B-b-baseball! Baaaseball! Stars Two!

Baseball Stars 2 is like the Blades of Steel/Tecmo Super Bowl of baseball.

If you don't mind a comparison to a game that came out after it, it's actually more like the NFL Blitz of baseball.

Yeah, it's a Neo Geo game so right off you can expect that it will be arcade-style rather than a simulation.

Don't expect real MLB leagues or players here. You pick from 6 fanciful teams such as the Tokyo Ninjas or the Napoli Angels.

It's too bad this came out in the 90s because it would have been perfect for a Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire endorsement. Every team is composed of burly screaming steroid freaks with wedges of tobacco lodged in their mouths.

Probably have quick-release 'roids in the tabaccy.

You can play one-on-one against another person, or try to win 15 games in a row against the computer to win the pennant. In the original arcade version, you only got four minutes to play per quarter before you had to insert another one - I'll assume they're removing that from the Virtual Console release, aside from being nonsensical it would also jam up the game because it would usually pop up right in the middle of a pitch or something.

The gameplay is pretty standard 2D baseball fare. If you've played any other baseball games of the 8 or 16 bit era you'll jump right in. The only difference here is that you have a limited number of power-ups to give your guys like Explosive Bat and stuff.

You're supposed to be able to trigger fights somehow, but I've never figured out how. It's a rare event for me to get on base as every hit of the ball seems to always be either a pop fly or an infield grounder.

Fielding is kind of a pain due to the perspective. Infield hits stay in the same screen that you pitch on, and it's hard to quickly judge where they are going to land. Base hits to the outfield are a nightmare - the camera tracks along with the ball but gives you no indication of what player is currently closest or that you have control over. So often times you end up with the ball just sitting there on the ground, and runs scoring while you try to figure out who you are controlling and how to get them there to pick it up.

I think it would be more fun if it wasn't originally designed to suck quarters out of your pocket. You can't fault the graphics, and the game's crazy testosterone imbalance presentation and style is fun, but the gameplay is just too shallow, and it's really hard to actually win a game. Probably a much better choice for two players than someone going solo.

Yeah, those who have been waiting for a solid baseball game they can really sink their teeth into aren't going to get it here. It is better than the two games on offer on the VC right now -- NES Baseball and World Class Baseball -- but those games are absolutely wretched so that's not really saying much.

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