Even if you are one who loathes hunting games of all shapes and sizes, you should look forward to playing Deer Avenger. The thought of a parody in which you play a deer seeking vengeance on hunters who have mercilessly mutilated and destroyed your brethren seems as though it might be funny and rewarding.
Unfortunately, a funny premise does not always make for a funny game and Deer Avenger is definitely a case in point. While the product certainly has more features than some low-budget hunting games, execution is simply awful. An interesting twist, when compared to the "silent hunter" model of standard hunting games, is that the deer (your character) talks to himself. Some of the comments, such as "Here, drunky drunky" when he's trying to locate a redneck to shoot, are humorous. Some even have a philosophical edge by referring to what a bad decision it was to purchase the game or how dull it is (as if playing the game were some sort of meta-experience). Eventually, though, the deer's comments become so repetitive they begin to grate on your nerves.
The actual hunting action is so slow you're forced to play with the game's few devices while biding your time. As a result, you'll probably have the deer use an inordinate amount flatulence, ultimately scaring the targets away as do too many decoy calls. But what's a deer to do? You can't walk forward -- you're limited to 360 degree rotation. After spinning around once or twice and finding nothing, it's either back to the map to search for obscure clues such as beer cans or porn magazines or sit and stare at your monitor while waiting for a target to show up. When targets do appear, they only run and hide since they can't shoot back. While the game is somewhat challenging, it's hardly engaging and does little to get your adrenaline pumping.
With the exception of snow and tree density, the three maps are practically identical. The weapon effects are cute -- the bazooka incinerates your targets and scatters their ashes to the winds, similar to the death screen from Baldur's Gate -- but good luck hitting anything with the poop-shooting slingshot. The binoculars are useless except for when you somehow bring the Eiffel Tower into view and the deer chimes in, "Hey, these things are powerful!"
In its misguided effort to poke some lighthearted (and much-deserved) fun at PC hunting titles, Deer Avenger ends up being more tasteless than most of the games it's parodying. Theoretically, it might make a good gag gift -- except for the fact that the game is so bad, the person receiving it might get angry at you. Better to give it to someone you don't like.
Graphics: The animations of the hunters creeping around out in the open with all their varying accoutrements are finely detailed but the bland, uniform settings as a whole are disappointing. Of somewhat lesser detail, but still cute, are the weapon-fire animations and the binocular feature. Visually, though, there's very little to inspire gameplay.
Sound: The sound is the game's best aspect. Written by Late Night with Conan O'Brien writer Brian McCann, the monologues alternate between witty and obnoxious and are what make the game memorable. The environmental sounds, such as the birdcalls and wind aren't perfect, but they're much better than those found in some of the "real" hunting games on the market (e.g., Opening Weekend: Varmint Season).
Enjoyment: To make the game more fun, more hunting locations should have been offered and maps populated with more targets. Being able to walk forward would have been a nice touch.
Replay Value: There's not enough to the game to entice you back for more. By the time you've tried out all three weapons and all three maps, the incessant blathering of your character will exasperate you.
People who downloaded Deer Avenger have also downloaded:
Deer Hunter, Deer Hunter 2: The Hunt Continues, Deer Hunter 3: The Legend Continues, Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2004, DOOM³, Carnivores: Ice Age, Classic Arcade Games for Windows, Doom 2
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