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Tips for Buying EarthBound

February 13th, 2011 | MOTHER 1+2

I’d always vaguely known that when they localized EarthBound Zero, they had changed part of the Magicant caves. I had always heard they made it harder, but I guess I remembered wrong – they made the room a lot less complicated. So just now I decided to go and see how different they are for sure. Here’s what they’re laid out like:

Original Famicom version on the left, NES prototype/MOTHER 1+2 version on the right.

Apparently the dragon is located in the far bottom right in the Famicom version, making it very easy to overlook him/realize he even exists. So I guess that’s why they stick the dragon in a place you can’t miss in the EB0 version. There might have been other presents too, but I don’t really have the time to go in and play the game to find out for sure. Anyone know?

For the MOTHER 1 retranslation, should I put the original map back in, or should it be left as the EB0 version? I’m pretty sure adding it back will be easy enough, I just don’t know what you guys would prefer.

Thanks to DJMankiwitz for reminding me of that difference!

POLL: Should the MOTHER 1 retranslation use the original Famicom map or stick with the EB0 version?

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92 Comments to EB0 vs. MOTHER 1 Magicant Caves

Saldite said on Feb. 13, 2011

I have a preference towards the revised map, myself.
Even thought it’s a lot simpler, I just prefer it’s layout over the original Mother’s.

TheZunar123 said on Feb. 13, 2011

I say use the original.

TMMDI said on Feb. 13, 2011

Original definitely.

Darien said on Feb. 13, 2011

I prefer the revised map. Not a giant fan of wandering around aimlessly, myself. The original map reminds me (unsurprisingly) very much of many of the dungeons in the original Dragon Warrior, with its random loops and pathways that just dead-end at nothing.

Shyamalan said on Feb. 13, 2011

I think you should go with the original! It goes with the whole uncensoring thing you were doing with the other parts.

PSI rockin' said on Feb. 13, 2011

Well, if possible, you could do that the easy ring does the easy one, while no easy ring does the hard one. If not possible, new one, cause I’m lazy like that 🙂

SombreroShadnik said on Feb. 13, 2011

Don’t forget, the house in Halloween / Spookane with the piano melody also apparently had less rooms in EB0.

Captain Bozo said on Feb. 13, 2011

I think that the new one would be better, because as you said, you’d miss the dragon otherwise, unless you knew it was there. I think the revision was a very important one.

NekoKnight said on Feb. 13, 2011

I don’t think it really matters that much, just go with your gut. But if you asked me, I’d vote for the Famicom original. It has a more nostalgic, “NES RPG era” feel to it. And since the Easy Ring will make the battles much easier, navigating that maze shouldn’t be that cumbersome.

NekoKnight said on Feb. 13, 2011

I’d also like to add that back in the day, RPGs were more about exploration. And the player was expected to explore every nook and cranny, which gave the game developers an opportunity to surprise the player with unexpected encounters in dungeons. Having the dragon all tucked away back there gives a more “unexpected” element to the cave.

Kasumi said on Feb. 13, 2011

The new one. Doesn’t the forgotten man also send you back to the beginning of the cave in Mother if you answer him incorrectly? Which of those behaviors will you choose?

liarxagerate said on Feb. 13, 2011

A vote for leave it, as usual. I like the intentions behind making the dragon tough to find but the new map is much more amenable to random encounter hell.

Ross said on Feb. 13, 2011

Itoi’s intents are the only things that matter to me!

Seifer said on Feb. 13, 2011

I guess I’d go with Itoi’s (most recent) intentions, which apparently is the EB0/M1+2 version.

Ness said on Feb. 13, 2011

I think there should be patch for the one for the original and the revised.

Mato said on Feb. 13, 2011

I don’t really want to deal with multiple patches, it quickly becomes cumbersome to support them, especially when adding fixes and dealing with other translations.

Frank said on Feb. 13, 2011

I like the new revised version better, that is interesting thank you for posting this Mato. I wish maybe if like you beat Mother 1, you can have the option to play the famicom version but that would be way to long to do lol. But still this is very great to see the localization changes.

psi wolf said on Feb. 13, 2011

Original Famicom version. It’s actually FASTER to get to the exit that leads to Thanksgiving. And I agree that the dragon should be a nice surprise. After all, the easy ring should make it easier, so what’s there to complain about?

Frank said on Feb. 13, 2011

@Psi Wolf, if that is the case, then maybe we should go with the famicom version. I mean you are right with the easy ring and all, i just hate the constant random encounters, but i am sure Mato reduced it a little so it does not happen a lot as it use to.

The Great Morgil said on Feb. 13, 2011

Is there a way to program it so that if you have the Easy Ring equipped, it uses the NES map, but if you didn’t use the ring, it uses the Famicon map? If you could pull that off, that’d be awesome.

Mato said on Feb. 13, 2011

It wouldn’t be tough if the Easy Ring choice was a one-time thing, but since you can take it on/off any time you want, that makes things tougher, particularly if someone decided to do so while inside the cave.

John H. said on Feb. 13, 2011

I’m in favor of the original map, precisely BECAUSE it makes it possible to miss the dragon. I will explain.

It’s obvious to me that the sound-collecting quests in both Mother and Mother2/Earthbound was intended to be an optional thing in the game that nevertheless has to be done. It is a mostly (not entirely) non-linear element, which helps to vary gameplay a bit and make _strategic_ decisions, those other than straight battle _tactics_, part of the game.

The non-linear nature of the question, that some of the elements of it CAN be missed and the player will have to backtrack to accomplish them, is why it makes sense to present the game as a _world_, as opposed to a sequence of places to go without any decision about it, as in recent Final Fantasy games. That is a much stronger design concept, and it’s annoying to me when RPGs don’t make much use of it. The fact that the Mother games do use it makes to clear to me that some thought went into it. It also shows us why Mother 3, which has fewer exploratory elements, abandoned the sound quest for its needles, which, while still non-linear, are more scripted portions of the game scenario.

Keep in mind that both Mother and Mother 2/Earthbound have a character that appears late in the game who tells you where to look for each of the sounds you need, so there is a hint in place for people who fail to find the dragon. (Unless that hint guy isn’t in the original version?)

TheZunar123 said on Feb. 13, 2011

Yeah, good point, Mato. But it would work if you made the Easy Ring an option and not an equip. Like, when you start a new game, you can hold a button when you choose the file (Ex. Select), and that will turn the Easy Ring on.

Robo85 said on Feb. 13, 2011

unless I import the original mother I will never play this version of the cave unless you use it since I don’t emulate games I don’t own so I vote original.

John H. said on Feb. 13, 2011

(Er, that comment I just made doesn’t make a huge amount of sense unless you know that the dragon has one of the sounds you need at the end of the game.)

(When I originally tried to make this comment, I got the “You are making comments too quickly. Slow down.” message from the site. Annoyed.)

shibaru said on Feb. 13, 2011

I say the original 8)

Anon said on Feb. 13, 2011

I think the Rosemary’s House was also simplified, will you change that, too?

psycho said on Feb. 13, 2011

I say keep the revised version, otherwise you’ll have to check the whole game for map revisions. If some are reverted to original and some are revised, that sucks (imo).

Ross said on Feb. 13, 2011

Wait, is Rosemary Manor simplified too? Darn, I’d never have noticed! Thanks, Anon!

Halloween said on Feb. 13, 2011

Hmm… I like the original better. If you’re not going for the dragon, the path to the next town is very short.
And for the one time when you do go to kill the dragon, it makes it seem more like a ‘quest’ to get the melody, and not something you just stumble across.
And if you were to ask about the guy warping you back to the beginning of the cave… do that too. It only happens until he disappears.

linkdude20002001 said on Feb. 13, 2011


IMPORTANT: In addition to the underground cave and Rosemary Mansion, Holy Loly Mountain was simplified. I might be forgetting some still.

Sillik said on Feb. 13, 2011

Original, definitely!

Frank said on Feb. 13, 2011

I think we should have votes between all the maps, weither to keep the originals or the revised ones. So that way if there is more than one map change other than the Magicant caves, then we could know in one place. This is really exciting by the way. I like your idea LinkDude have the option of the easy ring on when your on the main menu, i think that could help make Mato’s work a little bit easier.

Qiezei said on Feb. 13, 2011

I say the original, basically because it’s more like a maze. Besides, I’m sure most people would explore as much of a dungeon as they can rather than skip most of it (I know I do). The EB0 map isn’t bad, but the original just feels more “purposeful” rather than a dragged-out hallway.

psi wolf said on Feb. 13, 2011

Regarding the forgotten man sending you all the way back to Magicant’s entrance… I’m not so sure about that. Personally, with the easy ring it shouldn’t be too difficult to get back, but it’s still cumbersome to go ALLLLLL the way back just for a single answer. I’d say keep it so if you get it wrong, nothing happens. Also one other map revision I can think of is the cave on Mt Itoi containing captured humans. The original famicom version had that located on one of the cliffs you encounter while scaling the mounting with EVE. The prototype added a whole cave between the cave that leads to Giygas’ ship and inside that cave is another cave where they moved that room.

SomeUser said on Feb. 13, 2011

I personally prefer the revised map. If this was say, EB or M3, I wouldn’t mind the Famicom map. However, even if it is easier to go to Merrysville (or whatever) in the Famicom, you have to do more encounters to get to the dragon. Also, I’m really lazy in RPG’s, kinda. You see, I generally explore every nook and cranny. Looking at the Famicom ver., however, it just seems like a waste of time because there’s so much more blank space.


Triverske said on Feb. 13, 2011

I say the original, I want to play Mother, not Earthbound Zero

Anouki Agent Yellow said on Feb. 13, 2011

Why not make the switch that decides which map to use is not wearing the Easy Ring, which can change, but opening the Easy Ring present itself. If you opened the present and received the Easy Ring you get the EB0 version, but if you’re an “uber player” and snuff the Easy Ring you get the Famicom version. New players to MOTHER will just open the present and get the slightly easier map and they’re the ones who will need help finding the dragon anyways.

Zinco said on Feb. 13, 2011

That’s a rather interesting question. And I see that the poll’s split right down the middle, now.

Someone in Magicant mentions the dragon, right? Maybe that bard? Depending on how clear their message is, it could make sense to change it back to the old, frustrating version and hope people remember that old RPGs were stupid like this.

On the other hand, you are primarily translating this to give Mother 1 a new audience that was put off by the relative impenetrability of the original game, so what I’d ask is this: are people going to appreciate you changing the map more—something that the vast majority of people would not have noticed had you not mentioned it—or are they going to better appreciate getting through the game smoothly, and not wonder where the hell the last melody is found? It’s worth remembering, too, the context that the developers were, in effect, continuing the development of the game while it was being localized—while they may have made the change so as not to put off American gamers, they wouldn’t have done so if they hadn’t realized how irritating it was in the first place.

I don’t think anyone is going to be that upset that there aren’t a few more hallways in an already aggravating dungeon (or at least that’s how I remember it, encountering that fish monster over and over again). And if they are upset, I don’t think they’re the kind of people you need to impress.

NekoKnight said on Feb. 13, 2011

This is turning out to be quite a heated debate! My vote still goes for the original. The older, more “complex” dungeon isn’t as blood-curdling terrifying as some people think it will be. Keep in mind that this hack is also for old fans just as much as it is for new. Besides, there’s always the Earthbound Zero Easy Patch, which makes the game slightly more bearable. In any case, the real difficulty behind the original MOTHER wasn’t it’s dungeons, but it’s whacked-up level grinding and tough overworld enemies. Even Itoi-san commented on the game’s difficulty saying “When it came to MOTHER’s difficulty, I was just like ‘whatever.'” (if I remember the statement correctly.) And yes, they did change the game to match EB0, but probably because they were aware of EB0 and thought that the GBA version would get a localized state-side release and that the Americans would want it that way. I don’t know about the whole “Easy Ring changes the dungeon” thing. I’d like to play the Famicom version dungeon WITH the Easy Ring on, not without. So yes, the Famicom version, indeed. Especially considering that there currently isn’t an English translation that has all of the Famicom elements intact.

DJMankiwitz said on Feb. 13, 2011

Looks like I started something here.

How hard would it be to implement an option menu instead of an item box? Perhaps you could put an NPC of some kind at the start of the game, in Ninten’s room? I’m not sure what the NPC should be, maybe a second lamp? It’d just ask if you want the game “hard” or “easy”. If there would be problems, say in how the script is handled, for adding something like that, don’t worry about it.

I’m going to toss in a vote for the original version, but I can see why they had changed it, so if you decide to leave it in the simplified form, that’s understandable. Some are mentioning other map changes I wasn’t aware of. I’m going entirely off of a changes list I read some time ago over at the starmen.net site. Thanks for all your amazing work and for listening to my thoughts.

Mato said on Feb. 13, 2011

It would be very difficult.

Frank said on Feb. 13, 2011

I think it is not the maps to be honest now but difficulty really, i mean if it comes down to difficulty that puts off the old maps then i understand. But really i think Mato could put the Easy Ring in the main bedroom or even in Pippi’s house once you rescue Pippi from the zombies etc. Let us be honest the real difficulty is leveling up and grinding, not the maps themselves. And i think this is where people are confused and split in general. I say this if the Easy Ring is there, then go Famicom all the way, so the fans can enjoy the real uncensored enemies, and simplified maps. I would not mind replaying the game with an all Famicom version as long as the Easy Ring is there.

ef said on Feb. 13, 2011

I think you may as well add the original map back.

Labrynian Rebel said on Feb. 13, 2011

I don’t really care which Magicant cave you use, but I want the EB0 changes to Holy Loly Mountain, last melody and ending credits kept at least.

linkdude20002001 said on Feb. 13, 2011

SUGGESTION: Rather than have the easy ring be an equipable item, make it something you can put back into the present whenever you want. That way it wouldn’t take place of your defensive ring, and you could have it switch the maps without causing problems.

Onion said on Feb. 13, 2011

I’d say go with the version included on M1+2. That was the version that Itoi wanted released and it’s also the ‘path of least resistance.’

Did the Japanese fans complain a lot about the changes?

Ross said on Feb. 13, 2011

I think that the maps don’t even really matter, difficulty wise. Mato, you should go with the revisions if you don’t want to change them due to glitch-potential. It’s probably a lot to ask of you, so I understand. I’d also understand if you did do the original maps, because this is basically your baby. Grow him up how you see fit! (I prefer Itoi’s intentions, but then again 3 maps aren’t going to change the world)

Ice Sage said on Feb. 13, 2011

Personally, I think it depends on how hard it would be to change the map back to its original layout. Would I like it to be changed back in order to be original (since that’s the point of the patch)? Sure. But if it causes way too many problems and/or is too hard to implement properly, then I would say just leave it in its revised layout. Adding the Easy Ring is one thing; changing an entire section of the map is another. Of course, I don’t really know how hard that would be to change it, so I really can’t judge…

And I think Rosemary Manor’s changes consisted of removing/shortening a couple of hallways – in other words, it had very minor changes compared to the Magicant Underground (someone may want to confirm this).

Mattiac said on Feb. 13, 2011

I want the original!

psi wolf said on Feb. 13, 2011

I’m no ROM Hacking expert, but I’d imagine that’d be alot more work than it’s worth. Besides, once you get to Magicant and if you decide you don’t want the easy ring on, you can just buy a cheap ring from the store. (Bronze Ring in the prototype and I *THINK* Fairy Braclet in the Famicom version where the cheapest sold). Then equip the ring you bought and that’ll unequip your easy ring.
(AFAIK Magicant is the earliest place you can buy any ring)

Mato said on Feb. 13, 2011

I’m finding I’m struggling trying to determine what the specific goal of my patch is now – is it to create a good English translation that’s true to Itoi’s original intent so that people can play the game in the most faithful way which also lets people analyze the game more, or should it be to focus on getting fans and sideline fans to try out the game and play through it to the end? At first, both goals were one and the same, but now all these differences and the differences between M1, EB0, and M1+2 are making those goals separate. It’s confuzzling.

PsiWolf674 said on Feb. 13, 2011

I definetly think you should be going towards more what Itoi originally meant. Many fans haven’t played through to the end, true, but it may be cooler to experience it the way it was originally meant to be experienced.

Also, upon another look I think the small EB font looks, but I think a slightly modified 8-bit font would make them about equal.

/b/ said on Feb. 14, 2011

Original Itoi idea for sure.

KingDarian said on Feb. 14, 2011

Fun fact: The ENCYCLOPEDIA MOTHER official guidebook to the game features the classic MOTHER map, even in the MOTHER 1+2 reprint edition.

I vote for the updated version of the map.

JamesBond007 said on Feb. 14, 2011

Use the new one (EB0) as default. But you can make Hard Mode with old maps instead.

Evan said on Feb. 14, 2011

If it isn’t too much trouble, it would be awesome to put it back in. I was thinking of playing this to get the most definitive Famicom experience possible with my lack of knowledge of the Japanese language, and it also falls along the lines of uncensoring everything.

Labrynian Rebel said on Feb. 14, 2011

The thing is we don’t know if Itoi wanted these changes, they were kept for the Japanese re-release and they don’t seem to care that the game was changed/improved/ruined forever.

Adding in a Hard Mode like in the Mother 3 fan translation with the more difficult famicom maps could solve this problem, but I’m assuming that would be hard to program.

G.Wicks said on Feb. 14, 2011

Most of us are used to the newer version, which is why I say use the old one. It’ll give the game a bit of freshness even for us veterans of EB0.

Also, have you ever noticed that the end credits theme on M1 of M1&2 is different from EB0’s? Instead of a revised Plane Ride theme featuring a brief melodic variant of the Youngtown theme (during the bridge towards the end), they completely replaced it with the Train theme. LAZY! This also makes my cover ttled “Epilogue #1” seem non-canonical. Sad face.

Mato said on Feb. 14, 2011

The whole ending seems a little bit off to me, the music cuts out while the “cast of characters” thing is still only halfway done for some reason. The credits music change is weird too.

DJMankiwitz said on Feb. 14, 2011

Keeping up with these little changes sure is complicated! I opened up a nasty can of worms here…

Could someone with more experience list a good idea of what sorts of major changes there were with Mother 1/EB0? I think personally I’d opt for going the original route except in cases where they added extra content entirely, like the extra “check” text and the lengthened ending. If anyone has good examples of added content like that I’d be interested just for the sake of having a complete picture of what this would entail.

Mato said on Feb. 14, 2011

Many years ago I put together a list here: http://starmen.net/mother12/diff/

Anonymous said on Feb. 14, 2011

If you’re restoring everything to Itoi’s original intents, there is no question as to using the Famicom original.

linkdude20002001 said on Feb. 14, 2011

Wow! I don’t even remember that they replaced the music. Speaking of the music for the ending credits in “Earth Bound”, does anyone have an mp3 of that song? I really loved it. I can’t find it anywhere, though. 🙁

liarxagerate said on Feb. 14, 2011

Itoi presumably okayed MOTHER 1+2, right? I don’t see why people are assuming his intent is the original—it’s a little like refusing to read Henry James’s New York editions.

Anonymous said on Feb. 14, 2011

Even if he okayed the revised one, he okayed the original one first. Original intent.

Mr. Anon said on Feb. 14, 2011

Keep the EB0 caves. After all, this is supposed to be a translation, not a remake. I hate it how people automatically claim that NOA’s changes were bad. I’m pretty sure Itoi has approved these changes.

Anonymous said on Feb. 14, 2011

If it’s going to be like that then you might as well keep the NOA names.

human....maybe said on Feb. 14, 2011

I like The revised stuff, but if you were to make the easy ring an option and not an item I would say fix the simplizations.

Mr. Nosy said on Feb. 14, 2011

Go for the original.

Cranberry Tofu said on Feb. 14, 2011

I think it would be more interesting to go through the original cave.

Anonymous said on Feb. 15, 2011

If you go with the original, those who have played it before would get to experience a little something new as well as newcomers.

If you go wth the revised one only newcomers will have a new experience with it.

Labrynian Rebel said on Feb. 15, 2011

If you really want Itoi’s original intent then Mato shouldn’t care about making the Easy Ring balanced since Itoi didn’t think much of difficulty levels, just sayin’ 😛

/b/ said on Feb. 15, 2011

I know that “new” has a little majority, but you should go for the original.
Thats what Itoi wanted, and we already have the easy ring.

Sir Ilpalazzo said on Feb. 15, 2011

I’m not sure what I personally would vote for, but (and I’m only directing this at some of the people who have made this claim, not Tomato or others) the changes in the English version were made by Itoi’s side in response to fan feedback after the Japanese version was released. It’s not like NoA went in and changed whatever they wanted, they only needed the censorship.

linkdude20002001 said on Feb. 15, 2011

True. But I like the original. It was fun, and I feel like the GBA version is too easy. With the easy ring, I doubt people would find it THAT hard. It’s an old-school RPG. It’s SUPPOSED to have some difficulty. 😀

Ree said on Feb. 15, 2011

The Easy Ring and the Famicom dungeon map seems to be at cross purposes with each other. If the goal of this retranslation is really to help EB players get through M1, why make it easier for new players to miss the dragon entirely? Keep it simple.

There can always be a separate patch for purists who want the Famicom dungeon. I’d be interested in trying such a patch eventually, but I want to get more comfortable with the game before I do anything to increase the difficulty.

Mato said on Feb. 15, 2011

G.Wicks: I’m working on fixing some of the ending credits and figured out how to change the song that plays during the credits. Sadly, it looks like they didn’t include that song that was in EB0. I can change it to the normal plane song but it seems odd. Lame that they changed it like that, it was a neat song.

Before I finish the ending hacking I’m gonna see if I can fix the “minute of silence” that happens during the cast roll call.

DJMankiwitz said on Feb. 16, 2011

Looks like “new” is winning so far. I can accept that. I wasn’t aware they botched the ending like that, and I would fairly say it’s a botch from what’s been described.

What did the original Famicom ending consist of? I know it was shorter, but that’s about it.

Mato said on Feb. 17, 2011

It looks like the minute of silence thing was a problem on my part, I’ve since fixed it. The Famicom version had no ending really, after you beat the final boss the credits roll on the same screen and that’s it.

DJMankiwitz said on Feb. 17, 2011

Really? Considering everything I’ve heard it’s like they ran a marathon and just sorta stopped 5 feet from the end. That’s hardly an ending at all, especially considering how well written the Mother games are known to be. So, it’s good to know we’re not missing out on some alternate ending.

It’s odd though… They didn’t bother finishing an ending for the first version, which ended up being written for an American release that never came, and then when Japan finally gets to see some resolution, they end up recycling some earlier music instead of using the track written for EB0’s ending. Oh, question, what music do they use in Mother 1’s original Famicom ending, if any?

Mato said on Feb. 17, 2011
Jack said on Feb. 18, 2011

If this is still being debated, I say make it like Zelda 1 if possible, like how naming your file “ZELDA” will unlock the second quest, maybe naming Ninten something special, it changes the dungeon? Or holding a button when you enter the cave, or start a file or something. Otherwise, use whatever you feel. 😀

tintinophile691 said on Feb. 19, 2011

If you’re planning to restore the original layout of the dungeons, remember to remove the final cave section leading to Giygas.

Pepps said on Feb. 27, 2011

The original looks confusing, so im going with the EB0 version.

anonymous said on Mar. 2, 2011

I like the original. It looks like more of a fun challenge.

Question Mark said on Mar. 2, 2011

Why not have a selection at the start of the game where you can choose confusing or easy so it changes maps depending on what you choose. Famicon is challenging and NES as easy. I don’t know just a suggestion.

PSI rockin' said on Mar. 2, 2011

I’m not sure that would work, but hey, Mato considred making a switch for new looking enemies, and old looking ones, so maybe.

Sackboy said on Mar. 3, 2011

Famicom original map for sure! I want the game to be very close to it’s original and I LOVE games with more spiced up challenge in it^^
Plus, with the Easy Ring equipment on you shouldn’t have much trouble with the enemies in the game. 😛

TheMrSaturnGuy said on Feb. 21, 2012

I think you should use the EB0/Mother 1+2. That way, you have more space for different maps.

johnr754 said on Feb. 26, 2012


Matthewtheman said on Oct. 16, 2012

You guys do realize the patch is already finished right? Btw, he used the Earth Bound map rather than the Famicom onr, which made me glad because its easier and I like easier.


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