I'm not in the mood to link so check out my recent blog entries for parts 1-4.
Let's just keep it simple. Earthbound is an awesome game and there are at least 50 reasons why. Here's the top 10.
Warning: major spoilers ahead!
10. Say fuzzy pickles!
A picture is worth a thousand words and Earthbound knows it. Throughout the journey, a man will sometimes fall from the sky and capture the moment using a camera and a funny saying. He'll arrive at the most picturesque settings and most important times in the game just so you can relive those memories later on during the end credits.
9. The 3 minute mandatory break.
Not many games have moments of just dead air, but Earthbound has one moment where you can't do anything. Nothing at all! Grapefruit Falls holds a secret and the only way to get inside the factory behind the waterfall is to just stand there for 3 minutes. No movement, no boss battle, nothing. It's a good time to grab a beer from the fridge, grab a bag of Doritos, and make yourself a sandwich. You've got time so make good use of it.
8. Welcome to Moonside.
The local bar... er, coffee joint (Jackie's Cafe) holds a huge secret behind the bar... er, I mean... yeah, bar. Fuck it! Anyway, there is an alternate version of the city of Fourside where everything has a neon look, strange monsters roam the streets, and the concepts of 'yes' and 'no' are completely reversed. The best thing about Moonside is that it's a lie, like cake. Moonside is an illusion created by a strange statue found early on by a local yokel in Onett.
7. After the battle has been won.
Sometimes an ending is just an ending. Sometimes you get a big cutscene or some credits and a heartfelt "conglaturations." Or you get the Earthbound ending which is much bigger than that. After defeating the evil Giygas, Ness and Paula can travel to all the place they visited talking to the townsfolk. Most of the people have something new to say to you at the end so it's just one big Easter egg hunt. Once you ditch Paula, Ness can once again ride his bike, this time wherever he wants. Traveling by bike in the Deep Darkness swamp is the way to go.
6. Lots and lots of Beatles.
If you're wondering why Earthbound may not be released on the Virtual Console in its current form, it's because the references to the Beatles are many. Nearly a dozen references are found throughout the game including: a yellow submarine in the Brick Road dungeon, several music tracks loosely based on various Beatles songs, and one guy in the town of Onett that asks a question pertaining to the song "Yesterday." The only game that has more Beatles is The Beatles: Rock Band.
5. The greatest mini-boss ever.
Security in the tallest building in Fourside is tight. Sentry robots pace along hallways and rooms looking to eradicate any intruders. They're not the problem, though. There's a robot mini-boss at the end that can be a real bitch if you don't watch yourself. The Clumsy Robot spends more time cleaning and eating bologna sandwiches than attacking, but he'll cause massive damage with some crazy attack. The Clumsy Robot is the toughest, most annoying, yet easiest bosses to defeat ever. At some point, the Runaway Five come in and just shut the robot off. If it were just that simple, huh?
4. A bug's life.
In the very beginning, a bee spills the beans on the whole "you're destined to save the world" thing. Buzz Buzz travels to the past to tell Ness about the evil plan Giygas has concocted and he also saves you from impending doom early in the game. The powerful Buzz Buzz, however, is no match for a swatting by the neighbor. With his final breaths, he tells you what you must do to stop Giygas while in a lot of pain apparently. Buzz Buzz might have been done in by a single swipe, but his legendary monologue at the end will live on.
3. The epic finish.
The final battle is as great as it gets. On one side you have Pokey in an armored spider robot thing and Giygas, the purest form of evil imaginable. On the other side, you have 4 small robots housing the mind and soul of Ness, Paula, Jeff, and Poo... they would be the heroes. After taking out Pokey and watching him run, you're left alone with Giygas. At this point, regular attacks are basically useless and you're left with one viable option... you have to (spoiler) pray to your friends which will weaken him gradually. And the final blow to Giygas is all because of you. Yes, you with the controller. While Ness' posse are heroes, the real hero is you, the user. One of the greatest final bosses ever... seriously.
2. Not a spiky-haired one in the bunch.
Androgynous manboys with spiky hair, gaudy clothes, and giant swords are nowhere to be found. No knights in shining armor, either. Ness is a boy with a baseball cap, t-shirt, shorts, and a chip on his shoulder. You play as a bunch of regular kids. Sure you're destined to save the world and all that necessary RPG bullshit, but you truly are an unlikely hero in that the 4 are likely younger than you.
1. Earthbound looks surprisingly like America.
The world of Earthbound is not a quasi-Medieval land or a quasi-Medieval/space hybrid. In fact, Earthbound resembles the modern world. The majority of the towns in Earthbound actually resemble typical American towns. Pizza shops, department stores, hotels, hospitals, and burger joints make up much of Earthbound. It was truly the most unique RPG setting we've seen at the time. It was a breath of fresh air for those who were looking for something more contemporary.
Well that's it. Time for bed. It's late. Goodnight... and fuzzy pickles.