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Jun. 19, 2002

GW Xbox > Xbox Previews > Preview Page


MLB SlugFest 20-03





I'ts all fair and no foul as we take another look at how Midway plans to take a swing at the nation's pastime.

We previously looked at this game when it was first announced. After getting some more information on the game, we felt the time was right to let you know what was going to be in store when the game is released.

Turbo-powered baseball. If the idea appeals to you, then this just may be the game for you. If you find yourself waking up from your nap just in time for the 7th inning stretch, Midway is offering MLB SlugFest 20-03. This game should do for baseball what NFL Blitz did for the game of football.

Fully sanctioned by the MLB player's association, this game brings arcade style action (finally) to the game of baseball. No longer will games stretch on for three hours before anything happens. With real teams and players, and Midway's rules, there should be no excuse now for not getting into the sport if you found the snail's pace tiring.

MLB SlugFest 20-03 will offer several modes of play. Season Mode is pretty self explanatory. Tournament Mode allows 4 or 8 teams to compete in a mini playoff style (this is best played with friends). Challenge Mode tracks your stats on a per game basis - you'll be playing single games either against the PS2 or pesky human opponents. Quickplay allows you to jump in and try out for the SlugFest League (kinda like an Arcade Mode) - no data will be saved though.

There are five difficulty levels in the game (Trainee, Rookie, Pro, Veteran, All-Star) and a varying degree of innings (ranging from 4 - 9). Seasons are only 52 games, but who really has the time to play over a hundred games anyway? This game is all about instant gratification - as evidenced by the fact that virtually every ball pitched can be hit.

Before a game starts, you'll be able to enter a "Power Up Code" - in effect; this is your code screen. Then it's on to the diamond, to take your at bat and smack that ball our of the park.

The HUD (Heads Up Display) in the MLB Slugfest is referred to as the Scoreboard. Here you will be able to see not only what inning it is, what the score is, but also keep track of who's on first. This is also the place to check your turbo meter. What - you thought Midway wouldn't put one in? Turbo will recharge in between innings, but it diminishes quickly. Don't make the mistake of hitting the turbo button before your player goes to bat, since you may need it to run to second base on a bunt.

Players have three main attributes: Batting, Power and Speed. Batting determines how well the batter will hit. Power determines how far the ball will go when hit. Speed is self explanatory, and if you don't know what it is, go ask your parents.

Attributes can diminish a couple of ways. Getting tagged out by a "hard tag" (basically getting punched by the player with the ball) will do so (try it when the runner is already on base - even if it doesn't work, it's fun). Getting tagged by the ball while at bat could also result in a loss of attributes. Of course, the batter could also rush the mound and start "diminishing" the pitcher as well.

What would a real baseball game be without stolen bases? Ok - so it would just be a game without stolen bases. MLB SlugFest 20-03 allows for stolen bases though, and not just one runner at a time. It is entirely possible for all base runners to steal. Confuse your friends and opponents by stealing home.

There are 4 basic pitches, but pressing the Turbo button will "kick things up a notch" for each pitch, effectively making 8 pitches that can be thrown. If a batter hits 2 pitches in a row, he becomes "on fire" and players familiar with Midway's brand of sports know what that means - Turbo doesn't drain, and the player is most likely to get even better and better.

Fielding will be the simple one-button style, get it over with type. Sure, you'll be able to make the spectacular jump to catch the ball at the last minute, but it's all about getting the runs. Midway is clearly focusing on batting and the infield.

The game should appease digital ball players craving some action instead of a simulation. This game should do for baseball games what the Ramones did for music back in '75 - strip away all the useless bits and deliver everything else at a blistering pace.

Daniel "monk" Pelfrey
Don't take me out to the ballgame, bring it to me.

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