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 The Final Word game review

Bottom Of The Ninth -- Konami

Big league play starts with big league players. In Konami's Bottom of the Ninth for the Sony PlayStation you'll find 700 of the top pros featured. Real batting and pitching styles from the likes of Belle, Puckett, O'Neil, Rodriguez and other, as well as real life batting dynamics bring the play home.

I'm not a baseball fan by any stretch of the imagination but I definitely enjoyed this game. It strikes the perfect balance between sim and arcade and can be picked up and played with only a glance at the manual. The only thing really missing is a Major League Baseball license. It has a Players Association license but needs an MLB for real teams, logos, stadiums, etc... Then it would be perfect.

At first the playing screen appeared to be a cluttered mess of cursors, stats, and stuff, but somehow Konami made it work. After about five minutes I was really getting enthused. The ability to "lock-on" a pitch seemed simple enough, yet offered enough challenge that I wasn't drilling it out of the park on every try. After a hit was made, though, it was just your average baseball engine. Catch, throw, and field, as you trash the other teams hopes for a run. Speaking of running, it's in certain player animations where Bottom of the Ninth hits a low -- especially when a player nails one into the stands and is running around the bases. The way those polygons move, it's like looking at footage from the early days of wire-frame animation. Not that the polygons are a bad thing overall. It's not "motion-captured, real-time footage of authentic major-league players," but the pitchers and hitters all looked good when they swung and threw. Even all of the many options and features were nice, as was the sound. I liked what the announcer said and when he said it (ie: the announcer made his presence known without being annoying). What is annoying is the fact that there were no real teams, just real players. I mean, Konami, if you're going to get the Players' Association license, you might as well get the one that allows you to have the real team and their respective logos, stadiums, etc. I loved playing the Houston Planets vs. the Atlanta Peanuts, but eventually it got tiresome. Then after playing a little longer I began to realize why they did this. I suspect they converted one of the many Japanese baseball-games available, but the accumulated costs of the intro screens, announcer and MLBPA license emptied out their wallets so they couldn't buy the rest of the permits which would allow them to make this a true baseball sim. A good first-generation baseball title.

>>>>> 40.0/50 <<<<< Jester Benjamin
Graphics 4.0 4.0
Sound 4.0 4.0
Gameplay/Control 4.5 3.5
Longevity/Playability 4.5 3.5
Overall 4.0 4.0
Total 21.0 19.0