Nintendo 64. A legendary system from Nintendo that many in my generation grew up with. So how did Marvelous do on the Harvest Moon franchise for this wonderful gaming platform? How did this version change the face of Harvest Moon?
In this version the storyline shoots off in the credits. It's actually quite in depth and very sad. Your grandfather has died and you are left to uphold the farm he gave to you in his will. You talk to many of the villagers you knew when you were a child and they express their grief. Your father also pays a visit to where you speak to him for a few moments. It seems you must take over the farm and make it a success for three whole years to prove you can do it! Otherwise you'll be taken to the city and your game will end. Now in the story line there really isn't a clear set on the three year limit, but you will get dropped hints in the mail and other such ways in the actual game play. I do wish there was a solid statement before you start but the plot was simple and very well put together.
To get started of course I went to buy some vegetable seeds. The only thing that was irritating was that I only had enough for one bag of seeds. BUT, unlike the harvest moons before it's time, there was a plentiful abundance of wild items that could be shipped. Not only that, but they created the rucksack with 8 holding slots for items and a whole separate 8 slots for tools. PLUS I could ship things after 5pm and the profits would be carried over to the next day when the shipper came to pick up all the goods.
The vegetable selection grew and it was nice to know you could finally grow things in the fall. Granted there were only eggplants, but that didn't bother me. BUT there were many house extensions and farm upgrades, such as the greenhouse, that let me grow veggies all year long. Sheep were also added from previous games which was a nice surprise. The standard animals were available to raise and they were great profit makers. As well as levels of product were unlocked by the level of affection the animals held. Cows would produce larger milk and sheep would give me better quality wool.
There was a nice little twist from the characters in this version! From the original SNES game came all the grandchildren of the 5 original bachelorettes and even a reappearance from Ellen as the grandmother of Elli. Maria was the granddaughter of Maria, Karen the granddaughter of Eve, Ann The granddaughter of Ann and Popuri the granddaughter of Nina. Not to mention this was probably the most in-depth character harvest moon game ever. Their responses weren't robotic or repetitive and the events were very random and not predictable. Which I found very appeasing. It gave the characters more of a storyline.
Seeing as it was an earlier game I had to be gracious on graphics once again. But, the 3-dimensional set for it's era with the pictures of all the characters with different emotions was a great change for the harvest moon franchise. It started the whole portable gaming platforms to change it over to that and is the only, other than the PS1's Back To Nature version, one that uses the pictures on the the characters on a home console.
There were so many features in the game. So many things to upgrade and to actually do. There was rival marriages to accomplish, photo albums to fill, house extensions to build, festivals to attend, tools to upgrade, mines to explore, power berries to accumulate, animals to train, harvest goddesses to visit, sprites to help, a vineyard to save and... okay, you get the point. There were many events and items to get and it took me 5 years in game-play to accomplish everything. No worries, I didn't do that in a week's time, I only replay the game for about a year's worth of time, but I remember this game from way back.
The ending is not really an ending. Once you complete your goal there are still many things you can do (seeing as this one doesn't END). There are also a lot of fun glitches in the game you can take advantage of if you like. A few funny ones actually and a few that can get you two children and free horse racing bets.
Now my opinion might be a little bit biased seeing as this was my very first Harvest Moon game BUT I am not kidding when I recommend this game to my friends. Not to mention, all of them absolutely love it. There are so many adventures to explore and it's a true Harvest Moon fanatics dream. Find this game and buy it. I mean it.