Friday, April 09, 2010

Virtual Console Review - Baseball Stars 2 (Neo-Geo)

Baseball Stars 2 - SNK for Neo-Geo - 8/10

Baseball Stars 2 is one of the signature Neo-Geo titles.  It perfectly captures the rebel vibe SNK was going after when they launched their arcade/home system - flashy, brash, over-confident, and irreverent.

There have been a million arcade baseball games during the '80s and '90s, and to be perfectly honest, there isn't a dime's worth of difference between any of 'em.  The batter-pitcher view is always the same, as is the control scheme and play mechanics.  It's video game baseball, so you know the score.

What Baseball Stars 2 has in spades is attitude.  All of the baseball players are mutated steroid freaks, carrying powered-up bats that may as well be tree trunks.  Pumping fists, breaking the bat over the knee, macho poses, dramatic diving for the ball...haha haha, this is almost like a cartoon spoof of sports games.  What's interesting is that SNK's previous games in the series (despite the title, this is actually the third Baseball Stars) were playing it straight.  Isn't that weird?  Perhaps they just needed an over-the-top sports game on Neo-Geo.  The system mascot was a rabid pit bull, after all.

My favorite moment in the game is when you hit the batter with a fast pitch.  He gets knocked down, then rushes the mound, and punches the pitcher clean on the jaw.  I don't know why I always laugh when that happens.  The closeup shot makes me laugh.  I only wish the pitcher could fight back...hah!  The best part is that your pitcher becomes crippled after getting punched out - the pitches are all slow and wobbly.  Hah!

Other than all that, what is there to say?  It's arcade baseball.  It's best for short bursts of dumb fun, and especially good for showing off the graphics of the Neo-Geo.  I don't know if that sort of thing can impress teenagers in the year 2010.  It was really awesome in 1991.  Everything was awesome in 1991.

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