Amstrad Computer User

World Series Baseball

Publisher: Imagine
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #14

World Series Baseball

The sporting habits of the Americans have always struck me as a little strange. Their national game is seen in this country as a game for school girls and when they do try to play anything like a man's game they will only do so in full battle armour that would have made many a knight of yore flinch.

Having started out with a very partisan attitude before I played World Series Baseball from Imagine, I have to say that the appeal of the game has certainly grown.

One thing the Americans can do right when it comes to sporting events is pour on the razzmatazz and so it is only fitting that a simulation should try to capture their same sense of whole hearted fun. I am pleased to report that World Series Baseball does just that. Some spectacular musical renditions of great Sousa favourites, mixed with the overall humour that has been given to this game make it quite eminently playable.

World Series Baseball

Cast your mind back to your junior school days when you no doubt had the dubious fun of playing rounders on a Wednesday afternoon and you to can begin to get an idea of just what Baseball is all about. It basically consists of two teams, one of whom bats while the other is fielding. Assuming you actually manage to hit the ball then you'll be up on your toes to the first base. If you have done really well and knocked the ball out of the park then you get all the way round to home base in one go. This is known as a Home Run and is met by the lively rendition of the Washington Post. which helix; to build the sense of excitement. Any other team members in front of you at the time, being carried along in the general wave of enthusiasm. If you miss the ball (and you're bound to at first, the timing seems quite critical) then you will strike out. Three Strikes and you're quite definitely out. Three outs on your side and the current innings for your team ends.

Having had a crack at batting there is then a chance to show your fielding prowess. Before the pitch you decide whether to keep your fielders close in or send them further out for the long ball (to tell you the truth, I don't think this makes very much difference). Having selected the field setting, the bowler is shown atop the pitchers mound on the wide screen TV at the back of the field, a very novel way of allowing you to see both close up detail as well as an overall view of the complete pitch. Various gymnastics with the joystick (almost definitely a must in order to play a sensible game) allow you to pitch the ball at different speeds and heights to try and catch the batsman so that he strikes out. Batting too soon or too late will cause the ball to be fouled which counts as a strike. Always assuming the ball is knocked into the centre of the field, the nearest fielder can run towards it and pick it up. Joystick gymnastics take over again and allow the ball to be thrown to any of the men guarding the four bases with the intention of stumping (well that's what it was called in my formative rounders years) the little guy who is running towards that base.

One of the nice touches of this program is the amount of detail in each frame of animation for all the little men • each one has a convincing shadow that heightens the sense of 313. You won't have to wait long (the end of the first innings) to see one of the most amusing touches of the game. Once the fielding side have all trouped off the side of the screen, a line of cheer leaden; appears and dance up and down to another of those great American classic tunes (that I can't remember the name of). 'Baseball does not use cheerleaders but the programmers had written the routines before anyone realised). If you miss them, don't worry too much because they'll be back on at the end of a later innings. Also watch out for the head that pops up with a card saying 'Hello Mom', another amusing feature.

World Series Baseball

There are several modes of play in the game: Computer versus computer (demonstration mode - that starts up when the game first loads - stopped by IESCJ key), You versus the computer • either joystick or keyboard; I found the computer was a bit of a daunting opponent at my first attempt - it won 68 - 12. You versus an unsuspecting by-passer. This third mode is by far the most entertaining, especially when your opponent is as big a wally as you are (the idea that the computer is in some way "cheating" is obviously not as prevalent).

Of all the sporting simulations (including Kung-fu) that I've seen, this is by far the best The use of colour (or should that be color) brilliant sound track and un-rivalled humour in the graphics are almost bound to make this a smash hit for Christmas.


Knocks all other sports simulations out of the ball park!