Review by RE4_Fan

"An excellent game that surpasses the N64 and SNES versions in every way"

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody is the second Harvest Moon game released for the Nintendo Gamecube and is also the only version which allows the player to choose which gender they are. In all the other Harvest Moons, separate versions were produced for each gender. In addition to this, it is the first Harvest Moon game to feature eleven potential spouses for each gender. The eleventh spouse in both cases being your rival Jamie, who will always be the opposite gender to the main character.

Magical Melody is a departure from the more serious Harvest Moon:A Wonderful Life, and is more like the older versions of Harvest Moon released for the SNES and N64.

This game follows the tradition of commencing with a cut scene detailing how the main character got to become a farmer. In this case, he/she receives a letter containing details of a ‘Super Ranch Plan' sent out by Theodore, who just so happens to be the mayor of Flower Bud Village, and decides to go check it out. After a conversation with Theodore, you are then asked to choose from three different plots of land, each with their own pros and cons.

After choosing your plot, Theodore sends you to bed, where you have a dream about the Harvest Goddess turning to stone. You are woken up the next morning by the Harvest Sprites, who tell you to collect Magical Music Notes in order to save her. It is at this point you meet your rival Jamie, who is always the opposite gender to your character, and is eligible for marriage.

These notes are obtained by completing various tasks within the game, ranging from simple tasks such as cooking your first meal, and taking your first step, all the way up to harder tasks like making friends with villagers or catching 100 fish.

The addition of these music notes gives the player an option of something to strive for other than growing crops and raising animals, and gives you a nice sense of achievement.

Graphics 10/10:
Despite what some people say, I quite like the graphics in Magical Melody, as they seem to reinforce the Harvest Moon themes present throughout the game. I also think this game contains some of the best cell shading I have ever come across.

Sound 10/10:
Again, despite the fact the background music can't be turned off, and that the same tune plays for seasons at a time, I still quite enjoyed the audio in this game, and after spending a few days in a season the change in music will become unnoticeable.

I also found the sounds made by tools, animals, the surrounding environment and the weather to be appropriate to the game, and they seemed to make the playing experience more enjoyable.

Gameplay 9/10:
Here is my only gripe with this game. Like so many other people, I found the character's lack of stamina to be irritating, and I fainted on my first day, whilst trying to catch a fish. (Consequentially, I received a note for doing so, which relieved my irritation to a slight extent)

Despite this, with all the engaging things available to do in this game you will find the hours (both in-game and in real life) slip by, and you will always feel calm and content after a gaming session playing this.

Replay Value 10/10:
If you like this game, you will keep on coming back to play it. It's just that simple. There is just so much to do you won't be able to put it down.

Final Recommendation:
This game is an absolutely essential purchase for any fan of the Harvest Moon series. Having said this, there may be a small number of people who are repelled by the game's cartoon-styled cell shaded graphics and bobble head style animals. For those people, I recommend a rental first, to determine whether they enjoy it enough to spend 70 (Australian) dollars on this game.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/14/06

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