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Base Wars, Cyber Stadium Series Review

Developer: Konami Publisher: Ultra Games
Release Date: 1991 Also On:

Here’s a gigantic waste of frikken time. Back in the NES era, baseball games dominated. There are so damn many it boggles the mind. Did all these companies really think the public wanted more than a handful? Some tried to mix it up with gimmicks. Bad News Baseball added rabbit umpires, Baseball Simulator 1.000 added lots of weirdness, and Base Wars added robots and fighting. It’s kind of surprising Konami (Ultra Games) didn’t get involved in baseball sooner. Base Wars was their answer to video game baseball. And I hate them forever.

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Graphically, Base Wars is standard for Konami. The robots look great for the most part, though the pink/blue color scheme is a bit tiresome after an inning or two. Plus, got to hate the upper torso swapping; replacing the bottoms to make them look different with tank treads, legs, etc. The battle scenes feature decent character animations, but are sparse as all hell with no backgrounds. The biggest mistake is the field, which looks so drab it’s depressing. The robots are some of the most pathetic sprite messes I’ve ever seen, but what can you expect for their size? Base Wars has detail and color where it needs it, but it was still lacking in other areas.

The sound in Base Wars is fitting. As you could expect, they wanted this game to seem totally badass, so the soundtrack is pretty rocking and the sound effects battering other than the fielding throws, which sounds like a cartoon whistle. This is all pretty standard fare for one of their games, lots of the effects are reused from other titles. Still, can’t deny it, they did a good job with at least the music and effects in Base Wars.

Base Wars? Most players remember it fondly, as it was a pretty cool game to own, in theory. What’s cooler than a baseball game where you control robots that battle for base control? Your pitcher shoots the ball out of his arm like a cannon, you can buy weapons for more power, you control everything from motorcycle men to tank men, what’s not to like? A hell of a lot. This game is all about superficial gimmicks and next to nothing about actual play. Look before I explain:

Base Wars has the usual controls and set-up. Fielding is horrible. This is easily the worst NES baseball title in this area. The ball moves so damn fast the scrolling literally can’t keep up, so expect to miss about every stinking fly. You’re rarely sure where it’s going and your players move too fast, so you’ll overshoot your mark 95% of the time, though the automatic fielding is okay. Don’t worry, though, because about every ball hit ends up being a damn home run anyway. And the battle scenes are completely pointless.

Base Wars makes you think you’re going to be busting robot heads in and causing utter chaos. The only way you’ll engage in battle is if a player is close to a base and the ball just gets there. This enacts a battle, which the computer will promptly end because it knows exactly what to do. There’s no way to practice, but it doesn’t really matter anyway since it’s totally superficial to overall play and happens rarely. All of it feels so trite and pointless you’ll never really bother since the actual basics of play are terrible.

Sigh, I suppose you have to give a few creativity points for the attempt at making something new, it’s just that they did it in the most superificial way possible. When it comes down to it, Base Wars is just a really, really bad version of Baseball Stars with robots and occasional “battles” thrown in to make it look different. It completely lacks depth or real play. Points for trying, but more of an integration of the “war” idea would have been cool. How about mines in the field, attacking the fielders, anything? Nope, let’s just put some icing on this cardboard box and call it a cake.

Honestly, I hate this frikken game. The fielding makes it nearly unplayable most of the time, so the only real fun you’re going to have is with another human opponent so you can taunt each other. The fielding is so horrible it’s a complete joke they allowed themselves to release this. Obviously, they were selling it on concept alone.

Base Wars is the perfect example of a gimmick title. It offers nothing unique in terms of actual play, and the changes it provides to spice up the action only serve to annoy the piss out of you. If the fielding was manageable, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but it’s clear they just wanted to sell this one with robots and fighting, giving half a crap about what else it had to offer, which isn’t much. You’ll have more fun playing the original Baseball when it comes down to it. Avoid this garbage or learn a valuable lesson.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 4.5
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 5.8
Written by Stan Review Guide