Sportsman's Paradise 2
Manufacturer: Sunstorm / Wizard Works / Sylum(1999)
Genre: Small Game / Varmint Hunting
System Requirements: Pentium 200 or faster, Windows 95 or above, 32 MB RAM, 70 MB HDD space (for minimum install, 170MB for full install), CD-ROM, PCI or AGP 3D accelerated video card highly recommended, DirectX compatible soundcard.
... DESCRIPTION: Sportsman's Paradise 2 is one of the first full 3D small game / varmint hunting titles to appear on the virtual hunting scene. The game uses the same engine as Rocky Mountain Trophy Hunter 2 (STE v2.0). The game hosts a multitude of animals to pursue, including prairie dogs, racoons, squirrels and opossums. There are also larger predators such as fox, bobcats, mountain lions and coyotes. The game provides plenty of firearm choices, with everything from a BB gun to a 12 guage shotgun. There are switchable, variable-power scopes, as well. Many different calls are provided for bringing your prey to you rather than chasing them through the large, wooded maps. Sportsman's Paradise 2 provides a great deal of options, and a great deal of hunting fun with only a few minor drawbacks. While maybe no paradise, this game is pretty good.
THE GOOD: Sportsman's Paradise 2 does many things really well. The most important thing it does well is simply provide a fun environment for hunting. Small game and varmint hunting is not supposed be as "serious" as deer and turkey hunting are. Growing up, I remember the days of strolling through the woods with my .22 looking for squirrels and rabbits. It was a relaxed kind of hunting. Sometimes fast and furious shooting, sometimes not. That's the way SP2 is.
The assortment of guns in SP2 is quite nice. I was thrilled to able to hunt with a .22 Hornet. The Hornet, along with .223 and 12 guage shotgun fill out of the selection of larger firearms. There are 2 airguns, a BB gun and a pellet gun for plinking around at the range and as well as a compound bow, a crossbow and two .22's (a rifle and a pistol). SP2 also does a great job of providing ample calls for pursuing your game animal of choice.
The maps themselves are quite nice, with very thick woods in places and open fields in others. The ambient scenery is decorated with tents and picnic tables, among others.
... .THE BAD: While SP2 is supposed to be more of a "fun" hunt, there are some things that I just couldn't get past. And most of these were just stupid and careless mistakes. I know that code is rehashed from one game to another, but there is a problem when I'm in a game that is geared for SMALL GAME hunting and I hear a voice-over saying "Where are the big game animals?" And of course, when hunting I see a squirrel that is clearly gray (even upon closer inspection after shooting it), but the computer tells me that this is a red squirrel. Actually, the computer tells me that this is a red RedSquirel (note misspelling and no space between words). I'm not a perfect speller and there are probably spelling mistakes in this review, but in a game like this, spelling mistakes are just lack of attention to details.
I also had a problem with the prairie dog hunt. While I must admit that it is fun, it is not realistic as to what real prairie dog hunting is. Real life prairie dog hunting is done at long ranges (sometimes are much as 300 yards) where the shooter must make a perfect shot. Here the prairie dogs are fenced in and you can roam freely among them, shooting them at will. That is not hunting, that's killing. Now, with that said, allow me to repeat myself...I think it is fun. I set up with .22 hornet or a .223 and shot them at range (100 yards or so).
Similar to my objection with the prairie dog hunt, is that of the cows at the target range. Yes...they can be shot. And yes, they drop over dead. Pitiful humor. There is however an "easter egg" of sorts with the cows (involving a shot to a specific part of the cow that makes it dance). This is quite funny. But again, in a "hunting sim" the cows should be off limits.
Finally, the mouse control is horrid. I've tried all manner of settings in regard to mouse sensitivity and "mouse softening" and finally found a workable setting. But there is no way to accomplish fine mouse control when hunting with a zoomed in scope. The increments of movement are rediculously high and it makes it next to impossible to be accurate shooting small animals at long range.
THE VERDICT: SP2 is very similar in many ways to Rocky Mountain Trophy Hunter 2. It shares the graphics engine and many of the same careless mistakes. But in SP2, you are able to hit the animals and they have some degree of intelligence. Despite the minor annoyances, SP2 is really a great and fun game. Its a nice break from the more intense hunting games and it allows me to practice my plinking and small game hunting skills without take all of the time to track down and find the larger game animals. If you're a fan of small game hunting, this definitely deserves a place on your hard drive!
Reviewed by Tom Shiflet