Fish or die!
Competition is the driving force behind every video game. Gamers will do whatever it takes to be the best in the knockdown, drag-out quest for geek glory.
In their infinite wisdom, Sega figured that maybe that's what's been
missing from the fishing genre. Competition! Can a fishing game with competition
actually be interesting? Yes, but not in Sega Bass Fishing Duel, essentially
a port of Sega Bass Fishing 2 on the Dreamcast. The competition bits
come out fine, but the port and presentation turn out to be a sewage-marinated
the Dreamcast, the PS2 doesn't have a fishing controller, so the dual stick
is your only option. The Right analog stick acts as the reel, but you don't
have to wind it circularly to reel in a fish. Slightly pushing forward translates
to lightly turning the reel; shoving the analog stick to the edge results in
a rapid reel. It works fine I suppose, but doesn't hold a candle to the fishing
controller. I can't believe I actually want a fishing reel controller,
but suffice to say a fishing game isn't quite the same without one. Without
the controller, it seems even more pointless.
Once the fish has been reeled in close enough to the boat, the last step of
catching the fish must now be done via a timing exercise. Tapping X at the right
time within a broadening yellow meter will successfully net you the fish.
That pretty much covers the basics, but there's more in here. Sega Bass
Fishing Duel lets you take a break from fishing and drive around your little
boat. The boat is limited to pre-set boundaries and most unfortunately, you
can't crash it into anything or go scare a flock of peaceful geese. Boating
is nothing more than a method of getting from point A to point B and hope there
are more fish there.
Overall, it feels like the population of fish has gone down since previous
fishing efforts, especially considering your increased mobility. Guess it's
global warming or something. At any rate, you can often just find fish by staring
the water long enough.
Sega Bass Fishing Duel gets its name from the ability to fish against
other players. If you don't have a friend on hand, you can compete against one
of the computer-controlled digerati. You might compete to catch a specific fish
or a set total weight of fish. With a human opponent, the screen is split and
each player takes his shot at a good old-fashioned fish off.
is probably the best thing Sega Bass Fishing Duel has going for it. If
you have a buddy who's really into fishing, you could have some fun fishing
against each other.
It's clear that this port wasn't really handled with the deftest touch. Whenever
you make a selection in the game, whether between a choice of bait or designing
your custom character, the screen image wavers slightly. Simply changing your
character's outfit can lead to a hefty load time. Environments come out jaggy
and boring. The water looks bleary and drab in flat colors. There are some reflections
of light, but it lacks realism. Sometimes a refraction filter cuts in, blurring
the fish, but it looks sloppy.
There are even times when the fish just droops in still water, blankly staring at the bait. If they added some gill animations or made the water tread animation more plausible, the fish would seem more realistic, particularly when there are two fish right next to each other both emptily staring away. Why aren't they noticing each other and getting into a fight or kissing or ANYTHING? These are indeed soulless creatures of the deep.
If they really wanted to make a fishing game cool, they should translate the
fish you catch into some kind of reward. Why do I keep fishing again and again
in Animal Crossing? Because
it makes me money. Points, money, character improvement - whatever. Reward me
for catching these fish, darnit!
How cool would it be if you could sell off all the fish you've caught, mosey
your way to the jewelry store across the docks and then lace your character
all up in ice and bling-bling? You could be the baddest mother on the Upper
Westside of the lake. Seriously, a real time fishing game with a small local
town of fish buyers and competing fisherman would actually be interesting. Throw
in the ability to hit someone with a fish and you might have the world's perfect
fishing game on your hands. I'd keep playing a fishing game like that.
Instead, I get to play more arcade ports like this one. The Dreamcast fishing
games came out much better, odd as it may sound, especially with the fishing
controller and the native Naomi code instead of this haphazard port job. If
you really, truly want to be playing a fishing video game, go back to your Dreamcast.
Better yet, for some real competition, wake up really early, grab your buddy,
and go fish.