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It all begins with a brief story describing exactly how you came to be there and precisely what your goal is. Basically, you control a character that has been voted by the local villagers to bring your grandfathers farm back into play within three years. If after this time the villagers decide that a mess has been made of the farm it will be sold off. However, should you do a good job then the farm will remain in the family. Don\\'t expect an easy ride, as there are many possible setbacks along the way. For example, one can never tell when a freak hurricane may come along and destroy your essential buildings!
Apart from rebuilding the farm, the player is required to make friends with the villagers and to give each animal plenty of love and attention. Duties may range from feeding the animals, to weeding, hoeing, sowing, helping other villagers, milking, harvesting, mining, and fishing… and that\\'s not even a part of it! Time also has to be found to get a wife, but first you have to get her to like you by showering her with gifts, and making the right decisions in your conversations. Make the wrong decision, and she\\'ll go off in a huff (just like real life eh?). But there\\'s more to getting a wife than that as first you have to upgrade all your buildings so she\\'ll want to live with you (women can be such hard work!).
The gameplay has no limits! There are plenty of different things to do, and only some things are easy. After playing this game, I feel great sympathy for farmers everywhere. Keeping your head above water (money-wise) can be relatively simple or extremely difficult, depending on the season. There are four seasons to a year, and around 30 days to a season. Sounds short, I know, but believe me it\\'ll take ages to complete this game! To break things up throughout the seasons there are many different events to participate in, from a day at the races to chicken fighting! (I loved the chicken fights, and New Years Eve was hysterical. Yes my character got totally sloshed, but it was the way he was made to look that really tickled me!) Oh, and the rumble effect is put to very good use. It warns you when your character needs a break, or even when there is a fish on the rod (as a fisherwoman, I found the \\'knock\\' to be very realistic!). Full use is made of the control pad with several buttons having multiple uses, but it\\'s not hard to learn the controls.
Harvest Moon looks just like a cartoon, with the player controlling an animated character, but that doesn\\'t mean it looks bad. To be honest, I was amazed at the attention of backgrounds and foregrounds. The whole game looks as if an artist has taken his oils and painted moving scenery directly onto your screen. It really is quite beautiful for a cartoon. As midday approaches during gameplay everything starts to become more colorful. It really is so realistic that I could almost feel the midday sun beating down on me and I often felt like taking my character into the house to give him a glass of cold water. In winter everything is snow covered and you can even see frost patterns on the frozen lake. Thankfully, a great deal of attention has also gone into creating the animals. You can easily tell the difference between a cow and a calf, or a chicken and a chick (oh they\\'re so cute!). If a fish is thrown back into the sea there is a satisfactory splash, as there is when your float hits the water, (yes, you can fish too). To be honest, there is so much to say about the graphics I could be here all day!
There is music throughout the game and although it\\'s not bad, I would have liked the option to be able to turn it down now and again (although it does ease at nightfall). The animals sound realistic, the cow\\'s moo, the sheep bleat, the chicken\\'s cluck and the chick\\'s cheep. And if you happened to accidentally hit an animal with a tool other than a brush, well, that that sounds pretty cool too. Okay, I admit that I hit the dog with a sledgehammer… purely accidental, I swear, but the way it yelped was great! Also I caught one of my chickens with the sickle and almost took its head off. The way it squawked and fluttered about, really cracked me up.
· Wonderful animation
· 3D graphics
· Many subgames
· Realistic sound
· Challenging gameplay
· Many different storylines
4 Block required on Memory card per save (min)
Up to 1 Players (without Multi-tap)
Uses Dual Shock Pad Buttons
Uses Dual Shock Pad Analog Sticks
Uses Dual Shock Pad Vibration facility
REVIEW SCORE GUIDE:
We promise that we have fully played 'Harvest Moon' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
SUMMARY OF FINAL RATING (%)
00 - 59 This makes your console seem like an older machine. It utilises little or none of the PSone power.
60 - 69 This game is little more than average and we advise renting or play-testing before considering a purchase.
70 - 79 This is a good solid title that should still appeal to those who like this type of game.
80 - 89 This is a fantastic game that we think you will enjoy playing for quite some time.
90 - 100 This game either pushes the boundaries of it's genre further than ever before on this system, or creates a completely new gaming experience. Either way, it should not be missed and is an essential purchase in our opinion.
IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ:
It is very important that you are aware that the criteria we use to obtain review scores on the PS2 is very different to that used for games on the original Playstation (PSone). The Processing and Graphical power of the two consoles are vastly different and as our reviews are graded against what we estimate is the achievable potential of each system, it does not mean in any way that a game scoring 80 percent on PS2 is worse than a Playstation (PSone) equivalent which scores 95.
A more detailed breakdown of this guide can be read here.
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