Bird Hunter: Waterfowl Edition, Duck Hunter Pro
You hunker down in the early morning silence, waiting for the first flutter of wings. As you scan the horizon for your prey, you check the wind direction one more time and squawk a few calls into the morning air. Soon you see a flock winging in over the trees. You raise your shotgun and take aim. Blam! Looks like fresh goose for dinner!
Two bird-hunting simulations have hit shelves recently -- Bird Hunter: Waterfowl Edition from WizardWorks and Duck Hunter Pro from Head Games. Both allow you to hunt several different species of ducks and geese, but which is the better choice? That’s a hard question to answer, as neither one really shines.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
The premise for both games is simple -- select your hunting equipment and head off to the country to blast some birds. Both games offer four different hunting areas, but in Duck Hunter you can only select from four preset hunting locations in each area. Bird Hunter allows you to select any location in the hunting area to set up your blind.
Once you’ve decided where to hunt, you lay out your decoys and sit down to wait. I did like the interface for placing decoys better in Duck Hunter -- you have a lot more control over which decoys go where, and you get more feedback from the game on what placements are more likely to attract ducks or geese.
Both games have hunting calls you must use to help attract the birds. As you wait you must attempt to imitate the correct birdcalls for the fowl you’re trying to attract. Even if you are pretty inept with the calls sooner or later the ducks or geese will fly in. If you're patient enough (and if your decoys are properly placed) the birds may even land nearby. Bird Hunter even includes a pair of binoculars with which you can scan the skies -- an option that is glaringly missing in Duck Hunter.
Both games present the hunting environment as a 2D picture against which the ducks move. The background are pretty, but they are static. No trees sway in the wind and nothing but the gamefowl you’re hunting moves anywhere. This make it much easier to find the birds when they are far away, but it does detract from the realism of the games. I think Bird Hunter’s backgrounds are the nicer looking, but there’s not really that much difference.
Bird Hunter is also the winner when it comes to the sound effects. The environmental sounds are more detailed and realistic—you’ll hear everything from woodpeckers rat-tat-tatting against tress to frogs croaking. In Duck Hunter, the environment sounds are limited to wind and rain with a few other occasional effects thrown in. The various sounds of the game birds and birdcalls are also better in Bird Hunter.
Duck Hunter Pro: Pentium 133 or faster, 16 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, 25 MB hard drive space.
Bird Hunter: Waterfowl Edition: Pentium 90 or faster, 16 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, 50 MB hard drive space.
Duck Hunter and Bird Hunter are both good hunting simulations, although neither is spectacular. Ideally, I would like a game that combines the best of both and adds a better 3D environment. Even though I preferred the decoy placement in Duck Hunter, its lack of binoculars and limited hunting locations make it a little less enjoyable than Bird Hunter.
Download Bird Hunter: Waterfowl Edition, Duck Hunter Pro
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP