Bottom of the 9th ’99 is a swing and a miss

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This is your favorite sports announcer live from the GiN ballpark in Virginia, and man what a game that has been played here thus far today. It’s the final inning, two outs and no runners on. Konami desperately needs to get on base and bring some runners home if they’re gonna pull this one out. However, the Game Industry News team has played a tough nine innings and are determined to give the fans what they’ve been wanting all along. Nothing but the best baseball game this year. Let’s get back to the action as this game plays out its final moments.

GiN pitcher, aka console reviewer, Jevon Jenkins shuffles the dirt on the pitchers mound and spits one in the direction of first base. Konami’s best pinch hitter steps up to the plate and digs in hard. The pitcher winds up!

The first major disappointment in the newest Bottom of the 9th edition for the N64 is there’s no official MLB license. That simply means there’s nothing authentic about this game. Don’t strain your eyes trying to find your favorite teams logos or even waste a thought trying to recognize which stadium your home team is playing in. With no official license "Bottom of the 9th" just can’t totally be the great baseball game it was meant to be.

The pitcher throws a fast ball hard over the plate! The batter swings! Strike one! Boy I tell ya folks that one had some fire on it clocking in at about 96 miles per hour. Catcher throws the ball back and the pitcher resets. Konami’s batter shakes it off and digs in hard once again.

Bottom of the 9th’s gameplay feature is full of hills and valleys. Konami does a pretty good job for the most part capturing the realism of baseball. Both the pitching and the batting specs of the game are challenging and require a bit of time to master. To be a great pitcher you’re gonna have to practice pushing the control stick in one direction and pressing the A button to select the pitch and then guide the ball where you want it to go by redirecting the stick once again.

Batting is definitely no easy task as you have only a few seconds to judge the intended path of the ball, line up your cross hairs and swing at just the right moment. Once you get a feel for pitching and batting the game becomes a little more enjoyable.

However the downfall to all this is while Konami faithfully sticks to keeping the realism in the game of baseball, Bottom of the 9th — because of its steep learning curve — is a very frustrating game to play in the first couple of days. For example, I remember playing a game where every time my team stepped up to the plate I’d bat three consecutive pop flies over second, right into the outfielder’s hands.

I figured this was just a fluke at first. But this went on for about 6 innings! Then in another game I had successfully shut out a team for seven straight innings allowing only one run. My team was up by eight points. Suddenly, the computer started hitting the ball in all the soft spots of the field. My outfielders, who played a solid game up till that inning, started accumulating errors overthrowing the bases. And the computer managed to get off a couple home runs and a few crucial doubles. Before I knew it I was chasing them for the lead. It was as if every batter was suddenly Mark MacGwire, Ken Griffey Jr., or Sammy Sosa!

The pitcher throws a curve ball just over the corner of the plate. The batter swings! It’s a hit! The ball flys wide right though. Foul ball! Strike Two! Two strikes and no balls. Jenkins knows he needs this last pitch to seal the game for the GIN team. He wipes his brow, spits one in the directions of third base this time and checks the brim of his cap. Konami’s batter, looking a bit frustrated, takes a deep breath, grunts and digs in really hard.

It’s bad enough not having an official license but the graphics are what really strike this game out. From first looks the game looks very rushed and half done. There’s the famous thick fog feature covering the entire screen that sort of throws off the colors of the teams uniforms. The players themselves lack any detailed definitions and their bodies are shaped funny. This is simply not the type of game you expect to launch off the N64 after the platform has broken into a whole new realm of high resolution graphics. When you see these types of low resolution graphics it really undermines the capabilities of the system and makes it look like someone was just after a quick buck!

Jenkins cocks back! Way way way back! He let’s it go! Strike three! Holy smoke! The batter never even had a chance to swing at that one, clocking in as the fastest pitch of the day at a whopping 110 miles per hour. You can still see the smoke coming from the back of the catcher’s glove! It’s all over, the GIN team has won the series while Konami is forced to return home to the drawing board.

So there ya have it folks. With no official license, roller coaster gameplay, and horrible low-res graphics, this title just doesn’t have what it takes to play in the big leagues. Once again this is your favorite sports announcer coming to you live from the GiN ball park in sunny Virginia, saying, ”Remember to have your pets (and your terrible games) spayed or neutered and we’ll see ya next time!"

This games gets 2 unsatisfactory GiN gems.

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