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- All of Mother 1 is this. 99.99% of the game is so enigmatic, help from a strategy guide is the only way anyone can beat it the first several times around.
- While Earthbound is beloved by fans, it might be that nobody complains that you need a guide compared to the other Mother games because the English release came with one. Even every Virtual Console release links you to a digital copy of the guide... The problem comes if a player's playing on an emulator, who might not know the guide exists!
- About three quarters through the game, the player finds a weapon called the Casey Bat. It's Ness' strongest weapon, but unless you know the story the bat is referencing, you'll have no idea why Ness suddenly becomes incapable of hitting anything. The game never informs you of the bat's absurdly high miss-rate.
- You can, if you want, buy an egg. After a while, the egg hatches into a chicken, and starts making a beeping noise (obviously supposed to be chirping/clucking). Unless you already know that the egg hatched, it can be a nightmare to work out what's causing it.
- The mini-boss Clumsy Robot has a move where it eats a bolonge sandwich, which causes it to recover a crazy amount of HP. This can lead you to assume it's a Puzzle Boss of sorts, but it's actually a scripted fight where the Runaway Five will eventually come to save you. Stopping the robot from healing isn't necessary, and woe be you if you decided to grind enough to out-damage the healing...
- In fact, the sandwich doesn't heal any HP at all, instead being used as a way for the game to justify that the fight seems about normal length before the Runaway Five arrives. The guide doesn't mention this of course, and the fake healing might mislead players into grinding, or assuming there's some trick. There's not.
- And then there's the infamous Gutsy Bat Lie. In the Earthbound player's guide, it mentions how you can get a Gutsy Bat, an extremely powerful weapon for Ness, in the Sea of Eden, 1/128 times off the 3 Kraken there. Turns out, no. you can't get Gutsy Bats of the Kraken. Instead, you can only get them off the BIONIC Kraken in the Cave of the Past!
- In Twoson, there's two inventors, Orange Kid and Apple Kid. Apple Kid is a chubby little guy who lives in a house full of garbage and mice. Orange Kid is a richer guy with a cleaner house. If you're used to Earthbound's quirky humor you might (correctly) guess that you need to enlist the help of Apple Kid... but Orange Kid says his invention will be vital on your journey. The invention is also fairly expensive for that point in the game. Orange Kid's invention breaks down after one useless use.
- At one point in Threed, to get the next story event to happen, you need to talk to two Zombies blocking your path. They don't even say anything, and why such an action causes the next event is never really clear.
- To get into Master Belch's factory, you have to talk to the door guard and say the secret password. The password turns out to be 3 minutes of silence, that is, no inputs from the controller. While NPCs do eventually tell you this as you progress through the story, it can be frustrating to reach the door guard, and have seemingly no way of entering anything.
- Planning on completing the Battle Memory, which is easy to fail thanks to many potential Permanently Missable Content moments? Well, here's a rundown...
- Let's start with Chapter 1. A staggering amount of enemies are lost 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 behaviors and rare enemies.
- Now for Chapter 2; as well as losing the Gravedigger's Tunnel, many enemies are lost 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. In addition, the Pseudoor enemy starts the trend of having to wait for an enemy to perform an action (in the Pseudoor's case, Defend) to get its other sprite. This "Enemy Action" thing also returns for the Clayman (crashes down attack) and Oh-So-Snake (tidal wave attack).
- Now for Chapter 3, in which almost everything is lost once you're done. Fortunately, the Big Bro is slow and erratic, making a back attack easy, and there are quite a few mandatory fights.
- Chapter 4 lets up a bit, but there's still some Permanently Missable Content 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 soon to be lost, 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 as well. The Mr. Genetor fight ends the chapter, so get everything else, even the hidden Surprise Box. By the way, you have to wait for Mr. Genetor to store electricity, then unleash his Discharge Zap 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. Running into Master Eddy whisks you off to Tanetane Island, so be careful not to miss anything.
- 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 in one room).
- WARNING: The battle with the Masked Man is the Point of No Return. If you don't have 150 enemies, then you're screwed. If you have that many, and are only missing backsprites for two certain enemies (which have only been encountered in event battles up until now) then you're good.
- Now you need to get 20 more enemies 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. 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 - it's other sprite only appears when using its End of the Century Beam.
- Almost there - the next battle is with PORKY 01-10 here, and Porky bots 6 and 7 summon other enemies. 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). With that, you've done it - the last thing you need to log is Porky himself, outside the Absolutely Safe Capsule and 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.