Once again, I find myself drifting out into the sea of gaming genres, this time to the wildlife hunting simulation genre. More accurately, tonight’s game is a parody of that surprise hit genre that experienced popularity in the late 1990s (you have a hit, you’re going to see imitators and parodies). Hypnotix developed, and Simon and Schuster Interactive published, Deer Avenger in which the deer who would be hunted turns the tables on rednecks who have dealt suffering to his species.
Based on the data I have gathered so far, I think Hypnotix specializes in developing Smacker-based video games. I guess this is a step up from, say, Visual Basic-based games and they seem to do a reasonable job with their efforts. If the formula works, more power to them.
The game is pretty quick to explain because there is not much to it. And truthfully, the game is only a vehicle by which to make fun of hunter stereotypes as well as the hunting game genre. The game allows you to select from among 3 weapons– the M-16, the bazooka, and the sling shot. I think these are arranged in order of difficulty, i.e., the M-16 actually has a scope and some range while the sling shot can barely launch past arm’s reach. Then you select from among either a West Virginia, Connecticut, or snowy Minnesota locale. Wander through the map from an overhead view and try to locate traces of hunter activity. For example:
When you enter an area to hunt, you are thrust into a first person 360-degree panoramic scan of your current position, hoping — praying, even — that something will happen. But that facet is all part of the parody. Your deer character will keep you entertained with a rotation of quips while you wait. You can trigger more gags by pressing the “calls” icon. You can also use the binoculars to look around but this only serves to seek out humorous tidbits like amorous squirrels doing what amorous squirrels do. If you’re very lucky, you might see one of the selection of humans in the game. This is the allegedly elusive tree man, a survivalist that I saw with inordinate frequency:
The sling shot must be the toughest weapon to use. Apparently, you fling your own feces, and at an odd angle with very little range. I didn’t have remarkable success in this game, in any of the locations with any of the weapons. The calls and farts (to flush out hunters) don’t seem to have any effect and the encounters appear to be purely random (I can’t believe a parody game would put to much effort into the encounter logic). In the end, I was disappointed to have to call it quits and write this entry before my bloodlust was sated.
This is probably the closest I will ever come to playing an actual hunting simulation. I can’t say I’m particularly excited about the prospect of playing a game like this, only with more real-life accuracy and even greater emphasis on patience. And I was patient enough to complete the stealth action Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes.