EarthBound: Zombies!

I love it when a game takes a funny approach to something I deal with on an everyday basis, like escaping the clutches of ghosts. Case in point, EarthBound has a scene where Ness and Paula hitch a ride with the Runaway Five to Threed. Now, the tunnel to Threed is filled with ghosts, which cause a normal bus to turn around in fear.

Not the Runaway Five’s bus though. Since their bus is “too loud,” the ghosts flee and allow the band (with Ness and Paula in tow) to travel safely to Threed. Why the volume of the bus scares the ghosts is never explained in detail. Is the radio really loud? Is the band playing? Is their bus so junky it emits horrendous amounts of noise pollution? Or does it just terrify ghosts with the threat of a carbon footprint the size of Giant Step?

I dunno. Methinks it is something to do with the band’s music–because if pterodactyls can’t stand the sound of an electric guitar, perhaps ghosts feel the same about the blues (it must be all those notes you don’t play).

Threed is found to be infested with zombies. Yes, zombies were popular even in the early-mid-1990s, and Ness and Paula are tasked with freeing the town of these cantankerous cadavers. But, trouble befalls the duo, and Paula uses her shining psychic powers to ask Jeff, the next member of the party, for help.

Jeff, last name: Andonuts, is a student at a fancy private school somewhere to the “North” in Winters, located in the country of Foggyland (Ness’ hometown of Onett is in the country of Eagleland). Winters is a mashup/analogue of England and Scotland, complete with Stonehenge and Lake Tess (filling in for Loch Ness).

Jeff is a fun character, as he is an inventor, an ability which allows him to fix “broken” items and create new powerful gear — which makes up for his lack of PSI powers. His weapons of choice are guns and bottle rockets. The game switches to Jeff in Winters and you gain control of him as he escapes from school. One complaint: Jeff starts at Level One, which requires a bit of grinding in the woods of Winters to make him somewhat usable. Watch out for those Gruff Goats. They’re jerks.

But, Jeff’s weakness is made up for by one of my favorite parts of the game: riding Tessie, based on the Loch Ness monster. I don’t know why I like this part so much, as there is next to no animation while riding the beast (it is just a static sprite of Tessie which moves through the water). My fondness may be a link back to the articles and ads in Nintendo Power showing the scene in my youth, and being a teenage boy fond of dinosaurs and mythical creatures at the time, I was excited for that part in the game.

Where You At?: Winters
Sanctuary Songs Recorded: 2
Party: Jeff, Bubble Monkey (for the moment)

Read Gavin Craig’s week 4 post

Daniel J. Hogan is the geek half of Ginger and the Geek. He is also a photoblogger and host of the Magic of Eyri Podcast. He loves that there Ninten-doo. Follow him on Twitter, @danieljhogan.

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