Bluewater Hunter is another game in a long line of repetitive, cheaply produced, hunting games targeted at thrill seekers, that while offering some good fun, has some drawbacks preventing it from being truly enjoyable.
Graphically, Bluewater Hunter the detail in each species of fish is remarkable and the animation good. The choice of colors and gear for each diver also adds to the experience. However, there are a few glitches. Fish often swim through rocks and other solid structures. Seeing a fish disappear can be quite disheartening, especially if you have it in your crosshairs. There is also a minor problem with a swimmer's speed. It seems to take forever to get to the fish, but when you finally reach it, it takes several seconds to slow down. This often means your diver will slide right by or bump into the fish.
Bluewater Hunter's sound is decent, even if most of it wouldn't actually occur. The drum-filled introductory and menu music is catchy, while the diving music is a slow, ambient, electronic mixture. If you have ever seen a Jacques Cousteau documentary, you've probably heard music like this. The sound of sucking breath through the snorkel is well simulated and the swish of the spear leaving the gun is probably louder than an actual spear gun. Still, I can't complain.
The game's biggest drawbacks relate to control scheme and game play. The keyboard controls are simply too hard to master with action occupying both hands the entire time. To shoot a fish, you must use two keys to aim, four keys to swim, and one key to fire a spear. One false move on any key and the fish swims away. I can't understand how a game released for the Windows platform in 1999 could not have joystick support. I also hate having to surface each time the spear gun needs reloading. I will admit that I have never been spear fishing, so I don't know if spear guns require dry reloading, but it doesn't make much sense to include it in the game. I can understand running out of breath, but reloading the gun is a pain.
Finally, Bluewater Hunter is not complex enough to warrant repeated game play. A gamer could complete all six dives in one sitting, making Bluewater Hunter a game that will most likely sit on your shelf with little play after the initial session.
Graphics: Impressive, with a few glitches.
Sound: The good sound is probably unrealistic for a spear fishing simulation.
Enjoyment: Using the keyboard is so difficult, it reduces the enjoyment factor.
Controls would be better on a gamepad or joystick.
Replay Value: Most won't play again after completing all six dives.
Sponsored by "Body Glove" brand of bodysuit, Bluewater Hunter is an interesting underwater hunting game that immerses you in the dangerous world of freediving. Your goal is to hunt the world's largest trophy gamefish in 6 dive locations, using realistic equipment and taking into account the laws of physics.
The game does a good job of modelling underwater environments in 3D. The adrenaline rush of seeing a giant gamefish emerge from the murky waters is palpable, and it's quite exciting to see a menacing shark coming out of the blue, looking for blood. As far as I can tell, game physics is reasonably realistic. For example, you have to always watch your oxygen level while underwater, and deal with the perennial balance between weight and usability while you choose equipment. Dangerous predators make the game more challenging, and you can toggle the difficulty level if you find the game too hard or too easy (there are 3 skill levels in total). Dozens of equipment, 14 species of gamefish, and solid gameplay makes this one of the more interesting fishing games on the market. It is repetitive in places, but it should not deter fans of the sport who take the adage "patience is a virtue" to heart. Recommended!
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Blades of Steel, Backyard Soccer, Boot Camp (a.k.a. Combat School), Deer Hunter 3: The Legend Continues, Boarder Zone (a.k.a. Supreme Snowboarding), Blitz Try, Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2004, Brett Hull Hockey 95
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