Review by friendlydude

Reviewed: 03/28/07

It's easy to ignore bad graphics when a game is so much fun

Why am I reviewing an old baseball game that appeared on the Super Nintendo many years ago? For one thing, because today in Pennsylvania marks the first really hot spring day we've had so far, and spring of course means baseball season is right around the corner. But I'm also reviewing Extra Innings because the game is good- *really* good!

I've been playing Extra Innings for years. My uncle from San Diego bought me this game when it was brand new, and if he ever found out I'm STILL playing Extra Innings all these years later, he'd be extremely shocked and pleased. Mostly shocked, though. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if I played Extra Innings more than anyone else in America. Make that North America! Make that North *and* South America! Seriously, I've played Extra Innings so much, I have all the players strengths and weaknesses memorized in my head. I know the good ones from the bad ones just by looking at their names on the screen.

A game like this isn't supposed to have any replay value. It's supposed to be one of those baseball games you play for a couple weeks and then forget about, because it doesn't have any real teams (they're all made up names such as the Motors and Bunkers). Also, the graphics are about as average as they come on the Super NES. All the players on the field look the same, play the same, and well, graphically-obsessed people won't find ANYTHING to like about this game, and would surely write it off immediately.

Extra Innings has one thing going for it, and in my opinion, it's the most important thing a video game can offer- a FUN time. It also includes the best play control I've ever experienced in a baseball video game. Every button is extremely accurate, and a good comparison to controlling the players in this game would be comparing them to the way you control Link in the original Legend of Zelda. Remember how easy it was to control him in that game? You simply tap the forward button, and he goes forward because the controls were so simple and spot-on accurate. You can go up, down, left or right. It's exactly like that in Extra Innings. Having a good control system is unquestionably the most important thing in a video game. If you have no control over a game, it's not worth playing.

I really like how, after you pick a team, you are taken to a screen that allows you to look over your team lineup. Here's how this part of the game works- there's blue and green smiley faces next to all the players on your team who are really good, and yellow and red faces next to the ones who are below-average and stink (who're obviously having a bad day). The idea here is to put all the sparkling blue players in your main lineup because they're the best ones, along with the green ones (second best).

What does it mean when I say the blue smiley-faced players are the best ones? It means, if you put them on your team (on the left column) they will have the strongest offense and will be the players most likely to get base hits for you. With defense, they will be the players less likely to make mistakes (example- less likely to drop the ball). Every time you pick a team you never know which players will be in excellent shape, and which ones will suck. This makes it *extremely* fun to mess around and put the best players on your team, because it's random every time you turn on the Super NES.

Unfortunately, if you play against the computer, you're not allowed to change their lineup. Sometimes if their lineup has nothing but red-faced players, this can be a good thing because you can dominate them. However, if they have a solid lineup of blue players... whoa- get ready, because their offense is going to be sizzling hot! Homerun city, baby!

Even though the players on the field move around quite slow compared to other, more advanced video baseball games (obviously because the game is old) in my opinion, they move around at a perfect, normal speed. You have an option in this game for either YOU to control the guys in the outfield, or, if you'd rather the computer do it for you (which means, if your opponent hits the ball, the computer will move the player closest to the ball to that part of the field automatically). Let's not be silly- always make it so you control the players. Having the computer do it for you is no fun at all. You should *always* be required to run to the ball yourself, and pick up and throw the ball yourself. This goes for *every single baseball video game ever made*. It's annoying how many baseball video games out there don't give you the option to choose between either you or the computer controlling the outfield, and just assume the computer should do it for you. It should always be YOU controlling everything.

As for pitching, it's really fun to throw fast balls, slow balls and curve balls, and trick your opponent. Sometimes they will swing at horrible pitches you throw and when they strike out, they get angry and break their bats across their leg, or turn around and give the umpire an angry look. In my case, I like to throw pitches straight down the middle of the plate and just LET them hit the ball, because I have a TON of fun fooling around in the outfield in my personal quest to perfect my skills and try as quickly as possible to throw them out. I've been playing the game so long, I'm really good at whipping up on the computer. I can humiliate them if I want. Thanks to the perfect play control, this is a really easy thing to do when you eventually get good at the game.

Also, the more you play Extra Innings, the more unusual things about the game you find. For instance, if you're controlling the outfield and holding the ball, and the computer advances all the way to third base, for some reason he will never try advancing home, even though he'd clearly make it. For some reason, once you grab a hold of the ball, the computer will act like there's no chance of advancing to another base. On the flip side, however, if you're the one running the bases, and you're controlling a really fast runner, the computer won't be able to throw the ball as quickly as you can run, which means, for example, if you're running to second base the computer will throw the ball to second, but by the time the ball gets there, your quick butt will have already made it to third! For some reason, Extra Innings was designed where the guys running the bases are *much* faster than the speed of the ball being thrown. Why? I have no idea, but it makes scoring runs quite easy when you get used to how the game works. Also, you can run faster by tapping the L and R buttons on top of the controller. It even says so in the instruction booklet.

You can also find yourself in situations where you can actually trick the computer and advance to home plate. How? It's confusing to explain but I'll try my best- if you have two people on base (let's say, first and second base) try to steal third. The catcher will throw the ball to third base. Here's what you do- turn around and go back to second, while at the same time run the guy on first base to second, and for some reason, the computer will actually throw the ball to first, which opens up a perfect opportunity to advance the guy on second base, to third! The first baseman will now throw the ball to third, and while this is happening, you can easily take the guy on third to home plate, because Extra Innings was designed for it to take longer than normal to throw from first to third! It's funny how this trick works over and over again.

The music is also quite similar to real baseball music. You have three baseball stadiums to choose from, each with different themes. When one person is on base, the music changes. When two people are on base (or one person on third) the music speeds up.

You have options to play All-Star games (which are fun if you like powerful, offense-dominated games) two-player modes, a pennant race, and other things. Honestly, for me, just the one-player game where I can pick whatever team I want along with my opponents is the ultimate option for me. Nothing fancy- just short and simple options.

You also have to deal with wind. It's a major factor in determining where the ball goes. You can tell how windy it is by looking at certain numbers on the bottom right hand corner of the screen. The higher the number, the windier it is. It's not accurate, though. It doesn't actually tell you how windy it is. It just shows a small number which I guess indicates the speed of the wind. The higher the number, the better chance you need to have your crap together when controlling the outfield part of the game.

Too many baseball video games out there are concerned with major league licenses, or feature awkward play control which ruins the game. Like I said above- if controlling the players on the field becomes your biggest challenge, the game should be thrown in the trash. Extra Innings is a graphically-average game that just happens to have some of the most exciting gameplay I've ever found in a baseball video game, not to mention the friendliest play control you will most likely find in a baseball game. Simply put- Extra Innings really works being a short and simple game.

The only flaw with the game is that it's *really* easy to score runs when you get good at the game. Along with the above-mentioned tricks you can perform to your opponents, the game was created where you're stronger than them no matter what, which means, when you eventually get good at Extra Innings, you will be able to DESTROY the computer in almost every game. It's entirely likely you can score up to 15-20 runs per game, while the computer can only get 1 or 2. With time, you can totally master every play in the game! Also, you can blow through games in about 15 minutes.

Extra Innings doesn't try to be the most amazing baseball experience of all-time, it just tries to be a really likable game that offers an extremely high amount of enjoyment. It works, and in my opinion, it's the best baseball game ever made. While everyone else is obsessing over the next great graphically-superior baseball game with all sorts of fancy options, I'll be sitting here with my Super Nintendo hooked up and having the time of my life. A game that holds up through the years is ultimately the greatest reward of them all.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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