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All-Star Baseball 99, the second baseball game for the Nintendo 64, features high-resolution graphics and both Major League Baseball and MLBPA licenses for authentic team names, logos, stadiums and over 700 players with statistics based on the 1997 season. The game uses a cursor system to hit the ball, the size of which depends on the level of difficulty: Rookie, Veteran, or All-Star. The cursor reflects the individual batter at the plate, including his ability left or right-handed pitchers, overall ability to make contact, strike zone weaknesses and strengths, even his tendency to pull the ball.
Four semi-transparent green corners frame the strike zone with the cursor appearing as a yellow oval with a cross, either in the center or slightly to the right or left. The size of the oval depends on the batter's ability to make contact, and the cross represents his "sweet spot" for a particular part of the strike zone. Each batter has certain hot and cold zones, meaning the cross will become noticeably larger or smaller depending on its location over the plate. A box on the side of the screen divides hot and cold zones into quadrants, with batters getting a shade of red (hot), blue (cold) or no color (average) in a quadrant reflecting the four strike zones.
Pitching involves selecting one of four pitches using a menu while aiming a cursor anywhere over the plate (this cursor can also be hidden from view). Press a button and the pitcher attempts to hit the mark depending on his level of control and the type of pitch selected. Pitchers are also rated for stamina, ability against left or right handed hitters, velocity on each of the four pitches, and how well they can throw each pitch. Before the pitch, players have the option of moving the infield or outfield into one of nine preset formations, including double play, guard, or shift to the left or right.
For a hit ball, defense displays from one of three views (low, medium or high) as you activate the closest fielder to the ball. Moves include diving, jumping, sliding catches, scaling the wall, and making stronger, but riskier, throws. Up to four players can participate simultaneously in a Season, Exhibition or All-Star Game, and statistics in 300 categories can be saved to a Controller Pak. The game also includes: 100 unique batting stances; Home Run Derby; team management, such as trades, player creation and free agents; Rumble Pak support; as well as a two-man commentary by New York Yankees announcers John Sterling and Michael Kay. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide