The Wii is certainly getting a lot of attention from Sega these days. From Saturn sequels to Dreamcast ports such as this, Nintendo has been giving a warm welcome to their formal rivalís franchises. This previously mind-blowing collaboration has had the added side effect of opening up Segaís past library to a whole new crowd. Since the Saturn and Dreamcast were (awesome) overshadowed by the PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo 64, a lot of arcade hits and cult classics were limited to a niche sect in each generation, but now both those who missed their chance and the newcomers the Wii has attracted will have a chance to play the games they have heard so much about. Unfortunately, Sega Bass Fishing on the Wii isnít the best game to judge their library on.
Itís odd that I enjoy the Wii version less than the Dreamcast version, considering how well the remote and nunchuk have been implemented. The controls and minor enhancements just arenít enough to overcome some newfound frustrations. Judging from whatís been changed, this series has been sitting in limbo for years. Immediately noticeable is that the game looks like the Dreamcast version, and it largely is, which can be a little jarring, at least for a while. The soundtrack is still that insane mix of generic club and lounge music that teeters on becoming annoying as the announcer. The presentation will be a strong trip down memory lane for some, with everything seeped in the same arcade influence that permeated throughout all things Sega pre publish-only model; newcomers are advised to just roll with it, however strange it may be. Ah, Sega.
The game can still be calming though, thanks to some relaxing locals and varying weather conditions and times of day. Playing through the tournament is what you expect, with you going from one location to another during different times of day and in various kinds of weather to get the greatest weight total to earn the highest number of associated points with ending rank. For those that arenít ready to kick back by an aging castle in the early morning, they can play the arcade mode, which has some selectable variables and a severe time limit that is expanded with each new catch. All of that high intensity fishing can and will get tiring, especially if you opt to use the nunchuk over the buttons to reel, so it might be best to take the random nature trip every now and then. The trip opens up everything for players, the location, season, time of day, and weather. Taking a few minutes to kick back in a small ravine while an overcast darkens the sky and thunder rumbles in the distance isnít as awesome as it sounds, thanks to the aging engine, but it is a far more low-key affair than the other modes and isnít a bad way to kill a few minutes.
The challenge doesnít consist of the environment alone, oh no, there are also four different types of bass to contend with. The bassí behavioral characteristics have to be adapted to by using the appropriate reeling technique and the best of the unlockable 20 lures. Using the buttons to reel doesnít provide near the challenge as waving the nunchuk around, but either method can be used for various methods, like smooth reeling, bumping the lure on the ground, knocked it against objects, and using the remote to whip the lure around Ė mmmmm, a moving object.
This would all be fantastic if the feedback wasnít so spotty, managing to be both confusing and lacking. The announcer is one part ass and one part oblivious, forming the perfect combination for hitting the mute button. It isnít uncommon for a catch to get a very sad ďOh.Ē from the announcer, followed by a congratulations message on a ĎBig Oneí catch in a bright and flashy font. Thereís nothing like bitter disappointment from your omnipresent narrator. His doldrums doesnít affect how the game plays, but the lack of solid advice definitely does. The controls do work well, but the problem is finding out what to do and when because the in-game feedback needs a lot of work. The manual indicates what to do, as does the announcerís random bits, but following them can still often lead to some very strange results. Despite following protocol, whatever actions taken will often lead to innumerable line breaks. Sometimes it makes sense, but since when does a two-pound fish break a line?
The (line) tension meter is supposed to be the source of the great battle between man and fish but there were several times when the line immediately broke, with no time to adjust, thereby robbing me of my chance to break the animal kingdom of its will and taming the meterís audacity. There were also the odd moments when the game wouldnít pick up my motions and my flailing about didnít hook the latched-on fish Ė or do much else aside from make me look insane. So while the line and rod move in the direction of the remote and movement of the nunchuk properly corresponds to the reel speed, what you would think is the hard part, the game wobbles when the bait comes in contact with the fish: from properly hooking to fighting, the game takes a dip. The randomness of what to do and when isnít unlike real fishing, but Iíve yet to have so many lines break and fish come unhooked as I had in just 20 minutes of Sega Bass Fishing. The game alternates between a pleasant alternative to the hyper action shooters and platformers out there and a peek into Segaís past to moments of frustration and confusion.
Although it has to be said that you get out of it what you put in, and if you are willing to look silly - with what all the party games out there have you doing, I donít see what shame is left to stop you - acting as if you are actually holding a rod and reel really does complete the game. There is a quick, some might say lazy, way to do it but proper positioning really does complete the experience.
I did a little research and, to be perfectly honest with you, I found the retro route the better option: for the MSRP you can get a Dreamcast, copy of the original Sega Bass Fishing, and a fishing rod controller. That way you not only get the version that provides the better experience but a fantastic system as well. For those who donít want to go through the trouble, the Wii version of Sega Bass Fishing is an acceptable fishing title, but the lack of clear direction and the shaky fight makes this a fussy angler that only gives players a glimpse of its true potential.