THE BIGS Played on XBOX 360 by Brian DiMattia (XBOX LIVE ID: kenmorebrian) Version History: Version 1.0.....08/08/2007 Created initial Guide, music, and Rookie Challenge section. Version 1.1.....8/11/2007 Fixed some spelling/grammer mistakes, added onto Season makeup. Added Home Run Pinball section, pitching advice. Version 1.2.....8/17/2007 Made more fixes, finished NL Season, finished guide. *****TABLE OF CONTENTS: Playing the game.....[game01] Home Run Pinball.....[pin01] Rookie Challenge.....[rook01] ---Rookie Strategy.....[rook02] ---Types of Games.....[rook03] -------On Stealing Players.....[rook03.1] ---Training Challenges.....[rook04] ---Rookie Rewards.....[rook05] ---A Season.....[rook06] ------Spring Training.....[rook06.1] ------Regular Season.....[rook06.2] ------Road to the Playoffs.....[rook06.3] ------Playoffs? Playoffs?!.....[rook06.4] ------World Series.....[rook06.5] Music in the Game.....[music01] Achievements.....[Ach01] Thanks and Copyrights.....[thanks01] *****PLAYING THE GAME.....[game01] Most of what you need to know about this game is included in the instructions or taught as part of the gameplay. The game goes over the basics of hitting, running, fielding, stealing, etc. I may expand this later, but for now all I can really add is a few notes. *First, turbo is of great help in hitting, but can only reliably be gotten through pitching. You can get a little extra turbo by not swinging at balls, but unless they've lost their speed pitches and are trying to nibble away with off-speed stuff like curves and change-ups, computer controlled pitchers don't throw many balls. *Second, practice small ball, at least at first. This is scoring runs by getting a series of batters to all get on base and advance one base at a time. If you spend all your time going for home runs, you'll lose a lot of batters to "Great Catches." If you get a pitchers timing down, however, and go for a lot of singles you'll score a huge number of runs. Wait until your best hitters come up to swing for the fences. *Third, when you do try to go deep...aim for the best part of the field. Most righty batters tend to hit towards left field, but figure out which part of the park is protected from home run robbing outfielders. For example, Fenway Park, in Boston, has a 37' wall in left field ("The Green Monster"). If you can get a good power swing on a ball with the right timing, no leftfielder in the world can grab a ball over it. In the other direction, Minnesota's field has a smaller wall in right field, but still one that outfielders have trouble with. On the other hand, there's no better field in the game for playing small ball, ironically enough, than San Francisco. It's got a decent right field and a HUGE center field. I had a bunch of low power hitters just keep dropping shots into center and rolling them to the wall for a succession of doubles and triples. If you don't get the timing right, it won't matter how powerful your batters are. What's worse, I've had players with five stars in both hitting categories and with "Turbo" on hit a "Perfect" power shot, and still been out when a fielder grabs it over a low wall. Figuring out the sweet spots for each field will help when you do try to go deep. *Finally, Pitching. Mix things up! Between high speed pitches like fastballs, mid-speed like 2S Fastballs and sinkers, and off speed like curves and changeups. Also, mix up your locations. I've found that going inside with the fast and mid stuff 2/3rds of the time is good, but always work both sides of the plate, high and low, to keep them guessing. *****HOME RUN PINBALL.....[pin01] There are already good suggestions at the message boards at Game Faqs and achieve360points.com on how to do well at this minigame (and you need to be good at it, because it crops up in your rookie season as the end of regular season "New York Media Event"). I'll just mention some things that work for me (keep in mind, I've just barely beaten the 500,000 mark in this, so there are other sources that are going to be more helpful than I am). 1. Make Hay. The first few pitches are all fastballs, and then sinkers. Easy to hit, so do as much damage as you can early on. Once you get the power-ups, aim for high point targets like the AL/NL signs. When you get the Power Blast...aim for the globe above those signs. 2. Change things up. Don't go for all power swings, especially when you start getting curve balls and changeups. Mix in some regular powered swings, they'll still get you points and will avoid some of those tough change up strikes. 3. Go both right and left, and also straight as the light globes behind the pitcher are pretty worth while. But try to avoid the pitcher, as his next pitch will be on turbo. And he's tough enough to hit normally. Some promising targets: The vertical sign on the right side that says "Castle" is a power-up sign. It can be hit with a power swing to the right and each letter is worth 10,000. When the whole thing is cleared, you get a power-up, usually in the form of a 3x points multiplier. You might want to save your power blast for getting this, then aim for the New Year's Eve ball above the National League logo (worth 50,000 points with a powered up power swing) or the green circular logo to the left of the 2K sign high on the right (work 20,000 points with a powered up regular swing). The vertical sign in front of "Castle" that says "Hotel" is the same sort of thing, except it can be hit with a regular swing and is worth 5,000 points each. There are equivalent signs on the left (one that is black and yellow with red letters and the other which is a mockup of the real life NASDAQ globe). *****ROOKIE CHALLENGE.....[rook01] After winning a Rookie Challenge with the Red Sox, I decided to also play a National League season with the Dodgers for gamerscore points. This guide is based on observations of both seasons. *****ROOKIE STRATEGY.....[rook02] There isn't a lot to tell you about actually designing your rookie. Pick a number, a body type, a face, a bat, etc. Picking a position is part one of good strategy, I'd recommend making them any infield position. Now, I haven't tried playing an outfielder at an infield position, it may work perfectly well. But if you want to get your rookie as strong as possible, and look to get the gamer score points for five stars in all categories, you need to work on getting them as many points as possible. Most of these will come from challenges and special events like the Home Run Derby and "Media Event" in New York (which is just Home Run Pinball). But to maximize the number of points you get, go for big points in the regular games as well. *First: Position. Make them play first base. It doesn't matter if your team has someone good at first already, they'll adapt just fine to playing second, or short or third. Putting your rookie at first means, following standard baseball strategy, that he won't have to throw the ball much, only to second every now and then or occasionally to home. Nice short throws. Therefore, you don't need to put more than one star in the throwing category, and only one or two stars in the fielding category (which is much more important for the rest of the infield or the outfield) until the end of the season. You might want to make that three glove stars in time for the later fielding challenges, but a first baseman will never need to do much in the way of throwing. When you have your points and skills built up, then you can move the player wherever you want. *Second: Skills. For the sake of building points, there are three most important categories of skill. You get points in game by hitting. That's the easiest way to get points in games. You can also get them through stealing bases and making big plays, but hitting is much more reliable. So the first category to put points/stars into is "Contact Hitting." The next most important category is speed. As you get used to hitting, you'll get better and longer hits on the ground in the outfield which you need to be able to beat out. Speed gets you a double instead of a single, and the speed training challenges need a lot more skill in your rookie than any of the others. The third most important category is power hitting. Because hitting homers gives you more points than any other hits, and each RBI gives you the same 500 points as the initial home run. So even if you hit a solo shot, you get 1000 points for the homer and your own RBI. A three run HR is worth 2000. This category is third because you as the videogame player will develop the most skill here by hitting regularly, and not trying to bomb everything deep. Besides, with the way the game loves robbing home runs, hitting long is unreliable until you can get at least four and four stars. But I'd definitely try to have four and four in time for the all star break. It will make the Home Run Derby a lot easier. *Third: Lineup. Basic baseball strategy says that the player who leads off will get up to bat most often. That's why the game puts you in the lead off or first spot automatically. But I'd move down to second spot, and get a true leadoff hitter for first. This is someone like Ichiro Suzuki or Juan Pierre who has high contact hitting and speed. Someone who will regularly get a single or double, so that you can (almost) always have someone on base to drive home. And at the very beginning of your career, three stars in contact hitting and someone with good speed on second is a recipe for lots of early rookie points. *Fourth: Power-ups. With the things I've suggested above, it's clear that the best thing to do with power-ups like turbo are to save them for when your leadoff batter is up, to insure that they are on base for the rookie. Same with the guy at the end of your order to get multiple runners available. I'd also suggest saving the Power Blast power-up for the rookie to almost guarantee a home run, but be careful of the computer using Big Heat mode to steal your points. And note that when you are in Power Blast mode, and the pitcher throws a strike they get triple turbo points. So if you don't want to see a string of turbo aided pitches coming at you and ruining your Power Blast, better make contact with that first pitch. *****TYPES OF GAMES.....[rook03] Each team you play starts you off with a standard game of between three and nine innings, depending on things like difficulty level and ability of the team you're playing. Then comes the "Scenario" Game, where your team is in a particular situation and has to finish the game out (like up by a few runs...hold onto your lead, or down by a few runs...come back). This is where the computer will start messing around with things to make it tougher. Like starting the scenario at the bottom of your order, or with the opposing team having players on base already. Next, you will face Stat Challenges. These require you to not only win the game, but to reach a certain milestone with your rookie. Rookie has to have a hit, or three RBIs, or Steal a base, or your pitching staff needs a certain number of strikeouts. Finally, you'll have "Steal" games. If you win a standard game, you get to claim any player you want off the other team's bench or out of their bullpen. *****ON STEALING PLAYERS.....[rook03.1] As the game keeps reminding you, there are only 10 steals available per season, so you need to use them wisely. HOWEVER...the game won't advance unless you clear up all of one team and that means stealing someone. So even if you face a team that doesn't have anyone you want, take 'em anyway to unlock more teams and training. You don't necessarily have to use the people you take, just sit them on the bench if you want. I was pretty confident that I could win with the Red Sox as is, but I couldn't resist having Ichiro Suzuki lead off, or having Johan Santana coming out of the 'pen. On the other hand, I'm looking for some serious pitching help with the Dodgers. This isn't a comprehensive list by any means, but here are some pickups I'd recommend, depending on what you want/need. Recommendations for the National League are in with the season description. OUTFIELD: 1. Ichiro Suzuki/Seattle Mariners. One of the best, and fastest, contact hitters in the game, also has a great glove and an amazing arm. A perfect leadoff hitter, especially if you follow my advice on getting people on base before your rookie (see Rookie Strategy). 2. Jermaine Dye/Chicago White Sox. Moderate speed, decent defense, incredible hitter. I don't know why, but he seemed to hit better than Manny Ramirez, who has the exact same hitting stats! 3. Manny Ramirez/Boston Red Sox. Who cares if Dye's slightly better? He's still MANNY! And with five and five hitting stats, he hits a ton. CATCHERS (one of the weaker positions in the game): 1. Joe Mauer/Minnesota Twins. One of the few great catchers (in THE BIGS, anyway), and the kid is VERY dangerous at the plate. 2. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez/Detroit Tigers. Ditto. INFIELD: 1. Miguel Tejada/Baltimore Orioles. Real strong shortstop. And if you have to take someone from the O's to move the season along, you could do a lot worse. 2. Justin Morneau/Minnesota Twins. Last year's MVP for a reason. 3. Mike Lowell/Boston Red Sox. You'll be surprised by him. Not only does he have an incredible glove at third, but despite three and three hitting ratings he's a very solid smallball/singles hitter. Another of those players the game seems to favor beyond his official rating. Pitching: 1. Curt Schilling/Boston Red Sox. Great sinker, great fastball, and some good offspeed stuff as well. 2. Daisuke Matsuzaka/Boston Red Sox. Good fastball, good curve, and the mythical Gyroball. Amazing pitch. There's no feeling in the world of videogame sports like having a good hitter down 0-2 in the count and pushing a pitch at them that seems to stop in midair and then curve towards them. It's the kind of pitch Bugs Bunny used to throw past Elmer Fudd. Then you get to scream at the TV/your buddy/some poor schlub on the other side of XBOX Live "GYROBALL, MUTHA..." well, you get the point. 3. Johan Santana/Minnesota Twins. Five stars in four pitches. The only reason he isn't listed as number one in this list is that taking him means you can't take Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau or Torii Hunter. In fact...just play with Minnesota and be done with it. 4. Roy Halliday/Toronto Blue Jays. Good pitcher, and the game seems to like him. Got to try him first in the all-star break and loved him. *****TRAINING CHALLENGES.....[rook04] There are four kinds of training challenges: Fielding, Contact Hitting, Power Hitting and Running. After your first game in preseason, the first three challenges (Lvl 1 Fielding, Lvl 1 Hitting and Lvl 1 Running) unlock. Fielding is probably the easiest. You stand in a big star behind second, and a pitching machine at home starts shooting line drives your way. If they come right at you, wait a beat and then hit the action button to jump up and catch them. If they go to the left or right, immediately start moving in that direction and then hit the button. Contact Hitting means you can use regular hits to turn balls around. Perfect hits get a few extra points, but it's mostly about making contact with every ball to build up the bonus modifier. Just keep restarting until you hit every one of the ten balls hit to you. Power Hitting is a little tougher, here the quality of hit matters. You get points for distance, and multiplier for successive hits, and extra points for homers and still more points for Perfect hits, so you might want to restart several times to get the most points out of it. With all three of these there will be a minimum number of points, but you should aim to well exceed those numbers. If the minimum is 25,000, aim for at least 35,000. Fielding seems to be the easiest, so aim for double the minimum there. Running is...tougher. You have to go through cones and jump over or slide under obstacles. There is also some turbo to help out. I hated these, so you're kinda on your own, but be ready to do this multiple times. Once you know the course you'll be ready for the jumps and know where the straight parts are to use turbo. Towards the end of the season, when you're getting your last steal games and final teams before the "New York Media Event," which ends the regular season, you will unlock master challenges. Run against Ichiro Suzuki, for example. *****ROOKIE REWARDS.....[rook05] Throughout the game, your rookie will be rewarded at different stages with "Attitude" rewards. These have nothing to do with playing the game, they just make your rookie look a little cooler. These include: 1. Eye Black: The first reward you get, right after spring training. Your rookie can wear stripes of that black...stuff under his eyes to cut down on glare. But this is just standard eye black, no fancy skull designs like John Randle or that guy from "The Program." 2. Shades: Your rookie can wear sunglasses during the day or all the time if you prefer. There are seven different styles (ranging from flip-ups to wayfarers to skiing glasses) and seven lens colors (Black, Blue, Dark Blue, Green, Red, White, Yellow). 3. Nickname: Instead of the announcers referring to you as "The Rookie" you can have your own clubhouse nickname. There are 59 total options, including "Showtime," "Heartbreaker," "The Hammer," "Brains" and "Stinky." 4. Bat Graphics: Kinda cool, you can get a custom paint job on your bat. There are 31 total choices, a blue bat with a lightning bolt, several national flags (US, Japan, Dominican Republic, Great Britain), a bat with the top in a camouflage pattern, and a...pink bat with hearts on it. You can tie this design in with: 5. Tattoos: There are 26 forearm tattoos that can be worn on each arm, and if you're really into everything matching you can have similar bat graphics and arm tattoos. You can even have the "Bull" graphics/tattoos and have a nickname like "El Toro," or set all three options to "Fireball," if you're particularly anal-retentive. 6. Batter Ditty: Plate music, a short clip of which will play everytime you come to the plate. See the music section for more details. *****A SEASON.....[rook06] I played most of my Red Sox season before even starting this guide, so I can't really go back and tell you most of what happened there. Instead, I'll give you a rundown of my National League season, where Nomah, D-Lowe and the increasingly "Sonny McLean's" themed Dodgers were joined by rookie Spacer Mulholland at First. *****SPRING TRAINING.....[rook06.1]: *Win a three inning game. Lvl. One Fielding Challenge, Lvl. One Batting Challenge, Lvl. One Running Challenge. Win another three inning game. *****REGULAR SEASON.....[rook06.2]: *Home game...win a five inning game. *Washington Nationals...Win a five inning game. Scenario: come back from down by one in the top of the ninth, five inning Steal Game. *Pittsburgh Pirates...Win a three inning game. Stat Challenge: Have a hit with your rookie in a five inning game, five inning Steal Game. Stole LF Jason Bay *Distance Batting Training *Colorado Rockies...win a three inning game. Stat Challenge: Get an RBI with your rookie. Five inning Steal Game. Stole Closer Brian Fuentes. *Cinncinati Reds...win a three inning game. Stat Challenge: Get two hits with your rookie. Steal game. Stole Starting Pitcher Bronson Arroyo. *Florida Marlins...Scenario: Top of Seventh, down by two. Stat Challenge: Two team home runs in five innings. Steal game. Stole SS Hanley Ramirez. *Lvl. Two Fielding Challenge. *San Francisco Giants...Best of Three Series. Stat Challenge: Steal a base with your rookie. Steal game. Stole CF Dave Roberts *Lvl. Two Batting Challenge. *Home Scenario: Hit a Home Run with your Rookie in a 5 inning game vs. the Washington Nationals. *Chicago Cubs: Scenario: Come back from 2 down in top of 8th. Stat Challenge: Get seven strikeouts in a seven inning game. Steal game. Stole Pitcher Carlos Zambrano. *Houston Astros: Stat Challenge: Get 3 team home runs in a 5 inning game. Scenario: Come back from 2 down. Steal game. Stole LF Carlos Lee. *Lvl. Two Distance Batting Challenge *Arizona Diamondbacks: Win a five inning game. Stat Challenge: Get 3 RBIs with your rookie. Steal Game. Stole Starting Pitcher Brandon Webb. *Milwaukee Brewers: Win a five inning game. Scenario: Up by 2 in bottom of the 9th, hold on to win. Steal game. *All-Star Break...Home Run Derby and All Star Game activate as soon as you finish your fifth Steal Game, and supercede all other games until you're done. The derby is just like the one you can practice from the main menu, except you face an eight hitter bracket. So beat three other hitters to advance. All Star Game is a regular nine inning game between the best players from both leagues, held at a National League stadium, so no DH. ***A good opportunity to scout the rest of your league for players to use your last three steals on.*** *Philadelphia Phillies: Scenario: Up by one in the seventh, hold on for win. Stat Challenge: get five RBIs with your rookie. Steal Game. *Home: Best of Three Game series against the Padres. *Lvl. Three Fielding Challenge. *San Diego Padres: Win a five inning game. Stat Challenge: Get 10 team strikeouts in a nine inning game. Steal Game. Stole Catcher Josh Bard. *Atlanta Braves: Win a best of three series. Stat Challenge: Score 10 team runs. *Lvl. Three Running Challenge. *St. Louis Cardinals: Win a best of three series. Stat Challenge: Get three team stolen bases in nine innings. *Lvl. Three Distance Batting *Running Boss Challenge versus Jose Reyes from the Mets. *New York Mets: Stat Challenge: Hit four team home runs in a Five Inning game. Scenario: Down by five in the fifth...come back to win. Steal Player game. Stole Starting Pitcher Pedro Martinez. *Fielding Boss Challenge versus Omar Vizquel from the Giants. *Batting Boss Challenge versus Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins. PROGRESS NOTE: By this point, my rookie was five star in Contact Hitting, Power Hitting, Running and Glove, with four stars (plus all but 73,000 points) in Arm. Which is fine because you now get to play Homer Pinball for additional upgrade points at the: *New York Media Event. Home Run Pinball. *Some other players I'd recommend taking: Sean Greene (RF/Mets). *****ROAD TO THE PLAYOFFS.....[rook06.3] Just when you think it's safe to actually get to the playoffs, you have to face several teams all over again, but this time for only one meeting each. *Chicago Cubs: Scenario: Down by one run in the top of the 9th. *Philadelphia Phillies: Stat Challenge: Get two hits with your rookie in five innings. *Atlanta Braves: Stat Challenge: Get one Home Run with your rookie in five innings. *San Diego Padres: Scenario: Top of the sixth, down by four runs. *Florida Marlins: Win a five inning game. *Houston Astros: Win a five inning game. *****PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS!?.....[rook06.4]: The playoffs are an eight team tournament. You will have to beat two teams from your own league and then win the Series against a team from the other league in the World Series. *First Round: St. Louis Cardinals: Win a nine inning game. Stat Challenge: Get three hits with your rookie in nine innings. Scenario: Top of the fifth, down by five. *Second Round: New York Mets: Win a nine inning game. Scenario: Up by two in the top of the Seventh. Stat Challenge: Get two Home Runs with your rookie in a nine inning game. Scenario: Top of the Sixth, down by four, come back to win. *****WORLD SERIES.....[rook06.5]: Four events total, where my Red Sox team was matched up against the Mets, and my Dodgers team faced the Twins. First was a normal nine inning home game. Second was a down by seven runs in the top of the third game on the road. Third was a "Score 5 RBIs with your rookie in 9 innings" stats challenge, and the fourth was another nine inning game called simply "Go Get Your Ring." Remember that when playing in an American League Park your team will have a DH batting instead of the pitcher, whereas the pitcher will bat in a National League stadium. *****Music in the Game.....[music01]: 2K has licensed several songs that play in the game. They can be managed through the main screen by going under "Options" and "2K Beats." Songs can be turned off if you want, but that doesn't seem to save to you profile, so if there are any particular songs in the game that annoy you and that you'd rather not hear, go into the options menu and shut them off each time the game starts up. List of Tracks: (No particular order, they seem to reorder on each start up) 1. "Millenium" by Killing Joke 2. "Down On The Street" by The Stooges 3. "Satisfied" by Highbench 4. "Dreamworld" by Midnight Oil 5. "Insanity Rains" by Satellite Party 6. "Tearing" by The Rollins Band 7. "Plush" by Stone Temple Pilots 8. "Somebody" by Blue October 9. "Hung Out To Dry" by Fu Manchu 10. "Nearly Lost You There" by Screaming Trees 11. "Ocean Size" by Jane's Addiction 12. "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead 13. "Mustache Enthusiast" by Anxious Me 14. "More Human Than Human" by White Zombie 15. "Robot" by Anxious Me 16. "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" by Primus In addition to these, which play over menu screens, there are a few songs that seem to only be plate music for your player. These include: 17. "Bangout" by Phenomenal 18. "The Rock Show" by Webmatic *****Achievements.....[Ach01] This isn't a full-on achievement guide, so I'll just hit some highlights. *Most of the achievements you will get in the course of one rookie season. Some others you may have to work on specifically, but they are easily do-able. *For full points, you need to do an American League and National League season. You also have to go through spring training in both the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues (the first is teams that practice in Florida, the second is in Arizona). It's easier to just give you a list of the teams that practice in Arizona, because there are fewer of them. In the American League they are: Anaheim (Los Angeles) Angels, Chicago White Sox, Oakland A's, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers. In the National League, they are: Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, and San Diego Padres. The other 18 teams play in Florida/Grapefruit. *The best way to get better at Home Run Pinball is to keep practicing and try to target things, not just hit everything as hard as possible. *Since you will need to play two different rookie seasons to get the American and National League points, try to set at least one team up as a speed team. This will make it easier to get the triples and steals achievements. For instance, my Dodgers team was already pretty fast with Juan Pierre leading off and Fercal in there as well. Stealing Dave Roberts and making a fast rookie helped as well. *****Thanks and Copyrights.....[Thanks01] Thanks to my buddy JR for getting me my 360 as a Best Man's gift. And for not listening to his wife who wanted him to get me a watch. Thanks to Blue Castle Games, 2K Sports and Take Two interactive for making an enjoyable game, and thanks to the nice folks who make XBOX. They rock my world on a regular basis. And thanks to Papi, Manny, Tek, Lowell, Youk, Coco, Drew, Lugo, DP, Schill, Dice, Pap, Timlin, Beckett, Cora, Tavarez, Lester, Okajima-sama, Manny DC, Gagne, Wily Mo, Hinske, Tito and all the other members of the Boston Red Sox who make me believe every day. And Trot, Millar, DLowe, Nomah, Dave Roberts, Arroyo, Faulke, El Guapo, Johnny Pesky and "The Teammates," Mo Vaughn, Kason Gabbard, and countless others throughout the years. And to Carl Everett for giving the Curly Haired Boyfriend his nickname. And to my fellow Sox fans, just 'cause. And to you for putting up with such a ginormous acknowledgements section. The original advice/analysis and other content of this FAQ/Guide is copyright 2007 Brian DiMattia. Please don't copy it elsewhere without giving credit. The Bigs and all related trademarks are copyrights of 2K Sports, Blue Castle Games and their related entities. All MLB team names, stadiums, events (like "World Series"), player names and likenesses are copyright and/or trademarked by Major League Baseball or the Major League Baseball Players Association.