Animals await execution in ‘Deer Drive’

If you look right in front of you now, you’ll see a family of lovely, golden deer frolicking sweetly across a meadow of lush-green grass. Lucky you: You just happen to be standing in the middle of the field as they trot past your face and your gun, so feel free to — blow their heads off?

This is not “Bambi.” This is “Deer Drive,” available Tuesday for the normally family friendly Wii game system. “Deer Drive” is a rudimentary, first-person “hunting” game. Although, it’s not really like hunting at all.

In real life, hunting entails covering yourself in animal urine and other hocus pocus, then camping out at length in trees or bush, while you wait to shoot an unsuspecting animal, as quietly as you can.

“Deer Drive” is more like an arcade shooting gallery. At all times, you stand stationary in one spot while deer, bears, moose, bunnies, ducks, birds and other fuzzy-wuzzies flop right in front you. You aim, fire and they collapse in a sad heap of death by the dozen. R.I.P.

If you can’t handle this animal killing, I don’t blame you, especially when a bear stampedes toward you as the voice-over narrator shouts, “Watch out! Grizzly!” Then you fire, and the words, “Lung shot!” or “Heart shot!” pop up on the TV.

Oh, the problems with this game: The visuals look poorly drawn; there’s nothing to do but stand in one spot forever; and bagging deer as they run one foot in front of you is easier than shooting fish in a barrel. It gets monotonous quickly.

There is one funny thing about “Deer Drive.” The narrator says of a buck’s antlers, “Look at that rack!” I grew up in New Orleans and live in Las Vegas, so I’m used to hearing that phrase in reference to something else that’s fluffier but just as easy to bag.

“Deer Drive” is by no means the first “hunting” game. The go-to hunting series comes under the “Cabela’s” license, such as last summer’s “Cabela’s Trophy Bucks.”

In “Trophy Bucks,” you could push a button to use a supernatural power called “hunter’s sense” to make it even easier to spot bucks. In both “Deer Drive” and “Trophy,” you shoot deer with a “pow,” yet all the other nearby deer must be deaf and blind since they ignore the gunshots and the carcasses stacking up, and continue to mill about, fearlessly waiting for execution.

Hunters found more realistic adventures in the 2004 Atari game, “Deer Hunt.” More recently, in 2007, there was a well-received hunting simulation called “Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2008,” a far more realistic mission of plotting and waiting to kill deer.

I’m not a hunter, though I respect the meat-gathering process of hunting more than that of meatpacking. I do think “Deer Drive” would be better if, when a moose attacks you successfully, it would shred you, skin and cook you, and eat you with a fork and napkin. Just to be fair.

(“Deer Drive” by Mastiff retails for $30 for Wii — Plays very dull. Looks weak. Easy. Rated “T” for violence. Zero stars out of four.)

Contact Doug Elfman at 702-383-0391 or e-mail him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He also blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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