Animal Crossing is one of the biggest surprise hits available on the Nintendo Gamecube. Released summer of 2002 itï¿½s the kind of game that will keep you coming back repeatedly. It’s a quirky game that revolves around your character, a human, moving out of his parentsï¿½ house and into the real world. Well, a real world full of animals that is. The game starts off with you on a train moving to this new town. Once you get there you meet the resident entrepreneur of your town, Tom Nook. Tom Nook sets you up with a house, for the small fee of your indentured servitude, until you can work off the debt. You can work off your debt by fishing, catching bugs, selling fruit, and working for the animals in your town. Little by little you increase the size of your house, and add to the aesthetics by collecting furniture, and other various knick-knacks. Though the town is actually small there is always something to keep you busy whether it be running errands for your neighbor, or keeping watch over the town lighthouse for the mayor. The game keeps you coming back just to see what your townies are up to.
In all honesty the game looks like a last generation Nintendo 64 game. Well, much like those rich old guys with beautiful models on their arms that you see all the time in Hollywood, what this game lacks in graphics it more than makes up for in game play. The colors are vibrant and rich and while the graphics are nothing to brag to the old man with the lazy eye that you saw on the bus the other day mumbling to himself, they are right at home in this game. ï¿½Itï¿½s not always about looksï¿½ is what those models will always say to reporters; at least itï¿½s true in video games because this game would be nowhere if judged solely on its graphics.
The sound isnï¿½t as grating as sound on a Nintendo 64 game, but itï¿½s no masterpiece score either. It does get good after youï¿½ve collected some songs to play in your house. Itï¿½s kind of a shame that the only time you can listen to the songs youï¿½ve collected is when youï¿½re in your house because the little time you spend in there is usually to add a piece of furniture to your collection, to tidy up, or to pick up or drop off some item youï¿½ve just found. For the most part the sound is standard and I generally found myself turning it down so as not to be bothered by it. The only time it gets good is when you pick up a new song and want to hear it for the first time. Thatï¿½s when I turned it up because the songs (when you get a song from composer K.K. Slider the credits roll) are kind of infectious in a odd sort of way.
The game plays like a champ. Itï¿½s not exactly twitch gaming, so you donï¿½t expect much,only for your character to do what you want him to. It works well here. The menu is clunky, and could have been simplified to make the transition between tools easier as opposed to opening your item menu, finding the tool you need, putting it in your characters hand, and putting the now replaced item back into your inventory. There are other buttons on the controller that werenï¿½t used that could have made this a much simpler process, but thatï¿½s what sequels are for, to improve upon any mistakes made in the first version. You can also connect your Gameboy Advance via the Gameboy ï¿½ Gamecube cable to access a secret island and other rare items you can gain from Animal Crossing cards if you have an E-Reader.
Can I play with a friend? Yes and no. You can have a friend move into your town and have his own house and his own life, but you canï¿½t be there at the same time with him or her. You can also visit a friendï¿½s town on their memory card if you want. This is a nifty feature because you can see what animals live in their town, what fruit grows there, and bring it all back to your town. If your town grows only apples, and your friend’s grows cherries, pick up a cherry and plant it in your town to create more fruit trees and in the process making more money for you because you can now sell those cherries for more money than you would get for your apples. You can also leave furniture for your friend or notices on their bulletin board. If youï¿½re nice enough to the townies theyï¿½ll up and leave your friend for your town. Conversely, however, your townies will also leave you for your friends town, but hey! Who needs them anyway?
Aside from the normal game there is nothing else, except for one of the best features ever included in a video game! With a little luck and a lot of persistence you can unlock several games from the old Nintendo Entertainment System or NES. Unlockables include Donkey Kong, Clu Clu Land, Excitebike, Mike Tysonï¿½s Punch Out, and various others. Sure theyï¿½re old games long outdated, but if youï¿½re old school and letï¿½s face it whoï¿½s not? Youï¿½re bound to love these oldies but goodies.
Is it fun enough to come back to? Are albino alligators rare? Boy howdy! This game is set to your Cubes calendar and clock, so it never stops and the game celebrates holidays by giving you gifts which is more than enough reason to come back for more. The game has thousands of items making it a tough challenge to complete a furniture set or a theme for your house. Completing a furniture set is reason enough to keep coming back for more, but if thatï¿½s not enough, how about catching every kind of bug there is? Still not enough? Catch all 40 different types of fish in the game. Still not enough for you? How about the fact that to complete both of these tasks, since the game is based on your clock, you need to play through all four seasons! Wow! How many games out there have the replay value to keep you coming back for more over the course of a year! Not many, but this is no ordinary game. Animal Crossing has now raised the bar that much higher for any future releases of games of this type.
Animal Crossing’s not pretty; like that girl you went out with in middle school, but it sure is a lot of fun. The menu could use an overhaul. The town could be bigger; dialogue better, and the music shouldnï¿½t sound like it was made in your high school introduction to electronic music class on MIDI keyboards. That said, what it lacks in these categories it makes up for in replay, fun, and everything else that canï¿½t be measured in a game. Though the game might look and sound the same everyday, itï¿½s always a fun experience if you make it one. The chores the animals have you complete can get stale, but if you donï¿½t want to do them then go fishing. This game is like real life; itï¿½s what you make of it.
Overall once you get past the outdated looks of Animal Crossing youï¿½ll see that there is a real winner here. A game with loads of personality and tons of features that I couldnï¿½t even highlight here for fear of making this the longest review ever. I cannot recommend this game highly enough. If you donï¿½t have this game already go out and buy it! If this review hasnï¿½t convinced you yet, did I mention it comes with a free Memory Card 59!?! Go out and get this game and if youï¿½re not satisfied well, you can direct any spiteful mail in my direction, so I can promptly delete it! A testament to Nintendoï¿½s commitment of both quirky and quality games, Animal Crossing stands head and shoulders above a sea of over hyped, but severely lacking me too games. Bravo Nintendo for having the courage to bring a title like Animal Crossing to the United States where if it doesnï¿½t explode or bleed enough, it doesnï¿½t sell enough.
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