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Duck Hunt (ダックハント?) is a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game console system in which players use the NES Zapper to shoot ducks on screen for points. The game was developed and published by Nintendo, and was released in 1984 in Japan. The ducks appear one or two at a time, and the player is given three shots to shoot them down.
Duck Hunt was one of the two original pack-in titles for the first release of the game system. The game was not initially reviewed often, but given mediocre critical praise and positive gamer reaction. Prior to the NES version, Nintendo also made a Duck Hunt game based on Laser Clay Shooting System released in 1976.
In Duck Hunt, players use the Nintendo Zapper Light Gun and attempt to shoot down either ducks or clay pigeons in mid-flight. Duck Hunt was also released as an arcade game in 1984, as Vs. Duck Hunt, and is included in the PlayChoice-10 arcade console.
The game has three modes:
- One Duck - In each round, there are 10 ducks for the player to shoot down. Only one duck appears on screen at a time, and the player has three shots to hit it.
- Two Ducks - Identical to "One Duck" except that the ducks appear on screen in pairs. A new pair of ducks will not appear until both of the previous pair have either escaped or been shot down.
- Clay Shooting - In each round, there are 10 clay pigeons for the player to shoot down. Clay pigeons are fired off two at a time from a first person perspective and are aimed into the distance. In Vs. Duck Hunt, Clay Shooting mode appears as the second round with the first round being the two duck variation (the arcade version never had one duck).
In the first two modes, a dog retrieves the ducks a player shoots, and laughs at the player if both of the birds on screen escape (and if the player fails to advance to the next level).
During bonus stages in Vs. Duck Hunt the dog jumps out from the grass as a distraction to the player as they try to shoot ducks, thus putting himself in the line of fire and enabling a player to inadvertently shoot him. If the dog is shot, the bonus round ends.
Several unofficial remakes of Duck Hunt have been released which enable the player to shoot the dog. The nameless dog makes a cameo appearance in the NES game Barker Bill's Trick Shooting (another Zapper game) and he can be shot.
While Duck Hunt does not have a traditional multiplayer mode, the manual states that a second player may plug in a standard NES controller in the other controller port and control the duck that appears. This option is only possible in the one duck mode.
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