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Motherload title screen

MOTHERLOAD's title screen

This is the article for the 2022 MOTHER/Earthbound-based TC mod. For the 2006 mod, see EarthBound Doom.

MOTHERLoad is a GZDoom-based Total conversion created by SnazThePMUGuy. Based on the 2006 Nintendo JRPG MOTHER 3 and its predecessor Earthbound, the game follows Lucas and Ness, two young boys with psychic powers, or PSI, as they travel the Nowhere Islands in an attempt to stop the evil forces of the mysterious "King P".

MOTHERload.wad v0.1.0 was initially published to Doomworld on April 20, 2022, on the 16th anniversary of Mother 3's release, and has been releasing occasional updates since then. The current version (v0.2.1), now a PK3, consists of two lengthy main levels, in addition to a hub world, an optional tutorial level, and one bonus unlockable level. In addition to the unique levels, the mod itself utilizes sounds, textures, sprites, and other resources either taken from or inspired by the MOTHER series of games.

As of now, GZDoom 4.8.0 or higher is required to run this mod properly.

Story[]

MOTHERLoad's story takes place during the events of Chapter 7 of MOTHER 3, featuring the hunt for the Seven Needles, albeit with a few minor changes to the plot compared to the original game.

After rescuing a mysterious person called a Magypsy from the invading forces of the Pigmask Army, the player character is tasked with finding and pulling the Seven Needles, mysterious artifacts scattered across the Nowhere Islands that, when all of them are pulled, will awaken a being called the Dark Dragon to re-create and fix the world. However, the Pigmasks, led by King P, are also on the hunt for the Needles, as if they end up awakening the Dark Dragon, the re-created world will be tainted by their dark hearts. The first Needle is located underneath a lake that the Pigmask Army has been working on draining, and the fastest way to it is through the Pigmask's Chimera Research Labs, where they create and release disturbing and dangerous creatures into the wild. After battling their way through the lab and awakening increasingly powerful PSI abilities, the player character encounters the Pigmask Commander, Fassad, who informs the player that they have finished unearthing the Needle and only need to wait for their "enforcer" to pull it. After battling and defeating Fassad in his Pork Enforcement Tank, the player goes ahead and pulls the first Needle before the enforcer arrives.

The player is then informed of the location of the second Needle, hidden within the Osohe Castle deep in the Sunshine Forest. After travelling through the forest, the player arrives at the entrance of the Castle, where a Starman Junior appears, informing the player that King P has brought the Starmen from the past in order to assist in his hunt for the Needles. After defeating the Starman Junior, the player goes through the Castle, rescuing a Rope Snake, before arriving at the Castle's inner sanctum. Before the player can reach the Needle, however, a mysterious Masked Man appears and pulls it in front of him. The player is then sent down a trap and dropped into a pit where he is forced to battle the Oh-So Snake. Once the Snake is defeated, the player is washed out of the castle.

Levels[]

All of the levels in MOTHERLoad were designed and built by SnazThePMUGuy. As of 0.2.1, there are two main levels, a tutorial level, a hub map, and one bonus level. The release of 0.2.1 confirmed the name of the upcoming third chapter, as well as its plans for a release with 0.3.0.

Each chapter, save for the tutorial, takes around 40-60 minutes to complete on a first run through, not counting deaths or restarts. Every chapter is split into four unofficial "Acts", with each Act being punctuated by a miniboss or an arena battle, leaving each level's Act 4 to conclude the chapter with a tougher full boss. In addition, all main chapters also have an alternative "Weird Route" which deviates from the main chapter and serves as a much more difficult challenge. Completing a chapter's Weird Route will grant the player a new PSI ability not attainable anywhere else in the game, but will also replace the chapter's Act 4 boss battle with a much more difficult fight, often times veering into bullet hell levels of difficulty.

In addition to the main chapters, there are also bonus chapters that can only be unlocked by completing certain goals in the game. As of v0.2.1, only one bonus chapter exists, and must be unlocked for purchase by clearing the Weird Route in Chapter 1.

  • TUTORIAL: Prologue - The Railway
  • MAP01: Chapter 1 - Chimera Testing Labs
  • MAP02: Chapter 2 - Sunshine Forest
  • MAP03: Chapter 3 - Snowcap Mountain and Thunder Tower (Not yet released, planned for 0.3.0)
  • MAP09: Bonus Chapter 1 - Chimera Testing Labs (Legacy) (Must be unlocked by completing the Weird Route of "Chapter 1- Chimera Testing Labs")
  • HUBMAP: Tazmily Village
  • SUNFLOW: Sunflower Field

Gameplay[]

At its core, MOTHERLoad plays very similarly to DOOM, with a full arsenal of different abilities that you can switch to at any time depending on the situation to run-and-gun groups of enemies. There are some notable differences, however. First and foremost is that all of your attacks use one ammo type: PP (Psychic Points), making ammo management vital since many of the game's abilities use different amounts of PP when attacking. In addition, every attack acts completely differently within your arsenal - for example, PK Fire will fire a basic projectile, while PK Thunder fires a hitscan railgun-style attack. Every enemy has their own weaknesses and resistances to certain attacks, leaving the player to figure out the best moves in each situation. Starting from Chapter 2, there is also a separate inventory system, where the player can pick up items and use them to supplement combat, including bombs, ability buffs, and various enemy debuffers to name a few. Many attacks can also inflict Status Effects which can make combat easier if an enemy is hit or more difficult if the player is affected.

Outside of combat, there is also a currency system where defeated enemies will drop DP (Dragon Points) that can be used in the Hub to purchase various objects, including access to the bonus chapters. An extra file was also released alongside the game's 0.2.0 release that enables Achievements, where the player can earn in-game achievements upon completing certain milestones, although these achievements do not directly impact the game.

There are also currently plans for an Ally system, where you can recruit NPC characters to go through the level alongside you. This Ally system is planned for the game's 0.3.0 release.

Abilities[]

There are currently two different player classes: Lucas and Ness. Although both of them use similar attacks and abilities, the specific mechanics around their attacks vary, giving each of them a unique feel. Lucas plays a bit more beginner-friendly, having multiple attacks that can deal damage to an entire group while still maintaining a respectable damage output overall. Ness, on the other hand, has insane single-target DPS with his high-damage low-splash attacks.

  • Weapon Slot 1:
    • Home-Run Bat - A classic baseball bat. Deals weak Melee damage. Will occasionally deal a much more powerful "SMAAAASH!" attack, like a critical hit. Can be charged for a few seconds to guarantee a "SMAAAASH!" attack.
  • Weapon Slot 2:
    • PK Fire (Lucas) - Exclusive to Lucas. Launches a quick bolt of fire at an enemy. Deals moderate Fire damage. Upon impacting a surface or enemy, will explode, dealing weaker splash damage to all nearby enemies. Can inflict "Burning".
    • PK Fire (Ness) - Exclusive to Ness. Launches a quick bolt of fire at an enemy. Deals moderate Fire damage. Upon impacting a surface or enemy, will spray out a shower of sparks that linger on the ground for several seconds, inflicting damage to enemies that stand on it. Can inflict "Burning".
  • Weapon Slot 3:
    • PK Thunder (Lucas) - Exclusive to Lucas. Fires a railgun-style bolt of lightning that wavers in accuracy the farther it travels. Deals moderate Electric damage. Pierces through enemies it makes contact with. Can inflict "Numbness".
    • PK Thunder (Ness) - Exclusive to Ness. Fires a railgun-style bolt of lightning that wavers in accuracy the farther it travels. Deals high Electric damage. Can inflict "Numbness".
    • PK Beam - Fires a beam of pure psychic energy. Deals variable Beam damage. Can be charged to various levels of strength at the cost of more PP - a maximum charge will one-hit-kill any non-Boss enemy. Only unlocked by completing Chapter 2's Weird Route.
  • Weapon Slot 4:
    • PK Freeze - Exclusive to Lucas. Fires a slow-moving ball of ice that locks onto the nearest enemy. Deals moderate Ice damage. Upon impacting a surface or enemy, will create a cone of ice that greatly impedes movement. Can inflict "Frozen".
    • PK Flash - Exclusive to Ness. Fires a slow-moving ball of light that locks onto the nearest enemy. Deals moderate Flash damage. Will force a pain state on any enemy that is vulnerable to pain. Can inflict "Crying".
  • Weapon Slot 5:
    • Defense Up - Grants a defensive buff that reduces all incoming damage for 60 seconds.
    • Offense Up - Grants an offensive buff that increases all outgoing damage for 60 seconds.
    • Quick Up - Grants an offensive buff that increases your movement speed and firing speed for 60 seconds. Only unlocked by completing Chapter 1's Weird Route.
  • Weapon Slot 6:
    • Life Up - Restores approximately 30-45 HP, up to a maximum of 100 HP.
    • Refresh - Exclusive to Lucas. Grants a buff that restores 1 HP every second for 60 seconds, up to a maximum of 100 HP.
    • PSI Shield - Exclusive to Ness. Creates a PSI Counter Shield in front of you that reflects energy-based attacks in the direction they came. Will eventually break after enough time has passed or after it has taken enough damage.
  • Weapon Slot 7:
    • PK Love - Exclusive to Lucas. Fires a BFG-style projectile that deals massive non-elemental damage on the initial hit and further damage on all enemies in your line of sight.
    • PK Rockin' - Exclusive to Ness. Fires three powerful bursts of energy that deal massive non-elemental damage in a decent radius.
Motherload screenshot 1

Combat Against Pigmasks

Enemies[]

A whole score of unique enemies have been created for MOTHERLoad based on the varied and quirky enemies that are found in the MOTHER series.

  • Pigmasks: Soldiers of the Pigmask Army. Most of them come equipped with Beam Rifles and Bombs. They are the most numerous type of enemy encountered, and have multiple variations. Said variations have a whole score of unique abilities, such as the Pigmask Grunt's ability to revive defeated Robots, or the Pigmask Major's ability to summon reinforcements. Variations include the Grunt, Worker, Captain, Major, Colonel, and Jet Pork.
  • Chimeras: Experimental abominations created by Pigmask scientists. They can be a mixture of animals, animal and machine, or a bit of everything. Their abilities vary wildly, from the Horseantula's poison stinger to the powerful kicks of the Ostrelephant to the psychic powers of the Einswine.
  • Robots: Mechanical support to the Pigmask cause, highly resistant to everything except electricity. Some of them can be fixed up after being defeated by a Pigmask Grunt's Shock Wands or the sacrifice of a Battery Man.
  • Creatures: Although not every creature has been corrupted into a Chimera, plenty of them are still hostile, and some are creatures that you'd never be able to imagine, such as the hypnotizing Titany or the energy-draining Detached Leech.
  • Paranormal: Ghouls and goblins and everything in-between. Mostly encountered in the Osohe Castle and its adjacent graveyard, this category includes the various Zombies and Ghosts, including the Ghost Armor and the Stinky Ghost.

Inspiration and Development[]

Development of the game started with Snaz's creation of the level for a WAD contest by YouTuber Br0Leg that encouraged custom content. Using enemies such as Pigmasks and the Ultimate Chimera, a theme was created and the first level was created. After finishing his entry (which is kept intact within modern versions as Bonus Chapter 1 - Chimera Testing Labs (Legacy)), Snaz "ended up having so many ideas he couldn't bear to keep it to a contest" and began planning the creation of a full TC. After the contest entry deadline was extended, Snaz began working on a second level, which would be the first one to include custom MOTHER-style textures for the map itself, as well as the tutorial. This version was released to the Doomworld forums as v0.1.0 on April 20, 2022, and immediately after its release, work began on converting the entire creation to a .pk3 in order to access more advanced scripting and to increase the scope of the mod.

References to Other Media[]

  • To The House of the Dead:
    • The sound effects of the Horseantula are taken from the enemy Saruzou.
    • The laughing sound that the Zombie-type enemies make is the same laugh as the Hangedman, the second boss of the first game.
    • In Bonus Chapter 1, the music for Act 1 is Chapter 1's theme from the first game, and the boss music from the same game plays for the battle against the Fierce Pork Trooper.
    • Some of the decorative arcade machines include a game called "The Domicile of the Zombies", designed in the same font as the title of the inspired game.
  • To Deltarune:
    • Spamton appears in Chapter 1 and serves as the focus of the level's Weird Route.
    • One of the unlockable Hub music themes is "My Castle Town".
  • Vigoroth and Slaking from the Pokémon series appear as enemies in Bonus Chapter 1, and Slakoth appears as an NPC in the same level.
  • The achievement icon for "Master of All Elements" shows Poo from Earthbound with glowing eyes and Aang's arrow tattoo.
  • One of the generic female NPC quotes, "Oh my goodness. I love shopping! Shopping shopping shopping!", is a reference to The Stanley Parable's Rafael trailer.

External Links[]

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