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Developer: Namco
Publisher: Nintendo

1-4 Players
Dolby Pro Logic II
Progressive Scan Enhanced
Memory Card

Mario has been a busy man over the past few years as he has taken a liking to getting actively involved all different types of sports. He has managed to play and master such well known activities as golf, tennis and most recently baseball. Nintendo sent us a copy of the latter, Mario Superstar Baseball, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the inclusion of so many characters and so many worlds in this game. From my extended playtime with this title I can say that Mario once again hits a homerun in his latest sports adventure.

Graphics

In typical Nintendo fashion this game hits the mark when it comes to the cute factor. Although not a graphics benchmark, the visuals are very pleasing. As would be expect in a title with the Mario name attached to it the colors are bright and vibrant as they manage to jump off the screen. This is very evident for those with a TV that has the ability to display progressive images. I took this game home and put it on my DLP projector (progressive scan capable) and I was treated to a very impressive array of images. For those people who consider themselves "a graphics first" kind of person, the polygon count is not particularly high, but what is on screen is solid and the animations are generally smooth and fluid. One will find some anomalies during the replays (e.g. clipping) but this is not evident during the actual gameplay so it does not really hamper anything.

Mario Superstar Baseball is not meant to be a realistic representation of the sport as it has been

Mario Superstar Baseball

 

Mario Superstar Baseball

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: Gamecube
Category: n/a
 
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Developer: Namco Publisher: Nintendo 1-4 Players Dolby Pro Logic II Progressive Scan Enhanced Memory Card Mario has been a busy man over the past few years as he has taken a liking to getting actively involved all different types of sports. He has managed to play and master such well known activities as golf, tennis and most recently baseball. Nintendo sent us a copy of the latter, Mario Superstar Baseball, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the inclusion of so many characters and so many worlds in this game. From my extended playtime with this title I can say that Mario once again hits a homerun in his latest sports adventure. Graphics In typical Nintendo fashion this game hits the mark when it comes to the cute factor. Although not a graphics benchmark, the visuals are very pleasing. As would be expect in a title with the Mario name attached to it the colors are bright and vibrant as they manage to jump off the screen. This is very evident for those with a TV that has the ability to display progressive images. I took this game home and put it on my DLP projector (progressive scan capable) and I was treated to a very impressive array of images. For those people who consider themselves "a graphics first" kind of person, the polygon count is not particularly high, but what is on screen is solid and the animations are generally smooth and fluid. One will find some anomalies during the replays (e.g. clipping) but this is not evident during the actual gameplay so it does not really hamper anything. Mario Superstar Baseball is not meant to be a realistic representation of the sport as it has been ‘Marioized' so to speak, so the on-screen action is conveyed in the world of the famed plumber and friends. There are numerous characters from all Mario games, past and present, and they are all represented in full 3D. I have to say that I was also quite impressed with the number of stadiums that were eventually available and how they modelled in a specific character's world. The first time I played in Donkey Kong's home stadium I was very impressed how they brought DK's world to life via a very jungle like setting. Namco made sure that they utilized the world of Mario and friends and put forth a great effort to include fields that reflect each character's specific styles that are recognizable any games remotely linked to either Mario or any Nintendo franchise. Sound So much of me would like to keep this section of the review simple and short by just saying "Hey, it's a Mario game, you know what to expect". Mario Superstar Baseball keeps to Nintendo's formula of any game with the plumber's name attached as the music is very upbeat and catchy. Each character has their own voice that gamers have come to know over the past couple of decades, even if it is only simple grunts or squeaks. Remember, not all of the characters in Mario's universe actually speak. However I have to comment on an issue. The individual who made the decision to approve the announcer's voice has to be spoken too as the voice used is very annoying and just darn right wrong. Trust me, after a few games listening to this voice you will know what I am talking about. The rest of the in-game sounds wrap up an overall good package. From the crack of the bat, slap of the ball hitting the glove and the sound of the runners rounding the bases, it is all there for one's enjoyment. Gameplay This game does not try to be a game full of stat-tracking or depth as it is a fast, arcade-style representation of the sport with the famed characters of the Mario universe in it. Interestingly enough, the characters of the game range from the very recognizable to the not-so recognizable. And as mentioned above in the graphics section, the stadiums are Mario themed including such environments from Mario Sunshine, Wario Palace and Bowser's Castle. Each stadium has its hazards as well, ranging from coin boxes, lava rocks in the air to funky weather patterns (e.g. tornados) and each is specific to the stadium/world you are playing in. Not all of the stadims are available from the start and they have to be unlocked as one progresses through the game as there are only four different ones from the beginning of the game. I am sure many reading this just want to know how the game controls. Well, as one would expect from an arcade style title, it is relatively straightforward. Pitching and aiming is done with the both the A button and analog stick while batting is as simple as lining up the bat and pressing the A button. There are a few special pitching and hitting moves but these are limited to a combination of the existing controls. Regardless, the simplicity and ease of use for pitching/hitting makes Mario baseball a game that is easy to pick up and play right from the get-go. Running is just as simple as it continues with the simplicity of the hitting and pitching and uses very few buttons. The main single player mode is the unoriginal titled challenge mode. In typical Mario fashion the story has Mario's famed nemesis Bowser (and his team) as the baddie to beat. To build up one's team there are mini-games and objectives scattered throughout a top-down map. This map is generally free roaming and one can basically pick and choose what they want to do. By completing the various mini-games and objectives you will increase your skills and acquire new players which will eventually open up Bowser's home field. This mode adds a little more then just playing baseball as it offers an RPG'ish style play. Combine this with having certain objectives and it makes for a more interesting game then just beating other teams and winning a season. For those looking for a quick fix there is always the exhibition mode. Pick a captain, choose your players for your team, pick a stadium to play in and then play ball. Yep, surprisingly enough it is that simple and a blast to play. Of course this being a Gamecube game Nintendo made sure that Namco included multiplayer goodness in Mario Superstar Baseball, be it from a quick game of baseball to the Mario Party style mini-games. These games are fast and simple and are very reminiscent of all the previous Mario Party games released. Play a quick round of Wall Ball (throw balls through walls for points) or Chain Chomp (collect coins around the baseball diamond while avoiding the chomper from Mario 64) and you will see what I mean. You and up to three friends can play these mini-games and it is a nice diversion from a regular baseball game. Conclusion Nintendo has teamed up with Namco to produce another Mario Sports title that manages to hit the ball out of the park (editor's note: pun intended). With easy to pick up and play controls, good sound, solid graphics, and a very enjoyable multiplayer component, one really can not go wrong with Mario Superstar Baseball. Sports fans looking for a realistic sports game should be warned to look elsewhere as this is strictly an arcade style baseball game, but hey, what did you expect from the world of Mario?





 
 

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