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The Video Game Critic
While Slugfest's developers were busy adding new features, I really wish they had included an instant replay system. After all, it's the 90's for Pete's sake!! While far from perfect, if I could only have one Nintendo 64 baseball game, Slugfest would probably be my choice. It has the slick graphics, simple controls, and non-stop action I look for in a baseball game.
Slugfest is a good baseball game and a definite improvement over last year's Ken Griffey endorsed game. I only wish this game had come out last year so that Angel Studios could've wowed us with some really impressive baseball gaming this time around. Instead, Slugfest is a notch below the standard set by All-Star Baseball 2000 this year but still better than the other 1999 baseball offerings. I loved the sounds and full MLB license. The uniforms and players look great but I would've liked more accurate stadiums. Shea Stadium is missing its homerun siren/hat, Turner Field has no Coke bottle in left field (I can understand licensing problems) and, by Rollie Fingers' moustache, there's no centerfield swimming pool at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix!
In the end, Ken Griffey Jr.'s Slugfest, as the name implies, is a fast-paced arcade-style baseball game that will appeal to anyone who wants an intuitive, easy-to-play game. It's especially good for younger players who might not want to deal with some of the complex batting and pitching schemes of other N64 games. Fans who enjoy a sim-style baseball game should probably just stick to the option-laden All-Star Baseball 2000.
The newest incarnation in the Ken Griffey Jr. series of baseball titles, Slugfest takes the arcade feel of the franchise to wonderful new levels. It has all the modes of play (Exhibition, Season, Home Run Derby, and World Series) that we take for granted in contemporary baseball games, as well as an excellent Create-A-Player mode that recognizes more than just the MLB players. Graphically, Slugfest is clean but uninspired, although the stadiums are exquisitely rendered, offering a real sense of depth. The players are of the cookie-cutter variety, offering little in ways to distinguish them from each other except for skin tone. However, they make up for what they lack in beauty with a wide variety of expressive animations. All in all it adds up to an impressive, if not perfect, baseball game.
While Slugfest is much improved over the previous installment, it just doesn't have the oomph to really compete with ASB 2000. The gameplay, graphics, and overall feel are a few notches below the reigning champ, though still miles ahead of bush league Triple Play 2000. Slugfest is the definitive mid-range game - not the best, but certainly not the worst. The Kid may be at the top his game, but his game is in the middle of the pack.
This game has certainly understood one thing. Gamers like choices. That is why the development of two different pitching and batting interfaces for one game is brilliant. Unfortunately, the developers did not take that knowledge and apply it to the rest of the game, which rates very low on the scale of personal choice and freedom. The amazing shortcoming of the game is that the controls make no sense to a player's intrinsic controller knowledge. I have never really had to study a manual before to figure out a game like I had to do with this one. Generally, after a little play, the controls seem quite easy to pick up and almost second nature. This game, instead of being second nature is really more like second tier.