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Sega Marine Fishing – the Real Deal

With apologies to Izaak Walton, you may want to refer to this Sega game as “The Incompleat Angler.” It may be unfair to compare this fishing game to the real thing, but its fun to do so, and fun is the name of this game. What’s missing here, though, is seasickness, the smell of the sea, the heady aromas of bait and chum, the interminable wait for a nibble or bite, and the numbing frustration of a day of fishing when no fish show up.

Sega Marine Fishing may be played in various modes — Arcade, Original (free-fishing) and Minigames. Begin with the Minigames mode to hone your fishing skills through various training scenarios, where you can practice casting accuracy, lure action, and fish-fighting techniques. You can also choose the species of fish with which to train. This is important because, as in real fishing, each species behaves differently when hooked. By all means, play this game with a fishing controller; the standard controller fails to provide the same experience and isnt as much fun.

In the Arcade mode, the challenge is to clear various “fields” by earning points based on fish-catching skills. The points are based on fish weight, the time taken to reel in the fish, bonuses for technique, and so on. The reel fun, though, comes in the Original mode. Free-fishing is what this game is really about. You choose among three fishing venues, each beautifully rendered (both above water and below the surface) and each abundantly populated with various species of fish. This, by the way, is what sets this game apart from Segas popular Bass Fishing game, in which only the ubiquitous bass is available.

Using the fishing controller, you choose a lure, cast to a chosen spot, and work your lure in a manner that will entice a fish to bite. When a fish strikes, the controller vibration allows you to “feel” the fish. Fortunately, this feel is not enough to ensure success; you must also concentrate on line tension as you carefully reel in the fish. A line tension meter appears on the screen and remains throughout the fight.

While the line-tension meter is absolutely necessary, the other onscreen instructions are not. With a little practice, youll be landing fish quite easily. Of course, the larger the fish, the more difficult it is to land it, and certain species (tarpon, marlin and sailfish, for example) also fit into the harder-to-land category. Your catch may include an “item card,” which can be used to acquire new lures for use with certain species of fish. Also, you can use the items cards to populate an aquarium with the fish youve caught.

The gorgeous sea beckons, as does this game. However, the game is not without quirks that may render it problematic for some players. The various modes and minigames, perhaps, are superfluous. The onscreen instructions (except for the line-tension meter,) are disconcerting. Little skill is required to land even the biggest or most difficult fish. (To alleviate this problem a bit, go to the Options menu and set the difficulty on Hard or Very Hard.)

These problems should not deter you in any way from enjoying the essence of this game. Relax and go with it. The great graphics and the basic fishing challenge should provide hours of fun and enjoyment. So what if you don’t get mal-de-mer and lose your lunch.