Take a baseball game, mix in a couple cyborgs, add a few assorted robots, some weapons, and a couple of quarts of motor oil, and you've got the recipe for Base Wars, the latest sports game from Konami/Ultra.
Base Wars picks up where that arcade mega-hit, Cyberball, left off. But this time robots have replaced humans on the baseball diamond. With the addition of metal men to America's pastime comes a new set of rules. No longer does an owner's cash have to be spent on free agents, now it can be allocated for mechanical repairs and... weapons!
Take Me Out to the Brawl Game
While most of the traditional rules of baseball remain in Base Wars (three outs an inning, three strikes is an out, etc.), one major addition guarantees that Base Wars is not your run-of-the-mill baseball game. Now you have to fight for the right to advance a base. You didn't think a lumbering hunk of metal could really "steal" a base, did you? Whenever a ball is put into play, any close play is fought out between the base runner and the fielder.
If a battle occurs, the game shifts from the traditional over-the-field view to a close-up battle screen. The two robots slug or shoot it out until one of their power bars reaches zero. If the winner of the battle is the runner, he's safe and he may advance another base if he desires. If the fielder wins, the runner's out and play continues.
ProTip: When you reduce a robot's hit points to zero during a battle, stand as far away from the fallen foe as possible. You can take damage if you're too close to him when he explodes.
There are two ways to win a game of Base Wars. Outscoring your opponent in nine innings or disabling three of the other guy's players.
Every robot has a certain amount of hit points at the beginning of the season. Every time you battle either you lose hit points when you take on damage or gain some back when you inflict some of your own. When your hit points hit zero, your robot is history! Early on it's a good idea to decide whether you're playing for runs or playing for kills.
- Bearing an opponent causes 20 points on more of damage (depending on how fast the ball's thrown). It's worth walking a player if you can reduce a low hit point total even lower.
- The computer opponent gets much tougher in battles after you destroy one of his players. It's a good idea to reduce three of his players' hit points simultaneously.
Build Your Team -- Piece By Piece
Winning brings cash rewards, which can be used on repairs and robot upgrades. A whole arsenal of weapons and other devices are available for a price. If you're playing a full season, the team you start with and the team you have in the end will be extremely different.
Nuts and Bolts
Base Wars is a lot of fun, but not flawless. Graphics and sound are only average, and the screen often is unable to scroll fast enough to keep up with the action. But the biggest flaw is a missing "quick play" mode similar to SNK's Baseball Stars. Base Wars lets you form a league with up to six teams, but you must suffer through games played between computer opponents if you're playing by yourself.
As a multi-player game, Base Wars really excels. It's a nice mix of baseball and battling -- you'll never get tired of kicking the other guy's can -- literally!
Download Base Wars
- Manufacturer: Ultra
- Machine: Nintendo
- Type: Sport
- Release: 1991
- Difficulty: Average
Baseball takes on a whole new meaning when the athletes are cybernetic warriors. These robots aren't programmed to knit, either! In this game there are no force outs. To earn the right to have a base, you must fight it out with the defense, winner take all! Super speed pitches, maximum control changeups, and even an out of orbit satellite dish are featured within the boundaries of Basewars.
Base Wars is the Cyberball of baseball, offering up robots of all kinds in a souped-up version of our favorite pastime. Both the one and two-playing version highlight great pitching and batting action, fantastic graphics and some of the best sports action you'll ever find.
Wow! Now this is a game which even 'normal' baseball fans can get into. While deceptive at first glance, if you give it a try it will grow on you. With lots of different editing features, no two games are ever the same. The parts shop is a nice touch but for the full effect try the pennant race!
Base Wars is awesome! My first impression was that it was a baseball/Cyberball ripoff. After playing it for 5 minutes I was hooked. Great graphics and addicting game play combined with totally fresh theme make this one of the best sports games I've ever played!
It's Cyberball in a baseball stadium! About time! This concept is nothing new, but it is executed with extreme precision and style. Take it from me, with all those stuffy baseball simulators out there, this cart is a breath of fresh air. You'll be rolling in your seats when you fight for a base!!
The toughest Tlenges facing today's baseball managers often don't take place on the field - they're found in the clubhouse. Some of today's players are pampered stars whose tempers demand as much attention as their high-priced bodies. That means managers must juggle egos as deftly as they determine batting orders.
In Base Wars, the baseball managers of the future don't need to worry about their players' personal lives anymore. Doomed by sky-high salaries, the boys of summer have been replaced with computerized machines. Team rosters are made up of artificial athletes that include robots, cyborgs, tanks, flybots, and intelligent motorcycles.
With the luxury of expendable players, the team owners in Base Wars decided to modify the rules. They programmed their metal monsters not only to win games, but also to attempt to destroy each other in the process. The result is a brutal and violent version of what was once our easygoing national pastime.
These players use tactics you'll hopefully never see on a real baseball diamond. For example, force-outs and close calls on the base paths, often lead to one-on-one battles between the runner and fielder. And if a player gets thrashed too often, he'll explode. How you perform in these duels is as important as how many base hits you get. Be aggressive - whenever possible, try to stretch singles into doubles, and doubles into triples. If the play is close, be ready for a vicious exchange of blows.
You must also excel at the game within the game - pitching. Fortunately, your hurlers can throw curveballs with more breaks than a mountain road and fastballs you can barely see. It's up to you to pick the pitches and fool the batter.
To get the most out of Base Wars, you'll want to create your own six-team Cyber League and play a whole season. You can earn $20,000 for each win, and you can spend the money to buy weapons or pay for repairs.
Fun to play, Base Wars is also pleasing to watch. The sharp graphics give you a great look at the combatants as they play in a spacious, futuristic arena. And while the jousting sequences aren't visual masterpieces, they certainly convey what's going on.
You're not going to find "cybersport" in any dictionary for at least the next few decades. But if robotics keep progressing, perhaps someday there will be real cyber-sports (sporting matches played out entirely by robots), and the arcades of the early '90s will have been responsible for their existence.
The theme has recently exploded onto the video game scene, and Ultra's Base-wars, a surprisingly playable cyberbaseball simulator, is a must-have archetype of the genre. It not only plays a decent game of baseball, it adds a lot of very clever and amusing twists--like Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots Day at the ballpark.
The game is 85% straight baseball, either open play or a pennant race (any combination of computer and human-operated teams), minus a few important conventions. No bunts, no base stealing, no designated hitters, no substitutions. (Substitute? Hardly. You'll just have to pay for repairs after the game, out of your winnings--if you've got any!) Fielding is semiautomatic: Your cyborg will often make catches itself, but you'll still have to stay on top of it and make sure the ball is directed to the right base.
Aside from the cyborgs' ability to throw blazing fast balls and literally knock them into orbit, what sets them apart from human players is the way they interact on the field. During any squeeze play, the two cyborgs go head-to-head in a fast, vicious fighting match. The weapons used in the match depend on what you can afford for your cyborg!
There are four types of cyborgs, each with certain abilities, but there's no variation inside each type; for instance, a flybot always plays like another flybot. That is, until you start buying add-ons. The addons are meant to improve either baseball-related abilities (stronger shoulders, quicker servomotors, faster arms, etc.) or battling abilities (laser weapons, gloves and more). About the only thing you can't do is kick dirt on the umpire.
In pennant mode, you create a league out of any six of the 12 teams available--ten preformed city teams and two completely configurative teams. With its battery backup, Basewars remembers all league information (though you can't run more than one league at once). The games go extremely quickly, and the interface is a breeze to learn. It's heavily based on all the other baseball games already available.
The graphics are occasionally very impressive. There are times when you may forget this isn't a 16-bit production. The robots are big and nicely animated, particularly the batters. The screen pans smoothly to keep up with the action, and home runs are rewarded with a novel 3-D outer-space salute. The sound is also well above-average, containing plenty of separate themes, fairly realistic sound effects and digitized voices calling plays and grunting appropriately.
The only problem worth mentioning is the lack of strategic options in the game. Without being able to bunt or plan a steal, baseball loses a good deal of tactical pizzazz. The ability to outfit the player with technological assistance helps put some of that interest back, but the game would have been richer if the programmers had kept as much existing strategy as possible and then added to it with cyborgian elements.
Football seems to be the most popular inspiration for cybersports, but Basewars is more fun than the competition. Perhaps it's because baseball gives you a greater opportunity of face-to-face strategy between two robots, rather than having 22 cyberplayers all running around at the same time.