Hardball 99

a game by MindSpan Technologies Corp, and Accolade
Genre: Sports
Platforms: Playstation, PSX
Editor Rating: 7.3/10, based on 3 reviews, 4 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
Rate this game:
See also: HardBall Games

People say:

4.0

The Hardball series is one of the longest-living videogame sports franchises out there that has yet to break out into a classic. I'm afraid that's not going to change with this year's version. Hardball 99 updates the look of the series and tries to catch up to the current efforts from 989 and EA Sports, but the problem is that they're still playing catch-up with last year's releases. Everything from the character builds to the play calling seems dated and would have been average-at-best a year ago. The most crucial area of a baseball title is the pitcher/batter confrontation. The pitching options In H99 are limited and predictable, while the batting interface is unrealistic. It's just silly to choose an option to hit an opposite field hit and be able to do it 95% of the time. Not even Tony Gwynn can manage a feat like that. Speaking of hitting, the feeling you get from connecting with a ball is very disappointing. It's hard to judge the ball trajectory until the ball is well into the field, making it difficult to manage runners who are already on base. And then there's the sound. The announcer sounds choppy and most of the sound effects seem off. If you want to see how much impact it has on the game, try playing it with the volume down--it's better! I think it's time for Accolade to start over from scratch.

3.0

Ouch, Believe me, I take no pleasure at all in dogging the efforts of hard-working game developers, but I really can't think of a single reason why I'd recommend Hardball 99 to anyone when there are three far, far superior baseball games already available for the PS. The graphics and animation are awful, the sound effects are hideous, and the gameplay, while not a total failure, is pretty darn weak. Don't even bother renting this one.

4.5

Unless you're really into stats, you might want to look elsewhere for your baseball action. Hardball 99 has more than a few problems. The frame-rate is far from smooth, the animation is terrible at key moments (mainly batting), and the all-important hitting interface is inaccurate at best, which really hurts the gameplay. The All-Time team which includes Ruth, Jackson, etc. is cool but overall this one is only so-so.

4.0

I'm really not much of a baseball fan. but even I can tell a stinker when I see one. All you need to do is stick this. Triple Play 99, MLB 99 and even VR Baseball 99 side-by-side and let the comparison speak for itself. Hardball 99 doesn't hold a candle to any of these games, either visually or from a game-play standpoint. What else do you need to hear? Save yourself the trouble and go with one of the aforementioned games.

Download Hardball 99

Playstation Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PSX Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Overview

Get ready to blast a homerun that will even make Big Mac take notice with Accolade's latest baseball offering. Accolade got licensing agreements with both Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players, so they have actual player names and pictures, all 30 stadiums and the new expansion teams.

Although I wouldn't call this game a grand slam, it is at least a triple or a weak homer. Accolade could have improved on the graphics and sound, but the overall gameplay is better than most. If you're a hardcore baseball fan you'll be spending a lot of time playing this game, and even if you're not a hardcore fan you'll still find plenty to enjoy.

Gameplay

Hardball 99 is very reminiscing of previous versions, except that everything is a lot smoother. All the features players have come to expect from baseball games are there, from instant replay to in-depth statistics. The game has the home run derby option where you can pick any player and swat the balls around. This isn't their greatest feature because it isn't real easy to switch to various players and takes more time than it should. It also doesn't mimic the real home run derby because it doesn't let you compete head to head with other players in a tournament type fashion. Instead it lets you swing at eight balls and adds up the distances each of them go. If the distance is the longest so far then you earn the record and your name is stored.

The game also features a season mode where you can buy and sell teams. When the season starts you participate in the draft where you can hopefully pick up some new talent and get rid of excess baggage. Maybe it was too much detail to put in a PlayStation game, but it would have been cool to put some financial features in it. The game also included an All-time team with the likes of Babe Ruth and Whitey Ford. It would have been nice if these folks were in the draft like in Pete Rose's baseball, but then again that would take away from the realism. The All-time team can also only be played in exhibition mode and it would have been nice to see how they would have done in season mode. In season mode you can play out the games for the teams you own or simulate them. This is a nice feature, as it doesn't require you to play every game if what you're really wanting is to just jump to next week in the schedule. Players also age as the season progresses with their skills either increasing or deteriorating.

You're also able to create your own players or modify existing ones. Hardball 99 provides a vast array of statistics but the documentation falls flat, as it doesn't tell you what most of them mean. This can make it really tough sometimes determining why one player is a better choice than another. A nice touch is that they allow players to get injured, which can throw a monkey wrench in a well-planned game if your best player pulls up with a sore hamstring or inflamed shoulder. They also provided a lot of control on the conditions in a game. You can select how windy or wet a game is and it is a real treat to play around with. You can of course customize if you want injuries and fatigue to occur as well as length of game and designated hitters.

Hardball 99 also did a great job of trying to deliver the most up to date team situations and is accurate up to August 1998. They included the new Comiskey Park in Chicago and the new San Francisco Giant's stadium at China Basin. They also included the new expansion teams, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Graphics/Audio

Hardball 99 doesn't fair so well in the graphics and sound departments. While the graphics are smooth and you're able to see the player names and numbers, it is still rather bland and lacking in detail. Compared to the breathtaking graphics in some of the newer games like Apocalypse, there is definitely room for improvement.

At times the announcers sound extremely human in the running commentary and players names, but at other times sound very computerized. If you've ever mucked around with automatic customer service you'll know exactly what I mean.

Bottom Line

This is a pretty solid game, although there are some things Accolade could work at. The statistics aren't well documented, the graphics aren't detailed enough and the sound at times sounds computerized. On the plus side the game is pretty well up to date, the controls are easy to learn and the animation is smooth. Unless you're a hard core baseball fan, I'd recommend renting this game before you buy it.

Overview

Get ready to blast a homerun that will even make Big Mac take notice with Accolade's latest baseball offering. Accolade got licensing agreements with both Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players, so they have actual player names and pictures, all 30 stadiums and the new expansion teams.

Although I wouldn't call this game a grand slam, it is at least a triple or a weak homer. Accolade could have improved on the graphics and sound, but the overall gameplay is better than most. If you're a hardcore baseball fan you'll be spending a lot of time playing this game, and even if you're not a hardcore fan you'll still find plenty to enjoy.

Gameplay

Hardball 99 is very reminiscing of previous versions, except that everything is a lot smoother. All the features players have come to expect from baseball games are there, from instant replay to in-depth statistics. The game has the home run derby option where you can pick any player and swat the balls around. This isn't their greatest feature because it isn't real easy to switch to various players and takes more time than it should. It also doesn't mimic the real home run derby because it doesn't let you compete head to head with other players in a tournament type fashion. Instead it lets you swing at eight balls and adds up the distances each of them go. If the distance is the longest so far then you earn the record and your name is stored.

The game also features a season mode where you can buy and sell teams. When the season starts you participate in the draft where you can hopefully pick up some new talent and get rid of excess baggage. Maybe it was too much detail to put in a PlayStation game, but it would have been cool to put some financial features in it. The game also included an All-time team with the likes of Babe Ruth and Whitey Ford. It would have been nice if these folks were in the draft like in Pete Rose's baseball, but then again that would take away from the realism. The All-time team can also only be played in exhibition mode and it would have been nice to see how they would have done in season mode. In season mode you can play out the games for the teams you own or simulate them. This is a nice feature, as it doesn't require you to play every game if what you're really wanting is to just jump to next week in the schedule. Players also age as the season progresses with their skills either increasing or deteriorating.

You're also able to create your own players or modify existing ones. Hardball 99 provides a vast array of statistics but the documentation falls flat, as it doesn't tell you what most of them mean. This can make it really tough sometimes determining why one player is a better choice than another. A nice touch is that they allow players to get injured, which can throw a monkey wrench in a well-planned game if your best player pulls up with a sore hamstring or inflamed shoulder. They also provided a lot of control on the conditions in a game. You can select how windy or wet a game is and it is a real treat to play around with. You can of course customize if you want injuries and fatigue to occur as well as length of game and designated hitters.

Hardball 99 also did a great job of trying to deliver the most up to date team situations and is accurate up to August 1998. They included the new Comiskey Park in Chicago and the new San Francisco Giant's stadium at China Basin. They also included the new expansion teams, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Graphics/Audio

Hardball 99 doesn't fair so well in the graphics and sound departments. While the graphics are smooth and you're able to see the player names and numbers, it is still rather bland and lacking in detail. Compared to the breathtaking graphics in some of the newer games like Apocalypse, there is definitely room for improvement.

At times the announcers sound extremely human in the running commentary and players names, but at other times sound very computerized. If you've ever mucked around with automatic customer service you'll know exactly what I mean.

Bottom Line

This is a pretty solid game, although there are some things Accolade could work at. The statistics aren't well documented, the graphics aren't detailed enough and the sound at times sounds computerized. On the plus side the game is pretty well up to date, the controls are easy to learn and the animation is smooth. Unless you're a hard core baseball fan, I'd recommend renting this game before you buy it.

Even though Triple Play and MLB have pretty much wrapped up this year's pennant races, Accolade is trying to make an end-ol-season surge with Hard Ball '99. It's a hit late to be attempting such a run. However, if you like your baseball toned down and without all the window dressings, HB99 could be your game.

HardBall hits the field with arcade-style gameplay and the standard features, teams (including one made up of all-time greats such as Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson), players, and stadiums. Graphically, HB99 spoils 'clean polygonal player models--but little else. The game's controls are user-friendly, enabling you to be an instant contender the moment you lire up the disc. HardBall's in-game effects do the trick with a workmanlike announcer and solid crowd chants.

UB99 makes a tine weekend rental. But if you like your baseball hardcore and with all the trimmings, grab a copy of Triple Play or MLB.

ProTips:

  • Your big hitters should take at least one power swing.
  • Work the outside of the plate with fastballs, then come in with a slider to sit 'em clown.
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