Deer Hunter woos non-traditional gamers, but not mainstream

Deer Hunter: Interactive
Hunting Experience
Reviewed On
Available For

For the last few months all I have been hearing about is this new Deer Hunter program which GT Interactive released under their WizardWorks budget lineup. I remember WizardWorks being responsible for some pretty decent add on products, such as their amazing D!Zone extension for DOOM a few years back. I used to spend plenty of time fooling around with the new levels, there were over 900, and it was found by me to be more than worth the 20-odd dollars I paid for it.

But now, there’s this new budgetware product which is meant to simulate a true deer hunting experience. I may not be a hunter for real, but if this game is any indication of what hunting is like, count me out!

Billed as an "interactive hunting experience," Deer Hunter provides a trek through four different environments, simulating each of the annual seasons. An on-screen map is used to plot your course as you try to locate some bucks to be lined up in your sights. Once you reach your destination, the setting changes to a 360 degree panoramic view of the surroundings.

But no matter where you are on the map, the settings are all identical. Finding bucks can be very difficult, even with the binoculars that are provided, and I had to keep clicking the mouse button until I heard a voice saying how many points I can get for the target.

Weapons at least seem accurate. Hunters in the game can use a shotgun, a bow and arrow which is perfect for stealth shots and a single-shot rifle fit with a sniper scope. Items can be used to attract deer, such as deer scent, a deer call and a rattle that simulates the sounds of antlers crashing. Unfortunately, I found that none of these helped me out. Either the game deer are really smart or I’m a poor virtual hunter.

There is a practice range that allows you to shoot at paper deer targets or bull’s-eye targets to improve your aim, but even this gets to be a bit slow at times. Inevitably, unlike D!Zone, the excitement of Deer Hunter ends after a very short time. I just didn’t get into this game at all, and I wonder how this game can be at the number one in the sales charts for three months in a row. And if that’s not enough, there is now Duck Hunter, Wild Turkey Shoot and even a Deer Hunter Second Season has just been released!

If someone has no experience at all playing computer games then they may find this title enjoyable, but mainstream gamers are going to be very disappointed.

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