Harvester is a DOSBox port of a dark horror game from the mid 1990’s renowned for how the game was advertised to be ‘the most violent adventure game of all time’ ,the examination of fictional/real world violence and the usage of full motion video content being used in the game namely the characters are real actors in game and full motion videos being used in cutscenes. The DOSBox port of this game is very good as it authentic to the original experience of the game complete with the moments where you had to swap the disks in the CD drive.
Gameplay wise Harvester is a point and click game that provides little insight at the start and throws you straight into the game(after seeing a small trailer that shows you the town of harvest with no insight of anything else). Firstly when I started the game I was happy to see that it does provide you with some basic hints on what to do in game since I can imagine that this could be a first time playthough on a point and click game. Whilst I generally figured out what to do in the end with what tasks I had to complete and the methodology on how best to carry a given task out.
However it is a frustrating and difficult game to play on since the only way you can find out what to do is to talk directly to other characters take hints that they may drop in conversations with limited ways to find out information, for example on the first day one of characters asks for a magazine you will not only have to figure out how to obtain the magazine but he will only ask for it when his boss is out at noon which the game doesn’t provide an in game clock and it took me a while to figure out how to complete the first day because of the lack of some information.Also this game does also penalise players if you don’t do certain things such as pick up an item or meet a specific person day you will be penalised with even the prospect having to restart the game from scratch being a likely consequence of making even the most basic of mistakes.
Interaction provided in the game is also limited since you can only discuss predetermined subjects in conversation even though there is an ‘other’ box underneath the discussion box as I tried speaking to different characters firstly I asked the mom for advice on how to get sneakers I managed to confuse her, later on I found stephanie I complimented her hair cut and I got a confused response from her. Also when showing items unless it is a item that they are interested for one reason or another you get the same response and there is no different emotional responses based on items as for example I recieved an autograph from an actor from a cowboy show and one character who is watching the show presented the same emotional response in the autograph as he did with a roll of duct tape.
The game also is quite strange for some reasons as visually there isn’t many parts in game which are scary but instead there was plenty of cutscenes that are weird/gory but the cheesy acting does also detract from the cutscenes. The Gameplay is also a mixed bag as I was surprised as to what the game is as for the first 2/3 of the game I was playing a point and click that provided commentary on various topics including the culture of 1950’s cold war america with topics often referenced with intelligent,witty and occasionally providing humour and innuendo ridden dialogue. But in the final part of the game it tries to become a fighting game as it loses most of it’s intelligent gameplay and instead forces you to use an awkwardly implemented combat system that is clunky to use and I was somewhat unsure on what to expect from this part of game on whether it wanted to be a survival game or a fighting game with minimal point and click mechanics.
Overall I feel that the game is a mediocre experience that does start well but loses it’s quality the further you go into the game and as a result I would only recommend anyone picking this game up if you have interest in games within the genre,FMV or older games. But be warned that many people will find this is a unpleasant experience due to the cutscenes/varied subject matter but it is a difficult and potentially frustrating game to play without resorting to finding a walkthrough.