Review by Devastator

"Just a fun kid’s game? There’s more to it."

Devastator’s Input:
In most popular games today, the point of a game is to hack and slash your way through a breathtaking storyline, survive the bad guys, and defeat the total evil in the world. Characters are equipped with a sword, a gun, or some interesting kind of weapon to tantalize the gamers’ more violent side. There are even sexy women in skin-tight and sometimes revealing outfits to help tantalize the male population of gamers. This game challenges you to put down the gun, sword, or whatever kind of weapons you may think of using, and pick up a watering can. Here, you must also exchange your voluptuous beauty for a girl whose needs you must tend to. Harvest Moon 64 is certainly a different kind of game, but that does not mean that it isn’t as good as typical games, and maybe even better.

When you pick up Harvest Moon 64 to look at the box, you would see the box, and see the E rating, with all the cute people all over it (and the cute little puppy dog that chases you), and the only thing under the “Everyone” is “Use of Alcohol”. So this game is for kids, right? Wrong. Even grown gamers can get a kick out of this game.

While children may enjoy this game, even grown gamers can enjoy certain aspects of this game. The dating feature in this game is the closest thing to a translated dating game in the United States, and grown gamers may find one woman interests them more than the other women. Grown gamers can understand the deep emotion masked in the cute interface of the entire game, and understand the social aspects of the game. Being a grown gamer, this is the kind of game I dream about, and hope for more to come out. While I still find the average “kill the evil man” game entertaining, I wish for more games that really dragged you into their world, not just told you where to go, what to do, and who to fight.

Graphics- 7/10
Okay, so these aren’t exactly the best graphics on the 64. But as long as it isn’t a blatant waste, and as long as a vegetable looks like a vegetable, the graphics are well enough. There were a few problems in it, like walls that appeared later than when you arrived at them. And everything appeared as if it were a 3-D cartoon. Nothing looked all too realistic. In lesser terms, the graphics were simple.

Sound- 7/10
Sound is decent. You aren’t blessed with grand music or a medley of sound effects for each action. However, you do get cute sound effects for certain things, like a popping sound for every time you harvest a vegetable or fruit. The music is simple, making you feel at home in the game, which matches the theme of the game quite well.

Gameplay- 10/10
The primary basis of gameplay is to tend to the farm. At first, you can look around your farm, and see a weed-infested, forsaken landscape. With care, your farm will be large, blooming, and absolutely breathtaking. Aside from growing crops, you can raise animals and pets. Home is no longer a place to rest, but a place where half your quest grows into fruition.

However, your farm isn’t the only thing you have. In town, there are many people to interact with, to make friends with, and even to do things for. Instead of finding yourself plowing through enemies with a bladed object or a projectile weapon that fires a deadly unit, you will find yourself talking with shop owners, adventurers, a fisherman, and even woodworkers. These people, unlike your average RPG, don’t give a simple comment asking you what you want to buy. They still relinquish information that you may need, and you can still benefit from it. Instead, they speak to you, offering their advice on the outlook on life, asking you how your day was, telling you about their day, and even telling you what they like. These are more like real people, and not extras molded from some other extra, shoved in there to say some random line that you will most likely forget. And each character has their own loveable charm, even if the character themselves aren’t completely nice. You may even fall in love with one of the beautiful ladies in the town, and you may even have a future with them. You are dragged into a new world, where you talk to other people. In fact, in Harvest Moon 64, there aren’t really “extras”. You can gain some sort of benefit from every character you meet.

If farming’s not enough for you, there are lots of minigames that happen in town. Minigames range from rhythm button tapping to solving puzzles, to just showing up on the right time in the right place. In fact, it’s fun within itself discovering when the games occur.

This is one of my personal favorite games. Gameplay is simply wonderful. Instead of menu commands, you equip items that you would need to use, and use them on the field. Time flows, and days pass. Seasons change through time, and events happen in town accordingly. People are real people, who grow closer to you through time and contact. I enjoyed the gameplay so much that I found myself spending countless nights up playing this game.

Control- 8/10
Control in this game is very easy to get used to. While your character moves digitally in eight directions, the analog tells your character whether to run or walk. The minigames that are featured in this game are easy to learn. However, the most frustrating part of control is when you accidentally drop a valued commodity on the floor, coincidentally losing it; instead of placing it in the sales bin, or giving it to the girl you so love.

Game Life- 10/10
What really grabbed me about this game was it’s game life. While I love many games, some games only last until you beat it and master it. Some games can be beaten in a matter of weeks, others can be beaten in days, and some games are easily beaten the minute you open the package. The company Squaresoft, which manufactures a good amount of RPGs, makes games that usually take weeks or even a month to beat. The main reason why Chrono Trigger appealed to me so much was because of a feature, which allowed endless gameplay. The same reason that Chrono Trigger is one of my top favorites makes this game a top favorite: there is no end to this game. After a certain amount of time, you will come across an ending, but you will be given the option to continue. Endless possibilities are stretched out in front of you, so you won’t be able to gain every experience in a single game. You can spend months on this game and it won’t get old.

Devastator’s Final Word-
Don’t judge a game by its cover. Harvest Moon 64 is one of the best games that I’ve ever played. If you can’t get past the cuteness, use your imagination. That’s why I like hero characters that don’t talk much, and probably the reason why most of them don’t.

Final Score- 10/10

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/13/01, Updated 08/13/01

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