TV Sports Baseball is the third release in the TV Sports series. American Football was the first, and it just so happens that it was rather good. I say was, because the game has now been superseded by the highly acclaimed John Madden's Football. Next in the series was TV Sports Basketball, which oddly enough received a number of mixed reviews. Now here's TV Sports Baseball, and you know what? Baseball is a funny old game (Acme Jimmy Greaves quote).
The idea behind it is simple. Whoever scores the most points wins. A point is awarded by running around all four bases. It is just as simple to play. A pitcher hurls a ball at the batter - and when I say "hurtles" I mean it, because some of these pitchers can throw balls at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour. The batter must hit the ball - if he doesn't it's called a strike.
If the batter misses three times, it's three strikes and he's out. If he manages to hit the ball, he must run to first base or further depending on how far the ball travels.
If the ball is hit over one of the surrounding fences, the batter scores a home run, everyone goes a bit bonkers and the batter is allowed to trot around all four bases looking very smug indeed.
Unfortunately for the batter, there are many ways of getting yourself out. One - you can be caught out. Two - three strikes and you're out. Three - while running between bases you can be tagged with the ball and you're out. Ahem. Four - while running between bases, the fielders can throw the ball to the base where he's running to and stump the base - the poor hapless batter is out. Five - if the batter hits the ball behind, it's one strike. If he does it again it's two strikes, but if he does it again he doesn't get out.
I told you it was a funny game, this baseball lark. So he's not out, but it improves the pitcher's chance of getting him out. As you can see, the odds are heavily weighed against the batter.
Well, that's the game and some of the rules explained. What you're probably wondering is if this TV Sports Baseball malarkey is any good. The answer is no with a capital N. It's rubbish.
For starters, take a good long thoughtful look at baseball. What did you see? Just kidding! When I look at baseball I see atmosphere, I see thousands of completely mad Americans screaming and shouting for their teams. In TV Sports Baseball you could hear a blooming pin drop. There are a few samples of the umpire shouting "Ssstttrrikkkeeee Onnneee" and so on, but the only crowd sound is when you score a home run and the crowd suddenly spring into action. No, nein, non , zilch atmosphere.
The second problem is batting. I know baseball is a tough game, but at least let me hit the ball. The ball comes at you like a nuclear missile - well sort of - and you swing your bat in hope that you're going to hit it, and miss. Next ball, you swing, you miss. And again and again until it's time for you to field. When you eventually hit the ball, you haven't a clue how you did it.
Most of the time it's a foul shot, or you smack the bugger, it looks as though it's going to be a home run and it drops pathetically into some fielder's hand and you're out.
Fielding is much more fun than batting, simply because it's easier. As I write, I'm on my fourth match in the league and still haven't won. It's not because I'm rubbish - no one else in the office can do it either.
On the press release it says, and I quote: "The most complete computer-baseball game ever developed". I think that should have had a great big "Not!" at the end because someone somewhere's been telling porkies.
The graphics are fairly good, but they're not as good as RBI Baseball 2. In fact the whole game is nowhere near as good as RBI Baseball 2.
To top it all off it needs a megabyte of memory, and I thought one meg games were meant to be good. Take a look at Team 17s Project X and Alien Breed to see how a one meg game should be made.
If you love baseball don't waste your money on this - you'll become terribly depressed. Turn Channel Four on and watch the game instead.