In the Spring of '91, Sega tested the "Clutch Hitter coin-op in a San Francisco-area arcade. Four hours and numerous quarters later, Fanatic Fan was exhausted but smiling: he had found the ultimate baseball video game!
Flash forward several months. First the good news.Jike the arcade version Clutch Hitter for the Game Gear is a great baseball challenge with sharp, colorful graphics. At the plate, you hit with a behind-the-batter view. When you pitch, the view switches behind the pitcher's mound. Once a ball is hit you go to a 3/4 overhead view from behind homeplate. Three views in one little game!
Sega also has licensed the Major League Baseball Player's Association, so all the pro players are in the game - but they only had room for their initials. You better know your team intimately because lots of players have the same initials (such as Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds of the Pirates).
The biggest negative about Clutch Hitter is that you can't jump or dive for balls. This makes fielding tricky - sometimes impossible. Weak grounders squirt through for singles. Singles become doubles. It's a manager's nightmare!
If Sega had allowed diving and jumping for balls, I would have screamed from the roof tops that Clutch Hitter is the best handheld baseball game ever made. It's still the best around, but I'll keep my enthusiasm in the dugout until the sequel.
- PROTIP: Don't give up on that single to light field. Your outfielders have great amis, so quickly field the hit and throw to first base.