After countless fishing games, someone realized there was a market for a deer hunting game. And although extremely simple in its graphics and interface, Deer Hunter has managed to capture the hearts of PC hunters everywhere.
You start the hunt by choosing one of three weapons: rifle, shotgun, or bow. You can then try to get a feel for your weapon at the target range, or you can pick a place to go hunting from three locations: the autumn woodlands of Arkansas, the forests of Colorado, or the snowy landscape of Indiana.
Once you have selected an area to hunt, you'll see a screen that shows a map of the immediate area you are hunting. From this screen you move a symbol that represents your hunter and his field of vision. When moving the symbol on the edge of tree lines and along game trails you will come across signs of activity such as deer droppings, rubbings, and beds. At this point you click on the hunt button to load up a first-person view of an area you selected. - (though not a true 3D first-person view as in Quake II, but more like a static drawing of a landscape a la Riven). Actually, the whole setup is rather reminiscent of Sierra's S.W.A.T. From this view you have several options - you can either pull out your weapon, use binoculars to take a closer look at things, use the deer call, or rattle deer horns together to try and lure a big buck into range. But just as in real life, big bucks are wary of hunters.
The deer AI is pretty good; for instance, the deer run away if you let them get downwind of you on the map screen. In the first-person view, however, the deer appear to be a little more tolerant to the presence of a hunter than in real life. For the first PC deer hunting game, the AI will do - but the jerky interface, which makes it very difficult to aim, simply won't.
Deer Hunter may be neat to show your hunting partners for five minutes - or to play every once in a great while - but for the most part the game has little in the way of longevity. It's fun to blast deer and all, but after a few kills, the limited animations and play mechanics lead you rather quickly to the conclusion that while Deer Hunter may be fun and charming the first few times you play the game, it doesn't go much beyond that.
Don't get me wrong. I think the game is solid, and anyone who enjoys deer hunting will enjoy seeing it visually realized on the computer screen. But for those of you who don't like hunting, Deer Hunter isn't going to change your mind.
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