As baseball games overflow store shelves, HardBall '95 distinguishes itself by almost matching the standards of World Series '95. A remarkable improvement over last year's unexceptional entry, the latest in this long-running series steals second with impressive graphics, features, and controls.
- For an early start when stealing, hold lip as soon as the pitcher begins his windup.
Hit the field for solid baseball with all 28 major-league teams and the standard modes: Exhibition, League Play, Batting Practice, and Home Run Derby. The teams feature real players with '94 stats. Nice features, such as buying and selling teams and trading players, strengthen the action. Other nice options include altering rosters, player characteristics, and even the weather conditions.
Precise positioning isn't necessary to bag pop flies; just nudge your fielder into the green circle.
The CPU plays an impressively tougher game than it did in the '94 version, making for more authentic, challenging gameplay.
You'll earn a few thumb blisters before you earn hits with regularity, though the precise controls ease the challenge.
Strikingly improved from Hard- Ball '94, the dazzling graphics make for beautiful baseball. The smooth but slightly slow sprites move realistically in both the standard batting view and the TV-like pitching perspective. Although the players seem too small when you're fielding, the gorgeous stadiums, rendered from the real parks, are a feast for the eyes. Announcer A1 Michaels calls the plays. His familiar voice lends flair, but his commentary is marred by jerky pauses that make him sound robotic. The bat cracks and other effects perform well but without distinction.
Mix up your pitches, or the CPU will catch on to your patterns and light you up.
With an in-depth system of season play, HardBall '95 trails only slightly behind the frontrunner, World Series '95. Nonetheless, this strong game will keep you swinging away under the warm summer sun.