GAMECUBE REVIEW: HARVEST MOON: ANOTHER WONDERFUL LIFE

Videogames are supposed to be recreation; ie: an activity that provides entertainment while you're getting away from school or the daily grind. Well, too bad for you. Welcome to the videogame equivalent of the Daily Grind.

If you've never worked on a farm, let me introduce you Harvest Moon: Another Wonderful Life. You'll play as a female this time around and there will be little time for all of those girly things like painting your nails, chatting on the phone, shopping at the mall. You'll be working your freaking ass off in Another Wonderful Life, so at least your thunder-thighs will disappear (in the videogame world).

But really, I'm just teasing. That's just the kind of lady I am. Y'all know that Harvest Moon is all about hard work on the farm. That's the point. In this expansion to It's A Wonderful Life, players will take the reigns of a female farmer and eventually have to court some of the local boys. Why this wasn't an option in the previous game is beyond me as nothing has really changed all that much to warrant spending another $30. If you are female and didn't like playing as a male and trying to woo some chicky chick to marry you, then you'll get more mileage out of this latest version. This little lady can do everything the last little dude could do, so you won't have to worry about experiencing life on the farm as the "gentler, weaker" sex. What I'm really trying to say here is that there isn't much reason to play Another Wonderful Life if you've already completed the original.

That isn't to say that playing as a girl isn't worthwhile, but I would have liked to have seen more attention paid to the courting rituals. Picking up women with feathers and flowers make sense, but leaving feathers for men doesn't. If you had to cook for them while listening to their stupid jokes; that's more in tune with reality.

As your farm maiden goes about her day, she'll encounter all varieties of farm life. For example, cows are for milking (and you'll have to supply them with a heap of love too - no, not that kind of love sicko), chickens are for eggs, even sometimes golden ones, sheep are for wool, dogs are for companionship, fields and crops are for tending, vegetables are for eating and selling, seeds are for purchase and the townsfolk are great for a short conversation (and a mate!).

There is no shortage of things to do in any Harvest Moon game and you might find yourself wondering aloud whether the subtitle "Another Wonderful Life" was a tad sarcastic and cheeky due to the sheer amount of work you'll have to do. I actually couldn't wait to go to my "real" job so I could stop playing it sometimes. Farming is hard work.

I eventually found a mate and settled down. I of course chose Gustafa who plays guitar - I'm a sucker for musicians - and wouldn't you know it? He knocked me up! Raising a family on the farm is great fun and it made things a little easier on my little farmer gal.

This "expansion" is definitely more of a twist on a theme rather then an entirely new game, but it contains all of the charm of the previous games. The cartoony graphics are sure to please and the low-level existence is a nice change of pace from all of the gang violence and car racing that permeates most video games these days. I loved my time on the farm and I think you will too. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty; Another Wonderful Life is a real barn burner.

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System: GC
Dev: Natsume
Pub: Natsume
Release: July 2005
Players: 1
Review By Kelly
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
4.0
VALUE
2.0