Tony La Russa Baseball
EA Sports's latest baseball entry is an updated version of 1992's Tony La Russa Baseball. Regrettably, La Russa '95 is a disappointing follow-up, especially when compared to superior, more intense Genesis baseball titles like World Series Baseball and Hardball '94.
La Russa does bring solid strategy to the stadium. Thanks to the MLBPA license, La Russa '95 features actual 1994 Major League rosters and enough player stats to satisfy any would-be manager.
- Give your relievers one full inning to warm up.
- This game is brainy, so use all the strategies -- like the hit and run and sacrifice bunt -- that you can.
You don't just get top-ten lists, you get bottom-ten lists, too. To take advantage of all the offensive and defensive numbers, you can substitute or trade players at any time. Choose from the 28 pro teams and two custom teams for a wide variety of playing styles.
Weak controls, however, impede your enjoyment. Unlike other baseball games, you can't just start a full season. Here you must wander through a dozen menus, then select every individual game for the season. That's 162 games you have to highlight one by one! When you finally play, your frustration will build as you try to swing against a pitch that floats like a Whiffle ball. Batting is very difficult in this game, so don't plan on scoring lots of runs with La Russa.
- Use the Pitcher's View. It's a lot less frustrating for both the pitcher and batter.
- Novice gamers should take advantage of the CPU Field option until they're comfortable with the fielding controls.
- Pay attention to La Russa's advice between innings. He'll give you valuable ProTips that you can incorporate into your strategy.
The graphics aren't great, but they're competent. You get two views: behind the pitcher or behind the batter. However, the color isn't strong, the outfielders are small, and the fields are pretty plain. On the plus side, pitchers and batters are detailed (watch the pitcher's gestures on close calls), and the six stadium background facades do look real.
- Keep apprised of your pitcher's status via the Pitching Coach Reports before he goes to the mound each inning.
The audio will disappoint you as well. The screams of the crowd sound more like a running faucet, and the fans only come alive for home runs. Other sound effects -- such as the ump's calls and the three tunes played by the organ -- resemble standard noises found in other baseball games. Only the good crack of the bat stands out.
In a Slump
Accolade's original Hardball from the late '80s was better than La Russa '95. Stat fans might like it, but fans of high-scoring sports action looking for great graphics, sounds, and controls will take their ball to another field.
Other games by
Tony La Russa Baseball DownloadsTony La Russa Baseball download
- Manufacturer: Electronic Arts
- Machine: Genesis
Hopefully, there won't be any baseball next year. That's just the way I feel. That's the way you'll feel after trying to control this so-so baseball sim. The bells and whistles are OK, but it's not quite up to EA standards.
Electronic Arts is finally getting into baseball in a major league way. EA has published several award-winning Genesis sports games in the past, so they don't want to stop now. Heads up, baseball fans, they're going with a proven winner-Tony La Russa, manager of the Oakland A's.
In Tony La Russa Baseball, you'll be able to play with any team in the Majors and use their real players, too. Take on a full 162-game season, a half season, or a four-team Round Robin torney. The game will also generate an All-Star team or you can pick your own.
Baseball stat junkies should go nuts with this game. La Russa Genesis uses the same stats engine as Tony La Russa Baseball for the PC, and the stats are compiled by Stats Inc., the outfit that does USA Today newspaper's statistics. On-screen game play will reflect the '92-'93 Major League statistics up to spring training. Each player will be rated according to nine categories -- Speed, Power, Range, Arm Strength, Streaks, Injuries, and their ability to Hit and Run, Bunt, and come through in Clutch situations.
On-field action looks like it's going to belong in the Bigs. You play the game from a behind-the- batter view. There will be five different batter animations in the game, and in the prelim version they looked great.
Fielders should have a field day. A special ball-spotter circle helps you make plays by indicating the spot on the field where a hit ball -- grounders, line drives, or fly balls -- will touch the ground. For fly balls, it will move around.
Go for the fences!
Armchair managers will make critical decisions by setting up pitching rotations and organizing batting lineups (lefties versus righties). Video managers will also be able to make relievers warm up in the bullpen and watch to see if they've got their good stuff. You'd better watch them closely, too. If you leave them in the 'pen too long, they'll wear out their arms. You'll even be able to send guys to the showers.
Plays with Great Potential
EA took its time about getting into America's favorite pastime, and it looks like it will be worth the wait. Tony La Russa Baseball could be a winner in any league.