he Saturday mornings I spent fishing with my dad while I was growing up taught me many things — patience really is a virtue, and worms are absolutely disgusting. Perhaps most importantly, I learned exactly how much I hated to fish. Well, years go by, and people change. There's a part of me now that thinks I might actually give fishing another shot. It was this part of me that picked up a copy of Sega Bass Fishing the other week.
Now, let's not kid ourselves: fishing video games are far more arcade than they are simulation. Even with the aid of the Wiimote and the more "realistic" casting sensation it imbues, Sega Bass Fishing is completely lacking in hooked fingers, mud, ferocious bluegill, worms and inebriated peers. And that is a good thing.
Some bass are smarter
than others.Sega Bass Fishing consists of four separate modes of play. On one end of the spectrum, we have the arcade mode which requires players to catch a set amount of fish (measured in pounds) within a given time limit. On the other, we have a freeform nature trip mode where anything goes and the player is free to do what they want. Although even the most dedicated armchair angler will exhaust the game's options at some point, I was thoroughly impressed by exactly how deep an experience Sega Bass Fishing offers.
Sega has provided an excellent set of controls. One casts using the Wiimote and utilizes its face buttons to select options and bait type. The nunchuck is used to reel in your line, and its analog thumbstick determines casting location. Within a few moments, just about any player will have figured out the basics. By no means, however, are you done learning.
At the heart of Bass Fishing's play is a ridiculously complex system for bait selection. Lures and live bait are broken down into various categories, and only practice and experimentation will clue you in as to which bait works best in a given situation. I thought it was great how each of the various bait types required a completely different reeling technique: shallow crank lures require you to constantly change your reeling speed in order to produce a "lifelike" rising and sinking pattern; spinner lures, by contrast, require you to reel at a constant speed. A number of factors will need to be considered when selecting bait — these include water temperature, weather, time of day and depth. A few hours in, I still found myself being stumped by some of the game's trickier fishing holes.
Yeah!! Alright!!!In terms of its presentation, Bass Fishing is a mixed bag. Its graphics are about what you'd expect from a game of this type — fairly plain, though detailed enough to be functional. The game's soundtrack is pretty harsh considering the source material — I guess nothing's more relaxing, after all, than tooling around a lake in your bass boat listening to generic metal. Perhaps this was an attempt to appeal to the Bassmaster set, but it ends up being a bit of a turnoff. Thankfully, the nature mode disables the rockin' soundtrack, returning one's expedition back on a course to serenity.
Wily adversaries, a huge number of fishing holes and the aforementioned bait system combine to make Sega Bass Fishing a surprisingly deep arcade experience. There isn't any member of the family that won't catch on to the game's simple control scheme, yet it will take even serious gamers quite some time to master all the intricacies of lure selection. Though it may wear thin if overplayed, Bass Fishing's $30 asking price seems quite reasonable — arcade fans and casual gamers looking for something to unwind with may want to check this one out.