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Video Game  Review:    Animal Crossing for Nintendo Game Cube

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"Welcome to Animal Crossing. Population: Growing!"

Synopsis: Tired of video games that run out of steam far too quickly? An exciting new role-playing game has been released for Nintendo's GameCube, and it's likely to garner a huge following. Similar in nature to The Sims, Animal Crossing features a "virtual village" populated with human-like animals. Players live in their village, tend to everyday routines, and communicate with other villages. There is a 24-hour "real time" clock in the game, which means that the sun will set when the "real" sun sets. The game's clock also coordinates with real time dates, so that seasons change accordingly. The developers of Animal Crossing seemed to have tapped into the popularity of the social aspect of games with a unique communication feature. Using a memory card, kids can transfer their character to their friend's village and interact with the characters in their game! 

Kids can fish and garden, interact with neighbors, collect furnishings for their homes, and so forth. The village life unfolds day by day. An extra bonus in the package is a free Memory Card--and kids will definitely need one in order to fully enjoy Animal Crossing. This game is particularly well-suited for "gaming" families. Although only one player can play at a time, up to four players (alternating) are supported.

In the beginning: Players begin the game on a train. They "talk" to Rover--and select the settings for the clock, and choose a name for their town and character. Once in the village, they need to choose a home. However, they only have 1,000 bells (the village's currency), and homes (that are small and virtually bare) can cost upwards of 18,000 bells! In order to pay off their house, they need to work for Tom Nook, a raccoon shop owner. They plant seeds, meet the other inhabitants of the village, and so forth. They also learn that they can catch fish and insects and sell them, and they can do favors for others. Players quickly become busy--they can change their animal character's outfit, select furniture for their home, visit a store to shop or sell items, compose and mail letters at the post office, dump garbage, and so forth. Later, players can remodel their house and even add floors. 

The village begins with a small population. Over time, animals move in, and some move out. The currency in Animal Crossing is "bells". Players can buy a variety of items, such as a "lovely" kitchen, sprinkler, space station, Papa bear, daffodil, and elephant slide. Some of the kookier decorations are the tiger bobblehead and a number of types of gyroids (unusual moving decorations). They can also acquire fossils, different types of stationery, wallpaper, music to play in their tape deck, and useful items like shovels and fishing rods.

Players can earn and play old Nintendo game classics (NES games such as Donkey Kong) by doing favors for other creatures. Kids and adults (for nostalgic reasons, perhaps) will love these old classics! Children enjoy changing their character's clothes and creating patterns to use on their clothes and umbrellas.

One of the especially fun features of the game is the ability to send presents to a friend. If two siblings, for example, are playing the game (they cannot play it at once, but they can play alternately), one child can mail an item to the other child's character. They can also visit each other's homes. Mailing letters and receiving letters is a big part of the game and this is a plus for children who can always use some reading and writing practice.

The real-time clock in the game is a dynamic feature that is truly enjoyable. For example, kids can gather raffle tickets for a draw that occurs at a specific "real-time" later date. If they play the game early in the morning, Copper (the police-dog) might say, "Out early this morning, are we?" Blathers the Owl wakes up at 6:00 PM.

This game is loaded with things to do. There's even a taste of the stock market in Animal Crossing--players can buy turnips and resell them for a profit. Sundays, for example, are turnip-buying days. Players also have a choice between selling or donating the fish and insects they have collected. Should they make money from their catch, or donate it to the Museum? We're guessing that donations will improve the village; and donators even get credited! The different animal characters have their own unique personalities. For example, Pelly and Phyllis both work at the post office, but Pelly is pleasant and Phyllis is downright grouchy.

Our testers are entirely enthralled with the game. The only caution that we have so far is that Animal Crossing is very addictive! The real-time clock feature of the game might make some children anxious to play every single day. Note also that children should have some reading and spelling skills, or they will need help from older siblings or adults.

The GameBoy Advance-GameCube link cable adds extended gameplay. It allows players to travel to an island where they meet a villager and they can set up a home on the island that is shared with the other villagers. Via a download tool, It lets players make new patterns for free, and there are better tools with which to make the patterns. When players leave the island, they can choose to put the island on their GameBoy Advance so that they can play with the villager (somewhat like a virtual pet) on the GameBoy.

Tips from a tester: Fish near the beach; go fishing when it's raining; use your shovel to hit rocks (bells might appear if you're lucky), and wear green (as camouflage) in order to catch insects more easily. Bees are worth a lot of bells, so try to catch them with your net after shaking a tree. But beware that they can sting you! Have you tried setting the game clock ahead? You'll find weeds all over the place, and cockroaches and bats in your home. The good thing about it is that the items you earn in the "future" can be brought back to the present. So, for example, if you're impatient for your house to get remodeled and upgraded, you can switch the clock forward by a day, and then return to the present day again.

We'll have more updates to this page as we test the game further. 

Rated 'E' for Everyone.

For more information, user reviews, or to buy the game, follow this link:

Animal Crossing

 

Pros:
  • Involving and engrossing.
  • Replay value is exceptionally high: village life unfolds day by day, with new surprises over time.
  • The real-time clock lends dynamism to the game.
  • Children need to read in order to understand what they're doing; this budding readers to practice reading.
  • Excellent for "gaming" families.
  • Appeals to a wide audience.

 

Cons:
  • Addictive!
  • Although up to 4 players are supported, this must be in alternating format.
  • Players found the interface a chore at times; and the characters "talk" a little too much at times.

 

 

For Nintendo Game Cube By: Nintendo   Released: 2002
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

animal crossing official strategy guide, strategies

Animal Crossing

This strategy guide is Prima's official guide to the game. In its 144 pages, players can learn about the 200+ animals in the game, see a full calendar of events in the town, receive tips on how to obtain the items and locate fish and insects, and more. 

Buy the guide now by following this link: Animal Crossing

Buy the guide now by following this link: Animal Crossing: Prima's Official...

Our Rating:

A

To Buy this CD-ROM:

Buy Animal Crossing for about $49.99 US at Amazon.com

Reviewed September 2002                                                                                                 Comments? Email us.


Feedback:

"After reading your review on the Nintendo Game, "Animal Crossing", I found that it was very informative, and helped me to decide to purchase this wonderful game. I am an older gamer who was looking for replayability without struggling through areas where you needed to fight a boss, reach a platform, etc. Animal Crossing fills the gap with excellence. Even though the game is geared toward a "younger" generation of gamers, this older gamer (36) enjoys visiting my personal village every day to see what's going on, to do a little fishing, talk to the other villagers, etc. Thank you for your excellent review, and helping me to purchase one of the better games I have seen in a long, long time."
 
Steve Lambert
 


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