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Dope Farmer

Published by Weapon Studios
Price $8.00
Primary Genre Secondary Genre

Now here's a game that only an indie developer would ever try to sell. And one that many mainstream games magazines would never review, either. At Bytten we review all kinds of games, and since computer games generally seem to feature gratuitous amounts of violence and death, it seems rather silly to turn away a game that features neither because it involves illegal substances. Surely killing things is more immoral than growing plants??

The opening screen. One day this could be you... I should really mow the grass...

Dope Farmer is a game for all aspiring "entrepeneurs" who've ever wondered if they could get rich by dabbling in the world of illegal horticulture. It's especially ideal for people like me, who seem unable to grow even the hardiest of pot plants.

It's a simple 'simulation' really - you buy some seeds, water them every day, harvest the crops and profit on the deal. Watch out for the police, who'll destroy your crops, and the occasional freak weather. Build a lab to synthesise chemicals. And make as much money as you can in fifteen days to ninety.

It is important to water your plants everyday. Ah, my crops are ready!

Er, fifteen days? Did I neglect to mention that marijuana plants only take four days to grow? This may be a shock to any gardeners out there. They're also pretty tough things, since they don't seem to suffer from aphid infestations or leaf rot or any of the other perils that make gardening so exciting. But then, this isn't a gardening sim but a fast paced 'get rich quick' game.

You aren't limited to growing dope. As well as your basic marijuana plants, you can also grow coca (which produces cocaine), poppies (which produce opium) and mushrooms. And if gardening isn't quite your style you can build labs to synthesise chemicals, though if your meth goes wrong the result is quite explosive!

Let's be honest here. The graphics are good, but they aren't going to win awards. The style is best described as 'cartoon' and this fits the game very well. It isn't trying to be serious. Weapon Studios have done very well in my view to make all the crops look different both from each other and each day as they grow. What I'm trying to say is that the graphics look simple - but they've been given more care than at first glance.

I rather liked the game music. The Off-key piano playing seems perfect and my only gripe here (and that small) is that there is no easy way to turn it off save the controls on your speakers, or playing the 'no music' version. The sound effects are charming, from the rustle of crops being harvested to the revving of the lawnmower.

The real strength of Dope Farmer is the gameplay. You can use the mouse or keyboard to select the various icons at the top of the screen, and several options are also to be found under a menu opened with the right mouse button. Everything is fluid and simple to understand. Walk your man into his house to rest, or into a lab to synthesise some chemicals, or walk him around the farm as you plant things.

There are a few downsides though. One is the collision detection. It is obvious that everything in Dope Farmer is fairly square, but lining up over the crops can sometimes be awkward. This problem is more pronounced when entering the labs - the collision detection at their doors is far more awkward than the main door for the house. Also, the game does expect you to be online when playing, so you can access the high score tables or the online help, which is fine if you're on broadband but may prove irritating for those of us still dialling up.

I like this game. It's fun and simple, and somewhat random, and certainly a lot easier (and more legal) than growing dope for real.

Graphics 65%
Sound 55%
Playability 85%
Longevity 70%
Overall Score 71%
Bronze Star

Published on 29 Aug 2003
Reviewed by Andrew Williams

Keywords: dope farmer review, weapon studios reviews, weapon studios games, dope farmer scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.