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Article #54 (79 is last):
From: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Subject: LYNX: Baseball Heroes
Reply-To: ap803@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Jung)
Posted-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys)
Date: Mon Oct  5 00:35:55 1992

  Between BASKETBRAWL and NFL FOOTBALL, I'm beginning to get a little
apprehensive about sports games on the Lynx. Wonder if BASEBALL HEROES can
turn me around?

1-2 players, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Stereo? No

    With Atari finally increasing the number of sports titles for their Lynx
game system, the only real question was how long it'd take for them to release
a baseball title. Now there's BASEBALL HEROES, a portable video version of the
American pastime. One or two coaches pick from four fictitious teams, each
with 20 players (two in each position and four pitchers) rated in various
attributes. Before a game, you select a team, assemble a squad of nine men,
and arrange a batting order. They then take to the field, trying to score the
most runs possible in nine innings. A single exhibition game is possible, or
you can play a multiple-game "Final League" challenge. Between games, practice
in batting and fielding is available with the "Home Run Derby" and "Three
Flies Out" games.

    This is one of the more ambitious Lynx sports games out now; BASEBALL
HEROES tries some new ideas and to push the boundaries of portable gaming, and
partially succeeds. The ability to select your players and adjust the lineup
is welcome, but you must decide carefully, since there's no way to change
either once the game starts. A wide variety of views are used, according to
the situation: behind the batter, behind the pitcher, three-quarters overhead,
directly overhead, and from the outfield fence, giving this game a real "you
are there" feeling.

    The actual gameplay is respectable: infield players cover each other, and
dives and jumps for the ball are fully supported. Batters can swing high and
low, inside and out, while pitchers can steer the four stock pitches for
variety. Common baseball rules and events are supported, including beaning the
batter and wild pitches. The computer opponent is challenging but not
completely perfect, leaving some opportunities for crafty players to exploit.

    BASEBALL HEROES is not without problems, however. The worst offender is
the fielding, which starts with an overhead view, then switches to a "behind
the outfielder" angle on the ball's descent. This makes judging the ball's
location difficult, and requires lots of practice to master. Also, some of
the controls are a little quirky, such as using the same button to throw and
jump, and the slow swing times of the batters. There's nothing that makes the
game unplayable, but they do detract a bit.

    The graphics on BASEBALL HEROES are simply delightful. There's great use
of animation, including little details like the umpire hunching down for each
pitch. The batter and pitcher views feature gigantic characters that fill the
screen, while the fielding scenes use small but manageable players running
about. Even the player selection and lineup sequences are entertaining, with
"trading cards" used to select and rearrange your team members, and fanciful
logos for each team.

    The only music in the game comes from the title theme and a few simple
tunes. The remaining sounds consist largely of digitized effects of caught
balls, the crack of the bat, and the umpire's calls. Though the umpire's
"strike!" is unrecognizable, and the crowd falls silent too quickly, the sound
effects are fine overall.

    BASEBALL HEROES is a very good translation of the sport, though not a
perfect game. It has a few rough spots that will try some people, but for the
most part this is a quality title and a showcase game for the Lynx.

                GAMEPLAY:        8
                GRAPHICS:        9
                SOUND:           8
                OVERALL:         8

  Rating values  10 - 8   Great! This game can't get much better.
                  7 - 5   Good. Average game, could be improved.
                  4 - 2   Poor. For devotees only.
                      1   Ick. Shoot it.


  Okay, now this is better.


   Send whatevers to    |      If it has pixels, I'm for it.
--------------------------------------+------------------------------Lynx up!
"You weren't chosen because you are the best pilot in the Air Force. You were
    chosen because you are the class clown and frankly, you're expendable."

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