I've been working on a small number of hacks to improve the gameplay balance and presentation of EarthBound Zero, the fan community's name for the unreleased NES prototype of the prequel to the popular SNES game EarthBound. I'm releasing an all-in-one patch and individual patches for each of the hacks. The patches are mostly done, but still need bug testing.
To use the hacks, you'll need clean copies of the Earth Bound prototype or the most recent Demiforce version.
Below is a description of each of the hacks.Demiforce hack
– The patch will turn an clean copy of the Earth Bound prototype ROM into the most recent Demiforce version (Demiforce v1.01 Hack-2). This adds the word "Zero" to the title screen, fixes a few spelling/grammar mistakes, and, if my memory is correct, it's also necessary to complete the game without setting off the copy protection if you're using other hacks.Graphics restoration hack
– When Mother was localized into Earth Bound, several sprites were altered in order to censor depictions of blood/gore, smoking, religious iconography, knives, and, of course, robotic nipples. A few other sprites were changed for reasons that are not entirely clear. This hack replaces all the altered sprites with the originals.Gameplay balance hack
– EarthBound Zero is known for being somewhat tedious to play due to the high rate of random encounters and the large amount of level grinding the player must do. This hack attempts to remedy this by quadrupling experience, doubling money, and reducing the random encounter rate by approximately half. Using this hack is like using the "Easy Ring" mod that was created for the Mother 1 GBA fan translation.Font hack
– This replaces the font with the font designed for the Mother 1 GBA fan translation for an improved presentation.Text tweaks hack
– This makes a number of minor alterations to the game's text. The character Giegue is now named Giygas for consistency with EarthBound for SNES. The menu option "State" is now "Stats." I thought this was a more logical abbreviation for "Status." Menu commands (e.g., Use) and stats (e.g., Offense) are no longer written in all capital letters because it looks ugly.Progress
These patches are complete, but they haven't really been play-tested very thoroughly at present. It's possible I made some mistakes that I haven't caught yet. I'm still in the process of testing them. If you notice any bugs, please let me know about them.
Someday, I think it would be cool to replace the Phil Sandhop script EarthBound Zero uses with Tomato's fan translation of the GBA version. In order to do that, I'd first want to expand the game's text boxes, so I could fit more text on screen. I have been able to create bigger text boxes, but I haven't been able to figure out how to change where the game draws the text, so I haven't been able to take advantage of them. I don't expect to start working on a re-translation patch anytime soon, so don't get your hopes up.
If anyone has any suggestions for other improvements that could be made, let me know.
You can download the current versions of the patches here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/bdn36tupxb23hlh/EB0_Improvement_Patch_Collection.rar