The game stars Steve Mason, who awakes with a case of amnesia in a strange town in 1953 called Harvest. He can’t remember anything from his past and when he tells the people that claim to be his family, as well as townsfolk, they all tell him what a kidder he is. All of the town inhabitants are extremely over eccentric and many appear to be more a satire or stereotype than real people. They all continuously stress to Steve that he should join the Lodge, which is a large building located at the center of town that serves as the headquarters of the Order of the Harvest Moon. Steve visits the Sergeant at Arms at the Lodge, who tells him that all of his questions will be answered inside the building, but in order to enter, he must first join the Order of the Harvest Moon. But in order to join, he must perform a series of tasks that range from simple vandalism to arson for his initiation.
While snooping around town, performing these various tasks and learning more about this bizarre and corrupt town, Steve visits the Pottsdam residence. Here he meets the overweight and perverted Mr. Pottsdam, who tells Steve that he is to marry his daughter in a few weeks. Steve meets his alleged wife-to-be upstairs and she explains that she has amnesia as well, and, like Steve, notices that something doesn’t seem right about the town. Over a series of days Steve successfully performs all of the required tasks and when he visits Stephanie in her room, he finds nothing but a mutilated skull and spinal cord. He takes it to the Sergeant of Arms and asks him if this is really the remains of Stephanie, to which the Sergeant explains that, inside the Lodge, he will learn the truth, and grants Steve access.
Inside the Lodge Steve visits three floors consisting of mayhem and murder. He must solve various puzzles along the way as well as visit different rooms, referred to as “temples” by their occupants, where he must take on several moral decisions. Eventually he makes it to the Inner Sanctum, where he talks to Principal Herrill of Harvest’s Gein Memorial School, who explains that he is second in command of the Harvest Order and is to be addressed as Vice Muck Herrill. The head of the Harvest Order, the Grand Muckity Muck, shares a few short words with Steve, and then attacks him. Steve successfully kills the Grand Muckity Muck and meets the Sergeant at Arms one last time.
He reveals Stephanie to him, who is alive but hooked up to a special torture device, which gave her pain whenever Steve climbed a rope in the Lodge. He releases her from the device and explains to Steve that everything in Harvest is created by a virtual reality simulator, which he and Stephanie are hooked up to. The Sergeant at Arms explains that this simulation was created in hopes of successfully turning Steve into a serial killer in real life. He then gives Steve a final ultimatum: Marry and live out the rest of his life and die of old age with Stephanie in the virtual reality that is Harvest or kill Stephanie, where she will die in real life but Steve will be released and free to live in the real world as a serial killer.
Harvester contains various scenes of violence and gore; implied sexual intercourse, masturbation and S&M profanity; cannibalism; prostitution; and stereotypes of homosexuals, Native Americans, Italians, and others. This naturally caused controversy when the game was first announced, as early as 1994 at that year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES). At the time, several television news programs like CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News included the (supposedly upcoming) new game in stories focusing on the link between video games and violence, as well as the need for a more established rating system.
The game was banned from stores in Germany. It was considered for release in Australia, but the local distributor for the game backed out, believing it would probably be banned there, as well. The game was released in Great Britain, albeit with numerous scenes removed from the game by the BBFC.
Few titles at that time had managed to match Harvester's volume of gore - a distant contemporary would be Phantasmagoria. However, despite the extremely graphic content, the game only received a M rating in the USA instead of an AO. Much of the violence consisted of crudely animated blood and gore superimposed over poorly rotoscoped live-action actors - as opposed to realistically rendered makeup effects. Gilbert Austin has stated that his ambitions for the game were much higher (including live video during conversation, instead of simple close-up photos), but that he ran out of both time and money.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the game was not actually released until 1996, and wound up being largely ignored: the victim of lukewarm reviews, having missed its initial window of notoriety, and graphics which appeared already outdated by the time of its release." (Wikipedia)
This game is prepared to work under Windows XP /Vista (Dosbox). When the game asks for another disc, press Ctrl+F4 to swap discs.
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