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Manufacturer: Sierra/Sierra Sports (1999)
Price: $29.99
Genre: Warm water fishing simulation.
System Requirements:  Win95/98, Pentium 166+ w/3D accelerator (supports 3Dfx, Glide, Direct 3D and Open GL accelerators), 32 MB RAM, Mouse, CD-ROM, Sound Card, Direct X,  Modem.

OVERVIEW: Sierra's TROPHY BASS 2 was without doubt the finest fishing simulator ever made. Released over three years ago (four year+ if you count the original Trophy Bass), Trophy Bass 2 has continued to boast strong sales and exciting gameplay that has been unmatched in the PC fishing genre- WITHOUT all the fancy 3D accelerated graphics. Noticed I used the word "WAS" in the opening sentence? That's because Trophy Bass 2 has finally met it's virtual match- in TROPHY BASS 3D! If you thought Trophy Bass 2 was great, wait to you see Trophy Bass 3D in all of it's immersive 3D glory.

The team at Sierra deserve accolades for producing a follow-up that not only meets but exceeds the excellence of Trophy Bass 2. Trophy Bass 3D offers the ultimate PC fishing experience EVER to hit the market. From the number of lakes to the FULL BODIED (yes, fully rounded and shaded) 3D fish, Trophy Bass 3D has set a new standard in PC fishing excellence. Here's the features list- fishing fanatics, please try not to drool:

The 3D lake renderings are awesome (changing with the time of day, weather and season) and realistically scaled! Look for unique landmarks and features at each lake- like the Hoover Dam at Lake Mead. Combined with the excellent weather (including early morning lake mist that burns off), lighting and water renderings players will find themselves in one of the most immersive outdoors titles ever developed! Trophy Bass 3D now features five different water conditions: clear,moderate, stained, dingy and muddy instead of the three found in Trophy Bass 2 (i.e. clear, stained, muddy). This makes lure type/color selection even more realistic and critical during gameplay.

The fish renderings are unmatched. Every species is fully rendered (as in full bodied) so that monster fish LOOK like monster fish! You can clearly tell the difference between a 10 lb. and a 51 lb. musky just by looking at it (al la the "Lure Cam"). The fish AI is excellent as well with each particular species behaving as it would in a real life depending on the various weather/lake conditions. The fish animations are realistic and overall very fluid. The fish fighting animations are a bit stiff at times but overall well done. One can expect the more acrobatic species to put up a twirling, leaping, splashing fight than those who "plod" about (i.e. some catfish and lake trout) who tend to twist, make deep runs and attempt to pull their way off the hook. Player must put in some thought and imagination when choosing lures- these can be some very finicky fish depending on the conditions.

Trophy Bass 3D also offers network, modem and internet multiplayer features. Once the game hits general release you'll find me logged on at WON.NET looking for a fun, cooperative fishing trip!

I do want to touch on the Lure Cam feature. Lure Cam allows players to watch their lure operate in the water for three different distances (close, medium and far)- thus scout the waters for prime trophy fish. I love Lure Cam since I can marvel at all of the excellent 3D renderings of the fish, lure and bottom structure (which includes pilings, logs, a variety of water vegetation, old cars, rocks, old house foundations, etc.)- nothing beats watching a 8 lb. bass swim up and pound a scum frog!! Yet, Lure Cam does give you something of an unrealistic advantage (similar to the overhead "God Cam" view in Trophy Bass 2) in scouting out and targeting specific fish. Sierra solved this by making Lure Cam only available in the EASY difficulty setting- thus keeping this feature locked out in tournament games where it could be used and abused. In clear and moderate water conditions players can actually LOOK DOWN into the water and visually spot fish- so all is not lost.

On something of a downside, Trophy Bass 3D doesn't offer live bait or float bobber fishing options. Trophy Bass 2 didn't offer these options and I know lots of folks were begging for them. The omission of live bait and bobber rigs are the only thing that keep Trophy Bass 3D from perfection. Maybe these two feature will show up in an add-on?

Trophy Bass 3D is without doubt the most advanced and visually stunning fishing sim currently on the market. No other fishing sim to date can even come close to matching this excellent package of stunning graphics, immersive gameplay and easy to use features. Get ready for the ultimate PC fishing experience- and it should be on the shelves by Fourth of July weekend. Get a copy and be prepared to be blown away!!!



THE CONS (sort of..):

Review by Steven Ellis