MOTHER 3 is a Japanese RPGnote Very Japanese.Only for the Japanese. starring an adolescentHeroic MimeFarm Boy from a Doomed Hometown and his dog, who join forces with a Lovable Rogue and a Tomboy PrincessBlack Magician Girl to fight a World-ConqueringEvil Overlord and his Army of Brainwashed soldiers in a race to trigger the SevenCosmic Keystones and Seal Away an Ultimate Evil which will bring about The End of the World as We Know It.Wait—nevermind, this game deserves a better explanation.MOTHER 3 is a game about humankind's corruption of the natural world, the alienating effects of modern life on communities and families, the ethical treatment of animals, the folly of living vicariously in one's past, brotherly love and rivalry, and familial love....Or really anything, really. But mostly that.MOTHER 3 is the long awaited sequel to EarthBound and the third (and apparently final) entry in Shigesato Itoi's MOTHER franchise; it continues the tradition of weird and quirky writing and gameplay which features deft employment of Mood Whiplash in its artistic story. Like prior games, MOTHER 3 centers on a young boy with psychic powers and his friends — but in this game, the time and setting are vastly different, and the threat to humanity is much more earthly than it was long ago.Unlike its two predecessors, MOTHER 3 shifts focus several times between the main protagonist, his family, and the people (and sometimes animals!) who will become his allies — and true to its slogan, its story is regarded as the darkest (and most emotional) of the three games while retaining all of the silly charm which endeared its fans to begin with.MOTHER 3 is notable for having begun life as a Nintendo 64 game first — as part of the now-failed Nintendo 64DD add-on — before falling into Vaporware territory (its earliest development predated Duke Nukem Forever's, which didn't surpass its time in Development Hell until 2007). It resurfaced on the Game Boy Advance in 2006 — but Nintendo has yet to release the game outside of Japan, despite vocal campaigns of support for an international release. (Lucas eventually saw international recognition due to his inclusion in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.)Nintendo's refusal to release MOTHER 3 outside of Japan (as the GBA was all but dead in the U.S. and Europe) led to drastic measures — which, in this case, means an English-language Fan Translation which took years to complete. As it stands, said translation will likely be the only way to ever play the game in a language that is not Japanese. The translation can be found at its dedicated homepage.Itoi has stated on a number of occasions that he doesn't want to make another MOTHER game — these days, he'd "rather be the player." Cue the fangame sequel...
Abusive Parents: Old Man Wess constantly berates Duster, calls him "moron" more often than his real name, and it's strongly implied he's the reason Duster walks with a limp.
When the party is hallucinating on Tanetane Island, Lucas gets a vision of his father threatening to beat him. It's fairly unlikely that this has actually happened to him in real life, but it's apparently something he's deeply afraid of.
Age-Appropriate Angst: When Hinawa dies, everybody reacts differently. Lucas, her younger son, can't do anything but cry his little heart out at her grave. Claus, her older son, foolishly tries to avenge her, and fails. Her husband, Flint... breaks, then spends the next three years shut off from everybody else. Alec, her elderly father, seems to be the least affected, though it's implied he's just putting up a face for the sake of coping.
Three years later, Lucas, having gotten stronger and more mature over the course of the adventure, has to fight a brainwashed Claus and ultimately have him die in his arms. He still feels grief, but it's not crippling enough to prevent him from finishing his quest to save the world.
Age Cut: Used on Lucas in the beginning of Chapter 4.
Alcohol Hic: Matt, a resident of Tazmily, seems to have this. We found out much later, though, that it was just a regular case of the hiccups.
All in a Row: Like the two games before it, but it's lampshaded early on by Thomas (a temporary party member):
Thomas:"I'll follow behind you. What? What's so wrong with that? I happen to like following behind people!"
All of the Other Reindeer: Interestingly, at the beginning of the game, this trope literally doesn't exist in-universe. Everybody in Tazmily is friends with everybody else, and differences are respected and even embraced. After the Time Skip, however, this trope is in full affect against anybody in Tazmily not in ownership of a happy box.
Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted with the Return of Octobot enemies based on the Octobot from EarthBound. Their right-facing sprite shows off their shiny metal half, and their left-facing sprite shows their dingy metal half.
Amplified Animal Aptitude: Boney is extremely competent in battle, spends a good portion of Chapter 4 walking on two legs to fool guards into thinking he's a person (Though it does wear him out some), and it's implied that he can understand human speech. Good dog!
And I Must Scream: Porky's ultimate fate. He did it to himself, though, and Dr. Andonuts comments that maybe it's what he really wanted.
And Knowing Is Half the Battle: There are a few signs around the game that present you with very out-of-the-blue, but accurate, scientific facts about animals. Considering the series, its almost certainly in a self-aware manner.
And Now for Someone Completely Different: You play through the prologue as young Lucas, then the next three chapters are played by three completely different characters before going through the rest of the game as Lucas again.
This trope is also in effect with the game in general, as it is extremely different from its two predecessors both in its tone and methods of storytelling.
Anthropomorphic Zig Zag: Boney pretends to be a human boy in Chapter 4 in order to sneak past some guards. He does a good job at it, but since walking on two legs wears him out, he switches back before long.
Anti-Poop Socking : Mostly done as reminder to save your game. If you play continuously without saving, Leder's bell will be heard and tell you to save and take a break. It takes quite a while to trigger however, and if you save often it is most likely you wouldn't ever get this message.
Apologetic Attacker: One of Salsa's skills is to "apologize profusely" to the enemy. This is a nod to one of Pokey (Porky)'s totally useless actions when he's your party member in EarthBound.
Other enemies sometimes waste their turns apologizing, such as Pigmasks. Incidentally, this is one of the first huge instances of foreshadowing to the fact that Pokey (Porky) is the main villain, besides the whole "pig" motif.
Apple of Discord: After the time skip, the people of Tazmily become more selfish and greedy to each other ever since currency was first introduced.
Arab Oil Sheikh: Technically he isn't an example, but Fassad is clearly designed after these and has a very similar personality.
Arc Number: The number 7. There are technically 7 characters that the player could control in battle in the whole gamenote Those characters Lucas, Flint, Claus, Boney, Salsa, Duster and Kumatora.. There are Duster's Almost 7 Thief tools, the 7 Magypsies, and The 7 Needles keeping the Dragon underneath the islands asleep.
Arc Words: It first appears on a gravestone in the Tazmily's Sunset Cemetary, but is later mimicked a notable number of times throughout the game.
Awful Truth: Leder's final role is to tell Lucas how his beloved home of Tazmily was always a fabrication; a fringe village on the edge of nothing, whose people had been willingly brainwashed to prevent a second armageddon. This is why the villagers act so cruelly when Lucas mourns for any length of time; they have a very strong reaction to "bad" feelings. Look at how they first tell Flint the bad news. And look at how Flint completely breaks down afterward.
A Winner Is You: Played With and subverted. After pulling the final needle, the world appears to end and you get a simple "End...?" screen. But, if you press on the D-pad a little bit...
One that's even more meta: One of the final areas of the Empire Porky Building has the music from the title screen of the first Mother game.
And to top it all off: The ending credits music is the Eight Melodies from  and , to the MOTHER 3 Theme of Love.
Boom Town/Egopolis: New Pork City. The entire populace of Tazmily moves there by the end of the game. Too bad it's all cardboard. Not to mention most to all attractions in the city are named after their founder and leader.
Boss Bonanza: Chapter 8 only featured one small dungeon, the New Pork City Sewers, the Empire Porky Building and its basement, and bosses sprinkled throughout. First off is Miracle Fassad in the sewers. After him, there's a Bonus Boss, the King Statue, that can be fought in New Pork City itself. After completing the games to see if Lucas is worthy enough to meet Porky, the Natural Killer Cyborg is fought. After a Call Back to the previous two games, the Porky Bots are fought. Porky then reveals himself and sends Lucas, his party, and Flint to the basement, where there's a short stretch of enemies leading up to the Final Boss: Porky Minch himself. After beating him, the Post Final Boss, the rematch with the Masked Man, is available.
Boss Remix: Remixed and recurring motifs are used a lot during this game, and the bosses are no exception. Probably the most noteworthy example is the eerie, agonizingly sad remix of the Love Theme during the final battle with the Masked Man.
Bottomless Bladder: Well, obviously you won't actually need to "go", but just like in EarthBound, there are bathrooms available that are simply always occupied. Parodied to the extreme with Porky's "All-You-Can-Pee Toilet Dungeon".
Bouncers: Neckbeard and Skinhead won't let a kid and some dog-like kid get into Club Titiboo that easily.
Brainwashed: Everyone in Tazmily Village (expect for Leder) was willingly brainwashed to prevent another Armageddon. Not to also mention how Tazmily is brainwashed by the Pigmask Army and how the Pigmask Army was brainwashed as well.
Bread and Circuses: Most people seem relatively pleased with the way society changes thanks to the Pigmasks. Several people express their concern for the fact that Lucas's family doesn't have a Happy Box.
Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In the attic of Club Titiboo in Chapter 4, Lucas finds three presents lined up in a row. From left to right, they contain "some nice stuff", "some rice stuff", and "some nice rice stuff."
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Sparrows explain the gameplay mechanics in what they call "game speak," and early on in the game, a character addresses you directly, asking you to enter your name. There is also a character who is induced to be sick because you (the player) just won't let up on hitting A to advance the dialogue. And let's not forget that imagining "something called a B button" is how you learn to dash.
The player gets directly asked their name, and then told to forget that they were ever asked. You're asked again in a later chapter, having the asker being very nervous about breaking the Fourth Wall, and telling Lucas to be careful or he might inconvenience the player.
Brick Joke: Flint's traveling doorknob. Also Mike's "slightly unclean and not very tasty" cookies are mentioned again in Chapter 8. He even asks if you forgot about them.
"(Weh've been waitin' a bloody long 'arry Lime all pat wiv yew aht on yeh toblerone.)"
"(Eh? Izzatchew, Alfie? Wheh've ya been wivaht sennin' a dicky bird? Ya dihn't come by fo' New Yeah's or Crackah Night, so yeh Grandmum an' I 'ave been all jack. So, wotcheh? Yeh mus' be bleedin' 'ank Marvin, eh? 'Eah's summadat Nut Bread fo' yeh.)"
But Thou Must: It doesn't really matter what option you pick in any choice; all that'll happen is you'll get a slight change in the dialogue, and sometimes be forced to answer again.
An interesting variation occurs at the end of Chapter 4. If, somehow, you lose to O.J. in Stone-Sheet-Clippers, a man will come in and tell you to keep the noise down. O.J. won't remember his (winning) result, and you get to try again.
Special mention goes to the final choice of the game - choosing not to pull out the last needle results in Lucas doing it anyway.
Butt Monkey: Duster just can't seem to catch a break, can he?
Camp Gay/Camp Straight: Subverted hilariously with the Magypsies, as they are somehow neither. Their personalities and physical appearances fit the camp trope like a sock, but according to Alec, none of them have a gender or sexuality. They just act and dress that way because it's how they like to act and dress.
Climax Boss: The third Chapter Boss, the Pork Tank. It comes during a fast paced escape from the Pigmasks as they start to take over and comes right before the return of Lucas and the time skip.
Clipped Wing Angel: Subverted during the battle with Porky. After defeating his Spider Mech, he seals himself away in the Absolutely Safe Capsule. He can't hurt you, but you can't hurt him either, leaving you at an impasse.
Continuity Cavalcade: There's a room near the end the Very Definitely Final Dungeon that serves as a gallery for iconic objects from Earthbound, complete with a joyful rendition of Pollyanna. As a cherry on top, it's followed immediately after by a long corridor where you listen to the title music to the original MOTHER.
Continuity Nod: Both of the previous games in the series are repeatedly referenced, most notably on the boat ride in New Pork City. Also, of course, the fact that the theater in New Pork City plays a film consisting of the important moments from EarthBound. There are also three residents of Tazmily who look like Jeff, Paula, and Picky.
The Mischievous Mouse will sometimes waste its turn feeling homesick, which was a status effect exclusive to Ness.
In the Chimera Laboratory, you can find the book "Overcoming Shyness", and, of course, the hilarious magazine excerpt from the $7,500 hovel in Onett.
Porky's room in Thunder Tower has a few too. The Teddy Bears that were party members in EarthBound ("You almost feel like it could take your place for you"), and a jukebox that plays the shop and hotel themes from EarthBound.
Cornered Rattlesnake: Miracle Fassad starts out just like New Fassad. Once you hit him enough, however, he shows that he's been holding back the entire game by revealing his incredibly powerful PSI skills.
The Corruptible: Everyone except the main protagonists, their families, Lighter, Fuel, Nippolyte, Reggie, the DCMC, and Leder.
Crapsaccharine World: Quite possibly the most outstanding example of this trope, and definitely one of the most subtle.
Crapsack World: New Pork City, and the Nowhere Islands when you leave them. Highways, concrete, steel, and technology have dominated the island, practically all of the local animals have been changed into robots or hideous chimeras, Tazmily has been abandoned after it was formed into a modern suburban-style town, and the familiar townsfolk of Tazmily have become distant from each other. Some are now jerks to Lucas and his party when they once were kind to them. In New Pork City, Porky rules with an iron fist. Lights, noise, junk food, media propaganda, and other artificial distractions are the way of life, and nature does not exist outside of a polluted trash dump.
Cue the Rain/Tempting Fate: In Chapter 1, Ed says the only thing that can make things stranger is if it were to start raining. Guess what happens.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Lucas's party vs the Pig King Statue. Due to the way the fight works, one side will end up curb stomping the other; either the statue with its incredibly powerful attacks of the party with either PK Flash or a New Year's Eve Bomb.
Curtain Call: The game has a character roll at the very end right before the production credits, just like EarthBound.
Cute Critters Act Childlike: Subverted by the Mr. Saturns. They're cute, innocent, playful, friendly, have a bizarre speaking syntax and their dialogue is even written n in a font resembling loopy, childish handwriting. Despite this, however, they are extremely intelligent and capable of building technology lightyears ahead of what humans can.
Cutscene Incompetence: On more than one occasion, Lucas and his friends will find a Needle before the Masked Man and the Pigmasks — only for them to show up seconds later and spend elaborate several-minute-long sequences landing and setting things up, which is more than enough time for Lucas to pull the damn Needle.
Cut the Juice: The only way the Ultimate Chimera can be defeated is by pressing a button on its back.
Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Almost allnote If one heads left after entering New Pork City, there's a person there who says some of the reconstructed are still tame. of the "reconstructed" animals are made violent and murderous by their "enhancements". (Then again, so are the purely biological Chimera). In addition, this isn't an unexpected side effect. The corker? After the experiments, knowing full goddamn well what the effects would be, Porky ordered Dr. Andonuts to reconstruct a nearly-dead Claus, resulting in his transformation into a virtually soulless killing machine who Porky can use to pull the Needles.
Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: After Lucas loses his mother, followed shortly afterwards by his brother going missing, his dad Flint becomes extremely distant from him and spends almost all of his time away from home. What did he spend all that time doing? Either grieving at his wife's grave or searching for his missing son.
Daddy's Girl: Hinawa seems to be close to her father, from what little we see.
This game was originally going to be even DARKER than the final version. The Dummied Out "nightmare" backgrounds show that some of these elements were in the GBA game for a part of its development, too.
Dark Reprise: The best songs from the first two games, and light reprises later.
Dead Character Walking: Literally, since the characters walk one after another, they are still able to walk around, but their sprite looks excessively tired. Also, you're prevented from running so long as any of your party members are downed, which, naturally, can be problematic if you're caught in the middle of a dungeon, surrounded by enemies and without a way of reviving them.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: You go back to your last save point and the money you currently have in your inventory is halved. That's it. Not only is money not even a issue for the first three chapters, but it automatically goes into a bank, so you probably won't be carrying much of it around.
Death Seeker: Implied with Lucas, twice. First time is a little-known dialogue chain from "Mr. T" if you try to go down the train tunnel without first talking to Old Man Wess. It's very funny. The second is during Chapter 6, when he sees his mother's ghost walking through a sunflower field. While he tearfully chases after her, in an act desperation, he ends up pitching himself off a cliff. It's not funny at all.
Deceased Parents Are the Best: Sadly enough, Hinawa is killed in the first few minutes of the game. While the game exemplifies that Hinawa is a great mother throughout the whole game, Flint, on the other hand, is seen as neglectful and distant towards Lucas after her death (that is, in the search of Lucas' brother, Claus). However, Flint makes it up during the final battle between Claus and Lucas.
During the final battle with Claus, Hinawa calls for Claus to stop attacking Lucas repeatedly. If Lucas (you) fight back (The only time you can is when Flint is blasted with PSI Love Omega), Hinawa will tell YOU to stop. Her constant pleas finally ring in Claus's ears, causing him to regain control long enough to end the fight...with him as the loser.
Detect Evil: On Tanetane Island, Boney is the only one in the party who can tell the enemies are bad news. Justified, since he's the only one who's sober at that point, and the enemies would otherwise be obvious.
Deus ex Machina: When Lucas and the party fall from the flying ship, all four of them land in safe places. Lampshaded by Alec, who remarks that the fact that Hinawa showed up in a dream to warn everybody where they were going to fall is "As strange as strange can be.
During the forest fire, after you save Fuel from the burning house, both will be covered in soot. If you choose to take a dip in the hot springs, they will be cleaned off from the neck once they get out.
After going through the dark cave in Chapter 1 with Alec (shortly before you fight the Drago that killed Hinawa), you can climb up a ladder and startle two Pigmasks, who scramble down the cliff and retreat into their saucer... or you can avoid them entirely. If you do, a cutscene will play as you leave the area, showing the saucer taking off normally, unaware of your characters.
If, for whatever reason, you have to re-navigate the cave, Alec's dialogue will be modified to be more concise - almost all the jokes he told the first time through will be gone, and he'll remember the proper direction of the vine near the end.
The flowers at Hinawa's grave change with every chapter.
The first time you meet Kumatora, she attacks you with PK Freeze. After she joins your party, the exact amount of PP used from the attack has been deducted (which can also be explained by the pendant she dropped also adding on the same amount of PP).
An amnesic Duster is nicknamed Lucky at a point in the game. If you named him Lucky, the nickname will be changed to Gorgeous.
Likewise, Kumatora goes undercover and briefly takes up the name Violet. If you named her Violet the name will be changed to Kumatora.
After someone joins your party, if you go and try to talk to Leder, they will have something to comment about the old beanpole.
In Chapter 2, if you talk to Pusher on you way back to the castle with Wess, he mentions plans on building an old folks home.
There's a newspaper in a nursing home that the player will likely never check more than once, but its contents change with each new chapter, sometimes more often.
Prior to Chapter 4, one of the gravestones in the cemetery says it's reserved. If you check it again after the 3 year skip, youï¿½ll find that Scamp is buried there. Checking the scenery in his house will refer to Scamp in the past tense.
Talking to NPC's after adding someone new to the party will often give you new dialogue.
Early in Chapter 2, Wess tells you to check behind the house to find a Thunder Bomb. If you check behind the house in later chapters, even after the timeskip and Wess's house was torn down and a senior citizen's home was built where his house stood, you can still find Thunder Bombs. They re-appear every time you go to the crossroads and back.
When you return to Tazmily Village with Duster in the party after he's been gone for three years, several of the villagers will express surprise at his return.
The Anti-Poop Socking dialog changes slightly depending where in proxy you are to Tazmily Village or if you're playing after the time skip happened.
Pre-time skip, if you are in or close to Tazmily, the dialog appears as Ol' "Beanstalk" Leder's bell is ringing. If you're farther away, it appears as Ol' "Beanstalk" Leder's bell can be heard off in the distance.
After the time skip, Leder and the bell disappear from the village and the dialog comes up as You got the feeling that you heard ol' "Beanstalk" Leder's bell.
If you have a Fresh Egg in your inventory and go into a hot spring for a few minutes, step out and check your stuff: you will have a Boiled Egg. In fact, it's a good idea to do this a lot; they're a very good healing item and you can get them for free by the Chimera Labs. In addition, if you don't do this and leave a Fresh Egg in your inventory for too long, it'll hatch, and will lose its restorative properties.note Although this has a use in itself, if you're short on DP: so long as they're still in your inventory, the hatched chicks will, in time, grow into chickens, which sell for 200 DP each.
Remember the locked rooms in the Toilet Dungeon? It is the one with water leaking outside. Using a walk through wall code when you are in a room next to it, you can enter and see the flooded room, entirely programmed!
If you need to heal by hot spring in Tanetane Island while in Mushroom Samba mode, Boney will opt out of it. When you meet the Magypsy of the island, Mixolydia, after healing there, he/she comments on how you stink. Rely only on Lifeup, Items, and the shrooms at the entrance to heal yourself without the hot spring, and he/she won't say this. Pass by that area outside the influence of the shrooms and you'll see why... that's a sludge pool, not a hot spring!
Poison will actually cause an occasional visual distortion while not in a battle, so being poisoned is more than a status. This distortion doesn't exist if you don't run, appears occasionally when you move at normal speed, and worsens as you dash.
When you start Chapter 2, chests that were already opened remain open and empty.
As you make your way to the graveyard in Chapter 2, you meet a guy in a turban with a monkey. After the encounter, if you visit the Yado Inn, the second room in the row of rooms (the one with the frog), will not be able to be entered.
When you enter the Osohe Castle (third floor, to be exact), the portrait that's there has moving eyes.
When the entire group dons Pigmask outfits, Duster still has a limp.
Dinosaurs Are Dragons: The dragos, animals who are indistinguishable in every way from tyrannosaurus rexes, except for the fact that they're as friendly as puppies.
Dirty Communists: According to right-wing extremists, this game has a pro-Communist, anti-Capitalist agenda. Itoi was never confronted about whether or not this was true.
Dirty Harriet: Kumatora gets a job as a waitress in Club Titboo in order to get information on Duster's condition. While not explicitly a sexual occupation, it clearly involves a lot of sensual behavior.
Disc One Nuke: The Squawking Sticks outside the factory in Chapter 4 have a 5% chance of dropping a Good Stick. There'll be no better weapon available for Lucas for the next couple of chapters, so it may be worth your time to try and obtain it as soon as you can.
At the beginning of Chapter 5, you can backtrack to Osohe Castle and defeat Lord Passion; for doing so, you'll get the Mystical Shoes, which will last Duster all the way through Chapter 7, if not the rest of the game.
Black Beanlings give way too much experience upon defeat. If you can kill just one in Chapter 4, you'll skyrocket by like 10 levels, and steamroll everything.
Disney Villain Death: Jaw-droppingly averted. Fassad ironically slips on his own banana peel and falls off of the very top of Thunder Tower. Somehow, he is reconstructed into a horrifically ridiculous cyborg machine that "speaks" through trumpets jammed through its nose.
Dragons Up the Yin Yang: The two dragons in the sanctuary just outside of the Sunshine Forest. Oddly enough, they shape a Yin-Yang symbol.
Dramatic Irony: After Claus goes missing, Flint spends the next three years desperately searching for him. Had he seen what the audience could see, however, he'd have stopped long ago, on account of him being dead.
Dug Too Deep: Just before Lucas and the others reach the dark and incomprehensible final area, they have to trek though a mine deep underneath New Pork City.
Dumb Is Good: Duster is considered the least intelligent member of the party, but is also one of the nicest.
Dummied Out: There are ungodly amounts of unused content in the game:
In terms of enemies, we have a giant bear, a tree monster, and the Alkaline Man, along with lots of unused entries that don't have any data to them.
There's also a ton of unused music!
There are lots of unused lines of text in the game. Notable examples include an exchange with the producer of something called Mr. Pirkle and Ms. Lardna's Love Nest", mentions of a New Pork Island, a conversation with the seventh Magypsy, Locria, and some end-game conversations with Kumatora and Duster (asking Lucas how having a mother felt like, and discovering all of their memories were fake.)
Unused sprites, unused (and sometimes very terrifying-looking) battle backgrounds, a picture of a gas station, and a giant pig balloon of some sort are just a fraction of the unused graphics in the game.
The most recent discovery? Unusedcutscenes! Three of them seem to be flashbacks meant to play during the final battle (Lucas's childhood memories), while two of them appear to be from the ending (dealing with the ultimate fate ofSalsa and Alec, who were the only ones left behind when everyone moved to New Pork City, surrounded with burnt animal corpses and falling meteorites.)
Dying Moment of Awesome: The Barrier Trio, once defeated, has a five turn long death animation where they charge, introduce PK Starstorm to the game, charge, try to use PK Starstorm but be too weak to, then strike one last Barrier Pose.
Early-Bird Cameo: Fassad makes an appearance at the beginning of Chapter 2, and more obscurely, halfway through Chapter 1.note just south of Wess' house, you'll see him trying to persuade Butch to sell his pigs to him.
Eleventh Hour Superpower: PK Love Omega for Lucas and PK Starstorm for Kumatora, both of which are learned at the end of Chapter 7. Also, chances are that, if you learn them at all, Lucas's Refresh and Kumatora's PK Ground won't be learned until near the very end unless you grind a lot.
Ending Theme: A medley of the three most important songs in the series, The Eight Melodies, Smiles and Tears, and the Love Theme.
"End of the World" Special: The entire journey of MOTHER 3, or late into the game in Chapter 7, is to see who will summon the Dark Dragon first, and how they'll use it to recreate the world. In the end, despite Lucas pulling the last needle, the world is still destroyed, but the ending implies everyone is still happy and it was for the better.
Evil-Detecting Dog: There is a segment in the game where Lucas, Kumatora, and Duster eat some unusual mushrooms while desperate for food. The mushrooms cause them to hallucinate that the monsters in the area are characters from their pasts. The party dog, Boney, is the only one not fooled, and whines and barks when hallucinations begin to talk to the characters, attempting to warn the rest of the party as to their true nature. He also refuses to get into a beautiful sauna the party can rest in - if you visit it again after the effects of the mushrooms have worn off, you'll find the humans were deliriously bathing in toxic sludge.
Evil Laugh: Both Fassad and Porky. The former is bombastic and humorous, while the latter is downright chilling.
Also subverted with The Masked Man, though much differently. And far crueler.
Face-Heel Turn: Though the actual turn isn't seen in-game, Fassad was once Locria, one of the seven Magypsies who betrayed them to work with the Pigmask Army. Later, it's revealed that Claus has one of these, although this was against his will. And then there's Dr. Andonuts from the previous game, though that was also against his will and he gets his revenge in the end.
Isaac becomes a Pigmask in Chapter 8. Although he doesn't do anything evil, he says he'd have to be your enemy if you did anything to oppose Porky.
Faceless Goons: The Pigmasks. Slightly deconstructed in Chapter Seven, when the injured Pigmask on Lydia's bed is seen without his mask after Lydia's Needle is pulled, and turns out to be a fairly nice regular guy who even volunteers to look after Lydia's rabbits, and urges that Lucas and his party get a move on. Also in Chapter 8, when a Pigmask in full uniform and face-concealing helmet, if spoken to, identifies himself as Isaac, having just recently joined the Pigmask Army.
Failure Is the Only Option: Pokey will force you to play a series of competitive challenges against his pathetically inept Pokey-bots during the ascent through the Empire Porky Building. The only way to progress is to give a 90-99% percent effort and lose by a hair or else Pokey will get mad and accuse you of cheating (win a game) or losing on purpose without trying (don't do anything at all).
Fake Difficulty: Mildly. For almost every random battle music (and even some boss battle music) with regular beats (for the purpose of combos), there's a remix where the beginning sounds the same, but partway through the music there is sped up/slowed down/skipped in almost random places just to trip you up.
Fake Memories: Nobody in Tazmily Village other than Leder know of its true origins.
Fanservice: In a Hot Spring, you can find Kumatora bathing nude. Psych! It was actually the back of Ionia's head. Later you find her taking a shower, but hilariously enough she opens the bathroom door fully clothed the instant Lucas gets close.
Fan Translation Name Change: Yokuba to Fassad, "Yoshikoshi" to "Violet", "Tamekichi"/"Umemaro" to "Lucky"/"Gorgeous". Hinawa was almost changed to Amber to retain the Theme Naming with Flint, but was ultimately left as Hinawa.
First Law of Tragicomedies: MOTHER 3 takes a drastic turn for drama during the final hours of the game, where nearly all silliness is dropped. It can also be argued that this happens in the first Chapter as well. Other than that, the game is fairly silly and comedic.
Forced Level Grinding: The Barrier Trio and the Masked Man can easily be That One Boss for any player... unless you learn PSI Shield Omega (for the former) and Lifeup Omega and PK Ground (for the latter), after which their difficulty is immediately slashed.
If you don't grind on Dung Beetles at the beginning of Chapter Three, Salsa will get decimated later on.
Forgiveness: What makes Claus's final words even more tragic. All he asks for is for his brother to forgive his wrongdoings.
For the Evulz: Porky's ultimate motivation was that he wanted entertainment.
Funny Afro: Lucky from the DCMC. He's actually Duster wearing a wig.
Matt, Tazmily's reputed town drunk, has one too.
Gag Nose: The Mr. Saturns have amazingly bulbous noses.
Gaia's Lament: Due to war and pollution, nature died and civilization collapsed. A large group of survivors then constructed a ship to the last part of the world that had not been corrupted, the Nowhere Islands, and brainwashed themselves to not know what modern technology was so they could preserve nature and themselves, starting Tazmily Village. When the Pigmasks took full charge, though, their efforts were ruined, and the islands were twisted into a mess of machinery and modern infrastructure. Either way, Lucas changes it in the ending when he pulls the last Needle... Maybe.
Gaia's Vengeance: What can be inferred as to what happened in the first apocalypse before the Nowhere Islands were found.
Game-Breaking Bug: Chapter 5, Thunder Tower. There is a save frog who is susceptible to trap you in the scenery, rendering the save file useless. Thankfully averted with a Walk Through Walls cheat code (0200C492:FFFF, you're welcome).
Gas Mask Mooks: The Pigmasks, used to make them resemble pigs. Despite their helmets, they are susceptible to crying, which is only caused from light flashes or eye contamination.
Generic Dooms Day Villain: Subverted, big time. Porky may want to destroy the world, but he is hardly what one may call generic. On top of being three-dimensional, supported by a backstory and very entertaining (One way or another), he actually has a reason for destroying the world: He's bored, and since he can't die, he's amused by the world's destruction the same way a child may be entertained by burning an ant on the sidewalk.
Genericist Government: We really don't know what kind of system the Pigmask Army governs. Capitalism? Dictatorship? Fascism? Totalitarianism? Is there even a government established? We may never know for sure.
Genre Deconstruction: It's MOTHER. It deconstructs the Japanese RPG genre; no surprise there. However, this game goes even further than its predecessors. Look no further than how the concept of currency is introduced for a singular example.
Golden Snitch: Parodied in the Empire Porky Building, where you have to play a series of minigames against a robotic version of the Big Bad. The final game is apparently worth enough to win, but the point is moot since you're supposed to lose.
Guest Star Party Member: During the first three chapters, there are various "guest" party members that can (sometimes) help out in battle. Most of them aren't very useful, but Wess certainly fits this trope, and Fassad in Chapter 3 is far more powerful than the main character at that point (which isn't saying a lot, so he's essential to have in battle).
Guide Dang It: Done to great effect with the Magypsy mementos. The game gives no indication that they will automatically revive you if you die, and realizing it by yourself can be a Tear Jerker and/or a Heartwarming Moment.
There's also no indication anywhere in the game that revisiting Osohe Castle in Chapter 5, to fight a Bonus Boss, will yield any kind of reward.
Completing the Battle Memory involves fighting the Zombieshroom before eating the mushrooms, even though you'll be guaranteed a Game Over. Fighting him after eating the mushrooms doesn't count. Interestingly, the Zombieshroom becomes skippable after eating the mushrooms...but if you want the Eerie Smile entry, only one particular enemy will give you it. Of course, it's the Zombieshroom. And then the Zombieshroom disappears after you're cured from the mushrooms, so you can't skip it and come back when you actually stand a chance and aren't on a massive drug trip.
Handicapped Badass: Duster has a permanent bad limp, but he can still handle himself in a fight extremely well.
Happy Rain: Played With in Chapter 1. The start of the rain coincides with Lighter reuniting with his son, which is a somber, but happy, moment. As Tessie points out, the rain is also a good thing because it will help put out the forest fire. However, several other things happen during the same rainstorm that are less than happy.
Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Master Eddy, and the Almost-Mecha Lion. Defeating the latter is extremely difficult, considering you've only got two party members. If you do, all that happens is it gets back up in the cutscene afterwards. You do get a nice pile of experience, though, so it's not totally pointless to try to win.
Heel Realization: One of the Pigmasks in Thunder Tower apparently had one of these when visiting Tazmily a day or so prior to speaking to him, having seen how charred the place was from all the Thunder Tower attacks.
Heroic Mime: Played with even more than in EarthBound: the role of protagonist is shuffled around between characters before the Time Skip, and whoever holds it at the moment is silent, but these characters are perfectly talkative when someone else is in the lead. (The exception is Salsa, who never talks at all. Granted, he's a monkey).
One scene, at the start of Duster's chapter, is a repeat of the same scene in Flint's chapter, except Flint talks at the end, symbolizing the role of Player Character moving to Duster, who doesn't talk for the rest of the chapter.
Heroic Sacrifice: Bronson speculates that Hinawa risked her life to protect Lucas and Claus from the Mecha-Drago. Also, during the last battle, Flint jumps out to protect Lucas from a PK Love Ω.
Human Ladder: The Mr. Saturns do this for fun in their spare time.
Humans Are Bastards: In interviews, scriptwriter Shigesato Itoi has said that Porky Minch is a representation of mankind. Ouch.
Humans Are Flawed: However, the game does feature Hinawa and Lucas (who are both human), who are nowhere near the bastards Porky and Fassad (who is a Magypsy) are. Even in the case of Tazmily being influenced by the Pigmasks, it's arguable that it's just as much that several of them are ignorant from years of living in a controlled environment After the End as it is that they are inherently morally questionable by virtue of being human.
Despite this lingering fact, there still seems to be a Rousseau Was Right theme in there, just like all of the MOTHER games.
Informed Equipment: Somewhat justified, as most of the armor and equipment you'll find are badges, charms, rings, bracelets, and other kinds of accessories which would be too small to be visible on the over-world sprites. Played straight with the much less common shirt and hat accessories.
Porky mentions this in the first confrontation about the Tazmily villagers.
Porky:"No matter how much you change the rules, no matter how much you refuse to admit defeat, in the end, the creatures known as "people" will always sign their own death warrant by acting out of stupidity and evil."
It Amused Me: Ultimately, Porky's motive was that he was bored.
Also the ghosts in Osohe Castle. Not very scary at first, the former residence of Osohe Castle. But then when you talk to Leder, you realize that they are the ghosts of the people that once lived on the island but seemed to have died out long before the white ship appeared. They could possibly the ancestors of the Magypsies as well.
Item Caddy: Boney. While he's not especially powerful, his high speed stat helps a lot when using things like shield killers and bombs.
It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: While Lucas isn't neccessarily nameddropped the Chosen one, the fact that he's the only person (besides the Masked Man) who can use PK Love and pull the 7 needles to awaken the dragon as was Prophesized hints at it. And the Magypsies flat out point out that fact too. As such, Lucas definitely fits this trope, given all the traumatizing things that happen to him as he goes on his journey.
Old Man Wess is more of a straight example. He does care about his son, he just really sucks at showing it.
Jet Pack: The Masked Man. Oddly enough, he also has a pair of wings.
Joke Character: Salsa is sort of a Deconstruction: He has terrible attack power, unimpressive stats, and only a few decent special abilities, but he goes through so much abuse at the hands of Fassad you can't not root for the poor guy.
Kids Are Cruel: Subverted with Porky. He may be physically hundreds or thousands of years old, but he still has the mind of a thirteen-year-old. Had it not been for that, he would probably be one of the greatest examples of this trope.
Kaizo Trap: Some enemies explode upon being defeated, which can take down multiple party members if you aren't careful.
Kangaroos Represent Australia: The Parental Kangashark enemies are chimeras that are, as the name implies, crosses between kangaroos and hammerhead sharks. They come complete with wall-eyed babies in their pouches.
Karmic Death: Fassad gets what he deserves from the main characters.
Kick the Dog: Fassad forces Salsa the Monkey into slavery and takes every opportunity to abuse him with an electric shock collar.
The Egg of Light is an artifact capable of inducing and reversing this. Incidentally, it's how Duster's aforementioned amnesia is cured.
Laser-Guided Karma: Fassad treats Salsa the monkey like a personal slave and abuses him with an electric shock collar at every given opportunity no matter how well he carries out Fassad's orders. Fassad gets what he deserves by falling 10,000 feet from slipping on a banana peel, being revived as a human/machine hybrid, and being killed off for good in the sewers of New Pork City. Exploring the Empire Porky Building reveals that Fassad was Locria, the 7th Magypsy and keeper of the final needle, essentially marking him as a traitor.
Last Disc Magic: PK Ground, the last PSI move Kumatora learns, is arguably one of the most gamebeaking moves in the entire series.
Last Ditch Move: If you want to survive the battle with the Mecha-Drago, you must have at least sixty hit points at the end of the battle, or his final move will take you down before he does.
Let's Split Up, Gang: Not done intentionally, but forces conspire to separate Lucas and Boney from Duster and Kumatora in Chapter 7. They find Kumatora safe with a Magypsy, and Duster ends up with the Mr. Saturns. Which would be fine and dandy if they weren't being attacked by the Pigmasks.
This also happens on a small scale when the group need to search for a jar of pickles. They go their separate ways in the immediate area, rather than sticking to the usual All in a Row setup.
Let The Bully Win: The only way to pass the "competition" against the Porkybots in the Empire Porky Building is to lose, as the entire thing is organized just to strokePorky'sego.
Lightning Can Do Anything: Lucas realizes PK Flash after being struck by a random bolt of lightning inside Thunder Tower. And Kumatora learns PK Starstorm after Ionia strikes her with Lightning using PSI.
Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: The Deluxe Box, which contains the game, a special edition red Game Boy Micro, and a replica of the Franklin Badge. Naturally, these go for ridiculous prices on auction websites.
Literal Genie: The Absolutely Safe capsule is a particularly horrifying example. True, it will protect whoever is inside it from absolutely anything, but it will also protect everything else from them. As a result, when Porky crawls into it when he believes his luck is running out, neither he nor the good guys can do any harm to each other. That's not the worst part, though. The worst part is that its safety cannot be compromised. Once it's been sealed shut it will never open again, and since it cannot be destroyed by anything in the universe, whoever is inside it will never get out.
Live Item: If you carry a Fresh Egg with you for too long, it will hatch into a Chick and grow to a Chicken. You can sell the Chicken for a good sum, making them good Vendor Trash.
Lost in Translation: The fan translation, though quite thorough and professional, loses two Punny Names that don't translate well into English; Salsa ("saru", Japanese for monkey, and "salsa") and the Oh-So-Snake ("Osohe" and "hebi", meaning snake).
The Lost Lenore: After Hinawa is tragically killed, Flint... doesn't exactly recover. Maybe he'd have taken it better, if not for the fact that his son went missingless than a day later.
To a rather lesser extent, there's also the Courage Badge. It turns out to be the Franklin Badge. And if you take the appearances of the Franklin Badge in previous games to heart, this could be a series-wide Chekhov's Gun.
Magic Is Rare; Health Is Cheap: Magic Tarts and Puddings are rare as they ever were, but thankfully, this only really affects Lucas and Kumatora. Boney is an Item Caddy, and Duster (as well as Guest Star Party Members Flint and Salsa) can use skills infinitely with no restrictions. Early game, you can even get lots of HP restoring items for free, since the citizens of Tazmily don't know what money is yet.
Mature Animal Story: Kinda. Most of the main characters are all human beings, but one portion of it is seen from the perspective of a sentient monkey, and one of the main party members is a "talking" dog. That, and animal life in general plays a very significant role in the story.
Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Dark Dragon that lives beneath the Nowhere Islands. Whether or not its metaphorical is never clear, since we never actually see it.
Metal Slime/Disc One Nuke: Beanlings, Black Beanlings, Soot Dumplings, Bright Smiles, Top Dogfishes and more... and it's perhaps the only game to subvert it with the Mystery Metal Monkey, which gives you good experience when you beat it... just not in the Character Level sense.
Misplaced Retribution: Fassad blames Lucas and co. for his fall off Thunder Tower, even though it was caused by his own carelessness. For bonus points, his battle theme is called "Misplaced/Unfounded Revenge".
Mix-and-Match Critters: The Chimeras that weren't combined with machines (or otherwise made into cyborgs of some kind), which include such wonders as the Batangutan, Horsantula, and Kangashark.
Ironically, this also ends up the case for the Egg of Light that Duster was supposed to find instead of the Noble Spitoon. It's meant as something to both induce and reverse Laser-Guided Amnesia, but short of curing Duster's (which happened over the course of the game), everything has already gone past the point where the Egg's memories of the world before the Nowhere Islands would've been helpful.
Momma's Boy: Per the course of the series, both Lucas and Claus adore their mother to pieces, and the feeling is mutual. Sadly...
Mook Bouncer: During Chapter 2, there are enchanted brooms that will sweep up Duster and his party and send them back a few floors.
Mook Chivalry: Near the end, you fight ten Mecha-Porkies, but only three of them are onscreen at any one time, in part due to the game engine's limitations. This is also done a couple other times, such as the fight against the four zombies. If you get enough enemies in the same spot, you'll only fight three at a time as well (this is easiest in the room in Thunder Tower with the five or six Whatevers).
Mr. Exposition: This is Leder's entire purpose. He was the only one not mindwiped on the "White Ship", in case of a crisis.
Mushroom Samba: Mixed in with some horror. After washing ashore on an island, your starving party is forced to eat some mushrooms. This results in a very bad trip. On the way to sobriety, you can look inside some mailboxes, which are not really there, and find things like "expanding darkness", "an image of yourself, crying", a rotten plate of your most cherished meal made by your mother, and you see images of your friends and family who insult and threaten you. Designer and MOTHER series mastermind Shigesato Itoi described this as his worst fear, and had to tone down the original script for this area because he was scared to read it.
Musical Pastiche: The music when fighting the bat enemies in the first chapter starts with something that sounds very like the "Nananananananana Batman" theme.
Musical Spoiler: The Masked Man's attacks in Chapter 7 use the same "attack riff" as Claus's attacks from the prologue. There are many things foreshadowing that particular revelation, but only that one counts as a Musical Spoiler. Another one that's a bit less obscure is when Fassad returns with his new "horns" and they're squeaking out the sax part of the Magypsy theme.
Similarly, if there's any doubt that Lucky, DCMC's bassist is actually Duster, you may recall that his attack riff is a bassline.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The fight against Porky would be a hopeless fight if he didn't decide to switch on the Absolutely Safe Capsule.
Earlier, he invites and takes you to New Pork City, the location of the final needle. A bit later, he drops you down to the underground area containing it. Had he not done either of those things, he would probably have had the final needle to himself. It's almost as if he wanted to lose.
One small cutscene features Pigmasks having a conversation that revolves entirely around what to use the hooks in the bathroom for.
Not only the Pigmasks use the bathrooms, but the Ultimate Chimera does too. All those Pigmasks it ate have to come out sometime. He doesn't take it kindly if you disturb him on loo. The worst part is that you need to piss him off if you want to get the treasure chest inside the Ultimate Chimera's bathroom stall.
No Ending: No matter what way you look at it, in terms of literary devices,MOTHER 3 seems to be lacking a resolution. However, Itoi would rather let the player imagine the ending instead.
Non Sequitur Thud: Lil' Miss Marshmallow, after receiving one too many hits (and maybe PK Thunders) to the head:
Lil' Miss Marshmallow:YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW SO SEW SO-SO / GREETINGS CHEESE POPSICLE / THE NUMBER YOU HAVE DIALED / IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PORK CHOPS / FROM EAST TO WEST IT GOES GOES / BROKEN BROKEN / OH SO SOW SEW BROKEN / *whir* *clank* *clunk*
There was absolutely nothing inside the mailbox. Nothing after nothing came bursting out.
When Lucas is on the Chimera Laboratory and the Ultimate Chimera is on the loose, all that can be heard is its roaring and the screaming of Pigmasks. However, if you enter another room and the BGM starts again, that's... not good, either.
One Time Dungeon: Most dungeons and areas in the game can be revisited in at least one later chapter (although the enemy types and layout will change with the plot). The major exceptions are the Attic Dungeon in Chapter 4, which becomes inaccessible once the chapter ends with its completion, and the Thunder Tower, which is only accessible in Chapter 5 because the story at that point involves infiltrating and destroying it.
One True Sequence: Somewhat subverted: the Pigmask Army retrieve three of the seven MacGuffin's before you do, and there are many you get to before they do.
One-Winged Angel: Despite the fact that enemies and bosses can have two different sprites, there are only two actual examples: Lil' Miss Marshmallow and Miracle Fassad. The former simply activates an alternate form at half health which includes pincers and drills. The latter is a little more complicated. After dealing with what seems to be a powered up version of New Fassad, halfway through the fight, he reverts to New Fassad. Backed into a corner, he suddenly stops with physical attacks and reveals that he can also use PSI, at which point he spams it, save for the occasional Luxury Banana.
Our Mermaids Are Different: Deep under Cerulean Beach do you encounter not mermaids, but... mermen? Anyway, these mermen, or Oxygen Machines, supply your party with oxygen, when you kiss him that is. Pucker up!
Our Centaurs Are Different: Oddly enough, one Oxygen Machine has the bottom portion of his body as a horse during your exposition in the Empire Porky Building. You can still kiss him for old time sake though.
Playing The Player: The jarringExposition Dump provided by Leder. It's a bit complicated, but basically, you're pretty much fighting a lost cause. No, not because the odds are against you, not because you're fighting against a massive army headed by a complete sociopath with powers above and beyond anything you can comprehend, but because humanity itself was doomed long, long before you even started. It turns out the Nowhere Islands, populated by less than one hundred people at this point, is the only habitable place left on Earth. Even if you save everybody, they'll still die out within a few generations.Unless...
Point of No Return: Getting rid of the vines blocking the sixth needle will prevent you from ever going back to the rest of the game, forcing you to move on with the plot and enter New Pork City, which is seperate from the rest of the game.
Once you reach the basement of the Empire Porky Building, there's no turning back.
Primal Fear: On Tanetane Island, there are hallucinogenic mushrooms that force you to experience your greatest fears. Though it does exploit each party member's personal phobias and insecurities, it also uses something that everybody's afraid of: Being surrounded by people you love and care about, and having them physically, emotionally, and verbally abuse you.
Punch Clock Villain: The Pigmask Army. They attend rock concerts, stay at diners, and generally do trivial things when they're off-duty. Many of them are friendly to Lucas and his party, and some are even neighbors of Lucas who have been recruited.
Puzzle Boss: The Post Final Bosscannot be attacked. You have to constantly heal and defend until the battle wins itself. After Hinawa talks to you a few times, you can attack him. But it won't make any difference because he will not die.
Random Drops: Mystical Stick and Mystical Gloves, the latter of which being a solid contender for Kumatora's best weapon, are dropped at a 3% rate by the Heftyhead and Monkalrus, respectively. Most of the ultimate armors are also 3% drops from various mobs in the final dungeon.
Reality Is Unrealistic: At one point, you find a frog in a desert, which seems kind of odd. A nearby sign invokes this trope though, by telling the player that there are frogs that do live in the desert. Later, there is a similar situation with an underground dungeon built by moles (actually mole crickets, but the trope still applies).
Reality Warper: Lucas or the Masked Man/Claus have the power to recreate the world to their heart's desire.
Regional Bonus: The fan translation has a few features added to the game, such as a Hard Mode after beating the game. Also, Hold L and R while going to the Status Screen to get a Dummied Out "Memo" menu, which builds as you go through the game. Keep in mind some of the features listed didn't make it into the final.
The robotic waitresses in New Pork City's burger joint look rather like Lardna Minch, Porky's mother.
Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Rope Snake invokes this on himself after failing to hold onto the Masked Man's helicopter twice. He rechristens himself "Snake Rope", implying he's more of a snake than he is a rope, and spends the rest of the game moping. Otherwise, it's entirely averted - the dragos are some of first creatures you see, and they are entirely friendly, given one man influenced exception.
Retraux: The battle with the Mecha-Porkies, whose theme "Porky's Porkies" has the NESchiptune-sounding music up until the last three remaining Mecha-Porkies, in which the D.C.M.C. suddenly arrive to save the day.
Rhythm Game: The combo system, which allows you to hit buttons in time with the beat of the fight music to score extra damage. The music starts out with an easy regular rhythms, but they start getting really weird with the tempo later on.
Wess:The Hummingbird Egg is a ball of secrets inside secrets that are inside even more secrets... Or something like that, supposedly, apparently.
Road Block: Played with in this game, where Road Blocks appear as as immobile enemies who, in true MOTHER fashion, possess red eyes, hands, telekinetic powers, and the ability to call clunky robots into the fight. Averted, however, in that they don't actually block anything, since you can just run over them while in a vehicle, and at later levels, by charging into them.
Sequence Breaking: Subverted; You can go after the Needles after Aeolia's has been pulled and before Ionia's has been pulled in any order, which may make things a hell of a lot easier since you will have a full party by the time you get the needles other than the Chimera Lab, you need to clear that to get Kumatora back on your team though. Only real problem is trekking back to Saturn Valley because the Coffee Table that you use to ride will be gone when you go there the first time if you plan on getting Duster right after Aeolia's needle.
Although it should be noted that trying to go through the Mole Cricket's tunnels before pulling Doria's Needle will render you unable to complete the Battle Memory, as The Squeekz will not spawn, and, thus, you won't get to fight him.
Visible Silence: The Masked Man speaks in ellipses, except in two cases — at the sixth Needle, most likely giving commands to his army, as what he said wasn't even written onscreen, and during the final battle, after regaining his memory of being Claus, Lucas's brother, and then suffering mortal damage due to consciously reflecting a highly-powerful lightning bolt he fired off of Lucas's Franklin Badge, apologizing to his family before dying.
Lucas can also count as one once you are in control of Duster in Chapter 8.
Simultaneous Arcs: Chapters 2 and 3 take place at the exact same time, only you're controlling different characters. Duster in the second, and Salsa in the third. It becomes most evident when the two characters bump into each at the same area in both chapters.
Sliding Scale Of Videogame Objectives: Task-Based, for Chapter 7. You can search for the Needles except the ones at the start and the end in any order. This allows you to find Duster and Kumatora first, making it much easier to get the rest of the Needles in the chapter.
Flint is only playable during Chapter 1, so be sure to give Duster all of Flint's stuff before the chapter ends.
Salsa will also take off with your crap forever after Chapter 3 and Chapter 7, so give all of his stuff to Kumatora or Lucas/Boney before he goes. In fact, when Salsa comes back in Chapter 7, he still has all the stuff he had during Chapter 3, which gives you a second chance to have Lucas or Boney take it.
Social Services Does Not Exist: Which Lucas could really use: his mother was killed while protecting him, his only twin was missing after he left to avenge his mother and his father (a deconstructed Papa Wolf because of these events) went off searching for said missing son, leaving Lucas with only his dog for at least three years Justified since the story takes place in a olden rural location so it's not likely available but even more so when the player discovers his hometown is a Crapsaccharine World so the people would not think it's necessary in the first place.
Sophisticated as Hell: One Pigmask, when talked to, enters a polite and proper soliloquy about how he isn't quite sure what to say to you before eventually deciding that the phrase he would use, were he allowed to say it and still come across as polite, is "get out of the damn way".
Soundtrack Dissonance: Both battle and overworld themes can go from rousing, to light and delicate, to sad, to rousing again and there are tons of in game remixes and rearrangements.
Sound-Only Death: Making Duster ram the Iron Ball statue from the right side will get him crushed.
Spell Levels: As with previous games in the series, the tiers for PSI powers are given by the Greek letters Alpha, α, Beta, β, Gamma, γ, and Omega, Ω.
Also, the debacle about the number of possible translations of Tazmily Village's name, including Tazumili and Tatsumairi. Tazumili was used in the NTSC version of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Tatsumairi was the most common interpretation before then. The fan translation went with Tazmily, which comes from both the PAL version of Brawl and a wide variety of English sources from 1997-2000 about EarthBound 64.
Stone Wall: Deconstructed with the "Absolutely Safe Capsule"; nothing can hurt the person inside, yet the one inside can't hurt anything outside. Porky encasing himself in it results in the battle ending prematurely, as he's unable to hold back the heroes any longer while trapped in the Capsule.
Surprise Creepy: The simple graphics belie quite the at-times terrifying tale. The game's at least nice enough to put the first swerve at the end of the prologue, at least.
Suspicious Video Game Generosity: Played with. Late in the game, the player has to get to the 100th floor of a building, and you find an Instant Revitalizing Machine and a Save Frog in the same room... but it turns out, this isn't the real 100th floor, and with each new 100th floor, there are the same two objects, again and again, until the true 100th floor is reached.
Lucas: "N-n-n-no! He didn't take Dad's homemade knife and go into the mountains to kill the Drago"!
The narration at the end of Chapter 1 questions the whereabouts of Claus... when he's actually lying face down on the ground, having fallen from the Plateau after trying to engage the Drago. From the looks of it, he could either be unconscious but badly injured, or he could flat out dead. Considering how he's only 9 years old, its most likely that he's dead. Except for the fact that he was turned into Porky's slave before he died.
Thanking the Player: You are mentioned, by name, at the end of the credits. Not only that, but at The End of the game, everyone in the game thanks you, personally, for all that you did for them, assures you that their world is going to be okay, and hopes that your world is as good to you as you've been to them.
Thriving Ghost Town: This game is the only one in the series that doesn't avert this trope. It is Justified, however, as only a certain amount of people were able to escape the dying world, and at the rate things were going, the people of Tazmily Village would probably die out in several centuries. Porky Minch defies this trope by filling Nowhere Islands with people from different times.
Hellevator: Not necessarily going to hell per say, but deep beneath the Earth.
Trauma Conga Line: If you listed all the traumatic things that happen over the course of Lucas's life, you would more or less have a summary of the game's plot. To those who are curious, select the following note and grab a few tissues. note First, his mother gets violently killed right in front of his eyes. As a result, his father almost goes mad from the resulting grief, attacking people from the village and getting chucked into prison before he can even attend her funeral. Shortly afterwards, his older brother, Claus. goes out to try and avenge his mother's death, and goes missing in the process. All in the span of two days. Please note that this is the first time anybody in the society he lives in has experienced grief, so nobody knows how to console or comfort him. Not done yet, though. That very same day, a suspicious guy comes into Tazmily village, telling everybody a load of waffle about "happiness" and starts peddling objects called "Happy Boxes" to everyone. These boxes essentially hypnotize the entire village, except for Lucas, who refuses to buy one, and as a result, everybody in this previously close-knit and loving community slowly begin turning into selfish, hedonistic jerks. Years later, Lucas is now considered an outcast, even a disgrace, to the village. His father, still grieving over his wife, barely talks with him anymore and spends nearly all of his time searching for Claus, who is still missing. Around this time, his adventure starts. And while he does finally make two very good friends as a result, his situation hardly improves. On top of having to constantly battle against horrifying, bloodthirsty creatures known as Chimeras, he now has an entire army set against him, the same army who was indirectly responsible for his mother's death in the first place. After disabling the army's thunder tower, he finds himself in a field of sunflowers where, out of nowhere, he sees his mother's ghost. He can't touch or communicate her, and ends up chasing her off a cliff in desperation. It's not very clear if this is a dream or actually happening. But wait, there's more. Around this time, he and his friends find out about these weird objects known as the seven needles, which will restore the entire world either full of evil or full of good depending on who pulls them. The journey to getting the seven needles leads him through countless traumatic situations, from being nearly eaten alive by a horrifying monster called the Ultimate Chimera, to accidentally sending himself on a very, very bad hallucinogenic drug trip, but he ultimately only manages to pull half of them. The other half are getting pulled by the commander of the army, known as the Masked Man. Once he and the Masked Man have both pulled three, Tazmily is now completely abandoned, so he has no choice but to finally go to the hub of all the corruption in his world, New Pork City. Once there, he has to live with the long-hidden truth about Tazmily: It was all a lie. The game actually takes place After the End, and Tazmily was set up so the last few dozen people left on Earth could live in ignorance to the world's destruction. After this, the final needle is located, and he and his friends go to pull it, as it is now the world's only hope for redemption. After defeating the Big Bad, he and the Masked Man meet in front of the final needle, ready to battle for it. As it turns out, the Masked Man is actually Claus, brainwashed and with no memory of being Lucas's brother. What follows is an absolutely heartbreaking "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight, during which Claus easily has the upper hand, and with Claus still showing no sign of remembering, his mother's ghost shows up for a second time. With her help, Claus very slowly realizes who he is and takes his mask off. He then kills himself, allowing Lucas to take the needle, and dies in Lucas's arms. Keep in mind that all of this is happening to a likable, mild-mannered boy who hasn't even hit puberty yet.
Villains Blend in Better: Well, it makes sense if you consider that the Pigmask Army remodeled the Nowhere Islands in their own image. What's makes this trope even more so is that the villains appeared well after the Tazmily civilians took residence in the Nowhere Islands, as seen in the prologue.
Wham Episode: Hinawa's death. Claus' apparent death. The time skip, and the rise of the Pigmasks. The Seven Needles and the Dark Dragon. The Big Bad and Final Boss is Porky Minch. Coming back to Tazmily Village to find it almost completely deserted.The Dragon is Claus. This game has a lot of them.
Wham Line: One that would set the whole mood of the plot.
"It was pierced through your wife's heart...".
And if you're really bad at reading foreshadowing:
"The masked man... he's Claus."
Whatever: This is an actual enemy in the game, and a normal reaction when you see things like this◊.
What Happened to the Mouse?: The Egg of Light, which you spend several chapters chasing and is set up as an incredibly powerful artifact that could stop the Pigmasks. You get it back...and it's never mentioned again. The only time it's mentioned is when Leder explains what it is, but even then you never end up doing anything with it.
You Are Too Late: This happens to three out of the seven Needles that are pulled by the Pigmask Army.
You Bastard: If you attack Claus during the final battle enough, Hinawa will tell Lucas to stop, and then a message will appear saying "sobbing sounds can be heard".
Killing Negative Man may also qualify. It is one of the least dangerous enemies in the game, actively avoids attacking you, and does not have to be beaten in order to progress. Beating him will only give you 3 experience points... you bastard.
Well, he does beg for you to "just end it all" in battle. Which is actually pretty depressing. But, eh, quirky enemy with humor through Schadenfreude.
You Can't Thwart Stage One: The Pigmask Army manages to claim three of the seven Needles — although on one of them, the party had firm grasp of the Idiot Ball. (Tanetane Island is one prime example. Dammit, Lucas, the needle was right next to you, and the bad guys took almost five minutes to arrive, fanfare, red carpet and all)!