Mother 3

aka: EarthBound 2
Moby ID: 29870
Game Boy Advance Specs
Buy on Game Boy Advance
$82.72 used, $34.75 new on eBay
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Special Edition


The Nowhere Islands are an idyllic place; the residents of Tazmily Village live peacefully and in harmony with nature and with each other. But this changes when the mysterious Pigmask Army arrives and proceeds to destroy and corrupt, with force and sly persuasion alike. The main character is Lucas, a young boy who must find out who wants to destroy the tranquility of Nowhere Islands and turn them into a high-tech nightmare.

Mother 3 is a top-down role-playing game. The player character (the characters controlled by the player change often) travels around the Nowhere Islands with his party, talking to people and furthering the plot. It is possible to "dash", which not only allows to travel faster, but also allows to knock weaker enemies out of the way (or to ram some objects/characters).

There are many enemies to battle in the game. The battles are turn-based; each turn, a character can attack with his weapon, use a special ability (some characters have powerful psychic abilities, others have different special skills), use an item or try to run away. The battles feature a musical combo system, where tapping a button in rhythm with the background music will cause additional damage to the enemy. The characters have "rolling HP meters"; when they are dealt damage, they don't lose all the HP right away, but their HP decreases slowly; this way, even if a character receives massive damage, he can survive with only minor injuries if you manage to end the combat quickly. Winning battles gives the characters experience (and thus makes them stronger) and, later in the game, money (known as "DP"), which can be used in shops to buy better equipment or useful objects.

There are many frogs encountered throughout the game, who serve as save points (and later as ATM machines). If all characters die during a battle, you can come back to life near the latest save point encountered and try again.

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Credits (Game Boy Advance version)

59 People (38 developers, 21 thanks) · View all

Story, Scenario & Message
Sound Effect
Event Design
Message Design
System Programming
Battle Programming
Battle Data Design
Art Director
Map Design
Character Design
Monster Design
Effect Design
[ full credits ]



Average score: 87% (based on 9 ratings)


Average score: 4.3 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 1 reviews)

A true game with heart

The Good
It's really obvious what Mr. Itoi was thinking or feeling at the time of making Mother 3 as opposed to Mother 2 (EarthBound). Your first play through of Mother 2 is really much like a blind date: You don't know what to expect, some awkward things are said, and there's a very eerie feeling all around. Initially Mother 3 feels more warm and welcoming, like the proverbial home that we all long for. Soon though, your home slowly changes and doesn't quite feel the same anymore. From there, you're put on a quest with tons of strange twists that span several main characters.

This game has a very tangible feeling of an adventure as well. In many RPGs, lately I've become very bored with them because even from the beginning you know that it's going to end with your party of ultra powerful characters destroying evil and saving the world/universe/princess. This game doesn't feel like that. It feels like you are truly embarking on some journey and you don't know what will happen next. This is the kind of storytelling that all game designers should be studying.

The Bad
It's not translated into English yet. Seriously, while I can stumble through this game and get a few chuckles here and there I really feel the need to read this story in my native language.

Also, the Magipsy people freak me out. Or at least the song that plays in their houses.

The Bottom Line
Much like it's predecessors, it's still in essence a Dragon Quest parody, but one reason I really enjoy this series is how they've managed to take it past just being what it was originally intended to be and making something true out of it. Some games, admittedly even some games I really enjoy, don't want to take a step outside of the game's initial design.

The graphics, while still around the same style of Mother 2, are much more dynamic than the series' graphics before. All of the sprite animations are really astounding and I want to say that I haven't been wowed by these kinds of sprite animations in a long time. Given, the battle animations still only show PSI effects or items, and not character animation but in my eyes, it's part of the series' charm.

Gameplay is pretty much what you'd expect from an RPG, walking around, talking to people, checking things, and so on. There are a couple differences in the gameplay though. One is the addition of the ability to run. This actually plays into some parts of the game and isn't just a faster way of getting to places. The execution is slightly different than what you'd expect as well. Instead of holding a button while walking to run, you first face your character in the direction you want to run, and without walking, hold the B button and your character will get into a "I'm about to start running" position, then let go of B and off he'll go. From there you can specify different directions to turn. You'll keep running as long as you don't run into anything. It's possible that some feel this was a clumsy way of running in a game, but I feel lt's a little more true to life.

The second gameplay addition is the music-rhythm portion. During battle, when you select your regular "Fight" action, you'll be given the chance to hit multiple times depending on how well you know this particular battle theme and how good your rhythm is. During the turn sequence, when it says that your character is attacking, it will stop the auto-scrolling text and wait for you to respond, so that gives you ample time to get used to the tempo of the song and plan accordingly. Then when you press the A button, just keep pressing it to the rhythm of the battle theme and you'll rack up extra hits. Each battle theme has it's own purpose. Some are slow and steady, some are quicker, some insert strange time signatures to make you slip up and some are even battle themes you've heard and think you know, but slightly different just to ensure you don't always get it right. You can get up to 16 extra hits and if you reach that mark, it'll end your turn and you get applause.

As the score is done by a different person than Mother 2, the music style is very different at parts, but in all the music is original, appropriate, and very catchy. They've even included spurts of famous pieces such from some classical music, and my favorite, when you get into a battle with bats, the battle theme starts out with the old Adam West Batman TV show theme. The sound effects are also solid and well thought up.

Game Boy Advance · by Calpis (27) · 2008


1001 Video Games

Mother 3 appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

English translation

The devoted fans of Mother 3, upon hearing that the game would not see a release outside Japan, not only created a professional-quality fan translation, but also a professional-quality game guide (similar to the one that originally came with Earthbound). Links can be found in the related links section.


The game was originally planned for the 64DD and many videos and images of that build exist. However, that was not to be, and many years later the game came to the Game Boy Advance in a radically different graphical form.

Information also contributed by JudgeDeadd.


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Inlagd sill.

Wii U added by Michael Cassidy.

Additional contributors: Opipeuter, Havoc Crow, Cantillon, mars_rulez, FatherJack.

Game added September 30, 2007. Last modified March 26, 2024.