Body Harvest is a 3D action/adventure, third-person shooter game for the Nintendo 64. The player takes the role of Adam Drake, a genetically-enhanced super soldier that travels back in time to save Earth from being destroyed by alien invaders.
The game was developed by DMA Design (now known as Rockstar North), and due to that, it has many similarities with the Grand Theft Auto games, as the player uses a variety of weapons and vehicles to get through the game. This game's development actually precedes GTA 3 and gives birth to many of the concepts that would be used for the first 3D GTA game. While Nintendo was originally going to publish the game in America, they later backed out, with Midway replacing them as publisher.
Since 1916, the Earth has been under constant attack by an alien force. These aliens (literally giant bugs) sought a food source and found that humans' bodies could be harvested to meet their needs (hence the name of the game). The bugs would attack a certain area of Earth, harvest bodies, then leave, only to appear again 25 years later. This is due to the fact that the invaders traveled through space aboard an artificial comet that orbits the sun. Every 25 years, their orbit would bring them close enough to Earth for attack. Attacks occurred in 1916, 1941, 1966, and 1991 until the human race was nearly instinct.
In the year 2016, a few remaining human survivors orbit the Earth on a research station where they have been plotting to retake Earth. With the advent of time travel, they have formulated a plan to take genetically enhanced soldiers to the major events of the past in order to stop the alien harvest before it can annihilate the human race.
Unfortunately, during the opening cinematic, the bugs attack the station, killing the majority of the crew. Adam Drake, the only surviving soldier, is injured in his escape, but manages to get to his ship and travel back in time to Greece 1916 before the aliens catch up to him. The bugs, however, take Adam's genetic material from a pool of blood he left behind due to his injury. This allows the aliens to clone Adam, and send the clone back in time to stop humanity's last hope.
The player plays as Adam Drake as he travels to different times in the Earth's history as he repels the attacks of the alien invaders. There are two difficulties to chose from: Easy and Hero.
The game has five stages: Greece in 1916, Java in 1941, America in 1966, Siberia 1991, and finally the Alien Comet in 2016. Each stage consists of a very large map, and is separated into at least three sections (divided by alien-generated shield walls) in which they must defeat an "Alien Processor" before moving on to the next section. After each Processor is dealt with, the player must destroy the shield generator and an end-stage boss. The end-stage bosses are primarily vehicle-based battles, while the Alien Processor sections can be taken on either on foot or using various vehicles found in the environment.
During the Alien Processor sections, Daisy (Adam's female partner, who simply stay's in Adam's ship) gives the player missions to accomplish, such as visiting towns for clues, putting out fires with a firetruck, saving kids with an ice cream truck, or defending areas from Harvester waves.
These Harvester waves play major parts in the game. Every once in a while, the player will be warned of the appearance of alien Harvester, usually attacking a town. The Harvester will capture human bodies, and after it's harvested enough (represented by an on-screen meter), an enemy called a M.U.T.A.N.T. is created that will go after the player. This enemy is very difficult to defeat, so the player is encouraged to destroy the Harvester as soon as it appears to save as many humans as possible. In addition, any human the player kills himself will be added to the alien's harvest, so a M.U.T.A.N.T. can be encountered without a Harvester even present.
When navigating the expansive outdoor environment, the player can either choose to have Adam traverse on foot, or commandeer vehicles, ranging from civilian cars to military tanks. Planes and boats are also necessary to further explore the environment, as the player cannot swim for very long before drowning (which is one of those things that would carry on to GTA games, characters who cannot swim).
A gameplay feature that did not make it in later GTA games is the fact that vehicles require fuel to run. Each vehicle has a set amount of fuel in them, and after it runs out, the vehicle is unusable until the tank is refilled. Fuel can be found after defeating enemies or while exploring houses.
The player also gets a chance to explore indoors. The indoor locales are pretty much limited to either houses or dungeons. They can enter houses and talk to NPCs for clues or items needed to progress through the story. Dungeons usually involve a puzzle to solve. Most puzzles are simply solved by interacting with objects such as torches and candles.
Body Harvest is played as third-person shooter. The player cannot move while shooting unless they are in a vehicle. The player can go into manual-aim mode by holding down the R-button. While in this mode, on foot, the player can make Adam roll and dodge out of the way of attacks by pressing either the left or right C-buttons. Pressing the down C-button causes Adam to essentially make a 180 degree turn and immediately aim at anything behind him. While indoors, the C-buttons also allow you to side-step, but it's pretty useless as nothing happens indoors that requires it.
Enemies encountered by Adam usually take the form of giant bugs, resembling beetles, dragonflies, praying mantises, and sometimes fish. Adam also encounters his clone every once in a while to mess up his plans.
Adam's standard weapon is a weak pistol that has unlimited ammo. The weapons that Adam acquires later range from human-based weapons like a machine gun, shotgun, and rifle, to magical weapons like the sun shield, a shield that shoots beams of heat at enemies. Ammo for weapons must be found while exploring areas indoors. Additionally, if the player acquires three "Weapon Crystals" in a stage, Adam gets a special, more powerful weapon to use in that stage.
If the player enters a special cheat, all the normal weapons in the game are replaced by more powerful ones (ex. the machine gun becomes a rapid-fire rocket launcher).
Military vehicles usually have their own weapons to use. Tanks obviously shoot explosive shells, and some armored vehicles have machine guns with unlimited ammo. At one point, the player takes control of a truck that can launch missiles, causing damage to a very large area, though it's hard to aim. The truck is mainly used to clear a landslide that impedes the player's progress.
Adam's space ship, the Alpha 1, is also able to be piloted during end-stage boss battles. It has its own special weapons as well. If the vehicle is destroyed during the battle, you can continue the fight on foot, but you're likely to not survive.
DMA Design's popular Grand Theft Auto 3 features an ice cream truck that has the same jingle as an ice cream truck that Adam must commandeer in Body Harvest.
Unlike in the later GTA games, you can actually kill children during the previously mentioned ice cream truck mission, making Body Harvest a somewhat more violent game.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features a mission called "Body Harvest", a clear reference to the game. This mission also involves piloting a combine harvester. This is a reference to Body Harvest's Siberia stage, in which Adam uses a combine harvester to run over zombies.