Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball

Super Nintendo

Review by Will Matson



Graphics: 4

Sound: 4

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 4

Cal Ripken Jr Baseball for the Super Nintendo is a fairly weak baseball game. You can't say this is a surprise because the game was, after all, made by Mindscape, who are not known for their sports games. You also have to be wary when a game is named after a specific player. The common thing to occur was not bother licensing any real teams or players from that sport because the player's name alone is enough to spike most of the sales you'll need.

The graphics are definitely first generation 16-bit and could have been done on the Sega Master System. The one plus is a nice photo of Cal in the game's intro. The music is very generic, it never seems to change. The umpire sounds sick, maybe he has laryngitis? The ball/strike calls are delivered by a voice that sounds like it jumped out of the Sega Genesis and into your Super NES. This whole game (graphics and soundwise) reminds me a lot of the original Hardball for the Genesis but at least that game had some redeeming qualities. Ripken just borrows the negatives from Hardball.

On to the gameplay, it doesn't get any better. The game offers an exhibition and season mode. There is no battery to save your season but instead the use of passwords, sort of like the old Bases Loaded games. This means season stats are not very detailed. There are no real players in Cal Ripken Baseball, except Cal himself, as you would expect he plays in Baltimore. Funny enough, Cal has the best stats in the game. It's sort of funny because in the game Ripken has Ruthian stats which he never approached during any of the seasons in his playing career.

You will find no major league teams in the game although the same cities are used. Games can take place in one of three parks, again none of which are real. One field has a dome and the other two do not. I did not have instructions with my copy of the game but of the two stadiums without a dome, I am assuming one is real grass and the other is artificial/Astroturf.

Fielding is a major pain, though that's a recurring theme in a lot of baseball games. Batting is also a pain. The easiest part of the game is pitching. The pitching is very reminiscent of the older RBI Baseball titles, where if you throw the ball just right (fast curveball on the outside corner) the computer will swing and miss every time.

However, there are two drawbacks to this. It only works the first few innings or so, until your current pitcher wears down a little, as in RBI, because your pitches no longer curve as far later in the game as they do early on. The other drawback is amusing but can serve to anger you. Ironically, it is actually one of the most realistic things in the game, compared to the real thing (MLB). The umpire is as blind as a bat. A lot of pitches that should be strikes are called as a ball. From time to time, the umpire will even call a ball for a pitch on which the batter swings and misses (not a check swing but a full swing and miss).

Overall, this game is just plain boring. There are no real bugs but just plenty of flaws that should have been worked on. There are far better baseball games out there, including 8 bit ones. This is at or near the bottom of the 16 bit pack.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:17 PM