I recently had the joy of playing through the classic Super Nintendo RPG Earthbound for the first time ever due to its long overdue re-release on the Wii U Virtual Console this past July. Yes, I am a bad Nintendo fan for having never played it before, and I should be ashamed of myself. However, that mistake has now been rectified, so I can only beg forgiveness and carry on.
Earthbound is kind of a strange game. I’m not going to get into all of its oddities, because you have either already played it and know exactly what I’m talking about, or have not played it yet and should not have it spoiled for you before you play it, which you will do, because you can’t not play Earthbound. Then again, if you haven’t played Earthbound, just seeing this list of enemies may spoil the joy of finding out what wacky enemy will show up next when you inevitably do play it. Whatever, I can’t help that.
Basically, Annoying Old Party Man is an old dude who has imbibed a bit more than he can handle and is trying to start a fight with you. Luckily for you, this leads to him wasting a lot of turns because he is “wobbly” or “reeling”. He also likes to “grumble about today's youth”, which lowers the stats of your (very youthful) party members. Who knew that Ness and friends could be so affected by the words of a crazy old coot?
Cute Li'l UFO
Cute Li'l UFO is kind of like a normal UFO, except with a ribbon on top, which makes it cute, apparently. But don’t be fooled, it is still trying to kill you right dead. In the game it is mostly just a minor annoyance though, and drops so many recovery items that running into one of these is usually a net gain overall.
Extra Cranky Lady
You thought you knew the limits of cranky, did you? Prepare yourself for extra cranky! The precocious upper class (just look at the way she dresses!) Extra Cranky Lady has no patience for the dredges of society, scowling at Ness and friends while hitting them with her shopping bags. I wonder if Annoying Old Party Man is single? Seems like a match made in heaven. Or hell.
Ostensibly Earthbound is a child-appropriate game, but creator Shigesato Itoi has a few personal demons that have worked their way in, including a traumatizing childhood memory of accidentally seeing a scene from a very not-child-appropriate movie that contained what he believed at the time to be an on-screen rape (it was “only” a murder), an experience which he has stated has influenced the final battle of Earthbound. With that as context, finding Insane Cultists in the game actually feels pretty commonplace. Insane Cultists that attack by trying to paint you blue, because, you know… Earthbound.
I’m willing to wager that Salvador Dalí never anticipated one of his works becoming an enemy in Super Nintendo RPG, and yet here we are. Dali’s Clock has the ability to “freeze target in time”, dealing massive damage in the process. And if this Earthbound wiki is to be believed, it was also connected to one of the licensing nightmares responsible for blocking Earthbound’s Western re-release until 2013. So I guess you could say that Dali’s Clock has the ability to “freeze target in time” in more ways than one.
Yes Man Junior
Yes Man Junior is a mere toadie for a local street gang in the world of Earthbound, and that alone isn’t particularly interesting. The fact that he is randomly hula-hooping wherever he goes, however, is a lot more interesting. To me, anyway. What possible reason could a gangbanger have to carry a hula hoop around with him everywhere? Sure, he uses it to attack, but it usually misses or deals low damage. Perhaps if he were to invest in a more traditional gangbanger weapon like a knife or a Glock he might see his success rate in battle rise a bit.
Scalding Coffee Cup
It’s a cup of coffee. A very hot cup of coffee. I could make some sort of funny here about how it’d be more painful to go up against an enemy that takes away my cup of coffee, especially on a Monday morning, but I don’t touch disgusting sludge that society has deluded itself into thinking is drinkable, so that wouldn’t make any sense. Anyway, when you defeat the Scalding Coffee Cup, it often drops a cup of coffee, which confuses me to no end. Why would a coffee cup carry around smaller cups of coffee?!
New Age Retro Hippie
There aren’t many other games where you fight hippies, but Earthbound is not like many other games. The New Age Retro Hippie is a bit of a contradiction; his generally non-threatening appearance, including a peace symbol on his shirt, disguises his true intention, which is to beat up on children. Utilizing items like a toothbrush and a ruler as his weapons of choice, no less. Maybe he was just too stoned out of his mind to realize that a toothbrush and a ruler are not actually weapons?
I have had my own battles with abstract art over the years, but those are mostly academic. “How do we define art?” “How much does the worth of art depend upon its aesthetic value?” “Why did this dude get famous for painting an off-white square on a white piece of canvas?” Etc. But this… this is a real, literal battle with a piece of abstract art. Fittingly, the most substantial attack that Abstract Art has is a hypnosis attack that will put you to sleep. Also literally. Literally in the game, I mean. Earthbound is not above forthright criticisms of art.
EarthBound has a great selection of enemies. I also really liked those moles that insist they're the third-strongest, but as a list of enemies with concepts that are funny from first sight, I think this is a good list.