Monday, December 05, 2005

ROM Review: Earthbound Zero

When I was a kid, I had an NES. Then, as I got older, my loyalty to Nintendo consoles led me to get a SuperNES. There was a game for the SNES called Earthbound, a charming, kid-friendly RPG with an engaging storyline, interesting characters and nifty options with regards to magic. But what we didn't know at the time was that Earthbound was actually a sequel to a game for the original NES which, sadly, never saw release onto the American game market.

Well, thanks to the advent of ROMs and Emulation, we can finally play this game, and even with a half decent translation!

You'll notice a few similarities to Earthbound right off the bat. You get to name your four characters, dog, and favorite food. The martial arts character from the SNES version was obviously a replacement of Teddy, a 50's looking Fonzie tough guy you meet later in the game. At this point you start to notice that a lot of the "basic" features of the SNES version are actually additions to the game. Kind of makes you appreciate the SNES version all the more.

Anyway, you're Ninten (or Stewy, as I have him named here), and you're awoken one night by troubles in your sister's room. It appears her dolly is possessed. Not cool. After whomping some demonic lamps and the eerie dolly itself, you find that you have to embark on a quest to save the world from renegade paranormal forces.

Along the way, you meet the girl (Ana, or Amanda in my screen shot), the nerdy boy (Loid, Jester in my screen shot) and the aforementioned Teddy, Who'm I called Remo in my game, but isn't in any of my screen shots. Each one is tailored to a specific kind of attack: Ninten can use ball bats and some PSI (magic) spells; Ana is a PSI wonder who has pans for secondary weapons; Loid is a technology master, specializing in guns and offensive items like bottle rockets and beam weapons; Teddy is pretty darn good with a sword, if you've got one for him. Neither Loid nor Teddy can use PSI.

As with any RPG, you get to have fun spending quality time with the monsters of EBZ, going through the rite of passage known as "leveling up." This makes the monsters easier to deal with after a while, but can be time consuming and monotonous. But hey, that's why RPGs have storylines. It's the story that really gets you hooked, and as with the SNES incarnation of Earthbound, this one has a cute an engaging story to follow along with.

If you think I'm going to hook you all up with a link to the ROM file, you can forget it. You can all find it on your own. If you do, just make sure that your title screen has that little ZERO underneath Earthbound. That way you know for sure that you have the right one. A little effort is all it takes. Just remember: You can only have a ROM for about 24 hours, then you're obligated to delete it. Not my rule, just a good general guideline.

Earthbound Zero - Unreleased in USA - RPG


Joe said...

love the series.awesome game

Anonymous said...

Damn, Eric Jacobson. You look really ugly.
I feel sorry for you. I mean, ever heard of a social life? Clearly you lack one, since you look like that!

And one more thing: Earthbound rocks!! But you don't, Eric Jacobson. You don't.

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