Genre: Sports Developer: Tengen Publisher: Tengen Players: 1-2 Released: 1991
Remember that time you were sitting in the La-Z-Boy, and you fell asleep at night, and the ball game was on, and it was really boring and… yadda yadda yadda? Well, consider that experience equal to playing RBI Baseball 3. To get a better idea of what I’m saying, first, read this. In essence, this game is fairly bland and won’t spend much time in my Genesis. But it isn’t bad, so what is there to be said about it?
When you’re done with that article, watch this. The magic of RBI Baseball becomes clear: it is simply arcade baseball that is simple enough for everyone to enjoy. Not many baseball games in history can say that, and most times a game that is very simple to play can be very fun, but can the fun be translated between two rival systems? The first RBI Baseball for Genesis, RBI Baseball 3, comes off as kind of bland, but it still has the original magic that made the NES original so great. So, lets step up to the plate and see what RBI Baseball 3 has to offer.
I played this during my spring break with my friend, and we made it through a game in about a half hour. We never really came up with a solid opinion of it. It’s bland, and it’s boring after a few minutes, but it has the original magic of the NES game that is so special. First, we should go into what’s good about this sequel. The graphics are heavily improved over the two NES releases (the second one on NES doesn’t look too bad, really), and it has a boatload of teams to choose from. It boasts the 1991 teams and all division winners all the way back to ’83 with their full compliment of pitchers (just in case you ever wanted to play as the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers). That’s cool, pretty much every RBI game since RBI Baseball 2 has at least hosted every MLB team.
So, of course I play as the beloved 1984 Detroit Tigers against the 1984 Chicago Cubs. First thing I notice is the lackluster scoreboard and mediocre rendition of the national anthem. Maybe this game was just ported over to the Genesis from the NES or something, but they could have done a better job making it look like a genuine scoreboard. I know, I’m picky. The graphics are fairly shaky to begin with, and the scoreboard is just one of a few blaring “oofs” of the graphical blandness of the game. Another “oof” is the stadium. Not stadiumS, stadium. You know, some games aren’t bad with just one stadium. Have you ever played Base Wars for NES? Well, this has to transcend to the next level of greatness in gameplay and overall experience for it to be really okay if it only has one stadium, and RBI 3 certainly doesn’t.
That being said, it’s not all terrible. The overall RBI experience is there, you have all of the fielders moving together, the “oooooooOOOOOOOOooooooo” sound for the fly balls (sometimes it can be deafening, it seems) and it does give you fireworks for home runs, which are fairly frequent (at least when I am the ’84 Tigers). I don’t achieve Base Wars frequency, but I hit probably about three to five dingers a game, which with the very difficult fielding on the hard setting is sometimes not enough to win. The hitting system isn’t too difficult like I already mentioned, but sometimes it is hard to tell the height of the ball, and I will find myself swinging at bad pitches. Speaking of bad pitches, the catcher doesn’t seem to move very much to make an attempt to catch anything thrown to him.
The pitching system, at least, is faithful to the RBI series, thank god. Nothing special to report there, but the fielding is again questionable. It seems throughout this game that they gave the players the appearance that they look more realistic, but they move like the old RBI players – slow and plodding. Moreover, infielding takes time to get used to, and you’ll give up a lot of doubles trying to dive with the shortstop and then having the ball go all the way to the wall. The catching isn’t too bad, but if you are playing where there is no sound you are out of luck, because just as with pitching it is hard to tell the height of the ball. It takes a while to get used to, and frankly it’s not worth it. The AI also makes some questionable fielding plays as well, like when a routine ground ball turns into a triple.
Overall, RBI is just forgettable, and by now most of my readers know that forgettable games make me more upset than bad games, per se. I can’t give the reader any reason to play this game for more than one pick up game or two. The presentation is decent, but everything score-wise is black and white, literally and figuratively. There is no ten-run rule, so the realism is there, minus the whole controlling where the pitch goes. This game is just blasé. There’s nothing to it, at all. I don’t know what else to say. Enjoy this video of another great Detroit Tigers moment while I pop in something else for you to read about. Okay, you’re excited, right? One more video.
Let’s start talking baseball, guys, it’s almost opening day right? When I don’t have to play games like this anymore?