Review by Cyber-Sushi

"Is it possible not to love this game?"

Ahhh, good old Harvest Moon 64. It's not your typical game - it's a farming/dating simulation. Strange combination, isn't it? But in the end it comes out to be a very addictive and very fun game. Just give it a try, and I guarantee that you'll enjoy it. It may look a little cutesy, but this one's suitable for everyone - meaning that anyone of any age or gender can easily get addicted to Hm64. It's truly a unique title, and a rare one too. If you don't own an N64, you're missing out on one of the greatest and most original games of all time. But for you Sony enthusiasts, 'Harvest Moon : Back to Nature' for psx will be coming out sometime.

The graphics are full 3D, and everything has that cutesy kind of look. Cows are as fat as they should be, the characters look great, and the sheep have beautiful fluffy wool! You play from an isometric view point [which can make some trouble for you because of the controls] and the city and your farm are covered in beautiful landscape depending on the seasons. Sometimes there is some slow down in the framerate, and there are small imperfections dealing with the buildings and such, but it’s nothing to worry about. The sound effects all seem to fit in, but the music is just plain terrible. By this, I mean the music is fine but it plays over and over – one song per season. You can imagine how annoying it gets.

Sure it has its bugs and glitches here and there, but there's something about Hm64 that sucks people in. And once you're in it's hard to get out. It starts off pretty simple (and maybe boring for some of you) you have your dad's old farm, and it's your job to restore it. You have a few years to do so. You'll have to pluck weeds, plant crops, get cows/chickens/sheep, etc. And there are just so many different little events that can happen, the playability is almost endless! For example - I had a bunch of flowers in front of my farm and out comes this crazy couple talking about the flowers then they start kissing. All kinds of crazy stuff can happen in the world of Harvest moon!

You have five girls to choose from - Ann (my personal favourite) Maria, Popuri, Karen (almost everyone goes for her), and Elli. They all have their different tastes and unique personalities, and you'll have your choice of who you want to woo. Your rating with a girl is displayed at the bottom right hand corner of her speech box. There are also plenty of town events where you can dance with your favourite girl, and plenty events with the girl who's starting to like you : ) but watch out.. there could be another guy going for your gal! <dramatic music here>. For more information/help, you can consult my dating-faq or any of the other great faqs. You’ll have to work hard to get a wife, taking up plenty of money and time.

To gain money, you can pillage in the forest for fresh fruit, fish, etc., grow crops of your own (such as corn, tomato etc. a pair of veggies for each season.. unless you have the greenhouse of course), sell milk, wool, eggs, or mine in the winter. There’s a lot to be done, if you want to impress your dad. You can give items to the girl whom you’re planning to marry, or just people in town. If you’re nice to the townspeople, you may receive some unexpected rewards. Could it be free watermelon? Some fish? There are plenty of ways to get your money overall, and plenty of extra events that may occur that will also assist you in growing your very own pile of riches.

The controls in the game can be confusing at first. Because of the view point, you may find yourself wasting precious vegetables or accidently cutting a chicken. Once you get used to the controls, however, you'll be zooming around the fields, and waste almost nothing that you've collected.

The Harvest Moon series has something that no other posesses (at least in the present). It was first introduced for the SNES simply under the name “Harvest Moon.” Natsume had brought it to us, and it caught the eye of the average gamer. Here was a game where you don’t shoot aliens, save the world or walk onto the battlefield. You raise a farm and try to woo the girls. It was the kind of game where you don’t have to constantly be on your feet. Sometimes you could just sit back and relax on your new porch admiring the beautiful sunset, something you can't enjoy in many other games. And then came the game boy harvest moons which were similar to the SNES game, but the mother of them all is definitely Harvest Moon 64. It combined everything that gamers treasured about the original, and introduced a bundle of new features and extras. You’ll find yourself addicted to Hm64 in no time, I guarantee you.

Even if it is one of the greatest and most original games of all time, not every gamer can find entertainment out of watching a sunset, milking some cows, and providing nourishment for an endless field of thirsty crops. To sum it up, many will enjoy and be able to grasp the concept behind Hm64, but others may still be left in the dark. Give it a chance, even if you’re not interested now – you may find yourself whipping the controller around because you forgot to feed your cow yesterday, and now Ann thinks you’re abusing your animals. Tsk tsk..

***
Sushi's Quick Sheet™

Gameplay : Beyond belief! Excellent!
Graphics : Besides a few problems, they're alright.
Music : Eek, annoying.
Sound : Nothing wrong here.
Control : It can be troublesome.
Originality : Whew!
Replay : You'll crave it day and night :)
Overall : A must-buy, right away!
***

Scores

Gameplay : 10
Graphics : 8.5
Sound : 10
Music : 3.5
Originality : 10
Controls : 7.5
Replay : 9
Overall[not an average]: 9
Sushi says : ''You’ll be playin’ til the cows come home, huhuhuh!''


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 08/12/00, Updated 08/12/00


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