Carnivores: Ice Age

7_1Will the madness never end? Since the release of Deer Hunter in 1997 approximately ten thousand hunting “games” have been released. Cue the release of Carnivores: Ice Age, the third game in the Carnivores series. In Carnivores: Ice Age, you travel around hunting ice age-era mammals like the smilodon (saber-tooth tiger), the wooly mammoth, and the diatryma. You select the area in which you want to hunt, grab a weapon, select accessories like radar, camouflage, or cover scent, and off you go. And at this point the insult to your senses begins in earnest.

The game’s graphics are simply atrocious. The animal models show limited movement and range, and all of the trees and other plants are nasty-looking sprites that completely destroy any suspension of disbelief. And the sound isn’t much better. Instead of populating the game world with realistic or atmospheric sound effects, grunts and rustles sound like it was recorded in someone’s garage.

Aesthetic stumbles aren’t the only arena in which this game fails — playing it is an exercise in suicide-inducing boredom. Gameplay is based around a point system that forces you to hunt the same animals over and over and over until you earn enough points to unlock new areas and animals. I guess in the future, money can buy lots of things except the right to equip yourself however you see fit.

Adding to the frustration is some truly repulsive AI. The herbivores will flee from you and then suddenly turn and charge (yeah, that’s realistic animal behavior), and the carnivores will simply attack as soon as they get wind of you. On the plus side the death scenes can be quite amusing. But entertaining death scenes aren’t enough to save this game fraud. Leave it to rot on the shelf.

System Requirements: Pentium II 233 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win98

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