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A good baseball simulation By DocAetzn

Baseball, as is well-known, is among the all-time favorite sports of the Americans. This sport also makes itself more and more popular in the Far East. Thus, Kemco has supplied us with 2 different versions of Virtual League Baseball. In the USA, the Virtual League Baseball shown at right is to be had. In Japan, the game is called Virtual Pro Baseball ’95. The only major difference between the two versions is the players, who, on the one side with the Japanese version, give their best on the field in the anime style with gigantic eyes and much too large heads. Moreover, all associations of the Japanese Baseball League are selectable as teams. In the US version, the players luckily look like normal baseball players, as they are known from television). Moreover, only international teams are selectable here as teams, such as Germany, the USA or Canada. If you select Germany, you can first amuse yourself over the names, like Mr. Warsteiner or Mr. Schnitzel for example. What still distinguishes each of the games is, of course, the language, which also counts for all writing animations. But let’s get to the actual game:

A nicely animated intro awaits you, before you immediately find yourself at the menu screen. Here you can choose between playing against the computer, the All Star Game and the Pennant Race. It’s really all the same whichever one you play, which is why we would just like to deal with the essential gameplay.

We are lucky that we know the rules of baseball more or less, which makes it considerably easier. So let’s start the game. You can now determine your starting pitcher and starting batters. The playing field is seen from a viewpoint behind the batter. This viewpoint is also given when you have to pitch; you then see yourself from the front. The graphics are well done but, unfortunately, not rendered, so you see the game relatively fuzzy. Nevertheless, the essential matter of the overall effect is successful. When you are up to bat, you can adjust your player to the left and right, depending on the direction in which the opponent pitches the leather; moreover, you can determine the height of the swing. Once you have hit the ball, make yourself on the fastest way to the next base, before the opponent can catch the ball and play it back to his base… (whoever finds this too complicated should learn the rules). If the opponent manages to throw 3 strikes – thus, he throws the ball 3 times so that it doesn’t get hit by the bat – you are “out.” After 3 outs, the computer is the next up to bat. Now you see yourself from the perspective of the front, as you pitch the ball before your opponent’s eyes. If the CPU opponent hits the ball, you must either catch the ball directly out of the air or else play it back to your base with one of your people, in order to get the computer out. Once you have done this three times, you are back up to bat. This then repeats itself for a total of 9 rounds or “innings,” until the winner is determined. The whole thing is accompanied here and there by nice animations, like, for example, if you manage to catch the ball right out of the air.

With the selection of the Pennant Race, you can play a tournament, which keeps the motivation going at least a little.

All in all, we find Virtual League Baseball to be a good Virtual Boy sports simulation, but in the matter of 3D animation, it could still learn a little. With the low price of the game, we can only advise purchasing it.

Virtual League Baseball is a good baseball simulation, which makes a negative impression here and there, however, by slightly blurred graphics and the not always clear game situation. Nevertheless, one can grab it without hesitation.

7 / 10

Rated: Jan 27, 2002 • 22:25