Bases Loaded 4

Jaleco's Bases Loaded 4 for the NES proves that sequels can be better than their predecessors. Bases Loaded 4 combines the highly addictive, single-season baseball game play from Bases Loaded 1 and 2 with the snappy graphics and cool features of Bases Loaded 3.

Family History

Bases Loaded 1 and 2 scored as two highly playable baseball games, which featured multi-game seasons, player substitutions, and two-player competition. In Bases Loaded 3, Jaleco rolled out one of the best-looking baseball games for the NES. It featured sharply detailed and smoothly animated players. BL 3 also had some cool pitching and base running controls, but it abandoned the season play mode for a five-game exercise, where the CPU evaluated and rated your team's overall stats at the end.

Jaleco's 4th contender for the video baseball Hall of Fame is their best yet, combining BL 3's hot looks with BL 1 and 2's full-season baseball action. Other cool Bases Loaded 4 features include lineup changes, realistic player stats, smooth controls, exhibition games, two-player mode, and even a Super Series.

ProTip: To avoid a slugfest; replace your pitcher when his fatigue rating exceeds four stars.

Be the Pilot of the Series

Bases Loaded 4 lets you play a one- or two-player exhibition game, or you can enter a 130-game season against the computer. The game also includes a "couch potato" mode that lets you choose two teams to watch them battle it out.

As for teams, the BL4 league includes 12 -- six each in two divisions. Your goal is to capture the pennant in your division by winning 70 games. You can then qualify for the Super Series.

To pick a winning team, study each team's roster in the manual and use the Watch mode to find your favorite players.

A Mound with a View

The batting and pitching perspective is a simulated 3D view from behind the pitcher's mound. The graphics are much better than a view from the stands, but the ball doesn't change size from the time it leaves the pitcher's hand to when it hits the catcher's mitt. This makes it hard to judge a pitch when you're hitting.

If you hit the ball, the screen switches to a center-field perspective, with an inset screen of the entire field. The running and fielding animations are at just the right level of detail to make the game fast-paced and still fun to watch.

Sounding Bored

Bases Loaded 4's musical soundtrack is a mishmash of dischordant techno-jazz that recycles pretty quickly. Fortunately, you can turn the music off and keep the sound effects active, because you'll definitely need to hear the sound cues in mid-play, like the squeak of the ball bouncing off the grass and the sound of a runner stealing base.

Fancy Fingers

Bases Loaded 4 hits a homer when it comes to controls. The batter can swing the bat at different height levels, move in the box, and bunt. The pitcher has nine different pitches, including a curve, a change-up, and a split-fingered fastball. In addition, you can accentuate the degree of a particular pitch by tapping A during the windup. As for fielding, it's a breeze. You can make your fielders jump up or dive to catch line drives. Stealing bases is smooth, too, and your base runners slide into the bag on close plays.

"Base" Is Loaded

BL 4 combines Jaleco's best graphics and its sweetest controls to bring you a winner. For NES baseball, this game shares the top of the mound with Roger Clemens. This diamond is an NES sports player's best friend.

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