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Proto:Mother

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This page details one or more prototype versions of Mother.
Note: Earth Bound redirects here. For the second game in the Mother franchise, see EarthBound.

Earth Bound was the intended US release of Mother, but was shelved after completion due to a series of unfortunate marketing decisions. Other than Nintendo of America's typical censorship process, the game also got a number of improvements over the original Japanese version, nearly all of which were retained in the Japan-only GBA compilation Mother 1+2.

This English prototype was given an official worldwide release on the Wii U Virtual Console in 2015 under the title EarthBound Beginnings, although the game itself was left unedited and is still called Earth Bound on the title screen.

Download.png Download Earth Bound (US Prototype)
File: Earth Bound (U) (Prototype).nes (256 KB) (info)

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 the US prototype: 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 the prototype 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 the US prototype it was replaced by the Repel Ring.

(Source: WikiBound)

Graphic Changes

Hmmm...
To do:
Add more picture examples.

Characters and NPCs

The US prototype 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.

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

Japan US
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
Heavy 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
Red NPC Mother Npc2.png EarthBoundNES-Proto Npc2.png
(Source: The Lost Levels)

Church

Japan US
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 in-game were replaced with a taller, pointier steeple, while the large crosses on the back walls inside were changed to large stained-glass windows. Interestingly, 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 the English prototype will result in graphical glitches.

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

Enemies

Many enemies were changed to remove blood, cigarettes, or...shiny breasts.

Japan US
Crow I wonder whose cigarette they stole, anyway? Whoever it was, apparently they stole it back!
B.B. Gang You look like you need a new lease on life. That may be a good start, though...
B.B.'s Boss Oh, no! He's gonna stab me! Oh, no! He's gonna... punch me.
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:
Gang Zombie Must have been one heck of a gang war... I guess he went straight as a businessman.
Shroudley 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...
Dr. Distorto You spilled a little ketchup on your shirt right there... You got it, don't worry.

Bug Fixes

Bread Crumbs

A glitch involving the use of the Bread Crumbs item was fixed for the US prototype 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.

The US prototype and Mother 1+2 fixed this so that the Flea Bag cannot be used on the indestructible robots.

Miscellaneous

Location Names

A vast majority of the names of locations were changed from the Japanese version to the US prototype. According to Phil Sandhop, 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."
Japan US
Cute! Holiday names. Because kids find holidays uncool. Thanksgiving ain't radical.
Japan US
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 the US prototype 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 the prototype). The order of learned PSI is also different.

Hmmm...
To do:
PSI learning comparison.

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 the US version.

Japan US
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 the US prototype. It lets you change the button assignments and the text speed throughout the game.

(Source: The Lost Levels)

Check Blurbs

In the US prototype 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.

Japan US
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

In the Japanese version, when learning a melody the screen does not do the rolling background effect. The US prototype programs this 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. Mother 1+2 changed it to wavy lines instead of simple straight lines.

Hmmm...
To do:
Add Mother 1+2 picture for comparison.
Japan US
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.

Ending

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

The ending was heavily revised for the US prototype. 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 the pink color palette of Ninten's other sister rather than the red palette she wears throughout the game.

The revised ending was retained in Mother 1+2, aforementioned mistakes and all.

Japan US

Maps

The US prototype 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 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 maps for the path to Mt. Itoi, Spookane, and the Mt. Itoi cave/forked pathway as well.
Japan US
Jeez louise! Who needs a basement this big? Down right down right up right up left...

Run

The US prototype 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 Japanese version, but acts more like an ATM in the US prototype. 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.

Japan US
What do you need? Cure Poison, Soften. EarthBoundNES-Proto Magicant-oldman.png

The other is the Forgotten Man: in the Japanese version, should a player answer one of his questions wrong, they're sent clear back to the beginning of Magicant. In the US prototype, he simply starts his prompt over again.

Endgame

In the Japanese release, Teddy is positioned on the bed differently. The player is sent back to Magicant after the seventh melody is learned, and Queen Mary automatically remembers the eighth melody on her own. The dialogue associated with this is in the US prototype, but unused. The rock graphic obstructing the final layer was also changed, and there is no Starmen-infested final path that leads to the final boss and captive adults.

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

Title Screen

Japan US
Mother-produce.png
Mother-presents.png
Mother titlescreenj.png
Earth Bound-produced.png
Earth Bound-presented.png
Earth Bound-title.png

In the prototype, 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)