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My Mother is Different! - by BillySmakk

My Mother is Different!

For reference, I will refer to MOTHER 1+2's MOTHER game as "MOTHER GBA", and the orignal MOTHER as "MOTHER FAMICOM".

About a week ago I took the advice of our wonderful EarthBound community fansite and ordered MOTHER 1+2 from After a week of nail-biting suspense, paranoia and lack of faith in the U.S. postal service, the game finally arrived at my door. Yes, Play-Asia is a trustworthy game vendor, and I never would have heard about it if it wasn't for you meddling kids at However, the point of this article is not to drop shameless plugs for internet shopping sites. The point of this article is to show the differences I found between the original MOTHER FAMICOM and the re-made MOTHER GBA. And believe me, there are many differences. After playing as far as Magicant in Mother GBA, I discovered something rather alarming: This is not Mother 1. This is EarthBound Zero in Japanese.

I know some of you may be thinking, "Huh?" or "Who cares," but for those of you who are nitpicky like me, this will puzzle you as much as it puzzles me. First of all, let's point out the differences between MOTHER FAMICOM and the unreleased EarthBound Zero. In EarthBound Zero, when you listen to a melody, whether it's from a possessed doll or a monkey at the zoo, there is a special effect of pink and black horizontal lines falling across the entire screen. In Mother, there is no such effect. "Big whoop," you say, but there is more. In EarthBound Zero, the crow you battle is raising his wing for no reason, whilst in MOTHER FAMICOM he is holding a cigarette in the respective wing (ugh, censorship). In EarthBound Zero, the gang zombie in the graveyard holds his shirt open to show his lovely new tie. In MOTHER FAMICOM, he is holding his shirt open to show everyone his big, nasty, bloody scratch wound that probably resulted in his mob-related death. In EarthBound Zero, the sanctuaries (one in the graveyard, the other being Ana's home) have large stain-glass windows, while in MOTHER FAMICOM there are huge crosses in the largest windows. The train tunnels in MOTHER FAMICOM have no enemies, but the train tunnels in EarthBound Zero are infested with robots and those weird llama-type-jobs whose names I just forgot. The map layout of the wooded path leading to Mt. Itoi is also different between the two games. The most interesting difference between MOTHER FAMICOM and EarthBound Zero lies in the underground caves of Magicant. EarthBound Zero's cave is short and there's no way you could get lost even if you were paid to try. In MOTHER FAMICOM, the cave is much, MUCH larger, and you have to actually search for the dragon who rests at the far end of the cave. Basically, the two caves are completely different. (Note that the maps on the website coincide with EarthBound Zero, not MOTHER FAMICOM).

Now what does this have to do with MOTHER of MOTHER1+2? Well, with all these differences between MOTHER FAMICOM and EarthBound Zero, you'd expect MOTHER GBA to be very different from EarthBound Zero since it's a remake of MOTHER FAMICOM, right? Oh my crap, you are soooo wrong! Who raised you???? MOTHER GBA is almost exactly like EarthBound Zero, minus the Japanese text and window graphics. That's right, MOTHER GBA has no smoking crows, no crosses, no elaborate underground Magicant cave, and no mangled gang zombie cadavers. Like EarthBound Zero, it has the melody screen effect (except it "waves" a bit), a run feature (YAY!), stain-glass windows (darn censorship), a boring Magicant cave layout, enemies in the train tunnels, and probably many other things I haven't noticed. Honestly, the only differences between MOTHER GBA and EarthBound Zero are the title screen and the language of the in-game text. Now why would it be like this? I don't know. I have theories, but there's no way to prove them. I had read that Mr. Itoi had hired a team of Nintendo employees to throw the MOTHER games onto GBA and wasn't involved with the conversion himself, so there is a slim possibility that they used the EarthBound Zero ROM as a blueprint, or at least EB Zero's design. I don't know. All I know is that MOTHER GBA and MOTHER FAMICOM are very different and that's kind of whack.

In the long run, it doesn't really matter, because the game still rocks and a run feature is very much appreciated (I think I actually gasped with glee when I accidently stumbled upon the run feature). The cartridge has no regional protection, meaning you don't need to order any adaptors or cut off any annoying plastic parts on the inside of your GBA, you can slide the game in U.S.-cart-style and it'll work. The only thing that bugs me about MOTHER 1+2 is that the music was obviously reconstructed from scratch for both titles, and therefore not PERFECTLY accurate to the originals. Yeah, some of the music was accidently changed and in parts, like M2's title screen and the wake-up music in the hotel, the melody and rhythms itself was altered. As a result, the spaced-out, artsy, quirky radioheadesque feel of Mother 2's music is almost gone, but it doesn't matter because it's still a great game and this article is way too long.

One last thing: if you don't have either MOTHER games, do yourself a favor and at least order MOTHER 1+2. I didn't feel like waiting for a U.S. release and I'm glad I got the game. After fourteen years, Mother still rules.


Other Submissions by BillySmakk

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BillySmakk Battle Music 2
Second battle music theme,
2/12/05 0.00


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