Just for starters, I think it's fair to get the following out of the way: I am not against game hunting. As a matter of fact, I don't think there's anything wrong with it. You hunt, you kill, you cook, and you eat. Very basic and very natural. I myself once had an excellent venison stew and by golly, I'd 'kill' for another. Pun intended.
Deer Drive isn't about hunting for food, but rather about trophy hunting, it seems. The game actually makes a point of telling you when you've shot a particularly nice trophy buck. And while I don't agree with trophy hunting for real, this is not real. This is a game. So whatever! Let players have fun shooting frolicking deer in grassy meadows. Heck, that's the kind of game I can totally get behind. Because to be honest, every so often after a long day of work you want nothing more than to hurt something in order to vent. Err everyone feels that way, right?
That being said, I have never ever been so disappointed when raining death upon my enemies. Deer Drive is a poorly constructed hunting game for a multitude of reasons. It features several different modes; one player, two player same screen and a two player mode where each player tries to shoot enough targets in their rounds to not only win, but handicap their opponent.
During the one player mode, I settled myself for some fun shooting helpless animals. I thought that the game concept was so perfectly simple that it would be difficult to make the game unenjoyable. I was very wrong and very disappointed. While playing on Normal, the deer were almost invincible. If they were shot and it wasn't a clean one shot kill, they continued along their merry way as if they didn't just have a bullet ripping through their flesh. It was very jarring to see the enemies continue frolicking around even after clipping them a few times. I'd expect them to slow down in the least or stagger, generally making it easier to hit the next shot to finish them off. No such luck. When putting the difficulty down to Beginner, the animals died in one shot which made the killing less frustrating, but took away the challenge. Now I just had to clip an enemy to kill them.
Then there were the deaths. Oh yes, player deaths in a game about shooting deer. I know, I was surprised too. But apparently when a game hunter goes out into the forest to shoot some trophy bucks to put on his wall, he totally disregards the fact that the area he's in is infested with rabid bears who charge any non animal immediately. Not only that, but I didn't even realize that moose can't help but charge humans as well, if you don't have the good luck to have had them run past you from behind, in which case they take off like the dickens. But beware the brush of death; if either of them touches you before you can kill them, you're dead. And when you die, you get treated to hearing the narrator gurgling theatrically to indicate your demise. The same narrator that sounds almost like a surfer dude trying to imitate a Southerner.
Now, death would be less likely if the player had a reliable gun. Instead you're treated to a slow reloading, slow shooting hunk of junk. Want a better weapon? Oh, that's easy to manage. Just play enough rounds of the game and you open up a better gun. However, you have to hit deer with the icon of that gun over their head for you to gain access to it. And it's a limited use item; after a while it goes away, leaving you back with your old unreliable. Want a bigger clip? Same issue. The fact that there is no option to reliably use a better weapon in a game based around shooting is mind boggling! And where is my hunting scope?! Perhaps giving the player money for kills and allowing them to use the money to customize better weapons would have been a nice direction to move in. Just a thought.
The two player modes weren't any better. Same screen two player mode is fairly boring and suffers from the same major problem the rest of the game has. It's difficult to see the deer you are allowed to hit at a distance, and many of them stay at a distance. You are not allowed to hit does, gaining a penalty whenever you do so. And let me tell you, some of those does look like young bucks from far away. Not only that, but they frolic in front of each other, making long shots difficult. And sometimes, in order to meet your kill quota to continue, long shots are your only shot.
In the second two player mode where players take on the screen one at a time, the main goal beyond killing animals is to shoot jumping black and white targets which provide a handicap to the next player. You do not know what the handicap is going to be, you just have to hit the mark and hope that it will be good. Another disappointment; they're not. One of the handicaps involves a poorly rendered deer head taking up the middle of the screen to block your vision; another involves a momentary shaking of the screen. It would have been nice if the handicap targets involved showed an icon or something to at least indicate which handicap you were aiming for, so you'd be able to judge if it was even worth the effort of shooting for it or if you were better off just killing things.
The background stages repeated themselves all too often, leaving me faced with yet another boring round of 'kill the frolicking buck (doe?)' , punctuated by frantic moments of trying to kill rabid bears and moose. It was thoroughly boring and unsatisfying. How, I ask, can a game about killing helpless animals fall so flat? I expected some mindless fun and turned off the console more stressed than when I started. I'm not sure how little effort had to have gone into making the game so dull, but I don't think I care to know. Let's just hope the developers were at least having fun while they churned out this piece of tripe for the rest of us.