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Tips for Buying EarthBound

April 20th, 2009 | Images, MOTHER 3

Since today is MOTHER 3’s anniversary and all, I thought now would be a good time to look at Weekly Famitsu’s review of MOTHER 3 from three years ago.

It got a 35 out of 40 points possible, which is a pretty sweet score. It was the highest rated game that issue, with the second closest game getting a 28. If you’re curious, MOTHER 2 got a 34 when it came out, I’ll post that scan and review another day, though.

Anyway, here’s what each of the four reviewers had to say about MOTHER 3:


The game pulls you right in at the beginning and moves at a very quick and solid pace until about the halfway mark. The difficulty increase of the battles is exquisite, and the last half of the game doesn’t drag on at all. Filled with adventure and music. The wit-filled direction is just great. Even setting aside the difficulty of getting the timed attacks in battle, I’d recommend this rare piece of art to everyone. (10 points)


The story / scenario is marvelous. I unconciously grinned at the delivery of the characters’ lines. The art may be simple, but a lot of detailed attention was given to the game’s direction. The game engine may not be unconventional, but you can play it with an easy mind. (8 points)


You can feel the amount of attention paid to the tiny details in the text, the world is unique, and the music is very memorable. Players new to the series might feel perplexed. If you don’t let the look of the game’s engine or its age get to you, you can probably enjoy it. The feature that lets you avoid hard work if you pull off combos in battle by matching to the music is also a big plus. (8 points)


Just as the slogan says, the strange and sad story immerses the player until the very end. The music in the Sound Battles has charm that reinforces the phrase, “Sound is fun!” (9 points)

Famitsu also has Reader Reviews, but my Famitsu magazines are freshly buried deep in the back of my closet and I don’t want to go and dig them up. If someone happens to have the reader review scores/scans, please let me know, or else I probably won’t get to them for a year or two 😯

Also, if anyone has the Famitsu review for MOTHER 1+2, please let me know!

POLL: What would you rate MOTHER 3, using Famitsu's 0 to 10 scale, with 10 being the highest?

View Results

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50 Comments to Famitsu’s Review of MOTHER 3

Miles Vialpando (PK ELECTION) said on Apr. 20, 2009

Very interesting. I need to take a closer look at all these reviews.

Happy Happiest said on Apr. 20, 2009

Lol nobody said anything lower than a 9. I gave a 10, naturally.

SamWibatt said on Apr. 20, 2009

If you don’t let the look of the game’s engine or its age get to you, you can probably enjoy it.

Yeesh, get over it, Watanabe. This kind of comment is purest doughhead-kiddie technofetishist gamergeek – but otherwise the article is awesome. Hanamura’s description of the game as a “rare piece of art” is dead on.

Chasmang said on Apr. 20, 2009

I went with a nine if only because of a few quirks with the game’s battle system (mainly that rolling HP should have included the 0 HP saves like in MOTHER 2 as they could have been a lot more frequent, and rewarding, in MOTHER 3).

Zade said on Apr. 20, 2009

To me it excelled in every single thing I look for in a game, and much more. It currently stands at my favorite game, and I’m not even that much of a fanboy. 10 from me.

James said on Apr. 20, 2009

Mother 3 is one of the few games I’d give a 10, even if using a more precise decimal scale. For the record, I’d probably put EarthBound at a 9.6.

Deiphobus said on Apr. 20, 2009

sorry, you’re not making any sense.

the retard of epic proportions said on Apr. 20, 2009

Who the hell voted 0 up there?!

mudkipNDS said on Apr. 20, 2009

It’s always going to be a 10 on the internet…

I voted it a 9, because nothing is perfect.

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Apr. 20, 2009

Ooh, someone rated the game as a 1. What a rebel.

Sir Ilpalazzo said on Apr. 20, 2009

Wibatt: That’s a pretty fair statement. Mother 3 is a great game, but at its core, the battle system is still pretty basic jRPG stuff, and that’s definitely going to turn some people off. He doesn’t even hold it against the game, so that kind of reaction is unnecessary.

Jotokun said on Apr. 20, 2009

I voted a 9, because its almost perfect. Only problems I encountered was that near the end of the game there was some slowdown/low framerate. Not unplayable, but definitely not pleasant.Also, the PSI in the game worked a little differently than Mother 2, making the game easier. Not really bad, but I’m not so sure that was a good idea.

Deiphobus said on Apr. 20, 2009

that’s not an acceptable excuse (at least in my opinion) did you play with an emulator or flashcart? neither are perfect, the only way to get the ultimate experience is the play the real game on the real gba/nds.

SamWibatt said on Apr. 20, 2009

He doesn’t even hold it against the game, so that kind of reaction is unnecessary.

OK, I was being harsh. Pardon.

gwalms said on Apr. 20, 2009

I wish it was in 3d..

gwalms said on Apr. 20, 2009

I can’t decide if I want to give it a 9 or a 10..

RCat said on Apr. 20, 2009

The two people who rated it 0 obviously can’t read. THE BEST SCORE IS AT THE BOTTOM. PAY ATTENTION NEXT TIME.

ScottKO said on Apr. 20, 2009

I don’t know who gave it a zero but they probably shouldn’t be on this website…and I don’t think any game deserves a zero. If the game at least exists, it gets a minimum of one by default

Mato said on Apr. 20, 2009

You guys are taking the poll too seriously 😛 In any poll with any decent # of votes, there will always be the statistical few who like to mess around just to be funny/cool. They’re just a mathematical phenomenon so don’t give it any worry.

Of course, maybe some people honestly would give it a 0, but I don’t think that’s the case here, given such a small sample size 😉

E: wee said on Apr. 21, 2009

Man i hate how they write reviews in famitsu

Koji45 said on Apr. 21, 2009

I am not a huge video gamer. Most of the time I can’t even get myself to finish a game all the way threw even once. But this game!! This game i’m on the third Play threw, and I know I’m gonna start it over Again once I finish!
In my oppinion, this game is Amazing! I absolutely LOVE the Story, the Characters, the game play! The fact that it really draws you right in right from the begining! And the roling counter and whole music battle system is just Cool! (roling counter is amazing, has saved me many times now!) AND It has the best music! <3
I deffinently give this game a 10! :3

((Sorry for bad spelling and all! I don’t spell to good, and don’t feel like using a spell checker right now.))

Fredrik said on Apr. 21, 2009

I gave it a 6(pondering between 6 & 7)… it’s good, but not great. It wasn’t nearly as funny as playing earthbound, but it definitely had some good moments. The music… i’m not sure, i only really remember the hotspring music, which was kind of relaxing, actually. xD

Pipomonkeydude said on Apr. 21, 2009

Wait, why do they add up the scores instead of averaging them? That makes no sense!

Joyful Sanity said on Apr. 21, 2009

I think the reviews are fair, if not a little strange (I guess there’s meaning to that fourth review that loses it’s effect in translation, I dunno). The Mother series will never appeal to everyone because it’s simply not some people’s cup of tea, but in my eyes it offers so much that hasn’t done in other games and pulls it all off so well. I personally see no reason to give the game anything lower than a 10, but hey, opinions are opinions.

Leirin said on Apr. 21, 2009

It gets a ten. If I were using a system sort of like how NP used to rate games, I’d say 9.7. But still, yeah, “rare piece of art”–EXACTLY what I think. =D

Coconut of Enlightenment said on Apr. 21, 2009

I gave it a 9, but that’s because I felt it could have been longer. It almost felt like some parts had been cut out. I still like EarthBound better, but that’s just my preference. What I would really like to see is a continuation of the series after the 3rd installment. I would give that one a 10 just for existing.

santiagoff said on Apr. 21, 2009

It deserves a 9.

Aidan said on Apr. 21, 2009

It deserves a 10 because it is very fantastic.

MegazeroX said on Apr. 21, 2009

Are you insane? A 6 means it is at par with any rushed THQ Game! Mother 3 wasn’t as great as Earthbound, but giving it a six means it is worse than most released games! It deserves at least a 9! I personly gave it a 10. If it had decimals I would give it a 9.8, but since it doesn’t I rounded it to 10! 6 is really unreasonalbe and since you didn’t pick 0 you aren’t joking. :0

Sarah said on Apr. 21, 2009

Gave it an 8, and I would give EarthBound a 10. First of all, I thought EB had a simple yet perfectly effective battle system for my tastes, which didn’t really need any improvement. (That’s just what I like, I know I’m probably in the minority here!) I think the more elaborate story involving the main characters in this game as compared to EB took the game a little more in a different and, may I say, more generic direction. The lack of that was something I really appreciated in EB. Lastly, there were simply too many EB references for me–they made me smile, but after a while, I was just like, “Hey, I’m playing M3 here, not M2. More originality, please.” The way the story went in a different direction in this game made it apparent Itoi wanted it to be seen as its own game, but I feel like the excessive references took away from that.

Of course, I’m biased that EB was my first RPG ever and still favorite 🙂

Tansunn said on Apr. 21, 2009

@Pipomonkeydude – Is dividing by four really that important?

walms said on Apr. 21, 2009

Dividing by four gives you a number out of 10. 0-40 is a scale no one else uses.

walms said on Apr. 21, 2009

Its good to have a # out of 10 for comparison purposes too.

Mato said on Apr. 21, 2009

Famitsu goes way back to the mid-eighties, so it’s not like this scale is anything new.

Fredrik said on Apr. 22, 2009

MegazeroX: Well, i don’t have anything to go by, as I haven’t seen anything else besides mother 3 on their scale. But no, i didn’t like mother 3 all too much. I don’t know much about thq games either – no comment on that either. 😛
The story was kind of… meh to me. And besides, we all knew what the final boss would be, and what would happen to him after the final confrontation.

gwalms said on Apr. 22, 2009

Famitsu may be consistent with their scale, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t random and strange.

EntropicLobo said on Apr. 22, 2009

It’s actually a point of real contention among some reviewers how some folks consider 6 or 7 “average” instead of 5 as the average, what poses as a ‘pass’. 6 or 7 is not a terrible score. It’s “good, but with too many flaws or issues to be great.” 5 is right in the middle, yeah? It’s just become such an unattractive number because it’s right on the cusp.

Chasmang said on Apr. 22, 2009


What doesn’t make sense? “Zero HP saves”?

If so, that’s just when your HP rolls down to zero in EarthBound and you manage to heal or finish the battle before the death message, you manage to live.

That’s gone in MOTHER 3 and it can actually be pretty damn frustrating in some battles.

Mato said on Apr. 22, 2009

Huh? That’s very much still in Mother 3. In fact, going back to EarthBound, I’m finding it’s a lot harder to get those last-second HP saves because of how clunky the menus tend to be. Even the final boss of Chapter 1 in Mother 3 requires use of it, so I’m confused by your post 😯

Mother 3 doesn’t seem to have the “survive with 1 HP because of your Guts” thing though.

gwalms said on Apr. 22, 2009

What did the first Mother get in Famitsu by the way?

Deiphobus said on Apr. 22, 2009

yeah, i think the scrolling hp bar in mother 3 is actually a lot better than earthbound’s.

Leirin said on Apr. 24, 2009

@ gwalms: I dunno, although according to the Famitsu
Score Archives, MOTHER 1+2, which contains MOTHER 1, has a score of 35/40 as well.

Chasmang said on Apr. 25, 2009

@ Mato

Maybe we’re thinking of two different things.

I’ve never had to rely on a zero-HP save on the last boss of chapter 1, even on a low-level run.

I can remember fighting the Steel Mechorilla on a low-level run countless times and continually getting LifeUp to cast right when a character hits zero HP (right when it would normally work in MOTHER 2), but they die before the effect takes place.

I have no way of making the situation consistently happen, but I’ve encountered it dozens of times.

Mato said on Apr. 25, 2009

I think you must be referring to some other thing using a confusing term. There is absolutely no way you can beat the Mecha Drago without its last hit hitting you for way more HP than your max HP, so you have to get to the You Won screen before it rolls to 0.

The final battle in the game relies a lot on this same thing.

Maybe you’re referring to some other much more obscure thing having to do with exact timing.

Chasmang said on Apr. 26, 2009

Looks like we were talking about two different things. You’re just talking about basic rolling HP, but I was talking about what happens when your HP rolls to zero right when the battle ends.

In EarthBound, if you manage to defeat the last enemy in a fight right when your HP rolls down to zero, your HP rolls back to 1. In MOTHER 3, you just die.

It might sound trivial, but I’ve had this come up several times on each of my playthroughs, often during significant battles.

gamekool said on Apr. 30, 2009

9 above of course…but if the covergirl should change to covermother???

Claus said on May. 13, 2009

I already posted this before, but nobody answered so I’ll ask again.

Is there anyone out there that has Super Mario Sunshine?

Yeah, I know it’s a dumb question to ask on a MOTHER website but there’s this noise that plays whenever a news report appears on the screen. In MOTHER 3, the same noise plays when Porky is about to speak or when you’re about to exit the elevator, but slower. I just wanted to know if MOTHER 3 took that or if it’s just a coincidence or if it’s from something else.

Mato said on May. 13, 2009

In Japan, it’s common for announcements (especially made by speaker) to be preceded by that sound. Elevators also usually make a specific special sound too. There are all kinds of things like that over there.

Claus said on May. 18, 2009

So they used it for Super Mario Sunshine and MOTHER 3?

Someone said on Aug. 21, 2009

I give it a 10. Mother 3 is a perfect game for me. Best Story I’ve ever heard in a game, great characters, the 2nd greatest video game Soundtrack (after the one of EarthBound), funny and heartrending.
I played many games (like FF3/6, Chrono Trigger, Zelda, Metroid and all) but none of this games is as great as Mother 3.


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