Imagine yourself out on the lake with a gentle breeze playing along the water. You’re got a fishing pole in one hand, a drink in the other, and life is grand. Now that you’re set in that picture and relaxed, take it all and throw it away because that’s not SEGA Bass Fishing. This re-release (from the late 90’s no less!) by SEGA, from my experience at least, is not that calm, relaxing day sitting around on a boat in the middle of the water. Let’s go with hectic instead.
SEGA, known for their expertise with arcade (style) games, have finally given SBF a port to the PSN and XBLA on October 4th and 5th respectively after being knocked around on several systems previously. I will admit – I had never played the original before stepping up and giving this one a go. After taking some time with it, I can also admit that I’m glad I never played the original as well. Normally I’m a man about fishing – both the real and virtual varieties – but this game made me think twice about casting my line out. As with many arcade titles, you’re generally just tossed into the game and it is no different with SBF. Luckily, there is a practice mode and a “HELP” section that can be used and referred to; incidentally I kept finding myself trolling back to these because I would become so absolutely lost early on. The issue with the “Help” section is that it doesn’t directly tell you how to control aspects of the game itself. I really recommend the practice mode to new players, especially if you want to not absolutely tank on your first try at the real game modes.
That’s not to say there are no upsides to the game; in fact there are a few. The 2 other game modes are definitely fun to play, if a bit challenging. Arcade Mode is simply the player catching as much weight in fish as possible in allotted times. The other mode is an actual tournament you can compete in against A.I. opponents. Out-catch them and win the trophy; the two modes aren’t exactly deep or awe-inspiring but they’re fun to try your hand at. There are also a few different locales with different, but I was only able to catch bass. I realize it’s called SEGA Bass Fishing for a reason, but why have those catfish back there tempting me? I also enjoyed the nostalgia feel to the game and the lack of requiring a stack of quarters be at my side to ensure my continued playing.
But it’s an arcade game, and being such it got old fast for me. There is only so much that can be done while playing this game, and once you’ve managed your way through that you’ll be left doing one thing: repeating it all. Topping that off are the graphics – they’re showing their age in today’s era. They’re not horrible like the recent Resident Evil series re-release on PSN/XBLA, but they’re nothing to write home about. As an added bonus to the graphics, the ridiculous 90’s music is fun to listen to, but it repeats after a bit and it gets stale.
Listen – if you were a fan of this game originally and a huge Dreamcast supporter: get it. It’s a fun arcade-style game that can keep you entertained for a few hours and cost less than playing this at the arcade most likely. I had my time with it and left feeling like I had a blast for the first hour or so after I learned the controls and nuances of the game. The last 2 or so hours I was getting bored or frustrated, or both. I feel like it’s a relic now though and that its age hasn’t done it any favors.Note: SEGA Bass Fishing was reviewed on Xbox 360. A digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.