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Gaming Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town


Semjaza
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I got this game late last month and have played it regularly since then. Definitely worth my $30 so far. You might want to try looking for it on eBay if you're interested, as I've seen it go for $15 regularly.

Anyway, for those that don't know, Harvest Moon is a farming RPG/simulation. You get your own farm and try to build it up into something nice and succesful. You can plant crops, raise livestock, talk with townspeople and so forth. Some games in the series allow you to find girlfriends and eventually marry them. This was sadly removed in the PS2 version (Save the Homeland), but it is brought back in this game.

The game has its own time clock. It doesn't flow in real time like Animal Crossing, however. 10 minutes in the game last a few seconds in real life. Stores and such in town go by this clock and also by what day of the week it is. Don't expect to find anything to buy late at night.

The game goes by seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. The month vastly affects the weather conditions and what types of crops can be planted. Each season only lasts 30 days. The game doesn't go by a typical 12 month calendar.

By the end of the day, you should have your chores and everything taken care of so you can get yourself to sleep. If you work yourself too hard during the day, this can have ill effects on you. Eating and relaxing can fix this easily, though.

I've not played every last game in the series, but I've played the main ones. This is probably my favorite one so far. Everything of importance was kept over from the previous versions. The amount of crop types in the game is vastly improved over the PS2 version. You can also raise chickens, cows and sheep. Not to mention your horse and dog. All animals have baby and adult life cycles and it will take some time for them to fully grow up. Each animal has its own benefits in its adult stage.

[CENTER][img]http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2003/reviews/589702_20031210_screen002.jpg[/img][/CENTER]

So a typical day for me would start by getting up at 6 AM (that's automatic lol) and watering all my crops (and tilling the ground to plant new ones if I have any seeds) I then take my chickens outside to find their own food (unless it's raining, in which case I have to give them feed inside their coop) and collect the eggs they laid. Fully grown chickens lay one egg each per day, although they won't lay anything if their sick or unhappy. Bringing them outside and feeding them makes them happy, so it's nothing to hard to manage. I then go play with the dog, who I leave outside since he has a doghouse -- unless the weather sucks. I brush my horse and let him outside as well. I don't have any cows or sheep yet. They seem much harder to afford in this game than in the others.

I also go into the town and try to make friends with the Harvest Sprites. These are little fairy/dwarf type creatures that live in a hut behind the Church. It takes some work to befriend them, but once you do, they're invaluable. The easiest to make friends with is Hoggy (there are seven of them and their names reflect their personality -- like the Seven Dwarfs). Just keep giving him food heh.

[CENTER][img]http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2003/reviews/589702_20031210_screen001.jpg[/img][/CENTER]

Once they're your friends you can either ask them to help with harvesting, animals or watering... or you can play a game. The games make the sprite better at whatever task the game involves (again, harvesting, animals or watering). You can ask them to work for up to a week, but at first they'll not be too good at it. They get better as they get more experience. Hoggy usually waters all my crops for me, which saves a lot of time.

Any crops or items you harvest are put in a shipping box. The box is checked at 5PM daily and you're automatically given the money. It takes quite awhile to get things going, but once they do you'll be making a nice amount of money each day or so.

The rest of the day depends. You can talk to the townsfolk and give them gifts to make friends. You can go mine in the caves so you can upgrade your tools or make various other items (like jewelry for girls you like). You can go fishing. The town randomly has little festivals depending on the date, which you can take part in if you fill the requirements.

[CENTER][img]http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2003/reviews/589702_20031210_screen006.jpg[/img][/CENTER]

You can also upgrade your house and farm. Bigger chicken coop, etc. I hope on upgrading my house soon so I can put a kitchen in. This lets you cook, which makes lots of nice things you can give as gifts or sell.

Obviously the goal of this game is to build a succesful farm, although you also want to get a wife somewhere in that time frame. There are a few girls to choose from, but you have competition. Every girl in town also has a boy that's interested in here and it takes some work for her to notice you. Personally, I'm going after this pink haired girl named Popuri. She helps run the chicken shop.

I suppose in some ways this game sounds repetitive and like it's the height of tedium, but I love this game and can't put it down half the time.

[CENTER][img]http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/2003/reviews/589702_20031210_screen009.jpg[/img][/CENTER]

Are there any other fans of this game here? Or even of the series as whole? Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is coming out for GameCube in about two weeks, so it would be a nice starting point if you don't have a GBA (the PS2 version is a bit dumbed down, but still good -- averages $20 new). Check it out if you get a chance.

I'll be making a thread on the GCN one in the coming weeks, unless someone beats me to it.

Girls might be interested to know that a version is coming out for GBA and GCN that lets you play as a girl instead of as a boy like all the previous versions. Could be interesting, but obviously I'm not getting it lol.

(Note: If you have Kazaa Lite installed, the images probably won't work).

Oh, by the way, my name in the game is Tony. My chickens are named Cluck, Buck, Cheep and Camillia (from the Muppets... remember Gonzo's chicken love? heh). My horse is Buddy since I couldn't think of a good name... and my dog is named Darwin. My farm is named Tomacco Farm after a weird crop in a Simpsons episode.
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[font=comic sans ms][color=dimgrey]Hmm well I dont know too much about this title but from the looks of it and what you said it just looks like Harvest moon:back to nature for the PSOne, but with lesser gfx. Which is itself a port of Harvest Moon 64.

But anyway I love this series and its alot of fun. It can get abit repetitive after awhile but I always find myself going back to this game every so often. From what you said the PS2 one sounds pretty boring...Oh well atleast GC owners will get to experience the series properly it seems.

Geez reading about this has made me nostalgic again...Think I need to go dive into my PS library and check out how popuri and are getting along :cool: [/font][/color]
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The graphics are surprisingly good. It's definitely a step up from the SNES version (although I like how that one looked, it had a certain charm). It's very comparable to the PSX version, honestly. Obviously not as nice, but better than I expected.

The game is also very well suited for the Game Boy Player. Sometimes on my GBA, I find it hard to see some things... when your dog is still a puppy, he is pretty damn tiny heh.
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Actually in Save the Homeland you stall can marry them, but it ends there. Oh, and there are 12 endings, so get them all!

I may be a girl but I'm a major fan of the Harvest moon games. ::Sigh:: I am a weirdo...

I'm a major obsesser. And I'm going crazy cause I can't wait for the girl version of Freinds of Mineral Town!!! *Dances* I pity myself (Due to insanity), but waiting for the girl version of Freinds of Mineral town will be worth the wait!
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[quote name='Ryu_Sakura']Actually in Save the Homeland you stall can marry them, but it ends there. Oh, and there are 12 endings, so get them all![/quote]

Are you sure you're thinking the right one? Save the Homeland (on PS2) does not have marriage whatsoever. None of the endings even involve it and there are only nine of them. I think you're thinking of another heh.

I was trying to think of some cons for the GBA version earlier today. Really, for the most part, I think it's my favorite so far. The sheer diversity really makes it overcome the past games, especially the PS2 version which seemed less focused on the farm aspect (hell, there were only four crop types).

My main problem with this game is that you cannot walk diagonally. I still have no idea why, especially when there are some angled paths in the game. Luckily, you can just run straight and the game will force your character to run at a normal pace down the path anyway. It's not as if the game doesn't recognize diagonal d-pad presses, as you can scroll the map at any angle you want. I don't get why that was overlooked.

Other issues are more subjective. The game is a bit harder to get started in than some of the others, but once you get going, you shouldn't have a problem. There are also a LOT of menus and options you can scroll through. Not a great thing when the GBA has less buttons than any console that has a game from this series (not counting the old Game Boy and GBC ones...). Thankfully the game has several quick shortcuts you can use by pressing various button combinations. Usually this involves pressing L and another button simultaneously. It's weird at first, but you overcome it.

I think some of the music gets really repetitive, mostly because you spend a lot of time in only a small amount of places. The music itself isn't bad, but anything gets tiring after that long. The sound effects are also pretty overused thanks to the fact that the menus all use a variety of animal noises to indicate choices and cancelations. These are noises you hear from your own animals on a regular basis, so sticking them in a menu is just overkill.

Anyway, I can't recommend this game enough otherwise. Those are rather small problems compared to all the things I love about the game.
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