Mario Superstar Baseball

Mario Superstar Baseball

Mario Superstar Baseball

Home run or stuck at first base?

It's nice to see that enemies can put aside their differences in the name of sport. Just as the hyper-violent females of Dead Or Alive are placated by a bit of sunshine and beach volleyball, so the head-bonking and surreal rampages of the Mario cast are put on hold for a few rounds of baseball.

A 50-strong cast from the recent games populates Mario Superstar Baseball, including walk-on parts from such unsung talents as the freaky bloke in the mask, Shy Guy, with whom I feel a strange affinity. There are also visitations from the goombas who (if you get a chance to play the game) you'll notice have an amusingly rude way of holding the bat... Thanks to this line-up of ghosts, mushrooms, and pseudo-dinosaurs, the baseball antics are occasionally mesmerising, routinely mad, but ultimately rather unfulfilling.

As with other Mario sporting remixes, Superstar Baseball features numerous bat-and-ball-related challenges, usually either requiring pitching or batting talents. Both actions are simplified, making a curveball easy to pitch with a simple left or right of the thumb-stick, while an error is almost impossible to deliver. Batting meanwhile allows you to bunt and steal bases, but it's all too easy to smack that fly ball and get caught out by a ghost in the field. These two skill sets pretty much deliver the rest of the game to you, with all Mario's esoteric challenges being based on the application of throwing a ball and/or belting it off into the stadium. It's representative of Nintendo's entire game philosophy, with just a couple of buttons giving you the whole game, with a little more subtly hidden away in the use of the controller once you have command of things.

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GameCube titles dated

Mario Baseball, Battalion Wars.

Nintendo has confirmed that new GameCube titles Mario Baseball and Battalion Wars will be in the shops by Christmas.