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Major League Baseball: Featuring Ken Griffey Jr.

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Reviewed by Joe Mietus Ken Griffey Jr.'s Major League Baseball is a great game for both baseball fans and non-fans alike. It has enough features to make the most die-hard of baseball fanatics to go wild, but also enough fun and great gameplay to make anyone want to add it to their collection of games.

Graphics 8.5 out of 10

The graphics as a whole are great. The players' all have distinctive features and don't appear polygonal. The stadiums are magnificent because they were all rendered from the actual blueprints that they originally used to build the stadiums. There is also an actual crowd, not just a flat surface like in NFL Quarterback Qlub. All of the motion is smooth and realistic. Some times I wish that the camera would be a bit closer to the action, because when it is close, it really shows what the Nintendo 64 can do.

Music and Sound 7 out of 10

The music in this game is decent. The crowd and organ all are very realistic, but it is all played at random. For example, the fans will cheer for both teams. And if the count is 2 and 3 with two outs and runners on the corners, fans won't go wild, also the organ won't pipe out a rendition of charge! or something else to heighten the tension. But when someone gets a base hit, the fans will clap and cheer like you just won the World Series. One very good thing about the game was the announcer. For each and every player that goes up to bat, he will say the position and name of that player. It sounds very realistic and all of the names are pronounced correctly. He ever rolls his 'r' for Roberto Alomar and other players with Hispanic names. Also throughout the game, Ken Griffey Jr. himself will make occasional comments like, "what a catch", "that ball is outta here", "he's got a canon", and "this game is a pitcher's duel". It is pretty cool at first, but after about a week you will probably turn that off.

Game Challenge 5.5 out of 10

This was the one disappointing factor about this game. Even one the hardest mode (there are 3, Rookie, Veteren, and All-Star) the computer AL isn't that good. For example, in a run-down the player with the ball will chase you with it while the player who is covering the base you are going to will just stand their. I have never gotten out in a run-down. As a result, I steal every pitch. If my guy doesn't hit it, I can easily make it back to first. This is the one thing that could really turn a true baseball fan from buying this game.

Game Play-Fun 8.5 out of 10

The over-all fun of this game is great. It includes Exhibition mode, Season mode, (with full and half season plus an option called Pennent Race in which you just play the last month) Home Run Derby, and World Series. You can also have a fantasy draft in which it makes every player a free agent and all the teams can take turns picking players just like in the real draft. The Home Run Derby is fun and can be played by 4 players. In the season mode the Sports Wire (the games version of ESPN) keeps track of the league leaders in every category. At the end of the season, awards will be given out to the best player in each category. (Home Runs, RBI's, Double's) It will also award real awards such as the M.V.P. and Cy Young.

Rumble Pak 2 out of 10

The rumble pak should not have been an option to be used with this game. For example, when you hit the ball it always shakes, and feels very unrealistic. This is maybe because I have played a lot of baseball and know what it feels like. I don't know, but what ever it is, it sure isn't done well. It also shakes when you catch the ball and that is also very dumb.


Nothing about this game frustrated me. If anything, it would be the lack of actual game play realism. The graphic realism is great, shadows move as the game progresses. (They follow the sun.) Umpires will signal a foul ball. Base coaches will signal players to slide. Fans will even leave if the game is a blow out. But the computer players have about the same knowledge of the game of baseball's linguistics as a bunch of Little Leaguers.

Replayability 9-6 out of 10

The 9 is if you will mostly be playing two player. The six if you will mostly be playing one player. If you can play two player mode with someone else, then this would be a great game to own. If you don't have anyone else to play with and would be stuck playing one player most of the time, I would rent this and other baseball games first before you bought it.

Game Value 7 out of 10

If you really like baseball, then this is the game for you, but I do suggest that you rent other baseball games first. Especially All-Star Baseball '98. This is because the two games are very different. In the categories that Griffey is strong, All-Star is weak and vice versa.

Control 10 out of 10

This is the one thing that really makes this game stand out. I have never played a baseball game where you can easily position the players to get ready for a bunt, or the long ball of a power hitter. You yourself could easily make that sacrifice bunt if placed correctly. You are always in control. You always are aware of where the ball is and have no problem getting that hot grounder down the line, or the fast line drive up the middle. When you want to try to turn a double play, you can do it with the same elegance as Tinker, to Evens, to Chance. This is the greatest control that I played in any baseball game, and maybe even any game ever. This will change how future sports games are designed in the future.

Balance 9 out of 10

When I say balance, I am referring to the balance between the pitcher and the batter. In past games the teams with the best hitters was favored over the team with better pitchers. In this game, that is not the fact. The pitcher and batter dual is very realistic, and is close to how it is in real baseball. In past games it was almost impossible to be walked, but in this game, the count often goes 3 and 2. This is the one thing that is probably the most relistic in comparison to real baseball in this game.

Overall 8.5 out of 10

All in all this is a great game. Just be sure to rent all other baseball games before you get any of them.

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