Triple Play 2000

Overview

Are you ready to step up to the plate and experience EA Sports’Triple Play 2000? This game is packed full of action, fun and realism that will be sure to please just about every baseball fan. Triple Play 2000 gives you more control, action and power than ever before. You control the roster, and can create, trade and release players as you see fit. You also control the camera angles, see the action, and make the plays! With the realistic gameplay engine and sound effects, you will almost feel as if you’re out there playing as a member of your favorite team!

Gameplay

Triple Play 2000 allows you to play the game just the way you want. You can choose the team you want to play on and in which team’s home stadium you'll be playing. You are not limited to playing a regular 9 inning game either -- the game can be adjusted to play the number of innings that you select. You can play a single game or an entire season. The progress of your season can be saved in memory so that you’re not forced to play it all at once. You can even do a full fantasy draft if you would like. If you want to save a season in memory, make sure that you have seven blocks of memory available, because that is what it takes.

One of the fun features that I enjoyed about this game is the Home Run Challenge. You can choose which player you’d like to play and your opponent can do the same or you can use the option of allowing the computer to choose your opponent. In this contest of high powered hitting, you can hit as many home runs as your skill level will allow. Each time you fail to hit the ball out of the park, an out is scored. Each inning is over when three outs are recorded, just as in a regular game. The Home Run Challenge is very fast paced and fun to play.

One thing about this game that is better than many other baseball games I have seen is the ability to have the computer opponent’s skill level made to match your own. If you’re a beginner, the computer players react a bit slow, and tend to make the game more evenly matched. Once you get to the professional level, the game is much more challenging, and nearly impossible to beat. The game allows you to control the action in just about every way possible, and tailors it to most closely match your playing ability so it’s not too hard or too easy. The team rosters are identical to the real thing and you can even change the lineups as you see fit. You can control all of the baserunning or the computer can direct the runners how to advance. Even in the computer controlled mode, you can still control the baserunners if you’d like to take a chance at stealing a base or two.

When your pitcher starts to show some fatigue with a few wild pitches, you can call in a relief pitcher to take over the game. The controls are laid out well and are pretty easy to get used to. You can control the power of your swing and can even bunt the ball. You can also take aim as to where you want the ball to go and can either hit it up in the air or try for a grounder. As you run the bases, you can slide into the base head or feet first. You can even pump the button to get the baserunner to run faster if you need him to squeeze out that extra bit of speed to make that close play. If the pitcher nails you with a wild pitch, you get to take a base, just like in the real game. When playing on defense, you can adjust the positioning of both the outfield and infield players to move right, left, deep, or closer to the action as you see fit. The pitchers each have their own strengths and weaknesses programmed into the game and even pitch the same types of pitches as the actual players. If your favorite pitcher doesn’t throw a change-up in real life, he won’t be able to do it in Triple Play 2000. You can throw the ball to the side of the plate that you want, and target the pitch to fall within the strike zone, or outside it. The pitcher’s abilities will vary, but the standard pitches available are the fastball, slider, curve, split, and changeup. The players are about as true to life in their abilities as any game I’ve seen.

Another thing I liked was the fairly true to life renditions of the home-field stadiums. They are really well done and even show most of the outlying scenery such as major landmark buildings in the surrounding area. If you’re a baseball fan, you’ll probably recognize your favorite home team’s ballpark. Living in Seattle, I thought it was interesting to play as the Seattle Mariners in their brand new Safeco Field Stadium, several weeks before it actually opens on July 15, 1999, vs. the San Diego Padres. It looks pretty good.

This game is just plain fun to play. The players all move with fairly realistic actions and often times will even kick some dirt off their cleats when they step up to the plate. They play with a fair amount of emotion and look about as realistic as a Sony Playstation could possibly make them look. When they strike out, they’ll flip their bat onto the ground in disgust or pump their fist with enthusiasm when they score a home run. The realism is even further enhanced with the play by play commentary from veteran announcers Jim Hughson and Buck Martinez, so it’s almost like you’re watching the game on TV as you take part in the action. The crew at EA Sports really did a great job with the commentary and sound effects in this game. The announcers interject their own little humorous comments about the plays as they happen and they even throw in a bit of trivia and history about the game and the players. It happens so randomly, that it really seems as if they’re really announcing the game live. The comments do not seem to be repeated that often either, unlike other video games I’ve played. The crowd noises are also very realistic, with the home crowd sometimes chanting real cheers that you would hear at the real stadium. If the team is really starting to fall behind, you can sometimes hear people screaming comments at the players such as, "What are they paying you guys for?", or "C’mon Yankees, let’s get with the program!"

They even have phony sponsors, where they’ll say a few lines about a fake product or service that the game coverage is being brought to you by, and I really thought the ones that I heard were pretty funny. Once again, they did a really good job at keeping this type of sound effect to a minimum. Other games I have played tend to repeat sound effects too often, which can get annoying after a while. Triple Play 2000 does a good job with randomized sounds and commentary. The only part of the game that I found a bit repetitive was the comments made in the Home Run Challenge. This mode tends to make hitting the ball out of the park a bit easier than the regular mode, so they’re constantly repeating themselves with such comments as, "He hit the cover off of that ball", or "That one’s going, going, Gone!", etc. While they do repeat things quite a bit in this section of the game, I still really enjoyed it, and it wasn’t that annoying to me. If it bothers you, you can simply turn down the announcer’s commentary if you don’t want to hear it. It’s that simple.

Graphics

I thought that the graphics in this game were pretty well done, except for when you get a close up view of the crowd -- from a distance, it looks fairly realistic. This minor flaw in no way takes away from the action or content of this game, so it’s really not that big of a deal. The players look pretty realistic, but the facial details and expressions are not too discernible. They resemble the players somewhat, but the limited graphics and memory capabilities of the Playstation keep the game from really hitting an "Out Of The Park" Home Run. In this case, EA has put it just over the fence. The graphics just lack a bit of detail, and can be a little bit blocky when showing a wide angle view of the field with a ball in motion. I’m still amazed though, at what capabilities they’ve been able to squeeze out of this system. Triple Play 2000 allows you to control the camera angles that you view the game with and you can even watch an instant replay of any play. You can view the play "frame by frame" or in full speed, forward or reverse. The game will even display the distance you hit the ball when you belt one out of the park and will also show the current batter’s batting average and how their showing in the current game is turning out (i.e. 1 for 5 Tonight). You can even choose to play a night game or one during the day.

Bottom Line

This game is a lot of fun to play and I can honestly say that if you enjoy baseball at all, you will most likely love the Playstation version of Triple Play 2000. There are really no major flaws in the gameplay and I liked the way they put this game together. I would recommend that you buy this game, especially if you have been interested enough to have read my review to this point. Play Ball!

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Triple Play 2000 Downloads

Triple Play 2000 download

Remember that classic baseball song "Take me out to the ballgame"? EA Sports will soon have you singing "Take me IN to the ballgame" after you see and/or play their latest and greatest baseball game, Triple Play 2000. This latest release in the Triple Play series is about as real as they come without actually going out to the field itself.

Gameplay

With any game, great control is absolutely essential to great gameplay. There are many controls in this game, they respond well, but they sometimes can get confusing. The good news here is that not all of the controls are needed to get a game going. However, as you play and get better you will definitely want to learn the extra command set. As with all baseball games, general control depends on whether you're at bat or in the outfield. Batting, in my opinion, is the easiest part of the game to get a hold of and the most fun. You have the ability to swing normal, power swing, or bunt. In addition, you can also specify whether you want to hit a grounder, pop fly, or medium height. Before the pitch, you have the ability to move the batter and/or rotate him anywhere in the batter's box. Once you hit, have been hit, or get walked, the base running can be handled either manually or automatically. As with every good baseball game, sliding into base is there. You can even attempt to plow into the baseman if the need for it arises. When in the outfield or pitching, the controls are slightly more complicated, but not too difficult to get the hang of -- especially if you're used to video baseball games. As the pitcher, you have the choice of up to four different pitches: fast, curve, slider, and change-up. The pitcher will determine which combinations of these are available. You can also try to foil pick-off attempts. When a ball is hit high, a red target and arrows pointing to this target show up so you'll know where to move your fielders. You can hustle faster and jump if needed to catch a ball. In addition to the basic hitting, running, and fielding commands, you also have the ability to direct the position the infield or outfield players, warm up pitchers, substitute players, change the viewpoint of the camera, and the list goes on, and on, and on. In a sentence, this game more or less gives you total control over everything that's happening on the field. In fact, there is one case where you have a bit too much control -- it is actually possible for players to slide into first base, which simply is not legal in the real thing.

At the harder levels of play as the computer fields more efficiently and batting is harder. The different difficulty levels are Rookie, Pro, All-Star, and Custom. Custom is especially nice as you may want to enable or disable certain features. The menus in this game are pretty self-explanatory and simple to move through although I thought the fonts were a bit small in some places. There are a ton of options in this game to suit everyone from the T-ball player to the Major League manager. As with most sports games these days, you have the ability to completely manage your team from trading to selecting free agents. There is even a feature for building your own player from scratch. The level of detail you can add to your custom player impressed me. For example, when building the player, you can select skin color, fielding and batting glove colors, and even different types of facial hair. Of course, in order to save any management changes you've made, you will need a Controller Save Pak.

In addition to a standard single game, you can also play or simulate a full season or playoff games, and even play a home run challenge. The season and playoff games allow you to select the participating teams and then sets up the games. Each game can then be simulated or actually played. My favorite option in the game is the home run challenge that has any two players trying to hit as many home runs as possible and anything that isn't a home run is considered out. When setting up any type of game, you can set up single player, two-player head-to-head, or have the computer play itself. The graphics and sound are so good in this game that, believe it or not, it is actually fun to watch the computer play itself. Think of it as watching regular baseball without commercials! The teams and rosters are all current as of January 1, 1999. Every field is also present and in some cases (such as with Safeco Field in Seattle) the field isn't even open yet (although it will be later this year)!

Graphics

My, oh my! These graphics are absolutely incredible. Each person on the field has very nice detail from shading to stance to uniform to their shadow. Every baseball field is very accurately rendered and some fields even allow you to see skyscrapers or other city buildings in the background. The are numerous camera angles in the game which will allow you to see all different parts of the stadium, players, and the plays themselves. You will see a very nicely rendered sky regardless of the time of day or weather conditions. The graphics are definitely one of the high points of the game and really add to the fun.

Audio

The sounds and music in this game are as wonderful as the graphics. At any given time, you can hear the noise, cheers, and jeers of the fans. The organ or a message over the PA system will occasionally play in the background also. When the home team is at bat, a tidbit of some song will typically play as the batter steps up to the plate. There are other somewhat silly sounds such as a springy sound when a ball is hit foul or the sound of a cannon firing when the ball goes flying far. The speech in the game is quite good whether it is from the umpire or commentator. I was impressed by the commentator verbally calling each player's actual name as they walk up to the plate. The only gripe I have in this section is that the commentator always seems to call the shots before the umpire does. For instance, the commentator will typically call out before the umpire does. While this doesn't affect gameplay, I found it a little annoying.

System Features Supported

Both the Rumble Pak and Controller Save Pak are supported. I was a bit disappointed that the Rumble Pak doesn't vibrate when hitting or catching a ball. The Controller Save Pak is required to save user options, season, and playoff information.

Reviewer's Note

Although this review was based on the Nintendo64 version, I have also played the PlayStation version and although there are some minor differences between the two, the PlayStation version is just as nice as the Nintendo64 version.

Bottom Line

To the track, the wall, it's outta here! EA Sports has hit another home run with their latest baseball game, Triple Play 2000. This is by far the best baseball game I have ever seen out of any console, PC, or coin-op arcade game out there. This is the closest you can possibly come to playing in the major leagues without actually playing the real thing.

reggie posted a review
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