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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
Pai, Inc
GENRE: Simulation
PLAYERS:   1-2
September 26, 2001
 Written by Chris Reiter  on November 08, 2001

Full Review: The way fishsticks look like before they are processed.

Not everything in life is perfect. THQ's fishing game proves this metaphor directly from start to finish. Sporting fans listen up. If you're an avid fishing fan, and you hate to get your feet wet...digitally, the sport of fishing is advancing. And one of the next phases in computer fishing games is right at home for the Sony PlayStation 2. Forget about your boots, bait, buckets and rods...because for the game itself, all you need to bring actually, IS yourself. Set your money on the counter, reel in the bait, and take home the fun of BASS Strike!

When you think of fishing, could you imagine the word "sport" emanating from this game? It's a challenging activity. In life, catching a fish is no easy task. You've got to have the right bait, the right spot to fish in, and even enough strength and know how to reel in a catch. The developers, Pai Inc., have made it so that an experience like that is understandable. You can't always cast your line in the water, expecting that the fish will always come to you. You have to come to the fish.

As BASS Strike is a fishing game, it's needed to know that the gameplay finds itself under the point of sitting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more. BASS Strike consists of four modes, which will leave any angler fan so happy they'll wet themselves (from standing in the water). Each one has their differences in how you can fish your way to victory. The four modes are...Arcade, where in it, against an opponent, you'll pit yourself in a battle of the fishes -- I mean, fittest -- to find out who can catch the most in a set amount of time, and further more, unlock characters that weren't playable before. There's Time Trial mode, which allows you to test yourself, and see if you're able to beat the clock at becoming master of the lake. Also, you can view a menu of the Lake Records for the stacked up best fishing times overall. Practice mode is also in there, where you have the option of clocking in different hours of the day, and even adding weather effects if you want to try the game's involving options out. And lastly, there are the Tournament rounds. This is where your skill really shines. Through 4 different rounds, each round two days in length, you'll weigh up against the top 150 anglers in the game. Prepare to be beaten, because with so many others vying for the top title, finding out if you're able to get a chance to enter the Bass Masters Classic, is one hell of a workout. If you're a fishing nut, these modes will assure you hours of replay value!

From the start of the game, you'll come across two difficulty levels, which are Amateur and Pro. Amongst the two, you're also given a set of skills that will vary widely. In the Amateur mode -- the easier of the two -- as a beginner, you'll get what the other mode doesn't: a split screen view from your boat to underneath the water itself. Does this option really make the game that much easier? Yes, it does. When in the harder Professional mode, you can't see what's below the boat; thus, it's difficult to locate the fish. But, with enough practice, it'll come down to a certain state of mind that fish are always found in specific areas (usually in the more enclosed spots, or up against a barrier of some kind).

What make the game a real drag are its flaws in actually learning how to fish. Casting, switching between lower or higher dragging, and driving the boat are fairly all easy to learn. Trying to nab those little suckers is one major annoyance in BASS Strike. Using the right analog stick, when spinning it around in a circle, will reel in the line. The back buttons, in alliance with reeling, will switch between dragging the line either high, low, or spool free (which is more of a quicker yank out of the water). Just like in real life, the fish don't automatically come to the bait. But when those suckers do, the problems begin. Playing Strike tends to become frustrating, because there's a tension meter that appears on screen, letting you know how hard or soft you're reeling your fish in. If you're to reel too fast, the fish will escape. If you reel too slowly, the fish escapes. If the fish happens to knock against a rock while you're pulling it in, it will escape. Using the back buttons don't blend in well, as the game becomes a tad confusing when it's required to know to drag the line both high and low if you're to successfully catch something.

Unfortunately, the game gets worse. As the graphics prove that PlayStation 2 titles can actually be lacking greatly, BASS Strike is one of the titles that can push the theory up and beyond. From the boorish scenery that's highly stale, to the cartoonish objects that stand out and explode with ugly, BASS Strike looks more like a PlayStation One title than it does next generation game. A quick glance at the screen hints at it, anyway. But actually, the graphics aren't dire in every area, even though most of the visuals are drastically in need of improvements. Like for instance, the under water views are true to how ponds or lakes appear in our world. You know how those tiny white objects float around in the green liquid underneath? If not, you're probably not even human. Well, they're in there. In other sights, noticeably, the sunshine that peers through the water's skin and dabbles around as it should under the water, and even the fish themselves are fully textured in richness. It's just too bad that what's above the water looks like a total opposite.

Gazing at what's up, not down, there's plenty of tall seaweed to look at. Up close, the definition of each strand can be compared to saying that the models used pop out from all else in the game, and don't even look real at all. Elsewhere, there are also a lot of reflections that are laid on above the water. But, each item that shows itself has no life to it. When the waves of the pond or lake ripple, the reflective objects won't move with the stream. This effect is saved only at times when the sky itself has clouds that shift simultaneously with the ripples, and with the two together; show that the clouds are the only things that really do look as if there were any interaction in the game at all.

Sound is another area that's really shoddy. If you're expecting anything such as peaceful, serenity, while quietly fishing at the local riverbank, don't. BASS Strike has for some reason or another, music that quite just doesn't fit in with the rest of the game. Care for up-tempo dance music? The game's score is much of a salsa or mambo beat from which I kind of get a notion is the reason the fish are scared away often. Strike also has in-game character voices that fit the game's characters. While the voice acting isn't nothing great, it is needed for certain areas, like when you're catching a fish, your player will actually send a warning to you when a fish is about to bite. This method helps out, covering the difficulty in trying to find a way to bag you a carp.

Something else to nod your head at comes from the game's impressive in-game features. Certain aspects of BASS Strike kind of make the title one to honor. One example, if you're driving your boat over an area in the water where fish may have residence, this could scare them away into hiding. BASS Strike is also capable of weather effects, which if rain were to come down, again will scare the fish away. Sometimes the game makes you really think, and do according to what you need to in order to catch those pesky buggers. The only aspect that really bit the big one is the game's time scheme. What I'm trying to say is if you were to enter the Practice mode, for example, the clock itself runs very fast. Too fast, even. One minute equals one-second. From 7 AM in the morning, to 1 PM in the afternoon, you're only receiving 6 minutes of playtime. If the clock didn't move so fast, it'd be less of a strain when trying so hard to wrestle with fish in the Tournament mode, for one thing. But, I guess it doesn't matter that much, since you won't actually want to be sitting around for hours stuck in a single mode.

I also like how each of the BASS Strike's bait and characters both have their ways of driving the title forward. The game's characters will be known for certain issues pertaining to them. Michael, the only playable person from the start is an all around assorted angler. He doesn't excel in any one area. Through the Arcade mode, you can play against the computer opponents that are different in ways other than what Michael's capable of. If you're able to take the others on and then beat them in a test of skills, you can then unlock the chosen characters, and play as him or her. BASS's bait too comes in many shapes and sizes, and also pertains to variations in how they work. The frog lure, for instance, is set upon the surface of the water. Fish will become attracted to it, and bite from below, exposing the two double hooks. Other times, with a Buzz Bait, it'll have a different effect where when catching a fish, it'll perform a spinning action when reeling it in. The effect of both, and the many other forms of bait all should share their own interests with individuals of the game players, and also have their strengths and weaknesses for methods of fish hunting. With each special lure, there's plenty of exploration to do throughout the huge watery levels.

Bottom Line
For its fans, BASS Strike is a look at one of America's most treasured recreational sports today. If you're someone who happens to know your lures, method in catching prey, or even an individual wanting to learn about the water hole sport, you'll most likely find at least a little interest in playing the game. But for everyone else, BASS Strike doesn't show much of what the console can really handle in terms of graphics, gameplay, or even its sound. BASS Strike, a fishing game, is only just that.

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