Sunday, February 17, 2008

Life without the Fishing Bonus in Cute

Players of early editions of the original Harvest Moon DS were blessed with an exploitation that occurred in the game in Winter whenever one hired the Fishing Team. Quite randomly, but regularly, the Fishing Team would deposit a billion in gold into total earnings at the end of the working day. One need not have rescued more than two of the Team members in order to experience this largesse.

With the Fishing Bonus, one would have more than enough money to purchase the Island when the New Year rolled round. Thomas would come to the door, offering to sell your character an Island. This all would occur before the second day of Spring in your second year of the game, provided you had hired the Fishing Team in Winter.

In fact, you could get the billion gold bonus again and again...

Well, the Fishing Team Bonus was eliminated from later editions of the original Harvest Moon DS game and it apparently has been eliminated from Cute as well. Having hired the Fishing Team from the 1st day of Winter, I am nearing the end of the season and have not experienced ANY large deposits of gold in my total earnings.

I had expected nothing different, to be honest. The Fishing Bonus made the game far too easy. So how does one make enough money to be able to trigger the Island event on the 1st day of Spring???

There are a number of ways to do it, but all involve intensive labour. Harvest Moon, after all, is a game that extols the philosophy of diligent, hard work.

The best way to make the money, in my opinion, is by finding Mythic Stones in the Third Mine. In order to do this, you have to invest a fair amount of money in the game to transform a full set of Cursed Tools into Blessed Tools. Removing the curse from a Blessed Tool costs 100,000G. That effectively means that you need to spend 600,000G in order to obtain a full set of Blessed Tools.

The Blessed Tools are worth the price, however, even without the added bonus of the appearance of Mythic Stone in the Third Mine. With the Blessed Tools, one can accomplish anything. The Mythic Tools are even better, but one can do anything with the Blessed Tools that one can do with Mythic Tools, although it will take a little longer.

For example, there are some clusters of boulders outside the Excavation Site. With a Mythic Hammer, one can smash ALL of them in a single stroke, netting 15 pieces of Material Stone daily. With a Blessed Hammer, one must deliver two strokes, one for the left and one for the right, netting 9 pieces from the right side and 6 from the left.

In fact, it is a good idea to collect ALL the Material Stone one can once one has either the Blessed or Mythic Hammer. One needs 999 pieces to build a Basement, after all...

The other two large deposits are in the middle of the field south of the Excavation Site and next to the first Hot Spring tot he right of the Circus grounds. Smash all of these daily for a total of 43 pieces of Material Stone.

Harvest Moon is a collection game, after all. If you make the rounds of the Valley stone deposits daily, you will have enough Material Stone for a Basement in 23 days without ever smashing a small stone... There is a considerable difference in the price of any construction project if you are able to provide the Material Stone yourself... Gotz charges 200G for each piece of Material Stone.

In Harvest Moon DS and Harvest Moon Cute DS, construction of many buildings offers a choice of materials, including Fodder! You can order Bird Barns, Animal Barns, Maker Barns, Mushroom Sheds and Basements made of Fodder, Wood Lumber, Material Stone or Gold Lumber. A Pond and any House Expansion require Material Stone, however, without any option to use cheaper materials.

The danger of building from Fodder or Wood is similar to that in the old tale of the Three Little Pigs. Any storm can blow the house down, killing all occupants. If you are building the structures as a temporary measure in order to rescue Harvest Sprites, go ahead and use Fodder, as long as you make certain to control the weather until you finally decide to sell the animal occupants and demolish the buildings.
You will need a total of 5 Bird Barns to rescue Woohoo and a total of 3 Animal Barns filled with adult livestock in order to rescue Red Ribbon. Once the Sprites are rescued, you can sell the animals and order demolition of the extra buildings if you wish. Remember, though, that many Sprites are rescued through Animal Care and the shipment of ranch products. You can rescue them faster if you have many animals. Sprites are rescued when you ship 300, 500 and 1000 eggs, wool or bottles of milk. Sprites are rescued when you shear sheep 100, 300 and 700 times with the Touchglove. In like fashion, Sprites are rescued when you milk cows using the Touchglove 100, 300 and 700 times. Sprites are rescued when you pet, brush or speak to your animals 50, 350 and 900 times. Sprites are rescued when you use the Touchglove to pet your animals 50, 100, 300 and 500 times. Sprites are rescued when you wash your animals with brush and Touchglove 50, 100, 300 and 500 times... Well, you get the idea.

Use of the Touchglove in ANY of these activities can be very hard on your DS, by the way. I ruined one DS solely through use of the Touchglove in HM DS, and it had to be sent to Nintendo for repair! I now use a screen protector and a pen stylus always. Furthermore, once I have rescued all possible Sprites, I use the Touchglove very sparingly, only raising the heart level of a single Animal in each category in order to be able to win the Festivals, produce the best product and breed to the next level. It is not worth the wear and tear on the DS to do more than this.

To be honest, I was rather sorry that the Touchglove requirements had been retained for Cute. It is my least favourite aspect of Harvest Moon for the DS. One can hire the Sprite Team to perform Animal Care and Animal Ranch product collection, however, and their efforts will raise animal heart levels for you.

Returning to the original subject of this post, however, it is far more difficult to raise enough gold in Cute to be able to afford the Island on the 1st day of the second year than it was in the original Harvest Moon DS. If I were playing a game that I would be able to KEEP, I would do it, but as this cartridge must be returned to Natsume ultimately, I am not certain it would be worth the effort... As it is, I collect and ship at least one piece of Mythic Stone through the Can Food Maker each day for 30,000G as well as shipping whatever jewelry I find in the Excavation Site on my way out of the mines. With ordinary expenses for building projects and the blessing of various Cursed items, I am not saving as much money as I otherwise could if I were obsessed with the Island purchase. Certainly, I will have sufficient savings when the third year rolls round without making superhuman efforts.

As the first Winter draws to a close, I still am trying to talk myself OUT of the effort of making sufficient gold to trigger the Island purchase scene at the start of the second year. I originally told myself I wouldn't bother to collect a full set of Blessed Tools in a game that ultimately would be erased... and yet, I did.
I originally told myself I wouldn't bother to rescue any Sprites above the total of 60 required to rescue the Harvest Goddess, and yet I continue to rescue Sprites...
I originally told myself... well, a leopard cannot change its spots, and I am an obsessive, thorough player by nature. I play the best game I can irrespective of its ultimate fate.

In fact, there is one more 'exploitation' that has been eliminated from Cute, making it more difficult to become rich early in the game. Van no longer will buy Blessed Accessories or the Accessories you purchase at the Casino. In the original Harvest Moon DS, you could sell Accessories to Van for a very nice profit. In Cute, Accessories cannot be sold.

When one reviews the essential nature of Harvest Moon DS and Harvest Moon Cute DS, however, one realises that it makes more sense NOT to allow a player to accomplish everything in the first year. After all, the game lasts 255 years!!!

No comments: