Farming simulation does not normally sound like the most exciting game genre, but Natsume's Harvest Moon series has changed all that. Through its simple yet addictive gameplay, the Harvest Moon series has found a large fanbase. With the upcoming release of Harvest Moon 2 GBC, these fans should prepare to be addicted all over again.
The story of Harvest Moon 2 GBC is similar to the other games in the series: as the player, you have three game years to turn a failing farm into a profitable ranch in order to save the village. As the game continues, you will raise and sell crops, raise animals, and go to town to restock supplies. However simple this sounds, trying to keep the farm running without the character collapsing from exhaustion is difficult, and at the beginning of the game, players who overtax themselves will find themselves working long into the evening to get everything watered and healthy. When sleep finally comes, "I'll-just-play-one-more-day" syndrome kicks in and the game becomes impossible to set down.
The changes between the first and second Gameboy Color are mostly those expected in a sequel. New shops and new characters can be found, and rumor has it that the dating simulation features found in other Harvest Moon games will make an appearance in this game. Players frustrated with the limited number of tools that could be carried in the original will be pleased to know that up to four tools at a time can be carried. However, new tools will be added to balance this added ability. New items and animals will make an appearance as well. Mini-games will appear to break up the action, including a fishing simulation that will record the player's best catches. Perhaps the most interesting change, however, is the option to link up with Natsume's Legend of the River King 2 in order to exchange fish, insects, and plants. How this will affect the gameplay of each game is yet to be discovered.
Harvest Moon 2 GBC appears to improve upon the original in nearly every aspect to make it a more complete game. Being on a portable system will also make the game that much harder to put down. The completeness of the game will allow those who have never tried Natsume's simulation games to find Harvest Moon 2 GBC a perfect place to start.
Harvest Moon 2 GBC should be released in North America on November 18, 2000.