FlyLogic Fly Fishing
Manufacturer: Winding River Software / Oquirrh (1999)
Genre: Fly Fishing
System Requirements: Pentium 200 or faster, Windows 95 or above, 16 MB RAM (32 recommended), 80
MB HDD space (for maximuminstall), CD-ROM, DirectX compatible soundcard.
FlyLogic Fly Fishing: Fishing the Green River, is one of only a few titles that attempts to recreate one of the oldest and most artistic forms of fishing. This title focuses on Montana's Green River, a river that boasts large populations of large fish. While the focus is on fishing, the game mixes in a bit of an "adventure" element in that the goal of the game is to prove that you are worthy of becoming a fishing guide at Flaming Gorge Lodge. To become a guide, you must complete 20 challenges over the course of 12 fishing trips (two per month). The challenges range from the simple (catching a rainbow trout or catching a trout on a mayfly dry) to the challenging (catching 20 fish in one day or catching a five pounder). The nice thing is that one fish may complete many challenges, for example: if you catch a 22 inch, 5 pound rainbow on a nymph in a riffle you complete challenges for 20"+ fish, 5+ pound fish, rainbow, catch on nymph, catch in riffle. Each challenge completed earns you $100 with which to purchase better and better gear. The game also simulates the casting skills needed for fly fishing by having you move your mouse back and forth to simulate false casting and right clicking to shoot line.
THE GOOD: I am an avid fly fisherman, and being such, I really wanted this to be a great game. There were a lot of things really jumped out and appealed to me immediately. The first of which was the casting. No more placing a target on the water and pressing a button to lay down a perfect cast. This game forces you to cast as real fly fishermen do, by false casting and laying down the line. Each movement of the mouse (or joystick) equates to movement of your rod tip. So if you move your mouse too low on your cast, the line slinks into the water. If you leave your tip high, your line will turnover too quickly and snap back at you. Mending is also accomplished by using your mouse or joystick, and is equally realistic. Fighting the fish is not quite as realistic, but is better implemented than most fishing games.
Another nice feature of FlyLogic Fly Fishing is the "match the hatch" screen. In this screen, you can actually get a view of the bugs that are on the water, if any. The only mayflies included in the game are Blue Winged Olives, and there is only a generalistic image of midges (one image for all midges). But there are also terrestrials, caddis flies, etc., to at least give you some idea of what the fish are feeding on.
I also very much like the rod setup options that you are given. For nymphing, it is especially nice, as you can select where on your leader you place your strike indicator and splitshot (if any). This lets you fish specific depths, and really get your line down deep in the fast runs.
While this is really a mixed blessing (see THE BAD section), I really enjoyed the ability (read: requirement) to buy your own gear. There are several rod, line, and wader selections, as well as a great assortment of flies. It reminds me of the very first fishing game I ever owned (calld Reel Fishin') where you bought your lures and boats, etc. And for those who don't want to do this, there is a Quick Fish option, where you automatically have all the gear available.
Finally, the trips that you take are with guides from the Flaming Gorge Lodge, and these guides provide excellent tips and hints (although they get quite redundant at times). They will comment on the current insect hatches, give casting tips, and even tell you what you did wrong if a fish breaks off.
... .THE BAD:
As mentioned above, I am an avid fly fisherman. And I wanted this to be a great game. And while I have enjoyed playing it, it has a few things that are just simply terrible. The biggest problem by far is the amateurish graphics. This graphics in this game would've been outdated 3 years ago. And while I am not the type to insist on lots of eye candy in a game, todays technology demands decent graphics. The screens in the lodge, where you purchase your gear, are not too bad. But once on the river, you are greeted with a Nintendo (the original) looking top down view of your boat in the river. You can cast from this view, but have no way of truly telling what your line or strike indicator is doing. There are a limited number of places where you can pull your boat to the shore and wade fish. Here the graphics get even worse. The Nintendo screen is replaced by a "photorealistic" view of the river. This view is semi-panoramic, probably covering slightly more than 90 degrees of the river. The fish are visible (fairly realistically), but they are terrible looking bitmaps that are simply placed into the picture. The entire image really looks like something done for a high school programming project.
Once you get used to the graphics, you have to get used to the casting. While I mentioned above that I really liked the casting, its next to impossible to see what you are doing. On your back swing, you can't see (or feel) when the rod has loaded and know when to start your forward cast. The documentation on how to cast is almost completely missing, so even an experienced fly fisherman must spend a good bit of time trying to learn to cast.
Similar to the casting, another good and bad thing, is the purchasing of equipment. While this is a feature that I enjoy, your starting money is almost impossible to get by with. You are limited to buying a rod, one type of line, leaders and strike indicators (etc), cheap waders, and if you planned right, maybe four or five flies. This makes for a pretty tough first day. Of course, if you catch a couple of fish on that first day, you'll have enough money to get the rest of the stuff you need and you shouldn't have any problems after that.
FlyLogic Fly Fishing will remain on my hard for a while. Probably until the winter is over and I can get back to some serious fishing next spring. I think this game will appeal to the hardcore fly fisherman, but someone who is new to fly fishing probably won't enjoy the game since the documentation is so lacking and the implementation of several aspects is so bad. Maybe someday we'll get a game with some of the features of this game, with professional graphics. Until then, this might be the better fly fishing game on the market; at least in some aspects.