“ Manufacturer: Nintendo / Genre: Adventures & Role-playing „
This is a strange game, everything about it seems wrong, I mean the main aim is to pay off your morgage. But it's still fun.
The start of the game is your character is sitting on a train, you meet a cat who asks you a few questions and from thosequestions the game creates an avatar for you.
The train stops and get out at a town which you have already named, your asked where your travelling to, and the name you input is the name of your town. Mine is "Stigville"
The first thing you do is get a job to start paying off your house. The thing is theirs loads of other computer contolled creatures who want to be your friend and give you gifts. But when you do pay it off you get an extension and start all over again.
These gifts range from plants upto nes games which you can play on your game cube.
You spend your days digging for fossils, fishing and catching bugs, to help fill the museum and to sell to buy moe goods.
You can even upgrade your house and if you've got a game boy advance you can link up the game cube and the GBA and visit a special island on the GBA and fish there, amongst other things.
Though I haven't even mentioned the best thing about this game, You can send gifts to people on the other side of the (real) world and recieve things back, all by the magic of a magic code which you email someone, they then input it into their game, and hey presto, they get a present from you.
You have to keep your new friends happy. Giving them gifts, chatting to them and running errands for them.
Another great thing about the game, is that special events happen at certain times of the day on certain days. In the summer the trees are green, whilst in the winter, you'll see snow on the floor and maybe even snow falling from the sky.
On sundays you can buy turnips which you then try to sell for a profit during the week before they go bad.
I haven't even dented what you can do in this strangely great game.
It is an aquired taste, but if you have friends playing it as well or have access to the various animal crossing forums you can swap items with people all over the world. You can grow fruit to eat or to sell, or even to plant again.
You can also dig up fossils, to sell or to fill up the town museum, go fishing and bug catching, that feeling you get when you land a large rare fish is pretty cool, do you sell it or take it to the museum, the choice is yours!
The music is soothing but can get annoying, and the characters speak in a very annoying way, but then I wouldn't have it any other way.
The graphics are suitable for the game, nothing special, but they do make you feel part of the world.
As a bonus you even get a free memory card with the game, which if I remember correctly has a free NES game on it to play in the game..
It is an aquired taste but if you play for about 15 minutes a day you'll lose years of your life in no time, I've been playing this game, on and off, for about 4 years now and recently bought the sequel on the nintendo DS and started all over again.
You should be able to get this fairly cheap as the gamecube is coming to the end of its lifespan, but nows the perfect time to get all the games you never played for knockdown prices.
I almost forget about visiting the bar every saturday night to get a new song from the busking dog, You feel guilty if you miss him. Sad maybe, fun, for sure.
jeff Minter, the creator of one of the finest games ever, tempest loves this game, so much so he stood out side a pub on new years eve, watching the real life fireworks, whilst playing the DS version so he could see the fireworks in the game as well.
Explaining this type of game is perhaps as strange an experience as playing the game. You have a character who moves into a house in a small town, and you play out life. do some jobs to pay your mortgage, buy some furniture, chat with the neighbours. Have a laugh at Halloween, go fishing. Oh yeah, your neighbours are talking animals. Because a Nintendo game can't be too normal can it?
After hearing about the game, seeing it was completely different. It didn't have the large town I expected but a small one. You roam around a small village catching fish and digging up fossils...and that is pretty much it. Let's get to the criticism fast - the animals you speak to are repetitive, they speak very little and play the game for a week and you've heard it all before. And yet despite the criticism, it's a highly addictive game based on collecting. You want to dig up all the fossils and you want to catch all the fish. It's like a Gamecube version of Achievements or trophies (Edit: 2011) built on the inexplicable desire to do everything in the game but on a game based on seasons, this can take a long time. So in the meantime you get some money to get a bigger house (for no reason, it's useless) and make some costumes and just roam. The travelers who come to the town to sell their wares are equally repetitive, and the holiday events in the game and a fun but shallow experience. It's a game where I have little positive to say about it but at the same time, the criticism is washed over merely due to the addictive nature of the game. The only criticism I really can't forget about is that the game punishes you for not playing with weeds in your town. It's a strange development choice that makes you not want to go back to play after a short break.
Animals send you on tasks (it is how you get your money) and they are as equally repetitive as pretty much everything else in the game. Play for a few days and you'll have done it all. And yet is has a hold over you. Still, there's no point in going on, when the charm is gone its gone and there are better games out there that have you run your own life. Harvest Moon for example. It's the type of game that will appeal to some and you can spend some time in it but there better games out there to buy and there are better games I'd advise you to buy.
It's okay, but it's not an experience to get excited about, and isn't the highlight of the generation. It just hooks you into a routine and if you want a game that hthat much of a grasp on you, get Warcraft.
So who knows all about the sordid history of Animal Crossing? If youre a fan of Nintendo then you probably do because this has probably become one of the most infamous games on the GameCube. I do love a game with a bit of history so for those who dont know the ever-so thrilling tale of the Animal Crossing debacle then let me tell you because Im sure youre just dying to know.
The reason for the uproar from us European gamers was the fact Animal Crossing was taking its damn sweet time getting here. It was released in Japan in 2001 and then the US in 2002 but then it was announced the game would not get a European release due to localisation and translation issues. This excuse tends to be a main reason Nintendo gives for delays of games thanks to us being in the PAL region with France, Germany, Austria to name a few thats a lot of translation time as well as getting dates for holidays the game celebrates but Nintendo easily have the manpower to achieve the work needed to be done. So while some people imported the rest consigned themselves to not playing a reportedly great game. In a developers conference the-then head of Nintendo Europe operations David Gosen got heckled at a conference when he stated Nintendo would be striving to break the mould and be different a crowd member supposedly shouted well release Animal Crossing then much to the amusement of the crowd and the unease of Gosen. Then, in the next year, some movement occurred. A survey for Nintendo website visitors in Christmas 2003 had a few questions on Animal Crossing one being would you buy it. Then early in the year Animal Crossing finally got a PAL release in Australia. Still rumours of a European release continued to rumble and it seems, after three full years after its release in Japan, we get the game. So was it worth the wait?
Before that question is answered you may want to know just what the hell Animal Crossing is all about and what makes it so special? Animal Crossing is billed as a communication game. You play a decidedly odd-looking character that decides to move away from home and start a new life in a small town populated, unsurprisingly, by animals. Planning obviously isnt your forte because you arrive with little money and not even a house to stay in. Luckily, or rather unluckily for you, local business entrepreneur Tom Nook gives you a house in exchange for manual labour and paying off a hefty loan. Youre finally settled in your town. Your town has all the usual things going on that a normal town does, such as special events, a little shop and some neighbours who can often be annoying. The main selling point of the game, however, rests with the use of the GameCubes internal clock. This means the game is played in real time and the game carries on even after you switch your GameCube off. So it means that there are your typical seasons, or that on October 31st its Halloween or whatever day your birthday is youll get a present and that Thursday is trash day. A real community living inside your little Cube.
So what will you do in your town? Obviously your main goal is to pay off Tom Nooks loan and to get a bigger house. Once you get that done youll have another loan to pay off but yet more can be done to your house so the game does have some sort of structure to it. Other than that there are a few other things to keep you going. You will need to fund your extensions so you can help out your animal pals on some menial tasks. If that isnt your thing you can stop by the river and do a spot of fishing or grab your net and go bug catching in order to trade your catches in for some cash. Not everything is money motivated. You can just wander around and make your town look pretty by planting trees and pulling up weeds. Dig around spots to yield fossils or, if youre lucky cash (okay so more money elements) for you. Feeling retro? Well you can play on your very own NES console and play ports of NES games such as Balloon Fight, Clu Clu Land and Donkey Kong to name but a few. If youre feeling in a communicative mood you can write letters to people and include a gift if you want to. Talking to the animals is the same as in the real world, get to know them better and youll find ones you like and ones you cant stand which can be easily rectified by hitting them with your insect-catching net.
Animal Crossing is a funny old game in a sense that it can maintain interest over a long period of time but only in relatively short bursts. Play it too much and the simplicity of the game becomes all too apparent. Its bearable enough to pick up an item for one of your neighbours once or twice during a play but it can get tedious if you do it too much and sometimes the rewards (I dont call a piece of writing paper much of a reward) are sometimes not worth it. The same can also be said from talking to them, as youll hear a whole lot of repeated dialogue. For some people the temptation of fiddling with the GameCubes clock and advancing the game through their own means may prove too much but that would be ruining the game. The best way to play it is around half an hour a day so you can acquaint yourself with your friends and do any tasks and even if it does still repeat its still, for some reason, a whole lot of fun thanks to its relaxed atmosphere. And in the right frame of mind AC is the perfect lazy day game as Ive spent longer than thirty minutes pottering about my town, catching fish, doing errands and talking to the folks. You will know if this game is for you or not because the lack of any real variety or things to do will grate with some people.
The game is enhanced somewhat if you have a friend who also has the copy of the game or if you have housemates that also want to have a go. AC can accommodate up to four people in the same town though you wont be able to play at the same time as another person. More interestingly is if another person has the copy of the game. By getting their memory card with their town on you can actually visit their town for yourself. You can make even more animal friends, post messages and potter around their village and, if youre particularly mean, dig holes all over the place and chop down loads of trees. Having another person go round your village will also stay in the minds of your village friends with them telling you about your friend. If you dont have any friends local to you then interaction is still achieved by being able to swap gifts. Go to Tom Nook, provide him with the name of the person and their town name and ask to send a gift and hell give you a password then all your friend has to do is enter that same password into their own game and they get your gift, a nifty system even if it is a pain writing out the passwords. Also, as with most first party Nintendo products, connectivity with the Gameboy Advance is a feature and something you cant escape from. It can be used as a controller for the NES games and also designing t-shirts on the move. It can also be used to be able to visit your own personal little island. This island will have a new animal to chat to, your own house, new fruit and has the ability to give you a nice little tan. Obviously have a GBA and another friend playing isnt essential and wont provide anything groundbreaking but if you have the tools then they are features that can often be a laugh and, especially with the friends town aspect, build on the community aspect. Of course this would have been better if the game had online play but this will probably have to wait until the DS game.
The localisation issue rears its head while you are playing the game and you might not help but feel a little annoyed. Contrary to what Nintendo said there has been no change to the US version of the game which does leave you thinking what all the fuss was about in the first place if they werent going to make any changes. The spellings have the same Americanised versions of it and the holidays are the same as in the American version with no UK specific dates marked down. Obviously its not too much of a bother not having a few small Brit holidays missed out but the fact that Nintendo cited this as one of the biggest problems bringing the game over hear is a slight annoyance.
Originally envisaged as an N64 game you wont be playing AC for its looks. Its certainly not even beginning to make use of the Cubes capabilities and it looks no different from the upcoming Animal Crossing on the DS. Despite this factor AC still manages to have that trademark Nintendo style. Everything is bright, bold and colourful. Objects have a nice chunky look to them and things such as the seasons passing are always nice to see. It would have been nice, however, for them to try and update the character models, as they do seem rather low on texture and the same goes with some objects as well which could have benefited from a higher resolution. The sound, also, is rather basic. There is, like most Nintendo first party games, no speech and probably for the best as wed have to wait another decade for it to arrive. Animals speak their own animal language; think Sims language but slightly more high pitched. There are quite a few nice musical tunes and you can also collect around fifty different ones to play in your own home if you so wish.
It is fair to say that while AC may not be a total niche product (its actually in the top five best selling games on the GameCube in the US) its not going to appeal to all. As said there are limitations to the game and they come clearer the more you play. Even if you dont play that much the game will be far too slow paced for some. If you dont like the Nintendo cuteness then this game will also not be for you. Technically there is little to fault the game on unless you want swish graphics. The A.I. routines of the townspeople may have been looked at in more detail. A townsperson may hate you one minute but a few minutes later will forgive you and act like nothing has happened, surely having weeklong feuds would be far more fun? The menu interface can be rather cumbersome at times and writing letters can be time consuming without a keyboard and having to listen to the same text over and over whenever you want to do a certain task can get annoying.
So was it worth the wait or not? On the whole, yes. As said before it is disappointing to find out this isnt a true localised Animal Crossing for the UK but taken as a whole the game manages to achieve what it sets out to do. Nintendo is probably the only company this day in age to release a game like this and shows that they are willing to sacrifice potential hit sales in the form of creativity and fun. This game will be played well after the initial few days, with weeks and possibly years of wandering round town and watching it transform. Welcome to your new life.
[8 out of 10]
ANIMAL CROSSING IS
A new life with a lot of trees
Full of interesting people
All about communication
ANIMAL CROSSING IS NOT
Going to win awards for beauty
Localised to the UK