Review by FreeLancer2181

Reviewed: 09/27/02 | Updated: 09/27/02

Great Arcade-Style Baseball Hits The SNES

Back in the 16-bit era the Genesis was pretty much the system of choice when it came to sports games. Not only was it the first of the two consoles to be graced with Madden football, it had excellent baseball games in the form of Sega's World Series Baseball. But then there are two types of sports gamers: sim fans and arcade-style players. The Genesis' WSB games catered more towards the sim fan. Nintendo's Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball, however, is just what the doctor ordered for arcade fanatics. Yes, sim fans, you can stop reading this review.

Jr. MLB gives you five play modes: single game, all-stars, world series, full seasons and home run derby. Single game allows you to play a game with your team of choice against the CPU or a friend. All-Stars pits the National League against the American League. World Series takes you through a series of games to see who can win the most and come out on top. Full Seasons let's you play a 162, 78, or 26 game season with your choice team. Finally, home run derby pits you against Jr. himself to see who can smack the ball out of the park the most times. Unfortunately, you're limited to only choosing 3 players. The game pak saves your progress in World Series and Full Season modes.

There are a few things you should know about this baseball title if you plan on purchasing it (that's why you're reading this review, hopefully). Jr. is the only real player in the game. Yes, all 28 MLB teams are present and accounted for, but the players aren't. Even fans of arcade-style baseball games may scoff at this, but you can give the players any name you like. Another thing that may annoy purists is that the game doesn't keep stats for every team, but just one. Pitching options are a bit slim too. You can throw fast balls, slow balls and curve balls, but not too much else. If you can ignore many of the aforementioned that have been omitted, you'll find a seriously fun SNES baseball game.

When you actually start playing the game, you realize that even if it is a bit bare bones, Griffey Jr. MLB is a really fun game. Controlling your batters and pitchers is cake, thanks to the easy controls. They just feel so right when you connect the bat with the ball or throw that fast ball right past the opposing team member. You can choose to have the CPU control your fielders or do it on your own. Rookies should definitely choose the former.

Even though this is an arcade-style baseball game don't expect your wins to come easy, especially when you're dealing with the CPU. To be quite frank, the AI in this game is a bear. CPU players move fast, can catch many of your fly balls and do a superb job of making you look like you don't know what you're doing. While the AI can be tough, it isn't unbeatable. The adept AI makes for an excellent challenge even once you get the hang of the game. The AI can score some homers but not enough to the point where it becomes cheating. The teams even feel different as well. No, every person on the team isn't on MVP status, but you can tell when you're playing with a great team like the Mariners, and average team like the Indians, and a flat out bad team, like say, the Orioles.

Jr's. game has some nice 16-bit graphics. Every team's stadium is here, but there really isn't too much difference in them. Character models look a bit goofy but it isn't that bad, really. It just adds to the arcade quality of the game. The sound effects sound a bit light and the ball makes a cartoon-like sound when its headed out of the park, but they get the job accomplished. Players even say things like ''OH COME ON!'' when they get struck out. The music really isn't varied. In fact, the game plays the same song every single game. This could quickly wear on your nerves so you might wanna go to the options and turn the music off, making it like a real baseball game.

There you have it. Ken Griffey Jr. MLB is a great arcade-style baseball game for novices or veteran players. The sweet controls, challenging AI and five play modes make for one of the best baseball games on the SNES. This game is pretty dirt cheap, so you may as well snag a copy if you see it. You won't be disappointed with this one.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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