I can't take anything with the word "varmint" in it seriously. Fortunately NRA Varmint Hunter is a game that's in agreement with my sentiment. Like the flag-waving redneck who's fly is wide open, NRA Varmint Hunter is unaware that its shortcomings are fully exposed and therefore is unable to be taken seriously. Not since Atari's Duck Hunt have we ever had this much fun with a videogame.

What is amazing is that the game teaches us all about firearms. We learn how to select a gun and exactly what kind of bullets to put into it for the best results. We learn that heavier bullets are slower but more accurate. The amount of powder used in the bullet determines its energy. If it doesn't burn at the proper rate it may cause the barrel to vibrate thus affecting accuracy. Once we learn the finer points of ballistics which seems to be held in as high as regards as rocket science, it's time to put our knowledge to good use in the sophisticated, time-honored tradition of blasting furry little varmints to smithereens. What a concept! I'm so glad to be alive in this day and age.

I'm not so sure that the people this game targets are even capable of operating a computer. Even if they are, there are better games available for free on the internet. Aside from the "realistic physics" of the guns and the "realistic" movements and habits of the varmints which include ground hogs, prairie dogs and coyotes there doesn't appear to be too much that is realistic about this game. Even if the most exciting thing in your life is lying motionless on the open prairie waiting to bag a gopher this game doesn't go beyond that. I guess for some it just doesn't get any better than that.

Once you experiment with the bullets and the powder for the proper trajectory you just continue to press the R button to reload. Locate your prey, aim, shoot, reload and do it all over again. Points are awarded for killing animals. The further away they are the more points you'll score. Which I guess is a good thing since instead of having a living room full of trophy weasel heads on the wall you can just impress your hillbilly guests with a printout of your score.

Graphically the game is awful. Everything looks fragile, as though it's created out of construction paper. The environments appear static even when there's supposed to be a heavy wind blowing. You can use binoculars to locate your prey and laser sights to get a bead on the defenseless creatures but that's all the movement you can perform. The depth of the gameplay is so one-dimensional that it only has one side.

Throwing rocks at cars would be a more fun than shooting rats in NRA Varmint Hunter. Playing this game made me feel like a hobo at a garbage dump with a metal detector.

Click For Media
System: PC
Dev: Speedco
Pub: Speedco
Release: Dec 2004
Review by Cole