Frog 40: Under the Hill

Forty frogs! Can you believe it? I started this journey nearly a year ago now, and I had no idea how long it would take to complete, or how many frogs were in the game, or how much time it would take to write about a single chapter of Mother 3. Now, a year later, we’re not even half way through the game. There’s still so much more to come! We aren’t even on Chapter 4 yet, where Mother 3, in my opinion, truly begins. The best parts are still on the way!

Well, for any new readers, I welcome you to the journey. And for any old readers, I’m glad to know you’re still here. I don’t want to repeat myself and tell the same stories all over again, so I’ll keep it short this time: I love this project, it has meant the world to me, and I’m going to keep writing it until we’re finally through this game. So let’s skip all the introductions today and just say:

I love Mother 3!

I Wanna Dance with Somebody

When we last hung out with Salsa and Fassad, they were looking for Duster and company, who are now reported to be located in the basement of Osohe Castle. As we know, the trio is currently engaged in dubious battle with the Oh So Snake, but all that Fassad knows is that the thieves have snatched the Hummingbird Egg. But what does Fassad want with something like that?

So, the monkey and the man hop down into Osohe Basement themselves, although they opt for a different route–a route you might remember from back in Chapter 2. This is the route of the odd, old, Osohe wine cellar, where Big Bros (naked, small, pink creatures) and Barrel Men skitter about. None of the enemies down here will pose much of a challenge for Salsa and Fassad, so if you feel like absentmindedly leveling up, now might be the time to do so, even though you’d ultimately be wasting your time (as in, our time with Fassad and Salsa is nearly over).

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I enjoy how the lower levels of Osohe become danker and darker, with spots of water from, likely, the surrounding moat. It gives the castle some creepiness and personality, and I do actually wish that Fassad and Salsa encountered a boss down here. The pacing of the gameplay feels off without one; we had the Cactus Wolf earlier in the chapter, but that feels like a lifetime ago. It would be interesting to fight just one more boss with the unique Salsa + Fassad battle dynamic, just to see if that dynamic can be stretched any further creatively. But alas, there will be no boss down here for us to find.

Of course, the main event of the day is no boss fight at all, but a dance. As Fassad and Salsa proceed through the basement, they eventually meet a locked and immovable door, which, as we know, can only be opened with the power of the secret Osohe dance. Luckily for Salsa, the steps of the dance have been etched into the old walls, so the perceptive little monkey is able to learn each step and perform on the spot.

What a smart monkey!

The feeling I get from this part of the game is that Itoi and his team just wanted to put something fun into Salsa and Fassad’s adventure. For as much as I praised the Salsa + Fassad dynamic because of what it accomplishes in characterization and immersion, I can admit that the battles do grow old after some time, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this entire sequence is just meant to be fun for the player. The Osohe Dance, whether performed by an old man or a monkey, is funny. The song is energetic and goofy. The fact that the dance can open secret doors is very Mother-esque. It’s all great.

Personally, I think it would be funny if, for some reason, Fassad had to do the dance as well. Like let’s just say Salsa does the dance, but the door doesn’t respond unless it’s a human doing it, or maybe Salsa is so tiny and cute that his dance doesn’t have enough metaphysical energy to open the door. Then, we could see a little montage of Fassad learning the dance moves from the monkey, then forcing Salsa to look away as he finally does the dance to open the door. I just think it could be funny! And we could both embarrass/humanize Fassad a little bit. Why not?

Also, I know it’s been a while since I’ve brought this up, but this is one of those scenes where the pixel art really works for me. Obviously I’m impressed with the animation of Salsa (and previously Wess) dancing; anyone who can make a character pull off moves like those while only working with sprite animations is obviously inspired. However, my favorite small touch to this scene is that, when Salsa first starts to dance, Fassad motions as if to shock him. Then, when he sees how much heart and soul the monkey is putting into his dance, he refrains from doing so.

It’s just a little touch to the scene that I always appreciate when I see it. Nothing huge. Nothing groundbreaking. And Fassad still ends up shocking Salsa anyway, but you know. In Chapter 3, you take all the little victories you can find.

And so the sesame opens, and Fassad and Salsa continue their journey into the depths of Osohe Castle. The next room, though, holds some gruesome sights. A pile of bones and skulls lay to the side, and in the air, there’s the slightest chill, as if something dead still lingers here–a spirit from beyond? It almost looks as if the ladder itself is made of bones…

And don’t look now if you’re scared, but we’ve got a ghost frog on our hands, folks.

This poor little fella may think he’s *hopping* around, but he’s only floating! I think this is the most unique frog we’ve encountered since the frog who lived in a barrel of water in the middle of the desert, or the frog who was spinning around in the vortex of sand. Chapter 3 has definitely given us more varied frogs per capita than the other chapters, so we’ll have to see if there are anymore unique frogs waiting for us.

Though I’ve gotta say, I feel bad for this frog. I assume it died because it was locked behind an immovable door, and frogs don’t have the same mobility as monkeys, so the frog couldn’t learn the dance and copy it to escape. I wonder if this little frog followed Kumatora down into the depths of Osohe one day, or even a young Wess, then just didn’t know how to escape. Minutes came hours, and hours became days, and suddenly the frog felt a lightness in its step–as if it didn’t hop, but float from the place to place.

Although, the frog claims not to be a ghost, so it’s up to you. Maybe he’s a frog whose just having a good time acting like he’s from the great beyond, but, personally, I’m surprised this is only the first ghost frog we’ve met in Osohe. If there’s only one dead frog out of, like, eight frogs over all, then I think the frogs’re doing pretty well for themselves.

And I suppose that’s where we’re going to leave this frog today. I do feel bad, still, for the little guy. I’m imagining a young Kumatora, running down in the basement of the castle, with her little frog companion hoppnig dilligently behind. I see Kumatora cimb down the ladder, and the frog says to itself, “She’ll beback before long! I’ll wait here.” Then, I see Kumatora swimming out of the castle through the moat, having not even realized a frog was following behind her the whole time.

It’s another of many sad stories in Osohe.

Well, if you’ve been keeping up with these frogs every day, I think we’re at seven days in a row now? And if you’re reading this in the future, you won’t even know what I’m talking about. So let’s shoot for the ten days! Then eleven! Then twelve! Who knows how many days in a row I’ll be able to post a frog. All we can do is keep hoping and hopping.

Take care of yourself out there.




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