Sport Accolade's Hardball III is the best game in the Hardball series yet. The game is loaded with stats and options, but its graphics reduce this to an above-average baseball game.
Give Me Options
Hardball III is loaded with so many options that some players may be intimidated. You can alter everything from your players' stats to their team logos. No Major League teams are included here, but all your favorite Major League players are present and accounted for, along with their 1993 stats and game performances true to those numbers. The controls are easy to use in Hardball III, and no previous Hardball experience is required.
ProTip: Take lots of batting practice lo improve your hitting skills. To make your day at the park easier, learn to pull a pitch, bunt, and go with a pitch.
A Colorful Game
Unfortunately, Hardball Ill's graphics are merely average. While the images are definitely colorful, they lack detail. In addition, the character movement is choppy, so that the pitcher and batter sprites lack fluid motions when pitching and batting. On the plus side, digitized pix of your favorite players grace the game, but even these enhancements are somewhat pixilated.
Hardball Ill's sounds help the game out of its low-tech rut. Clear digitized speech adds an extra level of realism to the game, but the music can become annoying. At least there's an option to turn it off.
Not a Bad Team
Although Hardball III has a good combination of options, stats, atmosphere, and sounds, you can't help but feel disappointed by the graphics. The choppy players will frustrate you if you've played smooth, graphically superior baseball games like World Series Base- ball and RBI Baseball'94.
Other games by
HardBall 3 DownloadsHardBall 3 download
The "personality" hook in A1 Michaels Announces HardBall III is obviously the nonstop, play-by-play commentary by Emmy Award-winning sportscaster, A1 Michaels. Michaels' voice stars, but it won't upstage this game's nifty baseball features.
HardBall III bends over backwards to enable you to play baseball the way you like it. In this one- or two-player game, you can choose to play one Exhibition Game, play a 162-game season, play for the Division crown, challenge for the League Championship, or go for the World Championship.
ProTip: Each team's roster is accompanied by the players' stats, which are divided into 25 categories. Read the stats carefully to create winning lineups.
The game uses all of the rules of professional baseball, but not the pro players and teams. Players do not play according to real-life pro stats, either. However, the game's editing features go a long way toward enabling you to recreate the professional teams and players. You get all 26 Major League ballparks, and the game's default teams represent all 26 pro cities. You can change team names, players' names, and uniform numbers. You can even change uniform colors and redesign the team logo.
Once you hit the ball, timing is the key to a successful play. To run the bases, press the directional pad toward the next base you want to reach.
To back up the cosmetic changes, you can adjust each player's playing capabilities. You can alter running speed, adjust arm strength, determine throwing arm, and set up the batting stance (left-handed, right-handed, or switch hitting). Moreover, you can alter five stats that govern a fielder's on-field actions -- batting average, home runs hit, RBIs, stolen bases, and errors per season. Adjustable pitcher's statistics include Earned Run Average, Wins, Losses, Saves, Speed. Stamina, and Accuracy.
On the field, your team makes the plays! You can make fielders dive or leap to make catches. If they miss, you can switch control to the next closest player. Fielders can also hit for power, or just make contact. This game also offers a special "team effort" option, which makes your teammates automatically back you up during a play.
On offense, batters can swing through seven Swing Areas, such as High & Inside and Low & Outside. You can also groove your stroke with the great Batting Practice option, where the game throws you the pitch you want to practice hitting.
The graphics in HardBall III swing from outstanding to just average. You pitch and bat from a behind-the-batter view. The batter's swing is the smoothest and sweetest of any video baseball game around. On the other hand, the high-stepping, arm-pumping running style of the fielders is clownish. Nice graphic extras include an Instant Replay feature, which enables you to put together a Highlights reel from each game, plus gives extreme close-up views of close plays at any base.
Keep an eye on your pitcher's endurance, since he will eventually get tired and need to be replaced.
So Real It Hurts
As with most sports simulations, the more you know about real-life baseball, the better you'll be at HardBall III. However, this game's great editing features also challenge you to put your stats where your mouth is! HardBall plays hardball.
Step up to the plate, baseball fans! HardBall III is on its way from Accolade, and it's grand slamming its way onto the Genesis. If you've been waiting for a realistic conversion of America's oldest pastime, your park prayers may be answered!
HardBall III is a one- or two-player multiple-perspective baseball game. You can choose your views from a behind-the-pitcher shot, a behind-the-batter shot, or combinations of the two (pitcher shot while you're pitching, batter shot while you're batting). You can also choose to have a close-up view of the action. You can even edit any of the 28 teams from the color of their caps and jerseys, to changing their star players, to actually redesigning their logos. However, since this game is not endorsed by the Major Leagues, you'll have to suffer with names like the Kansas City Kings.
In HardBall III, you'll have the opportunity to be the main man -- the coach. Change infield and outfield formations, substitute players, and rearrange the batting order. Want more options? How about the ability to rest and rotate pitchers, pick stadiums (over 25 to choose from), and even see highlights from games you've already played. There are so many options; you'll need to get hands-on experience to understand them all.
Now Pitching... Al Michaels?
That's right. As all the PC players of HardBall in know by now, A1 Michaels is the pitch man. He lends his linguistic license to this version of Hardball. Unlike the SportsTalk series released for the Genesis (Joe Montana SportsTalk Football and SportsTalk Baseball) where whole phrases were digitized, only single words will be digitized here. When a batter goes 0 and 4, HardBall III will let you know with merciless digitized speech. Every throw, every stat, every comment will be electronically reproduced for realistic announcing action.
Field A Dream
HardBall HI looks loaded with options and realistic game play. This baseball game could knock the horsehide to tatters and make previous baseball games seem like foul balls. The wait for great baseball video action could be almost over.
Hardball 3 is a multiplatform baseball game. This revision features 256 colour VGA graphics, and announcer Al Michaels provides running commentary while you play. This version is supposed to be a simplified version of the Hardball series found on the personal computers of the time. Season stats are logged through a lengthy password.