(Neo Geo)

Game Review

2020 Super Baseball Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Step up to the plate

Taking a popular sport and fusing it together with a futuristic theme is certainly nothing new in the world of video games. Atari managed quite a bit of success with its robotic football release Cyberball, so it comes as no surprise that other companies would follow suit. Back in 1991 SNK took a page out of Atari's book and crafted a rather unique futuristic take on the sport of baseball with the release of 2020 Super Baseball; while this title sticks to many of the more traditional rules of the game, there's still plenty of twists and turns to give it a unique look and feel.

Since 2020 Super Baseball still sticks to the majority of the sport's basic rules, fans should feel right at home from the get go. You're still going to be batting, fielding, and running your way through the game, but when you get beyond the core gameplay functions, that's when it starts to take a different turn.

While many of the players are human you do have the ability to upgrade them, even going so far as to turn them into robots. As you make plays you'll begin to earn money that can be used to purchase such upgrades; these range from increasing your player's abilities to hit, field, and pitch. The more significant the upgrade the more it will cost you, but your upgrades are also limited to the current game and cannot be saved or carried over for future use.

Not to be outdone by the players themselves, the field of play also gets a few futuristic upgrades. For starters the home run zone is now much smaller and right down the middle of the field. Only by hitting a ball over this small section will you be awarded a home run; if you're too far off to the left or right, the ball will simply bounce back into the field of play. There are also Crackers and Stop Zones to deal with that will explode when touched and completely stop the ball in its tracks, respectively, and these are only a few of the interesting gameplay twists you'll encounter.

Much like any other baseball title of this time period, controls are kept simple and do a nice job of allowing the game to unfold without a lot of overly complicated control schemes. There are enough new gameplay touches to make this title stand out, but it does take some getting used to for players used to a more traditional baseball outing. In truth, what you get out of it will depend heavily on how open-minded you are about some of the more obscure features that the game makes use of.

There are certainly a lot of flashy visual touches, meanwhile, to be found. Bright colour palettes, lots of flashing sprites, and a few digitized close-ups make for an exciting visual presentation. While the characters are fairly large in size and feature a good level of detail, their animations are a bit jerky and unrealistic at times. The audio package is equally hit or miss, with some really cool digitized speech that is unfortunately overshadowed by a rather mediocre musical effort.


2020 Super Baseball puts on a good show and does a nice job of conveying a futuristic baseball experience, but at times it feels like the developer tried to toss in a few too many new gameplay functions; it ultimately ends up dragging the overall experience down a little. Retro baseball video game fans should find plenty to like about the game, but only if they're able to deal with some of the more glaring eccentricities. The sport's games have come a long way in terms of gameplay and variety over the years; taking a radical step back might prove to be too much to ask for more modern gamers.

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User Comments (16)



bezerker99 said:

Why doesn't Nintendo release Baseball Stars for the NES? That's my favorite old school baseball game ever - and, IMO, way better than this game - or the other ones the VC has (ie: Baseball Stars 2, Bases Loaded, ....Baseball).



Bass_X0 said:

Why doesn't Nintendo release Baseball Stars for the NES?

Thats up for D4 Enterprise to decide. They're focusing on NeoGeo games right now. Baseball Stars 2 and Baseball Stars Professional did come to the NeoGeo though.



BulbasaurusRex said:

I'm a huge baseball fan, and this sounds good enough to me. I'm not a fan of some of the advanced controls found in more modern baseball sims, anyway. I'll certainly pick this up down the line.



cyrus_zuo said:

Totally agree with the Baseball Stars NES comment.
My friends and I played our own leagues, inputting real players into the game and holding draft parties to pick your players you'd get in game.
Of course the saving was AWFUL! It constantly erased the cartridge (all 3 that we tried). Outside of that wonderful game, I'd pick up Baseball Stars on the NES in a second if it came to VC.
(I'd also love the NES Rygar...but I've given up hoping)



WingedSnagret said:

Funny thing is, I'm pretty sure baseball will still be the same in 8 years time. After all, according to the Jetsons and other shows like it at that point in time, we should be flying around in hover cars by now!



bezerker99 said:

@cyrus_zuo Hey, my cousins and I did the same thing - hold drafts and such! And yeah- the battery was pretty poopy. There was ultimate rage when I would turn on the game only to find it had erased all of my hard work! >:[



Gridatttack said:

I played this on the SNES, and I can say that is good. It deserves the 6/10 it got, but if you are interested in baseball, I recommend you get it.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@WingedFish Actually, the Jetsons Movie claims they're from the late 21st Century, although Back to the Future 2 made some lousy predictions about what life will be like just 3 years from now (with their current lack of talent, it will be highly unlikely for the Cubs to even contend for the playoffs in 2015 ), and let's not even get started on A Space Odyssey 2001, book or movie.



MeWario said:

I love the style of some old school games like this =) There's a nostalgic magic to it... sigh...

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