Bases Loaded 96


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 4

Sound: 3

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 5

basesloaded96ps1.gif (39614 bytes)Just for the record, know that the Bases Loaded series is a personal favorite. Needless to say, seeing the series hit a new, powerful console was a treat, but it just wasn't the same. The series lost all its charm, and the flood of yearly baseball sports titles makes this classic Jaleco series obsolete.

Like the previous two entries in the long running series, Bases Loaded 96 features all the MLB players, but no team names or logos. Basic modes include season, exhibition, and playoff. Trading players is also a possibility. The stats tracked in this game are insane and playing through a season will require six blocks on your memory card (or writing down an incredible password of around 30 characters, if not more).

Of course none of that matters if the play on the field is lackluster and the game does slip a bit. The batter/pitcher interface is as simpler than even the 8-bit NES versions of the game. You can no longer direct your swing to put the ball where you want it. You simply swing and hope for the best. Pitching is all done with the D-pad, holding up for a fast ball, down for a slower pitch, etc. The views change depending on whether or not your batting. The classic behind the pitcher view is only available when pitching. When batting you'll get a barren behind the batter view.

As far as the pitcher/battle duel goes, you'll hardly know this is a 32-bit console. The players are poorly rendered sprites, the seams in their joints blatantly obvious. Animation is fair, but it's nothing that a dedicated video game baseball fan will be stunned with. The fielding view is almost directly overhead featuring polygonal stadiums and sprites for fielders. The players out here barely resemble people and simply look like a mass of pixels.

Much like the rough graphical package, the sound also takes a hit with ludicrous organ music (though you do get the choice between piano and organ which has to be a first, and probably an only time that's happened). When is the last time you went to a baseball game and heard "For he's a Jolly Good Fellow" blaring over the PA? "Where oh Where has my Little Dog Gone?" Yeah, thought so. The rest of the sound package consists of a static crowd and basic ball-on-bat effects.

What really hinders the entire package is a list of small problems. The AI is dumb. Really dumb. Batters stand there and watch pitches fly by them, right over the middle of plate. Striking out a player with three perfect fastballs is far too common. Homeruns are quite rare and blasting one way out to center field will result in a double at best, almost never a triple. Fielding can be difficult because of the speed the game runs at, but this will cure itself with practice. Lastly, there are these annoying pop-up videos that are showcased whenever a player supposedly makes a spectacular grab, but a basic pop fly will result in a clip showing itself. The entire game pauses to load and they serve no purpose.

This was the first baseball game to ever hit the console and it shows. Fans of simplistic baseball games of the 8-bit era may find a lot to like an fans of stats will really be happy. Still, there are at least 20 baseball games on the console, almost all offer something better than this. Fans of the series will find something's to enjoy, but will soon find there is a reason this was the final game in the series released in the US.


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Last updated: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 10:58 PM