Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 132: All-Star Weekend 2008 with Legends of the Diamond

Legends of the Diamond is a pretty standard NES baseball game made better, as most things are, by the addition of Ty Cobb.

As with most baseball games of the era, fielding is tricky. Balls hit to the outfield require moving the fielder without seeing him. And the computer sort of randomly picks which players you will control. Infield flies are sometimes confusing because there are several players visible though it's not always clear which one is going after the ball and which ones are just moving to cover a base.

Strangely, though the game lists each player's position in their profile, it pays no heed to that when creating a lineup. Thus it's possible, in fact probable, to play a game with Willie Mays catching, Babe Ruth at short and Mickey Cochrane patrolling center field. The only players for whom position matters at all are the pitchers.

Despite the quirks, Legends of the Diamond is one of the more enjoyable baseball games for the NES. It's based on the same engine used for Baseball Stars, easily one of the best games for the system, and adds a lot of neat touches.

Harmon Killebrew does not like striking out.

Nor does he like being hit by a pitch.

I said take your base, Killebrew. Let's go.

There's even a fan wearing a glove in the stands to catch home runs. Pitchers and batters have unique stances and animations. Not necessarily modeled after the real players, but they do give each player a unique look and personality. It would have been nice to have a few more players or a few different ones. Bobby Richardson was a good ballplayer, but is really only "legendary" for the shot heard 'round the world. How about giving us Stan Musial or Ted Williams instead?

OK, I'll stop before I go into my list of who should and should not be included on a roster of legends of the diamond. Despite the exclusion of The Man and The Splendid Splinter, Legends of the Diamond is enjoyable game that's still playable today. Not bad for a bunch of old guys.

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