Developed by Nintendo
Price £47.99 (including memory card)
Released: Out Now
Crossing was originally intended for the N64, but late in its development,
was ported over to the GameCube. Nintendo has labelled it 'a communication
game'. For those wanting a better reference, think Harvest Moon with typical
The first time you play the game, you will spend the initial couple of
hours setting everything up - giving your character and town a name; meeting
the people who live there; and choosing a house. The game comes with a
memory card, and up to four players can have their own house in the town,
though only one person can play at a time.
The town is generated randomly, so every player's town will have a slightly
different appearance. Geographical features such as trees and rivers,
Tom Nook's local shop, the police station, the post office and resident's
houses, will all be placed differently. The fruit on the trees and some
of the items on sale in the local shop will also differ.
Generally, there are four main goals of the game. The first is to progressively
upgrade your house to a larger size, maybe adding on a basement or another
storey, and paying off its subsequent mortgage. You can acquire Bells
(the currency of the game) by collecting seashells, fruit and other items,
and selling them at the local shop.
The second goal is to go back into the game world as little or often as
you want, and interact with the other characters and events which occur.
If you go back on a daily basis, you will get a better understanding of
your town's life, and the events and goings on which occur. It's all about
building up a relationship with the town and its people, or animals, in
Initially, there will be seven animals in your town, chosen randomly from
a roster of over a hundred different characters. If you treat them nicely,
and plant flowers to make your town more attractive, then new animals
will move in. Occasionally, existing residents may move away, allowing
a fresh opening for new characters to enter.
When you approach an animal, you are presented with two options: to complete
a job for them - usually involving collecting an item from another resident;
or engaging in general chit-chat - useful for picking up tips or hearing
about up and coming events and visitors to the town. You can even send
and receive letters from them via the local post office.
The third goal is to acquire a rod and net, and catch any fish and insects
you may find. You can give them to a museum, where Feathers the Owl will
display them, or again, you can sell them at the local shop.
Finally - your new home is automatically entered into a feng shui competition,
where it is judged on the items and furniture you have, together with
their positioning. In the game, there are literally hundreds of items
you can collect, and numerous different ways in which you can do so. Items
range from furniture - such as beds and wardrobes - to decorations - such
as carpets and wallpaper. You can even collect a number of perfectly emulated
NES games - such as Donkey Kong, Excite Bike or Wario Woods.
Animal Crossing is based around the GameCube's internal clock. If it's
10 pm on the 11th August in the real world, it's also that date and time
in your Animal Crossing town. The game will reflect the changing seasons,
from snow being on the ground in winter, to flowers on the water lilies
in summer. The types of insects and fish you catch will vary throughout
the year. If you have some gaps in your collection, you may have to wait
until the appropriate season in order to catch them.
National holidays and seasonal events will be celebrated. On Christmas
Day (called Toy Day) and your birthday, you may receive a NES game in
your Animal Crossing post. In theory, you can alter the GameCube's internal
clock, in order to manipulate the date, and thus fast forward to up and
coming events. This does kind of defeat the object of the game. If you
can't resist temptation, you will be greeted by a character called Reseti,
who will chastise you for doing so.
As mentioned, Nintendo have labelled this a communication game. You not
only converse with the town's animals, but if you need a particular item,
you can trade for it with another player. Animal Crossing trading forums
have sprung up all over the Internet. Tom Nook will give you a code for
the item you are trading. This code will be specific to the person you
are trading with - the code is linked to the name you chose for your character
and town. The beauty of this system is that you have to directly trade
with another player. You cannot use codes from other peoples' trades,
as they will of course have a different character and town name from you.
Certain items such as fish and insects cannot be traded, so you'll have
to catch them yourself.
If your friend has a copy of the game, you can borrow their memory card,
insert it in to your GameCube, visit your town's train station, and go
and visit their town. Not only will your friend's town look different,
but you may be able to buy items unavailable in your own.
Animal Crossing makes the best use yet of the GameCube to GameBoy Advance
link capability. Link them up and you can visit a previously inaccessible
island just offshore. There you will find a new holiday home and a fellow
island dweller. When you leave the island, you can save a copy of it on
your GBA. It will remain until you switch the power off. This has game
play implications as several items are only available this way. Let's
just say there are benefits to leaving items behind in your main game,
for you to interact with on your GBA.
You can also download any NES games you have found, on to the GBA, but
again, switch off the power and they are gone. Connect the GBA e-reader
and you can swipe cards that give you new items, tunes or textures to
be used in the game.
The game is viewed in a top down perspective. The graphics are cute and
colourful, and have a stylised look. The numerous characters are animated
The game's sound matches its presentation, with catchy tunes that change
every hour or so, depending upon the time of day. There is no voice acting,
as such, as the animals speak in a gibberish, animalese tongue.
Generally, Animal Crossing is deaf gamer friendly. All speech is subtitled
and is clear and easy to read. However, a sound effect, whenever you come
across some of the insects, is not represented in visual form. Usually
this is no problem, as the insects are easy to spot. However, some of
the rarer ones can be partially hidden in bushes or trees, and if you
can't hear the sound effect, you are going to have some difficulty in
finding them. Fortunately, this occurs quite rarely. As a deaf gamer,
you could still catch them, but you would have to keep your eyes peeled
at all times. Deaf gamers should not be put off, as this really is a small
part of the overall game.
Animal Crossing is full of great little touches. Neglect to play for a
few days, and the townsfolk will comment upon your absence. You can design
your own clothing, and even put it up for sale in the local shop. Maybe
later you'll see other residents wearing it. You can buy signposts, place
your own message on them, and erect them around the town.
The game play and design of Animal Crossing is unique amongst the current
GameCube offerings. The game can be played at a relaxed pace, with you
visiting the town as little or as often as you wish. As it's based around
the internal clock, you could potentially be playing for years to come.
Internet reports would also suggest that it is one of those rare games
which appeals to women as well as men.
The game does have its faults. The graphics clearly portray their N64
origins. Everything has a low polygon count, and the animals have very
blurry textures on their faces.
During interaction with the other townsfolk, conversations soon loop and
become repetitive, and they generally only differ prior to a new up and
Unfortunately, Animal Crossing has one major fault, which seriously affects
its overall design. The main goal of upgrading and paying for your house
can be completed in a month or so. The harsh fact is that the other goals
- interacting with the towns inhabitants; catching insects and fish; and
the feng shui competition, are simply not enough of an attraction to bring
you back on a regular basis.
Although many national holidays are celebrated, as in real life, these
occur few and far between. There is simply not enough to do in the meantime.
Nintendo could and should have put in randomly occurring scenarios - what
about a spaceship crash landing; a shipwreck; an earthquake; a forest
fire?, and so on - nothing of such interest happens.
Game Rating: 6.0/10 In
summary, Animal Crossing is a good game, full of charm and innovative
touches. It makes the best use yet of the GC to GBA link capability. However,
as in real life, exciting and interesting things, don't happen every day.
The problem is that for the rest of the time, there simply is not enough
the game is deaf gamer friendly. There is one omission which may make
it difficult to catch some of the insects, and although disappointing,
it really is just a small part of the overall game.