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All Star Baseball 99

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Reviewed by Russell Morel Acclaim and Iguana are breaking new grounds again, only this time around it's not with Turok or even NFL Quarterback Club, it's with the latest addition to Acclaim's sports division, All-Star Baseball '99. Like QB Club before it, All-Star Baseball runs in high-resolution (640x480) mode, utilizing unsurpassed animation techniques and clever texture design for an end result that is nothing short of breathtaking. But the question remains: does the game play as good as it looks? Last year NFL Quarterback Club dazzled gamers with lush graphics, but came up short in the gameplay department, especially when compared to the likes of Madden 64. All-Star Baseball delivers on both accounts.

Graphics 9 out of 10

The best looking baseball game I've ever seen, plain and simple. Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Baseball look like 16-bit hand-me-downs in comparison. Sporting high-resolution graphics, excellent texture design and animation so realistic you'd swear it was real, there is nothing that comes close to All-Star Baseball in terms of visual finesse. Imagine rendered stadiums that reflect changes in daylight, soft-skinned players with the faces of real athletes texture-mapped onto them, a selection of multiple camera angles, (including fish-eye batting, behind the catcher and over the catcher views), motion-captured animation, all with a fast framerate that never hitches. Not only is All-Star baseball the most beautiful baseball game I've ever seen, it's one of the prettiest games in existence. That said, the game does lack the little extras that add character. For example, when a player hits a home-run there's no real sense of achievement -- he just runs the bases. In Griffey, when a player hits a homer his teammates will give him high-fives when he approaches the dug-out. I'm probably being picky, but minute details like this add quite a bit to the game.

Music and Sound 6 out of 10

Though the game sports play-by-play commentary by John Sterling and Michael Kaye, the All-Star's sounds are rather uninspired and dull. Once again, I refer to Griffey, which has background sounds of ambulances, cheering crowds and music. All-Star has commentary. It's not bad, but it certainly could have been better.

Game Challenge 7 out of 10

The gameplay is sort of like QBC '98. Hard at first, but after one month it isn't that hard. Doesn't get as easy as QBC.

Game Play-Fun 7 out of 10

Good multiplay, could of been more realistic catching and throwing. As far as the season gameplay goes, better than Piazza's but Griffy's is better.


The main frustration of the game is the countless glitches, bugs, and the slow gameplay.

Game Value 8 out of 10

Great game. I would buy it over Griffy and Piazza.

Overall 8 out of 10

Despite its flaws, which lie mainly in character, I recommend All-Star Baseball over Ken Griffey and Mike Piazza Baseball. Why? Because it has tight, realistic gameplay, more options than the competition (including a create-a-player mode) and graphics that push the limits of Nintendo 64's hardware. Gamers shouldn't be asked to settle for anything less than a next-generation baseball game, and this is exactly what Iguana and Acclaim have delivered.

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