Earthbound Cover
Platform SNES
Genre Plodding RPG
MtAMinutes to Action 14
Score 4  Clock score of 4Gameplay: 4
Fun Factor: 5
Gfx/Sound: 6
Story: 6
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Game number two in The First Hour series is the quirky Super Nintendo RPG, EarthBound. One of the most popular classic console role playing games, EarthBound sports an odd sense of humor and has a huge cult following. But the real question is what I ask: is the first hour any good? I can tell you one thing, it's not as violent as God of War 2.

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)
00 - The game starts when I hit 'Start New Game'. The game is sporting some funky music and a very unique background. I choose 'Strawberry flavor' for my text box colors, nifty!

02 - Phew! I just finished naming just about everything in the game! My main characters are Greg, Amy, Gob, and Bruce (but I have a feeling I won't be seeing much more than Greg in this first hour). My dog's name is Dog (yes I know, but I needed to speed things up). I also like Pizza and Games! Now, on with the game!

04 - The year is 199X. Uh huh!

06 - We see a fly over of the town I must live by. Then the game cuts to me, Greg! I'm sleeping like a little babe. Suddenly there's a loud crash and I finally get to move!

07 - I raid my house for weapons and settle for a cracked bat that I find in my sister's room.

09 - I say good bye to my mom, after changing out of my "jammies", and head outside. I start wandering my way around and find a path up a mountain. I walk up it only to run into a police barricade right when I find the meteorite!

11 - The police won't let me go through so I guess I need to walk back home? The game isn't very clear on anything at this point. I'm sleeping again and are woken up this time by some loud knocking.

12 - Turns out to be Pokey, the neighborhood fatty. He says his brother is missing so my mom sends us out along with Dog, to find Picky.

13 - The phone rings, no one answers. I guess I will, obviously. It's my dad who must be a good for nothing bum if all he can do is call. Well, turns out he's not a bum because he just gave me 30 bucks! Score!

Earthbound Ness Crow Battle

14 - I finally get to leave the house again, but I run into a crow! My first battle! And the first real action of the game, only 14 minutes in... I handily beat the crow with my cracked bat, and then collect a magic butterfly who calms me. Reminds me of other magic things.

15 - There's another crow, and another. Pokey just stands there and scratches himself, my dog sometimes attacks. I level up and learn a spell, lifeup. How am I able to cast spells, there's no explanation.

16 - I keep getting cookies from crows, why do crows drop cookies?

17 - A snake! My first non-crow enemy, quite the milestone.

18 - We get to the top of the mountain again and my dog takes off. Probably too many people in the party or something lame. Picky joins me and his older brother and then a bee pops out of the meteorite (one of the first of many things that makes absolutely no sense). He blabs on about the future and some bad guy named Giygas (undoubtedly the final boss).

Earthbound Ness Starman Smash Battle

20 - Buzz-Buzz (the bee if you didn't realize) joins up and we wander back down the mountain. This is getting kind of tedious. All of a sudden we encounter a man shaped as a star, the game calls them starmen for some reason.

21 - Speaking of tedious, this battle consists me of pressing the A button over and over again. We finally win with absolutely no danger to me and I ding level 3.

22 - I bring the neighbor brats back home and their fat dad chases them upstairs. The parents babble on about how noble they are, etc. But then the super deformed mom just swaps Buzz-Buzz! I approach the dying bee and he gives me his dying message.

23 - I must go to Giant Step, to collect something no doubt. He gives me a sound stone to collect things in. I'm not sure where he was carrying this sound stone but it must have weighed him down.

Earthbound Ness Photographer Picture

24 - I walk outside and get my picture taken. Odd.

25 - I call my dad and find out he's giving me 44 dollars for killing crows and snakes! When I was growing up I would have made 44 cents for killing hundreds of dandelions. I'm jealous.

27 - I take another nap and then head south into town, Onett.

28 - Hey! A garbage bin! I inspect it only to find a perfectly delicious hamburger! Mmmm... my hit points are maxed out!

29 - I run into another road block at the south end of town, looks like I'll need to figure out what to do here before I move on. It probably has something to do with these punk kids attacking me!

Earthbound Ness Garbage Hobo Onett

30 - I get into a brawl with a skateboarder and he calls for help, the wuss. Well, turns out I start getting tag teamed and almost die on the streets of Onett.

33 - I wander around town some more and find Giant Step, northwest of town. However, the door is locked and it appears to be two mimes guarding it too, scary.

34 - I head to the library and get a map of the town.

36 - Getting mobbed by some more pogo stick people, but I prevail. Hit level five, but I think the game is slightly unbalanced.

Earthbound Onett Town Map

38 - I just got called a twit and spanky. This game has a great sense of humor.

39 - Okay, I just got killed by a man in a hula hoop costume. I come back to life in the hotel with full HP but no PSI so I decide to sleep there a night. Only 35 bucks and I'm rolling in the dough thanks to my dad and my street cleaning career.

40 - I find the boss of the street punks, Frank. Time to take him down.

41 - Or not, as Frank just destroyed me. I have a bad feeling I'll be leveling for the rest of the hour.

42 - Another night at the hotel to recover.

43 - I get mobbed by a bunch of punks and die, again.

Earthbound Ness Frank Dead Game Over

45 - Dead.

47 - Mobbed. Tried to run. Dead.

49 - This time a guy chased me down and caught me by surprise, so he got the first turn. Dead again.

51 - Finally won a battle, level 6!

52 - Quickly die due to low health from the last battle.

54 - Dead again.

55 - I get some revenge and take down a pogo-sticker in one hit! It feels good to SMAAAAASH!

57 - I get mobbed and die again. These bad guys calling in their friends is getting really obnoxious. I think I have just enough time to try and fight Frank again.

59 - It's an epic battle against the feminine Frank! He keeps saying nasty things and makes my Guts go down. I'm not even sure what Guts do so I guess I'm not worried! After tapping A enough, I finally take Frank down!

Earthbound Ness Frankystein Mark II

60 - But of course, Frank's got a toy! It's a giant mechanized robot who shoots bursts of steam in between his punches. The steam does nothing so it gives me time to recover in between attacks. One time he hits me for over 42 hit points! I only have 62 at max! Luckily, I had just healed so I survived. After bashing the robot enough, I win! My first real boss battle is complete, and just in time as I take out Frank and his cohort at exactly the hour mark!

Time's up! Now for my ratings on a somewhat difficult first hour of EarthBound.

First Hour Scores

Minutes to Action: 14

Gameplay: 4
EarthBound moves at a plodding place. The main character walks slow, people talk slow, and battles are very tedious with mostly just you pressing A over and over again while you hope you don't get smash attacked. The town fights against the punk kids seem highly unbalanced as some guys can take out half your health with one hit pretty easily. As I got more hit points, I became over-confident and started getting teamed up against, getting killed just as easily. This was part my fault, but I feel the game is too difficult in the beginning and may scare off some younger players who aren't willing to tough it out and just level up.

Fun Factor: 5
The first hour of EarthBound is simply not that fun. It can be difficult and trying, forcing you to level up for the game's first real boss. That's not very fun. The game redeems itself, however, with its unique sense of humor and style. This is definitely one game that pulls off humor well.

Graphics: 6
I will be rating this category by what is out at the time, and it's artistic style. EarthBound presents very simple drawings, part realistic and part whimsical at the same time. The game is fun to look at but its simplicity hurts it. There's not a lot of flair in the first hour to really impress me. The game does have a unique psychedelic tone which I enjoyed, though.

Story: 6
The story so far is only semi-original but very quirky and light-hearted. The game doesn't throw a lot at you right away which is nice. What it does present is funny and has lots of potential, if somewhat derivative at times.

Overall First Hour: 4
EarthBound's first hour moves slow and can be tedious. I should admit though, I've played EarthBound many times before and can testify that the rest of the game is very fun. The fan overlap between this game and God of War 2 is likely small, though somehow I fall into it. The games are very different, and for different audiences. For RPG fans, EarthBound is well worth playing and a refreshing change from the games today. However, the first hour just doesn't cut it for an RPG.

Earthbound Cutscene War Against Giygas