Tony La Russa Baseball II. (computer game) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Clayton Walnum
Tony La Russa Baseball II includes just about every element of America's favorite pastime except for the seventh-inning stretch. You can play it as a statistical simulation, a full-fledged action game, or anything in between. One of the most complete baseball simulations available, Tony La Russa Baseball II is packed with over 15MB of graphics, sound, and statistical data.
Like most state-of-the-art sports games, La Russa II lets you choose between a strategic or action game, with either the computer or you controlling the action. However, La Russa II also lets you assign certain tasks to the computer while keeping others for your control. For example, you can give the computer fielding, throwing, and running duties, so you need handle only the pitching and batting.
If you prefer a hands-on approach to managing a baseball team, you can create your own teams. Management capabilities include editing player statistics, transferring players between the active roster and the reserve list, setting the pitching rotation and batting order, making defensive assignments, and more. An important enhancement in La Russa II is the manager profile editor, which lets you assign a detailed managing style to the computer manager. The manager's style is divided into five strategy categories--Lineup & Rotation, Pitching, Batting, Defense, and Base Running--each of which contains several strategies which you can edit.
Whether you want to play a single game against a friend or compete against the computer for the pennant throughout an entire season, La Russa II delivers. You can even put together your ideal fantasy teams and leave the computer to figure out who'll win the World Series as your game statistics flash by and the outcome of each game is calculated. In less than 20 minutes, every pitch, hit, strike-out, and run in the season blazes through your computer's memory.
Adding to the simulation's realism are La Russa II's nicely rendered graphics and good use of digitized sounds. Throughout each game, you'll watch convincingly animated players race about the field, as well as hear the announcers comment intelligently on the plays. Tony La Russa Baseball II is the next-best thing to having a ballpark in your living room.