Granted, Body Harvests graphics look like they were sketched out on a napkin before being transferred directly into the game, and the smothering fog almost pu Turok's pea-souper to shame, but DMA's three-years-in-the-maklng allen-lnvaslon epic plays a compleI storm. And Its horribly depressing to think that, along with the equalb fantastic - and equally underrated - Silicon Valley, Body Harvest only sold about ooh, ten copies.
Ostensibly a simple shoot-'em-up with the accent on mowing down legions of insectoid invaders, Body Harvest also throws in some RPG-style character interaction, plentiful puzzles, some utterly vast levels and over 60 - yes, 60 - different types of vehicles to bomb around in ("A gold-lined stroke of genius", said Tim in his review, and he wasn't wrong). Whilst the time taken to develop the game meant the graphics looked a little dated, DMA made the most of the three years and stashed the game full of joypad-gripping things to do. Ferrying a merchant ship full of refugees across a volcanic lake whilst being strafed by huge bomber bugs; borrowing a fire engine to douse a flaming Greek village whilst fighting off a harvester wave; raising sunken cities to find an essential piece of equipment... these are just a few examples of what Body Harvest asks you to do. Sure, your main concern is to track down the harvester waves in an effort to save the human race, but there's just so much more to it. Its involving, wonderfully constructed and totally engrossing.
The music, also, is superb. Moody and atmospheric, then thundering, strident and cinematic in combat, its simply cracking. And, coupled with the vast levels - set in five disparate time zones, packed with detail and things to do, and peopled with hundreds of different characters - it helps no end in making Body Harvest one of the most engrossingly evocative games we've ever played.
So, then. Whilst it does look like the videogame equivalent of boiled cabbage, Body Harvest plays an absolute storm. You can find it in most shops for about twenty quid nowadays; our advice, if you haven' already, is to buy it It's great.
And that's a fantastic am name, too.
Body Harvest DownloadsBody Harvest download
Okay, so it looks like Bob Geldof's slightly scabbier brother, but it plays like an absolute gem, full of everything that makes shoot-'em-up's great: ground-shattering bugs, rivers of blood and innards, screen-rumbling explosions and those brilliant, brilliant vechicles.
It's not the best-looking game on the N64, but I love the way it combines the best aspects of a shoot-'em-up with puzzly bits. I also like the way, you can just forget your mission objectives and wander off on homicidal escapades of your own.
Well, I could've opted to play the game properly. Instead, it seemed far more amusing to spend my time squelching the innocent humans under the hudge wheels of my very heavy tank. Hours of fun, I promise you.
The problem with carrying any story on Body Harvest is that, even though we at N64were invited to see the game running, we weren't allowed to bring any screenshots away with us. Unfortunately, you see, Nintendo of Japan stepped in and slapped a whacking great 'Keep Out' sticker on the game. And, to make matters worse, previous screenshots aren't really relevant as the game has changed quite a bit since they were taken.
Whereas once it may have been a straightforward cross-time shoot-'em-up, it has now evolved into a totally immersive action RPG where everything within a specified area, from houses to vehicles, can be used, and people must be chatted-up in order to progress.
In fact, vehicular activity is very much top of Body Harvest's agenda, with over 130 land, sea and air modes of transport available, including ice cream vans, tanks and fire engines. However, the game is much more than merely a drive-'em-up, with different time zones having to be visited in order to prevent Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style extra terrestrial high jinks.
Graphically it's a workmanlike performance rather than a wave of visual splendour but, in-game, things get pretty darn exciting with the screen-filling other-worldly invaders providing a welcome diversion from the puzzles and four-legged beasties that beset you much of the time. The loose ends have yet to be tied up, but -- damn it -- we're expecting big things
Enormous alien shooter. Ugly but clever.
Body Harvest was one of the very first games announced for the N64, and now, nearly two years later, it's arrived. Based on what we'd already seen of it, it looked as thought it was going to be awesome. Is it?
Well, yes... and no. Body Harvest is big, different enough to stand out among the clutter of Mario clones, and ambitious in a way that very few N64 games dare to be. However, it's not without a few problems.
First, the plot. Evil Big Alien Bugs™ in their comet-like mothership have been swinging past Earth every 25 years for the past century or so, each time dropping in and eating people. By the year 2016, they've snacked upon just about everybody except lone survivors Adam Drake and Daisy Hernandez aboard their space station. Said space station is handily equipped with a time machine. As the EBABs make their final assault, Adam and Daisy hop aboard and head back in time to swat the Bugs from history. Hooray for our side! With stops in Greece 1916, Java 1941, America 1966, Siberia 1991 and the alien mothership in 2016, our heroes have their work cut out for them. Sensibly, Daisy remains inside the time machine while despatching the slab-chinned Adam into the alien-infested yonder to do all the hard work.
Into The Outdoors With Cun And Camera
Body Harvest's stages are structured affairs; each world has been divided up into sections by alien forcefields that prevent the Bugs' lunch from escaping. The overall aim in each section is to disable the alien forcefields and move on to the next area, but in order to do this there are numerous tasks that have to be carried out first.
These tasks vary from the obvious (kill the Bugs before they eat everyone) to more complex puzzles. Most of these involve finding a specific object and taking it to a certain person, where you'll be rewarded with the keys to a new vehicle or access to a previously sealed area, but there are more imaginative tasks. Early in the game, Adam has to commandeer a fire engine to stop a town from burning to the ground, and later in the game he has to get a group of children to safety before the Bugs destroy their school.
Although Adam can roam freely most of the time, things are set up so that certain objectives have to be met to reach new areas. Impassable scenery restricts Adam's wanderings until he can locate a particular vehicle or object; in some ways this helps the game, as you know that the means of escape has to be somewhere nearby, but at times you can't help but wish that Adam wasn't stopped dead by any obstacle more than a foot high.
A major feature of Body Harvest is the number of different vehicles scattered over the landscape - according to creators DMA, there are over 80 different forms of transport for Adam to find. The vehicles are pretty close copies of real ones - the Edsel (sorry, 'Edzil') on the American stage should be instantly recognisable to American car buffs - and each has its own distinct abilities. The variety of different vehicles means that the control system has to be flexible enough to cope with Adam controlling a boat one minute and a helicopter the next. Body Harvest actually manages this very well. By paring the controls down to the bare minimum (left-right, forwards-backwards) the game lets players switch between vehicles with the minimum of confusion. The vehicles themselves all handle differently, and it doesn't take long to work out that it's better to trundle around the levels in an armoured car than in a bread van.
It's Adam's own controls, ironically enough, that are the most troublesome. Even at his fastest, he lumbers around like an elephant with piles, and turns with all the speed of a supertanker, which can be fatal in combat. Granted, he's meant to be wearing armour, but players who are used to the instant response of Mario or Banjo are going to have to make some adjustments.
If they don't, they're going to be in trouble. The terrain can often be the biggest danger for our clod-hopping hero, and whether he's in a vehicle or not, Adam has the worrying habit of being magnetically drawn over precipices. On the Java levels, death was caused less by the Bugs than by vehicles accidentally skidding into deep water, from which Adam couldn't swim before the weight of his armour dragged him to a waterlogged doom.
The hair-tearing factor is increased when this forces you to return to the start of a large level over and over and over again because your vehicle slipped one inch below what the game considers the point of no return. This point is usually on a slope that wouldn't tax someone waiting for a heart transplant.
Even on foot, Adam gets in trouble, as he has the unerring talent of leaping heroically from a vehicle - and plunging straight over a cliff. Doh!
The adventure side of the game, added when Body Harvest was a Nintendo project, is interesting but not especially taxing. Once inside a structure, whether a mud hut or a secret underground complex, the action outside is frozen and no harm can befall Adam.
As a result, exploration merely requires you to walk around and examine everything for useful items, clues or ammo. About the trickiest puzzle you'll encounter is finding a disguised switch.
There are plenty of people for Adam to talk to, though they're not likely to be invited to engage in witty repartee at the Algonquin Round Table. Conversation tends to be limited to clues on how to proceed, or plain whinging about the Bugs. However, you might just spot a familiar face or two... (see boxout)
Visually, although there's a lot of variety and imagination (the Bugs look fantastic) Body Harvest often has the look of an early N64 game, with repetitive textures and a lot of fogging.
If you're in an aircraft, navigation has to be done almost entirely by map and compass because you quite literally cannot see the ground 50 yards ahead.
This is a pity, because the Bugs themselves are superb. Each time zone has its own breeds of giant insect -although they do the same jobs, they evolve with the passage of each quarter-century. They're all brilliantly animated - their legs even take account of slopes as they walk - and when a Bug dies, it screeches and bursts apart in a shower of limbs, carapace and gross bodily fluids.
The feeling of destruction is one of the best things about Body Harvest. There are times when the game turns into flat-out action, hundreds of Bugs dying messily under the weight of your firepower. If you're in a vehicle with heavy weapons, it's very satisfying to sit with your finger welded to the trigger and gun down wave after wave of shrieking insects.
Sadly, these Starship Troopers moments aren't as common as they should be, as the game's structure often ensures that the frequent Harvester waves (thankfully nothing to do with the restaurant chain) beam in when you're either on foot or in a vehicle with limited armaments. While the adventure aspects add some depth, you tend to wonder what an all-action Body Harvest, as per the original plan for the game, would have been like.
The long Walk
Body Harvest's biggest, and easily most frustrating, problem comes from the save/restart points, or rather the lack of them. It's one thing to make a game with a huge playing area, but another thing entirely to force players to slog across every inch of it repeatedly - especially if death was caused not by alien attack, but by Adam blundering to his doom. Sure, it's the player's fault, but if Adam were more controllable or the slopes more forgiving it wouldn't feel so bad.
If Adam dies near the end of a stage, it can take 20 minutes - or longer - to cover the ground again. This gets extremely tedious even by the second time it happens, but when you're on the fourth or the fifth or the twentieth attempt, your eyes start flicking between the cartridge and the nearest convenient blunt instrument. Isn't it time that a law was passed banning restart points from being more than ten minutes apart? Come on, Blair, forget all this economic and social reform crap and concentrate on the things that really matter.
Ultimately, Body Harvest is a fantastic idea for a game, let down by some minor but cumulatively annoying flaws. It's a huge shame, as Body Harvest had the potential to be one of the best games on the N64, but as anyone who's seen insects like termites at work will know, little bugs can bring great structures crashing down.
A tough action-adventurei pitting a lone warrior against an army of giant bugs. Great fun, but can get extremely difficult.
Brilliant alien shoot-'em-up with stacks of bug-pummelling, tonnes of vehicles to pelt about in and the biggest worlds on the N64.
Tactics... when facing off against a boss, the best tactic is to be in a vehicle. Failing that, keep circling them. This prevents them getting a lock-on.
The time: 2016. The species: Homo Sapiens. The status: Extinct. It turns out those nasty aliens have hunted the human race to extinction. There is only one solution: send someone back in time to attack these aliens before they have a chance to completely destroy the human race. It was decided that a genetically enhanced marine would be sent back throughout different periods of history to try to stop the Body Harvest. This is a quick summary of the story of one of the most surprising games I have seen in a while.
Take one part third-person shooter, one part action adventure game, one part RPG and one part driving game and you haveBody Harvest. Get ready to fight a ton of different aliens, talk to plenty of people, control hundreds of vehicles and blast aliens like there is no tomorrow, because if you don't there may not be a tomorrow. The aliens in this game make those in the movie Starship Troopers look tame. This game has really come out of nowhere and will test your skills in numerous challenges. Nobody wants to see the human race harvested by nasty aliens, so it is up to you to make sure this does not happen.
This is one tough game to describe. The best way is to say that it is a collage of the most popular game genres all rolled into one. Is this a bad thing? No, not necessarily, but you need to be prepared to play a game that has you performing numerous feats and changes focus constantly, and that is just the first level!
It's a shooter! The most basic premise of the game is that the aliens are harvesting the human population. You have been sent back in time to stop this from happening. Your number one priority is to blast the aliens at all costs before they can kill the humans. Unlike a traditional shooter, the aliens are not planted in certain areas, either. They are warped down from the sky whenever they see fit. There are some places where you will know you are going to be attacked, while there are other places where it will be a total surprise. You are armed with a laser pistol to start the game; it is up to you to use this or find other weapons to blow the hell out of the aliens and stop them from eating the humans.
It's an RPG! You will spend a great deal of time talking with people and searching houses, warehouses, caves and such. There are people you meet who will have you bring them things, and they will reward you with some object you will need. There are people who won't give you what you need until a particular event transpires. For example, in the first level the fireman will not give you the fire truck until the aliens attack and catch a village on fire. Once this happens, he will let you take the fire truck.
It's a vehicle game! A big part of this game is the vehicles. You will encounter vehicles that range from a motorcycle to a tank to a helicopter. The box claims that there are more than 60 different vehicles that you can control throughout the game. This seems to be a very accurate assessment. I thought the vehicles were the best part of the game. You never knew what you would come across next. With almost every vehicle you find, you're able to jump in and start driving around. There are some that are locked and you either have to wait for some action to transpire, or someone will give you the keys. Once you are in a vehicle, your character does not take any damage, only the vehicle, and some vehicles have a weapon on board that you can use. That means that your firepower and armor increase as soon as you jump into one of these vehicles. They also help you get from place to place a lot quicker.
It's a third-person adventure game! When you are not in a vehicle, you will be running around in the third-person perspective, exploring different locations and looking for things. The game primarily takes place outdoors, and you move from town to town exploring. When you do find a town, you can enter some of the houses and search for things. When you are playing in the third-person mode, you are only armed with the weapons you have found during your search process.
Now take all of those things and put them together, and out spits Body Harvest. My two complaints about this game were: 1) there was a bit too much going on. With all these different modes, the game suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. 2) You are constantly asked to go to your map for a new objective. Going to the map screen was slow and it really took me out of the overall environment of the game. It just seemed to be too much of a hindrance, not to mention the fact that the map was a real pain to read and took forever before I really understood what everything was on the map.
Not bad, not great. I was surprised to see the amount of blood that this game had. When the aliens explode, green goop goes flying which is very cool. It is nice to see that Nintendo did not censor the game (for once) and let it go. The game did suffer from some break-up and seams in the environment, but for the most part, they did a good enough job. The aliens did look pretty cool, especially when they exploded. This game does have the hated N64 fog off in the distance most of the time. I hate fog.
For some reason, I could never really get into this game. It was fun and I liked it, but I never really got sucked in. I don't know if is because the focus bounced around so much or what, but I just could not get completely hooked. I think the premise of the game is great and it was nice to see Nintendo let some of the things go that may give kids nightmares. All of the different vehicles were definitely the best part of the game, and the storyline was actually pretty cool. I suggest giving this one a weekend rental to see if you get pulled in more than I did.