There’s a new WiiWare game available in North America. Let that sink in for a moment. After nearly nine months of silence, a new title emerges from the depths of Maximum Games's back pocket and lands squarely on the WiiWare service as Deer Drive Legends, the light gun shooter that you probably haven’t been waiting for. Don’t worry though; this isn’t anything new at all. This game is actually just a downloadable port of a bargain bin title that was released at retail this time last year, and it’s mostly identical to the 3DS version as well.
Like any good light gun game on Nintendo's last-gen console, this one is controlled with a Wii Remote pointed at the television screen. B shoots, A reloads, and pressing the + button allows you to use your scope, depending on the equipped rifle. Aiming towards the edge of the screen will shift the camera, panning left or right to reveal what little else of the environment exists. You also have the option of plugging a Nunchuk into your Wii Remote which allows for an alternative way to pan the camera, so more focus can be placed on using the Wii Remote strictly to guide your aiming reticle. Both control schemes work well, and the frame rate issues prevalent in the 3DS version making it difficult to get a good shot in are non-existent here, making for a smooth experience that does well to reflect the arcade experience.
Delving right in, the world map in Deer Drive Legends is divided up into four sections, each containing five stages within. Upon finishing a stage, the next is unlocked, and completing all five stages in a section will open up a new area on the map such as the Rocky Mountains or the European Forest. Most of the stages contain the standard animals that one might expect form a hunting game, ranging from deer and squirrels to wolves and gazelle, but the game's excitement comes from the final stages in any given section. These are the arenas in which you fight for your life, fending off the advances of an unexpected — and sometimes extinct — beast. Despite the variety in locales, each stage is remarkably similar, consisting of a singular stagnant area that is barely larger than your television's screen. The environments and animals populating them are designed well and look really great for a WiiWare game, but there’s not much to look at as the staging area is so small.
While the game itself functions fine and it isn’t innately offensive in terms of aesthetics, the biggest flaw of Deer Drive Legends is that it’s just plain boring. Sure, taking down a T-Rex with a rifle is undeniably awesome, but the majority of gameplay has you sitting patiently, waiting for your target to step into view, then pulling the trigger. Animal targets don’t move particularly quickly and the environments aren’t that interesting to look at, so it really is mostly a game of human patience. The best examplew of this are missions that require you not to shoot a doe for a certain amount of time. Rather than being assigned a specific animal to kill, you are instead assigned an animal to patiently sit and watch as it saunters past. These stages are literally two to three minute periods where you just have to lie back, making sure a wolf or bear doesn’t come up to scratch your eyes out. If you haven't caught on, just looking at digital animals is not much fun at all.
If being bored all on your lonesome doesn’t appeal to you, then you might be interested in the available multiplayer mode. You and a friend can sit next to and hate each other in real-time while enduring a split-screen hunting challenge. Rather than being able to play through the campaign with a partner, you are instead limited to specific hunting challenges such as shooting a certain amount of deer before time runs out. Multiplayer challenges can either be played cooperatively are against one another, but in either situation the same uninteresting and limited gameplay from the campaign is retained, making for a very fleeting sense of enjoyment.
While Deer Drive Legends looks and works well enough, it's an entirely forgettable light gun shooter that does nothing to set itself apart from the rest. The frame rate issues plaguing the 3DS version may have been fixed, making this the clear winner in a bid for minimal superiority, but little else has been done to make this a title worth adding to even the biggest arcade fan’s collection. The campaign can be played through in just a few short hours, the gameplay itself is uninspired, and the replayability that so many arcade games boast isn’t there; yet as a potential final farewell to the WiiWare service, it could have been much, much worse.