IGN Review of Cabela's Trophy Bucks
Hunting enthusiasts may find Cabela's Trophy Bucks a little insulting. This is a hunting game that ditches the actual hunt in favor of run-and-gun gameplay and power-ups like x-ray vision. If you're not looking for a realistic simulation, Trophy Bucks offers some cheap thrills. It's not all that well put together, but each level is short and fast-paced and could serve as a brief diversion, especially for younger gamers.
Trophy Bucks is set in six regions of North America, sending players after local and imported game. There are a couple species of deer in the game that aren't native to the continent but are commonly brought in to be hunted on game ranches and reserves. In each level, the player is dropped into a small wooded area and has a few minutes to snag their quota of a certain animal. The environments are not open-ended, and players must stick to a specific path.
By holding down the C button players activate their "hunter's sense," revealing animals hiding in the brush with obvious target symbols. If you encounter a pack, you can take one down and the others might not even scatter -- they'll go about their business while their friend's carcass falls right in front of them. So there isn't any real hunting going on here. You don't have a choice of where to go, and your game is instantly revealed to you at the press of a button. All that's left to do is charge straight at them and fire when they emerge. You'll be awarded a medal based on how many you land and then it's off to the next stage.
The back of the box proudly boasts compatibility with the Wii Zapper. In practice, though, controlling the game this way is awkward and it's obvious it wasn't actually designed to use this controller -- the feature was just tacked on the box as a bullet point because, really, any Wii game is compatible with the zapper. The game regularly uses the remote buttons, so you have to play with one hand on top of the zapper instead of on the trigger. You're much better off going with the remote and nunchuk. Even then, though, the first-person controls aren't great. Seems like the developers never played Metroid Prime 3. The bounding box here is too big, causing you to turn and look around too quickly. You can fiddle with the sensitivity, but we were unable to find the G spot.
Graphically, Cabela's latest isn't going to win any trophies. The framerate is all over the place and the animals, which aren't animated very well, often float above the ground when dead. After floating for a while, they vanish into thin air. At least the sky looks good.
For hitting your targets you'll be awarded with bizarre power-ups like x-ray vision (reveals the animal's impact zones), freeze time (stops animals in their tracks), and laser bullets (?). So, yeah, there really isn't a shred of realism in this game. That's not necessarily a bad thing, of course. If the idea of sitting in a tree all day waiting for a deer to stroll by sounds boring and you want to cut right to getting your gun off, here you go.
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