Bass Duel for DOS

I recently came across a small collection of games on a vintage PC that I got and found a strange game called bass duel. It was written by Richard Olsen around 1993. I wasn’t quite sure how one could make a computer game out of fishing, but somehow he has managed to do just that. Bass duel is a two player game at heart, each player does things like bait and select the rod that they want to use with either the keyboard or mouse. There is a wide variety of rods, lures and baits that you can use, I wasn’t sure what any of them did so I picked some at random. Once you’re ready you cast your line and hopefully catch a fish. I managed to catch a bunch of fish relatively quickly, but the target is of course to catch the one that is the largest, so I’m guessing that you need to know what you are doing to achieve this.

I don’t know anything about fishing so I can’t tell you how accurate the simulation is, but the excitement level seems to be about the same as real fishing. The graphics are in EGA and seem to be functional, but I found it difficult to work out what the various tiles actually meant as far as game play was concerned. I’m sure that VGA was available at the time but the author wrote the game in turbo pascal 6.0 so may not have had much choice in graphic modes. Sound comes from the PC speaker and just makes the odd bleep to indicate something is afoot, like having caught a fish.

The controls for the game are confusing, I couldn’t even work out how to move my boat anywhere. There is a selection of menus for each player allowing them to select equipment, and enable or disable various bits and pieces. But there was little in the way of help, a tutorial mode would have been a godsend. Some of the controls also seemed a bit weird and like they had no purpose, for instance you can select whether you are wearing your life jacket or not. Does this mean that you can have an accident and capsize your boat and drown? If this is the case, why would you elect to not wear a life jacket? There are options for how you power your boat for movement, but seemingly no way to actually move your boat. I later discovered the controls for moving, and considering I chose mouse control, it was confusing to find the controls on the keyboard.

In conclusion this game is not really for anyone who isn’t into fishing, and even if you are, you’ll find it frustrating. It wouldn’t be so bad if the game had been polished some more, and had a tutorial mode added. Perhaps out there some where is a version 3 that improves upon this one.


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