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|Imagine Software Ltd|
Sport / Baseball
Ocean Software, Ltd
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Issue 2 (Dec 1985)
Added: 16 Jun 2016
Imagine, Â£8.95 cass
Imagine, formerly one of the notorious names in the software industry, has made its debut on the Amstrad in the form of World Series Baseball, a simulation of that obscure American rounders rip off, baseball.
A simulation of one of America's most famous institutions, World Series Baseball attempts to bring all the spills, thrills and razzamataz of the real thing to the small screen. Taking place on a diamond shape field with a base at every corner, the rules are similar to those of rounders. The game is played over nine innings, an innings finishing once three men are out. If the batter misses three of your pitches, or is caught, he's out.
The field is viewed in true bird's eye style with the men as small blobs, while the close ups of important action are viewed on one of those massive projector screens fixed on the back of the stadium. The two teams take turns between pitching and batting. If you're pitching, then you also have control of the fielders. Before winding up for the pitch you can place the fielders either near the diamond or further from it. Press fire and the projector lights up the screen with a large view of the pitcher. Fire throws the ball and while it's in the air, you have slight control over how high the ball is when it reaches the striker, (f he manages to hit your pitch, he makes a run for first base. You can move the fielder closest to the ball and once you get hold of it, it's possible to throw it to one of the basemen and try and get the striker out. Striking is controlled with the fire button, once you've hit, you control the player round the bases trying to avoid getting run out.
Every now and again, a lucky striker gets a home run, knocking the ball clean out of the stadium. Home Run flashes up on the stadium projector while all the players on the base run back to home base, collecting a lint for every player back to the inch.
For your entertainment after the first and sixth innings a team of cheerleaders rush on field to give a quick dance accompanied by a little dittie played by the stadium band. The band also jumps into action for the title screen and any home runs scored.
After having had a few innings' experience on other versions of World Series Baseball, I was quite looking forward to the Amstrad version. The trouble is. Imagine have produced a product way below the Amstrad's capability. Inferior of the three versions in its sheer unplayability. World Series Baseball battles against the human player's attempts to execute even the simplest of manoeuvres. The computer's team is manned with what seems to be near superhuman players, missing not even the trickiest of pitches. On average, the computer's striker is able to hit a home run every other go, but for the human player to even hit a ball is quite a feat. I'm afraid for the money. Imagine have come up with a real loser, not only is the gameplay terrible but the sound warbles away and the graphics flicker persistently. Definitely worth a miss.
Let's face it, there aren't exactly a lot of baseball adaptations around for the Amstrad. Still, this can in no way be seen as a commendation for the game. The graphics do have their faults (though, to be fair, I've encountered much worse). But the main problem seems to be the way you lose every time you play the computer. I mean, you're not even in with a chance! You would have to play this game for an awfully long time before you could even hope to achieve victory and I don't think that's really fair. It leads to a very frustrating and unrewarding game. I, for one, have no patience with it.
As an old fan of Imagine games on the Spectrum, (and as a bit of a baseball nut), I had visions of this game being something really worthwhile. Unlike some other members of the team, I hadn't seen other versions of the game but after seeing this one, I'm not too sure that I want to. I've never felt at such a loss when trying to play a new game. The computer treats you as a really experienced player which nobody can hope to be when they first start paying. Maybe after a while you could compete with the computer on its own terms but you will have to ask yourself if such dedication to the game is likely to be rewarding. If you're like me than you will conclude that this is unlikely to be the case. Chunky, flickery graphics are not my idea of fun. There are some good features, like the massive TV screen at the back of the playing field. This is well synchronised with the rest of the game. Other than this, however, I feel that Imagine have made a bit of a mistake with this one.
Cheap and very mediocre.
Fat and chunky with too few saving graces.
Competent but uninspiring.
Far too difficult.
Addictive qualities 31%
Value for money 38%
Nothing to justify the price
Too sloppy and too difficult to make a real impact.
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