MLB Slugfest 20 03
Slugfest stays true to Midway's mantra of mayhem. This time, they've taken ye olde national pastime under the knife and injected it with more of everything--more speed, scorching pitches and majestic home runs. Midway's also brought something new to the ballpark by adding a dash of violence. We're not talking about just hitting a batter here and there or a rough slide at second base. Nope, in Slugfest you can actually just pop a guy right in the chops. Don't like the way that dude is standing on second base? Beat him down. You might be able to knock him off the bag and tag him out. Of course, he can fight back and induce you to drop the ball, which might allow him to advance a base. This little dynamic is certainly cool, but the game is strong enough to stand on its merits as a pure arcade baseball game. Slugfest is gorgeous, fast-paced and balanced enough to offer fleeting fun whenever it's booted up. Midway's old friend, the turbo button, is here and used to full effect, whether you're making insane leaping catches or unleashing howitzer-like throws from the outfield. Pitching and hitting controls are straightforward and easy to get into, which is crucial to enjoying something as lighthearted as Slugfest. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who thinks there's even the slightest hint of a realistic sim here. But to everyone else, Slugfest passes as being an enjoyable game of basebrawl.
Leave it to Midway to take baseball and pervert it into a freak show like this. I have to admit, smacking around a batter who just hit my best corkscrew pitch is quite satisfying, though. And many of the gameplay staples such as the diving catches and laser beam throws are solid on every front: the animation, the control, etc. I only wonder how long Slugfest will stay fresh for arcade fans once the slapstick wears thin. After all, It's not like Blitz where the crazy tackling and rapid-fire pace keep the adrenaline flowing non-stop. But for those already accustomed to baseball's slower pace, Slugfest's wacky approach offers a fun change of pace.
When I first heard that Midway was planning to weld the Blitz formula to America's favorite pastime, I was filled with a mixture of joy and dread. Joy because an up-tempo baseball game sounds like fun, and dread because I feared the execution would just be stupid. It looks tike I was right on both counts. Slugfest brings the fun with sharp graphics, awesome play-by-play commentary, and pick-up-and-go controls. The stupid part is the gratuitous baserunner/fielder melee designed to cause havoc on the field. Plus, the game clearly favors the batter (hint: use turbo), making the typical game of Slugfest a war of attrition. Yanks: 28 Red Sox: 23? Please.