As sure as baseball is a fixture of summer, so too are games based on it. Regardless of system, you've no doubt run across more than your fair share of baseball titles. Though lacking in power, the Game Boy Color has a decent cadre of hardball efforts. Acclaim's All Star Baseball series is evolving nicely, and Nintendo's Griffey titles are amazing. Despite these notable standouts, gamershave been screaming to the heavens: "Bring us Triple Play!" Well, thanks to the fine folks at THQ, Triple Play 2001 is here.
Featuring all 30 teams and stadiums, THQ's Triple Play 2001 attempts to bring arcade-style hardball to your Game Boy Color. It fails. While the PlayStation Triple Play series is guilty of some degree of "arcadification," it still contains a great deal of in-depth gameplay, as well as comprehensive stat-tracking and season options. The Game Boy Color version has none of this. The game only has two modes: single game and home run derby. Pitching options allow no concrete control over specific pitch type or location. Want to throw a curve? Hold left or right after the pitch. Want to throw a fastball? Don't do a thing. Batting is also grossly simplified in that you need only to position yourself in the box and swing. If the game thinks you've connected, the ball will launch skyward. Otherwise, welcome to strike one. Do you like tricky AI and skillful rundowns? You won't find them here. Triple Play 2001's mechanics and gameplay amount to nothing more than Mario Baseball with MLB players. At least Mario Baseball has the excuse of being 10 years old.
As if Triple Play's gameplay weren't bad enough, looking at and listening to the game is aggravating. Despite an implied variety of stadiums, there's only one stadium, and it's drawn poorly. Player sprites lack variety, resembling rough-edged paper dolls more than video game characters. The game's sound is equally abrasive, as its high-quality voice snippets are drenched in horrible music. Hearing an umpire cry, "Strike three, yer out!" is great, but hearing four-note organ music isn't.
Triple Play 2001 is a perfect example of how good ideas can go horribly awry. It is no crime to make an arcade-style baseball game. However, if a company is going to do this, it should at least include a variety of season modes, decent gameplay, and adequate visuals. Triple Play lacks all of the above and more. It's not worth nine minutes, let alone nine innings. To a baseball fan, this game is downright insulting.