Here at RVGFanatic I relish the opportunity to talk about my favorite SNES games. In particular, I love shining the spotlight on those obscure games that flew under the radar. There are many Super Nintendo games that one could classify as such, but here’s one that is criminally overlooked. It’s so far below the radar that it honestly blows my mind. On the other hand, being a sports game it kind of automatically slips through the cracks. 16-bit sports games aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But I’ve always loved a well made one, and Super Bases Loaded 2 certainly is that. I’m going on the record to calling this the second best baseball game on the SNES, only trailing the epochal Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball. Obviously, if you don’t care for 16-bit baseball titles, this may not sway you in any way. But for everyone else, read on and more importantly, play the game yourself and see if it doesn’t become a favorite of yours as well.
Last night Major League Baseball put on its 88th annual All-Star Game.
Robinson Cano hit the go ahead home run to put the American League up 2-1 over the National League in 10 innings.
Baseball has a funny way of repeating history in the most bizarre of ways.
July 11, 1967: Tony Perez hits an extra innings homer to lift the NL past the AL in the All-Star Game by the score of 2-1 in Anaheim.
July 11, 2017: Robinson Cano hits an extra innings homer to lift the AL past the NL in the All-Star Game by the score of 2-1 in Miami.
Not a single extra innings home run in-between those 50 years. Not only that but before Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Miami, baseball put together a ceremony to honor the game’s Latin American history. Eight Latin-born Hall of Famers threw out first pitches to eight Latin-born All-Stars.
In one group? Tony Perez. In the other group? Robinson Cano. Yup, only in baseball. It’s no wonder so many diehard fans have the same mentality: “It’s hard NOT to get romantic about baseball.”
With summer currently in full swing, I decided it was time to start a 162-game season. Normally I play Ken Griffey but this time I decided to pull a different baseball title off my shelf. Over a decade ago I remember playing Super Bases Loaded 2 briefly and thinking that it was pretty enjoyable. I decided to give it a more thorough look and ended up having an absolute blast with it. Let’s see why it’s one of the most underrated sports games on the entire Super Nintendo.
BUT FIRST, A QUICK HISTORY LESSON
Bases Loaded originated on the 8-bit Nintendo. It went on to have three sequels on the NES. The series was immensely popular, selling more than five million copies worldwide.
The series naturally moved to the SNES.
Neat little fact #1: Many people associate Jaleco with the Bases Loaded series but it’s actually TOSE who developed all of these games. Jaleco picked up the publishing rights.
Neat little fact #2: Super Bases Loaded 2 is the only game in the series not originally intended to be part of the series. TOSE developed Super Professional Baseball 2 (the actual sequel to Super Bases Loaded) in August 1992. They then developed a stand alone baseball game, Super 3D Baseball, in October of 1993. Jaleco decided to publish Super 3D Baseball here in the States as Super Bases Loaded 2. Interesting that they skipped over Super Professional Baseball 2. This explains the drastic shift in style and look for Super Bases Loaded 2.
Jaleco made the right call to port Super 3D Baseball rather than Super Professional Baseball 2.
Customize the game as you see fit: it is very player-friendly. The first Super Bases Loaded suffered from not having a battery backed memory. This game fixes that. Although the players aren’t real nor the teams, it’s still fun to play.
Select from 18 teams. I personally enjoy using the L.A. Cyclops. Four teams are customizable but more on that later.
Choose from three different stadiums to play in. I wish each team had its own field but the three here all play differently. This one is the biggest and is good for triples galore. Also has the tallest wall of the three.
Standard park with all your modern amenities.
Classic ball park with the shortest distance to straight away center field.
SET YOUR LINEUP
Set your batting order carefully. Players do vary in terms of ability to hit base hits, home runs, swipe bags, throwing power, etc. Unfortunately, there’s no way to discern this other than trial and error. The stats do help sometimes, but it would have been nice to see a rundown exactly. This is my preferred lineup. The green icons indicate players who feel locked in for that particular game. On the flip side, the orange-yellow icon shows players who aren’t feeling so hot. This doesn’t mean they still can’t perform well, but their odds go down. It’s an interesting system that Extra Innings also had.
Players charge the field. It’s a nice little touch.
Speaking of nice touches, I like how batters receive a quick statistical rundown. It’s a classic, clean look that I really dig. You can check your swing and sometimes this leads to cheap infield singles. Nice!
Jaleco proudly declared on the back of the box that this was the first SNES baseball game to employ the DSP chip. Obviously it’s not really 3D but there’s something charming about the way this game looks. Better yet, you can actually steal bases like a thief in the night.
Power of the DSP chip allows the camera to track the baseball in a “3D fashion.” It’s quite smooth and although it’s not the fastest baseball game around, it works well. Nothing beats seeing the ball land just fair. Cyclops go up 1-0 early.
Simon crushes the baseball to right field for a two run jack! It’s pretty cool being able to track the ball for those massive home run swats.
Defense is a make or break aspect of a baseball game. I’m happy to say the defense in Super Bases Loaded 2 is AWESOME. You almost always feel in control and while the infielders move a bit slowly, diving stops work great and it feels so good to gun out a base runner. Most baseball games render themselves instantly obsolete due to poor defense. This one does not!
Seeing the ball pop off the bat is so satisfying. Is this another home run shot? Nope. Close but no cigar. No matter, it still brings home a run. L.A. Cyclops go up 4-0 on the Boston Kings. Gotta love the fake names. It’s charming in its own way.
Stretching a double into a triple is the best.
Getting beaned, however, not so much. Sometimes the hit batter will even charge the mound and “beat up” the pitcher. No joke. First time I saw that I marked out!
Hitting line drive doubles just inside the foul line is immensely gratifying.
Adding insult to injury is the dribbler that sneaks through the infield for another RBI hit. The camera really lets you see the ball getting pounded into the dirt as it travels just past the defenders. Sweet!
Perhaps nothing is more demoralizing to the opposition than seeing the ball land in-between two defenders (“No Man’s Land”) and roll all the way to the fence as opposing base runners madly dash around the bases. Oh man does it feel good to do this. On the flip side, it’s crushing to be on the receiving end.
Unlike many baseball games from that era, it’s actually possible to score on sacrifice flies. Players’ speed and arm strength in this game feel almost “just right” for the most part. I love scoring on sac flies! It also doesn’t ruin the batter’s batting average, just like in real life. Good stuff.
Flashing off some leather! Like I said, the defense in this game is pretty top-notch. You’ll be stealing away base hits from the opponent like a demon. I also like how the outfield switches seamlessly to a more traditional look.
Another sick home run shot. If I had turned on the slaughter rule, this game would have already been over. But there’s no slaughter rule in the pros and I got to get my stats…
Leaping catches are sick. But oh, the agony of letting one through the cracks.
Aggressive base running from the Kings. Down 11-0, they’ve got nothing to lose.
Nothing beats a diving save over the third base chalk line that leads to gunning out the runner at first. So damn satisfying!
Robbing would be base hits is so smooth and natural in this game.
Seriously, this is an awesome baseball game! So underrated.
WOW… FAIR BY A HAIR! It’s such a helpless feeling for the defender as he chases after the ball.
Baseball, like football, can often times be a game of inches. Being on the offensive side of this is a great feeling. Not so much on the defensive side.
Simon once again terrorizes the Boston Kings, smacking a 2 run double in the gap. The L.A. Cyclops have now scored 3 touchdowns and gone up 21-1. Damn. By the way, you gotta love how the game shows you how each batter performed in his previous at-bats. Especially when a guy has a multi-hit game. Fill up that stat sheet!
Another solid single that barely sneaks past the defenders into right field. It’s so fun tracking your hits since the perspective doesn’t switch until you hit the outfield.
Suicide squeeze up 22-1? I’m definitely getting beaned next time! But check out how you can lower your bunt if you so choose. You can swing or bunt high, normal or low in this game. It all adds to the variety and options.
Gonna be a close play at the plate… SAFE! 26-1, 25 run lead. DAMN.
Computer’s defense is definitely not the smartest. 2 outs and instead of throwing to first base for the sure 3rd out, he throws it to second base. SAFE. The second baseman then flings it to first but he’s a half second late. SAFE. Bases loaded for a crack at a Grand Slam and 30 runs…
Patton steps up to the plate having had a monster day. A single, two doubles and a home run already in the books, could he go 5 for 7 with a Grand Slam to boot? Uh oh… look at that swing! Look at that ball fly… could it be?!
HOLY SHIT Patton did it! The ball stays just fair to give Patton a Grand Slam and a monster game for the ages. The L.A. Cyclops are spanking the Boston Kings 30-1!
Computer, allow me to show you how a real double play is turned! Double plays are the best especially the diving ones. Double plays are a pitcher’s best friend after all. One last out to get…
Another sick diving save at 3rd base. It never gets old.
FAIR OR FOUL?
Hitting a ball fair or foul is one of those “OHH!” moments for sure. Whether you’re pumping your fist or cursing your lot in life, it certainly elicits that “OHH!” feeling.
Nothing beats seeing a ball land just fair and roll all the way to the wall! Well, if you’re on offense, anyhow.
SAFE OR OUT?
Speaking of the umps, they always get the final say. That won’t stop your 1st base coach however from signaling safe even when the runner is called out. It’s little stuff like this that helps make a game more endearing to me.
BIG OR SMALL?
Players will sometimes “shrink and grow” on the infield. It doesn’t really affect gameplay but it’s a notable quirk. Hey, the DSP chip wasn’t perfect.
DESIGN OR NOT?
Super Bases Loaded 2 allows you to design up to four teams. You can change their player names — this could potentially lead to some juvenile antics but thankfully there’s none of the sort here. [Right -Ed.]. Players are rated in different categories and you can set the number ratings however you wish. You can create the ultimate team of players with 8’s across the board, or the worst team possible with all 1’s. Or you can make them all 4’s, or mix and match. It’s pretty cool.
As mentioned earlier I recently wrapped up a 162-game season. I finished 154-8 for a whopping 95% winning percentage. Won the Omega League by 70+ games! I averaged about 3.75 runs a game and over 2 stolen bases a game.
I freely admit I am a sucker for round numbers. I would hate to end a season with a .299 batting average, 29 home runs, 99 RBIs and 39 stolen bases…
Thankfully Patton was having none of that.
I had three guys in the top 10 for home runs: Baker (36), Patton (32) and Simon (28). Bonner also had 23 so technically he should have been the 4th guy in the top 10.
I had four guys in the top 10 for RBIs: Patton (113), Simon (103), Baker (91) and Bonner (77). I was a little peeved that I couldn’t get 9 more RBIs with Baker to give him an even 100.
I had nine guys in the top 10 for stolen bases! I really love how you can steal bases in this game. Leigh was a beast leading the way with 69 steals.
That Cooper guy on Philly is pretty good!
Damn, Ryan 80 wins and Willis 76 saves!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pictures of my final regular season stats. After Game 162, you’re taken to the World Series and the stats reset for post season play. Therefore I couldn’t take pictures but I did write down the stats. I will show the “normal” stats for each L.A. batter below. The caption will reveal the stats I had with that player during the 162-game season.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID
Sadly, there was never much hub-bub about Super Bases Loaded 2. I remember a one page preview in EGM in early 1994 that caught my eye. The graphics for the time were unique and didn’t look like any other 16-bit baseball title. I ended up buying a copy in 2006 after experiencing my SNES resurrection. I remember playing it very briefly and thinking it was pretty fun, but I stored it away. Earlier this summer I finally decided to pick it up and play again. What started as a few games turned into a full 162-game season! Maybe if more people played it there would be some more positive chatter about this highly underrated game.
I’m so glad I finally sat down to play this game thoroughly. It’s now become one of my favorite Super Nintendo games, especially as far as sports games go. There’s just something about it that feels so right. The graphics aren’t the greatest but it has that classic retro baseball look to it. If I were to close my eyes and think of a 16-bit baseball game, my mind would probably think of a screenshot from a game like Super Bases Loaded 2. And I love that camera system. It’s the only SNES baseball game I know where hitting the ball doesn’t automatically switch the camera. If you smack it into the infield the camera simply zooms back and you never miss a beat on making a defensive stop. Speaking of which, defense for the most part feels natural and smooth. There are a few mishaps here and there, though. Namely, the infielders can feel like they’re slightly in mud every once in a while. But you get used to the speed pretty soon. Since we’re on the topic of speed, this is a big one for baseball games. You know how sometimes runners run too fast or too slow? Or the defenders’ arms are too strong or too weak? This seems to be that rare 16-bit baseball game that almost gets it right. Players aren’t lightning fast nor are they slow as turtles. Arms aren’t super strong yet the ball never bounces to home plate from the outfield 11 freaking times! Best of all, pace of play. You can finish a 9 inning game in about 15 minutes. That makes games fast-paced and fun.
Some may complain about the lack of teams, real names, real players, lack of stadiums and lack of in-game music. I actually don’t mind the fake players in this case. I find the game’s 14 teams (18 if you count the four custom teams) strangely endearing. I like discovering each team’s best and worst players. Besides, there’s plenty of other baseball games on the SNES if I have a hankering to play as Mo Vaughn or Cecil Fielder. Super Bases Loaded 2 is unique. In fact, the bats have a metal sound to them despite clearly being wooden bats. It all adds to this quirky charming alternate baseball universe atmosphere. It’s not Japan. It’s not college. It’s not even AAA. It’s just… Super Bases Loaded 2. There is no in-game music but this is not necessarily a bad thing. I find it strangely calming to play a game with little music for a change. Besides, there were many evenings earlier this summer where I threw this game on for an hour and knocked out four games while listening to a podcast (without having to turn down the TV volume). It worked quite well! There are nice rally themes that play throughout based on the situation but they’re short (and actually not bad while they last). As for the three stadiums, at least they vary in look and size. Not a deal breaker for me.
The bottom line is this game rocks. Seriously. I’ve played more than my share of baseball games. There are a lot of fair to middling baseball games on the SNES. Then there are some truly awful ones. And then you have good ones. This is definitely one of the good ones. It’s a lot of fun to play, it’s fast to play and it just feels like baseball done right. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than you may initially think. It’s a shame this game is as overlooked and obscure as it is. My hope is this review sways you to give Super Bases Loaded 2 a crack, especially those of you who don’t mind playing a (well made) 16-bit sports game. And hey, being summer time presently, what better time to give it a try than now?