Originally posted on March 14, 2008 at 1:23 p.m.
Disclaimer: No chickens were hurt during the making of this review.
Oh-kay, no REAL chickens at least. For this episode of QuickJump Flashback/Reviews, we'll be looking at Phenomedia and Mumbo Jumbo's offering for the Nintendo DS, Chicken Hunter.
Those of you living on the other side of the Atlantic (read: Europe) have heard of this fowl shooter one way or the other, though you'd probably know it and its other iterations better as Moorhuhn. Folks in North America and other territories may have heard of the casual video game at some point, though it really isn't as popular outside Europe.
So where and how did Chicken Hunter, aka Moorhuhn, come about? The name means moorland chicken, which then translates to the Scottish Red Grouse. Moorhuhn was originally called Moorhuhnjagd, which roughly means swamp chicken hunt, and was made for Johnny Walker. Yes, the whisky brand.
The original spawned dozens of sequels and spin offs, and created a sort of cult following in Europe, mostly in Germany. Chicken Hunter's viral and highly addictive gameplay had inspired a good number of sequels, including a soccer game, a kart game, a pirates game, and a Winter Edition, among others.
The Gameplay Modes and other Menu options
Following the footsteps of its bigger brothers, Chicken Hunter DS features the Classic gameplay mode where you bust out your virtual gun and shoot virtual chickens. It also showcases four other modes, namely Weights, Gems, Spot the Difference, and Hotwire. Let's check them out, shall we?
They're everywhere, flying across the screen, hiding inside discarded ovens, behind trees, inside cars, knocking on your screen, and even holding a frying pan and deflecting your bullets with it. In the Classic gameplay mode, you get 90 seconds to shoot everything that has feathers. This mode is what the series is known for, but don't be fooled though. It's not just shooting everything that moves, there are puzzles strewn around this mode.
Case in point: In Moorhuhn Piraten, the Therapist (the chicken holding flash cards that comes up to the screen and taps it) will show you where some hidden treasure is buried via its flash cards. Shooting at the correct square will get you 88 points. It's up to you to discover what secrets lie in Chicken Hunter DS.
The other gameplay modes are easy to understand - but like the Classic mode, they take a lot of practice to master. In Weights, chickens will be wearing different colored shirts (red, purple, blue, green and yellow).
You'll have to shoot different colored weights at the chickens, matching the shirt with the color of the weight. Chickens will crash land after you weigh it down with three weights. Here's a tip, you've got to flick your stylus in the general direction of the chicken. The faster the flick, the faster the weight travels to clasp on to the chicken.
Chicken Hunter's Gems gameplay mode features flying chickens holding gems with three different colors: red, green, and blue. Below them are three pipes and the object of the game is to drop gems into the pipes to form the patterns shown on the upper screen. A pesky snail crawls atop the pipes, making easy gem delivery a bit harder, but prodding the critter will make it crawl away.
Chicken Hunter also has a Spot the Difference minigame, which is pretty much self explanatory. You'll get to see scenes from the other Moorhuhn games and you'll have to spot a certain number of differences between the images on the upper and lower screen. Be careful though, you'll have to be accurate and eagle-eyed as some of the differences can be pretty subtle.
Lastly, the Hotwire gameplay mode basically sports a small car and a long and winding track. Players will have to keep the car on the track as everything goes faster and faster and fast- er, if you know what we mean.
Chicken Hunter records your shooting prowess (or un-prowess) in the Highscore section. The Credits section (also self-explanatory) will get you acquainted with the people who made the game.
Chicken Hunter DS certainly has its good points: humor, decent visuals, and addictive gameplay (at least for some). It may not be for everyone, however, as the short bursts of gameplay may frustrate some gamers into putting the game down. Some will find it a good source of stress relief and probably play the game to help pass the time while waiting at the dentist's office.
You've got to keep in mind that this is a casual game (read: pick up and play) and if you're just looking something that offers a distinct charm, then you'll definitely enjoy Chicken Hunter. Fans of Moorhuhn will enjoy this latest iteration as it sports all the stuff that made all the other runaway-fowl-shooting games appealing and addictive.
And before we go, if you manage to unlock the rocket launcher/machine gun, could you clue us in? That blasted chicken in the oven and the one holding a frying pan are driving us insane.
Originally posted on March 14, 2008 at 1:23 p.m.