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Deer Hunter 4

Score: 60%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Infogrames
Developer: Wizard Works
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Sports (Hunting)/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

The latest in the Deer Hunter line from Wizard Works employs fairly good graphics, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. A wide selection of hunting locations, combined with various combinations of weather and seasons, allows for many hunts without encountering the same environment twice. Trees and bushes often sway in the breeze, leaves drift softly to the ground, and small animals such as squirrels and chipmunks abound, adding a touch of realism. These features are not new to Deer Hunter 4, however. In fact, the graphics are only modestly improved over Deer Hunter 3, and some of the shortcomings found in Deer Hunter 3 persist in the latest version. For example, terrain is still composed of lines that are too straight and with corners that are too sharp. The tops of hills are always formed by infinitely thin lines where the slopes meet. Also, objects resting on steep slopes, such as trees and trucks, often appear to hover just above the ground rather than actually making contact with it.

On the upside, the antler size of a buck can actually be discerned while hunting in Deer Hunter 4. In Deer Hunter 3, all bucks looked like eight points in the woods. Only after they were mounted would they take on the likeness of spikes or four points or monster 18 points or whatever size they actually happened to be. A new feature in Deer Hunter 4 is the shadow feature. Deer cast long, fairly realistic looking shadows when the sun is low, but they are pitch black and often make spotting deer too easy. Fortunately, this feature can be turned off if desired.

In keeping with Wizard Works’ tradition, the sound is terrific. Different types of birds, frogs, and insects can be heard in different regions. The sound is also directional, often making it possible to tell which direction to look for a deer by the sound of its footsteps.


In Deer Hunter 4, the hunter has a choice between making a single “daily hunt” and embarking upon the process of hunting an entire season. While the daily hunts can be enjoyable, too many aspects of real deer hunting are missed. Hunting an entire season adds much more realism to the game. In real deer hunting, an immense amount of preparation leads up to the brief moment when the animal is taken. Since deer tend to stake out a relatively small territory and remain in one place -- unless forced to move -- a deer spotted without being spooked prior to the season will likely still be in the area during hunting season. Sighting in the weapon, proper scouting, planting of food plots, stand placement, attention to details such as wind direction and camouflage, and patience, are all critical to a successful deer hunt. All of these elements are accurately incorporated into Deer Hunter 4 with the ability to hunt an entire season. Cover scents, attractants, rattling, and doe and buck calls can also be used. The process of hunting an entire season can be tedious, especially on the most difficult level. But then again, so can real deer hunting.


The ability to vary the degree of difficulty is one of the best features of Deer Hunter 4. As the hunter increases difficulty, the deer become less abundant and more wary. On the easiest level, the deer are entirely too abundant and far too easy to kill. That makes the game very unrealistic, but it practically guarantees plenty of action. On the most difficult level, however, deer are not always even seen, much less bagged. This is much more realistic, but can lead to boredom at times. The ability to select the degree of difficulty enables the hunter to choose between “action” and “realism.”

Game Mechanics:

Deer Hunter 4 allows the user to configure the resolution, play the game windowed or in full screen mode, and select a feature called “16 bit Z buffer.” The higher the resolution, the more jerky and jumpy the view on the screen gets in response to mouse movement. At the highest resolution (1280x1024), it becomes extremely difficult to control looking side to side and up and down, walking, driving vehicles, and shooting (in other words, most actions of the game). As tested, the best combination was running the game windowed at 1024x768 resolution with the 16 bit Z buffer enabled. This combination provided relatively nice views without too much jerky panning and tilting.

Deer Hunter 4 is an enjoyable game which captures many aspects of real deer hunting, one of which is sometimes waiting long periods of time without seeing a deer. For that reason it is not the best game for the impatient gamer. But those who are predisposed to the outdoors and nature may find that they appreciate the game for its fairly realistic depiction of actual deer hunting and enjoy playing it. And deer hunters will, no doubt, have to have a go.

-The Outdoorsman, GameVortex Communications
AKA Greg Brignac

Minimum System Requirements:

300 MHz processor, 650MB drive space, 64MB RAM, 8MB 2X AGP or 12MB PCI 3D accelerated video card

Preferred System Requirements:

350 MHz processor, 96+MB RAM, 16+MB 3D accelerated video card


Test System:

650 MHz AMD Athlon, 64MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce DDR video card(32MB), Windows 98 2E

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