|Designer(s)||Shigesato Itoi (director, designer)|
Satoru Iwata (executive producer)
Shōgo Sakai (composer)
|Resolution||240 × 160 pixels|
|Platform(s)||Game Boy Advance, Wii U|
|Genre||Console role-playing game|
|Rating(s)||CERO: All Ages|
|Media||256 megabit cartridge|
Mother 3 (マザースリー, Mother 3), sometimes referred to as EarthBound 2, is the third and final installment in the Mother series. It was developed by HAL Laboratory, Inc., Nintendo, and Brownie Brown and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance on April 20, 2006.
It has currently been released only in Japan. It was designed and directed by Shigesato Itoi, with music by Shōgo Sakai. Mother 3 tells the story of Lucas, a young boy, and his friends who journey the Nowhere Islands to save the islands from an invading army and its leader, who have been introducing new technology and infrastructure to the islands.
Up until its release, the game remained near the top of Famitsu's most wanted games list. Immediately before its release, Mother 3 was the most wanted game in Japan according to Weekly Famitsu.
The title began as a project titled "EarthBound 64", a direct sequel to the Mother series' second installment, EarthBound, for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. EarthBound 64 was in development for many years before the project was finally terminated on August 21, 2000, partially because of the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive's commercial failure. Mother 3 was announced in June 2003 during a Mother 1 + 2 television commercial. Although details of its development were kept secret, it has since been made known that EarthBound 64 was reworked into Mother 3. It was released for the Wii U Virtual Console on December 17th 2015, in Japan only.
In 2006, EarthBound series creator, Shigesato Itoi, declared that there were no plans for further installments in the Mother series, and because no official English version has been announced, a fan translation was developed and released on October 17, 2008. Throughout the progress made on the project, Tomato and Jeffman were firm in stating that if Nintendo announced an official localization of Mother 3, they would immediately cease their work, indicating that their sole goal was to ensure that the game was translated to English. The president of Brownie Brown, Shinichi Kameoka, has stated that if they were requested to make a port of Mother 3 for worldwide audiences, they would happily do so.
Mother 3 starts out very differently from the first two Mother games as is it divided up into eight different chapters, similar to Dragon Quest IV and StarTropics. Instead of focusing on a group of children, it chronicles the story and adventures of Lucas and his family, and the story switches perspective during each chapter. For example, the first half of the game is played as Flint, Duster, and Salsa, but the rest of the game is played as Lucas.
The Nowhere Islands also change dramatically because of the influence of the Pigmask Army, transforming from a simple low-tech rural society to a more modern twenty-first century infrastructure that's similar to the first two Mother games (hence the game's theme of nature vs. technology). The game also features a more traditional top-down RPG perspective, instead of the oblique projection used in the first two games.
Once again, the game retains the Dragon Quest-style battle system EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound had (although this time at a much quicker pace), but Mother 3 adds an extra twist in the form of the music combo system. Depending on how well the player presses the A button in-sync to the lead enemy's "theme" (each enemy has their own respective beat, some even possessing variable tempos), he or she can perform up to 16 hits of damaging combos on the game's enemies.
The game also has an option of letting the player practice music combos on enemies they have already fought, once they gain a certain item. Tempos can also be more easily heard in the form of a "heartbeat" when the enemy is asleep. Enemies are still visible on the field, and can still be approached from behind for a surprise attack (along with the extra added detail of seeing behind an enemy). The game also retains the rolling hit point (abbreviated as HP) and Psychic Points (abbreviated as PP) odometers from the previous game, enabling the player to heal before the counter rolls to zero.
In Mother 3, the hit point odometer scrolls more slowly than the previous game and can be slowed further by defending — however, unlike EarthBound, characters will still collapse if their hit point odometer scrolls to zero. Another new addition is the ability to run, by holding and releasing the B button the player can not only reach areas quicker, but also smash into breakable objects and also stun enemies significantly weaker than the party, replacing the previous game's ability to instantly defeat weak enemies without entering battle. Mother 3 also abandons saving the game by phone in favor of Save Frogs, which are abundant and appear at various areas in the game. Currency, which does not come into play until Chapter 4, comes in the form of Dragon Power (abbreviated as DP), which the player can deposit or transfer from Save Frogs.
- Main article: List of characters in Mother 3
Unlike the first two games, the focus is no longer on a group of children. Some chapters put completely different characters in the protagonist role. In one chapter the player controls a limping thief named Duster; in another chapter the main character is Salsa, a monkey who is constantly suffering abuse by a rich traveling merchant named Fassad. The only child character the player gets to control is Lucas, who is about nine to ten years old in the first three chapters and twelve to thirteen years for the remainder of the game. Further controllable characters include Kumatora, a tomboyish princess, Flint, a strange middle-aged cowboy and Lucas's father, and Lucas's dog, Boney.
Setting & Premise
Mother 3 is set in the Nowhere Islands, some unknown amount of years after EarthBound. Chaos ensues after an invasion by the Pigmask Army, named after the uniforms, which resemble pigs, and its leader, Porky Minch, the "Pig King". They slowly construct a police state, while experimenting on the land's flora and fauna, and introducing new technology and infrastructure to the islands. The various chapters record the life of a boy named Lucas and his family and friends, banding together to rid the Nowhere Islands of the Pigmask Army.
True to the game's slogan "Strange, Funny and Heartrending", Mother 3 sheds the more lighthearted and quirky plot lines of the previous games in favor of a far darker and more emotional story. The plot involves quite a few tragic and saddening events. However, the game still retains many humorous and bizarre elements that are common to the series.
The game opens with a preliminary sequence showing Hinawa visiting her father, Alec, with her twin sons, Claus & Lucas. After her sons play-fight with some Dragos, Hinawa writes a letter to her husband, Flint, stating that she expects to be returning home to Tazmily Village sometime soon. After sending the letter, she hears a strange anthem being played by an unseen flying object, foreshadowing the rest of the story...
Chapter 1: Night of the Funeral
The game then switches to Flint's perspective. Late one night, the Sunshine Forest is set on fire by a group of strange people in pig-like masks. Thomas, the fireman of the nearby rural village of Tazmily, rushes to Flint's house and tries to wake him up, breaking the doorknob off the latter's front door in the process. Thomas forces Flint to head into the forest to rescue Lighter and Fuel, who are still trapped in the fire.
Flint & Thomas eventually find Lighter, but he had sustained several injuries, apparently from trying to fight the swarm of bugs nearby. The bugs appear to be responsible for the fire, as when Flint confronts them himself, they repeatedly attack by shooting flames from their proboscises. After defeating the swarm, Flint rescues Fuel, who became trapped in his burning house, and was only saved seconds before it collapsed. After reuniting Fuel with Lighter, Tazmily experiences its first rainstorm in "a while", putting out the fire; however, the residents of Tazmily realize that Hinawa still hasn't come home, and organize a search party for her. During the search, Flint hears from Isaac that earlier, he thought he saw Hinawa, then heard a Drago's roar, followed by bloodcurdling screams. Issac nervously grows skeptical about this, while Flint later receives the letter Hinawa sent at the end of the prologue.
Eventually, Jonel comes across a plateau that appears to have been gashed at by a Drago. This fact worries him, as Dragos are peaceful creatures; even more worrying is the sight of a red scrap of cloth hanging on a tree branch. Seeking to scale the plateau, Flint employs the help of Duster, a skillful adventurer handicapped by a distinctive limp. Using his Wall Staples, Duster forms a ladder to scale the plateau, with Flint taking the lead. Flint then further examines the scrap of cloth on the tree, and finds that the cloth is identical in color to Hinawa's dress. However, his concern is interrupted by the sight of the strange pig-like people who set the forest on fire earlier.
The pig-like people react by sending a cybernetic caribou after them. Upon the caribou's defeat, the pig-like people flee, dropping a notebook detailing their plans to "improve" the wildlife by taking them apart and fusing them with either cybernetic modifications or parts of other living creatures: a plan dubbed the "Fascinating Chimera Project". Flint tucks away the notebook and returns to the village, where Tessie announces that Claus & Lucas were found in the river and are drying by a nearby campfire.
However, this period of relief is short-lived, as Bronson suddenly arrives with "some good news...and...some bad news." The good news is that Bronson managed to find a severed Drago Fang, and that it could make a great weapon. The bad news, however, is where he found the fang: "It was pierced through [Hinawa's] heart." Hinawa's murder shocks everyone, but especially devastates Flint, who assaults his peers in a blind rage before being knocked unconscious by Lighter.
After dreaming about the last time he saw Hinawa alive (when she left to visit her father on Mt. Oriander), Flint wakes up to find that he is the first prisoner of Tazmily Village's jail. Bronson explains that everyone understands Flint's grief and why he went on a rampage last night, but also admonishes Flint for his poor method of coping with the stress of his wife's murder. Bronson asks Flint to see him once he gets out of jail, as the former managed to fashion the Drago's Fang into an effective weapon.
Flint is then visited by Claus, who leaves him an apple with a Hand File tucked into the core. Claus boasts that he'll become strong enough to take on the Drago that killed Hinawa, then leaves without finishing his last sentence. Flint then finds the Hand File in the apple and uses it to break open the rusted lock on the jail cell's door before heading off to Hinawa's wake. There, Alec forces Lucas to reveal that Claus stole Flint's kitchen knife and ran off to the Drago Plateau to avenge Hinawa.
Lucas runs away out of shame, as he let Claus go do something that would likely get him killed, and Alec instructs Flint to meet him at his home on Mt. Oriander. Once the two men meet up, they head off to the house of Aeolia, the leader of the six Magypsies: gender-less, effeminate humanoids with special abilities. Aeolia and the Magypsies reveal that Claus visited them on his trek to Drago Plateau, and was granted a special power by them for combat. Knowing this, Flint & Alec head off to the Drago Plateau to find Claus.
While scaling the Drago Plateau, Flint & Alec come across several more of the pig-like people who've been recently terrorizing Tazmily Village, and later find a baby Drago playing with a shoe that is unmistakably Claus's. Travelling further, they find Claus's other shoe, and with it, a cybernetic Drago short one fang: the fang that killed Hinawa. Recognizing his wife's murderer, Flint pierces the Drago's hide with its own fang, and fights it until it collapses. However, Alec stops Flint from killing the Drago when its child intervenes, stating that killing the Drago will only throw its child into the same world of grief as Claus & Lucas. However, Alec's words are futile, as the Drago succumbs to its injuries anyways. Flint & Alec then head back to Tazmily Village as the camera pans below the plateau. A body is seen lying face-down, seemingly dead from an apparent fall. It is Claus.
Chapter 2: Thief Adventure
The story then switches to Duster's perspective, beginning when he consoles Flint after the latter escapes from jail. The following night, Duster is tasked by his father, Wess, to infiltrate the abandoned Osohe Castle and recover a very important item from it. Taking a series of useful tools with him, Duster heads to the castle, running into a suspicious peddler and his pet monkey along the way. Duster also encounters Butch the farmer, who offered some pigs to the peddler in exchange for a bag full of strange stuff called "money". Upon reaching the cemetery, he is briefly attacked by the undead and animate gravestones before successfully infiltrating Osohe Castle.
Inside the castle, Duster encounters hordes of ghosts; many of them are quite hostile, though some are actually friendly. Venturing further into the castle, Duster sees a strange girl pass him by, dropping a shining pendant along the way. Duster takes the pendant and fights a ghostly orchestra conductor before finding the Noble Spitoon, which he believes to be the item that Wess was asking for. Duster takes the spitoon and heads back home.
However, when the spitoon is presented to Wess, he shatters it in rage, scolding Duster for bringing him the wrong item. Just as he loses faith in his son, Wess notices the pendent that the latter picked up during the previous mission. Wess tells Duster of its importance, and joins him to infiltrate Osohe Castle a second time the following morning. However, their endeavors are complicated by the pig-like people, who are also searching for Wess's very important item. The pig-like people send an electric-powered clay golem after them, but Wess & Duster are able to fight it off until it collapses. The pig-like people, unable to reactivate the golem, retreat.
Making their way further into the castle, Wess & Duster are nearly hit with a blast of PK Freeze, and meet the strange girl Duster met before: Kumatora, the tomboy "princess" of Osohe Castle. Kumatora begins trusting Wess & Duster after they free her from a bear trap, and begins joining them on their journey for Wess's very important item. Along the way, they find a balcony looking out to the castle's courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard is a glowing, golden needle; Wess explains that when he asked King Osohe about it, the latter gravely stated that it was of no importance. Though Wess seems to be aware that the King was lying about the needle, he dismisses it, as it is not his very important item.
Eventually, Wess, Duster, and Kumatora find a room containing the Egg of Light (also referred to as the "Hummingbird Egg"): Wess's very important item. However, the pig-like people reach them as well, and are attempting to break down the door with more clay golems. Kumatora hastily takes the Egg of Light, only to open a trap-door that drops her, Wess, and Duster into a pool below the castle. There, they face off against a gigantic snake before being abruptly drained out of the castle.
Upon recovering, Kumatora & Wess discover that Duster isn't with them, and go through town to find him. At the town square, however, they are confronted by Butch, who accuses Wess & Duster of stealing the "money" that he hid in the well. Kumatora tries to defend the pair, scaring Butch in the process, before Flint steps in and urges everyone to hold their hysteria until Duster returns.
Chapter 3: The Suspicious Peddler
The story then switches perspectives yet again, this time focusing on a monkey who was poached from the wild some unknown time ago, along with his girlfriend. The monkey is forced to work for Fassad Yokuba, one of the highest-ranking members of the Pigmask Army. The Pigmasks, named for their pig-like outfits, had previously set fire to a forest near a rural village and began their "Fascinating Chimera Project" by converting a caribou and a Drago into cybernetic chimeras. However, the Drago ended up escaping, and the Pigmasks are unable to figure out what happened to it. Nevertheless, the Pigmasks decide to continue their missions across the Nowhere Islands.
Chapter 3 begins with a Pigmask airship landing in the Death Desert, a desolate area full of dangerous animals. Fassad forces his captured monkey to work for him, in exchange for the life of the monkey's girlfriend. Naming the monkey "Salsa", Fassad equips him with a shock collar that can be activated at the push of a button, for disciplinary use. Grudgingly, Salsa treks through the desert until provoking and defeating a Cactus Wolf, at which point Fassad opens a secret underground passage.
The passage ends up leading to a graveyard in a rural village called "Tazmily". The town is caught in a state of grief following the death of one of their residents, who was murdered by a hostile Drago. Arriving at night, Fassad & Salsa make their way to the town before bumping into a limping, bad-breathed bum. They also overhear a conversation between the bum and a man who previously gave Fassad some pigs in exchange for money. Fassad learns that the latter man hid his money in the town's well, and takes back the money, knowing that it'll cause an upset in the town. He then decides to stay the night in the town's inn, learning (to his surprise) that the town lacks a monetary system.
The next morning, Fassad gathers the townspeople and delivers an elaborate propaganda speech: he states that the world around us has fallen into a state of peril, citing the Pigmasks's acts of terror upon Tazmily Village, and explains that the only way to reclaim peace and happiness is to install Happy Boxes in their homes. Gaining the public's attention, Fassad spreads Happy Boxes all over town, with Salsa stuck as the sole delivery person.
Fassad later receives notice that the Pigmasks's raid of Osohe Castle, intended to obtain the Egg of Light, is being interrupted by a second group of amateur raiders. Knowing that the amateurs are in the basement, Fassad forces Salsa to drain the waters at the bottom of the castle, washing away the amateurs-- and the Egg of Light. Angered, Fassad goes back to the inn to stay the night. However, on his way there, he encounters a frenzy erupting in the town square: the man who sold Fassad his pigs is accusing a family in the town of stealing his money. Fassad takes the opportunity to continue his propaganda, while a strange girl in the crowd forms a telepathic connection with Salsa.
The next night, Salsa awakes to hear a girl's voice: the same girl he met earlier. She frees him from Fassad's control, aided by an old man, by removing his shock collar and destroying the remote that activates the shocks. However, Fassad wakes up and confronts the group, forcing the latter to run into the forest. Despite their efforts, Salsa and co. are confronted by tanks and soldiers, and are eventually cornered. Right when Fassad prepares to arrest the rebellious group, a blond-haired kid walks on to the scene, along with a baby drago and its mother. At the kid's command, the adult Drago ravages the Pigmasks, forcing them to flee. The chapter ends with a foreshadowing of his future psychological growth.
Chapter 4: Club Titiboo
Despite the Pigmasks's defeat at the end of Chapter 3, their influence has successfully spread throughout the Nowhere Islands as a result of the Happy Boxes, which are implied to have brainwashed their owners. The region has become highly modernized, to a point where it resembles America/Eagleland; it even now runs on a monetary system, utilizing a currency called "Dragon Power", or DP.
Happy Boxes are commonplace in buildings, particularly in the now Onett-esque Tazmily Village, though buildings lacking Happy Boxes are inexplicably destroyed by lightning strikes, with Flint's house being a recurring target. The government also appears to be quite strict, arresting Wess and throwing him into a retirement home for protesting during one of Fassad's speeches. Citizens pledge allegiance to their great "King P," and the Pigmasks hold militaristic, totalitarian law. However, a small group of people still remain skeptical of the new government, and will go on to rebel.
The story continues three years after the events of Chapter 3, now taking its final change in perspective and focusing on Lucas; his viewpoint is where the rest of the game is focused. Still grieving his mother's death (albeit no longer publicly displaying it), he starts to grow suspicious after hearing of the appearance of an apparent doppelganger of Duster, who disappeared three years ago.
Aided by his dog, Boney, he learns that the suspicious man in question is Lucky, the bassist for the DCMC, who regularly performs at Club Titiboo, near the Clayman Factory, where electrically-powered clay golems are manufactured & maintained. Since he cannot take the train, he travels to the factory through the tunnels; along the way, he runs into the Magypsy Ionia, who allows him to use the Magypsies's special ability: psionic powers, or PSI. Alongside these powers is tier "α" of PK Love, an immensely powerful PSI attack. A surprised Ionia explains that PK Love is a PSI that is hardly ever learned, and learned only by a select group of people.
After travelling to the factory, Lucas learns that Club Titiboo is only accessible to factory employees, prompting him to take up a brief part-time job escorting worn-out Claymen to a recharging station. Eventually, Lucas gains access to the club, but is forced to go back due to the club's no-pets-policy... only to return with Boney disguised as a person. However, Lucas & Boney are still denied entrance, and are only admitted in at the recommendation of one of the waitresses, Violet, who claims that Lucas is the legendary Prince Poo.
Once inside, Violet reveals to Lucas & Boney that she is actually a disguised Kumatora, who both aided Duster & Wess during their second raid of Osohe Castle and connected with Salsa & spearheaded his escape. She promises to explain everything to them after the concert.
Following the concert, Kumatora drags Lucas & Boney down a hidden passageway to one of the dressing rooms, where she explains that Lucky is actually an amnesic Duster, who disappeared from public view three years ago after hiding the Egg of Light. However, Kumatora also explains that she has trouble contacting him, as he is regularly kept under security due to his status as a celebrity. As a result, she asks Lucas & Boney to navigate Club Titiboo's attic and infiltrate Lucky's dressing room.
After navigating the attic and disposing of the DCMC's sentient, retired, and vengeful bass, Lucas & Boney make it into Lucky's dressing room. There, the DCMC has gathered together, and Lucky reveals to Lucas that he hid the Egg of Light somewhere in the Unknown Valley, but is still trying to remember his true identity. Unable to choose whether to continue living as the DCMC's bassist or become "Duster" again and reclaim the egg, he places the decision in the hands of the band, who settle the decision via rock-paper-scissors.
The entire band agrees on the fact that Lucky is destined to become Duster again, and utilize coincidence & deception to lose to Lucas on purpose. This convinces Lucky to call himself "Duster" again and search for the Egg of Light. Before leaving, he briefly re-lives how he became Lucky: after hiding the Egg and losing his memories, Duster was taken in by the DCMC, who gave him the pseudonym "Lucky" and hired him as his bassist. As Lucky, Duster consistently practiced the bass and became a famed member of the DCMC. Before leaving, Duster eavesdrops on the DCMC's first concert without him, where they sing farewell to their departed Lucky...
Chapter 5: Tower of Thunder
Trekking through the Unknown Valley (and allowing Boney to remove his disguise), the group eventually comes across the inactive Clayman that Duster hid the Egg of Light in. However, a bolt of lightning supercharges the golem, causing it to get up and run off somewhere. Seeing the monster run off down the highway, Kumatora prompts everyone to go after it.
While they follow the Clayman through a nearby warehouse, they are suddenly stopped by a group of Pigmasks. Apparently, Lucas bears a striking resemblance to the Pigmasks' commander-in-chief, to the point where the Pigmasks can't discern the two apart and believe that Lucas is the commander. After being dressed up into proper uniform, Lucas (in the commander's vest & trousers) and company (dressed in Pigmask uniforms) find the Egg-bearing Clayman being driven off to the dump, prompting the group to continue their search down the highway.
During the chase, Lucas borrows a Pork Bean from a Pigmask and uses it to better their advantage in the chase. However, the vehicle ends up crashing after slipping on multiple banana peels, presumably dropped by Fassad. This catches the attention of the Pork Trooper, a higher-ranked Pigmask (who also attended the DCMC concert back in Chapter 4). He is eager to help out his "allies", but attacks them once is incredibly precise sense of smell allows him to tell them apart from his real comrades. During the fight, he is easily incapacitated by jealousy-- induced by Lucas & co. showing him DCMC merchandise-- and goes down swiftly. Vowing to return, he runs off, leaving behind his own Pork Bean for Lucas to take.
Continuing further down the Highway, the group eventually reaches the municipal dump, where Claymen that can no longer function properly are deposited in heaps of clay. Among these heaps is the Clayman bearing the Egg of Light, but before Duster can reclaim it, some of the dump's discarded clay fuses with some other scrap to create a sentient pile of garbage.
Lucas & co. manage to defeat this forlorn junk heap and take back the egg; the moment Duster picks it up, he regains all the memories he'd lost three years ago, allowing him to become the same Duster that fought the Reconstructed Caribou with Flint on the Drago Plateau, the same Duster that raided Osohe Castle twice, and the same Duster that was washed away, separated from his father & Kumatora, and hid the Egg of Light in an apparently dead Clayman before losing his memories. However, his celebration is cut short by the Pigmasks, who take the group over to the Thunder Tower.
Lucas & co. climb up the tower, learning along the way that it was built for the purpose of destroying homes that refuse to install Happy Boxes by shooting bolts of electricity (this manages to explain the lightning strikes that have repeatedly plagued Lucas's home). After climbing high up the tower and defeating a better-equipped "Fierce" Pork Trooper, the group runs into none other than Fassad.
He easily discerns Lucas as the blonde-haired kid who sent a Drago to drive off the Pigmasks at the end of Chapter 3, and chases him further up the tower. During Lucas & co's escape, they find their way into a strange playroom belonging to King P. Among other items are a casket from a foreign land, some teddy bears that don't look like they were used since the 1990's, and a jukebox (specifically one that would be better suited for a café somewhere in a big city) that only plays a song suited for a department store.
Climbing further up, Lucas gets struck by a faulty bolt of electricity from a disheveled part of the tower, allowing him to realize the power of PK Flash. He is then driven further up by Fassad, but not without taking the opportunity to destroy the tower's main generator, destroying the tower in turn. Forced onto the roof, Lucas & co. are left to die on the crumbling tower by Fassad.
The latter then heads to the Pigmasks' mothership to escape, but a tremor causes him to slip on one of his discarded banana peels and fall to his death. Duster then seizes the opportunity to grab on to the mothership and follow it, with Lucas, Kumatora, and Boney hanging on to him. However, the ship shakes the group off, causing them to scatter about as the Pigmask's real commander-in-chief, a strange masked man, watches them...
Chapter 6: Sunflower Fields
What sets Chapter 6 apart from others is its ambiguous setting: it is unknown if the field is where Lucas landed following his fall from the mothership in the previous chapter, or if this is just part of Lucas's imagination (as a form of him coping with Hinawa's death).
Chapter 7: The Seven Needles
NOTE: This is one of the longest chapters in the game; as such, it will be divided into several sections based on the commonly-considered chronological order that the needles come into play; note that most of this chapter is non-linear. The first, sixth, and seventh needles must be pulled in the order that they are listed, while the second, third, fourth, and fifth needles can be pulled in any order.
The First Needle
The chapter begins with Lucas & Boney waking up in a haystack just outside Tazmily's retirement home. Alec and Wess take Lucas & Boney into the home and explain that they had a dream where Hinawa told them to build a haystack at the exact spot that Lucas & Boney landed. Alec then asks about Duster's whereabouts, and suggests that Lucas see the Magypsies for help.
After leaving the retirement home, Lucas hears a commotion nearby and finds Ionia, bound & gagged and left on the bridge. She takes Lucas & Boney upriver to Aeolia's house, where Ionia takes the liberty of freshening up. While Aeolia is talking with the others, a loud tremor occurs outside, and the sky repeatedly changes colors for a brief moment. Aeolia then realizes that she is dying; her needle has been pulled by someone, meaning that it is time for her to vanish from existence.
With some parting words, she leaves behind a razor and some lipstick and uses the last of her remaining PSI to open up a secret passageway beneath her tea table. Lucas, Ionia, and Boney follow it to find that it ends at the courtyard of Osohe Castle, the resting place of Aeolia's Needle. There, the golden needle that was previously visible in Chapter 2 is gone, with a hole secreting purple smoke left in its wake.
Lonia explains that the needle is one of seven that conceal a special power, only accessible once all seven are pulled. She fears the worst, believing that whoever pulled Aeolia's needle may have a dark heart, or no heart at all. Lonia provides an in-depth explanation on how the Seven Needles work: The needles can only be pulled by those who know the PK Love ability. When a needle is pulled, the puller passes their heart on to the Dark Dragon that sleeps beneath the Nowhere Islands.
When all the needles are pulled, the dragon will awaken, and the result will either be beneficial (if the needles were pulled by a goodhearted person) or catastrophic (if the needles were pulled by a person with a dark heart); however, there is no telling what will happen if the needles were pulled by a heartless person. Ionia then leaves, asking Lucas to pull the rest of the needles before whoever pulled Aeolia's does, and Lucas finds a transceiver phone similar to Fassad's. Answering a call on it, Lucas learns that the next needle is near the Chimera Laboratory.
The Second Needle
After returning to the surface via the Osohe Waterways, Boney drags Lucas to Hinawa's grave. There, Nippolyte the grave keeper is paying his respects to Hinawa. Upon noticing Lucas, he gives him the Courage Badge, saying that it is a present from Flint. Nippolyte also muses over how Hinawa's murder and Claus's disappearance has destroyed Flint's life: Flint's routine consists solely of mourning Hinawa, searching for Claus, mourning Hinawa, searching for Claus, etc. Lucas & Boney head off to find the Chimera Lab.
At the Murasaki Forest, Lucas & Boney come across the Chimera Lab and infiltrate it by taking a part-time job there. Donning Pigmask helmets, the two are tasked with finding two monkeys due for experimentation that have escaped: Salsa & Samba. Taking the opportunity to explore the place, Lucas & Boney learn of the brutal practices that occur in the lab, several of which are eerily Mengele-esque.
Eventually, the duo finds Salsa & Samba, but the latter run off after mistaking the former for Pigmasks. Meanwhile, the chimeras appear to have gone rogue, and Lucas & Boney are attacked by an unfinished, cybernetic lion chimera. After a Clayman incapacitates the lion, the lab hears news that the Ultimate Chimera has escaped and is terrorizing the workers. The Pigmasks explain that the Ultimate Chimera is unbeatable, and will instantly stalk anyone it sees, usually killing them with its powerful jaws and razor-sharp teeth. A state of emergency is declared in the lab as the Ultimate Chimera continues its massacre...
Lucas & Boney continue searching for Salsa & Samba, while simultaneously trying to avoid the jaws of the Ultimate Chimera. Along the way, they see an old man hiding in a trash can. He introduces himself as Dr. Andonuts, and explains that he is being forced to work as the Pigmasks' chief technological developer. Previous details in the game show this his other inventions included the Claymen and the Instant Revitalizing Machines stationed in several locations.
Later, Lucas & Boney manage to corner Salsa & Samba in the basement, but they escape and flee to the far-east room on the first floor. There, Lucas & Boney corner the monkeys again, but are cornered in turn by... the Ultimate Chimera. Fearing for their lives, Lucas & Boney flee, dropping their disguises and allowing Salsa to recognize Lucas as the blonde kid who, with the help of a Drago, freed him from Fassad and the Pigmasks three years ago.
As Lucas & Boney try to stay alive, Dr. Andonuts reveals that he gave the Ultimate Chimera a precautionary weakness: the big red button on its back serves as a power switch for the chimera, which went rogue before the switch could be removed.
As the Ultimate Chimera pounces at Lucas, Salsa suddenly jumps in and hits the switch, deactivating the chimera. With the threat incapacitated, Lucas & Boney go off to continue their original search for the second needle. However, as they leave, the yellow bird that rests on the Ultimate Chimera's head jumps down and presses the chimera's switch, re-activating the beast and allowing it to escape the lab and run off into the wild...
Continuing onwards, Salsa uses one of his tricks to perform a special dance that allows him to open a previously-unopenable door for Lucas & Boney. Through it is the house of the Magypsy Doria, with an additional guest: Kumatora, who was taken in by Doria after falling from the mothership back in Chapter 5. Knowing that Lucas must be the one to awaken the Dark Dragon, she reveals that her needle is beneath the pond outside her house. With the help of Dr. Andonuts and a special chimera, Lucas is able to reveal the second needle. Meanwhile, Kumatora bids farewell to Salsa, who gives her a nut as a parting gift. With all his might, Lucas grasps the needle and tears it out of the earth, causing the same pseudo-apocalyptic phenomenon as when Aeolia's needle was pulled; Lucas also learns PK Love β as an aftershock of the event. Doria disappears, and Lucas, Boney, and Kumatora continue searching for the rest of the needles.
The Third Needle
After leaving Doria's house and defating an unruly mouse, Lucas & co. run into the Mole Cricket that play-fought with Lucas & Claus during their visit to Mt. Oriander at the very beginning of the game. He invites Lucas to a rematch in the Mole Cricket Hole. There, Lucas easily defeats the Mole Cricket and continues through the tunnel with his friends, eventually reaching the other side at Snowcap Mountain. There, Lucas & co. encounter Lydia, the Magypsy of Snowcap Mountain's needle. She invites the group in, where it is revealed that she is incredibly warmhearted to everyone-- even a stranded Pigmask Captain that remains in her home. Lydia state that her needle is behind her house.
Hearing the sounds of Pigmask airships, Lucas & co. rush outside-- just in time to witness the pulling of Lydia's needle by the Pigmasks' commander-in-chief, the Masked Man. Lucas and the Masked Man form a telepathic connection with each other, revealing to Lucas that the Masked Man is a heartless being. The Masked Man departs, leaving the group to fight the Steel Mechorilla. After the Mechorilla's defeat, Lydia urges Lucas to be the one to awaken the Dark Dragon, and asks to check on the Pigmask Captain, then disappears into thin air like Aeolia & Doria. When leaving, the Pigmask Captain is seen tending for Lydia's pet rabbits in her absence. He is also unmasked, revealing that the Pigmasks are just regular people who've sworn their ultimate allegiance to the Pig King.
Lucas, Kumatora, and Boney leave Snowcap Mountain and head back to Tazmily by launching a refrigerator off the top of the mountain. Landing in the cemetery, Lucas spots a strange jar that opens a peculiar nearby grave. Lucas & co. jump down the hole and continue their adventure. Meanwhile, people are leaving Tazmily in droves, heading off to seek better lives in the big city.
The Fourth Needle
The hole leads to an underground tunnel, specifically the one used by Fassad to go from the Death Desert to Tazmily Village in Chapter 3; the entrance to the desert is closed. Lucas & co. follow the passageway until they find a strange coffee table that is actually a form of ground transport. The group rides the table down the highway until reaching the closed entrance to Thunder Tower. There, a previously-closed pathway is made accessible, leading to a strange area called Saturn Valley. The area is populated by a race of bizarre creatures called Mr. Saturns, who've been taken hostage by invading Pigmasks. The Pigmasks know that there is a needle nearby, and are torturing the Mr. Saturns via scary stories told by Frightbots. Among the Mr. Saturns is Duster, who was taken in by the Mr. Saturns following his fall in Chapter 5. Lucas, Kumatora, and Boney drive out the Pigmasks and free the Mr. Saturns & Duster. In return, the Mr. Saturns allow Lucas, Kumatora, Duster, and Boney to access Fire Mountain, where the fourth needle lies.
At the base of Fire Mountain is the home of Phrygia, the sleeping Magypsy. Being mainly focused on beauty rest, she provides Lucas with some Encouraging Words to tell the boulders blocking the path to the mountain, so that the boulders will move out of the way; Lucas follows suit. With a clear path, Lucas and co. trek deeper into the mountain, facing numerous tough enemies along the way. At some point, they encounter a group of Pigmasks gossiping about how Fassad's "changed" since the events of Chapter 5. However, they notice Lucas and flee before they can divulge any more information. This piques curiosity, given the fact that Fassad apparently died after falling from Thunder Tower. This curiosity is answered once Lucas and co. reach the fourth needle: a voice shouts "'I've found you! I've finally found you! Nwehehehehe!' is what Fassad says!"
Descending upon the group is Fassad, who actually survived his fall from Thunder Tower and was given cybernetic enhancements to ensure his survival. However, he is left unable to speak any known language, instead producing a distorted variation of the Magypsies' leitmotif; this forces him to travel with an interpreter, who translates his music into language. Fassad, now calling himself "New Fassad" in reference to his condition, divulges on the humiliation he suffered after falling from Thunder Tower. Swearing revenge, he suddenly attacks Lucas & co, presenting a truly difficult fight. However, New Fassad is eventually defeated, and flees while declaring that he will return.
With all his might, Lucas pulls the fourth needle, prompting Phrygia to wake up for the first time in the game, just to witness the event and bid farewell. Lucas learns PK Love δ from the needle, and heads off to find the fifth needle. However, a single Pigmask Major destroys the exit to Saturn Valley, leaving Lucas and co. trapped. Turning the tables back in Lucas's favor, the Mr. Saturns are able to build a flying machine using a wire cage and several birds, some of which Lucas catches as contribution. During this time, one Mr. Saturn takes Lucas's Courage Badge in order to clean it, and another Mr. Saturn provides the group with coffee. As the coffee is consumed, messages of encouragement are relayed to the group against a psychedelic background in a familiar format. The machine is able to fly Lucas & co. out of Saturn Valley before falling into the ocean and washing up at Cerulean Beach. Upon waking up, they decide to continue the search for the remaining three needles.
The Fifth Needle
Learning that the next needle is on an island on the other side of the ocean, Lucas & co. decide to swim there, lacking any other form of transport. Walking into the water, the group traverses the seabed, refilling their lungs when necessary via suggestively-designed oxygen suppliers. Eventually, the group is pulled into the currents of an aquatic entity known as Master Eddy, who engages them in battle. Master Eddy puts up a strong fight, attacking twice each turn. Just as he's about to be defeated, he summons a gigantic whirlpool that instantly defeats the group, washes away their items, and sends them to drift the waves unconscious...
The group washes up on the shores of Tanetane Island, weak and with little chance of survival. Their lack of items (and Lucas & Kumatora's lack of sufficient PP) prevents them from healing, and their path is blocked by a Zombieshroom too strong for them to defeat. With no other choice, Lucas, Kumatora, and Duster ingest some strange purple mushrooms; Boney refuses to eat them, sensing something suspicious. While the mushrooms do heal Lucas, Kumatora, and Duster completely, they turn out to be psilocybin mushrooms and induce a series of tormenting hallucinations. All the creatures on the island appear to the affected group as people they know, who spout messages reflecting the group's darker sides, particularly their fears, tragic memories, and other negative emotions. Lucas seems to be affected the most, seeing himself as below everyone else and deserving of scorn. These figures also attack the group when talked to, taking the form of Eerie Smiles before later revealing their true forms.
Eventually, the group reaches the house of the Magypsy Mixolydia, who appears unusually feminine and beautiful for the normally masculine-looking Magypsies. She also appears with Ocho, a suave-looking sailor. Mixolydia immediately recognizes that Lucas & co. ingested the island's Hallucination Mushrooms, and reverses its effects by smacking each of them on the back of the head using a board of wood. Once the effects wear off, she and Ocho appear to the group in their actual state: a pink-haired humanoid with a masculine physique, and a large, magenta octopus with a black cap. Mixolydia allows the group to stay the night at her house, while Ocho gives them all the items they lost during the fight against Master Eddy; Ocho explains that he regularly combs the beaches of Tanetane Island, and happened to come across the group's items.
Mixolydia allows the group to go after her needle, but warns that it is well-guarded. Once the group reaches the site, they understand why: it is guarded by the Barrier Trio, three large golems consisting of Barrier Man, Barrier Dude, and Barrier Gal. The Barrier Trio manages to prove themselves as a formidable force, but are defeated anyways by Lucas & co. However, before Lucas can pull the needle, the Pigmasks arrive, and the Masked Man incapacitates Lucas & co. with a bolt of lightning from his energy sword. The Masked Man then pulls the needle and flies off. Mixolydia then arrives, despairing over the increasing advance of the Pigmasks. Before she disappears, she gives Lucas a Jar of Yummy Pickles to give to Ionia. NOTE: If the player had Lucas pull the third, fourth, and fifth needles in an order different than the one provided here, then the Magypsy of the last needle of these three will be the one to give Lucas the Jar of Yummy Pickles (i.e. Lydia will give the jar if her needle is pulled last, and Phrygia will give the jar if her needle is pulled last).
Lucas & co. then ride home on Ocho's back, only to find out that Tazmily is nearly devoid of life. Nearly everyone has left the village in search of a better life in the big city, leaving Tazmily destined to become a ghost town. Knowing that there's no reason to keep living in Tazmily, Lucas leads the group to Ionia's house, hoping to find the last two needles...
The Sixth Needle
Making their way through the Argilla Pass, the group eventually reaches Ionia's house. There, she takes the Jar of Yummy Pickles and provides the group with Waters of Time to sprinkle on the time-locked vines in front of the Chupichupyoi Temple, so that they will clear out and make the entrance to the temple accessible. Lucas and co. head off to the temple; along the way, they bump into a hooded Mr. Saturn that gives back Lucas's Courage Badge. Upon being cleaned it is revealed to be a Franklin Badge, a legendary artifact said to deflect bolts of electricity.
At the Chupichupyoi Temple, the Pigmasks are trying in vain to break through the vines that block the entrance. Just as the Masked Man grows impatient and tries to bomb the entrance open, Lucas and company arrive. Lucas forms another telepathic link with the Masked Man, who fires another intense bolt of lightning at him. This time, however, the bolt is reflected off of Lucas's Franklin Badge and back at the Masked Man. Learning that Lucas & co have grown too strong to simply brush aside, the Masked Man engages them in battle. His status as the commander-in-chief of the Pigmasks easily shows, as he is one of the toughest opponents in the entire game. However, Lucas & co. eventually manage to defeat him, prompting him & his army to retreat.
With the Pigmasks gone, Lucas pours the Waters of Time onto the temple's vines, which quickly mature and wither away, leaving the doors open. Inside the temple lies Ionia's needle. The temple also contains a mural, which depicts the concept of majority rule: when the Seven Needles are all pulled, whoever pulled the most needles will be the one who awakens the Dark Dragon. Before it can be pulled, Ionia walks in and gives Kumatora a parting gift: she teaches her the power of PK Starstorm. With preparations in order, Lucas pulls the sixth needle and realizes the amazing power of PK Love Ω, the strongest tier of the attack. Ionia then disappears, orphaning Kumatora, who was taken in by Ionia as a surrogate daughter many years ago. With a race to the final needle underway, Lucas & co. are stopped by a well-dressed man who claims to represent the king, whom he refers to as "Porky". He claims that the king has invited Lucas and his friends to go to New Pork City, the same "big city" that everyone's already migrated to. Without any explanation, Lucas & co. accept the offer and head to the big city like everyone else...
Chapter 8: All Things...
Isn't This Such a Utopia?
At New Pork City, all the residents of Tazmily Village live in perfect glory. The town captures the very essence of capitalist life, from the stores to the skyscrapers. Even more noteworthy are the numerous images of King Porky scattered throughout the town; these effigies finally clarify that the fabled Pig King is actually Pokey Minch, who was last seen in the EarthBound series's timeline fleeing from the Cave of the Past following the destruction of the Embodiment of Evil, Giygas. It becomes clear that Pokey ended up founding & leading the Pigmask Army, and is now the king of the Nowhere Islands. It can also be inferred that Pokey changed his name to "Porky" at some point, for reasons unknown (also note that "Porky" is the character's Japanese name in MOTHER2 [Japanese version of EarthBound], and the name "Pokey" was a mistranslation; the preceding sentence serves as a way of addressing this by taking the MOTHER trilogy's content into full account).
At some point, Lucas and co. are drawn into the city's cinema theater, which perpetually airs a film chronicling the events of EarthBound. What's more important, however, is a foul odor coming from the seats that turns out to be the result of a Stink Bug. Boney chases the bug through a broken speaker, disappearing from sight. Lucas, Duster, and Kumatora follow him into the sewers through an entrance in the New Pork Arcade, revealed by a man complaining of the air quality. The group retrieves Boney in a slum of abandoned apartments inside the sewers. More important is that one of these apartments houses "Beanstalk" Leder, the old bell-ringer of Tazmily who remained unseen for quite some time. Leder was clearly taken prisoner by the Pigmasks, as seen by his legs being chained up in an apartment below. When the group goes up to him, he speaks for the first time in the game; he clarifies that he wasn't a mute, but rather chose not to speak unless it was absolutely necessary. Leder then takes the opportunity to divulge everything he knows about the history of the Nowhere Islands:
Long ago, a world spanning much farther than the Nowhere Islands existed, and was populated with innumerable people. Eventually, the world was destroyed by mankind, who sought refuge aboard a White Ship, created for the sole purpose of saving mankind in the event of an apocalypse. The ship ended up taking them to the Nowhere Islands, where they were protected by and coexisted with the Dark Dragon. However, mankind soon realized that they couldn't live together with the Dragon anymore. As a result, a group of special people used the Seven Needles to place the Dragon in a state of suspended animation, hiding it beneath the earth. These people and their descendants, the Magypsies, guarded the needles until the Dragon's power was absolutely necessary.
Fearing another apocalypse, the people of the Nowhere Islands decided to wipe their memories using the Egg of Light and start over, believing that it was the lifestyle of our world that brought about the end. Keeping their original names, they founded Tazmily village and live their lives out in peace and harmony, unable to remember anything from the distant past (according to Leder, they wanted to create a plethora of myths and legends, but were unable to due to the memory alteration process being done in haste). In order to keep everyone's memories from reverting, Leder's mind was not wiped, being chosen specifically because his incredible height made him stand out. Serving as Tazmily's bell ringer, the sound of the bell would keep people's new memories intact via "a suggestion", and he was tasked with divulging the truth about Tazmily when it was truly necessary: now.
On a brief note of tangent, a kingdom existed long ago, led by the king of Osohe, before the White Ship arrived on the Nowhere Islands. However, the kingdom disappeared long before the White Ship's arrival, but still played a vital role in the development of Tazmily: Kumatora was an orphan when she was taken aboard the White Ship. Upon arriving at the Nowhere Islands, she was taken into the care of the Magypsies and given the role of Osohe Castle's princess. Tying into this were the assignment of Wess & Duster as Kumatora's retainers.
Although the people of Tazmily didn't know how their charade would turn out, they were able to live in peace for ages... until Porky arrived. Using the Phase Distorter I that he stole from Dr. Andonuts during the events of EarthBound, Porky traveled through time and space, eventually arriving at the Nowhere Islands, unable to return to his own era. He learned about the secrets of the islands' people from Locria, the seventh Magypsy. Using this knowledge, he brought people from previous time periods onto the islands using the Phase Distorter, and brainwashed them into becoming his servants, creating the Pigmask Army. The citizens of New Pork City were also subjected to brainwashing as well. Viewing the world as his own personal toy box, Porky reshaped the land to his liking, resulting in the Fascinating Chimera Project and the modernized Tazmily.
After learning about the Seven Needles and the Dark Dragon from Locria, Porky decided to pull the needles and use the Dragon's power for himself. However, the only people capable of pulling the needle are the select few who are capable of learning PK Love, meaning that neither Porky nor the Magypsies could pull the needles. This ultimately clarifies that the Masked Man is being used as Porky's proxy to pull the needles, and Lucas is the only one who can stop him. Leder, honoring the word "leader" that serves as his namesake, orders Lucas to pull the final needle and awaken the Dark Dragon before the Masked Man does, concerned for the fate of reality itself...
The Ultimate Mission
Taking Leder's orders to heart, Lucas, Duster, Kumatora, and Boney head out of the sewers to begin their mission. On the way out, they are ambushed by New Fassad, now updated and renamed "Miracle Fassad". Miracle Fassad divulges on his passionate hatred towards the group for defeating him in Fire Mountain, and attacks them out of revenge (again). During the fight, Miracle Fassad catches the group off-guard when he hits them with PK Starstorm, revealing that he is capable of learning PSI. Despite this intense buff, Miracle Fassad is eventually defeated. Damaged beyond repair, Miracle Fassad delivers a testament that all of the events that have taken place so far are all part of Porky's "game". Claiming freedom from the game (both figuratively and literally), Miracle Fassad self-destructs, the wreckage falling into the sewers, dead.
On the streets of New Pork City, more and more people have began to gather, indicating that something big is about to occur. Lucas & co. acknowledge this and begin to traverse the Empire Porky Building, intending to confront Porky himself. Along the way, they run into the DCMC, who are about to hold their last concert ever. Duster temporarily re-joins the band for this one last outing, and the DCMC holds their biggest performance ever, promising an indefinitely long show. However, the concert is interrupted by a power outage, committed by Porky himself. Porky knows what Lucas & co. are trying to do, and personally request that they meet him on the 100th floor.
The group climbs higher and higher up the building. On one floor, they find the Ultimate Chimera, who found its way to New Pork City following its escape from the Chimera Lab. The creature poses a smaller threat this time, as it is isolated to a single hallway and is easily bypassable. Of more importance, however, is that one of the floors contains the house of Locria, the traitorous Magypsy. The house contains a pair of brass horns, a plethora of Luxury Bananas, and a familiar peddler's outfit. In addition, a nearby mouse describes that Locria was seen as disturbing by the other Magypsies, and had an unsettling "Nwehehehehe!" laugh. Despite this, the mouse was good friends with Locria, whose return he awaits. All of this implies that Locria, the seventh Magypsy, was actually Fassad...
Another floor contains a strange laboratory, concealing an even stranger room: the Nice Person Hot Springs. Here, people are kept in incubator tanks reminiscent of the ones on Mt. Itoi and inside Stonehenge Base. Inside these tanks, people are immersed in an unknown green fluid, somehow being psychologically manipulated into obeying Porky...
Eventually, Lucas & co. reach the last few floors, where the chauffeur who took the group to the city in the first place greets them. He explains that he is also the host of several games that everyone must pass in order to meet Porky. In these games, Lucas plays against a robotic duplicate of the Pig King, dubbed "Mini-Porky". However, Lucas isn't supposed to win-- he's supposed to lose to the Mini-Porky by a narrow margin. Eventually, Lucas passes each of the games and is granted access to meet Porky. Along the way, he, Duster, Kumatora, and Boney face off against Porky's last trial: the Natural Killer Cyborg, a cybernetic super-machine capable of incredibly powerful attacks. Despite its brawn, the group manages to destroy it before continuing their trek to the 100th floor.
Reunions and Revelations
On the 99th floor, the group finds a long, empty hallway, where the loudspeakers play a soft, ambient tune: the title theme to EarthBound Beginnings, the original MOTHER. Even more notable is what lies behind the door at the end of the hallway: the Hall of Memories. Here, Porky has collected numerous pieces of memorabilia from the events of EarthBound, and showcases it via a ride on a boat designed after his old next-door neighbor's house. Porky's also kept the Pencil Eraser, whose sole purpose is to destroy a nearby Iron Pencil, which has rusted considerably in the events between EarthBound and Mother 3.
Finally at the 100th floor, the group comes face-to-face with Porky Minch. He asks that the group engages in peaceful negotiation talks with him, before exploding, regardless of the response. In reality, the group met one of eleven Mecha-Porkies, and the other ten ambush the group and fight. Seven of the ten robots are destroyed by the group, but the former gains the upper hand by overwhelming the latter with reinforcements: miscellaneous enemies and other Mecha-Porkies. However, the DCMC suddenly bursts in and destroys the remaining robots, explaining along the way that they figured out how Porky was able to win the allegiance of Tazmily in the first place: brainwashing them through the DCMC's music. The band finally gets its revenge and helps the group win the battle.
In the fight's aftermath, the residents of Tazmily (except Isaac, who became a Pigmask between Chapters 7 and 8) gather on the 100th floor to meet Porky. Obligingly, the Pig King appears for them-- descending from the ceiling on his life-support bed. Porky has aged tremendously since his last sighting in EarthBound, and is in ill health. Porky admonishes Tazmily for thinking that it could escape its past by altering their memories, and divulges on his sadistic nature. He also reveals that the seventh and final needle, Locria's Needle, has been discovered beneath New Pork City itself. On this note, he goes off, and drops Lucas, Duster, Kumatora, Boney, and Flint down into a cavern innumerable miles beneath the earth...
The Seventh Needle
Inside the cavern, the group gradually descends into the lowest passageway, where the needle is sure to be hidden. At some point, Flint stops the group and continues on his own, growing suspicious on the Masked Man's identity. Lucas, Duster, Kumatora, and Boney follow after him. When everyone catches up, Flint makes a startling revelation: the Masked Man is Claus. After falling from the Drago Plateau in Chapter 1, Claus was taken by the Pigmasks and converted into the perfect Chimera for Porky's use. Flint, while shocked at this discovery, finally earns closure; his three-year search for Claus has finally come to an end.
As Lucas, Duster, Kumatora, and Boney continue onwards to the final needle, they are suddenly stopped by Porky, who engages them in battle. During their fight, Porky explains everything he hasn't told them. Because of his repeated time travel, his age accelerated to a point where he has petrified and is dependent on his bed mecha for interaction. He has also been rendered immortal, meaning that even if he is defeated, he can still return, regardless of his situation. Porky also claims that the Masked Man's lack of a heart means that if he is the one to awaken the Dark Dragon, then all of reality will be erased, a possibility Porky is "more than prepared for." Eventually, Porky's machine runs out of power, leaving him helpless, but still immortal. Seeking escape, Porky seals himself inside the Absolutely Safe Capsule, a device built for him by Dr. Andonuts and the Mr. Saturns. The capsule keeps Porky protected from all harm, but he is unable to do anything in turn. By default, the battle ends...
At this point, Dr. Andonuts appears. He explains that he repeatedly warned Porky not to use the Absolutely Safe Capsule, because once it is closed, it can never be reopened: the capsule wasn't designed to protect whatever's inside from outside harm, but rather to protect the world from whatever's inside. Since Porky is now isolated from the rest of the world, his claim about always being able to return has been disproven. Yet, since Porky's goal was to be freed from everyone that disliked him and everything he disliked, fleeing into the Absolutely Safe Capsule may have given Porky exactly what he wanted. In the meantime, Dr. Andonuts gives Porky childish payback in the form of rolling the Absolutely Safe Capsule back and forth.
Eventually, the group reaches the seventh needle-- and Claus. Still under Porky's influence, he fires an intense bolt of lightning at the group. This time, he manages to knock out everyone but Lucas, whose Franklin Badge deflects the lightning back at him again. With the circumstances narrowed down, Claus & Lucas duel. During the fight, Lucas's grief prevents him from fighting Claus, leaving him only able to defend himself. Claus easily overpowers his brother with laser attacks, PK Love, and the like. However, a voice starts to echo across the battlefield: Hinawa's voice. Calling from beyond, she pleads the brothers to stop fighting, focusing most of her attention on the mindless, heartless Claus.
While her words are initially futile, Hinawa eventually reaches Claus, who starts to become tormented by his reawakening memories. He responds by increasing his firepower, and prepares to kill Lucas with a blast of PK Love. However, Flint jumps out and takes the blast for Lucas. Flint attempts to speak to Claus, but is further incapacitated by another blast of PK Love. Angered, Lucas gains the courage to fight, but is initially scolded by Hinawa and becomes heartbroken during subsequent attacks.
Eventually, Hinawa awakens one final memory in Claus: the day he and Lucas received their names. He remembers Hinawa & Flint sharing their ambitions for their children, and starts to remember who he really is. With Claus starting to revert to his original self, he becomes considerably weakened by his emotions. Overcome by all of this, he eventually removes his helmet, signifying that he is once again Claus, and no longer the Masked Man. However, he is wracked with ages of grief: Hinawa's murder, his failed attempt at revenge, his conversion into a chimera, and the flood of emotions Hinawa's ghost surged into him. Unable to handle any of it anymore, Claus kills himself, firing one last lightning bolt at Lucas, intentionally reflecting it off of Lucas's Franklin Badge and back at him. Severely electrocuted and nearing death, he staggers towards Lucas and collapses into his arms. Claus then gives one final goodbye to what is left of his family, and takes his final breath...
It Is Finished
Lucas rises and takes in the requiem. Flint asks Lucas to forgive Claus for his actions, and then instructs Lucas to pull the final needle and awaken the Dark Dragon. Lucas walks over to the needle, firmly grasps it in his hands, and, with all of his might, pulls it out of the earth. Having pulled four out of the seven needles, Lucas awakens the Dark Dragon, resulting in an event unlike any other. Awakened from its long slumber, the Dark Dragon summons a second apocalypse, this time destroying the Pigmasks and its influences on the Nowhere Islands. The world crumbles once more, and when the Pigmask mothership is struck down by a stray piece of brimstone, it becomes clear that the Pigmasks are gone forever. The scene then fades to black, leaving only some text saying "END...?"
If the player uses the D-Pad at this point, the "END...?" text will move away, and, regardless of how they push the D-Pad, the player themself will walk around the dark screen. By doing this, they are able to interact with the game's characters, whose fates are left ambiguous (though it is slightly implied and often accepted that they survived; those definitely included within the group are Kumatora, Wess, a Mr. Saturn, a mole cricket, a save frog, Porky, the Rope Snake, and Boney). The characters discuss the second apocalypse, which was enough to make Kumatora cry for the first time. Some of them (such as the aforementioned Kumatora) are recovering from their fears, while others describe the event as "a miracle" and look forward to the future. Along the way, the player finds the doorknob that Thomas pulled off of Flint's front door back in Chapter 1, and tucks it away. An object implied to be the Absolutely Safe Capsule is among the party, wobbling "with glee." Several of the characters in the area also express joy and relief that the player survived the apocalypse, and a character implied to be Lucas bids the player farewell, hoping that they will meet again.
After the cast roll and credits finish, the screen whites out. The Mother 3 logo then appears, made entirely of wood instead of metal & wood; the sole exception is the "O", which is replaced by the planet Earth. This screen is a homage to the Japanese title screen of EarthBound Beginnings. Below the logo is the text "END". Unlike the previous games in the franchise, which leave behind implications of a possible sequel, this game ends off with a definitive "END".
Connections to EarthBound Beginings and EarthBound
- Many enemies are references to or appear directly from the other games in the EarthBound series.
- The Mr. Batty enemy (known in EarthBound Beginnings as "Mr. Bat") appears with a significantly changed sprite.
- EarthBound Beginnings enemies such as the Scrapper (as the Scrapped Robot), Armor (as the Ghost Armor) and Titanee (as the Titany) return.
- The Violent Roach, Filthy Attack Roach, Ramblin' Evil Mushroom (as the Ramblin' Mushroom), and Putrid Moldymen from EarthBound appear in Osohe Castle, Saturn Valley, Tazmily Village's train tunnel (in Chapter 4 and onwards), and the sewers of New Pork City, respectively.
- The Return of Octobot appears as a homage to the Octobots of EarthBound, specifically the Ultimate Octobot.
- While Starmen do not make an appearance since Giygas is defeated in EarthBound, the pose of the Mecha-Porkies distinctly resembles the series's flagship enemy.
- The Minerali's overworld sprite is likely a reference to how Giygas's elite troops, specifically robotic enemies, all of the enemies in the invaded Onett, and all of the enemies in the Cave of the Past used a regular octahedron as their overworld sprite, regardless of their appearance in-battle. Likewise, the Short Circuit Zap and Fenomeno reference how Sanctuary Guardians and several enemies in Pink Cloud and Lumine Hall would appear in the overworld as shimmering sparks.
- The penultimate boss fought is the same as EarthBound's: Porky Minch, in a spider-like mech that attacks for him. He also has indescribable attacks, similar to Giygas's appearance in both EarthBound and EarthBound Beginnings.
- At one point in the game, Lucas and co. visit a Saturn Valley inhabited by Mr. Saturns.
- Kumatora (in disguise as Violet) addresses Lucas as "Poo" to allow him access to Club Titiboo.
- Dr. Andonuts appears in the game, being forced to create Chimeras for the Pigmask Army.
- Late in the game, the player visits areas in New Pork City that contain many references to EarthBound. A theater shows a movie chronicling Ness and his friends's adventures, and the Hall of Memories displays many recognizable things from EarthBound.
- Several songs contain many recognizable melodies from EarthBound and EarthBound Beginnings, such as Pollyanna and both games' versions of the Eight Melodies.
- Some screenshots of the canceled EarthBound 64 may have hinted at Ness's appearance; one in particular depicts a devastated Onett and what appears to be Fourside.
- The Franklin Badge from EarthBound and EarthBound Beginnings reprises its appearance, being able to reflect PK Thunder like in EarthBound.
- Inside one of the rooms in the Chimera Laboratory, two bookshelves contain references to EarthBound:
- One contains Overcoming Shyness, used to cure the Tendas of their shyness.
- Another book is a magazine opened to a page entitled My Secret Life, Chapter 3, which talks about a man who tries to use the excuse that his wife is giving birth to "a demon child" to avoid a speeding ticket; in EarthBound, this appears in a cabin Ness can buy west of Onett.
- Just like the previous two games, the final boss cannot be defeated by conventional means, and is instead felled by human emotion.
Mother 3 was originally announced in 1996 for the Nintendo 64. Development soon moved to the Nintendo 64DD, where it was to be a launch title, but after many delays caused by the inexperience of the development team with the hardware and 3D graphics, it was canceled in August 2000. The project was revived in 2003, now with 2D graphics on the Game Boy Advance.
EarthBound 64 was a canceled game that was going to be released for the Nintendo 64 and then on the Nintendo 64DD. Several years later it was revealed that the project had started up again for the Game Boy Advance under the form of Mother 3. Much of the story seems to be based on the information known about EarthBound 64, including the four main characters, and a plot involving a Pigmask Army, but it is unknown how close its plot is to that of Mother 3 as little is known of the game.
Developer Benimaru Itoh remarked at E3's 1997 convention that the game would probably utilize the Rumble Pak in battle sequences, but worried that the controller would become too cumbersome for players given the time-consuming nature of role-playing games. Itoh also aimed to allow players to pick several character faces or create new visages with Mario Artist. Shigesato Itoi's team ran into some trouble while developing this game, primarly because of their inexperience with 3D games and the difficulty of developing for Nintendo 64 hardware. The final nail in the coffin, which was the Nintendo 64DD's failure, destroyed all hope for the game. On August 21, 2000, Itoi officially confirmed the game's cancellation.
Mother 3 Deluxe Box
A limited release version of Mother 3 version was sold in Japan in addition to the basic title. This "Deluxe Box" included a copy of Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance, a Special Edition Game Boy Micro and a Franklin Badge for ¥18,000. Pre-orders began on March 1, 2006, continuing until the release of the game on April 20 of that year. Upon meeting an unexpected demand, only a small fraction of the Deluxe Boxes were shipped by the release date of the game.
Beginning in February 2006, lead designer Shigesato Itoi initiated a systematic divulgence of Mother 3 information on the official Mother 3 website (https://www.1101.com/MOTHER3/). The additions are documented below:
- On the week of February 7, the Mother 3 slogan and theme song, "Strange, Funny, Heartrending" and "We miss you ~Love Theme~" respectively, were revealed.
- On the week of February 14, the first screenshots of the title were revealed and a special ringtone of the Mother 3 theme song was offered. It is only available in Japan.
- On the week of February 21, three additional screenshots were revealed along with the Mother 3 Deluxe Box.
- On the week of February 28, screenshots featuring a dungeon area and a typical battle screen were revealed. Itoi also stated that, like the first two Mother games, it would be a typical RPG with traditional RPG elements, but with an unique world and story. Two character names were also revealed to be Flint and Boney.
- On the week of March 7, a rendition of the world map was revealed.
- On the week of March 14, two more main characters were revealed to be Lucas and Claus, Lucas being the younger twin brother and Claus being the older. Itoi also released Mother 3-themed cell phone backgrounds, but only for those with Japanese phones.
- On the week of March 21, Lucas and Claus's family were revealed to be their father Flint, their mother Hinawa, and their dog Boney.
- On the week of March 28, the sprites of 14 enemies were presented, and two computer wallpapers, one with the world map and another with Boney the dog walking through a grass background.
- On the week of April 4, various screenshots of many locations were revealed.
- On the week of April 10, along with 12 new screenshots, the game is revealed to be setup into different chapters.
- On the week of April 18, two days before Mother 3 was released, Itoi released a final message about the game.
This information, which was rationed out on a weekly basis until the April 20 release date, can be found at the official Mother 3 website.
Demand for an international release
Since the original, scrapped, Nintendo 64 version's announcement in 1996, many fans of the Mother series have been pleading for Mother 3 to be given a global release. A cult following has formed around the franchise, and many petitions and demands have been made towards Nintendo of America; however, there do not appear to be any plans to release Mother 3 in North America as EarthBound 2.
Rumors in the August 2006 issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly suggested the possibility that Nintendo may compile all three Mother titles onto one Nintendo DS cartridge, and could possibly be released in North America and Europe. These have been proven false, however, following Nintendo's shift in focus to handheld games for the Nintendo 3DS.
In November of 2006, NintendoWorldReport.com interviewed Nate Bihldorff, the Nintendo of America Localization Producer/Manager, about the localization process he and his team must go through for a video game. When NintendoWorldReport.com mentioned Mother 3, Bihldorff stated that he and his team were not working on Mother 3. However, he does mention some of his writers are not under him, so discussions of the game may be going on. He also mentions that he does not plan on working on it in the immediate future.
- "No, me personally, I'm not working on Mother 3. I don't have all the writers under me, so there may be other people in discussions going on with it, but I wouldn't look forward to it in the immediate future, no. Sorry, I know! There's a big Mother fanbase, there is. At least everyone can go back and play Melee to get your Ness on."
Because no official translation has been announced, a fan translation was developed over the course of roughly two years, and released on October 17, 2008. When this translation "patch" is applied to a Japanese ROM of Mother 3, it converts all of the Japanese text on the ROM to English. Throughout the progress made on the project, lead developers Tomato and Jeffman were firm in stating that if Nintendo announced an official localization of Mother 3, they would immediately cease their work, indicating that their sole goal was to ensure that the game was translated to English.
Recently, there are rumors that the game will be released concurrent for Nintendo Switch after being unveiled internationally on Nintendo Direct 1/12/2017 at 8 PM -8:00 UTC, which are proven false.
Mother 3 has spawned two soundtrack releases. The first, Mother 3+, was released in Japan on November 2, 2006, consisting of arranged songs by the Crazy Ken Band as DCMC, and a vocal track by Taeko Onuki, as well as some songs from previous installments of the series. It was later released in the iTunes Music Store in North America on April 1, 2007, featuring an additional bonus track unavailable on the CD release. Mother 3+ is no longer available for purchase in North America.
The second soundtrack, Mother 3i, was released on the February 6, 2007 in the iTunes Music Store and Napster in Japan, as well as a few other online music services. Mother 3i, like Mother 3+ is no longer available in North America for unknown reasons. It contains a different selection of music from the game. It was composed by Shōgo Sakai and contains a different selection of music from the game than the Mother 3+. Songs from the album also appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl in their original or remixed form.
Famitsu scored Mother 3 with a 35/40 (one point higher than EarthBound), providing the first public review of the game. Australian publication Hyper Magazine gave it 92/100, and the "Hyper Big Rubber Stamp of Approval" (awarded to all games with a score over ninety), and was said to be "One of the best RPG's ever made." Destructoid, a general gaming site, named it the third best game of the decade, declaring that "Mother 3 may have the most complex, mature, and heart-wrenching story of any videogame of the last decade."
Mother 3 sold 205,914 copies in its first 3 days on sale, and 338,382 copies were sold from April 20 to June 25 in Japan.
- The "Okay desu ka" heard during the character naming sequence of Mother 3 is the voice of director Shigesato Itoi, which was secretly recorded during the development of EarthBound by Hirokazu Tanaka, who was one of two composers for the game's soundtrack.  It appears in the Sound Player as Voice 1101, and first appeared in EarthBound with the same purpose as in Mother 3.
- There is a piece of unused music in Mother 3 referred to by fans as "Lucas's Nightmare", since it contains disturbing voice clips and strange background music. However, if it is sped up, then it is clear that it is a loop from the intro of one of the numbers played by the band DCMC. Its soundtrack number is 790 and can only be heard by using a Sound Player cheat.
- There are numerous references throughout the game to bands other games and music.
- Mother 3 is the only game in the entire EarthBound series that lacks an official overseas release.
- Official website
- SpaceWorld 1999: Mother 3
- Mother 3 at IGN
- Mother 3 at GameSpy
- Mother 3 at GameStats
- Mother 3 Translation Project