Review by Larcen Tyler
"Once you start, the fun don't stop!"
So we never got the original game on the Nintendo 64 over here. Well, what can you do? Fast forward to now, where the GameCube is doing well, and Nintendo's decided to put out the newest version of Animal Crossing for all of us GameCube fans to enjoy. Sure it may seem unusual and something completely out of the ordinary, but don't let that fool you, for this game is deeper than you could imagine!
The game is primarily played from an overhead view, with the option to switch the camera angle with the C-Stick in some buildings. While the textures look nice on the characters and their outfits, they seem to have a 'super deformed' look to them, giving them a rather cutesy appearance. One interesting tidbit is the ability to design your own textures for your clothes, wallpaper, carpet, and even something to hang on your door. There's a ton of variety to the furniture you'll find, and you'll be glad to know it isn't simply palette-swapped.
When the animals speak, they each have their own type of voices, though they don't speak English, rather in their own animal tongue (but you can see what they're saying in the dialogue boxes at the bottom of the screen.) It sounds kind of like the way the adults spoke in the old Charlie Brown cartoons (remember those?) or how Kenny on South Park talks. It can get annoying at times, but thankfully it can be disabled. The music seems a little cutesy at times, but that's just a minor flaw. There's also the ability to set the 'town melody' that plays when the clock strikes the hour in the town, and what you hear when you talk to someone, complete with a different type of instrument depending on the type of animal and their attitude.
You can move your character around using the Analog stick, and pressing the B button and holding it will allow you to run. Pressing the A button will allow you to do things like shake trees, talk to people, dig, cast a fishing line into the water, even use your bug net. There's so much to do in Animal Crossing and so little time, but that's the fun of it, since the game moves in real time you can actually check out your town at different times of day.
OK so it's not really much of a story, but still. You have decided to start a new life on your own. You're taking a train to a town which you choose to name yourself. Then a cat named 'Rover' (of all names :) ) asks you some questions to determine your gender and facial textures. After he learns you don't have a place to live, he calls Tom Nook, a raccoon who operates a small store in the town, who offers you one of four houses as your own. After you pick which one you want, you realize you have no money to pay off your mortgage with. At that point, Tom decides to give you a temporary position as a clerical worker in his store. After running a few errands and paying off part of your mortgage with the salary you earn, Tom decides that he's got no more work for you and allows you to go off on your own and pay your mortgage back at your own rate.
Here's where the fun begins. You can do many things to pay off your mortgage. You can try catching fish or insects and selling them off to earn money to pay your debt with. You can run errands for the neighbors in your town to earn money or items which you can sell. You can even try digging for hidden objects and money. You can also explore your new town, interact with the inhabitants, donate objects like paintings, fish, insects, and fossils to the museum, and even take a trip to a nearby island.
New neighbors come and go which means there's always plenty of people...err...animals to talk to (since you're the only human in the game) and do errands for. They each have their houses decorated to reflect their personalities, and they each have different temperaments, meaning some might be short-tempered, others might be good-natured, and some might be average. With the items you find, they're more than decorations. Use the furniture to sit on or take a nap on. Buy a record player and listen to some music. You can even find classic Nintendo Entertainment System games and play them in their original glory! How do you find them? You can try searching, you can try buying them, you can even try trading with other players.
How do you trade, you ask? Simple, you take the item you want to give to another player, and take it to Tom's shop. You can tell Tom the player's name and town name, and after that he gives you a special code that only that player can use, and vice versa with them and the item you want. Rather nifty, if you ask me.
Since this game plays in real time, there's always new things happening, like special merchants coming in at random times, holidays occurring, even your birthday! This is why you've got to play this game every day in order to see everything there is, and even when you think you've seen everything, there's still something new to be discovered!
Sure, the game may look and sound a little cutesy, but that's a gripe that can easily be overlooked. Once you pick up the game to start playing, you're going to find a game that's definitely deeper than even you could have imagined! Start the game and you'll find the fun ain't going to stop anytime soon!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/07/02, Updated 10/07/02
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