Game Review: Bases Loaded 3
| ||Bases Loaded 3 || |
Released: September 1991
Game Type: Sports
Players: 2 Sumltaneous
Product Number: NES-4U-USA
Rarity: C (Uncommon)
|Box Scan |
As you might imagine this is the third game in the long-running baseball series, but after two successful editions, Jaleco decided to shake things up for this version. First they got an endorsement deal from longtime Chicago Cub Ryne Sandberg, then they made this more of a quick arcade game instead of a tradtional baseball cart by ditching a season mode in favor of an exhibition game with a ratings system. While it may have seemed like a good idea at first, it results in a foul ball.
One or two players can take the field in this cart, but as I mentioned you only play a quick exhibition game. When you begin the game you get a selection of 12 teams with different pluses and minuses, but despite Ryne Sandberg's name on the box, there's no real teams or players. After you choose your squad, you then pick your starting lineup including your pitcher, before choosing from one of three ballparks, each with different dimensions. Once that's taken care off it's play ball. First the action at the plate uses the behind-the pitcher view. The pitcher can use a selection of pitches depending on which way you push the D-pad, while the batter can swing his bat at three different heights and move back and forth in the box, but not up and down. Once you get a hit, the scene shifts to aerial view of the outfield, which is now seen from the outfield's perspective instead of the sideline view used in BL2. The outfielders can now make diving catches and leaping grabs. After nine innnings the game ends, plus this game has a 'slaughter' rule, where the game is called when one team is up by over 10 runs at the end of an inning. Once you finish the game, you're then rated in 13 different categories and given an overall score out of 100. After that you can play a more diffuclt team. The object is to beat a level 5 team and acheive a perfect rating of 100.
The graphics are actually pretty good. The pitching view has good-sized players and some smooth animation from the characters, especially the batter when he swings. Also the crowd in the background comes alive when you have a runner in scoring position, which is a nice touch. The characters are also a decent size in the outfield view instead of tiny tots like in other baseball carts, and they sport some good animation, like when they leap or dive for balls or when runners slide into bases on close plays. As far as the audio goes, the music is very hard to listen too and can get on your nerves after a short while. Thankfully you can turn it off. The sound effects, on the other hand, sound great, like the swish of the bat when you swing and the bounce of the ball on the grass. The voice clips from the umpire are very clear and well done, though when you hit a foul ball it sounds like he's saying 'ow!'
The controls are pretty well done. It's easy to adjust the height of your swing or where you pitch goes, and it's also easy to call for a steal without making it too obvious. Be careful when pitching, you could accidentally bean the batter or throw a wild pitch that gives your opponent an extra base. Fielding is also easy to do; the players can jump or dive hwen you push A if the ball is close enough, and the directional pad picks which base to throw to. It takes some practice but with enough work you'll be able to get double plays when you need to. You can also advace or return your runners on base without too much trouble.
As much as Bases Loaded 3 does well, it also has some issues that keep it from being a contendor. It does have some good fast-paced baseball action, and the aerial view is workable once you get used to it. The first main problem is the computer seems to have an advantage that can be frustrating at times. When you hit a pop fly to the outfield they usually have a player that happens to be in the right spot to make the catch. If you hit a line drive the CPU easily chases it down for a throw to get you out. Fielding the ball in the outfield can be a problem in itself. With the outfield being so massive, it's often hard to tell which of your players are closest to the ball since they don't show up on the radar. They also don't have the best speed, and the CPU always seems to know where to hit the ball into the outfield resulting in them piling up runs while you're scrambing just to get the ball and throw it back into the infield. Also there's no replayability; once you finish the game and get your rating, you're done. You simply play another game and hope for a better rating against a better team. Finally Ryne Sandberg's name doesn't really add anything; he doesn't even appear in the game at all, just on the box art and cartridge label.
Bases Loaded 3 is a decent cart, but it's hard to recommend it when so many better baseball games are out there for the NES. This game had the potential to be one of the top carts with great graphics and sound effects and good controls plus some fun gameplay, and the rating system is a neat idea. However the unforgiving computer, issues with the outfield knock and lack of any season mode takes it down a few pegs. Also with Jaleco fixing most of these problems in Bases Laded 4, and the existance of other 8-bit baseball carts like RBI Baseball and Baseball Stars, there's no real reason to play this cartridge except for a quick fix. It's still a fun title to check out, but it doesn't quite score a homerun.
- Review posted on March 30, 2008