N64 RPG Details
Two of the few upcoming RPGs for the Nintendo 64 made an appearance at Nintendo's Space World show this past weekend: Mother 3 and Super Mario RPG 2.
Mother 3, the latest in the Mother series ( Mother 2 was released in the U.S. for the SNES as EarthBound), has been in development for what seems like forever. Originally intended to be released for the constantly-delayed 64DD, Mother 3 was thought to have been cancelled to the 64DD situation, but has since changed to cart format. The game has hidden in the shadows for years, but details about it have finally surfaced.
Four main characters are known of at this point: Flint, his two sons Ryuka and Krause, and their dog Boney. The way you take control of them is interesting, and similar to Sonic Adventure: The game is split into 'chapters', in which you control a different character in each. The way you progress through the game and experience events is different with each of them. Similar to EarthBound, the story again deals with UFOs: A UFO appears near the town where Flint and his family lives, causing trouble. Flint decides to find out what's going on to protect the town and his family.
Graphically, Mother 3 resembles the clay characters from the instructions and strategy guides of previous games in the series, and although the graphics aren't the best the N64 can do, it does give the game a unique look and feel.
The other big N64 RPG, although different from Mother 3, also has it's own unique look. Super Mario RPG 2 (to be called Super Mario Adventure in the U.S.) uses hand-drawn 2D sprites against 3D rotatable polygonal backdrops. Being sprites, the characters are paper-thin in a 3D world, similar to Parappa the Rapper, giving the graphics a very interesting look.
Those who dislike random battles will be pleased to know that they are non-existant in Super Mario RPG 2. Enemies are visible in the main world, and battles are initiated by touching them. Battles, as to be expected from a sequel to Super Mario RPG, are menu-based, but also contain more action on the player's part. You choose your weapon from a menu, and then a window appears to help you charge the weapon. With the hammer, for instance, you hold the analog stick to the left and, with the aid of the charge window, release it when the meter is full. Timing is the key for more powerful attacks. Certain attacks will also be more effective than others against different enemies. For instance, jumping on a Spiny wouldn't hurt it, but you instead, so there is strategy involved.
It looks like N64 owners are finally getting their RPGs with Mother 3 and Super Mario RPG 2. Although not as much as Playstation fans get, it's more than what is available now (which consists of Quest 64 and Zelda: Ocarina of TIme, only one of which is good).
Mother 3 is being developed and published by Nintendo. It is currently about 50 percent complete and is due out in Japan in May 2000.
Super Mario RPG 2 is being developed by Intelligent Systems and published by (of course) Nintendo. It is also 50 percent complete, and is planned for release in Japan in January 2000.