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Sean Pearce
Sport: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Rick Robson
Chris Bourne

Yee-hah! The American sporting invasion continues with Advance's simulation of the all American baseball. I wouldn't know a silly bunt from a good screwball and my idea of baseball is mega rounders played by hunky chaps in pyjamas, Schulz headgear and radar dishes on their hands. A pitcher's what you hang on the wall and Hardball - well, I hope there's a cure!

Baseball's unfamiliarity to the average gamer is this game's main drawback - it just hasn't received the same publicity that's made Pro-Football popular and understood. And since Hardball, like Football Manager is essentially a management game where players have to be pre-selected and substituted according to their abilities you're going to end up in difficulties if you think Home Base is a Sainsbury's sideline.

You have the option of playing against the computer or another player. Many of the pre-game selections are purely cosmetic - home or away, Champ or All Star. Screen two is make your mind up time where you have to decide who you're going to pick from your squads with the player information provided.

Get on to screen 3 and you'll see the pitch simulation that gives you a choice of delivery, whilst a Sub-screen shows the base positions of your team mates. Like many cricket simulations this looks a hell of a lot better than it plays which is a pity since the graphics are truly amazing. The amount of control you have seems questionable since it's more of a case of wind it up and let it go. But as each game lasts nine innings you'll have plenty of time to work it out and suss the variations. Better than watching Arsenal. Just.