Review by DiosaDeJuegos

"This Puts All the Other Gameboy Versions to Shame!"

INTRO
Harvest Moon.. mmmmm... Don't you just love it? Planting crops, raising cows, giving presents, using a hoe, doesn't it just sound so engaging?

OK. Maybe not. But the fact is that this franchise has delivered some of the best and most addicting games ever created. This little baby is no exception.

STORY 5/10
Just like in the other Harvest Moons, you inherit a farm (or the right to work on a farm) and have to fix it up and keep it running. What makes this installment so special is that now you have the choice of playing as a male or as a female.

As a male, you move to the town to help the girl out with the farm (since you have some sort of connection to the place). As the girl, the farm is where you grew up. After the death of your parents, you take it over, and the boy helps you.

That's pretty much it. Your goal is the fix up the farm. If you're the girl, your goal is also to get married (you can only marry your partner). After that point, the game will end. The male storyline goes on forever.

~minus 50 points for stereotypical gender bias.. grumble grumble... hahaha~

GRAPHICS 10/10
It shocks me to think of what the 8 bit wonder we call a Gameboy is actually capable of. The graphics are slightly better than the other two gameboy versions, and they are a great deal better than most gameboy color games on the market.

Your crops are detailed well enough to be able to tell exactly what they are, the characters are all about as well detailed as the system can manage, and the animals are very well done. But, where the graphics really shine is in the environments. Rich colors and startling detail show up in buildings, mountains, trees, lakes, and on your farm.

Another selling point are the movies you can watch in town. The animation for these shorts (probably only about 3 or 4 minutes long) are very good. All in all, this game is truly a visual spectacle.

SOUND 8/10
This game has the typical triumphs and foibles of all Harvest Moon games. The animal sound effects are always well done, the music is always catchy, but tool sound effects are repetitive, and the music has an irritating tendency to start over when you move from screen to screen. Still, there are catchy tunes to be heard, and one can't criticize too harshly when the creators were working with a medium like the Gameboy.

GAMEPLAY 10/10
This... game... has... everything! You can go fishing, collect power berries, donate fish to the aquarium, grow crops (such as great new additions like rice and wheat), forage, get married, have kids (two! and this time, they can be a boy or a girl), go snowboarding, and discover secrets.

What I really like about this game was the animal system (which has been repeated to a certain extent in Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life for Gamecube). You have 4 different barns and corresponding pastures where you can raise horses, chickens, sheep, or cows (up to 10 of each). You now have to actually breed your animals to get a baby. What this means is that an egg won't hatch unless you own a rooster, and you have to have a male sheep for your female sheep to get pregnant. You can also breed different colors of cows and horses.

You can get married now and have children, an option that wasn't available in the previous portable versions. Its still the same as before, you give gifts and eventually get to propose. But, its great fun to have something like that to work up to in your game. And, whether you get married or not, you can assign tasks to your partner. If you're a guy, you can tell the girl to take care of the animals, and if you're the girl, you can make the guy take care of the fields.

You also have goals with your farming. You can go to the Farmer's Union and they'll give you an assignment (like ship 30 Turnips in 2 weeks, 50 eggs in one month, etc.). If you complete this assignment, your ranking as a farmer will grow.

And then there's fishing. This game has more different species of fish than any Harvest Moon game before it. There is also the obligatory Legendary Fish, and an Aquarium in town where you can donate fish.

You also get a pet (you can choose from numerous kinds) that will ''work'' for you. Some pets bring different kinds of seeds, and others bring you money. Its a nice touch.

There are really too many gems in this game to mention.

CONTROLS 10/10
Simple. Simple. Simple. No complaints

REPLAYABILITY/ADDICTION FACTOR 10/10
Like all Harvest Moon games, it will take you awhile to play up to the point where you get rated. Even after that, you can still play and build up the best farm possible. Since you get two save slots, you can have one slot to play as the boy, and another slot to play as the girl. By having two ''modes'' like that, you'll really be playing the game for awhile.

And all you need to know about the addiction factor are the words ''Harvest Moon'' in the title. You know that even monotonous tasks like cleaning a field up will bring on some bizarre compulsion to just keep doing it over and over again.

FRUSTRATION 4/10
It may be irksome to get some of the secrets, but most of that has to do with not knowing how to get them, rather than not being able to. Its a fairly relaxing game.

RENT OR BUY?
Always rent before you buy. That goes for any game. But, if you're a Harvest Moon fan, its safe to say that you'll like this one as well. You won't regret your purchase.

If your new to Harvest Moon, or maybe a bit skeptical, rent it for a few days. You'll probably show up at Blockbuster 30 seconds before its due back, bags under your eyes, clutching onto the game for dear life, and demanding to rent it again.

But hey, if that's your thing...

TRY THIS GAME IF YOU LIKED...
*The other Harvest Moon games.
*Having something to do on long car trips.
*The idea of being a farmer! Joy!

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY
*This game is SO much better than the previous gameboy versions. If you didn't like them, don't be afraid to try this.
*You can only marry your partner.
*The girl's game ends after she gets married.
*You can have kids.
*You'll love this.

OUTRO
You're still here? Go.to.video.store.NOW!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/29/04


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