Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Bit of Ball: Base Wars

Short for Cyber Stadium Series: Base Wars, Base Wars was a futuristic game that came out for NES in 1991. While any one who reads this blog with any frequency knows that I'm not REALLY a sports game fan, this game deserves a place in the annals because basically everybody else I know loved it.

Base Wars was set in the "future" in a time when team managers and owners were presumably sick of dealing with professional sports players primadonna antics—so they replaced all of them with robots, which you then get to play as. In the cut screens, these robots look like pretty tough cylon-ish creatures, but there are actually four different classes that you can play as: a tank, a "flybot," an android, and a dude with a motorcycle instead of feet.

As you would expect, most of the gameplay is made up of typical baseball elements: pitching, batting, and running bases. Along with these, though, the player is also able to fight as the robots. Basically anytime something is cutting is close, mainly with running bases, the robots are forced to fight to see if the runner is safe or out. Depending on where you are in the game, and whether or not you are running or catching you will have a certain amount of energy, and that will determine whether or not you are able to fight aggressively, and hence win the battle. Pretty cool idea, and brings this a notch up from other sports games.

The player is able to choose between Open Mode and Pennant mode, which are exactly what they sound like. You then have to choose between 14 different teams, most of which are represented by cities, but two of which you are able to customize and play with as well. These customizable teams are also given weapons: laser swords or laser guns. I am personally preferential to the laser swords, as I think it makes more sense when fighting up close as you so often have to do in this game.

Overall, I think that this is a pretty solid game—the graphics aren't as terrible as they could be coming from NES in 1991, and the gameplay is unique with the fighting aspect. While this could have been a pretty stale baseball game, like some other ones that I've played, the designers kept it interesting and fresh with the storyline that they introduced. If you are interested in playing this game for either nostalgia's sake or because you haven't before, you can do so here. Happy gaming!

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