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Old 12-11-2004, 04:29 AM   #11
Joe Redifer
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 20,144
Baseball Stars Professional
Neo Geo

And you thought Sega Saturn
boxes were too big?

Back in the NES days, SNK released a hit game called Baseball Stars Amateur. Everyone loved this game and people generally played it more than once. But when SNK brought out their own 16-bit "Genesis-on-steroids" system called the Neo Geo, they realized that fans of the old game would want a new baseball game, and they'd want it to be more fun. Since this game would cost over 5 times as much as the original Baseball Stars, they decided to call it "Baseball Stars Professional" so that people would think they are getting something for their money. What they got was a 50 (actually 48.8) megabit game with lots of color, animation, voice, cool music, and lots of scaling for the low low price of $200.

This guy is PISSED because he
just spent $200 on a $30 game!

Graphics: 6/10
You may look at the graphics in this game and wonder why I wouldn't give it a higher score. It is true that the graphics, which are drawn in a cartoon style, look very bold and colorful. Well, there are only two stadiums to look at and many of the players look identical to each other. They all have the same animation. Still, it is a nice looking game and you won't be punching the TV screen trying to improve the graphics somehow. There is a nice scaling intro with some cool drawings as well as great-looking cut-scenes when someone smacks a home run (which you will see quite often). The ball also scales toward and away from you on the overhead map after it is hit.

Even women are allowed to play. This is
probably as close as you'll ever get to one.

Sound: 8/10
To be quite honest, the sound is the best reason to play this game. The music is always lively and full of energy, and there is a nonstop voice announcer named Michael Beard as well. Sure, he tends to say the same damn thing over and over and over, but for some reason it just adds to the fun and the sound quality is excellent. Michael exclaims winning phrases like "It's a well hit ball that should be in there for a single!". Yes, he says that every time you get a base hit. There are men and women playing baseball in this game, but Michael doesn't seem to notice the difference. When a woman hits a homerun, Mike quips "He loves to hit homers here in this park" etc. The worst sound effect is that of the ball flying after it is hit. It sounds like a police siren that increases in pitch as the ball gets higher, and then decreases in pitch as it falls. Is that the best they could do for a ball flying sound effect? I always think "Oh no, what have I done now? I'd better pull over" every time the ball is hit. Yes, I am that unaware of my surroundings.

All of your players use Barry Bond's steroid
cream and will hit homers more than fouls.

Gameplay: 7/10
This is a very arcadey and fun game of baseball, and one of the few "sports" games that I actually enjoy. The pace is quite fast. In fact you could probably complete and entire 9-inning game of Baseball Stars Professional in the time it takes for one "at-bat" in real baseball. But that's because real baseball is slower than chess and things rarely happen. Control throughout the game is pretty simple. For the most part you have your hand on just one button and your other hand wrapped around the stick which may remind you of when you surf the internet for porn, so try not to get confused like I did! This game, unfortunately, is extremely easy. You will hit tons upon tons of homers without effort. You get two whole stadiums to choose from and you get to pick from such great teams like "The Celestial Planets" and "American Dreams". Obviously I pick American Dreams every single time since the Patriot Act has gone into effect, just in case. This game isn't something you'd want to play every day, but an occasional romp just to experience the arcade joys of yesterday is quite fun. Obviously most of the memory in this game went to the copious amount of voice, as baseball games really don't require much memory. Still, furious and frantic is how I like my baseball games. Give me arcade-style over simulation any day!

The overhead map kind of
looks like crap, don'tcha think?

Wrap up:
Arcade baseball at it's best! Worth your quarter. NOT worth two Franklin's however.
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