Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Shall We Do It? (finishing EarthBound and sleepwalking through Sweet Fuse)

Let's get the big news out of the way this week: I FINALLY FINISHED EARTHBOUND.

Sorry for the shouting but, really, if beating EarthBound (for the first time in my life) doesn't warrant a bit of excitement, what does?

Perhaps unsurprisingly (especially to those of you who've also completed this SNES classic), I'm having a hard time coming up with words to describe how I feel about the game's final salvo.

Other than "it blew my mind," I mean.

Seriously, the last few areas of EarthBound--the Lost Underworld, Magikant, whatever the final location is supposed to be called--were pretty awesome. And the final boss? Uh, wow.

Speaking of Giygas, I have to admit that I had to take two runs at him. I wasn't entirely sure what I was supposed to do during the first attempt and as a result I wound up getting my butt handed to me. My second try was much more successful, thankfully, and ended with me turning the tables on ol' Gassy (as I like to call him) and his long-winded sidekick, Pokey.

As happy as I am to finally finish this sucker, I'm also kind of sad about it. The last few weeks I spent with EarthBound were equal parts enchanting, invigorating and emotionally draining, so having all of that end in one fell swoop has been a shock to the system.

That said, I so loved the experience that my first thought was to trudge through it again immediately. I've since talked myself down from that ledge--mostly because I've got other games I want to wrap up before my copy of Bravely Default arrives on my doorstep sometime next week.

Specifically, I want to reach the end credits of--or at least get as close as possible to the end credits of--Sweet Fuse: At Your Side.

If you'd asked me last week if I thought I was going to succeed with that goal, I would've answered in the positive. No question. Today, though, I'm not so sure.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying Sweet Fuse's story and characters well enough--especially the game's main baddie, Count Hogstein. I guess I'm just not in the mood for this kind of game right now. I don't know if that's because I'm experiencing a bit of a let down in the wake of A Link Between Worlds and EarthBound, or if it's because I just just finished a rather riveting novel (Wool, by Hugh Howey), but I'm having a hard time convincing myself to boot up this visual novel whenever I find myself with some free time--something that never seemed to be a problem with the aforementioned duo.

Oh, well, I'll do my best to continue to plug away at it--as well as Zoo Keeper 3D, which I'll chat about further in a few days--even after Bravely Default is in my hands and begging to be played.

See also: previous 'Shall We Do It?' posts

28 comments: said...

You've never beaten it either, Ken! Now I don't feel so bad :) Seriously, though, you should finish it sometime. Such an amazing game -- the last 1/3, especially.

As for Bravely Default, my copy arrived yesterday. Won't be cracking it open until this weekend, though, as I really want to get as close to Sweet Fuse's end credits as possible before I start BD.

Jyr said...

Welcome to the club, Mr. Ochalla. I used my Wii-U as an excuse to run through Earthbound again, as I probably mentioned, and similar to you, first instinct was to head back to the beginning once more. said...

Thanks, Jyr :) Yeah, the last part of the game is just so ... exhilarating that it made me want to play through the whole thing again, right away. Adding to that feeling was the fact that I didn't play through this game in one fell swoop; rather, I played through it in about three "chunks" over the course of an entire year. I've since decided to hold off on starting again right away, but I'll definitely go back to it sometime this year.

Justin Difazzio said...

STANDING OVATION!!! I'm so glad you finished it, and, even more so, that you enjoyed it as much as I hoped you would. Did you have any trouble with the Mani Mani statue in Magicant? I've only ever beaten it with a high-level PSI Flash, which has a chance at a one-shot kill. Otherwise, he wipes the floor with me before too long.

Wahoo! It's a wild ride, and the ending portion is just...beautiful. It's great to get a sort of epilogue afterward with the walking around and seeing how what you've done has changed the world. It always makes me a little teary-eyed. said...

Thanks, Justin! I *knew* this would draw you out of the woodwork, by the way -- and not only because you love the game, too, but because, probably more than anyone, you know how long I've been working at finishing it!

Anyway, the Mani Mani statue is the boss at the end of the, er, Magikant sea, right? And he's the one who basically copies your moves? If so, I don't remember having any problems with him. That said, I think I referred to a guide before that battle, so whatever was suggested to me may have helped me avoid your usual fate.

Other than that, YES, the whole game is/was beautiful, especially the last portion. That whole last section came out of nowhere for me, if you can believe. Somehow, I'd never spoiled the last few sections, the turning into robots, the final boss, etc. As such, I was sitting in front of our TV full-on stunned for the last few hours.

I really have to go through it again soon, and this time complete it in a single month, etc. I've already forgotten some of the earlier scenes and experiences simply because I took so long between play sessions.

Of course, I also want to play through the first Mother and Mother 3, too, so I guess I'll have to weigh my options when I find myself with some free gaming time again.

For now, though, I'm focusing on Sweet Fuse and (this weekend) Bravely Default. Are you getting/playing BD, too, BTW?

Justin Difazzio said...

I want Bravely Default so badly right now, but I'm working my way through Persona 3 and I don't really have the cash to spend at the moment. But I will be getting it at some point. And I'm sure I'll love it. said...

Oh, sorry to hear that, Justin :( The part about not currently having the spending cash, I mean. I'm glad to hear you're playing P3, though. Are you enjoying it? Also, which version are you playing--PS2 or PSP? I've been meaning to pick up the PSP one for ages...

Jyr said...

Any interest in playing Mother 3? said...

Oh, yes. I actually started playing it via emulation some time ago, but the timing of the game's rhythm-based gameplay is thrown off when not playing on actual hardware (or that's how it was back then), so I gave up on it. I'm planning to pick up an actual copy of the game sometime this year, though, and once that happens I'll give it a go via my trusty SP.

I also want to play through the first Mother, by the way. I started that some time ago, too, but gave up for one reason or another. I think I may give it another shot soon, though, as I really liked what I experienced of it that first time around.

Freezair said...

Ooooh--were you a true EarthBound virgin? You didn't know how the final boss went? How exciting! I seem to recall that the final boss was one of the first things I did learn about the game, back in the late 90's when I started combing the Internet for information on who that kid with the hat who was so hard to unlock in Smash Bros. was. "EarthBound? Yeah, the final boss is totally messed up!"

The Lost Underworld is one of my favorite parts of the game, though. I love dinosaur-themed areas, and I especially love those kyuuute little Tendas! If you ask me, Tendas deserve just as much love as Mr. Saturns. Who doesn't want to hug an ickle shy squishy dinosaur-like thing? I know I do!

Freezair said...

Are you at all familiar with the (perpetually unfinished) Morenatsu? It's a bara dating sim. Also, furries. But it's managed to earn fans even outside of the diehard furry and bara communities, because the writing is good, the characters are good, the music is good, the art is good--it's just a really genuinely well-put-together piece of media, Worth a look!

Kaze said...

Congrats!!!!! Such a great game! I was playing through it again when it got re-released on Wii U but got sidetracked! I need to go back to it. Although my video game plate is more than full atm! lol

When I played through Earthbound the first time I was obsessed with getting the "Sword of Kings" for Poo since it's his only weapon and grinded Starman Supers in Stonehenge till I finally got it but by that time my party members were all level 99 so it made the rest of the game easy mode! So this second play through I'm going to try and resist the urge to sword hunt... (Although I kind of want it again... lol) said...

Yep, I was a true EB virgin. Which even I find hard to believe, in a way, as I'm usually not one to shy away from spoiling game and movie endings for myself.

In this case, though, I knew I was going to finish the game eventually, and I wanted the experience to be as awesome as possible. And it was!

I loved the Lost Underworld, too. First time I entered it, I think I said, "whoa!" and then grinned like an idiot for about 15 minutes. I especially loved the change of perspective to make the dinosaurs appear properly huge.

Oh, and, YES, the Tendas are really cute. Kind of strange that they get so little love from the general EB fanbase. I wonder if it's due to the fact that you really can't see them--or at least not in any kind of detail?

I also really loved that last area, though. Everyone turns into robots and skitters though a frozen void--how cool is that? said...

Thanks, Marty! Hey, as long as you've already beaten the game at least once, I think it's OK that you got a bit sidetracked this time around. That said, I'd still of course recommend getting back to it as soon as you can :)

As for being obsessed with the "Sword of Kings" -- I understand that completely. Or at least mostly. I actually obsessed about it for a while, but eventually decided to move on. Of course, I kind of thought I'd be able to come back to the area later and grind for it again, but that wasn't the case :|

Justin Difazzio said...

I bought Persona 3 FES on the PS3. It's the PS2 version, as far as I know. Having never had any experience with the game before, I don't know what's different about the FES version...or even what that stands for, to be honest. But whatever the case, I'm enjoying it. It's an odd mix of high school life and traditional RPG battles. The combat isn't THAT compelling, but it makes a nice complement to the daily stuff. said...

Yep, it's the PS2 version, although to be honest I don't know much about the different versions of P3 myself. I do know FES was released after the original PS2 version of P3, and I think it's some sort of expansion? Anyway, glad to hear you're enjoying it for the most part. Not sure why I've waited so long to give this one a try, but what can you do?

sharc said...

earthbound postpones its emotional punch a little longer than mother 1 or 3, but it's still quite a payload when it hits. once onett falls it's dead serious shit-just-got-real time all the way.

it's impressive that you somehow avoided having anything about the endgame spoiled for you - i honestly feel like the game's reputation has worked to its detriment, because such a huge part of why earthbound stands out in my memory is buying it at release thinking it was a goofy send-up of rpgs, only to find out that's just a disarming set-up.

for what it's worth, i have an ez-flash 5 ds/gba cart combo that i got solely for playing mother 3 translation on hardware and it works beautifully. mother 1 is a somewhat stand-alone thing, but now that you've played earthbound all the way through mother 3 is a nigh-mandatory followup because of how much ties the two games together.

i would also be remiss if i didn't take the opportunity to link to The Only Earthbound FAQ Worth Reading:

apricotsushi said...

Wow, congrats! I started Earthbound but never finished it. I think I got a little past the second town? Do you know how many hours it took you finish it?

As for Sweet Fuse, I'm sorry it's not really jiving with you right now. Maybe it'd be better if you picked it up at a later date! Or it might not be your thing. said...

Sharc! Long time, no see :)

Oh, yes, EarthBound's payoff definitely is/was worth the wait, or at least I think it is/was.

As for how I managed to not spoil the ending: well, I will admit that I'd read enough to know things got weird near the end, but I didn't know about Magikant, the Lost Underworld, the last section or any particulars about the final encounter.

So, you can imagine how blown away I was when I started through it.

I'm definitely going to be playing Mother 3 somehow, someway ... and hopefully soon.

I'm planning on picking up a CIB copy of the game sometime this year, but that may not happen for a while. In the meantime, maybe I'll track down some sort of Flash Cart for the GBA?

Like I said earlier, I've tried playing the fan translation via an emulator, but the battle timing was off and I ended up giving up on it as a result.

Finally, thanks for the FAQ. I'll definitely give it a read soon :) said...

Thanks, Anne! Hoo boy, I have no idea how long it took me to beat the game, as I've started and stopped and started again over the last year or so. Yet another reason I want this to come to the 3DS eShop -- so I can play the game that way and also keep track of my time :)

I'd definitely say it took me north of 20 hours, though--and probably quite a bit longer than that. It's definitely not a short game.

As for Sweet Fuse: oh, don't feel bad! The game's actually clicked a lot more with me in the last few days (I actually wrote this post over the weekend) and I'm now partway through the fourth day.

Not only that, but I'm actually holding off on starting (or even opening) Bravely Default until I "beat" Sweet Fuse, so clearly it's jiving with me now.

At this point, I think I finally can say that I prefer the game and its characters and setting to Hakuoki. The only thing I'm not as "down" with in this game is that too few of the guys appeal to me in any sort of way, and I'm a bit worried that the guy I *am* interested in is going to shoo me away eventually.

Still, I'm going to give it my all and see what happens.

Expect to hear more about all of the above in next week's Shall We Do It? post, of course. Fingers crossed that I actually finish it by then!

sharc said...

i'm still around, just don't always have much to say. :B

pick up a boxed copy if you like, but unless you can read japanese fairly effortlessly i'd seriously advise you to find a way to play the translated rom on your first time through. tomato not only did a stellar job, but somehow also managed to copy the tone of the earthbound translation as well.

i can vouch for the ez-flash 5, although it's such an issue with m3 that most discussion about the game will involve suitable emulators or flashcarts at one point. to wit:

there's some tips on getting it to play well with emulators on the translation page: tomato is pretty active on twitter, too, so you could also bug him for any updates.

speaking of twitter, i was looking up something on tenori-on the other day and this came up:

did you ever get an answer? :U said...

Oh, don't worry, I'm still planning to play the fan translation of the game--as opposed to fumbling through the Japanese version. For all sorts of reasons, though, I want to own an actual copy of the game, too.

Thanks for the links to the advice about what emulators to use, etc. I'll be sure to check them out when I'm closer to playing the game.

As for the WS version of Tenori-on, I honestly can't remember if Kimimi or anyone else ever responded to that query :(

sharc said...

have you seen the gorgeous box set for mother 3? like a moron, i passed back when it was ~$150 and now it's probably double that or more ._.

late to the party as usual, but you now have an answer re: tenori-on said...

Oh, yes. I've seen it and coveted it--for some time now. Sadly, you're wrong that it goes for double it's original asking price these days. Try triple ... at least. I'm fairly sure folks on eBay get $500 or more for it these days--or at least that's what they ask. No idea if they actually get it, but I'll bet some of them do...

apricotsushi said...

Hm, I should really get around to finishing Earthbound. I want to see this exciting ending! I've managed to avoid any sort of information about the game so far, so it'd all be new to me.

I'm glad you're enjoying Sweet Fuse more! I actually agree with you – I much prefer Sweet Fuse to Hakuoki, though I suppose in terms of "hot dudes" Hakuoki might have the slight advantage. Still, I think the characters in Sweet Fuse are more amusing, so I don't really mind if none of them are exactly my "type"

Can't wait to hear your final thoughts! said...

You really should give Earthbound a final push sometime, Anne. The second half of the game is where things get crazy, IMO. Not that the first half is bad!

As for Sweet Fuse: yep, I'm enjoying it a lot more now. And, really, it's not like I disliked it before--like I said in this post (or my last one?), I think I was just experiencing a little lull after beating ALBW and EarthBound when I started this game. That's why it didn't pull me in initially.

I've played it a few hours for each of the last few nights, though, and I'm now working my way through the final day/stage, so I think I'm in the home stretch!

I'll be sure to share a lot more thoughts on this game in next week's Shall We Do It? post, no question!

Ole Einar Bjørndalen said...

Fucking Torahiko, i didn't want to break your heart...

JennieWBennett said...