£10.99 cass, £19.99
disk, joystick only
game comes hot on the heels of Imagine's World Series
Baseball (reviewed in this issue), so it's inevitable
comparisons will be drawn between the two.
far as graphics are concerned, there's no question which
is better. In this one a reasonable-looking baseball
ground is impaired by the presence of titchy, indistinct
players who wouldn't go amiss in a game of Robotron
(No offence, Robotron players). The batter looks
like a crippled golfer about to tee off, and the catcher
bears a resemblance to ET at times.
animation of the players is crude and jerky by today's
standards -- the fielders look as if they're skating
across the grass (but they do produce a pleasing throw
on the run). Sprite priority is virtually non-existent,
as players run through, instead of around, each other.
Also the flight of the ball is sometimes unrealistic
-- it appears to skate along the ground after bouncing,
and at other times it actually bounces off the crowd!
it's gameplay that really counts, and thankfully this
is good. Indeed, in some ways it is better than the
a start, the pace of play is greater -- you do not have
to wait between each ball to select outfield and steal
options. Secondly, many people will find that the actual
'feel' of striking the ball is better. The sound of
bat hitting ball is more authentic and the ball doesn't
stop dead on bouncing, as it does in the Imagine game.
useful feature is that the fielder turns black when
he has possession of the ball, making the moment of
pick up absolutely clear.
stick man characters are ready for action
as the batter prepares for the pitch.
start of play there are several choices to be made.
You can select a pitcher -- either the fast-throwing
'Heat' Muldoon, or the tricky 'Curves' Cassidy. In practice
they appear to play very similarly, although 'Heat'
has one almost unplayably fast delivery. (Well, the
computer can play it.) Both pitchers tire during the
game, especially if you use too many fast balls, so
at the end of the seventh innings you're allowed to
bring on a relief pitcher.
can also select one of two batting teams. The Sluggers
are supposed to hit for the fences, the Liners are average,
but I haven't spotted any real differences.
game is played over nine innings, with extra innings
should a draw result. The computer always fields first,
leaving you the arduous task of batting.
during the game is pretty good and includes some short
musical strains at the beginning of the game (complete
with the American national anthem), at the end of an
innings, and on hitting a home run. There is also crowd
noise and a pleasant thud as ball his glove.
two-player option adds further excitement to the game,
and a practice mode allows you to bat away for as long
as you like without fear of losing -- an excellent feature.