Review by edward18
A Needle in a Haystack
Reviewer's Score: 8
Body Harvest is a game that's basically a predecessor to the Grand Theft Auto in the sense that you can travel anywhere and use basically any vehicle, that's about it for them being related though.
It's far into the future and over the course of time alien bugs have come down to earth feasting on humans after sealing the areas off with huge forcefields they come down in them to munch on the inhabitants only to leave once they are done and come back some time later in like 20 years in another part of earth. By this point the only remaining humans have retreated to a space station orbiting earth where they have been working on a super soldier and time machine. Suddenly the bugs attack the station as the super soldier, Adam, is finished and he makes a mad dash to the time machine only getting shot once and escapes with his female purple haired companion into the past while one of the bugs picks up the blood trail left behind and inspects it. Upon reaching Greece in the early 1990s Adam immediately sets off to take down the bugs and deactivate the force field surrounding the area not knowing of the potential dangers even worse than the bugs that are waiting.
Now then, as I said before, this game is the predecessor to the Grand Theft Auto series in the way that you can basically hop in any vehicle and go anywhere that is within the perimeters of the force fields. However, the game has various puzzles and backtracking as well as exploration that you must do in order to progress while destroying bugs that appear every so often to either attack a nearby populace or you. If the bugs (the Harvester ones) eat too many humans your human meter goes up and you fail the mission if it reaches the top. To deactivate force fields you must make your way to large immobile bugs known as Processors and destroy them. Once all the processors in the area are destroyed you get to face the boss in your time machine that turns into a juggernaut hovercraft carrying the latest in futuristic weaponry. Then you simply go on to the next time period.
This game is very very diverse. From the primitive civilization of Greece to the homeworld of the alien bugs you will be going places. Body Harvest offers quite a wide variety of terrain and is exceedingly atmospheric. Unforetunately however, just about every level has a body of water at least somewhere (if not covering the entire stage) and if you fall in you're basically screwed cause you swim slow and your suit starts malfunctioning. Once it malfunctions completely, you're dead and have to restart from a save point (which are at the beginning of the levels and after you destroy Processors). You'll go to about 4 or 5 main areas on earth including Greece, Java, America, Area 51, and the alien homeworld (can't remember all the levels at the moment) and of course as you go on the bugs seem to catch on to Adam's little time travel gimmick causing them to be even more deadly in later levels. Within the main areas however, are also various different kinds of land pieces such as lava, water, army bases, and...Atlantis.
It's the N64...you can see the polygons making up the entire face of the person...it's still fun
The controls at first are a little awkward to get used to but as you go on it begins to make a bit more sense. Just don't quit after the first hour (and believe me, there's lots of hours you'll be spending on this game)
While the music isn't all like techno and up beat and stuff it sets the tone of the game rather nicely being real quite and hypnotic or sad and depressing only to get real actiony when bugs and stuff start attacking you out of nowhere.
Ah yes, this was a game back from in the days when you actually had to have this thing called skill to beat the game. This is not for casual gamers at all, it's for people willing to stick with a game to the end and accept the fact that they will fail probably multiple times through the level before reaching a save point (I know I do). The enemies aren't just one hit kills and the bosses you have to figure out strategies for on how to avoid them while pressing fire on them. The puzzles to as well as the exploration might offset many normal gamers but hey, I'm a Metroid and Resident Evil fan, I like that kind of stuff.
Well, this is one thing that I need to comment on, this game is pretty damn original! It covers several things that are covered in your typical sci-fi but instead of focusing on just one element in mashes them all together and makes it actually work. You play as a super soldier that travels through time, the alien bugs have made a clone of you that becomes the bad guy throughout the game while still leaving emphasis on the overall bug threat, there are zombies that are created in one level, you infiltrate Area 51 and get help from a surviving grey alien, and to top everything off the bugs are lead by a *spoilers* brain *spoilers*! Show me any other game that has done that to that extent.
Overall, I'd say that if you stick with this game you can see that it's any sci-fi adventure fans' dream come true put into video game form. It has an excellent story, the music sets the tone of the game, it's challenging, it's diverse, the controls are a bit awkward but nothing someone can't live with, and it's a good idea that hasn't really been explored as a whole.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Body Harvest (US, 09/30/98)
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