Baseball Stars Color (NeoGeo Pocket)

Datafile

Company: SNK
Year: 1999
Plataform: NeoGeo Pocket Color
Controller: The handheld itself.

Foreword

The throw comes from the second baseman, not from the second base. Close play anyway.

Late 20th Century, Nintendo practically reigns Supreme in the videogaming handheld market with the famous Gameboy. However, there was competition from other companies which wanted their share of the cake.

One of this consoles was the de NeoGeo Pocket, created by the company SNK. To further thrust the handheld, the company ported some titles of their already successful arcade library.

However, the handheld was not very successful, so the company decides to make a second iteration, this one capable of displaying games in colors, along with backward compatibility with the games of the first one. Including the other sports title available.

We must remember that SNK was already a company known for making good video-games in arcade and consoles, so it was expected good ports. This one, of their beloved Baseball Stars franchise was a really expected, and eventually praised, one.

Game

We have already written before about games of the Baseball Stars series, a great one which was missing a handheld port.

The pitcher can get no satisfaction enough of seeing another one bites the dust.

And this port is really good. At least the color version looks really great in the handheld, the batting and pitching predilectos is really intuitive, and the game preserves the traditional schema for referencing the bases to run or throw while defending.

Some really good details include the animations of the pitchers when throwing, the frustrations of the batter when batting. Or the animations of the batter before getting the turn, which goes from smashing the bat into the ground or pumping a bubble gum.

Just like its predecessors, there are several teams from which the videoplayer can choose from. With different strengths and weaknesses, typical of baseball. The variety is good enough and with some teams can be a bit hard to begin playing with.

There are also some interesting variations, like turning on-off the use of designated hitters, which team bats first, or the number of innings per game. Please, don’t tell the current MLB comisioner about this last feature.

The AI is incredibly good managing any team, which is no news, and it can be a bit frustrating at first. However, if offers an interesting challenge. There is another factor which IMO hinders the game more than the difficulty of the game. When fielding, the players sometimes don’t throw the ball immediatly after pressng the button. It does not always happens, but can be very annoying. If the player wait a fraction of second before throwing, the problem can be avoided, but can frustrate beginning players.

Teams

There are 12 different teams for the video player to choose from at the beginning of the game. Every team is measured with 4 skills, which vary from team to team.

The 4 skills are:

  • Pitching: Pitching skills, including speed and the curves.
  • Batting: Strength while batting.
  • Fielding: Position of the players when fielding, how fast they throw and/or errors.
  • Running: Speed when running the bases.

The range of measuring the skills go from A (best) to E (worse).

LogoNamePitchingBattingFieldingRunning
Real RunnersDCCA
Burning RedsCACD
El CondorsDDAB
ThunderboltsACCD
FlamingosDBAE
Hyper ThievesCDCA
LumieresAEBC
GroovesCBCC
JackalsBCCC
CyclopsEACC
Ox HornsCABE
Star RaysADDB

When certain conditions are met, it’s possible to get more teams. They will be added when we get them.

LogoNamePitchingBattingFieldingRunningCondition to unblock
Magic BananasDDDDDefeat all the other teams for the first time.

Other Plataforms

NeoGeo Pocket

The video-game appeared on the first iteration of the console, which was monochromatic. They are practically the same game, sans the obvious difference in colors. Press here in case you want to see how was displayed in that console.

Epilogue

Bases loaded, no out, and one hit…

A funny baseball video-game really enjoyable in a handheld. Truth be written, it’s not easy to create video games of this sport for handheld, and this one delivers.

Maybe the A. I. could have been programmed to get a lower level, for starter players, because sometimes feels a bit hard.

It’s really funny face every team. It’s easier to beat some teams than others, but this is expected due to every team having different skills. That’s the main reason we recommend to begin playing the game with more balanced teams like Grooves or Jackals. Although the best team is the one which fits the most the playing style of the videogamer.

Personally I got sometimes frustrated by the delay in throwing to the bases, accustomed to do it almost instantly in the version of this game for the NES. Once you get the rhythm of when to throw, it becomes an addictive and funny game.

References

Sport Icon designed by Smashicons of FlatIcon licensed by CC 3.0 BY.

Console Icons taken from Retroarch.

EstadioRetro

Informatic guy and fan of retro videogaming. Mexican and spanish. I like to drink good coffee. My favorite sport is baseball, but I like to watch others.

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