Electronic Arts has brought the Triple Play series to the N64 in an attempt to "put the fun back in baseball." Unfortunately, the developers must have thought they had to ditch some of the accuracy to make room for all that fun. Because in the end, Triple Play 2000 for the N64 is a watered-down version of last year's Triple Play for the PlayStation.
Triple Play 2000 features all of the usual trimmings you've come to expect from a fully licensed baseball game: real teams, real players, real stadiums, and MLB stats. You're given the choice of playing a season, single game, home-run challenge, or the playoffs. Rounding out the game's features is the ability to create and trade players. The AI in TP2K is fairly decent. However, there are a few questionable gameplay elements that make the controls a little sticky. For instance, the base runners move a little too quickly, making a standard play at first not so standard. In fact, in many instances, we found that otherwise standard fielding plays were botched due to the base-running speed of the players and the slow throwing animations of the infielders. The infielders take too much time to throw the ball when you push the button, and they don't throw on the run. This lag is felt in nearly all areas of the game, even when you change the speed setting. On a positive note, the batting and pitching controls are extremely precise, letting you put the ball right where you want it, after a little practice.
The sound effects and music of Triple Play 2000 add a bit of quirkiness and fun to the game. Sound effects, such as an over-exaggerated crack of the bat and whoosh of the ball when you connect with a pitch, are great. The announcer is, for the most part, tolerable, though he does have one or two phrases that are a bit on the amateur side, such as the all encompassing and extremely silly, "Play made!" Comments from the crowd like "You're in the show, show me something" also add to the baseball atmosphere. But by far the most impressive audio element in the game is the little song excerpt that comes on when a home-team batter steps up to the plate.
Visually, Triple Play 2000 is mediocre. The 3D stadiums are represented fairly accurately and the players look and move real enough, but when you put the game speed on very fast the game seems to drop more than a few frames of animation. So many, in fact, that when you swing the bat you hardly see it. The most impressive visual aspect of the game is its animation. The players run, jump, and dive realistically. The camera is pretty random. Sometimes it workswell, but in other situations it performs horribly. The camera cuts to the outfield to track the ball after it's hit. The only problem with this is that the view doesn't always make it clear where the nearest outfielder to the ball is.
In comparison with the other N64 baseball games out there, like Mike Piazza's Strike Zone and the upcoming All-Star Baseball 2000, Triple Play 2000 falls squarely in the middle. The mediocre graphics and sluggish control leave much to be desired. I really enjoyed last year's Triple Play on the PlayStation but the elements that I liked about it, like the simulation feel and true baseball game atmosphere, just weren't there in this version. Definitely rent this one first.