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HARVESTER

1996 Digi FX interactive

Merit studios

Min requirements: DOS, 16 MB ram, Windows 95 or greater

Fight the temple wizard with a Chainsaw

Wierd monk guy acts like your mentor

Billy the psychotic paperboy

Ouch

 

I've always had a soft spot for PC point and click games. Back in the day game publishers couldn't keep up with all the variations in PC graphics and sound hardware and so tended to stay away from arcade style games and focus on smaller, less resource hungry adventure games. Thus a lot of the stuff you find in the era before Doom came out tends to be slow moving, story driven puzzle adventrue games, ala Lucasarts or Sierra.

This particular game is of the point and click variety (pick up the rat, use lighter on rat, throw flamming rat at clown, etc.) However there's some action elements too. Story is pretty surreal, your'e a guy named Steve who has amnesia and wakes up in a small town in 1950s America. Everyone in the town seems to be some kind of sicko. Your Mom bakes cookies by the dozen, then throws them away, then bakes more. Your dad is locked up in his bedroom in various types of S&M gear. Your girlfriend's dad is obsessed with meat. The sherrif is a total psycopath. His Barney Phife sidekick masturbates to child porn. The grade school teacher kills children who speak in class with a baseball bat. The crazy general in charge of the local nuclear missile facility got his legs blown off in WWII shoots anyone who walks too close, resulting in the end of the world. The fire department are all gay, and stand around painting each other nude all day. The paper boy tries to kill you if you don't put the paper out for him everyday. There's a creepy Bee lady. And through it all this wierd monk guy keeps giving you these evil tasks to perform, like burning down this lady's diner, which resuts in her commiting suicide. The whole thing ends up being some kind of virtual reality program that's brainwashing you into a serial killer. This game is awsome.

Eventually you have to kill most of these people. You can equip an assortment of weapons (bats, chainsaws, shotguns, pool cues, knives, staple guns, etc.) Fighting consists of pressing the left mouse button as fast as you can, although you can aim high, medium, or low. It's all timing actually, the guy walks toward you, you hit him and he flies back, then he walks toward you again, pretty easy stuff. By the end you basically have to kill everyone you meet.

Control is very simple, click the mouse button to change the mouse icon into a Walk icon, Use icon, Pick up Icon, examine, etc. Plus there's an overworld map which makes walking to different areas quicker, unlike say Kings Quest where you have to walk through every screen over and over again.

Puzzles aren't too hard, you essentially find an item, then walk around to every screen until you find a use for the item. So replay value isn't really happening. However there are a few optional path trees to walk down that add some spice to the story, like you can hide in the closet and take pictures of the teacher and principle gettting it on, then either blackmail a baseball bat off them or go around and show everyone in town (of course then he'l try to kill you later.) Also there seems to be a time limit too, you've got three "days" to figure out how to get into the temple in the middle of town else the town gets together and lynches you.

Supposedly there was some controversy about this game back in the day because of the sex and gore, but really it's nothing you wouldn't see in any made for cable R rated movie. There's no real nudity to speak of (some nice langerie shots,) and the gore looks pretty primitve by today's standards. One pretty disgusting scene has three little children eating thier own mother and supposedly this scene got the game banned in Germany or something (which was of course proudly displayed on the box when I bought it.) I guess the big deal is since the game uses digitized photos for graphics ala Mortal Kombat then it's more "real." Times sure have changed.

A pretty decent game, not too hard to find, with a sick sense of humor and enough mystery to make you want to see the ending, which is pretty disgusting. Hard to imagine that games like GTA get so much flack when stuff like this came out over ten years ago.

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