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ihobo Critical FAQ on 'Sega Bass Fishing' (Dreamcast)

ihobo Critical FAQ on 'Sega Bass Fishing' (Dreamcast)

 1. What's a CFAQ?
 2. What is ihobo's relation to Sega Bass Fishing?
 3. What is Sega Bass Fishing?
 4. Should I buy Sega Bass Fishing?
 5. What are Sega Bass Fishing's best points?
 6. What are Sega Bass Fishing's worst points?
 7. Which versions of Sega Bass Fishing does this CFAQ cover?
 8. What are the controls?
 9. How does the game time work?
10. Is the fishing controller worth buying?
11. Is the game worth playing without the fishing controller?
12. Will there be other games that use the fishing controller?
13. Is it true I can use the fishing controller to play non-fishing games?
14. What different play modes are there in the game?
15. Do the Options affect Original Mode?
16. How does Arcade Mode work?
17. How does Original Mode work?
18. How does Practice Mode work?
19. What information is in the diary?
20. Are there any differences between the male and female anglers?
21. How do I cast?
22. How do I use the lures?
23. How do I snap (hook) a fish?
24. Can I get rid of a fish I have hooked/snapped?
25. How do I land a fish?
26. What are the different classes of fish you can catch?
27. How can I tell the weight of a fish without having to land it?
28. How big does a fish need to be to snap the line?
29. Can I snag my line?
30. Can I catch anything apart from bass?
31. How close to the boat can I catch a fish?
32. How can I tell where to cast?
33. Does the weather matter?
34. Does the water temperature matter?
35. Does the time of day matter?
36. Does the colour of the lure matter?
37. Why are the fish not always there at my favourite hotspot?
38. How do I get a special lure?
39. What are the trophies in original mode?
40. Can I skip the credits?

Spoilers Start

Do not read from Questions 41 to 56 unless you are already an experienced Sega Bass Fishing player, or you have essentially no self-control. The information from Question 41 up to and including Question 56 of this CFAQ may be considered Spoilers, and are contained on a separate page.

41. What's the biggest bass you can catch?
42. Where are the best hotspots on Lake Paradise?
43. What's a tetrapod?
44. Do the sluices being raised in the Inlet affect fishing?
45. Where are the best hotspots on Lake Crystaldew?
46. How do I catch fish at noon in the Original mode?
47. Which are the best basic lures?
48. What are the best ways to use the basic lures?
49. Which are the best special lures?
50. What are the best ways to use the special lures?
51. What's a good weight of fish to catch in a day at Lake Paradise?
52. What's a good weight of fish to catch in a day at Lake Crystaldew?
53. How do I complete Arcade Mode on one credit?
54. What do I have to do to win each tournament?
55. Is there an easy way to win all the tournaments?
56. Are there any secrets in Sega Bass Fishing?

End of Spoilers

57. Where can I learn more about Sega Bass Fishing?
58. What about Sega Marine Fishing?


1. What's a CFAQ?

Check the Critical FAQ on ihobo CFAQs to find out more.

Because of the lack of existing documentation for this game, this CFAQ has been made as complete as possible, and as such may contain spoilers that may reduce your enjoyment of the game.

Spoilers are given in the second half of the article, on a different page.

At the end of this page can be found links to other sources of information on Sega Bass Fishing, as well as a brief section on Sega Marine Fishing.


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2. What is ihobo's relation to Sega Bass Fishing?

International Hobo was in no way involved in the design or implementation of Sega Bass Fishing. Our only connection to the game is that we have played it extensively, and used it with focus groups to explore what facets of game design turn people off a game, or hook them into it.

ihobo comment: The boxed comments in this CFAQ are provided as examples of the sort of feedback ihobo provide with a Design Overhaul. For legal reasons, we cannot discuss actual Design Overhauls or Emergency Design Overhauls that we have performed.

Although ihobo does not usually work on sport simulations, an unusual subject (such as fishing) can often entice us into biting. Also, since this was an arcade conversion, International Hobo would be more likely to get involved, since most of the research would already in place at the time of our involvement.

This Critical FAQ assumes for its comments that ihobo was brought in at the beginning of the console conversion, so that the arcade game would be available for play, and there would be the whole of the allotted conversion period to develop in.

If we were brought in later, when the majority of the menu structures were in place and the game had already taken a direction, many of the suggestions contained in this CFAQ would not apply, on account of lack of implementation time.


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3. What is Sega Bass Fishing?

Sega Bass Fishing is a freshwater fishing arcade-simulator for the Sega Dreamcast. As an arcade-simulation, the game plays fast and furiously, but it still captures many of the features of real bass fishing in a quasi-realistic fashion.

Originally an arcade game, Sega Bass Fishing has been converted to the Dreamcast faithfully. Additional features have been added to flesh out the compelling, but short, arcade mode.

ihobo comments: arcade conversions make up a significant proportion of the games released for consoles (along with PC conversions, cross-console conversions and original games), and whilst most offer faithful representations of the arcade version, many are lacking in features that take advantage of the new format. At ihobo, we believe the console version of an arcade game should add enough features that gamers are getting at least two games in one.

Sega Bass Fishing achieves this by adding a new lake - Lake Crystaldew - to the game. However, this lake is only used in the tournament-based Original Mode, and not in Arcade Mode. International Hobo would have recommended being able to play Arcade mode with both of the lakes - this would add very little to the workload, but create a whole new challenge for the player.


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4. Should I buy Sega Bass Fishing?

Almost certainly yes, but to be certain ihobo recommends playing the demo version of the game to see if you like it.

Play until you can complete the Lodge Area (the end of the demo) to give yourself a chance to get used to the game - at the end, you'll probably be hooked (if you'll excuse the pun) and will probably want to buy it the next opportunity you get. If the demo doesn't appeal, you almost certainly won't like the game.

The demo was distributed in the US on the demo disk that came with the Dreamcast, and is readily available.

In the UK, the demo was on the cover of certain magazines, and is consequently harder to come by. Renting from Blockbuster or another games rental shop is recommended before buying.

You may look at Sega Bass Fishing being played and decide it doesn't look very involving, but there is no substitute for playing it. Until you've landed a decent sized bass (4 lbs. or more), you won't have a feel for the game.

In focus groups, response to Sega Bass Fishing was phenomenally positive, and almost all players became addicted to the game in no time at all. For this reason, ihobo recommends buying the game even if you can't find the demo.

If you are wondering about whether or not to buy the fishing controller as well, see the appropriate questions later in this CFAQ. (Q10, Q11, Q12, Q13)


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5. What are Sega Bass Fishing's best points?

This game is tremendously addictive and enormous fun. The game environment is so involving, that it's hard not to get sucked into the game.

With most of the lures, after you cast you are treated to an underwater shot, and the camera follows the lure as you reel it back to the boat. Part of the key to the game's appeal is the beautiful underwater scenes, and the behaviour of the bass. They react intelligently to your actions to the point that experienced anglers can play duels of wits with monster bass, which can be highly satisfying.

The more you fish, the better you understand the way the lures and the environments work, and the bigger fish you catch. The learning curve is not too steep, and your satisfaction in playing will grow the more you play. When you finally catch a twenty pound bass, it will briefly feel as if your life is complete.


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6. What are Sega Bass Fishing's worst points?

Although a superb game, there are several major flaws, most of which could have been eliminated at the design level.

The load and save mechanism is the biggest flaw in the game. The best Dreamcast games have featured elegant load and save systems that carry the minimum risk of losing valuable data. Sega Bass Fishing has an inconsistently used save mechanism, that can easily result in lost data.

In particular, because you must manually load and save files, players who forget to load can be left facing a dilemma if they catch a huge fish in Arcade mode having forgotten to load. Do they save their victory and wipe out their old data, or cast aside their achievement and restore the old data? Neither is especially appealing.

ihobo comments: the main problem with the file management is the lack of autosave. ihobo would have recommended that the player selects a VMU to use for loading and saving at the start of the game, and that the game file in that VMU be loaded at the start of the game.

We could suggest that the game data be saved automatically after each game of Arcade (but before the closing credits) and every time the location is changed in Practice Mode (or when Practice Mode is exited).

For original mode, we would suggest supporting at least 4 characters (preferably 8), each identified by a name, as in the current Original Mode. When starting original mode, these files would be available to load, as well as options to delete files or start a new Original game.

The Original Mode data for that character would be saved automatically at the end of a tournament stage, provided the stage was completed (i.e. not if the game was quit).

This would not significantly add to the already large (50 block) save file, since only one set of data is ever kept for the diary in Original Mode, regardless of which player caught the fish. In order to limit the amount of data that needs to be saved for each Original game, the recommendation would be to record the minimum data set for each game. The only data required are the IDs of the anglers who scored points in the previous stages of the current tournament (this is a maximum of 4 x 7 = 28 bytes per character save file).

By instigating this file management system, there would be significantly less risk of the player losing important data, and it would require little more work than the currently implemented menu system.

The second problem with the game is the manual. The quality of game manuals is often poor, usually as a result of insufficient resources, and sometimes because it is intended for a published guide to substitute as a manual. At ihobo, we believe a manual should provide all the basic information required for a game, and a published guide should provide information about how to acquire secrets, and walkthroughs, maps and other reference materials to help gamers complete the game. They should complement each other.

Gamers should never be forced to buy a published guide to make up for the inadequacies of the manual.

ihobo comments: manuals are one of ihobo's specialities, and we offer manual services on any game for which we have worked on the design, or for which we have given a Design Overhaul. International Hobo prides itself on its manuals, which have won critical acclaim - something most manual copy writers cannot claim. All ihobo manuals are produced by someone with game design experience, someone with excellent language skills and a proof-reader.

Where available, ihobo will also provide manual copy in Spanish, French, German and Italian. (Translation services subject to availability).

Finally, the loading times for Sega Bass Fishing can be infuriatingly slow between stages. This is probably a result of the size of the graphics that need to be loaded for each location. Modern games use streaming techniques to load in graphics as you play, but since the complete set of models and texture maps must be loaded for each location from scratch, it would have been difficult to achieve this in the game.

ihobo comments: although the possibilities for streaming were limited, there was one option that may not have been considered. Since in Original Mode the first location on each lake is known in advance, the graphics for the first location can begin streaming the moment the Original Mode menu is displayed. However, as you will see later in this CFAQ, ihobo would have advised against making the player start in a specific location, thus invalidating the above recommendation.

Also, there may be specific reasons why streaming was not used in this game which are not apparent from reverse engineering.


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7. Which versions of Sega Bass Fishing does this CFAQ cover?

This CFAQ was developed using the US version of Sega Bass Fishing. We believe the information contained applies equally to the European versions of Sega Bass Fishing, with one exception in that the weights of fish caught is measured in grams not pounds and ounces.

Most of the information is also applicable to the original Japanese version, although there may be some significant differences.

Anyone with extensive experience of the Japanese version is encouraged to email us with their experiences.


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8. What are the controls?

Initially, you will start on the lure selection screen. Scroll through the lures and use A to select the lure, and Y to cancel. You can select a different lure by pressing Y any time before you cast.

When casting, the analogue stick controls the position of the casting cursor. The cast will always be to the edge of the lake area, so when you cast it will be short or long depending on the position of the cursor.

In Original Mode, you can press X before casting to select a new location (it does not take time to travel between the locations, although 3 or more seconds will be lost bringing up the menu option and selecting a new location).

Casting is achieved by pressing A (or by casting with a fishing controller).

When the lure is in the water, it can be reeled in by using the triggers (or by reeling with a fishing controller).

The lure's movement is controlled with the analogue stick, and by controlling the speed of reeling.

When a fish bites, pull down on the analogue stick to hook the fish (or you may make a snap with a fishing controller).

To land the fish, reel it in and use the analogue stick, ensuring that the line tension is not allowed to rise too high (in which case the line will break).

The subtleties of the control mechanism are described in detail throughout the CFAQ.


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9. How does the game time work?

In Arcade, you get 2 minutes for the first area, then 1 minute for each area after that. If you continue, you start again at 2 minutes.

In Original, you get 4 hours in three sessions per stage: a morning session (0600-1000), a noon session (1000-1400) and an evening session (1400-1800). Each minute of time on the clock represents a second of play time.

The play clock does not stop while you select a lure, or while you select a new location to move to (although no time is added to the clock for actually moving between areas).

ihobo comments: although the ihobo team agrees that time should stop when moving between areas, there are two areas in the game time that we believe could have been improved. Firstly, forcing the player to start at the Lodge or the Bridge is a disappointment: it would have been preferable to select the location prior to starting (as happens in the Arcade mode), as the implemented system costs at least 3 seconds to select a lure you won't use, and then select a new location.

The ihobo team would probably have recommended that in Original mode, the speed of the play clock be slower when selecting a lure or a new location (or that the play clock be paused when selecting a new lure or location). This would have allowed the player more time to think in Original mode, capturing more of the mood of a fishing tournament, and allowing the player more freedom to experiment with different lures. As it stands, players really need to know what lure they are going to select and go to it straight away, or too much valuable time is lost.


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10. Is the fishing controller worth buying?

If you like the game, the fishing controller is absolutely worth buying. Not only will your ability to fish be enhanced, but also your appreciation and enjoyment of the game will be greatly increased.

The fishing controller is designed to be similar in shape to the lower end of a fishing rod. Grasping the 'rod' in one hand, you can crank the reel at the right to wind in (the mechanism only winds in one direction). You have vastly greater control with this device than you do with the analogue triggers of a Dreamcast controller, and it becomes much easier to land fish of all sizes.

A built in vibration accessory provides valuable tactile feedback (although a vibration accessory in a controller is equally good), and skilled anglers can use this to judge their line tension without paying attention to the on-screen tension bar.

The other additional features with a fishing controller are cosmetic. You can cast with a casting movement (the action is all in the wrist - it does not require you to make elaborate movements, although you can if you wish), and snap the hook with the reverse motion. You can still perform both functions using the usual buttons or movements, if you wish, and generally speaking it is advisable to do so unless you are 100% on your casting and snapping motions.

Since the rod's left-right movement detection is difficult to control at best, you should use the built in analogue controller to do all rod movements, and hence to control the lure.

We believe once you've tried the fishing controller, you will never go back to regular controllers (at least for Sega Bass Fishing).

Parents should also note that playing with the fishing controller is a much better work out than playing most computer games.


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11. Is the game worth playing without the fishing controller?

If you like the game, you can still play it perfectly well with a regular controller. The trigger buttons are used to reel in at different speeds, which is an acceptable level of control, if not as sensitive as the fishing controller.

If you are going to play without the fishing controller, you must purchase a vibration accessory. The game feels flat without it.

However, if you really get into the game, the extra investment is worthwhile, and since the game has been out for some time now many shops are now packaging Sega Bass Fishing with a fishing controller. If you've already played and know you like it, it is probably worth buying the fishing controller, since it will enhance game play considerably, and these specially packaged sets are worth looking out for.

In summary, if you're going to buy the game, count on wanting to buy the fishing controller at some point.


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12. Will there be other games that use the fishing controller?

Yes, although at this time the only one we know of is Sega Marine Fishing. However, we believe that if you enjoy the game enough, the fishing controller would be worth buying even if there were no other games, so the news of another compatible game is welcome.


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13. Is it true I can use the fishing controller to play non-fishing games?

Yes! Some non-fishing games do support the fishing controller. In particular, Crazy Taxi can be hilarious when played with a fishing controller. Cast the line with the flicking movement to get a Crazy Boost, and reel the line for speed. This is particular amusing when the special taxi (the pedal bike) is being used as the player's frantic reeling matches the pedalling of their taxi driver.

Soul Calibur is also compatible with the fishing controller, and it can be waved around much like a sword; horizontal and vertical motions convert to the corresponding attacks. Although it is difficult to accurately control the characters, a frantic prolonged shaking of the rod can set off insanely convoluted combos. We were able to complete the basic game just by using the rod like a maraca (although our wrists hurt when we had finished).


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14. What different play modes are there in the game?

There are three play modes: Arcade (which is a faithful recreation of the arcade game), Original (which is a single-player tournament mode) and Practice (which has no objectives).

ihobo comments: ihobo would have recommended the following game modes:

Arcade Standard (on Lake Paradise)As included
Arcade Original (on Lake Crystaldew)Uses Arcade code but Original locations
Original (single player)Similar to included
Original (multi-player)Similar to included, but multi-player
PracticeAs included
ChallengeNew mode

Changes to Arcade and Original Mode are discussed in later sections; the Challenge Mode would be a series of fishing challenges to be completed. (Since we would recommend calling this 'Challenge Mode', we could recommend renaming the Challenge Tournament in Original Mode).

Our proposed Challenge Mode is suggested because as it stands it is possible for the player to complete all the game modes using only one or two lures and one or two fishing locations. Often this is not because this is the only way to play the game, but because once a player finds a location or a lure that works for them they are reluctant to experiment.

The Challenge Mode would be an invitation to experiment - indeed, it would force the player to learn to fish in each location, and with each lure. Each of the challenges would be made of the following components:

  1. Goal: either a target number of fish, a target weight of fish, a target weight of fish above a certain cut off or a target weight for a target number of fish (e.g. four fish with a total of 20 lbs. or one fish with a total of 15 lbs.).
  2. Tackle: for each challenge, only a certain selection of lures would be offered - and sometimes only in their alternative colours. Initially, the basic lures would be introduced, and then later the special lures.
  3. Time: each challenge would be given an appropriate time limit, between 2 minutes and 45 seconds.

Challenges would be specified by ihobo for each location, under each weather condition, for each time of day. For each setting (location, weather and time of day) there would be four challenges for a total of 192 different challenges! (Almost certainly, the software house would ask us to scale down this goal, for fear of the time taken in QA to test the Challenge Mode). When fishing under any combination of conditions, any of the four challenges could be fished for, and a record kept of which of the challenges had been completed.

Challenge mode would open up, using the following structure:

  • Start with: Lake Paradise except Palace, Lake Crystaldew except the Falls; only weather condition is Fine, only time of day is Morning (easy targets)
  • Add Cloudy when Fine completed (harder targets, since the fishing is easier in cloudy)
  • Add Raining when Cloudy completed (hardest challenges)
  • Add Noon when Morning is completed (easy targets, since fishing at Noon is naturally difficult)
  • Add Evening when Noon is completed (difficult targets, since fishing is often easier in the evening)
  • Add Palace in the appropriate weather/time of day when all basic Lake Paradise locations cleared in that weather condition/time of day (medium difficulty targets, since fishing at the Palace is usually patchy except in Arcade Mode)
  • Add Falls in the appropriate weather/time of day when all basic Lake Paradise locations cleared in that weather condition/time of day (extremely difficult targets)
  • When all challenges are completed, the player gains an additional ability (such as Night Fishing, using the routines specified for the Palace in Arcade Mode, or the Sonic Lure).

The menu system for selection could be identical to Practice, except gold stars would be displayed to show how many of the challenges had been completed under each condition. However, we would recommend a system in which the nine possible conditions for each location could be selected in parallel, and the number of completed challenges for that location clearly seen. (Essentially, all conditions would be displayed in a 3x3 table; time of day along the top, weather along the side).

Although the Challenge Mode would require a certain additional effort, the programming overheads are low, and the art overheads minimal. The only real drawback is additional time in QA, which could be as much as an additional month for nearly 200 challenges. However, a smaller set (say fifty challenges) would probably only add a week of QA, and ihobo would strongly recommend the inclusion of a Challenge Mode in order to give the game greater long-term appeal.



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15. Do the Options affect Original Mode?

Sound Options affect all Modes; Set Up options only affect Arcade Mode. The different Set Up options are as follows:

  • Difficulty: the default is Normal, you may also have Very Easy, Easy, Hard and Very Hard. Making the Difficulty harder will not greatly affect game play. The easier settings may make a difference if you are a novice.
  • First Norm: determines the first target weight you must catch. Default is 11 lbs., the range is from 9 to 13 lbs., in single pound increments.
  • Time: you may choose to start with between 1 and 3 minutes, in 30 second increments.
  • Rod Control: in the default set up, you pull down to make the rod go up, as if you were playing a flight simulator. You may use this option to switch from Normal to Reverse, in which case the rod will respond in the most literal fashion. Only change this option if you find the default setting difficult to get used to.
  • Vibration: do not ever turn off the vibration. Don't even go to this option. You have been warned.

In general, you will not want to tamper with the Options Mode. However, if you play the Arcade Mode a lot, you may want to experiment with the options.


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16. How does Arcade Mode work?

The following features are unique to Arcade Mode:

  1. You get to select a starting area before you start the game; the other areas are completed in sequence (the sequence is Lodge, Cape, Outlet, so if you start in the Cape, the Lodge is your last location).
  2. All fishing takes place on Lake Paradise.
  3. You receive 2 minutes to complete the first area, and 1 minute to complete the following areas.
  4. If you run out of time you can continue. This has no effects other than to resume the game with 2 minutes on the clock.
  5. When you hook a fish you score a bonus ("Hit Bonus!" the commentator raucously declares) of 2-8 seconds, which is added to the clock. The size of the Hit Bonus depends on the size of the fish hooked.
  6. When you land a fish you score a bonus ("Time Bonus!") of 4-8 seconds, which is added to the clock. In principal, there should be a 10 second time bonus for the largest fish, but this will almost always clear the level for you, and hence you will not score the time bonus.
  7. You complete the stage when you land a certain weight of fish. For the standard difficulty settings you must catch 11 lbs., then 13 lbs., then 15 lbs.
  8. In Arcade Mode, you can see shadows of the fish in the water as you move around. These shadows are not permanently displayed, but flash up briefly as you (or the fish) move from side to side. These shadows do correspond to the location and size of fish present, and can be used as a guide as to where you should fish.
  9. After you've completed the first three stages, you fish at the Palace at night. You only have to catch one fish, and they are all Huge. You have 1 minute to complete the task, and you may continue.
  10. You will receive special lures at certain intervals after you land bass. These special lures are not available for use in Practice Mode, and are only for the current Arcade game.

You need to catch a fish of 17 lb. 15 oz or more to take the top spot in the high score table.

ihobo comments: since this was an Arcade port, ihobo would not have altered the Arcade Mode. However, we would have recommended the same game "rules" were applied to the other lake - Lake Crystaldew - to create an additional Arcade Mode.


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17. How does Original Mode work?

The following features are unique to Original Mode:

  1. You get to select either a male or female angler, and enter a name (initial and surname), which appears on your Tournament Passport.
  2. Fishing takes place alternately on Lake Paradise and Lake Crystaldew.
  3. Each of the four tournaments has different rules and consists of a number of different stages (between two and five). Each stage consists of a morning session (0600-1000), a noon session (1000-1400) and an evening session (1400-1800).
  4. You receive four "hours" (4 minutes) to complete each session, hence 12 minutes total to complete the stage.
  5. You may change location during the tournament by pressing X whilst the casting cursor is displayed (when you don't have a lure in the water, and you are not selecting a lure). The bonus locations (Palace and Falls) are not available when you begin playing the tournament.
  6. You may change the colour of the lures to alternative colours, by pushing up and down on the stick during lure selection. The appearance affects the performance of the lure.
  7. You may save your progress in the tournaments.
  8. You will receive special lures at certain intervals after you land bass. These special lures then become available for use in Practice Mode, as well as for the rest of the Original Mode game they were earned in.
  9. At the end of the stage, points are awarded for the top 7 contestants. The person with the highest weight in bass (according to the tournament rules) scores 30 points. Second is 25 points, then 20 points, 15 points, 10 points, 5 points and 1 point.
  10. You are awarded trophies for completing tournaments and certain goals. These are displayed in Data on the Personal Data menu.

ihobo comments: the biggest change ihobo would have proposed to Original Mode would be to allow multiple players to compete in tournaments, playing in sequence. We would probably recommend that the players can select the length of the tournament in days, the tournament rules (selected from those tournament styles the competing players have unlocked) and teams, to allow multiple anglers to fish in rotation towards one team score.

The multi-player mode would probably be cut during production, as software houses usually axe multi-player options, preferring to focus on the single player game.

Another change would be to the menu system. In the game as implemented, failure to complete a tournament returns the player to the top-level menu. We would have suggested that players are free to compete in any tournament for which they have earned a Passport. Failure to complete a tournament would return the player to the initial Original Mode menu, where they could select to play the tournament they just played over again, or play any other tournament for which they have earned a Passport.


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18. How does Practice Mode work?

In Practice Mode, you can fish at any location you have unlocked in Original Mode (any of the basic locations, plus the Palace and Falls when unlocked). You may choose the time of day, and the weather.

Although voice file 036 says "Select Water Temperature", the feature to select water temperature was not provided in the final game. This is relatively unimportant, since changing the other conditions alters the water temperature, and this level of fine-tuning was not necessary in the final game.

You can press Start to select options to choose a new area, or exit the Practice Mode.

Initially, you can fish in the three basic locations on Lake Paradise, and the three basic locations on Lake Crystaldew.

Finishing the first two tournaments in Original mode (Amateur and Challenge) unlocks the Palace in Practice mode.

Finishing the last two tournaments in Original mode (Professional and Masters) unlocks the Falls in Practice mode.


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19. What information is in the diary?

The 400 biggest fish you have caught in Practice, and the 400 biggest fish you have caught in Original are listed in the diary.

You may change the order they are listed in order, for example, to look at them from biggest to smallest.

ihobo comments: it is unfortunate that the Arcade data is not given in the diary, and this would have been recommended (at the cost of fewer fish from the other modes being saved).

It would also have been recommended that the default display option for the diary would be in weight order, from biggest to smallest, as this is the most useful setting provided.


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20. Are there any differences between the male and female anglers?

No.

The male angler is the default for Arcade, but the woman may be selected by using A + B to select an area from the map.


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21. How do I cast?

First, select an area to cast. In Arcade, you may do this by examining the shadows of fish in the water. Sweep left to right to see where the fish are, and cast where you see the most fish, or the biggest fish. It is worth spending up to 15 seconds selecting the perfect place to cast, as when you only have a minute to fish, it is helpful to fulfil the weight target in one huge fish.

In Original and Practice, you will have to rely on your experience, or the information contained in this CFAQ. You will need to learn the hotspots that the big fish congregate around under the right conditions. The Spoiler section of this CFAQ describes the best ihobo-approved hotspots, but you may develop your own with a little creative experimentation.

Press A to cast, or make a forward flicking motion with your wrist with the fishing controller. Some players like to press A on the fishing controller at the same time as making a "vanity cast", just to stay in the spirit of the game.

You will always cast to wherever the casting cursor is, which means if you place it a long way from the boat, it will be a long cast. The only way to get a short cast is to aim for somewhere closer to the boat. Think carefully about the distance you are casting, because you will have to get the lure, and eventually the fish, all the way back. When trying to land a large fish, long casts are not recommended for novice players, as they will have greater difficulty reeling a fish in safely.

Short casts are ideal at the end of a session, but you may also use a long cast with a lure that works quickly (such as the popper) and still land a fish in about 30 seconds of time.

ihobo comments: we would probably have recommended an ability to 'cut' the cast by pressing the A button a second time to pull the cast. This would have been optional for the player, but would allow shorter casts to be selected when time is short, or when a fish has been sighted closer to the boat.

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22. How do I use the lures?

The game has three different sets of advice as to how to use the lures.

In Arcade mode, the basic instructions for each lure are displayed as you select it.

In Original mode, instructions for each lure can be found in the Tackle Box, under the Personal Data menu option.

In Attract mode (when the game has been left to its own devices at the title screen), detailed instructions for each of the basic lures are given, including an animation of how the lure should look in the water. Beginning players should look at this section, as it gives a better idea of how to fish than any number of words could achieve.

To make it easier to learn to use the lures, ihobo has classified the different lures according to the way they are controlled:

  • Reel: Spinner Bait and Vibration are reeling lures. You may reel them constantly, or reel constantly and then relax the reeling. Spinner Bait is a good beginner lure.
  • Crank: Shallow Crank and Deep Crank benefit from short bursts of fast reeling, followed by a brief pause to allow them to float. These are great beginner lures, and highly recommended.
  • Minnow: Floating Minnow and Suspend Minnow can be tricky to use. You can use any combination of gentle reeling, bursts of fast reeling, and twitching the rod with the analogue stick. See what the fish respond to best, and replicate that behaviour until they bite.
  • Surface: Pencil Bait and Popper are surface lures that do not sink at all. Reel just enough to keep the tension, and twitch the rod with the analogue stick to make it splash or plop.
  • Drag: Paddle Tail, Rubber Jig and Straight Worm have been designed to be dragged along the bottom. Reel along and hope to hit obstacles, since the bass have difficulty grabbing these lures if they are on the bottom. A twitch of the rod can bring them off the bottom, allowing them to be caught more easily.
  • Sink: Grub and Straight Worm are effective if twitched as they fall in the water, reeling only to get close to some fish. Try to make them look like a maggot or worm that has fallen into the water and you will get good results.
  • Buzz: Buzz Bait is intended to be reeled rapidly enough that it skips along the surface, making a tinkling, splashing sound, similar to the surface lures. Unlike the surface lures, the buzz bait will sink if not reeled.

These classifications will tell you how to learn to use the lure. They will not tell you how to master each of the lures. For this information, you will have to turn to the Spoiler section of this CFAQ.

Different players generally find different lures easier to work with. Experiment with all the lures and see which ones work best for you. Once you have your own impressions of the lures, you will be better equipped to interpret the lure information given in the Spoiler section.


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23. How do I snap (hook) a fish?

Pull down on the stick.

You may also perform an "anti-cast" (upward flick) with a fishing controller, but we recommend that you use the analogue stick, for greater reliability.

Make sure the line is taught - reel furiously whilst snapping until the fish is hooked.


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24. Can I get rid of a fish I have hooked/snapped?

Before they bite, you can stop moving and reeling in any way and you will often lose the fish. This is handy if you have caught a small fry and there's a giant lurking nearby. Be warned that the struggle of the fish you almost hooked will move your lure away from where it was, and may also scare off any bass that were nearby.

After they have hooked, you can lose a fish you don't want by not reeling, but the fish will usually have travelled quite a distance by the time it lets go (which can take quite a while), and you'll be left just reeling in. For this reason, you should always try and reel in, but if you don't care about the fish you have on the line, ignore the line tension and reel furiously. (For the smaller fish, you will usually end up landing them anyway).


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25. How do I land a fish?

In essence, all you have to do is reel it in without the line tension spiking so high that the line breaks. However, it is never that simple.

If you let the line tension fall as low as the green, the line will be hanging loose and the fish may slip off its hook.

Yellow is safe, but for most of the time the line tension should be in the red, although not too high.

Having the line tension at exactly the top of the scale briefly will not break the line, so you have plenty of room to play with - but don't get cocky. There is a certain range above the top of the screen that you do not see, and breaking point almost generally lies in this area. Vary your reeling speed so that you are reeling fast enough to keep it in the red, generally.

You will have to move the stick, but you don't have to listen to the commentator's suggestions as to which way to move the stick. Watch the bass you are trying to steer, and move the controller in an attempt to flick it round.

ihobo comments: although audio assistants such as the one used in Sega Bass Fishing are useful when learning to play, they become increasingly irritating with repeated use. We might have recommended an option to disable the angling assistant on the option menu, as well as a separate option to disable all speech (but not the sound effects).

A good way to learn how to control a bass is to use a circling motion to flick the bass around. When you are using this technique, you should vary the direction of circling when the tension is in the red and the bass is pulling away from you. Circling in one direction will lower the tension - keep reeling and turning until the tension changes again as the fish changes direction.

When you are more experienced, you can combine the circling motion with sharper 'tugs' to pull the fish around. You may either do this by watching the bass itself, or by watching the tension, or even by following the tactile feedback provided by vibration - follow whichever cues you find most helpful.

When you are starting to learn to reel (and especially when you don't have a fishing controller), you should aim to play it safe and keep the tension in yellow. Then, gradually increase the tension level you are aiming to reel at. Very gradually ease up the tension you aim for until either you are getting consistent line breaks or you chicken out. Chances are you will chicken out at a convenient level.

The better you get at reeling in, the faster you will reel fish in, and in particular, the faster you will reel in big fish. What may take a minute when you start playing may take 20 seconds once you have mastered the subtleties of the control mechanism and bought a fishing controller.


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26. What are the different classes of fish you can catch?

There are four sizes in Arcade, and in most of the Original tournaments:

  • Small One: up to 1 lb. 13 oz
    Fish snaps into the on-screen angler's hand at high speed.
    Angler: "No!" Commentator: "Small one."
  • Average: from 1 lb. 14 oz to 4 lb. 6 oz
    Fish is shown being held off the side of the boat.
    Commentator: "Okay an average size. Good job"
  • Big One: from 4 lb. 7 oz to 5 lb. 14 oz
    Fish is pulled into the centre of the boat and held vertically.
    Commentator: "Oh, a big one!"
  • Huge: 7 lb. 12 oz or heavier
    Fish is hauled onto the boat and held horizontally.
    Commentator: "This one's huge!"

In the Challenge, Professional and Masters tournaments, there are only two named sizes:
  • Release Size: less than the minimum size for the tournament (Challenge, Professional and Masters), or smaller than the fish you've already caught when you have already caught at least 5 fish (Professional) or 7 fish (Masters).
    Commentator: "Release size."
  • Keeper Size: one of the biggest 5 (Professional) or 7 (Masters) fish you've caught, or any fish above the minimum size for the tournament (Challenge).
    Commentator: "Keeper size."

The on-screen angler still makes whatever exclamation they usually make, but you do not get your satisfying Commentator comment in the later tournaments.

ihobo comments: two sound files appear to be unused: 096 ("Medium") and 097 ("Super Big"), suggesting that there were originally going to be six categories. International Hobo would definitely have suggested more categories, since once a player has become an expert, "Average" is insulting and the smaller "Huge" fishes feel positively small.

Using the sound files already extent, our recommended categories would have been:

  • Small One: up to 1 lb. 15 oz
  • Medium: from 2 lbs. to 4 lb. 15 oz
  • Average: from 5 lbs. to 7 lb. 15 oz
  • Big One: from 8 lbs. to 11 lb. 15 oz
  • Super Big: from 12 lbs. to 17 lbs. 15 oz
  • Huge: 18 lbs. or heavier

If we were brought in before the sound files were recorded, we would have recommended that the top three sizes were called Big One, Huge and Monster ("It's a monster fish!").

Obviously introducing these changes would mean the Arcade Mode was no longer a perfect copy of the arcade game. However, this would be offset by a much more satisfying sense of development as you learn to play - as it stands, most players tend to catch a Huge bass within a day of a starting play, provided they receive adequate basic instruction.

None-the-less, we would suggest the changes be made because the benefits exceed the loss, and ihobo believes that an arcade conversion need not be an exact port if there is room for improvement.

International Hobo generally considers most games to have insufficient dialogue to prevent the feeling of excessive repetitiveness, and our recommendation would almost certainly have been for additional dialogue (scripted and, if necessary, recorded by ihobo). However, one of the accidental charms of Sega Bass Fishing are its catch phrases, and it is apparent from the finished product that additional dialogue would not have been essential.

In fact, our experiences with focus groups suggest that certain games (especially sports games) do not require much more than functional dialogue, provided the most heavily repeated phrases have the capacity to become catch phrases. Research into this area is continuing, and anyone with any observations on acceptable lower limits for speech in games is welcome to email comments to us.


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27. How can I tell the weight of a fish without having to land it?

The more you play, the better you will become at judging the size of the fish, since there is no way to tell the weight of a fish before it bites.

However, once you have got a hit (once the fish is definitely hooked) there are clues to the size of the fish on your line.

In Arcade mode, you score a Hit Bonus of between 2 and 8 seconds. The size of the fish relates to it Bonus as follows:

2 s Hit Bonus4 s Time Bonusup to about 3 lbs.
4 s Hit Bonus6 s Time Bonusfrom 3 lbs. to around 6 lbs.
6 s Hit Bonus8 s Time Bonusfrom 6 lbs. to around 14 lbs.
8 s Hit Bonus10 s Time Bonus?14 lbs. and bigger

The Time Bonuses listed are the times awarded when the fish are successfully landed. It is difficult to verify the 10 second time bonus for the heaviest fish, because catching these almost always clears the current level, making the Time Bonus irrelevant.

Also, if the fish is particularly large, you will hear the commentator say "It's gonna be a big one!" which is your guarantee that the fish you are hopefully about to land will be Huge.


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28. How big does a fish need to be to snap the line?

Generally speaking, a Small One will not break the line under any circumstances. Fish of Average size are unlikely to break the line, unless you really set out to purposefully break the line - even then it's unlikely. As a general rule, the smaller fish can be reeled in at maximum speed without worry. However, the larger fish can always break the line, and you must learn to be "careful with the tension" when reeling one in.

Position of the rod is as important as how fast your are reeling. With the smaller fish, if you keep the rod straight, you can reel at any speed. For the larger fish, you must try and keep them moving towards from you, as the tension will spike as they pull away, dramatically increasing the risk of a line break.


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29. Can I snag my line?

No. Wherever you cast, your line will remain miraculously unsnagged - even if the line goes straight through a tree.

ihobo comments: although unrealistic, snagging the line would add a level of frustration to the game and detract from the battle between angler and fish. Although it sometimes looks strange when the line passes through a solid object, the benefits in a more direct style of game play are tangible.

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30. Can I catch anything apart from bass?

No. Any tip that claims you should catch a turtle or a frog is trying to make you spend hours attempting what is in essence impossible.


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31. How close to the boat can I catch a fish?

At 15 feet, you have entered the danger area. The fish generally don't like to come close to the boat, and it's not in your best interests to lure the big fish anywhere near your boat, or they will hide underneath and you will struggle to get them. Unless you are clearly about to get a bite, you can usually give up at 15 feet (reel in and cast again). Often, it's apparent that it's a lost cause earlier than this, and you should immediately reel in and cast again.

Any closer than 8 feet and you can be reasonably certain that the fish won't bite at all, and once you're under 10 feet you should probably just reel in unless time is running short.

The closest recorded bite was a mere 6 feet from the boat with a suspend minnow being flicked about on the surface, but once the hit was recorded, the line length was increased to 9 feet. The fish in question was a pathetic 1 lb. 15 oz.


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32. How can I tell where to cast?

In Arcade mode, the shadows of fish in the water give clues as to the best places to cast. These shadows are not always visible, and the easiest way to make use of them is to make a sweeping motion from side to side around the area where you saw the shadows of fish.

Generally speaking, you should cast either where you see a lot of fish shadows, or where you see a particularly large shadow. In Arcade, time gets very short very quickly, and you often have only enough time to land one truly big fish. Practicing how to spot the big fish is the key to mastering the Arcade game.

In Original, there are no clues. You must learn for yourself where the best "hotspots" to fish are in each area, and under each weather condition. The Diary keeps a record of the biggest 400 fish you've caught, and thus over time allows you to spot where you are catching the biggest fish (and which lures have been successful - although be warned that since you will tend to prefer some lures over others, the Diary can mislead you as to the best lures to use).

If you're just too impatient to discover good hotspots on your own, the Spoiler section of this CFAQ will give you some great pointers as to where the best places to fish can be found.


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33. Does the weather matter?

Absolutely. The weather affects where the fish can be found, and may also alter the effectiveness of some of the lures.

Fine weather is universally poor weather to fish in. Bass hate bright light, and hence tend to be found in the shade, which in Fine weather is harder to locate. Some locations are still half-decent at noon, and learning which can be a great help in Original mode.

Cloudy and raining are both good times to fish - the whole fishing area will be darker, and hence the bass feel more free to congregate. Although there are subtle differences between the two weather conditions (fish tend to be closer to the surface when it is raining), either weather condition is your guarantee that there are plenty of good fish to be caught.


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34. Does the water temperature matter?

Although the water temperature does affect the depth that the fish prefer to swim at, you will generally not have to worry about temperature when you are fishing, as the prevailing weather condition is vastly more important.

The temperature gauge only displays the surface temperature anyway, and water temperature usually varies with depth. There is no way of telling if this is implemented in Sega Bass Fishing, and hence we would advise not greatly worrying about water temperature, at least when you are starting to fish. When you become more proficient, you will develop your own indicators as to the best conditions for fishing.

ihobo comments: if water temperature does change with depth, a temperature and depth gauge would be a welcome addition to the game (showing the temperature at your current depth).

Although the sound file "Select Water Temperature" (036) exists, it was not used in the game. Since as already noted the prevailing weather conditions have a greater influence on the fish than the temperature, its omission was probably a wise move.


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35. Does the time of day matter?

Time of day is perhaps the single most important factor in choosing where to fish.

As a general rule, noon is a lousy time to fish. The sun is high in the sky, driving the bass into the shadows or the depths, which means not only are the fish harder to find, it takes significantly longer to land them.

Morning and Evening are roughly equivalent to each other, and are both wonderful times to be fishing. Some hotspots swarm with fish at dawn or dusk, and a good Morning or Evening session will often land you more than 50 lbs. of fish.


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36. Does the colour of the lure matter?

In Original mode, the colour of the lure can be changed by pushing up and down during lure selection. These alternative colour schemes have a marked effect on the responses of the fish, and if they aren't biting a lure you know they normally would take, it is worth experimenting with the alternative colours.

More information on the other lure colours can be found in the Spoilers section of this CFAQ.


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37. Why are the fish not always there at my favourite hotspot?

The fish have quite sophisticated AI, and behave in a manner quite similar to real bass. Just because one hotspot was good one time does not mean that it will be great when you come back to it later. It is easy to be convinced you have found a fantastic hotspot, only to realise later that it was a one-of-a-kind fluke.

You will need to learn several hotspots in many different locations to be successful in Original mode, and if the fish aren't where you expected them to be, don't bother casting again to check. If there was nothing there the first time, they won't have all have magically appeared if you cast again. Give it up and go elsewhere.

Also be warned that the struggle of landing a fish sometimes causes the fish to move elsewhere, which can move bass away from wherever they started.

Remember, however, that it takes time to position your angler (even if no time is spent actually switching areas) so you can't afford to change area too frequently if you want to have any time left to fish.


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38. How do I get a special lure?

In Arcade mode, you will get a special lure after every fourth fish you catch (the first at 4 fish, the second at 8 and so forth). Lures gained in Arcade are lost at the end of the game, but are available throughout all the future stages of the current game. As a result, when you start playing (and have 2 minutes of playtime on the clock) it is worth catching two or three fish of any size quickly in order to give you a special lure at the end of the first area.

The lures are awarded in a random order.

ihobo comments: the manual gives no clue as to how the special lures are acquired, making the game seem slightly random in its choices (whether your fourth fish is a monster or a tiddler, you still get the special lure). We would definitely have recommended explaining this aspect of the game in the manual - even the Prima guide does not contain this fact!

The same is true in Original mode - that you get a new lure every four fish - but lures gained in Original Mode are available for use in Practice Mode. Because of the length of the Original game, you will very rapidly have a full tackle box, except for the secret lure (see the Spoiler section for details).

The fish you have caught in earlier stages do count even though the fish counter is reset on a new stage (so if you catch 3 fish in one stage, the next time you start fishing you will only need to catch one fish to get your next special lure).

ihobo comments: because of the huge length of the Original tournament, gaining a lure every four fish works very poorly in this mode, as the tackle box fills up too quickly - usually by the end of the first tournament. We would have recommended awarding a special lure for catching a fish above a certain size so that lure acquisition could be more spread out. A sliding scale would probably be most effective, for example:

5 lbs. (Big One)Unlocks either Paddle tail, Straight worm or Rubber jig
10 lbs. (Huge)Unlocks either Buzz bait or Grub
15 lbs. (Huge)Unlocks either Popper or Suspend Minnow
20 lbs. (Huge)Unlocks Sonic Lure

The first special lure in each category would be awarded for the first fish of that size caught, the second for the fifth and the next for the ninth (every four fish, after the first).

If all the lures for a given size have been won, a lure from the next smallest size category would be awarded.


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39. What are the trophies in original mode?

Trophies are shown in the Data option under Personal Data in the menu that is available between tournament stages in Original Mode. This screen also gives you your statistics, including win percentages, total fish caught, record sizes and the number of fish caught in different weight brackets (that do not correspond to the normal bass sizes in the game).

There are four big trophies, one for winning each tournament. Pressing A will show a 3D representation of any trophies you have won.

There are also three small trophies. These are:

  • Ranker Killer: this seems to be given for winning two stages in a row.
  • Perfect Angler: this seems to be awarded for winning all stages in a tournament.
  • Top Water King: usually awarded after the Challenge or Professional tournament, it is not clear what you need to do to earn this trophy, but you do not need to win all the stages of a tournament to win this award.

Pressing A will show a 3D representation of the small trophies, allowing you to read the inscription, which shows the name of the trophy and the legend 'Super Bass Fishing'.

ihobo comments: although the trophies are a nice record of achievements, given that none of the documentation (manual or in-game help) explain what the trophies are awarded for, they are more mysterious than satisfying.

International Hobo would have recommended describing how each trophy was won in the manual, and also recommended an audio message to alert the player when they have won a new trophy, much as happens when you win a special lure.


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40. Can I skip the credits?

Yes. A soft reset (A, B, X, Y and Start pressed simultaneously) will return you to the game's title screen, and you will not lose the arcade data from the game you just completed. However, you will miss out on seeing the high score table, which is displayed at the end of the credits.

ihobo comments: being able to skip credits and cut scenes is an essential feature of modern games - it is frustrating to be forced to watch sequences you have seen time and time again.

It is unfortunate that there is no easy way to select the Arcade high score table, however; just as if you were in the arcade, you must either finish the game or wait for the attract sequence to cycle around to the high score table.

International Hobo would have recommended providing an option to view the Arcade high score table on the main menu.


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Questions 41 - 56 inclusive are Spoilers.

Do not read the spoilers unless you are already an experienced Sega Bass Fishing player, or you have essentially no self-control.


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57. Where can I learn more about Sega Bass Fishing?

There appear to be no decent FAQs on this game, and we believe this CFAQ is the most comprehensive guide available for this game.

The Prima Guide is not recommended unless you can get it very cheaply, as it is very short on information, and seems to have been compiled from perhaps 10-20 hours of play time by one person. The author clearly knows a lot about real bass fishing, however, and you may find it entertaining for that reason alone. It is available cheaply in bargain bins and remainder shops in both the US and the UK.

Some cheats are at:

http://sages.ign.com/codes/9/10957.html

but be warned that the only cheats that have been demonstrated to work by the ihobo team are those that are listed at the end of the Spoiler section of this CFAQ.


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58. What about Sega Marine Fishing?

Sega Marine Fishing was released in October 2000 in the US. No European version exists.

This game features saltwater fishing in coral reefs, shallows and deep water, and to allow anglers to catch anything up to and including a shark. The same game engine is used, although the reel response has been tweaked slightly.

Fifteen different species of fish can be caught, including tuna, blue marlin, tarpon, sailfish and mako sharks, and sixteen different lures are available to catch them with.

The main locations are: Coral Reef, Offing (deep water), and Shallows (sandy shore). There is also a fishing port location, unlocked from within the game.

Additional features include various mini-games and an aquarium which fills with fish and features as you play the original game mode.

It is only available on the Sega Dreamcast.

ihobo comments: Although Sega Marine Fishing is reasonably good fun, the lack of any tournament mode (the core of the Bass Fishing experience) ultimately lets it down. Also, having to compensate for the different types of species by giving different point values lends an uneven quality to the game.

The mini-games are reasonably good fun, and one in particular where you are challenged to catch a fish of a particular species is excellent - but only once you have mastered the game, as it is a devilishly difficult challenge until you know how to catch all the different types of fish.

There is also Sega Bass Fishing 2, but here they seem to have thrown away the accessible fun of the original and gone for a sim-type game. Not recommended.

Fans of Sega Bass Fishing should check out Sega Marine Fishing, but the ultimate fishing game remains the original Sega Bass Fishing.

Comments

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You need to catch 50 bass with top water lures (pencil bait, popper, buzzbait) in original mode to unlock Top Water King

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