Thursday, 20 December 2012

Body Harvest Review

Reviewed on: N64

Body Harvest is a game developed by DMA, who later went to be Rockstar North of Grand Theft Auto fame, and was published by Gremlin after Nintendo decided to drop the game. It was released for the N64 in 1998 and is an sci-if, open world third person game. The game begins in 2016 where an Alien Invasion has harvested mankind to the brink of extinction, you are Adam Drake, a biologically engineered marine who is sent back in time to key points in order to stop the body harvest. The game is split across five large sandbox levels and the main goal of each level is to wipe out the alien presence by saving the civilians, defeating the sub bosses and then taking out the shield that surrounds each zone and beating the levels final boss.

During each level you will encounter numerous NPCs who may lead you to extra missions and secrets. You'll navigate both indoor and outdoor areas either on foot or via one of the many land/air/sea vehicles you find laying around. Aliens will drop in to fight you and will also attack certain settlements. If this happens you must rush to stop them because if the bar of civilians harvested fills up then the mission is a failure. You can clearly tell from how open and free the levels are that this game really laid the foundations for 3D Grand Theft Auto and it really makes the levels an absolute blast to play. The fact that you have to stop that bar from filling also manages to give the game a great sense of tension. You can wander off and explore places but you've always got to be ready to rush to the rescue of a nearby settlement.

The game controls much as you'd expect it to. You have an inventory of weapons, health and fuel (your vehicles can run out of fuel! This needs to be in GTA) you can drive cars, fly things, swim or you can just run around on foot. Aiming is done using the stick and this game definitely features some of the best aiming the N64 has. Other N64 games (I'm looking at you Duke Nukem Zero Hour) have slightly iffy aiming but this game nails it. You can also dive to the side to avoid enemy attacks and trust me, when they attack in large groups you will need to do this. The vehicles handle well and your character is largely quite manoeuvrable but can occasionally get stuck on things like road signs even when it looks like he shouldn't. The controls are generally solid and are only ever rarely awkward and they make the game a joy to play.

Sound wise this game is quite good. In fact there are no real flaws to the sound unless you really love voice acting. Some N64 games did have voice acting but a lot of them didn't so I won't level this as a criticism at the game because it wasn't quite the norm yet but it is something to bear in mind. The sound effects are pretty good, the guns sound distinctive and powerful and the vehicles rev and roar appropriately. The aliens sound suitably menacing too. The soundtrack is hardly anything to shout about but it all functions well and compliments the gameplay nicely, it never competes with the effects and music of a game like Orcarina of Time but it never disappoints either.

All in all this game is a real classic, I had heard a lot about it before I bought it but it really exceeded my expectations. This is an absolute must buy if you're a fan of older games or even just games in general. Even with our modern standards the game stands up because it has aged fantastically.

Sequel anyone?

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