Hello and welcome back to P-Vock's Music Box. I've been in a good mood all summer, surprisingly enough. I am usually aggravated and sweaty from late May to Labour Day, but to that, this summer I've said "Nay!"
I don't know why I've been in a good mood. Maybe I've had good food. Maybe I've had good sleeps (as if). Maybe I'm excited for the many awesome video games coming this fall.
Or maybe, I've just forgotten about my long-lost love that I can never have.
Let's take a trip to the Nowhere Islands and visit a game that will never come to the West.
Following up EarthBound, or Mother 2 as it is known in Japan, was no small task. Add to that a development cycle that saw multiple big delays and a console change that meant the entire engine needed to change, and you have a recipe for disappointment.
But, Shigesato Itoi is not any other creator, and Mother is not any series.
Mother 3 is an absolute triumph of a game with unforgettable characters, gorgeous sprite work, sublime gameplay, a story that WILL make you cry, and absolutely sublime music.
It hits you right off the bat.
It's so curious. It's fun, but eery. It's unknown, yet oddly familiar if you've played the previous games.
It's an absolute earworm that leaves you with many questions as to what the game is going to be about.
SO NOW LET'S GET REAL SAD, EH!
Mother 3 starts hitting you with tragedy and sadness pretty early on, and I think a theme like Gentle Rain absolutely helps carry that idea. After a brutally sad and traumatic moment for our hero, Lucas, we are met with a moment of reprieve and calm. That's what Gentle Rain is, calm. It's somber and melancholy after that initial piano riff, sure, but it maintains a level of calm that really helps our hero pick himself back up.
It's as if the music wants to tell him that it's okay to be a little sad for now. That taking your time when grieving is okay. Just take it moment by moment and get back to it when you can.
And when you are ready to carry on, the rain may get a little less gentle...
Now you know it's a little more serious. You're more aware of the impending threats. You know you have to find an answer somehow. You know you're about to be tested.
While your heart may still be heavy, your mind is focused. With determination and resolve, you will carry on.
That's the message Hard Rain wants to give you, and it does so flawlessly.
And when you reach the climax, you're in for something incredible...
I will not spoil this game. But what I will say is that the idea of ungodly chimeras is a huge part of the story. For a story such as that, it makes sense that a climactic battle against one of the people responsible for said beasts to be an unholy mashup of multiple themes and motifs from earlier in the game (I couldn't play them all in this column because it would take way too long, I'm sorry). It's absolutely sinister. It's beyond creepy. It's just plain weird.
It is just so Mother 3. BUT WHY IS IT ALSO JUST SO DAMN GOOD?
Every unique melody. Every synthesized instrument. Every musical idea in this track is just fantastic. Adding them all up should be horrifying and grating, but I find that composer Shogo Sakai was able to walk the tightest rope in the history of music and deliver something tonally perfect, instantly catchy, full of perfect callbacks to multiple points throughout the adventure, and combine it all into something delightful to listen to that results in what is just a true triumph of music.
I firmly hold the belief that Mother 3 is one of the greatest RPGs ever made. Up there with the very best from Chrono, Suikoden, Final Fantasy, Xeno, or any other franchise out there.
It's remarkable how emotional, charming, and memorable this game is, while beautifully capping off one of media's most unique trilogies.
While I personally hold the second entry as my favourite, Mother 3 is an absolute masterpiece that is unquestionably worth the effort it takes to download a fan translation and play.
NOW PLEASE GIVE IT TO US IN THE WEST, NINTENDO. IT HAS BEEN 15 YEARS!!!!!!!
*ahem* Thank you, as always, for checking out my content, and I hope to catch you here next time with another suggestion from my Music Box.
PS. I told you the game was sad. So, here's the saddest piece of music ever composed. The first few notes alone are enough to make me tear up every time, no joke.