EA Sports' Triple Play still king of diamonds
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1999. First
published in Vancouver Computes,
EA Sports Triple Play 2000
Requires: Pentium 166, Windows 95/98 (NT not
supported), 16 MB RAM,
20-420 MB drive space. 3D accelerator card recommended but not required
(Also available for Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64).
Microsoft Baseball 2000
Requires: Pentium 133, Windows 95/98, 32 MB RAM, 100
MB drive space.
3D accelerator card recommended but not required
Summer?s here, and that means that the virtual boys of
summer are back?this
season?s newly updated computer baseball games.
Like the All-Star Game, we put two top-class
representatives up against
one another, asking 15 year old game tester Joey to put EA Sports?
Play 2000 and Microsoft Baseball 2000 to the test. Joey tested the game
on a Pentium-II-400, with an older 3DFx-1 accelerator card.
Both games have a lot of similarities?from the
required hardware, to
the recommended, but not required 3D graphics accelerator cards, to the
full-fleshed 3D look of the players. Both try hard to get up to the
team rosters, uniforms, and fields. And both build on previous
Play 98 and Microsoft Baseball 3D respectively.
Electronic Arts Sports? Triple Play 2000 is the latest
in a long line
of Triple Play games. This year, the biggest improvements are to the
3D?of course, as with all these games, you?ll need a 3D accelerator
to view it?while the program will play using ?Software 3D?, it?s
less realistic that way.
But at its best, Triple Play can be amazingly
realistic. Players chew
gum, and show recognizable facial expressions, reacting to the
Individual players show individual actions?watch Sammy Sosa kiss the
after trotting to home. Joey liked watching the ball?s path when a home
run flew out of the stadium.
Much of the gameplay is a replay of last year, which,
however, is not
a bad thing. Hitting has become more sophisticated, offering much more
control than last season. The game is designed for mouse control?unlike
most sports games, which work best with a handheld controller.
There?s an exceptional amount of control?the game can
be set for shades
of difficulty, or for seasons of a range of lengths. The computer may
to trade players mid-season. The Home Run Derby feature has been
it offers a head-to-head between two players over the course of nine
Game-tester Joey, however, preferred last year?s version, where each
got ten outs.
Like other recent EA Sports offerings, this one
includes a new Rookie
Mode, an easy way for new players to get up to speed.
Joey?s faves: the announcing. He liked sardonic
comments like ?Oh, that
was a miss?, and random lifelike requests for the owner of the blue
to turn off the lights. He rated this one a solid 8 out of 10.
Last year, Microsoft named their product Baseball 3D.
This year?s version,
if anything, improves on the 3D look, with very good graphics and
A nice feature is being able to choose a ?Game of the Day?, from the
actually scheduled for today?s date.
Gameplay features are improved over last year?offering
, for instance,
a medium difficulty level in addition to last year?s too easy and too
levels. Batters get a realistic range of hits, misses, and foul balls.
Pitching is well thought out, though its hard to control your fielders
in this program.
You can choose individual season play, exhibition
games, or home run
derby modes, but unlike Triple Play, cannot set seasons shorter than a
full 162 games (whew!). A powerful player editor is included, but it?s
a separate program, not integrated into the main game.
Joey?s favorite feature: the crowd?s response to the players? hits.
He found the game exceptionally easy to set up and get going. The low
is also a plus. Overall, however, he felt it ?really wasn?t as good as
he?d expected it to be?, rating it 6 out of a possible 10 points.
Microsoft?s team is much improved over last season,
but overall, up
against EA Sports Triple Play, it still fell short. In fact, after
years of pitting EA Sports games against competition from Accolade,
and others, Joey noted that ?not once have I done one where EA lost?.