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September 26th, 2012 | MOTHER 1, Uncommon Knowledge

For years I’ve known about a supposed game-breaking bug in MOTHER 1/EarthBound Zero but never really looked into it. Apparently, you can get to the final battle somehow without getting all the melodies, at which point you obviously can’t beat the game.

I first heard about this on this page back in the late 90s/early 00s. I wasn’t really into the game at the time so I didn’t give it much thought, but the topic has recently come up and now I’m curious. In the years since, I read vague rumors about this bug on Japanese sites too, but never looked into the details.

So, has anyone ever encountered this bug before? What melody/melodies can be skipped that causes this? I would’ve thought for sure that it would’ve been fixed for the North American release, but I guess not…


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9 Comments to EarthBound Zero Game-Breaking Bug

Ree said on Sep. 26, 2012

Pretty sure it’s the dragon (and maybe the canary). Getting those doesn’t move the plot along, so it’s (supposedly) possible to reach Giegue without them and without a SING option.

I’ve never dared to try it out myself but it seems plausible enough.

H.S said on Sep. 26, 2012

As far as I know, in both versions of the game the final cave is blocked by a rock until you get all the melodies.

However, in the Famicom version, you can bypass the rock using the bread crumbs glitch. In that version of the game, the Sing command doesn’t appear in your inventory until Giygas finishes his monologue, so you can still complete it without having collected any of the melodies. That’s also the method they used in the old TAS of Mother:


The English prototype adds the Sing command once you’ve talked to Queen Mary after collecting the melodies. So, you could theoretically get stuck if you managed to fight Giygas before then. However, with the bread crumbs glitch fixed in that version of the game, I’m not sure how you would go about doing that.

Galvancito1 said on Sep. 26, 2012

Not sure but I think I’ve read somwhere that in the japanese version you only need the first 7 melodies and Queen Mary sings the last one once you have the others. Since it is talking to her what opens the path to Gigue, I supose that you may not need them all for her to sing. I mean, in the prototype they may have made a mistake and not checked if you had all the melodies. Maybe you can skip some of them. Definitely you’ll need EVE’s one and in the prototype you’ll need the last one, but what about the rest?

kal said on Sep. 26, 2012

On a separate note, why does a website about fossils have pages about NES games?

Mill said on Sep. 26, 2012

@kal they have way more than just earthbound


BB Gang Zombie said on Sep. 26, 2012

I’m not aware of any bugs to see Giegue without all of the melodies; there IS however a bug in the Japanese version that was fixed in the prototype and Mother 1+2, where the Flea Bag item can be used on R7038XX, thus making the robot not hit hard enough to kill EVE. Battles in EarthBound Zero automatically end after exactly 255 turns, giving a message that says something like “the battle went on and on.”

Since EVE never explodes, and the battle is technically over, you keep EVE forever, while still having her be destroyed to give her melody.

As far as I can tell, the prototype and Mother 1+2 are airtight as far as the melodies go, since the NPC code to check for all the melodies goes between each of them one-by-one, and the melody check is only done right before speaking to Mary–if you have them, it removes the rock and disables Magicant re-entry. If there’s a game breaking bug, it’s likely Famicom-exclusive.

Esper said on Sep. 27, 2012

This guy must have loved the museums in EarthBound.

SSBMaster11 said on Sep. 29, 2012

I’ve actually recently been looking into glitched speedrunning Mother 1 (the Famicom version), and I saw in the TAS that they skipped the melodies, and, it seems like, as long as you talk to Queen Mary in the dying Magicant cutscene, the game thinks you have all the melodies, granting you access to the Giegue fight, and giving you the Sing command. I haven’t yet tested how viable the melody skip is in a non-TAS run, but it definitely works, and I’ll be looking into routes for making that work.

Speaking of which…does anyone know if talking to Queen Mary in the dying Magicant cutscene resets your breadcrumb locations? It would be very helpful for me to know this, because if possible, glitching to both that cutscene, and to EVE would be very beneficial in a speedrun.

BB Gang Zombie said on Oct. 1, 2012

^ I know in both the English and Mother 1+2 versions it sets all bread crumbs to the tombstone–I am unsure about the Famicom version.


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