Tuesday 27 March 2018

World Series Baseball Starring Deion Sanders (Sega 32X review)

Developer: BlueSky Software
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1996

World Series Baseball Starring Deion Sanders is a sports game that was released exclusively in North America.

It features both MLBPA players and MLB teams licenses, and includes modes such as League, Playoffs and Home Run Derby. Offensively, batters can select from three swing types; Contact, Normal and Power. These options are great for giving you an advantage during player situational at-bats, especially if the bases are loaded and you have a slugger like Barry Bonds at the plate. Baserunners can also be controlled in impressive fashion, and on top of advancing bases, you can even decide whether to slide head-first to avoid being thrown out! The only negative aspect is that you can't move batters around the box before a pitch. Defensively, pitchers have access to three pitch types (out of a possible seven) and each is simple to execute thanks to a handy strike zone overlay; it's a joy to pitch in an effortlessly effective manner and it's no surprise that many modern baseball games use the same intuitive mechanics. The added ability to use defensive shifts is fantastic, but arguably the best feature is being able to see the current batter's hitting tendencies; these are useful in pitching to their weak spots and give you greater depth in choosing your approach for individual batters. Once in play, there's a neat scaling effect applied when balls reach the outfield, giving you a better chance of making a catch and heightening the tension when an outfielder dives for a ball! Graphically, the game isn't a massive step up from 16-bit titles, but the smooth animations during a pitching sequence look great. The SFX of the stadium announcer and umpires are clear, but there's no jingles and the crowd are strangely silent.

World Series Baseball Starring Deion Sanders is a more enjoyable game than RBI Baseball '95 (1995, Sega 32X) due to its advanced defensive options and simple, yet fun hitting mechanics. There's not much here that takes full advantage of the hardware, but it's a competent baseball simulation that plays very smoothly throughout.

Random trivia: The Japanese version featured L.A. Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo instead of Deion Sanders.

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