You cannot grasp the true form of Mother 3 spoilers

Seriously now, major Mother 3 spoilers ahead. I’m going to discuss major plot points in the game. I’m even putting everything behind a cut, to prevent you from reading anything accidentally. OK?

Porky

Last chance to turn back. I’m going to tell you things like how Pokey Porky is the primary antagonist, leader of the Pigmask Army, and the penultimate boss. What, you say you learned that from the background of New Pork City and the Ruined Zoo stage in Brawl? Well, what if I tell you that Hinawa dies in the first chapter? And that everyone in Tazmily Village had their minds erased so they wouldn’t remember fleeing the destruction of the rest of the world? And that Fassad is really the seventh Magypsy?

Like I said, spoilers.

One thing I wonder about after having played Mother 3 is Porky’s apparent nostalgia for the events in EarthBound. This is first hinted at by the Friend’s Yo-Yo item in the Playroom near the top of Thunder Tower — yo-yos were one of the types of weapon Ness used — and how Porky’s robotic maid flies into a rage if you try to take it. It becomes much more apparent, however, once you reach New Pork City. The movie playing in the theater is EarthBound, and apparently showing the heroes of that game positively. Then, of course, there’s the boat ride near the top of the Empire Porky building, which seems to be Porky’s museum of EarthBound artifacts:

So why in (what’s left of) the world would Porky have fond memories of how he was stopped from helping Giygas destroy the universe? It’s hardly as though he’s reformed or anything.

I propose that it’s because he sees the world as nothing but a toy for him to play with and, ultimately, smash into pieces. Throughout the assault on the Empire Porky building, Porky repeatedly alternates between inviting Lucas and friends up to the 100th floor and mocking them for being in the wrong place, when he’s the one controlling the elevators. To finally get to the 100th floor Lucas is forced to play a series of minigames against the Mini Porky robot — in particular, to play them and narrowly lose. He’s only interested in tormenting Lucas, and once he loses interest, goes ahead and tries to kill him. Otherwise, why bring Lucas to New Pork City in the first place? He had no way of getting there on his own, and without being able to reach the seventh needle hidden beneath it, there would be no way for him to stop Porky from waking the dragon and destroying the world.

Likewise, Porky’s probably convinced himself that he let Ness beat him in EarthBound, and even that he and Ness had been friends all along. In EarthBound, Porky does indeed make several insincere offers to be friends with Ness, only to turn against him seconds later. And in Mother 3, Porky’s plan seems to be to gather everyone who likes him into New Pork City (where “liking Porky” is pretty much synonymous with “being brainwashed”) and destroy everything else.

Of course, it’s probably dangerous to read too much into the mental stability of a thousands-year-old time traveling overgrown man-child whose little fantasy world includes a restaurant entirely staffed by robot copies of his mother.

I mentioned earlier that the storyline of Mother 3 is much more depressing than EarthBound. In EarthBound, Ness and friends journey across the world, fighting Giygas’s henchmen town by town until ultimately confronting him in the past and defeating him for good. With one exception (Onett falling under siege late in the game when you return for a meteorite piece), liberated towns stay liberated, until everyone is free of Giygas’s influence.

Mother 3 instead centers around everyone’s home town of Tazmily. The heroes are originally motivated to fight the Pigmask Army’s assault on the adjacent areas like Sunshine Forest and Osohe Castle and their influence on Tazmily itself. However, the Pigmask Army is successful against Tazmily. They win over most of the townsfolk’s hearts and minds by giving them Happy Boxes. The few who resist have their homes destroyed by lightning, but no one else even seems to care. The town is ultimately abandoned as people decide to leave for the (presumed) excitement of New Pork City.

Final battle

And then there’s the final battle against Lucas’s reanimated twin brother Claus. Lucas can’t bring himself to attack even if you try, so all you can do is defend and heal. Meanwhile, Claus attacks relentlessly, while the spirit of their dead mother Hinawa pleads with them to stop fighting. All this while a distorted heartbeat plays as the background music. Eventually, Claus starts to come to his senses, but instead of surrendering, he removes his armor and fires lightning at Lucas, knowing full well that Lucas’s Franklin Badge will reflect it back at him. Claus dies in Lucas’s arms.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, then there’s the ending. Lucas pulls the final needle, awakening the dragon and beginning the process of remaking the world. But instead of seeing a new world reflecting Lucas’s heart, the player is only shown the destruction of the Nowhere Islands, culminating with a black screen with nothing but the word “END?” on it. Trying to walk around will result in you bumping into various characters from the game, who thank you the player for what you’ve done and insist that everything is better now.

Granted, after how the final battle plays out, I’m not sure how a happy ending could possibly play out, aside from pushing the reset button and making a world where Porky and the Pigmask Army never existed, and thus one where Tazmily is once again peaceful and where Hinawa and Claus are still alive. But the fact that the player just has to take the characters’ word for it that everything is OK now is somewhat unsettling — one could read in to it that they’re happier with nonexistence than with how the world wound up once Porky took over.

It’s a surprisingly bleak and ambiguous ending for a Mother game.

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