Review by ProfessorMaeda

Reviewed: 09/04/03

Among the best in GameBoy Color's game arsenal!

Some of us just can't get enough of the Harvest Moon series. Really, how many gamers can downplay the success of HM64 or Harvest Moon : Back to Nature, for that matter? Who would've thought that farming games can be so addicting, even when the market is dominated by RPGs, action/adventure games and FPS games? Great gameplay has always been the hallmark of the series and Harvest Moon 3 on GameBoy Color is definitely of no exception. Granted, I'm not very much into handheld systems, with their limitations and all. But this game certainly did interest me and I have a lot of positive things to say about it.

Gameplay: 9

For starters, you get to choose to be either the male or female character. The former takes care of the crops while the latter looks after the livestock. Worry not though, since you can also do the work of the opposite gender of your chosen character. Sounds fun, doesn't it? And yes, like most HM games in the series, you can get married and have children. To add to that happy family feeling, you'll also get to add a variety of items to your home, making it all cosy for you.

As usual, you get to fish. However, in this game, you get to fish out in the ocean as well! That is, provided you have a boat. On a related note, you have to travel back and forth between the island (Yes, your farm is on an island) and the mainland town, where you get your supplies and many other items. You get to ride on a ferry on certain days with GOOD weather, so it can be annoying should it rain on the very day you need to replenish your farming supplies. Thus, it's better to acquire a boat as soon as possible.

You get to buy 3 types of crops and one type of flower each season. Why flower, you say? Well, you get to sell it and also give it to your, er, spouse. You will also get to rear 4 types of livestock, namely chickens, cows, sheep and horses. With the exception of horses, these animals can provide you with a constant flow of income. All your livestock eat grass (or hays, whatever) that you sow. Pretty odd for chickens to do that, hmm?

Oh and, you start with the basic tools that you need. Tools that the male character starts with can be increased to level 3, by using them often. Optional tools such as the fishing rod must be obtained through your own effort. Bummer...

Story: 7, this game isn't that much of a scorer when it comes to storyline. With the exception of your character and his/her spouse, everyone else on the island (and the city, for that matter) lacks character development, and I really mean that. Sure, their dialogues change when certain events are triggered, but such events are rare anyway. You just don't get scenes like in Harvest Moon : Back to Nature, scenes which liven up the game and enrich the characters and the storyline. To top it all, ALL the houses in the village are locked, forever. Talk about neighborhood friendliness...

Then again, it wouldn't be fair to put down this game just because the story doesn't compare to HM : BtN. Like I said, gameplay is the hallmark of the series after all. Besides, the events in this game, despite their rarity, can be interesting. I won't spoil them for you, though.

Graphics: 7

Pretty good. The beaches are nice. The fireworks display is beautiful. The character sprites are...cute. Satisfactory, I must say.

Of course, it's mostly 2D and gamers hell bent on their quest for eye-candy graphics won't be too fond of this game. But in my opinion, you shouldn't dismiss the game just because of that. I play games mostly on PCs and consoles, but I'm still hooked onto this wonderful game.

Music: 8

Season music in this game = brilliant. As I've said in my reviews of other HM games, the composers know how to make music which match the seasons/events/places etc. Not that there is an impressive musical variety in this game, but what few tracks are there, they sure are good.

Of course, the quality is pretty much similar to that of MIDIs on a PC, or perhaps worse. But don't blame the game itself for that...

Overall: Yes, definitely a must buy. The fact that it is on a handheld system makes it even better, since you can play it almost anywhere. Sure is handy when you're on a very long and boring trip, with nothing to do on whatever vehicle you're traveling in.

Seriously though, it's a good game. Grab a cartridge today! After buying it, of course...

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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