By: Jared Black
When you think
about it, fishing is really the perfect example of the Man vs.
Nature struggle. Combine this with its simplicity, and you’d think
it’d make for the perfect video game. After all, video games are
generally about simple struggles between two forces. Despite that,
for some reason fishing games have a long and storied history of
sucking. There are a few exceptions, but this isn’t one of them.
It’s not that
Konami didn’t try, because you can tell there was a lot of effort
put into this game. There are three basic modes to choose from,
including Tournament, Free Fishing, and Cable Versus. The Tournament
mode pits you against other anglers in the Great Outdoor Games, Free
Fishing allows you to choose from a number of locations in three
different lakes to fish in, and Cable Versus allows you to enter a
tournament against a friend. The Tournament structure is simple:
catch the five biggest fish you can in a two-day span. If you have
the highest total weight (and the target kinds of fish), you win.
Where this game
fails primarily is that it doesn’t really capture the epic
struggle between angler and fish. Although the game gives you a
variety of different lures to choose from, everything is pretty much
handled via the "A" button. So in order to get your lure
to behave properly to attract the fish, all you have to do is
discover the proper rhythm for hitting the "A" button with
that lure. Given the fact that you have a meter (the APL meter) on
the right-hand side of the screen that shows you exactly how
effective your button mashing is, with a little patience you’ll
master every lure. And once you master a lure, catching fish with it
is too easy and boring.
The actual act
of pulling in a hooked fish is too easy. All you do is use the
"A" button to reel in the fish, and make sure that the
tension meter (which replaces the APL meter once you hook a fish)
doesn’t fill up and break your line. You can also use the
"B" button to give your line a bit more slack (thus
reducing tension), although it’s really not necessary. Just watch
your tension meter and "A" is all you’ll ever need to
use. It would’ve helped greatly if the game used the d-pad in some
fashion, such as setting the hook or fighting the fish. Only needing
the "A" button just makes it too easy and repetitive.
Naturally, this also results in the tournament mode being too easy.
The graphics and
sound are both good and bad. Above the water, every area looks nice
and distinct with vibrant high-resolution backgrounds. Below the
water everything looks bland and repetitive, and almost identical
regardless of where you’re fishing. Since you spend most of your
time looking underwater, that counts for more. The only thing that
looks good below the water is the fish themselves, which look
surprisingly realistic. Each different type of fish is readily
identifiable by looks alone, and each matches up very well with its
real-life counterpart. The music is generic rock crap similar to
what you hear in most other fishing games, and is grating after a
few listens. The sound effects, on the other hand, are merely
- The fish look
- Tracks the
biggest of each type of fish you’ve caught.
- Link play
adds some replay value.
underwater graphics look like guppy crap.
- Music is
grating and annoying.
- Once you
master the lures (which won’t take long), you’ll have no
problem mastering the game.
Outdoor Games – Bass 2002
has a lot of things going right for it, but it fails to properly
recreate the epic struggle between man and fish that makes for a
great fishing game. Wait until next year’s version, or check out American
Bass Challenge instead.