There’s parody, then there’s overkill. Police Academy and The Naked Gun are prime examples of that. Once you cross that fine line, clever caricatures become desperate marketing ploys. The Deer Avenger franchise is quickly becoming the later. Deer Avenger 4 marks the fourth instalment in Simon & Schuster’s Deer Hunter parody, a series characterized by redneck humour and fart jokes. One might assume with that kind of material, the well would run dry pretty quickly, but obviously somebody is still laughing since the series has made it this far.
Developed by Hypnotix, Deer Avenger 4: The Rednecks Strike Back is a third-person action game in which the hunters become the hunted. Players take on the roll of Bambo, a deer with a bit of an attitude. In previous instalments, Bambo avenged the death of his fallen comrades, including his hot doe date, and most recently, defended his home and main squeeze. In this latest adventure, the hunters suddenly realize, during a segment on a Jerry Springer-like tabloid talk show, that Bambo is the source of their recent malcontent, so they head out to the woods in search of their common enemy, triggering the tongue-in-cheek high jinks that follow. Bambo is forced, once again, to take matters into his own hooves.
The framework of Deer Avenger 4 is similar to the last instalment in the Deer Avenger series, Deer Avenger 3D. Instead of a log cabin, Bambo now lives in the confines of a cave. Once you select your weapon of choice, you’ll venture off into the first of four locations, a wooded area. As the game progress, other locations will unlock, including a trailer park and a snow-covered valley. In an attempt to better distinguish each location, regions feature such landmarks as bridges, ponds and rivers, but most of the locales still consist of vast open areas that look all too similar.
As with Deer Avenger 3D, you’ll likely do a fair amount of wandering around in search of the elusive rednecks. To make things a little easier this time around, new tracking devices have been introduced, including a sound finder, a compass and a motion tracker. Also at your disposal is an assortment of items designed to lure rednecks out of the woods, including chewing tobacco and microwave dinners. If that doesn’t work, you can always try a call, which include such quips as “Hey, a complete guide to avoiding the laws of incest” and “Wow, a cure for studipity”. Hypnotix spares no one, insulting even themselves with the likes of “Get your copy of Bass Avenger. Bass Avenger from Simon & Schuster. What a deal!” Stand around long enough and Bambo will ask, “How much did this game cost?”
Once in the vicinity of a redneck, a tune starts to play, alerting hunters to their presence. At this point, your job is to take down the redneck with whatever means necessary. As you kill each of the rednecks, their weapons become a part of your arsenal, a collection that includes a shotgun, crossbow and a rifle with a variety of scopes. If gunfire doesn’t do the trick, you can pick up burritos and broccoli conveniently left behind and use them to create lethal farts. There are four farts in all with varying effects, including the all-new “booster fart”, which implores Bambo to “hang on for deer life”.
The interface has been slightly altered for the better in Deer Avenger 4. Instead of shuffling through your backpack for various items at inopportune times, the function keys have been designated to activate specific lures, calls, farts and miscellaneous items. You should have no problem controlling Bambo in the wild.
Visually, Deer Avenger 4 is pretty straight forward. The characters and environments all have a level of detail that is more than adequate, but certainly doesn’t attempt to overshadow the bread and butter of the game, which of course are the gags and dialogue. The audio department is dominated by speech, much of which is fairly well acted, but the effects are minimal. The environments are void of life and in many instances, void of noise as well. Some of the dialogue is funny, some not so much. It’s pretty much hit-and-miss for the most part. Once you’ve been on a few hunts, you can expect to hear the same comments repeated ad nauseam.
Much like the previous titles in the series, Deer Avenger 4: The Rednecks Strike Back is little more than a gag gift. I’m not sure if the gag is on the individual who receives it, or the person who pays $20 for it. When all is said and done, the Deer Avenger franchise is much like a stand-up comic who doesn’t know when to get off the stage. Let’s hope Deer Avenger 4 is the final joke.