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Triple Play 99 (PSX) Review

Publisher: EA Sports
Release Date: April 1998

Background Info
EA Sports' Triple Play series of baseball games are usually at the top of the class. Last year, TP98 and Sony's MLB98 were quite similar in quality. Triple Play 99 doesn't even touch MLB99, and is barely better than last seasons.

Graphics : 69
The graphics of TP99 are one of the major low-points. They are fuzzy and slow paced, with a very low-resolution feel. In fact, the in game graphics of MLB98 are superior, which is a letdown. Still graphics, player photos, menus and stadiums all look nice however, but they cannot make up for poor in-game graphics. Another annoying aspect to the graphical presentation (which also ties into gameplay) is the constantly changing camera angles. These can get quite disruptive after a short while, and would have been best left out. EA is again trying for a TV-style look for the game, but it falls short.

Audio : 80
The audio is typical baseball, with the roar/murmur of the crowd, the crack of the bat and the snap of the leather catcher's mitt after a hard pitch all reproduced nicely. The music is also good, with little annoyance factor (and you can always turn it off). The best part of the audio is the commentary during the game. EA usually does a great job on commentary, and they bring along their play-by-play lackey Jim Hughson (don't get me wrong--he's really good, but he's everywhere ;). The CD quality audio is done very well in TP99: but nothing to get too excited about.

Interface/Options : 70
The menus are decent, but what I look for in a menu is whether it is intuitive or not, and TP99 isn't. After a while, you'd still probably find yourself clicking on the wrong button at the wrong time. Loading and Saving are both quick and don't detract from the game at all. At the longer load screens, there is a trivia question/answer, which takes away some of the boredom of load time.

Gameplay : 75
There are some good parts to the game play, and some bad parts. Hitting is mostly a "timing" style, and for some reason it is quite rare to make consistent contact (at least for the first few days you have it), and I found that pitching was relatively easy, and that is good, because fielding is horrible. It seems that no matter what camera angle you have it on, you can't get a jump on the ball. I often cringed in horror as a simple, routine fly ball would fall 2 feet in front of a "snail quick" Ken Griffey Jr. Overall, gameplay is a little slow, but you can institute quite a few strategies during gameplay, which will help you greatly. This game is very little arcade and a lot of sim (I like arcade style more, personally).

Difficulty : 82
This is what usually sets TP apart from the competition, and '99 is no different. There are definite divisions in the skill needed for each level (something I really like: easy=easy, hard=hard). On hard, TP99 becomes one of the most involving, strategic sports games out there, depending on if your skill level and baseball knowledge is good enough. As usual, 2-player mode is more fun than playing the computer, but the AI was carried off well enough to make the games (almost) always interesting.

Overall : 75
I think that with a few graphical improvements, fewer camera view changes and cuts, and faster gameplay, TP99 would hold the title of best baseball game ever on PSX (not really saying a whole lot ;). However, as it turns out, I'm more of an "arcade" fan, and I would keep MLB98 over TP99. If you are looking for a good baseball game for cheap (15 bucks or less), pick up MLB98 or TP98. If you are looking a new game, get MLB99, which takes the best PSX baseball game title. TP99 is so similar to TP98, it is a little insulting (smacks of little or no effort on the part of EA). Verdict: not crap, but not great.

By: Shanny 8/22/98

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