GameOver Game Reviews

Game & Publisher Deer Hunter 2 (c) Wizard Works
Overall Rating 46%

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Trudging through endless expanses of mountains and forests, touting the gun of your choice, a satchel full of your select pick of the finest grain cartridges. Man, I can almost smell the testosterone and presumably that is what Sunstorm is counting on to sell this product because there isn't much else included for the average gaming enthusiast. Coming off of the vastly popular Deer Hunter success (apparently the #1 selling game in the country for Jan-Mar of '98, although I certainly can not understand why) Sunstorm has obviously found a niche of gamers desperate to snatch up their brand of 'virtual outdoorsman' entertainment.

Deer Hunter 2 is a hunting simulator for that die-hard cast of men who just can't get enough of their passion during the open season and are willing to spend hours glued to their computers in search of the legendary 16 point buck. A vast improvement over the original release, DH2 goes so far as to include options such as gun selection, various deer calls, cammo outfits and o yes, movement. A feature painfully absent from Deer Hunter 1. Some of the highlights of DH2 include the wide array of hardware configurations available through the setup menu, the ability to walk around and actually stalk your prey (if you can ever find any prey that is), and the attempt, at least, to provide a somewhat 3D environment for your hunting pleasure. The lows of DH2 would have to include the immense level of patience (and time) required to succeed in a hunt, the sub standard graphics engine and the complete disregard for our need as gamers to be irresponsible and randomly shoot various in-animate objects. All in all, a game the true hunter may be able to appreciate, but one that I myself found a serious chore to play.

Graphics: 12/20

A painfully dated graphics engine with a poor mixture of bitmaps and terrible pixelization just does not measure up to today's entertainment standards. After making the mistake of trying a medium display level, I quickly reconfigured the game for the maximum detail level and distance settings and started over. The improvement was noticeable, but the game play did slow down substantially which surprised me with my 3Dfx acceleration and 64 megs of RAM. The engine appeared to be of the 'Build' category and included jagged, 2D objects and low resolution photo backdrops. Keeping in mind that the 'target market' for this game is the so called "casual gamers with sub $1,000 PC's", I'd say WizWorks hit the nail on the head.

Sound: 9/15

The sound in Deer Hunter 2 is not that bad, what there is of it, but the sheer repetition of the basic sounds in the game were enough to make me beg for silence. The gun effects were mediocre, but there were some occasions when a shot went off but there was no sound at all from my speakers, which somewhat baffled me. An effort was made to reproduce that high-mountain background noise of the wind rustling through the evergreens but I found it more reminiscent of a building boiler room and if you can imagine hours of sitting in a boiler room... well, you get the idea. If the previous 2 grievances are trivial, the sound of my hunter walking was just too much to bear. Considering that you may trudge around in the game for over an hour before spotting a deer ( I am not exaggerating ) Sunstorm might have had the foresight to generate even a couple of variations on the dastardly .WAV of your footsteps. Ambient noises do exist, but were not in stereo and once again, the key words here are bland and repetitive.

Gameplay: 14/30

At the start of the game, Deer Hunter requires you to create a hunter profile with stores such things as name, hours in the game, shot statistics and kills. From that point, you select your hunting season and location from 1 of 3 seasons and 1 of 12 'new' hunting locations across the United States. A shooting range is available from the main menu which provides you with 99% of your targets while playing DH2. Before leaving on your hunt you will want to choose from the 9 available weapons ranging from hand guns to semi-automatic shotguns to crossbows. Also available are a nice collection of lures and baits that you can place in your inventory to help attract the deer. Starting the actual hunt you play through the old first person view aspect and appear in your chosen location standing beside a truck with your compass and a wind gauge. At this point, the game becomes an ultra-realistic hunting simulation in that it is a true test of patience, and willpower to wander through the hills for hours trying to come across anything to shoot at. Real hunters may call me a charlatan for not appreciating all patience and dedication that make a hunt a hunt, but the complete lack of any kind of deer sign or tracks really make it a matter of luck as to whether or not there are even any deer in your 25 square mile area to begin with. If you are ever lucky enough to be blessed with the sight of a deer during game-play, the true hunt begins as you must get close enough to use your chosen weapon effectively without alerting the animal. Although the additional features of DH2 over the original game have brought it light years ahead in time, the excessive demands of 1 or more gaming hours at a time are quite restrictive and unfortunately make the gameplay almost non-existent.

Fun Factor: 6/20

The only fun part about Deer Hunter 2 was the shooting range. As a proving grounds for the 'snipingly challenged' such as myself, or as a place to test out the wide variety of weapons (the old black powder flintlock was cool) the target area was about the only place you could count on firing your guns without the computer asking you what you thought you were shooting at.

Multi-Player: 0/5

One word, "Amen".

Overall Impression: 5/10

As a hunting simulation, if one can overlook the complete lack of any realistic graphics and a sound engine that is reminiscent of a windows WAV file set on infinite loop, Deer Hunter 2 probably comes pretty close to the real thing. ( Keeping in mind you can't track or follow any deer sign because they don't exist) Even with all the things against it, I expect DH2 will do just as well as DH1 in sales based on the current lack of any other standout or exceptional titles in the hunter/outdoorsman category. (Since its release one year ago, Deer Hunter has remained one of the top-ten best-selling PC games in the U.S., generating sales of more than one million units nationwide.)


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