One of the very first articles I wrote here on TVG was Baseball and NES, because I love many baseball games for the NES. I haven’t played them all but one of my absolute favorites is MLB (yes it is made by LJN), but an extremely close second would be Jaleco’s Bases Loaded. I still remember the commercials for Bases Loaded, even as a kid who had yet to own an NES, and when I finally got my hands on both an NES and a copy of that game I could hardly part with it.
What Bases Loaded did differently from any other NES baseball game I had seen at the time was give you lanky players, as opposed to short, chubby, Babe Ruth inspired sprites. Another thing that it did differently that I hadn’t seen anywhere else was setting the view point from behind the pitching mound, as where most of the others were set from behind home plate. Needless to say, I loved Bases Loaded for the NES.
Fast forward many, many years to 2012 when I acquired my Sega Master System, accompanied with a game by the name of Great Baseball. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Great Baseball, but I knew it had to be baseball and it had to be better than Nintendo’s game, simply titled, Baseball. Great Baseball’s title screen says it all, starting with it’s use of more eye catching colors than the NES could ever hope, and finishing up with a pseudo-action sequence of a player sliding into home.
After you slowly come back down to Earth from that intro, and you manage to hit the start button, you’re greeted with six game options.. six! In reality there are only 3 modes; single player, two player and home run contest, yet there are two difficulty levels for each. After you’ve chosen which mode you wish to play you are then presented with a good variety of teams, with a map that will show exactly where each selection hails from.
After you and player two, or the CPU, have your teams chosen, you have to choose your pitcher, their special pitch and how much stamina they will have for the game. After that you’ll be shown the lineup screen, which shows the batting order for the team up to bat. Once the game starts the first thing you will notice is how bright and vibrant the game’s colors are, as well as how the player sprites don’t look as sickly as it’s NES counterparts.
Most of the time you will start off pitching, though sometimes I have found myself at bat, pitching is fairly straight forward as you can control the ball’s speed and direction with the D-pad. If the batter happens to hit the ball the game will switch to the diamond screen which shows the whole field of play, where you will then see players scramble to their positions and you now control an outfielder, which gives you a chance to make a play. If you’ve played an NES baseball game, this is pretty standard.
Overall there isn’t much difference in the way the game handles in comparison to it’s NES counterpart, so there isn’t any long awkward learning curve with Great Baseball. The replay value on this game is phenomenal, even for an old cartridge based baseball game. Due to it’s brilliant color palette and the smooth game play Great Baseball has become one of my favorite baseball video games, as well as one of my favorite Master System games.