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EarthBound

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Title Screen

EarthBound

Also known as: Mother 2 (JP)
Developers: Ape, HAL Laboratory, Pax Softnica
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: SNES
Released in JP: August 27, 1994
Released in US: June 5, 1995
Released in EU: July 18, 2013 (Wii U Virtual Console)


GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
DebugIcon.png This game has debugging material.
SoundtestIcon.png This game has a hidden sound test.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.
PiracyIcon.png This game has anti-piracy features.


PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article

EarthBound is Shigesato Itoi's charming, cult-hit RPG about aliens, teenagers, and psychic powers.

Sub-Pages

M2truck.png
Regional Differences
The amount of regional changes done for this game is quite a feat.

Using Game Genie codes, severe glitching, or an IPS patch, three debug menus can be found in the game:

Earthbound debugicon1.png
In-Game Debug Menu
TKSyZyUTI.
Earthbound debugicon2.png
Boot-Up Debug Menu
APPLE.
Blank.png
Battle Debug Menu
Pretty nice, except there's no escape.

Unused Sprites

!

All of the other Chosen Four characters have this animation, but Poo is the only one who doesn't actually use it. Ness and Paula jump during their name entry screen animations, and Jeff jumps over the fence when he's escaping from his boarding school. The developers probably created the jumping sprites for all four, just in case.

The Chosen Four...plus one?

Variations of the Chosen Four's normal ghost sprites, plus one for Everdred. The variations of the Chosen Four's ghost sprites are exactly like the regular jumping sprites except for the transparency, ghostly trail, and halo; they could just be jumping.

As for Everdred, the game leaves it unclear as to whether he died following your encounter in Fourside, but this sprite would indicate that he did. Alternatively, Everdred might have been scheduled to join your party at some point, as every other ghost sprite is based on a party member.

(I hope I get a treat for climbing this!)

Four sprites of King where you can obviously tell he's supposed to be climbing a rope or a ladder. This would suggest two things: either King was supposed to stay with you longer in the game, or Ness' original travels through Onett were supposed to include something to climb. However, it could be that these were created just in case they needed to be used...although even if you use the various debug menus to put the dog in your party and travel to places he shouldn't be, these graphics still won't show.

Remember, kids, nudity isn't wrong in Japan!

Since there are no "sleeping" sprites for the other characters, these were probably meant to be used in special sequences early in the game, possibly waking up from Paula's psychic calls. Alternately, Ness may have been intended to be asleep when he first arrived in Magicant, as he is completely naked except for his cap during the Magicant portion of Mother 2.

That explains EVERYTHING.

Ness' mother sitting, a better (but unused) alternative to walking around in random directions. May have also been meant for the prayer sequence involving Ness' family.

zzzz... SHARKS EAT FISH AAAAAH

Ness and Paula sitting with their eyes closed. Since there is no Jeff or Poo equivalent, they were probably meant to be used in an event before Paula contacts Jeff, most likely when the two wake up following the zombie ambush.

Why DO they let people past that bar area?

Probably meant to be used when you talk to Jackie from the side, but it isn't used for some reason.

Starman RX fixes all your psychic problems!

A capsule that looks exactly like the one containing Starman Jr. in Mother. This is found among the enemy-out-of-battle sprites, so it was probably supposed to be used as an alternative to the odd octahedrons used to represent enemies in the last areas of the game.

It could also have been used as the out-of-battle sprite of Starman Jr. and/or Starman Deluxe.

?

Probably just an asset they put in there in case they needed one, and it turned out they didn't.

Mr. Saturns are REALLY gross now.

"Puu Puu" (fart noise) is the sound the Mr. Saturns make in Japanese, so this sprite was likely meant to appear in Saturn Valley while the Mr. Saturns were walking around.

Fuzzy Pickles In Prehistoric Times! It's like a pun or something.

A tiny Ness posing and a tiny photographer hanging around, clearly meant for the Lost Underworld.

Tiny deliveries mean tiny prices.

A tiny Escargo Express guy, also clearly meant for the Lost Underworld.

Emblem of the Smiley Corp.

A flag, probably meant to be used as decoration somewhere, though it doesn't seem to fit anywhere in the game.

I ran out of ideas. Ness x Paula forever.

A beating heart. Maybe some romance sequences were planned, but didn't make it in.

YEEEAAAAH LUCK

A Sanchez brother cheering, meant for when you won something in the slot machine game.

(Source: Tomato, Starmen.net)

generates a burst of steam, apparently

Partially unused. In Onett, Frank's steam-powered robot, the Frankystein Mark II, is partially obscured by a tree on the field. When you defeat it, it disappears on the spot it stood behind the tree, thus rendering about half of this sprite unused.

it even moves on land

Used, but (very) difficult to see. The eels are usually never seen outside of the water in Deep Darkness, the only area in which they appear. They can be coaxed out of the water, but doing so is very difficult, can only be done in one or two places, and you have to be doing so intentionally.

Eb kingpuppy.png

King as a puppy is seen in the cutscene after obtaining the Eight Melodies at Fire Spring. The problem is, puppy King never moves up or down; he only moves sideways in a northeasterly direction and stops.

Eb brownbird.png

This small bird thing... is just never seen, ever. It looks like it could have served a use pretty much anywhere. It is similar to the sparrows found in Mother 3.

Eb venus unused frame.png

Venus has two additional strange animation frames she never uses in either of her performances. Possibly intended to be used for her performance with the Runaway Five.

Fix that stubble, man!

The bus driver has an additional frame facing right/left, possibly intended for a stopped bus facing north/south which never happens.

Eb CashBox.png

Whatever this Mother-esque box was intended for, it isn't used.

Eb poos master.png

Poo's Master cannot be talked to from above at any point without hacking, as he never leaves his normal spot.

Unused Enemy

EarthBoundSNESCrookedCop.gif

The "Crooked Cop" or "ダーティコップ" (literally, "Dirty Cop") is identical to Captain Strong in every way but name. This may have been an earlier version of him.

There is also a "Magic Butterfly" enemy, accessible by using battle formation 480. It has no attacks or graphics.

Unused Items

Video Relaxant

Your guess is as good as mine.

The item with hex number CB goes unused. It does nothing when used, and the in-game description is an apt "What the hey is this?" The Japanese version calls it "Video Drug", but has basically the same description.

(Source: EarthBound Central (Japanese name))

Temporary Goods

Unlike the Video Relaxant, the Temporary Goods has a clear description: "A key given to you by a maid who works at the Monotoli building." This indicates that Electra was supposed to give you the "key" in exchange for the Yogurt Dispenser, and this would have unlocked the second elevator (which is inaccessible beforehand) to access the path that leads to Monotoli himself; in-game, however, the second elevator is unlocked once Electra takes the Yogurt Dispenser.

Putting the item in your inventory before going into the building does nothing, and no other unused text correlates to the item.

Unused Music

Entirely Unused

An unused version of the "No Sounds" variation of the completed Sound Stone, never played because the game exits the Sound Stone after the melody finishes. It can be heard by using Pro Action Replay codes C1F04ABD 80214090 at the File Select screen.

(Source: nensondubois)

A scary-sounding variation of the cave music which, like some other tracks, is a remix of a theme used in Mother (such as in Podunk Zoo).

This short, non-looping variant of Pokey's theme is never used, or really needed. The engine-like noise used for the first few seconds would suggest it was meant for when he steals Monotoli's helicopter, or possibly an unmade cutscene where Pokey crashes it in the Deep Darkness and removes the engine.

A strange rumbling, then an electronic alert sound playing. Sounds like this was supposed to play when the Sky Runner would be damaged somehow, but in all the Sky Runner events when it crashes it just plays the standard crashing sound (value 6E).

Partially Unused

In the game's intro, this plays before transitioning to a different track. This skips the last 15 seconds of the song.

The track used when Ness exits Magicant is cut off around the 23-second mark, leaving 15 seconds unheard in-game.

When Tessie leaves the map on the opposite side of the Winters bank, a few seconds get cut off (the later visit's version moreso than the first one). The music then segues into a permanent loop of the standard Tessie travel section of the music with different instrumentation.

The Winters intro isn't intended to be played past a certain point, but if it does, all channels but one cut out at minimum volume and the music eventually loops regardless; presumably this intro is just a quick hack of the Snowman theme normally used in the boarding school.

Leftover Music Data

Hmmm...
To do:
There are more of these in the game's data. Specifically, in the music for a few battle themes.

Certain music tracks contain data that never gets played. Often, these unused portions are earlier drafts of the music in which they reside.

This would seem to indicate that the attract mode music was initially going to head in a different direction or have a different transitional section, but was ultimately replaced.

An unused section of the Belch battle music, probably an idea for an alternate transition into the repeat.

A fast set of drums found in the file for Threed's "happy" music. It's slightly different from the fast drums used in the bridge of this song, so this may have been temporary.

A small beat meant for Fourside which seems to indicate it was to have a simpler bridge at some point before getting replaced with a better one.

Seems to be a higher-pitched early draft of the Deep Darkness music, later replaced by the lower-pitched version.

A more complete idea that was never used in-game was this section of music from Magicant. It has the same quirky sound and feel of the final track, but a completely different melody.

This sounds like a potential ending for the music "Good Friends Bad Friends", the pre-credits sequence where the cast of the game appears. It was likely not used due to it being very brief and unsatisfying, and hence requiring the final version's ending to be rewritten.

The end credits music has an unused section that initializes all the instruments, indicating that it was used at the beginning, and plays the first three notes of the melody leading into the music. In the final, this was replaced with a more anticipatory section that fades in and builds up musically to match the cinematic of the scene.

Also in the credits music is an unused section that seems to be nothing more than the string section of a portion of the music, however the chord progression used is slightly different from the final. This would indicate that the music may have been slightly different there as the composer was trying different ideas.

Copy Protection

Elementary, my dear Cactus.
This needs some investigation.
Discuss ideas and findings on the talk page.
Specifically: Is any of this in the Virtual Console rerelease?

EarthBound is surprisingly heavy on anti-piracy measures, some of which are quite fiendish. None of this affects emulator users, both because the protection was targeted at copiers and because most copies of the ROM circulating the internet have these routines disabled.

Layer One - Region Protection

Palcheck.png

The first layer is pretty simple: it checks the console's PPU to make sure you're not running a PAL (Europe, Australia) SNES. If you are, it throws up this error message and freezes.

Layer Two - SRAM Check

Mother 2 EarthBound
コピーは重大な犯罪です! Copying is a serious crime!

This is the first real barrier against pirates. A subroutine at $C0A11C, called at startup, checks that there's only 8KB of SRAM (cartridge copiers, by their nature, tend to have more). If there's more than 8KB, then the game gives you this stern warning and freezes.

In addition, Movement Script 1 calls a subroutine at $C1FFD3 which takes a checksum of the code at $C0A11C-$C0A150. If there's any alterations to that memory range, a non-zero value is stored to $7EB539, bringing up yet another copyright infringement screen.

Layer Three - Increased Encounters

A third, far more subtle layer of protection is activated if the game detects that the previous layers have been disabled. There's a check at $C0281A to see if $7EB539 is zero. If it isn't, random encounters are ramped up to absurd levels to make the game borderline unplayable. Some areas even have enemies that aren't supposed to be in those locations, like Spiteful Crows in the Pyramid.

Layer Four - Unknown

There's another SRAM checker at $C08391. Not quite sure what it does yet, but it's called six times during the game.

Layer Five - The Grand Finale

And finally, should you brave everything else, there's one final, devious checksum routine at $C3FDC5, checking $C0A11C-$C0A150 to see if all the previous layers had been defeated, which is triggered after Porky/Pokey turns off the Devil's Machine and insults Giygas. If the game detects anything awry, it hangs and deletes your save files.

Notes

For those who'd like to see the effects in action, here are some cheat codes to activate the anti-piracy effects without having to delve into a hex editor.

Use this code to increase the encounter rate:

Action Replay C0281D80
Game Genie 6D4F-7704

If the above code freezes the game, use this code too:

Action Replay C0281E1A
Game Genie FC4F-7764

This code activates the final save wipe at the end of the game:

Action Replay C3FDDAD0
Game Genie 2DE2-546E

Naturally, you should back up your SRAM first when attempting this.

(Source: Starmen.net and EarthBound Central for copy protection info and the "crazy enemies" code)

Unused Event

Normally when battling the Clumsy Robot, you have already helped out the Runaway Five with their debt. At the end of the Clumsy Robot battle, they appear, thus ending the fight. With the assistance of the walk-through-walls cheat, you can bypass the required event of helping the Runaway Five and see an alternate ending: the Clumsy Robot spews out smoke, after which the party is teleported outside the Monotoli building.

Virtual Console Changes

The Wii U Virtual Console releases of Mother 2 and EarthBound add a "blur" effect to several of the flashier PSI animations, such as PSI Rockin'. This is standard policy for Virtual Console games, with the idea being to reduce the risk of causing seizures.

(EarthBound Central: http://earthboundcentral.com/2013/05/mother-2-wii-u-animation-changes/)