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Super Baseball 2020 Review Rewind

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On 10/26/2020 at 08:00 AM by Jamie Alston

The Big Leagues

An interesting changeup from the typical baseball formula.

With the year 2020 and the MLB World Series well underway, there’s no better time than now to talk about Super Baseball 2020. In 1991, SNK- the famed developer of such blockbusters as Metal Slug and Aero Fighters- released their spin on America’s favorite pastime in the arcades. Two years later, it was ported to the Sega Genesis with NuFX and Electronic Arts handling the programming and publishing. With its futuristic setting and easy controls, the game offered a level of enjoyment missing from baseball’s more realistic interpretations on the home console platform.

There are 12 teams divided into two leagues (six teams to each league). Both leagues are internationally represented with teams like the Aussie Battlers and the Korean Dragons. Players are a mixture of men, women, and robots, though there are also gender-specific teams. If you want an all-female team, go with the Battle Angles. Prefer a team of robots? Select the Mechanical Brains. And of course, a few all-male teams are thrown in as well.

In this alternate reality of 2020, the average batter can easily knock the ball into the stands thanks to the power-assisted armor they wear. As a result, the homerun zone has been reduced to only the scoreboard area, which means that players must hit the ball dead center in order to have a chance at scoring a home run.

There are also designated zones in the outfield to assist the defending team. As the name implies, red stop zones stop the ball dead in its tracks no matter the speed. Yellow jump zones increase the fielder's ability to catch a ball saoring at high altitude. One of the jump zones are placed right in front of the home run area, giving an outfielder a chance to bring a possible score for the opposing team to a devastating halt. The drawback is, if you miss, your outfielder isn't coming down any time soon, which leaves the baserunner(s) with plenty of opportunity to get one step closer to scoring a run. 

Teams earn money with each successful play they make. For outfielders, extra money is awarded for flashy plays- like jumping to catch a fly ball or diving to catch a line drive. What's funny is that I never noticed the difference all these years until recently when I was trying to figure out why the computer-controlled team almost always jumps for the ball instead of just catching it the normal way. As your money increases, you can purchase enhanced armor that augments fielding, batting, and pitching abilities.

As good as the overall gameplay additions are, the game isn't without its problems. When trying to field a quick line drive or a ground ball hit, you can't choose which outfielder should go after it. Instead, several fielders in the general area will all chase after the ball. Also, the pitcher will sometimes chase a ground ball well into the outfield, leaving the bases wide open.

There are other times when a ball may stop just inches from your first baseman, but he won't move to pick it up, forcing another fielder to waste going infield to pick up the slack resulting in missed opportunities for a double play. In some cases, throwing the ball is by line-of-sight which is always logical in practice. For example, if a second baseman throws down to the home plate, the ball will get cut off by the pitcher before it can reach its intended destination. It’s annoying and can potentially ruin a good run you may have been having up until that moment.

Remaining true to the arcade version, landmines (or "crackers") are periodically placed on the field. They can be quite calamitous if an outfielder steps on one. While the mines won't seriously harm anyone, they will get blown sky-high- and it’s hilarious to watch, especially when it’s happening to the other team.

No one wants to be hit by a wayward pitch, especially not one launched at 100+ MPH. If such is the fate of a batter in this game, a paramedic drone descends and teleports the injured player off the field, complete with the blaring ambulance siren and lights. It's little humorous cues like this that make it easy to overlook the problems mentioned earlier. 

The graphics in this version of Super Baseball 2020 aren't the greatest. The color palette is a bit drab and washed out compared to the arcade original and SNES versions. Still, the game itself runs very smoothly and features some nice character animations. After striking out, the person at bat might tilt their head in annoyance. A robot pitcher falls apart on the mound if the opposing team scores a home run. I enjoyed these little extra touches to the game that helped it to really stand out from the typical baseball simulations of that time.

Unfortunately, the audio presentation isn't great. This is immediately noticeable when you hear the music after starting a game. There are different tunes depending on which league you're in. Some of it is barely listenable because the instruments sound like a jumbled mess of synths and drum beats. It doesn't ruin the game, but it can be a struggle to sit through at times.

Overall, Super Baseball 2020 is a fun sports game. The controls are easy to learn, there are enough unique features to keep each match interesting, and none of these changes were so over the top that it would drastically alienate the average player. It's fast-paced and doesn't feel like it's dragging on indefinitely. If you like baseball, but don't feel like being bogged down with the simulation rules of the sport, this game is your ticket to enjoyment.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



The Last Ninja

10/29/2020 at 09:58 PM

I've seriously been wanting to get this game for my SNES. It looks like the most ineresting (and most fun) of any of the SNES baseball games. The only sports video games I like are the arcade-style ones like NBA Jam, NFL Blitz, and any Mario sports game. Realistic sport sims are boooooooring lol 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

11/13/2020 at 08:30 AM

Wow, I have never heard of this. They just don't make games like this anymore. 

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