Sammy Sosa Softball
Who are the marketing wizards who came up with this title? If the game were an added mode to its baseball cousin, Heat Baseball 2001, it might have garnered a laugh or two. As it stands, 3DO is actually selling this piece of tripe in exchange for 35 or 40 of your hard-earned dollars. Everything about this game is sub-par. The graphics harken back to the first-generation PlayStation days. Sounds are fine, except for the ear-splitting announcer who bellows over every insignificant play (e.g. "HE PICKED THE BALL UP, WOW!"). Player models are terrible, but hey, it doesn't stop there. Nope, they threw in really sucky animation and horrid, lagging camera angles to boot. It's hard to match the excitement of seeing a close play at third base while the camera is still panning the outfield. Of course, that's assuming anyone would be excited about this game in the first place. It'd almost be cool if these were beer-drinking sluggers capable of belting every other ball over the fence (like real softball). But these lame-ass teams consist of a politically correct blend of coeds who don't know their cleats from their chins. Throwing and catching the ball is a crap-shoot at best, as the chances for an error on any given play are extremely high. That's supposed to make it fun and wildly unpredictable but it just adds to the frustration of looking at an awful game.
While an interesting idea, I'm sorry to report Softball Slam is choppy and cheesy. Pastels are the primary colors on both the characters and the environments, which minimizes contrast and makes the ball and players difficult to see against like-colored backgrounds. The voice-overs get repetitive after one inning. The worst part, however, is the cardinal sin of a sports game-sluggish control. Even as a game aimed at kids and casual gamers, sloppy controls aren't fun for anybody. While playing, I won the most exciting way a ball game can be won-A 9th inning home run. Sadly I was more psyched about the game ending than hitting the homer. Say it ain't so Sammy.
This game is one of those bad ideas that ranks along side his and her toilets--except those bad ideas have an excuse for stinking. I'm not sure what annoys me more about this--the stupid license (a hardball hitter for a softball game?), the obnoxious announcer, or the amazingly bad graphics. Loads of more complicated baseball PlayStation games have been made--I don't understand how 3DO could let this choppy, sluggish and ugly game out the door. Did they really think that anyone would want to play with teams full of badly animated misfits in an atrocious game with very few features? Sammy is stuck on yet another bad team.