Let me start off by saying that I haven't been fishing since the mid-70s. I wouldn't know crankbait from a jig and pig if my life depended on it. My idea of fun is not being attacked by flying insects while I sit around waiting for a fish to become interested in fake food.
But that really doesn't matter when it comes to Front Page Sports: Trophy Bass 2, because this game is a blast to play. It's all of the good stuff about fishing: catching fish and lying about the ones that slip the hook or snap the line without all of the nasty parts: getting up at 4 a.m. and dousing yourself in insect repellent.
And it isn't just complete novices like myself who think this game is great. I have some fisherman friends who have played and loved this game.
Everything that you would want in a fishing simulation is here. There's a good variety of lakes to choose from, dozens and dozens of bait types, each in your choice of decorator colors, and several interesting playing options. The help menus are great if you don't know what you are doing, as are the included videos of the fishing pros.
The simplest way to play is just to take a fishing trip. Here, the idea is to catch fish, and the type of fish doesn't matter. If you dream of hauling in a huge catch, try this option first, because the 30-pound catfish you can snag here don't count in the tournaments. The tournaments themselves are three-day affairs. Each day, you need to bring in the five largest bass you can catch, with your total catch being compared against the other anglers in the tournament.
For the true masters, try a career, which consists of a series of fishing tournaments. Place high enough consistently enough, and you will qualify for the final year-end tournament to compete for some really large cash awards.
It's here that the real game is played. The tournament and careers are the most interesting and fun parts of the game. When a big fish slips the hook on a normal fishing trip, it's disappointing. When that 12-pound bass snaps your line in a tournament, though, it could spell disaster. And nothing compares with reeling in a huge bass just as time winds down to give you a win. While it sounds ridiculous to say this, there are plenty of tense moments in the tournaments. When you're sitting in fourth place and are catching nothing but pickerel and crappie on the third day, you'll do just about anything for even a small bass. And if you know what you're doing, you'll catch them.
The graphics throughout the game are nice without being overdone or odd. The fish really look like fish, and with a little experience, you can pick out a pickerel over a bass, allowing you to cast with more accuracy. The photographs of the different lakes are beautiful as well, and the video of the fishing pros is top-notch. Sounds are appropriate, from the splash of your lure to the ping on the line when the fish starts pulling. Even the music is good.
This is one of those rare games that will appeal to the real experts and entertain those who think fish come in small cans from the supermarket. Now if they could only come up with a way to attach a bottle opener to my PC.
Graphics: Great video and good fish animation. Even the lakes look realistic.
Sound: Above average. Perhaps a little spartan, but fishing is supposed to be a quiet sport.
Enjoyment: Even if you hate seafood, you'll be addicted to this quickly.
Replay Value: There's always another lake, another inlet, another channel, another bait, another tournament...
People who downloaded Front Page Sports: Trophy Bass 2 have also downloaded:
Championship Bass, SEGA Bass Fishing, Front Page Sports: Baseball Pro '98, Gone Fishin', Big Game Fishing, Deer Hunter, Cabela's Big Game Hunter 2004, Deer Hunter 3: The Legend Continues
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