Has anyone played Mother? I'm considering buying an English reproduction cart after falling in love with Earthbound, but I've heard this game is archaic. What are your thoughts on it, whether you've played it or not?
It at least seems interesting to me. It'd be pretty neat to own a translated game that wasn't released in the west.
Compared to EB, it is archaic. There are random battles, there's no rolling HP meter, the inventory is more limited, and the game is much more difficult. That said, it's also a fresh and forward-thinking NES game, particularly for its time. The translation isn't great but Mother still has a lot of the heart (and a bit of the humor) of its 16-bit brother. The visuals are simple but have some personality. The music is outstanding as well, one of my favorite NES soundtracks for sure.
That said, it's important not to expect a slightly simpler EB. This won't be like going to Mario 3 after Mario World. It's more like the jump from FF3 (SNES) to FF1--comparatively, it's more basic, has its share of maze-like dungeons, and can be frustrating.
I haven't beaten Mother myself, but I've played it several times and got very close to the end last time. I'm sure if I had it on a console as opposed to a ROM I'd want to play through it. I do own the Famicom cart for it (but of course that's not in English). So hopefully we can see this lost game pop up on the Wii U VC sometime...!
Yeah I played this earlier this year and while I'd recommend it the game is sometimes unbearably hard. I mean right from the beginning the game throws enemies at you that are quite a bit stronger than you. And you never really seem to get ahead. Heck the last area of the game I mostly just ran from every fight because the enemies were so damned powerful that it just wasn't worth fighting them. But if you can work around the unbalanced nature it is a unique and enjoyable enough experience, especially if you want to see the ideas that were fully fleshed out in EarthBound.
How varied are the areas? How do the humor and quirkiness compare to EB?
The environments are pretty good for when the game came out. Like EB, it takes place in modern-day suburbia, you buy weapons at drugstores, etc, so that's all pretty novel. There are a few modern-day locations that aren't really explored in EB either (like a zoo), so there's some pretty decent variety there, although it doesn't have the "worldly" feel that EB gets to after awhile (Winters, Scaraba, Dalaam, etc). It's ultimately less surreal as well, but it has its fair share of ethereal places too.
The translation is much worse than EB by a long shot; very NES-era, pretty stale. But there're still some funny moments and cool ideas, especially in some of the monster designs (which still have plenty of personality). I definitely think EB embraced the weirdness factor more, but Mother has its moments. It also has a bit of that spookiness inherent to the series, which is nice.
@Hero_Of_Hyrule I love the Mother trilogy and there're only three games in it. Your question is a little tricky for a couple reasons though...like, for me, the fact that it's a reproduction sort of diminishes what I'd pay for it. If there was an uncommon Mother 1 official NES cart (in English), I'd gladly pay that for it, but maybe not for a rom on a cartridge. The other thing is that I have trouble recommending games that are somewhat of an acquired taste, depending on the audience. Like I've said, the game has a lot of good things going for it, but you have to go in with tempered expectations and some patience for random encounters (and maze-like areas at times).
In fact, regarding the ROMs for this game, you may consider trying the re-translation from the professionals that did Mother 3. Check out this link and give it a bit of a read. There are some minor spoilers lower down regarding suggestions for item usage and such, but the first few tips might be good to keep in mind too. This version also includes an easy option if you want the enemies to be a little less brutal (and drop more EXP). I haven't actually played this version, myself, but I thought you might want to know about it in case that sort of thing was up your alley.