Earthbound: You beat crazed hippies to death with a baseball bat, chase ghosts out of tunnels with blues music, and stop by a department shop for cold medicine on the way.
Needless to say, this isn’t your average SNES role-playing game. Rather than taking place in the past or in some mystical world full of elves and orcs and such, Earthbound takes place in the nineties. There are burger joints. There’s an arcade. There are bottle rockets, gum-chewing monkeys, and even a monster lurking in a loch. That’s just the beginning of the weirdness, though.
The world is being beset by an evil force that corrupts people, pets, taxis, and more. Prepare to fight things you never expected. Prepare to enter a village full of tiny armless people who speak with big curly letters. Prepare to make reservations to get into an elite club where a rock is the main attraction.
Your destiny, as revealed to you by a time-traveling bee, is to defeat the evil Giygas who has conquered Earth ten years in the future. To do so, you have to bring a special stone to a bunch of different places. How does that help? Well, stones hurt when thrown. You’ve clearly never had rocks thrown at you. Also, this stone pumps up your stats late in the game. Imagine, if you will, a stone that has all the effects of steroids, fish oil, and Spanish fly rolled into one. It’s kind of like that.
Making sure that nothing comes easily, your annoying neighbor is always one step ahead of you. From helping blue-obsessed cultists to teaming up with miscellaneous evil people who oppose you, he’s willing to show time and time again that there are no lengths he won’t go to in order to be a total dick.
Oh, but you have help.
Whether it be a girl working in a preschool, a nerdy genius with an obsessive gay friend, or a prince whose castle literally resides on a cloud, you won’t be fighting the ultimate evil alone. They’ll get on your nerves occasionally—like in the desert when they’re constantly suffering from heat stroke—but they’re welcome additions, given the fact that many of the fights tend to actually be difficult.
Item management is a big problem. You can’t carry very much with you, and having everything you need to be prepared is difficult before you have four people to distribute the load evenly across. Luckily, your in-game sister has taken a job with a storage company and is only a phone call away.
It’s virtually impossible to not love this game for its quirkiness. Where else can you turn a circus tent into a zombie trap?
Here’s what you should do: