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Review: Shark! Hunting the Great White
I don't usually purchase
hunting games - I'm simply not that interested in the sport. I
have no desire to climb a tree in the middle of winter to wait
silently on a cold platform with a loaded gun. Wait a minute...
Actually, I do, but that's not the point I'm trying to
make. Hunting games are created to appeal to "outdoor
sportsmen," otherwise known as "sadistic Bambi-murdering
killers". I'm more along the lines of "skinny guys
who are afraid to leave their apartments". The
only way I'll buy a hunting game is if some sort of fantasy
element, or "nerd factor" is involved.
One lonely, boring night, I
did a search on AltaVista for "shark video games" just
to see what I could find. I found a game called "Shark!
Hunting the Great White" (by Infogrames)
where you can dive underwater and chase after vicious organic
killing machines of death without fear of being eaten by sharks or
sexually assaulted by dolphins. After much more searching, I found
a place to buy it online. I can't remember where, but it cost ten
dollars, and was renamed "Great White Hunter". If I find
it again, I'll get you a link to it.*
*Note: I'm not even gonna look
for the link. I'm too lazy. You'll have to find it yourself.
Here's a screenshot.
has a surprising bit of detail for a "bargain bin" game.
There are droplets of water on your mask when you go above the
surface of the water, along with stereo sounds of seagulls and
waves. When you dive under the water, the sound becomes muted,
much like the time my parents tried to drown me in the bathtub as
a toddler (to teach me a lesson).* This effect is very realistic.
*This is a joke. Ha ha. Please
don't hurt me, Mom and Dad.
Attention to lighting is
impressive. Rays of sunshine pierce the water near the surface.
Small underwater particles known as "fish turds" float
towards your face as you swim. The water actually gets darker as
The only thing the programmers
neglected to simulate was the increase of water pressure as you
submerged. I have a remedy for this. I have discovered that if you
can rig a microwave oven to operate with its door open, you'll
feel some of the intense cranium-bursting pressures attributed to
diving.* Alternatively, you could play the game under about twelve
feet of water, but that might be too dangerous.
*Disclaimer: Don't ever do
anything I suggest.
The game can be played in
"career mode" where you have certain missions to
complete before advancing to the next area. You choose specific
harpoon guns, diving tanks, and flippers, and get on to the
killing. On your first job, a pair of lemon sharks have gotten
through the nets and are swimming near the shore.
Yup, I done killed 'em good.
Done shawt 'em in da head. After this mission, I moved on to
progressively kill blacktips, tiger sharks, makos, hammerheads,
and white sharks (Not particularly in that order). Sometimes the
goal is not to kill the sharks. For example, one mission is to
simply get back to your boat, while another mission requires you
to recover a lost submersible robot in pitch-black water.
Sharks have always frightened
me. I can't think of anything more terrifying than swimming in the
ocean and seeing something approaching from below. Below,
man! There's not supposed to be anything below your feet! It's not
natural. Let me get to the point of this review - This game scares
the living shit out of me. The combination of murky water and
gurgled sound effects really adds to the tension, but there's also
the fact that your heartbeat speeds up when a shark gets nearby. I
play with a trainer, where I can't be harmed, and I'm still scared
to death of these sharks! You can be swimming around, minding your
own business, and then your heart starts beating rapidly. You turn
around to see a great white heading towards you at top speed with
its jaws wide open. It's all like, "BOO!", and you're
all, "Man! You startled me!" Then it swallows you whole.
Note: The sharks don't really
say "BOO", but that's the effect they seem to have.
Here's another screenshot.
secret areas in many of the maps, where you can find special items
to aid you in your suicidal shark-hunting career. I found a
special advanced harpoon gun on a dead diver one time. "Well,
he won't be needing this anymore," I thought to myself as I
casually looted his decayed floating corpse.
Cons: Just like in
real life, you can't see shit underwater. You spend a lot of time
spinning around in circles, blindly searching for a shark that
just swam by. This isn't really a gripe. It adds to the
The game control is a bit
sluggish compared to games like Quake and Half-Life, but hey -
you're underwater, what do you expect? Once again, this isn't a
gripe, I'm just used to running around at 80 mph with a rocket
launcher, that's all.
This game could have been
truly remarkable if they simply used better shark models. The
environments are realistic enough, the sound effects are quite
impressive. The sharks look great from far away, mostly because
they are behind a thick layer of fog/murky water. Swimming
animations seem pretty realistic. Some of the sharks look quite
phony when they open their mouths, however. Their eyes don't roll
back, and their jaws don't do that creepy unhinging thing where
their teeth go forward (like in real life on the Discovery
The game's collision detection
isn't perfect. If you are eaten by a shark, it kind of goes
through you, and you can see the inside of its mesh. If you follow
certain fish, you can end up seeing inside their tails (Their
tails magically go right through your face).
Here's a personal gripe, which
may not prove to be a problem for many players. When I played this
game, I tried to kill everything in sight - Dolphins, harmless
whale sharks, gentle groupers, small schools of fish.
"Shark!" just won't let me destroy these peaceful
creatures of the deep. I just sit there shooting at them with my
harpoon gun, and they either stare at me or keep swimming. When a
game lacks interactivity, it lacks depth. When will game makers
realize that gamers must destroy all objects in their paths?
I had difficulty obtaining
screen shots for this review, because Shark!'s game engine
disables the Print Screen key. I had to pull a few fancy alt-tab
maneuvers, but it threw my timing off. So the screenshots suck.
That's what I'm saying.
There isn't too much replay
value once you beat the game, but I have a very short attention
span anyway. I'm all about uninstalling.
Shark! is not graphically
impressive by today's standards, but that doesn't necessarily make
it a bad game. As a matter of fact, I liked it. That's why I
reviewed it, I guess. If you find it in a bargain bin anywhere,
and you have ten dollars to spare, you might want to pick it up.
Or you could get some pizza or cheese steak at the food court.
It's your call.
My rating: Three cows and a pig.
*I apologize for all of the
asterisks in this review.