Publisher: Ultra Games
Year of Release: 1991
Date Reviewed: 2-15-98 ("Old Era")
I should love this game. It makes interesting innovations on the game of baseball. The graphics are good. The controls are logical. The music suits the setting. The players can be individualized with various parts, and their stats are trackable within the season mode. I should love this game, but, for some reason that continues to elude me after six and a half years of ownership, I don't.
As a sign of the times, this game abandons the overpaid human baseball players, replacing them with machines, all of which fall into one of four prototypes. There is the cyborg, the tank, the flybot, and the motorcycle. The difference between these units is negligible in every facet of the game other than the battles (which will be outlined later.) In the season mode, one can take his team to the "Parts Shop" and customize each of the robotic players with various units that enhance play in different ways. There are weapons for use in the battles, "shoulders" which enhance batting strength, "units" which improve traction, and the list goes on from there.
The positive aspects of this game are obvious. The graphics are strong and detailed. The music hops right along, though it's nothing over which to get excited. The game has a voice built into it that calls off the results of the plays (very cool.) As previously stated, the players can be customized, and their stats can be tracked. The teams leave their mark on you (I can't remember anyone who didn't ask me why Boston had only Cyborgs.) And then, of course, there is the feature for which the game is named: the "Base Wars."
Essentially, a "Base War" occurs in place of where a player would, by traditional rules, just be out. Suppose the player hits the ball, and it is thrown to first base (assuming it was not caught on the fly) ahead of the player. When the runner arrives at first base, it does battle with the defender. If the runner wins, he takes the base. If he loses, he is out. What this translates into is that, if apt enough at the fighting portion of the game, the player can hit continuous inside-the-park homeruns, without ever demonstrating any skill at the actual game of baseball.
In addition, each robot has its own quota of hit points, which are reduced with anything that would legitimately cause harm (i.e. being hit by the pitch and each blow sustained in a fight.) However, a robot does not need to be drained of all of its HP in order to be defeated in a fight. Each robot enters battle with around thirty hit points to be drained. The base runner's reserve is decreased according to his distance from the next base (probably in order to discourage leaving one's present base if its baseman is holding the ball.) Once all of a robot's HP is drained, it explodes, and is removed from the roster of the team for the remainder of the game. It cannot be placed back on the roster until repaired. The battle system makes player maintenance and individuality even more deeply involved than Baseball Simulator 1.000.
However, for all these positive aspects, and no real pinpointable drawbacks from my perspective, this game has never been a favorite of mine, and I can't seem to decipher any particular reason why. Perhaps it is because it is difficult to care about players that are not human. Perhaps it is the technocratic setting of the game. Perhaps it is the tone in the "voice" of the game that implies contempt and "trash-talk." Perhaps the reason is not logical at all. All I know is, in spite of this game's apparent greatness, I'm not terribly fond of it. You will probably like it. I know few who do not. But it will never be a favorite of mine.
My Score: 6
No seams to count....
That better be a sword. Otherwise, he's givin' me the finger.
To acknowledge home runs, a starship flies in formation, leaving the word "Homerun" in its path. Skywriting taken to a new high...
Unlike the WBA, players are not forbidden to hit their opponents when they're down.
Return to the main page - The NES
Return to the review index - Game Reviews