XBOX REVIEW: CABELA'S BIG GAME HUNTER 2005 ADVENTURE

I can only hope that playing Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2005 Adventures will satisfy your urge to kill animals in real life. Videogames are meant for vicarious thrills. This shouldn't inspire you to go out and shoot animals anymore than Manhunt would inspire you to go out and shoot humans. Yes, hunting animals is legal, but so is smoking and that's a pretty stupid activity as well.

If you're a hunter, I know what you're thinking. But that's not true. I am not gay and at twice your size I can probably kick your butt. Yes, I'm aggressive as all hell when I have to be but I find other ways to get my thrills rather than exerting my superiority over animals. Taking a high-powered rifle out to kill an animal does not make you a man. Head out to Hudson's Bay with a pointed stick and bring back a polar bear - then we'll talk.

Big Game Hunter lets us choose from a variety of characters including women - not to shoot but to play as. You can outfit them with different clothes and accessories. Each character has different skills. With attribute points awarded you can improve specific attributes such as stealth, accuracy, strength and tracking. Unfortunately this doesn't carry on throughout the game like a RPG. You have to improve your own skills through practice.

If you've played Deer Hunt you'll be familiar with most of the controls and gameplay mechanics. The animals in Big Game Hunter are obviously more varied but they're not as sensitive as the deer. You can make a little more noise as stealth is not always the main concern but you'll have to keep things in mind such as staying downwind and the nature of the animal that you're hunting such as where it might be at a particular time of day.

New this time is a storyline. It's awful and it features equally awful voiceacting. It seems that old grandpa red neck has failed in his attempt to travel the country and kill something in every state. Seems he slipped and broke his leg before he could complete his antisocial quest. Nothing in the world can be more important than getting that trophy. How else would a moron like grandpa ever be able to tell how important he was?

You must avenge grandpappy's fall and set out on a countrywide shooting spree. You're going to be a big hero, buddy. Don't forget, chicks dig guys that have dead things hanging on their wall.

At each game reserve you will begin at a hunting lodge where you will get tags from the game warden in addition to a map and an objective as to what type of animal you will be looking to slaughter. You will also be able to acquire new guns, set the sights in a firing range and rent transportation. Vehicles are costly but they help preserve your stamina which depletes very rapidly when you're out in the woods running after animals. If you run out of stamina or you get injured you'll have to head back to the lodge to renew your energy.

There are different methods that you can employ to locate your prey. You can try to locate tracks and follow them or you can use calls, bait or decoys - in other words, set traps. You can set the difficulty on easy and just follow the dots on the map. Secondary objectives will come up on occasion when you run into other hunters that give you a few pointers. It's a good diversion that keeps the game from feeling too linear.

Compared to Deer Hunt, the animals in Big Game display a more fluid animation style. The environments suffer from poor textures. More often than not it feels like you're in a bad museum display rather than in the great outdoors. The grass, trees and rocks look like they're made out of cardboard. The closer you get the uglier the textures appear. From a distance the environments look much better.

I like reviewing hunting and fishing games, just to see how stupid they are. Frankly, this one is more of a sim and it actually does give you a challenge of sorts. If anything, reviewing games like Big Game Hunter gives me the opportunity to shoot my mouth off. If you feel the urge to go out and shoot wildlife, try a camera. That way other people will be able to thrill at the site of that same wild beast.

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System: XBOX
Dev: Sand Grain
Pub: Activision
Released: Nov 2004
Players: 1
Review by Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
3.0
MUSIC/FX
2.0
VALUE
2.0