Refuse to believe there’s an actual bass fishing demographic? You’re free to do so, but consider that Trophy Bass topped as Sierra’s top-selling product in 1995, much to everyone’s surprise. Its success might have to do with the game’s well-rounded structure – it’s both surprisingly complex in its execution but relatively simple to learn at the same time, and it comes packaged with a wealth of information.
Even the most casual of fishermen should find interesting bits to enjoy in Trophy Bass – just the wealth of information is staggering, covering every conceivable facet of fishing, with an understandable emphasis on bass fishing – weather, water temperature, bait, rod sizes, reels, casting styles – straight from the pros, who proceed to give you the dos and don’ts of bass fishing in both text and video presentations. The wonderful inbuilt encyclopedia is a fantastic asset for those just learning, and the included tutorial section does a good job at explaining the interface. The fact that Sierra went ahead and turned the program into both a fishing game and a multimedia platform is quite awesome.
Alright then, so what about the game itself? Surely bass fishing couldn’t be all that exciting? The answer depends on what you count as ‘enjoyable’. Like other low-key entertainment products that emphasize hardcore simulation over pure action (civilian flight sims, train sims, sweater knitting sims, etc), your enjoyment will squarely depend on how much time you’re willing to invest on learning the finer points of lake fishing – it’s not just about tossing a lure and waiting for the fish to bite!
It takes some degree of patience and quite a lot of reading up and environmental assessment. Even the most minute details are simulated and have a direct impact on how fish behave, be it the time of day, season, temperature, lure or water depth. Gameplay is a matter of choosing the right gear, getting to the right spot and lying in wait until a fish bites. Your feisty prey will put up a fight before you can reel it in, but succeed and you’ll have something nice to hang on a wall. Several accurately-mapped lakes are made available for either tournament, career or quick fish modes.
All of this adds up to a pretty good gaming experience once you get over the initial interface bumps. Those with an interest in fishing (or even casual players wanting to learn the finer points of this great sport) should give this one a try.
System Requirements: 486 DX-66 Mhz CPU, 8 MB RAM, Windows 3.1/95