Deer Hunter, Deer Hunter: Extended Season, Rocky Mountain Trophy Hunter
Has deer season come and gone? Can't wait until next year to hunt? Don't worry—it's always open season with Deer Hunter from Sunstorm Interactive. Grab your gear, boots, and weapon and head out to the hills and bag a trophy deer. And don't forget your hunter orange vest. Let's be careful out there!
When I first saw Deer Hunter in the store, I was surprised. I mean, there are sports sims and combat sims and even city-building sims, but a hunting sim? Who would want to do that? Apparently quite a few people do, because Deer Hunter_ has done very well for Sunstorm Interactive. It is marketed by WizardWorks, which offers titles at a lower price than many games, and it doesn't require the high-end equipment that others do. But I'm convinced that it has something to do with the bright orange box that reaches deep into the male psyche and says, "Buy me!"
You have the choice of three weapons—rifle, shotgun, or bow—and several other tools to track and hunt the deer. Do you want to hunt from a tree stand? How about using scent to cover up your smell or attract deer? Each option has its drawbacks and makes the hunt different. If you are such a bad shot that you have a hard time hitting the ground, you should spend some time at the target range to practice your aim on various bullseyes and deer silhouettes. Once you feel you have mastered your weapon of choice, pick out a place to hunt for your prize buck: the Arkansas autumn woodlands, Colorado alpine forests, or an Indiana winter.
Once you have chosen a location to hunt, you are taken to an overhead map view that shows the lay of the land. From there you can plot your paths through the woods in search of the deer, or where you hope the deer are lurking. As you look, you may come across signs that deer have been there recently. Then you will know that they are close. Once you feel you are in the right place, you start the hunt. If you are successful, you will spot the deer and make the shot. Deer Hunter will keep track of your top five kills in the Trophy Room with the time and description of the hunt to help you remember.
If this were modeled after real hunting, there would be lots of beer drinking, cussing when the beer runs out, and shooting up beer cans because you're too drunk to hunt. Personally, I've not done any of that, but judging from my experiences with other hunters, beer seems to be an integral part of hunting.
The graphics are colorful, but pretty flat. The tree images are taken from life, but nothing moves except the deer. This makes it easier to see them against the background, but it left me with a sterile feeling. This is not what being in the woods should be like. I would have liked to see the trees bend in the wind and the clouds blow by, or maybe some birds or some other indication of life. I felt like I was hunting on Myst Island without the benefit of the nice graphics. One thing that struck me was that every deer I ran across was a buck. What happened to the gazillions of does out there, which are not fair game unless you have a doe license? I think it would have been a nice touch to have does in the game, where if you're not careful and bag a doe, you get hauled into jail for poaching.
I liked the audio. Deer Hunter does not have any background music tracks, and it does not need it. As you hunt you are treated to the sounds of the wind and singing birds. Off in the distance you may hear shots from other hunters, or you may hear yourself say, "I'm getting cold."
Add-on Pack Extended Season
If the three areas of Deer Hunter aren't enough for you, the add-on pack, Extended Season, adds more to the game. It gives you a new weapon—the black powder rifle—and three new areas to hunt: the Adirondack mountains, Nebraska winter, or Kentucky autumn. One thing I liked was the added indication of how many deer inhabit each area. Extended Season also comes with a utility for creating your own hunting ground to populate with deer and trees.
Rocky Mountain Trophy Hunter
Tired of hunting just deer? Then you'll want to check out Rocky Mountain Trophy Hunter, also by Sunstorm. In this game you are after bigger prey: black bear, elk, bighorn sheep, and moose. The interface in Trophy Hunter is very similar to Deer Hunter. It has all the weapons of Deer Hunter: Extended Season, but it also includes a six-shot revolver with a scope. I found the graphics in Trophy Hunter to be better-looking and more varied than the other two as you hunt through mountains, high and low hills, and meadows for the big animals. I particularly liked using the spotting scope to spy on the game while looking at the overhead map. This allowed me to see what was nearby and where it was heading. If you aren't accurate enough with your weapon to drop the animal and wind up just wounding it, you'll need to track it down carefully, following a trail of blood to the fallen animal. Of the three games I reviewed here, I enjoyed Trophy Hunter the most.
Required: Windows 95, 75 Mhz Pentium or faster, 30 MB drive space, mouse, CD-ROM drive, DirectX compatible sound card.
Recommended: MMX Pentium chip, 4X CD-ROM drive, Windows 95 compatible joystick or Game Pad.
The documentation for Deer Hunter is okay. It does its job, but it doesn't go the extra mile in helping you out. There are some confusing points when the documentation says you can attract deer with the deer call and rattle, but only if "used realistically." You have to dig a little further through the documentation before you figure out what they mean by that.
I thought Deer Hunter was a moderately fun game, but not something that I plan to keep on my system for much longer. Since I've actually gone deer hunting, I appreciate the little touches that Deer Hunter adds to the game to make it realistic, but the whole idea of a hunting simulation escapes me. The good thing about Deer Hunter is the lack of blood and gore. You are mercifully spared the task of gutting and cleaning the deer, but likewise, you miss the wonderful flavor of a well-seasoned venison steak in onion gravy. Lip-smackin' good! I give Deer Hunter an overall rating of 68.
Download Deer Hunter, Deer Hunter: Extended Season, Rocky Mountain Trophy Hunter
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP