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All Star Baseball 99

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Reviewed by Nick Shifley I'll start this off by simply stated hello. Just for your information, I feel it right to give credentials to the statements I may give in this review. So... I've been playing video games since I was about four or five. Back then I had a simple NES. A few years later, around six or seven, I believe I then purchased my SNES and my first video game(s), Mario Paint, Street Fighter II, and Home Alone II. That was only back in '91. Slowly, but surely, I drove up the amount and variety of games I own and now hold a collection of some twenty or thirty games. Afterwards, I went out and got myself a Playstation. I hold really very, very few games for it, but I usually rent one every week. Now, I've stepped into the "new" generation and bought myself a Nintendo 64 (I don't like calling it an N64 or just 64 for some reason). I don't own very many games for it, but just like in the Playstation area, I rent games constantly. Sometimes two a week. Any ways, I'll finish up this speech by saying that I've had about eleven or twelve years of gaming experience.

Graphics 8.5 out of 10

The graphics of All-Star Baseball 99 measures above many other Nintendo 64 sports games. I can name a few that it doesn't (Fifa: Road To The World Cup 98's my personal favorite). The framerate is good, but at certain spots very small mishaps can be spotted. Stepping up to the plate, the characters are solid polygonal characters with very life-like faces. In fact, you can control just about every aspect about a players body, including their race (White, Black, Dark, Hispanic, and Asian), weight and height, batting stance (somewhere around 90 choices) and batting hand (right, left or switch), facial hair (nothing, mustache, sideburns, goatee, and beard), jersey number and name, type of hitter (push, pull, or neutral), position, pitching delivery type (N/A, overhand, 3 quarters, sidearm, submarine, and nomo), hometown (type city and pick state), and date of birth. Of course, that's not all. You then, if a pitcher is being made, can control which of the 10 types of throws he can pitch and how well (fastball, slider, change up, curveball, knuckleball, split fastball, palmball, sinkerball, forkball, and screwball). Last, but not least, you get to do the average pull-the-red-stuff-from-the-long-bar-and-add-it-to-the-short-bar thing to create a set of statistics. You should know what I'm talking about if you're a sports gaming fan. If not, it's like taking so many points from a pool and dividing it into attributes like speed, power, etc. There are 14 attributes you can change here (accuracy, stamina, contact, power, vs. left-handed pitcher, Vs. right-handed pitcher, bunting, vs. left-handed batter, vs. right-handed batter, speed, defense, arm strength, streak, and clutch). That's it for creating a new character, but for me... that's plenty. Getting back on track with the real graphics within the game, the players move with lifelike movements. A great framerate. However, when players catch the ball, you sometimes don't even see them reach for the ball (when it's very close) and catch it. They catch it but it's just magically in their hand. The ball itself moves very smoothly through the air. A problem with many of the characters, is that you can just run through other players most of the time, but during the time the ball's in action, you're supposed to be able to collide. I'm so good I've never done it. :-) The stadiums in the game (there are thirty) are masterfully done, but nevertheless, look just as regular as any other sports game. They aren't the best of any game, but they sure are better than most other Nintendo 64 or sports games.

Music and Sound 6 out of 10

The sounds in All-Star Baseball 99, well... just plain stink. I mean, they're okay for a while, but then, it starts to get annoying. In fact, there is hardly any music in the game. The only music is that of the "Star-Spangled Banner" when the characters first come out and the song that plays when you're not "in the game". My favorite of the few songs is "Take Me Out To The Ballpark". Also, if you now sports games, the announcers/commentators usually start to be the worst thing in the game once they repeat the exact same thing over and over again or say something way after it happened. The coolest sound is the swoosh of the ball flying towards the plate or the crack of the bat. Oh yes, the announcers also say the name of every player in the game, which I think raises the score up an entire number... up to 6.

Game Challenge 6 out of 10

All-Star Baseball can be a very easy game or a average game, depending on what difficulty you play it one. Of course, I recommend playing it on the middle, or average, difficulty (Veteran). Want a tougher challenge? There's not going to be one really. I played All-Star Baseball 99 on every difficulty level (Rookie, Veteran, and All-Star) and it seems almost identically the same on all... strange. Anyway, this is a fairly easy, but fun, game to play the computer on. I suggest you play a two player game. Also, sometimes you might lose... maybe. Why don't you simply trade your bad characters for good ones with just a couple of button clicks. There should be limitations, but it's the perfect game if you want to create a dream team. And the big no-no is... if a CPU player is on second-base, he will slowly lead way off base and will continue to do so every time allowing you easy outs in the game. You can just stand there and wait for him to get far from the base and throw it to ! second... he's out. All-Star Baseball 99 is a fun game but it is not very difficult unless you start making mistakes (and that makes you mad, which makes it less fun). That's why I give it a 6 out of 10.

Game Play-Fun 7.5 out of 10

All-Star Baseball 99 is the kind of game that grows down on you. I mean, it's better when you first start playing, but after a long time, it gets kind of old. It's really just your average sports game, although hyped up a bit (which is really good). In terms of gameplay, you can expect the same-old, same-old. During the batting/pitching part of the game, you get a view somewhere behind the batter (like usual). There is a box signalling where the strike-zone is (variable depending on batters' stances). And then there is a small cursor where you want the ball to be thrown. You can move this around as your pitcher is even pulling back his arm to throw. The best thing is how much control you have over how well a curve ball curves and how any pitch moves while the ball's in the air. Then, once you hit it, it's most likely either a home-run or an out. A fly-ball is always caught by the computer players, a baseline throw can be good unless there's a player anywhere near it, and anything else is almost always caught also. A home-run is pretty easy with many players (especially Chipper Jones [Braves] and Mark Maguire [Cardinals]). Also, fielding can get pretty frustrating once you start accidently throwing it to the wrong base or accidently diving while moving towards the ball's landing position (a little red "X"). At least the camera doesn't swing all over the place too much. One of my favorite parts of the game (surprisingly) is the general manager stuff where you can trade, create new players, put/take people from the minors, and much more. Well... now that I think about it... the games are more fun. 8-) It really is a fun game (especially those close ones although they usually make you angry and frustrated during the process.

Rumble Pak 2 out of 10

Pooie. I thought it would be cool to feel yourself going in for the slide or your arm vibrate with the crack of the bat. But no... the only reason for the rumble pack is to tell you when you're going to through the ball out of the strike zone! It shakes a little and that's it. Don't even bother buying a rumble pack just to use t on this game... no way. Collisions in the outfield could probably cause it to shake, but that's near impossible to do. If it was, I might give it a 4 or 5, but not until I'm sure.


Like any sports game, All-Star Baseball 99 can really frustrate you every one in a while. But it only does because it's your fault. It's easy to accidently, press C-Up when you meant to press C-Right or C-Left. Things like this will cause your fielders to throw the ball to the wrong base. Also, it's easy to think you got them out and then find out the umpire calls him safe (that really ticks me off sometimes). There's those moments that are frustrating (like one game where all of a sudden all your good guys are injured and you have to replace them with minor leagues guys or bad-playing free agents because you don't want to trade them). Even though there are many reasons you might get frustrated, these moments usually come far and in between.

Replayability 5 out of 10

I'm not sure what to give this game. Any sports game is worth replaying, I think. Um... there's no "special endings" or "extra endings" to the game. In fact, all you get is some cheesy single-frame picture with a big screen and stuff. On it it says "Congratulations, [your team here] is the World Champs" or something like that. Anyway, replay it? Sure. But don't do so for different endings... you won't get them. Putting in codes my heighten the replay experience... I don't know.

Game Value 7 out of 10

In actuality, I don't suggest buying any sports games. They get old too quick and the fun die out of them too fast. Most of them are like this, but not all. So, like most sports games, you should buy this if you're really into the sports-genre. If not, try it out with a rent or two to see if you really like it. If you want the game to keep, I say go for. Just don't pay more than average Nintendo 64 game price for it.

Overall 7.5 out of 10

Well, I guess I'll be winding things down here. Let's see, I'll give you a quick conclusion of everything I've said and then, of course, the overall, final grade for All-Star Baseball 99. All-Star Baseball henders in originality, with the exception of a few good additions, but it's gameplay value, graphics value, and just plain fun value all equal up to make it a great, interesting, multi-player game. That is why I give All-Star Baseball 99 an 8 out of 10 rating.

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