TECMO BASEBALL / Tecmo / NES
After the runaway success of Tecmo Bowl and Tecmo Super Bowl, Tecmo tried their hand at pretty much every other major North American sport multiple times, but never quite could recapture the magic they had with their football games. Tecmo Baseball is just another in the long line of meh-ish non-football sports titles they cranked out that are all but forgotten now.
The first strike against Tecmo Baseball is a lack of an MLB team or player license, relegating you to a handful of teams identified only by American city or state with no actual team name and no-name players. There's a rudimentary 1-player mode where you just play one team after another and get passwords in between, a la the original Tecmo Bowl, but no detailed season mode or any kind of roster management. No stylish cinematics either, and while there's omnipresent background music, there seems to be only two tunes that change depending on whether someone is on base or not. Both are doo-wopish and don't sound like they were composed by either of the Ninja Gaiden or Tecmo Super Bowl composers.
That wouldn't be so bad if the gameplay wasn't irritating, but ... it is. Both batting and pitching are rather random. With pitching, you can throw a few different pitch types by holding in a cardinal direction on the pad while throwing (curve, slider, etc.), but there's no way to actually place the ball in a specific spot in the strike zone other than sliding the pitcher left or right, so he tends to just toss it right over the middle of the plate somewhere. Likewise, batters can only adust left-right, and hitting feels extremely random with a ton of pop-ups and fouls. When the computer DOES get one by you, however, there's the double whammy of the typical slow and clunky fielders with unrealistic pinball-like physics of the ball bouncing around the field in unlikely style.
I get the sense with this one that Tecmo felt pressured to crank out a baseball game to capitalize on the success of Tecmo Bowl, but didn't actually have any inspired ideas as they did with Tecmo Bowl, so they just hastily made a slightly inferior copy of Bases Loaded.