Sega Marine Fishing Preview
With refined graphics and new modes, including an all-new network mode, the Dreamcast version of Sega Marine Fishing looks to be not only better than the first game but also better than the arcade version.
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Sega Marine Fishing, the sequel to last year's Sega Bass Fishing on the Dreamcast and the port of the arcade version of the same name, puts aside puny bass fishing in exchange for big-game deep-sea fishing in several marine environments. With refined graphics and new modes, including an all-new network mode, the Dreamcast version of Sega Marine Fishing looks to be not only better than the first game but also better than the arcade version.
Sega Marine Fishing has a few modes to keep you interested. The standard arcade mode is simply a port of the arcade game - you pick a stage and work against the clock, catching enough fish to pass the stage and add short bonuses to your overall time limit. The original mode shows you the ropes, then lets you fish the night away. There are five minigames in the original mode that teach different aspects of fishing; from fight training, to lure action training, to accurate weight training, each game is designed to teach proper technique. Once you've got it down, you can use the game's free mode to fish for as long as you want in any of the game's areas. You are not restricted to a time limit in the free mode, and you can win various items when you fish particularly well. The items range from new fishing equipment and lures to odd information cards about the different environments. There's an aquarium mode that lets you view all your catches swimming around and an item mode that lets you take a look at all the items you've acquired. Once you connect to Sega's Marine Fishing home page, you can download all the proper entry forms to start using the game's network mode. The game sports a network tournament mode, which records your large catches and ranks you online. You can also receive fish mail, the game's version of e-mail, from other Sega Marine Fishers using the network mode.
Besides the fact that you're now in the middle of the ocean catching deep-sea fish, the gameplay hasn't changed from the first Sega Fishing game. Select a lure and a casting point, then cast and reel in the lure, using the appropriate motions to make the lure move realistically to attract the fish. Once a fish decides he wants to bite, the camera will center in on the fish frantically swimming toward your lure. Once he bites, you pull up on the stick to hook the fish and down on the stick to allow the fish to escape. After you've hooked the fish, the game shifts to a battle of you reeling the fish in and the fish desperately trying to escape. A power meter at the bottom of the screen displays line tension - allow it to go too far in either direction and your line will either break or be loose enough to allow the fish to escape. After you've reeled the fish into the boat, a small scene shows you and your partner, who looks amazingly like Doggs from Blue Stinger, pulling the fish into the boat. Then you measure and rate the fish and start over again. Like the first game, Sega Marine Fishing supports the fishing controller, which makes the game that much more like actually fishing.
The game probably has the most gorgeous graphics of any fishing game. The game sports several different levels that range from bright Caribbean shallows to dark, deep cliff faces with stormy swelling water. The levels have their own look and feel: different fish, different water, and different underwater scenery. There are tons of fish in the game, including the common tuna and the menacing hammerhead shark. The fish themselves look great and move in an extremely lifelike manner. The audio track pulses with an original but cheesy rock soundtrack filled with wailing guitars and thumping bass lines.
Sega Marine Fishing looks like it will be a worthy successor to Sega Bass Fishing. The gameplay is definitely addictive, but with only a few extra modes over the arcade version, the game is somewhat limited. Still, people who had fun with the first game will probably want to look into this one. Expect Sega Marine Fishing to hit stores around Christmas.