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Earth Bound: Tropes N to S

You finally got here. This is the third "Your Tropes" page. But it's mine now. Take it from me, if you dare...

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Tropes A to G | Tropes H to M | Tropes N To S | Tropes T to Z


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    N 
  • Never Say "Die":
    • No enemies in Earthbound 'die.' See Non-Lethal K.O. below.
    • The Dept. Store Spook in Fourside goes out of his way to avoid pronouncing "hell":
    You will be gone, and you'll be burning in... Well, you'll go to heaven!
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Probably one of the most severe cases; the ads tried to make it look like a Grossout Game from beginning to end....note  There's maybe two parts of the game with any kind of Toilet Humor, and even then it's never too over-the-top.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: EarthBound is the Trope Namer, after one of the enemies with the same name.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod: Giygas receives a prediction of his defeat and begins his invasion early in an attempt to reverse this. This likely would've worked, except that Ness is visited by an alien bee from the future and the two events end up canceling out.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Giygas abducts Dr. Andonuts, Apple Kid and one of the Mr. Saturns and places them all in Stonehedge. This allows the three of them to meet and develop the Phase Distorter, the device that sends you back in time to defeat Giygas.
  • Noble Shoplifter: In Happy Happy Village, there's a food stand with a sign saying they trust you to take what you need, as long as you leave the money. However, in this case, the player does have the option to leave without paying, so this trope depends on the player.
  • No Means Yes: In Moonside, switching yes and noone of the ways to make the area harder and to emphasize it's weirdness.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: No enemies "die" in Earthbound. Instead, they:
    • "become tame" (animals, Sharks, Evil Eyes)
    • "stop moving" or "are broken into pieces" (Animate Inanimate Object)
    • "are totally scrapped" or "are destroyed" (war machines)
    • "go back to normal" (angry/brainwashed people)
    • "return to the dust of the earth" (zombies, mummies, etc)
    • "melt into thin air" or "disappear" (gases/ghosts)
    • "are defeated" (everything else)
  • Non Standard Skill Learning: Spells are acquired by leveling up, except for the two tiers of Teleport for Ness. The first Teleport must be learned from a talking monkey, and the second one is automatically acquired after completing the Magicant level.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Pokey (target: Ness)
  • Nostalgic Musicbox: The final rendition of the Eight Melodies, just before entering Magicant. You get all sorts of adorable clips of Ness's childhood.
  • NPC Roadblock: The Happy Happyists' hideout contains a maze made of cultists; you have to talk to them or battle them to get them to move.
    O 
    P 
  • Palette Swap: Several enemies are like this, including a stronger version of the Territorial Oak, Foppies and Fobbies, and the Mani Mani Statue/Ness's Nightmare.
  • Parental Abandonment: Ness' father communicates over the phone often enough, but is never home. Jeff's father hasn't seen him in ten years despite living fairly near his boarding school (and this is a twelve to fourteen year old boy) and seems to think nothing of it; his mother is never mentioned. Poo's parents are nowhere in sight—affairs of state, perhaps? Paula is the only one of the four protagonists to have parents that are both alive and present.
  • Parental Bonus: Oh God. Too many to list. A yellow submarine, the Runaway Five, the New Age Retro Hippie's battle music...
  • The Password Is Always Swordfish:
    • The one password was not of the "easily guessed" type, but was ridiculous nonetheless: It consisted of waiting three minutes. Who would guess that?
    • This is later subverted by another character asking for the password. As the Player Character does not answer, he (or it) attacks ("someone so quiet is either extremely shy, or extremely dangerous").
  • Penultimate Weapon: The Legendary Bat for Ness.
  • Photo Montage: The ending credits show off all the photos the photographer takes of you at points in the game.
  • Place of Power: "Your Sanctuary" locations. Each restores your life to full, and getting them all give Ness a huge power boost.
  • Place Worse Than Death: If you remain in Moonside for too long, you'll "end up frying your brain."
    "Yes, you will. No, you will...not. Yesno, you will won't."
  • Playable Epilogue: After the final battle, you are free to roam the entire world as you please, with no enemies in your way, until you decide to visit Ness's mother. (Actually, if you ignore the Shattered Men in the Summers Museum, they'll still be fightable in the epilogue, which if you purposely die crashes the game. And may trigger other glitches.)
  • The Player Is The Most Important Resource: In the final battle, your faith in the characters is what defeats Giygas.
  • Police Are Useless: Not only do the police not seem to be able to handle things like kidnappings and teenage gangs, they actively get in your way by setting up pointless roadblocks.
  • Police Brutality: When Onett's police force is asked by a teenage boy to remove a roadblock and help him get to the next town, they decide it'd be fun to take him to the back room of the station and beat him up. They quickly learn challenging Ness to a fight is a bad idea if you don't want your butt kicked.
  • The Power of Friendship: How Giygas is defeated. In some way or another, isn't this trope the lesson learned in every MOTHER game?
  • The Power of Hate: Pokey during the final battle.
    Pokey: And here you stand, waiting to be burned up with all the rest of the garbage of this universe... Haaaaah! That's so sad. I can't help but shed a tear.
  • Power-Up Food: Ramen noodles bring back the dead.
  • Premiseville: Onett, Twoson, Threed, and Fourside.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Due to certain lines of battle text being used by more than one enemy, we sometimes get lines like this. Similarly, having Paula use the Ruler or Protractor will cause the game to refer to her as "he".
  • Psychic Powers: Instead of magic characters use Psi. Paula also uses telepathy at a couple points.
  • Punny Name: By the bushelful.
    • The first four towns are called Onett, Twoson, Threed, and Fourside.
    • And what are those numbers added up? NinTendo! Although that might not have been intentional.
    • And then there's Summers and Tenda (possibly also a pun on "tender"). Think about that for a while.
    • The main character, named after the NES. Alternately, the main character's name is an anagram of the system he first appeared on (SNES).
    • The bicycle shop in Twoson is called "Punk-Sure".
    • One removed from the American version: the third town was originally named Threek, combining both the numerical theme along with a scream of surprise and alarm. Perfect for a haunted town. Nintendo had it changed to "Threed" out of fears that it could be read as a reference to the KKK.
    Q 
    R 
    S 
  • Say My Name: One of Giygas's attacks has him saying the hero's name over and over. Which can lead to a hilarious or disturbing results if one abused the Hello, Insert Name Here feature.
  • See You in Hell: Amusingly subverted where a villain starts to say this trope, then admits that the heroes will probably go to Heaven after he kills them:
    Department Store Spook: "This department store is going to be your grave! Gwaaagh. You will be gone, and you'll be burning in...well, you'll go to heaven!"
    • One Happy Happy cultist specifically tells you not to go to Heaven. According to Clyde Mandelin the line was identical in the Japanese script.
  • Shall I Repeat That?: Brutally parodied with Buzz Buzz, who does this with his last words, and will not die until you tell him to.
  • Shave And A Hair Cut:
    • When banging incessantly on Ness' door doesn't work, Pokey tries this, although it is mixed with various other random knocks. Your dog remarks on how annoying it is.
    • Picky also does this in the Playable Epilogue after the end credits.
  • Shoplift and Die: In Happy Happy Village you can choose to pay whatever you want, if you pick $0 a nearby man will attack you. Though you can attack the storekeeper as a Ballistic Discount.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?:
    • Averted when Ness' sister Tracy says that she got his homework covered.
    • Also one conversation with Ness's Mom on the phone she says "Your teacher came by looking for you, I covered for you"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Single Palette Town: The Happy Happy Village, everything is blue, blue...
  • Sinister Geometry:
    • Giygas's robots appear in the overworld as blue octahedrons (presumably they're inside; there's an unused capsule sprite that might have been originally used, same as the Starman capsules from MOTHER 1).
    • Giygas' stronghold, the Cave of the Past, is a chrome wasteland of of geometric cliffs.
  • Skippable Boss: Many players don't even realize they can just not fight Everdred.
  • Skyscraper City: Fourside. You have to find your way to the top of the biggest one in the city too.
  • Snowy Screen of Death: Right when you start up the game, a bloody red static screen is shown, displaying "The War Against Giygas!" As soon as you defeat Giygas, the same effect is displayed, ending the battle.
  • Song Style Shift: The first form of the final battle's theme between Giygas and Pokey starts out as an 8 bit tune and then shifts into prog-death metal after around a minute.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Mostly played straight, but for a moment at the beginning when Giygas, in a moment of being Dangerously Genre Savvy, decides to just kill Ness before he becomes a nuisance by sending a Starman Jr. at them at the start of the game. Thankfully, the good guys were equally smart and sent in Buzz Buzz too, thus canceling each other out.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Some of the (great) music in this game is so out there, it is hard to tell what kind of mood the composer is trying to evoke.
  • Spell Levels: The tiers for PSI powers are given by the Greek letters alpha, beta, gamma, and omega (with sigma used for a few targets-all spells)
  • Spiders Are Scary: Lampshaded. The Arachnid! and Arachnid!!! are two of the only enemies to have exclamation marks in their names.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Starman Deluxe and the Final Starman are respectively stronger versions of the Starman and the Starman Super WITH SPIKES!
  • Spinning out of Here: Like in MOTHER, teleporting requires rapid, uninterrupted acceleration before zooming off to the destination, so areas with limited space to build speed require moving in circles to avoid crashing. One teleport ability requires the player to turn manually, the other one automatically makes the party move in a tight spiral.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Paula. She is famous and her dad totally babies her, but she is very serious about saving the world no matter what it takes.
  • Squishy Wizard: Again, Paula. Her PSI Freeze spells rip enemies into shreds, but her HP is so low that even two hits of PSI Thunder obliterate her. Hell, often her HP during the endgame can be maxed out by Lifeup-beta.
  • Standard Status Effects: As well as many non-standard ones. Characters can be affected by sickness, heat stroke, ghostly possession, homesickness (in Ness' case — this happens at random, and it's cured by calling Mom), mushroom growth, the common cold, uncontrollable crying...
  • Stock Ness Monster: Tessie, a friendly monster who resides within Lake Tess in Winters.
  • Subtitle Drop:
    "The war against Giygas' is over."
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Its horrifying final level is probably what it's best known for. The actual ending once Giygas is out of the way definitely doesn't fall into this, though.
  • Surprise Creepy: Most of the game is a gloriously strange and funny romp through childhood, and then you enter Giygas' Lair.


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