By: Roger Taylor
The Nintendo 64
never had much going for it in the way of sports titles. While there
were a couple good efforts from EA Sports (NHL 99 for example), the
N64 never offered anything that the Playstation couldn’t. That is
until the All-Star Baseball series hit the console courtesy
of Acclaim. All-Star
Baseball 99 was without a doubt the best baseball simulation
available that year. Further editions only improved on an already
stellar game. In terms of graphics, gameplay, and all-around
realism, nothing else on the N64 came even close to All-Star
Baseball (ASB). Which is why we are so excited that All-Star
Baseball 2002 is headed to GameCube, after having been
previously announced only for the Playstation 2.
Since ASB for
the GameCube will be virtually identical to the already-released PS2
version, we can tell you pretty much everything to be included in
the game. First off, all of the following modes will be available:
Quick Play, Exhibition, All-Star Game, Season, Series, Home Run
Derby and Batting Practice. As is the standard for the series, every
game offers an insane amount of optional customization, like the
time of day the game takes place, whether there is rain or not, and
so on. The batting and pitching interfaces are taken right from past
games in the series.
As far as extras
are concerned, All-Star Baseball 2002 for GameCube will feature two
exclusive stadiums: Puerto Rico and All-Star Safeco. In
addition, it will also feature revamped versions of PNC Park,
Cinergy Field, and Miller Park.
improved over the older N64 versions, thanks to the GameCube’s
extra power. However, whereas ASB 2001 pushed the N64 about as far
as it could go, ASB 2002 looks like any other average GameCube
title. This is a bit disappointing, and the root of this game’s
potential problem. Apart from a small graphical boost, this game
offers little over its predecessors. But it does manage to fix two
of the older ASB titles’ biggest problems; the stat tracking
(which was glitchy in past versions) now runs smoothly, and the
create-a-player, lackluster before, is now above average. Also,
thanks to the GC’s superior sound capabilities and extra disk
space, ASB is now able to offer deeper and more complete announcing.
But these are really quite small additions, and do little to improve
the game itself. So those who own past versions of All-Star Baseball
may want to skip this one over.
ASB2002 is the best baseball simulation available on the Playstation
2, and without any real competition announced yet, should be the
same for the GameCube.
Baseball 2002 will be available alongside Nintendo’s new system at
launch, November 5.