Sunday, March 1, 2009

World Class Baseball

Hudson Soft / NEC

I've owned this game for many, many years, and I still play it somewhat regularly. It's a simple sim, which is fine by me: if I were pressed to prioritize when it comes to sports titles, I'd place greater importance on action components than on true-to-life nuances. Generally speaking, I prefer fast-paced fun to ponderous realism, and World Class Baseball has always delivered the straightforward-fashioned goods.

Note that the game is hardly caricatural. Contests play out in a manner that should please all but the most rigid of tobacco-chewing purists, and there's room for strategists to put their baseball acumen to good use as they guide their fictitious clubs. I've been a big Tokyo Ninjas fan since day one, and I have much more fun managing them than I would controlling "actual MLB players" in some "realistic" baseball simulator. I insert Aki for extra speed on the base paths, endure Takas' struggles on the field, and call on Hiro in late-inning save situations... without ever having to deal with Ula demanding a trade or concerns that Shima is using steroids.

Then again, perhaps rumors linking Shima to performance-enhancing drugs wouldn't be groundless: the man is a threat to go deep every time he steps to the plate.

When someone does hit one out, it's celebration time.

Go with the Ninjas and you'll probably be celebrating quite often. The heart of their order is devastating, and Tsuji and Kondo are excellent pitchers.

Base runners on all clubs get down the line pretty quickly, and most of the fielders have weak arms, so slow grounders to the left side like this one often result in cheap hits. Double plays are nearly unheard of.

Fielding fly balls, on the other hand, is made pleasantly simple, as your player looks up at the ball when he's in position to make the catch.

Last inning. Time to hunker down and protect that slim lead.

Nearly every game against the computer results in an easy victory.

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