RBI Baseball (NES)

RBI Baseball Box Art

RBI Baseball

System: NES

Release Date: June 1988

Developer: Tengen

Publisher: Tengen

Genre: Sports

More baseball on our plate today with RBI Baseball! It’s been about a week since I played Major League Baseball, an enjoyable game from my childhood. Now I play this and am kind of sad that I never played RBI Baseball as a kid. I feel like this is a more complete baseball game. First off, it is licensed from the MLBPA, which gives Tengen the ability to use real player names. There are eight teams to choose from, as well as the American and National League teams, which star players from other teams not represented.

I picked Detroit, of course, and went into battle against the New York Mets. My first thoughts were that the graphics were a slight downgrade from MLB, but as I continued to play, I realized they were similar enough to not be much of a difference. Gameplay is just about the same, but I would definitely say it’s more in depth. First, you can play a season where you play all the other teams. That’s a novel thing to have at this point in time. Different batters have different statistics, such as contact and speed. Pitchers have a curve ball stat alongside their top speed. These are found in the manual, which give the normal stats you’d expect to see.

Batting is much more in depth than in MLB. If you’re a little late or a little early, you’ll knock it foul. If you’re able to knock it enough for a hit, you can advance and retreat the bases easily. The pitchers can choose one of five pitches, the fastball, curveball, screwball, knuckleball, and normal pitch. Once the ball leaves the pitchers hand, you can nudge it left or right. The pitcher can attempt to pick off runners. When on base, a runner can attempt to steal. I suggest waiting for someone with an A speed rating to try this. Thank you Alan Trammel.

Fielding works just fine, but players assigned to a base immediately move to the base. This is normally fine, except when you want to control the short stop, sometimes they go to cover second base. This can cause base hits that shouldn’t otherwise occur. Similarly, you’d want a fielder to dive to catch a ball, but that’s not possible, allowing balls to get past them. Pitchers lose stamina as the game goes on and must be replaced with relievers. The Mets beat me 6 to 3. Then I played the Cardinals and lost 13 to 7.

Graphics: 1.5

Graphics are similar, but different from MLB.

Sound: 1.5

I liked the music and sounds less. The Farmer in the Dell is not a baseball song.

Gameplay: 3.5

Gameplay is nuanced and well done. Not perfect, but certainly wonderful.

Difficulty: 2.5

If you don’t play a smart game, you will lose. I feel it would take me several games to get one over on the AI.

Fun Factor: 3.0

I had just about as much fun with this as I did with MLB.

Overall Grade: 2.4

RBI Baseball earns a C+. I know there are a few other RBI Baseballs for me to play in the future and I am very much looking forward to them after playing this.

RBI Baseball Video Review on YouTube