A forgotten classic!
Oh, yes, Body Harvest for the N64.
I remember it like yesterday when I bought this brilliant game and brought it home to play it. Obviously, the game blew me away! Not because of the graphics (which aren’t breathtaking, to be honest, its for the N64 after all) but because of the refreshing gameplay, the intense action, and the freedom it gives to the player. The story with aliens and time travel isn’t exactly new, but DMA designs managed to give it its own, unique spin.
Its the year 2016 and some kind of insectoid alien race has brought mankind to its knees. Over roughly 100 years, these creatures visited planet earth in a 25-year interval. Every time to harvest and consume a large portion of food to replicate and advance their species.
Guess what, “Humans” are the food source, but what else do you expect from giant insects as large as a house? So in the year 2016, mankind is nearly harvested to extinction. Nevertheless, the remaining few survivors invented some kind of time-machine and two genetical enhanced super soldiers, Adam & Daisy, who could survive time-travel.
The plan is to send them back to the first time the aliens appeared, so the critters couldn’t replicate and have weakened numbers the next time they arrive on earth. But then the shit hits the fan, but I don’t want to spoil the entire story. Better let’s take a look at some gaming facts.
Why, the hell, does it play like GTA?
Good question! Let’s jump right into that topic.
Body harvest really plays like GTA 3 in a lot of ways. First and foremost, it’s one of the first real sandbox games: you have a wide arrangement of vehicles you can use and the player is able (most of the time) to roam the map freely. DMA Design did an amazing job fleshing out the different time periods you travel to. But who is that company? Well, the story goes way back to the year 1987 when DMA Design was founded by David Jones and his former classmates Mike Dailly, Russell Kay, and Steve Hammond. Backed by the popular publisher Psygnosis they couldn’t have a better start. They invented many popular franchises Lemmings, Unirally, and even GTA.
Yes, the popular Grand Theft Auto franchise! But wasn’t that developed by Rockstar Games, you may ask? Indeed, that’s half true, because DMA design later became Rockstar North. Intended to be released as a launch title for the N64, this awesome game saw its release a little bit later in the year 1998 (because Nintendo had some issues with the violent theme of the game). Still, it predates GTA III by whooping 3 years!
You could probably say that the gameplay of Grand Theft Auto that we love so much nowadys is heavily based on the N64 game Body Harvest.
So is Body Harvest any good?
Hell Yeah! you will have a bloody good time, for sure!
If… yes there is an “if”… you can bear the n64 muddy, foggy & blurry graphics. Its no trainwreck for sure, but it isn’t very pretty either. The music, on the other hand, rules supreme! It is awesome, every soundtrack is moody & creepy and sets the perfect vibe for Body Harvest. The levels are huge and they look and play very different. On your journey, you will visit Greece, Java, America, Siberia and one final level that I won’t spoil. You can see, its quite a large game.
As stated before, you can freely roam the entire map most of the time, but there are “happenings” that won’t let you stray too far. Every now and then an alien attack occurs and a huge swarm of Aliens tries to harvest a nearby town, which the player has to save. If the “Harvester Bugs” get the chance to consume too many humans, they will breed a super-strong “Mutant” enemy which really is a pain in the ass. So you better should keep those villagers save, trust me. There is a ton of secrets to discover and every time-period has its unique secret weapon you have to discover and assemble. Its a blast, I can tell you! Just do me a favor and set the language option for English. In some countries, this game is cut (like in Germany) and if you play the game in that language, there is no blood and some cutscenes totally make no sense. It’s easy to avoid if you set it to English.
Still, there is one negative point I have to admit: there are game-breaking glitches, and I had to restart Body Harvest two times. Most of the time it had to do with special vehicles you get for some missions. If you’re in such a mission, don’t turn your N64 off. After reloading, you might get stuck inside that mission without the special vehicle you need to solve that mission. That I beat the game nevertheless should show you how good this game is, It pulled me back two times after losing my entire progress.
Is Body Harvest rare?
Actually no, it isn’t.
In fact its dirty cheap on eBay and if you want to grab it the go-ahead! Maybe it’s not a collector’s item, but its a darn good game on its own merits! And it deserves a lot more of attention for sure! Especially since there are not that much N64 games like this.