/ Reviews \
- Earthbound -
By: Agent

-= Overview =-

Earthbound is not your ordinary RPG. It is not set on a far off planet, in medieval times, or in a fantasy world. Rather, Earthbound is set in the real world, apparently America circa 1958. A fresh alternative to the mainstream. Earthbound is full of quirky humor and amusing music. You either love EB, or you hate it. I loved it.

-= Story =-

: Rating :

Like I said before, EB takes place on a modern, suburbanite Earth. It revolves around Ness, a small boy whose destiny is uncertain. A meteorite lands near his home, and he goes out to investigate, prompting a wacky adventure and a battle for the fate of the earth. Along the way, Ness meets up with 3 friends who join his possť of destruction, and a whole host of NPC's (including a bee, the family dog and a short guy who's all nose). The quest to stop a giant supervillian, Giygas, from destroying the Earth is somewhat generic, but still fun nonetheless

-= Gameplay =-

: Rating :

Earthbound has quite a unique battle system. You don't see your character(s) during the fight, only the enemy. A trippy, psychedelic background is also included (to help lighten the mood, I suppose). Like in 99% of RPG's, you pick your moves from a menu and proceed to strike the opponent. However, you can also cast different spells, that progress in power as you gain levels. The battles can sometimes get a little tedious, but there are some features in EB that help with the ever-present boredom of constant turn-based battling. First, you see the enemies on the map before the battles (you don't just battle randomly). So, if you don't want to fight, you can simply run away. Second, if you are going to KO the enemy in one hit, the game doesn't drag you into the battle. Instead, it just gives you the EXP points and lets you go off on your merry way. Overall, the gameplay of EB is fun, and more exciting than that of most RPGs

-= Music & Sound Effects =-

: Rating :

The sound effects, though, are nothing to write home about, keeping the sound score from being a perfect 5. You really can't tell the difference between a jab and a huge deathblow during a battle. However, sometimes you'll just hear a sound effect and smile, or even laugh. The little ringing of the bike when Ness rides it through a small suburban road is priceless. The sound of EB as a whole can be summed up in one word: amusing

-= Graphics =-

: Rating :

Well, a game can't be perfect, eh? Graphics are the only real letdown of the game. At times, you might even think you were playing an NES game. The characters are not very detailed, and the battle screens are, well.... unique. The battle screens are almost laughable, with no motion whatsoever. And the waving psychedelic backgrounds are downright strange. But again, like everything else in the game, the graphics are funny. Ness' perpetual smile, the lack of any sort of visual weapons, and the funky, bright colors reflect the innocence of the time period and the game itself.

-= Fun =-

: Rating :

Fun is Earthbound's greatest strength. The upbeat tunes, the bright colors, the occasional joke and the lack of seriousness really make Earthbound an enjoyable game. The story is easy to follow, the battle system is simple and the game as a whole is like nothing you've ever played before. I'm pretty sure this is the first game to use a frying pan as a major weapon. This may seem like a game geared toward young children, but it takes a certain level of maturity to really appreciate Earthbound and recognize its underlying subject matter. How can someone get mad while they're battling a cartoon ant or a blob whose main attack is a belch?

-= Last Word =-

One of the better RPG's for SNES, Earthbound is just plain fun. You owe it to yourself to seek out a copy of EB and at least give it a shot. No one really hates EB; you either love it or are indifferent. Earthbound is a fresh take on the RPG scene that offers an engrossing game that is actually fun to play. Depressed? Just stop by Onett

Total Score: 85/100
(Sum of all categories x 4 + 5 for reviewer's tilt)