Skip to main content

Super Baseball Simulator 1.000: Like real baseball, but magic

Super Baseball Simulator 1.000 is the Western version of what in Japan was called Super Ultra Baseball. The English title was poorly chosen, in that it suggests that the goal was an accurate simulation of baseball, whereas this game is centered on fantastical play in which players have supernatural "Ultra" abilities!

If you want real-life baseball, you can play without these abilities. Indeed, until I looked at the manual, I didn't realize the significance of the "Ultra" label on six of the teams. Prior to this discovery, I had been disappointed with Super Baseball Simulator 1.000. While its graphics and sounds were far superior to NES Baseball, the gameplay was only marginally better. The controlling of pitching, batting, running, catching, stealing bases, etc., is simple and intuitive.

But the game's heart and soul is the Ultra abilities, of which there are a wide range. Here is a representative sample: The Missile Hit turns the ball into a missile, the Tremor Hit causes an earthquake when the ball lands, Shadowless removes the ball's shadow (making it hard to catch), and Bomb Hit turns the ball into a bomb, which will explode a player who catches it. As for pitching, Iron Ball turns the ball into an iron shot put, Phantom Ball disappears then reappears, Fire Ball goes 150 MPH, and Floater Ball turns the ball into a falling leaf. When fielding, all players have the same four abilities: Super Slide, Rocket Jump, Super Catch, which lets you catch the various Ultra Balls without exploding or what-not, and Hyper Throw, which throws the ball directly to any baseman. These abilities are tied to specific buttons. When pitching and batting, you push X to cycle through your abilities, as represented by small icons. The manual decodes these icons for you.

Each use of an ability costs a certain amount of points, and you can set how many points each team gets (it need not be equitable) or play with infinite points. Each player has access to no more than four abilities, so your selection of team and pitcher matters.

To its credit, the game boasts a robust team editor, which lets you distribute each player's statistics (like accuracy, power, speed, and stamina) as well as their Ultra abilities. You can even name the players. You name your team and choose its colors as well. You can save up to six custom teams this way.

Once you've made your own team (or chosen one of the eighteen pre-built teams, six of which have Ultra abilities), you can play an exhibition game or an entire season among six teams. For each team, you choose how many Ultra points it gets and whether it's controlled by a human being or the computer. You choose the number of innings per game (as few as one). You also choose which of several stadiums to play in, which determines the background music. You can even run a fully-automated season that skips the gameplay entirely, simply outputting statistics!

Surprisingly, the game includes a coaching mode, in which you are the coach, who gives signals to the computer-controlled players on your team! For example, press ↑ on the d-pad to tell the batter to bunt or → to instruct a runner to steal a base. It's hard for me to understand wanting to play this way, but more game options are never a bad thing!

You can shift your fielders' positions by calling a Time Out (press START).

I don't personally enjoy sports games, but the superpowers on offer here, the in-depth customization, and the various modes and options qualify Superball Baseball Simulator 1.000 as an adequate baseball simulator. On the other hand, if a person doesn't want superpowers in their national pasttime, it may disappoint, as the core gameplay is nothing special. Its main shortcoming to me is that it doesn't impress visually or aurally. Although it far surpasses the NES in these departments, it was superseded by later, superior SNES baseball games.

Grade: B-

Linked Reviews
"The visuals and sound are strictly average, especially compared to games that came later in the generation. Still, its weirdness gives it an identity that makes it stand out among other more technically accomplished games."
— Kurt Kulata, Nintendo Life, 5/10

"While the graphics are an improvement over its NES counterpart, they lack the polish of other baseball titles that would be released for the 16-bit system."
— DG, Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the SNES Library, 3.5/5

"You can set the game to unlimited Ultra Points and go hog-wild, which is easily the most entertaining way to play Super Baseball Simulator 1.000."
— Jeremy Parish, Super NES Works


Popular posts from this blog

Street Fighter II: 30th anniversary

Thirty years ago Street Fighter II made the transition from arcade to living room on the Super NES. Although quickly eclipsed by its two successors, for one year it was the hotness. It would be hard to overstate how popular Street Fighter II was in the early 90's. Its predecessor was downright bad, but Street Fighter II invented the PVP fighting genre as we know it. Its roster of eight characters was a huge step-up from Street Fighter's two (Ken and Ryu, who returned for the sequel). The next iteration of the arcade game, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, which hit arcades just as the SNES port arrived, let you play as the bosses as well, increasing the roster to twelve. A false rumor said a secret code would let you play them at home. While that wasn't true, there was a code (↓, R, ↑, L, Y, B) to let both players choose the same character for a mirror match. A prime strength of the game is how interesting each character is: the American airman Guile (think Top Gun); the

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: 30th anniversary

Hard to believe it's been thirty years since The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past came out on the Super Nintendo, yet here we are! A Link to the Past is in contention for the title of Best Nintendo Game Ever . It perfectly reinvented, reimagined, and revolutionized everything great about the original Legend of Zelda . First off, the story is expanded, with five pages devoted to it in the manual, including background mythology not included in-game about the three gods that made the Triforce. The opening cinematic tells of a war centuries earlier, which resulted in seven wise men sealing the Triforce away in the "Golden World." When the game begins, the boy Link awakens on a dark and stormy night, hearing the voice of Princess Zelda in his head, asking him to rescue her from the dungeon of Hyrule Castle, where she's been imprisoned by the evil wizard Agahnim. Link finds his uncle, wounded, who gives him his sword. Link's first task is to rescue Zelda, then lead h

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: 20th anniversary

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is special to me because it was one of the first games I played on the Wii U. I hadn't owned a video-game console since the Super Nintendo until my wife bought me a Wii U for my 30th birthday. Since I missed the Game Cube and Wii eras, playing The Wind Waker was a revelation to me. It was as good as I remembered A Link to the Past being. I've read that, when it debuted, some people hated the cel-shaded art style of The Wind Waker. In retrospect that's hard to fathom, because the game is such a visual delight. The cartoony style and feel of the game is probably its strongest feature, at least for me. Sailing the seas and exploring the game's many islands is a joyous process of discovery. There are all sorts of quirky citizens to meet and interact with, including an auction house, bird people (the Rito), pirates, a traveling merchant (Beedle), temples, and the long-lost, sunken kingdom of Hyrule. The mid-game twist delighted me: Link l