 2009

It really just looks like the writer played it for 20 minutes and then wrote the review from that.

For a magazine such as this the in house staff was possibly under 5 people with only two people writing all the content, one person doing lay out with templates, an in house editor and a publisher who has final copy-edit say… which is typical.

The crappy thing is if I pull out any of my old gamer magazines from the past and really look at how they did it back then it seems like all of the reviews were written either summarizing the press release or quickly playing the game for 20 minutes. Reviews were not reviews before 2001- in the 80’s and 90’s I think people figured that their reading audience was kids so they tried to push in a lot of slang (like awesome and rad) and slap-dashed things thinking we wouldn’t know any better.

The other idea is that the magazine didn’t pay for the review and just had someone write it for the pleasure of it being printed as many review-style magazines do. That work isn’t really fact-checked and the quality suffers.

The possible (and likely) reason why this was written the way it was is because someone was cheap and wanted to cash-in to an “easy” market.

winwithlink said on Mar. 9, 2009

Psychic dog?

SamWibatt said on Mar. 9, 2009

There’s just something about mid-90s game journalism that makes me wonder if these things are written by children and then slightly fixed by an adult or something.

Yes, except for the part about being even slightly fixed. Mid-1990s game mags were terrible, though this review does stand out even from that crowd for awful.

PSInesslove93 said on Mar. 9, 2009

HAHAH this article made me laugh… this reminds me of a lot of kids at school who BS their reports (like you mentioned) and just copy and paste any information they find that relates to their topic… I highly doubt that Sir Scary Larry writer played past “Threet”, let alone grasp what was going on in EB and probably played with his eyes closed.

“Although Earthbound has all the classic RPG elements, it has a very child-like interface.”- sort of like your review and writing. haha just saying 😛

Pigmask Private said on Mar. 9, 2009

Dang, I didn’t go back to the meteor after bringing Pokey home. I never knew there was a bee there. Guess I was too heart-broken over Buzz-Buzz’s death to worry about some lame bee.

I guess the bee left by the time you need to go back at the end of the game.

Lion Rocker said on Mar. 9, 2009

lollin at gamepro calling saying EB is for children when all of the magazine’s writers had pseudonyms and silly cartoon avatars to back them up

EBM said on Mar. 9, 2009

To tell the truth, I didn’t really expect anything better from a dude that calls himself “Scary Larry” by choice. In retrospect, this review is hilarious. WAY better than the comics page nowadays…
Anyways, Dragon Quest (Which was back then called “Dragon Warrior” due to copyright blah blah blahs) is my second favorite RPG series next to MOTHER… but better enemy graphics? Now you’re being just silly. Hell, not even the version for the game boy (Which also includes number two) has better enemy graphics!
Not that I care about graphics, of course… but Dragon Quest IX for the DS? Lookin’ pretty darn good…
AHEM. I digress.
The humor in this review is obviously unintentional (ooh… BURN), so I give it one star for writing, one star for graphics (show some diversity), and one star for sound… because I can’t friggin’ get the ignorance outta my head.

Aerostella said on Mar. 9, 2009

Well, the fact that he says that magic butterflies restore ALL your PP proves he didn’t play enough to have a high enough PP to see that it only heals 20. 😐

RCat said on Mar. 9, 2009

Thank goodness I had Nintendo Power back in the day. Its weird advertisement strategy actually worked on me.

…Actually, it was the ideas of using an ATM and what Calorie Sticks are that got me interested. Quasi-realism sometimes helps!

TBird said on Mar. 10, 2009

The funny thing was this review made me want to play EarthBound. A review this bad couldn’t be true. An RPG set in modern America had to at least be fun as a spoof right!?

Dadalama said on Mar. 10, 2009

haha 90s video game mags
They sure were terrible *brushes away a nostalgic tear*.

Kurisuellegarden said on Mar. 10, 2009

I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s such a horrible review! This stinks just like Belch!!!! D:

Anonymous said on Mar. 10, 2009

Man even as a kid I knew Gamepro sucked. Not too surprised about that review.

Then again pretty much all game magazines sucked back then. And still do probably, I just haven’t read one since about 1999.

Dr. Meat said on Mar. 10, 2009

the above comment was me, just forgot my name (not that anyone cares… but still!!)

Izumi said on Mar. 10, 2009

AbstractedThought, seriously? I need anti-depressants AFTER reading the article. 😛

JB2448 said on Mar. 10, 2009

PROTIP: Sucky GamePro is sucky.

Ninjapocalypse said on Mar. 10, 2009

@Viewtiful_Justin Scary Larry not only didn’t get fired, he was the editor. >_> I guess you really can’t expect Pulitzer-caliber journalism from a magazine that calls its writers “Boba Fatt” and “Fart of War”, but you’d think they could play the game for a few hours, or at least read the Player’s Guide (assuming it was included with review copies, which you would think it would be).

SoreThumb said on Mar. 10, 2009

THREE HUNDRED AND ONE people think he never left the home town.

Which bites, considering that if this is supposed to be a full game review, people will think that it takes place entirely in ONE TOWN.

I wonder if this is a possible reason why EarthBound got a bad rap? If tons of people complained about graphics and there was barely any internet back then, what if people read this and believed it?

Le Sigh.

Mr. Nosy said on Mar. 10, 2009

“PROTIP: Be sure to go back to the meteor to look for the bee after you take Pokey back home!”
I wish! (Seriously.)
Then again, “Was that supposed to be a joke? Because I’m not laughing!” (Roxas: Kingdom Hearts II)

Heh, I dislike those type of gamers whose speech is filled with sexual immorality, profanity (ESPECIALLY profanity… >_<), illegal and semi-legal substances, and pooie reasoning (think “Ness searches for burgers in garbage cans because his father is a health inspector from the USDA.”).

Mr. Nosy said on Mar. 10, 2009

By the way:
“[If] you’re near the mouth of a cave, go in, use numerous PSI attacks, then exit the cave and refill your PSI meter.”

/insert ROFL emote from deviantArt here/

wants_latios_lots said on Mar. 12, 2009

Protip: it’s spelled “Threed”.

Big A2 said on Mar. 12, 2009

At least they didn’t call it Three k.

Anyway, it’s quite possible the reveiwer got pass Onett, since it makes mention of Twoson and “Theet”.

blakyoshi7 said on Mar. 14, 2009

For me, the biggest indication of never getting past Onett is how insulting it is to anyone who likes the game and is actually familiar with it.
It’s like he got a bad first impression and decided to do the bare minimum of playtime so he could move on to something else.

Godaigamer said on Mar. 16, 2009

This review is better than the EGM one, if only because it admits that the game is easy. The PROTIPS were also a little bit helpful if you’ve never played the game before.

PSI Omega said on Mar. 17, 2009

Ugh, I think I just choked on my popcorn X.X

I lawled at the monsters from Dragon Warrior looking “better” then the monsters on Earthbound. I mean, come on…he was comparing graphics from a past generation. Your just going to sound dumb when you try to do that X.X

*slumps* $18 is not that bad for virtual pizza…squee! ;P

HossTehMaster said on Mar. 29, 2009

Something tells me he didn’t even get past buzz-buzz. He says clear as day “A bee I am…..NOT”, keyword being not.

Leirin said on Mar. 29, 2009

This is one of the worst published reviews I’ve ever read. I actually laughed quite hard at it. Sexual innuendoes abound? Seriously? In EarthBound? What game was he playing? And of course, all the fake facts Tomato listed. “Pass up this kid’s menu”. Why would anyone want to do that?

g.wicks said on Apr. 1, 2009

I remember this review very clearly, and I remember being really annoyed by it. I also got the impression that “sir scary larry” didn’t really give the game a chance. His half-assed effort seems especially clear in the line (I think he says this) “the music just sits there” (that’s from my memory, I didn’t read these scans). EarthBound has wonderful music. This guy is just a lazy tool who hated his job.

It was this article that caused me to stop reading gamepro.

Berrypievision said on Apr. 3, 2009

PROTIP? I guess you guys haven’t seen this:


reluctantgamer said on Apr. 3, 2009

I have to say, if he thought the “first arcade” was difficult, he was in for a rough time for the second, third, and fourth arcades…

TheFakePsychic said on Apr. 5, 2009

… Oh yes, those wily ants IN FRONT OF the Gigantic Ant.

Koyuki said on Apr. 8, 2009

PROTIP: If you don’t intend to PLAY a game you are reviewing, at least research it! Reasearch is the heart and soul of writing! Without the facts, all of your writing in any given field will be ignorant and considered poor.

Okay, okay, I’m done with the rant. But on a more serious note, reasearch truly is important in game reviewing, along with playing the game. Misinformed facts are never good to write in an article, especially a professional one.

MegazeroX said on May. 5, 2009

Spells?…………….He didn’t even get far enough to get pk powers yet

MegazeroX said on May. 6, 2009

@ Koyuki they didn’t have internet back then.

MegazeroX said on May. 6, 2009

Hah I don’t even think he played the game. He just quickly asked someone who played the game.

motherfan said on May. 14, 2009

Theet!? Sex!? Crapy info!? Mistakes so bad you’ll laugh!? Wow, this guy was soooo drunk while writing this.

Annoying party guy said on Jul. 8, 2009

“The lack of a convincing storyline and the dull NES-clone graphics (the game is a portover from an 8-bit Japanese famicon title) will make serious RPG fans a little cautious about approaching EarthBound.”

So many fallacies packed into one sentence…

Object Replacement Teddybear said on Jul. 16, 2009

I was the 600th person to vote ‘No’. I feel special.

I wish I had a copy of this review, it sounds hillarious. Besides, maybe it tells me how to get to Theet. I’ve been looking forever.

Ghost of Starman said on Jul. 17, 2009

The thing you guys have to realize is that this guy probably got the game and had to finish the article the next day. Nintendo Power was affiliated with Nintendo, so their writers got to play preview/demo builds of games way before release. I’m not saying it’s an excuse for the misinformation, but deadlines can be brutal. Also, some of the misinformation is understandable, since the internet wasn’t fully developed and sources weren’t easily accessible.

Chiz-it5 said on Sep. 28, 2009

Who ever wrote this = FAIL

Kirby Chimera said on Oct. 14, 2009

I don’t think this moron ever got INTO Onett.

Ninji said on Nov. 12, 2009

There is a possibility that ‘Threet’ was what the localizers planned to change Threek into, or just that this guy had a hangover while writing this, personally I think that the EGM reviewer was better than this guy, I think Mato screwed up a whole bunch when he said that the GamePro review was better than the EGM one. At least that guy had the decency to PROOF-READ what he was WRITING.

TBird said on Dec. 1, 2009

Hey it’s cool people still see this and comment on it every once in a while. I feel like I did my small part for the EB community, and all I did was hoard crap I should have tossed years ago.

Maybe I should have taken the time to get a better scan, but when I saw it was readable I was done.

Keep in mind folks, this was a section of the mag DEDICATED to rpgs. This was clearly written by someone who was not into rpgs and under a ridiculous deadline that shouldn’t have even been necessary for such a niche market.

Steve! said on Jan. 3, 2010

I’m assuming he got past onette but just stopped playing after since he didn’t seem liked he cared for the game much.

Kyoo said on Mar. 9, 2010

I remember, back in the day, this magazines reviews had strong influence. and it’s sad that the game got such a review. if I would have read this. I probably never would have played the game. (but it sounds like the reviewer didn’t either)

Starman Super said on Jun. 9, 2010

wow, this guy fails. threet? really? someone had a little too much 100-proof when he wrote this

Mr.Saturn67865545423 said on Jun. 17, 2010

The grafficts are SUPER MEGA AWSOME!!

Luke said on Aug. 9, 2010

Wow, Now if i know what to read if i need a laugh.
I was the 799 person to vote no! SO close!

gg said on Jul. 12, 2011

“Threet”? All I have to say is……………………

Mother Fanatic said on Aug. 30, 2011

So many errors….. (I mean, COME ON!!!!) EarthBound is just a WONDERFUL game!!!!!! I’m guessing he just played less than an hour, and quit. People need to get more into the game, instead of playing EarthBound a bit, then abandoning it forever….

The enemy left a present! Inside the present, there was Earthbound! ….But Ness is carrying too much stuff. Abandon EarthBound? (NO) What will you throw away? (Picnic Lunch) Ness got EarthBound! Gained 200,000,000 exp. points!

Ninten said on Feb. 28, 2012

pathetic. i could write a three page essay on how good earthbound is! i’m pretty sure a five year old could do better. once you get past onett, the real fun starts, like say saturn valley. but i have to admit, i even i enjoy beating up the sharks.

Elec said on Mar. 3, 2012

He probably didn’t even get to the part where you meet Buzz-Buzz.

LMAO said on Aug. 4, 2012

wow.this review is pathetic.

BB Gang Zombie said on May. 13, 2013

I think the version of EarthBound this guy played is the same as the one that was used to make the Player’s Guide. It seems to have some of the same oddities, like “Mr. Frank” rather than just “Frank.”

I wonder how many copies of this same early draft script were distributed to reviewers/guide makers…

Opinionated Vector Chimera said on May. 13, 2013

“The lack of a convincing story line and the dull NES-clone graphics will make serious RPG fans a little cautious about approaching EarthBound.”

Oh, hello. I thought some of the same people who are used to “serious RPGs” are approaching EarthBound.

And Mother 3, for that matter. Maybe Mother 1 if Dragon Warrior or Final Fantasy was their first taste of RPGs.


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