I have often pondered the means of offing a furry little critter in my sleep. Do I plug it with 12-gauge buckshot, cut it down to size with a round of 5.56, or set it alight with a home-made flamethrower? If I was to answer "yes" to any of these, I'd be a certified psychopath. Luckily for you, I'm not. Unlike some folks, I'm a big animal person and not an avid hunter. But what of those friggin' garden pests? How does one actually dispose of pesky garden-variety rodents without attracting the attention of PETA and the WWF?
Why, just have a seat and let the good old National Rifle Association explain the best way to kill varmints with its premier varmint hunting simulation, NRA Varmint Hunter. And yes, I know I used the word "varmint" more than was necessary in that last sentence. Because 'Murica.
The best way to kill varmints is to stare at a serene background that looks vaguely 3D, passable for a Windows 98 game. See that little brown blob standing there? Just guide your rifle's scope with the mouse over the blob, press Space to shoot and R to reload. If you somehow manage to miss it, press Space again. That's the entire extent of NRA Varmint Hunter's experience. Point, shoot, reload and repeat. Not satisfied that you don't get any trophies? Have some points so you can feel better about killing innocent animals. I'm absolutely appalled that the NRA somehow approved this for store shelves.
I really wish I was kidding when I say this is the worst game ever made. Forget Big Rigs for a moment; NRA Varmint Hunter lacks the basic necessities to even be called a game. Sure, Big Rigs didn't work in the slightest, but it was at least packing more value than the entirety of Varmint Hunter. All you do is shoot at small brown blips that could barely pass as animal caricatures. When they die, they fall over or rocket upwards and vanish. That's it. No sense of accomplishment or purpose. Just the lingering feeling of buyer's remorse and regret for killing the cute little critters.
Perhaps one of this game's best features is the multiplayer. In the awful-looking game menu it clearly says multiplayer, yet clicking it will take you to a website redirect. Why is this non-functioning aspect, required of every modern shooter, the best feature? Because it ensures none of your friends will ever have to experience the soul-sucking dreariness that Varmint Hunter demands more than $0.00 for. Misery does not love company when it has to with the NRA's "critter huntin' sim".
Mercifully, Varmint Hunter offers "realistic reloading" and "animal behavior" features. Because what can be more fun that staring at little standing varmints while cocking the bolt of a static, unmodeled rifle? Catapulting the varmints into the air when you hit one, I guess. How realistic! There's supposedly a second environment (besides the default green grass) but I've yet to trivialize my life to the point of switching play fields. There are plenty of other buttons listed in the menu but as you might have guessed, none actually anything of genuine worth.
With the mind-meltingly bad visuals, banal gameplay, life-crushing mechanics, broken multiplayer, price tag of anything more than free, awful shooting and horrific animal massacre, I am forced to award this game with the worst of trophies......
THE MIGHTY POO AWARD
Overall Score: 5/5 Craps
+ The multiplayer doesn't work
- It exists
- The NRA is selling it
- Everything else in the game
- WHY DOES THIS EXIST?
If you somehow leave NRA Varmint Hunter happier than before it entered your disc drive, I will regret ever associating with you. Varmint Hunter is an insult to mankind. Just watch the video...