: 5th October 2011
Long ago on the Dreamcast, SEGA released SEGA Bass Fishing. At the time it was a great game that fit that era, allowing gamers to catch fish in the comfort of their living rooms. It then got re-released as part of the Dreamcast collection, as well as a retail version for the Wii. But is this game one that should have stayed in the lakes of time or is it one to be proud to have caught?
Before we get into too much detail in this review, I have to say that to do a concise and professional review for SEGA Bass Fishing was not an easy job. You can tell it's not easy when you have two members of the review team taking on the task to describe the game to the best of their abilities.
With all that said and done though SEGA Bass Fishing is an arcade fishing simulator throughout and it has one simple premise, that premise is to catch has many fish as you can do in a certain time limit. While this may sound easy enough, the time limits that you are put up against whilst playing the game can at times be not enough. There are a few multiple reasons for this though and the main one stems from the fact that when your trying to lure a fish, it can take a good thirty seconds to a full on minute to actually get a bite and reel it in, regardless of size.
Even when low on time, catching a bass is still a job well done.
Whilst this may be a fault with the actual player of the game instead of how the game works, it can be really annoying to throw out your line and start to slowly reel it in, watch as fish will stop and look on to see your lure, and then just move away from it. This then leaves you to try again and lose even more time which could of easily have been prevented if the fish had decided to bite. Furthermore, when you do get a fish on the line, you then have to reel it in, while avoiding breaking the line. While the game is similar to fishing in real life, this feature in the game can prove annoying after a certain amount of time.
To make the game easier in certain parts, you are offered various different lures, each have there own advantages or disadvantages but you are left to find these out for yourself. For example one type of lure may work in one location or a certain depth but it may be of no use in a different area. A few examples of the lures you can get in game are as reel-and-stop, twitch rod and reel, reel constantly and move rod to make lure shake. Whilst having all of these options is a nice touch, it does seem kind of redundant especially when novice players won't know which one may help them in a certain area.
This is where an issue comes up though. Being a direct port from the Dreamcast version, the whole lure system is based around the controls found on the Dreamcast fishing rod. This is quite clear when you have pictures of it appear, showing how to do certain moves with it if you don't press start to get to the main menu.
The game does contain three different types of modes for the player to try out and work their way through. These three modes will easily notch up a good fair few hours of game time if you can get hooked on the game. The three modes though consist of:
The game does make it clear when you have a fish on the hook.
Practise mode lets you choose from three different areas that are featured in the game. It also lets you set up the game to how you would like to play; for example you can choose to play during the night whilst there is rain pouring down all around you. Unfortunately though practise mode doesn't actually do anything to help or reward the player in any way possible, instead it's just used as a way of catching a few extra fish but without the time limits that the other modes offer.
Arcade mode is a quick and frantic mode where the player must use the skills they have acquired to work his way through four stages and then a final secret stage to hook as many fish as possible.
This isn't the only trait that you will find yourself doing in Arcade mode though as you will find yourself faced with a two minute countdown timer, and in those two minutes you need to catch enough fish to fulfil a target weight.
If you fail to earn that weight in fish though by the end of the two minutes then fear not as the game will ask you if you would like to continue on or not, if you choose yes then you will be restarted from where you left off with a fresh two minutes on the clock to work your way through to earn the weight needed.
Original mode is where you will be spending most of your time. This is mainly down to the fact that you are faced with going on tour and taking part in different leagues/tournaments to try and be the best fisherman out there.
Whilst taking part in different leagues you will be sent out to fish at various locations, and the twist with this mode is you have to fish the same spot multiple times but all at different times of the day. Each time that you're out fishing is normally around four hours game time, which translates to around 4 minutes in real time.
After your time is over you will then have your total score added up which will then be put onto a leaderboard of fifty other supposedly rival fisherman. Your position on this leaderboard is determined by the total weight of the fish you managed to catch. If you don't manage to do that well in your first run through at a certain time of the day, it's important to note not to fret too much. This is because the other times you go out during the day, you could do better and the total score is for the complete day, not just the individual trips out in the boat.
When you are reeling in a fish, keep an eye on the line tension.
Graphics wise, SEGA Bass Fishing falls rather flat. Before the game came out it was heralded as having a slight 720p makeover to bring Hi-Definition to the game. Sadly if this is the case, then it really doesn't shine through as everything down to even the basic menu system looks old and dated. Obviously with the game being from the Dreamcast era of console gaming, it would be wrong to expect the game to still look as good as it did back all those years ago.
Most remakes are given a slight polish up to help make there return into our gaming homes that little bit more enjoyable. Whilst the graphics are still relatively decent for a game that's over ten years old now, the menu system is what is really holding this title back. A reworked menu would have been a nice touch, as the menu that is there in use now looks over stretched on most HD televisions.
As said in the previous paragraph though the actual games graphics remain fairly decent, even without the touch up that most games get nowadays. The fish and the lures look spot on and you can still see all of the detail that was put in place when the game was originally developed. The actual playing areas look pretty good also, a few more elements for under the water would have been nice though, possibly a few weeds or obstacles to make it look more lively.
The sound featured in SEGA Bass Fishing is simplistic, just like it was in the old days. It's important to remember that this is an old arcade styled game, they weren't intended to be overly ground breaking, but provide a fun experience that brings you back for more. Everything down from the click in the menus when you select an option to the announcer when you catch a fish is quite reminiscent of the old days that you usually find the older generations go on about.
With most sound and graphics parts of reviews, there is usually a spot which sticks out in either a good or bad way. Sadly, the announcer in this game at the best of times sounds monotonous after awhile. For an old arcade game, it's usually normal to have an upbeat personality announce when you have done something, and that can influence the gamer in a positive way, as they then can also feel more upbeat too. In this case however, the monotone styled voice can after awhile drag and take away some of the fun from this gaming experience.
Big fish are time-consuming to catch, but satisfying for scores.
The achievements which come with SEGA Bass Fishing are generic for a sports title. You have the standard progression achievements in certain modes; such as placing first in tournaments. You also have the more skilful achievements, such as unlocking the final lure, catching a certain amount of bass and huge bass. These can be easy once you have mastered how to play the game, but can be extremely difficult if you are still a beginner. They can also be quite time-consuming as well, such as catch a total of 500 basses.
All in all, this is a game which in its era was a good game to play, and it matched the Dreamcast style. However, while it was a good addition to the Dreamcast Collection, as an arcade title on its own, its repetitive streak becomes more prominent. There isn't any switching to a different game from that era as it's XBLA. This is further put down by the fact of when it shows you how to use certain baits before you press start, it shows how to do it with the Dreamcast rod.
While it does have the Xbox controls laid out, the style of how to play is meant to be with a rod. Even the re-make for the Wii came with a rod, making it easier to play. Despite the graphics not changing much, or the sound for that matter, this is still a good purchase for any retro gamers, who loved the original version. It would've been better if there was a change to the graphics, but at 800MSP, fans might want to wait until its on Deal of the Week, unless they are a very big fan. Even though it could've had all these improvements, theres a certain sentimental value to playing an old classic such as this.
Overall score - 5.5/10