For many of us, the word ‘hunter’ evokes two different images. The first is Elmer Fudd, trying so damn hard to shoot Bugs Bunny in the ass but always failing and inadvertently injuring himself in some ghastly way. The second is a tribesman dashing through the Amazon with a blowpipe, loincloth –and wang, presumably– flapping merrily in the wind as he does so.
But for us more decrepit gamers, it brings back long-repressed memories of that darn Duck Hunt dog, massive bastard that he is.
The game was released for the NES in 1985, and casts you as an anonymous and unseen gun-wielder. Ducks are cruising around a fairly nondescript and distinctly grassy backdrop, and it is your duty to introduce bullets of leaden fiery pain to feathered face. You have a limited number of shots with which to dispatch them all, and can advance all the way to round 99 if your aim is true and your lust for duck death insatiable.
Alternatively, if gleefully cartoony avian genocide isn’t for you, another mode sees you testing your skills at clay pigeon shooting. Because sometimes, even virtual inanimate objects can’t escape your wrath. And this is wrath you are unleashing in glorious, slightly dickish-looking style, courtesy of the craptacular NES Zapper.
Nintendo’s penchant for ball-achingly bad plastic peripherals is legendary. Perhaps they melted down thousands of unsold and unloved Virtual Boys, and wanted to recycle the sludgy mass of headache-inducing red failure that was left. Whatever the case, the Wii in particular brought us all kinds of steering wheels, tennis racquet attachments and other uselessness. But the day-glo orange might of the Zapper? That, we’ll allow.
This lightgun arrived with the console on its U.S release, bundled with Duck Hunt and the lovably shit ROB the robot. It was quite a novelty at the time, as was this duck-blasting business itself, and made for some good ol’ fashioned ridiculous fun.
But that dog. Screw that dog. Duck Hunt’s legacy mostly revolves around your canine companion and its infamy. It featured in screwattack’s Top Ten Douchebags in Gaming list, largely for its habit of taking the piss out of you (pointing and laughing at your ineptitude) whenever you failed to hit a target. The dog also gathers each fallen, bullet-ridden bird carcass, presumably to run off with your spoils and eat them. Leaving you empty handed just to be an asshole.
Duck Hunt isn’t especially long, or replayable. Critics have taken a huge, steaming dump on it at times. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable little arcade shooter with a Nintendo twist, and fondly remembered by many.
Source of images: gamefaqs.