- This article has content based on the author’s opinions that shouldn’t be taken as fact.
- Some of the screenshots and gifs weren’t recorded by the author and are solely meant for illustrative purposes. Credit goes to the respective owners.
- This article contains plot spoilers for Mother and EarthBound.
- In this article, EarthBound Beginnings will be referred by its Japanese name, Mother, whereas EarthBound will be referred by its Western name. This is intentional, as it matches the terminology used in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
This is the second installment of the Smash Stage Analysis, in which stages are analyzed in regards to both their origins, designs and how they tie together. This time, I chose the stage Magicant, which hails from the EarthBound series (known as Mother in Japan) and appears on the 3DS installment of the Super Smash Bros. franchise.
The previous entry was about Gerudo Valley, which you may check out by clicking here.
The stage’s origin
Magicant is an area that appears in the first two of the three games of the EarthBound series. The area differs greatly between each title, but both represent the inside of someone’s mind.
In Mother (known as EarthBound Beginnings in the Western release on the Virtual console), Magicant is the inside of Maria’s mind. It has the appearance of a pink, cloud-like land with light blue rivers. Several houses in the shape of shells are present in the area as well.
In EarthBound, Magicant represents the inside of Ness’s mind and has the appearance of a grassy plain with all sorts of vegetation scattered across the area, including some bizarre elements such as giant tomatoes and giant carrots.
In both games, five Flying Men inhabit Magicant and can serve as temporary party members for the protagonist. They are, however, limited, so once one perishes, he will be gone forever. In Mother, they’re found in one of the several houses, whereas in EarthBound, they’re found in a particularly tall building.
In Super Smash Bros.
The area appears in Smash Bros. and is primarily based on its Mother incarnation, with a predominant pink color scheme making it stand out from other stages in the Smash Bros. franchise. Like in Mother, shell shaped houses dot the background and also appear in two of the stage’s platforms. A river can also be seen in the background of the stage.
However, elements from its EarthBound incarnation are also seen in this stage, as well as other references to both Mother and EarthBound.
One of the main elements of the stage are the Flying Men. They first appear on the right side of the stage, near their house, which is identical as the house where they’re found in EarthBound, though recolored to match this stage’s color scheme.
Much like how they originally serve as temporary party members for Ninten and Ness to assist them in battle, Smash Bros. has the Flying Men serve as assistance for the player who first touches them. Their appearance are sprites based on those from EarthBound.
Whenever a Flying Man perishes in battle, a tombstone will appear next to their house. This is also a reference to EarthBound. When all five Flying Men perish, no more Flying Men will appear.
As stated by Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai, however, they were originally meant to use a 3D model just like the rest of the stage’s elements. This was changed due to limitations of the Nintendo 3DS hardware, as sprites would lessen the strain on the processor.
This model is based on their sprite design from EarthBound, sharing the same color scheme. Though this model went unused, it seems to be the basis for the downloadable Mii Fighter costume set.
On the middle and left platforms, multiple elements may pop up from time to time, to different levels of disruptiveness. Of those, only a two directly relate to Magicant: giant tomatoes and trees. The former comes from the EarthBound incarnation of Magicant whereas the latter come from the Mother incarnation.
As pointed out in the previous section, EarthBound’s version of Magicant has plenty of giant tomatoes, along with other plants, scattered around the area. The giant tomato in the Smash Bros. stage heavily resembles those. They slowly sink into the cloud-like platforms and may also be broken by players’ attacks, though these aspects do not relate in any way to the original game.
Trees may sometimes pop up and act as platforms that can be passed through below or dropped from. Those trees are similar to those seen in the background of the stage.
More elements from EarthBound make appearances as well: the octopus statues, the Mobile Sprouts, the Sky Runner and the Dungeon Man. None of those relate to Magicant in any way, so they might have been added to add more diversity to the obstacles in the stage.
The octopus statues originally appear in EarthBound as obstacles scattered throughout the game, impeding progress to certain areas and may only be removed through an item called the Octopus Eraser Machine.
Curiously, those statues only appear in the Japanese version of EarthBound, as they’re replaced by giant pencils in the international versions, changing the aforementioned item’s name to Pencil Eraser to reflect the change. Despite this, the octopus statues remain the same in all versions of Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Like the tomatoes, they slowly sink into the platforms. Unlike them, however, they cannot be broken.
Mobile Sprouts are one of the many common enemies in EarthBound, found in the eastern area of Twoson. In Smash Bros., it walks around back and forth in the left or middle platforms. Its leaves serve as platforms for the player characters. Despite its role as an enemy in the original game, they’re harmless in Smash.
The Sky Runner is a flying saucer invented by Dr. Andonuts and is used by Ness as a means of aerial transport in specific points of the story. In Smash Bros., it appears from above and serves as a platform. It can’t be passed through, so it also serves as an obstacle that may negate potential KOs. A bit of trivia: the Sky Runner is named Sky Walker in the Japanese version, the change in name during the translation process being due to copyright issues conflicting with a certain Star Wars character.
The Dungeon Man appears below the stage moving either from left to right or right to left and players can stand on it. The small platform on the bottom disappears when he gets closer to it. In the original game, he’s also another of Dr. Andonuts’ many inventions that literally combines a man and a dungeon, who also serves as a temporary party member and an explorable dungeon. Originally, he was a man named Brick Road, who wished to become a dungeon.
Finally, another element of this stage is the rift that sometimes opens in the background, showcasing different scenes from the first two games in the EarthBound trilogy. The scenes are shown as recreations of gameplay footage, using sprites from the original games. Several characters from the games cameo in these, including the protagonist of Mother, Ninten, as well as Ness and his friends.
There are five possible scenes that may be shown:
The Omega form turns the stage’s layout to that of Final Destination, but the background scenery is kept intact, including the rifts that open from time to time.
As with all stages in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, the stage offers two music tracks: the main track which plays the most often when selecting a stage and an alternate one which may play instead of the main track that can also be selected by holding down the R button upon selecting the stage.
The main song is “Magicant / Eight Melodies” from Mother. A new remix arranged by Yoko Shimomura, this track is a medley of two songs from the first game of the series the stage hails from: Magicant, which plays on the area of the same name, and the Eight Melodies, a plot relevant song needed to defeat the final boss, Giygas.
The alternate song is “Smiles and Tears” from EarthBound. This new remix was done by Toru Minegishi, who’s part of Nintendo’s sound team. The song originally played during the credits sequence of the game and contains the Eight Melodies as featured in EarthBound, though this remix also incorporates the original Eight Melodies from Mother subtly playing alongside the main melody.
The first song is a natural choice for the stage as it contains a new arrangement of the song that plays in Magicant, the area this stage is based on. The Eight Melodies are a song learnt from Queen Mary, who’s found in her castle within Magicant. The fact the Eight Melodies are learnt in Magicant is likely why it was included as part of the arrangement.
Magicant is the kind of stage that epitomizes an important facet of Smash Bros.: paying homage to Nintendo’s multiple franchises. This stage is riddled with many elements from the EarthBound series and done in a way that makes it stand out. Fans of Shigesato Itoi’s video game trilogy can reminisce back to their experience of the games, whereas people new to the series will take notice of the EarthBound series’ trademark wackiness.
As for myself, Magicant is a fairly interesting stage, though I never have played a game in the EarthBound series before. The Flying Men are maybe a little too powerful, but they cleverly translate an element of the EarthBound series into Smash quite well. What is your stance on this stage? Let me know in the comments!