Get Bass (ゲットバス)

Get Bass is a game that holds a special place in my heart, not because it’s a particularly amazing game, but because it was the first thing that I had ever won in my life. Yup, that is right; Sega sent me the game for gratis to thank me for taking part in an online questionnaire on their DreamArena service. I remember the day the game got posted through the door like it was yesterday - “Wow", I thought to myself,\"a full £40 game for absolutely nothing.” I was pleased as fruity, alcoholic punch, but unfortunately my delight would be short-lived. Because, while Sega were kind enough to send me the game, they weren't generous enough to actually include the rod which was bundled with the game, and I would soon find out that getting a game like Get Bass without the fishing rod is like opening up a PSvita on Christmas morning and finding you don't have a memory card, not much fun!!

You see, the attraction of the game is the controller. Possibly the first of its kind, the Dreamcast fishing controller was an authentic replica of the Naomi arcade fishing controller and featured a reel and internal feedback motors which actually gave you the sensation you're slogging it out in wellies on some god forsaken lake waiting for a big huge to bass to come along and bite. The controller on the other hand, not so much. It also helps that the build quality of the fishing controller is also great, and although it was actually produced by Japanese company, ASCII, it's sleek design is as cool as Sega's other official Dreamcast products.

The game itself is a direct conversion of their arcade smash hit, named Sega Bass Fishing in the West, Get Bass replicates the sport of fishing with all the brashness and excitement you expect of a Sega game. As a fisherman, you're sent to one of a few varied lakeside locations with a certain amount of time to catch as big a fish as possible. Every time a fish is caught, the timer increases by a small amount and at the end, the weight of every catch is added up to give the fisherman a score. Tiddlers are not worth the time and while earlier stages are extremely easy, later stages in arcade mode can take a bit of skill and luck. Bigger fish, especially the infamous Super Big, are not only harder to attract, but harder to reel in once you get them to bite. Expect to break a lot of lines in the later stages of arcade mode resulting in a waste of huge amounts of time.

Much like the arcade machines, there isn’t a save or checkpoint system so if you fail a stage, it is back to the docks for you to start all over again which can be frustrating as you are not given enough time to pass on one credit.  At the end of each stage, you receive a rating based on your performance via a letter grade. The faster a fish is caught and the more caught given the time limit, the higher the grade (my biggest is 28lbs btw).

Like I mentioned before, while it’s enjoyable stuff it isn’t half as exciting without the official controller. You see, just like with Samba De Amigo, these party games really come into their own when you are flailing your arms around, looking like a plonker using the same peripheral which made the game so fun in the arcades. The same is true for Get Bass. The feeling of the fishing controller rumbling when you snag a fish and is used just like a real one and it doesn’t feel quite the same with the original controller. To reel the line in with the fishing controller you turn the reel as in real life, with the original controller you simply press L or R. And that’s really the games major downfall because once the novelty wears off of using a fishing controller you realise there’s not a whole lot to the game.

Sure, you have wildlife, differing conditions and selection of lures which add to the game a little and the visuals still hold up well today with some good looking water effects and realistic fish, but just like the lakes you fish in, everything is a bit shallow. You get the expected arcade mode and a tournament and practice mode but Sega missed a trick with not taking advantage of the fishing rod’s Wii-like controls with some fish based mini-games. Crazy Taxi pulled this off well with the Crazy Box, so it’s a shame that Sega glazed over their release for this game.

So there you, Get Bass, a game I got for free and was a good laugh and way ahead of its time. If you have the fishing rod (and you really should) then it is a great novelty item and Sega must really be applauded for bringing these kind of unconventional titles to the Dreamcast (imagine this today?)but really, unless you are a big fishing fan, there is not a lot to keep you ahem, hooked for the long term.