Sporting News Baseball
Copyright/Publisher: Epyx, Release Year: 1988, Genre: Multi Events, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Realistic major league baseball teams and action are what make The Sporting News Baseball, from Epyx, our top choice among baseball games for the 64. The game succeeds in achieving a balance between strategy and arcade action. You assume the roles of general manager, field manager, and player. Rosters can be made from current major league teams or you can build a team from Hall of Famers. You can also choose whether or not to use a designated hitter in your lineup.

As the field manager, set up your own batting order, make substitutions, and call plays on the field. Base runners can attempt to steal, the pitcher can try to pick off runners on base, and fielders can be moved according to a batter's tendencies. Pitchers have several pitches at their disposal, including fastballs, change ups, curves, and screwballs. Each pitch can also be targeted for a certain area of the plate, and balks are possible. When you're in the batter's box, you can choose to swing high, low, inside, outside, or level.

The game provides a behind-the-batter view that switches to overhead angle once the ball is hit. This can be distracting, though, causing the defensive player to momentarily lose the ball. The graphics are excellent in the pitcher's and batter's boxes, but they're not as sharp in the overhead view, in which the players appear rather small. The animation, however, is excellent in both views. The batter always takes a practice swing before he is ready to hit the ball, and the pitcher nods approval to the catcher's sign before delivering the pitch.

The pitching motion is also clearly depicted. Although small in stature, the fielders also move well. You can see their arms move through the throwing motion each time they fire the ball to a teammate. These small touches give a realistic feel to the game. The only thing lacking in this one- or two-player game is quality sound. Other than the obligatory crowd noises, there are very few noteworthy sounds. The one noise you will notice is what sounds like a Bronx cheer each time a player makes an out.


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