Gamestar
1987
Sport: Action
£9.99
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

30,31
Mike Dunn, Mark Rothwell, Paul Sumner
Chris Bourne

Take rounders, popcorn, hype and few rule changes and you've got the game of baseball.

This sports simulation follows in the bootsteps of the all-American game, with hitting and pitching sides competing for top honours.

The action takes place on a split screen showing an aerial view of the baseball pitch and a close-up of the pitcher throwing the ball to the waiting batsman.

Players take it in turns to come to the hitting position, or 'plate', to swing the bat at three successive balls delivered by the opposing pitcher. If a batsman misses the ball it's a strike, and the next ball is pitched. Three strikes and the batsman is out.

The batsman has to hit the ball forward to fall within the area described by two foul lines, to avoid a foul hit.

If he's made a clean and foulless hit, the batsman automatically runs toward the first of four bases that make up the baseball diamond. If the ball is well struck, the batsman continues running from base to base, returning to his start point to score a home run.

Usually the strike isn't so perfect and is lofted or quickly fielded. And if it's caught by a fielder, the batsman is out.

After the batsman has reached first base you can control him - he can either stop running or continue to the next base.

If the batsman decides to stop at a base, a replacement steps up to the plate. After hitting the ball he too runs. The first batsman then becomes the controllable lead runner, with the other batsman automatically following him round the diamond.

When a batsman reaches fourth base, he's scored a run (which is displayed on the scoreboard).

But if he runs on from a base and can't reach the next base before the ball is thrown there, he's out. When three of the batting team are out, they become the pitching and fielding side.

Then you have control of the pitcher, who can send down a series of balls: swing bal, knuckle ball, fastball, curveball or screwball, each with different movements in the air. A pitchers success with the ball is dependent upon his ability and his stamina, which diminishes with the number of pitches he throws.

When each side has batted one of the nine innings is completed.

CRITICISM

'After Gamester's sporty successes on the Commodore, I was expecting astounding graphics and amazing gameplay… but I'm still waiting. They haven't produced the goods on the Spectrum - here the computer opponent is a right dull bloke. Nearly every time he insists on hitting the ball behind the 'foul' line, no matter how easy the throw you give him. And though a large range of throws is available, they all appear the same on screen. The animation of the main characters is very realistic, but the rest of the screen is very badly presented, with crude graphics and badly-placed colour.' PAUL

'The graphics vary from not bad (as you view the batsman about to hit the ball, for instance) to absolute rubbish (the bird's-eye view of the pitch, with deformed hunchbacks hobbling round a colour- clashing, glitchy field). Even if you're keen on baseball, I doubt you'd find this very playable.' MARK

'Some of the graphics are very impressive, I'll say that for Championship Baseball, it's a pity the game is so naff. While pitching and striking are all shown in full glorious colour clash, the fielding screen is risible: the players are small and appallingly coloured, and they seem to obey no-one but themselves! I think I'll stick to playing tennis; it's better value for money and a lot more fun' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: W or U/X or M forwards/backwards, A or H/D or K left/right, S or J to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Use of colour: reasonable definition, but loads of colour clash
Graphics: large player graphics detailed, field graphics very poor
Sound: apart from a beep for ball strikes, nothing
Skill levels: one, with two-player and player-versus-computer options
Screens: one
General Rating: Lack of polish and realism ruins what could have been a playable and addictive simulation.

53%
44%
33%
28%
33%

Screenshot Text

Slugger Cameron takes the mark for the next pitch in this split-screen baseball simulation.