01 - Farm Story
02 - Pitt's Theme
03 - Let's Begin!
04 - Let's Begin! (Arrange Version)
05 - Farm Story Theme Song
06 - Farm Story Theme Song (Arrange Version)
07 - Spring Season
08 - Spring Season (Arrange Version)
09 - Busy Summer
10 - Busy Summer (Arrange Version)
11 - Autumn's Harvest
12 - Autumn's Harvest (Arrange Version)
13 - Severe Winter
14 - Severe Winter (Arrange Version)
15 - Let's Go to Town
16 - Let's Go to Town (Arrange Version)
17 - Strange Crops
18 - Strange Crops (Arrange Version)
19 - Grandpa's Knowledge
20 - Grandpa's Knowledge (Arrange Version)
21 - It's a Great Party
22 - It's a Great Party (Arrange Version)
23 - Farm Story (Karaoke)
I've been a fan of the Harvest Moon series for quite a while. I remember my first HM game was the Nintendo 64 version. I got addicted to the game, and before I knew it, three years have passed (in-game), and I'd beaten it. My personal favorite title in the series is Harvest Moon: Back to Nature for the Playstation; I spent a lot of time achieving many things in it. While I am a fan of the games, I am not the biggest fan of their soundtracks. They are nice songs, but there is usually little variety in them.
I never played any of the handheld HM games except for the decent Harvest Moon DS, thus I initially didn't know what to fully expect on the music from the Game Boy Harvest Moon. This soundtrack, released in 1998, features all the original Game Boy MIDI tunes along with their arranged counterparts.
I grew up with 16-bit music in games, though I have played my share of old Game Boy games with catchy tunes, but it's a tougher appeal. The MIDI songs are pretty good though, I find a lot of them to be a bit too high-pitched. As expected, there are four season songs, which fit the corresponding seasons they belong to...except for "Autumn's Harvest" which sounded like a race track song in my ear. There is also the lighthearted town music along with miscellaneous tunes. The MIDI melodies are pretty generic, but a few are catchy. The ones who would enjoy this portion the most are those who played this Harvest Moon, and listening to this for nostalgic purposes.
Clearly, the arranged versions are better, but this is an unfair comparison. I personally enjoyed this part of the soundtrack a lot more as the composer turned the generic MIDI songs into enjoyable listens. Surprisingly, a lot of songs are quite upbeat, but they still capture the spirit of the series in a different way. I did find "Busy Summer" to be a bit too hardcore for the game's pastoral style. If you are not big on the upbeat tunes, there are a few lighthearted songs that kept things in tradition. "Spring Season" and "Grandpa's Knowledge" are pretty heartwarming songs while "Severe Winter" is more dramatic, like every winter season in the series. Also, the arranged version of "Autumn's Harvest" sounds like much more of a fall theme than its MIDI counterpart. To me, the arrangements made all the songs feel fresh, new and exciting.
There are also the two vocals at the beginning of the album: "Farm Story" (or "Bokujou Monogatari," making it the title track), and "Pitt's Theme." Both songs have energetic and lighthearted melodies accompanied by cute, female vocals. Both of the vocals are fun listens that you can dance to. If I had to pick one, it would be "Farm Story" since it's easier to get into, and the whole style made it a very fun listen. "Pitt's Theme" is nice but a bit too much of a J-Pop song that didn't try to break the mold.
Is the album worth it? I'd say so, but it's not spectacular. It features two different styles of the same song, along with some cool vocals. The MIDI songs appeal to players who want nostalgia while the arranged versions are for music fans in general. It's an old album that has become a difficult find...so if you want it, eBay is your best shot. While it's not a must-have, if you can find a good, cheap deal for it, snag it.
Reviewed by: Dennis Rubinshteyn