In any RPG, JRPG, MMORPG, etc, leveling-up, or 'grinding' is a major part of the gameplay. Accordingly, monster design, and battle design are important, and are defining features of any RPG. I mean, where else do you get to use that shiny new armor or awesome new weapon?
And, as we all know, some games seem to be designed around grinding and grinding alone. One of the many complaints about WoW and games like it, was that grinding was basically the entire game.
In Earthbound, the designers struck a very good balance between the need to level up, and the need to explore and gather quirky items that may or may not be needed later.
The designers also paid quite a bit of attention to the battle screens. With the recent laws in Colorado and Washington State, the psychadelic "video drug" backgrounds and music will undoubtedly see a resurgence in popularity.
to play with.
Ok, so I promised you some monsters. The monsters in the game are quite whimsical, and its almost as if the game designers were trying to teach the kids of the 1990's an appreciation of the 1980's remembrance of American 1960's style.
Yeah that sounds funny, but I'm completely serious. Interspersed with the standard things you would expect to strike fear into a ten year old protagonist such as: spiders, slugs, evil robots, skatepunks, old ladies, snakes that come to life from hiroglyphs, you will encounter and defeat things like, well...
Mad Ducks, Ramblin Evil Mushrooms, Mad Taxi's, Dali's Clock, A UFO with a bowtie in its... hair? Abstract art, a guitar... and well, somthing that can only be described as a disembodied colon with Mr. T's head.
Of course, these all go quite nice with the backgrounds, and contribute to the humorous feel of the game, even if you did not bring enough hamburgers to your battle.
We just had an earthquake here in California, so I'm going to end this here, and go check for cracks in my foundation :)
Next week: Part 3, Friends and Power-ups.
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