Rapala Pro Fishing sets the standard for all fishing games. According to the publisher, never before has a fishing game brought you all the authentic Rapala fishing gear, guided fishing trips with Rapala's Pro Staff and a boatload of action. Time to set the hook and land that trophy of a lifetime. The game's realistic fish detail with advanced AI, including bass, pike, walleye, salmon, catfish, muskie, trout, and many more. Rapala Pro Fishing features 21 tournaments, over 500,000 specially selected acres of the world's finest trophy waters, guided trips led by Rapala's Pro Staff, and some special unlockable levels like the Amazon River and the Danube Delta.
Rapala Pro Fishing mechanics are similar to most fishing video games, and truthfully, they aren't much more advanced than the Harvest Moon mini games. The whole approach is rather simple: find a decent fishing spot in a boat, select the correct equipment, and cast a line. There are two options for casting, an easy cast and the more realistic manual cast, but with easy cast turned on, players simply select the area of water they would like to cast into and press the reel release button. Normal casting requires a little more skill. This technique is easy to get the hang of and after a few 8 foot attempts I was easily launching my lures across the lake. Fortunately, in either mode there is no risk of casting into your friend's face or becoming so tangled in your line that a pair of lawn sheers are needed to free you. Both of these real life situations plague every one of my fishing trips.
The camera briefly points out any fish that are approaching the lure and proceeds to focus in on the bite. Once you get a bite, the camera switches back to the third person, behind the boat perspective. Hooking the fish simply involves pulling back on the rod and it is now time to reel that sucker in. This is the meat and potatoes of any fishing game, the age old struggle to balance reeling speed with line tension. There is a tension bar similar to every other tension indicator used in a fishing video game. If the fish starts jumping out of the water or fighting in a certain direction, players must accommodate its movements by moving the rod. If you leave too much slack, the fish will throw the hook and if you ignore high tension your line will snap.
Throughout the game your fishing buddy will offer helpful comments on the situation and your choice of equipment. This can be incredibly helpful in situations, which require minor adjustments. For example, in Florida I was positive that I was using the correct lure but I wasn't attracting any bites. My fishing buddy pointed out that I hadn't made the best choice of color for my lure. I experimented with the color options and lo and behold, I began to real them in like a pro.
On the positive side, the menu interface is sleek and user friendly with detailed information on all of the equipment, fish, and locations. Rapala also sports some visuals that are attractive if not impressive. There are some pretty underwater sunlight effects and droplets of water kicked up by the boat stick to the screen for a short time. (You may remember this effect from Quantum Redshift.) The most visually impressive part of the game takes place below the waterline. The fish are much better looking than the character models and the water swims with algae and aquatic plant life. There isn't a lot of material to discuss in terms of animation. Characters cast their line and various fish swim towards the lure. Overall, the experience feels very generic. Fishing games are not known for their super high production values and this game certainly doesn't break the trend.
Pro Fishing Challenge by Atlus reallt raised the bar in terms of online features with voice support and online multiplayer that supported up to eight people. Rapala Pro Fishing advertises online capabilities, but the game's only online feature is a scoreboard. Fishing isn't a sport that is conducive to multiplayer elements, but it would have been nice to see some creative online options such as a casting contest, or the style of tournament that takes place in the one player game.
Back when the Dreamcast was the latest and greatest piece of hardware, SEGA proved that fishing games could be addictive enough to hit a mainstream audience and it feels like fishing games have been going backwards ever since. Rapala Pro Fishing is an average game at best and it doesn’t offer any compelling reasons to pick it over the competition.
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OS: Windows 98/ME/XP Window 7
Processor : 1.8 MHz
RAM : 128 Mb
Hard Drive: 650 Mb free
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