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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • Lucas in the hot spring with Ionia, the Magypsy. Because it cuts to black, and Ionia says things like "Don't struggle" and "Just endure it for a little bit", it can be interpreted the wrong way. Although given the game's darker and more mature themes, the symbolism of a fever awakening inside you might very well be intentional.
    • The near-constant references to "pulling [the Magypsies'] needles" in the third act can come off this way to a sufficiently dirty mind.
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  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: The story doesn't hold back with its Humans Are Bastards and Gaia's Lament themes, what with the introduction of commerce and ownership causing the decline of Tazmily, but for some, it goes a bit deeper than that. The people of Tazmily are almost completely clueless how to cope with negative emotions such as loss or grief, are too stupid to see that they're being manipulated by the Pigmasks, and by accepting their takeover, are just as responsible for the collapse of their thrown-together society. They never bothered to learn from humanity's mistakes, merely forget them, and were easy targets for Porky's game. Seeing as the people who are able to fight back are those who understand grief (Lucas, Flint) or are charged with finding the truth (Duster, Wess, Kumatora), it's valid to see the game as a cautionary tale about ignorance, rather than a diatribe about how evil humans are.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Well, a lot of characters, but a few special mentions go to:
  • Angst Aversion: Probably the most valid excuse not to try the game; if you cry easily, it will take a lot of willpower to make it through. That said, the constant back-and-forth between dark and lighthearted content will help take some of the edge off.
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  • Anvilicious: Mother 3 is many things, but one thing it is not is subtle. Fans will assert, however, that the messages are valid and important, and without them, the game would lose a lot of its charm and impact.
  • Awesome Music: Even among all the great music in previous installments, it's truly a testament to the composer's skill that MOTHER 3 is widely agreed to have the best soundtrack of the trilogy, and on a Gameboy Advance, no less. Truly, it pushes the audio capabilities of the GBA to the limit as one of the very finest for that console.
  • Best Level Ever: The Chimera Lab, thanks to the Unexpected Gameplay Change into a quasi-Survival Horror that forces you to use stealth in order to get around without being caught by the Ultimate Chimera.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The old man who randomly appears in the hot springs and says "Yes?" when spoken to.
    • The item boxes that open and play music, shoot fireworks into the air, or fart, but otherwise do absolutely nothing.
    • The part where the party accidentally drop their jar of pickles. Probably the only reason it exists is to give the player a single chance to play as Boney.
  • Breather Level: Chapter 6. There are no battles; you just need to hold left the entire time. The toll on your emotions is sufficient enough.
  • Broken Base: The ending. As it was designed to be completely up to the interpretation of the player, conflicting opinions about it have inevitably popped up.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal:
    • Many players catch on to the foreshadowing regarding the fact that the Masked Man is Claus. Yet the final battle still impacts many players, regardless if they caught on to The Reveal. Same goes for Porky, especially if you've played EarthBound beforehand. To be fair, the creator mentioned he would be in the game way before it actually got published.
    • If you notice the music New Fassad and Miracle Fassad play on their horns (an ominous version of the Magypsy theme), the reveal of Fassad being Locria, the seventh Magypsy, might be a bit easier to figure out.
  • 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. Lucas ended up being Demoted to Extra as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, alongside the other Mother 3 trophies that managed to return from Brawl. Most of the rest of the series' representation in that game is only focused on the first two games. Lucas eventually did get to return to Smash 4 as DLC with the primary focus of it being advertised to the western fanbase, but whether this means Mother 3 might get some more recognition by Nintendo in the US, though, is currently unknown.
  • Creepy Cute: The Ultimate Chimera, to some people.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Meeting the Ultimate Chimera in a laboratory and facing a Non-Standard Game Over for simply touching the thing? Grade-A Nightmare Fuel. The Ultimate Chimera using the toilet in the Empire Porky Building? Many players probably formed a shit-eating grin at the sight.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:
    • While the game manages to do a good job of averting this as a whole, there are quite a few people who hate Chapter 3, claiming it was pointless and could have been omitted from the game without really changing anything. note 
    • Note: This trope is played straight in Japan, where this, among other reasons, is why it's a Contested Sequel over there, primarily because of some mild Values Dissonance between America and Japan when it comes to the game's theme.
    • Mother 3, when compared to its two predecessors, is a lot more overtly tragic. From the very start, Hinawa is Killed Off for Real, Claus disappears in his attempt to avenge her — becoming the Masked Man in the process, and Flint becomes obsessed with searching for him, resulting in his neglect of Lucas. Not even the revelation that Fassad who is actually Locria, the last Magypsy took care of a mouse in his home holds any weight, as he not only tried to kill the heroes on multiple occasions, but he gleefully (and repeatedly) zapped Salsa with a shock collar. Combine that with the townspeople being Brainwashed by the Pigmasks, the Masked Man being Driven to Suicide while being forced to fight his twin brother, the Big Bad's ultimate motive (Porky was bored), and an openly Ambiguous Ending, and it can be hard to feel like it's worth playing this game.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Reconstructed Lions. They hit hard even when you encounter them later, have high speed which makes them likely to get at least one attack off before you can kill them, in addition to being incredibly quick in the overworld, making it nigh-impossible to avoid them, and have several attacks that hit the entire group for a decent amount of damage. They are unlikely to kill you when you encounter them later on, but this does not stop them from being majorly annoying.
    • Why yes, that men's bathroom sign just attacked you. And yes, it did just use PK Starstorm.
  • 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 Dark Horse:
    • There's a pretty large fanbase for Kumatora. That's not to say Ana and Paula are unpopular either, but Kumatora tends to be the most beloved of the girls. The feisty attitude and frequent use of mild swearing help to set her apart.
      • In hindsight, some fans believe she would have made a better representative in Brawl, considering that most of Lucas's attacks, including his Final Smash, PK Starstorm, weren't even his, but directly lifted from her moveset and given to him. Some even hoped she'd replace him for the fourth game. Even after Lucas returned to the roster, a large and vocal section of the fandom still believes she would be a great addition as a third representative.
    • 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.
    • Rope Snake, despite constantly failing to help the party every time, he's the most consistently hilarious of the side characters; never failing to lighten the mood when the drama really piles on, and the disproportionately awesome opinion of his abilities, he ends up being highly endearing and players tend to forgive him for his unhelpfulness.
    • On the antagonist side, a lot of people like the Ultimate Chimera.
  • Epileptic Trees: Abbot explaining Abbey's injury as having been caused by a Flying Mouse and her seemingly denying it ("There was no bizarre creature. It didn’t fly. It wasn't mousey. It wasn’t buggy. It didn’t bite me.") led some fans to believe that there was domestic abuse going on in their relationship. A later version of the fan translation revised the wording so that it no longer sounded like a Suspiciously Specific Denial.
  • 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. Also, while there are many who like this game as well in America, there are also a few who feel that EarthBound is better from a pure gameplay standpoint. And there are those who love both games just the same.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: That freaking doorknob. The people at starmen.net are insane. The best one is it's 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 the doorknob specifically 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 on it.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Enjoys a mild one with EarthBound, mostly in terms of which one is the better game.
  • Fanon: 90% of fanart where the Masked Man/Claus is unmasked, he will have Mismatched Eyes, on the basis that Claus lost his left eye in the battle with the Mecha-Drago and when reconstructed as the Masked Man, it was replaced with an artificial red one. Some also think that he had lost his arm, given the presence of his Arm Cannon.
  • 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 should tell you everything when the Masked Man becomes an absolute joke after learning it.
    • 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!
    • Black Beanling + Enemy Bufferizer. The Black Beanling is a Metal Slime and the enemy bufferizer increases EXP gain in exchange for making the enemy stronger. However, the Black Beanling still goes down rather quickly when used on him, and even regardless of whatever level you're at, sometimes it's possible to get two-three level-ups in a single go using this tactic, making it incredibly easy to level up quickly in a short amount of time.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Plenty, but special mention goes to the names of the Magypsies deriving from the seven harmonic scales. If you're extra observant, you may actually guess an important plot point.
    • The word Utopia originally was a pun partly derived from a Greek phrase meaning "no place". Also, the Trope Namer was on an island. In other words, a Nowhere Island.
  • 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. Though the Magypsies are neither male nor female.
    • 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. However, if the world was indeed completely cleansed of evil, maybe the apocalypse was retroactively undone?
  • Iron Woobie: Lucas's entire journey is about growing into one of these. It says a lot that somebody, even after losing half their family in some of the most tragic ways imaginable, still has it in them to make a decision that determines the fate of the world.
  • It Was His Sled: King P is Porky Minch. It has long become common knowledge, especially after his appearance in Super Smash Bros.. Ditto the Masked Man, pretty much everybody knows he's Claus.
  • Les Yay: One village girl early in the game mistakes Kumatora for an attractive boy. Granted, it only happens once.
  • Memetic Badass: Flint, who has gained such affectionate nicknames as Flint Norris and Flint Eastwood among the fandom.
  • Memetic Molester:
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • FLINT/LUCAS/DUSTER LOVES CHEESE!
    • Welcome to the world of Mother 3!
    • Welcome to th :| Explanation 
    • 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 Starmen.net 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.
    • Many people like to poke fun at Negative Man's similar appearance to Spongebob. They'll even go as far as to reference the "soiled it" meme spawned by the latter.
  • 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 Game Boy 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.
  • Moe: Lucas' initial shyness, adorable design, and woobieness earn him a lot of "d'awws" from players.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Porky Minch crosses it with the very first action he partakes in by being responsible for the creation of the chimeras, and by that extent, Hinawa's death. 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.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Successfully hitting a 16-hit combo rewards the player with a very satisfying applause and cheer.
  • Music to Invade Poland To: Come on, doesn't His Highness' Theme sound like this? It screams this.
  • Narm: Despite being an otherwise emotionally effective game, at the very end when Claus mortally wounds himself to break from Porky's mind control. Despite being a shocking moment to both the players and attempting to evoke a psychological response, many couldn't help but laugh at what the game said:
    Claus staggered toward Lucas.
    Claus embraced Lucas.
    Lucas, remembered Claus's smell.
  • Narm Charm: Invoked with the Frightbot's story.
    The Frightbot told a story so scary you couldn't help but laugh.
  • 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 to humans (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, in a series built around the protagonist usually having a close relationship with their mother during their adventure, it goes against the series expectations that Hinawa, Lucas's mother, is killed very violently.
    • 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 Village, 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 who's 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. With your party knocked unconscious, leaving you alone, you cannot fight him. A battle implies a conflict on both sides, but Lucas can't bring himself to hurt his brother. All you can do is guard against his attacks, while a terrifying boss theme that rivals Giygas's in intensity assaults your ears. Forcing you to just try and survive blasts from your own iconic attack, slowly watch as your brother gets weaker until he can't even damage you anymore. And it ends with Claus using your always-dependable Franklin Badge that protects you to deliberately blast lightning so it will deflect back at him, with every intention of committing child suicide. All you can do is hear him apologize for his mistakes as he says goodbye... so he... he can be with his mother...
    • 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.
    • Notably, this is slowly starting to be Averted in the west, albeit not to the same extent as in Japan. Ever since EarthBound got rereleased on the Wii U, more and more people are starting to become more vocal and point out the flaws that Mother 3 has, such as the Prolonged Prologue of the first three chapters, the decision to have the character you're currently playing as not talk when it would have been better to have them do so, and the vastly different setting change in comparison to EarthBound. Should be noted that while people are slowly becoming more vocal of these things, this isn't a case of "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny. Many still consider Mother 3 to be a great game, just no longer considering it to be completely flawless like everyone treated it back in the day.
    • A theory on why this happened is that EarthBound finally getting rereleased on the Wii U brought with it a Newbie Boom of a vast majority of people who likely haven't even heard of Mother 3. As a result, and EarthBound slowly growing out of its cult following and gaining a wider audience, it brought with it new people who weren't aware of its Sacred Cow status in the fandom, and thus are more willing to criticize the flaws Mother 3 has.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Enemies calling for help. It's not uncommon to marathon 7 or 8 Reconstructed Moles in a single battle.
    • When either Lucas or Kumatora feels feverish, you cannot dash. It can range from annoying, when walking past an area with weak enemies, to frustrating if there are powerful enemies you are trying to avoid battling against or if you are leaving an area after a boss fight, and you are short on HP, PP, and recovery items.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: The first several hours of gameplay past the prologue consists of switching between three different heroes, all with different abilities, and with a high level of restriction as to what items you can buy, what weapons you can equip, and where you can go. Many feel that the game only truly begins when the focus finally switches back to Lucas in Chapter 4, but it's a long time getting there. Many would say Tropes Are Not Bad in this case, though, as it gives plenty of time to establish many different characters and settings, and show the true extent of the Pigmask Army's corruption.
  • 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.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The Pig Army theme in general sounds like a demented version of Frere Jacques. Likely done intentionally.
  • 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. Later enemies feature familiar battle themes that incorporate pauses of irregular length just to screw up your rhythm. So I heard you like songs in 29/16.
    • Porky coughed something up! This applies both an offense and defense debuff to your party, forcing you to spend a couple turns bringing them back up to speed.
    • The Natural-Killer Cyborg fired its End of the Century Beam!
      • Thankfully averted if you lower his offense, strengthen your defense, and put up a shield. This renders the damage output to a pitiful 45.
    • The Barrier Trio/Miracle Fassad/Men's Room Sign used PK Starstorm!
    • The Masked Man used PK Love Gamma! (Even though he has pulled 3 needles before the first fight against him, he doesn't use Omega, possibly to make things easier.) He only uses Omega on the final battle, where the strategy is to "defend, defend, defend, heal, repeat".
    • 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. One of them is Squishy Wizard Kumatora, while the other is the significantly weak Salsa. You also have Wess, who can contribute to battle with Thunder Bombs, but he isn't perfectly reliable.
    • The Jealous Bass is a Flunky Boss that can perform a combo attack that could ruin your party. Said party, at the time you face him, only consists of Lucas and Boney. Your immediate thought is to defeat his flunkies to disable the combo attack, but that also makes him go berserk.
    • 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 Barrier Change Boss that has a strong physical defense stat and is immune to all but one element of offensive PSI once their Barrier Poses go up. They possess several strong PSI attacks of their own, up to PK Starstorm. Their battle theme also has a nonstandard rhythm.
    • The Steel Mechorilla, who punishes you for excessively exploiting its weakness to electric attacks by short-circuiting and tearing through your party.
    • The Masked Man, who hits incredibly hard, has a ton of HP, and a battle theme like the Barrier Trio's, but with a little skip just to mess with your rhythm.
    • 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 Level:
  • That One Sidequest: Completing the Battle Memory with all available front and back sprites is the only major side task of the game, and it's a doozy for many reasons:
    • The easiest way to see an enemy's back sprite is to turn them around with Duster's Siren Beetle... but you don't have access to that combo for half of the game (Duster isn't playable in Chapters 3, 4, and part of 7, and doesn't have the Siren Beetle in Chapter 1). For everything else, you need to rely on back-attacks, Made-You-Looks (only purchasable in Chapter 4 onwards), or the random chance for Salsa's dance to turn enemies around.
    • Many enemies are only seen a few times throughout the game, vanishing randomly after certain chapters or story events, or are only found in areas you can get locked out of.
    • You can't turn around enemies during scripted battles, so for some bosses, you need to wait for them to reveal their alternate sprite through one of their attacks. There are also two Pigmask enemies that aren't fought outside of scripted battles until Chapter 8, so their back sprites can only be gotten at the end of the game.
    • The Zombieshroom on Tanetane Island needs to be fought and lost to before the party enters their Mushroom Samba, as it can't be logged by fighting its Eerie Smile version.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The main argument with the Japanese audience. May also apply to the American audiences, but it has a more positive reception here than its home country.
    • Mostly Downplayed in the West. While there are many who love this game and its story, there are also a few who still prefer EarthBound's general "urban" environments to the more rural/fantasy vibe of Mother 3, as it was what gave the Mother series its charm and what made it stand out from other RPGs in the first place. Note that most of these people still love this game regardless, and the story easily makes up for the setting change for most Westerners.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Quite a few people are rather disappointed that the Ultimate Chimera remains The Unfought throughout the game and is only a One-Hit Kill hazard you have to avoid. Many think it would have made for an interesting and challenging Bonus Boss.
  • 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. This is mitigated a bit in the final battle, where with Lucas outright refusing to attack and battle text such as "Lucas wanted to cry.", we're definitely getting some input from Lucas' side.
    • The reveal that Fassad is the seventh Magypsy is built up well throughout the game and happens to be one of the lesser-known twists of the game. However, by the time it's revealed, every Magypsy besides Fassad/Locria is dead, and Fassad is rotting away in the sewers after his final battle. The game never gets to elaborate on how Fassad felt towards the other Magypsies or how he met Porky and defected to his side.
    • Nothing else is done with the Hummingbird Egg after Duster retrieves it in Chapter 5. The most attention it ever gets after that is that it holds everyone's previous memories before they colonized the Nowhere Islands, but this is only revealed through Leder's exposition.
  • 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. He's also only a temporary party member, so players can rush through Chapter 3 without much worry about grinding for the sake of long-term investment. Then, he manages to save Lucas and Boney from the Ultimate Chimera, so...
    • Boney is mostly superfluous, since his only actions are a mediocre basic attack and sniffing, a situational technique that doesn't even work on every enemy; if he didn't have better stats, Salsa would probably be stronger than him. Most players will end up using him simply for bashing the enemy and Item Caddy duty with Shield Killer, healing items, and bombs.
  • The Scrappy: Wes. His signature scene aside, his callous and borderline cruel treatment of Duster has made him almost as reviled as Porky.
  • 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).
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • The Magypsies thought it was funny that they were sending Claus to his possible actually Fate Worse than Death death to avenge his mother. Human lives are so small anyways.
    • Alec cracks jokes as he and Flint are searching for Claus. His daughter died last night, he berated one of his grandsons for being unable to stop the other from a possible suicide mission, and his grandson is in danger.
    • Wes constantly verbally abuses Duster.
    • Except for Lighter, Fuel, and Reggie, most of the citizens of Tazmily Village weren't the nicest to begin with. Lou and Bud mooch off their boss (Lighter), Butch is a Jerkass who delights in bad things happening and unwittingly began sowing the seeds of corruption by trusting Fassad, the mayor and his wife are insufferable snobs who think only of themselves, Isaac cheerfully joins up with the Pigmasks, Bronson breaks the news of Hinawa's death in a very inappropriate way by saying that it's both good news and bad news that he found the Drago Fang pierced through her heart, Matt's an alcoholic who uses his drinking as an excuse for everything, Wess abuses Duster emotionally and possibly physically, Thomas is a worrisome dolt who states the obvious too much, and just about everyone thinks Wess is useless because he's an old man and Duster's sketchy because he's (in name only) a thief.
      • Could be intentional, as Porky himself says that it was stupid for humans to try and erase memories of their mistakes and faults, thinking it would make them better. Giving up their memories of what they did wrong instead of learning from them would make them more prone to having the same faults that made them ruin the world in the first place, which happens when Fassad is easily able to manipulate them.
  • The Un-Twist: Notable in that many of these were predicted before the game even came out and all the fanbase had to go on was a few screenshots and broad-stroke descriptions:
    • The Masked Man is actually Claus.
    • King P. is actually Porky.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Don't let the colorful sprites/background and witty humor trick you, Mother 3 is a really dark world you're entering. The game starts out bright and cute, but after Hinawa's death, everything goes downhill from there, to the point it becomes one of the most tragic Role Playing Games of all time by the end. Aside from the tragedy and intense drama, the amount of profanity will stagger as the game goes on, and there will be references to alcohol and mushroom drugs. Not to mention animal/child abuse being a small plot point (the latter stems from a line said by an imposter Flint during the Mushroom Samba Arc).
  • 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 façade 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.

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