Review by: Scott Steinberg
Published: September 24, 1999
When it comes to outdoor recreation, I like fishing as much as the next guy, but I’ll admit that when I first heard fishing games were heading to PCs and home consoles, I was a bit dubious. Despite my misgivings, it seems as if I should have kept my mind open, as the impressive sales figures from successful titles such as Sierra’s Trophy Bass 3D and THQ’s Bass Masters series prove. As every gamer casting their line out in search of a new title knows, when the scent of money is in the air, publishers just can’t resist the bait, and it was only a matter of time before someone reeled a fishing title for the Nintendo 64 into their lineup (how’s that for a pun?). Surprisingly enough, the first one to tug on this line of thought was Rockstar Games, and now that they’ve brought In Fisherman Bass Hunter 64 (IFBH) to market, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and decide whether they’ve caught the big one or bit the big one on this venture.
A far cry from the arcade style fishing games for consoles that we’ve seen before, IFBH attempts to recreate the fishing experience in as authentic a manner as possible. Although this nod to serious enthusiasts of the sport is noted, however, the title still offers a boatload of playability for casual gamers, allowing them to become well acquainted with one of America’s favorite pastimes. Based upon the expert advice and input of In-Fisherman, one of the largest magazines out there dedicated to the sport, Rockstar has striven to craft what they claim to be the ultimate fishing simulation for home consoles.
Diving into IFBH, you’ll find three modes of play, namely Championship, Custom Tournament, and Fish For Fun. Fish For Fun, or F-cubed as us geeky types are prone to calling it, is just what it sounds like, a practice mode that allows you to enjoy a day out on the lake without any constraints. Championship mode allows you to compete in several tournaments (obviously ranging in difficulty level) to claim the prestigious title of the world’s premier Bass Hunter. This particular style of play is the meat and potatoes, or should I say fish and chips, of the game, challenging you to upgrade equipment, progress over a long-term standpoint, and rise to the top of the rankings. Also offered is a custom tournament mode, in which you may choose which lakes to fish on and set the rules for a proper competition.
Being the sort of product that attempts to recreate as much detail as possible, IFBH lets the player tweak just about every feasible parameter. Such options range from the time of year in which each session is played, the weather/water conditions, etc. Tweaking these settings changes the behavior patterns of the fish in a rather realistic manner and allows you to get a genuine feel for the new challenges a fisherman faces every time he or she hits the lake. In order to help you surmount these challenges (and to make the most of their license), celebrity fisherman Al Linder spouts off tips on where you can reel in the best fish.