Review: Sega Bass Fishing

Wii Review

"What doesn't really match with the sports serene nature is the rock music soundtrack which was all the rage with arcade games of the era but hasn't really aged well..."

The Wii has become something of a publisher's dream for rushing out those ports and rehashes to make quick bucks. Some games aren't best suited to the Wii and the controls even over complicate and bring down the experience. Sega however has so far been careful with the titles they have brought to Nintendo's casual gaming giant. Rather than porting conventional games and bungling the controls, Sega have so far hand-picked the best the Dreamcast had in oddities and brought them to Wii, which means we have seen or will see the likes House of the Dead, Samba De Amigo and of course Sega Bass Fishing.

All these games have something in common - all have their control schemes innovatively mapped onto the Wiimote and Nunchuk combo. Sega Bass Fishing's fishing rod controller is no different and the Wii's control scheme is undoubtedly the best equipped to replicate the Dreamcast original. Using the Nunchuk as the reel and the Wiimote acting as your rod is a natural fit. The Wiimote responds well to the different angles the rod needs to be positioned at to prevent the line from snapping whilst still maintaining enough tension to stop the fish from slipping off your hook. The Nunchuk for the most part works well tilted on its side to reel. However their is a certain lack of a physical centre-point to the two controllers that comes as a result of the Nunchuk not being attached like the original rod controller's reel was. This can sometimes lead to the reeling feeling loose, but it is still by far the best way to control the game. If however it is too much of annoyance a Wiimote only control system can be used retaining the motion controls but replacing the reeling with a button press.

Caught hook, line and sinker!

Moving on from the controls is how the game plays and replicates one of the world's oldest sports. Various lures can be picked and each moves and bobbles realistically through the water. The fish all have different behaviours and traits, react to their favorite lures at the correct depths and learning the ways they act and how to take advantage of them is the key to mastering the game. What doesn't really match with the sport's serene nature is the rock music soundtrack which would be all the rage in an arcade game of the original's time, but hasn't really aged well. Tranquil music, or the ability to make your own soundtrack like in Endless Ocean would have been nice.

Mastering these controls will help you get record-breaking scores in the Arcade Mode and tournament modes which make up the meat of the game. Arcade Mode is a bad dash through a set number of levels with a race against the clock being the hindrance in acquiring those higher scores. Tournament Mode takes this premise and applies it to a match play scenario whereby you fish against computer controlled fisherman over the course of a day trying to outweigh their total catch. Winning leads to progression through to increasingly harder tournaments, not to mention places on those elusive leader-boards. The only new gameplay mode is Nature Trip which thankfully removes the rock music and allows you to pick a time of day at the lake and just casually sit back and fish at a more leisurely pace.

Sadly there are no new multiplayer modes to speak of. Both co-op and competitive online modes would have been a welcome addition. Nature Trip online could have been a real hit and a rival to the more casual Endless Ocean with its mixture of exploration and the discovery and the competitive race to catch that elusive big bass. Even online leaderboards would have added longevity.

Something smells fishy...

Still, as far as graphics go there have been a few refinements over the original. Everything has been up-scaled somewhat but it is unlikely to make anyone sit up and be taken by too much of a surprise. The textures of the sea bed and surrounding environments can sometimes seem low-res and blurry but in reality it is about the fish - which are animated pretty well (aside from the odd jitter) and look every bit as real as they did on the Dreamcast with an added lick of paint. In terms of presentation it is disappointing to see what was originally an arcade game have such long loading times, not just between picking a mode and the game starting, but in between every single menu, even the display, sound and control settings which can lead to much frustration. It does bring the package down somewhat as it stops the player getting into the game as quickly as they would like.

Whilst fishing may not be to everyone tastes (this particular reviewer was a trophy winning fisherman in his youth!) Sega Bass Fishing's quick paced simple gameplay does help to make the sport as accessible to the masses as it is ever likely to be. With this mind it is a title that comes recommended if you didn't catch it first time round.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Want a title you can dip in and out of for quick sessions or have a passing interest in fishing as a sport? Maybe you should head to the store and reel in Sega Bass Fishing.

  • Gameplay5
  • Playability4
  • Visuals3
  • Audio2
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Accessible fast paced gameplay
Turns usually boring sport on its head and makes it fun!


Niggling sense that the rod controller was better
Lack of online
Long loading times

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