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Tour de 64   

All-Star Baseball '99, 2000, and 2001

Hey now, you're an All-Star, get your game on, go play!

Cheap sports games I got for a buck each at a game store, I own these for collection purposes since I'm not a fan of baseball. Obviously I haven't played these before, and I don't see much point in spending much time with all three. I popped in '99 and 2000 to see what they looked like and what kind of options they had, and then I played a quick game in the 2001 edition.

Honesty is the best policy: I could see no real difference between the three games. They all had the same game modes of exhibition, season, play-offs, and home-run derby, they all had the same features of management, stat-tracking, create-a-player, etc. Beyond the stats of each player representing the season preceding the title year and some cosmetic changes like slight improvements to the graphics and differing commentary, the games are virtually identical.

The controls seem a bit complex for a game that appeals to casual players, but I guess that's necessary to offer realism. On the mound, you select the pitch you wish to use with the C-buttons, then press the A button to throw it to the plate. After you've selected a pitch, the C-buttons then become the buttons used to throw a pick-off throw to one of the bases, which I actually found myself accidentally doing. At bat, you can press the B button to toggle between power or contact swing types, and press A to swing. You can also press one of the C-buttons to "guess" the pitch that will be thrown, though I couldn't figure out exactly what that does. When fielding, you can press A to dive for a catch or B to jump. The C-buttons represent the bases, with C-Right being first, C-Up is second, and so on.

The graphics are nothing spectacular but get the job done. Texture work is simple, which works fine for the grass and dirt, but makes the crowd look like a motionless coloured blob. The characters have a real photo of each player pasted onto their faces, which never change expression, making some of the smiling ones unintentionally creepy. The animation of them is also choppy. Fortunately the game runs at a solid framerate with no dips, and there is no fog either. Could you imagine? Fog in a baseball game? Couldn't see the stands? Music is non-existent save for a couple of stadium fanfares that have the quality of an 8-bit MIDI, so the majority of the sound you'll hear is the announcer and crowd noises.

I played a 3-inning exhibition game using the two All-Star teams, which seemed like the fitting thing to do, and I took control of the national league team to represent teams nearest my hometown. The final score was 3-1, my team.

Rating this one is tough. Because I'm not into baseball, I don't know what kind of features one with such an interest looks for in a baseball game. The management features seem quite extensive, especially with the create-a-player feature, and the basic game is intact with no hiccups or broken mechanics that I could see. Still, with more baseball games on the Nintendo 64 to be played, I can't rate it too highly.


 

Comments

Jason Ross Senior Editor

10/07/2010 at 06:28 PM

Which game had the best cover?

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