Aaron vs. Ruth
What most baseball games lacked during the 90s was a sheer sense of history, until the release of Aaron vs. Ruth came along. The sole purpose of this baseball title is to recreate the look and feel of the classic game that is much different today than it was years ago. Baseball has evolved into a big time, big league playfield for athletes who demand high salaries and too many luxuries. Back when baseball started to spread across the country it was becoming a national pastime, something the whole family could go and see on a Sunday afternoon. Mindscape has taken an ambitious stab at bringing this old-time baseball back to life.
There are a couple of different aspects to Aaron vs. Ruth baseball that make it different from the other titles of the time, with the main difference being all the old-time players. These players have been brought back to life with their jerseys, their numbers, and their playing styles. After watching an introduction, players are brought to a main menu where they have the opportunity to set the different options in the game, view stats, participate in a home run derby, start a season or play in an exhibition game.
Play on the field is much like your standard baseball simulations where you choose the type of pitch that you want to throw and then maneuver your players around for fielding. The batting interface is a little different than others. Instead of selecting how hard to hit a ball and simply choosing a direction, players actually aim the level at which to swing the bat. This produces grounders or pop flies much like the real thing. This interface is one of the better aspects of the game.
There are different options that can be set before gameplay such as wind conditions, volume levels and skill levels of different aspects of the game. Although they are limited, they are enough to get you into the game quickly.
The on-screen view of the field only occupies the upper two thirds of the screen with the bottom and right side of the screen showing different game elements. On the left side of the screen there are basically four windows that can be customized to show different views such as a radar gun or weather reports. The bottom area of the screen is reserved for a base running window and the scoreboard. While on the field, players can make player substitutions such as relief pitchers, defensive player substitutions, pinch runners and pinch hitters. For making pitching changes, there is a bullpen screen that shows who is on the mound, who is warming up and who is in the bullpen. This is a nice feature to have.
Apart from gameplay, there are different options that are included in the game which allow you to draft all the players on to your team that you want. This is a nice feature and allows you to basically create your own “dream team” and play it through a season. Players are able to be individually viewed to have a look at their personal biographies. If you are playing an entire season, you will have the option to use skill points. Skill points are awarded during season play and can be used to increase the skill levels of players. This is a good feature, but the way that it has been implemented basically does not work. During season mode, you also can trade players between teams. This is done through a Trade Proposal screen and allows you to make trade offers to other teams. Trade can be both approved and disapproved based on what seems to be the skill level points of players. If you work at it, you basically can make most trades that you want.
Aaron vs. Ruth offers something different to the baseball gaming fans; it offers a visually realistic glimpse into the past. The game does a remarkable job at motion capturing the intricacies of each player, their looks, their movements, even their swings.