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EarthBound Beginnings/Regional Differences

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This is a sub-page of EarthBound Beginnings.

MOTHER was a major localization milestone for Nintendo of America in 1990. Upon its conversion to Earth Bound, several improvements were made to make it more accessible for western markets (which at the time, was not anywhere near as receptive to the role-playing game genre as in Japan), as well as many graphical changes and additions done at the leisure of the team. The most major addition being the expansion of the ending, which in the original was left abrupt and visually unceremonious. Much like the game's cancellation in 1991.

This edition would not see an official release until twenty-four years later on the Wii U Virtual Console in 2015. All was left untouched from the prototype that leaked in 1998. All descriptions here are based on the latter, which was released on the aforementioned platform as the final version.

Title Screen

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Produce at aisle 4.
Who doesn't like presents?
mama
A Nintendo production.
Can you imagine the number of people who would've wondered who the hell Shigesato Itoi is?
EarthBound Beginnings. Bound for Earth. 2015.

In Beginnings, the intro text was made more grammatically correct and the golden Mother logo was replaced with the red Earth Bound one. However, the original title graphics are still present in the CHR bank used for the intro text; this bank is swapped out and replaced with the Earth Bound CHR bank right before the title screen appears.

(Source: EarthBound Central)

Dummied Items

Time Machine

The Japanese version had a "Time Machine" item for sale in Twinkle Elementary School which, if bought, would trigger a short event not present in Beginnings: the player is teleported to the same room directly after Lloyd blows it up with a bottle rocket.

Through some simple hacking to copy the NPC data from the Japanese version into the US one, the event will be restored. Mother 1+2 does not have this item or event, either.

Map

This item is still in Beginnings and is fully functional. Using it simply displays the string "Ninten checked the map."

Friendship Ring

The Friendship Ring (known in-game as FrndshpRing) appeared in the Japanese version of the game. It was useless and did nothing, so in Beginnings it was replaced by the Repel Ring.

(Source: WikiBound)

Graphic Changes

Hmmm...
To do:
Add more pictures for examples.

Characters and NPCs

Beginnings changed the appearance of some characters, although most of the edits were minor (such as the stripe on Ninten's shirt). All of these changes were carried over to Mother 1+2. It's interesting to note that a few NPCs like Ninten's mother Carol were edited in order to look less like Peanuts characters. In typical NoA fashion, all religious symbols were removed, including the priest's rosary. Some of these changes were reverted in all versions of EarthBound or Mother 2 for similar-looking NPCs such as Ness's Mother and the Return Woman in the Department Store of Fourside and Twoson as well as the salesman of the "For-Sale" sign in Burglin Park.

The final two NPCs' edits appear to be little more than stylistic touch-ups.

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Ninten Mother Ninten-forward.png Mother Ninten-side.png Mother Ninten-side2.png Mother Ninten-back.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Ninten-forward.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Ninten-side.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Ninten-side2.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Ninten-back.png
Carol Mother Nintenmom-forward.png Mother Nintenmom-side.png Mother Nintenmom-back.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Nintenmom-forward.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Nintenmom-side.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Nintenmom-back.png
Marcy-esque NPC Mother Marcy-forward.png Mother Marcy-side.png Mother Marcy-back.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Marcy-forward.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Marcy-side.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Marcy-back.png
Pigpen-esque NPC Mother Pigpen-forward.png Mother Pigpen-side.png Mother Pigpen-back.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Pigpen-forward.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Pigpen-side.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Pigpen-back.png
Priest NPC Mother Priest.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Priest.png
Mustachioed NPC Mother Npc1-forward.png Mother Npc1-side.png Mother Npc1-side2.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Npc1-forward.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Npc1-side.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Npc1-side2.png
Cool kid NPC Mother Npc2.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Npc2.png
(Source: The Lost Levels)

Church

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Come in and pray to the Lord. Come in and stare at our nice windows.
(Source: The Lost Levels)

The crosses on top of the churches were replaced with a taller, pointier steeple, while the large crosses on the back walls inside were changed to large stained-glass windows. While the steeple is a simple graphics alteration, the stained-glass window was edited on the palette and CHR-ROM level, so attempting to copy and paste the large cross back into Beginnings will result in graphical glitches.

Both of these changes were retained for Mother 1+2.

But the overworld graphics weren't the only thing that got changed during the localization process...

Enemies

Hmmm...
To do:
These need proper rips without the transparency.

Crow

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
I wonder whose cigarette they stole, anyway? Whoever it was, apparently they stole it back!

The crow had its cigarette removed in the English releases as well as the Japanese Wii U Virtual Console release. This change also extends to Mother 1+2.

Gang Zombie

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Must have been one heck of a gang war... I guess he went straight as a businessman.

The bleeding gunshot wounds on the Gang Zombie were cleaned up, and a tie was put in their place.

Kelly, Nancy, and Juana

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Kelly Hey, baby, wanna go out with-- Oh.
Nancy Hey, here's my number, call me and we can-- ...Oh.
Juana How bout we go back to my place and-- WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING D: D: D:

The three female robot enemies had the lighting on their breasts adjusted to remove their nipples.

Dr. Distorto

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Did you spill some ketchup on your shirt there... ...or was that a red Sharpie you had?

A small red spot (bloodstain?) was removed from Dr. Distorto's lab coat.

Shroudley

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Um, why are you dripping from your hands when it looks like it was your feet cut off? Like, I understand you're supposed to be scary, but...

The dripping blood was removed from Shroudley's hands and around his feet.

B.B. Gang

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
You look like you need a new lease on life. That may be a good start, though...

The Black Blood Blah-Blah Gang members joined the D.A.R.E. program.

B.B.'s Boss

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Oh no, he's gonna stab me! Oh no, he's gonna... punch me.

Teddy B.B.'s Boss no longer brandishes a knife during battle.

Bug Fixes

Bread Crumbs

A glitch involving the use of the Bread Crumbs item was fixed for Beginnings and Mother 1+2. One of its main uses is to bypass the rock sealing Giegue's lair, which doesn't normally open until you get the eight melodies, a glitch that has been used in Tool-Assisted Speedruns (TAS) of the Japanese version.

Flea Bag

In the Japanese version, it is possible to abuse the Flea Bag item on R7038XX, dropping his offense to the point where he cannot kill EVE, and after 255 turns the battle automatically ends (as per the game code). As a result, the event for EVE dying and giving you the melody happens, but she also remains in your party - something which isn't supposed to happen, mainly because she's obscenely strong.

Beginnings and Mother 1+2 fixed this by granting the R703X-series robots immunity to the Flea Bag's effects.

Misc.

Location Names

A vast majority of the names of locations were changed from the Japanese version to Beginnings. To quote the localization producer:

"Itoi originally wrote them to sound friendly. I don't believe that towns named after holidays was friendly. Matter of fact I thought it sounded stupid and thought older players would really be turned off. I wanted it to be enjoyable for all ages."

— Phil Sandhop, localization producer. Interview by Jonathan Wirth of the Lost Levels.
Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Cute! Holiday names. Because kids find holidays uncool. Thanksgiving ain't radical.
Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Mother's Day Podunk
Thanksgiving Merrysville
Santa Claus Station Union Station
Halloween Spookane
Easter Youngtown
Valentine Ellay
Holy Loly Mountain Mount Itoi

Menus

The menus have some more options in Beginnings and Mother 1+2, such as more speed levels. The world map is also not an option and rather a separate item in the Japanese release, found in the basement (and replaced by Bread in Beginnings). The order of learned PSI is also different.

Hmmm...
To do:
PSI learning comparison.
PSI Ninten Anna
LifeUp α 3
Hypnosis 4
Healing α 5
DefenseUp α 7
DefenseDown α 9
4th-D Slip 11
PSIShield α 13
QuickUp 14
Healing β 16
OffenseUp 18


Quick Status window

On the main HUD (at the bottom of the screen when the command window is open and during battle), the stats were rotated so that Level is first in the US version (compared to last in the Japanese version). This was possibly so that the character names could be extended an extra character (from 6 to 7) without touching the stats (since Level is only two digits).

Look

In-game item descriptions (the Look command) were added for Beginnings and Mother 1+2.

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Who needs carefully observing your possessions? Might as well check this bread in case it's expired.

Setup

EbSetupMenu.png

A setup option was added in Beginnings. It lets you change the button assignments and the text speed throughout the game.

(Source: The Lost Levels)

Party Member Status Color Backdrop Position

Beginnings changed the position of the critical condition and fainted status colored backdrop to the HP number. In the Japanese version, this position was in the party member's name.

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Mother low health name.png
Mother fainted name.png
Earth Bound low HP number.png
Earth Bound fainted number.png

Check Blurbs

In Beginnings and Mother 1+2, checking an enemy in battle will display that enemy's stats as well as a short description. In the Japanese version, only their stats are displayed.

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
The bear essentials. The other bears in the game have similar descriptions about someone stealing their stuff. Is there a bear burglar on the loose?
(Source: The Lost Levels)

Melody Backdrop

A rolling background effect, not present in the Japanese version, was added to Beginnings when learning a melody. This was programed into the subroutine that plays music: any values containing one of the melodies will use the background whenever they are called, and revert when the song changes. In Mother 1+2 the lines were made wavy which was most likely done to reduce the risk of seizures.

Mother EarthBound Beginnings Mother 1+2
The monkey sang a melody to you, and you remembered the tune. The monkey sang a melody to you, and you had an acid trip. The monkey... eh, forget it. You can probably think of something better.

Maps

Beginnings and Mother 1+2 contain simplified versions of the Underground Stream (in the Magicant wells) and the path to Mt. Itoi, as well as the layout of part of Spookane. The cave on Mt. Itoi's ascent (which EVE can access) was removed and placed at a new, short forked pathway at the end of the game.

Hmmm...
To do:
Add the map for the Mt. Itoi cave/forked pathway as well.
Mother EarthBound Beginnings
Jeez louise! Who needs a basement this big? The Spencer Estate? Down right down right up right up left...
Mother EarthBound Beginnings
EB0MountItoiPathJPN.png EB0MountItoiPathUSA.png
Mother EarthBound Beginnings
EB0SpookaneLowerJPN.png EB0SpookaneLowerUSA.png

Run

Beginnings and Mother 1+2 added a run button (to move at a doubled speed), which by default is set to B and R, respectively. According to Phil Sandhop, the localization producer and English script writer for the US version, the running feature was originally added for debugging purposes but ultimately retained as a legitimate game feature at his request.

(Source: Lost Levels)

Magicant Men

Two of the NPCs in Magicant were substantially changed. One of them is the man who appears in the fountain: he cures ailments in the Famicom version, but acts more like an ATM in Beginnings and Mother 1+2. In the Japanese version, he asks "What do you need?" and the choices "Cure Poison" and "Soften" appear. This change makes him more useful, since you can simply return to the hospital in town to cure those status conditions.

Mother EarthBound Beginnings
What do you need? Cure Poison, Soften. EarthBoundNES-Proto Magicant-oldman.png

The other is the Forgotten Man: in the Famicom version, should a player answer one of his questions wrong, they're warped right back to the beginning of Magicant. In the Beginnings and Mother 1+2, he simply ends his dialogue, allowing one to quickly start his prompt over again.

Endgame

Hmmm...
To do:
Comparisons of everything here.

After the R7038 battle, you appear at the Doctor's house near the foot of Mt. Itoi, with Teddy injured on a bed, unable to continue. Beginnings re-positions Teddy on the bed.

In the Japanese release, upon learning the seventh melody, you are automatically warped back to Queen Mary, who remembers the 8th melody on her own. Beginnings requires you to collect the eighth melody and return to Queen Mary yourself. The dialogue associated with the Japanese version of events is in Beginnings, but unused.

The rock graphic obstructing the final lair was changed, and there is no Starmen-infested final path that leads to the final boss and captive adults.

The room containing the kidnapped adults from Easter/Youngtown is elsewhere on the mountain in the Japanese release, where EVE can easily access it.

Ending

Hmmm...
To do:
Get a better video of the Japanese ending.

The ending was heavily revised for Beginnings. In the Japanese version, the party simply faced the screen as the credits rolled behind them.

This said, despite the change, there are a few errors in the ending: the heavy NPC who had changes done to his sprite in the US version uses his original Japanese sprites, and Ninten's sister Minnie uses Mimmie's pink color palette rather than the red palette she wears throughout the game.

The revised ending was retained in Mother 1+2. Though Minnie is now properly colored red, the heavy NPC still uses the wrong sprites.

Mother EarthBound Beginnings