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The horrible fielding system ruins what could have been a great game.
Author: B. Hodges | Date: 2002/12/07 | Rating: 5/10


Introduction

Virtual League Baseball was released for the Virtual Boy in September of 1995. It was released in Japan under the title of Virtual Professional Baseball '95 with different music and graphics.

Gameplay - US 4/10 JP 5/10

This game is basically an update of RBI Baseball for the NES. You play baseball as one of 18 different standard teams in either a single game or in a mini-pennate race. You can also play an all-star game as one of the three league's teams.

Pitching and batting are easy and intuitive. The controls are very responsive. There are four different pitches you can throw : fastball, curveball, slider, and forkball. You can adjust speed and movement for each.

The real problem with this game is fielding. There are three main flaws that keep this from being a great baseball game. The first is controlling the fielders. You control five fielders, the other four cover the bases. It is difficult to tell which are covering and which you are controlling resulting in dropping what should be easy outs. The second major problem occurs when there is a runner on first and the batter hits the ball on the ground to the left. You will control the third baseman and the shortstop will cover third. The problem is that when you try to throw the ball to second, the shortstop will cut it off. What should have been an easy double play results in an easy single for the computer. The final problem comes from trying to catch fly balls. It is difficult to see the ball shadow on the field. You will often drop what should have been an easy pop-up. In the Japanese version, it seems like it is a little easier to see the shadow.

Every sports game should be multiplayer, but like most other Virtual Boy games, this is one player only. This really isn't Kemco's fault, Nintendo never released the gamelink cable for the Virtual Boy.

Story - N/A

There is no real story for this game, you just play baseball.

Graphics - US 4/10 JP 5/10

The graphics are kind of bad, especially when fielding. In the US version, the players look like normal people. In the Japanese version, they look like monkeys without tails (the deformed look was intentional). The fielders look a little better in the Japanese version, hence the higher score. Another problem is during menus, the background has moving logos. This makes reading menu info and stats difficult.

Sound - US 6/10 JP 4/10

The sound effects in both versions are nothing to write home about. The music is different in both versions. The music is good and has a sports feel. The music changes when a player reaches second, it has a more urgent sound. There is a neat tone that sounds a minute before the auto pause kicks in. In the American version, it plays ''Take me out to the ballgame''. This is a very nice touch that sadly is missing from the Japanese version and that is why it scores lower.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid? - Buy

The only reason this is a buy instead of a borrow is the fact that you can easliy find a copy of this game for under $1.

Overall Score - 5/10

This game is enjoyable, but would have been great if the fielding was better. If you enjoyed RBI Baseball, you should give this game a try.