Baseball Stars Professional

Neo Geo

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5

"Baseball Stars" on the NES remains, even today, one of the best baseball games ever created. It's customization features and stat tracking were incredible and far ahead of its time. While the Geo version looks prettier, it lacks just about every feature that made the 8-bit rendition such a classic.

Sixteen teams (all fantasy), each with their own specific powers and weaknesses, compete in a tournament to determine which team is the most powerful. Two players can play a quick exhibition game in either a domed or open stadium. The teams are comprised of both men and women while two of the teams are entirely female.

Players control their teams from the standard behind-the-batter view. Pitching is no different than any other early baseball title; fastballs require the joystick to be pressed towards the batter, slow balls require a press away. Batting is simply a matter of hitting A. Fielding brings with it an entirely new set of problems.

The overhead view of the stadium is zoomed in far too close to the field, obviously to show off the graphical detail (which is hardly note-worthy today). No radars or other devices are here for aid. With time, you will be able to figure out where the fielders will be positioned on a specific play, but it's far too frustrating and this is a problem that could have been solved easily.

Without any sort of season mode, all of the features present on the lowly 8-bit console are gone. You cannot rename players, you cannot cut them, and you cannot track stats. In game choices are standard features (pinch runner, batter, and relievers). The memory card can only be used to save progress and nothing else.

Age has not been kind to the games biggest selling point either. Sprites are small and limited in their animation, though the amount of color is mildly impressive. Fielders have a few nice spots (like diving over the wall to stop a homerun), but these are generally rare. Every inning is accompanied by amusing scoreboard animation, but the home run sequence is probably the games highlight.

The catchy music (which changes when a runner finds second) that accompanies the on-field action is ruined by an annoying announcer who finds it necessary to tell you "it's a great day for baseball" every inning. He only has a few quotes that actually relate to the on-screen action. The crowd remains silent for most of the game.

If you're dying for baseball action and you find the need for it on the Geo, head right for this games sequel. It eclipses this game in every category (though the editing options are still gone). This was likely a great game at launch, but time has not been kind. There are far too many better games now on the market.


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Last updated: Sunday, October 31, 2004 08:08 AM