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Softball Tengoku (NES) artwork

Softball Tengoku (NES) review


"At the risk of sounding cliché, Softball Heaven (or Softball Tengoku) might say everything you need to know about the 8-bit import in the title. Now, I can’t personally imagine what a Softball Hell might be like, but I’m sure its got nothing on this gem. "



At the risk of sounding cliché, Softball Heaven (or Softball Tengoku) might say everything you need to know about the 8-bit import in the title. Now, I can’t personally imagine what a Softball Hell might be like, but I’m sure its got nothing on this gem.

The story: No story at all. Two teams going at it – sandlot style – in winner take all exhibitions. Gone are pesky things like Career Mode that in the end, just get in the way of you and your softball. Speaking which, what makes this a softball game as opposed to baseball? You can perform slow pitches (as in a toss in the air). That’s the Softball Heaven difference.

At face value, everything is on par with what you’d expect from an NES baseball game. Players and CPU alike take turns competing with sluggish outfielders dealing with unpredictable ball speeds; runners caught in run-downs, and homerun blasts that seem to come from nowhere. In short, it is RBI Baseball-style play at its best. Oh, please pay no attention to the sound. A cacophonic bell rings during the end of every homerun. It will make you want to ground into double plays.

Softball Heaven boasts a playable 60 characters. They range anywhere from simple animals (Kangaroo, Elephant, Frog) and Hollywood monsters (Mummy, Dracula, Witchy), to characters of Japanese Mythology (Kappas, Tanuki). Also, some American celebrities have made the cut (who knew Mike Tyson was such a great ball player?). Some of the fantasy-based characters seem to have special fielding abilities (i.e Witchy can fly/hover and Frog has a super jump). Many characters seem to not have anything unique about them, and fall very flat in comparison. There are five fields on which to play, some of which have custom rules (i.e. breaking windows in the Schoolyard is an automatic out). Like the players however, some stages have nothing particularly different about them.

In some aspects, Softball Heaven seems almost half complete. If it wasn’t so much fun, I’d want to call it Softball Purgatory – but that’s not fair. In reality, it’s probably the best NES baseball game you’ve never heard of. Did I mention you pitch underhand? Slow pitch… fast pitch… Yeah, that’s the Softball Tengoku difference.

Rating: 8/10

MC_Goatse's avatar
Community review by MC_Goatse (October 07, 2010)

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