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Ken Griffey Jr.'s Slugfest
Review by Turok


          I never was much of a fan of handheld sports sims, because they were such poor quality. However, increasingly with the new generations of handhelds, that's disappearing. I read some favorable reviews of Slugfest, and decided to give it a try to see if the handheld sports sim market has changed. And my conclusion is that it certainly has. The title screen and several other parts of the game have photograph-quality stills of Junior, made possible by a "hold-and-modify" method that allows hundreds of colors to appear onscreen at once, instead of the 56 normally allowed by GBC. With a high-paid programming staff, the sky's the limit. This method of coding also allows for highly-detailed grass and dirt on the batter's box sequences. Enough about the great graphics-the gameplay is what's important. Well, the game plays a lot like the old NES 8 bit baseball games. It's pretty fun to play, but it's not as fun as 64 bit baseball, and not as fun as the 32 bit baseball games that will undoubtedly appear for the GBA. I'm very "old school" about video games, but one genre that I've always thought graphics were very important in was sports. This serves up decent enough graphics to be worth a consideration, and like I said, the game is fun.

Graphics, animation and sound - 9.8: Great menu system, great stills of Junior, excellent shading in the batter's box sequences thanks to hold-and-modify. The cut scenes are of good quality, as are the player sprites. Also, the crowd looks better than it does on the N64 version of this game. The only thing wrong with the graphics are the occasional corruption of pop-up messages like "out" and "safe." Music and sound effects are clear and good.

Play control - 7.2: I'm not going to lie, this is pretty unsatisfactory. Fielding is very difficult, especially at first, the "radar" is useless, and sometimes the computer doesn't throw to the base you tell it to. However, pitching and running are easy to control, and once you play a few games, the fielding is at least managable. Still, it could be better.

Challenge - 9.0: I kind of like the fact that home runs are rare; I wish this were true in real MLB. A real strategy element is needed here, you can't slug your way through it. Perhaps the game is too difficult, but it beats the hell out of the N64 baseball games where winning by 30 runs or more is something you can do in your sleep.

Theme and fun - 8.8: Pretty fun to play, but occasionally the play control or the difficulty can make it frustrating.

Overall - 8.7: Currently, I believe this is the best sports game on Game Boy Color. Now if only we could get a football or basketball sim of this quality. Definately worth buying.

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