Rating: Average Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey, Jr. is a game that showed promise of rising above the current glut of boring baseball games, but didn't quite realize that promise. First of all, what's the deal with that title? Why the heck wouldn't they just call it Griffey 64? Second of all, and this probably shouldn't even be mentioned, but why does it say "Only For Nintendo Sports" in the corner of the game box? What, is Nintendo Sports a separate system that I have to pay extra money for? Will the game also run on my regular N64, or do I have to buy a "Nintendo Sports"? Maybe they meant "Made By Nintendo Sports," and even that is questionable since Nintendo didn't develop the game (Angel Studios did). Well, enough ranting about that, on with the review. The sound is annoying from the very first moment you turn the game on. Griffey's annoying chants of "Call, Call, Call Me Junior" at the title screen are just plain pathetic. Is that supposed to be cool or something? Also, the in-game commentator does nothing but call out the batters' names as they approach home base (or this game's case, magically teleport to it). Even this becomes annoying and there's no way to turn the commentator off. Also, the things the umpires say are ridiculous at times. When's the last time you heard an umpire repeatedly say "He's in there!" instead of "Safe"? And why is it that when a ball just hits the corner of the plate for a strike, the crowd gasps and boos even if the play was to the home team's favor? Moving on to gameplay, the game only lets you choose from 162 and 81-game seasons if you want the full set of features. You can play a shorter season with 20-some games, but for some reason the game insists that there be no trades, free agent dealings, or even injuries in the shorter seasons. The 81-game seasons would be bearable if you could simulate meanginless mid-season games, but you can't. It's standard fare in every other sports game, but for some reason this game doesn't let you sim games and makes you play every single game in the long, painful season. And where the heck is the Create A Player feature? This is so standard in sports game these days that there is simply no excuse that it is not in this game. The gameplay itself is extremely fast-paced, arcade-style action that holds the potential to be very entertaining. The fielding control is great compared to such horribly-controlling games as Triple Play '98 (or Triple Play '99, same thing), but I found the batting interface to be very frustrating after extensive play. You have to quickly line up your batting cursor with the pitching cursor, then move your eyes to the incoming ball and swing at just the right moment. This would be awesome if it weren't for one little thing. The pitcher can move the pitching cursor as the ball is on its way to home plate, which creates a frustrating situation for the batter. You can't concentrate on lining up the moving cursors or you'll mess up on the timing of the swing, but you can't keep your eye on the ball the whole time or the pitching cursor will move out of range and it will be a strike. As promising as it initially appeared, Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey, Jr. is a very flawed game that will leave gamers across the country wondering why on earth it took Angel Studios over two and a half years to develop.
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