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Action Bass
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1
Developer:  Vingtetun Systems
Publisher:  Take 2
Features:  Analog Control, Vibration Function, PS Fishing Con
Ratings:  Early Childhood
Memory Req.:  1 Block
Of all the types of import games that make it to these shores, you'd expect
fishing games to really not do too well. Yet, the market for them seems to
swell in ever increasing numbers, and we've even seen a fishing RPG (Legend
of the River King) make it's way to the Game Boy. The Playstation has the
most fishing games at the moment, and Take 2's new Action Bass is the latest
in it's growing line of inexpensive Playstation software. A more than
competent clone of Sega's Get Bass!, the game offers pretty much the same
experience that the more pricey Dreamcast version does, minus the
super-slick graphics. What's here isn't bad at all, though. The front end is
loaded with an easy to navigate menu and option screen, and the actual game
itself is a pretty much a solid, no-frills affair.

The game itself mimics most of what makes Sega's game so great, but you get
the feeling that it's a bit too laid back. Both games don't have a lot of
music in them, but AB seems almost too quiet for a game with "action" in the
title. There is some voice in the game, and it also copies the odd announcer
from the arcade and DC versions somewhat, but whenever you hear it, it
breaks you concentration just a tiny bit. It's sort of like someone tapping
you on the shoulder just as you land a big one. The controls are really
simple and easy to pick up even if you've never touched a fishing rod
before, and the manual is very good at explaining what each lure in your box
can and can't do. The analog stick controls are just right, but expect to
take a few tries to snag a fish, even in the arcade mode- this game seems a
bit trickier than it's more expensive counterpart. There's an arcade-style
challenge and a leisurely free mode to play around with, and there's also a
hidden bonus mode, making the game perfect for parties or closet fishermen
looking for some cheap practice without getting up at 4am. You can even save
your best catches to an Aquarium, and show off your big ones to your
jealous, non-believing friends. Er...well, you KNOW what I mean!

The really good thing about this game is that it also supports the
Playstation fishing controller that was released here a while back for Bass
Landing. This made me smile because it showed that this wasn't a rushed to
market cash-earner. All I need to do now is try this out with the controller
to see how responsive it is. As it is, the Dual Shock works perfectly, and
the vibration feature really gets a workout when you're fighting with a
monster bass. The graphics are quite nice, with really beautiful reflection
effects on the assorted bodies of water you'll fish on. Some of the skies
seem a bit odd, but you'll be paying more attention to what's under the
water, so it's no big deal there. The sounds are generally well done
(casting and splashes are well represented), but again, everything else is
so quiet in the game it's like fishing on the moon. All the nicer music is
in the opening and menu screens, and while not the best game tunes out
there, it won't have you running from the room in terror either.

The best thing I can say about Action Bass is that its super bargain price
will most likely open up the genre to a whole lot of people who normally
wouldn't pick up a fishing game on a bet (like yours truly!). Action Bass is
a safe bet, however, and another fine game from Take 2 Interactive. Make
sure to hook one of these before the lake runs dry!

Greg Wilcox

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