Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball – NES
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Developer: Sculptured Software
Release Date (NA): 1991
Genre: Sports, Baseball
Nerd Rating: 6 out of 10
Reviewed by Nerdberry
Being a big sports fan doesn’t always mean you love sports video games. They’re often tough to learn and rarely do they emulate the experience you get when you’re on the pitch, the court, the mound, the field, or wherever you enjoy your favorite sport. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time goofing around and enjoying the simplicity of the more seasoned sports games of the 8 and 16-bit eras. As popular as Tecmo Bowl was/is, I’d put a particular 8-bit NES game up against it any day of the week… And that game is Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball.
Rarely does a game so simple captivate me the way Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball does. It’s not tough to see that this game doesn’t feature any of the bells and whistles that we’ve come to know and love in today’s sports video game landscape. But I see things a little differently. Having a dozen pitches at your disposal or being able to see yourself on the jumbotron screen is beyond overrated and merely provides gamer’s the luxury of reality. Forget baseball simulators because Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball is anything but. So what is it? It’s a baseball GAME meant for fun and it’s a chance to get away from reality for a while.
Huh? How is MLB The Show ’15 not a baseball video game meant for fun?
Great question. And the answer is simple. It is!
I know, I’m confusing you, but try to understand the complexity of playing a baseball game where all 8+ buttons, multiple analog sticks, and the d-pad are fully functional and serve a very specific purpose. Then compare that to the NES version of Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball where you have 2 buttons and a d-pad. Sounds simple right? That’s because it IS simple, and that’s the best part! But that doesn’t mean Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball was made with simplicity in mind. Technology limited real simulation, but developer Sculptured Software included just the right amount of cayenne pepper to give this familiar dish a perfect kick.
Upon firing up your trusty Nintendo system, you’ll be greeted with the Rocket as he winds up a pitch and serves it right into the screen. Bam! Welcome to Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball! Simple yet moderately detailed graphics and animations coat the screen as you try to contain your anxiety. This game is not to be played in 1-player mode as it loses all of its fun factor and becomes just another sports game not worthy of your time. But when you can finally find a friend willing to round the bases with you, you’ll find yourself gearing up for 45 minutes of excitement and fun!
Although Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball features a whole slew of unlicensed fictitious teams and apparent ripoffs (Texas Cowboys [Dallas Cowboys football]? Kansas Kings [KC Royals]? and so forth), it really doesn’t matter what team you play with. Upon picking your team, you choose a starting pitcher (all made up names) and a batting order. Now, the batting order makes sense as it allows you to strategically place your heavy hitters where you please. But choosing the starting pitcher for an exhibition game is silly. Um… let me see. Should I play “Billy Bob with a 7.92 ERA on the season or Johnny Joe with a 2.92 ERA…? Hm… Tough decision.” But to be fair, I never noticed a difference with any of the pitchers or batters. Everyone seems to play the same. And that brings me to my next point.
Since every player plays the same, the playing field is entirely level between you and your opponent, making it one of the most fair baseball games on the NES. There is plenty of strategy involved but there’s a good amount of guesswork involved too. Guesswork, huh? Sounds stupid. But check this… Your pitcher can sling 4 different pitches, and it’s up to you to outsmart the batter because there’s no such thing as “timing” when it comes to hitting balls in Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball. It’s just guesswork. Trash talk will rain heavily on your opponent with every perfectly executed strike. But don’t get too cocky, because when you give up that 3 run homer in the bottom of the 9th to lose the game because he guessed your pitch… well… Grab an umbrella because it’s about to rain smack talk all over your head for hours.
Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball might not be the most complex, intricate, or detailed baseball game on the market (looking at you Bases Loaded 1 and 2… you’re so perfect), but it sure as hell is a boatload of fun! Some of the game’s design is poor to the point that you’ll literally laugh instead of getting pissed. Like, for example, while I was “practicing” my fielding skills by letting a deep ball go over my head (I swear I did it on purpose…), my opponent decided he wanted to keep rounding the bases and shoot for an in-field home run. Little did he know that pressing the wrong button will make your runner stop dead. How do you get him to run again? Great question. Never discovered the answer. But his runner clearly would have scored if he didn’t stop 4 feet from home base, giving me a perfect opportunity to tag him out.
Other major issues revolve around what the fudge button to press to throw to which base, which friggin’ button do I press to make my players run from 2nd to 3rd base, and so forth. The control scheme is frighteningly horrid. The d-pad often represents which base you want to throw it to. If I’m in center outfield, staring at the infield, UP is home and RIGHT is 3rd base. Makes sense right? Until you throw it to home plate only to find out the buttons have now switched up on you, causing you to throw to the wrong base! That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fielding and defense. Maneuvering around the bases is just as problematic and frustrating, leaving players mashing buttons and hoping they’re doing something right.
So, with all of the serious issues and the frustrating control scheme, how in the world can I compare Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball to Tecmo Bowl and say that it’s better? To tell you the truth, Tecmo Bowl is WAY better with a fundamentally sound control system. But Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball is just more fun! There’s something about the struggle of the fielding controls paired with the excitement of pitching that makes for a super fun time. You and your friend will both experience the exact same issues, so the playing field is entirely level, making this game one of the most fair sports games out there.
The graphics are fun and above average but they don’t shine with vibrant colors the way a 1991 game should. I came into it with very low expectations but was pleasantly surprised. Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball really isn’t that great of a game, so I can’t give it the nerd rating that I want. But it is a very “playable” and fun game with above average graphics, decent sound effects, and some very traditional baseball music (that’s a good thing). Replay value is moderately low, but the 45 to 60 minutes you spend with this game is more than enough to fill a small empty spot in your busy day. So it’s time to get busy, folks! Play ball!
Nerd Rating: 6 out of 10
Reviewed by Nerdberry
Share This Post