Saturday, May 30, 2009

Naxat Stadium

Naxat Soft

Regardless of its rarity or nature or alleged level of quality, a PC Engine game joining my collection is always an occasion of celebration for me, especially when said game is a freebie, as Naxat Stadium was. Of course, that doesn't necessarily indicate that hours of good times with the title lie ahead. In fact, I felt inclined to toss NS into a pile of HuCards I considered useless just seconds after powering it up. My already-low expectations sunk lower upon viewing the pitcher-batter screen, which resembles the pitcher-batter screens in about seven hundred other old, generic baseball games. It probably didn't help matters that I happened to pick the team with the ugliest home park in the history of our nation's pastime. The revolting infield looks like a big, brown shit plateau.

Thank goodness that in addition to that slop-tundra the game offers ballparks that come without diamonds of defecation. More importantly, it actually plays much better than the oldies it initially seems identical to. The fielders here have rifles for arms, so there's none of that "seventeen infield hits a game" bullshit that must be endured in plenty of said oldies and even in some quality titles like World Class Baseball. And while your computer-controlled opponents aren't all that great at the sport, they at least manage to avoid making some of the boneheaded blunders that AI clubs in many other ancient baseball sims commit, such as throwing to uncovered bases. The controls are rarely cause of grief, and the arcade-style action is always fast and fun.

So while it may not be challenging and certainly isn't pretty, Naxat Stadium is an unlikely winner thanks to its gameplay. Imagine that.

NS is primitive, but it's still got personality. Runners turn into angels and rise up into oblivion when called out, while fielders turn bug-eyed upon committing an error.

And then there are the seventh-inning cheers. GO TEAM D!

Diving plays may look ridiculous, but they're still fun to make.

Only one of my players seemed capable of hitting the ball out on a regular basis. But man, could that one guy crush 'em...

Check out stats and the loser's expression of disgruntlement during the post-game display.

You can play a 130-game season in Pennant Mode if you'd like. I stuck with a nice, brief ten-contest schedule and then participated in the best-of-seven Japan Series.

You can guess how that went.

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