Chapter 7: The Seven Needles (Part 2)
Lucas must assist in the search for two escaped monkeys, but the problem doesn’t end there. He and Boney don Pigmask helmets and set out to find the monkeys, most likely Salsa and his girlfriend. They wander the labyrinths of the lab until they come upon a mini-boss, an Almost-Mecha Lion. Defeating the chimera results in a cutscene in which the creature attempts to attack again, but is felled by a Clayman. Several Pigmask soldiers run in to quiet things down, where they assure Lucas that the chimeras have been rounded up. All of them, of course, except one.
The Ultimate Chimera is an enemy that cannot be defeated. Described only as “the red one with the huge mouth,” it is a devilish beast that seeks to destroy anything in its path. The Ultimate Chimera is easily the most beloved chimera in Mother 3, with artwork all over the internet depicting it as both terrifying and adorable. It makes an appearance in the game Super Smash Bros. Brawl, in which it throws the dueling characters off the screen if they happen to bump into it.
Why in the world would the Pigmask Army create the Ultimate Chimera if they cannot control it? It is a killing machine, utterly soulless, and without any comprehension of what it does. The bumbling Pigmask soldiers have lost control of it and face certain death if they do not figure out a way to seal it away once again. It is the chimera equivalent to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
The Ultimate Chimera is more than likely the “practice” chimera which will pave the way for the Pigmask Army to turn the Dark Dragon into a hybrid beast. Nobody knows if the Ultimate Chimera was once an organic life-form, and it appears to be totally mechanical, but it is still called a chimera. Something is—or was—alive at one point, and now exists as a tool of death and destruction. But the fact that the imbecilic soldiers cannot keep track of this beast proves that they will never be able to handle the strength of the Dark Dragon. If Lucas cannot pull the remaining Needles and pass his heart onto the dragon, the world will certainly end.
With the news that the Ultimate Chimera is now lurking the halls of the lab, Lucas and Boney set out with a new level of caution. This part of the game is eerie; as they walk halls that are “safe,” meaning that the Ultimate Chimera is on a different floor, the sound of huge stomps and squealing pigs echoes throughout the facility. As they walk halls that contain the Ultimate Chimera, the stomping and squealing gives way to a creepy melody. When Lucas and Boney actually come upon the great beast, it immediately recognizes them and lunges at them. Failure to duck inside an adjacent room or stairwell results in instant death.
Eventually, they find the monkeys in the lab’s basement, but the two do not recognize Lucas and Boney with their helmets, and quickly scurry away. This chase continues until the monkeys, Lucas, and Boney are all cornered by the Ultimate Chimera. It lunges at the two heroes and knocks their helmets off—but does not kill them—and the monkeys immediately recognize their saviors. Just as the Ultimate Chimera prepares to deliver a deadly bite to Lucas and Boney, Salsa jumps upon its back and switches a button from “ON” to “OFF,” rendering it absolutely lifeless. The group takes a moment to catch its collective breath, and then Salsa joins his friends. They leave the chimera lab at last.
Salsa performs his magic monkey dance and prompts a large stone door to open, leading the way to the pink shell in which lives Doria, the next Magypsy. To their relief, Kumatora is with the Magypsy. Doria is the most stereotypically androgynous of the Magypsies; she is very stocky, dresses in purple suspenders, sunglasses, and a biker’s hat, and wears her fuchsia hair in a braid. Her appearance seems to be inspired by openly gay men who are described as “bears,” in that they are large, masculine, and powerful. Doria is somewhat intimidating at first, but upon speaking to her, Lucas and Boney see that she is quite possibly the most gentle and loving of the Magypsies.
She leads the group to two large pits in the ground near her house, and informs Lucas that the Needle is hidden at the bottom of the pit filled with water. They must find a way to transfer all of the water from one pit into the other. This is done with chimeras, of course. They recruit the Pump Chimera from the nearby lab, a “boring” creature which was only made to serve one purpose: pumping water. It sounds like a dreary existence, but the Pump Chimera pumps its heart out and quickly gives Lucas access to the next Needle.
He pulls the Needle, which results in a brief earthquake and an awakening within Lucas’ heart. He realizes the power of PK Love β, the next-strongest level of his psychic ability to inflict damage in battle. Doria applauds Lucas for his bravery and bestows upon him her memento, a razor and lipstick. Now that Doria’s Needle has been pulled, she disappears.
Salsa departs to find his girlfriend again, leaving the trio to make their way to the next Needle, wherever that may be. They don’t travel far before they run into a smart-mouthed mouse named The Squeekz, who is easily put down in battle and decides that he wants to head back to his family. The trio follows him as he travels toward the highway, but then they run into another old acquaintance, the Mole Cricket. Lucas and Claus had once fought him as small children, and he hasn’t forgotten. He challenges them to a rematch and is easily defeated.
The Mole Cricket respects that kind of power, and leads the trio to his enormous maze, the Mole Cricket Hole. The maze will lead them to Snowcap Mountain, where there has been a flurry of Pigmask activity as of late. It sounds like the perfect place to keep a Needle. The maze isn’t difficult to navigate as long as the Mole Crickets’ advice is heeded: turn at every intersection. That’s it. Such simple instructions eventually lead Lucas and his friends to the base of Snowcap Mountain.
Climbing the mountain proves a daunting task filled with enemies, but they eventually make it to the next pink shell and the Magypsy who lives there, Lydia. She welcomes the trio inside and opens the rear door of her house which leads to the Needle, but they are all alarmed to see the Masked Man standing before an open pit where the Needle had just been. He and Lucas meet each other’s gaze and a strange feeling passes over them. Is it recognition? Nostalgia? Pity? Nevertheless, the Masked Man gets over his interruption and quickly flies away with his jetpack, but not before summoning the Steel Mechorilla.
The Steel Mechorilla is another of the tragic chimeras; it once lived a carefree life in the wild as a free gorilla, but somehow got caught up in the Pigmask Army’s evil plans and was turned into a metallic monster. Its hands have been amputated and replaced with great steel spheres attached to its forearms with heavy chains, and one of its more brutal attacks involves swinging these balls at Lucas and his friends and causing severe damage. The Steel Mechorilla no longer has ears, but instead has been equipped with two antennas that likely take instructions from nearby Pigmask soldiers on how to attack. Lucas and his friends have no other choice but to defeat the Steel Mechorilla in battle and knock it out.
Lydia comes outside and urgently instructs Lucas to ensure that he pulls all of the remaining Needles, otherwise the fate of the entire world is in jeopardy. The Dark Dragon’s heart is being filled with contradictory intentions, and is likely going through utter turmoil. In order to have it swear allegiance to goodness and benevolence, Lucas must prevent the Masked Man from pulling any of the other Needles. There isn’t much time left.
After receiving Lydia’s memento and watching her disappear, the trio climbs into a white refrigerator on the mountain’s peak and rides all the way down to Tazmily Village’s graveyard. They spot a jar bouncing up and down with a note inside it, and it is too bizarre to ignore; Lucas reads the note inside. It turns out that a nearby grave opens into a secret underground passage, and a bizarrely-shaped coffee table waits for the trio to hop aboard. It gallops like a horse all the way through the underground passage, until they make their way to the base of Thunder Tower and a road that leads east. This new road opens into Saturn Valley.
This happy oasis has been taken over by the Pigmask Army, who have tied up the poor Mr. Saturns and are torturing them with Frightbots. These boxes tell scary stories all day and all night long, causing the hostages to beg for them to stop. The Frightbots are easy to defeat in battle, and once they are silenced, Lucas and his friends set the Mr. Saturns free. In one of the homes, they find that Duster has been taken hostage along with the residents of Saturn Valley. Beating the Pigmask soldiers and their Frightbots allows Duster to once again join the party.
The Mr. Saturns are so grateful that they clue the group in to the location of a nearby Needle, which has been hidden away inside a volcano, otherwise known as Fire Mountain. Fans of EarthBound were delighted when they first encountered Mr. Saturn in Mother 3, another character who has made appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series. There is no explanation as to the origin of Mr. Saturn or even what species it is, but these bodiless talking heads serve as the most useful allies in both games. Mr. Saturns open their homes to guests for no charge, enjoy buying and selling new items, and offer valuable clues as to where the protagonists should journey next. Their strange language and loopy dialogue are endearing, and they often end sentences by saying, “Boing!” or “Zoom!” They are also avid fans of coffee and tea.
Sure enough, the Mr. Saturns stack themselves into a squishy ladder and help Duster to use his Wall Staples on a high point in the cliff of Fire Mountain, so that the group can climb up with ease and make its way to the next pink shell. They “meet” the sleeping Magypsy Phrygia, who has been expecting the group and so has left them a note. The Needle is not far away, but they will need some Encouraging Words, which she also provides. These Encouraging Words allow Lucas and his friends to move several large boulders out of the way and journey deeper into the volcano.
To everyone’s surprise, Fassad drops in wearing a jetpack, and he has survived his great fall from Thunder Tower. He has been made into a cyborg, and is the boss of Fire Mountain. Fassad has been fused with great brass horns on his face, and since he can no longer speak, he relies on a cyborg interpreter to convey his intention to pay Lucas and his friends back. This disturbing transformation conveys one definite truth about Fassad: He is not a hypocrite. Even though he is a commander in the Pigmask Army, issuing orders to create chimeras all across the Nowhere Islands, he is not afraid to become a chimera himself. In fact, he is now superhuman and possesses the ability to fly and launch explosives. It is very likely that Fassad has accepted his transformation so easily because at his core, he is a total misanthrope and seeks nothing else in life but causing pain and misery to human beings.
Alas, to Fassad’s great surprise, he is still no match for the group. He is defeated in battle, and Lucas is able to pull this Needle. Now that the Needle is pulled, Phrygia appears and bestows her memento upon Lucas, as well as directions to the remaining three Needles. With a final farewell, Phrygia disappears to join her fellow Magypsies in the afterlife.
Itoi, Shigesato. Mother 3. Nintendo: Japan. 20 April 2006. Game Boy Advance.