Review by jonzeyboy

Reviewed: 01/03/08

A few nice ideas, but still disappointing

2020 Super Baseball is set in a futuristic world where robots are now playing baseball as well as both men and women. On first looks this game looks interesting however flawed controls and sub-par graphics and music remove most of the potential that this game has. More on that later…

This game is set in the year 2020 inside the ‘Cyber Egg Stadium’, a baseball stadium modified to include notably smaller foul ball and home run zones, a jump zone, two stop zones and glass barriers to protect the fans (known as a fair zone). In the game there are twelve teams split into two divisions, the ‘Exciting Division’ and the ‘Fighting Division’. Each team has varying abilities and players who exhibit different characteristics (i.e. Stronger Batting, Fast Pitching, etc.). There are different types of players as human men and women as well as robots are used to make up the teams, with each team using different combinations of these players.

Graphics: 5/10
The texture of the game is washy, and the game overuses the use of flashing players and areas. It almost makes you feel like you’re about to have a seizure at times. However, some of the images are nicely constructed and the in-play animation of the players was rather nicely done. However the dead ball animation of the game is significantly flawed. For example, whenever a player catches a ball using a ‘special move’ only a picture of the catch is used, instead of a small animation which would have given the catch a nice touch. Another example are the animations used whenever a home run is hit or the umpire makes a close run-out decision, the animations used look like two pictures being swapped.

Sound: 1/10
The music in the background of the game almost sounds like you’re playing an old Game and Watch game because the electronic music used is really bad. The same can be said for the electronic, but slightly better, menu music. The in-game sound effects sound much like the sounds in a cartoon. For example, whenever the ball is hit the sound of it flying and falling sounds like an anvil falling on Wile E. Coyote. If playing this game, it would be best to mute the TV and turn on the radio or an MP3 player; it would prevent serious bodily harm.

Control: 5/10 (Batting 4/10, Pitching 8/10, Fielding 2/10)
The batting controls within the game are very basic. The batting team only have the option to swing, bunt, move the batter and run. Also, when running it is impossible to steal bases as the game does not allow for pre-running of base runners until after the ball has been hit by the batter. However, when the ball is hit far into the glass areas (fair zones) it can get stuck allowing for easy runs.

On the pitching side, the game is much better with the player able to control where the pitcher stands on the mound as well as the direction, movement and speed of the ball all just by using the d-pad. This allows for first-time players to manage pitching rather easily.

However, the fielding aspect of the game is significantly flawed. Whenever a ball is hit with a catching opportunity present the computer automatically moves the nearest player underneath the ball and it will be caught, leaving out even a slight challenge for the fielding team. Also, the automatic fielding system is frustrating whenever a ball is grounded as the fielder designated to field the ball is the only fielder that you can control. This means that at times, when the ball is bouncing off of the walls you can be chasing the ball halfway across the outfield while the computer players have made it to third base. The fielding is also flawed as when the ball is hit to a player, run-outs are really easy to get and it isn’t uncommon to get a double or triple play.

Gameplay: 4/10
The game is comprised of single player and two player modes. When playing single player you choose a division and team and play each opponent three times in a fifteen round league. Also, there is no inter-divisional championship at the end of the season, so it is impossible to play teams from the other division. Progress of the season is not saved, instead at the end of each match a password is shown that needs to be inputted the next time you want to play the game. Because of this system, player averages cannot be adjusted throughout the season. The system of teams only playing each other if in the same division is reflected in the two player mode, because when playing a two player game the division is chosen before the two teams are decided.

Some of the changes in the game can be quite annoying with the inclusion of the stop zones and the jump zone. Whenever a ball hits the ground in the stop zone, the ball stops dead as if it had been stuck to a sheet of fly paper. This allows for easy fielding and easy run outs. Also, if the ball is headed towards the home run zone a fielder is able to jump insanely high if they are in the jump zone stopping any potential runs. These additions can be very annoying as perfect hits can be caught out.

The game implements a monetary system where every action taken throughout the game racks up money for each team which can be used to purchase power-ups later in the game. For example, a strike will give money to the fielding team and take money away from the batting team, and vice versa for a ball or base hit. This system is unique and inventive but the money obtained is not carried over to the next round, and the power-ups bought can almost give the player or the computer runs. This bonus system is a nice addition but it doesn’t make up for some of the other gameplay characteristics.

The teams are all made up of human men and women and robots, and throughout the game they can be powered-up by spending money. However, there is a flawed substitution system that should have been improved on. Instead of being able to set a deep or close field every team utilizes the same field. Also the substitution of players within the field is impossible unless they are replaced by players from the bench.

There is also the frustrating problem of robots blowing up. When playing the game, the more that each of the robots do within the game takes a toll on the machine and it needs to be replaced by a player off the bench. However, the human players do not feel fatigue at all and do not need to be replaced. It would have made sense if all players can feel fatigue then there would be the need to replace not just the robots but humans as well.

Replay Value: 3/10
It is possible to enjoy this game for one season, but after winning the championship once this game gets old and frustrating quickly. The lack of teams, leagues and the poor control systems really remove much of a single player replay value out of this game.

Overall: 4/10
This game is alright to play if in need for a change of game for a day or two. However you will be severely disappointed by the lack of options, poor graphics, shocking sound and frustrating controls.

The Good: Pitching, Power-Up system and the Multiplayer mode

The Bad: Batting, Graphics, Replay Value, Team/Division Structure, Substitutions, Robots breaking down when humans aren’t getting tired

The Ugly: The Sound and the Fielding

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

Product Release: 2020 Super Baseball (US, 07/31/93)

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