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  • Contested Sequel: This game caused a Broken Base in Japan considering how much it strayed from the first two games. On 2ch and elsewhere it is often said that They Changed It, Now It Sucks. It is often assumed by international fans that the game is popular in Japan, but either its fans are a minority or its haters are a Vocal Minority.
    • This may have affected the game's stance in future material. As Lucas was Demoted to Extra as a trophy in ''Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U, and most of the content related to this series in that game (or at least the 3DS version, so far) only focuses on the first two games.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Porky Minch is this all over, along with his chimeras. Good lord, the fangirls. Some people make New Pork City look like a real utopia!
    • Players may also say that Porky is a Love to Hate villain on the side.
    • Lil' Miss Marshmallow also fits this to a T. Had it not been for the existence of her Berserk Button over her Master's Friend's Yo-Yo (Ness' that is), she would have come across as a good-natured or at least sympathetic character! It also helps that a good number of fanfiction depicts her as a Type-II Anti Villain or even a Minion with an F in Evil thanks to her abusive master!
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: There's a pretty large fanbase for Kumatora.
    • And Flint.
    • There's also a lot of fanart for Lil' Miss Marshmallow, an optional boss character.
    • Quite a bit of fanart exists for Fuel as well. Some people were rather disappointed he never has much relevance after the prologue.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Well, that's one way of looking at it.
  • Even Better Sequel: Many consider this even better than EarthBound. Well, except in Japan.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: People at are insane. The best one is "The doorknob is a metaphor for happiness". Funnily enough, it made sense.
    • In an interview shortly after the original Japanese release of the game, Itoi hinted that he included to doorknob to see all of the crazy interpretations people would invent. One in particular he liked was that the doorknob is meant to be the doorknob to the world of Mother 3, and you can use it to go back any time.
  • Funny Moments: It's MOTHER, what did'ja expect?
  • Game Breaker: Kumatora's PK Ground, which dishes out several hits of 2-13% of an enemy's HP and can cause them to trip and a lose a couple turns. This attack works on bosses. She doesn't learn it until level 60, but once she does the rest of the game becomes pathetically easy.
    • It's easy to beat the game before Kumatora reaches level 60. It breaks the game, but it's still difficult to acquire. Even intentionally trying to get it, the player is unlikely to have much use for it in the final few dungeons, which are more lengthy than challenging.
    • There's a reason Salsa never returns to the party after his brief reappearance in Chapter 7: his Monkey Mimic ability becomes a little too effective the closer you get to the end.
    • Eggs, which you can buy from the start of Chapter 4 for only 40 DP, are this on two levels:
      • You can take them to the local Hot Spring and turn them into a Hot Spring Egg, which heals 100 HP and will never spoil. Repeat this enough, and you'll have more high-end healing items than you'll know what to do with.
      • You can keep them until they hatch into chicks and grow into chickens, then sell them for 200 DP (five times what an egg costs). Repeat this enough, and you can have more than enough money to last you through the entire game!
  • Genius Bonus: Plenty, but special mention goes to the names of the magypsies. If you're extra observant, you may actually guess an important plot point.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Funnily enough, this game is far more universally praised internationally than in Japan. See the Contested Sequel entry above. Also, the international fanbase of the series in general is constantly growing with younger fans who weren't even alive when the first two games came out, in no small part due to Ness's and Lucas's inclusion in Super Smash Bros. games. By contrast, Japanese fans of the series aren't really united into a fanbase and mostly consists of people who remember the games from when they were originally released. International fans often assume that the series has a fanbase in Japan comparable to theirs, but this is not the case.
  • Goddamned Bats: The Cleocatras at the beginning of Chapter 7, especially when they attack in groups. They have an annoying tendency to use Lifeup both on themselves and each other to heal of any damage done to them at all, and they have the ability to cast Hypnosis.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Loads.
  • Ho Yay: While underwater, you must fill up on oxygen by kissing robot O2 tanks who look like middle aged mermen wearing bright red lipstick. It makes Lucas, Kumatora, and Boney blush. Duster blushes too, but it's difficult to see due to his sprite's cheek marks being only a single pixel big. In the last level there's a similar looking centaur that offers oxygen above water for no reason.
    • One of the Pigmasks comments that he kind of likes them, disturbing his comrade.
    • There's something fishy about how exactly Ionia showed Lucas how to use PSI, also.
    • There's also a Pigmask who nervously offers you an item when you're dressed as "the Commander" and insists it's just a friendly gift.
  • I Knew It: Fans were able to guess the basic plot of this game years before it was released. On the one hand, this is impressive, as they had nothing but a few screenshots to work with, but on the other, they did have over five years to work it out.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Although, in this case, the actual holocaust is explicit; it's just a question of exactly how many beloved characters from the previous games were lost during it.
  • Iron Woobie: Lucas's entire journey is growing into one of these. It says a lot somebody when, even after losing half their family in some of the most tragic ways imaginable, they still have it in them to make a decision that determines the fate of the world.
  • Magnum Opus: This game is considered to be Shigesato Itoi's greatest work... outside of Japan. In Japan however, it's simply another thing he's done.
  • Memetic Badass: Flint, who has gained such affectionate nicknames as Flint Norris and Flint Eastwood among the fandom.
  • Memetic Molester: There are often questions regarding what Ionia did to Lucas in that hot spring...
  • Memetic Mutation: FLINT LOVES CHEESE
    • Welcome to th
    • :|
    • a Ultimate Chimera appears!
      • Ultimate Chimera is enraged
    • The Ultimate Chimera itself is considered one. Heck, it even has its own GMod game mode. With Pigmasks!
    • The [character's name here]'s shield disappeared!
    • From the early days of the translation progress: The Flint equipped the Nut Bread!
    • Wess's door-opening dance, to the point where had a competition for it!
    • How would you make a ladder?
    • Flash forward to the E3 2014 digital event, and we have the gem of Reggie Fils-Aime roasting a fan complaining about this game's No Export for You with a Fire Flower.
  • Mis-blamed: Nintendo often gets railed at by fans for not releasing this game in America and the rest of the world. Except the game is a landmine of licensing issues, from the direct AC-DC parody to riffs from popular shows. Additionally, it was released near the end of the Advance's lifespan, and sales in Japan were somewhat lackluster.note  Not to mention the fact that EarthBound itself was a commercial failure at the time, which likely soured any attempt made. This doesn't stop the fans though, including one memorable instance where Yahtzee himself claimed it would sell better than Mario Kart.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Porky Minch crosses it with the very first action he partakes in by killing Hinawa. And after he hits rock bottom, he begins digging, crossing the line again and again and again throughout the story, until finally crossing it one last time with the reveal of what he did to Claus.
  • Music to Invade Poland to: Come on, doesn't His Highness' Theme sound like this? It screams this.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Again, it's MOTHER. One way or another, it will find new ways to pull unexpected horror.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The Frightbots, in-universe.
    • Well, to humans, at any rate (they're among the weakest enemies in the game). The sound they make sure works on the Saturns.
  • Player Punch: A lot.
    • In Chapter 1, Hinawa, Lucas's mother, is killed very violently. In a series built around the protagonist usually having a close relationship with their mother during their adventure.
    • You then play the first chapter as Hinawa's husband, Flint. Upon finding out about her death, he goes into a terrifying Heroic BSOD, lashing out at other people in the village until he has to be knocked unconscious in order to be subdued. You then get the lovely experience of becoming Tazmily Jail's first prisoner.
    • Claus, Lucas's twin brother, then goes out into the mountains to try and avenge Hinawa. He fails.
    • As it turns out, the animal responsible for killing Hinawa was a Drago, a perfectly harmless creature Lucas used to be friends with. It's been "reconstructed" by a strange group of men wearing pig masks, making it aggressive and mindless.
    • Oh, and who's in charge of all these Pigmasks? Why, Porky Minch, naturally.
    • In Chapter 2, you play as a thief named Duster. And, let's just say, his father is not very satisfied by his thieving abilities.
    • In Chapter 3, you play as a monkey named Salsa. He's getting routinely abused by a member of the Pigmask army named Fassad. He spends the chapter being forced to help them with their evil deeds, since his girlfriend is being held captive for leverage.
    • In Chapter 4, three years have gone by. Let's just say, one of the biggest RPG cliches of all time has been... horrifyingly subverted.
    • Then, at the end of the chapter, when the DCMC sing their goodbyes to "Lucky". It's for the greater good, but you'll feel really terrible for finally getting your last party member.
    • Chapter 6. Lucas chases Hinawa's ghost through a field of sunflowers, which are associated with her. It ends with you essentially making Lucas attempt suicide.
    • In Chapter 7, you find out about these Plot Coupons called the Seven Needles. Only Lucas and the commander of the Pigmask army, The Masked Man, are capable of pulling them. If Lucas pulls them, the world will be reborn anew and everything will be good and pure. If the Masked Man pulls them, the world will cease to exist.
    • And, in that chapter, you manage to only pull three. The enemy ends up getting the rest of them.
    • Then there's Tanetane Island. After washing up on the shore during a wreck, your party is weak, starving, and incapable of healing themselves. Since you lost all your items, you have no choice but to eat some funky-looking mushrooms off the ground. Let's just say, it ends very, very badly.
    • Then, when you get back home, the town is almost completely empty. Everybody's gone to the big city, save for a few individuals.
    • In Chapter 8, we meet up with a fellow named Leder. He was the bell ringer in Tazmily villaige, and he never spoke a word to anybody. Now that Tazmily is gone and he has no other purpose in life, he reveals that pretty much everything you thought you knew about the world is a lie. The human race destroyed this world long, long before you started playing this game, and the tiny island you've spent the game on is the only habitable place left on Earth. There is hope, but now the entire world is resting squarely on your shoulders, and the odds aren't looking very promising.
    • Then you meet the Pig King himself, Porky. He essentially gives the entire human species a "Reason You Suck" Speech. And considering what you just found out, it'll strike a few chords.
    • Hey, remember that Masked Man guy? The one whose been pulling all the other needles and striking you down at any given opportunity, hellbent on bringing the world to an end? It's Claus. Lucas's brother.
    • You can't defeat Porky. During the fight, he reveals that his constant abuse of time travel has rendered him immortal. At the end of the fight, he locks himself in a machine called the Absolutely Safe Capsule. However, it's revealed that, once he's in there, he can never get out. Ever.
    • The final battle in the game is against the Masked Man. It may just be the most heartbreaking "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight ever executed, and it ends with Claus committing child suicide.
    • The ending. There are no words to say, just the ending.
  • Sacred Cow: In the West only. In its home country, it's a highly Contested Sequel.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Enemies calling for help. It's not uncommon to marathon 7 or 8 Reconstructed Moles in a single battle.
  • Surprise Difficulty: EarthBound, for the most part, was Chrono Trigger-level easy, even without exploiting bugs. -MOTHER 3, while still not a particularly hard game, does make sure pretty much every boss is quite challenging.
    • Though the two most difficult bosses in the game become trivial once you reach 45 and 50 respectively.
  • Tear Jerker: This game is considered one of the saddest, if not the saddest game ever created. That isn't an exaggeration; just try and find a credible list compiling the saddest games and/or game moments that doesn't include this game on it somewhere.
  • That One Attack: Some of the battle songs are a pain in the ass to combo.
    • So I heard you like songs in 29/16.
    • Porky coughed something up!
    • The Natural-Killer Cyborg fired its End of the Century Beam!
    • The Barrier Trio/Miracle Fassad/Men's Room Sign used PK Starstorm!
    • The Masked Man used PK Love Omega!
    • The Pig King Statue is quite possibly the very embodiment of this trope, with all of its attacks being capable of one hit killing your entire party. The fight is basically finding a way to kill it in one or two turns before it kills you, and there are only two ways to do this.
  • That One Boss:
    • The Pork Tank, a nasty Wake-Up Call Boss fought when you have two characters under your control.
    • The Jealous Bass, a Flunky Boss that gets a massive attack buff when you take out its flunkies.
    • New/Miracle Fassad, for being fond of status effects and being able to heal 500+ HP seemingly at random. Then Miracle Fassad goes One Winged Angel and uses high level PSI attacks...
    • The Barrier Trio, a group of PSI-immune golems.
    • The Steel Mechorilla, who Turns Red and becomes nigh-unstoppable if you hit him with electric attacks.
    • The Masked Man, who hits incredibly hard and has a ton of HP.
    • The Natural Killer Cyborg, who is huge and extremely tough.
    • Porky, who hits hard (surprised?) and has an attack that hits your entire party for massive attack and defense debuffs.
  • That One Sidequest: Feel like completing the Battle Memory? Well, if you're not right at the start of the game, you're screwed. If you are, remember that you need to get back sprites as well. Yes, that means trying to back attack every enemy until you get Duster. If you haven't been turned off the idea yet, let's run down the chapters.
    • Now, let's start with Chapter 1. A staggering amount of enemies are Lost Forever after you talk to the Magypsies, and one randomly disappears after you get Alec. The section on the GameFAQs guide is full of strange overworld behaviours and rare enemies.
    • Now for Chapter 2; as well as losing the Gravedigger's Tunnel, many enemies are Lost Forever after certain points in the narrative, but some come back later on, bizarrely. This is especially frustrating because you'll need to come back here later for another boss. Oh yeah, and the Strawberry Slime doesn't have a backsprite, and the Pseudoor can't be turned around, you have to wait for it to Defend to gets its other sprite. The Pseudoor thing also returns for the Clayman and Oh-So-Snake.
    • Now for Chapter 3, in which almost everything is Lost Forever once you're done. Fortunately, the Big Bro is slow and erratic, making a back attack easy, and there's quite a few mandatory fights.
    • Chapter 4 lets up a bit, but there's still some Lost Forever in the attic, and you have to fight the other instruments separately to get their back poses. Speaking of back poses, make sure you get some Made-You-Looks, or you're screwed because some enemies can't be back attacked.
    • Now for Chapter 5, return to Osohe Castle, making sure you get the Squawking Boomstick. Did you miss it? Too bad, because it's going to be replaced by an Underground Monkey soon, even though none of the other enemies are. Now get Lord Passion, also Lost Forever, and look for two hard-to-find enemies on the way. If you haven't given up yet, that's good, because it's going to get easier. None of the enemies on the way to Thunder Tower disappear until the Point of No Return in Chapter 8, but the Bright Smile is hard to find and two enemies look very similar, so don't get them confused. Now get three enemies before fighting the Fierce Pork Trooper, because they're going to be Lost Forever as well. The Mr. Genetor fight ends the chapter, so get everything else, even the hidden Surprise Box. Also, in the Mr. Genetor fight, you have to wait for him to use an attack, so if you did too much level grinding, you have to just defend.
    • OK, this is where it gets harder (Oh, Crap). Sequence Breaking is available for Chapter 7, but don't do the Mole Cricket Hole before pulling Doria's needle, otherwise you'll miss The Squeekz. Don't worry, you can go back and get the enemies you miss for a while, although backtracking through the Mole Cricket Hole is a pain in the ass. Make sure you get the incredibly well-hidden Frosted Bun, which doesn't always appear and looks like a background object. Keep using Made-You-Looks on mandatory battles, otherwise you're screwed. (Yes, it's very easy to be completely screwed). Now do some backtracking; some enemies are hard to find, while others actively avoid battles. When you get under the sea, you have to find the obscure Fish Roe Man, a Unique Enemy. Now for the biggest dick move of all; Zombieshroom (a Beef Gate) disappears after the mushrooms wear off, and he becomes an Eerie Smile after you eat them, and can even be outright ignored. This is standard fare for Mother 3, but here comes the kicker: you can only get the Eerie Smile by fighting Zombieshroom, not any other enemy (even though they're all Eerie Smiles), meaning that you need to fight Zombieshroom, lose, eat the mushrooms, then fight him again to log the Eerie Smile. Mercifully, neither of them have back sprites.
    • Still going? OK, good. Now that Zombieshroom is gone, you have to backtrack and get more enemies, which is pretty counter-intuitive; you only saw the enemies as Eerie Smiles, meaning that you have no reason to think that they become separate enemies without the mushrooms. Get the Negative Man (another Unique Enemy) and find the Mystery Metal Monkey (which is one room), and then fight the Masked Man. This is the Point of No Return. If you don't have 150 enemies and are only missing backsprites for two certain enemies (which have only been encountered in event battles up until now), then you're screwed.
    • Now you need to get 20 before you end the game (oh yeah, and those other two backsprites). This chapter doesn't have much to piss you off, although the Putrid Moldyman can be Lost Forever. Go to the Hippo Pool and get the Hippo Launcher (don't forget) and then get everything. Oh yeah, and when you see the Pigmask Major and Pigmask Colonel, make sure you get the back sprites. If you ran away because you already had their front sprites, you've failed the challenge. The N.K. Cyborg is also a dick, not turning around unless it uses its signature move. There's a battle with PORKY 01 here, and one of the Porky bots summons other enemies (but only one of them). However, it's an event battle, so this is useless for back sprites... unless you get lucky and find an enemy that assumes its back sprite by itself. You should have 166 enemies going into the basement, with two of the remaining enemies being regular enemies Minerali and Fenomeno (so get the back sprites) and the other two simply being Porky himself, the first outside the Absolutely Safe Capsule and the second inside it. After you get both of the Minerali and Fenomeno's sprites and beat Porky, all you have left is to continue through the game and beat the Post Final Boss to get the Bragging Rights Reward.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The main argument with the Japanese audience. May also apply to the American audiences, but has a more positive reception here than its home country.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: A large amount of the story from Chapter 4 onwards involves Lucas in some fashion. Unfortunately, due to him assuming the role of a Silent Protagonist after the Time Skip, we're only able to make educated guesses about his side of things. The last two chapters are especially jarring; from Lucas' role in destiny for awakening the Dragon, to him quite clearly having the worst of the Mushroom Samba, and ultimately his thoughts on learning Claus was the Masked Man... we don't see his thoughts on any of it. To see Lucas' character woven much tighter into the game's events than previous MOTHER protagonists but still not have it followed through on... it's a little disappointing.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Possibly deconstructed with Salsa. Yeah, he's almost totally useless and needs a lot of Level Grinding to stand up to the weakest of enemies without a Crutch Character, but he's so adorable and Fassad puts him through so much that you can't help but want to hug him. Then, he manages to save Lucas and Boney from the Ultimate Chimera, so...
    • Boney and Duster are virtually superfluous and most players will end up using them simply for bashing the enemy. Duster's status moves are useful on occasion but not overly so.
      • Duster does have a useful trick or two up his sleeve, but the player can't control them. Sometimes, right at the start of a battle, Duster will react with lightning reflexes to get a free attack in or leap behind the enemy to start the battle to the player's advantage. He even has a chance to reverse situations where enemies sneak up on the party. As mentioned, however, these are not consistent enough to bump Duster from out of this trope.
  • True Art Is Angsty: This is considered the closest video games come to tragic literature (though Planescape: Torment and Legacy of Kain are mentioned pretty often when the question comes up).
  • The Woobie: Lucas. At the start of the game, he's pretty shy and quiet, already making him a bit of a woobie. But then, his mother is killed by a half-mechanical Drago that was acting against its own will, and then his brother Claus goes missing trying to avenge her. His father goes nearly insane with grief, trying to find Claus every single day for three years. But that's not it. After three years, the hometown he loved has now been developed into a modern city, and eventually is completely abandoned. Then, after learning that everything he knew about his beloved hometown is a lie, he learns that the mysterious Pigmask commander is Claus, who is now a Brainwashed and Crazy cyborg. Then comes a tragic "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight, which ends with Claus dying in Lucas' arms, after returning to his senses.
    • Poor little Salsa. First, his girlfriend gets kidnapped by the Pigmasks, and they threaten to kill her if he doesn't go along with their plan. Then, he gets stuck with Fassad, an unrepentant Jerkass who insults, starves, and shocks him at every opportunity, even when Salsa does what Fassad told him to, all throughout Chapter 3. Thankfully, Salsa eventually takes a level in badass, while nearly all of Fassad's future appearances end with him getting maimed.
    • The Negative Man enemy. It's just absolutely pathetic, rattling off nihilistic quotes, and it barely makes an effort to attack you. It truly makes you feel sorry beating it up in its little cave.
  • Woolseyism: In the Fan Translation, Yokuba's name was changed to Fassad, possibly in reference to the facade he puts up around the public. Get it? It also happens to be Arabic for "corruption". Also, Kumatora's waitress alter-ego gets named Violet and Duster's name when he's with the DCMC is Lucky. The latter, however, was purely due to the fact that in the original, they have different aliases when they are named their aliases, and to keep this in, their aliases were changed, because "Yoshikoshi" and "Tamekichi" were too long to enter into the naming screens.
    • Averted in the case of Hinawa's name. Tomato almost gave her the name "Amber," which would have fit very well considering she's married to Flint (in Japanese, their names reference "Hinawa-juu" and "Furinto-juu," meaning matchlock and flint guns) but decided to leave that one alone due to Super Smash Bros. Brawl's use of the name.
      • Similarly, other names like Kumatora are kept, avoiding this trope as well.
    • The mice in Club Titiboo's attic spoke in an incredibly difficult-to-understand dialect of Japanese in the original game. In the fan translation, it was changed to a similarly-impenetrable Cockney accent.
  • Writer Cop Out: Some players may think this way about the ending. However, as Shigesato Itoi said, everything is drenched in Fridge Brilliance.

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