You walk towards the plate and the umpire wipes the dust from it, revealing the white surface. Lifting your cleates, you gently knock the dirt impaled on the stubby spikes with your Louisville Slugger. Bringing the massive wooden club to your shoulder, you stand at the plate and glare at the pitcher who returns the burning stare.
Nodding at the catcher delivering signals behind you, the pitcher brings the ball behind his shoulder and winds up to hurl a white rocket your way. Everything in you focuses on the white ball as it leaves the pitcher's hand and streaks through the air towards you.
Time seems to stand still as you draw in a breath and swing your bat in a vicious semi-circle with all your might, grunting with the effort. The bat and ball meet, two forces travelling in seperate directions at a rapid rate of speed. Something has to give. You watch as the ball hurdles in an arc away from you; over the pitcher, over the second baseman, over the center fielder and over the boards.
You can make out the crowd scrambling around like little ants, seeking the white treasure which you have graciously ripped into their seats. This is the way baseball was meant to be.
Hardball 4 is a great game especially with a friend. Gameplay over a modem is fine too.
Graphics: Take me out to the ball game? I'm there!
Sound: Although the voices added to the game, their jerkyness took away from the intended effect.
Enjoyment: Years ago, this was great fun, mostly as a multiplayer modem game.
Replay Value: Baseball's never the same game twice!
New features in this edition of the baseball simulation include the Home Run Derby and Pitching Practice. Multiple viewpoints and instant replays are included. 28 pitches are included, each with distinct effects. You can use real or fictitious teams, and even create your own right down to the logo and kit. Statistics such as batting average and RBIs are stored and can be printed out. Also, as in the previous game, announcer Al Michaels says things during the game.
Fourth entry in Accolade's popular baseball series developed by MindSpan, a follow-up to HardBall III. HardBall IV features crisp SVGA graphics and the same HardBall-style gameplay fans have come to know and love.
Aside from the drop-dead gorgeous SVGA graphics (which made Hardball IV the best-looking baseball game for years before 3D cards came along), the gameplay is virtually unchanged from Hardball III. Even Al Michaels says basically the same thing as in the last game. Fortunately, although overall the number of options has not increased by much, it is now even easier to select them than Hardball III. First of all, you can choose play options right from the main menu, including Batting/Pitching Practice, and everyone's favorite Home Run Derby-- the arcade-style "quick and dirty" game. For actual baseball simulation, there are two modes: Exhibition and League. The basic game mechanics is basically the same as Hardball III, except for the cool new cross-hairs you can use to aim your pitches. Another great option is that just about every Major League Stadium is represented in the game (not in some obscure add-on disks as for the previous game). Every detail of the stadiums has been included, down to the various billboads and actual specs.
Excellent SVGA graphics are by far the strongest point of Hardball IV. When the ball is hit, the camera angle switches automatically. The players and umpires are digitized, and the stadiums are exact replicas of their real-life counteparts. Another notable addition is multiplayer play by modem, although it has a few kinks that hamper uninterrupted gameplay.
Overall, if you are a baseball fan or even non-fan who is curious about why baseball is fun, Hardball IV is a must-have. It looks and plays better than the Dynamix' FPS: Baseball Pro, which got a lot more hype thanks to their success with FPS: Football.
People who downloaded Hardball IV have also downloaded:
Hardball V Enhanced (a.k.a. Hardball 5 Enhanced), Hardball III, Tony La Russa Baseball 3, Front Page Sports Baseball Pro, Oldtime Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball 2, Front Page Sports: Baseball Pro '98, HardBall!
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