There's a deep, dark secret in this industry.
There's a deep, dark secret in this industry. A secret world that lies beneath all the fighting games, sports games, and that cute little music game you bought last year. That world is the world of fishing games.
People have been making fishing games for a long, long time. One of the earliest examples of a fishing game is Fishing Derby for the Atari 2600. Fisherman's Bait, while significantly more complex than Fishing Derby, also takes a stripped-down approach to the world of fishing. But what this arcade port loses in realism, it makes up for in entertainment.
There are a few different modes to choose from in Fisherman's Bait. The beginner mode teaches you how to use the game's controls in an easy, well-stocked lake. Training mode lets you pick one of the game's three main lakes and simply fish. Versus mode allows you and a friend to have a fish-off to see who can get the most bass. Tournament mode is the game's main mode. Here, you play through all three of the lakes. Each lake has a qualifying run and an actual tournament. To qualify for the tournament, you must catch a fish that is heavier than the qualification weight. The tournament itself is a ten-minute event. You must catch the three heaviest bass you can find. To catch fish, you've got several lures and several different lake locations to choose from. Knowing which lure to use, how to use it, and where to use it is the key to getting fish to bite, but keeping them on the hook is entirely up to you. Once they're hooked, you've got to reel them in. Usually, there isn't much of a fight, but the huge fish can be really hard to land. As you reel, you've got to watch the tension gauge. If it gets too high, your line will snap and the fish will escape. So as it gets up there, you've got to release the tension and let them run a little bit. After you've tired the fish out, they aren't too hard to land.
Since it's an arcade port, you've also got to contend with a separate timer. Each fish you catch gives you a little more time on your game timer. If it runs out, you'll have to use a credit to continue. The options screen lets you set it up for infinite credits, though, so this isn't really a large worry.
While Fisherman's Bait is a reasonably fun game, it really isn't worth more than a rental to most. There is, after all, a reason why fishing games have remained a deep, dark secret. However, if you latched onto the arcade version, or if fishing games are just your bag, then by all means, pick it up.