There comes a time, when one plays enough PC games, that he or she yearns for something different. A game that perhaps, doesn't concern killing, or racing. A PC game like that is very hard to find. This is where sports games come in. I've never been a big fan of sports games. I haven't touched NBA 2K on my Dreamcast since I got it, two years ago.
Now, I had High Heat Baseball 2000, on my crappy Playstation. It wasn't a great game by any means, but I managed to play it a lot. I started a 162 game season as the Cubs, and played about 110 (with a record of 98 - 12 or something like that) when my trusty Memory Card decided to crap out on me. I couldn't bring myself to start a new season.
So three years pass, and I saw High Heat 2003 on the shelf at Best Buy. I figured, "What the hay... I'll try it". It was only Thirty bucks. And it was made by 3DO, once my favorite video game maker (when they made games for their own console, like Killing Time and Starfighter), responsible for a game entitled 'Requiem: Avenging Angel', and unfortunately Army Men, and Might and Magic.
As you can see, it looks like a baseball game. Which is good. That's what a baseball game should look like.
Every player even has their own face. As least as far as I could tell. They aren't very detailed, but you can't really expect them to be. Uniforms are very accurately depicted, for players and umpires alike.
Animations are very well done, and realistic. Throwing, pitching, swinging, jumping, sliding, diving... It's all in there. It's amazing how much work went into this stuff. The pitchers even have player specific ways of pitching... whether they throw side armed, or throw their leg extra high in the air, etc, etc.
The controls are similar to how I remember them. As a pitcher, you can choose what kind of pitch you want to throw, by pressing one of eight directions, plus the main button. And once that is done, you pick whereabout you want to throw it with one of the eight possible directions, and then the main button, if aiming for the strike zone, and the second button if you want to throw out of the strike zone. I've always felt that this method is one of the best ways to do it, but for some reason it's the main downfall of the game with most people..Swinging is relatively easy, you can do it with one button, or in conjunction with the up or down arrows for high and low swings.
Throwing to a base is the classic RBI BaseballTM style, where you use the direction up, down, left, or right to throw to second, home, third, or first bases.
Baserunning is somewhat difficult. There's a button to lead the base, and then another one, in conjunction with the direction of the base you are running from to make him steal, which is very hard to do, especially if you are trying to swing as well.
Now onto with the flaws of the game... It seems to me that this was a direct copy and paste of the Playstation 2 version of the game. Which sucks, because some textures are horrible.. Like the stadiums, and the backgrounds, and the scoreboards. The crowd is a big blurry mess. They all look like crap. The scoreboards don't even keep score.. it just sits there with a permanent score that's barely readable. The same with the big TV screen next to it. Really cheap, to say the least.
In addition to the crappy textures on the stadiums... They are also poorly crafted. Walls go at funky angles, leaving white spaces in the ground here and there. There is no real dugout, just a texture of one that the players magically disappear into when they get near it. The whole thing is unbelievably lackluster when you compare it to the player uniforms.
The main problem, however... is the sound. Such horrible horrible sound.
CLICK HERE FOR A SAMPLE
What you hear there is without any special modifications. I did modify it, by erasing about 6 seconds in total of no sound between voices, in order to save your download time and my disk space. That's what everything except the sound effects sound like. The crowd noise, the umpires, the stadium music, the stadium announcer, all skip just like that. It's a problem with the game programming and any sound card made by Creative Labs, which happen to dominate the sound card market by having at least 90% of PCs with their cards in them. How can you make a game, and release it when it will sound like that on 90% of PCs. There is a fix to the problem, however...
Just turn the sound off!!! Since when did you need to hear the crowd cheer, or the announcer say comments, or the stadium music, or hell... Since when did you need ATMOSPHERE? This one major flaw completely ruins the entire game for me... There is no patch in sight. The only real fix for it is to go into your sound card settings and turn the hardware acceleration off. I could have dealt with the sub par graphics.. I play older games all the time.
On the left is the amazingly detailed depiction of the buildings right outside Wrigley Field.. And I think I see someone waving from the building... Oh, wait.. That's my vomit hitting the screen.
On the right is probably one of the worst looking stadiums in the game. You don't even have to click the thumbnail to see how pixelated it is.
It's strange how detailed and bad they can be at the same time.
Complicated, but functional. Baserunning is the only thing that really lacks.
From what I could tell it was very good. But it got boring quick when all
you hear is a swing and a miss, or a swing and a hit
I want to say it was worth thirty dollars, just because of all of the statistics
and animations and other painful work that went into the game. But the fact that
it's so hard to sit there and play it with bad sound, or no sound makes it .. basically
unplayable. Thirty bucks isn't worth that. Fifty cents isn't worth that.
When I said that it seemed that this game was a copy and paste from the Playstation 2,
I meant it. The sound bug proves that the game wasn't meant for the PC, and the stadium
textures reinforce that.