11They say you were born in the small town of Harvest and, apparently, you’ve lived there all your life. The trouble is, you wake up one morning with amnesia and can’t remember any of it. The place you call home has become a nightmarish parody of a 1950s community. You hear reverential tones of The Lodge, the mysterious manor that serves as home for The Order of the Harvest Moon — an exclusive organization that controls the town in ways you can’t begin to understand. Oh, and there’s also the town’s preoccupation with meat.

At its heart, Harvester is a typical adventure game. There are plenty of puzzles — none unreasonably tough — and the standard method of breaking and entering to steal objects that clearly belong to other people serves you well. But what sets Harvester so far apart is its cheerfully mean-spirited attitude toward its characters. Harvester makes absolutely no compromises in its approach and what was intended as horrific satire can easily come across as hateful and repellent.

To be sure, there is plenty of bizzare in Harvester – The local grade school is named after wacky Wisconsinite Ed Gein, whose peculiar ideas about nutrition and decorating inspired The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Hell, even the cheat codes (available at DigiFX’s web site) have unpleasant connotations. Yet for those with strong stomaches, and for those who don’t mind the meh animations — Harvester is a refreshing breath of foul air.


That’s gonna leave a mark.

With six days to figure out what the hell’s going on, you set out each morning (dressed in the same blue flannel shirt and jeans) getting to know the town and its eccentric inhabitants and completing the hateful tasks you must perform to gain admittance to The Lodge. Using a point and click interface, you move your character, Steve around the screen with an animated 3D cursor that changes to alert you to hot spots. The presentation is pretty outdated, with Steve shuffling across the screen much like Mike in the first Darkseed, and conversations are a bit tedious, with still photos of the participants.

Low parts of the game include the mediocre puzzles, the above mentioned crude visuals and the arcade fighting segments (they dominate the last third of the game). But as you play this most typical point and click adventure, it’s soon clear the developers set out to create the Grand Guignol of gaming; it’s all severed heads and disembowelments.

System Requirements: Pentium 166 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95

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